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*** Bible Trivia ***

Re: We are climbing Jacob's ladder

Is it true that Mt. Moriah, the temple mount in Jerusalem, is the "center of the earth", that it is the "spiritual vortex" between Heaven and earth?

The old Negro spirituals would proclaim, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder ladder...soldiers of the cross...ev'ry rung goes higher higher". They would also speak of the "gospel train" with the invitation to "Get on board, little chilluns; get on board, little chilluns..." We might look at them as "fun" songs to sing around the camp fire. But do we board a 'train' to get to Heaven? In a prior century in the 'deep' south, as the white man's religion was mixed up in black congregations, they would support this 'train' theory with the Scripture where God's "train filled the temple" (Is6:1) Most of their preachers were uneducated, and could not read (the Bible), and so all sorts of strange doctrines resulted, smatterings of what they heard from their 'mas'as', mixed in with their pagan voodoo brought over from Africa. Living in poverty as they did, perhaps all they knew of "train" was the 'choo-choo' variety? But "train", as told in Isaiah, is also the extensiveness of the flowing garments of one attired regally; for example, the "train" that drags behind a bride walking up the aisle at her wedding; or in the "Emperor's New Clothes" the 'train' was the -invisible- 'air' the charlatans were 'holding' while the king was made a fool of before his subjects. After all, if a chariot came for Elijah (2Ki2:11), why can't a train come for us! And also, if Isaiah saw God's train; since it "filled" the temple; that means it's "big enough" to hold all of us. Like in the spiritual: "...there's room for many a more" (whistle blow: Woo Woooo!!)

We might grin and/or chuckle at such simplistics. But there are some today, from Judaism, who believe that the temple mount is a kind of spiritual 'vortex' of the whole universe. Let us remember that most of those in Judaism today are yet in unbelief. They have a 'concept' of God, but have not yet received His Son Jesus Christ, their Messiah. (Jn1:11) Today they are waiting for Messiah's -first- coming; not accepting that He already came 2000 years ago, and their forefathers rejected His claim to Deity by crucifying Him. (Jn10:33, Mt26:64-66) Thus, in their unbelief of Yeshuah, they are also in unbelief of His Father, Yahweh. (Jn8:19)

When Jacob was fleeing from Esau, he has this vision of angels going up and down a ladder between Heaven and earth. God speaks to him. And when he wakes up he proclaims, "Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I did not realize it. And he was afraid and said, How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven! And Jacob arose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel;" (~Gen28:16-19) Beth (house) el (God); thus, "house of God" This is Mt. Moriah where Abraham met with God on the occasion of the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen22:2); where, also, Solomon built the temple. (2Ch3:1) Today, the so-called "temple mount".

There is at least one person, the director of Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful, who a couple years ago in one of his mailings wrote quite a lengthy treatise along these lines... that the 'significance' of the Temple Mount is the "fact" that it is, as Jacob said, the "gate of Heaven". If I recall correctly, Salomon also used an expression similar to "vortex". The claim that when God first created the earth that this area would have been the location of Eden, and then later after the flood, led Abraham back, and met Jacob there, as well as David. That it is, essentially, the center of the universe, and is the connecting point between God and man, between Heaven and earth. That when a Believer dies, their soul/spirit traverses from earth, from the physical to the spiritual, via the Temple Mount, into God's presence. That there is a sort of "direct connection" between the temple mount and Heaven. That, to be on the temple mount, is to be physically the closest to Heaven, of any place on earth. Words/concepts to this effect. If you are thinking this is waaay far-outlandish; I kid you not. Some believe this.

There are also some today, still, who believe that the earth is at the center of the universe, and is 'stationary'; and that the entire universe rotates around the earth daily (that the 'speed' of those outer solar systems, considering the light/energy/time equations, explains why we are able to see them, even though being b/zillions of light years away). Since evidence is so overwhelming, they don't claim the earth is 'flat'; but they believe that God 'backwards' designed the principles of the rotations and orbits of the planets to 'appear' as if the earth was orbiting the sun, that our solar system was in a giant orbit within our galaxy....but that actually, that is an 'illusion'...that the earth is 'actually' "stationary".

Where is Heaven? Where is the 'point' of communication with God? Solomon proclaims: "But will God truly dwell on the earth? Behold, the heavens and the Heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this house which I have built!" (1Ki8:27) Is communion with God a physical 'place'? ...or an attitude. Many people think they must go to a 'place' to pray. Jacob saw the vision of angels on a ladder and dedicates a 'place' with a rock and some oil; but did you also notice that in his unbelief he says that God was there, but "I did not realize it"...and so he makes deals with God: if God will take care of me and keep me safe, "-then- Jehovah shall be my God" (Gen28:21) Jacob's concept of a 'place' coincided with his state, yet, in unbelief.

God was 'with' Israel, travelling through the wilderness in the pillar of fire/cloud. Speaking of when Israel would be in the land of promise He speaks (future tense) of a 'place' where God "will choose to establish His name" (De12:11) God's foreknowledge surely knew of Mt. Moriah, but it was not yet "established" with His name. (Before Mt. Moriah, for years it was Shiloh) It was a place for people to look to God, but God did not call it a 'gate' to Heaven. He says, "Heaven is My throne, and earth My footstool. Where, then, is the house that you would build for Me? And where is the place of My rest?" (Is66:1)

This is a question the woman of Samaria brings up with Jesus about worship "on this mountain" vs "Jerusalem". (Jn4:20) A 'place'. What does Jesus reply? "..neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem" but that true worship is "in spirit and in truth". (vs21-24) On another occasion Jesus speaks to this topic: "The kingdom of God does not come with observation nor will they say, See here; or, See there; for behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Lk17:20-21)

For the Church, God's presence is not the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, but in each believer. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Mt18:20)

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (1Co6:19) as Paul proclaims, "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." (Rom8:9b) And as Believers, wherever we are on earth, we have "bold" access to the "throne of grace" (Heb4:16)

Where is the Church? Where are the 'members individually"? (1Co12:27) On the Temple Mount? Are they not all over the earth? Where is communion with God? All over the earth 'wherever' the 'individual' Believers are.

When Jesus departed this earth to return to the Father, He did not depart from the Temple Mount. God's glory was no longer there. The veil of the temple had been torn at His crucifixion, signifying our direct access to God. (Mt27:51, Heb6:19, 10:20) The temple was obsolete, being filled with "Serpents! Offspring of vipers!" (Mt23:33) and ready to be destroyed. (Lk21:6) Jesus ascended from the Mt. of Olives east of Jerusalem. (Ac1:9-12) With the temple being filled with snakes, Jesus would commune with the disciples on the Mt. of Olives. (Mt24:3) And that is also where Jesus will return at His second coming. (Zec14:4)

Mankind, not knowing God, tries to claw and scratch his way -to- 'god' via mythical ladders and other means, thinking of God being in some 'place' "way out there". Climbing a ladder is a work. But salvation is "not of works". (Eph2:9) When God summons unbelievers before the Great White Throne, they will come from all over. (Rev20:13) When Believers are resurrected and raptured, they will be summoned from the "earth's dust" (Dan12:2), from their work (Mt24:41-42), from their sleep. (Lk17:34) For none of these things is the Temple Mount mentioned.

Many who do not truly know the Lord 'go' -to- church. They go to a 'place', a 'building'. Jews who do not know the Lord keep striving to go 'to' the Temple Mount so they can 'pray'. If it weren't so sad, I also somewhat chuckle to myself when I read accounts of Jews visiting the Temple Mount, as the police carefully watch them to make sure they aren't 'praying' while there...as if the 'moving of lips' was the indication of true prayer. To the modern Jew 'prayer' seems to be the act of reciting "vain repetitions" (Mt6:7) whilst bobbing their heads and bodies back and forth. In many ways, as long as they are yet in unbelief, is it not just-as-well that the area is closed to Jews, and that the Arabs have control of it. Yes, it might be sacreligious for Islam to be on that site. But how much more so, to have God's 'elect' in control, making pretense; making a mockery of God! Worship of God is to be "in TRUTH".

But such political restrictions don't bother the True Believer in Yeshua Mashiach (Jesus Christ). Those who do know the Lord realize that they -ARE- the church. It is not a -location-: 'here' or 'there' with "observation"; it is not the physical location of a "vortex"; but it is "Christ -in- you, the hope of glory" (Col1:27)


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