This place is special?
But, maybe you don’t know the Biblical story of this site, the place where the Temple once resided.
Stay with me as I unpack some Bible passages. I believe that when you arrive at the end of this post, you will have seen a fascinating truth in Scripture that you won’t soon forget.
Let’s start with a video of the Temple Mount that I took while standing on an observation sidewalk on the Mount of Olives.
Let’s begin with King David. In 2 Samuel 24, we read how he ordered a numbering of his army. This may not sound bad on it’s face but it was sinful in the Lord’s eyes because David was essentially building his confidence on his military might, not the Lord’s strength. So, the Lord administered judgment – a death angel was killing tens of thousands of Israelites
2 Samuel 24:15–16 “So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men. And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people, ‘It is enough; now stay your hand.’ And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
If you read the following verses, it becomes obvious that David knew what to do to stop the judgment. A sacrifice must be offered to appease the Lord’s wrath.
2 Samuel 24:18–25 “And Gad came that day to David and said to him, ‘Go up, raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.’ So David went up at Gad’s word, as the Lord commanded. And when Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming on toward him. And Araunah went out and paid homage to the king with his face to the ground. And Araunah said, ‘Why has my lord the king come to his servant?’ David said, ‘To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be averted from the people.’ Then Araunah said to David, ‘Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.’ And Araunah said to the king, ‘May the Lord your God accept you.’ But the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.”
Verse 25 makes it clear that prayers were now being answered. But what was it about this act of worship that appeased God’s wrath and brought His favor? It was the sacrificial blood of the ox that was sacrificed as a substitute for David’s guilt.
But, there is more to this story. Much more!
1 Chronicles 21:18–19 “Now the angel of the Lord had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. So David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord.”
Here, Araunah is called Ornan, an alternate name of some sort.
Hold onto that piece of trivia. Araunah is also called Ornan.
2 Chronicles 3:1 “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
Did you get that?! It’s incredible!
The place that God stopped the death angel in David’s lifetime was the place where the Lord’s Temple would be built in Solomon’s lifetime.
And just as it was a place where a sacrifice would bring God’s righteous judgment to a halt when David had sinned, it would eventually be the place where thousands upon thousands of sacrificial animals would be brought to the Jerusalem temple to bring the sinner back into right standing with God.
But, wait, it doesn’t end there. If you look back at 2 Chronicles 3:1, you will notice that the Temple was built on Mount Moriah.
That’s significant(!) because something massive happened there many, many years before the time of David and Solomon.
Genesis 22:1–2 “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take 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.”
But, God never intended for Isaac to be sacrificed.
Genesis 22:11–14 “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.'”
So, what mountain in the land of Moriah did Abraham end up on? What place did he build the altar to sacrifice his one and only son of promise? On what mountain did God bring that sacrifice to an end before it even started and provided a substitute to die in Isaac’s place?
I don’t think it takes much of an imagination to say that it was the very mountain that God’s wrath was stopped by a sacrifice in David’s time and then at the Temple in Solomon’s time.
That spot, where the Jerusalem Temple once rested, is sacred to the Jews. It is the place where sin is atoned for by the death of an innocent animal who takes the place of the guilty sinner.
As we were in the walls of Herod’s fortress today, our tour guide pointed to a couple of reasons she thought the Temple Mount was important to the Jews.
But, though she is a very nice person, she is not a believer in Jesus. So, I asked if I could take a few minutes to explain why the Temple Mount was so important.
I was rushed but essentially said what I have presented in this post. The video picks up after I pointed out that Abraham was spared the life of his son by the sacrifice of the animal caught in the bushes.