(Worthy News) – Religious Jewish factions say they are moving ever closer to the realization of the Third Temple in Jerusalem.
The latest evidence of this is police authorization, granted on Sunday, for a Passover sacrificial ceremony to be held just tens of meters from where the Second Temple once stood.
Religious groups have been holding public Passover sacrifices, in accordance with the biblical outline, for years. But never before have they been permitted to conduct the ceremony so close to the Temple Mount, which the Muslims claim as their own, even as they deny the holy site holds any religious or historical significance for the Jewish people. [ Source: Israel Today (Read More…) ]
Even as persecution climbs for Protestants in Russia, most of its evangelicals continue to support President Vladimir Putin, who won his fourth six-year term in last week’s election.
Given Putin’s stronghold in the former Soviet state, they don’t really have another choice.
The incumbent Russian president drew in 75 percent of the vote Sunday, up from 64 percent in 2012. With a popular leading critic, Alexei Navalny, forced out of the race, Putin soundly beat out Pavel Grudinin, a millionaire entrepreneur from the Communist Party; Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an ultranationalist with a military background; and Ksenia Sobchak, a former TV host.
For Protestant voters, who make up only about 1 percent of the heavily Orthodox nation, “their support for Putin would be only a bit below the national average,” according to William Yoder, spokesman for the Russia Evangelical Alliance. “They would not vote for a communist, or a nationalist like Zhirinovsky, and not for a movie-starlet like Sobchak.”
Like their Orthodox neighbors, Russian evangelicals prioritize family values such as traditional marriage, said Yoder. But leaders do not often speak out to address politics—especially not from the pulpit.
Pastor Alexei Smirnov, chairman of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, did post a statement this week to congratulate Putin on his victory.
“In accordance with the Word of God, the Bible, the churches of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists will support you in prayers. As before, our brothers and sisters will make every effort to build not only the Kingdom of Heaven, but also the earthly Fatherland, Russia,” an English translation read.
“I wish you strong health, blessing, and special wisdom from the Lord in high and responsible service as President of Russia.”
Still, Protestants and other non-Orthodox faiths continue to face a crackdown on their practice as a result of anti-evangelism laws proposed by lawmaker Irina Yarovaya and passed by Putin in 2016. The restrictions limit religious activities and proselytization that occurs anywhere outside church buildings registered with the government.
Evangelicals have been directly impacted by these measures, as well as other efforts that appear to target those outside of the Russian Orthodox church.
Just this week, media reported that the Church of Evangelical Christians of the Gospel House in Chelyabinsk—a Pentecostal congregation located in central Russia, north of Kazakhstan—was fined for “illegal missionary work” since the full name of the church was not posted on the rented room where they met. When Gospel House opted to pray in a different location, the court also forbid the move “because of violations of the norms of anti-terrorist security.”
“Christian Protestants—Baptists, Pentecostals, and Seventh-day Adventists—also regularly face harassment in the press and pressure from the Russian bureaucratic machine,” the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wrote in a report released in January, which noted Pentecostals as a particular target under the 2016 legislation.
“They have difficulties in obtaining land plots for their liturgical buildings; they are visited with inspections, and so on.”
The land and space issue has become particularly costly, as government officials are increasingly fining churches that meet in private homes or buildings for violating property use laws, Forum 18 reported. The number of such fines levied against religious groups more than tripled in 2017, up to 23 incidents.
Around 90 percent of Protestant places of worship occur on property designated for residential use, estimated Adventist lawyer Vasily Nichik, since laws restrict the ability of churches to lease or buy land for themselves.
World Evangelical Alliance global ambassador Brian C. Stiller recently wrote for Ed Stetzer’s CT blog, The Exchange, that despite the opposition, the Russian Pentecostal Union has founded 1,000 new churches over the past six years. He encouraged US congregations to keep Russian brothers and sisters in their prayers:
In our flawed and curious maze of East and West interfacing, I inevitably end up asking my Russian brothers and sisters, “What can we do?” At the top of their requests is, “Please don’t forget us.” As fewer Christians now travel to Russia, Russian Christians feel somewhat abandoned. Try this. Link your congregation with one in Russia, build friendships, encourage them, let them know they are remembered.
Walls have been built and then torn down with no promise that they will not be built again: freedom given can quickly be taken away.
USCIRF, which last year named Russia a Tier 1 “country of particular concern” in its religious freedom report, urged the US State Department to persuade Russia to drop the anti-evangelism laws, registration requirements, and other discriminatory means of government review for religious groups so that the country could better foster religious tolerance.
Religious pluralism is another political priority for Russia’s Protestants; but it’s becoming harder to come by.
“I think evangelicals have become more accustomed to Putin over time,” said Yoder. “They are very disappointed regarding the Yarovaya Laws, but they see no makeable alternative to Putin.”
Prior to the anti-evangelism laws, Christianity Today noted how most Russian evangelicals, including the official Congress of the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, literally thank God for Putin and side with him politically, particularly on the Ukraine crisis.
“Putin is genuinely popular—and admired—by Russians across the spectrum: among believers as well as the religiously indifferent, among Protestants as well as Orthodox, and among academics as well as taxi drivers,” wrote Mark R. Elliott, editor of the East-West Church and Ministry Report.
OS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria retained the only Christian among more than 100 kidnapped girls who were freed last week, prompting the head of her church denomination to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to obtain her release.
Boko Haram refused to release Leah Nathan Sharibu, 15, because she would not renounce her faith and convert to Islam, according to released Muslim girls. The Rev. Jeremiah Gado, president of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), said in a press statement on Friday (March 23) that her parents are members of the ECWA congregation in Dapchi, Yobe state, in northeast Nigeria.
“We call on the federal government and all its agencies to ensure the immediate release of Leah Sherubu, who is a member of ECWA, without any conditions,” Gado said. “We condemn in strong terms any attempt to forcefully convert anyone from one religion to another. As a church we continue to pray for her release and the release of all abducted Nigerians.”
Leah was among more than 100 girls kidnapped at a public high school, Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, by Boko Haram on Feb. 19. Five of the kidnapped girls died from the “stress and trauma” of being kidnapped, including one who was trampled to death, but the girls were not mistreated, one Muslim girl reportedly said. The other girls, numbering at least 101 according to government registers, were released on Wednesday (March 21).
Lado said the ECWA was moved by the courage of the teenager who declined to renounce her faith in the face of threats from the terrorists.
“The Evangelical Church Winning All salutes the courage, doggedness, and faith of Leah Sharubu,” he said. “She has not been released because she refused to denounce her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a Christian.”
Buhari had said earlier through a spokesman, Garba Shehu, that his administration would not cease efforts to get Leah released.
“His heart goes out to the isolated parents who must watch others rejoice while their own daughter is still away [in captivity],” Shehu said. “The lone Dapchi girl, Leah, will not be abandoned.”
Denying that any ransoms were paid or prisoners swapped, the administration has said friendly countries and international organizations helped negotiate the release of the girls.
Khadija Grema, one of the freed girls, reportedly said Leah was not released because she refused to recant her faith in Jesus Christ.
“They freed all of us except one girl, Leah whom they said would not go because she was a Christian,” Khadija said. “The people that took us away were all speaking Kanuri and Arabic. They didn’t tell us any meaningful reason why we were freed and returned. They just said we are Muslims, and they felt it was right for them to free us so that we will not suffer.”
Leah’s mother, Rebecca Nathan Sharibu, told Nigerian online news outlet Premium Times that her heart was broken when she searched through the released girls on Wednesday and could not find Leah. She reportedly collapsed and had to be taken to a hospital after learning her daughter had not been released.
“What her schoolmates that returned told me was that my daughter was told she must recite the Kalima Shahada [the Islamic profession of faith],” she told the Premium Times. “They said my daughter would only be brought back home the day she recites Kalima Shahada.”
Leah insisted that she did not know how to recite it, and that she was not brought up as a Muslim, the girls told her.
“She then pleaded with her friends that if they eventually made it home successfully, they should inform we, her parents, to continue to help her pray for God to protect her and bring her home safely as well; that whether she survived or not, she still needed prayers,” Sharibu said.
Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu, told Nigerian radio station Raypower that he was told his daughter was not released because she refused to deny Jesus Christ and recant her Christian faith.
“I called the parents who are in Dapchi,” he told Raypower. “They said she was a Christian, that’s why they could not release her. They said she cannot be released until she becomes a Muslim. And my daughter said she would never be a Muslim.”
Sharibu called on the Nigerian government to ensure his daughter is released.
“The Nigeria government must do all within its powers to go and bring back my daughter, the same way they did to others,” he said.
Bukar Kachalla, father of one of the abducted schoolgirls and secretary of the parents group, told journalists in Dapchi that they were saddened when they learned Leah had not been released.
“We were told by the Boko Haram that she was not released because she refused to put on hijab,” he said.
The Rev. Yakubu Pam, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Nigeria Chapter, said Boko Haram’s demand that Leah convert vindicates Nigerian church leaders’ position that the terrorist group targets Christians.
“The federal government of Nigeria, which has been in touch with her captors, should hasten effort and ensure that Miss Leah Nathan Sharibu and other Chibok Christian girls are released,” Pam told Morning Star News.
About 100 of the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok, in Borno state, in 2014 are still missing.
Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as, “Western education is a sin,” has fought for nine years to impose sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing more than 2 million. Boko Haram militants reportedly warned parents of the returned Dapchi girls not to send their daughters back to school.
In 2015 the Nigerian military began taking back most of the territory Boko Haram had controlled, but many areas remain, and the terrorists are still mounting isolated attacks.
Pro-abortionists in Germany have been accused by the Minister for Health of putting animal rights above the rights of unborn children.
Jens Spahn made the comments as he spoke out against calls to lift the country’s ban on allowing doctors to advertise abortion services.
Opponents attacked him on the grounds that abortion was an ‘extraneous topic’.
Spahn said: “Some of those who now want to promote abortions are uncompromising enough when it comes to animal rights”.
He added that “in this debate they no longer take into account that it’s a question of human life”.
Spahn has been tipped as a possible successor to Angela Merkel as Chancellor of Germany.
A similar argument was made about abortion in the UK in a recent article for The Spectator, entitled: ‘Why are animals more important than unborn children?’.
Ross Clark highlighted that there have been “animal laws by the dozen” over the past twenty years but there is “an utter refusal on the part of our main political parties” to even discuss the issue of abortion.
“There seems to be an unwritten rule in politics that the issue must not be discussed, and that anyone holding views which are disapproving of current practice on abortion must be dismissed as an extremist”.
1967 Abortion Act
Clark continued: “This is in spite of obvious evidence that abortion as conducted in Britain is completely at odds with the word of the law.
“Under the 1967 act that legalised abortion, it is clearly stated that it is only supposed to be used in situations where the mother’s physical or mental health is at risk or if the baby were to be born seriously handicapped.
“Few would even pretend that abortion is being restricted to these cases.”
Industrial scale destruction
He asked how the public can be so concerned about protecting animals, “yet seem blithely indifferent about the industrial-scale destruction of human foetuses?”
“I find it extraordinary that so many of us apparently value the lives of furry creatures over those of humans”.
INDIANA, Pa. — A student at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania says he was kicked out of his religious studies course for contending in class that there are only two genders and for providing his views when his professor had asked to hear from women only.
Lake Ingle says that on Feb. 28, his class was shown a TED Talk recording of former church planter and pastor Paul Williams, who now goes by the name Paula, as he discussed “mansplaining,” “male privilege,” and male sexism. The video was part of a study on “Christianity 481: Self, Sin, and Salvation,” and was entitled “I’ve lived as a man & a woman—here’s what I learned.”
Ingle states that at the end of the recording, his female professor asked for comment from women only. After no girls in the class sought to speak, he decided to provide his point of view, stating that biologists believe that there are only two biological genders. He also outlined why he disagrees that there is a wage gap between men and women.
“The floor was opened, and not a single woman spoke. Thirty seconds or so passed and still no woman had spoken. So, I decided it was permissible for me to enter the conversation, especially because I felt the conversation itself was completely inappropriate in its structure,” Ingle recalled to Campus Reform. “It was during my objection that Dr. [Alison] Downie attempted to silence me because I am not a woman.”
The following day, in meeting with his professor, he was provided with an Academic Integrity Referral Form and an agreement, outlining that Downie wanted Ingle to apologize to the entire class and then listen as his professor—and any students that wished to—outlined how his choice to speak out made her feel.
Ingle is officially accused of “[d]isrespectful objection to the professor’s class discussion structure; refusal to stop talking out of turn; angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism; disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience; [and making a] disrespectful claim that a low score on any class work would be evidence of professor’s personal prejudice.”
Days later, he received a letter from Provost Timothy Moerland advising him that Downie wanted him removed from the class.
“Due to the serious nature of this issue, you are barred from attending this class in accordance with the Classroom Disruption policy,” Moerland wrote. “You will not be allowed to return to class until the pending academic integrity charges against you are fully adjudicated.”
Ingle believes that the university is infringing upon his right to free speech and to present ideas that differ with what is being indoctrinated by his professor.
“My professor pretty much just tried to shut me up because she was just letting women speak,” he told Fox News. “I brought up the fact that biologists don’t agree that there’s more than two genders and I said the wage gap she’s referring to—77 cents on the dollar—that even the New York Times debunked that.”
Ingle, who now has obtained legal representation, also told Campus Reform that “the wording in the [accusatory] documents is not only exaggerated, but more than one line is entirely untruthful and is done so purposefully to discredit my views and paint me as intolerant and ignorant.”
He said that he is not seeking to prove his views correct in fighting the charges, but is rather wanting to defend the right to disagree. Ingle, a senior, also needs to be able to complete the course in order to graduate.
The Trump administration is being accused of racism for targeting an Obama-era directive compelling schools to ease up on discipline for minority students — even though the policy has made life more difficult for kids, including minorities, stuck in increasingly unruly classrooms.
Ask Virginia Walden Ford, who runs a church-based after-school snack program in Little Rock. She was recently surprised when a young, fearful black girl turned up before the end of the school day and admitted she had skipped class.
Why? She had been involved in a fight the day before with another girl, but the school had refused to suspend her assailant, and she worried that the girl would try to pick a fight with her again.
“She had been continually bullied all year long,” recalled Ms. Ford, an EdChoice board member. “My advice was, ‘Talk to your counselor, teacher, parents,’ but she made it really, really clear to me that day that that’s not doing any good. Her school does not want to suspend students. They’re trying to keep the suspension rate down.”
The girl isn’t alone. Critics of the 2014 Dear Colleague — an advisory on non-discriminatory school discipline, issued by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights — say the policy has been enormously successful in reducing suspensions and expulsions, but it’s also made schools more chaotic, even dangerous.
Those kind of things are changing the environment of the school so that kids who need to feel safe, kids who really, really want to learn, we’re seeing higher dropout rates,” said Ms. Ford, who spoke at a March 12 Heritage Foundation forum. “We’re seeing kids staying home. It’s a battleground for children instead of a safe haven for children. And we’ve seen it since the Obama administration policy.”
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Max Eden cited an analysis released in December by the Philadelphia public schools showing that truancy rates, after ticking down for years, have skyrocketed, along with “serious misbehavior and declining achievement.”
“Evidence is mounting that efforts to fight the school-to-prison pipeline is creating a school climate catastrophe and has if anything put at-risk students at greater risk,” said Mr. Eden at a Dec. 8 hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Accusations of racism
Even so, efforts to dismantle or scale back the Obama-era policy have been met with accusations of racism from advocates of “restorative justice,” as evidenced most recently by the reaction to the Trump administration’s recent school-safety initiative.
The White House unveiled March 12 an immediate action plan to “secure our schools” after last month’s deadly Parkland school shooting as well as the formation of the Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The commission was charged with making recommendations on a dozen “areas of focus,” including “repeal of the Obama administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies,” prompting a flurry of media criticism.
“When Republicans Go After Children of Color, Democrats Need to Fight Back,” said the Washington Monthly headline on a March 14 column by Nancy LeTourneau.
“In a sick irony, some on the right would use the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla. — allegedly committed by a young man who carved swastikas into the magazines for his semiautomatic rifle — as a pretext to roll back civil rights protections for students of color,” said New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg in a March 12 op-ed.
During her rocky “60 Minutes” interview on March 11, Ms. DeVos received an earful from host Lesley Stahl on why she shouldn’t repeal the policy.
“Yeah, but let’s say there’s a disruption in the classroom and a bunch of white kids are disruptive and they get punished, you know, go see the principal,” said Ms. Stahl. “But the black kids are, you know — they call in the cops. I mean, that’s the issue: Who and how the kids who disrupt are being punished.”
There’s no question that black students are suspended and expelled at higher rates than other students, in some cases two to three times higher, a “disparate impact” that the Obama administration attributed to the unconscious or conscious bias of teachers and administrators.
The 2014 policy came in part in reaction to the “zero tolerance” policies adopted in the 1990s, which required expelling students for certain violations but fell out of favor amid reports of severe punishments for relatively innocuous behavior.
Critics argue that the racial disparity exists even in schools run by predominantly black principals and staff, and that the cure — doing everything possible to avoid suspending or expelling minority kids — has hurt other minority students and pushed schools to adopt illegal race-based discipline quotas under threat of a federal investigation.
In a Jan. 19 study, University of San Diego Law School professor Gail Heriot and Alison Somin argued that the Obama discipline policy had “contributed to the problem of disorderly classrooms, especially in schools with high minority enrollment.”
“Those who cry ‘racism’ at the Trump administration for even considering the repeal of the Dear Colleague letter need to stop and think,” said Ms. Heriot, a U.S. civil-rights commissioner. “Minority students — those who are trying to learn amid increasing classroom chaos — are the primary victims of the Obama-era policy.”
At the December commission hearing, former Obama administration officials argued that “exclusionary discipline” has contributed to the “school to prison pipeline” by depriving students of the tools they need to succeed.
Commissioner Peter Kirsanow asked them to respond to 2014 federal figures showing that 2.8 million students reported missing school in the last 30 days for fear of being assaulted by students in their class.
Former Education Department senior policy adviser Kristen Harper described that as the wrong focus.
“We do ourselves a disservice and really sort of steer the conversation in the wrong direction when we try to say, ‘Well, what is the impact of the disruptive students on the non-disruptive students?’” said Ms. Harper. “Instead, our conversation really should focus on how we support educators and support schools.”
Pakistan’s citizens must now declare their religion when applying for identity documents, or if they want to work in government or register to vote, Islamabad’s High Court ruled this month.
Applicants who disguise their true religion defy the constitution and betray the state, the judge stated. Their true religion must now also be visible on birth certificates, ID cards, voters’ lists, and passports.
Those who apply for a job in the judiciary, armed forces, civil services, and other government jobs also need to submit an affidavit declaring the Khatm-i-Naboowat (that Muhammad was the final prophet), stated Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in his ruling, as reported by Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
Human Rights Watch’s Saroop Ijaz said the judgement “would enable and incite violence,” in particularly directed at the Ahmadi community, Reuters reported.
“All [the judge’s] specific instructions are about ensuring and finding out who is an Ahmadi,” human rights lawyer Jibran Nasir told Reuters. He said the order would provide the government with lists of who belonged to which religious minority.
Pakistani passports already show the holder’s religious belief. A local source told World Watch Monitor (WWM) that minority groups, such as Christians and Ahmadis, did not object against this because it has benefited them in, for example, applying for asylum elsewhere.
A previous move by the government in 1992 to try to add citizens’ religious belief to their ID cards, however, was met with protests by Christians, who said they would face economic and social exclusion. The idea was then shelved.
Christians and Ahmadis are two of a number of minority groups in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, who together make up an estimated 20 percent of the total—mainly Sunni Muslim—population. The Ahmadis face a lot of discrimination because they are considered non-Muslims; to call themselves Muslim or to refer to their faith as Islam is a punishable offence under the country’s blasphemy laws.
Christians are already instantly recognisable in Pakistan because of their names—men are given the surname Masih, deriving from Messiah. But this is not the case for Ahmadis, making the new ruling more of an issue for them, as they can no longer hide their identity nor safely claim to be Muslim.
During the hearings, the court learned how a group of 10,000 Ahmadis apparently changed the religious status on their Computerised National Identity Cards to Muslim when applying for a government job. They would then change it again once retired.
The court case was opened following a petition by Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik, which opposed a parliamentary initiative to the change of wording in electoral law, suggesting replacing the religious oath with a simple declaration.
The proposed bill, however, also made room for Ahmadis to take part in elections on general seats, even though they are labelled “non-Muslims” in the constitution. Following large-scale protests, the government reinstated the original text.
In his verdict, the judge ordered parliament to develop legislation and amendments to existing laws “to ensure that all the terms specifically used for ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ were not used by the persons belonging to any of the minorities for hiding their real identity or for any other purpose.” If no appeal is filed, parliament has to follow the court’s directives.
WWM’s source said the court only has jurisdiction in Islamabad, so this could be first and foremost a “political stunt.” But “it still sends a strong message how the debate about religion has gone deeper and deeper in Pakistan, and religious minorities—especially Christians—are being affected by this.”
The court order will make minority groups even more vulnerable, according to Nasir Saeed, director of the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance, and Settlement (CLAAS-UK), who told Independent Catholic News the government should rather promote harmony and religious tolerance and establish peace in the country. All Pakistanis, including minorities, need to know they are secure, protected, and equal before the law, he said.
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Boko Haram has released all but one of the Dapchi schoolgirls who were kidnapped on February 19. The only girl who was not released is also the only Christian among the group. Her name is Leah Sharibu and she is only 15 years old.
The girls were released by Boko Haram in a ceremony in the town of Dapchi. The terrorist organization reached an agreement with the Nigerian government that there would be no interference with the return. In the early hours of March 21, Boko Haram drove into the town with nine trucks and unloaded all of the girls, except the five that died during the kidnaping, and Sharibu.
One of girls who was released confirmed to The PUNCH, “One girl, Leah, is still with them [Boko Haram] because she is a Christian. About five are dead but it was not as if they killed them – it was because of the stress.”
Saddened by the continued absence of his daughter, Nata Sharibu, Leah’s father, told RayPower 100.5, a Nigerian radio station, “They gave her the option of converting in order to be released, but she said she will never become a Muslim.” He continued, saying that he is “very sad [that she has not been freed] but [is] also jubilating, too, because [his] daughter did not denounce Christ.”
It has also been nearly four years since the abduction of the 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. Today, there are still more than 100 schoolgirls missing from that incident. The vast majority of the Chibok girls were Christian as well. Since the incident in Dapchi, Borno and Yobe states have closed down all boarding schools in order to protect their children. This, however, is one of the main goals of Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden.” Giving in to the group’s goals will only further incite them to continue their attacks and abductions.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, stated, “It is truly joyous that these girls were able to rejoin their families. However, we wish to see Leah returned as well. This cowardly act has shown that the terrorist organization truly despises Christians and their faith. We call on the Nigerian government to act swiftly to secure the release of Leah and the remaining missing girls from Chibok.”
The nascent Sanhedrin, a Biblically mandated court of 71 elders, released a letter in Hebrew, English and Arabic inviting the Arabs as the sons of Ishmael to take their role in supporting the Third Temple as prophesied by Isaiah. This move is far more than symbolic. It is intended to bring the entire world one step closer to the global peace that will characterize the Messianic era.
“With the gracious help of the protector and Savior of Israel, Creator of the world by covenant, we declare that the footsteps of Messiah are evidently heard and that the time has come to rebuild the Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in its ancient place.”
“We, the Jews who advocate building of the Temple, are applying to your Honorable ones, who were nominated by their peoples to give oath, raise vows and gifts to the Temple as prophesied by prophet Isaiah concerning your essential role and honorable position in keeping the Temple and supporting it with lamb sacrifices and incense in order to receive God’s Blessings.”
Raise your eyes and look about: They have all gathered and come to you. Your sons shall be brought from afar, Your daughters like babes on shoulders. As you behold, you will glow; Your heart will throb and thrill— For the wealth of the sea shall pass on to you, The riches of nations shall flow to you. Dust clouds of camels shall cover you, Dromedaries of Midian and Ephah. They all shall come from Sheba; They shall bear gold and frankincense, And shall herald the glories of Hashem. Isaiah 60:4-6
“By virtue of this, we are certain that you will choose peaceful means and avoid all paths to hostility and violence. And we are sure that together we shall open doors to love and respect.”
The letter was signed by 23 respected Rabbis who have received smicha (Rabbinic ordination) for the purpose of re-establishing the Sanhedrin. The rabbis are in the process of acquiring signatures of the full quorum of 71, after which they will send the letter to major Arab institutions and leaders. They hope to hold a conference with Arabs.
Rabbi Yehoshua Hollander, a member of the Sanhedrin who signed the letter, felt it will serve to be an important bridge to the other nations.
“The Jews are commanded to be a nation of priests,” Rabbi Hollander told Breaking Israel News, citing a verse in Exodus.
But you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Yisrael.” Exodus 19:6
“We are to be of service to the whole world in connecting to Hashem,” Rabbi Hollander continued.
“This is our purpose in life as Jews. The Sanhedrin is inviting them to benefit from this since the Temple is good for the whole world. This universal aspect is essential to what the Temple is; a house for all nations.”
I will bring them to My sacred mount And let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices Shall be welcome on My mizbayach; For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:7
“Of course, for us to serve, the other people need to cooperate,” Rabbi Hollander added.
Rabbi Aharon Yitzchak Shtern, a member of the Sanhedrin who is prominent in the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) community, believes the time for such a declaration including the Arabs in the Third Temple is at hand.
“This is precisely what it seems to be: a simple move towards true peace, ” Rabbi Shtern told Breaking Israel News. “Geula (redemption) is very near. It can either come in war and hardship, or it can come in peace and mercy. We are inviting the B’nei Yishmael to choose peace and godliness.”
The rabbi explained that should the quoted Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, a foremost Jewish authority from the 18th century known as the “Vilna Gaon.”
“If a single sacrifice is brought in the Third Temple,” Rabbi Shtern said, quoting the Vilna Gaon. “The shofar announcing the Messiah will already start to blow.”
“Until now, there has not been a place for Jews to have peace, for non-Jews among themselves to have peace,” Rabbi Shtern said. “Every religion has a belief in moshiach (Messiah), in an end to one reality and the beginning of a new reality. In this new reality, every person, every religion, has their place and their purpose.”