According to the Bible, in the last days, several events regarding Israel would occur in a particular order in a short time frame.
The first, of course, would be the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland of Israel. “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land …” (Ezekiel 37:21, New American Standard)
The second, the Jews would regain sovereign control over Jerusalem. The following verse necessitates that they would do this as the times of Gentiles drew to a close: “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24, New King James)
The rebirth of the state of Israel and the recapture of Jerusalem signal that the times of gentile world dominance is coming to a close, according to the Bible.
Following on the heels of these events, the Bible says the Jews will rebuild their ancient Temple on the exact same place where it stood until destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Several prophecies speak of the Temple and the reinstitution of Mosaic ceremonies. According to the Law of Moses, these can only be practiced in a Temple restored to its original foundation.
Paul writes to the Thessalonians concerning a very important event the Antichrist will perform in the Temple shortly before Christ’s return. He writes, “Who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the TEMPLE OF GOD, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4 NAS) This also necessitates that there be a Temple rebuilt on its ancient site in Jerusalem.
While the Jews have returned to their homeland, and have been in possession of their holy city since 1967, the Temple Mount is dominated by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosques. Muslims claim the entire Temple Mount as their third-holiest site.
The mosques have stood there for 1,400 years. But the Bible predicts that, in the last days, the spot will again be occupied by a Jewish Temple. Unthinkable?
Of course, the restoration of the Jews to the Land of Promise was unthinkable for centuries. Who could have dreamed in 1944 that four years later the Jews would have a state in their ancient homeland? Impossible! It certainly seemed so at the time. The world was just learning of the massacre of 6 million Jews in German concentration camps.
But against all odds, in 1948, the Jews, having existed for centuries without country, land or flag, declared the existence of the state of Israel. This was the most important single fulfillment of prophecy concerning the last days. It set in motion the whole scenario of predicted events.
The Jews brought to this new nation a culture unchanged by thousands of years of being scattered. Hebrew was resurrected as the official language of Israel – even though it had been a dead language for nearly 20 centuries.
They restored the land, changed the climate and created a garden spot out of an utterly desolate Middle Eastern desert.
Then, again against impossible odds, they won four wars aimed at their annihilation. In the process of winning the third one, they recaptured their holy city of Jerusalem.
But the Muslim Waqf retains religious authority over the Temple Mount. Still, the Bible says that eventually, somehow, during the generation that saw the first two fulfillments, Israel and Jerusalem, will also see the third fulfilled, a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount.
Following a moderate earthquake and a weekend snowstorm, the walkway leading to the Temple Mount from the Old City collapsed.
This news follows the news of the bulge in the southern Wall of the Temple Mount, which forms one of the outside walls of the Old City.
Israeli archeologists have repeatedly warned that the retaining walls and understructure of the Temple Mount have been so weakened by unauthorized Muslim excavations that they are in danger of a catastrophic collapse.
The Israelis have offered to do the work, but have been rejected out of hand.
No matter what happens, Israel will get blamed. If the wall collapses completely, Israel will be blamed for not fixing it. If Israel tries to fix it, it will be accused of tampering with an Islamic holy site. Most religious authorities realize that a collapse could trigger apocalyptic events.
But despite all of these circumstances, the Bible predicts that Israel will soon rebuild its Temple on its ancient site. Again I ask: Impossible?
In the light of all the prophecies that have been fulfilled in this land in the last 50 years – all of which were considered equally impossible – I believe the Temple will soon be built.