Is it essential to build the 3rd Temple to restore peace in the world? If so, why? And why can only the Messiah do this? And how should this goal be achieved in a way that keeps everyone happy?
3Excellent question, wish I had more time to answer it right now. I just want to add there there is an opinion that the Temple can only be built after peace has been restored, instead of peace only being restored after the Temple is built.– aviFeb 23, 2012 at 11:48
4Part of the answer, if I understand the sources I've learned, is that the person who successfully accomplishes the tasks of building the 3rd Temple and restoring peace will by definition be identified as the Messiah. In other words, it's not that there will be a miracle worker we all follow whom we will call the Messiah who will then build the Temple and restore peace, but the other way around. We won't know who the Messiah is until he has completed the tasks. He won't have the label of Messiah until he is successful.– Seth JFeb 23, 2012 at 13:25
@Vram, if you're insinuating that it would take a miracle to save us from our troubles, then I get you. If not, I am not sure you get me. I said we won't follow some miracle worker and call him the messiah and watch him build the Temple, etc., but rather that it will become clear after he has succeeded in his tasks of building the Temple and bringing peace that he was, in retrospect, the messiah.– Seth JFeb 23, 2012 at 20:43
2Maybe I wasn't clear. I meant it like you understand the RaMBa"M. He isn't a miracle worker at all. I used that terminology because many people assume he will be a miracle worker whom we will follow and will then build the Temple and bring peace to the world. My understanding is that the order is the reverse of that, and that he will be a regular person without any flashy tricks (ie., miracles).– Seth JFeb 24, 2012 at 3:52
This is a very good question.
The first point, I'd like to make, is that not everybody assumes the information behind your question is correct. That is, many will argue that the Messiah is only revealed by the fact that the Temple is Rebuilt or peace is found in and around Israel. Meaning, these are signs of peace and the end times, rather than precursors to them.
However, many people DO believe that the Temple and Messiah are requirements for peace, and only the existence of the temple and the coming of Messiah can accomplish this. For the people who think that the Temple is necessary, I have normally heard the following explanation:
The existence of the temple is not just a building of bricks, and a place of sacrifices. The Temple is a concrete sign of Gd's involvement in our world. It is a location where any human being, and not just a prophet is able to physically feel Gd's presence, and to have their soul atoned for and cleansed. This remarkable experience, is not only for the Jewish people either. During the holiday of Sukkoth, people from all nations and all religions will be welcomed and able to feel this holy experience. Because of the shared holy experience, people will recognize that all human beings are the Children of Gd, and all people will recognize the planet as Gd's creation and will therefore, be inspired by Gd and will cease having jealousy and other character traits that would lead to war. The knowledge that not only is Gd real, but they can petition Gd and feel close to the Divine while on Earth, will result in world peace and proper human behavior.
The Messiah is required to build the Temple, because only somebody as holy as the Messiah must be and who is a prophet can rebuild the Temple, since it is Gd's Temple and not humanity's.
As for the location of the Temple and the current location of the Dome of the Rock, that is a solution that it would appear only the Messiah can resolve. Or rather, someone who is able to convince everybody how to do it, and not cause conflict, must be the Messiah.
If one searches the internet, there are many people who have suggestions of how this can happen.
- An earthquake or other divine action causes the Dome to collapse, and Gd's Temple is built in it's place.
- The location of the Dome of the Rock might be "off", and Gd's Temple can then instead be built in it's proper location, with the Shrine sitting just outside it's walls.
- Any mosques or shrines on the temple mount can be incorporated into the Temple that is built.
- Since the Temple would exist for all of humanity, perhaps there will be different units or sections for each of the 70 nations or religions. (This idea is not a Jewish one, but I figured I'd throw it out there anyways)
1Everyone agrees the mosque on Har Habayit is not the location of the Temple. Perhaps you were referring to the Muslim shrine located nearby?– Double AA ♦Feb 23, 2012 at 14:54
@avi What really makes you to state "earthquake or other divine action causes the Dome to collapse"? Mosque, a place of worship where Jews are also welcomed and permissible to pray the way they like is not tolerated! Why? I am a Muslim and a student of Comparative Religion. I frankly feel that we both are the children of Abraham (may peace and blessings be upon him and his followers) who worshipped one God! Jews and Muslims, both must strive for means to coexist peacefully and hence forming a society where both laws can be run in parallel to each other as they both share the same roots.– MaxoodFeb 24, 2012 at 13:37
1@Maxood, Quite frankly, virtually no religious Jews or Muslims share that view. The Waqf in Jerusalem controls the Temple Mount and does not allow Jews to pray up there. Jews are allowed up in small groups to view the area, but if they are perceived to be moving their lips or meditating in a way that resembles prayer, they are immediately arrested by the (Israeli) authorities to keep the peace and prevent a riot. On the other hand, Jews also believe that it is our holy site, and nobody else's, and furthermore there are countless pages of laws regarding the structure and function of the Temple.– Seth JFeb 24, 2012 at 14:19
@Maxood I should clarify which view I'm referring to. You asked why we can't all share the space on the Temple Mount and use the Mosque/Shrine/Dome that is there. That is what I was addressing. As for the rest of it, that we are all the children of Abraham and worship the same G-d, that may well be true; but Yishma'el and Yitzhak never did get along.– Seth JFeb 24, 2012 at 14:21
@Maxood it is one of many theories. Nobody will know until the Temple is built, and the Messiah revealed. However right now, as Seth J said, the Muslim religious authority in Israel, will not allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. Who knows what must happen for them to change their minds.– aviFeb 25, 2012 at 16:35