Jerusalem is being trampled on by the Gentiles

Rita Quartel - 6 January 2023

An ‘international controversy’ was sparked this week, when newly appointed Israeli minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir had the audacity to walk on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The incident provoked “international condemnations and expressions of concern”.

Ben Gvir is a controversial figure, who has spoken out strongly in the past about the rights of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. He is consistently referred to in the mainstream media as ‘far-right’, ‘extremist’, and ‘a Jewish nationalist provocateur’.

There is no doubt the move was clearly designed to send a message that Jews also have a right to pray on this sacred site, and will not bow down to Islamic extremism. Ben Gvir has advocated strongly in the past that Jews have a right to pray on the Temple Mount. Striding across the compound flanked by security, Ben Gvir stated to a reporter: “We don’t give in. We don’t surrender. We don’t blink.”

Nevertheless, his actions did not breach any law nor did they infringe the ‘Status Quo’. Ben Gvir entered the Temple Mount legally, under escort, and spent a total of thirteen minutes on the Temple Mount, at 7am in the morning.

As Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan stated: “Jews are permitted to visit the holiest site in Judaism. It is the right of every Jew. Israel has not harmed the status quo and has no plans to do so.”

One wonders whether it was astute of Ben Gvir to ‘up the ante’ in this way, at this time. Maybe it would be better for this new government to first reach out a reconciliatory hand to the Israeli Arab community, before deliberately provoking Islamic sensitivities.

But that aside, what is really interesting – and revealing – is the totally irrational response of the ‘international community’, and what this says about how emotionally and spiritually attached the nations are to Jerusalem. There is something about Jewish claims to Jerusalem that sends nations into fits of apoplexy.

What is really interesting – and revealing – is the totally irrational response of the ‘international community.

In response, China and the United Arab Emirates (which is the Arab League’s current representative on the Security Council) requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York. The request was made on behalf of the Palestinian and Jordanian missions, which are not members of the Security Council. Yesterday, the Security Council met. Many states (including the US) criticized Israel for ‘unilateral’ actions that threaten to breach the peace, but no formal statement was issued. The United Nations considers that it has “a legitimate interest in the question of the city of Jerusalem and in the protection of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the city.”

The ‘Status Quo’ refers to the complex set of arrangements made under the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century concerning the control of and access to certain Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Essentially, it is an agreement between the Islamic and Christian worlds, about control over sites which Islam and Christianity regard as sacred to their religions. The Status Quo largely excludes the Jewish people. The churches – especially the Vatican – have a vested interest in maintaining their control of churches and other sites in Jerusalem.

Since 1967, Israel both exercises control of, and claims sovereignty over, the whole of Jerusalem, including so-called ‘East Jerusalem’ and the Temple Mount. But it has also consented to respect the Status Quo, in an effort to maintain peace with the Israeli Arab population and surrounding Islamic countries. This includes the specific arrangements concerning the Temple Mount.

The PLO, and the Arab world (including Israel’s Abraham Accord ‘partners’ the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan), deny that Israel has any rights concerning Jerusalem and the Holy Sites. “Israel has no claim and no right to sovereignty over the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and therefore no rightful claim over Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” stated the PLO representative Riyad Mansour in the Security Council – a position supported by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its 54 member states, as well as many other states.

The current arrangements concerning the Temple Mount are set out in many different agreements and treaties, including the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. Israel, while asserting sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem (including the Temple Mount), agrees to the Temple Mount being governed by a ‘Waqf’ under Jordanian supervision. In turn, Jordan has entered various agreements with the Vatican and PLO, amongst others concerning the Holy Sites.

All of these arrangements are coming under increasing pressure, as a growing number of Jews in Israel wish to have greater access to the Holy Sites, including the Temple Mount which, for Jews, is “the most sacred place in Jewish history and actually symbolizes the clearest contact between modern Israel and ancient Israel,” according to Amichai Cohen, senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute.

In fact, it may be arguable that the current restrictions on Jews praying on the Temple Mount are themselves an infringement of the Status Quo, under which “Freedom of access and visitation to the Holy Places shall be guaranteed to Jerusalem residents, as well as to all other people without distinction of nationality. Freedom of belief and free exercise of all forms of worship therein, shall likewise be guaranteed in conformity with existing practices of the religious communities. These rights shall be subject to requirements of security, public order and decorum.”

All of this goes to show that the status of the Temple Mount is about much more than religion, law and politics.There is a spiritual battle going on.

All of this goes to show that the status of the Temple Mount is about much more than religion, law and politics. There is a spiritual battle going on. The battle for Jerusalem is irrational; there is no logical explanation for the depth of emotion that is provoked by the Jews wishing to pray on the Temple Mount. This recalls the words of the prophet Zechariah:

“The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.”

The Temple Mount (and the area around it, known as the Holy Basin) is central to the purposes of the Lord. Jerusalem is being prepared as the place where the Lord will reign – the law will go out from Zion, the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2). It seems the Gentile nations – Islamic and non-Islamic – are furious and outraged, because they are losing control over this sacred piece of land. Jesus Himself predicted this, when He said: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).

The times of the Gentiles are coming to an end. The Lord is bringing the Jewish people home, in preparation for the return of His Anointed One.

Then the Temple will become a place of prayer for all nations.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Isaiah 45 and the Security Council
Roger van Oordt writes at Christians for Israel: “There really is something going on in the spiritual world. The God of Israel is taking care of His people, and His adversaries are preparing for battle. The evil one and his henchmen are aware that they have very little time left to thwart the plans of the God of Israel.”
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The Status Quo on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Has Greatly Changed since 1967
Nadav Shragai writes at JCPA: “The status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as formulated by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan in 1967, no longer exists. In the 55 years since the Six-Day War, changes in the status quo have greatly improved the Muslims’ hold on the Temple Mount.”.
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UN “working to reduce tensions following Israel minister’s holy site visit”
The UN Assistant Secretary-General Khalid Khiari briefed the Security Council: “While the visit was not accompanied or followed by violence, it is seen as particularly inflammatory given Mr. Ben-Gvir’s past advocacy for changes to the Status Quo,” said Mr. Khiari. The move drew sharp condemnation from the Palestinian Authority, and many others from across the region and the international community, who viewed it as provocative.
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Challenge or Encouragement? 
Rev. Cornelis Kant writes at Christians for Israel: “Dark clouds cover the nations. And that darkness is apparently creating a drive to turn against Israel en masse. Seeing the current developments in world politics, such a Scripture is very topical. Overwhelming. There is hope. For if the tragic passages in these prophecies come true, the hopeful passages will also be fulfilled one day. The Gentile nations will go to the light of Israel and to the radiance of Israel’s dawn. The LORD’s glory over Israel will not go unnoticed. How impressive. All will be well.”
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Where did Elimelech and his family seek refuge? The area of Moab has a crucial importance throughout the Bible.



Zechariah 12:1-5

A prophecy: The word of the LORD concerning Israel.

The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:

“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the LORD. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations.

Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong,because the LORD Almighty is their God.