The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is central to Israel's history since it was called Mt. Moriah, and was the place where Abraham proved his faith in God by his willingness to sacrifice his Isaac (but the Lord provided a substitute sacrifice). It was purchased by King David as the site for the Temple. Of course, his son, King Solomon actually built the Temple.
Solomon quaried the stones for the Temple from the northern and western portions of the range. The hill of Golgotha was part of the range before the rock was cut away, leaving a scene that looked like a skull. It was on this portion of the sacred range that Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world!
Jesus had predicted that the Temple of his day, restored by King Herod, and probably the most glorious structure of the world in those days, would be utterly destroyed. This prophecy was fulfilled less than 40 years later by the Roman army under the direction of Titus.
Hundreds of years later Muhammed claimed to have ascended to heaven and back from the Temple Mount, so the site became the third-most-holy place to Muslims. It was conquered by Muslims during the Crusades, who built the "Mosque of Omar," which now has a gold-covered dome. It was taken back by Crusaders, who used it as a church, and was finally left in disrepair.
During the Six-day War of 1967 the Israelis took control of all of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, but their General, Moshe Dyan, allowed the Muslim Waqif (an Islamic trust) to control the area to hopefully avoid a major religious backlash. This action was misunderstood by those who were willfully ignorant of the history or the site. They claim that it has always been their property and that the Jewish claims to the area are fabricated. Today the true history of the Temple Mount and its future use are the most sensitive issues in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
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(Maintained by Lambert Dolphin, Jim Milligan, and Michael Kollen)
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