It’s About the Temple Mount
After a brief lull, the so-called “stabbing intifada” in Israel came roaring back this week. Israel has an array of sophisticated security precautions in place. They even deployed the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) in Jerusalem. But security forces always have limitations.
Pundits usually tell us that the answer to violence is to eliminate guns from the equation. But even if the Israelis could do that, they still couldn’t get rid of knives, cars, Molotov cocktails, rocks, bombs, or bare hands. The centerpiece of this uprising is the knife, something you can’t outlaw. Knives are among the most basic humans tools, and they’re everywhere.
Jesus taught that murder is not just an action, but an attitude of the heart (Matthew 5:21-22). Police can scan faces, set up metal detectors, use radiation detection equipment, bomb-sniffing dogs, and create heavily guarded checkpoints, but killers will still get into populated areas. The murder is not in their guns, but in their hearts. They will find rocks. They will drive cars into pedestrians. They will find and use knives.
Against all reason, Palestinians keep on initiating attacks that result in more security checkpoints, more walls, and more scrutiny. It’s like “suicide by cop.” They keep coming at the Israelis until they get shot. Their continued attacks destroy their freedoms and opportunities for financial prosperity. How can it be worth giving up all that just to kill unknown Jews as they walk down a street?
Social scientists usually attribute the current wave of violence to economics, most often a lack of jobs. Yet, as Joseph Farah asks in a World Net Daily column this week, “If conditions for Arabs are so bad in Israel, why is the Arab population exploding?” He points out that “In 1949, the Arab population of Israel was about 160,000. Today, it is over 1.2 million.”
Rank and file Arabs have more freedom and greater opportunity in Israel than anywhere else in the region. That’s why their numbers have grown so dramatically. Their arbitrary violence against Jews winds up hurting everyone, but especially the Palestinians themselves. So why do they stay on the offensive?
The root problem is not economic, but religious. Muslims hate Jews as a matter of religious obligation. Secular Europe cannot fathom this fact, and even Americans find it difficult to grasp. Large numbers of Palestinians are willing to let their children die as suicide bombers. It’s not that they don’t love their children. They do. But Islam comes first.
The Temple Mount stands as ground zero for the current unrest. If that sounds familiar it’s because it has happened many times before. Those 35 acres of ground intensify emotions on both sides like nothing else. Jews would at least like to pray there — an idea that is anathema to the Muslims.
That small plot of land has inspired so much fear and rage among Muslims that in October, U.S. News and World Report ran an editorial by Ben Caspit calling on Israel to completely close the Temple Mount to Jews.
Caspit wrote, “Israel has no intention of taking control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or changing the status quo involving the Temple Mount. The Palestinians, however, are more attentive to conspiracy theories based on statements by the messianic Israeli right. The thing is, the messianics stand at a great distance from the government, and anyone who relates to their words as a scenario soon to unfold is simply manipulating facts. None of this is important at the moment, however, because the Palestinians are convinced that Israel plans on usurping Al-Aqsa.”
The Muslim hysteria about Jews rebuilding the Temple may not be as farfetched as Caspit claims. A poll taken in 2010 showed that 49% of Israelis want to see the Temple rebuilt. Only 23% said it shouldn’t happen. The rest were undecided.
Whether they believe it’s possible or not, Palestinian leaders use fear of a rebuilt Jewish Temple to stir up their constituents to the point of violence. Even proposals to rebuild the temple without harming the mosques draws a frenzy of rage from the Muslims. No matter what Israel the promises, they fully expect the Jews to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
It’s intersting that so many Palestinians are convinced that there will be another Jewish Temple on the site. Few of them know it, but they’re agreeing with the Bible. It says that before the mid-point of the seven-year period known as Daniel’s 70th Week, the temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices will be offered again.
Daniel 11:31 says that forces from the Antichrist “will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.” [NASB] To “do away with the regular sacrifice,” and to “set up the abomination of desolation” requires that the temple be rebuilt.
In the meantime, to understand the Temple Mount hysteria among Muslims, we need to understand the spiritual dimensions of the problem. This is not just a real estate dispute. It is about principalities and powers. Satan will stir anyone he can, as much as he can, in an attempt to keep the holy place in a state of desecration.
But he cannot stop God’s plan. The mighty can never defeat the Almighty.
Unbelieving religious Jews will rebuild the false temple and offer false animal sacrifices during the first part of the Tribulation. (Daniel 11:31) Then the “man of lawlessness”, the Antichrist, will desecrate that false temple of God by taking his seat in the Holy of Holies, displaying himself as being God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB) That event will start the last half of the Tribulation. That will start 3½ years of the greatest horrors yet known to mankind. It will end with the visible Coming of THE ALMIGHTY, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will rule for 1000 years of peace. Then is the last Judgment of all unbelievers of all Ages. He will then establish forever the New Heaven and Earth.
(I have just tried to synthesize hundreds of pages in a few words. Have mercy on me for brevity. Hal Lindsey)