A storm is brewing. That storm will grow to be much more powerful and more destructive than the EF-5 tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area in 2013. But it’s not a natural storm involving the weather. It is supernatural! Pre-Armageddon clouds in the Middle East are now churning up fearsome winds of war directly over one particular spot on the planet: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
God’s house on top of Mount Moriah has always involved matters of war and peace. When the people of Israel have done what God wanted them to do, there has been peace—and the people have lived calm lives of worship and contentment for the most part. When they have disobeyed to the point that they no longer hear God’s instructions, war has come upon them. They’ve been taken from the land and had their temples destroyed. In this chapter, we’ll be looking at the Temple and all the storms that have blown against it in the centuries long past. We’ll look also at dangerous winds that are blowing around the Temple Mount today.
Tumultuous Temple History
God is no jack-in-the-box! Stephen, the first Christian martyr recorded in Scripture, said to an angry mob, quoting Isaiah 66:1–2:
But Solomon built him an house.
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Hath not my hand made all these things? (Acts 7:47–50)
And Solomon himself said in 1 Kings 8:21: “And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.”
King David, in a rare moment when he wasn’t fighting Israel’s enemies, thought about how God had no place to call home. The Ark of the Covenant, the holy vessel that was built during the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert and that “served as the only physical manifestation of God on earth,”[i] surely needed a solid house of cedar wood. After all, David had the very finest home of his day. But the ark in which the glory and power of God dwelt had been kept in tents of cloth in the tabernacle, because it had to be easily moved while the children of Israel moved about.
David considered how Israel was now in a more settled condition. Under his leadership, the nation’s borders had been expanded and secured and a capital had been firmly established in Jerusalem. Therefore, he wanted, on behalf of God, to build a permanent home where the Lord could live on earth.
When the king presented the idea to the prophet Nathan, Nathan told David it sounded like a great idea to him. He said for David to go ahead with his plans. But, as man’s ideas usually are when it comes to self-realized religious thought, David’s idea to build a Temple and Nathan’s go-ahead to begin the project were wrong, for a couple of reasons.
1. God told Nathan in a dream that David was not to build the Temple for the ark because God could not be contained. The Lord instructed the prophet to ask David:
Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar? (2 Samuel 7:5–7)
Imagine thinking that the God who created all things needed mere man to build Him a house! God said to tell David that the Lord would build David a house, instead of the other way around.
2. God told David he was not to build the Temple because his hands weren’t clean enough to build such a holy house. David, a mighty man of war, had blood on his hands after fighting the many righteous battles against the Philistines and others who invaded Israel. But the house of God was to be a place of peace. The only bloodshed permitted there would be through the worship of animal sacrifice, foreshadowing the sacrifice for the atonement of sin of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Although God didn’t want David to be the one to build the Temple, He did give the go-ahead for a Temple to be built, hand-picking from among David’s sons Solomon, a man blessed with “rest” or “peace”—we might read that “clean hands”—for the task. In fact, Solomon wouldn’t merely build the Temple, he would become David’s successor as king, foreshadowing the time when Jesus would one day sit on the throne during His millennial reign.
In spite of God’s thumbs-down to David being the one to wear the supervisor’s hat on the job site of the Temple project, David, as always, humbled himself and acknowledged that the Lord was right. He jumped in and did all he could to help within the boundaries of what God would allow him to do. As it turns out, his God-sanctioned involvement was extensive. David is the one who received the plans for the project from the Lord, and he also gathered materials, recruited craftsmen, and outlined in great detail how worship would be conducted once the Temple was complete.
Sharon Stirs Islamist Hatred
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) leader, the late Yasser Arafat, once stirred Jewish anger by saying that the Jews have no connection to the Temple Mount. This was in response to Ariel Sharon’s September 28, 2000, visit there. Sharon’s action caused thousands of Arab Islamic people in and around Jerusalem to demonstrate against Israeli interest in the area where the Dome of the Rock stands today.
Some archeologists believe that many artifacts of the Temple built by Solomon are sealed in tunnels and underground rooms inside the Temple Mount. They think the tabernacle items and perhaps even the Ark of the Covenant itself might be hidden there (read more in upcoming book Cauldron). However, the Palestinian Authority, which controls access to the site, forbids all but a very limited number of archeological digs inside the mount. At the same time, Jewish people interested in getting at the truth accuse the Palestinian authority of digging beneath the Temple Mount in order to find and destroy all artifacts that might add to the proof that Solomon’s Temple sat there. Until the last few decades, there were only biblical records to show that any temples sat on Mount Moriah. More and more extrabiblical and archeological proof is now confirming the absolute truth of what the Bible says on these matters. This apparently worries the anti-Israeli forces to the point they feel they must destroy any potential proof of Jewish claims to the site.
Solomon was wise indeed! He was quite smart even before asking the Lord for wisdom. It seems like he followed his own advice about the wisdom of seeking advice (see Proverbs 20:18) when he looked to a friend of his father to give counsel and help in getting ready to build. Hiram, the king of Tyre, loved David and eagerly answered Solomon’s call to help, once he knew David had named Solomon his successor. Hiram had all the know-how and means to transport the building materials Solomon’s workforce would need. Also, Hiram’s kingdom had many expert craftsmen who could do the job in top fashion.
With David’s help in preparing and Hiram’s help in supplying a great team of workers, Solomon was ready to begin the project, and ordered its construction to commence when his father died four years after the younger man had taken the throne. The task before the king was tremendous, and he needed much help. He hired highly skilled Phoenicians to do the work, with the help of thirty thousand workers recruited from his nation. Solomon also picked out another seventy thousand men to carry the heavy loads of building materials, and he chose yet another eighty thousand to cut stone from the mountains, with thirty-six hundred appointed to oversee the effort.
God had stipulated as part of the plans He gave David for the Temple that no noise from equipment such as hammers, chisels, or iron tools of any sort should be heard from the construction site (1 Kings 6:7). This greatly increased the complexity of the project and the craftsmanship required, because the stones at the off-site quarry had to be precisely finished before being brought to the Temple Mount. The measurements had to be executed with such perfection that they would fit together exactly in the structure. No tools could be used at the construction site to chisel or shape them until they properly fit in place.
After seven years of construction, in 960 BC, the Temple was completed, and it stood in that spot for nearly four hundred years. The entire story of the construction of the Temple is found in broad sections of 1 Kings chapters 5–8 and 2 Chronicles chapters 1–7.
|King Solomon’s Temple|
Solomon’s kingdom was unmatched in its great beauty and influence, and the wisdom he had received from the Lord was legendary. However, even after the king was warned by God Himself, Solomon apparently couldn’t resist the opportunities his powerful position presented to his lustful heart. We only have to think of celebrities of our time to understand how sexual lust ruins lives if not governed by the Holy Spirit.
So the king, despite his beginnings as a man who loved the Lord and who was blessed by God with wisdom, great wealth, and power, soon pulled away from God’s instructions. He collected like trophies seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, or female slave mistresses, from every people and culture with whom he came into contact—often receiving the new wives as part of diplomatic relations with other nations. This practice was expressly forbidden by God, who had stated that neither the people of Israel nor their king were to intermarry with other peoples. This was as terrible in God’s view as the sexual impurity that came with having many wives and mistresses.
Does this prohibition against interracial marriage mean God is racist? Of course not. He is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). But, the prohibition wasn’t centered on skin color; it was centered on faith. Solomon’s intermarriages were often with women who believed in pagan gods. For example, one of the pagan gods worshipped by a number of Solomon’s wives was Molech, the god to whom worshippers sacrificed babies in a stomach-turning ritual that involved placing the live infant into the outstretched, heated-to-scalding hands of the metal statue. Marriage to women like these was a slap in the face to the Lord, who declared Israel to be His wife. Solomon and the people had become like harlots in God’s eyes; they had committed adultery.
The Bible says King Solomon was warned that such women would turn his heart from the true God. They certainly did. As a matter of fact, the king went so far as to build places of worship for these pagan women in areas surrounding Jerusalem.
Sin Exacts Price
God’s people would pay a very high price for their sins. Jeremiah had prophesied the results of the people’s unfaithfulness. He foretold the seventy years captivity of the children of Israel, the destruction of the Temple, and the fate of those who would destroy it:
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.
And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. (Jeremiah 25:12–13)
God was angry because Solomon had turned his back on Him. However, Solomon finally came back to the Lord. Many scholars believe the book of Ecclesiastes to be the king’s account of his foolish, wasted life away from God. The Lord, for David’s sake, let Solomon live out his years as king with the Temple undisturbed. But Solomon’s heirs, the future kings of Israel, would again be plagued by war. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Solomon’s magnificent Temple when in 586 BC the captain of his hosts, Nebuzaradan, ordered his invading forces to completely burn the Temple and all the houses of the most prominent men of Jerusalem. The magnificent Temple was destroyed and the people were driven out of the land of promise.
The kingdom was eventually divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Twenty kings all total, some quite evil, a few quite good, ruled during this era. At one point, the Egyptians invaded and took many of Israel captive. All the while, the Temple continued to decline in beauty and glory until, just as Jeremiah prophesied, God’s judgment on Babylon came to pass.
The Persians conquered that nation and, following Israel’s seventy-year Babylonian prison sentence, allowed the children of Israel to return to the land. While many returned, some stayed in Babylon. Those who returned did so with the intention of rebuilding the Temple and the walls around Jerusalem. The return at that time is an amazing testimony to fulfilled prophecy. Although we haven’t the space to devote to that story here, it is well worth the time and effort to delve into the matter to see how precisely this prophetic timeline was accomplished.
The Second Temple’s foundation was laid in 535 BC and, after a number of delays, it was finally completed on March 12, 515 BC. That Temple sat in the middle of much turmoil. The Greeks defeated the Persians. Then the Romans defeated and replaced the Greeks’ control over the area. Herod the Great ruled in Israel, under Roman control, from about 47 BC to 4 BC. During his reign, around 20 BC, he launched a vast renovation of the structure, which involved enlarging the Temple as well as building courts and walls. The work continued beyond Herod’s death to the year AD 63.
As discussed in an earlier chapter, Jesus, just before He was crucified, had prophesied the destruction of this Second Temple. His prophecy would come true thirty-something years later when Jewish revolts in the region surrounding Jerusalem brought attacks by Roman General Titus in AD 70. His forces besieged the city and the Temple Mount.
Titus actually wanted the Temple left undamaged. The Romans didn’t wish to make the Jewish people angry, because they had their hands full fighting the revolutionaries in the area. Also, Titus argued that the Temple was a sort of treasure or jewel for the Roman Empire. Leaving it untouched would be best for Rome. But the Roman soldiers were used to having their way in any battle they fought. “To the victor goes the spoils” was their belief. Besides, the soldiers were resisted violently by rebels using the Temple as a fortress. This greatly angered the Romans and, despite the powerful general’s orders not to harm the building that had stood in service for about 584 years, the troops were crazed. As discussed earlier in the book, they knew the holy house was covered in many places with silver, gold, and precious stones, and they set the building on fire so the precious metals adorning the walls, cracks, and crevices would melt and be more easily gathered. They would have their spoils of battle in a very big way! The Roman forces then took the place apart stone by stone to get at any precious metals or gems that might be found in the rubble, fulfilling with breathtakingly specific detail Jesus’ prophecy to His disciples that “there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). Later, upon the order of Caesar, the Temple Mount was plowed, salted, and smoothed flat.
Secular History Perspective
Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus wrote the following eyewitness account of the events leading up to and during the destruction of the Second Temple in his history titled: “The Jewish War”:
In the morning Titus commanded that the fires should be put out and a road made to the gates to allow entry of his troops. His generals then came together to discuss what should be done with the temple. Some wanted to destroy it, because it would give the Jews a reason for uprising. Others argued that if the Jews would clear out of the temple it should be allowed to stand, but if they use it as a fortress, it should be destroyed. Titus then gave the command that no matter what happened, the temple should be spared, because it would always be an ornament to the empire. Three of his chief generals agreed, and the meeting was disbanded.…
Titus then went into Antonia, intending the next morning to attack and overwhelm the temple with his entire force. But on that day—the tenth of Lous [August 30, AD 70], the same day on which Solomon’s temple had been destroyed by the king of Babylon, the structure was doomed. The rebels again attacked the Romans after Titus retreated, and a battle took place between the Temple guards and the Roman troops who were trying to put out the flames in the inner court. The Romans scattered the Jews and pursued them into the sanctuary. At that same time, a soldier recklessly grabbed a torch….
He hurled the firestick through the doors of gold on the north side which allowed entry to chambers around the sanctuary. On seeing the flames, a cry went up from the Jews, and caring nothing for their lives, they rushed forward to put out the fire.
A messenger rushed to the tent of Titus to inform him of the fire. Immediately, Titus ran to the temple to put out the flames. But because of the battle that raged on, the soldiers either could not or would not hear his commands, or obey the waving of his hand. The wrath of his troops could not be stopped, and at the doorway many soldiers were trampled by their own forces. There among the burning ruins they fell, sharing the same fate as their enemies.
Pretending not to hear the commands of their general, and filled with hatred, the soldiers rushed on, hurling their torches into the temple. The helpless rebels made no attempt at defense. Fleeing for their lives, with bloodshed all around, many civilians were caught in the battle. Even the steps of the altar were stained with the blood of the dead.
When Caesar could not hold back his troops, he and his generals entered the temple and viewed for the last time the Most Holy Place. Since the fire had not yet reached the inside, but was still feeding on the outside chambers, Titus made one last effort to save it. Ordering a centurion to club anyone if they disobeyed his commands, He rushed forward and pleaded with his soldiers to put out the flames.
But because of their hatred of the Jews and the hope of plunder, the soldiers disregarded the orders of their general. Seeing that all the surroundings were made of gold, they assumed that the interior was filled with great treasure. And when Titus ran out to hold back his troops, one of those who had entered with him thrust a torch into the hinges of the temple gate, and a flame shot up inside. Caesar and his generals withdrew, and thus, against his wishes, the sanctuary was burned….
The city and the temple was then leveled to the ground by the command of Caesar. Only the highest towers and part of the western wall remained to show all mankind how the Romans overpowered such a strong fortress.[ii]
Most of the Jews eventually were put out of the land of promise following the Temple destruction, and they remain without a comparable place of worship to this day. Ancient hatreds followed them and they were never at rest, no matter where they resided. Yet the Jews again entered the land in significant numbers, and their enemies’ rage soon caused hostilities to burst forth.
A modern Egyptian pharaoh’s heart became harder and harder while he watched Israel’s prosperity grow in the region now called Palestine. Gamal Abdel Nasser, who grabbed power in 1954, declared himself leader of the Muslim cause shortly after taking over in Egypt. He worked to get the British peacekeeping forces removed from the Suez Canal zone. This done, he put into motion his devilish plan to destroy all the Jews in the region.
With the British gone, Soviet ships soon brought weapons of war to the Arab forces through the Suez Canal on a regular basis. The Soviets thereby gained an increasingly strong foothold in the Middle East. At the same time, Nasser refused to let Israel use the canal to ship and receive shipments necessary to their national life. He commanded the respect and fear of all Arab nations in the area in 1956.
The Egyptian president was leader of the Arab League, whose member nations included Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, as well as less significant Arab states. The league vowed to push the new Jewish state into the Mediterranean Sea. Despite Israel having won tremendous—some say miraculous—victories to gain independence in 1948, now the small nation’s hard-won freedom hung in the balance, and a monstrous fight was shaping up.
The Nasser-led Arab league put its forces in place, intent on totally wiping Israel off the land. Israel’s people wanted only peace after all the war they had fought so recently. But they took a collective deep breath and gathered their weapons yet again. They fought with great bravery against forces more than six times their numbers.
Before long, Britain and France joined the battle in the Israeli cause. Israel did much more than defend its land; it took through battle huge portions of its aggressor enemies’ territory. Only the United Nations stepping in and bringing about a peace of sorts kept the Arab league from losing much, much more land to the Israeli forces.
It was just as Zechariah had prophesied:
In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. (12:6)
The leaders of the Jews were like burning torches lighting fires in the Arab League straw! Although Zechariah’s prophecy undoubtedly is for the Tribulation period, the fighting foreshadowed things to come in the cauldron known as the Middle East.
Also like the Zechariah 12 foretelling, soon Jerusalem would again be firmly if not safely inhabited by the children of Israel. The Temple storm continued to build.
Rome Fulfills Temple Mount Prophecy
If the Roman Caesar had ordered the Temple Mount cleared off, plowed, and salted thinking it would make the site undesirable to future people who might again begin fighting over it, he was mistaken. No piece of real estate in the world is as desired as the Temple Mount.
Rome didn’t know it, but it had fulfilled prophecy: “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest” (Micah 3:12). Just as Micah said, Zion had been “plowed” and Jerusalem is now built upon many “heaps” of former city structures.
The Arab League, controlled by Muslim radicals, was bent on keeping the Jews from claiming any part of Mount Moriah. Certainly, in Nasser’s mind, there would never be a Jewish Temple built there.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque, most often called the “Dome of the Rock,” was built on the Temple Mount in AD 687. The golden-domed building, the most recognizable landmark in Jerusalem, is the major obstacle standing in the way of the Jews building the Third Temple, which is prophesied to be on top of Mount Moriah during the Tribulation period. (Get the new bookCauldron in March 2014 for more on the Third Temple.)
Arabs’ All-Out Assault
Nasser again stirred the Arab enemies of Israel to action in 1967. The Egyptian president and his fellow Israel-haters announced in Cairo, Egypt, that the Strait of Hormuz, which controlled access to the Gulf of Aqaba, would be closed to Israeli shipping. If action against this wasn’t taken, Israel’s ability to move into the Red Sea by water would be stopped. The nation’s lifeblood of imported supplies would be slowed to a trickle.
Nasser told the United Nations secretary-general that he was kicking UN peacekeeping forces out of Egyptian territory. When Egyptian military forces rumbled into the Sinai Peninsula, which had formerly been a zone to buffer between Israel and Egypt, Israel’s Air Force went on alert status.
Egypt began shelling Israeli border towns on June 6, 1967. Israel’s Air Force struck back violently. Israeli planes took out targets with precision strikes in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Israeli jet fighters completely dominated the air, downing hundreds of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian planes. Israeli victories were greater in scope than Israeli victories in the 1948 and 1956 wars combined, according to some military experts.
Enemy troops fled under the Israeli onslaught. The casualties of battle were light on both sides, many historians believe, because the Arab League forces did not stand and fight.
General Moshe Dayan declared victory on behalf of Israel in the lightning-like Six Day War of 1967. The city of Jerusalem was now in the hands of the Israeli government, concluding a string of events that seem to be a small preview of His mighty work to come on behalf of His chosen people described in Zechariah 12:
The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:7–8)
Dayan’s Dumbfounding Deed
Israel totally defeated its enemies, despite the fact that the enemy nations’ populations added up to 63 million people as compared to Israel’s 3 million. Even so, the Israeli leaders, as usual, still didn’t get it.
God gave Israel the victory, but General Dayan, truly a great military hero, turned around and did a thing that flabbergasts most people who think they understand what the Bible says about Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Jewish people. He gave the Temple Mount, which Israel had just won back after so many centuries, to the enemy Islamic leadership.
The prophet Micah, who said the following, must have rolled his eyes in heaven:
Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.…
Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. (Micah 3:5; 9–10)
The heads of God’s chosen nation again had listened to the world’s voices rather than to the Lord God of Israel. All the world had done for the Jewish people since the time of the first Egyptian bondage and even before that was to try to do away with them. In spite of the historical record of the bloody trail left by the red dragon’s tail as he trampled generation after generation of the house of Israel, Dayan seemed totally blind rather than having a patch over only one eye when he gave control of that site back to the Arab Palestine Islamists. The normally very wise Jewish leader and the Israeli government should have known better.
With destroyed Soviet war machinery littering the desert battle zones, Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin had the audacity to demand in the United Nations that Israel pay for Egyptian losses. He insisted that Israel be roundly condemned for “aggression” against the Arab League nations. Although neither of Kosygin’s stipulations was carried out, United Nations and world media pressures built to the point that Dayan returned the Temple Mount, the most important piece of real estate on earth, in the name of so-called peace. As we know, there is still no peace in the Middle East.
World diplomats and the world media had watched as the evidence of Adolf Hitler’s satanic evil was revealed after World War II. It was the latest of atrocities committed against God’s chosen people. Jewish victims’ flesh was literally flayed from their bones to make lampshades and other things. Their leg bones were used to make table legs. Their bodies were burned and crushed to bits and pieces in the crematoriums of Europe.
The internationalist diplomats and media still don’t seem to see as unreasonable the great pressures placed upon the Jewish people and the nation Israel—nor do the leaders of Israel seem to realize that land and other concessions can never bring true peace. Micah’s words on behalf of the God of Israel still have not gotten through to many in that nation:
And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. (Micah 3:1–3)
Astonishingly, Israel was looked at as the aggressor against the Arab League, rather than the other way around. This is the view of most of the world’s geopolitical observers today. The internationalist powers that be, including the new Pope (the final one on the prophecy of the pope’s list) for the most part, continue to isolate that small country in terms of meddling in an independent state’s sovereignty.
For example, the UN continues to stick its diplomatic nose in all of Israel’s business. Additionally, whenever missiles fly from Gaza or from points north, the current American president, in concert with the international community hand-wringers, pressures Israel to take it without retaliation against the actual aggressors. From Israel’s dealings with its Palestinian citizens to its election process and its choice of weapons development and deployment (putting into service), the “international community”—in effect, the UN—tries to influence every aspect of Israel’s business. At the same time, the UN often looks the other way when nations like Somalia and China commit human-rights violations. The organization talks big, but lets Islamist dictators violate practically every known human right.
The United Nations, along with the European Union, has for a number of years sought to put a peacekeeping force in the Israeli-governed areas of dispute. The UN and EU would, in that case, violate the sovereignty of the nation. They want to control Jerusalem, not merely the problems between the Israeli military and the radical Palestinian militarists. Look for that intervention in things to do with Jerusalem to ratchet up in the not-too-distant future. Such a scenario could be the forerunner of the prophecy involving the peace covenant found in Daniel 9:26 and 27.
It seems as if the words of Micah 2 are aimed right at the world’s diplomatic community:
Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. (Micah 2:1–2)
It’s as if they stay awake at night devising ways to give Israel’s enemies advantages so they can get more land for a peace the diplomats know the terrorists will never honor.
But the God of heaven has given the land to His chosen people. Jerusalem is the apple of God’s eye, and He pronounces a curse on those who devise to take or keep that land from them. The Lord still intends to honor His promises to Abraham and his descendants.
God draws the Jewish people as a nation to the Temple Mount like a powerful magnet attracts iron, and He directs their attention to Zion, where Israel’s Messiah will one day sit upon the throne of King David. Although back in the land in unbelief at present, the Jewish people obviously instinctively sense that this one holy site holds their destiny.
As recounted earlier, Ariel Sharon, Israel’s former prime minister who has been in a long-term coma since suffering a stroke in 2006, shocked the Middle East peace process when, before he became prime minister, he went to the top of the Temple Mount on September 28, 2000. Sharon, the last of the old leadership of Israel, a former defense minister, and former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) major general, made the trip to protest then Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s action concerning the Temple Mount.
Remember, Barak had turned over the Jewish holy site to Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat after first instructing Israeli foreign minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami, to plead with Arafat to honor Jewish rights to worship at the Temple Mount traditional worship sites. Arafat, of course, had no intention of honoring such a request, according to most pro-Israeli observers.
Sharon’s march to the top of the Temple Mount with an armed guard for protection set off Arab Islamic fundamentalist radicals’ anger. The radical Arab Islamics whipped many thousands of Palestinians into a frenzy of rioting, which brought quick and firm armed responses by Israeli police and military.
Terrorist troublemakers finally got what they wanted and needed to stir many people against the Jewish state. Most of the deadly terrorist groups within radical Islam, such as Apah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, etc., no doubt did all they could to make the fires of rioting as hot as possible.
The words of Psalms 7 speak for themselves:
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. (11–16)
These are God’s words of warning to those who conceive and carry out persecution of the innocent. Such evil will eventually come down on their own heads. And, the Israeli police and military, though showing great restraint in using deadly force, proved themselves willing and able to see that the most violent troublemakers among the rioters receive the response they earned. News cameras, however, focused almost exclusively on the few children who, tragically, were struck by gunfire. The Israeli troops, of course, got the blame, regardless of the facts.
Ariel Sharon not only ascended Mount Moriah to stand in a place the Islamic authorities forbade Jews to stand; he ascended to be prime minister of Israel. Then, when he was in his seventies, Sharon had seen the lies and false promises of Arafat and his terroristic brothers over the years. He would not be duped, as had been his predecessor, the former Prime Minister Barak. The people of Israel, for the most part, seemed to know that; his election to the nation’s top office proved it.
But how many know that Ariel Sharon passed away recently and that a prophecy given by the late Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri said (on his death bed) that the Messiah, Jesus, had visited him and that He (Jesus) would return to Israel shortly after the death of Ariel Sharon.
Soon a painful journey back to the Temple Mount will begin for Israel. It will take the Great Tribulation spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet and the Lord Jesus Christ to convince them as a people to turn to their Messiah in repentance.