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THE TEMPLE WAS… For over 400 years, the Shekinah Glory of Almighty God was physically the center of Israel's national life. The people brought daily offerings to Him in Solomon’s Temple and gathered as a nation to worship Him during the 3 High Holy Days of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. But over the years, the faithful worshipers became prideful of their image as God's people, placing their faith in their abilities as a nation. All that remains of the magnificent temple is part of the physical foundation, known today as the "Wailing Wall".

Our lesson timeline in God's appointed 8th month, October 27-November 24 on our 2022 Gregorian calendar, includes an historical accounting of the completion of Solomon's Temple on Mount Moriah. “In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He (King Solomon) had spent seven years building it.” 1 Kings 6:38.

Yet, nothing remains today of this glorious temple. What happened? God Himself withdrew His presence, and Solomon’s Temple fell.

Back in Deuteronomy 31:17-18 when God’s presence inhabited the Ark of the Covenant, God had warned of that very day. "Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, 'Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?'"

Not only had God protected and preserved Israel, Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple over and over, but He had been the foundation for its very existence. When the nation moved from their humble stance under the watch care of the Lord to the humanistic, proud notion that they could deliver themselves from their enemies on their own, they effectively separated themselves from their very foundation.

They were already literally teetering as a nation when Israel stood in national pride and arrogance following an attack from their enemy and vowed before the Almighty they world rebuild and replace what God had founded them upon with idols of their own making.

Isaiah 9:8-10 delivers the context of Israel’s defiant stance and God's resounding judgment 2750 years ago. "The Lord sent a word against Jacob, and it has fallen on Israel. All the people will know—Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria—who say in pride and arrogance of heart: ‘The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars’”

In response, God’s presence and nurture left them, and the whole nation fell to their enemies, not once, but twice. Following the second siege in 70 AD, the Roman army literally plowed Jerusalem with salt to make the ground sterile and fallow, directly fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 3:11-12. "Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.' Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.”

God sends plenty of Bible lessons every month, perfectly appointed on His calendar to remind us year after year. In a recent lesson, “Return To Me” God announced in no uncertain terms that if we want Him to return to us, we must return to Him.

The truth is, even in his legendary wisdom, Solomon was humbled by the absurdity that God would even consider restoring His presence on earth. “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” 1 Kings 8:27

"But will God really dwell on earth?" We can answer Solomon today with a resounding "Yes, indeed He will." But not in the way any mere mortal could ever totally understand or possibly predict.

"...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." John 1:14. It was in the rebuilt Second Temple, that this Word of God, Jesus the Christ, was dedicated as a babe by his parents in Luke 2:22-38. And in this same earthly Temple, during Passover, Jesus amazed the sages at the young age of 12 with his teachings, saying “I must be about my Father’s business…” Luke 2:49.

Many years later at the beginning of his three-year ministry, Jesus again caught the attention of the Jews near another Passover feast when He drove the money changers with their sacrifices from the Temple, in John 2:12-25. He announced to one and all, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in three days.”

We should keep reading in verse 21 for the eternal punchline. "But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken."

Not long before His death, Jesus expressed His great love and profound grief for His people. He also predicted the demise of the very Temple and city they all stood in and clearly stated the reason it would all happen. “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, and 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.

God’s Son was the perfect sacrifice that accomplished what Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem never could. Through belief in Jesus, God made a way to not only dwell WITH his people but to dwell IN His people, with no need for a physical temple.

The Apostle Paul sums it all up perfectly. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16.


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Fontana Community Church
 20 Fontana Church Road, P.O. Box 93
Fontana Dam, NC 28733

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