An aerial view of the Temple Mount as it stands today.
According to the Word of God, God said to King David that his son Solomon would build him a sanctuary. King Solomon built the first Holy Temple atop what is known as the Temple Mount in the 10th century BCE.
On the 1st of August, Israel will observe the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av. On this day both temples were destroyed. The 3 weeks before the 9th of Av are known as the time “Between the Straits” which is a time mourning the destruction of the Second Holy Temple and the 2000 year exile from the Land of Israel, until Israel became a nation again in 1948. It is also the date that many other tragedies befell the Jewish people. The Jewish sages say that those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit seeing it rebuilt with the coming of the Messiah (of course, we know that the Messiah has already come the first time, and will come again.) [Read more about the 9th of Av]
Three days after the beginning of the weeks of “Between the Straits”, on July 14th, three Muslim terrorists who were Israeli citizens from the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, northwest of Haifa, walked toward the Lions’ Gate and opened fire at Israeli troops guarding the Temple Mount, then fled into the Temple Mount. The troops chased them, engaged and shot the terrorists dead inside the complex.
Immediately, Israel installed metal detectors at the gates to the Muslim-administered sites on the Temple Mt. The move rocked the Muslim world, perceiving it as an Israeli attempt to take over control over the Muslim holy sites.
Logically, Israel assumed that the world would understand that measures have to be taken to prevent further attacks, and that Israel has no intention of taking over the Muslim sites, as Israel had announced many times.
Nevertheless, the metal detectors set off widespread protests and a wave of violence that set a Palestinian terrorist on a murder spree against a family of Israeli residents of a settlement in the West Bank, murdering 3 members of the Jewish family. Then there was another incident in Jordan when an Israeli guard in the Israeli Embassy was attacked by a terrorist with a screwdriver, and the guard responded by shooting and killing him and another Jordanian. A Jordanian mob demanded the death sentence for the Israeli guard. With pressure from the world and Jordan to restore the calm, Israel agreed to remove the metal detectors (also in exchange for the return of the Israeli Embassy guard.)
Israel announced it would replace the metal detectors with new security measures. These would reportedly include “advanced technologies,” sophisticated cameras and additional police deployments.
This set the Palestinians on another massive demonstration outside the Temple Mount. They continued to chant that “Al-Aqsa is in danger” and “under attack,” by the Israeli “occupiers.”
This libel has been going on for years. It is inspired by the incitement of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey, Qatar, Gaza Hamas and in Israel proper (even though they are illegal in Israel.) Hundreds of terrorists throughout the years have taken to Israel’s streets and stabbed, rammed and shot dozens of Jews to death, with the false cry that “Al-Aqsa is in danger”.
The libel has now brought blood to the Temple Mount, to the doorstep of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It now threatens the status quo Israel has for years sworn to protect, despite the denial of the right of the Jews to the Temple Mount. This is what forced the Israeli officers to fire their weapons to stop the terrorists, and actually defend the Muslim holy site, and the Muslim worshipers at the site from being harmed. This is the absurdity of the current events on the Temple Mount. [Read More about the status quo]
The protesters shouted, “We will not kneel, for Mohammad is our leader. Khayber*, Oh Jews, the army of Mohammad will return.” (*Khayber was an Arabian Jewish town whose residents were slaughtered by Mohammad in the seventh century.) “It’s a promise for the future war.”
As of this writing, to prevent riots and mobs gathering outside the Temple Mount that can ignite the fire of violence, Israel agreed to remove all measures of surveillance, including cameras and agreed to the demands of the Palestinian leadership to go back to the way things were conducted before the July 14th incident.
The history of the Temple Mount starts and ends with Israel.
Israelite period – The Jewish King David bought the Temple Mount grounds from the Jebusite, Araunah, for fifty pieces of silver (2 Sam. 24:24). In response to God’s command, David’s son, King Solomon built the First Temple on the Mount.
Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and the Second Temple was built by the Jews, completed and dedicated in 516 BCE.
Around 519 BCE Herod the Great expanded the Temple and the platform on which it stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
Roman and Byzantine periods – Roman emperor Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem and changed the name of the city to Aelia Capitolina. All Jews were forbidden to enter the city or the surrounding territory around the city.
In 325 CE, the Christian Emperor Constantine I, destroyed the Jupiter shrine on the Temple Mount. He allowed Jews to enter Jerusalem once a year, on the 9th of Av. The Temple Mount was neglected by the Romans.
Byzantine period – The Byzantines built elaborate church buildings, monasteries and other public buildings on the Temple Mount.
Muslim period – In 637 CE Muslim Arabs conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire. Caliph Umar built the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. It was completely destroyed and rebuilt several times, the last one was rebuilt in 1035 and still stands today.
In 691 CE Caliph Abd al-Malik built the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount (Qubbat as-Sakhra). (The dome was covered in gold in 1920)
These are the main holy sites to the Muslims after Mecca and Medina. The Dome of the Rock is located close to the area where the Jewish Holy Temple previously stood. The mosques and shrines are currently administered by the Waqf.
The Crusaders – In 1099 the First Crusaders captured Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and converted the mosques into churches.
Back to Muslim rule – In 1187 the Muslim leader Saladin re-conquered the Dome of the Rock and al-Aksa. They were returned to Muslim houses of worship, until the present.
The Ottoman Empire – The Turkish Ottoman Muslim Empire conquered Palestine in 1516. They prohibited non-Muslims from visiting the Temple Mount until the early 19th century.
British Mandate – After WWI, the entire area was conquered by the British, including the Old City of Jerusalem. The Mandate maintained the Muslim status quo of the Temple Mount and Jordan established the current Waqf (religious Muslim Council of the holy places on the Temple Mount.) [Read more about the Waqf]
The State of Israel – Israel won the war of 1948 against five Arab nations. But Jerusalem and the West Bank remained occupied by Jordan. Jews were completely expelled from the Old City including the Temple Mt. They were barred from entering the Old City for 19 years, effectively banning Jewish prayer at the site of the Western Wall.
Closure of cycle: Israel occupies the Temple Mount once again
Israel period – On June 7, 1967, Israel won the Six Day War against neighboring enemies Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. In the fighting against Jordan, Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem from the Jordanians. The Temple Mt. site remains within the area controlled by the State of Israel, but the administration of the site remains in the hands of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.
Arabs can enter the Temple Mount through one of ten different Muslim-only gates from various places in the Old City. Non-Muslims and Jews are only allowed access to the site through the Mugrabim Gate (via the Mugrabim Bridge) which is located just above to the left of the Kotel, (Western Wall) plaza. Non-Muslims are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.
As we see, God has fulfilled His promises and closed the cycle. Now that Israel has come back to the Land, the Temple Mount is in Israel’s hands. For now, God allows that it will be religiously under Muslim control, even if Jews cannot pray up there to the God of Israel (in a religious way.) Why does God allow such an absurd situation? Because of His timing. If Israel had taken control of the Temple Mount religiously, the Jewish religious leaders would have started building the third Temple, and it is not God’s time, it’s not His purpose yet for Israel.
Please pray. As tensions mount in Jerusalem, with many Israeli security and police guards, and many heated Muslims chanting anti-Jewish slogans, there is the danger of clashes and violence to erupt.Pray for protection and peace.