The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, Gershom Gorenberg (New York:Oxford, 2000), 275 pages.


A thirty-five acre plot of ground in Jerusalemís southeast corner in the most contested piece of real estate in the world. Although nothing remains except the western retaining wall built outside the old temple, some Jews believe they must rebuild their temple on that site. While most Jews are not committed, some have already created the garments of the priest, along with his utensils, as well as to breed the perfect red heifer (Numbers 19), whose ashes are necessary to purify the priesthood so that they can resume offering sacrifices. Unfortunately, they are now blinded to the fact that Jesus is our high priest. According to Hebrews 9:11 he is the high priest over good things that are already here. He has already completed the one-for-all sacrifice.

Some Christians have shown more interest and have put up more money on the project than have the Jews. The Left Behind crowd believe that this temple must be rebuilt and some claim there will be two more temples. They hold that halfway into a future tribulation a future Antichrist will then desecrate it, that this will lead to a Jewish holocaust, and then Jesus will return to reign in this rebuilt temple. It is ironic that they believe this rebuilt temple will lead to a Jewish bloodbath, yet their motive to rebuild it is their love for the Jewish people.

The Muslims also claim the same real estate as their third holiest shrine, the site where Muhammad ascended to heaven. Currently their mosque also shares the site. They believe their Koran prophecies that a Jewish Antichrist will arise, but Christ will return as a Muslim prophet and help the Muslims defeat the Jews.

All three groups misunderstand the plan of God. Yet there is tremendous tension as both Jew and Muslim share the same holy site, expecting God to come and vindicate them. Among Christian fanatics, there have been numerous attempts to pump money into the situation in order to facilitate the plan of God. Some extremists, including one group from Denver, seem impatient with God and attempt to help himget his plan moving by attempting to blow up or burn down the Muslim mosque. Among Muslims there is hostility toward the wealthy Jews who they believe control the world and toward America for siding with the Jews.

And so, to some degree, the three major world religions continue to engender prejudice and hatred, all in the name of God. Religion and the Bible are used to perpetrate concepts and actions which are nonbiblical. Each group has its share of fanatics, who take matters in their own hands in order to advance the cause of God, as they understand it. And some have taken things a step further. A terrorist is a fanatic who is willing to use violence in order to help God accomplish his plan.

Within every religion there are those who would kill for their cause, forgetting that God wants us to forgive not kill. In every religion there are those who teach hatred for those with whom they disagree, but God wants us to love, not hate, even our enemies. In every religion there are those who attempt to prove their dedication to God by how strict they live, but God is looking for those who live by faith. Godís great plan has nothing to do with a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. Instead it is to exalt his name, uphold his word, establish the kingdom of his Son, and sanctify his people. In terms of the new covenant there is no temple at all (Rev 21:22). According to 2 Corinthians 6:16, true believers are the temple of God and that temple is filled by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:21-22). The Spirit, as living water, is to flow from the Church into the whole world (Ezek 47). Therefore, Godís plan must be prayed down. It does not involve blowing anything up. The kingdom advances through holiness, not terrorists.



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