After the death and resurrection, of Jesus. Part 17
by Terry Cropper & Joe Daniels
Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus
25:8).God guaranteed that through this Tabernacle, His presence would
dwell in the people's midst. Half of the Book of Exodus is devoted to a
description of the building of the Tabernacle, we can understand how
important a role this Sanctuary played.
The Tabernacle later
became a Tempe. Jerusalem was the capital city of Israel just like
Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States. That means that
all of the government is there.
Within the Holy Place of the
tabernacle, there was an inner room called the Holy of Holies, or the
Most Holy Place. Judging from its name, we can see that it was a most
sacred room, a place no ordinary person could enter. It was God’s
special dwelling place in the midst of His people.
Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness, God appeared as a pillar of
cloud or fire in and above the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was a
perfect cube — its length, width and height were all equal to 15 feet.
A thick curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. This
curtain, known as the “veil,” was made of fine linen and blue, purple
and scarlet yarn. There were figures of cherubim (angels) embroidered
onto it. Cherubim, spirits who serve God, were in the presence of God to
demonstrate His almighty power and majesty. They also guarded the
throne of God. These cherubim were also on the innermost layer of
covering of the tent. If one looked upward, they would see the cherubim
The word “veil” in Hebrew means a screen, divider or
separator that hides. What was this curtain hiding? Essentially, it was
shielding a holy God from sinful man. Whoever entered into the Holy of
Holies was entering the very presence of God. In fact, anyone except the
high priest who entered the Holy of Holies would die. Even the high
priest, God’s chosen mediator with His people, could only pass through
the veil and enter this sacred dwelling once a year, on a prescribed day
called the Day of Atonement.
The picture of the veil was that of
a barrier between man and God, showing man that the holiness of God
could not be trifled with. God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil and
He can tolerate no sin (Habakkuk 1:13). The veil was a barrier to make
sure that man could not carelessly and irreverently enter into God’s
awesome presence. Even as the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on
the Day of Atonement, he had to make some meticulous preparations: He
had to wash himself, put on special clothing, bring burning incense to
let the smoke cover his eyes from a direct view of God, and bring blood
with him to make atonement for sins.
“But only the high priest
entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without
blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had
committed in ignorance.” (Hebrews 9:7) If anyone else enter dear enter
the Holy of Holies they would die in the spot. So the presence of God
remained shielded from man behind a thick curtain during the history of
During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in
Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. Jesus spoke of this
Temple building in Jerusalem when discussing with his disciples the
chain of events that would bring the close of the present Jewish age and
Herod, the Great (not to be confused with Herod
Antipas who came later) is one of the most important characters in
Jewish history. The most ambitious of Herod's projects was the
re-building of the Temple, which was almost certainly an attempt to gain
popularity. It took 10,000 men ten years just to build the retaining
walls around the Temple Mount.
When it came to building the
Temple itself. Herod truly outdid himself, and even the Talmud
acknowledges that the end-result was spectacular. "He who has not seen
Herod's building, has never in his life seen a truly grand building."
(Talmud-Bava Basra 4a)
The Holy of Holies was covered in gold;
the walls and columns of the other buildings were of white marble; the
floors were of carrara marble, its blue tinge giving the impression of a
moving sea of water; the curtains were tapestries of blue, white,
scarlet and purple thread, depicting, according to Josephus, "the whole
vista of the heavens."
Josephus describes how incredible it
looked: Viewed from without, the Sanctuary had everything that could
amaze either mind or eyes. Overlaid all round with stout plates of gold,
the first rays of the sun it reflected so fierce a blaze of fire that
those who endeavored to look at it were forced to turn away as if they
had looked straight at the sun. To strangers as they approached it
seemed in the distance like a mountain covered with snow; for any part
not covered with gold was dazzling white... (The Jewish War, p. 304)
There's no question that Herod had a huge ego and liked to impress
people with grandiose building projects.
Herod saw fit however,
to place at the main entrance a huge Roman eagle, which the pious Jews
saw as a sacrilege. A group of Torah students promptly smashed this
emblem of idolatry and oppression, but Herod had them hunted down,
dragged in chains to his residence in Jericho, where they were burned
Herod took great pains to make sure the Temple would be
run without future problems of this kind. He appointed his own High
Priest, having by then put to death forty-six leading members of the
Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court.
A large part of Herod’s
rebuilding was completed before the birth of Jesus in 4 BC, however,
many do not know that the work of rebuilding still continued for almost
68 years after his death. When we read of Jesus cleansing the Temple
during the first Passover of his ministry in John.2:13-22 we read that
it had by that time been under construction for 46 years. The work was
not entirely finished until 63 AD, which was only 7 years before its
destruction in A.D. 70!
The whole time Herod and the Jews were
rebuilding the earthly Temple another Temple was being built. When
Jesus was speaking to the Jews he answered them and said, “Destroy this
temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It
has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up
in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. (John.
James under the power of the Holy Spirit stands up to
pull it all together. What did James say at the Council of Jerusalem
recorded for us in Acts chapter 15 in conjunction with the Gentiles
coming into the church? Does he not apply a spiritual application to the
rebuilding of the tabernacle or temple of David?
“And after they
had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to
me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to
take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the
prophets agree, just as it is written: “(After this I will return And
will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will
rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up); So that the rest of mankind
may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says
the Lord who does all these things.” (Acts 15:13-17)
quoting Amos 9:11-12 “On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of
David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up
its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; The church of Christ
may be called the tabernacle of David. What God did: This was the Lord's
doing. This whole time God was building this temple, a spiritual
tabernacle to be in the city or kingdom of God not made by hands!
And guess what all the unbelieving Jews were doing? They were busy
building their own Temple made with hands! One was a building, or
Temple being constructed by carnal man. The other of course was being
engineered and built by God. Jesus said the house Ο οικος Temple that
was under construction by man would be life desolate. (Matthew 23:38)
The temple, which is now your house, is not God’s; is left it and it is
desolate. God has forsaken it and sentenced to utter destruction.
The Holy City was then left to those vain captains of their sinking
ship, unaware of their doom, even when the last lifeboat had departed
and no means of escape remained. The temple was one of the seven great
wonders of the ancient world! Sure it was known as the Temple of God,
but it was polluted by an abominable priesthood, and a perverted high
priestly office. God was about to do the same thing and “come down” in
A.D. 70 and bring that work to nothing!
But in the meantime God
had laid the foundations and placed the Cornerstone to His Temple in
place and was building upon it. Paul confirms this in Ephesians
2:19-20 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but
fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus
Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
Notice here that Paul
said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that God has built on the
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the
chief cornerstone, which is used in a present tense. We even see that
this building that was under construction; was in fact, a holy temple!
This body or Temple of Christ was both a corporate, as well as an
individually membered body of Christ. Each and every person Peter
stated, was a living stone in that Temple or spiritual house. Of course
each individual believer that was being persecuted was a member of that
body or Temple that God was building up! Paul spoke of the many members
being one in the body of Christ in this way:
So the hold time
Herod and the Jews were rebuilding their earthly Temple another Temple
was being built. This whole time God is building this temple, a
spiritual tabernacle not made by hands!