Funny you should ask??....
Should Jews build the Third Temple?
By STEPHEN GABRIEL ROSENBERG
Traditionally the Temple Mount Faithful attempt to set up a foundation stone for the Third Temple on Tisha Be'av, and the police routinely prevent them from doing so. The occasion for this street theater is the anniversary of the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE and that of the Second Temple in 70 CE, both said to have occurred on the same calendar date.
It is certainly right that the date be commemorated; but would rebuilding the Temple be an appropriate act for the State of Israel today?
Assuming there were no Dome of the Rock and no Muslim presence on the Temple Mount, no Wakf and no Aksa Mosque, the pressure to rebuild the Temple would be enormous - but would it, in historical terms, be sound?
The last time such an opportunity occurred was in the time of Julian the Apostate, in 362 CE. That Roman Emperor, who succeeded Constantine, reversed his predecessor's decision to turn the empire into a Christian state and returned to the former pagan religions, which were permissive of other cults, including the Jewish one. It seems that he gave permission for the Temple to be rebuilt, and then went off to fight his enemies.
In Jerusalem work commenced on reconstructing the altar, but hardly had a few stones been put one on another, when a massive earthquake hit the area and the work collapsed. Worse still, Julian was killed in Persia and his place was taken by the Emperor Jovian, who reinstalled Christianity as the official religion. Any hope of rebuilding the Temple ceased, never to return.
IN 638 CE, the hordes of Islam conquered Jerusalem and by 692 the Caliph Abd al-Malik had completed the Dome of the Rock, which stood on the mountain inviolate for the following 1,315 years.
During the Crusader years it was converted to Christian use, and most Crusaders thought it had been built originally as the Temple of Solomon, but it was not changed structurally and returned to the Muslims on expulsion of the Crusaders in 1187. However, it did not return as a mosque, as it had never been one.
As the Dome was not a mosque, why did Abd al-Malik build it? It may be that he was attempting to set up a place of pilgrimage in competition to Mecca, which was controlled by his rival, Ibn al-Zubayr, but it seems more likely that, probably advised by an ex-Jewish companion, he recognized the historic significance of the site and in particular of the rock, the foundation stone, the even shetiya, that carried so much religious baggage. It was the scene of the Mihrab of Dawood (shrine of David) and the Bayit al-Makdis of Sulayman (Temple of Solomon) so al-Malik may have selected the site as a kind of location of ultimate holiness, maybe even for the Day of the Last Judgement.
The unique design of the building, a circular dome over an octagonal base, emphasized its concentration on the central feature, the Rock. Unlike any mosque, the building had no directional focus and was entered by four doorways, one to each of the cardinal points, as if to encourage access to persons or, indeed, their souls coming from the four corners of the earth.
LATER THE Muslims observed that the Rock was the mythical arrival and departure point of Mohammed on his white steed Buraq, but Abd al-Malik had recognized the precedence of Solomon and even Abraham on the site.
This makes it clear that the sanctity of the site stems from its Jewish origins, though the Muslims, of course, claim Abraham as one of their own, and venerate Solomon as divine. Now, even if the Muslim attitude would be to allow a Jewish presence, and even a rebuilding on the site, would it be in the Jewish interest to proceed with a third Temple? ...
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