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Footprint of People of God on Mount Moriah

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26 September 2023

It is a common thing to talk about the footprint, but in fact, feet do not always make a lasting imprint on the ground, especially on a concrete surface. This saying is always attributed to the exceptional deed of a man that made a lasting impression that was practically impossible to forget. When a man managed the grace that God bestowed upon him diligently, excellently and in righteousness in such a way that glory was given to God, it is said of the person that his deed had made a footprint on earth. For instance, the construction of the Ark of Noah was the footprint of Noah and the God pleasing faithfulness of Abraham was his footprint. The same were the remarkable and insightful activities of the generation of Abraham on Mount Moriah. Perhaps you may be wondering and ask, “what is so remarkable about Mount Moriah?” Mount Moriah is one of the priceless pieces of land in Jerusalem, the city of God. It is the most contentious piece of land between the two nations of Israel and Palestine from the generations of Abraham that had been divided by their two important religions in the world. We will elaborate more on this below.

ABRAHAM BUILT AN ALTAR ON MOUNT MORIAH

At the onset of the calling of Abraham, he humbly yielded to the commandment of God and embark on his journey following the directives of the Most High God.  This was the time when prayer had not been known to be one of the important aspects of the relationship of man with God. The first stopping point of Abraham in the land of Canaan, God appeared unto Him there. Abraham had the insight of building an altar of worship for God to commemorate the grace. “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:6-7) 

“Some scholars also identify it [Moriah] with Moreh, the location near Shechem at which Abraham built an altar, according to Genesis 12:6. Hence a number of scholars believe that Moriah refers to a hill near Shechem, supporting the Samaritan belief that the near-sacrifice of Isaac occurred on Mount Gerizim – a location near Shechem.”[1]

ABRAHAM OBEYED GOD’S COMMANDMENT ON MOUNT MORIAH

In Genesis chapter 12:2-3, God called Abraham to embark on a journey with a promise that He will bless him, and all the people of the earth will be blessed through him. In Genesis chapter 15:18-21, God confirmed His promise unto Abraham with a covenant. In Genesis chapter 17:1, God demanded perfection from His Servant, saying, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” The perfection here is believed to be the combination of holiness, righteousness and upright character demanded from this exceptional patriarch. In the same chapter, Genesis 17:10-11, God commanded Abraham to circumcise his foreskin and all men in his household as token of his covenant. Abraham and Sarah, his wife were now very old, and they desired a child to be the heir of the covenant of God. In chapter 18:14 Abraham experienced the visitation of heavenly entourage. As he was entertaining them, God met the important need in the life of Abraham. He said to him, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Sarah became pregnant in her old age according to the prophetic utterance of the word of God and she begat Isaac. We can behold the consistent faithfulness of God in the life of Abraham. To whom much is given, much is expected. At the appointed time God tested the faith of Abraham. 

“Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (Genesis 22:1-2 NLT) It was a very difficult test judging from the fact that Abraham and Sarah waited so many years before the grace of the blessing of baby Isaac was extended to the family. As usual, Abraham did not think over the commandment of God.  He did not doubt the voice of God and say, Satan, I bind you.  He did not go back to God and plead whether God will change His mind. He instantly obeyed God. With Isaac, and some of Abraham servants, they set out on a journey to the place of the sacrifice. At a certain point on their journey, Abraham told the servants, “abide here, while himself and Isaac will go to sacrifice and come back.”  On their way to the place of the sacrifice, Isaac who was carrying the wood for the burnt offering, asked his father, Abraham, “Here is the fire and wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham answered, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.

On Mount Moriah, Abraham prepared the altar for the burnt offering. He bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar of burnt offering.  Isaac did not struggle with his father. Humility in perplexity of Isaac and obedience in turbulent faith of Abraham blended with his faith in God and he took knife and was about to slaughter Isaac, then a voice of an angel from heaven stopped him. “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”  Divine revelation came upon Abraham; he saw behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns, he took the ram and offered it for the burnt offering.

Perhaps you about to ask why God changed His mind, stopped Abraham and provided a ram in replacement of Isaac for the burnt offering. God did not change His mind. Please consider the scripture passage. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) The prophesy from the mouth of His servant, Abraham had gone forth, and the fulfilment thereof was made manifested. Consider these valid points from the scripture. 

  • Firstly, two prophetic utterances had gone out of the mouth of Abraham, the servant of God. He told the servants, “Abide here while himself and Isaac will go to sacrifice and come back.” Both of them came back to meet the servant according to the prophetic utterance of Abraham.
  • Secondly, Abraham answered his son when he asked for the lamb for the burnt offering, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” The scripture tells us in Habbakuk 2:4 “… the just shall live by his faith.” God watches faithful utterances from the mouth of His servants to confirm it with signs and wonders. God provided for the burnt offering according to the prophetic utterance of Abraham.
  • Thirdly, God only tested the faith of Abraham whether he will abide by the commandment of God. He did not change His mind like humanity. In Genesis 3:15, at the pronouncement of judgement upon satan who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” In this judgment, we can see clearly that Isaac did not fit in to the description of the seed of the woman. The Seed of the Woman is the name of Jesus Christ in the Book of Genesis. Also, in the prophetic utterance of Isaiah, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Again, Isaac did not fit in to the description of a “son that is born unto us and given unto us as sacrificial lamb.” Only Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary, through virgin conception, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) Only Jesus Christ is the entire Seed of the woman, born unto us, and given unto mankind as sacrificial lamb for the remission of our sins. The identifiable function and ministries of our Lord Jesus Christ were obviously clearly and broadly described by the verses above and nothing in the verses was attributable to Isaac in the scripture here.
  • Above all our Heavenly Father, is a Highly responsible Father, and the work of redemption of mankind is entirely His merciful project and responsibility. Unlike man, God does not amend his statutes and ordinances. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God is the only begotten Son of God not Isaac and He is the gift of our salvation. The Creator of the Heaven and Earth cannot shift this sacred and powerful responsibility to His creature because God Almighty alone is our sufficiency. “… but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Corinthian 3:5)

That was why Heaven was impressed with faithfulness of Abraham and the Angel called from heaven unto Abraham the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18) Because of the faithfulness of Abraham, God ratified and upgraded His covenant with Abraham by a sworn oath. God began with promise of blessing of Abraham at the onset of his calling. He later strengthened the promise with a covenant with him in chapter fifteen, and also demanded for a token of the covenant in chapter 17. The difference between covenant and oath is that covenant like a contract is only enforceable upon the fulfilment of performance of both parties, but a sworn oath is a guarantee of performance entirely on the part of the swearer of the oath. 

DAVID SACRIFICED TO GOD ON MOUNT MORIAH

About 855 years later after “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.” (1 Chronicles 21:1-4)

The scripture did not explain how Satan, the archenemy of man provoked David in the passage above.  All of a sudden, King David saw the reason why he should count the Israelites.  David did not asked the to bring him Urim and Tummim so that he could inquire from God what to do as his normal practice. He did not listen to the counsel of His servant, Joab. Close to about 1000 years after Abraham had encountered the mercy and divine intervention of God on Mount Moriah, the enemy was waiting patiently for the moment of vulnerability of the child of covenant in the lineage of Abraham to hinder the purposes of God concerning his life.  Firstly, no leader in his own wisdom ever ordered a census in Israel unless God gives an express directive.  If a leader should do so, there is a law that must be followed before census count of the people of God can be implemented. Failure to do so according to the will of God will result to the out-break of pestilence in the nation.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the Lord. Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the Lord. (Exodus 30:11-14)

“So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” (1 Chronicles 21:14-15)

  • When an abomination is committed, the trigger of judgment of God is pressed to unleash the consequence of the sinfulness, in accordance with the word of God that says, “… the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) The pestilence came upon the counted people who responded to the census procedure without the required ransom according to the law of God. Seventy thousands people died in Israel. We may say it was not the fault of the people that responded to the decree of the king, but ignorance is not an excuse in the law because the scripture is written for generality of people to obey.
  • Even in this complex situation, where David, the anointed king of Israel inadvertently sinned, he repented his sins and said unto God, “I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.” (I Chronicle 21:18) The innocent people who, in their integrity of good faith, yielded to the directive of the king for the census and thereby participated in obedience to the words of the king, the word of God says concerning them that the mercy of God endure forever. Even in their erroneous innocence and their ignorance, the mercy of God still prevailed because the Lord stopped the destruction of the people, “It is enough, stay now thine hand.”  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) That was why mercy of God prevailed over the judgement of the sin of David and the Lord stayed the hand of the angel with sword of destruction drawn over Jerusalem was stopped.
  • Above all these is the awesome plans of God and subsequent events that will take place upon Mount Moriah that had not been revealed unto humanity at the time of the provocation of enemy in the life of David. The purposeful plans of God and the laudable project that will later take place upon Mount Moriah had not been revealed then and the foundation of the precious real estate was not desecrated and defiled by the blood of the sinful people. “Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” (1 Chronicles 21:18)

“And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.” (1 Chronicles 21:24-27)

King David approached Ornan the Jebusite to purchase the threshing floor where he would build the altar of sacrifice unto the Lord.  Ornan offered to give the floor unto the King, but David insisted that he would not usurp the property of one of his subjects nor offer a burnt offering unto the Lord that does not cost him anything. This is a lesson to everyone that we must not use our lofty position to take advantage of the downtrodden people and dispossess them of their properties. We should endeavor to offer precious things unto the Lord as our services unto him. He humbly offered the burnt offering and peace offering and prayed unto the Lord, the mercy of God prevailed, and God answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering he offered in the threshing floor of Ornan on Mount Moriah. Obviously, God put an end to the provocation of the archenemy of God.

Everything that enemy intended for evil, God has a way of turning it around to reveal His glory. With this unique experience that God answered the prayer of David by fire on Mount Moriah, the eyes of the understanding of the king became opened. “And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.” It was like he was saying to himself, “I have an idea. If God can answer me on this mountain by fire, it will be a good thing to do for the glory of God if the temple of God can be built on the mountain. 

TEMPLE OF SOLOMON WAS BUILT ON MOUNT MORIAH

King David is noted for his thoughtfulness.  He had been pondering in his mind, that it was not proper that the Ark of God be placed in the tent at the outskirt of the city while, as a king, he was dwelling majestically in the paneled house of cedar. He challenged himself and said to himself, that a temple should be erected in the honor of God where the Ark of God should be placed.  It has been the desire of David to build a temple in the name of God.  “Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains. Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.” (2 Samuel 7:1-3) He discussed his glorious intention with Nathan the prophet who encouraged him to do according to his heart’s desires.  

“And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell.” (1 Chronicle 17:3-4)

And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom forever: and his throne shall be established for evermore. (1 Chronicle 17:11-14)

The message of Prophet Nathan was clear unto David, in addition, it was encouraging unto the King. The favor of Almighty God was still with the household of the king. This encouraged King David to make adequate preparation for all the temple resources ranging from costly physical materials like gold and precious metals as well as the human holy manpower and Temple workers that will be needed in the temple. In addition, David instructed King Solomon according to the spiritual revelation of the pattern and architectural designs of all specific parts of the temple according to the way the LORD made the king to understand in writing by His hand upon him, even all the pattern of the works of the temple.

Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD. Also, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.  All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. (1 Chronicle 28:11-13, 19)

David did not just give instructions of how the temple should be built to Solomon according to the prevailing architectural designs of his time.  The Spirit of the Living God guided him at every point of his decision making.  He received a directive of the Spirit of God as His mighty hands was upon the king about how the pattern and the architectural design for the temple should be.  Specifically, he received the pattern of the porch, the pattern of the two inner chambers the Holy and Holy of Holies, the place of the Mercy Seat, the pattern of Altar of Incense, the Table of Show Bread, the Menorah Lamps, the Altar of Burnt Offering within the court yard of the temple but just outside the temple, in front of the temple building. It also include the chambers for the treasuries of the temple and the chambers for the Priest and Levites.  David carefully recounted the word of God in the instructions he gave to his son, Solomon just before he joined his ancestors. “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever (1 Chronicle 22:8-10) God approved Solomon, David’s son, to build the temple. David instructed his successor, King Solomon to build the laudable great temple in honor God, at the location of the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the site his father, King David had previously purchased for this honorable purposes.

At the completion of the temple of God, the Lord’s glorious edifice, on the Mount Moriah, Solomon led the whole Israelites to the place.  He knelt down at the open Temple courtyard and prayed to God of Heaven and He answered King Solomon with fire just like His father David. “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3) 

JESUS CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED ON GOLGOTA IN THE REGION OF MORIAH

Wood had been playing important role the various sacrificial processes on the altar of burnt offering of Israel, the people of God. Throughout the activities of the Priesthood in the Temple of God in the Wilderness, wood had been a consistent method of sacrificing of the offering animals of the people on the altar of Burnt Offering. Remember that Isaac carried the burnt offering wood for the testy offering that God commanded Abraham to offer, to the place where the offering was to take place.. “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:6) The divine intervention of the mercy of God prevailed in the purported testy sacrifice of Isaac and a ram that was caught in the thicket was used in replacement of Isaac’s sacrifice. In the same manner, Jesus Christ was also compelled to carried the [wood] that is the cross to the place of Golgotha whereon he died, “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha” (John 19:17) In the case of Jesus Christ, the Lord God Almighty the Father decided not to intervene in the Crucifixion of His Son on the Cross, because from the beginning of ages, it had been appointed that the Seed of the woman will bruise the head of Satan. 

Sacrifices on the Altar on Mount Moriah

  • What common thread links Abraham’s experience on Mount Moriah. Abraham would say that Mount Moriah was a place of altar of sacrifice. On this mountain, God provided a ram as a substitute of sacrificial animal instead of Isaac, the most beloved in the household of Abraham. David would echo that Mount Moriah was a place of altar of sacrifice.
  • At the passage of many year later, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite upon Mount Moriah, was the place that David built an Altar at the prophetic instruction of Gad before the pestilence that had already destroyed seventy thousands Israelites stopped.
  • After the death of King David, Solomon built a Temple upon the same threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, in the priceless choice real estate in Israel at Mount Moriah.  At the completion of the temple, King Solomon led the entire Israelites to the Temple, he offered sacrifice on the altar thereof and God answer the prayer of Solomon with fire.
  • At the appointed time of Almighty God, the covenant of Mercy of God that began in the prophetic utterance of Almighty God in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head,  and you will strike his heel,” initially mentioned in the promise of the calling of Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you,”  that was confirmed with a covenant between God and Abraham in Genesis 15, that was eventually sealed with an oath in Genesis 22 was completed on Mount Moriah. At the altar of mercy of God, in the place of Golgotha, our substitute in the person of Jesus Christ the Son of God was offered as the final sacrifice in the Altar of God called the Cross of Calvary through the process of crucifixion for our sins.

On this mountain site He had chosen, God provided a substitute for sacrificing Isaac, the Jews offered sacrifices to God as a substitutionary way to receive forgiveness of sins. and Jesus our substitute, took our sins upon himself and died as our sacrificial lamb on the mount.  Jesus Christ defeated the grave and triumph over the hell fire and now sit at the right hand of power of God in glory interceding for the saints. God is a covenant keeper. And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts.” (2 Chronicles 6:14)  Wood is still burning into ashes all the substitutionary offerings upon the altar.  If you do not key into the substitutionary offering of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Altar of the Cross of Calvary and embrace salvation under the canopy of His mercy, then get ready to become your own firewood that will burn your sinfulness into ashes when the Righteous Judge places you on the Altar of His judgment. It is my prayer that you will not experience the fiery burning furnace of hell fire. Please key into the grace of salvation that the Almighty God had extended to you this day. His sacrifice is still upon the altar for your salvation. His grace is still available to you this day.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moriah Information obtained on April 10, 2020


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