The Flashpoint: Mount Moriah, Golgotha, and Islam
March 29, 2012
BY: John Barnett
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As we open to II Chronicles 6, always remember that God has had His eye one very special piece of property for a long time.
• It is the spot that God's Word tells us in Genesis 14 that the mysterious Biblical character named Melchisadek lived; who was called the King of Righteousness, and lived in this place then called Salem or “the city of peace”. We know so little about this mysterious figure from the Scriptures (he just may have been the oldest son of Noah named Shem) but we do know that is was on that spot he lived; and
• It is the spot that God sent Abraham to when he brought Isaac his son to be an offering in Genesis 22; and
• It is also the spot where David’s sacrifice stopped the angel of Death (I Chronicles 21) and the purchased ground where Solomon built the Temple. But most of all,
• It is the same spot where God Himself took human flesh, suffered, bled, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven.
• It is also the spot where 50 days later the Church was born on Pentecost.
• It is finally the spot to which Jesus will return when He comes as Israel’s Messiah to save them, end the Tribulation, and usher in the Millennial Kingdom.
That spot is Jerusalem, and more specifically the ridge of a mountain called Moriah.
Jerusalem: Center of Redemptive History
So according to the Bible, Jerusalem is the center of redemptive history; and Jerusalem is also the place where human history will end. All of that is attached to just this one spot, in one city called Jerusalem.
Amazingly, Roman Catholic, Moslem, and Jewish theologians all agree on one thing—it is Jerusalem that also in their tradition, marks the creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Although the Bible does not specify the exact physical spot where God began the universe, they all believe that Jerusalem is the center of God’s start of the Universe; and as His Word does tell us for sure—the end happens here also.
That is why the holiest spot on earth to Roman Catholics is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over the spot where Christ's blood ran down the Cross, into the rocks, and reached Adam’s grave below the ground in Jerusalem. Although the Church is on the right spot, and Christ's blood did run down to the rocks, the Scriptures never say that Adam was buried on that spot, the Roman Church tradition added that idea.
So if Jerusalem is the ending point for God, the flashpoint that when the final siege of the Jews in Jerusalem prompts His coming in fiery indignation as Paul says, to pour out God’s wrath of all who come against the God of the people of that city—what exactly draws Him to this place?
And what should draw us to keep our prayers focused on what God is doing there in Jerusalem? As we are instructed in Psalms “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (122:6). Why does God have such an attachment to Jerusalem?
Yes, it is all because from God’s perspective, in all of the Universe Moriah, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount’s 40 acres are “ground zero” of His end of days return. Moriah is also the place of His greatest work of all. Redemption was prefigured, and then accomplished on the very spot, not only of Jerusalem, but exactly on the area that is now the Temple Mount.
Just as God sent Abraham there to the ridge of Moriah in Genesis 22 to prefigure Christ's death; and later He paid the price of redemption by the blood of His Son on this ridge; so in the future He will come to claim this spot from all usurpers.
We have come to the 11th of 12 promises God made with Israel, that He will continue to fulfill literally.
11. THE TEMPLE: God has Focused On 40 acres of Land
From God's Word we can see just a glimpse of how important Jerusalem, and the region of Mt. Moriah is to the Lord.
• Melchisadek was at Jerusalem Genesis 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “ Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
• The Abraham & Isaac Mountain was Moriah Genesis 22:1-2 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
• God Promised a Place He had for the Temple Deuteronomy 12:10-14 But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, 11 then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD. 12 And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; 14 but in the place which the LORD chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
• David bought the Temple Mount 1 Chronicles 21:16-29 Then David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 And David said to God, “Was it not I who commanded the people to be numbered? I am the one who has sinned and done evil indeed; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.” 18 Therefore, the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at the word of Gad, which he had spoken in the name of the LORD. 20 Now Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves, but Ornan continued threshing wheat. 21 So David came to Ornan, and Ornan looked and saw David. And he went out from the threshing floor, and bowed before David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the LORD. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” 23 But Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.” 24 Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” 25 So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place. 26 And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering. 27 So the LORD commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath. 28 At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of the burnt offering, which Moses had made in the wilderness, were at that time at the high place in Gibeon.
• Solomon’s Temple was on Moriah 2 Chronicles 3:1-2 Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2 And he began to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign.
• Jerusalem was chosen by God 2 Chronicles 6:5-11 ‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. 6 Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’ 7 Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 8 But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart. 9 Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.’ 10 So the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke, and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised; and I have built the temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 11 And there I have put the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD which He made with the children of Israel.”
• Jerusalem is Ground Zero for the End of Days Zechariah 12:8-10 In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
• Jerusalem is Ground Zero for the End of Days Zechariah 14:1-9 Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. 5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You. 6 It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish. 7 It shall be one day Which is known to the LORD—Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light. 8 And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. 9 And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—“ The LORD is one,” And His name one.
• Jesus foresaw a Tribulation Temple in Jerusalem Matthew 24:15-17 15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet (11:31; 12:11), standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
• Jesus said Jerusalem is the Focal Point of Prophecy Luke 21:24-27 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
• Paul foresaw a Temple at Jerusalem in the Tribulation II Thessalonians 2:1-5 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
• John foresaw a Temple at Jerusalem in the Tribulation Revelation 11:1-3 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Ground Zero: The Flashpoint
These 40 acres are only a short distance from Calvary itself. This spot, holy to the Jews and to God, is Jerusalem! And, amazingly, this one spot is the only spot in Jerusalem still controlled by Gentiles.
Modern Orthodox Jews hold an amazing conception of the Temple Mount platform, Mt. Moriah, and here is what they say:
Since then the Muslim authorities have increasingly denied that the Temple Mount has any biblical significance other than to the Muslims. Azzam Khatib, director of the Islamic Trust that sees itself as the safeguard of the Muslim sites on the temple Mount denied that the hat the site was once home to the First and Second Jewish Temples, calling such claims unsubstantiated myths. He explained that when the Muslims first arrived in Jerusalem 1,400 years ago, the Temple Mount area was barren and empty, and no hard evidence of previous structures exist, making any non-Muslim claims to the mount mere speculation.
As a result Khatib declared that any non-Muslim "who seeks to pray on the mount is really seeking a religious war who further insisted that the Temple Mount is an exclusively Muslim site and that Jews and Christians should not even want to pray there.
As Israel witnessed recently a mini uprising that was fomented by local and international Islamic movements has fizzled out for now. Yet we can expect that we will soon see it rear its ugly head again with even more passion. The battle lines are being drawn and the major portion of the world has set its eyes on this city and on that Holy mount.
Recently The US State Department said Sunday that the future status of Jerusalem could only be determined through negotiations. In a response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's proclamation that Jerusalem would always remain under Israeli sovereignty they said that “Jerusalem is a final status issue. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resolve its status during negotiations. We will support their efforts to reach agreements on all final status issues,". The United States and the World cannot countenance a Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty.
It is on Mount Moriah that the Arabs have built their famous mosques, the second most holy place in the Muslim world. The Jews, for political or other reasons, have not yet dared to expel the Arabs from this site, raze it, and proceed to rebuild their temple, as they surely desire to do.
As we look at some of the intriguing details of prophecy that we discover the Temple Mount’s control may be the exceedingly slender thread, that continues the Biblical period known in God's Word as the "times of the Gentiles".
As the Lord Jesus said, "One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18). God declared Israel His nation would have a future agenda in God’s plan: In this context, we come to a remarkable prophecy made by Jesus Christ:
"And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
Since the word "fulfilled" is the same word in the Greek as "finished," this prophecy clearly means that the times of Gentile world-rule will be ended when Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is no longer under Gentile control.
Jerusalem is the Powder Keg
At the time Zechariah uttered this prophecy 2500 years ago, Jerusalem lay in ruins and was surrounded by wilderness. And so it remained century after century. Zechariah's prophecy seemed to be utter madness even after Israel's rebirth in 1948. Yet today, exactly as foretold, a world of nearly 6 billion people has its eyes upon Jerusalem, fearful that the next world war, if it breaks out, will be fought over that tiny city. What an incredible fulfillment of prophecy! The United States would be well advised to heed or at least read the words of the prophet Zachariah:
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would try to heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it." (Zechariah 12:2-3 KJV)
So according to the Bible, Jerusalem is the center of redemptive history; and Jerusalem is also the place where human history will end. All of that is attached to just this one spot, in one city called Jerusalem. God says that Jerusalem belongs to Him, don’t divide it, don’t harm my people or I will harm you!
And God always keeps His Word.
We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, which is a prayer for Christ's return to right all wrongs, and set up His Kingdom!
Series: What’s Next Miracle Israel
This may be one of the most important studies we have ever undertaken, so feel free to trace these points and verses in your Bibles as we go along!
1. JEWS: God promised Abraham: descendants who would the chosen people of God; and property for them with clearly defined boundaries in Genesis 12:1; 13:15; 15:7, 18-21. Genesis 15:7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” He renewed that promise to Abraham's son Isaac (Genesis 26:3-5), to his grandson Jacob (Genesis 28:13), and to their descendants after them forever (Leviticus 25:46; Joshua 14:9; etc.).
2. PASSOVER: God promised Moses that He would Divinely bring His chosen people of destiny to the Promised Land. Exodus 6:7-8 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.
3. ISRAEL: God stakes His future reputation on people He identified as His chosen people of destiny, the Jews, the descendents of Abraham, and He named them Israel. Deuteronomy 7:6-7 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;
4. CAPTIVITY: God promised to judge His chosen people of destiny if they forgot Him in the Promised Land. 2 Chronicles 7:20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.
5. DIASPORA: God promised to scatter His unfaithful but chosen people of destiny from the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 28:64 Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.
6. ANTI-SEMETISM: God promised a curse upon His unfaithful but chosen people of destiny as they wandered the world without their Promised Land. Deuteronomy 28:37 You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the LORD will drive you.
7. CHASTENED: God promised to chasten His unfaithful but chosen people of destiny. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations (Hosea 9:17).
8. PRESERVATION: God promised to preserve His chosen people of destiny from annihilation. Jeremiah 30:11 "I am with you and will save you," declares the LORD. "Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished."
9. REGATHERED: God promised to re-gather His chosen people of destiny back to the Promised Land. Ezekiel 36:24, 35 ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”
So, how has God kept the first 9 promises? He fulfilled them exactly as He promised, literally. God gave Abraham a son through the succeeding generations, countless descendents; and God took them out Egypt and literally into the Promised Land; and God conquered a literal physical Land for them by fighting alongside of them; and God delivered them into literal captivity among their enemies; and God saw that the Jews were literally displaced, enslaved, sold, and scattered to the ends of the earth from The Promised Land across the Middle East, by caravan to Asia and Africa, and by boat to Europe and America. There is almost no spot on earth that Jews could not be found; and God allowed vicious, literal prejudice and hatred to be poured out on the Jews ever since, in every land they have settled in; and God has made them feel after a while persecuted, unsettled, insecure, and homeless in every land; and God has kept them from literal extermination, from planned Holocausts, and has not allowed them to go extinct; and God has stirred their hearts, gathered them bit-by-bit back into their geographic Land, and has allowed them for the first time in 2600 years to have their own sovereignty over literal territorial boundaries.
10. ARMAGEDDON/BUDENSOME STONE: God promised to make His chosen people of destiny a source of fear for the whole world when they get back to the Promised Land in unbelief. God declared that in the last days before the Messiah's second coming, Jerusalem would become "a cup of trembling…a burdensome stone for all people" (Zechariah 12:2,3).
11. THE TEMPLE: God has focused on 40 acres of land: As Solomon built the temple (1200x800 foot Temple Mount), God said: "I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there" (2 Chronicles 6:6). But long before this, God had first spoken through Moses: "There shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD" (Deuteronomy 12:11). Where is ground zero: This place was not just any place in Jerusalem; it was an exact spot, chosen by God. It was on Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1) Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. The spot which God told David to purchase from Ornan the Jebusite and to set up the altar there (1 Chronicles 21:18) Therefore, the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. This was the same spot where Abraham had, almost a thousand years before, prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:2) Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” These 40 acres are only a short distance from Calvary itself. This spot, to the Jews and to God, is Jerusalem! And, amazingly, this one spot is the only spot in Jerusalem still controlled by Gentiles. It is on Mount Moriah that the Arabs have built their famous Dome-of-the-Rock, the second most holy place in the Muslim world. The Jews, for political or other reasons, have not yet dared to expel the Arabs from this site, raze it, and proceed to rebuild their temple, as they surely desire to do. It is apparently by this exceedingly slender thread, therefore, that the "times of the Gentiles" are still suspended. As the Lord Jesus said, "One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18).
12. FUTURE PLANS: God declared Israel, His Nation, would have a future agenda in God’s plan: In this context, we come to a remarkable prophecy made by Jesus Christ:
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
Since the word "fulfilled" is the same word in the Greek as "finished," this prophecy clearly means that the times of Gentile world-rule will be ended when Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile control. But this can only be accomplished when Christ returns to banish the Gentile nations from Jerusalem and to establish His own world-kingdom capital there. Thus, the restoration of Jerusalem to the chosen people is necessarily accompanied by the coming of their Messiah to reign there.
This is also clearly indicated in Zechariah 12-14 as well as other Scriptures.
God prophesied israel his nation would have a Future agenda in God’s plan: In this context, we come to a remarkable prophecy made by Jesus Christ: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). Since the word "fulfilled" is the same word in the Greek as "finished," this prophecy clearly means that the times of Gentile world-rule will be ended when Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile control. But this can only be accomplished when Christ returns to banish the Gentile nations from Jerusalem and to establish His own world-kingdom capital there. Thus, the restoration of Jerusalem to the chosen people is necessarily accompanied by the coming of their Messiah to reign there. This is also clearly indicated in Zechariah 12-14 as well as other Scriptures. What does God say specifically? This may be one of the most important studies we have ever undertaken, so feel free to trace these points and verses in your Bibles as we go along!
God has focused on 40 acres of land: As Solomon built the temple (1200x800 foot Temple Mount), God said: "I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there" (2 Chronicles 6:6). But long before this, God had first spoken through Moses: "There shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD" (Deuteronomy 12:11).