“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob.” (Micah 4:2)
Tensions surrounding the Temple Mount continue to escalate.
In preparation for Jews visiting the Mount on the annual fast, armed Muslim youth barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Several dozen Arab masked rioters attacked Israeli police, hurling rocks and setting off fireworks into the crowd of responders, wounding several officers.
After defusing the situation and arresting three to six participants, Israeli police found a trove of makeshift weapons in the Al-Aqsa Mosque—Molotov cocktails, firecrackers, concrete blocks, stones, and planks, with which they planned to attack Jewish mourners.
One of those mourners was Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who has in the past emphasized that there is a “need to build a real Temple on the Temple Mount.” (Arutz 7)
The Member of Parliament followed security protocol in coordinating his tour with Israeli police and Israel’s Ministry of Internal Security.
However, according to top Israeli Arab lawmaker Masud Ganaim, Jewish visitors are responsible for the clash on Sunday between Arab rioters and police. He said Jewish visits to the site amount to “provocations.”
Ganaim, a former history teacher and an Islamic Movement member who in 2010 backed the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria axis, slammed Ariel’s visit, claiming that the Jewish People have no history on the Temple Mount, which Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary.
“The State of Israel knows that Jews and Israel have no legitimacy to the site, except for their legitimacy as an occupier—a legitimacy [won] by force,” Ganaim said.
He emphasized that what he holds true for the Jewish People isn’t true for the Muslims. In a clear double standard, he said that although he believes the Jewish presence on the Mount is a provocation, he thinks the Arab presence is not.
“I think that my presence there as an Arab Muslim Knesset member is fine, it’s natural, and I believe that the Al-Aqsa Mosque [Temple Mount] is a holy place for Muslims, period.”
To protest Ariel’s presence, Ganaim and seven other Arab Knesset members [MKs] walked the site on Tuesday, July 28. MK Ahmed Tibi, founder of Arab Movement for Renewal (Ta’al party) demanded that the police expel the Jewish visitors, some wearing kippahs (skullcaps), walking by their delegation.
“Throw them out. Throw them out,” he ordered. (NRG)
Ganaim and Tibi walked with Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh and other Arab MKs Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya, Osama Sa’adi and Yousef Jabareen.
Behind them, a supportive crowd chanted the ancient Muslim cry of “holy war,” as well as the autograph of many terror attacks: “Allahu Akbar! [Allah is greater!]”
The Battle for the Temple Mount
“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14)
The battle for the deed to the Temple Mount is intense because it represents the authority of the God of Israel over all the earth. This is the spot to which the nations will flow, recognizing the King of kings. All nations will recognize that the gods they formerly worshiped were false. (Zechariah 14:9)
Scripture reveals that before the Messiah establishes His messianic reign, an impostor will take the seat of authority in the Third Temple. (Daniel 9:27)
The Temple will become the headquarters of this man of lawlessness, who is often referred to as the anti-Messiah—the one who claims to be the Messiah but isn’t.
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day [the Day of the Lord] will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4)
This anti-Messiah will have great powers, both supernatural and political. For a time, he will rule the world from the Holy Temple.
With so much at stake, is there any wonder that there is an intensely chaotic, unjust, and hostile environment on this holy site? Certainly, we can expect it to increase as the revealing of the anti-Messiah nears.
Of course, this counterfeit Messiah will want to prove that he has a legal claim to the Temple.
We see this intense battle for the Mount arising from the Arab world by Muslim leaders like Ganaim, Zahalka and other Arab MKs who publicly reject the Jewish link to the Temple Mount.
After the Tisha B’Av riots, Ganaim said on Israel radio, “You are welcome to go look for the Temple in a different place, at a different time. Perhaps it is known [that there was a temple somewhere], but not there, not there.”
In a 2013 Knesset meeting to sanction Jewish access to the mount, Zahalka said, “There is no Temple Mount. There is only the Aqsa Mosque, I don’t see a Temple Mount, it’s something virtual.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that Zahalka called out “Al-Aqsa” every time anyone in the hearing said the words “Temple Mount.”
In that meeting, Tibi and other Arab lawmakers shouted for a “new intifada” and other consequences for allowing Jews to have increased access to the Mount.
Some Muslims are so zealous to deny the historical Jewish presence on the Temple Mount that they are willing to die for it and are teaching their children to do so, as well. The Temple Mount is one of the places where such indoctrination of Arab children is taking place.
On Monday, Sheikh Khaled al-Maghrabi, the head of the so-named “al-Aqsa Mosque Summer Camp,” was filmed teaching two dozen Muslim children about martyrdom.
Two minutes into the video, al-Maghrabi told the children that martyrdom for the al-Aqsa Mosque is the greatest honor. For the boys, he promised virgins in heaven as a reward.
“We shall sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, al-Aqsa,” the children were recorded chanting.
“Look at these children, look at what you are planting in their minds. … Shame on you!” an Arab man chastised.
After the man walked away, the children chanted, “The army of Muhammad will return,” “there is no god but Allah,” and “the martyr is beloved by Allah.”
The Battle for Public Order
The intense battle over the Temple Mount is not only being played out in the Israeli parliament and in Muslim summer camps; the Israeli police force ensures that no Jew or Christian offends a Muslim on the Mount, often arresting, banning and fining Jewish visitors.
Such penalties are being levied for real and imagined Jewish prayer on the Mount or other expressions of Jewish culture that police find too bold.
Police maintain a ban on Jewish prayer even though this ban was outlawed in a clear March 2015 ruling in Yehuda Glick v. the Israeli Police.
Magistrates’ Court Judge Malka Aviv ruled for Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, stating that police “must make sure that Jews are able to pray on the Temple Mount,” and must “not … act sweepingly to prevent Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.”
Shortly after the ruling, Temple Institute Director Rabbi Chaim Richman visited the site with a tour group. A senior Jerusalem police officer overheard some in the group talking about testing the court ruling by praying out loud. Richman quotes the officer as saying, “This court ruling doesn’t exist. Nothing has changed.'” (Arutz Sheva)
Richman theorized that “this is not simply a case of the police ignoring the judicial system. Clearly they know they’re protected” because apparently it is not Israeli law that governs what happens on the Temple Mount, but the Israel-Jordan relationship.
The Jordanian Waqf administers the holy site, and its relationship with Israel is codified in a longstanding ruling that allows the police to take any action to avoid any disturbance to the public order.
For instance, on Wednesday, a woman wearing a wedding gown reportedly was denied entry to the site.
The Temple Institute responded with a statement denouncing the action.
“The police claimed that her white dress might cause a ‘disturbance of the peace.’ Shame on the police! Shame on the government that allows such arbitrary and discriminatory behavior,” the statement read.
The next day, an Israeli woman was arrested for murmuring a prayer on the holy site—a day which a legal aid spokesman claimed to be her wedding day. Police interrogated the woman for two hours before releasing her. (JPost)
On Tisha B’Av, a man was arrested for quietly reciting the six-word Shema, with police rushing to remove him from the scene.
“Finally, after 2,000 years, we return home to our homeland, to the capital of our independent state, the only Jewish state and we find ourselves being arrested for reciting a verse of prayer,” Yehuda Glick responded. “The fact that it was the Shema overemphasizes how insane the situation is on the Temple Mount and all because Israel does not want to hurt the feelings of Muslims.” (BIN)
The police not only consider praying a disturbance to public order, but also carrying religious objects.
On Wednesday, July 29, the Jerusalem District Court denied a police request for 60-day bans against two Jewish youths who were arrested for carrying Jewish cultural objects onto the Mount.
One was arrested on Tisha B’Av for wearing tefillin (phylacteries), and the other was arrested in the week prior for trying to blow a shofar (ram’s horn).
The judge ruled for both young men that there is no law or protocol against wearing tefillin, nor carrying or even blowing a shofar. (Arutz Sheva)
“The court ruled clearly that the law relating to tefillin on one’s head and a shofar in hand is the same as the law of a hijab [female Muslim head covering] and darbouka [goblet drum],” said volunteer attorney Avichai Hajbi.
“We are shocked that the police invest efforts in arresting Jews whose only ‘sin’ is to blow a shofar or wear tefillin, instead of crushing Arab terrorism and incitement that runs rampant on the Temple Mount.”
the public order is the only way to get police to restore order.
On Tuesday, July 28, Israeli police arrested the third Jewish person in five days to call the Islamic prophet Muhammad a “pig,” naming the act a “public disturbance.”
Aviya Morris, 20, quietly uttered the slur to a person holding a camera. She was responding to a Muslim mob that was freely harassing a group of Jewish visitors. Despite the mobs intense heckling, chanting, and anti-Semitic comments, the police did nothing.
“The police ignored our requests and said if we were to say one word they would take us down from the Mount and arrest us. They did not stop [the Muslims’] attempts to hurt our feelings and insult Judaism,” Morris told Jerusalem Post. “Only after we began to respond, and I said ‘Muhammad is a pig,’ [did] the police distance them from us. Suddenly they were able to keep them at bay.”
Police have applied this “public disturbance” caveat against all Jewish activity, while often pointedly ignoring the aggressive rhetoric commonly heard from Muslim mobs paid to create controversy with Jews on the Mount.
The Restored Temple of Adonai on the Temple Mount
“I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” (1 Kings 9:3)
Even though a false Messiah will eventually set himself up in a Temple where YHVH Himself has placed His heart, his reign will not last.
Ezekiel 40–48 foretells that a restored Temple, in fact a holy district, will eventually be established in Jerusalem to greet the return of the Glory of the Lord.
“When you allot the land as an inheritance [to the Jewish People], you are to present to the Lord a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy. … In the sacred district, measure off a section 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. In it will be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place.” (Ezekiel 45:1–3)
In his vision, Ezekiel saw the Glory of the Lord coming from the east: “His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with His glory. … The Glory of the Lord entered the Temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the Glory of the Lord filled the Temple.” (Ezekiel 43:2, 4–5)
The prophetic promise of God to the Jewish People is not one of rejection or destruction, as many who want to delegitimize Israel believe. His promise is one of acceptance and restoration.
And when Yeshua reigns in Jerusalem in the Millennium, the land of Israel will be restored to its former glory and all will see the Glory of the Lord.
“While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. “He said: ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The people of Israel will never again defile my holy name.'” (Ezekiel 43:6–7)