According to UNESCO (U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) the Temple Mount might not be Jewish at all but Muslim. A resolution that was passed by UNESCO on October 12th ” titled “Occupied Palestine,” lays out rules about the preservation of holy sites in Jerusalem, and uses only the Islamic name for a hilltop compound sacred to both Jews and Muslims,” reported USA Today. Why is that so controversial, well maybe because although the site is shared by the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religion it is only being acknowledged, by name, as a Muslim historical site. How exactly can that be? You will find it interesting that the 58 member committee that passed the resolution was actually put forth by Arab states which include Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.
Why is the Temple Mount so important?
Well, you have to look at how that site came to be so historical.
The Temple Mount, located on Mt. Moriah is home to the Dome of the Rock & The Western Wall, which are two of the holiest sites in Judaism & Christianity. The Dome of the Rock is where the Foundation Stone is located. According to Jewish religion this is where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac – Genesis 22:2 NIV
2 THEN GOD SAID, “TAKE YOUR SON, YOUR ONLY SON, WHOM YOU LOVE—ISAAC—AND GO TO THE REGION OF MORIAH. SACRIFICE HIM THERE AS A BURNT OFFERING ON A MOUNTAIN I WILL SHOW YOU.”
The Temple Mount wasn’t always home to the Dome of the Rock as it was first the home to two Jewish Temples. According to the Book of Deuteronomy, The First Temple was built by King Solomon in 957 BC and was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC. The Second Temple was completed around the year 561 BC by Cyrus the King of Persia but was destroyed by the Romans around the year 70 AC, according to the Book of Ezra. There were several unsuccessful attempts after this to build the temple again. The temples were places of worship for the Jewish people.
For the Muslims this location is known as Al-Haram al-Sharif (“the noble sanctuary”) and is the site in which Muhammad ascended into heaven with the Angel Gabriel. According to the Muslim religion this happened in the year 621 A.D. several thousand years after Abraham tried to sacrifice Isaac at the same site. There is no reference in the Bible of any ‘Muhammad’ or any man named ‘Muhammad’ ascending into heaven with the Angel Gabriel.
The site for the Muslims, known as the Dome of the Rock, is an Islamic shrine but it was built on the site of the original two Jewish Temples. How where the Muslims able to build a shrine on the same location as the Jewish Temples? Easy. They fought and conquered Jerusalem during the 7th century and ordered the construction of the Dome of the Rock on the site in which the Temples once stood.
“When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the seventh century they built a mosque (as is their custom) on the very spot the vanquished had held sacred,” wrote David Brog, executive director of Christians United For Israel. “This is why the plateau where the First and Second Temples once stood – the holiest site in Judaism – is now the very place where the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock stand today.”
For the Christians this site is near the Mount of Olives where Jesus ascended into Heaven.
Acts 1:9-12 NIV reads,
9 AFTER HE SAID THIS, HE WAS TAKEN UP BEFORE THEIR VERY EYES, AND A CLOUD HID HIM FROM THEIR SIGHT.10 THEY WERE LOOKING INTENTLY UP INTO THE SKY AS HE WAS GOING, WHEN SUDDENLY TWO MEN DRESSED IN WHITE STOOD BESIDE THEM. 11 “MEN OF GALILEE,” THEY SAID, “WHY DO YOU STAND HERE LOOKING INTO THE SKY? THIS SAME JESUS, WHO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL COME BACK IN THE SAME WAY YOU HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN.” 12 THEN THE APOSTLES RETURNED TO JERUSALEM FROM THE HILL CALLED THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, A SABBATH DAY’S WALK FROM THE CITY.
Live Science reported that, “Irina Bokova, the director-general of UNESCO, who was not part of the board, was not happy with the resolution’s wording and the perception that Jewish ties to the site were being denied or downplayed.” “The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city. To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list,” she said in a statement.
The Temple Mount has much historical value to all three of the religions but the fact is that the resolution is only acknowledging it by its Islamic name, and that is what is troubling. Although the name change won’t change the history of the site, for those who know the history of the area, it is inviting the chance for radical Islamic terrorists and other radical Muslims to use this as an opportunity to further their religion. By trying to erase the true identity of the Temple Mount UNESCO is attempting to further the Muslim religion in the area and disregard the true identity of the Temple Mount.
“…UNESCO doubled down on its reflexive anti-Israel bias by voting for yet another resolution that deliberately distorts history and denies the specific connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem going back thousands of years,” said Ted Cruz in part of his statement on the UNESCO resolution. “Congress must redouble its efforts to counter these pernicious attempts to falsely attack and delegitimize our close ally through international institutions by continuing to withhold funding from entities that participate in such activities, and reaffirm our commitment to stand unshakably with Israel, he concluded.”
“Jews and Christians around the world should be morally outraged by UNESCO’s theft, robbing them of their history and denying their connection to the TempleMount and the Western Wall,” Ben Carson wrote in an op-ed published by the Independent Journal Review last Monday.
UNESCO’s attempt to erase Jewish and Christian should alarm us all as we can see who is really in control when it comes to situations like these. George Orwell would be proud.
Thoughts on what UNESCO did, let us know!