The Controversial building of the Third Temple and the Roots of the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

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Article by Leo Zagami

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the focus of ongoing biblical history and prophecy, but also never-ending controversy among Muslims and Jews. This is the center of the world for the Abrahamic religions, where Abraham offered his son Isaac, King David purchased land, and his son Solomon built the First Temple, but it is also the place that marks the first controversy between Jews and Muslims, as the later believed it was Ishmael who was supposed to be sacrificed and not Isaac. Ishmael is regarded as a prophet and ancestor of the Ishmaelites (Hagarenes or Arabs) and ancestor of several northern prominent Arab tribes and the forefather of Adnan, the ancestor of Muhammad. 

The Second Temple is where Jesus cleansed the Temple, and a poor widow gave an offering of two copper coins which Jesus said was greater than all the extravagant donations. In Jesus’s prophetic briefing (known as the Olivet Discourse), he said that Jerusalem would be in the hands once again of the Jewish people and thus Jerusalem will be the central focus of upheavals. Jesus prophesied in Luke 21: 24 that Jerusalem would be “trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” So, the sign of all signs which has not been present in any generation until now is the re-emergence of the state of Israel in 1948. The Bible said the Jews would return, and they did after nearly 1,900 years—such a return to a homeland has never happened before in history. Furthermore, according to bible prophecy, the Middle East would be in crisis in the last days. Jesus said in Matthew 24: 34, that the generation alive at that time “will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”  

       In May of this year, Itamar Ben-Gvir an Israeli lawyer and politician who serves as the Minister of National Security visited the Temple Mount, saying “I am happy to go up to the Temple Mount, the most important place for the people of Israel. It should be said that the police are doing a wonderful job here and once again proving who is in charge in Jerusalem. All of Hamas’s threats will not [change anything], we are in charge of Jerusalem and the entire Land of Israel.” The visit sparked condemnation from the Palestinians and countries in the region and around the world. Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called the visit a “flagrant attack on al-Aqsa,” warning that it would have “serious repercussions,” according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stressed that Israel is acting to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount.”

       Israel is committed to maintaining freedom of worship, free access for all faiths, and the status quo on the Temple Mount, and will not allow violent extremists to change this,” said Netanyahu back in April.[1] However, one year earlier in May 2022 clashes broke out as nearly 1,000 Jews visited the Temple Mount on Independence Day. Dozens of Palestinian rioters threw stones and other items at police officers who were securing group visits to the Temple Mount, minorly injuring one. At the time, Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Al-Qanou warned that if Jews were allowed to enter the site, it would be a “detonator for a new confrontation” with Israel. He called on Arabs and Palestinians to arrive at the Temple Mount to confront Jewish visitors. Hamas warned that Israel was “playing with fire and dragging the region into an escalation, for which the occupation bears full responsibility.”[2]

       Since 1967, Jordan and Israel agreed that the Waqf, or the Islamic trust, would have control over matters inside the compound, while Israel would control external security. Non-Muslims would be allowed onto the site during visiting hours but would not be allowed to pray there. In 2000, Israeli politician Ariel Sharon entered the holy site accompanied by some 1,000 Israeli police, deliberately reiterating Israeli claims to the contested area considering the then Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s U.S.-brokered peace negotiations with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, which included discussions on how the two sides could share Jerusalem. Sharon’s entrance to the compound unleashed the Second Intifada, in which more than 3,000 Palestinians and some 1,000 Israelis were killed. In May 2017, the Israeli cabinet held its weekly meeting in tunnels below al-Aqsa Mosque, on the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, “to mark the liberation and unification of Jerusalem” – a move that infuriated Palestinians.[3]

       Rising Temple movements, such as  The Temple Institute, the self-proclaimed “Temple Mount Administration” and the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement each say that their goal is to build the Third Temple on the Temple Mount (Mount Moriah). The Temple Institute has made several items to be used in the Third Temple and has even prepared the red heifers, whose ashes are required, according to passages in Numbers, to purify the Temple’s priests and the altars of the Temple, which have arrived in Israel from a ranch in Texas in September 2022, as the Temple Institute continues preparations to lay the ground for the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem.[4]

       The term “Third Temple” refers to a hypothetical rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, religious Jews have expressed their desire to see the building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount. Prayer for this is a formal part of the Jewish tradition of thrice daily Amidah prayer. Although it remains unbuilt, the notion of and desire for a Third Temple is sacred in Judaism, particularly Orthodox Judaism, and anticipated as a soon-to-be-built place of worship. Initially, the Emperor Hadrian granted permission to rebuild the temple but then changed his mind. 

There was an aborted project under Roman emperor Julian (361–363 CE) to rebuild the Temple. Julian is traditionally called Julian the Apostate due to his policy of reversing Emperor Constantine’s Christianization campaign by restoring traditional religious practices and holy places across the Empire.

       In The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus, book 23 Chap. 1 Line 3 we find written:

       Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work and was seconded by the governor of the province; when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorching’s, could approach no more: and he gave up the attempt.

       The failure to rebuild the Temple by Emperor Julian has been ascribed to the Galilee earthquake of 363 CE, and to the Jews’ ambivalence about the project. Rabbi Hilkiyah, one of the leading rabbis of the time, spurned Julian’s money, arguing that gentiles should play no part in the rebuilding of the temple. Sabotage is also indicated as a possibility, as is an accidental fire, but Divine intervention was the common view among Christian historians of the time, and a view fully subscribed too.

       An Armenian chronicle from the 7th century CE, written by the bishop Sebeos, states that the Jews and Arabs were quarreling about their differences of religion during the Siege of Jerusalem in 637 CE but “a man of the sons of Ishmael named Muhammad” gave a “sermon of the Way of Truth, supposedly at God’s command” to them saying that they, both the Jews and the Arabs, should unite under the banner of their father Abraham and enter the Holy Land. Sebeos also reports that the Jews began a reconstruction of the temple, but the Arabs expelled them and re-purposed the place for their own prayers.[5] Two monumental structures were built during the Rashidun and early Umayyad caliphates after the city’s capture in 637 CE: the main praying hall of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, near the center of the hill, which is the oldest extant Islamic structure in the world that marks the spot Muhammad is believed by Muslims to have ascended to heaven even if Muhammed died five years earlier in the year 632 of the Common Era, and the Quran does not indicate he ever went to Jerusalem. 

So how do they arrive to this conclusion?  The political and strategical implications of taking over this site of worship from the Jews pushed the Muslim scholars to reinterpret the 17th chapter (sūrah) of the Quran in their favor, where we find among the 111 verses (āyāt), the word “Isra” that refers to the Night Journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad,while details of the story are found in the hadith (the later collections of the reports, teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad), which form supplements to the Quran.[6]Two hadith sources on the Isra and the Miʿraj (Ascension),considered the most reliable are Anas ibn Malik and Ibn ʿAbbas. Both are considered ṣaḥāba or “Companions of the Prophet,” but, the were still young boys at the time of Muhammad’s journey of Mi’raj. In the Israʾ (“Night journey”), Muhammad is said to have traveled on the back of Buraq (a winged animal) to Al-Aqsa (i.e., the Temple Mount), where he led other prophets including Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and Isa (Jesus) in prayer. He then ascended into heaven during the Miʿraj (Ascension), where he individually greeted the prophets, and later spoke to God, who agreed to lower the number of required ṣalāt (ritual prayer) from 50 a day to five. The journey and ascent are marked as one of the most celebrated dates in the Islamic calendar — 27th of the Islamic month of Rajab but the problem is that it never happened as the Muslims did not conquer Jerusalem for another 5 years.[7]

       However, today most Muslims view the movement for the building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount as an affront to Islam due to the very presence of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock built on the ground of the former Holy Temple. The area is regarded by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam, even if the assumed connection of their Prophet with this place seems false and driven mainly by political interest rather than religion. Having said this, Muslims are resolute in calling for recognition of their exclusive rights over the site and demand that it be wholly transferred to Muslim sovereignty; furthermore, some Muslims go as far as denying any association with the Mount to the former Jewish Temples which stood at the site, giving birth to their own “Temple denial” movement, that claims that the successive Temples in Jerusalem either did not exist or they did exist, but they were not constructed on the site of the Temple Mount, a claim that has been advanced by Palestinian political leaders, religious figures, intellectuals, and authors.Yitzhak Reiter an Israeli political scientist and professor of Islamic, Middle East and Israel Studies, describes the growing tendency of Islamic authorities to deny the existence of the Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount, characterizing it as part of a campaign to increase the status of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in Islam as a part of the effort to turn Jerusalem into a Muslim city under Arab governance.[8]

       In August 1967, after the Israeli capture of the Mount, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (and later Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel), began organizing public prayer for Jews on the Temple Mount. Rabbi Goren was also well known for his controversial positions concerning Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount. On August 15, 1967, shortly after the Six-Day War, Goren led a group of fifty Jews onto the Temple Mount, where, fighting off protesting Muslim guards and Israeli police, they defiantly held a prayer service. Goren continued to pray for many years in the Makhkame building overlooking the Temple Mount where he conducted yearly High Holy Days services. His call for the establishment of a synagogue on the Temple Mount has subsequently been reiterated by his brother-in-law, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, She’ar Yashuv Cohen. Goren was sharply criticized by the Israeli Defense Ministry, who, noting Goren’s senior rank, called his behavior inappropriate. The episode led the Chief Rabbis of the time to restate the accepted laws of Judaism that no Jews were allowed on the mount due to issues of ritual impurity. The secular authorities welcomed this ruling as it preserved the status quo with the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf. Disagreeing with his colleagues, Goren continually maintained that Jews were not only permitted, but commanded, to ascend and pray on the mount.[9] While there are several differing views among Christianity about the significance or the requirement of a Third Temple being built in Jerusalem, according to the writers of the New Testament, the New Covenant is marked by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s body and every gathering of believers brings symbolically together the Temple, and for this reason the idea of rebuilding a physical Third Temple has been superseded in their eyes. But there are also Protestant dispensationalists who instead believe in the importance of rebuilding the Temple, as well as Freemasons, a subject I discussed in detail in Confessions of an Illuminati, Volume II.

       Dispensationalists believe that after a period of severe tribulation of earth, the Lord Jesus Christ will visibly and bodily return to earth (His Second Coming/Advent or Parousia), and they always believed a sustained future restoration of the nation of Israel. However, they also believe in a rapture of the Church that will happen before the Second Coming, generally seen as happening before a period of tribulation, something I don’t agree with, but it’s a belief embraced by many amongst American evangelicalism.[10]

       Earlier this year, the talk of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia had refloated the idea of an administrative body that would run the Temple Mount showing once again the key role of the Temple Mount in the future of the Middle East. Until the Six-Day War, Jordan ruled Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount. It continued to maintain Muslim custodianship of the Mount even after 1967 (alongside the Israeli sovereignty), and even after its 1988 announcement of disengagement from the West Bank. In its peace treaty with Israel in 1994, Jordan was granted official status on the Mount, and it was stipulated that “Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem,” and that “When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.” The special relationship with Jordan, including security, intelligence, and joint economic interests, has over the years turned Amman into Israel’s silent partner in its management of the Temple Mount. Thus, it was entrusted with the work of restoring the southern and eastern Temple walls (Kotel), after they had begun to subside. Again, accordingly, Israel conceded to the Jordanian demand not to replace the shaky, unstable Mughrabi Bridge leading to the Mughrabi Gate, the only entrance gate to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims.

 In a similar vein, Israel also tends to display much consideration for Jordan’s stance on numerous additional issues related to arrangements and even internal security on the Temple Mount and the area surrounding it. The idea of the establishment of an inter-faith Muslim council/directorate, which the Americans were considering reviving before the ongoing armed conflict between Hamas and Israel began on October 7, 2023 would have given Saudi Arabia, senior status on the Temple Mount alongside Jordan, which will have continued to maintain its senior status at the site, though not exclusively this time with the extension of such privileges to Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, and perhaps even Turkey, something that didn’t go so well with  Shīʿa Islam and Iran, that immediately ordered the recent Hamas terrorist actions encouraged also by the Sino-Russian New World Order whose aims I’ve exposed in Confessions of an Illuminati Volume 7: From the Occult Roots of the Great Reset to the Populist Roots of The Great Reject.

And if you want to learn more about this topic tune in to THE LEO ZAGAMI SHOW Saturday, October 21, 2023, with Leo & Christy Zagami LIVE at 5pm PST (6 pm MT/ 7 pm CST/8 pm EST) exploring the Illuminati Occult like never before.









[9]       wiki/Third_Temple/ Ibid.


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