By Rick Ridings
The month of May saw a lot of turbulence concerning the Temple Mount. It is a very strategic subject of prayer in this season.
The LORD showed us many years ago that the Middle East conflict cannot be understood just in traditional terms of wars, history, refugees and borders. We need to understand that it is a huge spiritual battle. It is probably the biggest spiritual battle in the world. It’s a battle for Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, it is a battle for the Temple Mount. Ultimately, it is a battle for who will be worshiped on God’s holy hill.
“[An Israel] Supreme Court order has technically allowed all prayer at the ancient holy site,” reports Arutz 7, “but has also given the go-ahead for the police to restrict any behavior that may offend Muslim sensibilities and result in rioting.” (1)
Early in May, a group of Orthodox Jews went up on Temple Mount – on which sits the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine. While on the mount, one of them appeared to pray. (1) When this happened, Muslim worshippers started rioting, throwing chairs and rocks at visitors and police. (2, 3)
That same day, the men accused of praying were detained and questioned. (1) The next day, police took the Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein – the most senior Muslim cleric in the city – in for questioning, as there were suspicions that the cleric had encouraged the riot. (2, 3)
In the media, it came out looking like two very different stories.
In Israel, it was told that these Jews were going up quietly just to visit on the Temple Mount, but because one of them looked like he was praying, it caused riots.
In the Arab media in the surrounding nations, it was “reported that ‘extremist settlers’ had taken over the al-Aqsa Mosque and that the police were not allowing Muslims on the Mount.” In Palestinian and Jordanian media it was reported “that the mufti had been arrested and had spent the night at a police station.” (4) But actually, the mufti was questioned for 6 hours then released. (2)
It came very close to growing into a major regional crisis. In fact, Jordan voted to recall their ambassador to Israel, and to ask the Israeli ambassador to leave. The Jordanian foreign ministry released a statement that “continued organized attacks by the settlers on the holy places in Jerusalem indicates the intention to instigate violence, to harm stability in the entire region and to sabotage efforts to renew the peace process.” (4)
We need to realize that this could be the trigger point for major conflict in the Middle East right now and there is a spiritual perspective behind this that is made very clear in the scriptures.
In Ezekiel 43, speaking of the Temple Mount, the LORD says:
Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. (Ezekiel 43:7 NIV)
The LORD is ultimately saying that this hill is holy to Him. He is saying it is THE place upon earth where His kingdom touches earth the most, THE place for the footstool of his throne.
In Psalm 2, it is the place where His “appointed King” will reign over the nations, the place of His throne. Ultimately, it does not belong to any nation. It belongs to God. It is God’s holy hill.
He further says “…here I will live among the Israelites forever.” In other words, He is giving Israel custody or stewardship over the Temple Mount.
Back in Ezekiel 43:12, it says:
This is the law of the temple: All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple. (NIV)
So it is holy, set apart for the true and living God, the God of the Scriptures.
However, Satan does not want God to be worshiped. Satan wants God’s worship for himself in heaven and on earth. He wants God’s throne in heaven and God’s throne on earth.
This is made very clear in Isaiah 14:13, which conservative scholars agree refers to Satan (5). It says:
You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. (NIV)
The “mount of assembly” is a Hebrew term referring to what we call the Temple Mount. Satan is saying, “I will sit enthroned on the Temple Mount. I want the sacred mountain that belongs to God, and I want to be worshipped there.” We need to understand that ultimately Satan doesn’t care which god is worshipped on the Temple Mount, as long as it’s not the true and living God of the Bible.
In the year 1999, through a sequence of events, I was able to go into Southern Lebanon into a Hezbollah stronghold. As we were there, we were shown a display that they had prepared for the local people to explain what Hezbollah is all about.
Although Hezbollah is perceived by many in the Arab media as “an institution that is committed to defend Arabs and Muslims cause particularly that of Palestinians”(6), they didn’t say one word about concern for the Palestinian cause to us. The men in the camp showed my Arabic-speaking friend and me trophies of war with Israel: Jewish prayer books and prayer shawls with bullet holes. They said that these items proved that “Allah is greater than the God of Israel.” In saying that, they acknowledge that Allah of the Koran is not the same God as in the Bible.
The final thing they showed us was a model of the Temple Mount. On it sat the Dome of the Rock. Below the blood stained hill were many small, green boxes shaped as a cedar of Lebanon. The men said those were the caskets of the martyrs who must die “liberating the mount” from Israel.
This same goal was stated by Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules Gaza, speaking at a mosque in Damascus, February 2006:
“We apologize to our Prophet Muhammad, but we say to him: Oh Prophet of Allah, do not be saddened, your nation will be victorious. … We say to this West, which does not act reasonably, and does not learn its lessons: By Allah, you will be defeated. You will be defeated in Palestine, and your defeat there has already begun. True, it is Israel that is being defeated there, but when Israel is defeated, its path is defeated, those who call to support it are defeated, and the cowards who hide behind it and support it are defeated… Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination, but a fact.” (7, emphasis added)
How I wish that western Christians would recognize the Temple Mount as “the throne of the world” as clearly as the Islamic terrorists do.
Here’s how I would encourage you to pray.
- Proclaim that Jesus Christ is LORD over the Temple Mount.
- Declare that the LORD God Almighty is LORD God alone. That the God of the Bible, His throne and His feet shall rule upon that hill. (There will be a brief period, the Bible says, when the Anti-Christ will try to be worshipped there. We can’t change that, but we can proclaim that the long-term, eternal rule belongs to God alone.)
- Pray the Jesus reveals Himself to the Muslims. I had a vision where I saw people bowing down, Muslims bowing down on the Temple Mount, and water began to spring up from the stones of the pavement, washing their eyes and revealing Jesus to them. So pray that even while they are on the Temple Mount praying, that they will have dreams, visions and revelations of Jesus. Pray that He who will eventually sit on that hill will reveal that He is the only name under heaven by which men may be saved.
- “Jewish man arrested for bowing on Temple Mount.” Arutz 7. Israel National News. 8 May 2013. Web. 22 May 2013.
- “Jerusalem mufti detained over Temple Mount riots.” Jerusalem Post. Palestine Post Ltd. 8 May 2013. Web. 22 May 2013.
- “Muslim Cleric Probed Over ‘Throwing Chairs at Jews’ in Jerusalem.” Arutz 7. Israel National News. 8 May 2013. Web. 22 May 2013.
- Ravid, Barak. “Jordan summons Israeli ambassador over Temple Mount riots.” Haaretz. Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. 8 May 2013. Web. 22 May 2013.
- Guzik, David. “Isaiah 14 – Babylon and Lucifer.” Enduring Word Media. Web 23 May 2013.
- Manyok, Phillip, Ph.D. “State within a State: How Hezbollah Programs are challenging the Lebanese Government Legitimacy.” Peace & Collaborative Development Network. 11 January 2013. Web. 28 May 2013.
- “Hamas Leader Khaled Mash’al at a Damascus Mosque: The Nation of Islam Will Sit at the Throne of the World and the West Will Be Full of Remorse When It Is Too Late.” MEMRI. The Middle East Media Research Institute. 3 February 2012. Web. 28 May 2013.