One of the most revered Jewish holy sites in all of Israel may be crumbling before our eyes. Recently the day of Tisha B'Av (the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av) was observed. This was the day that both the first and second Jewish Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed; the first by the Babylonians in 585 BC and the second by the Romans in 70 AD. In observance, many Jews around the world fast and mourn the destruction of the Jewish Temples that ironically occurred on the same day hundreds of years apart. Recently, the day after Tisha B'Av, a woman who was praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City miraculously escaped catastrophic injury when a huge building block came crashing down next to her! Eyewitnesses say she continued to pray. Thousands pray daily at this site that has been segregated according to gender to appease the sensitivities of Orthodox Judaism. Thus, as Daniella Goldberg, 79, was praying in the “egalitarian” area at the southern end of the Western Wall, near Robinson's Arch, a massive stone dislodged some 20 feet above her head and crashed violently to the ground. Estimates of the stone’s weight range from 100 – 200 kilograms or 120 – 400 pounds!
Triggers Complex Questions
After this incident, police cordoned off the egalitarian area as Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA) personnel arrived to evaluate the situation. IAA officials said several possibilities may have contributed to the rock falling, adding that the Western Wall is regularly monitored to ensure it is safe for the thousands who pray at the site. The Western Wall, or Kotel (Hebrew), is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall. The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple begun by Herod the Great, which resulted in the encasement of the natural, steep hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount. Professor Simon Emmanuel of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Earth Sciences says that all of the 1-meter-thick (3.3 foot) bricks in the bottom courses of the 2,000-year-old wall are eroding and the same can be expected of the rest of the stones that from the wall. However, Professor Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University, a third-generation expert on Jerusalem archaeology, stated “I never saw a thing like that before. It was very surprising. The Western Wall is very stable.” Similarly, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz called the falling rock “an extremely rare incident” that requires people to search their souls. He thanked God no one was hurt. Rabbi Rabinowitz added, “The fact such powerful incident happened after the Tisha B'Av fast, during which we mourned the destruction of the First and Second Temples, triggers questions too complex for the human soul to contain and requires soul searching.”
Relevant Bible Passages
Interestingly, the Bible clearly predicts that a third Temple will exist in the future specifically as early as during the Tribulation period (Daniel 9:24-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Therefore, many are wondering if the decay that is evident in the Western Wall could prompt construction efforts that may ultimately facilitate the construction of a third Temple. While the Bible does not reveal exactly when the third Temple will be built, it does indicate that the temple will be in existence when the Antichrist reveals himself (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), in the middle point of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27). Since this will be only three and a half years into the seven year Tribulation period, many have concluded that the temple will likely be rebuilt before the Tribulation begins. Ultimately, after the tribulation period, the third temple will be used by God to facilitate a visual reminder that He has not forsaken His people where the world will assemble worship God during the Millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 40-42; Revelation 11:1-2). Thus, as we see events transpiring that could facilitate the construction of the third temple, we can’t help but see similarities to certain Bible prophecies as we wonder if they are indeed drawing closer to fulfillment. With this in mind, let us be in prayer.