God despised the Canaanite high places where pagan worship was carried out. His orders to the Israelites were to destroy them. Yet God communicated with his people through their culture. He allowed them to establish high places where he could meet with them. Moses met God on Mount Sinai and received the Ten Commandments. Joshua went to Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim to renew the Israelites’ covenant with God. Jesus introduced the law of his kingdom in a sermon on a mountain.

The most significant high place in Israel used by God was the Temple Mount at Jerusalem. God instructed David to purchase the site as the location for the temple, which Solomon later built. The Babylonians destroyed this temple in 586 BC, but Zerubbabel built another one on the site nearly a century later.

The massive walls seen in the photograph were made by Herod the Great when he began enlarging the area for the temple in 20 BC. According to the Bible, his project was so complex; it was still being built during Jesus’ time. It was finally completed approximately AD 60, only 10 years before it was destroyed again, this time by the Romans in AD 70.

The valley in the foreground is the Tyropean Valley. The Kidron Valley, which formed the eastern border of the city of Jerusalem, is off the picutre to the right of the Temple Mount. The city itself was to the left of the temple platform.

We must follow God’s example and communicate the gospel in terms our culture understands and by means it can relate to. But we must be careful to first remove any secular values or meanings in the process.


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