Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Temple Mount

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem holds special meaning to the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is a sacred place shared by all three but for different reasons. For thousands of years millions have used the common ground for worship.

Judaism holds the Temple Mount as sacred because they view it as the location God chose for Divine Presence to rest. It is also the location of Abraham's binding of Isaac where Abraham offered to sacrifice his son to God before an angel stopped him. It was also the site of two temples. The First Temple was built by King Solomon and completed in 957 BC but was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The Second Temple constructed with permission of King Cyrus the Great of Persia and was completed in 515 BC but was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. There is still hope for a Third Temple on the site one day. The location is still the holiest site in Judaism and Jews turn in that direction during prayer.

The Temple Mount is sacred for Christianity because it is where Jesus Christ preached and healed. He had spent time in the Second Temple over the years as he was raised practicing Judaism. Jesus had referred the Temple as "his Father's house" which makes the site sacred for Christians. Jesus was crucified at Golgotha which was about a half mile East of the Temple Mount. The location is still one of meditation, prayer, worship and study for Christians.

Islam views the Temple Mount as sacred because it was the location of important events of the Prophet Mohammad. About 621 AD Mohammed traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem in a night journey or isra. After his physical journey he had a spiritual one where he ascended to Heaven where Allah or God shared the principles of Islam with him. His ascension was known as mi'raj. For 4 years until 625 Jerusalem was the first direction of prayer for Muslims. Then it was changed to Mecca. The Dome of the Rock is a Muslim shrine completed in 691 at the location Mohammed ascended to Heaven. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is also on Temple Mount and was originally built in 705 and was rebuilt three times in 754, 780 and 1033. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. The Temple Mount is under Muslim control today.

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