The bible says in Daniel (Daniel 9:27) that the Great Tribulation begins when the Antichrist stands in the Holy place and stops the sacrifices. The Holy place is the Temple. This scripture indicates several things. First, for sacrifices to be stopped, they must have begun. Second, for the antichrist to stand in the holy place, the Temple must have been rebuilt.
As of now there seems to be no way that the Temple could be built on its original holy site. That piece of land atop Mt. Moriah is the most contested in the world. The Muslim Dome of the Rock is there and Jews are barred entry to it and also to most areas around that site. They cannot even pray atop the Mount. However, the bible is inerrant and if it says there will be a temple, there will be a temple.
The prophecies say that at the time of the end, the whole world will come against Israel. Israel will be a cup of reeling and a burdensome stone. Though anti-Semitisim has always existed, the end times are a time when that hatred will come to a boiling point. This is happening now. It seems that daily some nation or other decries something or other that Israel has done or is about to do. The UN issues frequent resolutions against Israel. Constantly we hear of Iran’s Supreme leader or President saying Israel will soon be destroyed. They said it again today, here.
All this hatred and tension finally comes to a head just before or just as the Tribulation begins. Ezekiel 38-39 describes this war, known as the Gog-Magog war, as a coalition of nations that surprise Israel in an attack. The timing of the war is not clear. Either the church will be on earth and raptured during or immediately after the war; or the church will have been raptured immediately prior to its outbreak. In any case, the two events (rapture and Gog-Magog war) are close together in time. Just as it seems that the alliance attacking Israel will prevail, God Himself intervenes to save Israel. It's this intervention that brings Israel to the recognition of their old covenant with Him and the 70th week of Daniel begins ticking again. The Temple is rebuilt and sacrifices resume, all under the umbrella of a peace treaty (covenant) at the end of the Gog-Magog war. It is the Antichrist (along with many others) who confirms this treaty (“makes strong.”) Three and a half years into the 7-year treaty, the antichrist reveals himself by effectively tearing up the treaty, standing in the Temple and stopping the sacrifices, and declaring himself to be God. It is then that the Israelites realize their great mistake, and their persecution begins in earnest even as they flee the city.
How can a temple be rebuilt so quickly? How can sacrifices resume when they have not been allowed for thousands of years? Here is the amazing timeline of events that will answer those questions and also reveal God in His magnificent wonder.
After thousands of years, the Sanhedrin reconvenes
The Temple Institute prepared to sacrifice an animal as a rehearsal and practice and a demonstration for the priests they have been training. Predictably, the outcry was instant and vociferous. Animal rights activists complained. Muslims shouted. Court inunctions were even lodged. But in the end, the sacrifice went ahead.
Judge Rules Paschal Sacrifice Practice "Proper," Appeal Filed
The Jerusalem Magistrate's court ruled Friday that the Jewish Temple movement may, under state law, slaughter a sheep on Sunday as a “general rehearsal” for the renewal of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice. The judge even called the effort "proper," ... The slaughter is planned as part of a conference dedicated to studying and restoring the Jewish observance of the Korban Pesach, as it was called since it was first observed in Egypt."
Mock sacrifice slammed
"Animal rights group "Tnoo Lachayot Lichyot" ("Let the Animals Live") is threatening to take legal action to prevent the Jewish Temple movement from carrying out an educational demonstration of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice next week."
The Temple Institute announced that they were going to begin building a temple altar, at which sacrifices would (someday) take place. They also announced that over the past year or two, they had created the Temple utensils, consecrated the temple menorah, imported special worms to make the silk for priestly robes, and consecrated the Temple cornerstone. They did in fact begin making the altar to biblical specifications, and a video showed the event. It was quite moving to watch.
Temple Institute to Build Sacrificial Altar on Tisha B'av
The Temple Institute will begin building the sacrificial altar on Thursday, Tisha B’av, a fast day when Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple some 2,000 years ago.
Temple altar rebuilding begins
"The Temple Institute began work on the sacrificial altar Thursday, Tisha B’av, the day the Second Temple was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago."
The Temple Institute announced they had established a school for training and education of Levite priests. The priests needed to be trained in the proper way to accept sacrifices and to conduct worship in the temple.
Preparing for Service in the Rebuilt Temple
"Jews in the town of Mitzpe Yericho are taking practical steps to prepare for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, by preparing descendents of Cohanim (priests) and Levites for service. At the Mitzpe Yericho school, Temple priest hopefuls learn exactly how to conduct the daily Temple service and offer the required sacrifices."
The Institute had announced in July that they started building the altar, and by December it was finished. The issue of sacrifices is always tense for those who hate Israel, because they know that if sacrifices begin then the Temple is sure to follow. Though there is precedent for having sacrifices without a temple, it is not meant to be a permanent state of affairs. Therefore when those opposed to Israel see sacrifices being talked about or rehearsed, they become agitated and tensions always increase.
“From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, but the foundation of the temple of the LORD had not been laid.”
As you can see in Ezra the sacrifices on the altar occurred before the foundation of the Temple had been laid.
Model Altar of Unhewn Stones Completed at Temple Institute
The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced Friday the completion of a model of the biblical altar which G-d, through Moses, commanded the nation of Israel to build at the Mount of Eval (Ebal) overlooking Shechem:
“And there you shall build an altar unto Hashem your God, an altar of stones: you shall lift up no iron tool upon them. You shall build the altar of Hashem your G-d of unhewn stones.” (Dvarim / Deuteronomy 27:5,6).January 2010:
And, right on the heels of that announcement last month that the altar is completed, the Institute announces that they now want to sacrifice a lamb for Passover 2010!! Passover 2010 is between March 30 and April 5.
Sanhedrin calling for sacrifices
"This year in Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin Initiative is calling upon the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world to participate in the Korban Pesach. The Sanhedrin Initiative will choose sheep to be offered in the Korban Pesach, and all preparations will be made in the expectation that we can renew this ancient, traditional offering. In the event that political or other obstacles intervene, the Sanhedrin Initiative has taken halakhic precautions to ensure that the monies for purchasing the sheep can still be used for charitable donations."
Wow! Whether the actual sacrifices occur is one thing, but just the fact that all that has happened since 2004; the Sanhedrin, implements, cornerstone, pre-fab Temple, sacrifices and the WILL and INTENT to push for it all, is amazing. Just...wow!
In an email exchange between a curious Christian and the Sanhedrin, the Sanhedrin representative said that the Temple could be built in three months! Three months! So quickly. The Jewish faithful are ready when the LORD'S prophesies to come to pass. While I don't believe personally that a sacrifice will take place as long as the old covenant has not been re-established, (though of course I could be wrong) the call to the world for participation in a Jewish Passover sacrifice on a biblical altar of unhewn stones is tremendous advance of near-fulfillment of the prophecies that WILL soon be fulfilled, in my opinion.
So you can see how close we are to His soon arrival! O come soon, Lord Jesus!