On recent tours to Israel we have been unable to visit the Temple Mount. The Islamic buildings there, the Mosque of Omar (Dome of the Rock) and the Al Aksa Mosque, have no spiritual significance for us. The site, however, is very important biblically. It was likely here on Mount Moriah that Abraham offered Isaac (Genesis 22). It is where David placed the ark of the covenant, and where the Temple was built by Solomon in 966 B.C. ( 2 Chronicles 3). That temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 597 B.C.. After the return from captivity, the Jews rebuilt the temple with the help of the Persian king Darius in 520-516 B.C. Herod the Great more or less replaced this structure with his magnificent temple beginning in 19 B.C. Jesus visited this temple numerous times (John 2:19). In this area the gospel was preached for the first time on the Pentecost of Acts 2.
In the late 7th century A.D., a Muslim ruler constructed the building we now commonly call the Dome of the Rock.
The photo above, made April 3, 2006, shows the Western Wall of the temple enclosure built by Herod. The temple platform, where you see the golden dome, is where the biblical temple once stood. Many news items have been written about the temporary bridge leading to the Temple Mount, and the removal of the earth by archaeologists to reveal more of the Western Wall. There has also been considerable controversy over repairs being made by the Muslims on the Temple Mount.
One good source to help you keep up with this controversy is Dr. Leen Ritmeyer’s blog. There you will find pictures of the terrible destruction taking place. Ritmeyer has drawn many of the excellent plans you may have seen published in various books.