Problems in Rebuilding the Tribulation Temple Part II -- By: Thomas S. McCall

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 129:513 (Jan 1972)
Article: Problems in Rebuilding the Tribulation Temple Part II
Author: Thomas S. McCall


Problems in Rebuilding the Tribulation Temple
Part II

Thomas S. McCall

[Thomas S. McCall, Missionary-in-Charge, Southwestern Region, American Board of Missions to the Jews, Dallas, Texas.]

Obstacles to Rebuilding the Temple

The Dome of the Rock: In the previous article, there was a discussion regarding the incentives for rebuilding the temple. The next thing to be considered is the serious obstacles to the rebuilding of the temple. There are many, but perhaps the most serious is the presence of the Mohammedan Dome of the Rock (and the nearby Al Aksa Mosque), which is situated on the ancient temple site. It must be removed before the temple can be rebuilt in that place. It was built by the Mohammedans in A.D. 691 and has been repaired and restored several times.1 For about a century, during the Crusades, the Dome of the Rock was used as a Christian shrine, but then was retaken by the Mohammedans. It is one of the most sacred places in the world to the Mohammedans. To remove the Dome of the Rock would stir up a holy war among the Arabs, in addition to violating the Israeli principle of not disturbing any site sacred to any religion.

One might suggest that the temple could be rebuilt somewhere else in Jerusalem, but Judaism would not permit this. According to the Law of Moses, the ancient site is the only one permissible for the temple (Deut 12:10–14). Thus an overwhelming obstacle to rebuilding the temple is the existing Dome of the Rock. One solution suggested by some Jews encouraging the rebuilding of the temple is “Who knows? Perhaps there will be an earthquake.”2

Christian Theological Objections. Many Christians feel that the temple will never be rebuilt, that it should never be rebuilt, that it is obsolete, that God has considered the temple anathema. They believe the Lord has destroyed it, it has fulfilled its purpose, and must never be rebuilt. Therefore, many Christians are firmly set against Israel’s rebuilding the temple as may be seen in Unger’s discussion concerning the millennial temple:

The plain prediction of sacrifices, feasts and ordinances in the future kingdom, according to the Levitical law, has been beyond a doubt the main stumbling block to a literal-futuristic interpretation to most Christians from the days of the Fathers until the present. Keil, Fairbairn, Hengstenberg, and a host of others reject the literal-futuristic view on the basis of supposed contradictions with New Testament teaching, especially with the Epistle to the Hebrews. As Keil expresses it: “Wi...

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