In response to a number of riots and other violent demonstrations taking place on the Temple Mount recently, many Jewish religious and political leaders are beginning to call for a synagogue to be placed on the Temple Mount. According to Breaking News Israel, many Israeli politicians are calling for the closure of a Muslim prayer area that was opened in the area of the Sha’ar HaRachamim (the Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate). The area was closed 16 years ago by court order after it was used as a meeting place for Hamas-related organizations. However, recently many Arabs began protesting and entered the site forcibly. In response, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently ordered the site closed but this has not yet been carried out. Many Jewish leaders are thus rightly upset that Muslims are still allowed access to the site but Jews are strictly forbidden.
Several Groups Support A New Synagogue
Several groups are in favor of establishing a Jewish Synagogue on the Temple Mount. Such an idea was first advocated by Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, in the mid-1990s. His son, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Safed’s chief rabbi, continues to work toward that goal. Surprisingly, in 2016, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, who is generally considered to be moderate in his politics as well as his religious rulings, stunned many when he said that there was enough room on the Temple Mount for the addition of both a synagogue and church without infringing on the Muslim sites currently in existence! Yaakov Hayman, chairman of the United Temple Movements, sees the current situation as an open confrontation. “Our holiest site is being trampled by people who have declared themselves as our enemies,” Hayman told Breaking Israel News. “We can’t blame them since they are acting precisely like enemies. This shows where we are spiritually and what we need to do. We need miracles for the Third Temple to arrive but God will only do miracles after he sees that we want it. Jews are finally waking up to the Temple Mount but we need to take it up a few notches.” Thus, many see the best solution as a political mandate allowing Jews to once again worship on the Temple Mount and ordering the police to protect them.
Relevant Scripture Passages
The Bible clearly teaches that a Jewish Temple will be re-established in Jerusalem in connection with many significant end-times events (Ezekiel 40-48; Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4). Before any of these events can occur, a Temple who have to be re-established. Therefore, many Bible teachers see the installation of a synagogue as a potential first step toward a Temple being rebuilt in the future. The basic difference in the two is that a synagogue concentrates on teaching Jewish people from the Scriptures whereas the Temple functioned as the only place for sacrifices to take place and – most importantly – where the presence of God dwelt among His people (1 Kings 8:11-12).