Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Temple Mount in Jerusalem
Jewish activists in Jerusalem are using buses to deliver an in-your-face message to Muslims by calling for the immediate destruction of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock on the city’s disputed Temple Mount.
The bulldozing of the Muslim holy sites, say leaders of Our Land of Israel, will pave the way for construction of the Third (Jewish) Temple.
“The Arabs and President Obama know that the Temple will be built on the Temple Mount,” said Rabbi Shalom Dov Volpo, the group’s founder, “instead of the temporary buildings that are there today.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, 200 buses now carry posters picturing the Third Temple sitting atop the mount alone – with no Muslim buildings in sight – along with the words, “May the Bais Hamikdosh [Holy Temple] be rebuilt speedily and within our days.”
Adding fuel to the fire, the campaign’s organizers told the Post they’ve targeted buses with routes through predominately Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.
“We’re representing the truth, in front of everyone, and saying out loud what every Jew believes,” said Our Land of Israel activist Baruch Marzel, “that the Third Temple needs to be built immediately on the Temple Mount and that the mosque should not be there.”
When asked about sparking Muslim furor over the posters, Marzel told the Post, “It upsets them that we’re alive, and that we’re living here.”
He continued, “If such a basic point is going to p— them off, then we might as well say what we truly believe and what we pray for three times a day – that is to rebuild the holy temple on top of the Temple Mount, and tomorrow, not to wait any longer.”
The First Temple refers to the structure built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was then rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.
The Temple was the center of religious worship for ancient Israelites. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God’s presence dwelt. All biblical holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Temples served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and were the main gathering place for Israelites.
According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It’s believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God’s test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.
The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.
The Al Aqsa Mosque, however, was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.
Our Land of Israel states its goal is “to oppose and fight the political accords with the Arabs that include land or security concessions.”
“Eretz Yisroel is our G-d given land and belongs to the Jews exclusively,” the group’s website states. “Any accord or agreement that includes land concessions endangers the Jewish nation and world peace.”
Marzel explained to the Post the traditions and prayers that have long called for construction of the Third Temple:
“When we reach the end of the Pessah Seder tomorrow night,” he said, “we’ll say, ‘Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem.’ What does ‘rebuilt’ mean? It means with the Third Temple intact.”