From the time that God made a covenant with Israel, He began to indicate that He would eventually designate a specific place where He would establish His name. This would become the unique place of worship for Israel, His people. This site would also designate the future seat of God’s Kingdom on earth. The Bible section that we are considering today repeats that declaration again and again. We know that spot would ultimately be the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But at this point in the revelation, the exact location that the Lord had in mind had not been established. Israel moved about led by the “cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night” which dwelled over the Tent of Meeting in their midst.
We can begin to appreciate the importance of the specific place that God would designate by the number of times that He repeats His command. Without quoting the specific verses, I will simply list them here. They include: Deuteronomy 12:5, 12:11, 12:14, 12:18, 12:21, 12:26, 14:23, 14:24, 14:25,15:20, 16:2, 16:6,16:7, 16:11,16:15, and16:16.
By my count, this is sixteen references to “the place which the Lord will choose”. Someone has said that if the Lord states something once, it is important. If it is repeated twice than it is sure to be fulfilled. What should we conclude if a statement is repeated 16 times in four short chapters? There must be a very special meaning involved.
When Israel entered the land, the Tent of Meeting was located at the base camp near Jericho at Gilgal. Later, after the conquest, it was relocated in the highlands at Shiloh. It remained there for something like 300 years. The location seems to become somewhat obscure after that. We know that in the time of King David, it was located at Gibeon (I Chronicles 16:39).
God judged David because he acted presumptuously by numbering the people contrary to the commandment of the Lord. In the interaction that followed, David realized that the “threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” was the “altar of burnt offering for Israel (I Chronicles 22:1)”. David bought the site which was to become the location of the Temple in Jerusalem. Later, Solomon built the Temple there and the Lord announced that this was the site that He had been speaking of for hundreds of years. God declared, “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually (II Chronicles 7:15-16)”. Two points need to be emphasized in this statement. Firstly, God’s eyes and ears would be uniquely attentive at this place. Therefore, we conclude that God’s chose to establish His presence at this place in a special way unlike any other. Secondly, this situation is perpetual or eternal. It is as true today as it was 3000 years ago.
This site, the Temple Mount, is truly the only site for national Israel to worship. As a Christian, I understand that we may worship anywhere in the world. When worship is conducted in a Biblical manner, we are often blessed with an awesome sense of God’s presence. People get saved, delivered, healed and receive Godly direction on such occasions. But worship at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is unlike anywhere else in the world. In spite of the false claims of Islam concerning this site, true believers from Israel and the whole world must demand that Israel exercise dominion over this site and consecrate it to the Name of the Lord. Nothing that I can imagine will sanctify the Name of the God of Israel more than this.
Many of my Israeli friends believe that consecrating the Temple Mount especially by building the Third Temple is the final step in preparing the way for the Messiah and completion of the “Redemption Process”. Others believe that the Messiah will build the Third Temple. These are points dealing with Jewish theology of which I do not have expert knowledge. What I do know is that such consecration of the Temple Mount will have an awesome impact on Christian believers. Before Israel became a visible nation in 1948, a popular Christian theological position was “God is dead”. As Israel became a visible nation, there was a great revival in Christianity. Evangelists like Billy Graham and Oral Roberts appeared with nationwide, if not international, ministries. Millions either came to faith or renewed their faith. In 1967, with the awesome victory of Israel in the Six-Day War, the modern “Charismatic Revival” swept across the Church. Many millions more experienced a deeply spiritual renewal. Since that time Evangelical Christians have become a strong supporter of Israel. Now Christianity awaits the next move of God in Israel. That move will be, I believe, the consecration of the Temple Mount leading ultimately to the building of the Third Temple.
Today I read of more and more calls in Israel to recognize the importance of the Temple Mount to Israel. Islamic dominance of the site is becoming more and more odious to many Israelis. Eventually, this voice will be heard and actions will be taken to return this site to its Biblical significance. I whole-heartedly join my Israeli friends in looking with great expectancy for such an advance in the “Redemption Process”.
At the beginning of the recent war in Gaza, I hoped and prayed that Israel would take the step of establishing their absolute authority over the Temple Mount. I understand the political reasons why this has not happened, however, I believe this is so near the heart of God that He will bless and protect Israel when they become bold enough to take this step. It is easy for me to encourage Israel to be bold in this regard since I live 8000 miles away. Still I am reminded of the action taken by King David 3000 years ago. Israel had been at war with the Philistines (centered in Gaza) for five generations. In spite of the long war with the Philistines, David’s first action after being made king of all Israel was to capture and secure Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the final site to be taken in the conquest of the land initiated by Joshua ben Nun almost 400 years earlier. After securing Jerusalem, David defeated the Philistines and brought peace to Israel. I pray that we will see this same thing in our own day.
Please see my book “Israel – God’s Interdimensional Portal” available at Amazon for a discussion of the importance of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and modern Israel in general.