Summary: Believers in Jesus are tied into the history and future of Israel. One way to survey God’s dealings with Israel past and future is to survey their central sanctuaries (temples)
1. A tourist is traveling with a guide through one of the thickest jungles in South America, when he comes across an ancient Mayan temple. The tourist is entranced by the temple, and asks the guide for details. To this, the guide states that archaeologists are carrying out excavations, and still finding great treasures. The tourist then queries how old the temple is.
"This temple is 1503 years old", replies the guide.
Impressed at this accurate dating, he inquires as to how he gave this precise figure.
"Easy", replies the guide, "the archaeologists said the temple was 1500 years old, and that was three years ago"
2. Many religions have Temples, but Judaism differed in this regard: it only allowed for ONE central sanctuary.
3. In 2008, I did a series, “Living Temples of the Holy Spirit,” as we contemplated the Biblical teaching that New Covenant believers are temples of the Holy Spirit.
4. Today, we are going to take a tour of Israel’s sanctuaries.
Main Idea: Believers in Jesus are tied into the history and future of Israel. One way to survey God’s dealings with Israel past and future is to survey their central sanctuaries (temples).
I. The PORTABLE Sanctuary: The Tabernacle
A. INITIATED by God (Exodus 25-31) (show Pic 1)
B. TRANSPORTED in the wilderness
D. The Tabernacle was RETIRED when the Temple was built
• Some say it was buried under the temple mount.
Application: One of the strengths of Biblical Christianity is its ability to flex without compromising God’s holiness. The truly successful Christian is able to adjust to circumstances beyond his control and continue to walk with God in changing environments. Maybe you never thought you would be where you are. How does God want you to live where you find yourself?
II. Solomon’s Temple (First Temple)
A. Initiated by MAN (David) with God’s approval (2 Samuel 7:1-17)
1. Sometimes God leads us by revealing his will
2. Sometimes we have an idea that God approves of…of course, he controls all
B. Completed by SOLOMON in 959 B.C. on Mt. Zion
C. A WONDER of the ancient world (show pic 2)
D. Seeking to HONOR God is commendable, but to OBEY is better
E. An OBSESSION for BEAUTY is bad.
An obsession and an appreciation are matters of degree… Solomon’s downfall…
The very art we use to glorify God can become an idol…
1. Beautiful temple
2. Beautiful women
3. Beautiful idols and religions
F. DESTROYED by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. because of disobedience
Application: A beautiful environment doesn’t make for a beautiful soul. Beauty is God’s gift, but can easily become a flamboyant substitute for simple obedience. Are we deceived, manipulated by the beautiful, the large, the ornate?
III. Ezra’s Temple (Second Temple A)
A. Began in 535 B.C., completed in 515 B.C. (Ezra 6) on Mt. Zion
B. When began, some REJOICED, others grieved (show pic 3)
Ezra 3:12-13, “But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.”
C. More is not always BETTER, simple can trump the complex
D. Easy to MISS today’s blessings bemoaning yesterday’s LOSSES
Application: Again, what matters most is our disposition toward God and others, not the size of our congregation nor the beauty of our facilities; these this matter, but not as much as love for God and others.
IV. Herod’s Temple (Second Temple B): Complete Remodeling
John 2:20, “The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’”
A. Even an EVIL man built a beautiful remodel on Mt. Zion (show pic 4)
B. Religion can be about POWER and popularity [Jesus’ day]
C. Destroyed in 70 A.D. by the ROMANS
Wailing wall is all that’s left… (show pic 5) Fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 9:25-26,
“Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.”