"The Philistines then gave battle [in Shiloh], and the Israelites were defeated and fled to their homes. It was a great defeat , and thirty thousand Israelite foot-soldiers fell. 11 The ark of God [presumably in the Temple] was captured [and presumably the temple destroyed], and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phineas, perished." 1Samuel4,10-11.
"Do you regard this house which bears my name, and say 'we are safe'? Safe, you think, to indulge in all these abominations [vv5-9]! 11 Do you regard this house which bears my name as a bandits cave? I warn you, I myself have seen all this, says the Lord. 12 Go to my shrine at Shiloh, which once I made a dwelling for my name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 Now you have done all these things, says the Lord; though I spoke to you again and again, you did not listen, and though I called, you did not respond. 14 Therefore what I did to Shiloh I shall do to this house in which you put your trust which bears my name, the house in which you put your trust, the place I gave to you and your forefathers. 15 I shall fling you away out of my presence, as I did with all your kinsfolk, all of Ephraim's offspring [ie those from Shiloh]." Jeremiah7,10-15
"The Lord said to me me, 'O man, look northwards.' I did so, and there to the north of the Altar Gate, at the entrance, was that idolatrous image. 6 'O man,' he said, 'do you see what they are doing? The monstrous abominations which the Israelites practice here are making me abandon my sanctuary, and you will see even greater abominations.' 7 Then he brought me to the entrance of the court, where I saw that there was a hole in the wall. 8 'O man,' he said to me, 'dig through the wall.' I did so, and made an opening. 9 'Go in,' he said, and'see the vile abominations they practise here.' 10 I went in and saw figures of creeping things, beasts, and vermin, and all the idols of the Israelites, carved round the walls. 11 Standing in front of them were seventy elders of Israel [priests], with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan in the midlle, and each of them held a [incense] censer from which rose the fragrant smoke of incense. 12 He said to me, 'O man, do you see what the elders of israel are doing in darkness, each at the shrine of his own carved image? [pet pagan images for each of them?] They think that the Lord does not see them, that he has forsaken the land." Ezekiel 8,5-12
worship of Tammuz ie female fertility-vegetation goddess Ezekiel 8,14
worship of the rising sun Ezekiel 8,16
God's judgement on whole timeless Satanic based idolatrous religious system, under the figure of the Philistine city of Tyre, known for their trade. This is a wake up call for endtime apostate church known for it's wealth and trade in all the worlds' goods, even the souls of men, Revelation18,13.
Ezekiel 28,11ff: Satan As Tyre and King of Tyre, King of Merchants, As King of Babylon:
"This word of the Lord came to me: 12 'O man, raise the dirge over the king of Tyre, and say to him: This is what the Lord God says: You set the seal on perfection; you were full of wisdom and flawless in beauty. 13 In Eden, a garden of God [like a temple, Satan there, in form of tree of knowledge of good and evil] you dwelt, adorned with gems of every kind: sardin and chrysolite and jade, topaz, cornelian, and green jasper, sapphire, purple garnet, and green feldspar. Your jingling beads were of gold, and the spangles you wore were made for you on the day of your birth. 14 I appointed a towering cherub as your guardian; you were on God's Holy mountain and you walked proudly among stones of fire. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day of your birth [like the initial Christian church] until iniquity came to light in you [until changed the Christian-Jewish passover of Jesus into the Roman Triduum, until adult baptism became infant] 16 Your commerce grew so great that lawlessness filled your heart and led to wrongdoing [Pagan emperor Constantine buys into the church in 325 and unites church and state]. I brought you down in disgrace from the mountain of God [from connection to eternal Zion-Israel], and the guardian cherub [Michael] banished you from among the stones that flashed like fire. 17 Your beauty made you arrogant; you debased your wisdom [from God and presence of God] to enchance your [wordly splendor]. I flung you to the ground, I left you exposed to the gaze of kings. 18 So great was your sin in your dishonest [religious] trading that you desecrated your sanctuaries [all that's left is Lord's judgement on them]. I kindled a [false] fire within you, and it devoured you [in judgement]. I reduced you to ashes on the ground for everyone to see [fallen, fallen is Babylon The Great, Revelation18,2]
"Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord of hosts [in the millenial reign of Christ], and all who come to sacrifice will use them for the boiling the flesh of the sacrifice. When that time comes, no longer will any trader [like Satan, like the desecrated religious system of Tyre, like endtime apostate church, like Nicolaitan false Apostles since Ephesus Revelation2,6 and 15, like whole of false hierarchical pastorianity-priestianity that obliterates the five fold collegial offices of Ephesians4,10, and substitutes 'the pastorianity' for the risen Jesus on earth] be in the house of the Lord Almighty. Zechariah14,21
"When that time comes, on that day when I reverse the fortunes of Judah and Jersualem, 2 I shall gather all the nations together and lead them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I shall bring them to judgement on behalf of Israel, my own people, whom they scattered among the nations; they [gentiles] have shared out my land and 3 divided my people by lot, bartering a boy for a whore, and selling a girl for a drink of wine." Joel3,1-3
"Some people were talking about the temple and the beauty of its fine stones and ornaments [which they think is permament]. He said, 6 'These things you are gazing at- the time will come when not one stone will be left upon another; they will all be thrown down.' 7 'Teacher,' they asked, 'when will that be? What will be the sign that these things are about to happen?' " Luke21,5-7
"This fellow [Stephen] is forever saying things against the holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and alter and customs handed down to us by Moses." Acts6,13 NB Stephen does not deny this charge:
"However, the most high does not live in houses made by men [ie he's no longer in the Temple, ever since Babylonain exile in 586BC]; as the prophet says: "Heaven is my throne and earth my footstool . What kind of house willyou build for me, says the Lord; where shall my resting place be?" Acts7,48-49
"Babylon the great is fallen [the past Hebrew and present apostate Christian system], is fallen and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk the wine of the wrath of her fornications." Revelation18,2
"The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her [the destroyed Babylonian religious and economic system], because no one buys their cargoes any more, 12 cargoes of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, purple and scarlet cloth, silks and fine linens; all sorts of fragrat wood, and all kinds of objects made of ivory or of costly woods, bronze, iron, or marble; 13 cinnamon and spice, incense, perfumes, and framkincense, wine, oil, flour, and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses [armaments], chariots, slaves [bodies] and human lives [souls]. Revelation18,11-13.
A Third Rail Third Temple Is Still A Fruitful Topic
Our topic today, The Lord Has Exclusive Jurisdiction Over All Temples, is sort of a 'third rail' religious subject because if we address "the temple," we have to address the possibility of a third one in Jerusalem. Third temple, third rail issue. In USA politics raising the age for social security benefits, or disallowing them to rich people who have already paid in, is a third rail topic, sort of like a third temple.
A third rail supplies energy to an electric train apparatus.
It is highly charged, and untouchable without grave harm to life and limb. But hey it makes the train go.
Many Christians, and a very small small minority of Jews, believe that a third temple in Jerusalem, near the Al Asqa mosque, on the temple Mount, will be built. The Israeli government tries hard to quell such talk, or demonstrations on the temple Mount, in that it might start the literal Armageddon, whereby the Gentile nations, and the Antichrist, openly turn on Israel and claim sovereignty over her.
No Cultic Need For Third Physical Temple After Risen Jesus, The Spiritual Temple
As a biblically based Christian I personally don't expect a third Temple in Israel. I understand why some want to rebuild the temple. I respect them and their views, They see it as part of the preparation of the messianic age of worship and ingathering according to Ezekiel 40-47.
And Zechariah14,6: "Then the survivors of the nations that attacked Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the king, the Lord Almighty and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Exodus23,14ff). This is a fall harvest feast, or in people terms, an ingathering feast of the saved. It's two major symbols are water and light. As to water, Jesus said on this very feast "If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as our scripture has said 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water' " (John7,37-38). As to the light, that especially filled filled the temple on this feast, Jesus said "I am the light of the world."(John8,12)
These are words of fulfillment and not the need for a third temple.
Jesus is the new and final temple, John2,19. What's more important than a third temple is Him as the provider of 'living waters,' Him the 'light of the world.' He will be there at the annual millenial feast of tabernacles, with or without a third Temple.
Post Babylonian Exile The Temple Wanes And Goes Bad
Furthermore, the history of Judah and the temple after Babylonian exile in 586BC is characterized by a modest temple, no king, no messiah and a fallen priesthood, the latter fallen at least since 175BC when the rightful Zadokite Priest Onias III was edged out by his Hellenizing (Greek sympathizer) and compromising brother Jason who made nice with the bad Seleucid conquering king, Antiochus Epiphanes, and bribed him for the office. In 172BC Jason sent Menalaus, a non Aaronite Benjamite wanna-be-priest, who turned on Jason and out bribed him and took the high priesthood for himself.
Menalus, according to 2Maccabees4,32 then stole some golden vessles from the Temple to curry favor with Andronicus, one of Antiochus' viceroys, and sold others to Tyre and other Philistine cities.
When some of Judah came back, about 50,000 to 150,000 per Ezra2,67 (biblehub.com/commentaries/guzik/commentaries/1502.htm "The Great majority stayed behind."), they built "Zerubbabel's" modest Temple, begun in 520BC. They were not a wealthy bunch. This "Second Temple" later became known as "Herod's Temple" since he made it grand and started renovating it in 19BC. It wasn't finished until 62AD. And then eight years later it came crashing down. "King Herod The Great" ruled from 37-4BC. He was the half Jewish, half Indumaen Roman appeaser, a false king, a pathetic bloodthirsty client of Rome and the mercantile minded Temple priesthood, who both continued his dirty work against Jesus. Both "King" Herod and the Temple priesthood and the Roman Procurator sold out the only one with exclusive jurisidiction over that Jerusalem Temple, Jesus.
There's going to be a lot of history in this three part sermon, but it's not just the history of any nation, but sacred history, based on gospel promises. The history of Isreal is itself part of the gospel, in that "all of Israel shall be saved."
Era Of Physical Temples Ended- No Third Temple Needed
The era of physical Temples in Jerusalem ended with the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus (Hebrews). We are now in the post Jesus era whereby he's the only High Priest and the final Temple (John2,19-21). We don't need a better form of hereditary priesthood in the millenial like the line of Zadok prophesied in Ezekiel44,15 (though instructive). Why? Because by Holy Ghost baptism we Christians and messianic Jews are already, by definition, a better priesthood.
The proponents, however, of a rebuilt third temple also see it as a necessary part of the unfolding events of the seven year tribulation. They say that three and one half years into Israel's seven year treaty with the endtime antichrist (Daniel9,27) the antichrist will stop the true sacrifices and set up an idolatrous image in the Temple that causes desolation (Daniel12,9-12).
Some Christians and Jews believe this, in all good faith. And that this Daniel 9 and 12 prophecy can't happen until a third temple is built. And that the Matthew24,15-16, abomination of desolation, can't happen until then: "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of by the prophet Daniel- let the reader understand- 16 let those in Judea flee to the mountains."
God could inspire a third temple. But I can't conceive of any expedient reason, or any circumstance for Israel to build it, or allow it to be built, when it hasn't been for almost 2000 years, and when Israel is already a tinder box of world conflict, and when most all of Judaism itself rejects further Temple sacrifice.
Third Temple No Small Matter- Effects Our Readiness For Judgment
However, this is no small matter because we Christians are famous for making lists of what must happen before Jesus comes back, and then staking our lives and reputations on them, rather than the basics of the word of God. Many Christians lead their endtime teachings with this idea that a third temple being built.
This is to say that God has to wait to judge, and inaugerate the millenial, until we human beings get our act together and build that temple. It also says the antichrist has to do something abominable in an already built temple, but what if he manifests before it's rebuilt, and we Christians are too busy espousing theologies to get right with Jesus here and now? To say that we have to build a third temple, after Jesus already biblically superseded the temple, is to come real close to allowing us human beings to set the day and the hour, which only God knows.
The one scriptural thing that all of Christians agree must happen before Jesus comes back is that the gospel is preached to the ends of the earth (Mark24,14 and Mark13,10). This is something we humans control, at least in part. We don't control the government of Israel, or when the rapture happens. We don't control the building of any third temple, or when the millenial comes. We don't know the day or the hour, and scripture says that judgment will come like a thief in the night (1Thessalonians5,2).
Abomination Of Desolation Already Happened
The abomination of desolation was fulfilled when the Roman General Titus, a gentile, stepped into it and destroyed it in 70 AD. This was a desolating event for Christians in that, as Titus surrounded Jersualem, Historian Eusebius, as does Epiphanius, the latter three times, reports that Christians fled to Pella in the Decapolis, to the mountains east of the Jordan as Jesus prophesied and ordered, Matthew24,15-22; Mark13,14-20 and Luke21,20-24. (Eusebius, Church History3.5.3, Epiphanius, Panarion29,7,7-8; 30,2,7; On Weights And Measures, 15; see also Pella; A Window On Survival, Mark Wilson, 7.16.2012, www.biblicalarcheology.org).
This was the "Nazarenes" earliest break with their Jewish roots, and it was a desolating event for these Christians because by leaving Judah they were never going to be fully welcome again in that they fled and didn't take up arms aginst Rome in 66AD. This Great revolt wasn't solely a revolt against Rome but a civil war in Judah, of zealots against appeasers and moderates ("Ancient Jewish History: The Great Revolt" (66-70AD) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/revolt.html.
Furthermore, it was desolating for all Jews, faithful to Jesus or not, because never again would there be a physical temple in Jerusalem, only the offer of Jesus as messiah and temple.
Modern Abominations of Desolation
Abominations of desolation also happen again and again when Christian leaders get up in God's Spiritual House, his Temple, his church, when mere men defy God's sole jurisdiction there. It happens when church men rebel against the Word, which is th eonly adequate defense of his people.
There were such desolations when Hophni and Phineas, and those in leadership authority, raid the people's peace offerings, by sticking in a big fork, in addition to taking their own portions, and they also helped themselves to the portions of fat reserved for God, for which they deserved death 1Samuel2,12-17, Leviticus7,25 (bible.org/question/how-was-handling-boiling-meat-three-ring-fork....). This spiritual gluttony and greed is desolating to God's people. It is a type of antichristian lawlessness, that paves the way for a final antichrist:
"Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so called god or object of worship and takes his seat in the temple of God [ie the church], proclaiming himself to be God." 2Thessalonians2,3-4.
The final antichrist will be revealed in the church and forget that Jeusus has exclusive jurisdiction over his spiritual Temples., just as God had total jurisdiction over his physical temples. As the Word says about Jesus alone: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus who gave himself as ransom for all." 1Timothy2,5.
Yes the Antichrist will be revealed, but it won't take a third physical temple in Jerusalem to see Him. He will be revealed in the Spiritual temple, in the Christian church, proclaiming himself to be God, not in any physical temple.
No we must remain spiritually vigilant and faithful and realize that just like in the First temple (Ezekiel10,18), the Spirit can leave any church and religious system. When this happens men claim themselves to be God, or act like they are, at which time Revelation18,4 cries out, "Come out of her, lest you take part in her sins, and share in her plagues.".
The desolation of Antichrist teachers, the desolation of lawless gentile teachers defines the timeless Babylonian religious system of Revelation 17 and 18, over which Jesus has total and exclusive jurisdiction, and which he will soon destroy.
Jesus The New And Last Temple
Jesus said, and I'm paraphrasing, "destroy me and three days later I will rise and fulfill all that the temple means to you" (John2,19). The risen Jesus is our new temple. He replaces all that the physical temple represents- the favor and presence of God, the fullness of worship, the central place of holiness, the security for all Israel, his and their spiritual "home" that our merciful God, again and again, chooses to make with us humans on earth.
Moreover, Jesus clearly prophesied that the second Temple (Luke21,5-7), the one that Herod remodelled, the same Herod who tried to kill Jesus as a baby, and who assasinated John the Baptist, was coming down.
And it did in 70AD. With good reason! And according to His word.
Again I respect those faithful who read scripture differently, but the whole third temple movement minimizes all that Jesus is, and already did, and said about Himself as the "temple."
Revelation 21,22-23 is our strong indication that the risen Jesus is the only future temple in Jerusalem:
"I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the lamb." What do we need a physical temple when we already, premillenial, have the risen Jesus, as our temple?
No Third Temple Does Not Mean God Has Given Up On Israel
This doesn't mean that God has given up on the Jews. We love the Jews and so learn about Jesus. They are going to come to the faith just as we non Jews came to the faith, by hearing the gospel. They will also be brought to Jesus by a spirit of grace and supplication coming upon them who will look upon the one they have pierced (Zechariah12,8). And by being rallied back to Israel by Christian Gentiles (Isaiah66,20) and by the ingathering endtime light of grace of the risen king Jesus as prophesied by Psalm110,2-3:
"The Lord extends the sway of your powerful sceptre [to call Jews home to their temple Jesus back on Zion's hill], saying 'From Zion reign over your enemies.' 3 You gain the homage of your people [the Jews] on the day of your power [day of coming judgment and millenial reign]. Arrayed in Holy garments [Great High Priest and Messiah King, ie risen Jesus], a child of the dawn [light of the world], you have the dew of youth [eternal life, Jews will see Jesus as eternal Lord and king for the first time, and share His eternal life, as reborn as sons and daughters of God]."
Jesus' resurrectional dew of youth is imparted by faithful water Baptism, and faithful baptism in the Spirit, by Jesus who shares his eternal messianic life with us.
Jesus And Christian Faithful Are New Spiritual Temple
1Peter2,5 is our biblical back stop for this irrevocable transition away from a physical Jerusalem temple to an eternal Spiritual temple. This is so because biblical Christianity turns away from biological priesthood and physical temples and sacrifices and towards a Holy Ghost baptism based universal priesthood, whereby the spiritual temple, God's qahal, God's called out ones, his separated people, now offer only spiritual sacrifices.
This people, what we usually call "church," has Jesus as our ever provident Spiritual rock (1Corinthians10,4). He is the cornerstone of our new Spiritual temple, [Ephesians2,20]. We are the "living stones" "built up as a spiritual house," our last and final temple or house, who is the risen Jesus (1Peter2,5).
2Corinthians6,16-18 echoes this same faith regarding the fading physical Temple in Jerusalem and the pagan temples of Corinth: "What agreement has the temple of God [spiritual temple] with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, 'I will make my dwelling among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore, go out from their midst [out of their physical temples] and be separate from them, says the Lord and touch no unclean thing."
Another biblical backstop for the transition from physical temple to spiritual temple is the prophecy of Isaiah66,20 whereby all the nations and Israel no longer offer physical sacrifices in Jerusalem, but the gospel sacrifice of bringing the still scattered Jews back to Jersualem to worship our one God there forever:
"And they [Christians] will bring all your brothers [scattered Jews], from all the nations, to my Holy mountain in Jersusalem as an offering [a Spiritual offering, 1Peter2,5] to the Lord.... They [gentile Christians] will bring them as [metaphorm ie not literally bring them to a physcial Temple] the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord [to the spiritual temple!, to the risen body of Christ] in ceremonially clean vessels." Isaiah66,20
In other words, Jesus superseded, the physical Temple and sacrificial cult of Israel both by his resurrection and his prophesied destruction of it in 70 AD. Since his resurrection the true cult takes place in an eternal spiritual temple, in and among God's people, His Spiritual Temple.
If Physical Temples Can Be Destroyed Then Spiritual Temples Can Too
Our theme today is "The Lord Has Total Jurisdiction Over All Temples." We're going to see that God destroyed, or allowed His physical Temple to be destroyed, three times, firstly at Shiloh by the Philistines, secondly at Jersualem in 586 BC by Babylon, and thirdly in 70 AD at Jerusalem by the Romans.
All these destructions have to do with man's disobedience, and idolatry, namely putting himself before God. This happens when man asserts his own jurisdiction over these temples, and forgets and explains away God exclusive jurisdiction over them.
But there's also a fourth assertion of total jurisdiction and destruction, over the salvation of God's Spiritual Templem his church.
We're going to dig into all four of these assertions of God's total jurisdiction later in this sermon.
What we have been doing up until now is laying out the broad biblical principles and the whole concept of "temple" and God's full right to lead and judge and administer both His temple and His church, where he now chooses to live.
History Shows That Men Try To Run God Out Of His Own House
I've told this story before. But just after I became a Christian almost thirty years ago I was in the biggest church in New Haven, a town I love. And at the time I thought God must be in this particular building. And one of the officiants was at the "altar," when one of the heavy tiles, from the top of this churches' spire came crashing down into the sanctuary.
I didn't know what to think, but later came to realize this falling was a clear sign that God is going to judge every temple, every church, every nation, every knee will bow, reagardless of our philosophies and theologies. God is going to judge in the end.
Likewise, at a funeral service, the Holy Ghost said to me "don't just go through the motions" with that incense. Don't just go through the motions in my name. That incense represents the prayers of my people."
I was in God's house and he was going to tell me how to behave not me tell him. Temples get destroyed when we tell him how it's going be in His house.
We clearly get how physical temples can be destroyed, but the Apostle Paul picks up on the theme of how our Spiritual Temple, our church itself gets destroyed in 1Corinthians3. We'll get to that shortly.The thing about physical and spiritual temples is that they only validly exist in his name, and for his name, and must welcome His name, His presence, His Name and presence in the Temple means we must submit to His jurisdiction there and everywhere because we humans are just his mere servants.
Colossians1,18: "He is the head of the body, the church [spiritual temple], He is the begining and the firstborn of the dead so that in everything he might have supremacy."
The Temple physical or spiritual is his house, his domain, his place of rest, his place to be fed, or feed us, as he sees fit. We are his domain, his people bought and paid for, at the price of his life and blood. He and only He is has the supreme jurisdiction over us.
All Biblical Temples Firstly Are About God Not Humans
You might not know this- the Jerusalem temple was not a place of public worship, like for crowds inside anyway, like our churches today. Outside in the courtyards yes it ws public. But inside It was God's house, a place for him to rest and eat and actually live and receive sacrificial worship and intercession from his priesthood for His people. The Temple was not the priests' house. It was His house. The Christian church, is likewise his house, not our house, not the pastor's jurisdiction, but the Lord's jurisdiction.
I have a friend who loses all interest when pastors insist on telling a joke. I don't mind humorous pastors, but there's the kind that has to tell the joke. And she's right. We have no right to tell our man made jokes in God's house. As she says "I go to church to find God not to hear men tell jokes."
Jesus has jurisdiction over His blood bought spiritual temple, which is the church. He makes the rules acording to his word and Spirit. He picks the true leaders. Without Him there we can't do anything good.
If we go to our neighbor's house we can't destroy anything can we? Or we have to pay the owner for it. We humbly submit to our neighbor's rules or we choose not to enter. In Vermont there's a long winter, well not so much with global warming these days, but then there's a fun mud season after it too. So in Vermont a lot of folks always expect you to take off your shoes before you enter their place. I'm not totally comfortable with this, but it's their house. We have no right to mess it up, how much less the house of God!
Bad Teaching Destroys Jesus' Spiritual House
The Apostle and teacher Paul knows that the destruction or salvation of Jesus' spiritual temple comes not just from God's judgments in time and in the end, but also from bad teaching right here and now:
"for no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw- 13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will discose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survive he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you [plural, the church] are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple [spiritual house], God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple." 1Corinthians3,11-16.
Like Israel's physical temples prior to it, the Christian Spiritual temple is meant to be holy, faithful and obedient to her sole and supreme master, the risen Lord Jesus, not destroyed by any man, man, man who does not teach God's word, or any man that pretends, in any way, to be God.
Temple As Center of Whole Religious System- Over Which Jesus Asserted His Jurisdiction
We have preached on The Preaching Hour about how the temple was the center of the whole Jewish religious system, sort of like Wall Street when it came to economics (Capital For Some, Or All). It was doing a great business charging faithful pilgrims required to come back to Israel three times a year, and required to purchase sacrifices with the shekel, a purchase for which the "Wall Street" like Temple priests charged between 4-8%.
When Jesus cleared out the money changers tables, and animals, and the merchants from His father's House, he was asserting His jurisdiction over it. He was clearing it of it's traders, its Tyrenian merchants, Ezekiel28. He was pre-judging all those who are hell bent on making a religious system thats sells its own power to make money, and hides the power of the Lord! All for it's own power and profit.
The merchant trader theme in the temple is a recurrent one in relation to God's judgement. We see that clearly in Ezekiel 28, the case of Satan infiltrating down through the ages, in the physical Jerusalem temple, then the the spiritual church, under the figure of the king of Tyre, Tyre being known for it's merchants and wealth. We read most of this chapter when we began this series.
Temple Desolate Or Filled With The Saved
When Jesus cleared the temple of the merchants, the pigeon sellers, the money changers, the brood of vipers with their interest bite on all the sacrifices purchased, he was also saying prophetically "there is nobody saved by this system, least of all its priestly leaders."(cf John Piper, "Stephen's Crime: 'Jesus Will Destroy This Temple" March21,1991; www.desiringgod.org/messages/stephens-crime-Jesus-will-destroy-the-temple)
He was saying that the temple was desolate not just of his presence, but of anyone saved by it. This salvation would not occur, not fill the "temple," until all Israel says: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
Matthew23,33-37 develops this theme of the temple empty of salvation, and soon to de destroyed (Matthew24,2), which we know it was in 70AD by the Roman General, soon to be Emperor Titus:
"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. [early church] Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks but you were not willing. 38 Look your house [the temple which you claim for yourselves] is left to you desolate [ie it has no one saved in it, no salvation in it's corrupt money grubbing system] 39 For I tell, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
A desolate temple not only lacks the presence of God, it's deceptive too because the promise of salvation it represents has become a lie. Contrast the desolate physical-spiritual Temple of Matthew23,33-37 with the Spiritual Temple of Revelation11,1. Here John the Revelator is given a reed like a measuring rod and is told "Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshippers there."
To measure the temple here is to count the number that are saved Spiritually, that are resting secure in Jesus. The reed is not measuring physical dimensions, but the number of the saved. Jesus' spiritual house, his temple, has no physical dimensions. So when Jesus says at Matthew 23,38 to the priesthood that "your house is left to you desolate." He's saying "this physical house you have appropriated for yourselves, has no one is saved in it, or by it. It's empty, and hereby judged, and of course it's coming down down down."
The Temple As God's Supposed Promise To Always Dwell In and With Isreal
In this sermon we are attempting to plumb the depths of a bible followrers attachment to the big idea of the temple, and our Christian attachment to the reality of the Spiritual temple. I know you're getting this, stay with me.
Deuteronomy12,5-11 is perhaps the best expression of just how blessed it was for Israel, for a Jew, to have the Jerusalem Temple, their national temple, with their national God in it, with a present king ruling, and a coming eternal messiah. The temple was expected to be the permanant home for God and represent their permanent salvation:
"..you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you. 8 You are not to do as we do here today, everyone as he sees fit, since you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance your God is giving you. 10 But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety. 11 Then to the place your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name..."
We are great fans of baseball, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mets. And their stadiums, are modern "temples." Well back in the day Jews were great fans of their temple. The temple for them was better than Fenway Park for a Massachusetts denizen, and old Yankee Stadium for a New Yorker. It was a place especially chosen by God, a place for his name, ie his power and presence and personality, a place for bountiful sacrifice, a place for rejoicing in prosperity, of physical and spiritual rest from enemies, a place of safety, all as a gift of their one God.
Everything about it asserted permanence, 2Kings21,8-9: "I will not make the feet of Israel wander from the land I gave their forefathers, if only they be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep the whole law that my servant Moses gave them. 9 But the people did not listen."
Temple Part Of Israel As "Great Nation" Genesis12 Promise
The online periodical MakomIsrael interestingly links the physical temple with the promise of God to Abraham to make of Israel a "great nation."
"Once 'a house for the name of the Lord' was built, however, worship elsewhere became prohibited. There is a certain compelling logic in this concept when viewed in relation to the people of the land. As long as the People were fighting their enemies [timeof Judges, time of first Tent in Shiloh], engaging in conquest and not yet settled in their land, they had not yet reached the apex of their existance as an independant nation and were not in a position to fully realize the promise to Abraham, "I will make of you a great nation." (p. 52 Lesson 7- Should they have only one place of worship? makomisrael.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/lesson-7 pdf)
This "great nation" of faith, no doubt thought that they would always have their God's presence with them, always in their Temple, in the house they built for him, and a permanent home in the land that God promised them.
With all this freighted logic and blessing, we begin to understand the murderous reaction of Jerusalem to our prophet Jesus who said their beloved Temple was already desolate of salvation and God, and by the way He was the new temple and salvation. Not to mention, that he himself would see to it that it came crashing down!
No wonder Jesus was crucified!
He did in fact speak against it. And claimed to replace it with himself. He did overturn the money changers tables and stop the business of the temple. And His prophet Stephen did also say God wasn't in the temple, and that it was, in fact, coming down. No wonder they were both assasinated.
Three Times God Already Used His Jurisdiction To Physically Destroy Temples
A Fourth Destruction Planned For Babylonian Christian Religious System
Now we're going to bore into the three historical times God has used his total jurisdiction over his physical houses, his temples, by destroying them based on their idolatry, based on their taking God's proscribed worship for granted. I'm not a marriage expert, but when marriages go bad it's usually because, one or both parties, takes the other party for granted.
Oh my, how we human beings hate being taken for granted. Preachers don't like this either, but I'm getting used to it.
That's why "please" and "thank you" are especially important with folks we se all the time, let alone we live with. These are the ones like God we should least of all take for granted.
Well God hates it too when we take him for granted, and his presence and mercy in the temple too. We have all taken God for granted about so many things in our lives.
But watch out, if you take your spouse for granted you might wake up one day, and lo and behold your spouse is no longer there. She left you behind. Or, more realistically, perhaps she's already spilling her guts to Dr. Phil. And now His producer is on the phone, and he wants to know if you'd like to participate in your own total destruction, or if you prefer staying home and watching it on your new big screen TV?
Likewise Israel, she woke up three times to find that her bridegroom had left the temple, because the bride took the bridegroom for granted, (cf "What Happened To Shiloh" Wayne Blank, http://www.keyway.ca.htm2004/20040516.htm).
And the bridegroom destroyed the Temple three times. To wake her up.
Garden Of Eden Like A Temple
The garden of Eden was a type of Temple. You had the 'tree of life' there. That's Jesus. And the tree of 'the knowledge of good and evil.' That's Satan (Branham) This is just like in the spiritual house, the church. One Sunday, they hear and listen to Jesus' voice, and the Sunday after that perhaps Satan voice.
What happened to Adam and Eve? Everything was fine- God was feeding them. They were holy-priestly, and sinless, and worshipping. They had just one rule- they had no right to eat of Satan's tree. But then Eve got a little gullible and rebellious, some one convinced her that sex, I mean eating an apple, was more important than God's word, more important than anything else. And then she convinced Adam- that wasn't hard- like Sarah convinced Abraham to volunteer to take Hagar, for offspring. At the time, these seemed like good ideas.
But Adam and Eve's disobedience got them kicked out of the temple, out of his presence.
Then the Lord put angels at the gate to keep them out, just like the "no gentiles beyond this point," sign between the outer and inner court of the temple in Jesus' day. That gate said "Stay out of Eden" Your not fit for the glory of it." God unsaved Adam and Eve. One day they were eternally saved, the next day banished, and going to die, outside garden, outside the temple:
"So the Lord banished them from the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he had been taken. 24 When he drove him out, God settled him to the east of the garden of Eden, and he stationed the cherubim and a sword whirling and flashing to guard the way to the tree of life." Genesis3,23-24.
To get back to the 'tree of life,' to Jesus, to His presence, to the temple, us humans are going to go through the gate, by a repentant faith, to Jesus. The One in the garden, the tree of life, doesn't want to banish us permanantly, but welcome us to Himself, the final temple.
Praise the Lord, you are getting this. Aren't you!
1. First Tent Or Temple At Shiloh Established And Then Destroyed By Philistines in 1100BC
But God for his own reasons, for love of humanity, in honor of his faithfulness, agrees to draw near to us humans again, even after He banished Adam and Eve. Our God always wants to draw near to us, always seeks us with mercy. He drew near to Abraham. They talked, and were so close Abraham asked for a son too, on top of being the father of all the faithful, and in addition to the land promsies and all. He drew near to Jacob, wrestling, and showed him who was boss, and made Him "Israel," one who wrestles with God and lives to tell about it, one who limps but gives out blessings in Genesis49 to the twelve tribes. He drew near to Moses in the burning bush, so Moses would go back into Egypt and gather up his people.
He drew near to the people in the desert, as cloud by day, when they were burning up, and as a pillar of fire at night when they were freezing cold. He drew near as they paraded and shouted their way into the promised land, over the Jordan river at Jericho, and near again when he agreed to be in the first "tent" of Shiloh.
"Draw near o Lord our God, graciously hear us guilty of sinning before you" as the song says.
Shiloh was a town about 20 miles north of Jerusalem in the tribal territory of Ephraim. Scholars have difficulty telling us whether the tent became a fixed building with a roof, or stayed just a tent. But the fact is Shiloh served as Israel's poltical and religious center for about three hundred years, and had a hereditary priesthood, and was the center of the promised land for so long. This suggests that it was a more permanent a structure than what we think of when we hear the word "tent." (Wayne Blank, "What Happened To Shiloh? www.keyway.ca./htm2004/2004/20040516.htm)
These Philistines Ain't No Joke
The destruction of Shiloh and the loss of the "tent", ie the loss of the ark of the covenant, his presence, all came at the hands of the Philistines. They were pesky uncircumcized enemies of Israel, always just to the west, always filling in Isaac's wells, showing themselves as enemies in large or small ways. Issac did something good like dig a well, and his Philistine neighbor fills it in. Dig another out of their way, and they fill that one in too.
This big Philistine victory is recorded in 1Samuel4, at the first at the battle of Aphek, where the Israelites lost 4000 men (v.2). Israel's elders were confused as to why they lost. They thought it was because they didn't bring the ark into battle, so they fetched it and and then the fleshly priests Hophni and Phineas thought that it would do the trick in the next battle, but thirty thousand died. And the Ark was captured, and the high priests' two sons killed. (v.11). Eli, the high priest, dropped dead and his daughter-in-law went into labor and named her son "Ichabod," the glory of the Lord departed (v.21).
In Eden God made the living folks depart, but at Shiloh, he departed.
We know that Shiloh and it's temple-tent were destroyed because the prophet Jeremiah 500 years later, amidst the similar laziness and idolatry of the temple priesthood, says at 7,12ff:
"Go to my shrine at Shiloh, which I once made a dwelling for my name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 Now you have done all these things [bragging 'This place is the temple of the Lord" v.4, bragging "We are safe" v.10] says the Lord; though I spoke to you again and again and you did not listen....14 Therefore what I did at Shiloh I shall do to this house which bears my name, the house in which you put your trust, the place I gave to you and your forefathers; 15 I shall fling you away out of my presence [to Babylon], as I did with all your kinfolk, all Ephraim's offspring [ie when the lord destroyed Shiloh.]"
At Genesis 49,10 Jacob prophesies blessings upon His son Judah, and the tribe of Judah. This verse establishes something vital for our sermon today. It shows us a permanent and eternal connection between Judah, the Temple, the presence of God, and the messiah, all under the figure of the town and temple of Shiloh.
Jesus was born in Judah. He was and is king of the Jews. He is the new and final Shiloh, the final place-temple for God's Spirit. Shiloh was also the first dwelling of His Spirit on earth. Later He sent down the promise of the father on Pentecost to dwell in His Spiritual house. Before that In His incarnation and resurrection He is the fulfillment of 2Samuel7,13, the fulfillment of the Davidic, or messianic line of King David, with its divine origin and anointing.
All this is prophesied in Genesis49,10 about the Temple place and person of Shiloh:
"The sceptre [sword of a king, instrument of justice] shall not depart from Judah [Davidic king 2Sam.7], nor the ruler's staff from between his feet [Good shepeherd-king], until Shiloh ["that is his" hebrew4christians/scripture/Parashah/Summaries/Yayechu/Shiloh/.html, meaning, the rule of the kingdom of David, fufilled in the messiah] comes and to him [messiah, Shiloh] shall be the obedience of the peoples [if they obey they, Jews and gentiles, they will gather round him, in peace].
So the bible right from the begining mentions Shiloh, the first physical house on earth for his actual Spiritual presence. God, who is Spirit (John4,24), lived in Shiloh, in a Temple, for 300 years. Later Jesus, who by His Spirit "overshadowed her," the tent of Mary" (Luke1,35). Jesus, the fullness of the Godhead bodily, dwelled in her tent, dwelled in her. He also lives in the church.
By the mystery of blessed Judah and Genesis49,10 Shiloh becomes a person, the prophesied messiah, king of Israel, who will call a vast people to obedience, faithful Jew and gentile, and so bring peace to the world, and in so doing create an obedient-ingathered people that fully has his presence, a new temple.
As Wayne Stiles puts it "The Tabernacle At Shiloh- A Promise, A Person, A Place & Parable."
2. The Destruction Of The First "Real" Temple At Jerusalem in 586BC By The Babylonians
The destruction of the temple at Shiloh was perhaps less shocking to Israel than the destruction of the "first temple," aka Solomon's Temple in 586BC because Shiloh's Temple was considered more of a tent, even if it was, after 300 years, more like a permanent structure.
Furthermore, in the time of Shiloh's cultic ministry Israel had no king, so it's destruction was less traumatic politically than it might have been. In all near eastern culture every self respecting king wanted to build, or have a temple to round out his power. In Israel a temple added lustre to the newly and now permanently settled nation (cf Dufour, "Temple" p.594-595). Saul was too erratic to get around to it, and David prohibited, due to his prior violence, so the task fell to king Solomon who built the definitive national temple in an amazing seven years. It was dedicated in 864 BC.
But as we saw in Shiloh's destruction, and will see at Ezekiel10, God's Spirit cannot be forced to stay in any temple. He can leave any time he wants. Likewise he is not forced to show up at our church Sunday, or forced to stay all week, just because we say so.
God is a free agent. He doesn't stay where he is not given total jurisdiction and honor.
Only the faithfulness of God's people continually obligates the protective presence of the Lord in any temple or church, no matter how perfectly built and appointed, no matter how well trained and educated the ministers, or well rehearsed the pleas and preachings and prayers.
There are many prophetic passages that descry the presumption and arrogance of the first temple cultic practices. Micah 3,5ff is representative:
"These are the words of the Lord about the prophets who lead my people astray, who promise prosperity in return for food, but declare open war against those who give them nothing to eat."
Today you have to feed the prosperity pastors money, or they wll declare open war on you!
And so verses 8-12 talking about the destruction of the whole 'pay to pray' temple system:
"Listen to this, leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel, who abhor what is right and pervert what is straight, 10 building Zion with bloodshed, Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 her leaders sell verdicts for a bribe, her prophets practice divination for money, yet claim the Lord's authority. 'Is not the Lord in our midst? they say. [of course in our Temple!] 'No disaster can befall us.' 12 Therefore, because of you Zion will become a ploughed field, Jerusalem a heap of ruins, and the temple mount rough moorland."
In other words, God can leave any temple, even mine, or yours.
And when that happens, all that is left is for God's judgement, as 2Chronicles36,19 puts it:
"And they [Babylon] burnt the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burnt all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its desirable vessels."
The Protestant Matthew Henry comments on this 2Chronicles36: "The ruin of Judah and Jersusalem came on by degrees. The methods God takes to call back sinners by his word, by ministers, by conscience, by providences, are all instances of his compassion toward them, and his unwillingness that any should perish. See what woeful havoc sin makes [destruction of the temple] and, as we value the comfort and continuance of our earthly blessings [like the temple], let us keep in mind that worm from the root of them [worm of human disobedience]. They had many times ploughed and sowed their land in the seventh year, when it should have rested, and now it lay unploughed and unsown for ten times seven years [the senty years of punishment in Babylonian exile]. God will be no loser in his glory at last, by the disobedience of men. If they refused to let the land rest, God would make it rest. What place, shall thy justice spare, if Jerusalem has perished? If that delight of thine were cut off for wickedness, let us not be high-minded but fear." (Matthew Henry Commentary. biblehub.com)
Babylon led off the king of Israel in about 600BC into exile with a chain through his nose and burned down the First temple King Solomon built: Psalm74,6: "They smashed all the wood panelling [in the temple] with their axes and hatchets."
So God didn't spare his city, or his king or his temple. Instead he left his temple, and destroyed them all.
Ezekiel10,18 "The glory of the Lord left the temple terrace and halted above the cherubim."
It not only left the temple it left the city!
Then Ezekiel11,23-25 says "The glory of the Lord rose up and left the city, and halted on the on the mountain east of it." [the mount of olives where Jesus proclaimed the second destruction of the temple-city in 70AD, Matthew24, Luke21,20, the place that Lord according to Zechariah 14,4 will finally judge the city, biblehub.com, Ellicott's commentary].
So we know that the presence of the Lord had already exited by 586BC when Babylon, the pagans, burned down the Temple and executed God's judgment on the idolatry and wordliness of the temple system.
Likewise, the Christian religious system in the end, and its pay to pray spiritual "Temple" will be worldy and Babylonian, and judged according to Revelation17-18, because it preaches another Christ (2Corinthians11,4) than the suffering servant messiah who saved us by grace on the cross of Calvary.
3. Second Temple, Built As Grand As Possible, Then Destroyed 70 AD
The Post Babylon Era Odd
The Persian King Cyrus in 520BC was benevolent to Judah in her return to Israel. He encouraged them to rebuild the temple, though that was about the best thing that happened in this post exile era. This era began well but it was an odd era historically.
It was odd because a leader named Zerubbabel was the expected messiah, and he and the Persian sanctioned Governor Nehemiah began rebuilding the the Temple in 520BC. Yet it turned out to a modest effort. Perhaps they were hampered by the fact that not all of Judah returned from Babylon. Estimates of between 50,000 and 150,000 based on Ezra2,64-65. (biblehub.com/commentaries/guzik/commentaries/1502.htm) And many more, the great majority stayed behind in Babylon, happy with their economic situation there, seventy years of exile is a long time to think about home.
It was also odd because the much heralded Zerubbabel dissapeared and neither he or anyone else presented himself as messiah. And odd too because there was no king after Zedekiah was led through the nose in chains into Babylon. It seems God had had enough of any king, supposedly anointed by Him, using his Holy Name, to double deal and lie in that Name as he carried out the nation's politics, as Zedekiah did in making a side deal with Egypt when the Lord told him to be an ally with Babylon.
It all went bad pretty quickly in the post exile era.
Alexander the Great and the Greeks started the more aggressive foreign domination in 332BC. Greek culture is about primarily philosophy, and the body, and Jewish culture is about the Word and the Spirit. The Greek and later Roman trading culture surely and progressively threatened the true faith of Judah post exile.
By about 175 BC, the rightful high priest Onias III was deposed by the mean Greek descendants, the Seleucids, who installed his brother Jason who was soon out bribed by Menalaus, who stole gold candelabra from the Temple and then sold it to the king of tyre. So by 171 BC the proper Zadokite line (Ezekiel 44,15) was abandoned. Then the Macabees, or Hasmoneans, the Judahite freedom fighters, revolted against the Seleucids in 161BC, when, Antiochus, figure of the future antichrist, sacrified a pig to Zeus in the temple. So the Macabees threw the Seleucids out of Judah. This was an awesome feat, happy Hanakkah- but then they also presumed to be priestly. They were God's fighters, not Zadokite priests per Ezekiel 44,15, and this claiming the priesthood was pretty big mistake.
The post Babylonian age of the second temple perhaps reached it's lowest and oddest point when Herod The Great ruled from 39 to 4BC. He was largely successful in destroying all the Maccabees, killing one of his own Maccabean wives so he could better serve Rome and consolidate his own power.
It's also fair to say that there were not that many men of God, who had much public power, anyway in this post Babylonian exile days.
Other lowlights include 39AD when the Roman Emperor Caligula ordered that an image of him be put in every temple in the Roman empire. The Jews in Judah and in the empire had always managed to carve out exceptions for themselves as to foreign worship, but they could barely beat back this blasphemy. It's threat only ended when Caligula died (Ibid "The Great Revolt" www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org).
Just before Caligula, in Jesus' day, Herod's high priest Caiphas, also a Roman appeaser, said: "better that one man die than for the whole nation to be destroyed" (John11,50) by the Romans. He said this because he feared Jesus would start a political revolution against Rome, and of course that would mean he lost his high priesthood, and his head of the Temple bank religious system.
What an inglorious and ugly history precedes the destruction of the "second" or "Herod's" temple in 70 AD as prophesided by Jesus and Stephen. What patience God had to wait until 70 AD! It's even odd that God even waited thrirty seven years to avenge the death of Jesus.
Something Changed In Babylon: From Cult To Teaching The Word
Amidst all this history we eventually see that something changed about the nature of Judah's faith in the seventy years of Babylonian exile. There the Jews, imperceptively perhaps, became a people of the book, not a people of the cult and priesthood and temple.
The book was all they had in exile. Now we know from Ezekiel 10 and 11 that the Glory, that is the Lord himself, left the first Temple before it was sacked in 586BC. Ezekiel reports that God came to Him in visions by the river Kebar, Ezekiel1,1ff. God left the promised land and went with his people. This is the same as God's spirit did with his Christian spiritual temple in 33 AD, per 1Peter1,1ff, it went with the faithful in exile.
In Babylonian exile in 586BC the Jews only had the book and the Spirit. They had no temple, no ark, the grand little box that once contained God's glory. And when they got back to Judah they had no king, no messiah, no ark, a modest temple, and priesthood that eventually sold themselves, and the cult for political favor and power.
This ugly history got me thinking: God surely had his new second temple built, but he never moved in. Yes this second temple was dedicated according to Ezra6,16 with "great joy" but no great miracles like fire coming down on the altar and the shekinah glory of God when Solomon prayed that the glory fill the temple (2Chronicles7,1ff, cf gotquestions.org/zerubbabel-second-temple-html).
Likewise, the martyr Stephen said to the hostile commitee of Temple priests and Pharisees after Jesus rose from the dead, at Acts 7,48 : "yet the most high does not dwell in buildings made by human hands." (Quoting Isaiah661-2).
Stephen was saying that there was no glory in the temple, just as Jesus had said in Matthew23,38, "it was left to them desolate."
The prophet Haggai adds something on this subject at Haggai2,3. Haggai and God were the ones that inspired the second temple to be built: "Is there anyone left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how does it look to you now? Does it not seem as though there is nothing there?
Precisely. There's seems to be no glory in it! No God in it.
It seems Haggai and God knew that the second physical Temple was really a temporary fill in for the millenial spiritual temple in Israel, when the risen Jesus comes, as the final temple, as the glorious one who gathers all the faithful of Israel and the nations.
Here in Haggai2,5 he tells the people to get to work on His house, but it doesn't seem that he's going to move in any time soon. That's his perogative. It's his house and he has total jurisdiction over it:
"To work! I am with you- Yahweh Saboath declares- 5 and my spirit is present among you. Do not be afraid! 6 For Yahweh Saboath says this: A little while now and I shall shake the heavens [judge heaven and earth] and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I shall take all the nations [judgement], and the treasures of all the nations willl flow in, and I shall fill this Temple with glory, says Yahweh Saboath. 8 Mine is the silver, mine the gold!- Yahweh Saboath declares. 9 The glory of this new [messianic] Temple will surpass that of the old [first Temple], says Yahweh Saboath, and in this place [Jerusalem, place of peace, and temple] I shall give peace- Yahweh Saboath decares." Haggai2,5-9
And as Revelation11,18-19 suggests, the full presence, the full temple of God, the risen Jesus cannot reside on earth until "God destroys those who destroy the earth. [Then 19] God's sanctuary in heaven was opened and within his sanctuary was seen the ark of the covenant. There came flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm [signs of judgment]."
After the idolatry of Ezekiel 8, knowing that Jesus would soon be incarnated in a woman, it seems God refused to enter into any physical building, which had run him off twice before, in Shiloh, and then Jerusalem.
The only glorious indwelling of God in something physical after the first temple was the incarnation, that is, Jesus submitting to being encapsulated in Mary, her being the vessel of His glory, while the ark was lost.
After Babylonian exile any temple, any ark, built by human hands is not worthy of the glory of God.
As to what happened to the ark 2Maccabees2,4-5 says that Jeremiah rescued it before King Nebudchadnezzer destroyed the Temple in 586 and placed it in an unknown cave on Mount Nebo. This same "Deuterocanonical" or "Apocraphal" work says that some of his companions went looking for it and couldn't find it, a search that earned them this reproach: " 7 The place is to remain unknown, he said 'until God gathers his people together [messianic theme since Genesis49,10, ie obedient to his call and thus gathered] and shows them his mercy. 8 Then the the Lord will bring these things once more to light, and the glory of the Lord will be seen, and so will the cloud, as it was revealed in the time of Moses and when Solomon prayed that the Holy place might be gloriously hallowed [2Chronicles7,1ff]."
In other words, the physical ark on earth is just a fancy, but empty box now, but the risen Jesus, the new temple, is coming down in glory to judge, and then gather.
So not only can we venture to say that the presence of God was not in the temple when Jesus cleared out the animals and overturned the money changers tables, Matthew23, we can also likely say that the Spirit ever came back into the temple post Baylonian exile. It was gone. It went with the people to Babylon according to Ezekiel's vision per 1,1ff, but it never entered into the second temple. The loss of the ark in 586BC is just one of many clues.
His glory never entered the modest second Temple and later "Herod's temple" save when Jesus, briefly entered the temple several times (gotquestions.com), the last of which was when he overturned the money changers tables and declared the temple desolate.
Ezra First A Teacher Then A Priest
Ezra was the chief priest of the new second temple, but above that, scripture emphasizes that he was a student of the word. Ezra 7,9: "the hand of God was upon him" 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law and to practice it, to teach his statutes and ordinances in Israel." Yes, something changed in Babylonian exile, God determined that His people needed to be taught the word, rather than just say "we have the temple" for our salvation and security.
And when that desolate temple and high priesthood system crucified Jesus, God pronounced and pophetically revealed final judgement on the physically sacrificial cult of Israel by tearing the veil between the great room and the Holy of Holies. The temple cult itself was at at end, and final destruction was on the horizon.
In modern synagogues, there is no Ark of the covenant, but there is the everlasting word of God, the Torah. It, like the ark of old, is carried in procession and preserved and revered, and still sanctified according to Deuteronomy31,26: "Take the book of the law [by 640BC with a reformer, king Josiah, and they had a new book summarizing the reform] and put it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, and let it be there as a witness against you."
It's not any physical ark, containing glory, that will gather His people. The only ark important now is in heaven, (Revelation11,19, with the risen and glorious Jesus, the new temple. He will gather the people by coming back in glory, by pouring out a spirit of grace and supplication upon Israel and the Jews who will look upon the risen messiah, Zechariah12,10. This glorious one in the preparation and the fullness of his second coming will gather them and us as the final temple, his final Spiritual house.
This is the prophetic teaching of God's word.
In 70 AD the second temple, which began without much lustre and promise and Spirit, and was then later made sparkly by that hater Herod, came crashing down because Judah forgot in many ways that God has total jurisdiction over his Temple, as to who ministers there, as to the Spiritual fitness, as to profiteering, as to the need for sound teaching, as to cult and teaching before politics, as to who builds His house, as to every aspect of its operation.
4. God's Jurisdiction Imposed On Endtime Spiritual Temple Revelation17-18
Who Will Survive In The End?
Now we turn to the final imposition of God's will and judgment not on physical Temples, like Shiloh, and the first and second Temple, but the Spiritual Temple, God's church.
There's so many ways to address these amazing chapters of scripture. I asked someone what kind of literature she liked to read and to my surprise she said endtime stuff, like the "The Road," and survivalist literature.
Survival is a valid modern literary theme, and biblical theme too. We now have seven billion people on earth. Our weather is more and more unpredictable. Wages are going down. Borders are open for sale. Our stated enemies have massive weapons capacity thanks to diplomatic agenda to arm the world, but not necessarily our own citizens.
Robot workers are on the horizon. Compassion might disappear, in a day, as the Stop And Shop runs out of food and markets crash. The traditional Christian church is apostate, asleep, happy with its own money making schemes and man made creeds. It's the last church age, the Laodicean, and prosperianity has met charismania, and cold love has closed the church door. Witness in his Spiritual temple is all but completely replaced by "success " at all costs. And Lord help us, many Christians are just as tribal and belligerant as the faithless, wolves in sheeps clothing. But oh so polite, while our signs and wonders point to man, man, man, not to God and His word.
No wonder so many of us Christians and others are interested in survivalist endtime literature. We born agains are hoping to survive until the rapture, just before Jesus' judges the earth and institutes the millenial kingdom, vindicating his shed blood, and His people Israel, His Word, and the beauty and purpose of creation.
Come Lord Jesus Come.
We're planning on being the overcomers, not the burning chaff, enjoying hidden manna, hidden strength, now and then, as Jesus imposes His jurisdiction over the world, the devil and the flesh, and his Spiritual temple.
There is no better suvivalist literature than the Book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, just read them. You will never be the same. The world can take any human being's life or honor. It can take any man's God given freedom. It can mock our prayer and our morality, and in Satan's employ, will do so to the very end.
But no man, or created being at all, can ever change the word of God, Revelation17-18. It will always survive. The Word of God is our book of life, and our names are in that book, a survival book.
Evil Endtime Political Takeover Install Antichrist World Ruler
Revelation17 and 18 tell us that in the endtime humanity is facing some sort of evil political revolution, whereby nations and political parties, and proper courts, and due process rights like probable cause, and faithful churches are all going to be bypassed. And a new world order, birthed in secret, in the fallen hearts of men, will impose itself. This will be done in the name of ending terrorism, avoiding worldwide depression, or defending a Palestinian state, or globalism, or enviromentalism, or gun control, or religious unity between Muslims, Jews and Christians, or some combination of all these.
There will arise a transnational Antichrist political leader who will orchestrate it.
New World Order And Ten New Kings
What will sovereign nations, which are a gift of God, since the days after Noah, be replaced with?
Revelation17,12 tells us: "and the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together will the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war in the lamb, and the lamb will conquer them..."
These ten transnational end time kings will ride the religious beast and then outlast the "woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns." Revelation17,3
These endtime ten new leaders, a new world order, born of various secret societies and secret economic interests, will serve under the antichrist, who is "like an eigth" Roman emperor (there have been seven already) Revelation17,11. Prior to that, these will turn on the historic church system according to Revelation17,16: "And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire."
As in all the desolations of the physical temples, the desolation of the Apostate Christian church, the denominational church system, not all the believers in those churches, but the ungodly money and political power making system of it, will be performed by a force foreign to God's favor and grace, this time by a new world order. Likewise, it was Philistines that destroyed Shiloh in 1100BC, Babylon the First temple in 586BC, the Roman empire the second Temple in 70AD.
And in the endtime it will be a new world order, that destroys (by lawsuits?) the historic trader church that deominational Christianity has become:
"And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scalet cloth, all kinds of scenrted wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of costly wood, brinze, iron and marble [all the stuff that churches and physical temples are made of], cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, and sheep, horses and chariots [instruments of war], and slaves, that is human souls." Revelation18,11-13
The merchant trader political church ever since the end of the first century has dominated the people, Revelation2,6 and 15. It is "Nicolaitan," meaning it dominates the laity. It traded community gifts and offices (Ephesians4,10) for hierarchy, right away, changed the date of Passover, then sold infant baptism, sacraments, dogmas, indulgences, offices, political power, all of which enslaves God's people and buys and sells the souls of men.
But God is in His Spiritual temple and he has exclusive jurisdiction over it.
Mystery Of Babylon Is Timeless Evil On Earth And In All Temples
It's as if when Judah went into Babylonian captivity in 586BC "Babylon" rubbed off on "Judah." No amount of Torah study and the second temple cult could keep "Babylon" out of Judah, or out of the the Christian church thereafter. This is the 'Mystery of Babylon' the Great that has charcaterized the historic Christian church, but pre-existed it too:
"And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: 'Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes [she had many daughter churches, many denominations too] and of earth's abominations." Revelation17,5.
The 'mystery of Babylon' the great was there when Satan was allowed in the garden;
There in Cain, whose father was the evil one (1John3,12) who slew his just brother, Abel;
There when Esau preferred a plate of beans to his birthright, and Canaanite gals rarther than women of God;
It was there in the people's appetite to go back to Egypt, people who soon forgot that in their deliverance out of Egypt there was not a feeble one in their midst;
There when the Macabees claimed to be of rightful priestly descent;
It was there when the hierarchical Nicolaitans, contrary to Ephesians4,10, tried to make Christianity a hierarchical business, right at the start;
There when infant rather than adult faith based baptism took hold in the third century;
It reared it's political head again and again as supposed Christians claimed to be emperors even though Jesus said "render unto Casaer that which belongs to Caesar and to God that which belongs to Him;"
It was there when ignorant anti semitism and anti biblicism in the historic church changed our biblical roots, and we exchanged our gentile status as heirs of the Jews, the people of the book, to become a people of the recited creed;
There again when thousands of reformers and prophets like Peter Waldo in the 11th century went back the word, and yet for 500 years were killed for their witness;
The mystery of Babylon there again when European antisemitism lead to the slaughter of six million Jews while most Christians sat on their hands;
There again when churches won't show their financial statements and set up their own banks, and make deals in financial ;
There again when for the so called "reformers" replace "pick up your cross and follow me" to 'once saved always saved;'
There again now when prosperianity has replaced Jesus dictum that we 'can't serve God and money,' as we say "Oh Yes we can!
The mystery of Babylon can wedge itself into any heart, any church, any temple, and any temple of the Holy Ghost.
This is how the Lord Jesus will assert his jurisdiction over his spiritual house in the end:
"and the light of a lamp will no longer shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, all nations were deceived by her sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and all who have been slain on earth." Revelation18,23-24.
Final Mystery Of Babylon Is That Apostate Chruch Worse Than Babylon Ever Was
King Manasseh (695-642BC) of Judah proves the fact that true religion that goes bad, and asserts its own jurisdiction, is worse than any pagan religion.
2Kings21,2-9 puts it this way: "He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the destestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had , 'In Jerusalem I will put my Name.' 5 In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 7 He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, 'In this temple and in Jerusarusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name [my jurisdiction] forever. I will not make the feet of the Israelites wander from the land I gave their forefathers, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep my whole law that my servant Moses gave them. 9 But the people did not listen. Mannasah led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites."
The final "mystery of Babylon' is that the Lord allows, for awile anyway, his religious people to be and do worse than "Babylonians," doing more harm than good by bad teaching, idolatry, and seizing jurisdiction of the Lord's house.
But to whom much is given much is expected- there comes a day when Jesus asserts his supreme jurisdiction over each of us and all temples, all religious systems:
"He is the head of the body, the church. He is the origin, the first to return from the dead, to become in all things supreme. 19 For in him God in all his fullness chose to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile all things ot himself, making peace through the shedding of his blood on the cross- all things, whether on earth, or in heaven." Colossians1,18-20.
To whose jurisdiction have you and your church submitted? To a man, a pastor, a brand name, a corporation, a building or the risen and glorious Jesus? Whose Spiritual Temple are you in one that meets in the presence of His Name, or someone else?
His name is Jesus. His religious jurisdiction is total, cosmic, unlimited. And He is the sole judge of all matters religious, just as His word teaches.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...