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Friday, May 25 2012
When The Temple Was A Tomb
The Ark of the Covenant, which contained the written Ten Commandments (see The Stones Of Mount Sinai) and the written Law that was given to Moses, were first housed in the Tent, that has come to be known, in English, as the "Tabernacle" (see The Church In The Wilderness). It was later moved into the Temple in Jerusalem that was constructed, at the request of King David (see God's Tent) and completed by his son King Solomon (see The King's Dedication). After the division of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah" in the time of Solomon's son Rehoboam (but because of Solomon's unfaithfulness to the LORD; see A History Of Jerusalem: The Glory Of Solomon and Rehoboam's Answer), Jerusalem continued as a city within the tribal allotment of Judah, as well as the national capital of the Kingdom of Judah (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah).
Hilkiah was the high priest in the time of King Josiah of Judah (see Josiah of Judah; also Kings of Israel and Judah for a complete list of detailed studies for each of the kings of Israel and Judah). The high priest was supposed to not only be in charge of the Temple (see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood), but moreover be the custodian and foremost teacher of the Word of God, as documented in the Sacred Texts (see In Accordance With The Word Of God). Amazingly, it was only during some mundane repair work on the neglected Temple that Hilkiah discovered the existence of the written Law.
The discovery happened after King Josiah (not the negligent high priest) had ordered repair work to the Temple, "to repair the breaches of the house" - another indication of how the people of Judah had allowed their obedience to the LORD to deteriorate ("the LORD" was Jesus Christ; see Appearances Of The LORD God). They were doing the repairs merely out of civil maintenance i.e. the Temple had become an "eye sore" in their vain and arrogant midst. Rather than the Temple of the LORD being the place where the Law of True Freedom shined outward to all who looked to it, the Temple became a tomb where the Law was buried and forgotten.
"22:3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying, 22:4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: 22:5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house, 22:6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house." (2 Kings 22:3-6 KJV)
Even when Hilkiah found the Law, he seemed to be at a loss as to what to do with it - the "high priest" didn't know what to do with the Sacred Scriptures! Instead of doing his job, he incompetently sent it to the king with the pitiful and pleading statement, "I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD."
"22:8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 22:9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. 22:10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king." (2 Kings 22:8-10 KJV)
"For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the Words of this Book"
Josiah then made plain why he is regarded as one of the best kings in Judah's history: "for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us."
"22:11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. 22:12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying, 22:13 Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us." (2 Kings 22:11-13 KJV)
Josiah then began a nation-wide purge of all idolatry and perversion.
"23:4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order [see also From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar], and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove [see Groves], and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron [see Valley Of Kidron], and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. 23:5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun [see Why Observe The True Sabbath?], and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. 23:6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. 23:7 And he brake down the houses of the Sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
Fact Finder: The responsibility of the human high priest was created only as a prophecy of the ultimate High Priest of God. Who is that High Priest? What is He doing right now?
This Day In History, May 25
240 BC: The first recorded perihelion ("the point in the orbit of a planet or comet where it is nearest to the sun) passage of what was later named Halley's Comet (after English astronomer Edmund Halley, who, after observing it in 1682, correctly predicted its next return, based on the comet's approximate 75 year return as recorded over the centuries).
1085: Alfonso VI took Toledo, Spain, from the Muslims.
1521: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (see The Holy Roman Empire) pronounced Martin Luther an outlaw and heretic for refusing to recant his teachings while at the Diet of Worms ("Diet" is a legislative assembly in some countries; "Worms" is the English rendering of "Vorms," a city in Germany). The emperor, not the pope, declared Luther a heretic because of Luther's opposition to the empire's official church.
1810: The people of Buenos Aires expelled Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros, beginning the Argentine War of Independence against Spain.
1914: The British House of Commons passed Irish Home Rule.
1915: Arthur James Balfour (listen to our Sermon The Balfour Declaration) succeeded Winston Churchill as first lord of the Admiralty.
1925: Tennessee schoolteacher John Scopes was indicted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).
1946: Newly-independent Transjordan (as made possible by Britain's defeat of the centuries-old Ottoman control of the Middle East; listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) appointed Abdullah I the their king.
1950: The "Tripartite Declaration" by Britain, the USA and France. It sought to prevent further war in the region of Israel.
1985: A cyclone (a "rapid inward circulation of air masses about a low-pressure center; circling counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern" from the WordWeb Dictionary by Princeton University) and storm surge killed approximately 10,000 people in Bangladesh.
1996: Bulgaria's King Simeon II returned home after 50 years of exile; he fled in 1946 after the Soviet Red Army installed a puppet communist regime (while the Western "democracies" were installing their puppets in the countries under their control and occupation, as is continuing to this day e.g. the foreign "approved" and controlled "leaders" in Iraq and Afghanistan).
2009: North Korea reportedly tested its second nuclear bomb.