Here is the non-tourist picture of the temple mount.  Access to the mount is controlled by the waqf and to strict standards: you cannot wear a short skirt, you cannot carry a bible or other religious material. Access to other locations on the mount is restricted as well, so one cannot enter the dome of the rock or the Al-asqa mosque, the golden gate complex, “solomon’s stables” etc.  The city of Jerusalem is known throughout the islamic world as al-Kuds or “the holy” and although not mentioned by name in the koran, the city is considered later in islamic history as the location where Mohammed lept on his ascent to heaven, the hoof-print leaving a dint in the rock, hence the name: the dome of “the rock”  It is then remarkable to see such a pile of trash in what is considered or at least publically presented as a holy place. There is considerable angst felt purely in the discussion of the name of the temple mount itself. By calling it the temple mount indicates your persuasion that the site was related to the religion of the Jews, and in particular to Herod and Solomon’s temples. Otherwise it is called the Haram al-qudsi esh-Sherif, the noble/holy-sanctuary, and to use the term hallows the sanctity of the primarily the Al Masjid al Aqsa of the koran, [the furtherest mosque] commenorated in the mosque on the southeastern corner, closest to and facing Mecca.

So what makes a place or person holy?

Holiness can be ceremonial, so in biblical terms there was washing of hands, shaving of heads, changing of garments, abstinance of contact between men and women, separation by distance by living or residing away from the tabernacle, and so forth. This importance of holiness would not only apply to people, but also to vessels, animals and such like. To have contact with a defiled vessel would make a man unconsecrated, to touch a leper or a dead person would render unable to engage in worship, and place a man or woman outside the camp.

Holiness is a marker of distinguishment. The Nazarite would carry a vow of separation on his head. This was a mark of the consecration of Elohim on his head. Num 6. His or her willingness to serve deity represented in the unrestrained locks of hair, seen again in the hebrew expression “vine undressed” Lev 25:11. The vine was not pruned during the Jubilee year, a year representing a life without the shackles of debt, spiritually demonstrated in absence of sin and death Isa 61, having been removed on the day of atonement, the day when the year of liberty was proclaimed. Paul would say he was separated (made holy) TO the gospel of God, Rom 1:1. This holiness was not separateness from others, but an engagement in a positive and active task of creating peace between God and his fellows.

Christ was the pinnacle of holiness in the arangements of God. By the very striking influence of his Father on his mind, Jesus was led to a disposition of holiness that demonstrated the value of his association, Rom 1:4. This could not be defiled by contact with things that were unholy, touching women with issues, lepers and the dead Num 5:1 ; Matt 8 and eating with sinners and publicans. But while completely observing the commandments of the law, Christ would indicate that uncleaness would come from within, from the heart of man Matt 15:19 and so the real reform in holiness is the conversion of the heart to accept God fully.

A perfect heart comes from obeying God’s commandments 1Kings 8:61. To these men and women who care for Yahweh, Yahweh will care for them 2Chron 16:9, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” Isa 26:2-4.

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