Sunday, May 8, 2011

Visiting the Abomination and Desecration

Abomination - A vile, shameful, or detestable action.

Desecration - The act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.

Our first stop of the day was our worst stop of the day. Frankly, it was the worst stop of the entire trip. It was our trip to what is called the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock, which is a shrine and not a mosque, represents the Islamic desecration of God's Holy Hill--the Temple Mount (Mount Moriah) and the former site of the three Jewish temples--the Solomonic, the Second, and the Herodian.

During the Muslim conquest of Syria, Jerusalem was surrendered into Muslim hands, in 637 A.D. The Dome of the Rock shrine was built between 689 and 691 A.D. The Muslims chose the location of the site because they knew that it was the former location of the Herodian Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. The Muslims also believe that it was from the rock now covered by the dome complex where Abraham almost sacrificed Ishmael (not Isaac, as the Bible teaches). They also believe that the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven from the same rock.

As we approached the shrine, what welled up inside me was not excitement. Not at all. What welled up in me was anger. I was angry that the worshipers of a false god would desecrate such a holy place dedicated to the worship of the one, true God. The shrine is an abomination that will not go unpunished by the Lord.

When we came within a short distance of the shrine, our tour guide, Erez, pointed to a what appeared to be a framed piece of stone artwork. Erez showed us that the stone image was actually made from a single stone that had been cut into equal pieces and laid flat. The image created in the stone was a natural result of the cutting and mounting of the stone. There were a number of these stone pieces of art mounted on the outside of the shrine.

Erez, however, drew our attention to one piece of framed stone, in particular. This one:

Look closely at the image. What (or should I say who) do you see? If you said Satan or a demon, I think you would be correct.

This, I believe, is more than a mere apparition--more than simply seeing the Virgin Mary in a tomato or a piece of toast. This image didn't just suddenly appear. Nor do I believe it is the intentionally deceptive fabrication of human hands. The Muslims who constructed the shrine cut a stone and placed the pieces together. The result was an image on the side of the shrine that I believe represents a portrait of the originator of the false "religion of peace"--the Father of Lies, Satan.

I was uncomfortable the entire time we were on the Temple Mount. Just being in close proximity to the abominable desecration made me uneasy. I sat down in the outer couryard of the shrine, what likely once was the Court of the Gentiles during the time of the Herodian Temple, and I began to pray.

I looked east to the Mount of Olives. I looked to the area of the outer wall of the city where the Beautiful Gate stood--a gate that several hundred years ago had been sealed by the Muslims in order to prevent the Messiah from returning to the Temple Mount. And I prayed.

I pleaded with the Lord to return, soon. I prayed that He would destroy the shrine. I asked Him to restore His Temple and to punish the invaders who desecrated His holy hill. I also prayed that the Muslim people would come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

During lunch, I shared with Ron Love how angry I felt while we were on the Temple Mount. I told him that it took everything in me not to open-air preach in the courtyard, outside the shrine. I explained to him that the only reason I didn't was that it could put the rest of our group in harm's way.

"You would have been killed." Ron said.

"I know." I answered.

Come soon, Lord Jesus, and set things right. Restore your Temple Mount and do away with the abomination and desecration that is taking place there, today.