Christ and the Sanctuary
Right from the time that Adam and Eve sinned which allowed sin to come into this world, God had ordained a means of salvation, a system of animal sacrifices that would point to a future Savior that would come into this world.
Right from the start, Adam and Eve who realized that they were naked and sewed fig leaves to cover up their shame they felt. So when God came into the garden looking for Adam and Eve who were hiding from God for fear of Him. God finished up making animal skins to be clothing for them. Gen. 3:7, 21
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
-Genesis 3:7 (NIV84)
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
-Genesis 3:21 (NIV84)
Animal skins infers that there had to be the death of an animal. So there had to be atonement for the sin of Adam and Eve. So what God had given them was a garment that represented the robe of righteousness which would be stained with the blood of the future Saviour of the world, which is Jesus.
Because of sin, there was no way that man could commune with God face to face as did Adam and Eve before the fall. To accommodate this problem, God set up the sacrificial system to be a means of salvation to the individual. To do this in the Patriarchal times the head of each household became the priest for his family. After the flood, Noah sacrificed for his family that was saved in the Ark. (see Genesis 8:20).
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.
-Genesis 8:20 (NIV84)
Also we find in the book of Job that he sacrificed for his family, particularly his children. Job 1:5.
When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
-Job 1:5 (NIV84)
God had told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering to the Lord. We know the story so well. God was testing Abraham if he would be obedient to His command. Genesis 22
So in the time of the patriarchs the head of each family was the priest to commune with God and offer up sacrifice for sin.
The wilderness Tabernacle
But notice that there became a change in the structure of the sacrificial system.
Israel had been sojourning in the land of Egypt from the time of Joseph, something like four hundred years. A Pharaoh arose that knew not what happened in the time of Joseph, and began to place heavy burdens on the Hebrew people, so much so that they were crying out to their God to deliver them from their task masters.
God heard their cries and sent Moses to deliver His people out of the hands of the Egyptian task masters and Pharaoh. Through a series of ten plagues, God was able to deliver Israel from Egypt with a mighty hand. We read this in Exodus 7-12
It was at this time that God instituted the Aaronic priesthood. The priests were to do special tasks in the temple and also to serve in the process of ministering for the people in the sacrifice of animals for the forgiveness of their sins. And once a year the temple was to be cleansed by the High Priest which was on the Day of Atonement. The task of moving the Ark and the structure from place to place was given to them, the tribe of Levi.
But before all this was possible, the Tabernacle was to be built by Moses who was instructed by God to follow the pattern shown him on the mount. For God had said:
"Make me a sanctuary that I may dwell with My people." Exodus 25:
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
-Exodus 25:8-9 (NIV84)
God wanted to dwell with His people. Imagine, the God of the universe wanting to dwell with them who He had freed from the Egyptians. What an experience to see the pillar of cloud in the day and of fire at night. And Him above the mercy seat in the Most Holy place. The structure of this portable tabernacle was made of material that could be transported at any given time.
An amazing thing happened after Moses had finished the tabernacle. See Exodus 40:33-35.
At the dedication of the temple, the Lord came and filled it, even Moses could not enter it because of the smoke. So here the Shekinah glory entered the temple for the first time which indicates that God had accepted the work done by the Israelites, and so began the next phase of the sacrificial system. No longer did the head of each family was the priest, but Israel now had one of the tribes picked out by God, which was the tribe of Levi, Moses and Aaron Belonged to this tribe. Deuteronomy 10:8
At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today.
-Deuteronomy 10:8 (NIV84)
So how long did this portable Tabernacle exist? From the time of Moses to the time David and his son Solomon.
During the time of David the Tabernacle dwelt away from Israel. In 1Samuel 4 it says that a
War was fought between the Philistines and Israel and it was here that they lost the Ark of God and two of Eli's sons Hophni and Phinehas died. V11.
So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
-1 Samuel 4:10-11 (NIV84)
In the next chapter the Philistines took the Ark of God from Ebenezer to Ashdod and placed it in their temple next to Dagon, but when they awoke they found that their statue of Dagon was off his pedestal lying face down on the ground before the ark of the Lord. They placed it back, but the same happened the next day minus his hands and head, only the stump was left. For fear of the Ark of God, it finished up at Ekron because Every city that the Ark came to rest the inhabitants broke out in nasty tumors. See v12.
So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy upon it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.
-1 Samuel 5:11-12 (NIV84)
Apparently it was returned seven months later see 1 Samuel 6:1,
When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months,
-1 Samuel 6:1 (NIV84)
if you read further they placed the ark on a new cart with oxen and let it go by itself and ended up into the field of Joshua, a Beth-Semite. It is also interesting that the Philistines had more respect than the men at Beth-shemesh because they refused to look linside the ark of the Lord. Not so with the Israelites who were there. For many of them died for their lack of respect for the ark and it's contents. So they asked for the leaders to come and fetch it.
But God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them, and the men of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?” Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your place.”
-1 Samuel 6:19-21 (NIV84)
It finished up that David came and fetched it and in doing so dance in front of the ark as it came into Jerusalem. But David had in his heart to Build an elaborate temple for His God. But the Lord told Nathan the prophet that he was not to build it because he was a man of war. This task was to be done by his Son Solomon.
After David's death, Solomon went about building a Temple for His God. It was so elaborate that it became one of the wonders of the ancient world, it was breath-taking.
In 1 Kings 5 began the preparations for building the temple, and Chapter 6 & 7 Solomon builds the temple and also his palace.
In 2 Chronicles after Solomon's prayer of dedication of the temple and all it's artifacts, when he had finished praying, notice what happened next?
When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.”
-2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (NIV84)
So again God filled the temple with His Presence, thus indicating that He accepted the work done and the Shekinah glory entered the Most Holy Place between the cherubim.
So how long did this magnificent structure last for? From 1004 B. C. -- 607 B.C.
Why didn't the temple last? Because when you read Israel's history, it becomes obvious that the Israelites were not faithful in serving their God. They were in and out of idolatry time and time again. God bore long with Israel and Judah. But His patience ran out and both Israel and Judah went into captivity; Israel finished up in Assyria and Judah in Babylon. And the temple was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar.
To give you some Idea what was going on inside the temple, God shows Ezekiel what was happening behind closed doors so to speak.
Read from Bible Ezekiel 8:5-18
Then he said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.” So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy. And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing–the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.” Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. He said to me, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there. And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here.”
-Ezekiel 8:5-9 (NIV84)
So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel. In front of them stood seventy elders of the house of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising. He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ” Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.” Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.” He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east. He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.”
-Ezekiel 8:10-18 (NIV84)
Now you can understand why God dealt with them so severely, and sent them into captivity and destroying the temple.
By doing these abominations they had rejected the God that the temple was built for. So God sent Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Solomon's Temple. This began the seventy year captivity in Babylon. The Shekinah glory left the temple and rested or stopped on the mountain east of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 11:23.
You can understand why God left the temple.
God Leaves Solomon's Temple
Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord.
-Ezekiel 10:4 (NIV84)
Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.
-Ezekiel 10:18 (NIV84)
Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.
-Ezekiel 11:22-23 (NIV84)
The temple lay in ruins for all that time. So what happened after the seventy year period of their captivity? Well for the answer to that is found in the book of Daniel, chapter 9:25. ### Notice the first part of the prophecy? "seven sevens" = forty nine years. This is referring to the second temple which took that long to rebuild.
The second Temple
Has anyone ever studied about the second temple.
First of all when the foundations were being laid, the older men, priests and Levis who in their childhood saw the magnificence of Solomon's Temple, wept when they saw it. Ezra 3:12
But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.
-Ezra 3:12 (NIV84)
Another interesting thing was that at the dedication of the Temple something was missing, what do you think was missing? Read Ezra 6:14-18 from Bible.
So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. Then the people of Israel–the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles–celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. For the dedication of this house of God they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel. And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.
-Ezra 6:14-18 (NIV84)
So what is missing here?
What is missing is the fire and the smoke that came from Heaven. Does that mean that God rejected the temple? Did God forsake Israel altogether? I don't believe so. Because God had ordained the temple should be restored. Daniel 9:25.
But notice what God said to Haggia 2:1-5 describing the comparison between the current temple and the former temple. Read verse 3. God then says to be strong. I am with you. In other words God had not forsaken Judah, He was still with them. And the Holy Spirit remains with them.
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?
-Haggai 2:3 (NIV84)
To the Israelite, the second temple seemed to them to be far inferior to the glorious temple which Solomon built. This is why when the foundations were being laid, many of the older generations of priests and Levites wept.
But notice what God says in verses 6 - 9
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory, ’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine, ’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, ’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace, ’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
-Haggai 2:6-9 (NIV84)
and the desired of all nations will come, who is the desire of all nations? Jesus.
So who then is the Shekinah glory? The only possible answer is Jesus the Word who became flesh and dwelt with us for a time.
(see 2 Kings 19:15,16r)
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.
-2 Kings 19:14-15 (NIV84)
Who made the heavens and the earth?
According to John chapter 1:3; Colossians 1:15-16 that it is Jesus in His pre-existence.
Remember what Jesus said when he and his disciples were in the grain fields on that particular Sabbath?
Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? I tell you that One greater than the temple is here.
-Matthew 12:5-6 (NIV84)
Jesus is the Shekinah Glory
When was the last time the Shekinah glory left the temple?
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
-Matthew 23:37-39 (NIV84)
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us, ” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
-Matthew 24:1-3 (NIV84)
The parallels the between the Shekinah Golory leaving Solomon's Temple and Jesus leaving Herod's Temple
Notice similarities betwee between the Shekinah glory leaving Solomon's temple and Jesus leaving Herod's temple.
Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
-Ezekiel 10:18-19 (NIV84)
Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.
-Ezekiel 11:22-23 (NIV84)
So here we have a situation where in Ezekiel's time he saw in vision the Lord departing from the temple, went up from within the city and stopped over the mountain east of Jerusalem.
Jesus says to the Jews that your house is left to you desolate, leaves the temple for the last time, goes with his disciples through the eastern gate and sits down on the mount of Olives which is on the eastern side of Jerusalem.
So in actual fact, Jesus the Shekinah glory leaves the temple for the last time, never to return to it again. The next thing happened was at Jesus' death, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom which ended the sacrificial system. And in AD 70 the temple was destroyed forever. For two thousand years people have been trying to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. I cannot say one way or the other if it will be rebuilt. But I can confidently say that this next temple if built is not of God.
For a start the Jews have a different perspective than the Christian. The orthodox Jew believes that the one who is to rebuild the temple is Messiah. According to them when the Messiah comes his foot will touch the Dome on the Rock, it will disappear and the "Temple" will appear and the sacrifices will begin again. This shows the rejection of Jesus Christ as their only way to salvation. The sacrifices were finished at the cross. Jesus is the perfect Lamb who was sacrificed once for all time for the sins of the world.
1so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
-Hebrews 9:28 (NIV84)
Does that mean that the Shekinah glory, The Messiah has ceased dwelling with us?
The Final Temple
But there is a final temple which is of God and that temple is us. We are the temple of God. We have God dwelling in us.
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
-John 14:23 (NIV84)
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
-1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NIV84)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
-1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV84)
Paul goes on to say that when we eat, drink, do it for God's glory.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
-1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV84)
God has given us these bodies to look after them and not abuse them with smoking and alcohol, illegal drugs, overindulging etc.. .
In summing up on this subject, in the beginning God had instituted the sacrificial system when sin entered the world. The head of each family was to be the priest to offer up animals to God for any sin committed.
This continued until the time of the Exodus when God told Moses to build Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell with my people. So the Tabernacle was a portable structure that could be moved from place to place. It was in the Most Holy Place over the mercy seat the Shekinah glory dwelt. It was only once a year on the day of Atonement could the High priest enter through the veil. This portable structure was used until the time of Solomon who built an elaborate temple for his God to dwell in. This magnificent building was one of the wonders of the then known world. This temple lasted till their captivity in Babylon when King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it and the Shekinah glory left the temple.
The second temple was built after their seventy years of captivity in Babylon. The temple was nowhere as magnificent as Solomon's Temple. Some of the priests who saw it wept because it was not as grand as the former temple. But God had said that it would end up more glorious than the former temple.
The last time the Shekinah glory left the temple is when Jesus, Emanuel, said to the Jews, "your house is left to you desolate. You will not see me again till you say: 'blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord'"
That temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
But this is not the end of the story. The NT says that the temple is us, with the Shekinah glory dwelling inside of each of us who have accepted Christ as their Saviour.
So here we see that from all biblical history, Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation is intimately involved in not only with His people, but also offering each one a personal invitation to be with Him for all eternity. For He is about to return to this earth to claim His own. And may none of us be missing on that great day is my Prayer in Jesus wonderful name. Amen.
A Sermon by G D Mordaunt
Sent from my iPad