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Thursday, November 3 2011

What Was Holy About Herod's Temple?

The original Temple in Jerusalem was prepared by King David (see God's Tent) and completed by his son and successor King Solomon (see The King's Dedication) in around 950 BC (i.e. "Before Christ"; we don't use the "politically-correct," Christ-denying BCE, "Before the Common Era," here because it is antichrist).

"17:1 Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars [see The Temple Cedar], but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains. 17:2 Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee." (1 Chronicles 17:1-2 KJV)

"8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, 8:11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. 8:12 Then spake Solomon [see The King's Dedication], The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. 8:13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever." (1 Kings 8:10-13 KJV)

By 586 BC, when the people of Judah became defiantly corrupt, the LORD brought about their downfall - and the destruction of the grossly-corrupted Temple that David and Solomon built (see also The Restoration Of David's Fallen Tabernacle) which was by then being used for sun worship ("8:16 And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east" Ezekiel 8:16 KJV; see also Why Observe The True Sabbath?).

The Western Wall

"36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God [see The Prophets: North and South], and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon [see The Babylon Exodus And Exile]. 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

36:20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah [see Jeremiah's Field], until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years." (2 Chronicles 36:15-21 KJV)

As prophesied, after the fall of the Babylonian Empire, the people of Judah returned after 70 years, led by Ezra and Nehemiah, around 516 BC, in the time of the Persian Empire (see Iran's Greatest Leader Was Pro-Zionist). In obedience to God's Command, the Temple was rebuilt, but due to their limited economic situation at that time, it was not as magnificent as the original Temple by Solomon. Later, after the Persian Empire fell to the Greek Empire, the original "abomination of desolation" was committed in that Temple, around 168 BC, by the Greek-Seleucid King Antiochus IV (see The Seleucids, Christ's Hanukkah and Abomination of Desolation - Where?).

"6:14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 6:15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king." (Ezra 6:14-15 KJV)

Later, when the Roman Empire took its turn as the pompous world "superpower," Herod "the Great" (who tried to kill the newborn Messiah; see Why Did The Magi Come? and Whatever Happened To Those Romans?) built upon and renovated the relatively-modest Temple that was built by the people of Judah upon their return from Babylon centuries before. The result, with construction beginning around 20 BC, was the magnificent "Herodian Temple" that existed at the time of the first coming of the Messiah. It was there that the Roman-appointed and manipulated High Priests, such as Annas And Caiaphas, served the Romans, not the LORD. Herod's Temple lasted until 70 AD when the Romans themselves destroyed it (see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?).

"It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves"

By the time of Christ's first coming, the Temple was a showplace of Herodian/Roman architecture, with Roman-appointed stooges as "high priest," who along with the various religious parties (the Pharisees and Sadducees; see Religious Parties) composed the religious "authority" of the people of Judah. At the very heart of the Temple there remained however the fact that the LORD commanded that it be rebuilt, in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, as a place of worship of the LORD. Although the "leadership" had become corrupt, many of the common people remained faithful and true to the core purpose of the Temple. Included among them as well were some of the lower-ranking, Temple-serving Levites, who were righteous and obedient to the LORD - men such as Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who, along with his wife Elisabeth, "were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." It was while serving in the Temple that the birth of John the Baptist was prophesied to Zacharias.

Herod's Temple

"1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office [see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?; also Are Levites 'Jews'?] before God in the order of his course, 1:9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:5-17 KJV)

When the Messiah was born, His parents brought Him to that Temple, according to the Law of the LORD, not according to the man-made traditions of the hypocrites who then had charge of it.

"2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 2:23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the LORD Christ. 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 2:28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

2:29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 2:30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 2:31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him." (Luke 2:22-33 KJV)

Joseph and Mary observed the long-before established Holy Days of the LORD (see The First Christian Church). It was there, during the days of Passover, that the famous incident of the Son of God teaching in the Temple, at age twelve, occurred.

"2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 2:42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 2:43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 2:44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 2:45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 2:50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:41-52 KJV)

During the famous "temptation of Christ," the Temple was included in the bait.

"4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (Matthew 4:5-7 KJV)

The Messiah's driving out of the corrupt people from the Temple (see Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?), calling it "My house," was an obvious reference to the pure purpose of the Temple, not the corrupt and fancy (a word that means fantasy) facade that covered it. The Christ thereafter "taught daily in the temple."

The Pharisee and the Publican

"21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." (Matthew 21:12-14 KJV)

"19:45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 19:46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. 19:47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 19:48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him." (Luke 19:45-48 KJV)

"21:37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin]. 21:38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him." (Luke 21:37-38 KJV)

The Messiah recognized the Holiness of the Temple because of what was at its heart - the Law of God, that brings together the people who truly worship and obey God. From that, came the prophecy of the resurrection of Christ's Temple of the Holy Spirit i.e. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (see Written In The Heart Of Our Tabernacles).

"2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said." (John 2:14-22 KJV)

Christ observed "the feast of the dedication," Hanukkah, which was established by the people of Judah when they purified the Temple from the original "abomination of desolation" (as explained above; see Christ's Hanukkah).

"10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. 10:24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:22-28 KJV)

At the moment of His death, "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom" (see Why Was It Torn?), a defining statement of what made the Temple "Holy" (see The Temple Heart Prophecy).

"27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost [see Giving Up The Ghost].

27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?], 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matthew 27:50-53 KJV)

Fact Finder: From the day of His return, is the Messiah going to rule from Moriah, where the Temple stood?
See Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff

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This Day In History, November 3

1394: King Charles VI ordered the expulsion of all Jews from France.

1492: The Treaty of Etaples was signed between Charles VIII of France and Henry VII of England. Under the pact, England renounced its claims to French territory in return for indemnity.

1493: Christopher Columbus discovered Dominica while on his second voyage to the New World. The country became independent on this date in 1978.

1534: The Act of Supremacy was passed by the British Parliament. It established King Henry VIII (and his successors) head of the Church of England - an office until then occupied by the Roman Catholic pope.

1679: A bright comet caused widespread panic across Europe.

1760: Frederick the Great of Prussia (not to be confused with Russia; Prussia is in Germany) with 44,000 men defeated 65,000 Austrian troops at Torgau in Seven Years War; more than 13,000 Prussians died in the attack.

1762: Spain acquired Louisiana.

1804: The defeated Sauk and Fox Indians signed a treaty ceding Illinois to the U.S.

1817: The Bank of Montreal, Canada's first bank, opened. With head offices in Montreal, it was the banker in Canada for the Canadian government until the creation of the Bank of Canada 118 years later, in 1935. It participated in many early Canadian developments, including first canals, the telegraph, and the Canadian Pacific Railway.

1839: The Opium War between the British and the Chinese began when British warships blew up several Chinese boats at Canton.

1883: The U.S. Supreme Court declared U.S. Indians to be "dependent aliens."

1903: Following a revolt engineered by the U.S. and encouraged by the presence of a U.S. warship in Panamanian territorial waters, Panama declared itself independent of Columbia - after which Panama became a colony of the U.S.

1918: The fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1918: Poland proclaimed independence from Russia.

1956: Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary in response to the Hungarian Revolution.

1957: The Soviet Union launched Sputnik II into orbit. It carried the first animal in space, a dog named Laika.

1957: One of the most advanced atomic energy reactors in the world opened at Chalk River, Ontario. Despite an abundance of materials and technology that would permit the rapid production of nuclear weapons, Canada continues to use nuclear technology only to generate electricity.

1970: Salvadore Allende was inaugurated as Chile's first Marxist president. He was overthrown on September 11 1973.

1982: During the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, up to 1,000 Soviet soldiers and Afghan civilians died in the Salang tunnel when a tanker exploded near a Soviet military convoy.


Copyright © Wayne Blank