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The Temple Of The Lord

(Isaiah 2. 2: Ezekiel 45. 1-5).

A little over 60 years ago, there commenced a divine movement

amongst brethren who were amongst those designated "Open - Brethren," as to the rightness of their position and their desire-to carry out divine principles, having particular regard to truths concerning the collective position and service of God's people according to the pattern given in the New Testament. This exercise resulted in a separation from these companies of Christians, who rejected the truth of the house of God. Those who responded, in loyalty to the authority of the Lord Jesus, who is Son over God's house, experienced bitterness, sorrow, and even hatred from those who professedly honoured God, but preferred tradition to God's Word. To the obedient disciple the summons was imperative, cost what it may. There was some stirring in the ranks of Exclusive Brethren concerning the erroneous teaching of the "Church being in ruins," and "household baptism." After the death of John Nelson Darby in 1882 there was dissension; one party joining W. Kelly, another F. E. Raven, and so on. In our day there is the Taylor party with its evil teaching of the "non-eternal Sonship of Christ," and the later evil doctrine of "praying to the Holy Spirit." The writer of this article had to clear himself from this deadly snare, for he. was 29 years with the Exclusive brethren and therefore speaks from bitter knowledge.

Shortly after the 60 years above mentioned, many gifted ministers of the Word began to minister timely and helpful truth to the comfort of those who had separated themselves out of love to the Lord Jesus, such truth as appeared. In Needed Truth Volume 4, page 127, where it is stated, " Temple of God denotes where God dwells to be worshipped: House of God where He dwells to rule. " It would appear to the writer that there are five material Temples mentioned in Scripture (and if one includes the Tabernacle called in 1 Samuel 1. 9; and 3.3, "The Temple of Jehovah," there are six), not to speak of the two references to "temple" as applied (a) to the believer's body (1 Corinthians 6.), and (b) to the Church of God (1 Corinthians 3.). In this last connexion the Churches of God are seen in the aggregate in Ephesians 2.21, as each several building, " fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple in the Lord." Then, of course, we have the Lord's body, described by Himself as a temple in John 2. considering the five previously mentioned a brief outline may not be unprofitably pondered over. They are :-

1. Solomon's Temple. on Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3.1).

2. Ezra's and Nehemiah's Temple also on Mount Moriah (Ezra 5, 1, 2, and 6.14, 15).

3. Herod's temple which we are told occupied 46 years in building. Referred to by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24. - and Mark 13.

4. The temple in which the Man of Sin will sit: 2 Thessalonians 2.14, and Revelation 11. 1;

5. Finally, the Millennium temple, the last eight chapters in Ezekiel. To examine these in detail, we have

1. The first Temple:

It may be remembered that David, who was not permitted to

build a house for Jehovah because of his being a "man of war", was allowed to purchase from Araunah the Jebusite the surrounding- land on which the altar was erected for six hundred shekels of gold, as a site for the temple of God. This was associated with the altar on the threshing floor, and in order to raise the surrounding -ground to a level with the threshing floor on the summit, Solomon, his son, built a foundation platform of huge structure. This is the "great-stones, costly stones, and hewed stones " mentioned in 1 Kings 5.17, varying from 3 feet 8 inches to 6 feet in height, some being 20 and 30 feet in length. Much spiritual teaching may be obtained as one meditates upon the great army of hewers (evangelists) stone squarers (ministers of the word, etc.). It is said that the stones are so closely fitted that a penknife blade cannot be inserted between them. This platform still stands upon. Mount Moriah.

2.The second Temple:

The ultimate defection of Solomon, and the kings who succeeded him, together with the low spiritual state of this highly favoured covenanted people (beloved for the fathers' sake) brought down severe disciplinary dealings of Jehovah, and eventually they were sent - into captivity to Assyria and Babylon. Then, after 70 years, Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, gave the Jews liberty to return, for the LORD had stirred up his spirit; but God had also stirred the spirit of the heads of fathers' houses (compare Ezra 1.1 with verse 5). These stirrings were complementary to each other. However, this call was poorly responded to (as in our day, alas) - a mere 42,860 only had a heart sufficiently responsive to obey. After much opposition, these beloved people erected the temple on the site of the former temple, as described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, encouraged as they Were by the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah. This second temple was inferior in glory and beauty to that of Solomon, so that, whilst the young men shouted for joy, the old men who had seen the first in its glory, wept when the foundations were laid.

3.The third Temple

The second temple continued until the days of Herod the Great - the Idumean King - who obtained permission from the Jews to take it down and to build another. Herod spent 46 years in erecting this new temple on the same site (Mount Moriah). If we may credit the account in Josephus, the Jewish historian, it was of larger dimensions and greater height than the temple of Solomon. This third temple was the one in existence when the Lord Jesus was upon earth, and it is certainly thrilling to think that He was in the habit of frequenting its outer court and teaching the people therefrom. Of this temple, destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, not one stone was left upon another, thus confirming the prophecy by the Lord in Mark 13.2.

4.The fourth Temple

This future temple is alluded t6 by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 24.15, and it is mentioned again in 2 Thessalonians 2.4, and again referred to in Revelation ii. 1. This is the temple in which antichrist will set up the "abomination of desolation" and in which he will sit as God. The final week (seven years) of Daniel will work out its course when he, in the midst of the week, will take away the daily sacrifice, which he had allowed when making the Covenant with many of Daniel's people (the Jews) for one week of seven years (Daniel 9.27). He will break the covenant with Israel and cause devastation and sorrow, permitted by God to bring home to His people the sin of their rejection of His Son and of His closing w6rds to them, "Ye shall not see Me henceforth until ye say, 'Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord '~" (Matthew 23.39). How restful to the spirit of the discipled believer in the Lord Jesus to know that God's plans and purposes are being worked out, and that the coming of our blessed Lord may be very very near, when He will claim His Bride - His Church! "Amen, come Lord Jesus."

5.The fifth Temple :

Here we have a completed picture described in the last 8 chapters of Ezekiel. We have seen how the former temples were built upon Mount Moriah. Now, however, we find mention made of Jehovah's house being established "Upon the tops of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it, " (Isaiah 2. 2). It will be the centre of worship to the whole world. Then there will be the one " pure language" spoken. Schools are, even now, set up in Palestine townships and villages for the study of the pure Hebrew tongue. In that day God will be honoured.