Thursday, March 29, 2018
Good Friday, Passover, Billy Graham, Donald Trump, the Third Temple, and the Millennium
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, HAS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE THIS YEAR. It is Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified, and it is the beginning of Passover. There is much in common about Good Friday and Passover. And, there is much predicted about how the Jewish and Christian people will come together at the last days. • • • GOOD FRIDAY. The events of the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Easter are recorded in all the Gospels. The history told by Saint Mark begins with the Last Supper when Jesus and the Twelve Disciples celebrated Passover, at Mark 14:12-26 (New International Version) : "On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me -- one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?” “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." Saint Mark tells of the Crucifixion at Mark 15:21-41 (NIV) : "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there." • • • THE TEARING OF THE TEMPLE VEIL. In the site "What Christians Want to Know," Jack Wellman writes about the significance for Christians of the tearing of the Temple curtain, or veil, at the death of Jesus. Wellman describes the Temple veil : "The veil was a long, woven curtain that was purple, scarlet and blue. This curtain or veil was for the purpose of separating the Most Holy Place which held the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. Sitting on top of the Ark was a gold lid. This was the place for the propitiation of sins by the sprinkling of the innocent sacrifice’s blood. Only the High Priest could enter this Most Holy Place and only then, once a year on the Day of Atonement....the Temple veil protected humans from death. The veil was a symbol of the separation of God from sinful mankind. It marked the boundary between God’s pure holiness and the wickedness of mankind. It was not possible to go beyond the veil because our sins have separated us from a Holy God. The profane and the Holy can not be joined together. Jesus died at the moment that the sacrifice for Passover was held. At that same time that Jesus breathed His last breath, the Temple veil was rent. The veil’s being torn, by God Himself, symbolized the fact that mankind’s separation from God had been removed by Jesus’ supreme sacrifice at Calvary. Since Jesus was without blemish, without sin, and kept the Law perfectly for us, His death was the propitiation or satisfaction of the wrath of God against humanities sins. Isaiah 59:2 declares that “your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear you.” Now that Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice was given, we now have access to the very throne of God. Before, He would not even hear us, not to mention allow us to approach Him." • Wellman describes the Temple veil : "It was not a small curtain like you see in some movies. The veil was 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, and was four inches thick. The veil was so massive and heavy that it took 300 priests to manipulate it. An important point here is that no one could simply tear the veil themselves. It would take more than human strength to tear it....It had to be done by God alone and that’s the point. No one can remove our separation from God but God Himself (Isaiah 59:2)....Since Jesus’ death atoned for our sins, Jesus’ sacrifice allowed for the veil to be torn and thus, the separation between God and man was able to be removed." • Wellman says that it is no coincidence that the Temple sacrifices by Jewish Christians ceased that year and for the years to follow. Why? "The sacrifices were stopped because of Jesus’ offering of Himself....Hebrews chapter 10 reveals that no other sacrifices where given, at least by the Jewish Christians. Luke’s account of the birth and early history of the church in the Book of Acts never mentions any of the Christians continuing to sacrifice. They understood that the veil had been removed by Jesus’ offering on the cross and therefore, there was no further need to provide sacrifices, even at Passover or on the Day of Atonement." • • • PASSOVER. Passover is one of the most important Jewish holy days, marking the time when Moses led the Children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. The festival, Pesach in Hebrew, lasts seven days in Israel. It has been marked every year since about 1300 BC and involves ceremonial food, special prayers and the Passover Seder nights. • This year it begins at sundown on Friday, March 30 -- Christians' Good Friday -- and ends on April 7. • Israel Today, in discussing Passover, reported on Monday that 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 Moslems claim as their own, even as they deny the holy site holds any religious or historical significance for the Jewish people. Last year, the Passover sacrifice was conducted in the courtyard of the nearby Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, some 450 yards from the Temple Mount. This year, it will take place at the Davidson Center, an archaeological park situated at the southern foot of the sacred plateau, and just below the Al Aqsa Mosque." • The story of Passover is told in the Book of Exodus. The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 210 years. God promised he would release them from slavery, but not before Pharaoh had refused their release and God had visited ten plagues on Egypt to demonstrate his power. (Exodus 3: 19-20) The first nine plagues were : the Plague of Blood -- God turned the water of the River Nile into blood so that the fish died and the water stank. All the water in Egypt was turned into blood // the Plague of Frogs -- Egypt was overrun with frogs in beds, in ovens, and frogs jumping on people. // the Plague of Lice -- Dust was turned into lice which crawled on people and animals. // the Plague of Flies -- Swarms of flies arrived in Egypt and poured into Pharaoh's palace, the houses of his officials, and all over the land. // the Plague on Livestock -- All animals belonging to the Egyptians died - horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep and goats. // the Plague of Boils -- Festering boils broke out on the Egyptian people and their livestock. // the Plague of Hail -- The worst hailstorm ever to hit Egypt struck, beating down crops growing in the fields and even killing people and animals caught in it. // the Plague of Locusts: A swarm of locusts settled in Egypt and devoured anything left growing after the hail. // the Plague of Darkness -- Egypt became totally dark for three days. The plagues only affected the Egyptians. The Israelites were unaffected. And then came the tenth and worst Plague -- an avenging angel would go from house to house killing every first-born son. Israelite children would not be killed and thus God would show that they were his chosen people. So that the angel would know which houses were Israelite homes, the Children of Israel were to follow very specific instructions -- each household was to take an unblemished, male lamb, look after it, and slaughter it at twilight four days later. Blood from the lamb was to be brushed on the door frames. This would tell the avenging angel that it was an Israelite home and to 'pass over.' Then the families were to roast the lamb and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Every bit of the lamb had to be eaten and any remaining bones burned. The Israelites were to perform this ritual dressed for a journey. At midnight every Egyptian firstborn -- from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the prisoner in his cell -- and even of the livestock -- was struck down by the angel. The Egyptians were terrified and demanded Pharaoh banish the Israelites there and then. Pharaoh summoned Moses and ordered him to get his people out of Egypt immediately. The Egyptians were so glad to see the back of the Israelites that they gave them silver and gold and other valuables to encourage them to go. The Israelites took their unleavened dough with them -- they hadn't had time to add the yeast -- and lived on this for the first few days of their Exodus. • • • RELIGIOUS CHRISTIANS AND JEWS TODAY. Israel Today wrote on Thursday that : "US President Donald Trump's unabashed support for the Jewish state and his public recognition of Jerusalem as its capital have many Israelis electrified. The current American leader's positive attitude toward Israel seems nearly illogical, especially after decades of far more hostile trends. A prominent Israeli rabbi believes the reason for this unprecedented shift is that Trump has a big role to play in the building of the Third Temple and the coming of Messiah. Rabbi Yosef Berger is the rabbi in charge of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, and the son of a widely revered Hasidic leader. In remarks to Breaking Israel News, Rabbi Berger cited a medieval rabbinical source that predicted that while the first two Temples were built by Israel, the third would be built by the "descendants of Edom," a phrase that in some later rabbinical literature is a euphemism for the Christian world. This is so that the Christians, and the ancient peoples they have come to represent in rabbinical thought, can make restitution for millennia of wrongdoing toward the Children of Israel. Rabbi Berger explained : 'No leader in history has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews and Israel. [Trump] has already created a great tikkun (reparation) for the Christians through his unprecedented relationship with Jerusalem. Trump is the representative of Edom that will perform that final historic reparation for his entire nation by building the Temple.' " • Breaking Israel News calls itself the "Latest News. Biblical Perspective." On February 26, it published an account by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz of the death of the Reverend Billy Graham. Berkowitz wrote : "Strangely and unexpectedly, Reverend Billy Graham will be buried on the upcoming Purim festival, a Jewish holiday that signaled the hidden beginnings of a redemption process that culminated in the building of the Second Hebrew Temple. Reverend Graham’s pioneering of a new framework for Jewish-Christian relations based on not proselytizing to Jews was revolutionary, changing a millennium of difficult interactions between the two religions. This was expressed by Reverend Graham himself in his description of his first visit to Israel in 1960 at the behest of his friend, former US President Dwight Eisenhower. 'When I first took a preaching tour of Israel, I stayed with Mrs. Golda Meir, who was then foreign secretary, and promised her that I was not there to proselytize,' Graham wrote of that trip. 'Rather, I was there to thank the Jewish people for proselytizing me.' Rabbi Tuly Weisz, director of Israel365 and publisher of Breaking Israel News, believes that Reverend Graham was a revolutionary in relating to Jews and Judaism in this manner. 'This approach by Reverend Graham’s went contrary to his background as an Evangelical,' Rabbi Weisz told Breaking Israel News. Rabbi Weisz touches upon this in an op-ed titled, ‘Billy Graham and the Topsy-Turvy Holiday of Purim,’ [later published] in the Jerusalem Post. In the editorial, Rabbi Weisz writes that 'Graham was one of the first Christian leaders to publicly acknowledge the debt of gratitude owed toward Judaism and to move Evangelicals away from evangelizing Jews.' Tommy Waller, the founder of 'Hayovel,' an organization that brings Christian volunteers to work in the vineyards of Samaria, never met Reverend Graham but views him as one of the pioneers of the evangelical Christian movement that his organization is part of. In particular, Waller agrees with Rabbi Weisz that the Reverend Graham’s positive relationship with the Jews was a revolution in the Christian world. 'Reverend Graham had a huge respect for the Jewish people and Jewish identity,' Waller told Breaking Israel News. 'There was a gospel that if you agree with Christianity, then you can be saved. This was exemplified in the Inquisition and a lot of Christians still operate from this assumption.' Waller believes that the state of Israel was an essential factor in bringing about this revolutionary change in the perception that many Christians have of the Jewish people. 'The change in Christianity happened when we witnessed Israel become a nation in 1947 and we realized we were seeing God move outside of Christian dogma,' Waller explained. 'Billy Graham obviously saw this as prophecy being revealed through Israel.' 'Christianity disconnected from prophecy and Jerusalem but this is beginning to change,' he continued. 'When Christians agree that God placed his name on the Temple and Jerusalem, then we can walk together.' • Reverend Billy Graham’s prophetic vision of Jerusalem and the Jewish Third Temple was illustrated in a story told in the book, “A Day in the Life of Billy Graham : Living the Message,” written by Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober. The Strobers related how, during a visit at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, the Reverend Graham arrived in Jerusalem where he was led on a tour of the city by then-Mayor Teddy Kollek. Prior to his visit, Graham had read in evangelical publications that many Israelis wanted to build a third Temple and pressing Kolleck about the subject, Graham asked if there were such plans in the works. “We have absolutely no interest in constructing another Temple,” Kolleck had responded. “We feel that the wall is enough of a sacred place to provide a focus for Jewish spiritual observance.” • In his op-ed, Rabbi Weisz referenced analyses of Jewish commentators on the Book of Esther to connect Reverend Graham’s revolutionary relationship with the Jews to the way many gentiles in the Persian empire looked at Jews by the end of the Purim story. And in every province and in every city, when the king’s command and decree arrived, there was gladness and joy among the Yehudim, a feast and a holiday. And many of the people of the land professed to be Yehudim (mityahadim), for the fear of the Yehudim had fallen upon them. Esther 8:17 “Bible commentators debate the meaning of mityahadim, which comes from the same Hebrew word Yehudim, referring to the Jews,” Rabbi Weisz wrote. “[Some commentators] explain that the local gentiles...developed fondness towards the Jews. Mordechai went from being an outcast to a respected leader, and those who were anti-Semites earlier became our allies at the end of the story.” • Ultimately, Graham’s burial on the day that Purim was celebrated in Jerusalem, could not be more timely. He envisioned the rebuilding of the Hebrew Temple and Jerusalem, and Purim was the beginning of the process that led to the building of the Second Temple. Moreover, as the Purim story took place in the 70th year of Babylonian exile, Graham’s passing happens to occur not just before Purim but on the 70th year since Israel’s rebirth. • • • WILL THERE BE A THIRD TEMPLE? This is often discussed these days because there is great interest in the "Last Days" -- when the Second Coming will announce the biblical Millennium of a thousand years of peace on Earth. • The founder of the Lamb and Lion Ministries is Dr. David R. Reagan, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas, with graduate degrees in the field of International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy of Tufts and Harvard Universities, and the former Director of Pepperdine University’s Center for International Business in Los Angeles, wrote an article before the election of President Trump, about the Third Temple from the Christian viewpoint. Dr. Reagan says : "The Bible clearly teaches that a new Temple -- which will be called The Third Temple -- will be built in the future. The First Temple was the one that Solomon built and which was destroyed in 586 BC. The Second Temple (516 BC to 70 AD) was built after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. The platform on which it sat was greatly expanded and beautified by King Herod, as was the Temple itself, but since the sacrifices were never stopped during this renovation and expansion, the new Temple was still considered to be The Second Temple. The Third Temple will exist during the Great Tribulation. Daniel refers to this Temple when he says that “the prince who is to come” (the Antichrist) will enter it and stop the sacrifices in the middle of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27). The Apostle Paul mentions it when he declares that the “man of lawlessness” will profane the Temple by entering it and declaring himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The Third Temple is also mentioned in the book of Revelation when John is told to measure it -- a symbolic way of telling him to assess its spiritual condition (Revelation 11:1-2)." • But, Dr. Reagan says the obstacle to the building of the Third Temple is the attitude of the Jewish people and their leaders...[they] know that any attempt to build a third Temple would result in immediate war with the Moslems. Only a handful of ultra-Orthodox Jews have a passion for The Third Temple. They are the ones who have made all the preparations. But they have no popular support. Something will have to happen to create a surge of nationalistic pride that will demand a new Temple. This catalytic event could be the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant. There is a distinct possibility that the ancient Temples were not located where the Dome of the Rock currently sits. There is strong evidence that their location was to the north of the Dome and that the sacrificial altar inside the Dome was the one that Solomon built in 'the middle of the court' to handle the thousands of special sacrifices which he offered to the Lord on the day The First Temple was dedicated (2 Chronicles 7:7). If that is so, then The Third Temple could be built north of the Dome of the Rock, putting the Dome in the Court of the Gentiles. This may well be the solution the Antichrist will come up with when he negotiates a peace between the Jews and the Arabs (Daniel 9:27)." Dr. Reagan summarizes : "There is definitely going to be a third Temple. It will most likely be erected at the beginning of the Tribulation in the form of a tent Temple, like the Tabernacle of Moses. A more permanent structure will then be built around and above it. The Antichrist will desecrate this Temple in the middle of the Tribulation. The Third Temple will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus. The great earthquake at that time will radically change the topography of Jerusalem and all the earth (Revelation 6:12-17). In Jerusalem it will result in the provision of a very large level area where the Millennial Temple will be constructed. This is the Temple from which Jesus will reign over all the earth. It is described in detail in Ezekiel 40-46." • • • BUILDING THE THIRD TEMPLE HAS SUPPORT. The Times of Israel wrote on Thursday that Jews must abide by strict rules when visiting the Temple Mount, the site where the First and Second Holy Temples once stood, located above and behind the Western Wall in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City. Although the area is under Israeli sovereignty, the Mount -- known to Moslems as Haram al-Sharif -- is controlled by the Islamic Wakf, a joint Palestinian-Jordanian religious body. As the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, whose golden dome overlooks the city, the Temple Mount attracts daily crowds of Moslem worshipers. • But when Rabbi Chaim Richman -- the international director of the Temple Institute, an organization based in the Old City with the singular goal of rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem -- stands only feet from the Dome of the Rock, surrounded by Moslem visitors, he whispers a chapter of Psalms : “God will answer you on your day of trouble. The name of the God of Jacob will protect you.” On previous visits to the mount, Richman says he’s sung the entire Hallel prayer under his breath. A frequent presence on the Mount who knows the guards by name, Richman says : "Our goal is to fulfill the commandment of ‘They shall make a Temple for me and I will dwell among them.’ ” Richman is quoting Exodus. “ • Following the Second Temple’s destruction in 70 CE, most rabbis adopted the position that Jewish law prohibits reconstructing the Holy Temple prior to the age of messianic redemption, or that the law is too ambiguous and that the messiah must come first. The Temple Institute takes a different position. Richman says : “There are no Jewish legal barriers to rebuilding the Temple." The institute isn’t shy about advocating what many see as a radical goal : replacing the mosque at the Dome of the Rock with a new Jewish Holy Temple. A painting in the Institute’s exhibition depicts this scenario, with the city’s light rail line taking residents to the Temple Mount. The Temple Institute is dedicated to laying the groundwork for this vision. The organization has formulated a program for where the temple will stand and what its vessels will look like, aided by 20 men who study Temple law full-time. The Institute’s crowning achievement -- the Temple’s golden, 200-pound, seven-branch menorah -- stands outside in a case overlooking the Western Wall. Unlike art or history museums, the Institute’s goal is to remove the objects from their cases and bring them to the mount for use as soon as possible. • The Times of Israel says : "Many Israelis view the goal as a danger to the status quo that has kept this site holy to Moslems and Jews from turning into a tinderbox. In 1984, Israel’s security services stopped a group of Jewish terrorists conspiring to blow up the mosque at the Mount who reportedly got very close to achieving their goal. Ever since, authorities say they have kept a close watch on any attempts to disturb the peace on the Mount. Though observant Jews pray thrice daily in the Amidah prayer for the Temple to be rebuilt, few do anything about it. That’s as it should be, says Michael Melchior, an Orthodox rabbi and former Knesset member who is considered a religious moderate. Melchior says : "“We pray for holiness, but we also need to be careful of others’ desire for holiness. The moment you want to translate that into building a Temple, you upset the sensitive balance we’ve created here, by which we exist here.” He called Temple construction advocates “irresponsible.” • Given the obstacles to breaking ground on a Holy Temple, the Institute also has taken up a more modest cause : expanding Jewish rights on the Temple Mount to allow unrestricted access and prayer. In that endeavor, Richman is joined by several right-wing Knesset members and a group of archaeologists who say the Wakf is reckless with archaeological remains at the site. Eilat Mazar, a Hebrew University archaeologist, said of the site : “It has exceptional historical importance. There needs to be access for everyone. Authorities don’t take care of it.” Moshe Feiglin, a nationalist Likud Knesset member, made a practice of visiting the Temple Mount monthly until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned him from the site in order to prevent provocations there. Last month, Feiglin wrote on Facebook : “Whoever turns his back on the Temple Mount is also giving up on construction in the city.” Richman says support for the Institute’s goals is growing. For him, the issue involves far more than politics, archaeology or even Jewish legal research. The Temple Institute, he says, is doing God’s work. For Richman : “The point is that we can’t live without the Temple. It’s not about building, it’s about a concept: the idea that all of human experience can be elevated to a sense of divine purpose.” • • • A THIRD TEMPLE COIN. Israel Today published an article on February 26 reporting that : "One of the various Israeli groups preparing for the building of the Third Temple has issued a half shekel Temple tax coin featuring the images of Persian's King Cyrus and US President Donald Trump. Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to the Land of Israel following their captivity in Babylon, and facilitated construction of the Second Temple. The Hamikdah Betzion (The Temple in Zion) organization believes that Trump's December 6 declaration recognizing Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem set him on a similar path. Professor Hillel Weiss, chairman of the group, told Israel National News : "This is a historic act for which the Jewish people is grateful." But, Weiss cautioned that Trump must not stop now if God's full blessing on his administration is to be bestowed : "The Trump Declaration must continue with a declaration of the role of the Jews in establishing the Temple in its place. Only then will President Trump's international ambitions come true in the Middle East." • The newly minted coin featuring President Trump and King Cyrus on the front, and a stylized image of the Third Temple on the obverse, has been featured in media around the world, graphically illustrating that support for the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount is now a global phenomenon that is transcending political and religious boundaries. There were 1,000 of the coins minted in the hope that the message on the coin that calls out to the US President to support the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount, would resonate with enough people to cover the total expense of the coins. They offered the coins to the public for a minimum donation of $50, and the response has exceeded all their expectations. The story about the coin, which quickly became a sensation in the Israeli press and was followed by stories in the New York Times, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, and other major international media. The organizers are also being interviewed by the Swedish, British, and Chinese press. Mordechai Persoff who established the Mikdash Educational Center, told Breaking Israel News : “This goes beyond political boundaries.” Persoff said they have begun shipping coins to Hong Kong, Ireland, Poland, China, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Belgium, although most of the orders have been from the United States. Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, was surprised by the overwhelming response, but the message was clear to him : Support for the Third Temple is growing : “This is enormously popular among America’s friends and very unpopular among the people who hate America." • • • DEAR READERS, for well over a decade, the Palestinian Authority has gotten away with using a significant portion of the international foreign aid it receives to encourage terrorist violence against Israelis, despite the fact that the various peace agreements that the Palestinian Authority has signed with Israel obligate it to cease all such incitement. The reason for this intolerable situation was that the international community was too afraid of upsetting the delicate Israeli-Arab peace process, and so turned a blind eye to the Palestinian leadership's violations. But, President Trump has no such fears. Trump recently signed into law a congressional bill that includes the so-called "Taylor Force Act," which slashes hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops giving part of that money to Palestinian terrorists and their families. Killing Jews has become a lucrative career in the Palestinian-controlled territories, with the Palestinian Authority providing to the families of jailed and deceased terrorists stipends that far outstrip the average monthly household income. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the Trump Administration for finally righting this wrong, and thereby putting the peace process back on a solid foundation. Netanyahu's statement read : "The Taylor Force Act is designed to deny to the Palestinian Authority hundreds of millions of dollars that they invest in encouraging terrorism and lavish on terrorist families and the murderers themselves. I think that this is a very powerful signal from the US, which is changing the rules. It is unwilling to accept the truth of the past or, I should say, the lies of the past, and live with them. It is simply exposing lie after lie and is standing up on truth after truth. I congratulate the American Congress and President Trump for these decisions." • The Taylor Force Act is named after an American student and retired US Army officer who was stabbed and killed by a Palestinian terrorist while strolling the Jaffa promenade south of Tel Aviv during a visit to Israel in 2016. • Good Friday, Passover, and Easter on Sunday have come together this year as Americans and Israelis work to bring peace to the Middle East. Added to this is the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the growing interest in building the Third Temple. Religious Christians and Jews see these actions as signs of the completion of this era and the Second Coming and beginning of the Millenium of peace. • All this is something to think about as we celebrate the major Christian and Jewish religious events that begin this weekend.