Since last night, I've been studying about the rebuilding of the Third Temple (the upcoming third building of Solomon's Temple). It's one of the signs of Jesus' return, and it's kind of a hard thing to miss, so I wanted to know what the status of that was. Well, I found out that it'll be a bigger deal than I ever realized.
The location of Solomon's Temple was on the Temple Mount (a fact which in retrospect seems more than a little obvious). If you're familiar with the Temple Mount, you'll know that this is the location of the Dome of the Rock, otherwise known as THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE FEATURE IN JERUSALEM.
I've always liked the Dome. It looks amazing, and I'd love to go there to photograph it. However, in order for the Temple to be rebuilt, the Dome has to come down. This is where the "bigger deal" comes in. In Islamic beliefs, this is the spot where Muhammad ascended into Heaven. Tearing down the Dome to build the Temple would basically be like tearing down the White House to build a new Kremlin. Or tearing down the Giza Pyramids to build a Walmart (but I honestly wouldn't put that past them).
One thing that would definitely help speed up the rebuilding process is the reformation of the Sanhedrin. In 2004, there was an attempt to officially revive the Sanhedrin, but they weren't officially recognized by the State of Israel or the Jewish community. I believe if the Temple was to be rebuilt, the Sanhedrin would have to be reformed first.
That still leaves the issue of the Dome of the Rock. Will it necessarily need to be destroyed in order to rebuild the Temple? Well, let's look at the verse I linked above:
Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, “Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months.
It's possible the "outer courtyard" that "has been turned over to the nations" is referring to Dome of the Rock. Meaning there is likely a way to have both the Dome and rebuilt Temple on the Temple Mount. I'm not sure how that would work, but the Bible talks about a peace treaty so it could be that they do find a way. It will definitely happen, because it's been prophesized. It's a matter of when, not if.