Friday, November 27, 2015


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.

During the 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 figures.

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 Israel’

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 his return.

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 alive.

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. 2:17-21)
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)

James is 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment