Some interesting things are happening in Jerusalem, and they may or may not lead to the building of the third temple in the coming years.
Before we go on, why is this significant? Consider the following from Joseph Smith in talking about the things that must come to pass before the Second Coming of the Savior:
“Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, &c., and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance.” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 337.)
If we read that plainly, it appears a temple in Jerusalem must be built before Jesus will return.
With that in mind, we read: “Ben Gurion Gearing Up to Bring All 70 Nations Straight From the Airport to Third Temple.”
Ben Gurion, Israel’s largest airport, located in Tel Aviv, has announced plans for a 2023 high speed rail line that will transport travelers directly to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. According to the story, the terminal station near the Western Wall will be named for the U.S.’s 45th President, Donald J. Trump (cue weeping and wailing from the never-Trumpers).
While the Israeli government has not publicly announced plans to build a new temple, there are some hints, like an informational flyer distributed by the government in Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox neighborhoods, answering questions about how the new train line might affect them. The flyer included this cheerful graphic:
Yes, that graphic shows people happily riding the train to perform sacrifices near the Temple Mount, which can only be done at…a future temple!
I quote from this story:
Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, who writes a geula and Kabbalah blog in Hebrew called Sod HaChashmal (the secret energy), explained:
“ Hashem (God, literally ‘the name) is preparing the way for the pilgrims to arrive at the Temple,” Rabbi Fish told Israel365 News. “Practically, a train is the best means since it can carry many more people without the dangers or traffic jams associated with highways.”
He related an anecdote in his blog about Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, a leading rabbi in Jerusalem, in the late 19th century. Fish related that Rabbi Diskin heard the whistle of the first train to arrive in Jerusalem in 1892 and said, “They are clearing the way for Moshiach (Messiah), and the geula (redemption) is on the way.”
Fish sees this pre-Messiah train phenomenon being played out to an even stronger degree with the new high-speed track that will bring travelers directly from Ben Gurion International Airport to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The train is expected to begin service in April, just in time for the Passover holiday.
“A high-speed train is precisely what is needed for Passover, when all of Israel is required to bring their sacrifice to the Temple,” Fish told Breaking Israel News. “ Hashem (God, literally ‘the name) is preparing the way for the pilgrims to arrive at the Temple.”
Meanwhile, we get this story:
What is the significance of the red heifers?
The red heifer was the main component in the Biblically mandated process of ritual purification for impurity that results from proximity or contact with a dead body. Because the elements needed for this ceremony have been lacking since the destruction of the Second Temple, all Jews today are considered ritually impure, thereby preventing the return of the Temple service.
The Temple Institute launched its Red Heifer program about a decade ago, led by Rabbi Azariah Ariel. But even in Temple times, an animal that fulfilled the Biblical requirements was exceedingly rare. Failing to produce a suitable candidate from ranchers in Israel, The Temple Institute began investigating alternative sources for a red heifer.
Boneh Israel, an organization that connects Christian lovers of Israel to the Holy Land, stepped in to help. Led by Byron Stinson, a native Texan, Boneh Israel understood ranchers.
“I didn’t set out to do this, but right now, I am probably the best red heifer hunter in Texas,” Byron quipped. “The Bible says to bring a red cow to purify Israel, and I may not understand it, but I am just doing what the Bible said.”
“The prophecies came true, and the Jews are back in Israel,” Byron said. “Now they need to build a Temple. But it’s like buying a really nice car. If you don’t have the key, you aren’t going anywhere. The red heifer is the key to making the Temple work like it’s supposed to.” Boneh Israel took out full-page ads in ranching magazines, explaining the situation to ranchers. They requested that any red calves be set aside…
A team of rabbis from the Temple Institute flew out to inspect the calves last year. The requirements are incredibly demanding, requiring that there be no more than two non-red hairs on the entire calf. It must also never have been used for any labor or have been impregnated.
The heifer must be two years and one day old to be suitable for the ceremony. Sometimes, a calf that is perfectly red when it is young develops black or white hairs as it grows older or may develop a blemish. Sometimes, the colored hairs fall out or disappear. Certifying the calf requires a complete and intensive inspection in which a rabbi knowledgeable in the laws goes over the entire calf with a magnifying glass.
Chanan Kupietzky, an Orthodox Jewish resident of Efrat, is the liaison between Boneh Israel and the rabbis of The Temple Institute. “The Jews don’t need to be pure to build the Temple or to bring the public sacrifices,” Chanan explained. “On the other hand, purity will take it to the next level and will facilitate rebuilding the Temple and doing the service.”
Ever since Orson Hyde’s 1841 trip to Jerusalem, we have seen massive changes in the Holy Land. In the 19th century, very few Jews lived in the area then called Palestine. Since then, millions have returned, Jerusalem has been rebuilt and the land has become a garden with flowing water that never before existed. Will we soon see the reconstruction of the Third Temple? Let’s watch and find out.
(Most readers probably know this, but just in case: the first temple was Solomon’s temple, and the second temple was Herod’s temple, and there has been no temple in Jerusalem since Herod’s temple was destroyed in the 1st century AD).