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JERUSALEM -- A group called the Temple Mount Faithful, which seeks to rebuild the Third Temple on the politically and spiritually explosive piece of real estate known as the Temple Mount, plans to take the first dramatic step next month when it lays the cornerstone for the reconstruction project.
The ceremony, in which a block of marble weighing 4.5 tonnes is to be set on the location of the First and Second Temples, is scheduled for the third day of the festival of Sukkoth, or Oct. 7 at 9:30 am.
For years, the Temple Mount Faithful, led by Gershon Salomon, has been preparing for the day that Jews in Israel will rebuild the Temple and restore traditional rituals including animal sacrifices to atone for sin. The group has been recreating ancient Temple vessels necessary for rites and training priests for worship ceremonies.
The stone is currently located in the middle of a traffic circle which was especially built by the municipality of Jerusalem for this purpose. The circle is not far from the Damascus Gate of the Old City, near the third wall of the Second Temple era, near to the special monument for the soldiers who died for the liberation of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War and near to the U.S. Consulate.
The group plans to transport the cornerstone, which will be covered with Tallith, or prayer shawl and accompanied by Levites, or Jewish priests, who will anoint the stone. The priests will be dressed in white garments faithfully recreated in recent years according to biblical laws.
"We want to renew everything which belongs to the Temple and biblical tradition," says Salomon, who adds that he believes the Temple will be fully rebuilt and used for worship soon. "We know that we are living in a special exciting time of the redemption of the people and the land of Israel, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. We feel and live the special significance of this time. The members of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement dedicated themselves to fulfill the wish of the God of Israel and the prophecies of the prophets of Israel for the end-times."
Two Muslim shrines, the Al-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, also occupy part of the Temple Mount, thus making it one of the hottest flashpoints in the Middle East. The Temple Mount Faithful believe their Messiah will only come when the Temple is rebuilt and used, once again, in full worship ceremonies.
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