Earlier this week and just days before Tisha b’Av on August 1, Palestinians issued what could be interpreted as new declarations of war over Israel and the Temple Mount. While Palestinian rhetoric on the topic is nothing new, recent statements have escalated the longstanding controversy into what could be a whole new level. In any case, the current crisis, which began July 14, is not likely to end any time soon. (A timeline of events is accessible at http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Timeline-of-Temple-Mount-terror-and-tensions-500314.) If you are not familiar with the strategic and prophetic significance of Tisha b’Av and the weeks preceding it, a brief description of this critical season can be read at http://lightofzion.org/biblical-feasts/today-starts-straits-hebrew-calendar-heres-navigate-season-holy-spirit/.)
To summarize the past two weeks’ events, on July 14, three Palestinian terrorists came down from the Temple Mount and killed two Israeli police officers. In response, and as a security measure to prevent similar attacks, Israel installed metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount. These were the same sort of airport metal detectors through which all Jewish and non-Jewish visitors to the Western Wall must pass. Palestinians said the metal detectors amounted to an illegal Israeli takeover of the Temple Mount. They retaliated by calling for a “Day of Rage” last Friday. There were riots and acts of murderous terror against innocent Israeli civilians. Palestinians successfully encouraged anti-Israel protests in many nations and rallied their cause across the Muslim world, particularly Turkey. PA President Abbas’s Fatah Party announced the “campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-israel-removed-the-metal-detectors-1501022738 (Interestingly, the crisis developed on the heels of a heated protest by many Jews living in the nations against the Netanyahu administration for denying them the right to pray audibly and publicly at the Western Wall in styles not authorized by ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbis.)
Reportedly, Jared Kushner brokered a resolution of the crisis between Israel and Jordan, which technically maintains quasi-jurisdiction over the Temple Mount. Acquiescing to Jordan’s demands, Israel removed the metal detectors. Jordan released a detained Israeli embassy guard as Abbas instructed East Jerusalem Palestinians, “Jerusalem is ours and it is our capital. What you are doing [through violence and terror] is correct and we supported and will support all that you did and are doing.” (https://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=21631)
Hamas in Gaza then joined Abbas’ Fatah leadership in calling for another Day of Rage this Friday in Israel and around the world. Days of Rage typically result in not one, but several days or more of murderous terror and violent protest. Meanwhile, according to this week’s survey, 77 percent of Israelis disagree with PM Netanyhu’s decision to remove the metal detectors. Some conservative Israeli government leaders say they will now call for a vote of no confidence against him, which would again threaten his tenure as Prime Minister.
Friday in Israel, the declared Day of Rage, will begin Thursday evening and night in the Americas. So today we are releasing a call, not for Christian rage, but for prayer for a “day of the vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 34:8; 61:2). This is not to seek a release of God’s wrath, but His holy justice. The phrase “day of the vengeance of our God” is included in the broader, messianic Jubilee proclamation of Isaiah 61:1-11: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion. …” Here are 10 key points to consider as you pray:
- The Lord spoke to intercessors in Jerusalem many months ago that 2017 would bring a new level of shakings to the Temple Mount. However situations would unfold, we were to know He is in control. We are to boldly pray His sovereign purposes into the shakings, confident that with prayer, His plans will not be thwarted. (Job 42:2, Proverbs 21:30-31, Isaiah 8:10)
- Proclaim and release Psalm 2 into the crisis.
- Prayerfully declare God’s sovereignty over the Temple Mount: According to 1 Kings 9:3, YHVH has put His Name on Mount Zion forever. His Name is supreme and sovereign on His holy hill. Because His Presence is in His Name, His Presence is there forever. Moreover, “the scepter of the wicked will not remain in the land allotted to the righteous…” (Psalm 125:3). Agree for the fiery scepter of the Lord to sever and overtake the less powerful scepters of the wicked contending for control over the Temple Mount.
- One prophetic prayer leader saw the hand of God coming down to pulverize the schemes of men concerning the Temple Mount. Prayerfully decree God’s purpose in the Temple Mount shakings reflected in Isaiah 25:7, 8a, 11b, 12b: “On this mountain He [YHVH] will destroy the covering that enfolds all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations; He will destroy death forever…The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain…God will bring down their pride despite the plunder of their hands… down to the ground, to the very dust.”
- Pray for angelic hosts to assist Israeli police forces posted at Temple Mount access points and throughout Jerusalem’s Old City, especially on Friday (Thursday evening and night in the Americas). Pray these forces will be at the right place at the right time, with divine discernment, alertness and protection. “May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame.” (Psalm 129:5) Pray for supernatural wisdom on police force leaders. Pray similarly for IDF reinforcements. (Psalm 91, 1 Timothy 2:2)
- Pray that Netanyahu will remain in office for as long as God wants him there. We do not sense his time is up yet, even if his decision to install the metal detectors, or remove them, or both, was perhaps unwise. Prayerfully decree that any unholy alliance between the Trump administration and Netanyahu be exposed, broken, and replaced by the alliance God intends for the mutual blessing of these covenant nations. Prayerfully decree Psalm 75:6-7 over Netanyahu, that only God, not man, will remove him from office and only at the right time (Daniel 2:21)
- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that plans of darkness would fail and the enemies of God would be caught in their own traps. Pray for mercy so injuries and deaths on all sides will be minimal or nonexistent. (Psalm 122; 141:10)
- Pray for the convicting deterrence of the Holy Spirit to fall supernaturally on Muslims readying to riot. Pray for supernatural revelations of Jesus that lead to salvation and worship of the God of Israel. (Matthew 5:44)
- One purpose of the current shakings is for spiritual harvest in Israel and the whole Middle East. Proclaim freedom throughout the land in this possible or actual Year of Jubilee, based on the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification. (Leviticus 25:10, Isaiah 61:1-11) Pray for Messianic Israelis to passionately embrace the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14 for the sake of revival. Bear in mind that some mainstream Jews are more open to repentance at Tisha b’Av than at other times; it is a day of mourning for past and present sin.
- Pray for your nation to align with God’s purposes and people during this crisis. The matter has already reached the UN and Abbas has said he plans to file charges at the International Criminal Court. Temple Mount shakings are destined to impact all nations. God wants to give many nations that have stood against Israel an opportunity to repent and turn toward her. May this crisis work for the gracious blessing, and not cursing, of your nation! (Genesis 12:3)
Remember that despite the tragedies and trials of Tisha b’Av, God promises to redeem the day. “The fasts…of the…fifth month [Av] will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah.” (Zechariah 8:19)