This is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever.
- Ezekiel 43:7
When it comes to Bible prophecy, Israel sits at the geographical center, with Jerusalem hosting a bulk of prophetic events. But center stage, located in Jerusalem's Old City, is the Temple Mount. This thirty-seven acre plot of land is where Jesus will sit to rule the nations when He returns to establish His Kingdom.
It's for this reason that sovereignty over the site is so violently contested. This is holy war (on earth as it is in heaven), and the powers and principalities, along with their human agents, refuse to give up the high ground. But their time is running out. The King is coming.
The Mount Of The Lord
The significance of Mt. Moriah is made evident as far back as Genesis. This small hill located in the Judean mountains is the place where God tested Abraham, instructing him to offer his son as a sacrifice. As a result of Abraham's faith, God provided His own sacrifice, permanently attaching Messianic significance to the location. (1)
Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
- Genesis 22:14
Four centuries later, Moses cemented it as the focal point of the coming Kingdom, the place where the Lord would rule for all eternity. But it wasn't until a Judean king acquired a threshing floor at its summit that this vision would begin to become a reality. (2)
Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in 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.
- 2nd Chronicles 3:1
Shortly thereafter, King Solomon would build the Temple over this threshing floor, where it would stand for over three centuries before being destroyed by the Babylonians. The Temple would eventually be rebuilt, only to be destroyed again in the 1st century AD.
The Mount of Muhammad?
After the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem in 637, several structures were built on the site of the former Jewish Temple, most notably the Dome of the Rock, a shrine commemorating the location where, according toIslamic tradition, the prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven after recording the Quran. (3)
But there's a major problem with this view, even from an Islamic perspective. The Quran never mentions Jerusalem as the location of this event, instead saying Mohammed ascended at 'Al Aqsa,' meaning ‘the farthest mosque.' But the Al Aqsa mosque wasn't built until 695, over eighty years after Mohammed's alleged ascension. How could he have gone to a mosque that didn't yet exist? (4)
Even more curious is the Dome of the spirits, an Islamic shrine with scant historical record. Sitting to the north of the Dome of the Rock, this small shrine is built over the remains of what appears to be a threshing floor. The pock marked surface, actual bedrock, is a tell tale sign. To date, no solid reason has been presented by the Islamic world as to why this shrine exists. (5)
Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east… And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east.
- Ezekiel 43:1-4
Enemy At The Gates
That the Eastern Gate is significant is an understatement. Not only is this the gate that Jesus entered through during His triumphal entry, but according to Scripture, He'll do it again when He returns to inherit the throne. But one look at the Eastern Gate and you'll notice something that separates it from all the other gates on the Mount. (6)
It's sealed shut.
In a dramatic fulfillment of prophecy, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ordered the gate to be sealed with stone after the walls of Jerusalem were renovated in 1537. While no official reason was given, it’s commonly believed this was an attempt to prevent the Jewish Messiah's return. (7)
But there's more. Biblical prerequisites require that the Eastern Gate be directly in line with the Temple. The Dome of the spirits meets this prerequisite with striking accuracy. Could it be that the threshing floor underneath the Dome of the spirits is the threshing floor purchased by David?
In his book, The Temple Revealed, author Christian Widener presents even more compelling evidence that this is indeed the site of the former Jewish Temple. Special thanks are in order to Dr. Widener for allowing me to use a few pictures from his book. It's a great read! (8)
All things considered, it's evident that a strategic attempt to erase Jewish history from the site was made by the Islamic rulers during their thirteen hundred year reign in Jerusalem. They even had a cemetery built outside the Eastern Gate, an apparent slight towards the God of Israel.
And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name… by the corpses of their kings when they die, by setting their threshold by My threshold and their door post beside My door post…
- Ezekiel 43:7-8
The Boys Are Back In Town
When the Jewish people repatriated the land of Israel in 1948, Arab fighters rushed in to Jerusalem to prevent the city from being taken over. And even though Israel was able to reestablish their nation, it wouldn't be until 1967 when Jerusalem was back under Israeli control, the first time in almost nineteen hundred years. Jacob was back.
Rightly understanding the hornet’s nest they had just stirred up, and not wanting to further endanger their fledgling nation, Israel quickly ceded jurisdiction of the Temple Mount to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a religious counsel governing local holy sites. The “status quo” was thereby established, banning Jewish activity on the Mount.
But over the last decade, a dramatic shift has taken place. Israeli police are regularly seen escorting Jewish visitors around the Mount to pray. In light of the Abraham Accords, as well as warming relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia (the custodians of the two holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina), it's clear that the times they are a-changin'.
Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations.
- Revelation 11:1-2
A Split Decision
Scripture is clear that the Temple will be rebuilt before the return of the Lord. In the Revelation, the apostle John receives a vision of the Temple's construction. What's interesting is that he appears to be alluding to a shared Temple Mount. If John's Temple were built in alignment with the Eastern Gate, it would appear as shown below.
A common objection is that a rebuilt Temple would elicit an apocalyptic reaction from the Islamic world. But that's precisely the point. The rebuilt Temple will elicit an apocalyptic reaction from the Islamic world. The premier sign of the 70th week (the final seven years) is the destruction of the Temple and the ceasing of sacrifices.
The prophet Daniel tells us that the sacrificial system will resume exactly 2,300 days before the conclusion of the 70th week. This would be about eight months into the final seven years. Daniel also tells us the Temple will be destroyed halfway through the 70th week, which means this Temple will have a lifespan just shy of three years. (9)
How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it.
- Isaiah 63:18
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the signs leading up to His return, He directed them to Daniel, specifically the desolation of the Temple, and by inference, the recently rebuilt Temple. (Let the reader understand.) The practical aspect is this: If you are alive when the Temple is rebuilt, you are living in the final seven years of this age.
So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates.
- Matthew 24:33
When Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom, there will be another resurrection; the resurrection of His faithful followers. Except this time, the stone won't be rolled away. It will be shattered into pieces, as Jesus breaks through the Eastern Gate to take His rightful place on the throne of David.
Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!
- Psalm 24:7
(1) Genesis 22:1-14
(2) Exodus 15:17-18; 2nd Samuel 24:18-25; 1st Chronicles 21:18-30, & 22:1; 2nd Chronicles 3:1
(6) Ezekiel 10:18-19, 43:1-5, Matthew 21:1-7
(7) Ezekiel 44:1-2, http://www.jewishhistorytimeline.com/timeline/1537-ce-suleiman/
(9) Daniel 8:11-14, 9:27, 11:31; Isaiah 63:18; Matthew 24:15,21; Revelation 11:1-2
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