All quotations are from the Revised Version
The name ‘Moriah’ occurs only twice in Scripture, namely in Genesis 22. 2 and 2 Chronicles 3. 1. From each of these scriptures we shall briefly trace through the Word of God a line of truth like a gold and silver cord, lines which finally become one in the hand of the Lord like Judah and Ephraim, Ezek. 37. 16-19. Our meditation on these scriptures by no means exhausts this mine of divine truth. The Lord Himself is infinite; so is His Word.
Moriah: Seen of the Lord
‘Take note thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which J will tell thee of’ Gen. 22. 2.
The outstanding interest in this verse is centred in a person, the son, the only son, the beloved Isaac. However profitable it may be to study the type, most fruit is yielded to our hearts when we consider the great Antitype, the Person-the Lamb.
The words in verse 8 command ones attention, ‘God will provide himself the lamb’. The word ‘provide’ in this verse is interesting, since it means literally ‘see for Himself; with God, seeing is providing. This is very aptly demonstrated in verse 13, where a ram is caught in the thicket by his horns; Abraham fittingly calls the place ‘Jehovah-jireh’, that is, the Lord will sec or provide.
We should note that the place ‘which I will tell thee of, v. 2, is also called ‘the mount of the Lord’, v. 14. We shall consider this aspect of the truth later, but firstly we seek to learn of the Person. Nevertheless, this occurrence of Moriah in Holy Scripture is of special importance on account of it being first mentioned here.
As the Lord provides Abraham with the ram as a substitute for Isaac, even so the Lord provides the Lamb, not for Abraham only, but ‘in thy seed (which is Christ) shall all the nations of the earth be blessed’, v. 18. ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son’, John 3. 16.
As the centuries roll by, the Great Provider directs our attention in Isaiah 52. 13 to His Servant who should be the Lamb provided, 53. 7. Moreover, we see the divine Substitute for the sheep who had gone astray, v. 6, sheep who had grown up in their own waywardness and sin; by contrast, we sec the Lamb in its innocency and meekness, a Lamb without guile. This One was without sin, He did no sin, indeed ‘a lamb without blemish and without spot’, 1 Pet. 1. 19. Again we pass on and our eyes follow the outstretched arm of the divinely appointed witness, John the Baptist, pointing out the great provision for this world’s need: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’, John 1. 29, 36. Here, then, we have the answer to Isaac’s question ‘where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’; God will ‘provide’ or ‘see’ for Himself the Lamb for a burnt offering. As we meditate upon the verses Matthew 27. 33-36 ‘and they sat and watched him there’, our thoughts go back to the phrase ‘In the mount of the Lord he shall be seen’, Gen. 22. 14 marg.
We have thus looked forward to the very central ‘fact of time’, for ‘Christ crucified’ is a fact not a theory, neither mere wisdom of words nor a thesis that may appeal to the mind or to the intelligence. For as the reality of sin is a fact that we well know, so also must be the remedy itself. ‘The word of the cross’ is God’s power unto salvation. Hence now we take the backward look and see that we were redeemed with precious blood as of a Lamb – of Christ the One provided from before the foundation of the world, 1 Pet. 1. 19, 20. Throughout eternity, there will ever be remembrance of the cross together with the celebration of the Lamb slain, Rev. 5. 6, 12; moreover, the glory itself (that is, God in all His attributes, His character and His nature) can only be known by revelation to His own in virtue of the cross.
Hence in Genesis we see God’s great purposes of grace displayed in type on mount Moriah, the mount of the Lord. Finally, in Revelation 22 we see God’s great purposes of glory manifested in and through the enthroned Lamb, Rev. 22. 1-5. Moriah: Chosen of the Lord
‘Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father.’ 2 Chron. 3. 1.
We must understand something of the circumstances that led Solomon to build the house of the Lord in mount Moriah if we would appreciate the teaching of the Holy Spirit on this important subject. Solomon declared, ‘I have built thee an house of habitation, and a place for thee to dwell in for ever’, 2 Chron. 6. 2. This house, then, must meet all the divine requirements before it can become the habitation of the Most High. In 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 we find what connexion king David had with mount Moriah. In these chapters we are not surprised to find certain features which also marked the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, for ‘holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for evermore’, Ps. 93. 5. In 2 Samuel 24. 24, we read that David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver, this being equivalent to one hundred half shekels – a half shekel being the atonement money payable by every Israelite for the tabernacle service as a ransom for their souls, Exod. 30. 13. Now the tabernacle itself was erected upon one hundred sockets of silver, each weighing one talent, and these were made of the atonement money paid by all Israel. This is typical of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. How suggestive then is this purchased possession by David (the beloved), himself typical of Christ in His rejection. It is interesting to notice that the failure on David’s part to observe the demands of the law as to the payment of the half shekel when the people were numbered, see Exod. 30.12, was a cause of God’s displeasure and subsequent judgment. To be num-bered amongst the people of God apart from redemption through faith in Christ Jesus is a very solemn thing.
In 1 Chronicles 21, however, we read that David gave Oman six hundred shekels of gold for the place. This, needless to say, does not contradict 2 Samuel 24, since the additional cost includes not only the threshingfloor but also the whole surrounding land. David here seems to have the mind of the Lord, for on this place (Moriah) was to be built the house of the Lord God, 1 Chron. 22. 1. The gold of the purchase price tells us not only of divine righteousness hut also of divine glory, since David said ‘the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries’, 1 Chron. 22. 5. With the eyes of our heart anointed by the Holy Spirit, we see something of the fruition of this type in the future blessed reality, the tabernacle of God coming down out of heaven from God, Rev. 21. 2, 3, and having the glory of God, v. 11.
Passing on to 2 Chronicles 3 we find the house of the Lord being built, and upon its completion the glory of the Lord filled the house of God, 5. 14. How blessed – but, like the priesthood, it did not continue; because of idolatry and wickedness the glory of the Lord reluctantly departed from the temple and finally went up from the midst of the city, Ezek. 11. 23.
Only when the promise ‘The Lord … shall suddenly come to his temple’, Mal. 3. 1, was fulfilled in part in John 2.13-17, was the glory again seen, but then it was unknown and rejected save by the faithful few who could say ‘We beheld his glory’. As far as the nation was concerned, ‘He came to his own (place), and … his own (people) received him not’, John 1. 11, and so inevitably He said to them ‘your house is left unto you desolate’, Matt. 23. 38. He disowned it. Hut thank God that the wickedness of man with all his failure only brings out in glorious contrast the grace and goodness of our God. That temple on Moriah, glorious though it was and because it was built by man, must give way to a temple far more glorious whose builder and maker is God. Hence the Lord said ‘I will build my church’, Matt. 16. 18. This Church or Assembly, which even now is God’s habitation through the Spirit and which will yet be made known to all creation as the medium through which His glory is manifested, is the subject of revealed truth in the letter to the Ephesians (sec 2. 20-22).
Moreover, as 2 Corinthians 6. 16 shows, this Church is a sanctuary of the living God, and He Himself says ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them’. Peter, too, writes ‘Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house’, 1 Pet. 2. 5. And thus we see that the latter house carries a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory than the former house, since the former was adorned with silver and gold while the latter was purchased with the precious blood of Christ; the foundations of the former were great stones, costly stones, 1 Kings 5. 17, while the foundation of the latter is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3. 11, who at the same time is the chief corner stone, Eph. 2. 20; the builder of the former was Solomon while the builder of the latter is the Lord Himself. As the heaven is high above the earth, so is the glory of this latter house greater than the former, since it is heavenly in origin, spiritual in character and heavenly in its destination. Moreover, God Himself claims it for His own inheritance and His own possession, as is amply demonstrated in Ephesians 1.
In the Old Testament we see God’s habitation on mount Moriah in which His glory was seen for a time; this but points onward to another mountain, great and high, from which we see God’s habitation ‘having the glory of God’, Rev. 21. 10, 11. Hence Moriah suggests to our hearts
Seen of the Lord … the Person, Christ the Lord;
Chosen of the Lord … the Place, His habitation. Finally, these two become one in His hand, as the following scriptures demonstrate: He is ‘head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him’, Eph. 1. 22, 23; ‘We are members of his body’ and ‘I speak in regard of Christ and of the church’, Eph. 5. 30, 32; ‘that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us’, John 17. 20-23.