Final warning a history of the new world order -pt11
Part Two: The Spiritual Conspiracy
The shining star
The war torn history of Israel
In the near future, the country of Israel is going to take a more prominent role in world affairs, so let’s take a brief look at their historical development to see why tensions have continued to increase in the Middle East.
The northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians around 722 BC, and the threat of captivity and slaughter forced them to flee. Those people became known as the “ten lost tribes.” The other two tribes, Benjamin and Judah (where the word “Jew” came from), remained in the south. Through the years, Jerusalem and Palestine became one of the most overrun areas in the world:
Babylonian (587 BC-536 BC)
Medo-Persian (536 BC-533 BC)
Greek (331 BC-301 BC)
Egyptian (301 BC-198 BC)
Syrian (198 BC-63 BC)
Roman (63 BC-395 AD)
Most of the Jews had fled from the land, and only a small group remained in Jerusalem until 70 AD, when the Romans burned the city. By 135, all of the Jews had been driven out. Still the area continued to be the subject of contention as it was conquered by the Byzantine (396-638), Mohammedan (639-1099), Crusader (1100-1291), Moslem (1292), Egyptian-Mamaluke (1292-1917), and Turks (1917).
In 1895, Theodor Herzl, an Austrian Jew, wrote a book called The Jewish State (Der Judenstadt) that began the movement towards the establishment of an independent Jewish state. In 1897, he arranged the first World Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland. Now known as ‘Zionists’ (for Mount Zion in Palestine), a fund was started to raise money to buy land, and a blue and white flag was chosen, the colors of the tallith prayer shawl. Herzl traveled around the world, especially in Europe, to lobby for his group. In 1903, a year before he died, England offered the Jews the African country of Uganda, which they rejected, because they knew that Palestine was their country. According to the Bible (Gen. 15:18), Israel’s promised land stretches from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates in Syria, and includes the countries of Syria and Lebanon.
In 1904, Dr. Chaim Weizmann (who would become Israel’s first President), was made Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry at the University of Manchester in England. The Polish-born Jew had studied Chemistry in Germany, and taught in Switzerland and England. During World War I, Germany was producing 250,000 shells a day, while England was only producing 2,500, due to a shortage of acetone because of the lack of wood alcohol. Weizmann isolated an organism capable of transforming the starch of cereals, most notably that of maize, and later chestnuts, into acetone butyl alcohol. Because of these advanced experimentations and the contribution of explosives (TNT) to the allied cause, Weizmann was credited with saving the British Army. The only thanks he wanted, was for Palestine to be established as a national homeland for the Jews.
The Sykes-Picat Agreement was a secret wartime agreement between England and France to divide between them the lands of the Ottoman Empire once World War 1 ended. Among the terms was the establishment of an Arab state in ‘southern Palestine.’ However, the Arabs became upset that Britain decided to instead engineer its own rule over all Palestine through the League of Nations. England essentially ruled Palestine as a colony until 1948.
On November 2, 1917, the British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour sent this declaration to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild:
“His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home land for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
On December 9, 1917, Gen. Edmund Allenby marched into Jerusalem, and when the Turks heard that he was on his way, they interpreted ‘Allenby’ to mean ‘Allah Nebi’ (‘Prophet of God’), and took it as a sign that God was against them. They were also worried about the accompanying airplanes (from the 14th Bomber Squadron of the Royal Flying Corp), which they had never seen before. They were thinking about the promise in Isaiah 31:5: “As birds flying, so will the Lord of Hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.” The Turks left the city.
An interesting fact to add to this narrative can be found in Daniel 12:12. Some believe that the 1335 ‘days’ may refer to the actual date that Palestine was delivered from Moslem rule. Since the land in Daniel’s day was under Moslem rule, the date given would most likely be in Moslem terms, not in Jewish or Gregorian. A coin minted in Turkey showed the Gregorian date of 1917 on one side, and the Moslem date of 1335 on the other side. Is this a fulfillment of prophecy?
After the War, the 1919 Paris Peace Conference at Versailles established the League of Nations, who approved the Balfour Declaration and granted a mandate for Great Britain to govern the Palestine area. Within a couple of years, a Select Committee on Estimates, of the British House of Commons, reported that “large numbers of Jews, almost amounting to a second Exodus, have been migrating from Eastern Europe to the American zones of Germany and Austria with the intention in the majority of cases of finally making their way to Palestine.
It is clear that it is a highly organized movement, with ample funds and great influence behind it, but the Subcommittee was unable to obtain any real evidence who are the real instigators.” A U.S. Senate War Investigating Committee report said that a “heavy migration of Jews from Eastern Europe into the American Zone of Germany is part of a carefully organized plan financed by special groups in the United States.” Even though nobody was to leave the Soviet Union without government permission, many Jews were allowed to leave, so they could return to their homeland.
In 1937, a Royal Commission was established by England which divided the country of Palestine into three sections: Jewish, Arab and English. With the increased tension, the UN Security Council later went soft, and the Truman Administration reversed their earlier support, urging that the partition proposal be suspended, in lieu of a ‘trusteeship.’ Jewish terrorist groups, such as the Stern gang, and the Irgun Zvai Leumi (led by Menachem Begin), worried that a Jewish State would not materialize, began attacking Arabs. Time magazine reported that they “stormed the village of Deir Yasin and butchered everyone in sight. The corpses of 250 Arabs, mostly women and small children, were tossed into wells.” Rather than risking the possibility of further massacres, the Arab settlers fled the country to live in neighboring countries.
On April 29, 1947, the UN took on the responsibility of settling the Palestinian situation. Facing a Jewish refugee crisis because of mass emigration into Palestine that they could no longer control, England acceded to Resolution 181 of the newly-founded United Nations which called for a partition of the British-ruled area into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem as a separate entity administered by the UN. Palestinian Jews approved the plan, but Palestinian Arabs and neighboring Arab countries rejected it.
On May 14, 1948, the British Union Jack in Jerusalem was lowered, and at 4 p.m., David Ben-Gurion (the first Prime Minister) read the Declaration of Independence over the airwaves in a radio broadcast from the Tel Aviv Museum. At 6:10 p.m. President Truman made an official statement of recognition, making the United States one of the first countries to extend diplomatic recognition to the new independent state of Israel.
In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Andrei Gromyko, the Russian Ambassador, announced his support for an independent Jewish State in Palestine, and urged the Arabs to accommodate them. The entire Communist bloc voted to support Israel. They followed their show of support with a strong program which included financial support and military equipment. The Soviet Union was hoping that Israel would become another communist satellite. When it became apparent that Israel would not go communist, Russia discontinued diplomatic relations with them on February 23, 1953, and the Cominform denounced Zionism as an “agency of American imperialism.”
Another variation of one of the numerical theories given earlier purports to indicate the foretelling of the establishment of Israel as an independent Jewish State, and the end of the dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the world. The calculation goes like this: 2,520 biblical years X 360 biblical days = 907,200 days, divided by our calendar year of 365.25 days = 2,483.8 calendar years, which added to the end of the Babylonian captivity in 536 BC, leads us to the year of 1948.
When British troops left the area, they said it would be a matter of weeks before the Arabs would take over the new country. On May 15th, the official date of statehood, when Ben-Gurion was broadcasting Israel’s appreciation to the U.S. for their recognition, an explosion sounded, after which he said: “A bomb has just fallen on this city from an enemy aircraft flying overhead.” An Arab alliance of Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Jordan had attacked Israel. Even though the newly formed nation was poorly armed, they survived, and actually increased their territory by 600 miles. The 1949 Armistice gave them 21% more land than they had originally been given by the United Nations.
Prior to 1948, the Jewish people were known as ‘Palestinians.’ There was a Palestinian Post newspaper, a Palestinian Brigade of Jewish volunteers in the British Army during World War II, and an all-Jewish Palestinian Symphony Orchestra. Arab inhabitants living in the new country of Israel wanted to differentiate themselves from the Jews, and began called themselves Palestinians. However, the underlying purpose for this was to generate the misconception that it was a distinct nationality, and that ‘Palestine’ was their ancestral homeland, when in fact, they are actually similar in language and customs to the Arabs of Syria and Jordan, where their ancestors probably came from.
On July 26, 1956, Gamal Abdel Nassar, President of Egypt, seized control of the Suez Canal, and announced that the profits would go towards building the Aswan Dam. Egypt moved into a close alliance with Russia as billions of dollars worth of military equipment, along with Soviet advisors, poured into the country. On October 29th, Israeli forces overran the Gaza Strip, and had it not been for the UN Resolution that ordered a cease fire, Egypt would have fallen to Israel.
Many years ago I came across this unsubstantiated report. On November 7, 1957, the Jerusalem Post reported that at 6:03 a.m., Moshe Dayan radioed to twenty of his soldiers stationed in the Sinai Desert, that three Egyptian divisions, 18,000 men, were on their way. They men bowed down, and prayed to the ‘God of their Fathers’ to have the strength to die, rather than face being captured. When they got up, they saw the Egyptian strike force engaged in retreat. Behind these lines was a car, which the Israelis captured. Inside the car was one of Nassar’s commanding generals, who said that they were retreating because they had been surrounded by an army dressed in white. Israel had no such army there.
The 18,000 soldiers were never heard from again. A six-week search in Israel, the Sinai Desert, and Egypt failed to turn up any clues. Since it was already established that Israel did not have the resources to capture such a large number of men, what could have happened? National Geographic reported that on November 7, 1957, at 6:33 a.m. there was an earthquake of substantial proportions on the Sinai peninsula, which lead to the speculation that the army could have been swallowed up by the earth. If this report was true, it most certainly was a sign that the Jews were indeed God’s chosen people.
The Soviet Union began sending equipment to Iraq and Syria, while they continued to interfere in the internal affairs of other Arab nations through military coups and political assassinations. Only U.S. and British intervention prevented Communist takeovers in the Middle East, as in July 1958, when the Marines landed in Lebanon; and British forces, supporting King Hussein, landed in Jordan.
On March 16, 1965, Nassar promised the Arabs an all-out offensive effort against Israel, if they would unite under him, as he hoped to become the President of the United States of Africa. He said: “We must arm 5,000,000 men and overwhelm the Israelis by sheer military might.”
In 1967, Russia sent exaggerated reports to Egypt and Syria that Israel was preparing for war against Syria. This was a move by Syria to unify the Arab bloc countries. In a book written by Nassar, he revealed that his chief goal was to eliminate Israel as a nation, and to push them into the sea. On May 26th he said: “The Arab people want to fight. We have been waiting for the right time when we will be completely ready.” On May 28th he said: “We will not accept any co-existence with Israel.”
On June 4th he said, concerning Israel: “We are facing you in battle and are burning with desire for it to start to obtain revenge.” The source of Nassar’s hatred for Israel can be traced back to a statement he made in December, 1962: “We feel the soil of Palestine is the soil of Egypt, and the whole Arab world. Why do we mobilize? Because we feel that the land of Palestine is part of our land, and we are ready to sacrifice ourselves for it.”
Nassar ordered the UN to remove their troops, which they did; and he closed the crucial port of Eliat, on the Gulf of Aquaba, and blockaded the Tiran Straits. He then taunted Israel’s Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin by saying: “Let him come, I’m waiting.” The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon surrounded Israel on all sides. Joining them were Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and other Arab nations, which represented 25 times more manpower than Israel could field. On the evening of June 4, 1967, Nassar moved his Russian-made tanks and artillery into position. He knew that with America caught up in the Vietnam War, there would be no help for Israel.
As daylight broke on June 5th, Israeli jets flew low from the north and began bombing the Egyptian Air Force. Israeli ships traded fire with Egypt’s naval power, and Israeli tanks rolled into the Sinai. As the events unfolded, Russia warned the major countries of the world to back-off, so the world sat back and waited, expecting a swift Arab victory. The victory never came.
By the second day, Arab leaders watched their military being ground to bits. After six days, the Arab alliance was in retreat as Israeli soldiers captured the Sinai peninsula up to the Suez Canal, the Golan Heights including Mount Hermon (which would then become the “eyes and ears of Israel,” the entire West Bank of the River Jordan, and reclaimed the city of Jerusalem. Schlomo Goren, Ashkenazic (of Eastern European origin) Chief Rabbi of Israel, carried the Scrolls of the Law, and sounded the ram’s horn of repentance. In Hebrew, ‘shofar’ (ram’s horn) is the word that ‘jubilee’ is derived from.
In Leviticus 25:8-9, a ‘jubilee’ is represented as 49 years. There was a 49 year difference between 1917, when Gen. Allenby entered Jerusalem, and 1967, when the Jews took complete control. Gen. Moshe Dayan said: “We have returned to our holiest of holy places, never to be parted from it again ... No power on earth will remove us from this spot again.”
Seeing that their plan was failing, Russia called for a ceasefire. In those six short days, the Arabs lost three billion dollars of military equipment, and the Israelis captured $700 million in new Soviet military hardware. Over 15,000 Arab lives were lost, but only 776 Israelis. Israel increased their territory from 8,000 to 34,000 square miles. Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Minister of Defense, said afterwards: “Our next war will be with Russia.”
After the Israeli victory over the Arabs in 1948, Jordan maintained possession of Judea, Samaria, and the eastern part of Jerusalem, and expelled all the Jews and destroyed their synagogues. They renamed the area the ‘West Bank.’ Their purpose was to convince the world that these territories were the ancestral lands of the Jordanian Kingdom, when in fact it is well documented that the land belonged to the Jews. Even after the Arabs were driven out of this area during the 1967 war, they still referred to this territory as the West Bank in an effort to continue swaying public opinion.
In the years that followed, Russia continued to arm Egypt, Syria, and other Arab countries. However, by 1972, Enwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, felt that Russia was trying to control the Middle East, and he ended his country’s alliance with them. Egypt and Saudi Arabia joined forces so they wouldn’t have to rely on Russia. Syria then became the main recipient of Soviet arms.
In 1973, Egypt’s War Minister announced that the headquarters for all Arab fronts would be established in Cairo. On October 6, 1973, which was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and eight other Arab nations joined together in a surprise attack against Israel. Much of the Israeli air force was destroyed by Soviet SAM ground-to-air missiles, and only 100 of 265 Israeli tanks survived the first wave, giving the Arabs a 5 to 1 edge in armor superiority.
Nixon was very adamant about the U.S. position when he said: “If Russia disturbs the balance of power in the Middle East, the United States will move to assure Israel’s security.” With reports that the Soviets were airlifting supplies to Egypt, and Iraqi troops were on their way to support Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir began considering the nuclear option, and made an urgent plea to the U.S.
Israel no longer had the military hardware to wage an effective war. They needed missiles, ammunition, tanks, and planes. An amazing story that came out of this war had to do with Tzvika Greengold, who was the leader of a group of three Israeli tanks on the Golan Heights, where they were to hold off oncoming Syrian tanks. Somehow he got separated from the other two, so he drove up a hill and destroyed three enemy tanks. He repositioned himself only to see a column of thirty Syrian tanks heading his way. He shot the first, changed positions, and kept shooting. By the time he was done, he had destroyed ten of the tanks, and the Syrians began to retreat because they thought they were being attacked by a larger Israeli force.
Nixon responded to Meir’s appeal by saying: “Send everything that can fly.” In a commitment to stand by them in their darkest hour, he also sent in two carrier battle groups to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and when the Soviets threatened to intervene by dropping paratroopers into the Sinai, our military alert level was raised to DEFCON 3. In a 31-day airlift, a $2.2 billion emergency aid shipment code-named Operation Nickel Grass, the U.S. sent in shipments of ammunition, fighter-bombers, and tanks. Meir would later say: “For generations to come, all will be told of the miracle of the immense planes from the United States bringing in the material that meant life to our people.”
In a swift, often reckless counterattack, Israel pushed their way to the west bank of the Suez, and came within 100 miles of Cairo, the Egyptian capital; and witin artillery range of the airfields of Damascus, the Syrian capital. With the tide turned, Israel again prevailed, taking even more territory. Again Russia urged the UN to order a ceasefire. Sadat’s terms for a ceasefire was for Israel to withdraw from all territory it took during the 1967 war. American and Soviet pressure turned this Israeli victory into a negotiated compromise. The Arabs punished the world for their support of Israel by initiating an oil embargo against all the nations, such us the United States, who were partial to Israel. This move created worldwide economic chaos.
In 1977, Israeli Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur said publicly that Egypt was again preparing for war, basing his assumption on an unprecedented military buildup that was part of a two-year $6 billion arms modernization plan. Jimmy Carter, said in a 1978 meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin: “I can say, without reservation, as President of the United States of America, that we will continue to do so (remain committed to Israel’s security), not just for thirty years, but forever.” However, in 1978, President Carter was able to get Prime Minister Menachem Begin (Israel) and Enwar Sadat (Egypt) together to sign the Camp David Peace Accord, which led to the return of the Sinai to Egypt, and full recognition of Israel by Egypt, including the establishment of embassies and trade relations.
On November 5, 1978, the 21-nation Arab League met in Baghdad and established a $3.5 billion war fund “to continue the armed confrontation with the Jewish State”; and in 1980, a 37-nation Islamic Summit called for a ‘Holy War’ to liberate all Arab land, including Jerusalem, to establish an independent Palestinian state, with an Arab Jerusalem as its capital. The proposal was rejected by Egypt because of their commitment to the Peace Accord.
During 1980-81, Israel passed two key laws that changed the nature of the Middle East conflict: they named Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem and the Old City (captured from Jordan in 1967) as Israel’s Eternal Capital (although most of the world still maintains embassies in Tel Aviv); and annexed the Golan Heights (captured from Syria in 1967).
In June, 1982, while responding to a PLO attack from a terrorist base in southern Lebanon, Israeli Intelligence discovered that Russia had enough arms and foodstuffs in huge caves under the town of Sidon to supply a million-man army, including uniforms, assault rifles, ammunition, shells, missiles, and tanks. They found two huge digging machines that were used to dig the underground fortress. The smaller one of the two was able to dig a hole 30 feet wide, 24 feet high, and 60 feet deep, in eight hours. They were part of a six-machine shipment to Austria by a U.S. manufacturer. The whereabouts of the other four were not known. The shocking implication of that discovery, was that the shelf life of the K-rations (meal packets) were only six months, which led many to believe the Israel thwarted a Russian invasion of Israel that was planned for the fall of 1982.
After an eight-year long war with Iran, in 1988, Saddam Hussein, in a bid to become the preeminent leader of the Arab world, offered to put his military at the disposal of the Palestinian effort. Iraq had been a partner in most of Arab attacks on Israel, and during the Persian Gulf War, Hussein threatened to “burn half of Israel.” However, in 1989, Yasser Arafat showed his willingness to seek a solution to the Mid-East situation by acknowledging Israel’s right to exist, and expressing a desire to begin negotiations to establish a Palestinian political authority that could coexist with Israel.
Salah Khalaf Abu lyad, Yasir Arafat’s chief deputy, said on January 1, 1991: “Now we accept the formation of the Palestinian state in part of Palestine, in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. We will start from that part and we will liberate Palestine, inch by inch.”
In August 20, 1993, in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, Yitzhak Rabin (Israel) and Yasser Arafat (head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization) reached an agreement, known as the Declaration of Principles (or Oslo Accords), in an attempt to end its armed struggle in exchange for gradual Palestinian autonomy (through the creation of the Palestinian Authority) over parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which was later extended to Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Tulkarm, and Hebron in 1995. The two leaders also signed Letters of Mutual Recognition, in which the Israeli government recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people; and the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist, and also renounced terrorism, violence, and their desire for the destruction of the State of Israel.
In a September 9, 1993 letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Arafat renounced his terrorist activities and said: “The PLO recognizes the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.”
The Oslo Accords were signed by both leaders in Washington, D.C. on September 13th, yet, on September 19th, P.L.O. Chairman Arafat said before a group of 19 Arab ministers meeting in Cairo: “Our first goal is the liberation of all occupied territories ... and the establishment of a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem. The agreement we arrived at is not a complete solution ... it is only the basis for an interim solution and the forerunner of a final settlement, which must be based on a complete withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian lands, especially holy Jerusalem.”
On September 14, 1993, Jordan signed an agenda for peace with Israel, which culminated with Peace Treaty that was signed in October, 1994. Also in October, 1994, Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the PLO’s political department and their foreign minister, said in a speech: “There is a state which was established through historical force and it must be destroyed. This is the Palestinian way.” Arafat later told Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister, that his comment did not reflect the view of the PLO.
On November 4, 1995, Rabin, like Sadat before him, paid for peace with his life.
An October, 1998 summit at Wye Mills, MD, became the first serious peace negotiations in two years, as Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Arafat met to settle various important issues that had been negotiated during the 1993 Oslo Accords. It ended with Israel surrendering 13% of their land to the Palestinians as part of a land for peace agreement brokered by the U.S.
Pope John Paul II met with Yasser Arafat at the Vatican on February 15, 2000, where they agreed that Jerusalem must be made into an international city. The agreement they signed was in the form of a covenant. The Pope called for an end to the violence and said that the Palestinian State should be created out of the land of Israel. The Vatican said that Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem was illegal, and they didn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty there.
In March of the same year, the Pope traveled to the Middle East where he visited Jordan, Israel, and the Palestine territories. Time magazine (4/30/00 pg. 36) quoted Yasser Arafat’s wife Suha, who had been a devout Catholic before her marriage, as saying that the Holy Father’s very presence there was “a clear message for an independent Palestinian state.”
Billed as Camp David II, in July, 2000, hoping for a final settlement before he left office, President Bill Clinton hosted a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Arafat. For the first time, Israel offered part of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, and most of the West Bank. The talks failed because of Arafat’s demand for the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees living abroad.
On August 2, 2001, Arafat and Pope John Paul met for a private meeting at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, where the Pope again called for an end to violence, and said he supported the rights of the Palestinians.
In June, 2003 current Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did a complete about-face (he had promised to use his military experience to end terrorism once and for all) by agreeing with President Bush and Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas that a Palestinian State is the common goal of the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians, and even described Israel’s control of their own land as an “occupation.”
In July, 2003, Israeli opposition leader, former Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, publicly proposed that Jerusalem become the ‘World Capital’ of the world government that is developing. His press release said that the claims on the city being made by Moslems, Christians, and Jews could be placated by the presence of an overriding governing body that had jurisdiction over the city. Peres suggested that the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, be the mayor of the city.
In November, 2003, in an attempt to get more support from the U.S. for more Israeli concessions towards the Palestinians, Arafat said in a speech that Israel has a right to live in peace. However groups like Hizballah (‘Party of God’), Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah continued their terrorist attacks, possibly believing that Arafat has become ‘soft’ in his diplomatic approach to the Middle East situation.
Today, the Israeli military force is probably the most respected in the world, despite its small size. They have a fighting spirit that can not be denied. Their military officers are sworn in with a ceremony at the ancient fortress of Masada, where in 70 AD, unable to hold off the Roman attack any longer, 950 men, women, and children committed suicide, rather than be captured. Part of their oath says: “Masada shall never fall again.” This commitment has nurtured that incredible fighting spirit, making them the most elite fighting force in the world– literally unbeatable. They are God’s chosen people, and because of that, Israel will never fall, but that won’t stop someone from trying. The region will continue to be a powder keg waiting to explode. It seems likely that the Pope (the yet to come False Prophet) will be asked to be the mediator of the Middle East situation, and be the one who facilitates it becoming a Universal City for all religions.
Focusing on Israel
A map drawn by monks during the Crusades, still hangs in the Herford Cathedral, and identifies Jerusalem as the geographic center of the world, which is so marked on the floor of the Holy Sepulcher. The attention of the world will become more focused on this area of the world as this nation continues to prosper. What is it about this country, besides the religious significance, which has made it the most fought over pieces of land in history.
The Dead Sea, located between Israel and Jordan, which is 1,296 feet below sea level, is the lowest spot on the surface of the Earth. It is fifty miles long and eleven miles wide (about 500 square miles), and has a depth of 1,200 feet at its deepest point. Known as the ‘Sea of Salt,’ because it is ten times saltier than ocean water, it is fed by the Jordan River, and has no outlet. Its waters have evaporated for hundreds of years in the extreme heat, at a rate of 280 million cubic feet per day, leaving behind a variety of minerals. With a concentration of 32% of dissolved ingredients, in a “unique composition” of mostly sodium chloride (salt), while regular ocean water has only 3.5% to 4%; it is the richest mineral source in the world.
The water contains potassium chloride, or potash, which is used as a fertilizer and for making explosives. It is of high quality becomes it doesn’t come from rock. It is believed that this ingredient will become a very valuable commodity.
The water also contains magnesium bromide (used to make plastics and rubber), magnesium chloride (used in magnesium metal production and in the manufacturing of a cement used for heavy duty flooring), and hydrogen sulfide (used in chemical laboratories as an analytical re-agent). Because of its sulfuric content, the water is said to have therapeutic properties.
Solar ponds have been built on the Sea. The sun heats the shallow salt water, and the heat is trapped in the dense salt layer on the bottom, and becomes hot enough to turn a turbine, thus producing electricity.
Scientists have also discovered an algae, known as Dunaliella, which can survive in, and has adapted to, the extremely salty conditions. It is being grown in algae farms where they double their numbers every two days. The algae is used to produce a green paste, which, when dried, makes an excellent animal feed because of its high protein content, and it is easy to digest because the algae have no cell walls. It also yields beta carotene (a pigment which gives carrots its color), which is used for food coloring; and also glycerol, which is used for eye shadow and other cosmetics, paints, resins, and toothpaste. When the algae decomposes, it forms the raw material that nature uses to form oil.
The value of the mineral deposits in the Dead Sea has been estimated at over a trillion dollars. However, the Dead Sea has been shrinking in size as the sea level has fallen. The Mediterranean Dead Sea Co. initiated a $1.4 billion project to funnel water to the Dead Sea from the Mediterranean, which is about 70 miles away.
Geological surveys have indicated that there is plenty of steam under Israel to provide power through the harnessing of geo-thermal energy, which is a very economical source of energy. Oil and natural gas deposits have also been discovered. Cutting diamonds is a major industry, as is the exporting citrus fruit to Europe and Japan.
It seems there are plenty of resources in this small country that could be garnished for the benefit of an attacking nation.
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
The purpose of building the Temple was to house the Ark of the Covenant, so the discovery of the most sacred item in Jewish history may be all that is needed to initiate the rebuilding of the Temple. However, Jeremiah 27:22 seems to indicate a connection between the Temple treasures, and the existence of the Temple. According to Ezra, after the first Temple was destroyed, the Temple vessels had to be returned or refabricated before the Temple could be rebuilt. Thus, only the existence of the Temple vessels may be all that is needed to rebuild the Temple, since it is believed that the Ark was not in the second Temple.
The Ark was a rectangular box four feet long, and two feet high, made of acacia wood (distinguished as a type of wood that does not decay), and covered with gold; with two cherubs (a rank of angels) looking down and facing each other on its lid with outstretched wings, which was known as the mercy seat. It was constructed at Mount Sinai by Bezalel, according to the instructions Moses received from God. Inside was placed the rod of Aaron, a pot of manna (which had been sent by God to feed the Israelites during their time of wandering in the wilderness), and the two tablets of the Law given to Moses (known as the Ten Commandments).
Some sources also claim that it contains the original Books of Moses. It represented the divine presence of God, and was the point where the literal manifestation of God on this Earth took place. Just looking at it was known to cause death. The Bible tells us of the power it possessed. It caused the Jordan River to part (Joshua 3:8 - 4:11), aided in the destruction of Jericho (Joshua 6:4-21), and brought about numerous military victories when it was present. Needless to say, it developed quite a mystique.
Inside the Temple, the Ark was placed in a dark, windowless room known as the Holy of Holies. A vale was placed around the Ark, and only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest was allowed to enter. Even then, he was to carry a container of burning incense, which filled the room with smoke, thus obscuring his view of the Ark. He would sprinkle the blood of a bullock on the ground in front of the Ark, and on the mercy seat, as atonement for the sins of the priests; and then the blood of a goat, as a symbolic atonement for the sins of the people. A rope would be tied around his waist, so if for some reason he accidentally touched the Ark and was killed, he could be pulled out without risk by the other priests.
In the Bible, there are 200 references to the Ark of the Covenant up to the time of Jeremiah, but nothing afterward. It has since disappeared, and nobody is really sure where it’s at. The common belief is that the Temple will not be rebuilt unless the Ark is found.
The Ark had not been removed from the Temple during or after the reign of King Josiah, which had begun in 640 BC, and it was in place in the Holy of Holies in 701 BC, which leaves 61 years in which it could have disappeared. It is unlikely that Hezekiah (716-687 BC) would have allowed the Ark to be taken away. Between the time of his death, and Josiah’s reign, there were two other rulers, Manasseh (687-642 BC) and Amon (642-640 BC).
Amon discovered that Manasseh had been involved in a form of Baal worship, and had erected an image of Astarte (Asherah) in the Temple (2 Kings 21:4-7, 2 Chronicles 33:7), and it is believed that he would have ordered the Levites to remove the Ark. The Ark reappeared in 622 BC (2 Kings 22:1-7, 2 Chronicles 34:8-33, 2 Chronicles 35:3), during the reign of Manasseh’s grandson, King Josiah, who vanquished idolatry, repaired and purified the Temple.
However, idolatry took root again, and the actions of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, caused the kingdom to be divided, with Judah (Judea) in the south, and Israel to the north. Judgment came upon the Northern Kingdom in 721 BC when the Assyrians attacked them; and the Southern Kingdom paid the price for they idolatry when the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, swept through the land in 606 BC, and then again in 597 BC. During the second invasion, 2 Kings 24:13 says that “all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasure of the king’s house” were taken, and “all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord” had been cut in pieces.
The original Temple was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonian commander, Nebuzaradan (2 Kings 25:8-9), and the rest of the treasures were plundered and taken to a Babylonian temple at Shinar (Daniel 1:2), which has led some to theorize that what was taken previously came from the Temple treasury, since Nubuchadnezzar’s initial action against Judah was in response to them not paying tribute to him.
Through all of this, the Ark was not mentioned. Lists of Temple items (2 Kings 25:13-17, Jeremiah 52:17-23) do not refer to any Temple treasures from the Holy of Holies, and it is this silence that could indicate that it wasn’t captured, since there is a Biblical record of the time when the Philistines captured the Ark. In addition, Ezra 1:7-11 states that all the captured items were later returned by the Persians, but the Ark was not discussed. So, either the Ark was destroyed along with the Temple (possibly indicated by the destruction of the “goodly vessels” in 2 Chronicles 36:19), or the Ark was hidden before it could be found.
When Rome invaded Judea in 63 BC, and the Roman General Pompey swept through Jerusalem, entering the Temple, and the Holy of Holies, it was empty. Jewish history records the high priest making his offering upon the foundation stone of the Holy of Holies, and not the Ark. After Titus returned to Rome with some of the Temple treasure, the Arch of Triumph (or Arch of Titus) was built in 81 AD at the entrance to the Forum, in the Palatine section of Rome, to commemorate his victory.
It depicted the seven-branched candelabra known as the menorah (with an octagonal base, rather than a three-legged stand, which it actually has; which could indicate that it was a duplicate kept in the Treasury), the golden table of the showbread, and the seven trumpets of the Jubilee. The Ark is not pictured, thus adding to the evidence that the Ark was not in the second Temple, and has been hidden.
According to the Mishnah (Sotah 9a), after the Temple was built, the Tabernacle was stored under the “crypts of the Temple.” It is believed that King Solomon constructed a secret chamber in the recesses of the Temple Mount to hide the Ark, which is where it was placed during the reign of Manasseh. Jewish tradition has held that the Ark and the Altar of Incense were hidden in a secret location under a woodshed on the western side of the Temple, near the Holy of Holies.
This is not such a far-fetched idea when you realize that under the city of Jerusalem there is an underground city consisting of a number of tunnels, chambers, and cisterns; which were created to establish a water storage system, as quarters for guards, chambers to hold sacrificial animals, rooms containing ritual bathing areas, prison cells, and storage areas for Temple treasures.
The best known of these subterranean areas is Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which was constructed to make sure Jerusalem would have fresh water in case the city was attacked. It started at Gihon Spring, and ran for a third of a mile, through solid rock, spilling into the Pool of Siloam. An escape tunnel used by King Zedekiah which ran from the Tower of Antonia, to a point near the Eastern Gate, emerging outside the walls of the city, covering a distance of over 8,000 feet.
The nine original members of the Knights Templar were received by King Baldwin I (Baudouin) in Jerusalem in 1119, and they established their headquarters in a wing of the al-Aqsa Mosque, which had been converted to a palace. They were given complete access to the palace and various outbuildings which were on the site where Solomon’s Temple originally stood, which was adjacent to the Dome of the Rock. Although their goal was “to keep the road from the coast to Jerusalem free from bandits,” for nine years they rarely left the palace grounds.
It was an unrealistic pledge, because it would have been difficult for the nine to patrol this fifty mile road; besides, a military order known as the Knights of Saint John were already performing that task before the Templars showed up. It is now known that they had some knowledge about the Temple treasures, because there is evidence which indicates that they were engaged in a massive excavation project.
Vast arched subterranean rooms were used by Knights during the Crusades to keep horses, and were known as “Solomon’s Stables.” The Templars were aware of these hidden areas underneath the Temple grounds, and believed that the Ark would be found there. They mounted an operation to plunder whatever treasurers they could find. Although it is questionable that they found the Ark, it is believed that they discovered treasure, relics and ancient manuscripts dating back to the time of Moses. Israeli archaeologists, engaged in excavations on the southern side of the Mount, found the exit point of a tunnel which had been dug by the Templars. It lead inward about 30 yards, where it was blocked by stone and debris.
There has been many stories concerning the location of the Ark of the Covenant. Some believe it is still buried in a secret chamber on the Temple Mount. Jewish historian Eupolemus wrote that many of the Temple treasures had been plundered by Babylon, “except for the Ark and the tablets in it. This Jeremiah preserved.”
According to the apocryphal Second Book of Maccabees 2:4-8, which has been dated to 163 BC, the prophet Jeremiah had concealed the Ark (as well as the Tabernacle, and the Altar of Incense) in a cave on “the mountain where Moses went up and beheld the heritage of God.” Some researchers believe that this could refer to either Mount Sinai or Mount Nebo, which is located in what is now the country of Jordan, and is the traditional burial place of Moses. The contention was made, that since these articles were made under the leadership of Moses, they may have been deposited at the site of his burial. Various archaeological expeditions had failed to turn up anything there.
During the 1920’s, American explorer, Antonio Frederick Futterer, searched various locations in Jordan for the Ark, based on the clues in 2 Maccabees, and believed the location to be on Mount Pisgah, the highest peak on the Mount Nebo range. He claimed to have found an inscription on the sealed entrance of a tunnel which said: “Herein lies the golden Ark of the Covenant.” In 1981, while following Futterer’s map of Mount Pisgah, a gully was discovered by Tom Crotser, an American explorer, which led to a 4’ X 7’ tunnel that plunged 600 feet into the ground, ending at a wall, which when broken down, revealed a 10’ X 12’ crypt which held a rectangular chest 62” long, 37” high and 37” wide, wrapped in a blue cloth, which he believed to be the Ark. Beside it was another bundle, which he thought contained the carrying poles, the cherubim which had been mounted on the top, and the legs.
The cave is located near the Church of the Franciscan Fathers of Terra Santa, and is under a building which contains the remains of an old Byzantine church. He didn’t disturb the find, thus he doesn’t know for sure what he saw. He reported it to the media, and he claimed that God told him to send the photographs he took to London banker David Rothschild, who some people have claimed is a direct descendant of Jesus, and has been chosen to build the third Temple. Rothschild refused to accept the pictures, and they were returned to Crotser. Noted archaeologist Siegfried Horn visited his home in Winfield, Kansas to see the pictures. Only two had any images at all one is fuzzy, but does show a chamber with a yellow box in the center. His opinion was that it was “not an ancient artifact but of modern fabrication”
In January, 1979, archaeologist Ronald Wyatt, while sightseeing near the Damascus Gate, felt that the location of Jeremiah’s Grotto was near an ancient stone quarry on the northern extension of Mt. Moriah, that is sometimes referred to as the ‘Calvary Escarpment’ (because it contains the skull face configuration that has been connected to the Golgotha). He believed that during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem from 587-586 BC, when the city was surrounded, it would have been impossible to remove the Ark, so it had to be there. With the permission of the landowner, and a permit from Israeli officials, he excavated the area.
On January 6, 1982, he entered a chamber that contained the Ark, and other artifacts from the first Temple, which had been hidden there by Jeremiah. The 22-foot long cave is actually located directly beneath the area where Christ was crucified. According to Wyatt’s research, when Jesus was crucified, his blood flowed down to the ground, through a split in the rock, and onto the Ark.
Most serious researchers doubt his claim, saying that, as far back as the first Temple, the area of Mt. Calvary was used as burial grounds, so it is highly unlikely that the Ark would have been placed on defiled ground. Scholars have questioned his lack of archaeological training, and his techniques; yet Wyatt’s work gained more acceptance because of other discoveries, such as the true Mt. Sinai, the location on the Red Sea crossing, Noah’s Ark, the 12 altars erected by Moses, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham’s family tomb in Hebron. Plus, his work has produced the most information on the Ark, all of which seems to be compatible with Scripture.
Dr. Gary Collett believes that Maccabees actually refers to Qumran, and says that the layout of Cave IV is similar to the Temple, and that its lower level may have been the containment room used by Jeremiah to temporarily protect the Ark. In 1992, two scientists from the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel-Aviv University used a ground-breaking radar known as a molecular frequency analyzer and a seismic-reflection device near two caves at the Wadi la-Chippah (‘the dome of the bridge’) which indicated the presence of a room containing the same sort of pottery known to contain scrolls. Preliminary trenches dug in 1993 failed to turn up anything substantial.
Once Christianity became the official religion of Rome, the treasures plundered by its legions fell into the possession of the Catholic Church. Nelson Canode, of Amarillo, Texas, a former Benedictine monk at a monastery at Subiaco, Italy, about 30 miles from Rome, said that he was taken to a cave, four levels below the monastery, where ancient artifacts were being shuttled from there to the underground vaults of the Vatican, and included the Ark and the disassembled Tabernacle. There are many who believe that once Jerusalem becomes an international city, the Vatican will return any Temple items in their possession.
Because of the research done by Graham Hancock for his book The Sign and the Seal, some people think the Ark may be in Ethiopia. Menelik I, the royal son of King Solomon, returned to Ethiopia, after his mother, the Queen of Sheba, died. When he was twenty years old, he returned to Israel, and Solomon treated him with so much favor, that the elders were jealous and wanted him to return home. Solomon agreed to send him home, on the condition that the first born sons of all the elders would go with him. Solomon wanted to give him a replica of the Ark to take with him. However, Azarius, the son of Zadok, the High Priest, worried about the idol worship which was flourishing, switched the Arks, and took the real one.
The Ark was taken to Egypt, on the island of Elephantine in the middle of the Nile, near Aswan, where a temple was built to protect it. It remained there for 200 years, until the temple was destroyed. The Ark was carried along the Nile, and the Takazze tributary into Ethiopia. They arrived at Lake Tana, which was considered a holy place.
The Ark stayed on the island of Tana Kirkos for 800 years, where it was taken to the Church of St. Mary of Zion, which had been built in 372 to hold the Ark. During the 1530’s, when the Muslims attacked, it was moved to safety, but returned a hundred years later to a rebuilt St. Mary’s, which had been constructed on the ruins of the first. It remained there until 1965, when Emperor Haile Selassie (who called himself the “Conquering Lion of Judah” and claimed to be a direct descendent of King Solomon) moved it to the Church of Zion near the center of Aksum (Axum), in northern Ethiopia.
Though the communists overthrew the monarchy in 1974, killed Selassie, and imprisoned much of the Royal family, the Ark remained safe because of its reputation for possessing an awesome amount of power, which has generated enough superstition to prevent people from trying to get to it. During all these years, the Ark has been guarded by Menelik’s descendents, and the descendents of those who accompanied him, who became known as ‘Falasha’ (exile) Jews, or the ‘Black Jews’ This area became part of the independent nation of Eritrea in 1993.
It was alleged, that when Israel became a nation, an appeal was made to Emperor Salassie to return the Ark. He said: “In principle, I agree that the Ark should be returned to the Temple, but the correct time has not yet come.” Many researchers believe that the Ark is at the chapel at Aksum, although it has never been seen.
Is Israel waiting for the discovery of the Ark, so they can rebuild the Temple; or are they waiting for the time when they can freely rebuild their Temple, so they can retrieve the Ark and place it in the Holy of Holies? There are some who share the suspicion, that Israel already knows where the Ark is, but also know that the political climate of their homeland is too volatile to take a chance on revealing its location until the right time.
Unlike the Temple, the Ark is not mentioned in Biblical prophecy. As we have discovered, the Ark was not in the second Temple, so the existence of the Ark is not necessary for the Temple to be rebuilt. However, if you turn on the 6 o’clock news, and you see that Israel is announcing the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant, this certainly will have a bearing on the prophetic timetable.
REBUILDING THE JEWISH TEMPLE
There is a school of thought that believes that only the Messiah can rebuild the Temple, because He would be the only one who knows the actual location of its foundation. This sentiment is the official position of the Israeli government. However, there is some evidence that seems to indicate that the Temple will be rebuilt prior to the return of Jesus.
The Antichrist will sign a seven-year protectionary treaty with Israel (and perhaps other nations), but will break it halfway through when he causes the sacrifices to be discontinued (Dan. 9:27, Dan. 12:11), so that he will be able to take “his seat in the Temple of God, displaying himself as being God (2 Thessalonians 2:4, see also Rev. 11:1).” Matthew 24:15 refers to this area as the ‘holy place.’ This seems to indicate that the Temple will already be in existence by this time.
Moses prophesied that Israel would be punished twice. The first was 430 years of captivity in Egypt, and the second was 70 years of slavery under the Babylonians. After that, three things were foretold: the Jewish nation would be reborn in Palestine, they would repossess old Jerusalem, and they would rebuild their ancient Temple on its original site. In 1948, the nation of Israel was established; in 1967, they took complete control of the city of Jerusalem; which leaves only one prophecy unfulfilled, and that is the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. Amos 9:11 says: “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old...”
Prior to the construction of the Temple, God made His divine presence known in a miqdash (‘holy place’), which was a temporary structure known as the Tabernacle, that was erected in various locations around Israel, such as Shiloh, Bethel, Dan, Gilgal, Mizpah, and Hebron. This continued until the Israelites became united, both politically and spiritually, which took place when David conquered Jerusalem, thus creating a central location for their civil government and religious worship. When David realized the big difference between his own house, and the fact that the Ark was protected only by a tent (2 Sam. 7:12), he knew that he had to build a house of God, which according to the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:4-17), seems to indicate that the site chosen would be a permanent location.
In the 24th chapter of 2 Samuel, it is recorded how David counted his men to see if his army was going to be of sufficient military strength. Because he didn’t trust God for his victory, so the Lord sent a destroying angel that brought a plague against the people of Jerusalem. David built an altar and made peace offerings to the Lord. This area on Mount Moriah (Mount Zion), was the site where God tested Abraham’s faith by commanding him to sacrifice his son Isaac, and was known as the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David purchased the land in 990 BC, and in 960 BC, King Solomon began construction of the sacred Temple, which was to provide a shelter for the Ark of the Covenant, the most sacred object in Israel. It took a workforce of 200,000 men seven years to complete this magnificent edifice, with funds gathered by David in a royal treasury. It was destroyed in 586 BC by Babylonian invaders.
The Persians conquered the Babylonians, and Cyrus, the Persian king, allowed 50,000 Jews to return to Jerusalem in 538 BC. In 537 BC, under the direction of King Cyrus, Zerubabbel (a descendant of King David), supervised a contingent of Phoenician workers who laid the foundation stones for the second Temple. All the Temple vessels had been returned, the altar built, and the sacrifices resumed. Opposition by the Samaritans (descendants of Israelite and Assyrian intermarriage) in the north, who had a temple at Mount Gerizim, caused construction to be discontinued until 520 BC, when Darius, the Persian king, instituted taxes to pay for its construction. The Temple was dedicated sometime between 516-514 BC. Another Persian king, Artaxerxes, appointed a Jew named Nehemiah as governor of Jerusalem, and he repaired the walls to protect the Temple, and began rebuilding the city.
Judea soon came under the control of the Greeks (Alexander the Great); and the Egyptian Greeks (or Ptolemies), who allowed governorship by the high priests. A third ruler, a Syrian Greek (Seleucid) known as Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), who sided with the Jewish faction known as the Hellenists, appointed a high priest who initiated pagan worship in opposition to the Orthodox faction. An attack in 170 BC killed many Jews, and again Temple treasures were taken. Antiochus desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar, placing a pagan idol in the Holy of Holies, and burning copies of the Torah. An Orthodox priest named Mattathias Maccabee (“the hammerer”) began a revolt, which ended in 164 BC when his third son, Judas took control of Jerusalem, purified the Temple, and resumed the daily offerings. However, their control ended in 63 BC when Rome invaded.
Over the years, the condition of the building declined, and around 20-19 BC, Herod the Great undertook the restoration of the Temple in order to win the favor of the Jews. Most of the construction was completed within ten years, although minor restoration work continued until 64 AD. The rebuilt Temple, known as the Temple of Herod, was twice as high, and much wider. During this period of Roman rule, an imperial sacrifice had to be offered to the emperor, in addition to the traditional Jewish sacrifice.
This came to an end in 66 AD, when Eleazar, the son of a captain of the Temple, initiated an uprising of Jewish zealots, which brought the Tenth Legion from Rome. They failed to defeat the Jewish freedom fighters and a massive revolt ensued, which resulted in Judea being returned to the control of the Jews. Emperor Nero then sent Vespasian, Rome’s best military leader, and his army, to end the rebellion. By 69 AD, Rome regained control of all Judea, except for Jerusalem.
Vespasian, who became the new emperor, gave his son Titus the task of securing Jerusalem. A military operation was launched which ended in 70 AD, when the Temple was set on fire by the Roman Tenth Legion (consisting of 80,000 men) under Titus, who pried the Temple apart stone by stone, and threw them into the valley southeast of Jerusalem. A portion of the Western Wall (Kotel Maarabi), known as the Wailing Wall, was left standing by the Romans as a symbol of how powerful they were. Titus later returned to Rome with some of the Temple treasure.
When Constantine died in 361, his nephew, Flavius Claudius Julianus, the last emperor of Rome (361-363), ruled for 19 months, and attempted to reinstate paganism, and emperor worship. Although he had grown up under the teachings of Eusebius, Bishop of Cesarea, he turned away from those teachings, and pushed for religious tolerance. His hatred of Christianity drove him to return Jerusalem back to the Jews, to restore Jewish law, and to advocate the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. He freed them from taxes, and gave his support for the reestablishment of animal sacrifices, but he was told that the Jews no longer practiced the ritual because they had no Temple. Julian appointed Alypius of Antioch to oversee its building, while the governors of Syria and Palestine were instructed to assist.
Workmen cleared the debris, and work was begun in 363. When they tried to dig into the foundation, an earthquake occurred, which ignited pockets of natural gas underground, causing fires and explosions, destroying all the stones, wood and metal which were being stored on the site. A number of workers were killed. This was taken as a divine sign that the Temple was not to be rebuilt at that time, and construction was halted after Julian died in the battle against the Persians. After the return to power by the Christian Roman Emperors, the idea was forgotten.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built on higher ground in 326 by Byzantine Christians during Constantine’s rule, on the traditional site (according to Catholics) of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Across from the Temple Mount, it was actually intended to symbolically replace the Temple, which is why its layout is reminiscent of the Temple. As a way of offending Jews, the condition of the Temple area was allowed to deteriorate and was even used as a repository for human waste and other refuse.
In 614, the Persians broke through Byzantine defenses, and with the help of the Jews, defeated Heraclius. Chosroes II, the Persian King, placed a Jew named, ironically, Nehemiah, as the governor of the city, and gave them permission to rebuild the Temple. Although it is believed that the sacrifices were resumed, no construction was initiated. About fifteen years later, Heraclius returned to take over the city, building an octagonal church on the site. After the death of Muhammed (570-632), his follower Omar (Umar Abu Ibn el-Khattab, or Umar I) became Caliph, taking over Jerusalem in 638, with the help of his Islamic army. In 643-44 he built a wooden mosque on the Temple site, which stood for 44 years. In 687, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the 10th Caliph, began work on the Qubbat as-Sakhra or the Dome of the Rock (also known as the Mosque of Omar), which was completed in 691.
The Mosque was built to rival the Church of the Holy Sepulcher showing its religious claim on the city by symbolizing the ideology of their new faith, and to be a protection for the rock believed to be the threshing floor purchased by David. No Islamic tradition was connected to the site. Even the Quran (Surah V, v. 21), the Islamic holy scripture, states that the Jews have a historic claim on the land. However, the event known as the ‘Night Journey of Muhammad’ (or ‘hijrah’), when he fled from Mecca to Medina, was connected to Jerusalem, because it mentioned al-Aqsa, which is the name of the Mosque south of the Dome of the Rock.
LinguisticaIly, ‘al-aqsa,’ when it is translated, means ‘far corner,’ and could very well refer to Mecca. Therefore, the Temple Mount is said to be the rock where Muhammed received his instructions from God, and ascended into Heaven. Some historians believe that the story was concocted during the rule of Umayyad prince, al-Walid I (705-715) to raise the funds necessary to build the al-Aqsa Mosque into an edifice comparable to the Dome of the Rock.
From 1099-1187, the Crusaders occupied Jerusalem, and the Dome of the Rock became a Christian church, while the al-Aqsa Mosque became the headquarters of the Knights Templar. When Jerusalem was overthrown by the Muslim leader Saladin (Salanad-Din), the Temple Mount complex, containing both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, which is referred to as the Haram ash-Sharif, became the third holiest site in the Islamic faith (after Mecca and Medina), even though all prayers are directed toward Mecca.
Today, the obstacle for rebuilding the Temple, is the Islamic holy site, the Dome of the Rock. It is maintained that the Arabs have had a claim on it for 5,000 years, and that there was never a Jewish temple on that area. The Israeli Antiquities Authority, and most Israeli archaeologists agree that this traditional location was the site of the Temple. In 1967, even though Israel captured East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, a month later, as a gesture of peace and cooperation, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan returned control of the Temple Mount back to the Wakf (Islamic authority). It was later reported that he had an underlying fear that the ground would be razed to make way for the rebuilding of the Temple.
Only the tip of the huge rock, on the summit of Mt. Moriah, juts up into the center of the Dome of the Rock. It is unclear whether the rock was the sacrificial altar, or the Holy of Holies where the Ark was placed, but the presence of drain holes bored into the surface, which leads to a cave below the Mosque, may indicate that it was the area of the Temple used for sacrifices. The purpose of the holes was for the blood from animal sacrifices to runoff into a canal which carried the fluids out of the complex. This would place the Holy of Holies in an area which slopes downward, and creates a conflict with archaeological evidence and historical tradition.
There is some support for the idea that the rock was the foundation stone for the Holy of Holies. The argument for this is based on the assumption that one of the Temple gates, known as Warren’s Gate (which was beneath the Gate Babel-Mat’hara, and up to 1967 was the location of an Arab latrine), opened directly in front of the Holy of Holies. In 1867, Charles Warren found an ancient gate to the Temple Mount, and since then, the entire Western Wall, and a tunnel running along it, called the Rabbinic Tunnel, was discovered and excavated by 1986; along with four other entrances, by Israel’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. The Western Wall of the Temple, left standing by Rome as a symbol of their authority, was part of the retaining wall which was erected to support the immense platform which held the Temple.
In March, 1979, where excavations were being done at the Western Wall, an unsubstantiated report was circulated, that a workman, digging with his fingers, 80 feet below the existing floor, discovered the Arch of King Solomon from the original Temple, which led to the Holy of Holies. The archway of stone was constructed with a special mortar containing broken glass, as per God’s instructions. Tests taken of the glistening mortar indicated that it was produced during that period. They would not break through the Wall, because according to the Law, only a Jew from the tribe of Levi, and the family of Aaron, can enter the Holy of Holies.
In July, 1981, Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz, chief rabbi of the Western Wall, while building a new synagogue behind the Western Wall, investigated water emanating from the Wall, and discovered a great hall (26’ wide X 98’ high x 82’ long) behind a former cistern which contained an arch, believed to be one of the entrances to the Temple. It turned out to be the gate discovered by Warren, which led to the Temple court, and was the closest gate to the Holy of Holies. A group of ten men, some from the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, began clearing the hall, working their way toward the Holy of Holies. If the Rock was the foundation stone of the Holy of Holies, then tradition holds that beneath this stone there is a chamber created by Solomon which was later used to hide the Ark.
Getz believes that this secret chamber contains the Ark, the table, and the menorah. After breaking down another wall, the Muslim authorities were made aware of what was going on, and the Arabs instigated a riot which led to the excavation site being shut down. A wall was placed over the entrance to the tunnel, and was later reinforced with another wall of steel and plaster, which in 1992 was redone to give it an appearance of natural rock. Rabbi Schlomo Goren believes that they came within 300 feet of this room, and rumors have circulated that Getz saw the Ark, which he denied, saying that the area is under water. Getz said: “The treasures of the First Temple are under the Mount, and we know exactly where they are...”
There was an unsubstantiated report that there is a lower cave, blocked by a slab, which was discovered in 1911. It had been alleged that the Crown of David, the Sword of Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant, the Tables of the Law, and a large amount of gold was discovered there, having been hidden by the priests when the Temple was destroyed. It is believed that these articles were removed, and their whereabouts are unknown.
The Israelis have been kept from rebuilding, or even doing much archaeological excavation because of their strained relationship with the Arabs, and because the Moslems fear that such excavations would weaken the structure of the Mosque. Others would argue that it’s because any significant archaeological discoveries on the site would prove Israel’s ancient claim to the Mount. Because of the lack of any substantial information, there is even a lot of doubt as to where on the Temple Mount the sanctuary was actually located.
Father Bellarmino Begatti, A Franciscan researcher, published a report in 1979, that, based on measurements and information in ancient documents, the Temple was located on the southern end of the Mount between the Dome of the Rock, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, and seems to be supported by the existence of underground reservoirs and tunnels. The Holy of Holies is believed to be located over the Al Kas Foundation.
Dr. Ze’ev Yeiven, and Dr. Asher Kaufman believe that Arab construction on the northern end exposed an ancient wall near the Dome of the Rock, which is believed to be the eastern wall of the Temple’s Court of Women. Of particular interest is an exposed area of rock in an open area of the Mount, about 330 feet north of the Dome of the Rock, which is covered by a small building (cupola), known as the Qubbat el-Arwah (Dome of the Spirits), which is on an east-west alignment with the Eastern Gate and the Mount of Olives. It is also called the Qubbat el-Alouah (Dome of the Tablets), because it is believed that this was the location of the Holy of Holies in the original Temple, where the Ark of the Covenant was placed.
If this is true, that means that the Temple can be rebuilt without disturbing the Arab site, because the Mosque, which takes up an area of 34 acres, would actually be separated from most of the Temple foundation by many feet of rubble. Proponents of this theory claim they have identified the area on the Mount of Olives which was used for the sacrifice of the Red Heifer, which further indicates that the Temple was not on the site of the Dome of the Rock.
Ernest Martin, a scholar, and author of many books, said that the Temple was built over the Gihon Spring.
Some Orthodox Jews believe that before the Temple can be rebuilt, both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque would have to be removed, because their presence defiles the sacred ground.
Before the Six-Day War, a quarter-page ad appeared in the Washington Post, seeking aid for the rebuilding of the Temple. They have been selling bonds to finance its building since 1948. The document known as the ‘Temple Scroll,’ which was part of the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran, give distinct instructions concerning the construction of the Temple, and a group known as the Ne’emanei Har Habayit (Faithful of the Temple Mount) commissioned a model of the Temple to be built. It has been reported that the cornerstones are already cut and ready. Harvey A. Smith, a Jewish Assemblies of God minister, wrote in his book, that they have the biggest and heaviest stones cut, and secretly placed under the Temple Mount behind Warren Gate. The Temple music has even been deciphered.
After the Six-Day War, Israel Eldad, a noted historian who was interviewed by Time magazine, said: “We are at the stage where David was when he liberated Jerusalem. From that time until the construction of the Temple by Solomon, only one generation passed. So it will be with us.”
In December, 1970, a special school called “Yeshiva Avodas Hakodesh” founded by Rabbi Hirsh Ha-Cohen (Cohens have been identified as the descendants of the priests in the original Jewish temple), was established to train students from the tribe of Levi in the ancient ritual of animal sacrifice. It was dedicated during the Feast of Dedication (Chanuka). Only students who can trace their lineage back to Aaron can be admitted. Motti Dan (Ha-Cohen), who is said to be a descendent of the priestly line, studied all the rules in regard to the Temple service, and established the “Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva” in the 1970’s as a religious school to educate and train others, of similar descent, for the priesthood.
In 1978, Hebrew University began offering a two-year course in the restoration of animal sacrifice, including all methods and Old Testament requirements. The first class graduated on June 1, 1980, and among their graduation exercises, was to perform the ancient rite of animal sacrifice. An episode of “60 Minutes” in March, 1985, in a segment called “One Step in Heaven,” indicated that rabbinical students in Jerusalem were studying the Jewish rites of animal sacrifice under Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the former Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Defense Forces, who had said in a November, 1981 Newsweek interview that the secret of the location of the Ark would be revealed just prior to the third Temple being built. The animal sacrifices will resume when the Temple is rebuilt.
The Institute for Talmudic Commentaries, run by Rabbi Nahman Kahane (a descendent of the priestly line), which is located in the Young Israel Synagogue, is involved in the study of the Temple rituals and ceremonies, and have been involved in research to catalog all known cohanim (priests) in Israel. The Atara L’yoshna (“restoring the crown to its original form”), a branch of Kahane’s group, has established a Study and Tourist Center near the Western Wall, where they have models of the Tabernacle, the two original Temples, the new Temple, the Ark of the Covenant, a menorah, as well as other Temple implements.
A group called the Temple Mount Faithful (or the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement), started by Gershon Salomon, a professor of Oriental Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, sought to take sole control of the Temple Mount to rebuild the Temple. It was a reactionary movement to protest the move by Moshe Dayan, the Israeli Defense Minister, who allowed the Muslims to maintain control of the Temple Mount area in 1967. He went to court in 1987 with claims by physicist Dr. Asher Kaufman, and archaeologist Dan Bahat, that the Arabs were destroying valuable archaeological evidence from the first and second Temples. The group has also made attempts to lay a special 4-ton cornerstone on the Mount.
The Temple Institute was esablished in Israel, in 1988, by Rabbi Israel Ariel, who in 1967, was the first paratrooper to reach the Western Wall. Time magazine printed a two-page article on the group in October, 1989, and ABC-TV’s news show “20/20” televised a segment on them. On October 18, 1989, the first bi-annual Conference on Temple Research was held. This joint venture between the Temple Institute and the Ministry of Religious Affairs brought together rabbis, scientists, archaeologists in an attempt to better coordinate their efforts in making the Temple a reality.
Outside the Temple Institute, a sign in Hebrew reads: “Exhibition of Temple Vessels” (while a sign in English says “Treasures of the Temple”). Based on years of research, historical tradition and the Scriptures, the Temple Institute has produced the actual items which will be used in the Temple when it is rebuilt. Many of the 103 items which were used in the original Temple have been produced, or are in various stages of fabrication, including the gold crown of the high priest, the Temple garments, a copper washbasin to be used for purification purposes, incense utensils, and silver trumpets to beckon worshippers to the Temple. In the planning stages was the breastplate of the high priest, which will contain twelve gemstones; and the gold electroplated menorah which will contain 94.6 pounds of gold, giving it an estimated value of $10 million.
In January, 2003, the President of Israel, Moshe Katzav, asked the Prime Minister of the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Sudano about what Temple treasures were in the possession of the Vatican, and to prepare a list of them.
Before Temple services can be legally reinstated according to Biblical Law, a ritual cleansing must be performed which involves the sacrifice of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19:1-22). The ceremony has only been performed seven times. The priest would sacrifice an unblemished, unbroken Red Heifer, after which the remaining ashes were collected and added to the ashes of the next sacrifice. It took place on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, within sight of the Holy of Holies. The ashes were then sprinkled upon the waters of a large cistern under the Temple to prepare them to be used as the water of purification to cleanse sin and defilement. The last sacrifice occurred in 70 AD, prior to the destruction of the Temple, after which the ashes were secretly buried. This ritual cleansing would have to be performed on the Temple Mount in order to reinstate Temple worship as commanded by the Laws of God.
Originally kept in a containment building near the Eastern Gate, archaeological excavations have been initiated to find the ashes, which according to the ‘Copper Scroll’ found at Qumran, were buried in a container made of clay, and dung from the Red Heifer. If they can not be located, the Temple Institute, on the belief that the tradition of the “ashes of continuity” is a mistranslation, maintains that the original ashes are not necessary. In October, 1989, the Chief Rabbi of Israel dispatched a team of scientists to Sweden to purchase the frozen embryos of a particular breed of red heifers in order to impregnate a heifer in Israel and breed an animal that would fulfill the scriptural requirements. However, the latest report is that a herd of red Angus cattle have been discovered in Mississippi, and a group of these have been sent to Israel for later use.
Vendyl Jones, a former Baptist minister turned archaeologist in 1977, said to be the inspiration for the creation of the fictional movie character Indiana Jones (though producers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas deny it), while searching in Jericho area caves for the Ark of the Covenant, found a clay jar containing a unique incense oil which dated back to the time of the second Jewish Temple, and contained the five ingredients the Bible identified as being part of the oil used to anoint kings. One of these ingredients was an oil called afars’mon, which was taken from the sap of the rare balsam tree that grew near Jericho at a wadi known as Ein Gedi, near the area of Qumran. The oil was very rare, and when Rome invaded the Qumran community before 70 AD, the Essenes burned the only known grove of these balsam trees, which are now considered extinct.
This special anointing oil is listed in the Copper Scroll, and in 1988, using the clues given there, a worker, Benny Ayers, who was with a group of Christian archaeologists and volunteers (including Dr. Gary Collett and Dr. Nathan Meyers), under the direction of Dr. Joseph Patrich from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, found an ancient clay container wrapped in palm leaves, in a hole three feet deep, on the floor of a cave adjacent to the one where Vendyl Jones would later discover some incense.
Professor Ze’ev Aisenshtat and Dorit Aschengrau at the laboratory of Hebrew Univeristy’s Casali Institute of Applied Chemistry, used Carbon-14 dating and said that the oil was put in the container during the first century, and is believed to be the anointing oil that was used in the Temple. The oil’s chemical composition was such, that one drop placed in water, turned it a milky white, just as ancient documents indicated. The substance was given to the Chief Rabbi of Israel, and it will be used to anoint the Messiah when he returns.
Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog believes that the dye used to achieve the blue-colored thread on the Temple garments (Numbers 15:37-40), comes from the Segulit snail, which because of its scarcity, is very expensive. According to the Talmud (Menahot 44a), Israel is inundated every 70 years with these snails. In October, 1990, they were found in large numbers on the Mediterranean beaches of Israel.
In April, 1992, Jones announced that on the floor of a cave, north of Qumran, at the Wadi Jafet Zaben, he discovered about 900 pounds of a reddish-colored material which was tested by the Weizmann Institute of Science, and found to be the remnants of a special mixture of incense believed to be used in the Temple service. Jones felt that this was one of the items listed in the Copper Scroll. However, the Temple Institute believes that since the incense was not found in a container, it had been improperly prepared and disposed of, and thus is not acceptable for use.
Little by little, all the elements seem to be coming together in preparation for the day when the Temple will be rebuilt. The closer we come to that reality, the opposition to it increases within certain religious circles. The destruction of the second Temple in 70 AD, according to some Christian leaders, indicated that the Jews were being punished for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, and that Judaism was being usurped by Christianity, which had become the new temple of God.
They feel that because He spiritually dwells within all who believe and follow His teachings, the rebuilding of the Temple would be a denial of Jesus’ atonement for our sins on the cross, which eliminated the necessity of Temple sacrifice. This sort of theological debate is pointless, because the Bible plainly eludes to the existence of the Temple in the last days, regardless of how right or wrong it is.
Now bear in mind, I have been told by Pastor Milt Maiman, (formerly of the Messianic Hebrew Christian Fellowship in Harrisburg, PA) that to fulfill the prophecy, the Temple doesn’t have to be rebuilt. Just as the Tent of the Tabernacle was originally used to house the Ark, it could again be erected on the Temple grounds, and used for Temple observances.
So, when you turn on the 6 o’clock news, and you see that Israel has put up the Tent, or that construction on the Temple has begun, know that this is one of the major events in the prophetic timetable, and that the end is near.
Setting the stage for destruction