The Church of the Pentecost is historically linked to Irish missionaries and “it exists to bring all people everywhere to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the gospel, the planting of churches and the equipping of believers for every God-glorifying service…”
Properly welcoming tourists of other faiths into Ir Hakodesh and into Eretz Yisrael surely doesn’t warrant this shameful display. That it hangs over us at a time of year when we’ve been remembering tragedies associated with avodah zarah (strange worship), among other sins, and on the eve of our commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, is distressing.
According to Rambam, it is “the principal object of the Torah and the axis round which it turns, to blot out these opinions [pertaining to avodah zarah] from man's heart and make the existence of idolatry impossible.”(Page 320, Guide for the Perplexed).
For the Jew, Christianity is an irrefutable form of idolatry.
But Israeli tourism minister, Stas Misezhnikov, is no Jewish scholar and he sees evangelical Christians as “much more than just tourists”:
“You are not the guests. You are partners. It’s also – the Holy Land – also belongs to you.”
Jesus- friendly banners in Jerusalem may be the least of our problems. Three new deluxe resorts celebrating the Galilee as the center of Christianity are being built on prime real estate. The Galilean, Migdal Arbel, and Magdala Center promise to thrill evangelical and Roman Catholic alike.
Maybe, in a very twisted sort of way, the Muslims and their violence and animosity towards us have saved us from ourselves. Had they been kind to us Jews – like the evangelicals - we would have given it all away.
And so it’s Erev Tisha’b’Av, and our Temple Mount remains in Muslim hands –guarded by angels of death with fiery swords. But at least the original builders of that golden dome – despite the religious upheaval of the time and their recognition of jesus as a prophet had the good sense to inscribe on the walls of their mosque an utter reaffirmation of the oneness of G-d, and an absolute denial of the trinity, jesus as a deity, and the concept of shituf.
Perhaps once we Jews fully absorb and understand the connection to avodah zarah and exile, then the keys to the Temple will, once again, be in our hands.
Have a meaningful Fast.