Friday, June 14, 2013

What is in the Temple?

 Zerubbabel's Temple Dedication

There was something missing from all the temples in Jerusalem after Solomon's temple was destroyed; the indwelling presence of God. What good is a temple without God's presence? It became a place of sacrificing animals and rituals, but also a place of prayer.

Ezra 6:16  And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,
Ezra 6:17  And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Ezra 6:18  And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.

 Compare this to the dedication of Solomon's temple.
2 Chr 7:5  And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
2 Chr 7:6  And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of music of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.
2 Chr 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Zerubbabel's temple was smaller and did not have the Ark of the Covenant which was the place of the presence of God's Spirit. The Ark was destroyed or missing and according to Ezekiel the presence of God had left the Ark and the temple, before it was destroyed by the Chaldean's because of the idolatry of God's people.
Ezek 10:18  Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.
Ezek 10:19  And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.

Ezek 11:23  And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.
The glory of God went to the place where Jesus would ascend up into the clouds. This is the very place where Jesus would return again according to Zechariah's prophecy.
Zec 14:4  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

What purpose is a temple without the presence of God? It became a place of rituals. Animals were killed to cover the sins of the people. They kept a Sabbath and the feasts, these were outward rituals.  I can imagine that there are churches and synagogues today that are just places of rituals; religion without the presence of God's spirit. How could they bring the presence of God back to the temple? Jesus answered this question when he was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well.
John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Seek the truth in the rituals, read the scriptures, they are where God speaks to us. He also inhabits our worship and praise. The spirit of God no longer dwells in a box, God has left the Ark here on earth. He is not in a temple made by hands, he is in his creation, but more importantly he now is in the temples of our bodies through the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ by faith, we receive his grace. When he departed from our presence, he sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to be the presence of God in the temples of our bodies. The Spirit loves the Word of God and praise to God He also helps us to pray in the will of God in words or in groanings not understood. Yes the presence of God has returned, not to a house made with hands, but in the temple of your body, if you are in Christ Jesus. We meet together, this is church. We together are the church and the presence of God.

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