New video A Whole Heart: What About the Temple?

So you think the temple was destroyed. We say it wasn’t. The people who say it was destroyed think the Law was destroyed with the Temple. We say that it’s not about the Temple, but if it was then since the Temple is still intact so is the Law. Who is right?

The Bible.

Our video discussing the fact that the Temple is still around, and so is the Law.

Shalom,
Bruce

Day of Wrath

Saturday is the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur. On this day, and this day only, when we had a temple the high priest would go into the holy of holies and apply the blood of the sacrifice to the mercy seat of the Aron Khodesh, also known as the Ark of the Covenant. He had to do it in a very specific way, with no deviation, or he would die. There was a time far back in history when the high priest had to go in with a rope tied around his ankle for fear he wouldn’t do things right and would die. If he did then others could drag him out without going in themselves and risking the same death.

 

The Day of Atonement was a day associated with wrath, smoke and burning. There are two facets to the smoke and burning. Either there was a sufficient sacrifice for sin, or there wasn’t. One type of smoke and burning was from the acceptable sacrifice, and God’s wrath was turned away. The other facet of smoke and burning was the wrath of God directed at people who did not have an acceptable sacrifice.

 

The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. (Zephaniah 1:14–17, ESV)

 

Before the death and resurrection of Jesus the Yom Kippur sacrifice looked forward to the offering of His own blood on our behalf. Now we remember that work in humility, but we still look forward to that final day of judgment and fast and pray for those who aren’t prepared. Those of us who believe have accepted His sacrifice and God’s wrath on this day is turned away. Those who haven’t accepted Jesus are risking the burning anger of God. This is why we “afflict ourselves” (fast) as it says in Leviticus 16:29 and other places. We bow our heads in humility remembering the sacrifice, and the cost of that sacrifice for our sins. We also fast and pray for repentance that everyone would likewise accept God’s Word and humble themselves.

 

Gather together, yes, gather, O shameless nation, before the decree takes effect —before the day passes away like chaff— before there comes upon you the burning anger of the LORD, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the LORD. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD. (Zephaniah 2:1–3, ESV)

 

Some misguided people make a big deal out of exactly which day to have the holy days of the Lord. There is no procedure outlined for us in the Word, but there are people who want to help God out by splitting hairs about the new moon (which indicates the start of the month). They are missing the point about the whole thing. Majoring in the minors. Forsaking unity and brotherhood to push their “holier than thou” agenda. This kind of quibbling is proof that the Word does not dwell in their hearts, because love dwells with the Law and love is not in these arguments. I’ve seen many who not only quibble about this kind of minor detail but other non-biblical issues such as head coverings while at the same time ignoring more salient and weightier issues such as love and honoring others. It’s not just me, either. Watch them yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Remember the Law in its entirety with love and the Spirit in a heart of flesh. Don’t get caught up in quibbling with the quibblers. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the seven churches. Repent. Love God. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.

 

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:1–6, ESV)

Temple Not Destroyed Part Two

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. (Haggai 1:9–10, ESV)

 

One of the side effects of claiming that “the old Mosaic economy of sacred priests, sacred buildings, sacred rituals, and sacred objects has been forever destroyed by the cross of Jesus Christ” (as Frank Viola says in the book pagan Christianity) is that we ignore His house while “each of us busies himself with his own house.” We should be embarrassed that we have no Temple. We make money offerings at huge stadiums built for stupid sporting events having some slight benefit for the body but nothing for the soul. Mega-churches haul in millions of dollars and spend them on campuses and monuments to pride like huge meeting halls or TV ministries. Comfortable theater seating for thousands and huge TV’s for seeing the star or pastor are used for preaching a false gospel of freedom in Christ which then gives license to ignore God’s Word.

 

God’s house in the meantime is dust. We hide behind the claim of not knowing where to build, but we put no resources into finding the site. Many churches are “divesting” themselves of investment in Israel when we should be putting everything we’ve got there. Some cheesy pagan temple for a hateful and unjust moon god stops us in our tracks from tearing the unclean thing down and building God’s house. A temple will be built once again (according to Ezekiel) but shame on us that we put more effort into our own comfortable houses and none into His. Shame on us.

 

There were times when the Temple fell out of use. Other times it didn’t get a lot of respect, and was defiled by idols and idol worship. After a long while of this kind of treatment God’s glory finally departed according to Ezekiel. Yet standing or not, filled with idols or neglected God has never stopped trying to get people into His “house.”

 

The Temple is a picture of the heart of a nation as well as the heart of an individual. As the heart of the nation it reminds us of lost intimacy with Him and how quickly we forget or take for granted all that He is and has. Though the copy was destroyed the picture still stands as an example of heartless lip service and false belief that the mere presence of an object grants protection from lawlessness. As the heart of the individual the copy of God’s abode shows us the glorious possibilities if we embrace His presence and take Him into our hearts as we did (somewhat briefly) with the freshly completed building built by Solomon.

 

From the book Whole Bible Christianity chapter 5 What About the Temple?

Absence of Items in Ezekiel’s Temple

And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. (Jeremiah 3:16, ESV)

In reading Ezekiel 40-47, I was struck by the absence of the ark of the covenant, lamp stands, table of show bread, and altar of incense. It seems the only furnishing is something resembling an altar of wood, called the table of the Lord (41:21-22). Not sure what this means, except I think the temple Ezekiel describes is a literal temple built during the thousand year reign of Christ on earth. Coming soon to a city near you. We might not be able to make an argument from silence (just because the furnishings aren’t mentioned doesn’t mean they aren’t there) but with all the measuring and specifics in this section it is apparent that every detail is mentioned as it was with the building of the Tabernacle.

“As for you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and they shall measure the plan. (Ezekiel 43:10, ESV)

If this is true, then sacrifices, tithes and the feasts of God (Ezekiel 44:24, 45:21) will be implemented too as Ezekiel also describes.

In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my Sabbaths holy. (Ezekiel 44:24, ESV)

If there is no ark of God, I think it’s obvious Jesus is the “glory of God” that takes up residence again in the holy of holies (43:1-5).

The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.” (Ezekiel 48:35, ESV)

Temple Not Destroyed

What about the Temple? From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’
For a while, the temple was where God lived, and was the ‘heart’ of the nation that He wanted to make into a light for all peoples. That didn’t work out like He wanted. The temple was torn down, the nation scattered. But wait. Was the temple really gone? Not according to the Word.

24For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. (Hebrews 9:24-25 NASB95)

It was a copy of the temple that was destroyed. See, the original temple is in heaven. When the tabernacle was built, it was exactly according to the original (Exodus 25:9, 40; Numbers 8:4; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). When the temples were built, they were also built according to the original specifications (at least Solomon’s; see 1 Chronicles 28:11-19). God’s temple in heaven is the pattern for the copies. It has never been in danger of being destroyed.

Many people think that because the temple copy was torn down (about 70 C. E.) the Law was eliminated. For instance, one writer has this to say.
“The old Mosaic economy of sacred priests, sacred buildings, sacred rituals, and sacred objects has been forever destroyed by the cross of Jesus Christ. In addition, it has been replaced by a nonhierarchical, nonritualistic, nonliturgical organism called the ekklesia (church).”

He speaks in ignorance, because the Temple is still in existence. It’s just in heaven, with Jesus as our High Priest. God’s holy instructions are still valid, as they have always been. He just moves them into our hearts, along with His Spirit. What is holy is still holy. What is not holy is still not holy.

The period we live in now is not the only time the earth has been without a temple. There was also a long period between the destruction of the first temple and the building of the second. From the Garden to the Tabernacle there was no temple either. In fact, time with a tabernacle or temple (about 1,500 years give or take a century or two) is a much shorter interval than time without it (about 4,500 years).

And guess what? Everyone born during all those different time slots, and indeed any time slot ever, temple or no temple, Jew or non-Jew, still had to live as God wanted them to live. Obedience to God is never based on the presence or absence of a temple.