Biblical Prophecy and the Coming Destruction of the Dome of the Rock

Here’s the link to this article. Here’s the link to the first article concerning this subject.

March 30, 2023

I continue here my post from yesterday, explaining the Christian background to U.S. Support of Israel, taken from my recently-published book Armageddon: What the Bible Really Says About the End


It is important to stress that evangelicals think God is faithful to Israel even if Jews are not faithful to God.  He has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill his promises that Israel will have the Promised Land.  But Jews who reject his messiah cannot possibly be saved.  That is not God’s fault.  He is not the one who broke the eternal covenant.  Jews did when they rejected their own messiah.  Therefore, they will be punished.

To evangelical readers that is clear from the book of Revelation, which describes “the End” as standing in straight continuity with and in fulfillment of “the Beginning.” As we have seen, according to Revelation, the only inhabitants of the earth who will be saved are those who refuse the mark of the beast and instead receive the seal of God.  In Revelation 7 the two groups of these divinely sealed saints are discussed.  The larger group is “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Revelation 7:9).  These are explicitly not the people of one nation (such as Israel); they are from around the world, everyone made pure because “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).  The other group is smaller, but still sizeable: 144,000 Jews who receive the “seal of God” on their head and so become “slaves of God” – twelve thousand “people of Israel” from each of the twelve tribes (7:4-8).

Thus, God is faithful to the end.  A large,  symbolic number of Jews will be saved by converting to become slaves of God through their faith in Jesus.  But the number is not only significantly large; it is also significantly small.  Think about the global population of Jews.  Even at the time John was writing, there were nearly four million Jews in the world.  He would certainly not have known this exact number, but even so: if 144,000 are saved, that would be only 4% of just the Roman world. Evangelical Christians, as one would expect, take this too to be a fulfillment of Scripture, where God repeatedly says that salvation will come to only a remnant of Israel (Romans 9:27-28).

Why Israel Must Rebuild the Temple

Thus, for evangelical thinkers the entire arc of the biblical narrative from beginning to end shows that prophecies are being fulfilled in our own day.  But there’s more to it than that.  Ezekiel indicated that the Temple in Jerusalem had to be rebuilt.  That hasn’t happened yet. It has to happen before Jesus can return.  The clearest indication comes not in Ezekiel but in a seemingly obscure passage in the New Testament book of 2 Thessalonians, which I’ll discuss in greater detail shortly: Israel not only has to exist as a sovereign state in the Promised Land, it also has to have full control of Jerusalem and, in particular, the Temple Mount.  The problem, of course, is that that the Temple Mount is a sacred site for Islam as well, home to the Dome of the Rock for the past thirteen centuries.  The Dome is located over the site of the original Jerusalem Temple.  For the prediction of 2 Thessalonians to be fulfilled, the Temple needs to be rebuilt there, which means the Dome has to go.

It has long been debated whether Paul was the author of 2 Thessalonians; many historical scholars think the book was written by a later Christian in Paul’s name.[1]  Whoever wrote it, the book tries to explain to readers that the end of the age will not come right away, nor will it happen without warning (contrary to what Paul himself says in First Thessalonians, 4:13-5:11).  A fore-ordained sequence of events must happen first.  The events involve a mysterious figure, “the lawless one,” who will rise to a position of power. This figure is often identified by readers as the “Antichrist” and the “beast” of Revelation (666), even though he is not called either in the passage:

Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day [the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”] will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.  He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.  (2 Thess. 2:3-4)

The author then indicates that this figure cannot appear yet because a restraining force is keeping him at bay (2:6).   When that is removed, “the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming” (2:8).  That sounds very much like the Final Battle between Christ and the Beast as described in Revelation 19:17-20.

What matters most, though, is that before this destruction takes place, the Antichrist figure will take “his seat in the temple of God,” declaring himself to be God.  That obviously cannot happen until the temple is rebuilt.  Jesus therefore cannot return until Israel assume full control of the Temple Mount.  There can be no question, then, about whether or not to support Israel to expand its reach into the Palestinian territories; that was what was promised Abraham “in the beginning.” And there can be no question about whether or not to support Israel in the heart of Jerusalem itself. It must destroy the Dome of the Rock and rebuilt the temple for foreordained “the end” to come.

Since American Christians who support Israeli control of Jerusalem far outnumber American Jews, it is no wonder that Israeli politicians have long pushed for evangelical support, starting in the 70’s at just the time the evangelical prophecy movement reached a fevered pitch – when Hal Lindsey, Jack van Impe, and Timothy LaHaye were all preaching that the end was almost here.  For these modern-day prophets, one piece left in the puzzle remains: the temple has to be rebuilt and Israel cannot face the opposition alone.

This is not a marginal religious belief held by a tiny slice of American Christendom.  It is held by millions, all of them able and encouraged to vote.  And this is far from the only way that a belief in an imminent apocalypse influences our government.

[1] See Bart Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2011) pp. 19-21, 105-08.

Author: Richard L. Fricks

Former CPA, attorney, and lifelong wanderer. I'm now a full-time skeptic and part-time novelist. The rest of my time I spend biking, gardening, meditating, photographing, reading, writing, and encouraging others to adopt The Pencil Driven Life.

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