Monday, March 21, 2016

Temple Mount- Jerusalem

Temple Mount- Jerusalem
On our third trip to Israel 
we finally got permission to visit this site.

The Temple Mount is built on Mount Moriah, 
the famous mountain where Abraham 
offered his son, Isaac, 
as a sacrifice to God. 
Isaac was spared when God provided the sacrifice.
This famous mountain lends its name 
to the entire mountain range running north 
to south between the Kidron Valley 
and Mount of Olives (to the East).
This was once the Tyropean Valley 
and Mount Zion (to the West).
Layers of rubble from Jerusalem's 
many destructions have completely
 filled in the Tyropean Valley.
Originally, The Jebusites took up residence 
on the southern slope of Mount Moriah 
above the Gihon Spring. 
When David became king, 
he fought for and took the site 
and renamed it the "City of David" 
and made it the capital city of his monarchy.
The Northern area of the mountain's summit 
remained the private threshing floor of Araunah, 
the city's former Jebusite king. 
Late in his reign as King of Israel,
 David erred grievously in the sight
 of the Lord by ordering a census to be taken.
2 Samuel 24:10- 1 Chronicles 21:1-8
As part of his repentance, David purchased the property,
 as well as several oxen, 
from Araunah for 600 shekels of gold. 
David then erected an altar
 and offered sacrifices there.
It was David's intent to someday build a temple 
to the Lord on this property. 
However God chose Solomon for this task instead. 
The last days of David's reign 
were spent gathering resources 
for his son Solomon to build a magnificent building 
to house God's glory. 
In 1015 BC the Temple of Solomon was built on the site.
It incorporated the spectacular rock
 at the top of Mount Moriah.

Solomon used dirt from the temple construction
 to fill in this east-west lateral rift on Mount Moriah
 so that he could build his own palace 
on an area that separate the summit of the mountain
 and the Temple from the city below. 
When Solomon's Temple 
was destroyed by the Babylonians, 
rebuilt the Second Temple on this same site. 
Later, it was enlarge by Herod in 19 BC 
and renamed Herod's Temple. 
This was where Jesus often taught 
during his ministry in Jerusalem. 
Herod's Temple was demolished in 70 AD 
by the Romans as a result of the Jewish rebellion.
At Temple Mount-Daughter Jessica 
and son-in-law Daniel on our tour.
Connie and daughter Jessica
Connie and husband John---
standing the appropriate distance apart 
so that the guards don't come and make you separate.
No Touching! 
can certainly be heard on Temple Mount. 
To respect the site it is important 
that men and women do not touch-
 an influence of the Muslim culture that manages this site.
The Heinitz- Murphy family 
that joined our Israel trip- Dec- 2016.
The young folks that joined our tour Dec 2016.

In 1315 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian 
began construction of a new city, Aelia Capitolina, 
upon the ruins of old Jerusalem. 
Hadrian built a temple to Jove, the Greek god Jupiter, 
on the site of the destroyed Jewish temple. 
But this temple was demolished by the Byzantines 
after the empire became Christian
 under Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD).
In 638 AD, six years after the death of Muhammad, 
Jerusalem ws captured by the Muslims. 
Soon after occupying the city, Caliph Umar 
cleanses the Temple Mount and built a small mosque
 dedicated to Muslim worship. 
Later, in an effort to create a worship center 
that rivaled the architecture of the nearby
 Christian Church of the Sepulchre, 
the Muslims decided to build 
a more impressive building. 
The site chosen was the same sacred rock
 where the Jewish temples had stood. 
This was based on a story in the Koran 
linking the Prophet Muhammed 
with Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
This story is called "The Night Journey" 
and is found in the seventh Sura of the Koran.
 It tells of a mystic journey where Muhammed 
was taken by the Archangel Gabriel on a winged horse 
to Mt. Sinai, Bethlehem,
 to finally land on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. 
There they encountered Abraham, Moses, 
Jesus and other prophets 
whom Muhammad led in prayers.
According to the account, 
Gabriel then escorted Muhammad 
to the pinnacle of the rock on the Temple Mount 
where Muhammad ascended through the 
seven heavens into the presence of Allah. 
Following this divine meeting, 
Muhammad flew back to Mecca with Gabriel.

From Temple Mount you can see 
the cross of Redeemer Lutheran Church.
 This highlights the story of the juxtaposition 
of the cultures 
and religions that mark Jerusalem.
The spectacular gold-topped mosque commemorating
 this dream was called the dome of the rock
 and was completed in 691 AD. 
It covers the huge rock where the altar 
of burnt offering stood. 
In fact, several channels are etched 
into the rock and a large room 
has been cut out beneath it.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism,
 which regards it as the place 
where God's divine presence
 is manifested 
more than in any other place. 
According to the rabbinic sages whose debates 
produced the Talmud
it was from here the world expanded
 into its present form and where God
 gathered the dust used to create 
the first human, Adam.
Temple Mount is known to Muslims 
as the Haram esh-Sharif.
In light of the dual claims 
of both Judaism and Islam, 
it is one of the most contested 
religious sites in the world. 
Since the Crusades, the Muslim community 
of Jerusalem has managed the site as a Waqf,
 without interruption. 
As the site is part of the Old City, 
controlled by Israel since 1967, 
both Israel and the Palestinian authority
 claim sovereignty over it,
 and it remains a major focal point 
of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 
In an attempt to keep the status quo, 
the Israeli government enforces 
a controversial ban on prayer by non-Muslims.

The controversy and tension 
that surround Temple Mount 
leads to strong feelings of who 
"owns or controls" the site. 
Permission to visit for Christian tourists
 is often on the whim of the Muslim officials. 
Our guide told us to not expect to ever get access 
and then if it happened it would be a great surprise. 
Good advice when visiting Jerusalem.
This Holy Week reflection time 
helps us to understand a bit of the political 
struggle in the works in the time of Jesus.
and also afirms that all the strife 
and tension in leadership
 church and in state is "nothing new under the sun."

Information - 
Temple Mount Wikipedia 
and the Imagine Tours Travel Guide.


  1. There were a lot of interesting facts I got from this blog. I am fairly new to the Christian world. But I am so excited to read this passage.

    1. thanks Lindsay- if you check out the posts from March and April 2014 - there are many that highlight the visit to the Holy Land there


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