Tabernacle and Temple

Praise and Thanks to the LORD

Thursday, June 30, 2016

“And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid” (Ezra 3:11 KJV).

Just imagine Israel’s joy as the Temple is being reconstructed!

The Babylonian armies had come many decades earlier and destroyed Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple, the house of the LORD, the magnificent center of Israel’s religious life, was burned to the ground! The Jews of the southern kingdom (Judah) were violently carried away to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chronicles 36:14-21).

JEHOVAH God commissioned Persian King Cyrus the Great to rebuild His Temple (Isaiah 44:28—written nearly two centuries previous to Cyrus!). Obeying Cyrus’ decree, Zerubbabel leads some of his Jewish brethren from Babylon back to Jerusalem to begin the construction (2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-11). These Jews have given of their material riches to construct the Temple. As chapter 2 of Ezra says: “[68] And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: [69] They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments.”

In today’s Scripture, they are excited that they have now laid the foundation for this new Temple. Literally, they are “re-laying the groundwork” for their Mosaic religion. They want JEHOVAH’S presence to return to them. They desire for Him to dwell in Jerusalem with them as He did before their Babylonian captivity/exile. It is a very emotional time. The older men, those who had seen Solomon’s Temple before it was destroyed over 50 years earlier, observe the construction of this new Temple’s foundation and they “wept with a loud voice” (verse 12)! They recognize that they had sinned (leading to their punishment in the captivity) but their God has been faithful in bringing them back into the Promised Land. Not because of their faithfulness, but because of His!

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 5, 2016

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “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” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Lamentations and Adulations #1

Friday, February 26, 2016

“But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us” (Lamentations 5:22 KJV).

What a befitting end to the book of Lamentations!

Lamentations was written by Jeremiah the Prophet to mourn (“lament”) the city of Jerusalem that now lay in ruins. Once a magnificent city, now a shame. Jerusalem, once world-renown for its military conquests and splendorous Temple, now un-walled and defenseless. Heathen neighbors laughed. Her inhabitants dragged off to Babylon—only a few poor people remain. Her kings slaughtered or imprisoned—the Davidic monarchy destroyed. Solomon’s magnificent Temple—now charred wood and scattered stones. JEHOVAH’S presence—long departed from Jerusalem. No economy, no Jewish government, almost no population, no religious system, no walls or military, no more Promised Land. All gone. Taken away. Indeed, Jeremiah aptly summarized it: “But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us!”

How God’s wrath fell upon His beloved city! We cannot imagine the violent fury that obliterated Jerusalem during Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s third invasion! (If God did that to His own nation, what is He going to all the Gentile nations one day?!) He was so very angry, so enraged, that He “utterly rejected” Israel! Once He came, there was nothing left! For five long chapters, Jeremiah poured out his heart, literally weeping throughout Lamentations. JEHOVAH God was just. Jerusalem, warned for centuries, completely refused to listen to prophets JEHOVAH had sent to warn her. Having reached the point of “no-return,” no repentance or conversion, judgment came! Jeremiah looked at Jerusalem in ruins, and he closed Lamentations with a very heavy heart: “But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us!”

A very depressing predicament—such extensive destruction makes Jerusalem appear perpetually ruined. But, small rays of hope appear in Lamentations 3:22-25: “[22] It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [23] They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. [24] The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. [25] The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” Jerusalem was destroyed, but not 100 percent annihilated. Her people were unfaithful to Him by worshipping and serving idols, but He would be faithful anyway!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was Melchizedek?

“Hate Speech” #2

Thursday, February 18, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

From verse 1, we learn that it was Jeremiah the Prophet speaking “offensive” words. The wicked leaders of Judah (southern Israel) had grown tired of the 40 years of Jeremiah’s preaching ministry. Now, they wanted him dead, so they went to King Zedekiah in today’s Scripture to “make the arrangements!” (We will comment on this later.)

The Jews had overlooked a simple fact. While they were blaming Jeremiah, he had not originated the prophecies of judgment that were coming up on idolatrous Jerusalem. In fact, nearly 1000 years earlier, Moses had given Israel express instructions concerning God’s Law Covenant with them. Disobedience to God’s commandments would result in five courses (phases, rounds) of judgment/chastisement. Whenever Israel would persist in false religion, idol worship, increasing divine judgment would come upon them. Once Israel refused to repent of her wickedness after four rounds of judgment, the fifth phase of chastisement would be Gentile captivity. Israel would be removed from her Promised Land. (We will comment on this later also.)

For now, just notice that it was so strange then that Judah’s king and the other Jews in the area had grown upset with Jeremiah. He was doing nothing more than quoting what Moses had written to them centuries earlier! Yet, Moses did not originate those judgments either. It was God’s Word through Moses. The same God who had spoken through Moses was now speaking through Jeremiah. Furthermore, by the Jews refusing to hear Jeremiah, they proved they really did not believe Moses, either. If Jeremiah were guilty of “hate speech,” then so was Moses, and so was the JEHOVAH God they had claimed to “love and worship!”

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?” and “Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?

“Hate Speech” #1

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

Let us start at the beginning of the chapter: “[1] Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying, [2] Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. [3] Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.”

Jerusalem was such a glorious city in the days of King David and especially once his son Solomon assumed the throne. That was 400 years prior to today’s Scripture. During those four centuries, Jerusalem, and surrounding Judah, had steadily declined. They were now just about to hit “rock bottom” economically, socially, politically and spiritually. As we learn from the “fifth-course prophets” such as Jeremiah, divine judgment is swiftly coming on idolatrous Judah. Centuries of spiritual wickedness would finally be punished.

Earlier, JEHOVAH had told Jeremiah, “Therefore pray not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (7:16). There will be no more delay, no more pleading, no more hope. God will use Babylon’s armies to return and level Jerusalem and deport nearly every Jew in Judah to Iraq. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar will burn Jerusalem’s Temple to the ground and Israel’s religion will fall apart. This was the “hate speech” of Jeremiah the Prophet. Unbelief had gripped his kinsmen according to the flesh, and now they wanted his life!

Return, LORD! #3

Saturday, November 21, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

Historically, as Israel approached the Promised Land under Moses, every time the Ark of the Covenant was lifted, Moses told JEHOVAH to “rise up” and cleanse His land of His enemies, that His people enter and dwell in His kingdom. Every time the Ark “rested,” placed on the ground, Moses called God to “return” to Israel.

The Berean Bible student notices “rest” in today’s Scripture. When describing God’s earthly kingdom, the writer of the book of Hebrews repeatedly called it God’s “rest” (3:7-19; 4:1-13). Chapter 3 warns Israel (future from us) not to repeat the mistakes their ancestors made under Moses (cf. Psalm 95). They are to be faithful to God’s Word to them—Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, early Acts, and particularly Hebrews through Revelation. They are not to join the Antichrist’s false religion as ancient Israel did with heathen religions. Had Israel been faithful to JEHOVAH, they would have entered the Promised Land under Moses. They are to be faithful to enter God’s “rest” under Jesus Christ. Repeatedly, the future mirrors the past. The Bible’s Author knew the end from the beginning!

Almost 500 years after Moses, David was cognizant of JEHOVAH God dwelling with Israel. His capital city was Jerusalem, specifically a hill called “Zion.” In light of David seeking to build the Temple in Jerusalem, a permanent place for the Ark of the Covenant to “rest,” the Holy Spirit penned Psalm 132: “[4] I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, [5] Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. [8] Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. [13] For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. [14] This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”

Jesus Christ will “rise” and “return” to Israel so she can enter His “rest!”

The LORD’S Sanctuary

Friday, October 2, 2015

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever (Exodus 15:17,18 KJV).

Where is the Lord’s “Sanctuary?”

You have undoubtedly heard people call a church building or its auditorium “the sanctuary.” Maybe you yourself have done so. However, this is erroneous and unscriptural. Just where did this mistake originate? A failure to understand the Bible dispensationally!

Someone once said, “Christendom is a bastardized form of Judaism.” What God intended to be pure Christianity, organized religion turned it into a hideous monstrosity. They grabbed Pauline verses and snatched Old Testament concepts (Temple, priesthood, sacrifices, candles, holy bread, et cetera) and combined them with countless pagan (unbiblical) teachings.

“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). We should not steal Israel’s “sanctuary” verses concerning her Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple (cf. Hebrews 9:1). From the creation of the Earth, there has always been one and will always be one “Sanctuary” of JEHOVAH God. It is not a church building in North or South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or Antarctica. The Apostle Paul could not be clearer when he said that God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24). God did dwell in Israel’s Temple in time past but that is not true today. There is no house of God today made of brick, stone, mortar, steel, glass, and so on. The Bible says that Christians are the temple of God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).

When God brought Israel out of Egypt, today’s Scripture says He did so to bring them into His Sanctuary, where He wanted to dwell with them. Where? The land of Palestine, the Promised Land! Furthermore, He gave them a scale model of the Promised Land—the Tabernacle—to remind them of His ultimate purpose. Psalm 132:13,14: “For the LORD hath chosen Zion [Jerusalem]; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” Yes, Jesus Christ will return to Zion to reign forever! 🙂