WHAT JERUSALEM? WHAT TEMPLE? There is an ancient plot of land in Jerusalem the Jews call the Temple Mount, while the Muslims call it (and the building on it) Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), aka, the Dome of the Rock. A journalist recently said of this place, “That is the epicenter of Jewish-Arab tension in this land since the beginning of the national conflict.”[a] The back cover of this journalist’s book on the subject reads, “Here nationalism combines with fundamentalist faith in a volatile brew. Members of the world’s three major monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—hold this spot to be the key to salvation as they await the end of the world, and struggle to fulfill conflicting religious prophecies with dangerous political consequences.” The matter before us now concerns the Christians. A great block of them agree with certain fundamentalist Jews that the Temple must be rebuilt on this piece of land, and the Muslim mosque which stands there now — the third holiest shrine in Islam — must come down, one way or another. For these particular Christians, the imagined scenario is: the church will be raptured out[c], the Antichrist will be revealed, and the Tribulation period will commence; after three and a half years the Antichrist will proclaim himself God from the rebuilt Temple precincts, and in another three and a half years the Lord Jesus will return, fight Armageddon, and His Millennial reign over the earth from Jerusalem will commence, and after this eternity proper will ensue. Thus saith the Left Behind books and the Dispensationalist teachers! There is no room to refute these latter here (the interested reader is referred to a couple of books for this, one brief[d], one comprehensive[e]), but we will look at some vital Biblical principles involved: a) Where is the Jerusalem in which God’s Temple is located? b) Where is the Israel in which God Himself dwells, in great power? And, c) What is the Temple God is building? We know there are two Jerusalems: the apostle Paul puts it like this, “…Jerusalem which now is…is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”[f] Elsewhere the Scripture speaks of “the heavenly Jerusalem”[g], and “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven.”[h] Is there a Temple in the Jerusalem above? The 21st chapter in Revelation tells us “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Is not the Temple with which Jesus’ brothers and sisters have to do this very one? For Scripture says, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”[j] Do we not now “enter into the holiest”[k], and is not our mercy seat the very “throne of grace”[l] where mercy is lavished on those sprinkled with that precious blood? If we have so great a salvation, the substance of which was only shadowed by the great types of the old covenant, why do we deceive the Jews, supporting their dreams of a paltry temple built of crumbling stones, and in which the blood of animals will be shed once again, which cannot cleanse their souls, thus ensuring their entrance into Hell? Do you think this is God’s agenda? The plumbline of discernment is this, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”[m] Whatever prophetic or covenantal scenarios may be thought up, that standard determines the eternal destiny of men. Everyone who dies outside of Messiah, the High Priest of the everlasting Temple, perishes in the Gehenna of souls. Why are we hiding from the Jews the proclamation of the true Temple, the true blood of sprinkling? Not only are the Christian supporters of the mock temple enemies of the Jews, foisting upon these lost souls their own agenda, they are enemies of the Arabs, as they incite the Jews to war upon them, also hinting that to destroy the Dome of the Rock would not be a bad idea, and as they do these things they utterly disgrace the name of the only One who can give eternal life to the Arab world. The Jews and Arabs are thus made expendable pawns as these Christians attempt to manipulate into actuality their version of the Apocalypse! (Please note: not all followers of Christ are of this ilk!) Christians! Reason this out. Do you not know that the Temple of the living God is also here in this world now? By virtue of our union with Christ — made one body with Him[n] — His people, along with Him, are now considered the temple of God. Speaking of the Gentiles (Arabs as well!) being included into “the household of God”[o] — which Paul identifies moments earlier as “the commonwealth of Israel”[p] — he says of these two peoples in Christ, they are, “an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”[q] The Jews and the Gentiles in Christ are the household of God, His Israel, and His temple. Paul says it again: “for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”[r] The apostle Peter puts it this way, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Why do we not proclaim that the God of Israel is building a great house — His Temple — stone by living stone? What do you think Paul meant when he spoke of provoking the Jews to jealousy, if it is not this very thing? There is a great celebration going on in the nearly completed Temple! Can we not call both Jew and Arab to come in? Can we not tell them that to build upon the tears, sweat, and blood of those in Palestine is an affront to God, for upon His own blood, His own tears and sweat, He built a Temple eternal in the Heavens, and which He shall bring to earth after the great resurrection, with abundance of shalom for all those blessed to be in that glorious Kingdom? The true Jerusalem for the Christian is the heavenly; the true temple is the Lord Jesus and those living stones built into Him; the true Israel is that Representative and King descended from the patriarch of that name — the only One now worthy of the name[t] — and that community, that nation, which cleaves to Him, even becoming part of His body. Those of Jewish blood living in the Jewish state need to hear these things! They need to hear of Israel’s true and eternal return from exile in Messiah — or they perish! Why not tell them of the joy the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has prepared for those who return to Him in these last days? What? Have we been so saturated with the “blood and guts” of Hollywood’s “modern warriors” and “heroes” that we impose this conquest-through-violence on the kingdom of Christ? Beware, for those who live by violence — and incite others to it — shall die by it. If these things be true – and a Reformed hermeneutic supports it – why do we not simply stand for the vision of Christ, holding forth the Kingdom He proclaimed, a kingdom not of this world? At least not yet of this world, as the day is coming when the new earth will contain only His kingdom, a kingdom of such glory and wonder we can barely imagine it. But instead of this, Christians, why do you persist in fomenting the bloodshed between two peoples we are called to serve in love and illumine with the light of Messiah? You do the Jewish state (it is not worthy the name Israel) the gravest injustice in failing to call it to repentance. And you do the Arab world as grave an injustice by urging the Jews on in their aggression. How many of you know of Israel Shahak’s book, Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies, where he tells how close Moshe Dayan (then Commander-in-Chief of the Jewish Armed Forces) came to using nuclear weapons against Syria in 1973, declaring “the Syrian cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia should be obliterated.” He was only stopped by Golda Meir and Henry Kissinger (pages, 39, 48, 49). And then there is what the Jewish military calls “the last-minute option,” which could be used in the event the Jewish state is being defeated by means of conventional warfare, and consists of “a devastation by nuclear weapons of a considerable number of Arab urban centres and such crucial installations as the Aswan Dam (whose destruction was envisaged in Israel before 1973).” (page 38) The “light of the world” you are urging the Jewish state to be is the light of nuclear holocaust upon its neighbors, an abomination you are supporting in the name of Christ. This “Christian” influence pushing for a conflagration of violence in the Middle East comes mostly from America. In your deceiving the world about what “being Israel” means — this very heart of the issue of salvation! — do you think you will continue in this with impunity, putting the world at such awful risk with your hard-hearted delusion and blindness? You might unwittingly err in your distorting the prophecies, but your eyes are wide open to see the consequences and cost in terms of human suffering. May God silence you. ---------- Footnotes: a “Jerusalem Holy Site a Tense Crossroads Again,” by James Bennet, NYTimes.com article, August 29, 2003. b The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, by Gershom Gorenberg (Oxford Univ. Press, 2002). From the back cover. c Some other Dispensational views have the church raptured — taken to Heaven — during or after the Tribulation. d An Examination of Dispensationalism, by William E. Cox (Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1963) e Wrongly Dividing The Word Of Truth: A Critique Of Dispensationalism, by John H. Gerstner (Soli Deo Gloria Pub., 2000) f Galatians 4:25, 26 g Hebrews 12:22 h Revelation 21:2 i Revelation 21:22 j Hebrews 12:22, 24 k Hebrews 10:19 l Hebrews 4:16 m 1 John 5:12 n 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:15, 16; 5:29, 30 o Ephesians 2:18 p Ephesians 2:12 q Ephesians 2:21, 22 r 2 Corinthians 6:16 s 1 Peter 2:5 t Genesis 32:28, “as a prince hast thou power with God and with men.” Isaiah 49:3 (cf 49:1-3, 5-10) u Another shocking and revealing book by Shahak is, Jewish Fundamentalism In Israel (Pluto Press, 1999) ---------- TO CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity! Habakkuk 2:12 You think to build your kingdom of the Jews on the backs – and on the blood – of the native Palestinians as though they were no people and had not lived on the land long centuries? You think to build the Kingdom of the holy God upon injustice – only beginning with Deir Yassin’s horror – and upon murder, rape, theft, oppression, yes, upon the genocide of a peoples, and think you build in His name? It is because of you nations blaspheme the excellent King, Messiah Jesus. And you neglect His Word, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it,” thinking He will honor the atrocities of Zionist land-lust, British deception, and American coercion of the U.N. in ‘48 when the world agreed to steal Palestine from the Palestinians! Who are the people of God, O Christians, Jews who hate Messiah Yeshua – and as Jesus said, thus His Father also – living in rank ungodliness or religious arrogance and pride, or those Palestinians who are Christians, rejoicing in the precious blood of the Passover Lamb? Mark well whose cause you further by supporting injustice through military prowess, as the Palestinian Christians bear the cross deferring vengeance for love of Christ. It is the meek shall inherit the land – and all the earth – not the fierce and mighty. In the unbelieving Arab world it is thought Christ disdains even the Arab Christians, and loves even those Jews who wickedly oppress His blood-bought, as many Christians say He supports the injustice of the Zionist land-grab. How can the followers of Jesus have so little heart, even for their own, and such poor vision, blind to God’s heart? Repentance is in order, even as we condemned American racism, Afrikan apartheid, and Aryan racism, for God has heard the cry of Ishmael, and many of his children cleave to Abraham’s Seed, our Jesus, as they groan under the boot you have bought and polished for the strong oppressor; the one cries out to Him, the other curses His name, and the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth from the ground!