The first Temple Jerusalem Convention took place at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Wednesday, aimed toward educating Christians about the relevance of the Jewish Temples to their belief. The focus is not only on the Biblical Temples but also on the future Third Temple written about in prophecies.
In his opening address, John Enarson, the Christian Relations Director of Cry for Zion and co-organizer of the conference explained the ground rules for the conference.
“The conference will be a meeting place of Jews and Christians with different perspectives. This should be done with mutual respect, acknowledging differences, and finding common ground on important issues without signing up for any political or religious position. We ask that all participants show grace toward each other.”
Doron Keidar, one of the organizers and the executive director of Cry for Zion, has high hopes for the event.
“This is like the first Zionist conference which brought people together to talk about their hopes and dreams for a Jewish state,” Keidar told Breaking Israel News. “That led to the establishment of the modern state of Israel. We are bringing people together to talk about the Temple Mount. It is pretty clear what can come from this.”
Rabbi Tuly Weisz, head of Israel365, addressed the crowd, emphasizing that it was powerfully appropriate for such a gathering to be held during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
“Many Jewish holidays are about ‘they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat,’” Weisz jokingly told the crowd. “But Hanukkah is different. The Greeks did not want to kill us. The focal point of the holiday is about the non-Jews preventing the Jews from connecting to the Torah and about the Greeks defiling the temple. It is entirely appropriate to join in with Christians who have come to Israel to honor the Temple, the Torah, and the Jewish people.”
“If you were the Gentiles back then, there would never have been a need for Hanukkah,” Rabbi Weisz concluded.
The conference focused on a theory that is gaining popularity which claims that the Jewish Temples did not stand on the Temple Mount. According to the theory, both Temples were located further south in an area now recognized by archaeologists as the City of King David. This theory was most recently put forth in a series of books written by Bob Cornuke, a former police investigator with no training in archaeology. Cornuke has also proposed that the Ark of the Covenant was taken out of Solomon’s Temple and has been hidden away in a church in Ethiopia for hundreds of years.
Several of the speakers addressed this theory. Harry Moskoff, the author of the A.R.K. report, discussed the archaeological proof of the Temples’ location as well as the lack of proof for the theory’s claims.
Enarson believes the theory hides an insidious theological agenda.
“Rejecting the Temple Mount is the last stand of Replacement Theology,” Enarson explained to Breaking Israel News in an interview in April. “Replacement Theology, a belief that Christianity replaced Judaism in the covenant between Abraham and God, was a core tenet of Christianity. Subsequent to, and because of, the Holocaust, some mainstream Christian theologians and denominations have rejected Replacement Theology.”