Yesterday Avatar asked where the BLOGINTHENOW picture (left) was taken, and the answer was that I was standing in the (dry) Pool of Bethesda in Old Jerusalem. Today I’ve replaced that picture with the one above, taken in front of the Dome of the Rock (formerly known as the Mosque of Omar), arguably the ultimate symbol of the impasse that religion can (and typically does) create between people...one of the most intense places on the planet. Usually, I smile in pictures, but I'm not smiling here for a reason.
Under the Jordanian rule of Jerusalem, Jews were at one time forbidden from entering the Old City. Israel took control of the Dome of Rock during its victory in the Six-Day War in 1967. According to a posthumously-published interview with Haaretz, General Uzi Narkiss reported that on June 7, 1967, a few hours after East Jerusalem fell into Israeli hands, Rabbi Shlomo Goren had told him "Now is the time to put 100 kilograms of explosives into the Mosque of Omar so that we may rid ourselves of it once and for all." His request was denied; according to Goren's aide Menahem Hacohen, he had not suggested blowing up the mosque, but had merely stated that "if, during the course of the war a bomb had fallen on the mosque and it would have – you know – disappeared – that would have been a good thing." Later that year, in a speech to a military convention, he added: "Certainly we should have blown it up. It is a tragedy for generations that we did not do so. […] I myself would have gone up there and wiped it off the ground completely so that there was no trace that there was ever a Mosque of Omar there." Shlomo Goren also entered the Dome of the Rock with a Torah book and the shofar.
A few hours after the Israeli flag was hoisted over the Dome of the Rock in 1967, at the conclusion of the Six-Day War, Israelis lowered it on the orders of General Moshe Dayan, and invested the Muslim Waqf (religious trust) with the authority to manage the Temple Mount-Haram al-Sharif in order to "keep the peace". Groups such as the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement wish to relocate the Dome to Mecca and replace it with a Third Temple. Since Muslims consider the ground under the Dome to be sacred this would be a highly contentious move, and would provoke violence. The majority of Israelis also do not share the movement's wishes. Most religious Jews feel that the Temple should only be rebuilt in the messianic era, and it is their belief that it would be presumptuous of people to force God's hand. However, some Evangelical Christians consider this a prerequisite to Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus. This view is steeped in the belief that there will be a prophetic rebuilding of the Temple in place of the Dome of the Rock.
Actually, I’m not smiling in the picture for several reasons, and I’ll share those reasons this coming Sunday as I present a little pictoral tour of our trip to Israel/Palestine. I’ll also reference each of the theological viewpoints mentioned above. I’ll have a good, inspiring word for you (it’s Father’s Day), but I believe that you’ll also learn some things from the information that I will share with you that will, at the very least, help you know how to pray for the current situation in our world. I’ll even adress Barack Obama’s visit to AIPAC this week.
It’s going to be a very powerful weekend…Kim Clement on Saturday night…my Father’s Day sermon on Sunday…and then Kim Clement again on Sunday night (both night services at 7 PM).
Today I’m going to give Pastor Ben Nadiope a little tour of Atlanta, particularly the King Center. I haven’t had a chance to spend a lot of time with him since he got here from Uganda, so I’m looking forward to that. By the way, several of you have asked about going to Uganda with me in Septmeber, and I’ll have some information about that for you, shortly. Also, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m planning on ministering for Bishop Tommy Smith in the Philippines in late October, and I’ll make that trip available for anyone who wants to go, as well.
Also, today I’m doing an interview with the publisher of Hope Today Magazine, which will be aired on Friday, July 11 on the Word Network and Streaming Faith and Daystar. I will appear inside the July/August issue of the magazine, which will be on newsstands the first of July.
And I want to say that I miss some of our regular bloggers (I won't mention any names)...maybe you're all on vacation. If not, then where is the love?
Stay cool today...
And walk in peace...part of the reality of the coming of the New Jerusalem is that it is built on the two basic truths of the gospel...LOVE GOD/LOVE OTHERS...peace with all men (even the religiously intolerant)...
more about this tomorrow...