GOD’S TEMPLE (I)
Verse 30 of 1Kings 8:22-53 reads, “And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive”. The ‘place’ meant by King Solomon in this verse is the Jerusalem Temple i.e. where God’s dwelling place used to be among men. Nowhere else did God ever choose to tabernacle the people of the earth. In the holy of holies or the third compartment of the sanctuary was placed the ark of covenant which was the mercy seat and upon which the Holy Spirit sat as the Jehovah of the Israelites; of whom we see in verse 53, “For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD”.
In 1Kings 9:3 the Bible shows God’s gracious response with, “And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually”. This verse holds an astounding fascination. The word ‘hallowed’ is qadash (kaw-dash’): ‘to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally)’. Then we have the word, ‘name’, which is shem (shame): ‘fame, glory; an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character’. Shem happens to be the name of one of the antediluvian sons (by whom the present population of the earth came into being) of Noah. Shem is the patriarchal ancestor of Israel. God put His fame in the physical Israel i.e. the Church. God pronounced the sanctity of Israel as perpetual. His eyes (attention of Divinity) over Israel has no end. His heart (Eternal One’s thought) of endearment towards Israel is forever. No wonder the physical nation of Shem’s progeny is still a reality of a global force to be reckoned with.
Temple made with hands
Yes, I hear your sound argument against the perpetuity in the light of: i. the Holy Spirit’s departure of the holy of holies (Hebrew 10:19-22), ii. Israel’s apostasy (Acts 7:51, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye”. Matthew 3:7, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”) and, of course, iii. the unavailability of the very temple in question – having been completely destroyed (1Kings 9:7; 1Kings 9:8; Jeremiah 26:18; Ezekiel 7:20-22; Daniel 9:26; Daniel 9:27; Micah 3:12; Matthew 24:1-2 & Luke 19:44) (a probable proof of the fallibility of the oracular afflatus according to the Bible?). “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”; is the Lord Jesus’ assertive pronouncement in Matthew 16:18, even when the LORD God still tabernacled Solomon’s Temple. Matthew 15:37 & 38, “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38) And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (confer Hebrews 10:20). That which gave Jesus the authority to declare, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”, in Matthew 26:28, is because He is the LORD God of the Old Testament!
God had always walked into Eden
“6) But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7) But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:6-8). Two facts emerge from these verses. Jesus is greater than Sabbath (which is the reason for worship). Jesus is the Lord of Sabbath (no wonder He made the categorical statement, “…I will give you rest”. He had just told them that He created the seventh Sabbath day! (…to be concluded…)
Read part I, click here.