UNESCO, History, and Common Sense
By Hal Lindsey
Imagine yourself given two scenarios, and told to decide which is more credible. Scenario One says that Jewish temples once stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Scenario Two says that a horse named “Buraq” once flew the Prophet Mohammed to the “Seventh Heaven,” using the Temple Mount as his launch pad. Which is more credible — a flying horse carrying a man into outer space, or a temple on the Temple Mount?
You might think the temple is the obvious answer, but UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has decided to go with the story of Buraq the flying horse. In a new, five page resolution called “Occupied Palestine,” UNESCO denies any historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, while giving tacit support to the story of the astronaut horse.
Much of the Old and New Testaments center on the temples. Not everyone counts the Bible as valid evidence, but secular history is also filled with references to the temples. The first was built by Solomon and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Returning Hebrew exiles built the second temple. Later, Herod completely rebuilt the second. It was destroyed by the Romans led by Titus in 70 AD.
To the witness of history, you can add the science of archeology. It provides overwhelming evidence of the temples’ existence. Today, even a trip to a garbage dump proves it. Starting in 2005, archeologists began going through soil and debris removed from the Temple Mount when Muslim authorities constructed an underground mosque on the site. Sifting through the illegally dumped debris, archaeologists have found hundreds of coins, pottery and other items dating back to the first and second temples.
Now look at Scenario Two. Is there evidence that a horse named Buraq flew Mohammed from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to some point beyond the stratosphere? Muslims can only point to some writings in the Hadith, and a single verse from the Qur’an.
The Temple Mount is supposedly Islam’s third most sacred site. Yet a vague reference in that one verse to “the farthest Mosque” is the only thing Muslims can point to as a Qur'anic reference to Jerusalem or the Temple Mount. Neither of them is mentioned by name in the entire Qur’an.
But the Bible speaks a great deal about the temples in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus walked there (John 10:23). He taught there (Mark 11:27 and Luke 19:47). When He was a boy, He had a profound discussion with the learned men of Israel there (Luke 2:46). It was from there that Jesus cast out the money changers (Luke 19:45). Peter and John prayed for the lame man there (Acts 3:11). Jesus called the temple His Father’s house (John 2:16).
Yet the UNESCO resolution speaks of the Temple Mount as an exclusively Muslim site. The five page document never even uses the word “temple.” There is no acknowledgment in any way, or at any level of the long, deep Jewish connection to the mount. There is only one-sided condemnation of Israel and all its activities. The document never even hints at the lengths to which Israel has gone to accommodate the weird and unreasonable demands of Muslim activists. For instance, Jews and Christians are forbidden to pray on the mount.
For the Temple Mount to be exclusively Muslim as UNESCO says, the temples could never have existed there. Even the Western Wall, sometimes called the “Wailing Wall,” is depicted in the report as wholly Muslim.
In a stunning turn from logic, the resolution calls the Western Wall “the Buraq Wall.” Buraq, as we just saw, was supposedly the name of Mohammed’s flying horse. The UNESCO document affirms a Muslim fable about a horse taking a man into outer space while denying established history.
You might expect Islamic nations to vote for this bizarre resolution, but so did France, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, India, Russia, Argentina, and others. What were they thinking?
In October of last year, even the New York Times made the mistake of questioning the historicity of temples on the Temple Mount. They soon added two long corrections, admitting that scholars only debate the precise location of the temples on the mount, not whether they existed there. They wrote, “All versions of the article should have made clear that the archaeological and historical uncertainties about the site — unlike assertions by some Palestinians that the temples never existed — do not directly challenge Jewish claims to the Temple Mount.”
Give them credit for the correction, but the kind of thinking behind the first version of the article has spread across the world. Supposedly educated people such as the reporters and editors of the New York Times, are falling for extremist Palestinian propaganda.
The PLO Charter says, “Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history.” That blatant lie stands at the heart of the Palestinian position on Israel. It’s scandalous that the governments of France, Spain, and Sweden agree. No wonder Jews are exiting Europe at a rate not seen since the Nazis were in power.
Zechariah 14:2 describes a time near the end of the great tribulation when there will be a gathering of “all nations against Jerusalem.” We’re not there yet, but the nations of the world are taking sides even now. And increasingly, they’re choosing against Israel.
When the UNESCO resolution created an international uproar, its Director-General, Irina Bokova, refused to back off, but tried to sound conciliatory. She said, “Only respect and dialogue can build the trust we need to move forward.”
How does a campaign to erase Jewish civilization from the annals of history show respect? What about respect for truth?