This chapter serves as an annex to Section Two. It traces the major movements of Israel and the church during the past two thousand years. It includes some highlights of the rise of Islam as it affects Israel and the church. Some readers may not be interested in all these details. In that case, we suggest you skip to the beginning of Section Three: The Tribulation Saints.
The birth and growth of the early church was a tumultuous season
of change as God began to move in the power of His Spirit to bring
men and women into the New Covenant relationship which Jesus had
instituted through his disciples at the last supper. The book
of Acts tells us about the first three decades of the Works of
the Spirit through the Apostles, beginning with Peter's mighty
sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Within months the believing community
in Jerusalem, (all Jews), who followed Yeshua, numbered several
The Apostles instituted a division of responsibility in the church by appointing elders to oversee teaching and deacons to be responsible for serving and meeting the immediate physical needs of people in the assembly. Among the newly appointed deacons were two great teachers: Philip the Evangelist and a young man named Stephen. Stephen's stirring speech (Acts 6-7), recounting the history of the Jews to the assembled crowds on the Temple Mount, resulted in his own death by stoning--and this was quickly followed by growing persecution of the "Way" of Yeshua. The opposition came from the traditionally-oriented elements of Jewish leadership.
Jews who had given their allegiance to Yeshua moved in large
numbers to other countries beginning what would be later known
as the great "Diaspora" of the Jewish people--their
exodus from their own land which would prevail for the next 1900
years. Later, as Jewish rebellion against Roman rule continued,
the Romans began to forcefully expel the land of its residents,
leaving Eretz Israel nearly empty of the Jewish people of all
classes and belief.
It was soon obvious to the followers of Yeshua The early church) that God in His sovereign movement in history was also adding multitudes of Gentiles to the Body of Christ. A young Pharisee named Saul, who had been present when Stephen was killed was suddenly converted on the road to Damascus and within a decade became the mighty Apostle Paul--called specifically by the Lord to spearhead the world wide evangelism of the Gentiles.
Peter meantime led the apostles who were to focus on bringing the good news of Yeshua to Jewish communities beyond the borders of Israel. The other disciples scattered near and far carrying the message of Yeshua to all lands and peoples.
So it was that the focal point of Christianity moved quickly out of Jerusalem to Antioch--about 300 miles to the North--in Syria. While there remained a strong but persecuted church in Jerusalem, the rapid growth of the church was now in Asia Minor, in Africa, Europe and India.
Jewish resistance to Roman rule in Jerusalem increased in cycles until finally Jerusalem became off limits to Jews all together. Most of the Jews in Israel were forced to flee to foreign lands. They remained in these countries for the next 19 centuries in small communities where their culture and values could be preserved.
The history of Israel in the Diaspora is an utterly amazing chapter of world history, virtually unknown by most Christians today, yet it is a subject most worthy of study. Often ill-treated, forcefully converted, persecuted and frequently killed, these amazing people persisted. God watched over them as he had promised through Ezekiel long ago. He would bring them back to the land when the out-calling of the church was complete:
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, your brothers--your brothers who are your blood relatives and the whole house of Israel--are those of whom the people of Jerusalem have said, 'They are far away from the LORD; this land was given to us as our possession. ' "Therefore say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.
"Therefore say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again. ' They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD." (Ezekiel 11:14-21)
The definitive history of the Christian church has not yet
been written--the book of Acts was just the introduction, the
whole story remains yet to be told in full. But all the evidence
suggests that the end of the age of the church is now very near.
After most of the Jews left their homeland in the second Century of this era, the land fell into disuse. Once cultivated land reverted to desert and fresh water lakes became useless silted marshes. The land was rocky and devoid of mineral resources in the first place, of little use to anyone except wandering tribes of Bedouins with their flocks, and a few caravan-route travelers. The great ancient civilizations that had ruled the ancient world--Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome had long since faded away and the Holy Land settled in to be an unimportant part of the Byzantine empire. The Emperor Constantine had made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire with headquarters in Constantinople. Foreign rule of Israel by the shifting Gentile world powers (as Jesus predicted) continued. Israel was visited by occasional tourists but the surrounding nations were also poor and backward, not at all the great world powers they once had been. Small numbers of Jews continued to live in the land. They succeeded in preserving the Jewish heritage so that it could later blossom again into life in the Return to the land in our day.
In the 7th Century A. D. a new religion, Islam, burst mightily upon the world scene. The prophet Mohammed was born in Mecca about 570 A. D. By the year 608 the main shrine in pagan Mecca, Arabia was there, called the Kaaba. After receiving profound revelations, supposedly from an angel, and stirred by the polytheistic paganism and disorder at the Kaaba, the prophet went forth, rejected by his people, on his Hijra (migration) from Mecca to Medina. The Hijra of Mohammed in 622 marks the beginning of the Islamic era. Two years later Mohammed's followers defeated the Meccans at the Battle of Badr and in 630 Mecca was conquered by Mohammed and became the spiritual center of Islam. The prophet's goal was to unite the factioned tribes under one chief God, whom he called Allah.
The prophet died in 632 and was succeeded by Abu Bakr as the first caliph. The official version of the Koran was established in 650 during the reign of Uthman, 18 years after the prophet's death. By 656 there was considerable civil war within Islam among the "descendants" of Mohammed - disputes of all kinds about who was the legitimate, appointed heir to the faith. Shi'ite extremism in Iraq was part of this revolution and began in 685. These root disputations persist to the present day --Islam is a divided religion in many ways.
During the years 633 to 637 the Arabs conquered Syria and Iraq, followed by Egypt, then Persia in 640 through 643. They because of the charge they believe was given to them by Allah through his prophet Mohammed. Arab armies moved into the Holy Land and were in full control there by 638.
Historian Steve Runciman recounts the conquest of Jerusalem:
On a February day in the year A. D. 638 the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem, riding upon a white camel. He was dressed in worn, filthy robes, and the army that followed him was rough and unkempt; but its discipline was perfect. At his side was the Patriarch Sophronius, as chief magistrate of the surrendered city. Omar rode straight to the site of the Temple of Solomon, whence his friend Mohammed had ascended into heaven. Watching him stand there, the Patriarch remembered the words of Christ and murmured through his tears: "Behold the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet."
Omar is said to have been shocked at the filth and rubble that
lay strewn about the Temple Mount. Because the holy site had been
neglected, it is said that he made the Christian Patriarch Sophronius
grovel in the muck. Afterward Omar set about clearing the site.
He built a wooden mosque on the compound. Most scholars believe
the mosque was built on the foundations of an early Christian
One well-known historical account contains the following details:
The great mosque of Jerusalem, Al Masjid al Aksa, the " Further Mosque," derives its name from the traditional Night Journey of Mohammed, to which allusion is made in the words of the Koran (xvii. 1): "I declare the glory of Him who transported His servant by night from the Masjid al Haram (the Mosque at Makkah) to the Masjid al Aksa (the Further Mosque) at Jerusalem" - the term "Mosque " being here taken to denote the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary, and not the Main building of the Aksa only, which, in the Prophet's days, did not exist.
According to the received account, Mohammed was on this occasion mounted on the winged steed called Al Burak "the Lightning" and, with the angel Gabriel for escort, was carried from Makkah (Mecca), first to Sinai, and then to Bethlehem, after which they came to Jerusalem. "And when we reached Bait al Makdis, the Holy City," so runs the tradition, "we came to the gate of the mosque (which is the Haram Area), and here Jibrail (Gabriel) caused me to dismount. And he tied up Al Burak to a ring, to which the prophets of old had also tied their steeds. " (Ibn al Athir's Chronicle, ii. 37. ) Entering the Haram Area by the gateway, afterwards known as the Gate of the Prophet, Mohammed and Gabriel went up to the Sacred Rock, which of old times had stood in the center of Solomon's Temple; and in its neighborhood meeting the company of the prophets, Mohammed proceeded to perform his prayer-prostrations in the assembly of his predecessors in the prophetic office Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others of God's ancient apostles.
From the Sacred Rock Mohammed, accompanied by Gabriel, next ascended, by a ladder of light, up into heaven;... Passing through the seven heavens, Mohammed ultimately stood in the presence of Allah, from whom he received injunctions as to the prayers his followers were to perform. Thence, after a while, he descended again to earth; and, alighting at the foot of the ladder of light, stood again on the Sacred Rock at Jerusalem. The return journey homeward was made after the same fashion - on the back of the steed Al Burak and the Prophet reached Makkah again before the night had waned. Such, in outline, is the tradition of the Prophet's Night Journey, which especially sanctifies the Rock and the Haram Area in the sight of all true believers.
After the capitulation of Jerusalem to 'Omar in 635 (A. H 14), that Khalif caused a mosque to be built on what was considered to be the ancient site of the Temple (or Masjid) of David. The traditional position of this site, 'Omar (as it is stated) verified, by the re-discovery of the Rock concealed under a dunghill from the description that had been given to him, 'Omar, by the Prophet, of the place where he had made his prayer prostrations in Jerusalem on the occasion of his Night-Journey.
The Dome of the Rock
In A. D. 691 Caliph Abd el-Malik commissioned the best architects
to build the Dome of the Rock. His plan was based upon a Fourth
Century Christian shrine on the Mount of Olives marking the site
of Jesus' Ascension. The Caliph's new shrine was deliberately
built as a political, economic, and religious counter attraction
to Mecca. Medina and Mecca, the two cities holy to Islam, were
under the control of a rival Caliph. Abd El-Malik sought to build
up the importance of Jerusalem as an Islamic center for pilgrimage
and worship. The holy spot of Judaism was now to be identified
with the spot where Mohammed's horse ascended to heaven.
Another indication that Jerusalem was not considered of great importance to the Muslim armies is the fact that it was one of last cities taken by the Syrian Muslims after the death of Mohammed. It was conquered by a mediocre commander, and not by Omar himself. The Arabs first called the city Ilya (Aelia Capitolina) rather than Beit el-Maqdas (the holy house). An early Muslim proverb says, "One prayer in Mecca is valued as ten thousand prayers; a prayer in Medina is valued at one thousand prayers; and a prayer in Jerusalem at five hundred prayers."
Although Abd El-Malik had commissioned the structure, it became known as "The Mosque of Omar. " The structure, however, was not (and is not today) a mosque, but rather a shrine.
Inside the Dome is an outcropping of the bedrock of Mount Moriah, the "Sacred Rock. " On the rock's pock-marked surface is one indentation which is believed to be the footprint left by Mohammed as he leapt into heaven. (Pilgrims over the centuries have whittled off pieces of the rock---the Crusaders especially were known to chip "holy souvenirs" from it.) Mount Moriah is a long, extended hill in Jerusalem, extending north from the City of David and extending beyond the present North wall of the Old City. That same hill is the traditional site of Abraham's sacrificial altar for Isaac, the threshing floor or Araunah, and the site of the First and the Second Temple.
The Foundation Stone is not solid, beneath it lies a cave and a well, known as "the well of souls."
East of the exposed bedrock in the Dome of the Rock is a tall cupboard where it is believed hairs from the beard of Mohammed are contained. Within the hollowed out chamber of under the rock are the "places of prayer" of Elijah, Abraham, David, and Solomon. The Muslims call this cave the "well of souls" where they believe the dead meet twice a week to pray.
In medieval times this spot was considered to be the "center of the world" and was marked such on maps. Since the rock under the Dome of the Rock, where the cave is, shows the effects of quarrying above the level of the cave, it is logical to hold that the rock stood higher originally and that the threshing floor surrounded the rock and the cave.
The exterior of the Dome is covered with tiles from Persia as well as marble. The "Golden Dome" is not made out of gold but rather anodized aluminum. The original dome was wooden, later covered with brass, and then lead sheathing in 1448. The excess weight of the lead-clad dome caused grave concern for the entire building because of periodic severe earthquakes in Jerusalem and finally the anodized aluminum dome. Most recently, in 1993, a million dollars in gold foil was provided by the government of Saudi Arabia as a gift. As of this writing the installation of the gold leaf has now been completed and the dome is today resplendent in brilliant pure gold.
During the seventeen centuries of the Dome's existence it has undergone many repairs but it has not been substantially changed in overall appearance since its completion in A. D 691. After one of the earliest renovations in A. D 820, Caliph al-Mamun removed the name of Caliph Abd el-Malik from the dedication plate and inserted his own name instead. However he neglected to change the dates and his fraud is there for all to see.
The Dome's beauty
Writing about A. D 985, Mukadassi, the famous Muslim traveler born in Jerusalem, wrote:
At the dawn, when the light of the sun first strikes on the cupola and the drum catches the rays, then is this edifice a marvelous site to behold and one such that in all Islam I have never seen its equal; neither have I heard tell of aught built in pagan times that could rival in grace this Dome of the Rock.
A Denial of Christianity
From the Muslim point of view the Dome of the Rock was an answer to and a denial of the attractions of Christianity and its Scriptures, providing the "faithful" with arguments to be used against Christian theology. The inscriptions are seven hundred and thirty-four feet long in all, amongst the lengthiest inscriptions in the world. There is a great amount of repetition and many quotations from the Koran.
The following extracts are relevant:
Inner Face: South Wall. "In the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no God but Allah alone; he has no co-partner. He is the Kingship and His the praise. He giveth life and He causeth to die, and He hath power over everything."
South-East Wall. "Verily Allah and His angels pronounce blessing upon the Prophet. O ye who have pronounced blessings upon Him and give Him the salutation of peace. O, People of the Book [i. e. the Jews and Christians, always referred to as such by the Muslims] do not go beyond the bounds in your religion and do not say about Allah anything but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is but a messenger of Allah and His word which he cast upon Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe only in Allah and of his messenger, but do not say "Three" [Trinity] and it will be better for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from His glory that he should have a son."
North Wall. "The Messiah will not deign to be in the service of Allah nor will the angels who stand in his presence. O Allah; pray upon Thy messenger "the servant Jesus - [N-W Wall] the son of Mary and peace be upon him the day of his birth, the day of his death and the day of his being raised alive. That is Jesus, son of Mary - a statement concerning which YOU are in doubt. It is not for Allah to take for Himself any offspring, glory be to Him."
West Wall. "Allah bears witness that there is no God but Him, likewise the angels and the people possessed of knowledge [S-W WALL] - Upholding justice. There is no God but He, the Almighty and All wise. Verily, the religion in Allah's sight is Islam."
Outer Face: West and North-West Walls. "In the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate. There is no God but Allah alone. Praise be to Allah who hath not taken to himself offspring. To Him there has never been any person in the sovereignty. Mohammed is the messenger of Allah, may God pray upon Him and accept his intercession."
"Praise be God who has not taken unto himself a son and who has no partner in sovereignty nor has He any protector on account of weakness."
If religious Jews are offended by the presence of this Islamic
shrine on their holy mountain, Christians have even more reasons
to take offense at these misrepresentations of the character of
their God, and the deliberate insults to Biblical revelation which
the interior inscriptions clearly intend.
Since it is an historical fact that Mohammed never came to Jerusalem, why is the Temple Mount considered holy to Muslims? One passage from the Koran does link Mohammed with Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. It is the seventeenth Sura, entitled "The Night Journey. " In this Sura there is a dream or vision by Mohammed in which he is carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple that is more remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him of our signs."
Islamic tradition identifies the first temple as Mecca and the second as Jerusalem. Mohammed's journey was with the Archangel Gabriel. Muslim belief says they rode together on a winged steed called El Burak ("lightning"). El Burak is not mentioned in the Koran, its first mention is two centuries after Mohammed's death in a document called Hadith, a collection of oral traditions.
After they arrived at the Temple Mount, Mohammed and horse ascended through the seven heavens into Allah's presence. Various spots on the Mount were later indicated as the place where El Burak was tied up before the ascent into the presence of Allah.
A later account of the night journey states:
The prophet of God said: "While I was sleeping within the wall of the Kaaba, came to see me Gabriel and kicked me with his foot, so I sat up, but not seeing anything, I lay again on my bed. He kicked me then once more, and I sat up and did not see a thing, so I lay back on my bed. He then kicked me a third time and I sat up, whereupon he pulled me by the arm and I rose, and went to the door of the temple. There was standing a white beast, between a mule and an ass in size, with two wings on its thighs, digging its hind legs in and placing its forelegs as far as it can see. Gabriel carried me on the beast, and we went together at the same speed." So the Prophet of God journeyed, and with him also Gabriel, until they reached the temple in Jerusalem. He found there Abraham, Moses and Jesus, among other prophets, and he led them in prayers. Then he was given two vessels, one filled with wine and the other with milk, so the prophet of God took the vessel with milk and drank it, leaving the vessel of wine. Seeing that, Gabriel said to him: "You were guided to the true religion [Islam] and so was your nation, for wine is forbidden unto you."
El Aksa Mosque
El Aksa is mentioned in the Koran in a vision of Mohammed's Ascension. It means the "distant place." This refers to its geographical location far from Mecca. El Aksa is regularly referred to as Islam's third holiest shrine after Mecca and Medina. The present mosque is believed to stand over the area where Solomon built his magnificent palace south of the Temple.
The El Aksa Mosque was built between A. D. 709-715 probably by Caliph Waleed, son of Abdel-Malik, the man who constructed the Dome of the Rock. Throughout the years the mosque has been destroyed several times by earthquakes and subsequently rebuilt. The most prominent remains of the original mosque that has survived are a few supporting columns east of the cupola.
The most important reconstruction was after an earthquake in A. D 1034 when the mosque was enlarged to house 5000 worshipers. The builders used capitals and columns of destroyed Byzantine churches in their reconstruction work.
Jewish Hopes Under Islam
The conquering Muslims brought a different attitude with them. In contrast to the Byzantine and Roman conquerors who let the Temple Mount remain in ruins as a proof of the destruction of Jewish nationalism, the Muslims restored worship to the Mount. Yet the worship was not of Yahweh, the God of the Bible, but of Allah.
When the Muslims became the rulers in Jerusalem some matters became easier for the Jews. They were officially allowed to live in the city and there is evidence that on certain holy days they were even permitted on the Temple Mount.
Reports say that the Jews would march in procession around the walls of the Temple Mount on feast days and pray at the gates. A document written in the tenth century indicates that one of the conditions for allowing the Jews to pray at the gates was that the Jewish community would be responsible for keeping the Mount clean. The Jews, the document states, were responsible to sweep the Mount. Other accounts indicate that Jews were employed in the Mosque area and that Jewish craftsmen made lamps for the Mosque.
The Mishna (Berachot 9:5) reveals that the Jews of all ages are required to show reverence for the site of their former temples:
"No man shall behave frivolously when standing near the eastern gate, which looks to the Holy of Holies: he shall not enter the temple mount with his cane, his shoes, his purse, or the dust on his feet, nor shall he use it as a short cut, still less shall he spit there."
Inscriptions have been found at the gates of the Temple Mount that were probably put there by Jewish Pilgrims during the early Arab rule. One such inscription, when translated, reads:
"You Lord of Hosts build this House in the lifetime of Jacob ben-Joseph, Theophylactus, and Sisinia and Anistasia. Amen and amen. "
The names on the inscription indicate they were Jews from a Greek-speaking country. Though the Jews were allowed more access than in the Roman or Byzantine period, they were still far from their desired goal of retaking Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
The Crusaders Capture Jerusalem
In the last 1300 years, with only one exception, the Temple Mount has been in the hands of Muslims. On July 15, 1099 Jerusalem was taken from the Muslims by the Crusaders from Europe. The Crusaders slaughtered the inhabitants of Jerusalem in an unjustified carnage. The Dome of the Rock was converted into a Christian church called the Templum Domini - "Temple of our Lord."
The Crusaders then began to use the El Aksa Mosque as headquarters for the Knights of the Templar who officiated the Temple Compound. A remnant of the Crusader occupation still exists today, the tombs of the assassins of Thomas Beckett the Archbishop of Canterbury (1118-1170). After murdering Beckett the assassins traveled to Jerusalem and took up with the Templar Knights. Their tombs are situated near the main entrance.
The Western world rejoiced that Jerusalem was in the hands of "Christians. " The victory, however, caused Muslims to immediately launch campaigns to regain the city and the Dome from the Christian infidels.
The Crusader occupation was relatively short-lived. The Muslim leader Saladin (Salah al-Din) proclaimed a jihad, or holy war, to retake the land of Palestine. After ninety years of Crusader control, Jerusalem surrendered to Saladin's army on October 2, 1187. In contrast to the brutality of the Crusaders, Saladin treated the defeated Crusaders with kindness and mercy.
The golden cross that was placed on the Dome of the Rock was torn down. Saladin rededicated the Templar's headquarters as a mosque. The Dome was covered with beautiful mosaics and a prayer niche facing Mecca was added.
Jerusalem was back in the hands of the Muslims and Europe was ready to avenge the defeat. A Third Crusade was undertaken (1189-1192) to free Jerusalem from the armies of Saladin. Richard the Lion-hearted led England and other Crusaders in a fruitless attempt to retake the city. To this day, the Temple Mount remains in Muslim control.
Jerusalem Lies Desolate
In 1267 the Jewish sage Nahmanides wrote a letter to his son. It contained the following references to the land and the Temple.
What shall I say of this land? The more holy the place the greater the desolation. Jerusalem is the most desolate of all... There are about 2,000 inhabitants ... but there are no Jews, for after the arrival of the Tartars, the Jews fled, and some were killed by the sword. There are now only two brothers, dyers, who buy their dyes from the government. At their place a quorum of worshipers meets on the Sabbath, and we encourage them, and found a ruined house, built on pillars, with a beautiful dome, and made it into a synagogue...People regularly come to Jerusalem, men and women from Damascus and from Aleppo and from all parts of the country, to see the Temple and weep over it. And may He who deemed us worthy to see Jerusalem in her ruins, grant us to see her rebuilt and restored, and the honor of the Divine Presence returned.
An account exists of Napoleon's visit to the Temple Mount of the 9th of Av, the day of the commemoration of the Temple's destruction. When asked what all the crying and wailing was about, Napoleon was told that the Jews were mourning their Temple which had been destroyed 1900 years previously. Touched by the incident the French Monarch said, "a people which weeps and mourns for the loss of its homeland 1800 years ago and does not forget - such a people will never be destroyed. Such a people can rest assured that its homeland will be returned to it."
Jerusalem Under Turkish Rule
The Ottoman Turks, non-Arab Muslims, became the dominant power in the 15th century. In 1453 they captured the city of Constantinople and brought about the final destruction of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine). They renamed the city Istanbul and made it the center of their empire.
In 1517, under Sultan Selim I, the Turks captured Jerusalem and all of Israel. The rule of the Turks over Jerusalem would last exactly four hundred years. The walls which today surround the Old City were built by Suleiman the Magnificent, son of Sultan Selim. Suleiman restored the Al Aksa Mosque and some of the present stained glass windows date from this period.
The Arabs found themselves under the domination of the Turks. For four hundred years of Turkish rule the Arabs did not possess even a single, independent state.
Jews Hope for Return
Even during the Jewish exile extending over many centuries, the people continually expressed hope for a return to Jerusalem, for the rebuilding of the city and of the Temple. Two eighteenth century rabbis, Jacob Emden and Jonathan Eibschutz were fierce rivals. On the subject of returning to Jerusalem, however they saw eye to eye. Emden wrote:
We do not mourn properly over Jerusalem. Were we guilty of this transgression alone, it would be sufficient reason for the extension of the period of our Exile. In my opinion this is the most likely, most apparent and the strongest reason for all of the dreadful terrifying persecutions which have been fallen us in Exile, in all the places of our dispersion. We have been hotly pursued. We have not been granted rest among the nations with our humiliation, affliction and homelessness, because this sense of mourning has left our hearts. While becoming complacent in a land not ours, we have forgotten Jerusalem; we have not taken it to heart. Therefore, "Like one who is dead we have been forgotten. From generation to generation sorrow is added to our sorrow and our pain."
One must weep ceaselessly over the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the restoration of the glory of King David, for that is the object of human perfection. If we do not have Jerusalem and the kingdom of the House of David, why should we have life? Since our many transgressions have led to the Destruction and to the desolation of our glorious Temple and the loss of the kingdom of the House of David, the degree which we suffer the absence and the lack of good is known to all. Surely have we descended from life until death. And the converse is also true: "When the Lord restores the captivity of Zion," we shall ascend from death unto life. Certainly the heart of anyone who possesses the soul of a Jew is broken when he recalls the destruction of Jerusalem.
The hope of the Jews in Diaspora is that one day they would again come to their land, rebuild the Holy City, and their Temple.
Non-Muslims Barred from the Temple Mount
J. T. Barclay in the mid 19th Century wrote about the barring of those from the Mount who were not of the Islamic faith:
When the clock of the Mosque needs repairing, they are compelled, however reluctantly to employ a Frank. But in order to have a clean conscience in the commission of such an abominable piece of sacrilege as the admission upon the sacred premises, they adopt the following expedient. The mechanic selected being thoroughly purged from his uncleanness ablution a certain formula of prayer and incantation is sung over him at the gate. This being satisfactorily concluded, he is considered as exorcised, not only of Christianity (or Judaism, as the case may be), but of humanity also; and is declared to be no longer a man but a donkey. He is then mounted upon the shoulders of the faithful, lest the ground should be polluted by his footsteps; and being carried to the spot where his labours are required, he is set down upon matting within certain prescribed limits; and the operation being performed, he is carried back to the gate, and there, by certain other ceremonies, he is duly undonkeyfied and transmuted back into a man again.
More Jewish Persecution
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Jewish persecution was on the increase. In 1882, as a result of persecution of the Jews in Russia and Romania, the first immigration of Jewish settlers to Palestine began.
In 1891 Arab leaders prepared a petition to the Ottoman government in Constantinople to demand an end to Jewish immigration into Palestine and prohibit Jewish land purchases.
In 1896 Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionism, promoted the founding of a Jewish State. He argued that the only way in which the "Jewish problem" can be resolved is by establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. Herzl's writing started the Jews on the road back to their promised homeland.
In Sections One and Two we have considered God's dealings with
Israel, His "Chosen People," and the church, the mystery
age not revealed in the Old Testament. We now turn our attention
to the future - to The Tribulation period, the time just beyond
the Rapture, which signals the end of the church period.
|Index Page||Prefatory||Chapter 1|
|Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6||Chapter 7|
|Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12||Chapter 13|
|Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Appendices|