Two remarkable developments took place recently that are extremely relevant to students of Bible prophecy.
For the first time in 1,600 years, the Israeli Sanhedrin was re-established. It occurred in Tiberius, the site of the Sanhedrin’s last meeting in AD 425.
On Jan. 20, IsraelNN.com reported:
A unique ceremony – probably only the second of its kind in the past 1,600 years – is taking place in Tiberius today: The launching of a Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish-legal tribunal in the land of Israel.
The Sanhedrin, a religious assembly that convened in one of the Holy Temple chambers in Jerusalem [before AD 70], comprised 71 sages and existed during the Tannaitic period, from several decades before the Common Era until roughly 425 C.E.
Details of today’s ceremony are still sketchy, but the organizers’ announced their intention to convene 71 rabbis who have received special rabbinic ordination as specified by Maimonides.
These religious authorities believe it was necessary to re-establish the Sanhedrin because only this properly ordained body of sages can authenticate a Messiah when he comes. There is a growing expectation of the long-awaited Messiah to appear among devout Jews. The rebirth of the Jewish state and recapture of Jerusalem has increasingly influenced this conviction.
On Feb. 9, just a few weeks after the Sanhedrin’s re-establishment, another enormously important development took place. The religious sages began to consider the rebuilding of the Temple and reinstitution of ancient animal sacrifices as prescribed in the Law of Moses.
The first step toward facilitating this monumental endeavor was to seek to determine the exact location of the Temple’s foundation. Sanhedrin spokesman Rabbi Chaim Richman told Arutz-7:
It is appropriate that the Sanhedrin convened to discuss this lofty matter of the Temple’s location this week … the Sanhedrin continues to move toward strengthening the nation of Israel.
As all these things happen all around us, the Sanhedrin is researching ways to renew the deepest roots of our faith – to renew Temple service, reunite Jewish legal tradition and inspire the Jewish people to aspire to greatness. Our people have one path before us, and we will continue to march toward our destiny.
Sanhedrin member Rabbi Yisrael Ariel is the most ardent believer that the Temple is to be rebuilt in this generation. He is the former Yeshiva head, founder of the Temple Institute, and one of the paratroopers who took part in the 1967 liberation of the Temple Mount. He said:
People today ask, “Who are we in this generation to even consider building the Temple?” But in this week’s Torah portion we see that the commandment to build a Temple was given to Jews who had just sinned and committed idolatry in the Sin of the Golden Calf. The fact is that what God requires in this world is for regular people to do their best. That is what we are trying to do.
The most difficult problem is to determine with certainty exactly where the previous Temple’s foundations are. Muslims have not allowed Israeli archeologists to do archeological research on the Temple grounds. As a matter of fact, the Muslim custodians of this area, which they believe is their Third Holiest site, have systematically sought to destroy and remove any archeological evidence of Israel ever having a Temple there.
The Sanhedrin determined that there are only two viable theories as to where the Temple stood. One teaches that the Temple stood on the same basic site on which the Muslim mosque known as the Dome of the Rock was built.
The second theory (which I am convinced is the most accurate) is that the Temple was built north of the Dome of the Rock. Dr. Asher Kaufman developed this theory, using certain archeological evidences that he found before the Muslim’s destroyed them. However, the most important archeological sign is the position of the Eastern Gate. According to ancient accounts of the Temple, its east-west centerline passed through the center of the Eastern Gate.
We have absolute evidence as to where the ancient Eastern Gate stood. I have viewed personally the remains of the ancient Eastern Gate, which is located under the modern Gate that was built on top of its ruins.
While photographing the area in 1983 for my book, “A Prophetical Walk Through The Holy Land,” I sought to verify Dr. Kaufman’s theory. I established the east-west centerline from the Eastern Gate. Then I received one of the most supernatural visitations of my life. My mind was suddenly flooded with a couple of verses that had been a mystery to me.
This is what I was shown. “I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, ‘Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.'” (Revelation 11:1-2 NIV) So I measured off the distance from the centerline to the point where the wall of the inner court would stand. There was at least 6 meters clearance from the nearest points of the Dome of the Rock and the Temple inner-court wall. The Apostle John clearly predicts that “the outer court was not to be included in the rebuilt Temple, because it was given to the Gentiles.”
So what does all this mean? The Temple can be rebuilt and stand alongside the Dome of the Rock without disturbing it. And since the outer court, also known as the Court of the Gentiles, is given to the Gentiles in this period just before the Messiah comes, it infers that there would be a Gentile building there, i.e., the Dome of the Rock.
The fact that a re-established Sanhedrin is now considering the rebuilding of the Temple after 2,000 years is extremely important to students of Bible prophecy. I believe that we are very near the final climactic events that end with the Second Coming of Christ.