A small area of land in this ancient city will be the focal point of Bible prophecy. Your life will be intensely affected.
[Gary Petty] For almost a decade one American family has fought the United States government over their son's passport. The son was born in Jerusalem. The parents argue that the boy's birthplace should be listed as Israel. Instead the passport lists his place of birth as Jerusalem. A report in USA Today explains, "Since the 1948 creation of the state of Israel, the U.S. government has declined to recognize any country as having sovereignty over Jerusalem. State Department policy dictates that the passports of children of American citizens born in Jerusalem say only 'Jerusalem' for place of birth."
In 1967 Israeli soldiers stormed the gate of the ancient city of Jerusalem and stood before the massive wall of the Temple Mount claiming a birthright given to them by God. Palestinians claim the same area, adorned with sacred Islamic sites, that it's a birthright given to them by God.
The situation is so complicated that the U.S. State Department, Congress, Justice Department and President are all debating: Who are the citizens of Jerusalem? Israeli? Palestinians? Jerusalemites?
Whether you realize it or not, the conflict over who owns Jerusalem is having a profound effect on your daily life. And it is going to have even greater effects in the future. World history is headed towards a crisis point at "Ground Zero Jerusalem."
The biblical prophet Ezekiel wrote, "Thus says the Lord God: 'This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her'" (Ezekiel 5:5 Ezekiel 5:5Thus said the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the middle of the nations and countries that are round about her.
American King James Version×).
The ancient city of Jerusalem, possessing little economic or military value, has been such a focal point of history that at times it has been called the center of the world. It is the Holy City of the three great monotheistic religions—Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and Jerusalem has certainly been the epicenter for centuries of religious strife and bloodshed.
In our speed of Internet, technologically driven world, the strife born in a city—where the age of stone walls is measured not in centuries but in millennia—seems far off and unrelated to our daily lives. The reality is what happens in Jerusalem profoundly affects your life. The violent clashes between Israeli soldiers and rock throwing Palestinian youth on the streets of Gaza; American soldiers dying in Afghanistan; the U.S. dependence on foreign oil; or the fear of Islamic terrorism every time you have to be searched at the airport, are all links in a chain binding you to the religious and political strife of the Middle East. Now the ground zero of this ancient strife is a very small plot of land in Jerusalem called the Temple Mount.
Today, the top of the Temple Mount is under Muslim control. It contains the famous Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Historically, it is here where King Herod's temple, visited by Jesus, was destroyed in 70 A.D. According to the Bible, around 1,000 B.C. Israel's King David reigned from Jerusalem and on this plot of land, his son Solomon constructed a magnificent temple to God.
Now this is what is taught in secular history classes in the United States, in Canada and Europe. It is an essential element of biblical history. But, this history is being rewritten by some Muslim scholars.
Back in July 2000, the U.S. and Israeli delegations to the second Camp David accord were absolutely shocked when Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat declared that the Temple Mount was not the site of Solomon's temple. Now according to Arafat, the entire history of the temple was a Jewish fabrication. Since that time, more and more Islamic scholars have supported the idea that Solomon never constructed a temple in Jerusalem.
In a 2009 Wall Street Journal story, it was reported that the chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority claimed that Solomon's temple, quote '"...has no historical roots.'" He added that the Jews are engaging in "an attack on history, theft of culture, falsification of facts, erasure of the truth, and Judaization of the place." According to the Wall Street Journal this Islamic rewriting of history is "echoed in Palestinian primary-school textbooks, preached at mosques, and printed in official newspapers" (The Wall Street Journal, "Palestinian Leaders Deny Jerusalem's Past," Sept. 25, 2009).
Now, the denial of the historical temple is now so widespread, not only among Palestinians, but among other Muslims as well. Now watch this clip from a Palestinian television program where the host and the guest are discussing the history of the Jewish temple:
"There a [Judeo-Christian] view that it [the Dome of the Rock] stands on the Holy of Holies of the fictitious Temple. That is merely an illusion. There is no remnant of it. It's a myth. A story of no value, like the Arabian Nights, and other ancient legends.
"After 60 years of digging [by archaeologists] in Palestine, they've found nothing. Not a jug, not a coin, no clay, no bronze, no piece of metal, absolutely nothing of this myth, because it's a myth and a lie.
"Those digs didn't leave a single meter [unturned], but it has achieved absolutely nothing. The myths about the fictitious Temple claim that it stood in place of the Dome of the Rock." (Source: Palestinian Media Watch - Palestinian lecturer denies biblical and historical Temple - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3nkhnl-tVc)
The truth is that archeologists have discovered many proofs of Solomon's temple. So why is it so important for Muslim scholars to discredit the existence of Solomon's temple on the Temple Mount?
The biblical account of Solomon's temple presents Islamic clerics with a difficult problem. If Solomon's temple existed, then there is great historical weight to the accuracy of the Hebrew Scriptures—what we call the Old Testament—which proclaim that God's blessing to Abraham was passed to Isaac and Jacob and to their descendants, the people of Israel. Now this is in direct contradiction to the Koran's teaching that the blessing was passed from Abraham to Ishmael and to the Arab people.
The Bible describes Solomon's temple as a beautiful and magnificent edifice. Rising above the rest of the city, it served as the place for the daily worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It contained an inner room, the "Most Holy Place" which housed the Ark of the Covenant. Now this ark, built from instructions given to Moses, contained the Ten Commandments; a budding rod used by Aaron, who was Moses' brother and first high priest of Israel; and a jar of manna, the miraculous food God gave to the Israelites while they wandered in the desert.
Now, the Bible states that when Solomon finished his prayer of dedication, fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice he had prepared and God's presence filled this temple.
Now the reason this history is unacceptable to Palestinian scholars is because it flies in the face of the Islamic view of how God works in history. To support the Palestinian worldview, history must be rewritten to not only erase the existence of Solomon's temple, but expunge any trace of Jewish presence in Jerusalem's past.
There is another reason why Palestinian clerics wish to discredit Jewish claims to the Temple Mount. It is because biblical prophecies predict that God's Messiah will reign from Jerusalem.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and many nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, 'Come and let us go to the mountain of the LORD, the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we/for he shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:2-3 Isaiah 2:2-3  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
 And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
American King James Version×).
Not only did the ancient Hebrew prophets foretell of a future Messiah from God who would rule from Jerusalem, they also predicted a prominent place for the Jewish people in the Messiah's reign. The prophet Zechariah wrote:
"Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, "Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will also go." Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.'"
Then notice the next verse: "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'In those days'—he's talking about the end time, a yet future time—"'ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you"'" (Zechariah 8:22-23 Zechariah 8:22-23  Yes, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
 Thus said the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
American King James Version×).
The driving goal of Islamic clerics in rewriting history is to discredit the Bible in order to dispel all Jewish claims to the ancient land of Israel and denounce the prophecies of God's Messiah who will rule from Jerusalem. For those of us who believe the Bible is the word of the Living God, this attempt to discredit the Bible is nothing less than an attempt to discredit God Himself. For those who believe in the Bible, we are inevitably drawn into the strife surrounding a few acres of land in a far away and ancient city.
Today there is no temple dedicated to the God of Israel on the Temple Mount. But there are both Jews and Christians who are dedicated to rebuilding the temple, believing the Bible prophecy predicts a future temple when Jerusalem becomes ground zero of biblical prophecy.
Now if you want to understand events unfolding in the Middle East and how they affect your life then you need to get your free copy of The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. This study guide explains the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict, gives a short history of ancient Israel and a timeline of the rise of Islam. See how the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Gulf Wars and Islamic terrorism are all events driving history towards a final violent confrontation that will culminate in the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Now you can read The Middle East in Bible Prophecy online at BeyondToday.tv. Or request your free copy by calling: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632.
And this brings us to something very special. Beyond Today and the United Church of God will be conducting Kingdom of God seminars across the United States, Canada and around the globe. Now if you would like to know more about the return of Jesus Christ to set up God's Kingdom on this earth from Jerusalem, then you need to attend one of these free seminars. Go to BeyondToday.tv and look for the "Kingdom of God Bible Seminars" link to find a seminar near you and register to attend.
We are told by the first century historian, Josephus, that when the Roman army sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D. the Jewish temple caught fire and burned. Titus, the Roman conqueror, erected an arch as a memorial to his victory. That arch still stands in Rome to this day. I've seen it. It is adorned with carved scenes of Jewish prisoners being herded into captivity. The carvings depict Romans carting off various items from the temple in Jerusalem including the golden candlestick, silver trumpets and table of showbread. The arch of Titus stands as one of the great proofs of the existence of Solomon's temple.
Since the time of Josephus and Titus, many Jews have longed and prayed for the reconstruction of the temple. Some devout Jews turn to Exodus 25:8 Exodus 25:8And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
American King James Version×and cite God's instructions to Moses, "And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them."
There are numerous groups, both Jewish and Christians, dedicated to the rebuilding of the temple. The intense emotions created by the concept of a rebuilt temple were seen in October 2011, during a Jewish prayer service at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount.
During this event, Rabbi Eliyahu offered this prayer, "We are lifting our voices to God. We are shouting out to him like a baby shouting out to his father. When a baby cries, his father understands him. His mother understands him. This is how we shout out to God. Without talking."
"We pray to God that the prayer will not just take place here at the Kotel (Western Wall) but in the actual Holy Temple, on the Temple Mount. May it be rebuilt quickly and in our time" (Arutz Sheva 7, israelnationalnews.com).
One of the organizations committed to the rebuilding of the temple is The Temple Institute. This Jerusalem-based group states that the rebuilding of the temple is a biblical command. They've actually recreated many sacred vessels including the golden menorah, the altar of incense, and special clothing worn by the high priest in anticipation of reinstating sacred temple services.
Now of course, there are many obstacles to building a temple, not the least is the fact that the Temple Mount is under Islamic control. There is also debate among Jewish scholars as to the exact location of the Most Holy Place and whether the building of the temple is a pre- or post-Messianic event.
The controversy over the Temple Mount is going to intensify. Understand that. It is only going to get worse. Now to understand how this small patch of land becomes ground zero of biblical prophecy, we have to go to the writings of the Old Testament prophet—Daniel. In Daniel 12, he records a prophecy of the quote, "time of the end." Now this prophecy predicts a great resurrection of the dead. Now we can couple Daniel's prophecy there in Daniel 12, with Revelation 20, which predicts Christ's return and the resurrection. And we find a vital connection to the exact timing of Daniel's prophecy. Daniel is writing about the time when the Messiah is sent to rule from Jerusalem. He also predicts a time before the coming of the Messiah when, and this is what he writes, "the daily sacrifice is taken away" (Daniel 12:1-13 Daniel 12:1-13  And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
 But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.
 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was on the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was on the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him that lives for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
 And he said, Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
 Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
 But go you your way till the end be: for you shall rest, and stand in your lot at the end of the days.
American King James Version×).
Now according to the laws given to ancient Israel, the daily sacrifice can only be conducted by Levitical priests at the site of the Jerusalem temple. Daniel's prophecy reveals that before the second coming of Jesus Christ, there must be some sort of an altar where animal sacrifices are once again instituted in Jerusalem. When international pressure and violence stops those sacrifices, the world enters a time of calamity so great that Christ must intervene or all humanity will die.
So what does all this mean for you? Well first of all, it means that you need to be aware of events happening in the Middle East. That is why you need to get the booklet we're offering today: The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. It will help you understand why the Temple Mount is ground zero in biblical prophecy.
But how should these events and prophecies affect your daily life and relationship with God? There are no instructions for Christians to build a physical temple on the Temple Mount. But, there are biblical instructions concerning a temple being constructed by God Himself and this is very, very important.
The apostle Paul wrote about a group of people being prepared by God as quote "citizens with the saints and members of the household of God having been built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord…" (Ephesians 2:19-21 Ephesians 2:19-21  Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
 And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord:
American King James Version×).
There is a spiritual temple being built by the hands of Almighty God in which people are living stones.
One purpose of biblical prophecy is to reveal the God of history and prophecy. Discovering the prophecies about restoring the sacrifices in Jerusalem, and witnessing the events driving those prophecies to be fulfilled, should motivate us to turn to God in order to become one of His living stones in His spiritual Temple.
You know, it's time to turn away from complacent, secularized Christianity and turn in humble repentance and obedience to the Creator. The gospel is more than a message about the person of Jesus Christ. It is a message of how we are to respond to Jesus Christ. Understand what I just said. The gospel is a message of how we are to respond to Jesus Christ. The gospel is about how your life can change as you discover your purpose as a child of God.
Now, we're going to talk about how you can respond to God's prophetic message and have Him change your life, but first let me explain to you about today's free offer.
When you order your free copy of The Middle East in Bible Prophecy, we will also send you a free subscription to The Good News magazine. The Good News contains regular updates about the Middle East and how events there relate to biblical prophecy. You will also read articles on how to have a better marriage, prayer, managing your finances and other practical steps for Christian living.
Request your free copy by calling 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read The Good News and The Middle East in Bible Prophecy online at BeyondToday.tv.
Well we're joined by fellow Beyond Today hosts, Darris McNeely and Steve Myers, to continue our discussion on the temple of God. You know many Jews and Christians believe that a temple must be constructed on the Temple Mount to be used by the Messiah.
Is Christ coming to a temple?
He's not coming back to a literal temple on the Temple Mount or the site of the original temple. That's a spiritual Temple that He's going to return to, but this discussion that you have Gary of a fact that there was not a temple there is a rather interesting discussion from...
Well that the Palestinians say...
That's a complete fabrication and a distortion of the facts and of history. Because there was a temple there, not just because the Bible says there was, which is in itself a proof, but there is archeological proof of a, the existence of not just one but two temples there. I know because I've helped uncover some of that proof when I was a student and digging there for a summer on the Temple Mount at an archeological excavation. We uncovered the area there and the proof that there was a temple on that particular spot of soil. So for scholars today, Arab scholars to say that it didn't happen is just not true. I've heard them say that with my own ears in the Middle East and other trips there, but I've seen it with my own eyes. I've helped uncover it. It's just not the case. It is a historical fact. But it is a key part of understanding to realize that whatever transpires, whatever is there that is part of the fulfillment of these prophecies, is a, whether it's some type of an altar, a building that represents a temple or whatever, what Christ returns to is going to be completely different.
That's the thing, Jesus Christ isn't coming back. We don't have to build a temple so He, to prepare Him to come back, in a physical sense. But He is building a Temple.
Absolutely He's building a Temple. You know the Bible talks about the fact that He will return. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. It's a literal return, and I think that's where people get a little bit confused that it must be a physical temple if Christ is going to physically, in a sense, appear as He returns. But the fact is, you know Corinthians tells us that it's a spiritual Temple. We are the Temple of God's Holy Spirit. And so He's coming to a people. He's coming back, in a sense, to establish the Kingdom of God and not at a physical place, not at a physical temple. At the heart of Jerusalem is where His headquarters will be and He's coming to the Church. He's coming to His people.
Make no mistake. Christ, His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives.
The whole world will see it.
Every eye will see Him. And it will be there at ground zero, in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, directly across from that Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But it is a spiritual Temple that He's returning to.
Yeah and I think we forget. What was that physical temple? It was a representation of God's throne room. It was a representation of God in heaven. And that's where He sat. That's where He judged from. And so, that was just a representation of what is going to happen when He returns. He will be King of Kings. Finally Jerusalem will fulfill the meaning of its name—the city of peace—you know, ultimately.
The Arabs would never have built the Dome of the Rock or the Golden Dome mosque that is there today if there had not been a significance to that particular spot. The historians will quibble over the details, but there was a point in that building being placed where it is placed on that Temple Mount to this very day. And they knew what they were doing.
No, this is a rewriting of history...
...to fit a world view.
But I want to go back a minute, to we were talking about, you said the Church. This idea that there is a spiritual Temple being build. This is very, very important because, how do we become living stones in this spiritual Temple? If we want to be prepared for Christ's return…you know, there's lots of Christians who are raising money to build a temple in Jerusalem thinking they can force these prophecies to happen.
To come to pass.
Gary:But that's really not the issue here. The issue is: How can I be prepared? How can our viewers be prepared to be living stones in the Temple that God is building for Jesus Christ to come back and be prepared for Him?
It comes down to understanding that that preparation is a spiritual process of repentance, change before God, when one is called and accepts that calling from God and begins to go through the process of, in a sense, letting God chip away at the stony heart, our own stony heart, and change us internally through a process that is called conversion. And a submission and a dedication to God and His way of life. That's how God does that individually with individuals. You know, in the book of Kings when it describes the building of the temple by Solomon, every stone that was cut for that temple was done off site and then brought to the site of the temple and assembled in place. God today is constructing that spiritual Temple off-site, remote if you will; one stone at a time, one life at a time. That He and He alone knows who and how that is being done and He will bring it all together into a spiritual Body at that time.
When we look at that we realize each individual, by submitting to God, is custom-made to fit in the spiritual Temple. That's an amazing concept.
It is an amazing one, especially you think of who is the Chief Cornerstone? Christ is what we're modeled after. We have to model our life after Christ and there's so many connections between the physical temple, the representation of that and the sacrifices. You know the New Testament tells us we are to be a living sacrifice. And if I'm a sacrifice I need to know what God expects of me. I need to follow Christ. What was His example? What did He teach? What did He do? And I've got to form my life so I am a temple to the Lord. It better affect our lives and who we are and our relationship with God and we better draw closer to Him and fulfill His expectations for us.
Jerusalem really is the center of the world. To help you decipher the confusion of the conflicts between Israeli and Palestinian, Islamic terrorism and the importance of the Temple Mount in biblical prophecy, order you free copy of The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. And when you call right away, we'll also send you a free subscription to The Good News magazine. Now if you can't call right now, write this number down: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read The Good News and The Middle East in Bible Prophecy online at BeyondToday.tv.
Let me also remind you that the United Church of God is holding free Bible seminars in cities across the United States and around the world. If you are interested in learning more about the Kingdom of God, and how it will be governed from Jerusalem by Jesus Christ, go to BeyondToday.tv and look for the link "Kingdom of God Bible Seminars" to register to attend. Now these live events are absolutely free.
The controversy over the Temple Mount is going to intensify. Both Jewish and Christian aspirations to rebuild a temple are going to be matched by vehement opposition from Palestinians and the entire Muslim world.
When animal sacrifices are again performed in Jerusalem, you will know that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled. But this physical temple isn't God's focus.
Jesus Christ is returning to a spiritual Temple comprised of people who have responded to His call and dedicated their lives to becoming His living stones.
Join us next week on Beyond Today as we continue to discover the gospel of the Kingdom. We also invite you to join us in praying, "Your Kingdom come."
For Beyond Today, I'm Gary Petty and thanks for watching.