Freedom for Jews to Worship on the Temple Mount
This week Israeli Prime Minister stirred up a hornets nest of controversy by stating "Jews had freedom to worship on the Temple Mount"
Saturday, July 24, 2021
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At the height of the 6-Day War, June 7, 1967, Israeli paratroopers breached Jordanian defences and took the Temple Mount. Commander Mordechai “Motta” Gur broke radio silence and announced:
“The Temple Mount is in our hands!”
As Shlomo Goren, surrounded by IDF soldiers, blew the shofar in front of the Western Wall, around the world a prophetic shofar resounded. After 2400 years, following the Babylonian invasion – the Jews were again sovereign over the Temple Mount. This was a direct fulfillment of the prophecy given to the prophet Daniel, where a time period was given for the “treading down of the sanctuary:”
“Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down… Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:11–14)
The prophecy revolved around the Grecian goat smiting the Medo-Persian ram, which occurred in the year 334 BC. 2300 years later, in 1967 –the sanctuary would no longer be trodden down anymore. For the past several hundred years writers recognized this prophecy would be fulfilled in 1967, accurately predicting the date. Christ also outlined this as a pivotal time, stating of his own nation:
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)
That time came to an end in 1967, and the temple mount was back in Jewish hands. In those early hours, everyone wondered what would happen.
At that pivotal moment, Israel’s secular leadership did not possess the faith to seize the opportunity God had put into their hands. Arik Achmon, the chief intelligence officer with the 55th paratroopers, was handed a flag from Ezra Orni, the communications officer. He was instructed by Motta Gur, “Yalla”, “go up” and so they climbed to the top of the building and fastened an Israeli flag onto a pole topped with the Islamic crescent.
In those early hours, everyone wondered what would happen in Jerusalem. The Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan, was watching through his binoculars and immediately radioed Gur and demanded he remove the flag, shouting
“Have you gone crazy? You’ll set the whole middle east on fire.”
The Jewish people had just returned to its holiest site – which for years they had been denied access – only to give up sovereignty at the very moment of triumph. A few days later, on June 17th, Dayan would meet with the Muslim Wakf (the governor of the holy site) and formally return the Temple Mount to their control. The Times of Israel would later report:
At a meeting with Muslim religious leaders atop the Mount on June 17 that year, agreement was reached on a so-called reformulated status quo under which the Jordanian Muslim Waqf would continue to hold religious responsibility for the compound under overall Israeli supervision; prayer on the Mount would be reserved for Muslims only; Jews would be allowed to visit but not to pray there.
This constituted a strikingly radical decision. Having finally regained sovereignty in a bitter defensive war over the holiest place in Judaism, the site of the two biblical Temples, here was the Defence Minister of the revived Jewish state promptly relinquishing the Jews’ right to practice their religion there.
Dayan’s decision was made individually and unilaterally without any consultation with the Israeli government.
According to author Oliver Glatz,
“Shlomo Goren, then chief rabbi of the Israeli army, regretted that the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque had not been immediately demolished and called for the site to be made available for Jewish worshipers.”
This faithless decision of Dayan has plagued Israel ever since. Some claim he was “pragmatic,” looking out for the safety of Israel. The reality is, Dayan was a man without faith, who didn’t value the temple mount, who took the glory of the victory for himself, and did not see God’s hand Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. In six days, Israel took the area of Judea, Samaria and especially Jerusalem, an this was God’s doing as He stated in the prophet Joel:
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem…” (Joel 3:1)
In 1967, Israeli leadership did not possess the faith to “go up” and possess the temple mount. Dayan in his book Avnei Derech described the Temple Mount in 1976 as a “Muslim prayer mosque.” He went on to state that for Jews it is no more than “a historical site of commemoration of the past…one should not hinder the Arabs from behaving there as they now do.” (Moshe Dayan, Avnei Derech [Milestones] (Jerusalem: Idanim, 1976), pp165, 498).
Dayan believed he was defusing the site as a centre of Palestinian nationalism, a belief that has since proven to be completely erroneous. Dayan wanted to placate world leaders, ensuring the continuation of the “status quo.”
The phrase “status quo” is a hangover from the Vatican’s desire for Jerusalem to be a “corpus separatum,” Latin for ‘separated body’ as expressed by Pope Pius XII expressing the Vatican’s wish for the “holy places” to have an international character.
In December of 1967, after the Six Day War, Pope Paul VI, called for a “special status, internationally guaranteed” for Jerusalem and the holy places, reiterated by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
After the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December of 2017, Pope Francis again stressed,
“I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”
After 1967 the secular socialist leadership of Israel was gradually removed. The growing religious Zionist movement had been growing and was motivated more by faith in the promises than socialistic policies.
Rabbi Yehuda Glick who advocates the opening of the Temple Mount for worship of all nations, stated in an interview with CBN News, things are changing:
“Within six days we returned the Biblical land of Israel, all the mountains of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. We returned to the Old City of Jerusalem, and the city is liberated and reunited. Here we are 53 year later, a new government, Jerusalem is united, it is fabulous, it is the word of God coming out of the book, materializing, and becoming a reality in our time in front of our eyes.”
Yehuda Glick was a member of the Knesset for two years. An attempt was made to assassinate him due to his belief in the need for Jews to worship on the Temple Mount. He is the founder of Shalom Jerusalem Foundation. At the 2017 “Prophecy in the News Conference” he stated:
“Today if you don’t see prophecy, you’d better get yourself a new set of glasses.”
Today, Israel has its first “observant” prime minister, Naftali Bennet, who shares the desire to have Jews worship upon the Temple Mount. In a statement this past week, Bennett addressed Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev and Israel Police Chief Koby Shabtai, thanking them for:
“… managing the events on the Temple Mount with responsibility and consideration, while maintaining freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount”
This aroused a wave of excitement amongst religious Jews, and drew the ire of the secular society fearful of the Jewish faith gaining momentum.
There was much talk of the radical change that was taking place, but the joy was short lived as political influences forced the Prime Minister’s office to walk back the statement. The Times of Israel asked for clarification and reported:
Asked what was going on, Israel’s minister of public security, Labor’s Omer Barlev, appeared on television on Sunday evening to declare that the status quo has not changed, that Jewish prayer at the site remains illegal, and that Bennett’s office had apparently “misworded” its statement. The PMO had meant to say “freedom of movement” for Jews on the Temple Mount, Barlev suggested, not “freedom of worship.”
To us this may seem absolutely ridiculous, that of all places on the planet, a Jew cannot pray on the Temple Mount – but that is the “status quo.” Arabs can play soccer there, have picnics there, but Jews will be arrested for praying there.
There are many Jews in Israel who desire to see the Third Temple Built, or at least for Jews to worship on the Temple Mount until that day. The government is not there yet. There is still too much desire to placate foreign governments, and too little faith in the God of Israel as the one who has brought Israel back to the land, has given Jerusalem back into Jewish hands.
Whether politicians of Dayan’s stamp like it or not, God will make it the centre of world worship once again.
It might not be in the heart of politician like Dayan, and his present day successor – but it is in the mind of the Creator every day.
“For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: Here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psalm 132:13–14)
When God says “forever” he means forever. The prophecy of Zechariah
“Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, And a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; And the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, And shall yet choose Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:16–17)
Today, there are many who would like to erase the notion of a Jewish temple, past present or future. Just one month ago, Israel Hayom reported the Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minster as stating:
“The years of archaeological excavations Israel has conducted on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City have yielded no proof that a Jewish Temple ever existed in the city. Since 1967 and the occupation of the West Bank, Israel has carried out a series of excavations underneath al-Aqsa mosque which haven’t proved any connection whatsoever to the hall [Temple] or anything similar.”
Inconveniently, the 1924 guidebook to the Temple Mount put out by the Supreme Moslem Council, entitled “A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif Jerusalem” stated:
“The two principal edifices are the Dome of the Rock, on a raised platform in the middle, and the mosque of al-Aqsa against the south wall…. The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates rom the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic) times. Its identify with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which “David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings”.
Socialist politicians like Dayan have discounted the importance of the temple site. This past week, alternate-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yair Lapid contradicted Bennett’s comment, as Ynet daily recording him stating:
"The status quo has been set by previous governments - it means that Jews have freedom to visit the Temple Mount and Muslims have freedom of worship," he said during the Yesh Atid faction meeting.
Faithless secular Jews may have lost their way in their quest for power, and forgotten the Psalmists word:
“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalm 137:5–6)
However, the purpose of God remains inevitable. God has spoken, and his word will not return to Him void as we read in Isaiah:
“For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11)
The book of Daniel tells us unequivocally the status quo will be changed for the Temple Mount. Jerusalem would be trodden down for a finite period of time:
“Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:14)
The processes of cleansing is interesting. How does the “Dome of the Rock” get removed in preparation for the Third Temple to be built? It may well be the European-Russian crusade against Jerusalem that removes it. The Arabs believe that the Europeans and Russians are “on their side” but they will be sadly mistaken when the Russians appear to be victorious at zenith of their assault on the Land of Israel, as Daniel tells us:
“And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” (Daniel 11:45)
The headquarters of the invading crusade will be located in the glorious holy mountain – which is temple mount . The last time Christians had control over the Dome of the Rock, during the 12th Century it was turned into a Christian Church with the crescents being replaced with crosses. This will be repeated, but it will be short-lived. Zechariah
“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, And thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; And the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; And half of the city shall go forth into captivity, And the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (Zechariah 14:1–2)
Following the invasion, God will intervene:
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, As when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, Which is before Jerusalem on the east, And the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, And there shall be a very great valley; And half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, And half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; For the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: Yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah: And the Lord my God shall come, And all the saints with thee.” (Zechariah 14:3–5)
The sanctuary will be cleansed through the return of Jesus Christ to the Mount of Olives. He will be the manifestation of his Father, returned from heaven to establish the kingdom of God on earth once again. Ezekiel also records this time period:
“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.” (Ezekiel 38:18–20)
Following this Ezekiel describes in great detail the construction of the 3rd temple. The earthquake will raise the elevation of the Temple platform and the Temple will be finally built as the prophet states:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, That the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths: For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, And shall rebuke many people: And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruninghooks: Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, And let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:2–5)
This is not the “future antichrist temple” that misled Christians are looking for, but the temple that Messiah himself will be involved in building, as David had been promised so many years ago:
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” (2 Samuel 7:12–16)
We know this is not Solomon, for the house and kingdom were not established forever before David. David is dead (awaiting the resurrection along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), Solomon’s temple was destroyed, and the kingdom has been overturned as the last king of Zedekiah was told:
“And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” (Ezekiel 21:25–27)
The promise given to David was re-iterated to Mary by the angel Gabriel:
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:31–33)
Zechariah describes the end result – the great change in the Status Quo:
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations Which came against Jerusalem Shall even go up from year to year To worship the King, the Lord of hosts, And to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up Of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem To worship the King, the Lord of hosts, Even upon them shall be no rain.” (Zechariah 14:16–17)
May that day be soon upon us. May the Lord find us “watching” and “preparing” for the biggest change this world has ever seen.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.