BY: MAX ENDE
The Temple in scripture is by far the most mysterious and misunderstood building in history. The Temple of Solomon was built in Jerusalem replacing the tabernacle as the center of worship in Israel. But was this Gods will? This study will raise some questions concerning the Temple. It will show how Israel‘s attachment to the Temple was misplaced and What God’s plan for the Temple really was. This study has ramifications for the modern church as we have many of the concepts concerning our church edifices that the Israelites had about the Temples, and they are just as misplaced.
First God established His presence in Israel with the Tent of Meeting of which He gave very specific instructions on how it was to be put together. Read Exodus chapters 27,28,29, and 30. You’ll see the detail to which God Himself instructed Moses concerning the traveling tabernacle and the priesthood. You’ll also note that the Tabernacle and the priesthood were to be lasting ordinances. In other words, as long as there was the priesthood, there was to be a tent of meeting
Read the following passage. This is the way the Temple in Jerusalem was established.
1CH 17:1 After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.”
1CH 17:2 Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.”
1CH 17:3 That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying:
1CH 17:4-6 4 “Go and tell my servant David, `This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. 5 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. 6 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders whom I commanded to shepherd my people, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ‘
1CH 17:7-14 7] “Now then, tell my servant, David, `This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock, to be ruler over my people Israel. 8] I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 9] And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 10] and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. “`I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: 11] When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12] He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13] I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14] I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.'”
Notice that the Lord promised David that he would raise up one of David’s sons to establish His kingdom. David’s kingdom? No, Gods Kingdom. He (God) would be the one to build the house, and He would establish His throne forever. Then see verse 14. “I will set Him over my house and my Kingdom forever: His throne will be established forever”. The Lord gave to David the messianic Blessing, not the charge to build a Temple. Notice how God said that He would destroy the enemies of Israel so they never trouble her again. This is the Messianic promise. This promise by the way was not contingent on Israel‘s faithfulness or their adherence to the Law. But if you understand why God initially blessed Solomon’s Temple (that He did not commission) it makes it easier to understand why it was destroyed later.
Read the rest of the story and see that David understood by revelation what the blessing entailed. However David ignored the Lord and continued to gather building materials for the stone and cedar temple and see how Solomon stepped into the place of the Messiah by David’s instructions and took on himself the construction of a building that God did not instruct Solomon or David to build.
When the Temple was completed, God did indeed fill the Temple with his Glory. But why? Because of another promise that God had made to His people.
Read Psalm 1
David was blessed by God. He was blessed to perform a specific purpose in the earth for the Lord, lead the people of Israel. David was anointed King of Israel and received the blessing to lead. Look at the benefits of the blessing “Whatsoever he does, shall prosper” This blessing David passed to his son Solomon and the Blessing of the Lord was on Solomon. Remember what Nathan the prophet said to David, ‘Do whatever is in your mind to do, for the Lord is with (blessing) you.
Solomon put his (blessed) hand to the Temple building and God prospered it. We know the rest of the story. Several hundred years later after a century or so of outright idolatry, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple of Solomon (not, by the way, the Temple of the Lord) and carried the people of God into captivity. Why? Because the blessing that was on Israel by the covenant of the Law was removed and the Temple, that was prospered by that old covenant, was destroyed. This was done because of sin.
After the captivity was over the Davidic line to the throne of Israel, that actually occupied that throne, eventually vanished. By the time Christ came, the temple was built by and Judah ruled over by a foreigner. Herod was Idumean. However, the Pharisees and the scribes and the High Priest saw Herod’s temple as the center of Jewish worship. A Temple is a Temple mentality took hold of the people. It is very doubtful that the Ark of the Covenant was present in Herod’s Temple. It is recorded in History that when Pompeii, the leader of the first Roman army that captured Jerusalem, walked into the Holy of Holies, it was empty.
Now, read Psalm 89
The writer of this Psalm, writing after the destruction of the Temple and the from the Babylonian captivity, laments Gods unfaithfulness to a Promise that God did not make. The writer of the Psalm has distorted the word of God. Fantastic, but true. He, the writer is referencing, the promise made to David according to 2 SAM 7. The Son that was to be flogged was the Messiah who was flogged for our transgressions. There is no record of a King of Judah ever being flogged. The writer states promises made by God that were not made. Compare the Psalm with the promise. Only the Messiah, the son of David, whose throne God has established forever. God did not promise that David’s throne would be established forever, but a Son that would be raised up after David went to sleep with his fathers. It was His throne that would endure. The throne was later called the Throne of David, but this was the established name of the Messianic throne, not David’s kingdom.
Then the writer, after making false claims as to God’s promise, accuses God of going back on His word. This is not true, the writer unwittingly is mixing the two covenants. God did do all the things the writer laments because Israel violated the Law (old covenant). But God did not pull back from His covenant with David nor could He, remember there were no conditions for the promise. Now, in His lament, you find prophecy concerning the new covenant. You find the Son of God manifested in the Psalm. The suffering Messiah. The impossible thing. God’s King of Kings crown (of thorns?) laying in the dust. But the writer does not see it, because he is working from false assumptions.
Now read the Psalm again and look at the Psalm with Christ in mind.
So what does this show. I believe that the Institutional Traditional Church prospered in it’s day because of the blessing of God that is on the hands of the believers. In what revelation there was, the church reformers after the dark ages restructured the worship, but not the actual structure of the system. In other word the Protestant expression of the church is still very close to the structure of the Roman church.
Our conception of ‘church’ was and is skewed by an ancient tradition based on false doctrine. But the time for revelation is upon us. We now know that the Temple that God spoke to David, was and is a person and a people, and that Temple is not a building made with hands. God is the builder and maker, he is the mortar and we are the living stones. Jesus Christ. The church meets in the House, not the hen house, the out house the court house or the big house. Wherever the people of God meet, is the House. ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them”.
This is very important because the Lord is going to come to His Temple suddenly. Look at what Jesus said about His return. (Matt 24) It would be unexpected and sudden. But which Temple will he come to. The temple made with hands that is a product of man, under the old covenant? Prospering, yes, but still man made? Or the Temple that originated in heaven, the Temple that is hid in Christ. The ramifications of this revelation are earth shattering. We will have to revisit all our preconceived notions and teachings concerning the Temple and the Book of Revelation which concerns the Temple.
The first Temple had Solomon’s name on it. The second Temple had Herod’s name on it. But the true Temple IS a name, and it is the name that is above all names. And at that name every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Temple is not a place it is a person and a people. Praise God forever and ever, AMEN!
TEMPLE, THE [Max Ende] 1