Israel: Covenants & Kingdom (55) – Chapter 7 – Kingdom and Covenants

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By Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer.. From the book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom”

Destruction and rebuilding
David prepared – Solomon built – Nebuchadnezzar destroyed (2 Chronicles 36:19). After the Babylonian captivity, a second Temple was built by Zerubbabel (1 Chronicles 3:19; Ezra 2:2, 3:2, 8, 4:2-3). Little is known about this Temple, other than that it was built by de- cree: “…This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build a Temple for Him at Jerusalem in Judah’…” (Ezra 1:2). Zerubbabel appears in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 1:12), and is mentioned by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah after the Babylonian exile (Haggai 1:1-2, 12-14; Zechariah 4:6-10). [Photo top right: Tisha B’Av Kinnot reading at the Western Wall in Jerusalem | Credit: National Photo Collection GPO – Amos Ben Gershom].  Haggai calls him a signet ring of the Lord (Haggai 2:23). The Temple built by Zerubbabel was much smaller and less beautiful than that of Solomon (Ezra 3:1), and there was no Ark in the Holy of Holies. There was therefore no mercy seat where the blood of the sacrifice could be sprinkled. Jewish tradition records that there was a stone in it, on which the high priest set incense on the Day of Atonement. Centuries later, Herod the Great constructed beautiful additions to this small Temple in an attempt to win favour with the Jewish population. These building activities had barely been completed when the Romans destroyed this Temple in AD 70.

According to some, a small Temple, with rituals and a high priest named Eleazar, was built in AD 132. This was during the time of Bar Kochba’s Jewish revolt against Emperor Hadrian, because this Roman Emperor had failed to keep his promise to rebuild the Temple. Although some say that Simon Bar Kochba did indeed build a small Temple, it was only used for a very short period of time. Already in AD 135, Hadrian had recaptured Jerusalem, destroyed the Bar Kochba Temple, and erected in its place a Roman Temple dedicated to Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva. The name of Jerusalem was changed to Aelia Capitolina, and it became a Roman fortress. At the same time, Hadrian changed the name of the land of Israel to Palestine.

Dreams of rebuilding the Temple revived under Emperor Julian the Apostate in AD 363. Funds and building materials were secured, but on May 19th, the day before building operations were to commence, there was a great earthquake. Underground gases exploded and the building materials were destroyed by fire, and thus the building project collapsed. Hope of rebuilding the Temple flared again under Empress Eudocia, who was married to Emperor Theodosius II, who himself lived in Jerusalem in AD 443. However it was to no avail. In AD 614 the Jews assisted the Persians in defeating Heraclius, a Christian Caesar, and were given permission to rebuild the Temple. The Persian king Chosroes II appointed a Jew with the name of Nehemiah(!) governor of the city, and history seemed to be about to repeat itself. Another Nehemiah, also with the permission of a Persian king, had in the past rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem! (Nehemiah 2:1-10). For a brief period (AD 614-617), the Jews enjoyed the favour of this Persian shah, but later (possibly in response to Christian pressure) he changed his mind, and the promised Temple was never built. Worse still, the Persians drove the Jews out of Jerusalem, and when Emper- or Heraclius recaptured Jerusalem fifteen years later all hopes died, as he built an octagonal Church on the Temple Mount instead.

 

Rebuilding the Temple
Preparations for the rebuilding of the Temple today are in full swing in all kinds of Jewish organisations. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the Qumran caves in 1952 was a copper scroll, which interpreters maintain lists 64 places where Temple treasures are hidden or buried. Rabbi Goren insists that Temple artefacts are hidden deep under the Temple Mount. These treasures may even include the Ark of the Covenant, lost since the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. However, we must bear in mind our previous quote from Jeremiah 3:16: “…‘In those days, when numbers have increased in the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘men will no longer say, “The Ark of the Covenant of the LORD.” It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made’…”

The Institute of Talmudic Studies has already published more than twenty-five books about a new Temple. The Temple Faithful regularly try to lay the cornerstone for the new Temple, but are hindered by the Israeli authorities. A large number of Israelis with the appropriate genealogy are being instructed in priestly duties in yeshivas, the Jewish schools of learning. The Temple Institute has woven the prescribed priestly garments. Funds have been earmarked for the Temple. When the time comes, the building can be erected very quickly. And there are more Jewish organisations who are hoping for the rebuilding of the Temple. But all these attempts to me seem like attempts to rebuild the Second Temple. And I am not sure if that is what the Lord wants. According to Ezekiel 40-48 there will be a final Temple though. Just look at an amazing book by Chaim Clorfene (Author): “The Messianic Temple: Understanding Ezekiel’s Prophecy.”

On the website menorah-books.com one reads: “This book has been 2,600 years in the making. More than 2,414 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of a future Temple that would bring peace and harmony to the world. And with the vision came the tradition that the key to building this Temple was to learn its design. But Ezekiel’s cryptic design was confusing even to the greatest of scholars. And so it was neglected and even suppressed down through the ages. It was almost as if Ezekiel had concealed the plan of this Temple until the time was right for it to be revealed. Now, the time has come. The first ‘user-friendly’ version of Ezekiel’s prophetic vision has been published. After a decade of research and building four museum quality scale models of the Third Temple, Chaim Clorfene has produced a classic: The first user-friendly guide to understanding the design and the role of the future Temple, the eternal Temple that will be built in Jerusalem and mark the beginning of lasting world peace. Circa 1600, Tosefoth Yom Tov wrote that there were not ten men in his generation who understood Ezekiel’s design. A hundred years later, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the great Italian Kabbalist, wrote Mishkanay Elyon (The Heavenly Temple), an inspired discourse about the Third Temple, explaining its design and inner mystical workings. Tragically, the manuscript was lost. Nearly 250 years later, in 1956, it was miraculously rediscovered in Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. Since then, a new field of study has begun to emerge around the Third Temple. Now, a ‘user-friendly’ work on the subject has been published. The Messianic Temple presents a lucid digest of classic commentaries, including glosses from Mishkanay Elyon, and more than 200 colour diagrams and illustrations. For the first time, scholars and casual readers alike can prepare for the future by learning The Messianic Temple.”

 

To be continued.. with: Chapter 7 – Kingdom and Covenants – About the author

The book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom” and other books from Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer can be ordered from the webshop of Christians for Israel International.

 


Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer
President Christians for Israel International

 

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