By Dr. Don Bierle, FaithSearch President
Author’s Note: The following article is written in first person as if the Mount itself were capable of a personal response.
Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah.2 Chronicles 3:1
It’s been an incredible ride! I’m humbled by the God-ordained events which I’ve borne on my slopes, but I’m still waiting for the “big” one (more about that later). Yes, I’m Mount Moriah, home of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – itself the size of twenty football fields, nearly 145 acres.
The action started 4,000 years ago when God sent the patriarch Abraham here with his son Isaac:
Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.Genesis 22:2
That was a grim affair – until God stepped in (vv. 11-12). God took one of the rams which roam around here, and provided a substitute sacrifice so that Abraham’s son Isaac could live. Furthermore, Abraham’s faith was rewarded with God’s promise that he would be the future father of many, like the very stars of the sky (vv. 16-17).
There was one part of what God said to Abraham which I didn’t at first understand: “And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (v. 18). Actually, it was 2,000 years later that “I finally got it.”
At that time Herod the Great was spending forty-six years building an awesome temple for the Jews right here on my back, so they could sacrifice many lambs for the atonement of sins according to the Law. But the word around here was that the prophet John the Baptist had introduced a newcomer by the name of Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). I got to know Him a bit because He came by here often. He was unusual to say the least. Within a couple of years His profound words and miraculous acts made Him the center of everyone’s attention (Mark 1:45).
Then suddenly I found myself hosting His crucifixion, death, and burial (Luke 23:33-34, 46, 53). It was not a pleasant experience. As difficult as that was to endure, it was not the end of the story. A couple of days later I experienced a rude shaking (Matthew 28:2) and the tomb I provided for Him burst open – and Jesus was gone. Resurrected, I found out later (Mark 16:6).
Little by little I began to piece it all together. I remembered that Abraham, in his gratefulness, gave me the name, the place where “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14). The ram which God provided to spare Abraham’s son physically on my hillside, foreshadowed the Lamb (Jesus) whom God provided at the same place 2,000 years later, so that Abraham’s descendants by faith could live.
The apostle Paul, whom I knew well from his many visits to the temple, clarified the puzzle I had about God’s statement to Abraham:
Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand then that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the Gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.Galatians 3:6-9, NIV
By the way, did I mention that “the angel of the Lord” who was here with Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:11, 15) was none other than the preincarnate Son of God, Jesus Himself. I heard Him say to Abraham, “…now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (v. 12). Then two thousand years later I heard that same Jesus say, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He knew all along what He planned to do!
I can’t get into all my experiences. I’ve had three temples built on me in a thousand-year period (that Nehemiah was quite a builder!). David was commanded to place an altar to the Lord right here (1 Chronicles 21:18) – and Jesus attended (vv. 12, 15-16, 18, 30). Sadly, I witnessed their destruction as well.
What about that “big” one I mentioned? Well, Jesus, who was around here many times, returned to heaven on a cloud (Acts 1:9). I just caught a glimpse of it because it took place just across the Kidron Valley on my sister, the Mount of Olives. Two men in white – angels, you know – said, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (v. 11). The rightful king is coming back! In His kingdom there will be no more tears, or death, or mourning, or crying, or pain (Revelation 21:3-4). I’m looking up because I’ll have a pretty good view of it from here.
“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him…”Revelation 1:7