This week the Jerusalem Post published a report about how the Temple Mount Faithful are planning their annual attempt to ascend the Temple Mount to pray on the 9th of Av. The stated goal of the march (this year) is to be a statement to President Obama, “Get your hands off Jerusalem and the land of Israel.” It’s a message most Israel-supporting Christians agree with 100% - this writer included, however I do not support the march nor the group leading it.
This is an annual Tisha B’Av attempt by the Temple Mount Faithful although historically only dozens are attracted to participate. This year TMF leader Gershon Salomon is hoping for hundreds to join in the march to the mount on the date of the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. The 9th of Av has become a date of dread in the Jewish community as many calamities for the Jewish people are believed to have occurred on this date throughout history.
The Wall where Jewish prayers are made
Christians need to know what they don’t know about the attempts of several primarily religious groups who seek to establish their unwelcome presence on the mount where the Dome on the Rock sits. The number one thing we need to know is that we have formed an unholy alliance that endangers the real work of the Lord in Israel, if we are funding and encouraging these groups and this article attempts to explain why.
Firstly, the Temple Mount Faithful routinely disregards the welfare of the Israeli public in its annual Tisha B’Av attempt to ascend the Temple Mount. On this and other Jewish holidays they try to make their way onto the Muslim-held Temple Mount and are thwarted by the Israeli police and security services. These attempts are much to the dismay of most Israelis who fear the group will trigger an Islamic ‘Holy War’ that will bring the wrath of Arab states down on the Jewish State in defense of the Dome of the Rock.
Unfortunately, Christians just don’t get it that this mission of Gershon’s is not a good thing for Israel and certainly not something they should be encouraging or funding. As Israeli journalist and Temple Mount expert, Nadav Shragai in a 2008 book review of Motti Inbari’s Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount wrote:
“Nearly 2,000 years have passed since the fire that the Romans set to the Temple walls died down, and still the embers are glowing. A tiny spark is enough to ignite them. Inbari's research focuses on those who would like to blow on the embers and make them burn again; those to whom the Temple is not just a word mentioned in Jewish prayers, but a reality toward which one must strive."
Inbari, a researcher at Brandeis University explored the various Temple Mount movements from the Haredi to the national-religious believers and also shedding light on how Israel-supporting Christians link into these movements. For the latter, most Christians who support Israel are completely out of their depth in understanding the issues surrounding the current status of the Temple Mount and the dangers a group like the Temple Mount Faithful poses.
There is a crazy, ill-informed devotion to Gershon Salomon’s Temple Mount Faithful among the Israel-supporting Christian community. So even before I hit the “Talkbacks” link on the Jpost article (Hundreds planning Temple Mount ascent), I knew reader comments would reflect the misunderstanding of situation that prevails with most Israel-supporting Christians.
As expected the “talkbacks” overflowed with Christians encouraging and applauding the news. Salomon Gershon, after all, as the head of the Temple Mount Faithful, is one of the most celebrated Israeli guests on many of the largest Christian television networks. The hosts of these networks and Christian prophecy teachers thrill to hear the charismatic Gershon regale with details of the preparations for the rebuilding of the Temple Mount.
The Christian thinking is that prophecy says a third Temple will be rebuilt where the Anti-Christ will seat himself as “God” before the second coming of the Lord. So, anything that points to the rebuilding of the Temple is considered a good sign that Jesus is coming soon. No thought is really given to the impact on Israelis – not even for the believing brothers and sisters in Israel.
Across from the security gate entrance to the Wall
For Israeli citizens, if the Temple Mount Faithful and their followers are ever successful in getting past the Old City police up onto the mount where the Dome of the Rock now sits, the aftermath is going to be very painful for Israelis. Too many Christians – just like the religious who continually try to “ascend” the Mount – do not care one whit about the hell that would be unleashed against Israelis in the aftermath by Islamic outrage.
Is it really such a difficult concept to grasp that the existence of the Dome of the Rock on the place where we know prophetic events will unfold – for bad and then for good – is a situation that is best left to God to resolve?When God wants the Dome cleared, He will clear it Himself. However the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, if it comes because the Temple Mount Faithful have successfully ascended the mount, it will be an extremely costly, bloody victory that will not be to the glory of the Lord Yeshua/Jesus.
Christians need to think through what they are supporting. For one thing, we need to awaken to the fact that the Lord is in the midst of building a living temple in Israel – the indigenous believers who are the Body of Messiah/Christ. Instead of focusing on the rebuilding of the Tribulation Temple, Christians should be focused on the building of the temple that is made without hands – the Living Temple in Israel.
Come on, believers! Wake up and smell the coffee burning on this one!
Can I just say it like it is? All of the focus over the years of the Christian TV network hosts who have doted on Salomon Gershon and the preparations of the Temple Mount Faithful is pure selfishness – it has certainly not been for love for Israel! Real Christian love for Israel expresses itself in a love for the people of Israel – and no, not just the rabbis and the religious legislators, but the average citizens of Israel AND the Body of Messiah/Christ in Israel.
The indigenous Body of Messiah - Arab and Jew - pray together at an annual picnic
If we say we love Israel and then support these groups threatening the national security of the citizens of Israel, then how real is our love? Isn’t it more that we just love our understanding of prophecy – that the Tribulation Temple has to be rebuilt before Jesus returns? And truly it does, but isn’t it true that we don’t really care what the ramifications will be to the people of Israel? Don’t we just want our ears tickled about the preparations for a Temple and the safety of Israelis be damned? That's pretty much the attitude of the religious Jewish groups many of us are misguidedly supporting. They aren't worried about the "sinners" of Israel as Yeshua/Jesus is.
Honestly? One would be hard pressed to find indigenous believers in Israel who back the efforts of the Temple Mount Faithful and similar groups. It is one thing to know that this is the mountain that the Lord has chosen to place His name and be worshipped on, it is another thing to support Jewish religious extremists setting out to tip the fragile Israeli-Arab balance by a purely symbolic attempt to ascend the Temple Mount. If they ever made it, they could not hold it, but many would die or be wounded in the process.
God has never needed any kind of “arm of the flesh” help to fulfill His prophetic will. We can “help” God but when we do it inevitably turns out badly. (Isn’t this how the tug of war with Ishmael originated? Sarah trying to give God a little help fulfilling a prophetic heir to Abraham – a child of promise obtained through the works of the flesh?)
God doesn’t need any help clearing the Dome of the Rock from the Temple Mount when the time for that comes. Human beings don’t even have to be involved – or, at least not purposefully involved. The Dome of the Rock could crumble tomorrow from an earthquake, or it could implode on itself by the foundations having been undermined by the many excavations. According to Sacred-Destinations.com,
“…complaints have been voiced by Israelis about Muslim construction and excavation on and underneath the Temple Mount, and by Muslims about Israeli excavations. Some claim that this will lead to the destabilization of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount, of which the Western Wall is one, and/or the al-Aqsa Mosque, and allege that one side is doing so deliberately to cause the collapse of the sacred sites of the other. Since the Waqf is granted almost full autonomy on the Islamic holy sites, Israeli archaeologists have been prevented from inspecting the area; they have, however, conducted several excavations under and around the Temple Mount."
If the Dome of the Rock is destined for destruction as scripture indicates, let it come naturally – the result of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, or through destabilizing of the competing excavations – an ‘act of God’, not the purposeful act of men.
The Symbolic Attempts are Political Talking Points
In recent past, there was much controversy stirred up as Ariel Sharon paid a visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000 a few months before his election as Israel’s Prime Minister. Sharon’s mission was to declare that the complex would remain under perpetual Israeli control. Palestinian riots broke out the next day as passions were enflamed over the issue of who ultimately rules the Temple Mount.
Then in 2005, a dubious Jerusalem source used by World Net Daily, again stirred emotions when he reported in March 2005 that 10,000 Jews to ascent Temple Mount to “spark Israeli dialogue about reclaiming the holy site from its Muslim custodians.” The leader of this group is a follower of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, a religious extremist whose political party was banned in Israel and likened to a KKK-style hate group. The organizer of this group was associated with Belz Hassid Yosef Elboim, ultra-Orthodox leader of the Movement for the Establishment of the Holy Temple.
In 2005 emotions were also running high during the period due to the impending Gaza pull out known as the Disengagement. Several groups – with Christian support – were getting in on the action hoping to make a statement about Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
In May 2005 Israeli police and the Shin Bet security service also arrested five Israeli Jews identified with the Bratslav Hasidic movement on suspicion of a planned attack on the Temple mount. One of the five was reported to say their goal was “to create a third intifada and a war with the Arab countries that would stop disengagement.”
A former Shin Bet Director, writing in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, May 20, Carmi Gilloon said that an attack on the Temple Mount site “can be a disaster for the existence of the State of Israel, and can bring total war between the Muslim world, Israel, and maybe against Jewish targets abroad.”
It is a tragedy how Christians have been duped into supporting fanatic religious groups in Israel that threaten the safety of every Israeli citizen with ‘messianic’ delusions – even while skipping over the existence of the true Messianic movement in Israel, the indigenous Body of Messiah/Christ. So deep is the deception, however, among Israel-supporting Christians that most will not even listen to the facts that would expose them truth. ‘Don’t tell me about Israeli Jewish believers and don’t tell me the facts about those whose obsessive focus is taking the Temple Mount by force.’
"...because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Pray the scales would fall off the eyes of every Christian whose heart has so far refused the truth of these matters.
While Israel may from time to time play an Israeli form of Russian Roulette with the political statements these groups make, not many Israelis would like to see any of these groups successfully ascend the Mount. The resulting Arab backlash would be far too grave and costly in spilt blood.
The Temple Mount really is dear to the Jewish heart but some things in life are better left in the hands of God to work out. This is one of those. Christians need to understand it and cease from being part of the danger to the State of Israel.
If only Christians had ears to hear and eyes to see through the fog of Jewish complexities at work here. If only Israel-supporting Christians would drop the obsessive thinking that any good will come from supporting Jewish religious extremists in a quest for the Temple Mount. If only Christians really “loved” Israel unconditionally enough to value the life of Israelis over religious domination of the Temple Mount.
The current timing may be good to stir a little Temple Mount controversy in Israel, what with the new diplomatic reality of the Obama presidency. Yet it is not worth playing Israeli Roulette, or letting Christians sit in the darkness of their illusions yet another year about what it would really mean if hundreds of Jews and Christians really did barge their way onto the mount.
Time to wake up, Christian world, and see who and what you are really supporting.