The Temple

temple website

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim this word there, and say: Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Do not trust in lying words, saying: ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, lies here.’
For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute justice between a man and his neighbour; if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, neither follow other gods to your detriment; then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7)
The Temple. The house of God. Jeremiah tells the people that it is not insurance against all calamity. The temple of God is a presence and a constant message of justice and righteousness. Yet, just as taking the holy Ark into battle did not always ensure victory, the Temple edifice in Jerusalem is not enough to ensure that no calamity befalls the Nation of Israel.
Jeremiah prophesied at the end of the period of the first Temple. History and archeology affirm that the first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 422 BCE and the People of Israel were exiled. A little over 100 years later, in 538 BCE they returned to resettle the land and rebuild the holy Temple.
” In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying: Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: This people say: The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.’
Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying: ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your encased houses, while this house lays wasted?’….
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hill-country, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the LORD. You expected much, and, it was quite little; and when ye brought produce home, I did blow upon it. Why? says the LORD of hosts. Because of My house that lies wasted, while ye run every man for his own house…” (Haggai 1)
The prophet Haggai prophesied at the time of the return of the Jewish People to Zion in the mid 6th century BCE. It seems that the building of the temple had been delayed; leading to failed crops and despair. Haggai the prophet tells the People of Israel that moving forward and building the Temple will change the reality. Quite a different message than that of Jeremiah. Or is it?
At the beginning of this period, the Nation of Israel, acting upon Divine decree and with the blessings of King Darius, had returned to their homeland with the purpose of settling in the land and rebuilding the Temple. Yet they waited. Then didn’t feel the time was right. There were many opponents to this plan and they were afraid to incite the different tribes that lived in the area. They failed to realize that, on the contrary, rebuilding the Temple was exactly what needed to be done to ensure the Nation of Israel’s destiny in the land of Israel. The Temple was ultimately rebuilt, and stood for over 400 years.
Today, there is a renewed ingathering of the Nation of Israel, thousands of years later, to the Promised Land. There are many people who feel strongly that now is the time to begin building the third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Yet politically, although the Temple Mount is officially part of the State of Israel, it is under Moslem control. The obstacles seem insurmountable. In spite of all impediments, many organizations have emerged to promote the idea of the third Temple and heighten public awareness. The Temple Institute has created actual vessels to be used in the third Temple. A Menorah (candelabra) made of pure gold stands on the stairs that lead to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. A group of women have a organized a grassroots movement to spin flax and wool into thread, dye it with natural dyes and, using looms, weave tapestries and priestly clothing, as done in ancient times, in preparation for the building of the Temple. There are many groups of both religious and non-religious Jews who visit the mount regularly, work to educate youth and adults about the importance of the Temple for the Jewish People, and create parliamentary pressure to allow religious worship other than that of Islam on the Temple Mount. The progress is slow and sure as the People of Israel gradually begins to understand the significance of the holy Temple. They hope that someday the prophecy of Isaiah will come to pass…
“And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say: ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; no nation shall lift up sword against another nation, and they shall learn war no more.” (Isaiah 2)

Published: June 25, 2015
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