U.S. Rabbis Debate Ancient Prophecy

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 17, 2000 | Go to article overview

U.S. Rabbis Debate Ancient Prophecy


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


American rabbis are debating the peace and security of Israel by looking at what an ancient biblical prophet might have said about Muslim shrines on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

One group of U.S. rabbis has said that a Muslim presence on the mount was implicit in the prophet Isaiah's vision of a "house of prayer for all nations."

The passage from Isaiah 55 often is used by Christians as well to speak of common worship by all believers in the God of Jesus.

But traditional Jewish rabbis say Isaiah should not be taken out of context when it comes to the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for Agudath Israel, an Orthodox group, said it is a "radical revisionist" view to say Isaiah was thinking of Muslim shrines when he spoke hundreds of years before Islam was founded.

The rabbi said the entire Isaiah phrase says, "for My house is a house of prayer for all people," suggesting that "My house" in Isaiah's time and in his future vision was the Jewish temple.

"The intent of the verse is that, with the arrival of the Messiah, the Jewish Holy Temple will . . . serve as a place for all of humankind to worship the one and only Creator," Rabbi Shafran said.

The Jewish temple atop the mount was destroyed in 70 A.D. by Roman legions.

The mount today is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, two Muslim shrines. The mount's Western Wall, at one time known as the "Wailing Wall," is where some Jews pray for return of the Messiah and for rebuilding of the temple above. …

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