The Temple Institute announced today that it is building a stone altar starting today:
“And when you make for Me an altar of stones, you shall not build them of hewn stones, lest you wield your sword upon it and desecrate it.” Exodus 20:25
July 29, 2009 – Building a Holy Temple begins with the first stone. With this in mind, the Temple Institute has embarked upon building the mizbeach – the stone altar. Stones have been gathered from an area of the Dead Sea, where it can be safely verified that no metal tool has ever touched the stones’ surfaces. The stones were then wrapped so as to guarantee that they would not come in contact with metal as they were transported to the community of Mitzpe Yericho, east of Jerusalem.
There the stones are to be assembled with specially prepared cement. The altar will be small in scale, but within the dimensions required by halacha, (Jewish law), and will be fit for use. However, the altar can only be used in its proper location on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The altar’s small size will facilitate its quick transport to Jerusalem at the first possible opportunity.
The altar is being constructed on Tish’a b’Av, the day that the nation of Israel fasts in commemoration of the destruction of the first and second Holy Temple. Observing the fast day does not preclude making preparations for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. On the contrary, there is no better occassion than the 9th of Av for buiding the altar upon which the Divine service will be renewed. http://www.templeinstitute.org/events.htm#build-altar
It should be pointed out, according to the Bible (Ezra 3:6) and the Temple Institute (please see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?), a temple is NOT necessary to resume animal sacrifices. Only an altar is.
A possible ascent on the Temple Mount is planned for tomorrow (please see Planned Temple Mount Ascent). But historically, the Israeli politicians have stopped that type of ascent.
Eventually, the Bible shows that Israel will allow for sacrifices at least near some former temple location for some time as they will be stopped by the coming King of the North (Daniel 11:31). But the political situation for the resumption of sacrifices is not yet ready. But this will likely occur sometime next decade.