Our tremendous minister of music, Ken Sanders, took over adult Bible study for the summer and picked a study on the Jewish temple.
The first place of worship for the Jewish people was the Tabernacle. Yahweh guided them to build the tabernacle to house the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments that God handed over to Moses for safe-keeping. It also included some manna and Aaron’s staff. Obviously hugely important to the Jews.
Now the Tabernacle was designed to be mobile, the Israelites lugged it around the wilderness and even after they settled in Israel, the location of the tabernacle varied and was finally settled in Jerusalem. Seems as if it was right outside David’s palace in Jerusalem and David, rightly so, felt that the holy items in the Tabernacle, well deserved a better place to be housed then in, essentially, a tent.
David brought it up to Samuel who agreed, but then advised David that he wasn’t going to be the guy to do it. David had fought for Israel, and that was honored, but God’s Temple was going to be built by a King of peace, Solomon. And Solomon did build the temple. It was magnificent, a wonder of the ancient world. It stood for about 400 years and was destroyed. The temple was rebuilt by Nehemiah and Ezra. It was built while Israel was still a captive of Persia so needless to say, it was no where near to the scale of Solomon’s. But it was a temple, met their needs and stood for another 516 years.
I found it interesting the timing of Herod the Great to vastly improve the temple. In contrast to other “Greats”, Herod achieved his “Great” moniker because of his incredible building achievements. He did more in a few years that has stood until today, then anyone in Israel’s history. Herod started the temple around 1 BC. According to Josephus it was magnificent.
I would hazard a guess that around the time Jesus was ministering in the Temple, around 30 AD, give or take, it was at the height of its magnificence.
Now this is all supposition on my part, but was this part of God’s plan? Did God guide Herod to restore some of the glory of the Temple in order that His Son may have a place, at least, more worthy for His Son to minister in? Also of interest that the Temple did not survive much past Jesus’ incarnational ministry. About forty years after Jesus’ ministry the temple was destroyed and hasn’t been restored in almost 2,000 years. The book of Revelation says that it will be rebuilt as part of the return of Jesus.
I submit that the Temple was restored by the God the Father so that Jesus, God the Son, would have a place that would be more worthy of His Son Jesus. Certainly our Lord and Savior, the Man who has most profoundly changed the history of man should have such a worthy place.
There will be another temple at the end of history and then, in the eternal resurrection, there will be a Temple that will be beyond the imagination of anything seen on earth. Where Jesus the King of Glory will rule those who He has saved to eternity. The Temple has been important for about 3,000 years, it will be important to the second coming of Jesus and then there will be an eternal Temple in the New Jerusalem the Resurrection. Herod’s Temple was where Jesus spent a great deal of time ministering. He was presented at the temple as a child faithful to Jewish tradition and it will be where He reigns for eternity. As a Christian, the Temple may not be important in my worship, but it will be important in our eternity.