The Temple Mount

      and the Ultimate Nightmare


by Mark Armstrong

            Historical hatreds dating to biblical times present the greatest dangers faced now by the entire world.  We’ve witnessed the outgrowth of Middle Eastern hatreds in the form of terrorism focused upon innocent Americans, fueled primarily by traditional and ongoing U.S. support of Israel!  The entirety of the western world now knows beyond any doubt that the adherents to radical Islam will stop at nothing to avenge the humiliations and setbacks suffered in their quest to eradicate the Jewish state.  The red-hot focal point of the struggle is without question the Temple Mount! 


A recent article in the Economist on weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East under the subhead “Nuclear Temptation in the Middle East” opened with the following sentence:  “If the world is in for a dangerous nuclear chain reaction, its trigger could be in the already fissile Middle East.”  The article discusses Arab concerns that Israel already possesses “up to 200 nuclear bombs.”  It outlines the covert nuclear programs found to have been underway in Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea, and suspicions that the rush for such weapons is still on.


            Even the United Nations and European governments are trying desperately to convince Iran that enriching uranium is a bad idea.  Israeli intelligence believes that Iran will possess nukes not later than 2008, at their current rate of development.  Recent tests confirm that Iran is in possession of missiles capable of striking Israel!


America is under a constant, unremitting threat of terror, as is the UK, Australia and all other nations brave enough to voice agreement or loyalty to the U.S.  Since the horrific destruction and loss of life we all witnessed at the World Trade Center, U.S. security has had to be heightened over all forms of mass transportation, shipping terminals, and at all major events and landmarks.  Whispered threats gleaned from some unknown web site bring about national warnings, massive security operations, and often succeed in changing people’s plans to go to work or even go about their lives in the way they ordinarily would have.  We’re also seeing intelligence reports suggesting that al Qaeda is actively plotting an attack to rival or exceed 9-11 prior to the upcoming U.S. presidential election.


            U.S. intelligence agencies suspect there are thousands of potential terrorists living quietly in our free society.  Recent “sting” operations here in the United States have resulted in arrests of al Qaeda principals attempting to obtain rocket launchers and explosives. Untold others reside all over Europe, and that fact seems to have had a real impact upon the political behavior we’ve witnessed by the leadership there.  With the palpable terrorist threat to infrastructure and populace, made all the more real by the railway station bombings in Madrid, European leaders seem to think their safest bet is to oppose, criticize and demean the United States at every opportunity.  Europe has consistently tilted toward Arab viewpoints over the several decades of Israel’s existence, but there may be other reasons as well, as we may see as the burgeoning “oil for food” scandal plays out. 


Most will recognize that this involves a UN program which was meant to supply the Iraqi people with carefully monitored income sufficient to supply basic food and medicine requirements at a time when an international embargo was in place, intended to deny Saddam Hussein the ability to use oil income for the purchase of weapons.  It was a colossal failure!  U.S. troops found stockpiles of French weapons in Iraq, such as Exocet missiles with recent manufacture dates stamped right on the housing!  There are whispers that high-ranking UN diplomats and European heads of state used the program for personal enrichment while allowing Saddam to acquire the weaponry the embargo was designed to restrict!  All this is “under investigation,” and whether the truth of the matter is ever widely known is certainly subject to doubt. 


Terror and the threats associated with it have directly or indirectly infiltrated countless aspects of American life.  It has certainly had a dramatic economic impact!  All aspects of the travel industry have suffered severe consequences, and the ripple effect has damaged many other areas of the national economy. Delta Airlines is warning of impending bankruptcy.  Concerns over the reliability of the oil supply have fostered record-breaking oil prices. For nearly three years the subject of terrorism has dominated numerous aspects of our daily news, from print to radio and television reports and now heated political debates as the presidential election draws near.


The dangers are everywhere, it seems.  The threats are so widespread they can scarcely be countered.  So we see new metal detectors, X-ray machines, uniformed personnel outside building entries and concourses at the airports, outside skyscrapers, financial exchanges, tunnels and bridges.  But the ultimate nightmare goes well beyond all that.  And that is the prospect of weapons of mass destruction falling under the control of terrorists or the radical regimes sharing their ideology, political and religious views.  


President Bush has been accused of lying, going to war under false pretences, sacrificing American lives for the benefit of business interests because of the failure of the U.S. forces to locate and capture weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  We’ve seen and heard the arguments waged endlessly by reporters and political pundits on all sides of the debate.  A point rarely invoked is that the U.S. telegraphed the invasion of Iraq for a full year prior to taking action!  Certainly a few 50 gallon barrels of anthrax or other deadly agents could have been adequately concealed in the vast desert or transported out of the country during the extended period we begged for UN approval. 


The gold gilded Dome of the Rock is the most familiar landmark identified with Jerusalem.  The edifice stirs strong emotions among both Jews and Muslims.  It occupies the Temple Mount along with the Al Aqsa mosque. It is the site of  Solomon’s Temple, built to be a permanent structure to replace the temporary tabernacle which housed the ark of the covenant, and that is thought to be at least near or perhaps upon the place where God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.  Solomon’s temple was at the very heart of Israel’s culture, and it stood 410 years before being destroyed by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar over five hundred years before Christ. 


The temple in which Christ taught, known as the Herodian temple was again destroyed by the Roman armies of Titus in 70 A.D.  There are at least a handful of organizations dedicated to the task of rebuilding the temple, and restoring the original customs of worship.


Numerous articles have appeared over recent days and weeks which carry dire warnings regarding the potential for attacks against the Dome of the Rock and the al Aqsa mosque, which straddle the famed Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  The stories coincide with the annual Jewish commemoration and period of mourning related to the successive destructions of the Temples known as Tish’a Be’av. Reuters wire service carried an article entitled, Israeli Minister Warns of Attack on Jerusalem Shrine. Other titles include, Temple Mount Activist Says Blowing Up Dome of Rock is “Worthy Act”; Jewish Groups: Raze Mosques, Rebuild Temple; Officials: Jewish Extremists May Crash Plane on Temple Mount.  Another article suggests that a Muslim extremist might execute an attack against the mosques in order that Israel would reap the whirlwind! Some of the claims represented in the headlines may be somewhat sensational.  But there is no doubt, the Temple Mount is a flash point of controversy between Muslims and Jews, and also of extreme importance to Christians because of the central role events there are predicted to play in end-time prophecies. 


The Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock are considered “holy places” by the entirety of the Muslim world.  Those two edifices are regarded as a desecration of the Temple Mount by those who adhere to the Jewish faith.  Christians and Jews recognize that unfulfilled prophecies contained in the book of Daniel indicate that changes from the current status quo will have to occur prior to the coming of the Messiah.


It is a foregone conclusion that the entirety of the Muslim world would react with violent outrage if any harm should come to the mosques.  There is grave concern that any such event would trigger massive military exchanges in the Middle East, and no doubt elsewhere in the world that could lead to World War III, as is suggested in the headline of another article carried on the PRWeb wire service, Will the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Lead to World War III?


The Temple Mount is the most controversial piece of real estate in the world.  It is impossible to overstate its importance historically, and now, prophetically.  It has been fought over for thousands of years, and may well lead to attacks and retaliations in the future.  The difference now is the massive destructive power the would-be combatants have at their disposal. 


Some have opined that World War III began with the downing of the trade towers, and that it is an un-winnable guerilla war between radical Islam and the entirety of the developed world.  The prophecies of Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 indicate that some form of temple will be in existence at the time of a coming period of great tribulation.  As Garner Ted Armstrong wrote, “If one takes literally what Jesus Christ said, and what Paul wrote, it appears a temple is yet to be built in Jerusalem!”  Such a change from the current configuration cannot be peacefully achieved.  It would place all humanity at the brink of world war!


            For a detailed understanding of Bible prophecies dealing with a temple to be extant in the future, feel free to request a copy of The Long Tradition of Prophetic Insight and Accuracy.


Breaking News Stories:
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Temple Mount Interactive Map

Further Reading:

Section: Two Key Prophecies, Temple Mount Stories
Booklet: When the Wall Comes Tumbling Down
Booklet:  Mideast Strife -- Will It Lead to Armageddon?

Word From: Another Collapse!    –by Mark Armstrong 


News Stories used in this commentary: - click here