The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has completed the construction of the stone altar required for the sacrificial service in the Holy Temple. In response to several inaccuracies in both the Hebrew and English media due to lack of information, the organization released its first detailed statement about the exciting event.
Do good in Thy favour unto Zion; build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then wilt Thou delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, in burnt-offering and whole offering; then will they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.” -Psalms 51: 20-21 (KJV)
The altar was completed late in 2014, and officially inaugurated during the Institute’s public kindling ceremony for the Golden Menorah on the seventh night of the Hanukkah holiday, which fell on December 22.
Contrary to what was reported earlier, the height of the altar is not five meters (16 ft), but five amot, a Biblical measurement equivalent to roughly 2.35 meters (7.7 ft). Each amah measures 46-38 centimeters (18-19 inches). The ramp leading up to the altar is 16 amot long.
And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the LORD commanded Moses. -Exodus 40:29 (KJV).
These measurements are in accordance with the opinion of Maimonides, the renowned medieval Jewish commentator and philosopher. This represents the smallest possible dimensions for a Kosher (permitted by Jewish law) functioning altar.
According to information released by the Temple Institute, since the Torah forbids the use of hewn stones in an altar (see Deuteronomy 27:5-6), it “consists of an outer frame of earthen bricks, oven-baked to withstand the extreme heat of the altar when in use. This outer frame is filled with natural stones, untouched by metal implements, as per Torah imperative.The outer brick frame is covered with a thin white plaster, as was done with the altar that stood in the Holy Temple courtyard.”
Despite the tragic war Israel is currently entangled in, our generation has been blessed with the fulfillment of numerous Biblical promises. We have seen the rebirth of the State of Israel and continue to witness the Ingathering of the Exiles from the four corners of the world. For the first time in centuries Jerusalem is in Jewish hands, yet once a year, on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, Jews fast, cry and mourn for the destruction of our Holy Temple. How can we ignore all these great blessings and why do we mourn for a building that was destroyed 2,000 years ago?
The Bible repeatedly describes the Temple as the spiritual center of the world and the source for peace and prosperity. In Isaiah’s famous vision the prophet describes, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares…for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The absence of the Temple is seen in the stories reported on the nightly news and its void adversely affects nations, geo-politics and global peace.
Director of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Rabbi Chaim Richman explains that the 9th of Av “is not about bemoaning the Temple. It’s about bemoaning the world without the Temple. A world that has lost its light, its color and its direction.”
Indeed, there is a growing “Temple Movement” in Israel today with thousands of Jews working to rebuild the Temple. According to a poll taken last year in a leading newspaper Ha’aretz, one third of Israelis believe that Israel should erect the Temple on the Temple Mount. Israel’s Housing Minister called publicly for the rebuilding of the Temple, “We’ve built many little, little temples,” MK Uri Ariel said, referring to synagogues, “but we need to build a real Temple on the Temple Mount.”
The Temple is such a central theme in the Bible that one third of all its commandments deal with laws carried out in it. Rabbi Richman explains that far from being an extremist, “our desire to see a rebuilt Temple is an expression of healthy, normative Judaism.” To further their advocacy, the Temple Institute recently released a short video “The Children are Ready” which dramatically portrays young Jewish kids dragging their fathers from synagogue services in order to join them in the rebuilding of the Temple.
While it is true that our generation has much to be grateful for and that our return to Israel is nothing short of miraculous, the golden dome sitting atop the Temple Mount provides a constant reminder that the Torah cannot be fulfilled perfectly and Judaism cannot be expressed fully until the Third Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent – John 6:28-29 (KJV).
May God quickly end this ugly war Israel is entangled in and bring a lasting and eternal peace to Zion so that this 9th of Av is the last sorrowful day and we all rejoice together in the streets of Jerusalem with the arrival of the Messiah and the redemption of the world.
While the Jewish people wait to build the Third Temple, The Temple Institute has been busily preparing all of the necessary clothing and tools for the Third Holy Temple. To view the pictures of other items created for the temple, please click here.
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And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate – Daniel 9:27 (KJV).
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate- Daniel 11:31 (KJV).
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall bea thousand two hundred and ninety days- Daneil 12:11 (KJV).
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) – Matthew 24:15 (KJV).
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred andthreescore days, clothed in sackcloth – Revelation 11:1-3 (KJV).
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God – 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (KJV).
The sacrificial Altar will be approached by a ramp from the East. Previous altars were all approached from the South. Now there will be stairs to the altar, not a ramp as previously. The top of the altar is now described by the Hebrew word “ariel” [Isaiah 29:1] meaning “hearth of God” or “lion of God.” [Rev. 5:5].