As of Sunday, December 11, 2001, the bridge which connects the Western Wall to the Temple Mount has been closed due to safety issues. According to Jerusalem engineers the bridge is in danger of collapsing. Sadly, this is the ONLY access Jews have to the Temple Mount. [Further, non-Muslim visitors are limited to several hours twice a day Sunday-Thursday.) On the other hand, Muslims have total access to the Mount.
Thus this closure affects only Jews and tourists who are predominantly Christian.
And yet, Jordan has been warning that the closure will lead to “trouble” claiming it is too close to the Mosque. Actually the distance between the entry to the Mount and the Mosque is at least 4 city blocks!
The Israeli paper, YNet reports:
The Waqf director said, “This is a sensitive issue.
“The bridge is so close to the mosque. Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims around the world will not be happy about this.” He said that they think that Israel is trying to hurt their tradition in the guise of safety concerns.” (Emphasis mine)
Again, let me point out that the bridge connects the Western Wall (West Jerusalem, controlled by Israel) to the Temple Mount, which politically also belongs to Israel. The bridge has absolutely nothing to do with Islamic traditions!
THE LATEST: The bridge has been temporarily opened but with continual closures. The decision has been made to rebuild….and that will be an issue for sure!
“God is not interested in real estate” a friend said to me. I couldn’t disagree more.
God is VERY interested in real estate and it is He who determines the boundaries of the nations.
However there is one particular place upon which His eyes, ears and heart are focused.
While He is omnipresent and indwells the hearts of all those who call Him Lord, there is only one place where He has chosen to reveal His Shekinah glory, to put His name and to build His house. (Isaiah 8:18, 2 Chron 7:15-16)
“But” you say, “look at the context, the preceding verse” (2 Chron 7:14).
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
In response I challenge that the promise of verses 15 and 16 is NOT dependent on verse 14. The first speaks to the promise of healing the land, the following verses are an affirmation of what He already promised.
Look at the prayer of Solomon at the Dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8:29) and then the Lord’s response:
And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. (1 Kings 9:3)
This piece of real estate is one of the few for which we have a record of the Title Deed, “payment in full” as it were. King David bought the property which had belonged to Araunah (2 Sam 24:21-25).
Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.”
Although the exact location is still uncertain, the Temples of Solomon and of Herod were built on this site. Tradition also puts Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Isaac on this mountain as well. Consequently this piece of real estate is the most holy and most contested in all the world.
Worship is synonymous with Jerusalem, as the Temple Mount is with worship. Therefore when the Psalmist and the people longed for Jerusalem, their focus was the Temple It is the place where the nations have, are and will come to worship the King. (Psalm 27:4, 122; Zech 14:16; Isaiah 2:2-3; Micha 4;1…)
The loss of the Temples and then the Roman destruction of Jerusalem were devastating to the Jewish people, but perhaps more than anything was the defilement by the building of Islamic mosques. ( 637-692)
Furthermore over the years, the Jewish people lost access to the Mount itself.
All that changed June 7, 1968 when Israel won the 6 Day War and regained the entire city of Jerusalem. Like the Maccabees before them, soldiers and politicians raced to the Temple Mount.
For some unfathomable reason, perhaps an attempt at peace after the war, control of the Mount was given to Jordan who then quickly limited Jewish access once again.
When I first came to Israel, the Mount was a high priority on my “to do/see” list. It’s hard to describe the feelings of standing next to the last remaining wall of Herod’s Temple and then looking up to see the gleaming gold dome of the Mosque.
My heart broke for a variety of reasons:
- The fervor yet futility of the prayers at the Wall.
- God’s departed presence where it had once been so manifested.
- Jesus’ love for these people who still deny and reject Him.
- The desecration of the Mount with a Mosque which has written on the inside of the dome: “There is only one god – Allah – and he has no son.
I was struck by the stark contrast between top and bottom.
Crowds of men, women, boys and girls pressed into touch the Wall. Some women found chairs and rocked as they prayed… some sitting for hours. The men were a bit more boisterous as they studied as well as prayed.
The section of the Wall is so small and the crowds are so large.
That was not the case on top. There the huge area was almost empty, devoid of people. Often one just saw guards to prevent the Jews and tourists from praying.
Times have changed!
I recently visited the Mount and activity abounded! All over the paved area, there were small clusters of men and women studying the Koran. One group seemed to be studying the Arabic letters of the Koran.
Although not yet 10 AM, there was a continual stream of mothers and children with picnic baskets and soccer balls, obviously preparing for a full day.
Tragically the Waqf (the Islamic trust controlling sites determined to be religious to Muslims) permitted the underground building of a mosque. Jewish archeologists were not allowed to see the unearthed relics. Initially the ancient ground along with its treasures was dumped in the back of the Mosque, but after a bitter fight was taken to a nearby dump and made available to Jews. Many wonderful “finds” have come from these mounds of “dirt.”
Furthermore, this third mosque on the Mount, now denied Jews access to the underground cavern which goes back to the days of King Solomon.
This was a blatant attempt to totally destroy evidence of the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. Heaps of this valuable “garbage” was piled in the back where the tourists and pilgrims would not notice.
As I walked along this “burial ground” a casual glance resulted in finding pieces of ancient pottery, just laying on the ground. I wonder just how many treasures are buried under these piles?!
Near this dump were two men in the process of burning a dilapidated copy of the Koran. While Jews bury their old books, the Muslims burn them. Quite a contrast with the way we/they honor holy books.
One said to me,
“The Mosque belongs to us, everything else up here belongs to the Jews!”
That statement is correct and also explains the sudden activity. Call it occupation or squatting, this is an attempt to “prove” the Temple Mount belongs to “Palestine.”
I also saw two caravans which my friend correctly realized were for ventilation. Obviously there are plans for more buildings.
I expect all this is preparation for this most holy site to Israel and Messiah Yeshua to be claimed to be the site of the “Capitol of Palestine.”
Here are other pictures from my morning on the Mount:
The entry from the now closed bridge is to the left in front of the trees. You can see the distance!
Another view of the Temple Mount Plateau
Ancient Olive Tree
Below: Ancient Marble Pillars
Capitol from Herod’s Temple
Sitting on the remains of the Wall of Separation
THE GOLDEN GATE FROM INSIDE!
The Golden Gate, also called, The Gate of Mercy (rachamin) is the entrance to be used ONLY by the Messiah (Ezek 44:2-3) . So as to prevent His entry, there is an Islamic cemetery on the other side of the Gate. Also you note that the Gate has been boarded up until His appearing, but the area is used by Muslims for parties and special events!