Aug 3, 2011

Tisha B'Av and the Temple Mount Double Standard

Chuck MisslerBy Dr. Chuck Missler
Koinonia House

Twitter Facebook RSS Contact Amazon

"The rules on the Temple Mount are unique for Jews: No singing, no prayer books and certainly not a Torah scroll, but Muslim can play soccer outside their holy mosques while Arab workers remove dirt containing archeological proof of the destroyed Jewish Temples." - Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, Arutz Sheva
All public transportation will be silenced, all restaurants closed in Jerusalem next Monday evening as the sun sets. The Hebrew day of great tragedies, Tisha b'Av, will begin at sundown August 8. In remembrance, tens of thousands of Jews will gather at the Western Wall to pray and petition the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

Yet, while no Jews will be permitted to worship on the Temple Mount next Tuesday, 2000 Palestinians will be allowed in to pray on the Temple Mount as part of the relaxed restrictions during Ramadan, which started August 1.

The Temple Mount

This week, Jews look toward the Temple Mount with even more longing than normal. Israel has technically controlled the Temple Mount since the Six-Day War in 1967, but the Waqf, a Muslim council, manages the site, which is noticeably dominated by the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Israeli law is supposed to protect free access to the site, but the Israeli government enforces a ban on any non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount in order to avoid Muslim riots.

Yehuda WeinsteinAttorney General Yehuda Weinstein visited the Temple Mount last Tuesday in response to complaints of discrimination by police officers towards Jewish visitors. The police asked for the IDs of visitors wearing kippahs, warning them not to pray in front of the Temple Mount or they would not be allowed to enter. Those not wearing kippahs were not harassed. Jews are only allowed on the Temple Mount in small groups, while Muslims are allowed to come and go much more freely.

Muslims have been filmed playing soccer on the Temple Mount, which also upsets the Jews who regard the site as holy. Yet, nobody worries about the Jews rioting and causing destruction because Muslims use the Temple Mount for picnics.

The Har HaBayit Shelanu (The Temple Mount is Ours) organization said in a statement, "The visitors to the Temple Mount expect the Attorney General to launch an investigation and find out who in the police gave the discriminatory orders and who then ordered the officers to deny that these orders were given, [lying] in the courts and the Knesset, and bring those responsible to justice."

Holy Ground

Not all Jews want worshipers, Jewish or Muslim, flooding the Temple Mount. Nobody is certain exactly where the Holy of Holies in the Temple was located, and these faithful Jews do not want the unwitting visitor to tread on that spot. Worshipers must first be cleansed with the ashes of the red heifer, as required in Numbers 19, before Jews can worship freely in the Temple area.

East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have been points of major contention in past efforts to negotiate a two-state agreement. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, and the Jews do not want to give up this location that is so precious to Judaism. The world would never expect the Muslims to hand over control of the Kaaba in Mecca in order to keep peace, but the Jews are not free to worship on their holiest site because they fear Muslim violence.

Tisha B'Av

Tisha b'Av is Hebrew for the 9th day of the month of Av, and it completes the Three Weeks of mourning that began with the Fast of Tammuz on July 19th.

Many disasters have befallen the Jews on the 9th of Av throughout history. According to Jewish tradition, this was the day that God told the Children of Israel they were prohibited from entering the Promised Land because of disbelief. They were forced to wander in the desert forty more years until that adult generation had died out. That tragic day was just the beginning…

On the 9th of Av in:
  • 586 BC, Solomon's Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and the Babylonian captivity began;
  • AD 70, the Second Temple, which stood during Christ's ministry, was destroyed by the Romans precisely as Jesus predicted in Luke 19;
  • AD 135, the famous Bar Kokhba revolt was squelched when Bethar, the last Jewish stronghold, fell to the Romans;
  • AD 136, the Roman Emperor Hadrian established a heathen temple to Jupiter on the site of the Jewish Temple. Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city, and renamed the land as Palestina, to distance its Jewish heritage. The date when the Temple area was plowed under by the Romans was the 9th of Av.
The day has continued to be associated with grief for the Jewish people throughout history. For example, Pope Urban II declared the Crusades on the 9th of Av in 1242. According to the Alhambra Decree, the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 on this day (the same day that Columbus left on his westward route to the Indies). On the 9th of Av in 1942, the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were mass deported to the Treblinka extermination camp in Poland. Thus the 9th of Av, Tisha B'Av, has become a symbol of all the persecutions and misfortunes of the Jewish people, for the loss of their national independence and their sufferings in exile. Above all, it is a day of intense mourning for the destruction of the Temple.

A Day of Mourning ... And Future Joy

Tisha b'Av is indeed a day of mourning. It is marked with sadness and fasting from food and drink. Observant Jews avoid bathing or washing clothes or enjoying entertainment like music or movies, and the Book of Lamentations is traditionally read both in the evening and during the day. On this day the Jews are reminded of their tragic history.

Yet, this day is also expressly linked with Israel's glorious destiny. The Jews also look forward to the ultimate rebuilding of the Temple, to a time when Tisha b'Av will become a day of joy and gladness (as it was foretold in Zechariah 8:19).

We do know that the Temple will be rebuilt because Jesus, John, and Paul all make reference to it (Matt 24:15; Rev 11:1-2; 2 Thess 2:4). But we also know that this Temple will be desecrated by the Coming World Leader when he sets himself up to be worshiped (2 Thess 2:3-4). It is possible this prophetic event will also take place on Tisha b'Av - and may happen in the not-too-distant future.

Related Links
Att'y General On Temple Mount To See Anti-Jewish Discrimination - Arutz Sheva
Tisha B'Av - Judaism 101
Easing Restrictions In The West Bank During Ramadan - Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Coming Temple - BPB (Jack Kelley)
Israel’s Ramadan ‘Goodwill’ Measures for Arabs - Arutz Sheva