OK! This is just too cool! I don’t have enough time to really flesh this thought out but here’s my best attempt…
I was reading in 1 Chronicles 21 this morning picking up where I left off from yesterday’s reading. Because of David’s sin of numbering the men who could fight in his army (probably it was the sin of trusting in his own military might rather than the might of the Lord), God sent a plague upon the Israelites and 70,000 men died.
We are told where the angel of death stopped as the Lord relented of the calamity He had brought upon the people. Listen to 1 Chronicles 21:15 – “And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw, and he relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, ‘It is enough; now stay your hand.’ And the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
King David rushed to that very sight and spoke with Ornan. Listen to what he said: “And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the LORD - give it to me at its full price - that the plague may be averted from the people.” So, it was at that site that David built and altar so that the plague that led to death was stopped because of the slaughter of an innocent animal upon the altar.
Hold that thought.
Fast forward to 2 Chronicles 3. In this chapter, we read that Solomon was about the work of building the temple of God. But, 2 Chronicles 3:1 gives us the exact street address of the temple. Listen: “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” Did you get that?! The temple was built at the very place that David had offered up the sacrifice to stop the plague that led to death. How incredible is that?
But, we’re not finished.
It is in that last verse that we get another piece of information regarding the location of the temple. It was in Jerusalem, of course. But it also mentions that it was on Mount Moriah. Does that ring a bell? Think Genesis 22. Remember the story of how God told Abraham to take his son to a predetermined location and offer him as a sacrifice (Also remember that Isaac never died. That was never God’s intent. God wanted to kill Abraham’s self-life, not Isaac.). Remember how instead of Isaac, God provided a lamb to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place? Where did this happen? Read Genesis 22:1-2 – “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” One of the “mountains” in “the land of Moriah.” It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to believe that this was the same sight that David offered a sacrifice to avert death and Solomon built a temple where sacrifices were offered to push back sin and death.
But fast forward to the Gospels. Where was Jesus condemned to death as our substitute? Where was he pronounced "guilty" before he made His way to Golgotha? It was in the temple ... on the sight where throughout history, God had provided a sacrificial animal/Lamb to take the place of the guilty.
Is it, therefore, any wonder why the temple mountain in Jerusalem is so precious? It was Ground Zero where the death of a substitute was offered so that the guilty could go free!