As the Middle East Peace Process wound its way through to the final hurdles of the negotiating process during the last few months, the entire scheme to craft a historic end to the fifty two year long conflict between the Israeli’s and Palestinians finally hinged squarely, and singularly upon the perplexing dilemma of the city of Jerusalem, and the Holy hill of Zion!
As Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak took Israel to the diplomatic brink of actually conceding the holy city to Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinians. Never before in the annals of Jewish history has a leader of Israel acquiesced to the notion of giving away the city of Jerusalem, yet even that extremely dramatic gesture to accomplish peace was met with steadfast rejection by Yasser Arafat. The resulting Temple Mount riots called the “intifada”, or uprising, now inescapably conveys to the Israeli citizenry that peace cannot be obtained, and should never even be pursued at such an unreasonable price. Thus, the collapse of the Ehud Barak led government, and the advent of sudden elections in Israel, which were held on February 6th, 2001, and resulted in the election of Ariel Sharon.
The failure of the seven year long Oslo Peace Process has at least exposed the real dilemma inhibiting the accomplishment of peace. Why Jerusalem? What is it about this place?
I Kings 11: 36 states: And unto his son will I give one tribe that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I ( God ) have chosen me to put my name there.
Also in II Kings 21:7, II Kings 23:27 God emphatically states that his name shall be associated with the city of Jerusalem forever.
Jerusalem was the place that God enabled Israel to build for him a house, a site that would become the place where God would be able to tabernacle with his people. Of course, it was the part in history for King Solomon to build that house for God. ( see I Kings 6:11-15)
But, sadly, because of national disobedience, Israel would ultimately lose, not only the Promised Land, which God had proportioned to them, but she also lost the beloved Holy City, and the sacred Tabernacle. The book of Lamentations expresses the deep national grief and sorrow of the Jewish people over the loss of Jerusalem:
Lamentations 1:4-6 The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts; all her gates are desolate; her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she; (Israel ) is in bitterness.
Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her ( Israel ) transgressions; her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.
And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed:
Lamentations 1:8 Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed;
So it is that Israel lost its precious heritage regarding the city of Jerusalem. But, we must remember that God also said that His name; ( Jehovah ) was forever stamped firmly to this particular city that He himself chose to carry his name!
The debate and negotiations over the city of Jerusalem, and in particular its ancient holy sites within the Old City, as they were outlined in the Clinton Plan have promulgated the temple mount to the forefront of the Jewish consciousness. Gershon Salomon, the leader of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful, remarked in a January celebratory rally for Jerusalem, “The Temple Mount is the reason for Jewish existence “When the Temple Mount is removed from the Israeli people, then the heart of Israel is plucked out”!
From Gershon Salomon’s perspective, the public discourse of Israeli political discussion regarding any future peace negotiations must of necessity consider the construction of a new Temple for Israel, otherwise there can never be any real similitude of peace. Thus, the impetus for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple has never been greater than it is right now, and so this environment is due in great measure to the intransigence that has been displayed by Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinians.
And the prevalence of an environment within Israel seeking to obtain a presence upon the Temple Mount, and to reconstruct the ancient Temple, should sound an alarm within Christiandom that the rapture is imminent for the church! For the rise of a zeal among modern Jewry to rebuild the temple is synonymous with the prophetic revelation that the ultimate man of sin shall accord Israel the opportunity to actually build its third temple!
On January 8th, Israeli’s from every walk of life gathered in front of the Jaffa Gate entry to the Temple Mount, in a unique historical moment, and swore an oath of national faithfulness to the Holy site! Five hundred thousand swore in the name of the nation of Israel exactly what their forefathers swore 3000 years with God ago on the very same spot: “Jerusalem, I pledge”!
Psalms 137:5-6 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem let my right hand forget her cunning, if I do not remember thee, let thy tongue cleave to the roof my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
This historical event occurred at a highly critical time in the modern history of Israel. At a time when the Old City of Jerusalem and its Temple Mount have become the focal point of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it is all the more surrealistic that the significance of the Holy Mount should be revitalized in the Jewish mindset. Since the re-occupation of Jerusalem in 1967 by Israel, they have exerted very little resolve to exercise sovereignty in the old city, nor shown much religious zeal to rebuild the ancient temple. That has all changed with the Palestinian rejection of the Clinton formula for peace. Listen to these remarks by some Israeli leaders gathered at the Jerusalem Rally:
Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert: It is God who has caused this outpouring of devotion to Jerusalem at this time, when so many of Israel’s enemies are seeking to strip us of our rights to the Holy City. It is nothing less than a miracle for us that the peace process has resulted in inspiring Israeli’s to become devoted to rebuilding the Temple of God! We are no longer alone in our struggle for the Temple Mount, and the rebuilding of our temple. Very soon, we shall see the rebuilding of the house of God on the Temple Mount!
Gershon Salomon: We call on everyone to be a part of the Godly, historical, prophetic endtime campaign to make Jerusalem the real capitol of a world enjoying real peace.
While it may seem like a refreshing bit of news for Jews to be delighted with the fervor within Israel presently for rebuilding the Temple, it actually prophetically portends the ominous political climate that will catapult Israel into its ultimate covenant arrangement with the Antichrist! Let there be a point of prophetic analogy noted on this matter.
Someday, after Israel has successfully negotiated a process for acquiring a “Peace with Security”, a provision for the re-building of Israel’s temple will be included to allow for an Israeli presence on the Temple Mount. Ironically, the failed Oslo Peace Process which began on September 13th of 1993 met its failure at Camp David exactly seven years later in 2000. So, in essence, Israel has served notice to the whole world that for a peaceful resolution to be realized in the Middle East, it must be accorded a presence on Mount Moriah. Can the Antichrist be far behind? More important, can the return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem be far away?
The Israeli people have longed for the peace of Jerusalem ever since losing the city. The motto of the Jewish psyche for the last two thousand years has been the cry, “next year in Jerusalem”. Psalms 122:6 reflects the prayer of peace: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee”. The peace of Jerusalem, however will only be realized when God remembers the city he has forsaken. In the book of Isaiah, the mournful lament over Israel’s lost city is expressed thusly: Isaiah 49:14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken us, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
Isaiah 54:6-7 For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. Isaiah 3:8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eye of his glory.
The weeping prophet Jeremiah concluded with Isaiah: Jeremiah 12:7 I ( God) have forsaken mine house, I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.
Jerusalem was the city that God chose to make his chief joy among the nations of mankind, and to covenant with the nation of Israel that from there his son would one day reign. This is the sole reason that God has not forsaken Jerusalem forever.