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Wednesday, May 1 2013
Why Did The Temple Burn?
"All was cedar; there was no stone seen"
The LORD (see The Kingdom Of The LORD God to understand Who "the LORD God" really is) brought about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, that He ordered to be built, because the people of Judah had made it into a place of gross corruption and idolatry. It was no longer a Temple of the LORD (see the Fact Finder question below).
But why did the Temple burn with such heat and ferocity? Because of the great amount of resinous cedar that was used to build it - a beautiful and aromatic wood, but a wood that burns with much heat.
Cedar is an aromatic wood that is found in varieties all around the world. Perhaps primarily due to its fragrance, cedar was known to the ancient Israelites in their places and practices of worship - beginning just after the Exodus (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus).
"14:51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: 14:52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet" (Leviticus 14:51-52 KJV)
After the civil war (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War), King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan). David fortified the city (the defenses that the Jebusites used were obviously weak, as stated in the verses below) and built himself a palace of fine cedar from Lebanon.
"5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
""They burnt the house of God ... and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire""
The Ark of the Covenant had been in a tent ("tabernacle") since the time of the Exodus - through the forty years of the Sinai wanderings (see A Journey Without A Destination), into the Promised Land in the time of Joshua (see Milk and Honey), and then the approximate two to three centuries during the time of the "Judges," until the Israelite monarchy was established in the time of Israel's last "judge," Samuel (see Naioth In Ramah and Hannah's Dedication). David however, while residing in his new palace of cedar, felt that the Ark should be housed in a more elaborate setting. David apparently did not yet understand that the temporary tabernacle of skins was symbolic of something living, that only a tent, not a relatively permanent structure, could accurately portray (see Written In The Heart Of Our Tabernacles).
"7:1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; 7:2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
The LORD nevertheless permitted the building of a Temple structure, not during David's lifetime, but during the time of David's son and royal successor, Solomon. While having been born and raised in an ornate palace of cedar from Lebanon, Solomon naturally chose the same cedar for the Temple - particularly since the supplier of the palace cedar was still a close ally of Israel, with a still-abundant supply of fine cedar.
"5:1 And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. 5:2 And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying,
So it was that the Temple was built, around twenty years after the king's palace. Note that the Temple wasn't merely structurally-built of cedar, but the ornate work inside was also of carved cedar i.e. "all was cedar; there was no stone seen." If the Temple were ever to burn, nothing would be left of it - dry cedar is a resinous wood that burns very hot.
"6:9 So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. 6:10 And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.
What happened to all of that beautifully crafted cedar in the king's palace and in the Temple? As warned by the LORD, if they ever became corrupt, politically, as symbolized by the king's palace, and religiously, as symbolized by the Temple, He would destroy them. That is what happened: "they burnt the house of God" and they "burnt all the palaces."
"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, 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.
Fact Finder: How long did the original Temple last? Why did the LORD have it destroyed?
This Day In History, May 1
305: The Roman emperor Diocletian abdicated together with his senior colleague Maximian; he retired to his palace at Split (in what centuries later became known as Yugoslavia).
408: Theodosius II succeeded to the throne of Constantinople.
524: King Sigismund of Burgundy was executed at Orleans after an 8-year reign. He was succeeded by his brother Godomar.
1006: The brightest supernova (exploding star) on record was observed. At maximum light it cast shadows at night and could be seen during the day. Scribes in Europe, the Middle East and the Orient recorded its appearance.
1308: Albert I (Hapsburg), Roman emperor, 58, was killed by his nephew John of Hapsburg, and 3 others. John was thereafter known as John the Parricide (it would be a century before anyone was again named John in the Hapsburg family). Over 1,000 innocent family members of Albert's killers were executed by the Hapsburgs for the murder.
1486: Christopher Columbus convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to fund an expedition to the "New World" (which ended up merely becoming a copy of the same old world).
1514: Niklaus Kopernig (Copernicus), Polish scientist, circulated a manuscript The Little Commentary, in which he questioned the accepted Aristotelian system and suggested a (correct) sun-centered system with a moving Earth.
1707: Scotland, Wales and England were joined together under the name of Great Britain.
1759: Josiah Wedgwood established the Wedgwood pottery company in Britain.
1849: The Convention of Balta Liman. Russian and Turkish (i.e. Ottoman; listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) agreement concerning the government of the principalities of Moldavia and Walachia (in present-day Romania) after an uprising there in 1849.
1851: Queen Victoria opened the first Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.
1873: David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer (of the famous "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" by Sir Henry Stanley), was found dead at Chitambo, now in Zambia.
1876: The Royal Titles Bill was passed by the British Parliament, entitling Queen Victoria to call herself Empress of India.
1908: The world's most intense rainfall on record, 2.47" in 3 minutes, at Portobelo, Panama.
1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the ocean liner Lusitania left New York as the German Embassy was warning anyone traveling on British ships that they did so at their own risk. It was sunk by a German submarine six days later.
1925: Cyprus officially became a British colony. It had been leased to Britain by Turkey (i.e. the Ottoman Empire; listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) in 1878 and was annexed to the British Empire at the start of the First World War in 1914.
1944: The German Messerschmitt Me 262, the first combat jet, made its first flight.
1945: German radio officially announced that Adolf Hitler had died (by suicide) in Berlin the day before (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1945: High-ranking Nazi Paul Goebbels, 48, and his family, died the day after Hitler killed himself: Goebbels' 6 children were given lethal injections, and then he and his wife, at their request, were each shot twice in the back of the head by a Nazi Storm Trooper. The bodies were then doused with gasoline and set on fire.
1960: Russia shot down a U.S. high-altitude U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers. He was later exchanged for a Russian spy who had been captured in New York.
1961: Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared Cuba a socialist nation and abolished elections.
1963: Sir Winston Churchill announced his retirement from the House of Commons.
1982: British forces began the recovery of the Falkland Islands from Argentina.
1982: In Poland, 50,000 supporters of the "Solidarity" labor union demonstrated in Warsaw against military rule.
1986: Canada's first artificial heart transplant was done at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Dr. Wilbert Keon performed the operation on Noella Leclair, 41. The implanted heart, the Jarvik-7, served as a bridge until a human heart became available on May 8.
1993: Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa died of injuries suffered in a bomb blast during a May Day procession.
1997: Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister of Britain. The Labor Party won a landslide victory over the Conservative Party of Prime Minister John Major, ending 18 years of Conservative rule.
2011: Saudi Arabian terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. troops during a raid into Pakistan.