In Genesis 22, we read the story of the sacrifice of Isaac where Moriah (mo-ree-yah) is mentioned first. The Hebrew word means seen of God. Now God said for Moses to go to "the land of Moriah" -- not Mount Moriah -- to a place He would show him. Then He tells Moses to offer up his only son as a burnt offering on one of the mountains.
Several crucial things happen in this story that happened more than 1,500 years before Jesus, God's only begotten Son, went to the cross.
When Isaac points out they had the fire and the wood, and then asks but where was the sacrifice, Abraham has one of the sweetests replies to a son in the Bible:
Genesis 22:8 "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering."
More than 1,500 years later, God did precisely that for the whole world, and that sarifice didn't come into the world to condemn it, but so that the world through Him might be saved! (John 3:17)
Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it will be seen.
About halfway between Moses and Jesus God raised up King David. We read all about this generational river in Matthew 1. God predestined where the Temple would be built by consecrating it through Abraham's obedience in sacrifice.
The Targum which is the Aramaic translation/interpretation of the Torah and the Prophets states that the place David bought (the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite 1 Chronicles 21) to build the House of God was Mount Moriah, which we interpret to mean it was the place where Moses in meek obedience to God offered his son as a sacrifice. The fact that God provided the ram caught in the bushes illuminates two astounding treasures.
- God showed us that we are guilty of sin, and that guilt must be paid for with blood in order for forgiveness of that sin to ensue. Otherwise death is the only justified result of sin. Even children are guilty, and even children face the death sentence without God's intervention and Jesus' sacrifice.
- God had compassion over Abraham and Isaac. He provided a substitute to take the place of Isaac as sacrifice. God illustrated with a blinding light just how Jesus would be the Light of the world with His willing sacrifice.
So somehow that means that the Temple was built precisely on top of where Abraham built the sacrificial fire? Well... let's remember that Moriah was a mountain and we read of the Temple Mount. And let's remember that David bought a threshing floor. Remember why? 2 Samuel 24 gives the complete story, but David was full of himself and disobeyed God by doing a census. God told him because of his disobedience there would be severe consequences... and he got to choose which one would befall the people: 7 years of famine, 3 months of running from his enemies, or a plague that would devour the people of Israel. David chose to fall into the hand of God and not the hands of men through famine or his enemies.
This is important because David knew the heart of God, His compassion, and His justice. Truth and consequences to follow. That day that 70,000 people died from the plague sent by God David's heart was crushed. He begged God to put the calamity upon himself and his household (v. 17). But look at v. 16. God had already stayed the hand of the angel striking the people. I think it was because He foreknew David's repentent heart.
- God illustrated the guilt of man.
- But this time when God told David to offer the sacrifice, David told the owner he would never offer sacrifice that had cost him nothing. So he gave him fifty shekels of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen to sacrifice.
The temple was not built atop that threshing floor. We read in 1 Chronicles 21 that David gave Ornan 600 shekels for the whole place. The threshing floor was the place where the sacrifice was offered for remission of David's sin of disobedience. The Temple was built by Solomon adjacent to that.
Something amazing to note is that God chose the place of sacrifice. He showed Abraham precisely where to build his altar. He told David precisely where to build his altar. It was no happenstance where Jesus was sacrificed. God chose it. The reason why Golgatha is so important is because God planned it and chose it to be the place where the remission of the world's disobedience would take place. The perfect sacrifice and the only sacrifice that would satisfy God had to take place upon the very place that He had illustrated the truth down through the ages.
The Bible states that they took Jesus outside the city walls for crucifixion. The place that tradition states is Golgotha. The threshing floor where the chaff is sifted out of the good grain leaving wholesome nutrition and seeds for future plantings. The foundational place that God chose.
Today, no one really knows for sure where Golgatha is. If they did, then history illustrates that people would worship the rock instead of the Rock.
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