Our Lord's prediction of the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem in 70 A.D., over which He laments in the Gospel today, prompts us to look for our salvation to the Heavenly Jerusalem, our Mother the Church, which is being prepared through these present trials to be the holy and immaculate Bride of Christ. All that was authentic in the Old Testament religion has been carried over into the Catholic Church, the New Israel, in which true and acceptable worship is offered to God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We read in the Prophet Malachias: "For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation, for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal.1:11).
The Church appears as the New Israel in the "great sign" described by St. John in the Apocalypse: "And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Apoc.12:1). The Woman is the Church, represented by the Blessed Virgin Mary, clothed with the sun - Jesus Christ - and crowned with twelve stars signifying the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles.
The Fathers of the Church, like St. Augustine in his great work The City of God, rightly taught that Judaism prefigured Christianity and ceased to exist as an authentic religion after Jesus Christ established His Church. This teaching was solidly based on Holy Scripture, such as the words of St. Paul in Galatians: "For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, which corresponds to the present Jerusalem, and is in slavery with her children. But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother" (Gal.4:25,26). But critics of the Church's traditional teaching, such as the Protestant Evangelicals, are branding this teaching "Replacement Theology."
The Evangelicals, used to saying "Amen" to the words of Bible teachers like Hal Lindsay and Jack van Impe, support the cause of Jewish Zionism, including the rebuilding of the Temple and the repossession of all the lands which God promised His chosen people. But the Evangelicals, who have considerable influence upon the "higher ups" in the U.S. government, are making a disastrous mistake in identifying the modern state of Israel with ancient Israel. All of God's promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His Church. The modern Jewish Talmudic religion is built on the skeletal remains of a once living religion which enslaves its adherents, giving them false hopes of a golden age to come - the Messianic Age - in which they will rule the world. As the Evangelicals see it, the Jerusalem Temple must be rebuilt so that Jesus Christ, after defeating the Antichrist and converting the surviving Jews, will reign from the Temple in Jerusalem for a thousand years.
Too bad for the Church! What ever happened to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb? But the Church will not be left waiting like a jilted bride at the altar for a bridegroom who will never come. It is true that God still loves the Jews, and that a remnant will turn to Christ shortly before His Second Coming, but this does not mean that the former spouse, the old Israel, will be revived and re-espoused to Christ. The Jews will be saved only by believing in Jesus Christ and accepting Baptism.
The Jewish Zionists are indeed planning to rebuild the Temple, and to reinstate the priesthood and Temple worship as it was practiced in the ancient Temple, including animal sacrifice. Before the Lord's Crucifixion, animal sacrifice was accepted by God because it was a foreshadowing of the true Sacrifice of the Lamb of God on Calvary. To offer animal sacrifice now would be blasphemy, a denial of the efficacy of the Blood of Christ. The blood of animals had no power of itself to take away sin, as the Blood of Christ does, as St. Paul explains in Hebrews: "For the Law, having but a shadow of the good things to come, and not the exact image of the objects, is never able by the sacrifices which they offer continually, year after year the same, to perfect those who draw near… For it is impossible that sins should be taken away with blood of bulls and goats" (Heb.10:1;4).
Only one thing now stands in the way of the Jewish Zionist plans to rebuild the Temple - the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest Islamic Shrine, which stands upon the site of the ancient Temple, called by the Jews the Temple Mount. How long it will be allowed to remain there may be judged from the following message on the website of a group called the Temple Mount Faithful:
"Shalom and Welcome - to the home page of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement. The goal of the Temple Mount Faithful is the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in our lifetime in accordance with the Word of G-d and all the Hebrew prophets and the liberation of the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation so that it may be consecrated to the Name of G-d" (templemountfaithful.org).
In their mistaken zeal to rebuild the Temple, the Zionists have set foot upon the road that leads to Armageddon. The United States, and other nations which should have taken a "hands off" policy towards Israel, should hear the word of the Lord: "And it shall come to pass in that day that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone to all people. All that shall lift it up shall be rent and torn: and all the kingdoms of the earth shall be gathered together against her" (Zacharias 12: 3).
The true Temple, in fact, has already been restored. St. John, like St. Luke, speaks about Jesus cleansing the Temple, and he has these additional details: "The Jews therefore said to him, 'What sign dost thou show us, seeing that thou dost these things?' In answer Jesus said to them, 'Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews therefore said, 'Forty-six years has this temple been in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking of the temple of His body" (Jn.2:18-21). The restored Temple is the Risen Christ and His Mystical Body, the Church.
In a shocking new development the present Vatican incumbents have also rejected the "Replacement Theology" idea, and have become fellow travelers with the Jews, perhaps to share in their fate. They now say that the Old Covenant was never revoked, and that it is a separate covenant through which the Jews find salvation without Jesus Christ. This is a great injustice towards the Jews because it denies them the opportunity of believing in the Gospel of Christ and being saved in His Name. Worse than any Auschwicz, it is a death sentence against the Jews with eternal consequences, since Jesus said to them, "Unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah) you will die in your sin" (John 8: 24).
For our salvation we look to the spiritual Temple, the New Israel, Holy Mother Church, described by St. John in the Apocalypse: "And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold the dwelling of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God'" (Apoc.21:2,3).
Grant us, Lord, a true understanding of Thy word, so that freed from slavery to earthly things, we may enter the Heavenly Jerusalem, our Mother, through the merits of Thy Divine Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.