Published in Prophecy News Watch 11/01/2016
October 29th, 2014 was just another day in the life of Jerusalem Rabbi and Temple Mount Activist Yehudah Glick. The soft spoken red-headed Rabbi – described by some as ‘the most dangerous man in the Middle East’ – had just finished giving a public lecture on “The Importance of Maintaining a Jewish Presence on the Temple Mount” and was packing his bags into the boot of his car while his wife was waiting patiently in the passenger seat. Suddenly a man on a motorcycle pulled over and asked in heavily accented Hebrew: ‘Are you Yehudah Glick?”. “Yes”, affirmed Yehudah while his wife casually listened on from inside the car.
“I am terribly sorry,” the man on the motorcycle continued with anger rising in his voice, “but you are an enemy of al-Aqsa”. With that the man pulled a gun and fired four rapid shots at point blank rage into Yehudah’s unprotected chest before speeding off on the motorbike.
We will hear more of what happened to Rabbi Glick later in this article. While this attack was intended to spell the end for the Temple restoration movement, we will see how it actually ended up galvanising the movement across Israel. We will also see the significance of this movement in light of Bible Prophecy and the end times.
Rebuilding the Temple – A Dream of the Minority
A few years ago, I attended a lecture by a practicing Jew who is a leader within the Zionist community. During the Q&A after the lecture, a keen Christian took note of the leader’s obvious faith in the God of Israel and asked him about his thoughts on rebuilding the Temple. His response – which took several of us Christians by surprise – was to explain that he was not at all interested in the rebuilding of the Temple. He went on to explain how he viewed the sacrificial system as something quaint and irrelevant nowadays and that he was glad to leave it in the dustbin of history.
While many Christian students of Bible Prophecy are very excited about the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple as setting the stage for End Time events, I have learned to my surprise that only a minority of Religious Jews share this interest. After the destruction of the second temple by the Romans, Judaism adapted itself to a religion no longer dependent upon sacrifices for forgiveness of sin, but one that encouraged good works as a path to a right standing with God. While the site of the ancient Temple remains revered across the spectrum of Judaism, the concept of rebuilding the temple now remains a controversial dream of a small minority.
Fears of an International Backlash
Apart from a lack of religiously motivated enthusiasm to rebuild the Temple, another dampening factor is the reality that any such moves would be likely to trigger off an immediate World War 3. As many of you would know, the Temple Mount is today occupied by the third holiest site in Islam, namely the Al Aqsa Mosque and the picturesque Dome of the Rock. Any action that appears to threaten the sanctity of these sites will draw the immediate wrath of the Islamic world. Highlighting the level of Islamic concern for this site, the Organisation of Islamic Co-Operation was founded in 1969 specifically with the goal to protect the Al-Aqsa mosque. Today this influential organisation boasts 56 member states and is the second largest intergovernmental organisation in the world.
With such a huge body of nations dead-set against any strengthened Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, and being a fringe view within Judaism, Temple Mount Activists have been seen by many Israelis as irresponsible trouble makers who need to be kept in check to avoid a major international conflict.
Will there be a Third Temple?
In light of the above, it would seem unlikely that the Temple could be rebuilt in this age. In fact, successive Israeli governments have firmly and repeatedly committed themselves to maintaining the ‘status quo’ on the Temple Mount to avoid fermenting trouble.
However, New Testament and Old Testament prophecies about the End of Days assume the presence of the Temple. For example, Jesus (Mt. 24:15) and Paul (2 Thes. 2:3-4) prophesied an End Time defilement of the Temple. Although some may argue that this refers to a ‘spiritual temple’ (i.e the church), it is clear that these predictions would have been understood by their original listeners as referring to the literal building itself. Other predictions such as Daniel’s mention of the daily sacrifices being taken away are also best understood to refer to a literal Temple.
The restoration of Israel after 1900 years of exile was unlikely, yet happened in accordance with many prophecies throughout the Bible. In the same way, the rebuilding of the Temple appears unlikely, but if God’s Word is telling us that it will happen, then we can expect it to take place.
Do we see evidence today that we are nearing the time when the Temple might be rebuilt? Let’s return to Yehudah Glick’s story to see what has happened since the attack on his life.
Returning to Yehudah Glick
On October 22, doctors at the Shaarei Tzedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem worked frantically to save the life of a bullet riddled terrorist. One nurse openly questioned why they should work so hard to save the life of a man who had just killed three innocent civilians, but the rest of the team responded that they were simply doing their job.
A week later to the day1, the same team were set to work on Rabbi Glick, and lessons learned from the week before helped them give Yehudah the best possible treatment as he was hovering between life and death. Many prayers were being lifted up for Rabbi Glick and his survival and subsequent recovery has been described by many as nothing short of miraculous. The doctors who operated on him reported that none of the bullets left serious lasting damage – one bullet hit his spine without touching the spinal cord, while another bullet went through his neck passing within millimetres of a major artery5.
Being released from hospital less than a month later, a pale looking Yehudah Glick held a press conference where he praised ‘the God who raises the dead’. A year later, in commemoration of the event that had almost snuffed out his life, a re-vitalised Yehudah Glick returned to the scene of his attempted assassination and danced so vigorously that younger men might have had trouble keeping up with him.
The Revitalised Temple Mount Movement
Before the assassination attempt, Rabbi Glick was a fringe activist mainly known within the ideological right. The attack became headline news across Israel, and he quickly become a household name. As his fame grew, new supporters were added to the cause including a new youth movement.
Yehudah was subsequently interviewed by many media outlets including the BBC. Within four months of the attack, a general election was held in Israel and Rabbi Glick ran for election as a candidate for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party2. He was listed way down on the ballot list and did not succeed in entering the Knesset. Since then, his profile has continued to rise and later reports are now saying that he is a certainty to enter the Knesset at the next election.
Yehudah has high ranking supporters within Netanyahu’s party, and was in August granted his first one-on-one audience with Netanyahu. During the half an hour meeting, Netanyahu reportedly expressed warmth, understanding and sympathy for Glick’s cause3.
While Yehudah Glick is rising in the corridors of power, the Temple Mount Institute of which he is a part is continuing preparations training young priests believed to be descendants of the Priestly line in performing the ancient sacrifices and preparing the holy vessels for the day when the Temple is rebuilt.
It appears that the terror attack that was meant for evil has strengthened the Temple Mount movement and may indeed be a sign that we are getting closer to the End Times and ultimately to the Coming of Our Lord.
There are significant inter-faith developments taking place that are of concern from a Christian perspective, but that may fit in with the end time scenario. Despite his controversial views regarding the Temple Mount, Yehudah Glick has been actively involved in interfaith dialogue and believes that the Temple should be a ‘house of prayer for all nations’. In August 2015, 8 months after the attempt on his life, Glick was invited to Turkey to be the guest of honour at a Ramadan celebration attended by 1000 Muslim Clerics.4 The event was arranged by popular Turkish Muslim writer Adnan Oktar, who has publically called for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple. While many Bible-believing Christians and orthodox Jews disagree that the Temple worship could in any way be shared with the Islamic faith, Glick is open to the idea. It is interesting in this context that Revelation 11:1-2 describe the outer court of the Temple as being ‘given to the gentiles’, perhaps indicating some kind of shared arrangements on the Temple Mount as envisaged by Glick and certain Muslim leaders.
There remain many hindrances to the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. Despite the progress made so far, the majority of religious Jews still oppose it and it remains strongly opposed by most of the Islamic world. It would require nothing short of a miracle for these sentiments to shift enough to allow for the rebuilding of the Temple. However, just as the restoration of the nation of Israel seemed unlikely during her 1900 years of exile, God has a way of fulfilling what He has repeatedly promised throughout the Scriptures. Our God is in complete control of world events and is setting the stage for the End Time events of Scripture. Now is the time for us as believers to live whole-heartedly for God, to make sure our own ‘Temples’ are in order and to pray for our loved ones to be in right relationship with God.
1 “How a Palestinian Terrorist Saved the Life of Temple Mount Rabbi Yehuda Glick”, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 3, 2015 – http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/46210/how-palestinian-terrorist-saved-the-life-of-temple-mount-rabbi-yehuda-glick-inspiration/#cY62kyg6Y1x0mRBH.97
2 “Yehuda Glick is Running With The Likud – Surprised?”, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 26/2/2015 – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191888#.VmzCQ_krLWI
3 “Netanyahu agrees things must change on Temple Mount, says Likud activist”, Times of Israel, Sep 1, 2015, http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-agrees-things-must-change-at-temple-mount-says-likud-activist/
4 “Temple Mount Activist ‘Survives’ Dinner – With 1,000 Muslims”, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 7/62015 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/197769#.Vm0zsfnRKko
5 Documentary: “A Jerusalem Hug From Heaven”, http://templemountheritage.com/a-jerusalem-hug-from-heaven-movie/
Enoch Lavender was born in Australia, raised in Norway, spent time living in China and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. He has been studying Hebrew and the Jewish roots of our faith for the past decade, and has a keen interest in the Middle East from a Bible prophecy perspective.