Star Trek is a legendary TV series and some of the stories endure as lessons in reality presented in a science fiction format. One of my favorites is “City on the edge of forever”. Captain Kirk and his friends go back in time and are forced to confront what changing history can mean. Emotions, common sense and human frailty all combine to one answer: you cannot and must not change history to accommodate “feelings” or popular opinion. The United Nations needs to take Captain Kirk’s advice to heart.
Written history is a series of movements, migrations and inhabitations of places by peoples, clans and tribes. Few places are still occupied by their original inhabitants. Yet, only place stands out as divinely given to a Chosen People: Jerusalem. The City of David became the place of the Temple, the Redemption and will be the place of the return in wrath of the Messiah. The recent vote by the United Nations ignores history, archaeology and even reason for its arrogant and irrelevant decision.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. (Psalm 122:6)
Jerusalem is first mentioned (out of a total of times) as the place where Abraham met the priest Melchizedek after Abraham’s battle with the kings near Sodom. Melchizedeck is a mysterious figure, the priest-king of Salem (Urusulam).He brings bread and wine and Abraham gives him one tenth of the property seized in his victory. Melchizedeck is described as a man with no father, mother or genealogy.. His stature is described as higher than that of Abraham, yet we do not know how or why. Often time referred to as a pre-incarnate person of the Messiah, his offering of bread and wine in a covenant meal with Abraham opens up the doors of the mind to the future.
Jerusalem has been proven by archaeological excavation to have been inhabited as early as 4,500 BCE. Cities are set down near water supplies. The Spring of Gihon has been the lifeline of Jerusalem do millennia.
When David conquered Salem, now Jerusalem and built his stronghold-palace on a hill. The Tabernacle had been kept at Shiloh. David felt moved to build a temple for YHWH but was told that he was not to do so. His hands had drawn blood and YHWH would have no Temple from someone who had known wars and battles. David was commissioned to assemble the building materials and someone else would build it. That someone was the complex and perplexing Solomon.
The first Temple was constructed in tie Phoenician style. Three chambers, the last being where the Holy of Holies and the place where the Mercy Seat, the Ark would rest were the format. No images have yet been found of the Temple. Yet the artifacts turned up by the Temple Sifting Project give us hints of the style and presentation.
The Temple was not totally levelled by the Babylonians; Nehemiah and Zerubbabel did repair work. It was Herod the Great who left behind the reminders of what occupied the Temple Mount and still does, under and above the earth. Herod began to enlarge the platform upon which the surviving Temple was built and expand its range to include courts, arches and supporting features such as an agora, a marketplace. Today’s Western Wall is the most visible feature of this project which continued after Herod’s death. Architectural features such as ”Robinson’s Arch” are still visible in fragments. Much of this leads to a leading question: which came first the Temple or the current Mosques?
The Romans finally levelled Jerusalem after the Bar Kochbar revolt. The problematic province had the possibility of inspiring other revolts in the Empire and the Jews had to be dealt with decisively. The previous name, Judea was eliminated and Palestine, the province was placed under the jurisdiction of Damascus. Jews were finally no longer to be tolerated. But the solid foundation of the Temple was utilized as basis for a temple to Jupiter. Next to occupy the site was a church was erected by Constantine, enlarged by Byzantine rulers. The Muslim conquest of 632 saw a mosque erected there to commemorate Muhammad’s story of his flight to heaven. The Dome of the Rock and the Mosque of Omar occupied the site of where once the Holy of Holies. Ritmeyer has analyzed interior photos that definitely show a rectangular cut in the stone floor that coincide with the measurements of the Ark.
Crusaders later dug, excavated and used the site for various purposes. The conquest of the city by Salah eh Din finally ended any Christian access and limited Jewish activities.
The UNESCO vote to consider the Temple Mount a Muslim historic site flies in the face of history, archaeology and the Bible. A group of nations decided to change history to fit current ideas and pander to a forceful pro-Muslim movement and a weakened response by churches. History remains; in written, dug and excavated artifacts and in the earth below. No international debating society or media can change that. Just ask Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise. The Temple Mount is in the City on the edge of forever, Jerusalem: the capital of Israel.