Can Third Temple Be Built Without Destroying Dome of the Rock?
A new Jewish interfaith initiative argues building the Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem would not necessitate the destruction of the Dome of the Rock.
“God’s Holy Mountain Vision” project hopes to defuse religious strife by showing that Jews’ end-of-days vision could harmoniously accommodate Islam’s present architectural hegemony on the Temple Mount.
“This vision of religious shrines in peaceful proximity can transform the Temple Mount from a place of contention to its original sacred role as a place of worship shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians,” said Yoav Frankel, director of the initiative.
The Interfaith Encounter Association at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim’s Konrad Adenauer Conference Center in Jerusalem is sponsoring the program, which includes interfaith study and other educational projects.
According to Islamic tradition, the Dome of the Rock, built in 691, marks the spot where Muhammed ascended to Heaven.
But according to Jewish tradition, Mount Moriah, now under the Dome of the Rock, is where the Temple’s Holy of Holies was situated.
Until now Jewish tradition has assumed that destruction of the Dome of the Rock was a precondition for the building of the third and last Temple.
However, in an article that appeared in 2007 in Tehumin, an influential journal of Jewish law, Frankel, a young scholar, presented a different option.
His main argument is that Jewish doctrine regarding the rebuilding of the Temple emphasizes the role of a prophet.
This prophet would have extraordinary authority, including the discretion to specify the Temple’s precise location, regardless of any diverging Jewish traditions.
Frankel considers the scenario of a holy revelation given to an authentic prophet that the Temple be rebuilt on the current or an extended Temple Mount in peaceful proximity to the dome and other houses of prayer such as the Aksa Mosque and nearby Christian shrines.
However, both Muslims and Jews have expressed opposition to the initiative.
Sheikh Abdulla Nimar Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said it was pointless to talk about what would happen when the mahdi, the Muslim equivalent of the messiah, would reveal himself.
“Why are we taking upon ourselves the responsibility to decide such things?” Darwish said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post. “Even Jews believe that it is prohibited to rebuild the Temple until the messiah comes. So what is there to talk about?”
“The mahdi will decide whether or not to rebuild the Temple. If he decides that it should be rebuilt, I will go out to the Temple Mount and help carry the rocks.”
The Jerusalem Post, 21 June 2009
The Jews are waiting for a prophet, while the Muslims are waiting for their messiah, the Mahdi. The issue is cooperation, particularly on the issue of the Temple Mount.
At this point of time, it is all but impossible to imagine such cooperation between the Jews and the Muslims. But the prophetic Word makes it clear that a time will come when not only Jews and Muslims, but also all religions of the world will worship Satan, the Antichrist and the image of the beast. This report just shows that the tendency toward that goal is open for discussion.