Plus: Ahmadinejad in Sudan to forge alliance

By Joel C. Rosenberg

(Washington, D.C., March 1, 2007) -- It's been nearly 2,000 years since Jews celebrated Passover at the Temple in Jerusalem, but that will change soon if a growing Orthodox Jewish movement in Israel has its way.

"The present-day Sanhedrin Court decided Tuesday to purchase a herd of sheep for ritual sacrifice at the site of the Temple on the eve of Passover, conditions on the Temple Mount permitting," the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday.

"The modern Sanhedrin was established several years ago and is headed by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. It claims to be renewing the ancient Jewish high court, which existed until roughly 1600 years ago, and meets once a week. Professor Hillel Weiss, a member of the Sanhedrin, told Haaretz on Tuesday that the action, even if merely symbolic, is designed to demonstrate in a way that is obvious to all that the expectation of Temple rituals will resume is real, and not just talk. Several years ago, a number of members of the various Temple movements performed a symbolic sacrifice on Givat Hananya, which overlooks the Temple Mount from Jerusalem's Abu Tur neighborhood. During the ceremony, participants sacrificed a young goat that was donated by a resident of Tekoa. The participants also built a special two-meter tall oven, in accordance with halakha (Jewish law).The Passover sacrifice is considered a simple ceremony, relative to other works performed in the Temple."

Numerous Biblical prophecies in the Old and New Testaments indicate a new Temple will be built in the "last days," suggesting such headlines have been foretold for centuries. Several Orthodox Jewish groups in Israel are currently making preparations to build and outfit the Third Temple. Some are developing detailed architectural plans for the structure, while others are creating the religious implements and clothing that would be used by Levitical priests to carry out sacrifices once the Temple is in place. Tensions over control of the Temple Mount are running high at the moment, with Palestinians rioting several weeks ago to keep Israelis from building a ramp so visitors can safely access the ancient holy site.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in Khartoum on a two-day state visit to forge a military and economic alliance between Iran and Sudan, to denounce Israeli Jews as children of the Devil and to denounce the United States for trying to plant "seeds of sectarian discord" throughout Iraq and the Middle East.

"Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan," Ahmadinejad told a meeting of Islamic scholars. The Iranian leader also told the people of Sudan: "There is no place in the world that suffers from divisions and wars unless America or the Zionists' fingerprints are seen there."

Ahmadinejad met with Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir "to hold wide-ranging talks aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation in agriculture and industry that should culminate Thursday with the signing of a package of agreements," reports Agence France Presse. "Iran has also offered its expertise in the oil industry, an area currently dominated by China, India and Malaysia," but the "issue that has also been at the heart of Iran-Sudan ties is military cooperation, with Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein having visited Iran three times over the past year."

Ahmadinejad also made known his opposition to U.N. peacekeeping forces being positioned in Sudan to end the genocide underway in the Darfur region and elsewhere. "Iran -- together with China, whose President Hu Jintao visited Khartoum earlier this month -- is a key ally of Beshir's regime and spoken out against plans for a UN deployment in Darfur," reports AFP.

It's bad enough, of course, that two radical Islamic countries are forging ever stronger ties in their jihad against Judeo-Christian civilization. But what is particularly curious about the emergence of an even stronger Iran-Sudan alliance this week is that it was foretold 2,500 years ago by the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39. Ezekiel 38:5 tells us that "Persia" and a people group known as "Cush" will be allies with Russia and a group of other Middle Eastern countries in an effort to destroy Israel in what Bible scholars refer to as the "War of Gog and Magog." Until 1935, Persia was the official, legal name of the country we now know as Iran. "Cush" is the upper Nile region that today is Sudan and Ethiopia.

One other interesting note: right after the Hebrew prophet describes this "War of Gog and Magog" in Ezekiel 38-39, he goes on to describe the rebuilt Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in Ezekiel 40-48.

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