(Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
To millions of people of faith, the Western Wall represents the Holy City of Jerusalem, making it the holiest site for Jewish people and a significant destination for visitors to the Holy Land. It is also where The Fellowship receives your prayers. However, have you ever wondered what lies on the other side of the Western Wall?
The Western Wall’s Historical Context
The Western Wall is part of a larger wall that once surrounded the Temple Mount complex. It is the closest accessible location for Jewish people to connect with the Temple Mount today. For thousands of years, the Western Wall was the closest Jews could get to the Temple Mount.
Jews can freely pray and celebrate important occasions like bar mitzvahs and weddings at the Western Wall. However, it’s important to note that the Western Wall is not the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is where the Temples once stood, and God’s presence was palpable. It holds significant importance for the Jewish people as it is the ground on which King Solomon built a sanctuary for God to dwell among His people.
The Significance of the Temple Mount
The Temple Mount is, without a doubt, the most sacred place in the world for the Jewish people. In 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israel achieved an extraordinary victory, liberating Jerusalem, which had been occupied by Jordan for the previous 19 years. Commander Motta Gur’s words, “The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat: The Temple Mount is in our hands!” echoed worldwide, marking the first time in two millennia that Jewish sovereignty was asserted over Judaism’s holiest site.
The Mistake and Its Consequences
However, a crucial mistake was made. General Moshe Dayan, with good intentions and aiming to maintain freedom of worship for all, allowed the Palestinians to have a degree of control over the Temple Mount. They now have full rights and freedom over the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which sit directly above the remains of the First and Second Temples. Essentially, they control the Temple Mount. Non-Muslims, including Jews, are not permitted to pray on the Temple Mount under current law. Even the slightest expression of prayer can lead to arrest by the police.
So, the sad reality is that the Temple Mount is not truly in our hands. If it were, there would be genuine freedom for all to worship there. Perhaps a Third Temple, referred to as a “house of prayer for all nations” by God in Isaiah 56:7, would stand on the site.
Our Ongoing Mission
While we wholeheartedly celebrate the miracle of a reunified Jerusalem and express our gratitude to God for this accomplishment, we cannot forget that our work, and His work, is not yet complete. The Temple Mount, the place where God once dwelled, remains of utmost significance. We must continue to pray and never give up on our ultimate goal. We are so close, just on the other side of the wall.
In conclusion, the Western Wall holds great spiritual and historical importance, being the closest connection Jewish people have to the Temple Mount today. While we cherish the reunification of Jerusalem, we must remember the ongoing need to regain complete control and restore true freedom of worship at the Temple Mount. Our prayers and efforts remain vital as we strive towards our ultimate goal.