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Long before the days of the Hebrew kings, Jerusalem had been considered to be a sacred city by the native people of the land of Canaan. Called Salem or Ur-Salem (Capital City of Salem), it encompassed three peaks: Mount Zophim in the north (now called Mount Scopus), or literally the "mount of the observers," Mount Zion in the south which meant "mount of the signal," and in the center Mount Moriah or the "mount of directing."
Mount Zion is presently occupied by the Moslem shrine called the Dome of the Rock and is reputedly the place where Solomon built his temple. The Moslem shrine is built on a fashioned rock 57 feet long and 44 feet wide. At present, four to six feet are above the floor, with caves and passageways reportedly underneath. In a way, the monolith stone is similar to the stone platform at Baalbeck, although quite smaller.
The three peaks of Salem were some sort of control center similar in function to that of Larak or Nippur in ancient Sumer. In the Scriptures Jerusalem has been called the "center of the Earth" and the "holy mountain." Mount Zion has been referred to as being "in the midst of the navel of the Earth."
Remarkably, Jerusalem was not a city sacred to the Israelites before the days of David. It is only mentioned once in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, and it is not until later in Joshua 10 that the name is encountered.
Actually, Shechem, a city north of Jerusalem, was regarded by the ancient Hebrews as sacred with the shrine located at nearby Mount Gezerin. Its holy status is reflected in its use as the storage place of the teraphims, the sacred idols or communications devices. In turn, this role may also be due to some as yet unknown reason for its importance, perhaps even as a regional radio with a permanent apparatus to contact the gods.
In Solomon's time, the temple was built upon the monolith rock at Zion which was at that time considered to be sacred. By then, however, its original use as a landing and launching platform was lost in the dim past, although it retained its holy status.
In the days of David, the stone was used only as a threshing floor, but David must have suspected its holy status when he purchased it to build the temple.
It was also near the rock at Zion that Jacob observed the angels going up and down a ladder or stairway to the heavens: "He had a dream: a stairway was set on the ground, with its top reaching to the ski; and the angels of El were going up and down on it ... Jacob awoke from his sleep ... Shaken, he exclaimed, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of El, and that is the gateway to heaven.'"
Coincidentally, the phrase "gateway to heaven" is the same terminology used by Gilgamesh to describe the land of Shamash in the story about his trip to the land of cedars where the gods took the shuttle to the orbiting mother