Lds temple in israel

Lds temple in israel DEFAULT

Resolving the Mormon Issue

Daniel J. Elazar

The Facts of the Case:

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) have been present in Israel for a long time. Because of their belief that Jews would return to their land as a "sign of the time" of the second coming, the Mormon missionary Orson Hyde was sent to Jerusalem by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church in , only ten years after the founding of the Church. Hyde recited a "Zionist prayer" and dedicated the land to the Jews from atop the Mount of Olives.

Today, there is a Latter Day Saints Church in Jerusalem which holds services on Saturdays, and the modern Brigham Young University (BYU) program has been functioning in Israel for seventeen years, operating out of East Jerusalem and Kibbutz Ramat Rachel on the southwest border of city. Over students have participated in this eight-month program since

A number of years ago, BYU decided to build a permanent home for the program and brought their request before Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek. The original request had been for a site on the western side of the city, between the King David Hotel and Hebrew Union College. The Mayor decided that the eastern side of the city would be a better location, probably in the wake of ultra-Orthodox extremist attacks on Christian institutions in the western part of the city, including the burning down of the Baptist Church in Rehavia.

All the parties agreed upon the present site on the slope of Mount Scopus. This site was transferred to the Mormons after their request passed through all the regular channels, including the municipality, the regional building committee, and the appropriate ministries. All of these agencies signed the request without it becoming a public issue.

After construction was underway, a public committee was organized to oppose the building on the grounds that its real purpose was the establishment of a headquarters for Mormon missionizing of Jews. The committee was initially composed solely of Orthodox Jews, though others have been attracted to it, including at least one member of Hashomer Hatzair. The committee has succeeded in mobilizing much of the Orthodox Jewish establishment to oppose the Mormon center, turning it into a serious public issue.

In the meantime, there have been revelations of routine Mormon missionizing here in Israel at least through In correspondence from , Dr. David Galbraith, the present head of the Brigham Young University program here, wrote to his counterparts in Utah suggesting the need for a substantial building in Jerusalem which would enable missionizing to take place. However, transfer of the Mount Scopus site to the Mormons was based upon a pledge from them that there would be no missionizing in Israel. After some hesitation, this pledge was delivered in writing. Galbraith and his associates say that whatever their plans were in , they respect the laws of the country and the wishes of the inhabitants and they will not missionize here, just as they do not in certain other countries in the world, such as Egypt, Pakistan and the Soviet Union (where, we might add, they would be put to death for missionizing, unlike in Israel).

The Major Problems:

In addition to the issue of Jewish sensibilities towards being missionized, especially in their own land, the major problem with the Mount Scopus site involves its prominent and visible location, in close proximity to the Hebrew University and its position across the valley from the Temple site. The Mormons have a strong reputation as being very devoted missionizers, with over 30, missionaries operating around the world (out of a total membership of 5 million). They organize their missionary activities systematically and put great effort into them. Every LDS member must spend two years of his or her life in the service of the Church. These volunteers are spread throughout the world as missionaries. On the other hand, the Mormons have shown strong support for Israel in the past and have revealed a basic friendliness to Jewish aspirations in Israel, an attitude which Israel can scarcely afford to jeopardize.

The question of what constitutes freedom of religion in this case adds another dimension to the issue. Were a local Mormon group seeking to build a house of worship, there could be no complaint; but the project under discussion is proposed by and for "outsiders" who wish to build an edifice of monumental proportions on a most prominent site. Israel has an obligation to protect the freedom of religion of its citizens but need not grant outsiders the same rights. However, if, as Jews claim, Jerusalem is indeed the spiritual center of the world, outsiders must be granted a place here, including those Christians who view proselytizing and missionizing as part of their faith.

Mormon theology is itself an ancillary, though less tangible issue. Mormons see themselves as Jews of the tribe of Ephraim, one of the tribes of Joseph, whereas Jews are thought by them to be of the descendants of Judah. This means that Mormons hold themselves as coequal in status to "other Jews," which is why to them all non-Mormons except Jews are "gentiles." Therefore, in terms of their theology and long-range concerns, their presence on Mount Scopus is far more meaningful for them than a simple university center.

This dilemma is compounded by the fact that the building is going up very rapidly. The opposition is becoming more intense and threats of violence against the building have already been heard. The Mormons now employ fifteen security guards at the construction site.

Other Christian Groups:

The larger issue must also be addressed: Once the Mormons build their Center, other Christian groups will demand a significant presence in Jerusalem as well and will seek equally prominant and visible sites-- presently, over thirty organized Churches operate in Israel. In addition, the tension--even animosity--between the Church of the Latter-day Saints and "mainstream " Christianity must be considered. The establishment of a Mormon presence on the proposed scale will present a challenge to other Christian groups to whom Israel will then be unable to deny equal access as their right. If the Mormons do build, some guarantee against missionizing will have to be made part of the charter agreement if constant battle is to be avoided (although such a guarantee would not necessarily deflect the opposition of groups opposing a substantial Christian presence in Jerusalem as a threat to Jewish survival).

What are the Options?:

  1. Take whatever legal steps are necessary, including legislation on the part of the Knesset, to have construction stopped.

  2. Allow the building to be completed and accept the Mormon's pledge that they will not missionize in Israel.

  3. Make every effort to reach a compromise involving financial compensation and acceptance by the Mormons of an alternative, less prominent, site in Jerusalem.

  4. Seek a comprehensive agreement with all Christian groups, allowing them a presence here on condition that Jerusalem and Israel be declared places of inter-religious dialogue and declared off-limits for missionizing or proselytizing of any kind.


  1. The State of Israel should officially recognize the special role of Jerusalem as a spiritual center and allow legitimate groups to come and build in Jerusalem, provided that they agree not to missionize. To this end we recommend the creation of a "Covenant of Peace" which would pledge all parties to recognize Jerusalem and Israel as a place for dialogue and not for proselytizing. Such a "Covenant of Peace" would not only place people on their honor in creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, but would create a mutual interest in upholding and safeguarding the terms of the covenant in order to insure that all parties remain equally restrained and that no one group achieves an advantage over the others-in short, mutual respect will create mutual vigilance.

  2. An area in Jerusalem should be set aside for the construction of buildings of this nature. One possible area is the area more or less between Tantur and Mar Elias at the southern edges of the city. This is within the city limits, but is not a site which is likely to provoke more than the minimum of anger on the part of those who will reject a solution on any terms.

  3. Persuading the Mormons to transfer their plans to an area of this type to avoid the necessity of protecting their building from potential violence for an indefinite period would be desireable. Of course the Mormons would have to be compensated under such an arrangement. Failing that, it will probably be necessary to allow the Mormons to complete their project, but to take appropriate steps to assure that all future construction by non-Jewish religious institutions would be in a site specially zoned for that purpose. The municipality should be willing to establish what would develop into an esthetically attractive religious park, as well as standard procedures by which legitimate groups could acquire sites there.


The great Jerusalem temple prophecy, found in Isaiah –3, is one of the most remarkable passages in the Hebrew Bible, or indeed, in all of ancient scripture. It is reliably translated into English in the King James Version of the Bible as follows:

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.[1]

This triumphant passage heralding the Jerusalem temple of the last days serves as the lead prophecy for the entire collection of Isaiah’s writings and as the actual beginning of his ancient book. In this paper, I shall first explain why this is so and then clarify the latter-day context of the passage, which is set in Judah and in Jerusalem—subjects which are largely unrecognized and rarely discussed in Latter-day Saint circles. Why this passage actually refers, in its latter-day context, to the great temple yet to be built in Jerusalem, will be made clear. Finally, I will comment on how it is both legitimate and instructive for Latter-day Saints to liken the Isaiah 2 passage to themselves and their own temples, the Jerusalem context of the prophecy notwithstanding.

The great Jerusalem temple prophecy of Isaiah 2 stands as the lead passage for the entire book of Isaiah; it is first in the chronological order of Isaiah’s oracles.[2] It must be remembered that the content of Isaiah chapter 1 was not the earliest of Isaiah’s writings. Chapter 1 is actually a series of admonitions which would chronologically come right after the narrative of Isaiah 36–[3] That narrative reports the destruction of Judah by the Assyrian forces of Sennacherib in BC and describes the miraculous salvation of Jerusalem at that time. The content of Isaiah 1 reflects the situation in BC, in the aftermath of Judah’s destruction, when all that was left of the Israelite nation was the single city of Jerusalem.[4][RE1]If placed in chronological order, the material of Isaiah 1 would probably appear between Isaiah 39 and Isaiah

Isaiah 1 acts much like section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants. A chronological placement of D&C 1 would actually put it between D&C 66 and D&C 67, as suggested in the heading to section Section 1 was placed at the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants not because it was the first section given or recorded but because it was specifically delivered as “the Lord’s preface” for the whole collection of Joseph Smith’s published revelations. Likewise, a strict chronological ordering of the chapters in Isaiah would place Isaiah 1 directly after the report of the Assyrian attack in chapters 36–39 and probably before or alongside chapter 40, where Isaiah addresses the aftermath of the destruction of all the kingdom of Judah but Jerusalem.[5] This was the conclusion of a disaster that had started with the total destruction of the kingdom of Israel two decades earlier.

Thus, the true commencement of Isaiah’s writings was not any part of Isaiah 1 but the lead passage of Isaiah 2—the great Jerusalem temple prophecy. At some point in early Jewish history, perhaps around BC, during the reign of King Josiah, the admonitions that now constitute Isaiah 1 were placed in their current position as “the Lord’s preface” to the entire book of Isaiah. That preface notwithstanding, the nature of Isaiah –3 as the beginning oracle of all that Isaiah wrote was, and is, still obvious. It is interesting, then, that Nephi, in his lengthy quotation of Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi, began not with what we now call Isaiah 1, but with Isaiah2 (see 2 Nephi 12).

As the lead passage of Isaiah’s writings, the Jerusalem temple prophecy also serves as the beginning of what may profitably be called “Isaiah Part One,” Isaiah 2– This will require a bit of background to appreciate in a Latter-day Saint setting. Biblical scholars have long recognized that the thematic trends in Isaiah 1– 39 are quite different from the themes which appear in Isaiah 40– Isaiah 1–39 is referred to as “First Isaiah” by much of the world of biblical scholarship, and Isaiah 40–66 is generally known as “Second Isaiah,”[6] although some subdivide it into “Second Isaiah” and “Third Isaiah.” The general consensus of non-LDS biblical scholarship is that First Isaiah was penned by Isaiah himself, in the years up to BC, but that Second Isaiah (including Third Isaiah in some models) was written by one or more authors who lived as much as two centuries later (about to BC) following the Jewish return to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. The widely different themes of Isaiah 1–39 and Isaiah 40–66 convince the consensus that the two general sections of Isaiah could not have been written by one person and that Second Isaiah does not fit contextually with the setting in Judah prior to BC.

It is also generally recognized that Isaiah 36–39 was not authored by Isaiah himself, but by biblical writers in the late seventh century BC, who compiled and crafted the historical record of Israel and Judah found in Joshua through 2 Kings. The material in Isaiah 36–39 is more or less directly quoted from 2 Kings –, as may be easily seen by comparing the two passages. Second Kings 18–20 was composed around BC, during the reign of Josiah, and its narrative can only have been added to the compilation of Isaiah’s writings at that date or afterward.[7]

Most Latter-day Saint commentators on the Bible reject the various two-Isaiah models, due largely to the fact that extensive passages of both the earlier and later chapters of Isaiah appear or are alluded to in the writings of Nephi and the teachings of Jacob and Abinadi (see 1 Nephi 20–21; 2 Nephi 7–8; 12–24; Mosiah 14). That passages from all parts of Isaiah—early, middle, and late chapters—appear in the Book of Mormon would seem to indicate that the whole book of Isaiah existed in Nephi’s day (ca. BC) in more or less the same state as the present book of Isaiah. This would render the various two-Isaiah theories impossible models for understanding the thematic differences between the earlier and later parts of the book.[8]

The fact remains, though, that Isaiah 2–35 is thematically very different from Isaiah 40– But the reason why is not so difficult to ascertain. The earlier chapters, with their thematic emphasis on the threats and destruction ancient Israel and Judah faced if they did not repent, were addressed to pre BC audiences that had not yet been attacked, destroyed, or deported by the Assyrians. The later chapters, however, with their emphasis on comforting wounded Israel and looking forward to a regeneration and gathering of Israel in a distant future period, were addressed to a post– BC audience, essentially the small community of Israel in Jerusalem, which were the only remnant of all Israel that had not been destroyed or deported in the Assyrian attacks. The early chapters of Isaiah are thematically so different from the later chapters because their audiences were so different—the predestruction, predispersion Israel and Judah in the decades prior to BC as contrasted with remnant of Judah in Jerusalem after everything and everyone else had been annihilated or carried away.[9]

With this in mind, it would not be inaccurate (and, in fact, it would probably be quite helpful) for Latter-day Saint teachers and students to refer to Isaiah 2–35 as “Isaiah Part 1,” and to Isaiah 40–66 as “Isaiah Part 2.” This distinction would not only reflect the contextual and thematic reality of the two different parts of the book of Isaiah but would also assure Latter-day Saint students that recognizing the division does not obligate us to accept the two-Isaiah theory of authorship. And it might even serve as a beginning point for conversation between Latter-day Saint students of Isaiah and those of other religious or scholarly backgrounds who subscribe to the notion of two or more different “Isaiahs.” The actual structure of the book of Isaiah, as we now have it, may thus be displayed in these terms, ordered chronologically:

A. Isaiah 2–35 (“Isaiah Part 1”)—composed by Isaiah prior to BC

B. Isaiah 36–39 (historical bridge)—excerpted from 2 Kings 18–20

C. Isaiah 1—a post BC oracle, later placed as a preface for all of Isaiah’s writings

D. Isaiah 40–66 (“Isaiah Part Two”)—composed by Isaiah after BC

As seen in this diagram, the chapter we now refer to as Isaiah 2 was the first of all Isaiah’s writings. The great Jerusalem temple prophecy of Isaiah –3 seems deliberately placed in its position at the very beginning of Isaiah’s works as the grand opening oracle of the his entire composition. So what is it that makes this temple prophecy great?

In exploring the Bible, it is valuable to know the actual historical context behind the writings. The actual name of the man we call (in English) Isaiah was ישעיהו—pronounced Yeshayahu. He is called (in English) the son of Amoz, which is the Hebrew name אמוץ—pronounced Amotz. Yeshayahu ben Amotz lived in the kingdom of Judah from approximately to BC and presumably spent all or most of his life residing at Jerusalem. His calling as a prophet, at a young age, came in a vision he dated to “the year that King Uzziah died” (Isaiah ), which can be calculated to BC. His relationship with the kings of Judah was mixed: he was mostly ignored by Ahaz but was a valued counselor of Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, who became the sole monarch of Judah in BC. In his lifetime, Isaiah witnessed the destruction of Judah’s northern neighbor, the kingdom of Israel, and the deportation of many thousands of its survivors to captivity in the northern and eastern regions of the Assyrian empire. In BC, Isaiah also witnessed the near-complete destruction of the kingdom of Judah and the deportation of over two hundred thousand more people into Assyrian captivity. Isaiah’s final years, after BC, were spent in the only surviving city of Judah—Jerusalem was essentially a lone city-state for two generations. Upon Hezekiah’s death in BC, Isaiah became persona non grata in the city and according to Jewish tradition was torturously executed by Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh.[10]

Isaiah’s great Jerusalem temple prophecy appears to have been written at the outset of his prophetic ministry; when he was a young man, reporting a vision in which he “saw” the word of God “concerning Judah and Jerusalem” (Isaiah ; emphasis added). In terms of interpretation, it is vital here to emphasize that the context of this revelation was “Judah and Jerusalem,” not Ephraim and Salt Lake City, not Joseph and Jackson County, not America and the Mormons. Though this will seem shocking to Latter-day Saints, Isaiah, in context, was not speaking of the Mormons and their temples throughout the world. (How these figure into Isaiah’s prophecy will be discussed below.) The context of this oracle is very clearly stated at the outset—Isaiah’s revelation was about Judah and Jerusalem, and the time context of the prophecy is set in the last days. I mention this rather obvious fact only because commentaries occasionally attempt to confine Isaiah’s sayings to his own era. And it is true that many of Isaiah’s references have a context in his own time and locale. But the Jerusalem temple prophecy was separated from Isaiah’s own era with deliberate contextual phrasing: “it shall come to pass in the last days” (Isaiah ).

The specific location context of the prophecy, within Jerusalem, is “the mountain of the Lord’s house” (Isaiah ). The apostrophe possessive in the King James Version phrasing slightly obscures the exact wording of Isaiah’s original Hebrew, which reads בית־יהוההר—har beyt-Yahuweh.[11] Literally, this means “mountain of the house of Jehovah.” But holding to the ancient Jewish tradition that limits pronunciation of the Divine Name (compare D&C ), and as adapted by the King James translators, we express the phrase in English as “mountain of the house of the Lord.”[12] This mountain is a very specific place, not merely a metaphoric reference to any holy location in general. It is the hilltop also known in the Hebrew Bible as Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles ), the well-known Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple of Solomon, which stood on Mount Moriah, was commonly called “the house of the Lord” (בית־יהוה—beyt Yahuweh) from the time of its construction around BC (1 Kings ) until the day of its destruction in BC (2 Kings ). Therefore, the phrase “mountain of the house of the Lord,” as used by Isaiah, is a clear and specific reference to one place, and one place only: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—the site of Solomon’s Temple.

But it was not Solomon’s Temple of which Isaiah was speaking in his great temple prophecy. The edifice built by Solomon would be destroyed by the Babylonians in BC, just a century after Isaiah’s death. By contrast, the “last days” mentioned in the prophecy would be more than twenty-seven centuries in Isaiah’s future. The only possible contextual meaning of Isaiah’s oracle is that the “house of the Lord” of which he spoke is a temple of the people of Judah to be built in Jerusalem, upon Mount Moriah, in the last days.

It is instructive to consider the title by which Jews have referred to Mount Moriah for more than two millennia. Many years before the birth of Christ, Jewish custom, as mentioned, came to require refraining from pronouncing the Hebrew divine name Yahuweh. By the time of Jesus, Mount Moriah was no longer publicly referred to as “the mountain of the house of Yahuweh” but simply as “the mountain of the house”—har habayit (הביתהר) in Hebrew—leaving the name of “the Lord” unspoken. This is the title by which it is still known among all Jews in the State of Israel and throughout the world: har habayit, “the mountain of the house.” It is the place where Jews who had returned to Jerusalem built the temple of Zerubbabel in BC and where the temple of Herod was subsequently constructed in 20 BC to replace Zerubbabel’s five-hundred-year-old edifice. Both the temple of Zerubbabel and the temple of Herod are referred to in Jewish conversation as the Second Temple. It was the temple of Herod which Jesus knew and revered and which was destroyed by the Romans when they obliterated Jerusalem in AD 70, ending the Second Temple Period. Jewish tradition recognizes Isaiah’s great temple prophecy as predicting a latter-day Jewish temple on har habayit, a future temple which is referred to in Jewish conversation as the Third Temple.

That the “Third Temple” would be a temple of the people of Israel is clear from the wording of Isaiah “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.” Jacob, of course, was also known as Israel (see Genesis ); therefore, the house of the God of Jacob is the house of the God of Israel—the house of the Lord. But it is also of note that the latter-day Jerusalem temple is predicted to be a place to which “all nations shall flow” (v. 3). The Hebrew term translated as “nations” in Isaiah is hagoyim (הגוים), which literally means “the Gentiles.” This passage could legitimately be rendered “to it shall flow all the Gentiles,” meaning that the latter-day Jerusalem temple would attract all people, its administration by the people of Judah notwithstanding. The divine judgment and peace which would prevail at the time of that temple, as described in Isaiah , would be conducive to a worldwide appreciation of the latter-day Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

At this juncture, it is important to emphasize that this study does not attempt to predict how or when the latter-day Jerusalem temple referred to in Isaiah 2 will be built upon “the mountain of the house.” Nor does this study take any position on religious, cultural, or political issues concerning present-day Jerusalem. It is common knowledge that the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem is presently occupied by an Islamic shrine built in AD known as the Dome of the Rock. The entire Temple Mount is referred to in Islamic conversation as Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), and conversely as al-Asqa, in reference to the al-Aqsa mosque, built in AD just south of the Dome of the Rock. It is generally agreed that the Dome of the Rock stands on the very site of the ancient temples on Mount Moriah. Only time will tell just how the plot on which the Muslim shrine is now located could come to be the site of a temple built by the people of Judah. All that this study aims to do is to clarify that this is the implication of the temple prophecy in Isaiah 2, which cannot be changed or ignored.

Out of Zion Shall Go Forth the Law

The final component of Isaiah is a well-known couplet: “for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” This type of couplet is called a synonymous parallel, and employs two synonymous elements within a single parallel couplet: (1) Zion, a synonym and alternative name for Jerusalem, and (2) law, an alternative expression for the word of the Lord. Let us examine these two terms more closely.

The name Zion (Hebrew ציון, pronounced tziyon) is another name for Jerusalem. It first appears in the Hebrew Bible in 2 Samuel , where it is a clear reference to the city of Jerusalem at the time of David’s conquest. And every other time (I emphasize every other time) that Zion appears in the Bible, it is a direct and contextual reference to Jerusalem. Latter-day Saints have a variety of ways in which they understand the term Zion, and these are perfectly legitimate. So it generally comes as a surprise to them to learn that in the Bible, Zion always means Jerusalem, in every primary context where the name is found, including all references to Zion in the writings of Isaiah.

The word translated into English as “law” in Isaiah is the Hebrew term torah (תורה). The term torah refers to the law of Moses in most passages where it appears in the Hebrew Bible text. The full expression is Torat Moshe—literally the “Torah of Moses”—but even though the term appears frequently without the accompanying name of Moses, it is still generally understood as referring to the Mosaic law. Sometimes the term torah appears in the Bible describing not the whole law of Moses, but a component part of the law (such as a sacrifice or other ordinance), and sometimes the word torah is personalized to reflect an individual’s commitment to the law from Sinai.[13] Contextually, Isaiah is predicting that, in the last days, “out of Zion shall go forth the law of Moses,” although it is possible that torah could have additional meaning in a latter-day context to come.

A contextual understanding of “out of Zion shall go forth the law” can be a bewildering issue for Latter-day Saints, since they have generally been led to think that this phrase is describing something entirely different than Jerusalem and the law of Moses (a topic I will address shortly). Yet, it is contextually the case that to say “out of Zion shall go forth the law” is simply another way of saying “out of Jerusalem shall go forth the word of the Lord.” The two phrases of Isaiah’s final couplet in this synonymous parallel are expressing the same thing, identifying the same city, and indicating the same divine law. To say “out of Zion shall go forth the law” is also to say “the word of the Lord (will go out) from Jerusalem.” Isaiah’s great temple prophecy is indicating that when a latter day temple is built in Jerusalem, it will be the location from which God’s word and sacred law will go forth to the people of Israel.

Latter-day Saint Commentaries on Isaiah 2

Having established the contextual meaning and understanding of Isaiah , it is interesting to explore what Latter-day Saint commentaries on the passage have to say. Of all the Latter-day Saint commentaries on Isaiah or the Old Testament currently in print, none identifies this passage as having its primary context in Jerusalem or as primarily referring to a latter-day temple in Jerusalem.[14] A brief survey of the most respected of these commentaries is instructive. The only Church-correlated commentary on Isaiah is the Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, Religion . It is widely and heavily used by both professional and lay teachers of Old Testament courses college religion courses and Church classes. The manual’s segment explanation () of Isaiah –5 does not mention Jerusalem at all. “The establishment of the Church headquarters in Salt Lake City” is described as “only a beginning of the fulfillment of that inspired declaration,” although the entry notes that “other world centers will be included.” The Salt Lake Temple is referred to, but no mention is made about a temple in Jerusalem.[15] The specific explanation () for Isaiah quotes President Joseph Fielding Smith, who identified “Jerusalem of old” as a holy city for the Jews, whereas “on this continent [North America], the city of Zion, New Jerusalem, shall be built, and from it the law of God shall also go forth.”[16] A statement by Elder Harold B. Lee is also quoted to suggest that the “law” of Isaiah , which should go forth from Zion would be the principles of the United States Constitution, which would be used by other modern governmental systems.[17] No mention of the Judah/Jerusalem context, the Jerusalem temple, Zion as a name for Jerusalem, the “law” as the law of Moses, or any other attempt at contextual explanation for the Isaiah temple prophecy appears anywhere in this Old Testament manual.

The very highly respected book Understanding Isaiah does makereference to Jerusalem, but only after identifying the temple of Isaiah’s prophecy in other terms: “Isaiah is a prophecy with multiple applications; it refers to the Salt Lake Temple, nestled in the hills and mountains; to the future temple of Jerusalem, established in the mountains of Judea; and to other temples.”[18] This brief sentence is all that appears i on the subject. There is no reference to the Judah/Jerusalem context, nor is context l referred to—only Latter-day Saint applications of the passage are offered. Specifics on the location of the Jerusalem temple are not discussed, . Regarding “out of Zion shall go forth the law,” there is no explanation of the phrase as part of a synonymous parallel couplet, and Independence, Missouri, is paired with “old Jerusalem” in an explanation that “both centers will be called Zion and Jerusalem.” Although Donald W. Parry, the lead author, is an excellent and accomplished Hebrew scholar,no mention is made of the fact that “law” is translated from torah. Rather, the “law” is identified as modern governmental systems inspired by the United States Constitution, based on the same statement by Elder Harold B. Lee that appears in the Old Testament student manual.[19]

Another highly respected book, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet by Victor L. Ludlow, also makes only passing reference to Jerusalem. Ludlow’s first focus in discussing Isaiah is the Salt Late Temple, followed by the Kirtland Temple, and then a “last great temple to be built in Jackson County, Missouri.” He follows up with the idea that “temples to be built in the last days in both Old and New Jerusalem will serve as the Lord’s ‘holy mountains.’” Ludlow describes how “numerous prophets and apostles of this dispensation have quoted verses 2–4 of Isaiah and related how the prophecy has been fulfilled by the Latter-day Saints going to the Rocky Mountains, building temples, sending out missionaries, gathering converts, conducting general conference sessions, and presiding over the Lord’s kingdom.” He then allows that “Jewish readers of these verses will, of course, find ready application of the ideas to themselves.”[20] There is, however, no reference to the Judah/Jerusalem context the location of the Jerusalem temple, or its status as the chief subject of the prophecy. Ludlow’s approach to the synonymous parallel couplet in verse 3 is instructive but equivocal. He recognizes that “a Latter-day Saint might consider both ‘Zion’ and ‘Jerusalem’ to mean ‘America,’ while a Jew would believe both terms to mean ‘Israel,’” but he suggests that readers “consider the phrases to be a composite and consider that ‘Zion’ and ‘Jerusalem’ could have a broad range of possible applications.”[21] Ludlow’s main approach seems to be application. There is no specific explanation of the term Zion as a synonym for Jerusalem throughout the Bible, nor of the “law” as a translation of torah.

The utilitarian commentary by W. Cleon Skousen, Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times, makes only the most passing of references to Jerusalem in its commentary on Isaiah 2. Skousen does not discuss the Judah/Jerusalem context of verse 1. He maintains that Zion is America, specifically the Latter-day Saint center in America, and does not discuss the notion that Zion is a synonym for Jerusalem. With regard to the latter-day temple of verse 2, Skousen’s first focus is on the Latter-day Saints: “This great prophecy has already been literally fulfilled in Zion and will be duplicated in its fulfillment when the Lord’s temple is finally built in Jerusalem.” And he quotes from verse 3 with a definitive parenthetical identifier when he explains, “Isaiah makes an interesting comment that ‘out of Zion’ (America) would ‘go forth the law,’ and the ‘word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’”[22] He clearly does not see Zion as a synonym for Jerusalem, nor does he see the passage in which the term occurs as a synonymous parallel couplet, and there is no hint of the fact that “law” is translated from torah. But, like those who wrote after him, Skousen sees that “law” as a reference to the effect of the United States Constitution, and he quotes from the Idaho Falls Temple dedicatory prayer by President George Albert Smith to that effect.[23]

Two other popular Isaiah commentaries, the simple but instructive book “Great Are the Words of Isaiah” by Monte Nyman[24] and the idiosyncratic translation and narrative by Avraham Gileadi,[25] make no mention whatsoever of the Jerusalem Temple in their treatments of Isaiah 2, focusing strictly on Latter-day Saint temples and issues. And none of the shorter, more holistic, or populist books on Isaiah themes, such as Making Sense of Isaiah by Terry B. Ball and Nathan Winn[26] or Isaiah for Airheads by John Bytheway,[27] contains any reference to the Jerusalem Temple, the Judah/Jerusalem context, or the biblical identity of Zion as Jerusalem.

From the sources above, and numerous others which are not specifically Isaiah commentaries,[28] it seems clear that standard Latter-day Saint interpretations of Isaiah –3 do not focus on Judah, Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Temple, the torah (law of Moses) that should come forth from Zion, or the fact that Zion is Jerusalem. Instead, Latter-day Saint understandings of the passage feature these themes: (1) the Salt Lake Temple, and other Latter-day Saint temples, as the “house of the Lord” spoken of, (2) Church headquarters in Salt Lake City as “established in the tops of the mountains,” (3) general conference as the entity to which all nations flow, (4) Church headquarters, either in Salt Lake City or eventually in Independence, Missouri, as Zion and therefore the site from which the law should go forth, (5) the law as the gospel teachings of the restored Church, (6) the law alternatively as modern government inspired by the United States Constitution, and finally (7) Jerusalem as the site from which the word of the Lord would come in the millennial day.

The question that may be legitimately posed at this point is whether this is a proper and credible course of interpretation. The issue of actual context aside, may we as Latter-day Saints approach Isaiah 2 in this manner and consider it a worthy and truly instructive understanding of the passage? The answer to this, in my opinion, comes in two parts.

“Ye May Liken Them unto You”

The first part of the answer is, of course, that we ought to be teaching the actual context of Isaiah 2, as outlined above in this presentation. In addition to all of our usual Latter-day Saint interpretations, we have a duty to faithfully represent the original meaning and context of all ancient scripture. The Judah/Jerusalem context and meaning of Isaiah 2, and of the rest of the book of Isaiah, should be among the first components of any lesson or commentary we deliver on the writings of the great prophet. Providing an overview of actual context before offering traditional Latter-day Stain interpretations should be considered a requirement of good teaching. In the spirit of Jesus’ instruction given at Jerusalem’s very Temple Mount—“These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew )—context should be offered first. And, in fact, by explaining context first, any Latter-day Saint teacher will actually strengthen the impact of additional interpretations and applications.[29]

The second part of the answer, however, is very clearly given in the Book of Mormon: we are to liken all scriptures unto ourselves, especially Isaiah! Nephi emphasized how much we can benefit from the gift of having holy scriptures. Explaining how he taught his own brothers, and speaking of scripture in general but of Isaiah in particular, Nephi said the following: “I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Nephi ). Nephi also told his brothers: “Hear ye the words of the prophet . . . and liken them unto yourselves” (1 Nephi ).

When we liken scriptures unto ourselves, such as the Isaiah 2 prophecy explored in this presentation, we do not necessarily dwell at great length on the original context of the passages we examine. The context of those passages is not affected by our creative attempts to apply the scriptures to our own situations in modern life. That we have a clear obligation to understand and teach the actual context of scripture should be obvious. But the instructions of Nephi also makes it clear that we are allowed, and even specifically instructed, to take scripture passages out of their original context and interpret them in new and even unique ways that help us understand our own position and potential in the plans of God.

When preparing to copy lengthy selections from the writings of Isaiah into his own record on metal plates, Nephi emphasized how important it would be for latter-day readers to apply the Isaiah passages to themselves. In the very last verse that appears before the Isaiah –3 prophecy in 2 Nephi, Nephi once again exhorted us with these explicit instructions: “And now I write some of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people shall see these words may lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men. Now these are the words, and ye may liken them unto you and unto all men” (2 Nephi ).

In light of Nephi’s remarks, it seems most appropriate that we, in our teaching and commentary, would creatively liken Isaiah –3 to our own temples, cities, conference gatherings, proselyting, gospel teachings, civil jurisprudence, and even political aspirations. And the words of the Lord himself in Doctrine and Covenants –13 represent perhaps the most appropriate example of how Isaiah’s great temple prophecy may be applied to our own Latter-day Saint context: “Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord’s house.” In conclusion, it is clearly proper, and even vital, that having considered the contextual reality of the great Jerusalem Temple prophecy, we move beyond that context to apply the passage to ourselves in ways that enlighten and inspire us to carry forth the great works of the Restoration with which we have been charged.[30]

[1] In this passage the font devices of the King James Version are retained, including the use of italics for words added that do not appear in the Hebrew original (such as “that” in verse 2), and the use of all capital letters for the term “Lord” when it is rendered from the divine name יהוה (Yahuweh, or Jehovah). It is noteworthy that there is no difference of any substance in the way this passage appears in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi –3) as compared to the King James Version. The only differences are that the italicized word “that” appears as “when” in the 2 Nephi version, and that the term “Lord” does not appear in capital letters. There is likewise no difference of any substance in the Joseph Smith Translation version of Isaiah –3.

[2] Chronologically, the book of Isaiah begins with chapter 2. Isaiah 2–4 constitutes the first unified literary block in the collection of Isaiah’s writings, an oracle contrasting the ideal of a righteous latter-day Israel with the corrupt ancient Israel of Isaiah’s own day. Isaiah 5, by itself, constitutes the second distinct literary block, a declaration of divine judgment upon that wicked Israelite nation. Isaiah 6, the third literary unit of the book, flashes back to the calling received by young Isaiah to be a prophet of warning to his people, and even though it comes after the first two literary blocks (2–4 and 5), chapter 6 appears to be in its original placement. Isaiah 7–12 then relates the historical-prophetic narrative beginning with the Syro-Ephaimite war with Judah.

[3] That Isaiah chapter 1 serves as a forward to the collection of Isaiah’s writings, whereas the actual beginning of Isaiah’s prophecies begin with the second chapter is acknowledged by Young, who notes that “Chapter 1 is an introduction to the entire prophecy, whereas with chapter 2 the prophetic messages proper begin.” Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah: The English Text, With Introduction, Exposition, and Notes, vol. 1, chapters 1–18 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, ), 94ff. See also the view of Blenkinsopp, “As it stands … this first superscription introduces the entire book of Isaiah. The poem in the first chapter was prefixed at some point to the passage (Chapter 2) predicting the restoration of Jerusalem.” Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1–39, A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible 19 (New York: Doubleday, ), ff.

[4] The first chapter of Isaiah alludes to events in the aftermath of the BC attack on Judah by the Assyrian armies of Sennacherib, as well as the earlier attacks upon and deportations from Judah’s northern neighbor, the kingdom of Israel, in the years between and BC:“Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers” (Isaiah ). The reference to “strangers” alludes to the Assyrians having resettled areas of Samaria and the Galilee (in territory of the defunct kingdom of Israel) with Gentiles brought from other regions in the ancient Near East which Assyria had conquered (see 2 Kings ; see also Isaiah ’s “Galilee of the nations” refers to residents from gentile nations, cf. Matthew “Galilee of the Gentiles”). Much of the depopulated territory of Hezekiah’s kingdom of Judah was occupied, in the aftermath of the BC attack, by Philistines whom Sennacherib charged to move there from their coastal state. The Prism of Sennacherib reports: “As for his (Hezekiah’s) towns which I plundered, I detached from his country and gave them to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, to Padî, king of Ekron, and to Sil-Baal, king of Gaza” – English translation by Rainey in Anson F. Rainey and R. Steven Notley, The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World (Jerusalem: Carta, ), That Jerusalem, alone, of all the cities of Judah, avoided conquest, destruction, and deportation in BC is alluded to in Isaiah –9: “And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” In other words, had Jerusalem (Zion) not avoided conquest and deportation, the entire people of Israel would have become extinct. Because Jerusalem was spared, however, the kingdom of Judah was able to recover and grow again in the century after BC.

[5] The lead verses of Isaiah 1 serve not as a heading for that chapter itself but for the entire book of Isaiah. For a discussion of this point and the suggestion that Isaiah 1 was composed around the same time as Isaiah 40–66, see Young, Book of Isaiah, –28, 28n3.

[6] For non-LDS scholarly perspectives of the two-Isaiah model, prepared for a general audience, see the introductions in Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1–39,and John L. McKenzie, Second Isaiah, The Anchor Bible 20 (New York: Doubleday, ).

[7] For a discussion of the dating and authorship of 2 Kings (as well as the rest of the Deuteronomic history found in the Old Testament), see chapters 5 and 6 in Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (New York: Summit Books, ).

[8] For a scholarly Latter-day Saint perspective on the theory of multiple authorship in Isaiah, see Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Dana M. Pike, and David Rolph Seely, Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ),

[9] For a scholarly Latter-day Saint perspective on ancient Israel and Judah under Assyrian control, as well as the devastation of both kingdoms by Assyrian invasions and deportations, see Jeffrey R. Chadwick, “Lehi’s House at Jerusalem and the Land of His Inheritance,” in Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, ed. John W. Welch, David Rolph Seely, and Jo Ann H. Seely (Provo UT: FARMS, ), 87–

[10] It can be inferred from two Hebrew Bible references that Isaiah died during Manasseh’s reign, and his death is mentioned specifically in two early Jewish sources and two early Christian sources. Isaiah mentions that the prophet’s visions dated to the reigns of kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, but it omits Manasseh. The reference that “Manasseh shed innocent blood very much” (2 Kings ) is generally viewed as including his execution of Isaiah. The Babylonian Talmud (TB Yevamot 49b) and the Jerusalem Talmud (TJ Sanhedrin 10) say that the aged Isaiah found refuge from Manasseh inside a tree but that Manasseh had the tree sawed through, thus killing the prophet. The Christian pseudepigraphic Ascension of Isaiah reports the prophet’s death in the same general manner. The Epistle to the Hebrews in the New Testament makes reference to the fate of ancient prophets, mentioning one who was “sawn asunder” (Hebrews ), which is generally thought to be a reference to Isaiah and the Talmudic tradition of his death.

[11] The divine name יהוה is usually rendered in English as Yahweh; however, I prefer the longer Yahuweh, with the middle u preserving a lengthened oo sound evident in the theophoric yahu element of many Israelite proper names from the Hebrew Bible. See Jeffrey R. Chadwick, “Sariah in the Elephantine Papyri,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2 (Fall ): n7.

[12] The English phrase “mountain of the house of the Lord” was actually used by the King James translators in their rendition of har beyt-Yahuweh from Micah The passage in Micah –2 is a nearly complete parallel of Isaiah’s great Jerusalem temple prophecy. “Micah the Morasthite” (Micah ) was a contemporary of Isaiah who lived in the low hills (Shfelah) of Judah. He was either a native of Moresheth-gath (Micah ), to the view of most commentaries, or a native of Mareshah (Micah ), my own reading of the Hebrew text. The notion that Micah is the original source of the Jerusalem temple prophecy should, in my opinion, be disregarded. Micah seems clearly to be repeating the chief oracle of his more famous prophet contemporary, Isaiah.

[13] The Hebrew Bible term torah literally means “direction” or “instruction.” See תורה in Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, trans. and ed. M. E. J. Richardson (Leiden: Brill, ), In the context of the Hebrew Bible, the term generally refers explicitly or implicitly to the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai, although there are a few exceptions. For example, in the passage “this is the law of the burnt offering” (Leviticus ), torah refers to a specific sacrificial ordinance in the law of Moses, and the admonition “My son, forget not my law” (Proverbs ) shows the speaker (traditionally Solomon) personalizing the torah as his own, though it is clear from the chapter’s context that the law is that of God.

[14]In researching this issue the author examined every available book and commentary on Isaiah produced by Latter-day Saint authors over the last forty years, both in and out of print, as well as every available Old Testament commentary that might contain a section on Isaiah.

[15]Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, Religion , 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ),

[16]Old Testament Student Manual, –

[17]Old Testament Student Manual, See also Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ), –

[18] Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry, and Tina M. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ),

[19] Parry, Parry, and Peterson, Understanding Isaiah,

[20] Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ),

[22] W. Cleon Skousen, Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times (Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing, ),

[23] Skousen, Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times,

[24] Monte S. Nyman, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah” (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ).

[25] Avraham Gileadi, The Book of Isaiah: A New Translation with Interpretive Keys from the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ).

[26] Terry B. Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah: Insights and Modern Applications (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ).

[27] John Bytheway, Isaiah for Airheads (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ).

[28] See, for example, LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ),

[29] Eric D. Huntsman, “Teaching through Exegesis: Helping Students Ask Questions of the Text,” in Religious Educator 6, no. 1 (): –

[30] I wish to thank Professors David Rolph Seely and Dana M. Pike for their helpful suggestions for this paper, which clarified and simplified a number of key issues. I emphasize, of course, that I am alone responsible for the ideas and conclusions arrived at in this study.

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How the BYU Jerusalem Center Nearly Caused the Collapse of the Israeli Government

Thirty years ago, students began moving into the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Today it is considered by members and nonmembers alike to be a stunning addition to the Holy City’s landscape, but it didn’t start out that way. In fact, plans to build the Jerusalem Center caused so much controversy that the “Mormon issue” nearly caused the collapse of the Israeli government—on more than one occasion.

Located on Mount Scopus, on the northern end of the Mount of Olives, the grace and beauty of the Jerusalem Center is distinctive. With its ingenious use of space and light, and the best natural materials from around the globe, it is an architectural masterpiece that reflects the style of the Near East and makes the most of the spectacular panoramic view of the Old City below.

The beauty and serenity that permeates the Center today is a stark contrast to the events that surrounded the construction process—events which were tumultuous and fraught with opposition at nearly every turn. There were death threats, vandalism, and protest after protest. But even as the Jerusalem Center project grew into an international controversy, there were friends and supporters of many faiths who stood courageously in defense of Brigham Young University's ambitious and impressive project.

In , BYU began a study abroad program in Israel with just a handful of students renting hotel rooms. But the program quickly grew in popularity, and by Church and University leaders were considering the possibility of building a school for the students. Meanwhile, a search was underway to find land suitable for constructing a chapel for local members.

Then, on October 24, , en route to the dedication of the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden—a beautifully designed park on the Mount of Olives honoring the Apostle's visit to the Holy Land in —President Spencer W. Kimball announced plans to build a center in Jerusalem that would not only accommodate BYU's study abroad program, but would also serve as a multipurpose complex that would include a chapel and a visitors' center.

Elder Howard W. Hunter and Elder James E. Faust—who had been in charge of searching for land prior to the announcement—were assigned to supervise the Jerusalem Center project along with BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland. They had help from several BYU administrators, including David B. Galbraith, resident director of the study abroad program, who would later become the first executive director of the Center, and D. Kelly Ogden, an administrative assistant for BYU in Jerusalem, who would go on to become the first associate director.

During President Kimball's visit to Jerusalem, he was shown a number of possible building sites. But after walking onto a large open field north of the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden, he felt inspired that it was the spot where the Center should be built.

"I knew that site was almost certainly unavailable," recalls David B. Galbraith. "Sure enough, we were told over and over again by Israelis in real estate and government positions that it was impossible to get that site. Everyone wanted it." Even the Israeli government was eyeing the same piece of real estate to build the Supreme Court building. "But we remained undeterred," Galbraith says.

The next year was spent negotiating with Israeli officials, and ultimately the University was granted a year lease for the coveted plot of land with an option to renew. "Certainly it was a miracle that the government would even entertain our desire to build on that site," Galbraith says. "We'd been told over and over again that it was hopeless."

Obtaining the lease was a huge victory, but it was just the beginning of a very lengthy process. The property was "green zoned"—not zoned for construction—so, according to Galbraith, the second miracle was getting the zoning changed. In fact, "many miracles occurred that led to the University's obtaining the most prestigious building site in all Jerusalem," D. Kelly Ogden says. And after three years of submitting plans and working to obtain all the required permits, construction began in August

The Controversy

Until this point, most Israelis were unaware of the University's plans to build, and upon seeing large bulldozers carving up the Mount, there was an immediate public outcry.

"People wondered how we got permission to build on such a site," Galbraith recalls. "Who signed off on this? How could it be that one of the last, most beautiful sites in all Jerusalem would go to a Christian group—and of all groups, the 'Mormons,' who are a proselytizing faith?"

Orthodox Jews were particularly suspicious of a church that boldly proclaimed "every member a missionary." Galbraith explains, "They insisted, despite whatever assurances we gave them, that we had an ulterior motive, that we were establishing a missionary center. And in their eyes there was great reason to be concerned—conversion of Jews to another faith is tantamount to a 'spiritual holocaust.'"

Protesters outside D. Kelly Ogden's home

And so began nearly four years of bitter opposition. Groups who opposed the Center picketed outside the construction site, Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek's office (the mayor considered the Church to be a true friend of Israel and was instrumental in helping secure the property for the Center), and even the Galbraiths' and Ogdens' homes. "They harassed us, our children at school, and threatened violence against us. They tapped our telephones," Galbraith recalls. Opponents also heavily lobbied the Israeli Knesset (the legislative branch of the Israeli government).

Once the media caught wind of the controversy, articles about the Jerusalem Center were splashed across newspapers and magazines in Israel and abroad with increasing frequency. Some warned of the impending "Mormon threat," while others presented a more fair and balanced view. As those who objected to the Center gained momentum, major television networks picked up on the story, as well as publications such as Time magazine, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

Ogden kept a detailed journal of the Jerusalem Center project from start to finish, including the fierce opposition. In his entry for July 19, , he made record of one particularly large and high-profile demonstration:

Last night thousands of Orthodox Jews gathered at the Western Wall, fasting, to stage a mass protest against our "Missionary Center," as they persist in calling it. . . . CBS and NBC were also there, so we suppose that everybody in America will see it within hours. (The two networks interviewed David [Galbraith] in his home also.)

David Galbraith talks with CNN

Galbraith often fielded questions from the press, granting interviews to CNN and other major news outlets. But despite his and the University's best efforts to allay fears of proselytizing and clarify the purpose of the Center, the issue became so hotly contested that the Israeli government faced no-confidence votes on three separate occasions. Since the Israeli government is a coalition government that is made up of several small parties—many of which are religious orthodox and have a great deal of political power—if a no-confidence vote had passed, the opposing parties would have caused the government to collapse by dissolving the Knesset. Luckily, the no-confidence votes were defeated.

However, in December , to satisfy the opposition, Prime Minister Shimon Peres created a committee of four Cabinet ministers in favor of the Center and four Cabinet ministers opposed. The committee of eight was assigned to hold hearings and ultimately make a recommendation for or against the continued construction.

"The committee went immediately into deadlock," Galbraith recalls. "In the meantime, we just kept building."

Friends and Supporters

Despite the intense protests by Orthodox and nationalist Jews, not all Israelis opposed the construction of the Jerusalem Center. In fact, many, like Mayor Kollek, viewed the project as an opportunity to celebrate diversity and freedom of religion. Kollek, forever the peacemaker, stamped his outgoing mail with the slogan, "Let's be tolerant."

Even Jews in the U.S. weighed in on the issue. And while many were opposed to the Center like their Israeli counterparts, others rushed to defend the University's project. For example, on January 23, , Rabbi Eric A. Silver, the leader of Utah's Jewish community, wrote a letter to the Knesset on behalf of the Church. He stated:

We have come to know, understand, and love our Mormon neighbors as people of the greatest decency, piety, and above all—honesty. . . . When President Holland gives his solemn assurance that the BYU Centre [sic] will not be used for missionary activity, I would stake my life on his promise, and I hasten to assure you that you can do likewise.

Less than four months later, on May 8, , the United States Congress sent a letter of its own to members of the Knesset. Signed by members of Congress, it reads in part:

We have become increasingly concerned by reports here in the United States concerning certain groups in Israel who have undertaken a campaign to halt the construction and use of the Brigham Young University Center for Near Eastern Studies currently under construction in Jerusalem. . . . Many of us know the sponsoring organization and the reputation of its members, and they are known as a trustworthy and moral people who live up to their promises. . . . We believe that rather than hinder U.S.-Israeli ties, the BYU Center will be a further source of understanding and cooperation between our two countries. Those students who study there will be uniquely able to teach the rest of us about your society, your culture and your rich and fascinating history. We therefore request, gentlemen, that you do all that is necessary to see that this project is allowed to be completed and occupied without undue impediments or delays.

"We had Republicans and Democrats who all lent their name and reputation. There was amazing widespread support by members of the U.S. Congress in favor of our Center," says Galbraith. Even former President Gerald Ford had sent a letter to Israeli lawmakers in favor of the project. "We were ecstatic at such a show of support," recalls Ogden.

According to Galbraith, that support was a turning point for the success of the Jerusalem Center. "In August , just as the letter from Congress was having its largest effect, the ministerial committee voted in our favor. Now we were sailing—we had overcome the worst of it."

Compromise and Completion

Just as the construction seemed to be going smoothly, however, the Department of Antiquities sent a letter stating that if during the process of excavation any relics or ruins were discovered, the project must stop immediately until the findings could be investigated and permission was given to proceed - if it was ever given.

"The entire Mount of Olives is filled with tombs," says Galbraith. "We were way past the point of no return, and we were warned that our neighbors, Hebrew University, encountered many tombs during their construction process."

The Department of Antiquities assigned people to monitor the Center's excavation site daily. Remarkably, no tombs were found.

"It was yet another miracle," Galbraith says. "There is no reason that site shouldn't have been peppered with tombs." Ogden adds, "It's as though the Lord had preserved that site for us."

Just when it seemed every hurdle had been cleared, Galbraith and others were informed of a last-ditch effort to prevent BYU students from ever moving in to the Center. "Legally, once you take occupation of a building, you cannot be evicted. Someone wanted to make sure we did not take possession," he says. "Our public relations people said, 'Drop everything and just move in! Never mind that it isn't finished!' In a single day we moved in unannounced."

Luckily, the dormitories were completed, but the upper levels still were not. Barriers were put up to protect students and faculty from being injured while the construction continued.

One of the final details regarding the Jerusalem Center came when the Israeli government requested a legal document stating that the building would not be used for proselytizing purposes. "It was not an easy decision to make," says Galbraith. "Such a request singled out the Church from many other religions in Israel, so it was somewhat discriminatory in nature." But to help assure Israelis and reinforce the promises Church and University leaders had already given, in May Elder Howard W. Hunter and BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland both presented formally signed documents declaring that the Jerusalem Center would not be used for missionary activity in Israel. Finally, the "Mormon issue" was put to rest.

Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Patricia, at the construction site

"In the end, strong friendships were forged through the opposition and adversity we faced," says Galbraith. "Today we have a good reputation and are well regarded by both Israelis and Palestinians. We've made our peace with most everyone."

Of Galbraith and others who pioneered the Jerusalem Center efforts, Ogden says, "Nobody in this world can know the strains and pains they endured for years to see all this through." And he includes Mayor Teddy Kollek in that group. "Through it all, he was our staunchest ally. He is the one man in Jerusalem who probably suffered most for our center being built." Despite the risk to his political career, the mayor came to tour the Center after its completion. He remarked, "I was unprepared for the beauty of this building."

On another occasion when Church leaders were in Jerusalem, Ogden recorded in his journal Elder James E. Faust's comments about the Center. Ogden wrote:

Elder Faust said, "Some have wondered if the Center hasn't required too much time, too much energy, too much money. . . . We make no apologies for this Center—how big it is, how lovely it is. . . . This is the jewel of the Holy City."

On May 16, , Elder Howard W. Hunter, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, quietly dedicated the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies with President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Boyd K. Packer, and BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland, among others, in attendance. It was done without fanfare and announced nearly a month later because the Center was still a sensitive issue for many people.

The Jerusalem Center Today

Photo courtesy of the author

After the completion of the Center, thousands flocked to tour the facility, and thousands continue to do so today. "Word was out that when you visit Jerusalem—or if you live in Jerusalem—you ought to visit the Mormon Center," recalls Galbraith. "We never could get rid of that name. In the eyes of the Israelis, it's still the Mormon Center, even today."

People who tour the building are not allowed in the student dormitory areas, but are shown a short video about the Center, given a tour of the beautiful upper levels and the surrounding gardens, and treated to a brief organ performance while enjoying the breathtaking view. But tours aren't the only way the public can enjoy the beauty of the building. The Center also hosts art exhibits by local artists, as well as a renowned weekly concert series—and there is rarely an empty seat in the house.

"Musicians consider it a plum on their resumes to say that they have played on our stage," says S. Kent Brown, currently associate director of the Jerusalem Center. In fact, there is a long waiting list of musicians anxious for the chance to perform there.

While the public gets just a glimpse of the beauty of the facility, students studying at the Center get to savor not only the architecture, but also the fascinating and informative academic program offered within its walls. Students who participate in the study abroad program live in the Center for four months, studying the Old and New Testaments, ancient and modern Near Eastern studies, and either Hebrew or Arabic. In addition to classroom study, they enjoy numerous field trips that cover many aspects of the Holy Land—with a major focus on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and his Apostles.

"The fundamentals of the Jerusalem Center program have remained firm through the decades," says Brown. "Only minor details have changed. The original leaders perceived that scripture would form the foundation of the program and then built a broader program from that point."

And, as always, the study abroad program strives to present a balanced view of the complex issues of the Holy Land. To help accomplish this, the Center's faculty includes Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians.

"We hire local teachers to teach not only the language classes of Hebrew and Arabic but also the classes on Islam and Judaism. We want students to see these subjects through the eyes of those who live in this society," Brown explains. In fact, the executive director of the Jerusalem Center today is Eran Hayet, an Israeli. The assistant director in charge of security, Tawfic Alawi, is Palestinian.

Meagan Knudson, who studied at the Jerusalem Center in , says she gained invaluable insight and knowledge while in the Holy Land. "Learning about issues and seeing the people really broadened my view," she says. "It's made it so much easier for me to meet all kinds of different people and see different perspectives and understand where people are coming from."

She continues, "And now I have a context for scripture study. I know where events happened, and I know more about the people who lived there because we learned so much about the ancient culture. To spend so much time where the Savior lived, where he performed so many miracles, was a life-changing experience."

And this is exactly the kind of experience that Church and University leaders envisioned the students having. "We hope that, first, they return home with a brighter faith, and second, with a more informed view of the complexities of life in the Holy Land," says Brown.


One of the signs of the Second Coming is a temple built in Jerusalem. Is this New Jerusalem or Old Jerusalem?

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I seem to recall that one of the signs of the Second Coming would be to see the Temple built in Jerusalem.   Is this the temple in the &#;New Jerusalem?&#; Or is it going to be in the &#;old&#; Jerusalem in the Middle East?

If it is the Middle East one; then is it an LDS Temple? Or a Jewish built temple for Jews only?  Are there talks, scriptures/references that give light onto which Jerusalem is receiving a temple?   Thank you.





Dear Confused,

I understand your confusion.  The easiest way to clarify things is to recognize that it is not an either/or.  It is both.


The Short Answer


Yes, a special temple will be built in both locations by Jews and the Latter-Day Saints.  What makes them special is that they will both be The Seat of Power for Jesus Christ Himself to rule and reign complete with a throne that will be His alone.


The Long Answer


Both Judaism and many Christian sects look forward to the building of the &#;Third Temple&#; in Jerusalem, Israel.  The first was Solomon&#;s temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians in BC.

The second was commissioned under Cyrus the Great and completed under Darius the Great.  That temple had a rich history and was re-dubbed &#;Herod&#;s Temple&#; during the Roman occupation that encompassed Christ&#;s mortal ministry (destroyed in 70 AD).

The Third Temple will be built before &#;The great and dreadful day of the coming of the Lord.&#;  This refers to twin temples which shall be built &#; one at Jerusalem, Israel &#; the other (prophesied only to Latter-Day Saints) at the &#;New Jerusalem&#; in Independence, Missouri.

Elder Spencer W. Kimball gave us a vision of the construction and beauty of the Independence, Missouri Temple when he said:

&#;Together you (the Lamanites) and we shall build in the spectacular city of New Jerusalem the temple to which our Redeemer will come.  Your hands with ours, also those of Jacob, will place the foundation stones, raise the walls, and roof the magnificent structure.  Perhaps your artistic hands will paint the temple and decorate it with a master&#;s touch, and together we shall dedicate to our Creator Lord the most beautiful of all temples ever built in his name&#;

&#;Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, Dec , pp

Elder Kimball&#;s statement indicates that while Ephraim will hold the keys, all of Israel&#;s children shall take part in building the temple in the New Jerusalem.

The temple in Jerusalem, Israel has been prophesied by many.  The prophet Ezekiel described the construction of the temple (Ezek Ch 40 &#; Ch 48).

In Brother Joseph reminded us that this was one of the signs of the times when he said that before Christ comes again:

Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed.  It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple etc.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance.

&#;Joseph Smith, DHC, Vol 5, p. , Apr 6,

This was not just a random statement at the last minute.  In LDS apostle, Elder Orson Hyde, was sent to the Holy Land to dedicate the land for the return of the Jewish people. Part of this dedicatory prayer is as follows:

“[I] dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets&#; Let them come like clouds and like doves to their windows. Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles&#;”

&#;(DHC, vol. 4, pp. –)

At the time fewer than 5, Jews lived in all of Palestine; today, over 6,,  They have literally come from the four corners of the earth—from over separate nations.  It truly is wonderful to live in a time when such prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes.

Now, your second question was about who would build them and for what purpose.   The temple in Missouri has already been addressed.  But the temple in Jerusalem will be built by Jews who have accepted the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  More recent apostles have addressed the return of the Jews as well.

“When the Jews receive the fulness of the everlasting gospel&#;they will return to Jerusalem as the Lord’s true legal administrators to build up Jerusalem as a Zion and to place again on the ancient site the temple of the new kingdom.”

&#; Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, p. ;

&#;John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, p.


&#; The temple in Jerusalem will not be built by Jews who have assembled there for political purposes as at present&#; But it will be built by Jews who have come unto Christ, who once again are in the true fold of their ancient Shepherd, and who have learned anew about temples because they know that Elijah did come&#;

&#;Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, pp.

&#;The building of the temple in Jerusalem &#;will be directly related to the Gospel as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and to the glorious Second Coming of the Lord. It will not be part of any form of sectarianism&#; and will never be clouded by any uncertainties as to its purpose.


Any temple of the Lord&#;will be His abiding place, His sanctuary, His designated dwelling wherein ordinances of salvation will be performed. All of this requires His revealed direction and the services of His&#;authorized priesthood.&#;

&#;Church News, August 7, , p. 16

How is this to be fulfilled?   Pres. Wilford Woodruff (then pres. of the quorum of the 12) said:

“… the time is not far distant when the rich men among the Jews may be called upon to use their abundant wealth to gather the dispersed of Judah, and purchase the ancient dwelling places of their fathers in and about Jerusalem, and rebuild the holy city and temple.”

&#;Millennial Star, vol. 41, p.

Part of this prophecy has already been fulfilled with the creation of the modern State of Israel which raised over $1Billion from Jews across the globe to the building up of Israel.  Jerusalem was rebuilt to allow the unfettered worship by millions of Jews today.  Today we all await the temple construction as one of the most significant signs of the last days.









Israel lds temple in

BYU Jerusalem Center

Middle East site for Brigham Young University, East Jerusalem

Coordinates: 31°47′12″N35°14′40″E / °N °E / ;

The Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies (often simply referred to as the BYU Jerusalem Center or BYU–Jerusalem[2][3][4]), situated on Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, is a satellite campus of Brigham Young University (BYU), the largest religious university in the United States.[5] Owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the center provides a curriculum that focuses on Old and New Testament, ancient and modern Near Eastern studies, and language (Hebrew and Arabic). Classroom study is built around field trips that cover the Holy Land, and the program is open to qualifying full-time undergraduate students at either BYU, BYU-Idaho, or BYU-Hawaii.[6]

Plans to build a center for students were announced by LDS Church presidentSpencer W. Kimball in By , the church had obtained a year lease on the land and had begun construction. The center's prominent position on the Jerusalem skyline quickly brought it notice by the Ultra-Orthodox Jews, or Haredim, of Israel. Protests and opposition to the building of the center springing from the Haredim made the issue of building the center a national and even international issue. After several investigative committees of Israel's Knesset reviewed and debated the issue, Israeli officials decided to allow the center's construction to continue in The center opened to students in May and was dedicated by Howard W. Hunter on May 16, [7] It did not admit students from to due to security issues during the Second Intifada but continued to provide tours for visitors and weekly concerts.[8]


Before the center

The first LDS official to enter Jerusalem was apostleOrson Hyde, who came in and dedicated the land for the gathering of the people of Israel, the creation of a Jewish state, and the building of an LDS temple at some future time. After his visit, LDS presence in the city was virtually non-existent. By , the city saw enough LDS visitors for the church to lease a building in East Jerusalem for church services. BYU's study abroad program to Jerusalem, which began in , played a key role in the growth of LDS visitors to the area. The LDS presence in the area soon grew too large for the leased space to provide adequate space for worship, so the church began looking into building a center for students.[9][10] In , David B. Galbraith became the director of BYU's program in Jerusalem. He remained in this position until when the church's First Presidency asked him to organize the BYU Jerusalem Center.[11]

On October 24, , church president Spencer W. Kimball visited Jerusalem to dedicate the Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens, located on the Mount of Olives.[12] The church had donated money to beautify the Jerusalem area, and officials of the Jerusalem government were present at the occasion. It was at this dedication that Kimball announced the church's intent to build a center for BYU students in the city. Negotiations between the church and the Israeli government stretched from – The land the church wanted for the center, located at the northwestern margin of Mount Olivet, right next to the valley which separates it from Mount Scopus, had been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of and could not be sold under Israeli law. The church decided to obtain a lease on the land instead. Leasing the land also prevented the politically controversial problem of the church owning a piece of Jerusalem land. Israeli officials saw the building of the center on the land as a way of solidifying control over land whose ownership was ambiguous under international law. By August , the church had the land on a year lease, building permits had been obtained, and construction on the building began.[10][12][13][14][15][16]

Construction and controversy

The distinctive multiple-arched BYU Jerusalem Center (top left) amid the buildings of Jerusalem

The s saw not only Mormons, but many Christian groups vying for representation and space in the city.[17][18][19] These groups constantly faced opposition from a strong political minority of Orthodox Jews living in the city. Neither major political party in Israel (the Likud and Labor Parties) could achieve a majority vote in the Knesset without support from the more religious parties. Religious parties used this situation to pass laws in favor of Jewish Orthodoxy in exchange for their support on other issues.[20][21] At the time, the conservative Jews, who made up the "religious right" in Israel, or the Haredim, constituted 27% of the population of Jerusalem, and was decidedly against the building of the BYU Jerusalem Center or any other similar Christian structure. Larger parties faced loss of a majority if they stood opposite on this issue. Many Israeli officials, however, such as the Mayor of Jerusalem at the time, Teddy Kollek, along with others in attendance at the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden dedication, supported the center because of what the church had done for the city. Kollek specifically stated that "the Mormon church's presence in Jerusalem can do a great deal of work in providing the bridge of understanding between the Arab and Jewsbecause its members look with sympathy and understanding at both sides."[22] The land on which the center was built was then still considered Arab land by many, and many officials saw that its lease would add an image of religious tolerance to their government and increase Israeli control of the land.[10]

Because of its prominent location in the Jerusalem skyline, construction was quickly noticed, and this sparked a major controversy in Israel and in the Jewish world as a whole beginning in The Haredim led the opposition, their main concern being that the building would be used not as a school, but as a center for Mormon proselyting efforts in Jerusalem. The Haredim warned of a "spiritual holocaust".[23] The LDS Church, they argued, had no local presence in the population of the Jerusalem area and no historical connections to the land.[19] The group spread warnings through letters, newspapers, and television that Mormon missionaries would convert Jews throughout the city, saying that:[10]

"The Mormon organization is one of the most dangerous, and in America they have already struck down many Jews. At the present the Mormons are cautious because of the tremendous opposition their missionary activities would engender, but the moment their new Center is completed, we won’t be able to stop them." -- Kol Ha’Ir[10][24]

and that:

"At the heart of the "emotional" and "bitter" controversy brewing in Jerusalem is whether Christian Zionism, based on Christian eschatological expectations, should function in Israel with the help and active aid of government and municipal authorities, such as the assistance being rendered to the Brigham Young University." -- Inter Mountain Jewish News[10][25]

Warnings in the media led to street protests and demonstrations. Orthodox Jews marched on City Hall and to the construction site in [26] Some even gathered at the Western Wall in a public prayer of mourning because of the center.[27] They also gathered at the hotel at which the BYU President was staying at one point, carrying signs saying: "Conversion is Murder!" and "Mormons, stop your mission now".[28][29] Despite the intensity of the Haredi opposition, at no point did the protests become physically violent.[30] In late , the Haredim motioned for a no-confidence vote against the leading Labor Party. Prime Minister Shimon Peres organized a committee of eight, four for the center and four against, to debate the issue and come up with a solution either for or against the center's presence. Another committee was formed to look into the allegation that the money the church had put into Jerusalem was a bribe to gain Mayor Kolleck's support for the center[31] (the committee found the church "Not Guilty"). A subcommittee of the Knesset requested that the LDS Church issue a formal promise not to proselytize Jews. Some Israelis considered this discriminatory, as no other Christian church had been asked to do this in Jerusalem. Church leaders, however, agreed to comply and sent a formally signed statement soon after.[32] Some Jews in the area were still uneasy and doubted the church's intent, believing that religious belief among Mormons would supersede adherence to the law. One protester stated that "converting the sons of Judah, us, is a basic article of their faith. . . . They regard themselves as sons of Joseph and believe there will be no Second Coming for as long as we and they do not fuse."[10][33]

In addition to the promise not to proselyte, BYU began a public relations campaign to inform the public of their intentions for the center as a school and a gathering place for those already of the LDS faith. Ads were purchased in local newspapers, magazines, and on television, and the center had personnel appear on radio talk shows. Government officials in favor of the center also began to speak out, saying that Jerusalem should deny no one a place to worship, Jew, Muslim, or Christian. The Minister for Economic Planning, Gad Yaakobi said that the debate had "already caused considerable damage to Israel",[34] and Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban stated that the "free exercise of conscience and dissent in a democratic society" was at stake.[35] The center also received support in the U.S., as former President Gerald Ford spoke for the center, as well the United Jewish Council of Utah, who wrote a letter stating that "For over one hundred years, the Jewish and LDS communities have coexisted in the Salt Lake Valley in a spirit of true friendship and harmony. It has been our experience that when the leaders of the LDS Church make a commitment of policy, it is a commitment which can be relied upon. The stated commitment of Brigham Young University not to violate the laws of the state of Israel, or its own commitment regarding proselytizing in the state of Israel through the Jerusalem-based Brigham Young facility, is a commitment which we sincerely believe will be honored."[36] The U.S. government also became an intermediary for BYU as members of Congress issued a letter to the Knesset in support of the BYU Jerusalem Center. In , the Knesset approved the completion of the center.[10]

Opening and dedication

Students moved into the center on May 8, The school remained unfinished, but the dormitory levels had been completed. Students had formerly been housed at KibbutzRamat Rachel.[36] In , before the center's dedication, a few Jerusalem locals complained that the arrangement of the windows at night looked like a Christian cross. The center purchased blinds and carefully arranged them over the windows so that no such sign would be seen. Members of the LDS Church do not use the symbol of the cross as other Christian denominations do, due to their focus on the resurrection, rather than the death, of Christ.[10][19]

The center was dedicated on May 16, by Howard W. Hunter, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.[7] The dedication ceremony was small, as the church decided not to announce it until a month later. The church did not want a large ceremony to cause concern among those in opposition to the center, who may have seen it as a religious gathering. Thomas S. Monson, then a second counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church, and Boyd K. Packer, another member of the church's Quorum of the Twelve, were among those in attendance, as well as BYU PresidentJeffrey R. Holland. Robert C. Taylor, director of the BYU Travel Study program was in attendance and stated in an interview with The Daily Universe that the dedication of the building was centered solely on the educational aspect of the school, as well as for "whatever purposes [the Lord] has in store" in the future. Taylor stated that the church would respect the laws of the land and their commitment not to proselyte.[7]

Center closings

After the onset of the Second Intifada, security for BYU students became increasingly difficult to maintain, and the center closed indefinitely to students in During the fighting, BYU sources reported that the center's staff remained on location and managed to maintain good relations on both Israeli and Palestinian sides. As negotiations to stop the fighting continued, one proposed settlement had the center placed within the borders of a proposed Palestinian state (this, however, was not the proposal ultimately agreed upon by the two sides).[13] While closed to students, the center remained open for visitors and concerts.[37]

On June 9, , officials announced their intention to reopen the Jerusalem Center for the Fall semester. However, escalating violence in the area from the Israel-Lebanon Conflict frustrated these plans and raised new concerns about students' safety in the area. School officials deemed the center would remain closed until the conflict was resolved.[38] During this time, some LDS members in Northern Israel were "voluntarily relocated" into the center, away from border missile strikes.[39] BYU officials announced on October 9, that the center would be reopening for student academic programs for Winter Semester The initial program was limited to only 44 students. Currently, over 80 students participate each semester.[40] The center remains open into future academic terms.[41]

Facilities and architecture

The center was designed in partnership with Frank Ferguson of FFKR Architects (Salt Lake City)[42] and by Brazilian-Israeli architect David Resnick,[43] who also designed the nearby campus of the Hebrew University. The center is situated on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, right where it connects to Mount Scopus, overlooking the Kidron Valley and the Old City. The ,square-foot (11,&#;m2), eight-level structure is set amid 5 acres (&#;ha) of gardens. The first five levels provide dormitory and apartment space for up to students, each of these apartments having a patio overlooking the Old City. The sixth level houses a cafeteria, classrooms, computer facilities, and a gymnasium, while administrative and faculty offices are located on the seventh level, along with a seat auditorium. The main entry is on the eighth level, which also contains a recital and special events auditorium with organ, lecture rooms, general and reserve libraries, offices, a domed theater, and a learning resource area.[44] This auditorium is surrounded by glass on three sides, providing views of the city. The organ within it is a Scandinavian-made Marcussen organ. The aforementioned library on the same floor as the auditorium contains 10,, volumes focusing largely on the Near East.[30]

The center's design reflects the architecture of the Near East. It is constructed of cast concrete. Hand-carved Jerusalem limestone adorn the building, according to local custom.[30] The use of arches and domes closely models other building of Jerusalem and the gardens throughout the center contain many trees and other plants named in the Bible. The interior contains the arches and cupolas typical of the Near East, and large, windowed pavilions provide wide views of Jerusalem.[9]

Over micropiles were drilled into the Mount to secure the foundation in case of an earthquake. The building also contains, in adherence to Israeli law, bomb shelters capable of holding all faculty, staff, and students in case of emergency.[30]

Research and education

The Jerusalem Center played a role in the research of the Dead Sea Scrolls in cooperation with the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation of Jerusalem. They developed a comprehensive CD-ROM database of the contents of the Scrolls, enabling researchers worldwide the ability to study them.[45]

The center provides a curriculum that focuses on Old and New Testament, ancient and modern Near Eastern studies, and language (Hebrew and Arabic). Classroom study is built around field trips that cover the Holy Land, and the program is open only to qualifying full-time undergraduate students at either BYU, BYU-Idaho, or BYU-Hawaii.[6]

The center teaches classes in four-month semesters occurring three times per year. Each semester costs $10, Students are required to take a small orientation course online before entering the center and are interviewed individually. Application requirements state that students must have attended at least two semesters (including the semester immediately preceding the trip abroad) at BYU, BYU-Hawaii, or BYU-Idaho, have a GPA of at least , and sign an agreement not to proselytize. Married students are not allowed to attend.[6]


Members of the LDS Church believe that Jesus Christ will return in glory in his Second Coming.[46] Howard W. Hunter, who was president of the church's Quorum of the Twelve at the time of the center's construction, pointed out that although there would be no proselytizing from the center, it still served a valuable purpose. One church member quoted him this way: "Elder Hunter said that our mission was not to harvest, probably not even to plant, but to clear away a few more stones."[47] Latter-day Saints often see the center as a way for them to show local Jews what the church is about by example, rather than by proselyting. This is done by the way students and faculty at the center live their lives,[48] as well as through the hiring of both Israeli and Palestinian workers, as an example of what can be done through cooperation.[49] During construction of the center, for example, the church hired as many as workers at one time, with about 60% of them being Arab and the other 40% being Jewish. Similar cooperation continues today.[30]

The center also strives to meet the goals of the BYU Mission statement, "to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life" as well as in their educational endeavors. The center aims to give students not only an educational experience by experiencing cultures and languages firsthand, but a spiritual experience by taking them to the sites of biblical events and encouraging them to live their lives in a Christian way.[50][51]


  1. ^"How the BYU Jerusalem Center Nearly Caused the Collapse of the Israeli Government".
  2. ^"Mormon University". Ministry of Tourism, Government of Israel. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  3. ^"Brigham Young University (Mormon University)". Website of Jerusalem Municipality. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  4. ^G. Van Dyke, Blair (21 Nov ). "The Mormon University on the Mount of Olives: A Case Study in LDS Public Relations"(PDF). Journal of Media and Religion. Archived from the original(PDF) on Retrieved
  5. ^Naparsteck, Martin. "The Lord's University". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on December 13, Retrieved
  6. ^ abc"Jerusalem Center - General Information". Brigham Young University. Retrieved
  7. ^ abcMccann, Jessica (). "BYU Jerusalem Center dedicated-LDS Church delays news to keep peace". The Daily Universe. Retrieved
  8. ^Shaha, Abigail (). "Students Experience Religion and Culture at the Jerusalem Center". The Daily Universe. Retrieved
  9. ^ ab"BYU Jerusalem Center". Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Macmillan Publishing Company. Retrieved
  10. ^ abcdefghiOlsen, Daniel H. and Jeanne Kay Guelke. "Spatial transgression and the BYU Jerusalem center controversy." The Professional Geographer. (Nov ) pp. –
  11. ^Galbraith and Van Dyke. "The BYU Jerusalem Center: Reflections of a Modern Pioneer" in The Religious Educator Vol. 9 () no. 1, p. 29ff.
  12. ^ ab"President Kimball Dedicates Orson Hyde Memorial Garden in Jerusalem". Ensign Magazine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved
  13. ^ abHadfield, Joseph (). "Jerusalem Center safe amid conflict". BYU. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  14. ^Benvenisti, M. City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem, trans. M. K. Nunn. London: University of California Press. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  15. ^Cohen, S. E. The Politics of Planting: Israeli-Palestinian Competition for Control of Land in the Jerusalem Periphery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  16. ^Benvenisti, M. Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since . Berkeley: University of California Press. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  17. ^Arieli, Y. S. Evangelizing the chosen people: Missions to the Jews in America, – Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  18. ^Kark, R., and M. Oren-Nordheim. Jerusalem and its environs, quarters, neighbourhoods, and villages, – Detroit:Wayne State University Press. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  19. ^ abcDumper, M. The politics of Jerusalem since New York: Columbia University Press. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  20. ^Kna’an, M., ed. The Israeli yearbook. Vol. Tel Aviv: Israel Yearbook Publications Ltd. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  21. ^Stump, R. Boundaries of faith: Geographical perspectives on religious fundamentalism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  22. ^Foley, Mike (). "Former Jerusalem Center director draws parallels between Arab-Israeli and Book of Mormon conflicts". BYU Hawaii. Retrieved
  23. ^Sittner, A. Miari blasts Knesset switch to offices of Chief Rabbinate. The Jerusalem Post, 4 June. n.v As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  24. ^Kol Ha’Ir June 8, As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  25. ^Inter Mountain Jewish News January 4, As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  26. ^Golan, P. Hysteria inside, demos outside. Jerusalem Post, 20 September. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  27. ^Shapiro, H. c. Prayers said against Mormon study centre. Jerusalem Post, 19 July. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  28. ^Friedland, R., and R. Hecht. To rule Jerusalem. Cambridge U.K.: Cambridge University Press. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  29. ^Watzman, H. M. a. Building for Brigham Young U. in Jerusalem challenged anew. The Chronicle of Higher Education 31 (10): As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  30. ^ abcdeOgden, Kelly. "The Miracle of the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies". Retrieved
  31. ^Shapiro, H. a. Jerusalem Foundation link to Mormons ‘‘ridiculous’’. Jerusalem Post, 20 August. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  32. ^Shapiro, H. b. Mormon: Proselytizers will go home. Jerusalem Post, 7 August. As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  33. ^The Economist , As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  34. ^Watzman, H. M. Israeli Cabinet agrees to investigate Brigham Young’s Jerusalem Center. The Chronicle of Higher Education 31 (17): 33– As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  35. ^Time , As cited in Olsen and Guelke.
  36. ^ ab"News of the Church: BYU's Jerusalem Center Opens". Ensign Magazine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved
  37. ^Shaha, Abigail (April 8, ). "Students Experience Religion and Culture at the Jerusalem Center". BYU NewsNet. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  38. ^"BYU students will not return to Jerusalem Center this fall". BYU. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  39. ^Erb, Emilee (July 20, ). "Jerusalem Center acts as refuge". BYU NewsNet. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  40. ^Preusz, Jared (). "Students Return to Jerusalem". BYU NewsNet. BYU. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  41. ^"General Information". BYU Jerusalem Center. BYU Continuing Education. Retrieved
  42. ^"Jerusalem Center for Near East Studies (Jerusalem, Israel)",, retrieved
  43. ^Gaunt, LaRene (April ), "One Voice", Ensign
  44. ^"BYU JC homepage". BYU. Retrieved
  45. ^"News of the Church: BYU Projects Aid Dead Sea Scrolls Studies". Ensign Magazine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved
  46. ^Joseph Smith, Jr. "Tenth Article of Faith". LDS Church. Retrieved
  47. ^Staheli, Ronald (). "The Comprehending Soul: Open Minds and Hearts". BYU Speeches. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  48. ^Edgley, Richard C. (). "Becoming You". BYU Speeches. Retrieved
  49. ^Kaye Terry Hanson (). "The Far and the Near". BYU Speeches. Retrieved
  50. ^Faust, James E. (). "Where Is the Church?". BYU Speeches. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  51. ^Hafen, Bruce C. (). "The Dream Is Ours to Fulfill". BYU Speeches. Archived from the original on Retrieved

External links

Jerusalem Temple at the Time of Jesus

The Future of the Holy Land

Because of its strategic location at the crossroads of the great continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Holy Land has always been of paramount importance. Today many people, including the leaders of most countries, would like to know more concerning the future of this strategic and important area.

As Latter-day Saints we probably know more about its future than do any other people. The only definite way the future can be illuminated is through the spirit of prophecy, and this gift of the Holy Spirit should always be evident in the true church. Thus, as Latter-day Saints we have access to everything the world knows concerning the future of the Holy Land, and in addition we have the inspired statements of ancient and modern prophets to guide and direct us.

The future of the Holy Land is closely allied with the future of the house of Israel, more specifically with the future of the descendants of Judah. Thus, an examination of some of the prophecies concerning Judah in the last days should help to illuminate the future of this area. This article will deal with fourteen such prophecies. The following principles were used in helping to determine which prophecies to include:

The Lord has said: “… In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2 Cor. ) Thus, only those topics will be discussed where at least two sources of prophecies are available.

Also, the prophecies should definitely refer to the last days. Thus, the points discussed will include (1) statements from Old Testament prophets who lived after the time of the Babylonian captivity and who prophesied concerning a future gathering of Israel, (2) prophecies quoted by the Savior during his ministry upon the earth where he related these scriptures to future events, and (3) prophecies and other material revealed to the prophets of this dispensation.

1. Elijah the prophet is to return to the earth.

Malachi, who lived after the Babylonian captivity, said:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Mal. –6.)

The resurrected Savior quoted this scripture to the Nephites. The Angel Moroni quoted this scripture to the Prophet Joseph Smith on September 21, And then the Lord quoted this same scripture to Joseph Smith on November 3, , recorded in Doctrine and Covenants [D&C ]. Here, literally, in the mouths of several witnesses, we have the fact that Elijah the prophet is going to return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

The fulfillment of this prophecy occurred on April 3, , when the following vision took place, as recorded by the prophet Joseph Smith:

“… another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:

“Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

“To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

“Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” (D&C –)

The interesting thing is that although other people have also believed in the coming of Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, so far as I know the Latter-day Saints are the only people on earth who claim that this prophecy has been fulfilled.

The Orthodox Jewish people are still looking forward to the coming of Elijah; at their holy feasts they have an empty chair at the table for Elijah the prophet. It may be one of the great ironies of history when the Jewish people find out that in , at the very time they were sitting down in the Holy Land at their Passover feasts, with the empty chair there for Elijah the prophet, Elijah the prophet came—not to the Jewish people, but to the prophet of this dispensation, Joseph Smith, in the Kirtland Temple.

2. The descendants of Judah are to gather from the four corners of the earth.

When Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith on September 21, , he quoted from Isaiah 11, which reads as follows:

“And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isa. )

Notice what Zechariah said concerning the gathering:

“And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

“And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.” (Zech. –)

In one of the great discourses that he gave shortly before his death, the Prophet Joseph Smith made the following comment while talking about the second coming of Christ; he said these events must take place before the second coming of Christ:

“Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, &c., and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance.” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 5, p. )

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent an apostle, Elder Orson Hyde, to the Holy Land to dedicate the land for the return of the Jewish people. Part of this dedicatory prayer is as follows:

“[I] dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets. … Incline them to gather in upon this land according to Thy word. Let them come like clouds and like doves to their windows. Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles; and let kings become their nursing fathers, and queens with motherly fondness wipe the tear of sorrow from their eyes.” (DHC, vol. 4, pp. –)

When Elder Hyde offered that dedicatory prayer, there were fewer than 5, Jewish people in the entire land of Palestine. Today there are over 2,,, and they have literally come from the four corners of the earth—from over separate nations—and this in fulfillment of the prophecies.

3. The descendants of Judah will use gold and silver from the nations of the earth to reclaim the land.

Again Zechariah says: “And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” (Zech. )

A substantiating statement from a modern prophet comes from Wilford Woodruff: “… the time is not far distant when the rich men among the Jews may be called upon to use their abundant wealth to gather the dispersed of Judah, and purchase the ancient dwelling places of their fathers in and about Jerusalem, and rebuild the holy city and temple.” (Millennial Star, vol. 41, p. )

In , Levi Eshkol, then the prime minister of Israel, was interviewed by reporters of U.S. News and World Report, at which time he indicated that Israel had received over $1 billion from the Jewish people in the United States. Also, it is known that over $ billion has been received from West Germany in restitution and reparation payments. Literally, the prophecy that gold and silver will be used to reclaim this land has been fulfilled and perhaps is still in the process of fulfillment.

4. The land of Jerusalem is to be made productive.

To quote from Ezekiel concerning the land of Jerusalem in the last days:

“… the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.

“And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.

“Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Ezek. – Italics added.)

From modern scripture:

“But behold, saith the Lord of Hosts: I will show unto the children of men that it is yet a very little while and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.” (2 Ne. )

Orson Hyde, in his dedicatory prayer in Jerusalem, said:

“Grant, therefore, O Lord, in the name of Thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to remove the barrenness and sterility of this land, and let springs of living water break forth to water its thirsty soil. Let the vine and the olive produce in their strength, and the fig-tree bloom and flourish. Let the land become abundantly fruitful when possessed by its rightful heirs; let it again flow with plenty to feed the returning prodigals who come home with a spirit of grace and supplication; upon it let the clouds distil virtue and richness, and let the fields smile with plenty. Let the flocks and the herds greatly increase and multiply upon the mountains and the hills. …” (DHC, vol. 4, p. Italics added.)

Those who have traveled in Israel recently can verify that portions of this area have become as a garden, in fulfillment of this prophecy.

5. The descendants of Judah will be attacked by their former conquerors, but they will be delivered.

Zechariah has also quoted concerning this event:

“In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zech. , 9. Italics added.)

In 3 Nephi two witnesses instead of one testify concerning this point, because here the Savior is quoting Isaiah concerning the last days:

“Behold, they shall surely gather together against thee, not by me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper. …” (3 Ne. , 17; quoted by the Savior from Isa. , )

There is no need to review here what took place in June when Israel conquered a land area about three times the size of its original land—it went from 8, square miles to 26, square miles. W. Cleon Skousen uses the term “fantastic victory” as the title of his book concerning this event. Life magazine used the term “incredible victory.” A government leader said it was the nearest thing to “instant victory” yet devised.

6. Jerusalem will come under the control of Israel.

“… and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.” (Zech. )

“And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.” (Zech. )

For over years the Orthodox Jews have concluded their ritual prayers with the petition, “Next year in Jerusalem.” And in , for the first time in years, that “next year in Jerusalem” arrived for the Jewish people.

Notice, too, the amazing thing that although the Jewish people say that Jerusalem is the capital of the land, all of the other countries, including the United States, say that the capital of Israel is in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv was the capital of Israel only during those months of –49 when Israel was not in full possession of even a portion of Jerusalem; then the capital was moved to Jerusalem. Explaining this event, David Ben-Gurion has written:

“In the tempest of war … we were compelled to establish the seat of government for the time being in the official quarter near Tel Aviv. But the state of Israel has had, and will have, one capital alone: Jerusalem, the Eternal. …” (The Jews in Their Land, pp. –)

So although the world may refer to the Tel Aviv government, Israel says, “Our capital is Jerusalem.”

7. The Jewish people will begin to believe in Jesus Christ and eventually the gospel will be preached to them.

Matthew says: “… this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. )

The Savior, in talking about the fact that he would remember the covenant he had made with Israel, said:

“And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them;

“And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.” (3 Ne. 30–)

Concerning this event, Wilford Woodruff said in “When the Gentiles reject the Gospel it will be taken from them, and go to the House of Israel, to that long-suffering people that are now scattered abroad through all the nations upon the earth, … and they will rebuild Jerusalem their ancient city, and make it more glorious than at the beginning, and they will have a leader in Israel with them, a man that is full of the power of God and the gift of the Holy Ghost; but they are held now from this work, only because the fulness of the Gentiles has not yet come in.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. Italics added.)

Therefore, Latter-day Saints should not be surprised when a great mission is established in Israel. At the present time we cannot do missionary work there for two major reasons: (1) Our church is not officially recognized by Israel, and (2) there are laws in Israel against proselyting. But the time will come, in fulfillment of the words of the prophets, when the gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached to the Jewish people.

8. A new temple will be built in Jerusalem.

In Zechariah is a statement in which he says, “Let your hands be strong, … that the temple might be built.” [Zech. ]

A description of the temple is given in Ezekiel 40–48 [Ezek. 40–48]. Reference is made to the temple at Jerusalem by Orson Pratt in Journalof Discourses, volume 19, pages 19–29, and in Doctrine and Covenants –37 [D&C –37]. President Wilford Woodruff said:

“… Christ will not come until these things come to pass. Jerusalem has got to be rebuilt. The temple has got to be built.

“… These things have been revealed by the prophets; they will have their fulfillment.” (MS, vol. 52 [Oct. 6, ], p. )

And Joseph Smith said: “What was the object of gathering the Jews, or the people of God in any age of the world? … The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house. …” (DHC, vol. 5, p. )

Many of the Orthodox Jewish people themselves are talking about the construction of a third temple. Concerning this subject, an important scroll was discovered in the Middle East just a few years ago. Dr. Yigael Yadin of the Hebrew University is now translating this scroll, which he calls the Temple Scroll and concerning which he has said:

“The amazing thing about this scroll is that it was written as a Torah—a law—given by God to Moses. The entire text is written in the first person singular, with God as the speaker. Every other scroll from the Dead Sea is either a copy of an existent Biblical book or a Biblical commentary or a sectarian document composed by the Qumran community. Here we have for the first time a scroll that was apparently meant to be in the Biblical text but which was never part of the Biblical canon, so far as we know.” (Newsletter Number 7 of the American Schools of Oriental Research, November 13, Italics added.)

With what does that text deal? Dr. Yadin says that it has the plans for the construction of a great temple and that it introduces a new feature into the temple. There are three courts instead of two, each exactly square. The middle and the outer courts of the temple are to have twelve gates, three on each side, and each gate is to be named for one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Dr. Yadin adds:

“This is significant. The whole apocalyptic literature and that of Qumran were occupied with the concept of uniting the twelve tribes of Israel as ordained by God. Here, too, the emphasis is on the twelve tribes, as it is so frequently also in the New Testament.” (Ibid.)

Orson Pratt has described another distinguishing feature concerning the temple that will be built in Jerusalem during the last days: “The Temple at Jerusalem will undoubtedly be built, by those who believe in the true Messiah. Its construction will be, in some respects different from the Temples now being built. It will contain the throne of the Lord, upon which he will, at times, personally sit, and will reign over the house of Israel for ever.” (JD, vol. 19, p. Italics added.)

9. A new leader named David (a descendant of the ancient King David) is to become a great leader in Israel.

Ezekiel prophesies this, and there are additional references in Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, and Zechariah.

The Prophet Joseph Smith, only three months before his martyrdom, said: “… the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and will be given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.” (DHC, vol. 6, p. )

The great hero of ancient Israel was David, the king of Israel; a new leader with this name will yet come forth.

The nations of the earth will gather together against the descendants of Judah, and Judah will be smitten.

Zechariah says, quoting the Lord: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (Zech. )

President Woodruff has also discussed this subject: “… O house of Judah, … It is true that after you return and gather your nation home, and rebuild your City and Temple, that the Gentiles will gather together their armies to go against you to battle, to take you a prey and to take you as a spoil, which they will do, for the words of your prophets must be fulfilled. …” (Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff [Bookcraft, ], p. )

If you wonder how this prophecy could be fulfilled, let me simply remind you that on July 4, , the United Nations General Assembly voted 99 to 0 to condemn Israel because of its annexation of Jerusalem. Twenty countries abstained; 99 countries voted in favor of condemning Israel; not a single nation voted against the condemnation. And if a United Nations military force should be sent into the Middle East to take over Jerusalem again, literally all of the nations of the earth would gather together to battle against Judah.

Two prophets are to be raised up to the Jewish nation.

Joseph Smith has explained the following concerning the two prophets who are mentioned in Revelation –3, 6–12 [Rev. –3, 6–12]:

“Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation? [And the Lord answered:]

“A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.” (D&C )

Orson Pratt has said the following concerning the role of these prophets: “We might bring up, also, the declaration of John in relation to the two witnesses who are to prophecy about that period. They are to prophecy three and a half years, and their field of labor will be Jerusalem, after it shall have been rebuilt by the Jews. By means of their prophecies and the power of God attending them, the nations who are gathered together against Jerusalem will be kept at bay, these Prophets will hold them in check by their faith and power. By and by these nations overcome the two witnesses and, having finished their mission, they are slain, and their bodies will lie three days and a half in the streets of the city. Then a great earthquake will take place, and these two witnesses will be caught up to heaven.” (JD, vol. 16, p. Italics added.)

For a thrilling detailed insight into what is going to take place concerning this, one should read the entire eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

The Savior is to appear to the descendants of Judah.

Zechariah says:

“… they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him. …” (Zech. ) The Doctrine and Covenants provides an even more vivid account, because the Savior, in talking about this, says:

“And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?

“Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.

“And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.” (D&C 51–)

President Woodruff has referred to this great event as follows: “… the Jews have got to gather to their own land in unbelief. … and when they have done this and rebuilt their city, the Gentiles, in fulfillment of the words of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and other prophets, will go up against Jerusalem to battle and to take a spoil and a prey; and then, when they have taken one-half of Jerusalem captive and distressed the Jews for the last time on the earth, their Great Deliverer, Shiloh, will come.” (JD, vol. 15, pp. – Italics added.)

The Messiah will lead the people of Israel to victory and later he will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords.

In fact, Zechariah, in talking about this, says:

“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” (Zech. , 9.)

The Doctrine and Covenants also mentions this event:

“… for the presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which causeth the waters to boil.

“O Lord, thou shalt come down to make thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at thy presence.” (D&C –)

Also, President Woodruff has said that the Savior will fight the battles of Judah: “… but when this affliction comes, the living God, that led Moses through the wilderness, will deliver you, and your Shiloh will come and stand in your midst and will fight your battles; and you will know him, and the afflictions of the Jews will be at an end, while the destruction of the Gentiles will be so great that it will take the whole house of Israel who are gathered about Jerusalem, seven months to bury the dead of their enemies, and the weapons of war will last them seven years for fuel, so that they need not go to any forest for wood. These are tremendous sayings—who can bear them? Nevertheless they are true, and will be fulfilled, according to the sayings of Ezekiel, Zechariah, and other prophets. Though the heavens and the earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will fall unfilled.” (Cowley, pp. –)

Two great world capitals are to be established—one in Zion and one in Jerusalem.

Isaiah has prophesied the following concerning this event (Latter-day prophets have also indicated this scripture pertains to this day, and the same idea is found in the Doctrine and Covenants, section [D&C ]):

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isa. –3.)

President Joseph F. Smith has spoken of these two gathering places as follows: “Jerusalem of old, after the Jews have been cleansed and sanctified from all their sin, shall become a holy city where the Lord shall dwell and from whence he shall send forth his word unto all people. Likewise, on this continent, the city of Zion, New Jerusalem—shall be built, and from it the law of God shall also go forth. There will be no conflict, for each city shall be headquarters for the Redeemer of the world, and from each he shall send forth his proclamations as occasion may require. Jerusalem shall be the gathering place of Judah and his fellows of the house of Israel, and Zion shall be the gathering place of Ephraim and his fellows, upon whose heads shall be conferred ‘the richer blessings.’” (Improvement Era, vol. 22 [], pp. –)

As Latter-day Saints, we should know more about the prophecies pertaining to Israel than any other people on earth, including the Jewish people themselves. We have everything they have, and in addition we have the words of the prophets in the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. We also have living prophets who stand at the head of our church today who can tell us about these great events.

The Savior has admonished us to “search these things diligently.” One purpose of devoting this special issue of the Ensign to the Holy Land is to inspire and motivate Latter-day Saints to learn about the dealings of the Lord with his covenant people.


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Third Temple

Hypothetical rebuilt Jewish holy temple in Jerusalem

This article is about the unrealized Jewish temple. For Herod the Great's massive renovation of the Second Temple, see Herod's Temple.

Not to be confused with Ezekiel's Temple.

The Third Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש השלישי&#;, romanized:&#;Beit haMikdash haShlishi, lit.&#;'The House, the Holy, the Third') is used in reference to a hypothetical rebuilt third Temple in Jerusalem, which would succeed both the original Solomon's Temple (built under Solomon and destroyed in BCE by the Neo-Babylonians) and the Second Temple (built under the Achaemenid Persian Empire and destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans). Although it remains unbuilt, the notion of and desire for a Third Temple in Jerusalem is sacred in Judaism, particularly Orthodox Judaism, and is anticipated as a place of worship. The prophets in the Hebrew Bible called for its construction to be fulfilled prior to, or in tandem with, the Messianic Age. The rebuilding of a Third Temple also plays a major role in some interpretations of Christian eschatology.

The notion of rebuilding a Third Temple atop the site of the first and second temples at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has been espoused by many Israeli Jews[1][2] and remains a key subject of tension between Muslims and Jews as part of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict and peace process.[3][4] While Jerusalem in its entirety has been controlled by Israel since the Six-Day War of , it is largely internationally recognized as disputed territory between Israel and the Palestinian Authority due to both entities proclaiming the undivided city as their capital (see status of Jerusalem).

Attempts at rebuilding

Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, religious Jews have expressed their desire to see the building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount. Prayer for this is a formal part of the Jewish tradition of thrice daily Amidah prayer. Although it remains unbuilt, the notion of and desire for a Third Temple is sacred in Judaism, particularly Orthodox Judaism, and anticipated as a soon-to-be-built place of worship.

Bar Kochba revolt

Main article: Bar Kokhba revolt

Initially, the Emperor Hadrian granted permission to rebuild the temple but then changed his mind. The forces of Simon bar Kokhba captured Jerusalem from the Romans in CE, and construction of a new temple continued.[5] The failure of this revolt led to the writing of the Mishna, as the religious leaders believed that the next attempt to rebuild the temple might be centuries away and memory of the practices and ceremonies would otherwise be lost. As punishment for the revolt, the Romans renamed the city to Aelia Capitolina and the province to Syria Palaestina and Jews were prohibited in the city except for the day of Tisha B'av. However, the Rabbis that survived persecution (see Ten Martyrs) were allowed to continue their school in Javnia, as long as they paid the Fiscus Judaicus.


There was an aborted project under Roman emperor Julian (– CE) to rebuild the Temple. Julian is traditionally called Julian the Apostate due to his policy of reversing Emperor Constantine's Christianization campaign by restoring traditional religious practices and holy places across the Empire. As part of this policy, Julian permitted the Jews to build a Third Temple. Rabbi Hilkiyah, one of the leading rabbis of the time, spurned Julian's money, arguing that gentiles should play no part in the rebuilding of the temple.[citation needed]

According to various ancient sources, including Sozomen (c. – CE) in his Historia Ecclesiastica and the pagan historian and close friend of Julian, Ammianus Marcellinus,[6] the project of rebuilding the temple was aborted because each time the workers tried to build the temple using the existing substructure, they were burned by terrible flames coming from inside the earth and an earthquake negated what work was made:

Julian 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.[7]

The failure to rebuild the Temple has been ascribed to the Galilee earthquake of CE, and to the Jews' ambivalence about the project. Sabotage is a possibility, as is an accidental fire. Divine intervention was the common view among Christian historians of the time.[8] When Julian was killed in battle after a reign of less than three years, the Christians reasserted control over the empire, and the opportunity to rebuild the Temple ended.

Sassanid vassal state

Main article: Jewish revolt against Heraclius

In CE, the Sassanid Empire drove the Byzantine Empire out of the Middle East, giving the Jews control of Jerusalem for the first time in centuries. The new rulers soon ordered the restart of animal sacrifice for the first time since the time of Bar Kochba. Shortly, before the Byzantines took the area back, the Persians gave control to the Christian population, who tore down the partly built edifice,[9] and turned it into a garbage dump, which is what it was when the Caliph Omar took the city in the s.

Muslim conquest of Syria

An Armenian chronicle from the 7th century CE, written by the bishop Sebeos, states that the Jews and Arabs were quarreling amongst each other about their differences of religion during the Siege of Jerusalem in CE but "a man of the sons of Ishmael named Muhammad" gave a "sermon of the Way of Truth, supposedly at God's command" to them saying that they, both the Jews and the Arabs, should unite under the banner of their father Abraham and enter the Holy Land.[10] Sebeos also reports that the Jews began a reconstruction of the temple, but the Arabs expelled them and re-purposed the place for their own prayers. In turn, these Jews built another temple in a different location.[11]

During the Mongol raids into Syria

In , during the Mongol raids into Syria, an interregnum period between the complete domination of the Levant by the crusader states until and the conquest of Levant by the Mamluks in , Nachmanides wrote a letter to his son. It contained the following references to the land and the Temple:

What shall I say of this land The more holy the place the greater the desolation. Jerusalem is the most desolate of all There are about 2, inhabitants but there are no Jews, for after the arrival of the Tartars, the Jews fled, and some were killed by the sword. There are now only two brothers, dyers, who buy their dyes from the government. At their place a quorum of worshippers meets on the Sabbath, and we encourage them, and found a ruined house, built on pillars, with a beautiful dome, and made it into a synagogue People regularly come to Jerusalem, men and women from Damascus and from Aleppo and from all parts of the country, to see the Temple and weep over it. And may He who deemed us worthy to see Jerusalem in her ruins, grant us to see her rebuilt and restored, and the honor of the Divine Presence returned.

Modern rebuilding efforts

Although in mainstream Orthodox Judaism the rebuilding of the Temple is generally left to the coming of the Jewish Messiah and to divine providence, a number of organizations, generally representing a small minority of Orthodox Jews, have been formed with the objective of realizing the immediate construction of a Third Temple in present times.

The Temple Institute and the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement each state that its goal is to build the Third Temple on the Temple Mount (Mount Moriah). The Temple Institute has made several items to be used in the Third Temple.

Attempts to re-establish a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount

In August , after the Israeli capture of the Mount, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (and later chief rabbi of the State of Israel), began organizing public prayer for Jews on the Temple Mount. Rabbi Goren was also well known for his controversial positions concerning Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount. On August 15, , shortly after the Six-Day War, Goren led a group of fifty Jews onto the Temple Mount, where, fighting off protesting Muslim guards and Israeli police, they defiantly held a prayer service.[12] Goren continued to pray for many years in the Makhkame building overlooking the Temple Mount where he conducted yearly High Holy Days services. His call for the establishment of a synagogue on the Temple Mount has subsequently been reiterated by his brother-in-law, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, She'ar Yashuv Cohen.

Goren was sharply criticized by the Israeli Defense Ministry, who, noting Goren's senior rank, called his behaviour inappropriate. The episode led the Chief Rabbis of the time to restate the accepted laws of Judaism that no Jews were allowed on the mount due to issues of ritual impurity. The secular authorities welcomed this ruling as it preserved the status quo with the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf. Disagreeing with his colleagues, Goren continually maintained that Jews were not only permitted, but commanded, to ascend and pray on the mount.

Goren repeatedly advocated or supported building a Third Temple on the Temple Mount from the s onward, and was associated with various messianic projects involving the site. In the summer of , Goren and several other rabbis joined Rabbi Yehuda Getz, who worked for the Religious Affairs Ministry at the Western Wall, in touring a chamber underneath the mount that Getz had excavated, where the two claimed to have seen the Ark of the Covenant. The tunnel was shortly discovered and resulted in a massive brawl between young Jews and Arabs in the area. The tunnel was quickly sealed with concrete by Israeli police.[13] The sealed entrance can be seen from the Western Wall Tunnel, which opened to the public in

The Chief Rabbis of Israel, Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim, together with other leading rabbis, asserted that "For generations we have warned against and refrained from entering any part of the Temple Mount."[14] A recent study of this rabbinical ruling suggests that it was both "unprecedented" and possibly prompted by governmental pressure on the rabbis, and "brilliant" in preventing Muslim–Jewish friction on the Mount.[15] Rabbinical consensus in the Religious Zionist stream of Orthodox Judaism continues to hold that it is forbidden for Jews to enter any part of the Temple Mount[16] and in January a declaration was signed confirming the decision.[17] On the eve of Shavuot in , or 6th Sivan, in the Hebrew calendar, Jews ascended the Temple Mount; some were photographed in prayer.[18]


The most immediate and obvious obstacle to realization of these goals is the fact that two historic Islamic structures which are 13 centuries old, namely the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, are built on top of the Temple Mount. Any efforts to damage or reduce access to these sites, or to build Jewish structures within, between, beneath, beside, cantilevered on top of, or instead of them, could lead to severe international conflicts, given the association of the Muslim world with these holy places.[19]

The Dome of the Rock is regarded as occupying the actual space where the Second Temple once stood, but some scholars disagree and instead claim that the Temple was located either just north of the Dome of the Rock, or about meters south of it, with access to the Gihon fresh water spring, or perhaps between the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.[citation needed]

In addition, most Orthodox Jewish scholars reject any attempts to build the Temple before the coming of Messiah. This is because there are many doubts as to the exact location in which it is required to be built. For example, while measurements are given in cubits, there exists a controversy whether this unit of measurement equals approximately 45 or 60&#;cm (1+1&#;2 or 2&#;ft).[citation needed] Without exact knowledge of the size of a cubit, the altar could not be built. The Talmud recounts that the building of the Second Temple was only possible under the direct prophetic guidance of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Without valid prophetic revelation, it would be impossible to rebuild the Temple, even if the mosques no longer occupied its location.

Despite obstacles, efforts are under way by various analytical groups to articulate the benefits to local and regional constituents and participants to encourage developments that would progressively align in support. It is known from the Talmud[20] that in the time of King Agrippa, Jerusalem was filled with millions of visitors and pilgrims from the entire region. Today the potential of spiritual tourism would support the growth goals of the Mayor of Jerusalem[21] for 10 million tourists annually. This would provide a significant boost to the economy and would benefit people locally and regionally, many of whom live in poverty.[22] Since the rebuilding of the Temple can come only through a process of peace,[23] it must be preceded by numerous efforts, including the financial and project infrastructures to support such a large increase in tourism, local and regional co-operation agreements to enable its construction and the success of modern attempts to revive the Sanhedrin, the authority which must be empowered for such an event to occur.

Status of Temple Mount

Main article: Temple Mount

Many rabbis interpret halakha (Jewish religious law) as prohibiting Jews from entering the Holy of Holies.[24] The situation is complicated as the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque fall under control of Muslim clerics, but Israeli police administer its security.[25] According to CNN:

In , rumors that Jewish extremists planned to start rebuilding the Temple started a riot in which 17 Palestinians were killed and scores wounded by police gunfire. In , the Israeli government opened an archeological tunnel just outside the compound, sparking riots in which 80 people, most of them Palestinians, were killed.[25]

A visit to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon resulted in a clash between "stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli troops, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd," coinciding with the beginning of the Second Intifada (widely interpreted as having ended in ).[25] During the Sukkot festival in , National UnionKnesset member Uri Ariel visited the Temple Mount without incident and the Israeli police witnessed no provocation by the protestors.[24]

Jewish views

Orthodox Judaism

Orthodox Judaism believes in the rebuilding of a Third Temple and the resumption of korban (sacrifices), although there is disagreement about how rebuilding should take place. Orthodox scholars and rabbinic authorities generally believe that rebuilding should occur in the era of the Jewish messiah at the hand of divine providence, although a minority position, following the opinion of Maimonides, holds that Jews should endeavour to rebuild the temple themselves, whenever possible.[26][unreliable source?]

The generally accepted position among Orthodox Jews is that the full order of the sacrifices will be resumed upon the building of the Temple.[citation needed] This belief is embedded in Orthodox Jewish prayer services. Three times a day, Orthodox Jews recite the Amidah, which contains prayers for the Temple's restoration and for the resumption of sacrifices, and every day there is a recitation of the order of the day's sacrifices and the psalms the Levites would have sung that day. Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist authorities disavow all belief in the resumption of korban.[citation needed]

Maimonides wrote in The Guide for the Perplexed "that God deliberately has moved Jews away from sacrifices towards prayer, as prayer is a higher form of worship". However, in his Jewish legal code, the Mishneh Torah, he states that animal sacrifices will resume in the Third Temple, and details how they will be carried out.[citation needed] Some[who?] attribute to Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook the view that animal sacrifices will not be reinstituted. These views on the Temple service are sometimes misconstrued (for example, in Olat Raiyah, commenting on the prophecy of Malachi ("Then the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to God as in the days of old and as in former years" [Malachi ]), Kook indicates that only grain offerings will be offered in the reinstated Temple service, while in a related essay from Otzarot Hare'ayah (Igrot HaRaiyah?) he suggests otherwise).[citation needed]

Conservative Judaism

Conservative Judaism believes in a messiah and in a rebuilt Temple, but does not believe in the restoration of sacrifices. Accordingly, Conservative Judaism's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards has modified the prayers. Conservative prayerbooks call for the restoration of Temple, but do not ask for resumption of sacrifices. The Orthodox study session on sacrifices in the daily morning service has been replaced with the Talmudic passages teaching that deeds of loving-kindness now atone for sin.

In the daily Amidah prayer, the central prayer in Jewish services, the petitions to accept the "fire offerings of Israel" and "the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem" (Malachi ) are removed. In the special Mussaf Amidah prayer said on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, the Hebrew phrase na'ase ve'nakriv (we will present and sacrifice) is modified to read to asu ve'hikrivu (they presented and sacrificed), implying that sacrifices are a thing of the past. The prayer for the restoration of "the House of our lives" and the Shekhinah to dwell "among us" in the weekday Torah reading service is retained in Conservative prayer books, although not all Conservative services say it. In Conservative prayer books, words and phrases that have dual meaning, referring to both Temple features and theological or poetic concepts, are generally retained. Translations and commentaries, however, generally refer to the poetic or theological meanings only. Conservative Judaism also takes an intermediate position on Kohanim and Levites, preserving patrilineal tribal descent and some aspects of their roles, but lifting restrictions on whom Kohanim are permitted to marry.

In , the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards adapted a series of responsa on the subject of the role, in Conservative Judaism, of Niddah, a description of a woman during menstruation, which was considered in relation to the role of Temple-related concepts of ritual purity within contemporary Judaism. One responsum adopted by a majority of the Committee held that concepts of ritual purity relevant to entry into the Temple are no longer applicable to contemporary Judaism and accepted a proposal to change the term "family purity" to "family holiness" and to explain the continuing observance of niddah on a different basis from continuity with Temple practices.[27][28] Another responsum, also adopted by a majority of the Committee, called for retaining existing observances, terminology, and rationale, and held that these Temple-related observances and concepts continued to have contemporary impact and meaning.[29] Thus, consistent with Conservative Judaism's philosophy of pluralism, both views of the continuing relevance of Temple-related concepts of ritual purity are permissible Conservative views.

Theodor Herzl includes the reconstructed Temple in his novel Altneuland, but along with an intact Dome of the Rock.[30]

Reform Judaism

Reform Judaism does not believe in the rebuilding of a central Temple or a restoration of Temple sacrifices or worship. It regards the Temple and sacrificial era as a period of a more primitive form of ritual from which Judaism has evolved and should not return. It also believes a special role for Kohanim and Levites represents a caste system incompatible with modern principles of egalitarianism, and does not preserve these roles. Furthermore, there is a Reform view that the shul or synagogue is a modern Temple; hence, "Temple" appears in numerous congregation names in Reform Judaism. Indeed, the re-designation of the synagogue as "temple" was one of the hallmarks of early Reform in 19th-century Germany, when Berlin was declared the new Jerusalem, and Reform Jewry sought to demonstrate their staunch German nationalism. The Anti-Zionism that characterized Reform Judaism throughout much of its history subsided somewhat with the Holocaust in Europe and the later successes of the modern state of Israel. The belief in the return of the Jews to the Temple in Jerusalem is not part of mainstream Reform Judaism.

Christian views

See also: Christian views on the Old Covenant

While there are a number of differing views amongst Christianity with regard to the significance or the requirement of a third temple being built in Jerusalem, according to the writers of the New Testament, the New Covenant (spoken of in Jeremiah –34) is marked by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer (Ezekiel–27) and that therefore every believer's body and every gathering of believers comprise the temple, or that the temple has been superseded. Paul illustrates this concept in his letter to the believers at Corinth:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians NASB)

This idea is related to the belief that Christ himself, having claimed to be and do what the temple was and did, is the new temple (John –21), and that his people, as a part of the "body of Christ" (meaning the church), are part of this temple as well (2 Corinthians ; Ephesians –22; 1 Peter –5). The result, according to N. T. Wright, is that the earthly temple (along with the city of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel) is no longer of any spiritual significance:

[Paul] refers to the church, and indeed to individual Christians, as the 'temple of the living God' (1 Cor. , ). To Western Christians, thinking anachronistically of the temple as simply the Jewish equivalent of a cathedral, the image is simply one metaphor among many and without much apparent significance. For a first-century Jew, however, the Temple had an enormous significance; as a result, when Paul uses such an image within twenty-five years of the Crucifixion (with the actual temple still standing), it is a striking index of the immense change that has taken place in his [Paul’s] thought. The Temple had been superseded by the Church. If this is so for the Temple, and in Romans 4 for the Land, then it must a fortiori be the case for Jerusalem, which formed the concentric circle in between those two in the normal Jewish worldview.[31]

In the teaching of both Jesus and Paul, then, according to Wright,

God’s house in Jerusalem was meant to be a ‘place of prayer for all the nations’ (Isaiah ; Mark ); but God would now achieve this through the new temple, which was Jesus himself and his people.[31]

Ben F. Meyer, also, argued that Jesus applied prophecy regarding Zion and temple to himself and his followers:

[Jesus] affirmed the prophecies of salvation with their end-time imagery Zion and the temple—belonging to the eschatological themes that the "pilgrimage of the peoples" evoked. But contrary to the common expectation of his contemporaries, Jesus expected the destruction of the temple in the coming eschatological ordeal (Mark =Matt =Luke ). The combination seems contradictory. How could he simultaneously predict the ruin of the temple in the ordeal and affirm the end-time fulfilment of promise and prophecy on Zion and temple? The paradox is irresolvable until one takes note of another trait of Jesus' words on the imagery of Zion and temple, namely, the consistent application to his own disciples of Zion- and temple-imagery: the city on the mountain (Matt ; cf. Thomas, 32), the cosmic rock (Matt ; cf. John ), the new sanctuary (Mark ; Matt ). The mass of promise and prophecy will come to fulfilment in this eschatological and messianic circle of believers.[32]

Some would therefore see the need for a third temple as being diminished, redundant, or entirely foreclosed and superseded, while others take a position that the building of the third temple is an integral part of Christian eschatology. The various perspectives on the significance of the building of a third temple within Christianity are therefore generally linked to a number of factors including: the level of literal or spiritual interpretation applied to what is taken to be "end-time" prophecy; the perceived relationships between various scriptures such as Daniel, the Olivet discourse, 2 Thessalonians and Ezekiel (amongst others); whether or not a dual-covenant is considered to be in place; and whether Old Testament promises of the restoration of Israel remain unfulfilled or have all come true in the Messiah (2 Corinthians ). Such factors determine, for example, whether Daniel or 2 Thessalonians are read as referring to a still-future physically restored third temple.

A number of these perspectives are illustrated below.

Christian mainstream

The dominant view within Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christianity is that animal sacrifices within the Temple were a foreshadowing of the sacrificeJesus made for the sins of the world through his crucifixion and shedding of his blood on the first day of Passover.[33] The Epistle to the Hebrews is often cited in support of this view: the temple sacrifices are described as being imperfect, since they require repeating (ch. –4), and as belonging to a covenant that was "becoming obsolete and growing old" and was "ready to vanish away" (ch. , ESV). See also Abrogation of Old Covenant laws. Christ's crucifixion, being a sacrifice which dealt with sin once and for all, negated any need for further animal sacrifice. Christ himself is compared to the High Priest who was always standing and performing rituals and sacrifices. Christ, however, having performed his sacrifice, "sat down" — perfection having been finally attained (ch. –14,18). Further, the veil or curtain to the Holy of Holies is seen as having been torn asunder at the crucifixion – figuratively in connection with this theology (Ch –21), and literally according to the Gospel of Matthew (ch –51). For these reasons, a third temple, whose partial purpose would be the re-institution of animal sacrifices, is seen as unnecessary and thus superseded. Irenaeus[34] and Hippolytus[35] were among early church writers who foresaw a rebuilding of the Temple, as necessary for the preparation for the reign of the Antichrist.

Additionally, Jesus himself stated, in response to a Samaritan asking whether it is right to worship on Mount Gerizim or Mount Zion, that "a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem But in spirit and in truth". He stated of the Herodian temple, "Not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down" – John , Luke


"Ground Plan of Ezekiel's Temple" by dispensationalist author A. C. Gaebelein

Those Protestants who do believe in the importance of a future rebuilt temple (viz., some dispensationalists) hold that the importance of the sacrificial system shifts to a Memorial of the Cross, given the text of Ezekiel Chapters 39 and following (in addition to Millennial references to the Temple in other Old Testament passages); since Ezekiel explains at length the construction and nature of the Millennial temple, in which Jews will once again hold the priesthood; some others hold that perhaps it was not completely eliminated with Jesus' sacrifice for sin, but is a ceremonial object lesson for confession and forgiveness (somewhat like water baptism and Communion are today); and that such animal sacrifices would still be appropriate for ritual cleansing and for acts of celebration and thanksgiving toward God. Some dispensationalists believe this will be the case with the Second Coming when Jesus reigns over earth from the city of New Jerusalem.[specify] Some interpret a passage in the Book of Daniel, Daniel , as a prophecy that the end of this age will occur shortly after sacrifices are ended in the newly rebuilt temple.[citation needed]

In , Charles Wesley wrote:[36]

We know, it must be done,
For God hath spoke the word,
All Israel shall their Saviour own,
To their first state restor’d:
Re-built by his command,
Jerusalem shall rise,
Her temple on Moriah stand
Again, and touch the skies.

Dispensational Evangelical

Many Evangelical Christians believe that New Testament prophecies associated with the Jewish Temple, such as Matthew 24–25 and 2 Thessalonians –12, were not completely fulfilled during the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (a belief of full preterism) and that these prophecies refer to a future temple. This view is a core part of dispensationalism, an interpretative framework of the Bible that stresses biblical literalism and asserts that the Jews remain God's chosen people. According to dispensationalist theologians, such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye, the Third Temple will be rebuilt when the Antichrist, often identified as the political leader of a trans-national alliance similar to the European Union or the United Nations, secures a peace treaty between the modern nation of Israel and its neighbours following a global war. The Antichrist later uses the temple as a venue for proclaiming himself as God and the long-awaited Messiah, demanding worship from humanity.

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox

Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that the Eucharist, which they hold to be one in substance with the one self-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, is a far superior offering when compared with the merely preparatory temple sacrifices, as explained in the Epistle to the Hebrews. They also believe that Christ Himself is the New Temple, as spoken of in the Book of Revelation and that Revelation can best be understood as the Eucharist, heaven on earth. Their church buildings are meant to model Solomon's Temple, with the Tabernacle, containing the Eucharist, being considered the new "Holy of Holies." Therefore, they do not attach any significance to a possible future rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple.

The Orthodox also quote Daniel (" he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease ") to show that the sacrifices would stop with the arrival of the Messiah, and mention that according to Jesus, St. Paul and the Holy Fathers, the temple will only be rebuilt in the times of the Antichrist.

Quotations: Matthew "When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)"

2 Thessalonians –4 "Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed,* the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God,* claiming that he is a god — do you not recall that while I was still with you I told you these things?"

Latter Day Saints

Latter Day Saints believe that the Jews will build the Third Temple before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ,[37] and after the Second Coming the Jews will accept Jesus as the Messiah. Most Jews will then embrace the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, it is believed, the Third Temple will be God's temple as Christ reigns on the earth, and it will become the Jerusalem LDS Temple.[citation needed] There will be many LDS Temples but two main temples will jointly serve as the central governing places – the Jerusalem Temple will function as the resurrected Jesus Christ's Eastern Hemisphere governing place and the New Jerusalem Temple in Independence, Missouri will function as the resurrected Jesus Christ's Western Hemisphere governing place.[citation needed] Both of these two temples will have thrones for Jesus Christ to sit on during his millennial reign.[38]

The Community of Christ, the second largest denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement, has operated a temple, open to the public, in Independence, Missouri, since Another denomination of the LDS movement, the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), possess the Temple Lot, the actual spot on which the Temple will be built.

Muslim view

Most Muslims view the movement for the building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount as an affront to Islam due to the presence of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in the stead of the former Holy Temple. Today the area is regarded by the majority of Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam. Muslims are resolute in calling for recognition of their exclusive rights over the site and demand that it be wholly transferred to Muslim sovereignty; furthermore, some Muslims deny any association with the Mount to the former Jewish Temples which stood at the site.[39][40]

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was initiated in reaction to Denis Michael Rohan, an Australian Christian who set fire to a 12th-century pulpit of the Al-Aqsa mosque, in an attempt to initiate the second coming of Christ. The protection of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in the primary mandate of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Baháʼí view

In the Baháʼí Faith, the prophecy of the Third Temple was fulfilled with the writing of the Súriy-i-Haykal by Bahá'u'lláh in pentacle form.[41] The Súriy-i-Haykal or Tablet of the Temple, is a composite work which consists of a tablet followed by five messages addressed to world leaders; shortly after its completion, Bahá'u'lláh instructed the tablet be written in the form of a pentacle, symbolizing the human temple and added to it the conclusion:[42]

Thus have We built the Temple with the hands of power and might, could ye but know it. This is the Temple promised unto you in the Book. Draw ye nigh unto it. This is that which profiteth you, could ye but comprehend it. Be fair, O peoples of the earth! Which is preferable, this, or a temple which is built of clay? Set your faces towards it. Thus have ye been commanded by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.[43]

Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baháʼí Faith in the first half of the 20th century, explained that this verse refers to the prophecy in the Hebrew Bible where Zechariah had promised the rebuilding of the Temple in the End Times as fulfilled in the return of the Manifestation of God, Bahá'u'lláh, in a human temple.[42][44] Throughout the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh addresses the Temple (himself) and explains the glory which is invested in it allowing all the nations of the world to find redemption.[41][45] In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh states that the Manifestation of God is a pure mirror that reflects the sovereignty of God and manifests God's beauty and grandeur to mankind.[41] In essence, Bahá'u'lláh explains that the Manifestation of God is a "Living Temple" and Bahá'u'lláh addresses the organs and limbs of the human body and bids each to focus on God and not the earthly world.[41]

See also


  1. ^"Arab Normalization Emboldens 'Third Temple' Israeli Fanatics". Inside Arabia. 28 September Retrieved 6 May
  2. ^"The Israelis who take rebuilding the Third Temple very seriously". Retrieved 6 May
  3. ^"Netanyahu to UN: Construction of Third Temple Will not be an Obstacle to Peace with Palestinians". The Mideast Beast. 26 January Retrieved 6 May
  4. ^"Religion and the Israel-Palestinian Conflict: Cause, Consequence, and Cure". The Washington Institute. Retrieved 6 May
  6. ^See Britannica Deluxe and Stewart Henry Perowne
  7. ^(The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus, Book 23 Chap. 1 Line 3).
  8. ^See "Julian and the Jews – CE" and "Julian the Apostate and the Holy Temple"Archived at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^Karmi, Ghada (). Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?. Garnet & Ithaca Press. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  10. ^Sebeos' History Translated from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian
  11. ^Sebeos' History, Chapter [1] See also Crone & Cook, Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (Cambridge University Press, ), p. 10; Suermann, H. "Early Islam in the Light of Christian and Jewish Sources" in Neuwrith, Sinai, & Marx (eds.), The Qur'ān in Context (Brill, ), pp. –; and Wright, Robert, The Evolution of God, ebook edition, chapter 16 (Little, Brown and Company, ) for discussions of this and related accounts.
  12. ^"Forcing the End. (Evangelicals and rabbis' look at the Six day War and views about End Times)".
  13. ^"Preparations for a Third Jewish Temple. (Goren about Temple Mount)".
  14. ^Lapidoth, Ruth; Ruth E Lapidoth; Moshe Hirsch (). The Jerusalem Question and Its Resolution: Selected Documents. Jerusalem: Martinus Nijhoff. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  15. ^Hassner, Ron E., "War on Sacred Grounds," Cornell University Press (), pp. –
  16. ^These rabbis include: Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel; Zalman Baruch Melamed, rosh yeshiva of the Beit El yeshiva; Eliezer Waldenberg, former rabbinical judge in the Rabbinical Supreme Court of the State of Israel; Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Chief Rabbi of Palestine (Mikdash-Build (Vol. I, No. 26)Archived at the Wayback Machine); Avigdor Nebenzahl, Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem.
  17. ^These rabbis include: Rabbis Yona Metzger (Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shlomo Amar (Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Ovadia Yosef (spiritual leader of Sefardi Haredi Judaism and of the Shas party, and former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron (former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shmuel Rabinowitz (rabbi of the Western Wall); Avraham Shapiro (former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shlomo Aviner (rosh yeshiva of Ateret Cohanim); Yisrael Meir Lau (former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv). Source: Leading rabbis rule Temple Mount is off-limits to Jews
  18. ^"Temple Mount is Jewish for a Day". Arutz Sheva. Archived from the original on 3 June Retrieved 4 June
  19. ^"Radical cleric calls for 'Islamic war' for Jerusalem". Arutz Sheva. 24 July Retrieved 16 August
  20. ^Psachim 64b
  21. ^"An Interview with Nir Barkat". Foreign Policy.
  22. ^[permanent dead link]
  23. ^"Archived copy"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 24 July Retrieved 17 June CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ ab"Rightist MK Ariel visits Temple Mount as thousands throng Wall". Haaretz. 9 October Archived from the original on 10 February Retrieved 8 May
  25. ^ abc"Israeli troops, Palestinians clash after Sharon visits Jerusalem sacred site". CNN. Archived from the original on 15 June Retrieved 9 May
  26. ^"Reb Chaim HaQoton- ר' חיים הקטן".
  27. ^Rabbi Susan Grossman (6 December ). "Mikveh and the sanctity of being created human, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards"(PDF). Rabbinical Assembly. Archived from the original(PDF) on 7 April
  28. ^Rabbi Miriam Berkowitz (6 December ). "RESHAPING THE LAWS OF FAMILY PURITY FOR THE MODERN WORLD, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards"(PDF). Rabbinical Assembly. Archived from the original(PDF) on 20 March
  29. ^Rabbi Avram Reisner (6 December ). "Observing niddah in our day: An Inquiry on the status of purity and the prohibition of sexual activity with a menstruant, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards"(PDF). Rabbinical Assembly. Archived from the original(PDF) on 7 April
  30. ^Herzl, Theodor (). Altneuland. English Translation by Lotta Levenson. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishing and the Herzl Press. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  31. ^ abN. T. Wright, "Jerusalem in the New Testament" ()
  32. ^Ben F. Meyer, "The Temple at the Navel of the Earth," in Christus Faber: the master builder and the house of God, Princeton Theological Monograph Series no. 29 (Allison Park, Pa.: Pickwick Publications, ) ,
  33. ^Assuming Nisan 15, see Chronology of Jesus#Scholarly debate on the hour, day, and year of death for details.
  34. ^"Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapters 21 to 41 - CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry".
  35. ^Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, Pt Sn s:Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus/Dogmatical and Historical/Treatise on Christ and Antichrist
  36. ^"A Wesley 'Zionist' Hymn? Charles Wesley's hymn, published in and included by John Wesley in his hymn-book, A Collection of Hymns for the use of the People called Methodists". The Wesley Fellowship. 1 July Archived from the original on 17 July Retrieved 5 July
  37. ^Smith, Joseph Fielding (). Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Deseret Book. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  38. ^Smith, Joseph Fielding (–). Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 3 vols. compiled by Bruce R. McConkie. BookcraftSalt Lake City, Utah.[volume&#;needed][page&#;needed]
  39. ^Fendel, Hillel (6 November ). "Israeli Sheikh: Temple Mount is Entirely Islamic". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 12 November
  40. ^Sheikh Salah: Western Wall belongs to Muslims, February 18,
  41. ^ abcdTaherzadeh, Adib (). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 3: 'Akka, The Early Years –77. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  42. ^ abUniversal House of Justice (). "Introduction". The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Baháʼí World Centre. p.&#;1. ISBN&#;.
  43. ^Bahá'u'lláh (). The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Baháʼí World Centre. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  44. ^Effendi, Shoghi (). Promised Day is Come. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. pp.&#;47– ISBN&#;.
  45. ^Shawamreh, Cynthia C. (December ). "Comparison of the Suriy-i-Haykal and the Prophecies of Zechariah". Retrieved 30 September

Further reading

  • Gorenberg, Gershom. The End of Days&#;: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. Free Press, ISBN&#; (Journalist's view)
  • David Ha'ivri. Reclaiming the Temple Mount. HaMeir L'David, ISBN&#; (Overview of the History of the Temple Mount and advocacy of immediate rebuilding of a Third Temple)
  • Grant R. Jeffrey. The New Temple and The Second Coming. WaterBrook Press, ISBN&#;
  • N. T. Wright, "Jerusalem in the New Testament" () (Jesus claimed to do and be what the Temple was and did)
  • Ben F. Meyer. "The Temple at the Navel of the Earth," in Christus Faber: the master builder and the house of God. Princeton Theological Monograph Series no. Allison Park, Pa.: Pickwick Publications, (Arguing that, for Jesus, the real referents of the imagery of biblical promise—Zion, or cosmic rock and, on it, God's gleaming temple of the end of days—were himself and his messianic remnant of believers.)

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