• John Enarson

The Crazy Case of Denis Rohan



A new, anonymous group for Christian Temple Mount activism has emerged online, “TIIFTT.” Their rhetoric is vague and possibly even hints at violence, stating: “Our number one goal is to liberate the temple mount from all obstacles there may be. To achieve this goal, we’re taking action beyond the scenes to proper [sic] for the moment when we’re called upon to act and make a sacrifice for our cause” (intinitiative.com).

The group’s website has posted an Amazon link for a book (The Joy of the Whole Earth) written by one of Cry For Zion’s board members, Christian Bible teacher Lars Enarson.

Cry For Zion has no contact with this anonymous group and we want to make it clear that we are not affiliated in any way. We believe their insinuated tactics, if illegal or violent, are both wrong and condemnable. Furthermore, the book they linked to on their website supports nothing of the kind.

The goal of Cry For Zion is to support Israel’s full, legal sovereignty on the Temple Mount. We believe Christians should support, and stand in solidarity with, the Jewish people’s legitimate rights on their holiest place. Attempts by lone, misguided Christians from the outside to take violent matters into their own hands has no place in Israel. The Temple Mount is not a fringe issue for crazies. It is a legitimate issue of the fundamental rights of the Jewish people, on their holiest place, in their own capital.

The group’s vague insinuations could imply other actions, like civil disobedience. Legitimate civil disobedience, done in the right spirit by citizens of Israel, does play an honoured role in democratic society. We should all stand in solidarity with Jewish Israelis exercising such rights, like the examples of Yisrael Medad (see our video here) or Ari Abramowitz (see our video here). But we do not believe such civil disobedience is the place or role for Christians from other countries who do not have the rights of citizenship in Israel.


TIIFTT claims to be a “a brotherhood of brothers and sisters from all around the world” whose “brothers in arms” have been stopped at the Israeli border. In order to protect their "planned activities" to remove any and all obstacles on the Temple Mount, they decline to reveal who they are, even if they are Christian or Jewish, Israeli or not. It is even possible (though unlikely) that they are a false flag operation made to discredit legitimate Temple Mount activism. There is no way to know from their website.


One cannot help but be reminded of the case of Denis Rohan.


In 1969, a mentally insane Christian tourist from Australia named Denis Rohan, set fire to the large, elaborate pulpit of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. He claimed to be guided by the voice of God in his head. He apparently did it in order to clear space to personally rebuild the Temple on the spot he mistakenly thought was where the Temple stood. Muslim riots ensued as far away as in India and the incident became a weapon for anti-Israel propaganda which claimed Israel was behind the arson. Two days later, Rohan was arrested for the arson attack, was tried, found to be insane, and hospitalised in a mental institution.


Denis Rohan on trial in Jerusalem in 1969 (photo: Fritz Cohen/GPO).
Smoke over the Al-Aqsa Mosque from Rohan's arson in 1969 (photo credit: Jerusalem Post Archive, used under fair use norms).

Of course, hundreds of millions of Charismatic Christians believe that God speaks and guides people personally, but never in a way that would violate Scripture. Rohan seemed to be legitimately insane and clearly anti-biblical in his beliefs. He believed he was the messianic Branch of Zachariah who would rebuild the Temple himself. He would rule as king over Jerusalem and an Israeli woman he met volunteering on a kibbutz would be his queen. As is tragically all too common for Christians, he didn’t even know where the Temple actually stood (see our basic map). You can read one account of his dramatic story in The Jerusalem Post, “The man who torched al-Aksa Mosque.”

Rohan subscribed to a Christian magazine called The Plain Truth published by the Worldwide Church of God's (WCG) founder Herbert Armstrong. Rohan claimed to be partially inspired by one of Armstrong’s editorials which analyzed prophecy and current events in the wake of the Six Day War. Armstrong later commented that the media seemed to be making every effort to link him with the arsonist and to discredit his ministry work. He pointed out that the magazine had two million subscribers and that the publication was no more culpable for the lone actions of any subscriber than The New York Times was responsible for any acts committed by its subscribers.

The crazy actions of one mentally disturbed Christian severely hurt the cause of freedom for Jews on the Temple Mount. It also damaged Christian organisations discussing current events in the light of the Bible.

We should be passionate, even zealous, for what is right. But Rohan is a warning case for people pridefully assuming a role that is not theirs, and taking perverted actions that are not right.

Scripture does promise a future Temple in Jerusalem. But, that does not give anyone the right to pursue prophecies of the future by unjust means. "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 16:20).

Israel has the historical, legal, and sovereign rights to the Temple Mount. May the Jewish State of Israel exercise their sovereignty, guaranteeing Jewish rights on their most holy place. May we soon see the flag of Israel fly in the heart of her capital.


John Enarson

Christian Relations Director

Cry For Zion

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