A Warning Concerning the Hebrew Temple
When Moses led the 12 tribes of Israel out of Egypt, the temple was first set up in a town called Shiloh in the country given to Ephraim. Neither the Jews nor their city of Jerusalem were involved in this early construction because their religious significance had not yet been established.
Shiloh, then, became the center of Hebrew worship, and all the tribes made their gatherings in that city for their religious ceremonies.
God later moved the Temple from Shiloh to Jerusalem because of the wickedness of the Israelites in that former city. (See 1 Samuel)
By moving the Temple from Shiloh to Jerusalem, God showed the Israelites that He had the power to move the city of God and the people of Israel wherever He wanted them to go, whether it was out of Egypt, across Sinai, out of Shiloh, out of Jerusalem, or into or out of Babylon.
He moved the temple because the Hebrew leaders were obsessed with the physical aspects of their religion and had abandoned their spiritual responsibilites of justice, compassion and good faith.
"I hate and despise your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemn festivals...Let me have no more of the din of your chanting, no more of your strumming on harps. But let justice flow like water, and integrity like an unfailing stream." (Amos 5:21-24).
"What are your endless sacrifices to me? says God. I am sick of holocausts of rams and the fat of calves. The blood of bulls and of goats revolts me. When you come to present yourselves before me, who asked you to trample over my courts? Bring me your worthless offerings no more, the smoke of them fills me with disgust. New Moons, sabbaths, assemblies-I cannot endure festival and solemnity. Your New Moons and your pilgrimages I hate with all my soul...When you stretch out your hands I turn my eyes away. You may multiply your prayers, I shall not listen. Your hands are covered with blood, wash, make yourselves clean...search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow." (Is.1:11-17).
When Jeremiah later warned the Jews that God was going to remove the Temple from Jerusalem as well (and for the same reason), he reminded them of this fact,
"Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers' den? I, at any rate, am not blind -- it is God who speaks.
Now go to my place in Shiloh where at first I gave my name a home; see what I have done to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel!
And now, since you have committed all these same sins and have refused to listen when I spoke so urgently, or to answer when I called you, I will treat this Temple that bears my name, and in which you put your trust, and the place I have given to you and to your ancestors, just as I treated Shiloh. I will drive you out of my sight, just as I drove all your kinsmen, the entire race of Ephraim." (Jr.7:12-15).
Jeremiah's warning came to fruition less than 40 years after the crucifixion of Christ. 'This temple (the temple of Herod in Jerusalem) was burned to the ground and the Israelites taken off to 'Babylon' (the Roman empire) in the chains of slavery -- a diaspora that would last almost 2000 years:
"You see all these? I tell you solemnly, not a single stone here will be left on another: everything will be destroyed." (Mt.24:2).
"For you have made the town a heap of stones, the fortified city a ruin. The citadel of the proud is a city no longer, it will never be rebuilt." (Is.25:2).
What was rebuilt was a spiritual temple. It was rebuilt in 3 days. As soon as Jesus resurrected from the grave, the temple reappeared in complete perfection. Scripture shows that Jesus and God, are themselves, the temple, and that there can never again be any other. That is why the 'heap of stones' will never be rebuilt.
"I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple..." (Rev.21:22).
"It was the stone rejected by the builders whch proved to be the keystone..." (Ps.118:22).
God is gathering all the returning nations of Zion into the Jerusalem of heaven, not back to Palestine:
"There is no eternal city for us in this life, but we look for one in the life to come." (Heb.13:14).
"In the days to come the mountain of the Temple of God shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills."
"All the nations shall stream to it, peoples without number will come to it. They will say, 'Come, let us go to the mountain of God that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths." (Is.2:2-3).
1. The Temple
2. Rebuilding the Temple
3. God Does Not Live in a House Made with Human Hands
4. The Day of Reckoning
5. The Scattering
6. God Changes the Management
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