Mt. Moriah: Mount of Sacrifice
March 24th, 1997 @ 12:00 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
3-24-97 12:00 p.m.
Remember, this is your hour. You come when you can, you leave when you must, and we will all understand. If it is right in the middle of a sentence or a paragraph, you feel free to go; and just remember us in your steps as we continue here, and you go to your assignments yonder.
The theme for this week is "The Five Great Mountain Peaks of the Bible." Next noonday will be Mt. Carmel: The Mount of Decision. And the subject this first Monday day is Mt. Moriah: The Mount of Sacrifice.
When we turn to the Holy Word, God’s precious revelation in the Bible, we start off with chapter 12: Abraham’s call before God to be the progenitor and the father of the faithful in the plan of redemption. And God says to him, "In your seed, as of one, in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed" [Genesis 12:3]. Then in chapter 15 of the Book of Genesis, Abraham asks God, "How could it be my seed, as of one, when I have no heir, I have no child?" [Genesis 15:3]. And God brought him out underneath the sky and said, "Look at the stars, so will your seed be" [Genesis 15:5]. And thereafter they were no longer stars, but they were the promises of Almighty God.
Then in chapter 21 of the Book of Genesis, Abraham is a hundred years old, and Sarah his wife is ninety, and God visits them miraculously with a son [Genesis 21:1-2]. And they call his name Laughter, heavenly rejoicing, God’s goodness, Isaac, the promised heir of all of the things the Lord has in store for the people who love Him [Genesis 21:3].
Then in that same chapter of Genesis 22, the lad Isaac is now a teenager, and God says, "On that mountain that I will show thee, sacrifice him as an offering before God" [Genesis 22:2]. Abraham sensing God against God, and promise against promise, and faith against faith, takes his boy, the wood, the fire, and on the journey, the third day they see Mt. Moriah [Genesis 22:3-4]. And coming to the mount, the boy asks his father, "Here is the wood, here is the fire, where is the sacrifice? Where is the lamb?" [Genesis 22:7]. And Abraham replies, "Jehovah Jireh, the Lord, will provide the lamb" [Genesis 22:8]. When they come to Mt. Moriah, there Abraham builds an altar. He binds his son. He places the wood, he sets the fire, and the boy is placed on the altar [Genesis 22:9]. But when the father raises his hand to plunge the knife into his heart, God calls Abraham, "Abraham," and there in a thicket is a ram, a substitute. And Abraham is thus doubly endeared to God because he obeyed the command of the Lord and trusted the Lord God for the answer [Genesis 22:15-18].
Then as the years passed, David, against the word of the Lord, does evil in Israel [2 Samuel 24:2-10]. And God visits Israel with an awesome, awesome judgment; by the thousands they are dying [2 Samuel 24:15]. And David comes before the Lord, saying, "I have sinned, not these dear people" [2 Samuel 24:17]. And God sends word through His prophet to David, "Go to Mt. Moriah, and there on the mount offer a sacrifice; and I will listen and forgive" [2 Samuel 24:18]. David goes to Mt. Moriah, and its top is Araunah and his threshing floor. And the king says to Araunah, "Let me have the threshing floor for an appeal to God that He forgive us and save us" [2 Samuel 24:21]. And Araunah replies, "My Lord, take the threshing floor. It is yours. And take the oxen for sacrifice; they are yours. And take the instruments of threshing for the wood" [2 Samuel 24:22-23]. And David replies, "No, I will not offer to the Lord that which doth cost me nothing. I will buy it of thee at a price" [2 Samuel 24:24]. So he buys the threshing floor on the top of Mt. Moriah; and there built an altar unto God who intervenes and saves [2 Samuel 24:25].
Then the Lord God put it into the heart of David that he build a temple there. And when David began to gather the material for the temple, the Lord said to him, "You are a man of war, you are a man of blood; you cannot build My temple [1 Chronicles 28:3]. But your son, I will cause to be moved to build the temple unto Me, My house of prayer" [1 Chronicles 28:5-6]. David gathered the material on Mt. Moriah [1 Chronicles 28:11-18; 29:2-5]; and Solomon his son built the beautiful house of God [2 Chronicles 3-7].
That was about one thousand years before Christ. It remained there as a beautiful monument to Jehovah until the general of Nebuchadnezzar, from Babylon, destroyed the city, destroyed the walls, and destroyed that temple [2 Kings 25:8-10]. Not long after, about fifty years later, Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple [Ezra 5:2]; and Herod greatly glorified it [John 2:20]. But in 70 AD, the temple was destroyed by the armies of the Roman Titus. And the people were scattered over the earth; and the land and the temple were vacant.
So Satan, Satan, evil Satan saw the land and the world without a leader; and Satan raised up someone to fill that tragic void, and his name was Mohammed: a terrible terrorist. And Mohammed, inspired by Satan, wrote a book called the Koran. And he gathered leaders around him, and he began to conquer by town, by city, by state, all of that emptiness in the Near East. It was a tragedy beyond human description. Mohammed, facing those people, made them converts to Islam. "You either convert to Islam, to Mohammedanism, or you die!" And by the power of the sword, Mohammed took that entire part of the earth, and it became Islamic: all of northern Africa, all of the Near East, all of those nations beyond, like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, all of those great provinces of what became southern Russia. And so extensive and successful was Mohammed in conquering the people, "You either convert to us or you die," he would have enclosed in Mohammedanism the entire world had it not been for Charles Martel in 732 AD, who at the Battle of Tours in southwestern France defeated the Mohammedans and sent them back down into the southern part of the Mediterranean world.
Then God did something, and revealed to us the tomorrow that all of us face. In the fourth chapter of the Revelation, the people of God, the church of Christ is raptured up to heaven [Revelation 4:1]. It can happen any day, it can happen any moment, it can happen any hour, it can happen while I am speaking, the rapture of God’s people to the heavenly glory where our Lord Christ is seated [Colossians 3:1]. And one of the amazing concomitants of that rapture of the Lord is a revival such as is beyond imagination to describe. For one thing, the entire nation of Israel is saved [Romans 11:25-26]. It was a startling thing to see these who belong to Christ suddenly disappearing, raptured. And in that startling phenomenal, historical event, the rapture of the church, the going away of the body of Christ, not only was the nation of Israel saved, according to Romans chapter 11, verse 26, "So all Israel shall be saved; for the gifts and the calling of God are without change" [Romans 11:29]; and the whole nation accepts Jesus as their Lord and Messiah. And they precipitate the greatest revival, not only that the world could ever know, but beyond imagination: one hundred forty-four thousand Jewish evangelists [Revelation 7:4-8] sweep over this globe and preach the gospel of Christ, and people are saved. That seventh chapter of the Book of the Revelation says people are saved by the millions and by the multitudes and by the multiplied multitudes, all over the earth [Revelation 7:9-11] – those one hundred forty-four thousand Jewish evangelists. O God! what a revival!
And Satan saw it, and Satan watched it, and he recalls the day when, with a sword he subjected practically all the civilized world to the Islamic faith; and Satan inspired a like tragedy to cover the earth. He chose a man of sin, called in the revelation the Antichrist [1 John 2:18], and that Antichrist and those of the Islamic faith, began the worldwide slaughter of the Judeo-Christians. Dear me! Dear me! And it plunged the earth into the great and last war. Ezekiel calls it the war of Gog and Magog [Ezekiel 38:2]. The Book of the Revelation calls it the war of Armageddon [Revelation 16:13-16], and those Islam devotees slaying the Judeo – Christians wherever they could find them. Oh! What a bloodbath! This is the last great war. The sixty-third chapter of the Book of Isaiah describes it as from Bozrah [Isaiah 53:1-6]; south of the Dead Sea, for [two] hundred miles to the north that conflict rages [Revelation 14:20]. You could easily ask, "How could the United States, our country, be involved in a war like that, over yonder?" My sweet people, it hasn’t been but two or three years ago that the United States sent its armies and its air force, and all of its battleships, sent them over there just because Kuwait was losing a gas well. Can you imagine what will happen in our own country when those Islamic fanatics begin slaying the Christians, the Judeo-Christians, these who have accepted Christ as their Savior, facing death by those Islamic fanatics?
So the war progresses, and it is so vast that when it is over it takes fourteen years to clean the land of the debris of that awful conflict; and it takes seven months just to bury the dead [Ezekiel 39:11-12]. But when that war is over, when the war of Armageddon is fought and done, the Dome of the Rock, the Mosque of Omar, is gone from the top of Mt. Moriah. It had been there ever since 600 AD; but now it is destroyed, and the mount is clear and open. And not only that, but the Islamic faith is forever destroyed; it doesn’t exist anymore. And in those days, they rebuild the temple of Jehovah God, the Lord Jesus Christ; and in the end and climax and culmination of that terrible war, Jesus comes, and we come with Him; His saints are with Him [Zechariah 14:5]. And that becomes the millennial temple [Ezekliel 40-43]; and Jesus brings into this earth the thousand-year millennial reign of the Lord Christ Himself [Revelation 20:2-3].
At the end of it, for just a moment, Satan is loosed [Revelation 20:7-10] in order that he might tempt the people of the earth; because no one enters the kingdom of God without an express decision, no one. You’re not born into it; you enter into it by a commitment of your heart and life. And after he has tested those who were born during the thousand year millennium, the great final judgment, and he is sent away into everlasting damnation, and those who have followed him are likewise destroyed in the fires of hell [Revelation 20:10, 14-15]. Then when the earth is purged, and it is cleansed, Revelation 21 and 22:
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the old first heaven and the old first earth were passed away,And I saw the New Jerusalem come down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more hurt or pain; for these things are all passed away.
[Revelation 21:1-2, 4]
When it says "new" it doesn’t mean the destruction of the old; for matter is eternal. It means a rejuvenation; it means a resurrection; it means a renaissance. This whole world, all of those burned out planets above, and all the things that we see in this broken earth, it is all remade and beautiful.
And I read one verse out of that reconstruction, Revelation 21:22: "And I saw no temple. I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple thereof." I cannot think for it. In that new city of God, and in that new earth and creation, we don’t need a temple, we don’t need a veil, we don’t need an altar, we don’t need a sacrifice: we can just walk up to the Lord Himself and visit with Him. And we can follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, and talk to Him. And anything anyone has on his heart, you are free to approach the Lord God Jesus Christ Himself. And there we shall live in His presence, and in His love, and in His grace forever and forever.
It may be at noonday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perhaps, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus comes for His own.
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long,
Ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
["Christ Returneth"; H. L. Turner]
This is the grace and goodness of God toward us who have found hope and happiness in Him.