The Temple Mount

Fredy Winkler

The recent disturbances on the Temple Mount demonstrate once more that this place is an emotionally charged powder keg that’s bound to explode someday. The Israeli Minister of Education announced that Jewish schoolchildren are increasingly interested in their historical past, including the Temple Mount and the possible construction of a future temple there. That announcement probably led to the renewed sensitivity among ­­Muslims regarding the theme “Temple Mount.” Religious holidays such as Ramadan also add tension to the atmosphere. Current events have shown once more that some small incident on the Temple Mount might be the spark that will ignite the great conflict that’s described in the Bible.

Some Bible interpreters view the mosques on the Temple Mount as the “abomination that causes desolation,” of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 24:15. This is unlikely, however, because Jesus said, “When you see…the abomination that causes desolation…then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Those mosques have been there now for 1,300 years. If they were the abomination that causes desolation, then the flight of which Jesus spoke would’ve had to have taken place long ago.

Others believe that the abomination that causes desolation will be a future temple that will then be defiled by the Antichrist. It should be noted that Jesus said “the holy place” in verse 15; not necessarily the temple.

Even though the temple has been gone for nearly 2,000 years, the place where the temple once stood is and remains a holy place. It’s interesting to note that the Bible never stated that the temple would stand forever. If it did, then God’s Word would be untrue.

When Solomon prayed to God at the dedication of the temple, God promised him that He would put His name there forever and that His eyes and heart would always be there. But He would reject the temple if Solomon or his descendants ever turned away from Him or stopped obeying His commands and decrees (I Kings 9). Therefore, the Temple Mount is a holy place, even though the mosques are there now.

The recent events on the Temple Mount are just another demonstration of how easily this place could become a combat zone in the future; especially since it lies on the border between the Jewish part of the city with the Wailing Wall, and the Muslim part of the Old City. If there ever are any future skirmishes there, it’s easy to imagine that the sacred places could be destroyed.

To those who listen to the words of Jesus, He gave “the abomination that causes desolation in the holy place” as the indication that it’s high time to flee Judea.

The lesson that Jesus gave to His disciples on the Mount of Olives is not easy to understand, because it has a double meaning. In part, Jesus spoke about the flight from Jerusalem that would take place in the year 68, when the Romans began to lay siege to that city. At that time, the signal for fleeing the city was the Roman siege—not the abomination that causes desolation. This is described in Luke 21:20-21.

We know from historical records that the believers in Jerusalem and Judea were spared at that time only because they fled to lands east of the Jordan, and thus did what Jesus had told them to do. The Jews who didn’t believe in Jesus, on the other hand, did exactly the opposite. They fled to Jerusalem, because they believed that the Messiah would come there to save them. It was all over for them in the year 70, in what became one of the greatest catastrophes of the Jewish people.

According to Zechariah 12:3, Jerusalem will be an “immovable rock” in the end times for all nations who try to move it. At that time, things will end much differently than they did in the year 70. The Messiah really will come then, as written in Zechariah 14, and in just the way that the Jews falsely understood it would happen in the year 70. Jesus Christ the Messiah will appear in His glorious power and intervene in the fight, to save His people Israel once and for all. He will then begin His reign, just as promised long ago.

With thanks that we can recognize and understand the sign of the times as given in His Word, Shalom!

News From Israel - 09/2017

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