Archives For Jewish Roots

Outrage on the Temple Mount

Ron Cantor —  January 4, 2017 —  Comments

Tour guide bullied by Islamic Guards for using the term TEMPLE MOUNT on the TEMPLE MOUNT!

Today, in Israel, a tour guide was leading a group of American students on the Temple Mount—you know, the place where the First and Second Temple stood (according to any historian with an ounce of integrity). In his teaching, Israeli archeologist, Dr. Gabriel Barkay, used the suddenly controversial term, “Temple Mount”. He was confronted immediately by Islamic thug guards.

You see, the Islamists on the Temple Mount not only deny that there ever was a Temple there, but they demand that you deny it as well.

According to the TimesofIsrael.com:

In passing, he once again referred to the site as the Temple Mount; its Arabic name is Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary. Incensed, the guards interrupted once more, ordered 72-year-old Barkay to stand, and marched him over to a cluster of Israel Police officers who were standing beneath a clutch of pines.

Not long ago, UNESCO, the joke of an organization within the U.N. that promotes education, science and culture (but apparently not history!), passed a resolution which proclaimed that the Western Wall and the Temple Mount were solely Islamic sites and denied their Jewish connection.

Islamic guards had been following Dr. Barkay and his group to make sure they didn’t say anything inappropriate such as, Temple Mount. Now, standing with the police, the Islamic thugs wanted Dr. Barkay expelled from the Temple Mount… I mean, Haram al-Sharif. Of course, he was breaking no law, just hurting their feelings and therefore he was able to continue.

You might wonder, if Israel is a Jewish state, why are there Islamic guards harassing people on the Temple Mount? After Israel defeated Jordan in 1967, the WAQF (the organization that oversees the Temple Mount) was created under Jordanian oversight, which then employs Palestinians to run it. This is a direct contradiction to how Jordan treated Jerusalem’s Old City from 1948 – 1967. They destroyed every Jewish symbol, monument and synagogue. Now they cry foul if a Jewish person simply utters a prayer on the Temple Mount. And we put up with it.

This thuggish aggression against Jewish and Christian tourists is not new. Many tour guides will tell you that they have suffered a similar encounter. Instead of defending the tourists, the United Nations, against all logic and intellect, agree with the Islamists that the Temple Mount is really and only Haram al-Sharif. Of course, the Islamic block of nations has sway in the U.N., so truth takes a back seat to myths that are meant to weaken Israel.

The funny thing is that we have no direct evidence that Mohamed ever even visited Jerusalem, but we have tons of evidence of the two different Jewish Temples that stood there.

And to be clear, Yeshua will return to the Mount of Olive directly facing that area. He will enter and I am quite sure that He will acknowledge it as the Temple Mount, as He sets up His kingdom.

“Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem.” (Zech. 14:3-4a)

 

 

A breakthrough discovery was found at Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City. In brief, archaeologists have dug deeper into what some believe to be the tomb of the Messiah and they found a cross on it. If it is the tomb of Yeshua, the cross would have been added much later. At the time of His death and resurrection, the cross was not a symbol of the faith, but rather the fish is probably the earliest symbol. Some of the first Greek-speaking believers turned the Greek word for fish, Ichthus, into a creative acronym for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.”

Was the Cross a Symbol?

However, at the time of His death, the cross was a symbol of execution. It would be like wearing an electric chair around your neck. It became more popular in the late second and third centuries, finally adopted by the anti-Semitic Emperor Constantine as the official symbol of political Christianity.

Helana

Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, who sought to identify the significant biblical sites in the fourth century.

So what does this conclude? More than likely that Constantine’s mother, Helena, who in 326CE went throughout the Holy Land with a delegation seeking to identify places considered holy, identified this as Yeshua’s tomb. She is also credited with finding the original cross (which of course, she did not). Locals who told the delegation that Roman Emperor Hadrian had built a pagan temple over the tomb to declare the supremacy of the Roman state religion over the New Testament faith led her to this place. This is the emperor who changed the name of Judea to Palestine and sought to destroy the existence of Jewish life and culture in 135CE. Hadrian’s pagan temple was destroyed (though some of its remains have been identified) and Constantine had a church built above the tomb.

It is important to note, that Constantine popularized the idea of building shrines or church buildings, not as dynamic houses of praise and worship, but as memorials.

“The great era of church buildings began with Constantine’s patronage of the church in the fourth century. He commissioned basilicas to signal his support of the new religion and to advertise his reign.” source

The slab on the tomb pictured goes back, it is believed, not to the first or even fourth century, but to the Crusades (1099CE). What this says is that at least a thousand years ago, the Crusaders thought this to be the tomb of the Messiah. “We can’t say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades,” said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic’s archaeologist-in-residence.[i]

Definitely COULD be Yeshua’s

Furthermore, this tomb is consistent with the way that wealthy Jews, such as Joseph of Arimathea, buried their dead. However, it doesn’t prove that Yeshua was the Jewish person buried there. Of course, there are no bones in this tomb! Approximately a year after burial (when the body had completely decomposed) the bones would be collected and placed in a stone box called an ossuary.

Ossuary, where bones of the deceased were stored and placed in the tomb.

Ossuary, where bones of the deceased were stored and placed in the tomb.

While I am not a fan of the practice of building church structures over places of significance (often people come from all over the world just to touch a stone or light a candle, assuming there is spiritual power apart from relating directly with the Father through Jesus), I can’t help but be moved at what might be the burial spot of Yeshua.

“We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus’ burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site.”[ii]

When the researchers removed the marble slab that for centuries had covered the tomb for its protection, that were stunned to find it completely in tact.

First Ever Photographs of Tomb

Clearly the archeologists were moved, as we can see in the short movie. The marble slab revealing the tomb had not be seen by a human for centuries and had never before been photographed. Before resealing, the team will spend the next five months gathering data. It will be interesting to see if they find any markings or graffiti connecting it to Yeshua.

As exciting as this finding may be, nothing compares to the intimate relationship with Yeshua that is available to anyone, anywhere, who puts his or her faith in Him.

 

i http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/jesus-christ-tomb-burial-church-holy-sepulchre/

ii ibid

 

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I am writing to you from JFK airport in New York (10 days ago) as Rosh Hashanah comes to a close. I was supposed to fly to San Diego and give one message and get home to Israel before Rosh Hashanah, but then I was invited to Orlando to promote our new show on God.tv, “Out of Zion.” I really didn’t want to go, but Elana said, “If you go, you can fly through Richmond on the way back and spend Rosh Hashanah with the girls.”

Chabad Richmond

And that is what I did. What a great day it was to be with my parents, my sister and my daughters. We went to the Orthodox Jewish synagogue with my parents. This was not the Conservative synagogue in which I grew up, but the far stricter, “Chabad” stream. And this synagogue has a special place in my heart. The rabbi’s father was the rabbi when I was a kid. After I came to faith in Yeshua, my parents asked me to meet with him, and we did, weekly. His goal was to convince me that Yeshua was not the Messiah and that I should simply become an Orthodox Jew.

Yankl Kranz (in the picture) was a dear, sweet man with good hopes for Richmond. He used to drive a huge ‘bookmobile’ trying to get Jewish kids to read Jewish books. It was a library on wheels. We really enjoyed each other. He died young and his son, Yossel, took over for him. Yossel and I have a bit in common. We are both American Jews, rabbis of sort, and we both married beautiful Israelis. He is a fantastic communicator and unlike in Orthodox Judaism in Israel, he doesn’t put guilt trips on the more secular Jews, but seeks to draw them in at whatever level they are willing to enter.

Theological Divide

However, despite the similarities there is a great theological divide. Though his sermon was well written and quite humorous, his basic point, as we were beginning the High Holy days—days where our sin is highlighted and we seek forgiveness—was not “Repent”. But the opposite. “You are far more righteous than you think. Don’t say I don’t keep kosher, say, I keep kosher most of the time. Don’t say, I don’t keep the Sabbath, but say, I keep the Sabbath most of the day.” He does not see us as sinners.

He characterized Jeremiah as depressed, not understanding that he was broken over the sinful state of the Jewish people as he saw prophetically that they were about to be conquered by the Babylonians and their Temple destroyed (586 BCE).

“If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.” (Jeremiah 9:1)

Orthodox Judaism fails to understand that the Torah is not a set of rules to please God, but that our inability to keep the Torah revealed to us that we are sinners in need for forgiveness (Gal. 3, Rom. 7). While we should strive to keep the Ten Commandments, each time we read them we realize how far we fall short. Isaiah said that “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Is. 64:6) To be clear, the analogy is referring to a woman’s monthly cycle.

We have Sinned!

Both Daniel and Isaiah cried out, “We have sinned” but modern Judaism (really post 2nd Temple Judaism created by Yochanan Ben Zakkai [read this about that guy!!] after the 2nd Temple was destroyed) says, we can earn forgiveness through:

  1. Giving
  2. Repentance
  3. Prayer
  4. Good works or mitzvot 

It is during this season however—the Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—that we sing Avinu Malkenu, Our Father and King. The very second line is:

Avinu malkeinu chatanu l’faneycha

אבינו מלכנו חתנו לפניך

And no, it does not mean, “Our father in heaven, we tried really hard.” It means, “Our father in heaven, we have sinned before you.” This cry is the cry of the Hebrew prophets. And God answered by sending us a Moshia (Savior) who was qualified to take the punishment we deserve, as Isaiah said, “So the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53:6)

In the same way that a judge doesn’t reward a murderer for the people he didn’t kill or the thief for how much he didn’t steal, God will not turn a blind eye to our sin just because we do some good things. But Yeshua came, and according to Isaiah, He took our punishment.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Yeshua came to make us holy, not through our keeping most of the Sabbath, but through His death and resurrection. Here is a video I made related to this.

May this be the Yom Kippur season that the we see the words of Zechariah come to pass:

 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Please consider a special gift this Yom Kippur to help us reach Israelis with the message of the Messiah. Thank you!

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Feast of Trumpets

Ron Cantor —  October 2, 2016 —  Comments

Has the Church replaced Israel? Has God rejected his people, Israel? Why does Paul talk so much about the Jews and Israel in Romans? Check out our new series on Romans 11.