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Ongoing Temple Mount War
Israel - Middle East
Friday, July 28, 2017
Alf Cengia

We've come a long way since the attack on the Twin Towers. 9-11 was an event which triggered my interest in biblical prophecy. No doubt it did the same for many others.

The world sought to understand the motivation of the perpetrators. Some saw them as "freedom fighters." It was America's fault for dabbling in Middle East affairs - especially in supporting Israel. Some blamed poverty. There were even those who claimed it was a "spiritual" New Age event.

Since 9-11 we've seen the "Arab Spring" turn into a Middle East meltdown. The subsequent Arab Winter has spilled over into the West. Terrorism in the West is routinely accompanied by shouts of Allah Akbar. "Freedom fighters" point to verses in their Qur'an as motivation for their deeds. Yet apologists protest that this is a perversion of Islam.

The media has generally ignored the recent bloody violence surrounding the Temple Mount. Inflammatory sermons and rhetoric from Imams, the PA and Hamas has had tensions brewing for years. The people who perpetrate this violence are often rewarded by the Palestinian leaders.

In case you're not up to speed, I suggest watching John Haller's "Flashpoint Jerusalem." The Jerusalem Journal's Chaim Report (top right hand side) is recommended reading. Dr Randall's website is also an excellent resource for issues regarding prophecy, the Temple Mount and the Jewish temples.

We've come along way with the Mount since 9-11. Back then, building a third temple was a whisper of a dream in the minds of hundreds of "prophecy nuts" and the Temple Mount Faithful.

The whisper has become a murmur among a growing amount of Jews looking for their own place to worship in Jerusalem. But for Muslims in the Middle East and around the world, Jewish presence is turning into an escalating roar. In 2015 thousands of Iranian soldiers staged a mock siege of the Temple Mount.

The Mount is said to be Islam's third holiest site. Yet it's no secret that when Israel recaptured the Mount, it was in a neglected condition. In fact what's commonly referred to as "Palestine" was largely a forgotten, ruinous land.

A Bloomberg article by Noah Feldman offers insight into a 1929 Temple Mount conflict and how it relates to the current status. For instance, the conflict isn't about "metal detectors" unless they happen to be imposed by Israel. Neither is it really about other excuses.

This isn't about alleged Palestinian oppression by Israel. Nor is it Israeli Temple Mount hegemony. Like the 9-11 tragedy and all the other terrorist events; this is about ideology. Feldman's thoughts are interesting:

The truth is more subtle. Jews in Palestine in 1929 didn’t have a state, much less a plan to take over the Temple Mount. But some did aspire to a Jewish state that would rule all of historical Israel - and Palestinians knew that.

As was the case in 1929, the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram is the occasion for the violence, not its underlying cause. The occasion matters, however, because it tends to frame the conflict as one about religion.

The Temple Mount Palestinian-Israeli conflicts bring to mind Spanish Andalusia and the principle of Islamic possession (Dar al-Islam). Jews aren't welcome on the Mount, or in "Palestine." As Hugh Fitzgerald notes:

For on the To-Do list of Muslims, the lands that were once part of Dar al-Islam are those that should be the first to be recovered for Muslim rule. As it says in the Qur’an 2:191, “Expel them from wherever they have expelled you.”

We live in a secular culture where criticism of Islam is treated as a xenophobic hatred of Muslims. We're compelled to find other causes related to conflicts connected with Islamic aggression. As frustrating as all this is, I find the Christian anti-Israel position more so.

Why do some Christians go out of their way to implicate Israel in humanitarian crimes they haven't committed? Why do they squarely blame the Arab-Israeli problem to the creation of the Israeli state?

Theologian Colin Chapman recently shared some snippets derived from James Barr's theories in Line in the Sand. He writes:

France supported Jewish terrorism in Palestine before and after the establishment of Israel in 1948 as a way of taking revenge on Britain for the way it had undermined French rule in Syria and Lebanon.

The mention of "Jewish terrorism" isn't incidental. It's a subtle appeal to moral equivalence. There's a vast difference between a state which punishes terrorism and one which condones it. One side celebrates the slaughter of citizens of the other, while the other is vilified for defending itself.

The Arab-Israeli conflict isn't the result of an earlier power play between France and Britain, as some would prefer. Hitler and those before him found their own excuses to exterminate the Jews.

Those Christians who aren't directly anti-Israel aren't helpful by ignoring or rejecting God's revelation concerning Israel. The church has appropriated Israel's blessings, but not its curses. We sing praise hymns based on Psalms about Israel, and have made the church the recipient.

My church's reformed pastor recently preached on Psalm 130. To his credit, he went to Romans 9 and 11. He said a face-value take on these verses addresses Jewish salvation. Sadly, he also said he didn't think this meant national Israel. He missed the face-value connection between Rom 11:27 and Jer 31:31, 35-37.

Much lauded books like Peter Walker's Jesus and the Holy City have been written to refute physical Jerusalem in favor of a solely spiritual one. Proponents of these ideas often rebuke Zionism for being political, yet they indulge in Palestinian politics. They criticize the idea of a future Jewish Temple as being blasphemous, even while sometimes joining the fight to protect Temple Mount from Zionists.

We believe that a Jewish Temple will be built because of our literal understanding of prophecy. See the link to Dr Price's resource page above. The growing Jewish desire for a Temple may be a process back to God. Israel will only be redeemed at Christ's return, when it recognizes its Lord (Matt 23:39, 24:30). The temple wars will continue until then.

Finally, this comment in the above Bloomberg article was most interesting:

Two competing peoples could potentially live in the same land or lands, sharing the same space in a negotiated solution, whether two state or one state. But two competing religious truths can’t both be true in the same sense.

Will part of that "negotiated solution" involve shared space on the Temple Mount with a Jewish temple? That would take some exceptional negotiating and peacemaking skills!

Keep looking up.

About Alf Cengia

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