|An ominous characteristic of our day lies in a revival of ancient thought, slowly crystallizing the germs of prophecy before our eyes.
"The technical language, symbols, and rites of Freemasonry are full of Jewish ideas (Jewish Encyclopedia, art. "Freemasonry") and expressions, several of which are drawn from the construction of Solomon's Temple; and it is now announced that the Freemasons of Boston have applied for the incorporation of a company for the Temple's reconstruction by the Freemasons of the world, -- with the avowed object, in some quarters, of handing it over to the Jews, "to restart their ancient sacrifices and ritual;" (Standard, September 11, 1912). Yet a quotation from the Jerusalem Post at the time of the 1967 Six-Day War said, "It is a curious fact that . . . demands to rebuild the Temple on its ancient site emanate from extremist nationalist circles rather than from religious and rabbinic quarters."
It has been asserted in Hebrew circles that "the Dome of the Rock, where the Temple stood, has been purchased, and architects are now working on the plans of the New Temple." (Morning Star, March 1, 1914). It is hardly less significant that a magazines -- the Co-Mason -- was founded in 1909 to prove the vital connection of Freemasonry -- the most gigantic secret society in the world -- with the ancient mysteries, and to demonstrate present blood-relationship with modern Spiritualism and Theosophy.
All these may prove abortive, or at least indefinitely postponed, rumors; yet how extraordinarily significant that such rumors should be abroad in the modern world at all! (The association of Freemasonry with Sorcery, and of both with the rebuilding of the Temple, is by no means new. Cagliostro, himself both a Mason and a medium of wide repute, issued, through the London Morning Herald (November 2, 1786), an appeal to the Freemasons of London: "In the Name of Jehovah the time has come when the new Temple of Jerusalem should be constructed. This is to invite all true Masons of London to assemble to form plans and lay the first stone of the True Temple in the seen world").
The ground is singularly prepared. Dr. Edersheim tells us that a shaft must be sunk 60 ft. to 125 ft. in the ground, through the accumulated debris of ages, to reach ancient Jerusalem. Some years ago the sudden disappearance of a dog through the rubbish led to the discovery of vast underground grottoes, or quarries, in one of which -- so the United States Consul recently reported to his Government -- the Freemasons are establishing one of their lodges.
The stone in these quarries is exceedingly white, and it is also soft, but hardens after exposure. It was found that vast quantities had been quarried ages ago, enough, some engineers assert, to build the present Jerusalem two or three times over; and the deep grooves which are let in on every side of the block to be quarried, as wedges were then inserted at the back for dislodging the stone from its bed-rock, remain to-day exactly as the workmen left them three thousand years ago. For these are called -- as they are believed to be -- Solomon's Quarries.
|Moreover, beneath the surface on which rises the present Mosque of Omar, on Mount Moriah, vast foundation stones -- some between 20 ft. and 30ft. in length, and encased in a block of unbroken masonry said to be without a parallel in the world -- reveal, in the belief of the Palestine Exploration investigators, the actual platform of rock on which stood the Temple of Solomon, now silently waiting for the great superstructure of the End.
Nor is prophecy silent on the reconstruction of the Temple. That reconstruction is assumed rather than stated; but the assumptions are explicit and unmistakable. "The people of the prince that shall come," Daniel says, in describing that final descent of Titus on the Holy Land to which our Lord refers the passage (Matthew 24:15), "shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (Daniel 9:26).
Titus was this Roman "prince". These passages refer to the destruction of Herod's Temple in AD70. Founded on a substructure laid by Solomon a thousand years before, the Temple was re-erected by Herod in 20BC, as foretold in the Book of Enoch 92:14, the workmen being a thousand priests trained to architectural construction, and vested in priest's robes.
Speaking of the new physical Temple that is to be constructed in the first half of Daniel's Seventieth Week, and of another Roman "prince," a pope this time, who will "confirm a covenant with the Jews" (Daniel 9:27), Paul says: "That man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, . . . who sits in the temple of God, presenting himself as God: . . . whom the Lord Jesus shall bring to nought by the manifestation of his parousia" (II Thessalonians 2:4, 8).
Again and again man has attempted what God has reserved for the End: if we knew history better, we should doubt prophecy less. The Temple fell by the decree of Christ: a private soldier, against the orders of Titus, who made frantic efforts to save it, cast the firebrand that consumed it. Now in AD363 the Emperor Julian, an apostate and passionate enemy of the Christian Faith, appropriated large sums from the public revenue, and collecting huge numbers of Jewish and Gentile workmen, proceeded to the ruins of the Temple, the immense foundations of which were still standing. Chrysostom, a contemporary of Julian, says that our Lord's words "that not one stone should be left upon another had not yet been fulfilled in his day." On these gigantic ruins Julian started to re-erect the splendor of the Temple.
If we choose, we may set aside, as biased and superstitious, as living in a superstitious age, the Christian writers, contemporaries of Julian, who wrote of what happened; e.g., Gregory Nazianzen, Ambrose, and Chrysostom, who all testify to God's miraculous resistance of Julian. But it is impossible not to be impressed by the testimony of the best historian of his times, a pagan, a personal friend of Julian, and one who is stated to have been a lover of truth.
"Julian," says Ammianus, "thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work, and was seconded by the governor of the province; when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorchings, could, approach no more: and he gave up the attempt" (Newman's Ecclesiastical Miracles, p. 357).
It is remarkable that the Christians at the time, including Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, warned Julian that the Christian prophecies made the rebuilding of the Temple, before the coming of Antichrist, impossible; it is equally remarkable that it was Julian's deliberate aim to overthrow these Scriptures by reconstructing the Temple: but this was not the time, nor was Julian the man. The Temple remains unbuilt until that era when he "who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped, SITS IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD" (II Thessalonians 2:4).
After the reconstruction of the Temple, the next stage of impious sin will be its desecration; and history affords so striking an example that the perpetrator of it has actually been mistaken for Antichrist. In 167BC Antiochus Epiphanes, a king of Syria, and a bitter enemy of the Jews, forced his way into the Temple; and being conducted over it by the high priest, Menelaus, proceeded to its desecration. (This sheds a lurid light on our Lord's Words to Israel and its priests: "If another shall come in his own name, him you will receive" (John 5:43). Antiochus was a type of Rome's Pope who will usurp their authority at the dedication of the next Temple, and force the mark of the beast).
The golden altar, candlestick and the table of shewbread, together with other treasures that still remained in the Temple, Antiochus appropriated for himself; then on the brazen altar he had a swine sacrificed, its blood sprinkled in the Holy of Holies, and the priests forced to eat of its flesh; the roll of the Law, found in the Temple, his officers burnt; and the statue of the pagan god, Jupiter, was erected on the altar of burnt offering and sacrifices offered to it (Graetz's History of the Jews vol i, p 471).
Throughout the Holy Land, also, the rolls of the Law were torn and burnt wherever found, and all places of worship destroyed; and the possessors of the Testament, if faithful, were instantly martyred. An instructive forecast of what Antichrist will do with those who refuse to receive the mark in the forehead, his false doctrine; or in his right hand, which signifies doing his bidding.
Most remarkable was the death of Antiochus. Some time later, after a successful revolt of the Jews and the restoration of the worship of Jehovah in the Temple, Antiochus, on hearing the news, was so enraged that he commanded his charioteer to drive at double speed, that he might make Jerusalem, as he said, "a mighty grave in which to bury all Israel."
The words had scarcely left his mouth before he was smitten, like Herod (Acts 12:23), with horrible internal torments; spectres scared his dying bed; and, attributing his plague to the vengeance of Israel's Jehovah, he promised repentance; but it was too late -- like Herod, "he gave up the ghost." That was not the time, nor was he the man, for the last and supreme desecration of the Temple, when "he who sits in the Temple of God" shall "PRESENT HIMSELF AS GOD".
After the reconstruction of the Temple, when Antichrist desecrates it by proclaiming himself God in the Holy of Holies, all people will be required to accept his false religion or the religion of his (once) Protestant daughter churches. In AD40 the Roman Emperor Caligula ordered the erection of his own statue in the Temple. He already had his own Temple in Rome, in which stood a golden statue of himself to which sacrifices were daily offered by a college of priests, wealthy Romans who paid 80,000 pounds each for the honor.
To Jews from Alexandria, he said: "You alone refuse to acknowledge me as a god, while every other nation of the earth adores and worships me as such; but you reserve your worship for a God Whose very Name you do not know"; and then, stretching his arms toward heaven, he uttered unrepeatable blasphemies.
Petronius, governor of Syria, set artists to work on a colossal statue of the emperor in gold; and advanced towards Jerusalem with a powerful army, Caligula having authorized him to use half the imperial forces in the East to crush all resistance. But Petronius suddenly found himself surrounded by a vast multitude of suppliant Jews, unarmed, and prostrate before him, and ready themselves to be sacrificed if only he would spare their beloved Temple, and who gave themselves to passionate entreaty for forty days.
The Syrian governor reported the cause of the delay to Caligula; who (according to Josephus) was so enraged that his reply, in consonance with Roman etiquette, left Petronius no choice but to commit suicide; but the unhappy governor was saved by receiving the news of Caligula's death before the Emperor's letter reached him (Ewald's History of Israel, vol. vii, p. 243). Caligula had been suddenly murdered in Rome: his was not the time, nor was he the man to erect his statute in the holiest spot in all the world -- "the abomination of desolation standing IN THE HOLY PLACE" (Matthew 24:15).
A London magazine, Illustrated London News, August 28, 1909, after consultation with Dr. Gaster, Mr. Schor and others, has drawn up a rough estimate of the cost of the original construction.
|Solomon set 30,000 men to cut timber; 80,000 men to quarry stone; 70,000 wood and stone carriers; and over all, 3,300 foremen. The timber cutters worked in shifts; and 10,000 worked in Lebanon for a month (I Kings 5:14), and then went home for two months.
The 150,000 other workmen, as Canaanites, were slaves. Assuming, their cost of maintenance roughly equaled ordinary wages, and that they also worked in eight hour shifts, the wages bill (at 8 pence an hour) for the seven years of the Temple's construction would be as follows: the timber cutters, 5,824,000 pounds; the stone hewers, 46,592,000 pounds; the stone-carriers, 40,768,000 pounds; and the foremen (at 2 pounds a week), 2,401,000 pounds: making a grand total of 95,585,000 pounds.
Further enormous sums must be added for purchase of the site (II Samuel 24:24; I Chronicles 21:25), the cost of building materials (I Chronicles 22:14), internal decoration (II Chronicles 3:6), the sacred vessels (Ezra 8:27; Dr. Russell Forbes, of Rome, has traced the Elders' Lamagsand from Rome (Josephus, Wars, 7, 5, 7), to Carthage (Procopius, B.v. 1, 5; Evagrius, 4, 17), Constantinople (Procopius, B.v. 2, 6; Evagrius, 4, 17), to Jerusalem (ibid.) and Persia (Annals of Eutychianus), where in AD614, it was lost to sight. It's said that jewel-gifts for the Temple are now deposited on exhibition in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence).
And -- assuming that all the Temple was overlaid (I Kings 7:22) in proportion to the 600 talents reserved for the Oracle (II Chronicles 3:8), thus requiring 2,700 talents in addition -- not less than 14,782,500 pounds must be added for the overlaying with gold. Against all this must be reckoned the colossal sums which David amassed (I Chronicles 22:14): 100,000 talents of gold, or (assuming the talent to equal 5,475 pounds) 547,500,000 pounds; 1,000,000 talents of silver or 342,000 000 pounds; and out of the privy purse, 18,819,000 pounds (I Chronicles 29:4).
(Owing to the uncertainty of the exact value of the talent, these figures must be received with caution, but the most conservative estimates run into hundreds of millions sterling).
The modern Temple will probably be constructed on a more modest scale, and at less gigantic cost: but be it also remembered (apart from the labor-saving appliances of modern construction) that the entire wages' bill is less than the wealth of a single American citizen; that Freemasonry is probably the wealthiest corporation in the world; that the Jewish princes of finance rank second to none in Europe; ("May it be pleasing in Thy sight" -- so runs a petition in the Prayer Book of the German Jews -- "O our King, Jehovah our God, that the House of the Sanctuary may be built with speed in our days").
It is not impossible that the work might be undertaken with the support of the whole Mohammedan world; and following the example of Napoleon, who, having summoned the first Sanhedrin since the fall of Jerusalem, drew up plans for a rebuilt Temple, Antichrist, controlling the wealth of the world by his covenant with the Jews' Money Elite, may himself be its architect (Isaiah 28:14-15; Daniel 9:27).
Upon which reports can one rely? Following the 1967 Six-Day War, The Christian and Christianity Today Magazine, August 4, 1967 said: "Israeli government representatives have ordered 60,000 tons of finest Bedford stone from Bedford, Indiana, to be used in the erection of the Jerusalem Temple . . . The cornerstones for the Third Jerusalem Temple are already in Israel. Materials for this Temple have been secretly in preparation for seven years."
"Strong rumors from other usually reliable circles say the two free-standing pillars for the new Temple have already been cast in bronze. If the pattern of Solomon's Temple is followed, the twin hollow columns may be named Jachin and Boaz. The meaning of these names, "Jehovah will establish" and "In Him is strength", symbolizing the continuity and power of the Davidic dynasty founded upon God's great Covenant with David (I Samuel 7:8-17)."
No new Temple can be constructed until the earthquake of Zechariah 14:3-4 destroys the Mosque of Omar presently occupying the Temple site, signaling the close of the Gentile dispensation.
One supremely practical fact remains. It is in the nature of type and antitype, that both cannot occupy the field at once. When the service of the earthly Temple was fulfilled, the Spiritual Temple of the Church or Body of Christ arose; and when the earthly Temple rises in Jerusalem, the Spiritual will be gone in the first resurrection and translation of the living Bride.
By forty years, it is true, they overlapped; but type and antitype quickly rule each other out of the field, for Christ's Bride will be at the Wedding Supper in the Sky ere the first stone is laid in Antichrist's Temple. How soon we shall be in the eternal Land of the Millennium where money is no worth, and only goodness counts! Is any ideal too high, any sacrifice too great, any work too hard, any watchfulness too exacting to prepare us for the manifestation of the Sons of God? "I have so much to do," John Calvin wrote, "that many a night is spent without an offering of sleep being brought to Nature"; and so he laid the foundations of early disease and premature death. When his friends expostulated, he replied: "Would you wish that the Lord should find me idle when He comes?"
"BLESSED ARE THOSE SERVANTS WHOM THE LORD WHEN HE COMES SHALL FIND WATCHING" (Luke 12:37).
(Revised from a tract by D.M. Panton, London, England, 1914). temple.htm