THE HOUSE OF GOD

 

By W. J. DALBY, M.A.

 

PART 1

 

In the Old Testament days, under the Law, the Jews had a literal Temple: in the present New Testament epoch, under the Gospel, there is no literal Temple on earth, that at Jerusalem having been destroyed in A.D. 70 and never rebuilt.In the Millennium there will be a temple at Jerusalem again fully recognized by God, as we learn from Ezekiel and other Scriptures.These simple facts we must bear in mind if we re to understand aright the present aspect of the matter in our own experience in Gospel times.In this dispensation the people of God have no literal Temple or House of God: in Scripture we never find a Christian place of worship so named.Indeed the only word employed in this connection in the New Testament is 'synagogue' (James 2: 2): and no Jew would dream of confusing a synagogue with the Temple.Be it added that if we look upon our place of assembly as a technical Temple or House of God we are logically led to regard it as a sanctuary with a literal altar, sacrifices, and priests; and so we come at length to the sacerdotalism of Rome.There is, however, a Temple of God now on earth - not a literal but a spiritual House, made up of living stones."For ye [who believe] are the Temple of the living God" (2 Cor. 6: 16); and "the Spirit of God dwelleth in you" (1 Cor. 3: 16).This is stated of Christians individually as well as collectively."Know ye not that your body" - in the singular - "is the Temple of the Holy Ghost?" (1 Cor. 6: 19). For the House of God now on earth is the Church, the members of which are living stones in the one spiritual Temple.

 

In the case of any temple the most important idea associated with it is that of the presence of God.A literal temple is, in fact, a place where Deity is supposed to dwell in a special sense.This conception was actually realized in the Temple at Jerusalem: in the Old Testament the Lord is described as sitting upon - or dwelling between - the Cherubim (2 Sam.6: 2, etc.).From this follows the blessed fact asserted in the New Testament that in us - and in each of us* - as God's spiritual Temple there is a special spiritual presence of God, even the indwelling of the Holy Ghost.At Pentecost the Third Person of the Trinity descended upon the Church and made it His dwelling for the present dispensation. He is the "One that restraineth now, until He be taken out the way" (2 Thess. 2: 7).

 

[* The personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in any regenerate soul is conditional upon obedience, (Acts 5:32: it is shown in both Testaments, (1 Samuel 16: 14; 18: 12; Judges 16: 20. cf. Psalm 51: 11, etc)]

 

The second thought which occurs to us in connection with a temple is that of sacrifice.The sacrificial system of the Old Testament centred in the Temple at Jerusalem, which was the only place of sacrifice recognized by God once it had been built: and the only sacrifices acceptable to Him were those ordained by Himself and offered up there in the manner prescribed.The sacrificial system of the Law has been superseded by Christ: but His followers as God's spiritual Temple have spiritual sacrifices, which they are to offer up to Heaven from out of themselves - their hearts or innermost being even as the smoke of the offerings of old went up from the Temple precincts.The New Testament mentions the Ďsacrifice of praiseí (Heb. 13: 15); that of doing good (verse 16); and that of the body (Rom. 12: 1).But when we remember the wrath of Jehovah against the sacrifices of the high places which He did not recognize, how clear it becomes that He will not receive the so-called service or self-sacrifice of those who are not His Temple, not indwelt by the Spirit, because never decided for Christ!

 

We may now add a word about worship in general.From the circumstance that the corporate religious life of Israel was so closely bound up with the Temple at Jerusalem, an idea has grown up that God can only be worshipped with any approach to adequacy in a building specially consecrated and ornamented, with a gorgeous ceremonial.This springs from the error of regarding a Christian place of worship as technically a House of God.For the Most High "dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 17: 24).Whatever may have been the case in the Old Testament days, He is not doing so now. Thus the Saviour Himself foretold that in this dispensation the true worshippers would worship the Father, not at Jerusalem nor at any local shrine, but "in spirit and in truth" (John 4: 21-23).This follows naturally from what we have already noticed.The worship must proceed out of our hearts, but the material place matters not.Being ourselves God's Temple - [if indwelt by the Holy Spirit] - we take His House with us wherever we go.

 

We pass to another point.In the literal Temple of the Jews was the Ark; and in it the two tables of stone with the Ten Commandments inscribed, the tables of the Old Covenant of the Law.Through Jeremiah it was foretold that one day God would make a New Covenant, concerning which He said, "I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts" (Jer. 31: 33).In Hebrews 8, the prophecy is quoted as having received a fulfilment in the New Covenant of the Gospel which Christ introduced through His redeeming work.In the literal Temple God's Law was literally inscribed on literal tables of stone: in the spiritual Temple His Law is spiritually inscribed - "written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart" (2 Cor. 3: 3). What a picture of the consecration to the Commandments of God - for us supremely the teaching of the Saviour and His Apostles - expected of every believer!And remember that the tables of stone were called "the Testimony" (Exod. 25: 16 etc.): they were a witness that Israel was pledged to keep God's Law.So Paul says:- "Ye [who believe] are our epistle," "known and read of all men" (2 Cor. 3: 2). "Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle Of Christ" (verse 3).By the extent of our obedience do many who seldom open their Bibles judge of the Christian Faith.

 

A further train of thought arises here.In the Temple of old the chief characteristic was holiness: not without cause were the two principal portions called the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.And when unholiness and corruption defiled His House God caused it to be overthrown - yet so as to be subsequently restored.The Temple of Solomon was burnt by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., but rebuilt 70 years.The Temple of Herod was burnt by the Romans in A.D.70, but there will be a restoration hereafter.In these circumstances may be found warning for every child of God."For the Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are" (1 Cor. 3: 17.)"If any man destroyeth the Temple of God, him shall God destroy" (ibid.). The Greek word rendered Ďdestroyí can also mean Ďcorrupt"If any man corrupteth" - spiritually, morally, or physically - "the Temple of God" - that is, himself or a fellow believer, spirit, soul, and body - "him shall God corrupt" - God shall cause him to see corruption.It is highly significant that in this very context (verse 13) we read:- "If any man's work shall be burned he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."For even as the literal Temple of the Jews is now absent from the earth, having been burnt in the beginning of this dispensation owing to the unholiness found therein, but is destined to be rebuilt on a more magnificent scale than ever in the next dispensation - the Millennium - so is there many a spiritual Temple of God - many a believer - destined by reason of an unholy and un-separated life to be absent from the earth in the time of the coming Millennial Kingdom - the next dispensation to us - though as saved by grace he will shine as a star in the eternity beyond.

 

Our last lesson is drawn from the two pillars of the Temple, which were named Jachin ("He shall establish") and Boaz ("In it is strength") (I Kings 7: 21).The Temple was the earthly centre of the religion of Israel - the rallying ground of Judaism: and while it existed the importance of its witness to the true God and His worship among the nations round about was scarcely less than that of the Old Testament itself.In the New Testament we learn the bearing of these matters upon ourselves as God's spiritual Temple under the Gospel.In 1 Timothy 3:15 were we read of "the House of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground (or, stay) of the Truth"And here is a personal message for us all: in the best sense we should strive each one to be Ďpillars of the ChurchThe spiritual power of each Assembly depends on its individual members: and our Lord has graciously promised, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of My God" - in the coming Kingdom - "and he shall go no more out" (Rev. 3: 12).

 

"To Whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual scarifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2: 4-5).

 

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FOOTNOTE

 

Here is an important lesson needed to be learned today in biblical typology; strict compliance to the Lordís command is expected from every regenerate believer.Only obedient believers have any proper grounds for hope of entrance into the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.

 

"There is a "salvation through judgment" for the redeemed people of God:-

 

Ananias and Sapphira have not been the last at whose death we may say:- "Great fear came upon the whole church, and believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women" (Acts 5: 11, 14).A revival was sweeping through an English town, and a saloon keeper was doing everything in his power to oppose it.First he sent the men who frequented his place, the worst characters in the town, but they one after the other got converted and never returned.At last driven to desperation he determined to go himself, and he did.

 

The evangelist had been asking God for a text, and finally God gave it. "Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not live."

 

"Why, Lord," cried the revivalist, "I can't preach on that text.I don't know a thing to say about it.Give me something else." But nothing else would come.And at last came the moment to preach.In despair the evangelist asked the congregation to sing another hymn, and while it was being sung he besought God again for a different text.But no other could he get.

 

Now the saloon keeper had planned to let the preacher announce his text, and then to spring up and wreck the service.The building was densely packed.White and trembling the evangelist in a solemn voice gave out his text, "Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not live."And no sooner had he uttered the last word than the desperado who had found a seat in the centre of the auditorium sprang to his feet and let out such a volley of oaths and blasphemy that everyone was shocked beyond expression.

 

Suddenly he paused, a moment later a gurgle was heard in his throat.Then came a great mouthful of blood, and the next moment there was a crash as he fell heavily to the floor.The man was a corpse.God had judged him on the spot, and had used drastic means.The papers reported it.Far and wide the news was spread.Men almost feared to look the evangelist in the eyes.Conviction settled deeply, and large numbers were swept into the Kingdom.

 

"He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Prov. 29: 1)."

 

There are many believers today opposing the "word of the kingdom." (Matt. 13:19).

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PART 2

 

THE TEMPLE AND THE CHURCH

 

ByJ. EADIE, D.D.

 

The places quoted in support of the Temple here (2 Thess. 2: 4) meaning the Church are not wholly analogous; the spiritual temple is in them said to be built up of individual believers as living stones; they are affirmed to be a temple, and the appeal is to them in this character.The phrase is an immediate and impressive symbol of their purity and consecration and of their being the dwelling-place of God, "an habitation of God through the Spirit."In those ethical passages, describing spiritual privilege, blessing, and destiny, the meaning lies on the surface, and is so clear that it cannot be for a moment mistaken, for the metaphor carries its own explanation, and believers are asserted to form the temple.

 

But the case is somewhat different in a picture like this where, without any explanation, the profane and daring usurper, as the acme of his antagonism, is said to take his seat in the temple of God.(1) There is no allusion in the context to believers as being God's temple, but in the texts quoted believers are directly asserted to constitute it. (2) The sitting in the temple does not harmonize so fully with the notion of an ideal or spiritual structure.The citations adduced by Alford are scarcely in point, as 1 Corinthians 6: 4, where it, ["in the church"], occurring, the meaning is evident, and the clause signifies, set them as judges for a definite purpose; Matthew 23: 2, where sitting in Mosesí chair is without ambiguity; and the image is as evident in Revelation 20: 4.The places where Jesus is said to sit on the right hand of God are not in analogy; his royal seat is the symbol of highest exaltation and of universal dominion.(3) If the temple of God be the church, what is meant by the Man of Sin entering and seating himself in it, what is the position which he thus occupies, what is his locality? for he is no ideal usurper, no personified evil influence, but a man with human conditions.(4) Could those for whom the epistle was written easily understand by the phrase the Church of Christ; or would not their first and most natural conclusion be that the Man of Sin was to intrude into some actual edifice, set apart to God as His shrine, like that at Jerusalem, and appropriate it.(5) The next clause, "Showing that he is God," leads to the same conclusion - he that sits in God's temple takes Godís place and prerogative, for the temple is His dwelling - a conclusion which could not have the same force and evident connection with the premises, if the temple were the church so symbolized, for the usurpation would in that be more directed against Christ, the Head of the Church, or the Holly Spirit who fills it.(6) Were the Church to permit such intrusion, and such impious self-assumed exaltation on the part of the Man of Sin above all divine persons and worship, it would cease to merit the appellation of the temple of God, and also on account of the previous apostasy which made such self-deification possible.(7) The entire prophecy is distinct and personal, of prosaic and plain directness in its description of a man possessing a certain character, bringing on himself a certain destiny, and as he is at length to be consumed by, the Lord at His Second Advent; may it not therefore be said that it would be out of harmony with this literal style of prediction, if in the midst of it should occur an unfamiliar image as the name of a place which is the scene of a usurpation without parallel?(8) This is also the earliest interpretation. Irenaeus says expressly, "Besides he has also pointed out, which in many ways I have shown, that the temple in Jerusalem, was made by the direction of the true God.For the apostle himself, speaking in his own person, distinctly calls it the temple of God ... in which temple the adversary shall sit, trying to show himself off as Christ, tentans semet ipsum Christum ostendere ... transferet regnum in eam, et in templo Dei sedet, seducens eos qui adorant eum, quasi ipse sit ChristusĒ (Contra Haeres, v. 25, 2, 4, PP. 784, 786), et sedebit in templo Hierosolymis (do., v. p. 803, V01. I, OPera, ed. Stieren). Cyril of Jerusalem, who had a natural interest in the matter of prior possession, adds that the temple is that built by Solomon, which Antichrist shall rebuild. Jerome refers to the same opinion though he does not adopt it.

 

The person so described is a man - a single man, and not a series or succession of men, not the personification of evil influences, or the head of any human organization.This man, made of sin, and the representative impersonation of it, is the counter-Christ, "he who opposes"; both are individual men, both come to view, or are "revealed" in immediate personal manifestation, both are signalized in character, the one by righteousness, the other by sin.The one has life and glory as his destiny, but the other ruin and perdition.

 

The Man of Sin exalts himself above and against every one called God.He puts himself into a position higher than that of any God, refuses to worship anything divine, as if he himself possessed a higher divinity.Whatever bears a divine name or claims divine worship, he will put beneath himself in a spirit of overbearing and self-glorifying hostility, and of blasphemous insolence, as if to himself alone divine homage were due.He that lifts himself above everything divine in person or homage puts himself in its room as divine.The inference is that this antichrist thrusts God out of His place, usurps it, and arrogantly and impiously claims the worship due to Him.

 

The aorist describes the act - he sits down, and it is implied - that the sitting lasts after the act.Into the temple proper does this proud opposer thrust himself - as if he - were its divine inhabitant with his throne in the Holy of Holies.

 

Dean Alford summarizes the passage thus :- "Though eighteen hundred years later we stand, with regard to this prophecy, where the apostle stood; the day of the Lord not present, and not to arrive until the Man of Sin be manifested; the mystery of iniquity still working, and much advanced in its working; the restrainer still hindering. Lawlessness working on, so to speak, underground, under the surface of things, gaining throughout many ages more expansive force, more accumulated power, but still hidden and un-concentrated."The Ďmany antichristsí (as he points out) are minor eruptions of the subterranean lawlessness which culminates in the devastating volcano of the Lawless One.

 

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PART 3

 

ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES IN THE TEMPLE

 

ByProfessor H. GRAETZ

 

Antiochus left Egypt with rich spoils (169 B.c.) perhaps for the purpose of raising new troops.Having heard of the occurrences in Jerusalem, his anger was roused against the Judaeans, and the Covenant of Judaism; his wicked, inhuman nature broke forth against the people.He suddenly attacked Jerusalem and massacred the inhabitants, sparing neither age, youth, nor sex, and making no difference between friend and foe.He forced his way into the Temple, and as a mark of contempt for the God who was worshipped there, desecrated by his presence the Holy of Holies, removing the golden altar, candelabra and table, in fact, all the treasures which still remained.Menelaus, the High Priest, guided him in this act of spoliation;* he impudently blasphemed the God of Israel, whose omnipotence was sung by his followers, but whom he scorned, because He did not interfere with these sacrilegious actions.

 

[* If Judas is the False Prophet, Menclaus seems to forecast an ingrained tendency of things.The apostate Jew aids and abets the Gentile Anti-God, and persuades and compels to the worship of his Image.It is significant that Napoleon's chief helper was Talleyrand, an apostate bishop.Hell's best tool is a traitor. - D. M. PANTON.]

 

Solitude soon became unbearable to Menelaus, the original instigator of all these horrors.He was frightened at the mere echo of his own voice.To free himself from this painful position he invented a new and infamous plan. Judaism, with its laws and customs, was to be suspended, and its followers were to be compelled to adopt the Greek faith.Antiochus, full of hatred and anger against both the Judaeans and their religion, acceded to Menelausí plan, and had it carried out with his usual tenacity.The Judaeans were to become Hellenized, and thereby reduced to obedience, or, if they opposed his will, they were doomed to death.He not only wished to become master of the Judaean people, but to prove to them the impotence of the God they served so faithfully.He, who disdained the gods of his ancestors, considered it a mockery that the Judaeans should still hope that their God would destroy him, the proud blasphemer, and he determined to challenge and defeat the God of Israel.

 

Thereupon, Antiochus issued a decree, which was sent forth to all the towns of Judaea, commanding the people to renounce the laws of their God, and to offer sacrifice only to the Greek gods.Altars and idols were to be erected everywhere for that purpose and, in order to strike an effectual blow at Judaism, Antiochus ordained that unclean animals, particularly swine, should be used at the sacrifices.He forbade, under severe penalty, three religious rites which outwardly distinguished the Judaeans from the heathen, namely, circumcision, the keeping of the Sabbath and the festivals, and the abstinence from unclean food.Officials were appointed to see that his orders were carefully carried out, and these officials were hard-hearted men who punished with death any person infringing the royal commands.

 

The Temple was first desecrated, and Antiochus himself sent a noble Antiochian there to dedicate the Sanctuary to Jupiter.A swine was sacrificed on the altar in the forecourt, and its blood was sprinkled in the Holy of Holies, on the stone which Antiochus had imagined to be Mosesí statue; the flesh was cooked, and its juice spilt over the leaves of the Holy Scriptures.The so-called high priest Menelaus and the other Judaean Hellenists were compelled to eat of the swine's flesh.The roll of the Law, which was found in the Temple, was not only bespattered, but burnt, because, though it taught purity and humanity, Antiochus maintained that it inculcated hatred of mankind.This was its first baptism of fire.The statue of Jupiter was then placed on the altar, "the abomination of destruction," to whom sacrifices were now to be offered (17 Tammuz, July, 168).Thus the Temple in Jerusalem, the only holy place on earth, was thoroughly desecrated, and the God of Israel was apparently driven away by the Greek Jupiter.

 

Antiochus was greatly irritated by the resistance the Jews offered, and he issued command upon command to enforce his orders with the utmost cruelty upon the disobedient people.The officials therefore continued their persecutions with redoubled zeal.They tore and burnt the rolls of the Law whenever they found them, and killed the few survivors who sought strength and consolation in their perusal.They destroyed all houses of worship and education, and if they found poor weak women, just recovering from their confinements, who, in the absence of their husbands, circumcised their sons themselves, these barbarians hanged them with their babes on the walls of the city.

 

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NOTE.

 

DESECRATIONS OF THE HOLY OF HOLIES

 

The natural impiety of the human heart has, from to time, sought the desecration of the Holy of Holies.Thus when Pompey took Jerusalem:- "No small enormities were committed about the Temple itself, which in former ages had been inaccessible and seen by none, for Pompey went into it, and not a few of those that were with him also, and saw all which it was unlawful for any other men to see only for the high priests." Josephus. Ant. xiv., iv., 4.

 

(b) So did Titus, when the temple was taken and burnt."And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more and more he went into the holy place of the temple with his commander, and saw it, with what was in it:" Wars vi., iv., 7.

 

(c) So, the Roman emperor Caligula gave order to Petronius "to make an invasion into Judaea with a great body of the troops, and if they would admit of his statue willingly, to erect it in THE TEMPLE OF GOD; but if they were obstinate, to conquer them by war, and then to do it": Ant. xviii., viii., 2.

 

(d) Similar was the conduct of Ptolemy Philopator, as recorded in the third of Maccabees.He came to Jerusalem, admired the order and splendour of the temple, and "wished to enter into the holiest."But when they told him that this was unlawful, inasmuch as those even of the Jewish nation were forbidden to enter, and none were permitted even of the priests, except the high priest their president, and to him but once a year, he refused to listen.The priests betook themselves to prayer; the warlike were scarce restrained from fighting to prevent it."But he waxing bold, and dismissing all objections, already began to move towards the entrance, thinking to put an end to the matter above named.His own friends seeing this, betook themselves no less than the Jews, to call upon Him who has all might, to regard the circumstances, and not overlook the lawless and proud insult": .3 Mac. i.He was prevented from entering by a sudden and supernatural seizure of illness.

 

- ROBERT GOVETT

 

PART 4

 

ANTICHRIST IN THE TEMPLE

 

ByD. M. PANTON, B.A.

 

Had we all the facts before us which God has before Him, and had we the mind to master and collate them which God has, prophecy would be superfluous, since prophecy is only the supernatural disclosure of what the facts around us make as inevitable as mathematics; and therefore, as it is, to a mind trained in prophecy, as the oak is in the acorn, so the drama of the end is visibly forming in the facts of to-day.Here is one. "In the magnificent chapel of the Tsar's Palace in Livadia, in the Crimea," says Mr. Stanley Perkins of Manchester, who describes what he saw, "the Altar has been dismantled, and in its place is a huge bust of Lenin. It seemed a painful desecration of a most lovely building once dedicated to the worship of God."In that little cameo - THE IMAGE OF LENIN ON THE ALTAR - that is, an anti-God, as he is regarded in Russia, deliberately planted on the divinest spot known to a Russian mind - we have, actually present in germ, the rapidly approaching apex of human iniquity, the crowning sin of man.

 

THE HOLY OF HOLIES

 

There has been one spot in the world and one only, which is actually ground consecrated to Deity, where, alone on earth since the creation of the world, God has been resident.When the Temple was completed Solomon cried - "Will God in very deed dwell on the earth?" and the response, of Jehovah was immediate - "When Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and THE GLORY OF THE LORD" - the Shekinah Glory that never appears apart from the local presence of Deity - "FILLED THE HOUSE" (2 Chron. 7: 1).The Holy of Holies is the only plot of ground which the Godhead, untabernacled in flesh, has ever taken up prolonged residence: it was the earthly Palace of the King.

 

THE SACRILEGE

 

It follows therefore that no spot on earth could be more ideally chosen on which to challenge the Godhead, or on which to substitute a human deity, in a sacrilege the most amazing, the most, daring, and - if uncrushed - the most strategically successful conceivable.This is the exact plan of Hell.Where no man might enter without death, except the High Priest; where the High Priest could not enter without death except on one day of the year; where even the Lord Jesus, as the obedient Israelite, never entered:- "the man of sin, the son of perdition, SITTETH" - even as Jehovah reposed between the Cherubim - "IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD, setting himself forth as God" (2 Thess. 2: 4).On the Mercy Seat, beneath the overshadowing Cherubim, is seated, for the worship of the world, the Arch-Rebel himself.

 

THE TEMPLE

 

Who exactly rebuilds the Temple - whether it is reconstructed internationally, or by Zionists, or by the Masons, of the world, or by the Mandatory Power - does not appear to be revealed, but since the sacrifices could be offered nowhere else, and Antichrist makes the sacrifices, which had been resumed, to cease (Dan. 9: 27), the Temple must be again in being for the final drama, and it is the Temple of God.Our Lord regarded Herodís Temple as ĎMy Father's Houseí (John 2: 16), though built by an actual forerunner of the Apostates (Psa. 2: 2; Acts 4: 25) who are to rebuild it again, and by a crucifier of the Messiah.It is doubtful if a threat attached by Ezekiel to our Lordís cleansings of that Temple has not yet to find a second and final fulfilment."Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have made my fury to rest upon thee" (Ezek. 24: 13).*

 

[* See also, possibly, Psa. 74: 7, 8.]

 

THE IMAGE

 

Now the drama begins by the Antichrist getting control of the Holy Land.The assassination by his own hand of his only two opponents in the world, wielders of vast plague and judgment, leaves the Man of Sin master of the Holy City.History is a forecast of prophecy.The youth (Anleo Zamboin) who attempted the life of Mussolini, October 31, 1926, was not only lynched on the spot, but his corpse was left exposed for days in the streets of Bologna, to be gazed on by vast crowds: so the Two Witnesses - probably Enoch and Elijah - lie as exposed corpses for three days and a half on the Ďbroad placeí of Jerusalem, that is, the Haram area on which stands the Mosque of Omar; and then, mounting to heaven out of one of the great earthquakes of history, leave the Temple in the undisputed grip of the Antichrist.He is now free to work his will.He first suppresses the Sacrifices, as a denier of all blood-atonement; and then, probably bringing it from Rome, erects his speaking Image in the holy precincts - the desolating Idol, as the Saviour says (Mark 14: 13), "standing where it ought not."*If we knew history better, we should doubt prophecy less.In A.D. 40 Caligula, one of the worst of the Caesars, determined to set up a colossal statue of himself in the Temple at Jerusalem; and when this image of gold, cast in Sidon, had been intercepted by the passionate entreaties of the Jews, Caligula, enraged, planned another in Rome, to be taken secretly to the Temple so as to circumvent the Jews - a plot only defeated by his own sudden murder. **Our Lord makes the erection of the Image the signal for the godly Israeliteís precipitous flight to the mountain range beyond which is Israelís second sojourn in the Wilderness, a flight that abandons the Holy House to its last and awful desecration.

 

[* A thirty-foot image of Lenin over-shadows the Tomski Stadium in the suburbs of Moscow.Antiochus Epiphanes, a king of Syria, actually set up a statue of Jupiter on the Altar of Burnt Offering a century and a half before the birth of Christ.

** It is a curious and sinister forecast that Caligula habitually spoke to his Image in Rome cajoling or threatening it: so the Anti-God and his Image converse, and a spate of death sentences (Rev. 13: 15) flows from the lips of the speaking Idol. Satanís wisdom ever lies in the imitation of Jehovah:- within, an invisible God; without, Ďthe image of the invisible Godí (Col. 1: 15).]

 

WORSHIP

 

So now we reach the final maturity of human sin. "He SITTETH" - that is, in regular and habitual session - "in the temple of God" - in the inner shrine of Deity's abode where to sit is an assumption of unique Godhead.He does not shut out religion; he absorbs religion: so far from abolishing worship, he monopolizes worship: the last enemy is not irreligion, but religion. So also while the Lord Jesus reveals infinite self-sacrifice, the counter-Christ incarnates infinite self-arrogance, and "opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped."All other worship round the globe is rendered illegal.The Man of Sin - the man of supreme sin - far exceeds the blaspheme, of Imperial Rome, for each Caesar claimed only to be a god, one god among (for example) other Caesars: here there is but one God, and no other; there is but one Idol, and no other: Deity is on the Mercy Seat, and his Image is in the outer courts, the exclusive Godhead of the universe.*

 

[*Since Satan gives him his throne (Rev. 13: 4), which is super-angelic, the Beast must control the evil Principalities and Powers: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God" (Isa. 14: 13).Stars, figuratively, are angels (Rev. 12: 4).]

 

VENGEANCE

 

Antichrist in the Temple is not only the crowning iniquity, but the crowning deception, of all history, and a deception not only for mankind at large, but apparently for the man himself."Caligula," says the historian Philo, "was so puffed up with conceit as not only to say that he was God, but to believe himself so."Overwhelmingly is it more so here.Godís complete inaction, resulting in manís complete deception, is one of the most terrible of all possible judgments, whereby He sends an energy of delusion that they should believe the Lie.*So also unparalled pride, a pride fortified by years of Satan-gifted miracle-working power, enormously strengthened by his successful murder of Godís Prophets, and seemingly justified to the whole world by an unchallenged session on the Mercy Seat, actually persuades him of his own godhead, and lures him to the most dangerous spot in the world - Olivet: "so that he sitteth in the temple of God, SETTING HIMSELF FORTH AS" - demonstrating, proving, showing in precise words that he is - "GOD."But the unutterable wonder of the true Godhead finds its supreme glory in this, sinís bitterest assault.Exactly as manís crowning wickedness in a former age, Calvary, actually created manís redemption, so manís crowning iniquity at last suddenly precipitates manís golden age.At last the Most High takes up the dread challenge."His FEET SHALL STAND IN THAT DAY UPON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES" (Zech. 14: 4): "WHOM [the Lawless One] THE LORD JESUS SHALL SLAY WITH THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH AND BRING TO NOUGHT [paralyze] BY THE MANIFESTATION OF HIS COMING [THE OUTBURST OF HIS PAROUSIA] " (2 Thess. 2: 8)."AND THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET WERE CAST ALIVE INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE" (Rev. 20: 19). **

 

[* The arson of St. Peter's (Rev. 17: 16) and the pollution of the Temple, neither directly avenged, must tend powerfully to convince the world that the God of both Testaments is powerless against the newly-unveiled Deity.It all reads like a drama in Bedlam; and it is the awful fact that sin is insanity without its irresponsibility.

** The news of the restoration of the Temple worship after his desecrations so enraged Antiochus Epiphanes that, bidding his charioteer drive at double speed, he vowed to make Jerusalem a giant grave in which to bury all Israel; but the words were scarcely out of his mouth when he was stricken (like Herod) with internal torments; spectres scared his dying bed, as they did Leninís, who died crying, "Kill the Jews! kill the Jews!" and he died cursing Israelís God, to Whom he directly attributed his death.Correspondingly more terrible is the vengeance on the final outrage.The Beast and the False Prophet, firstfruits of the damned, suffer the Lake of Fire a thousand years before the general host of the lost.]

 

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NOTE

 

ISRAELíS PHARAOH

The royal diadem of the Pharaoh of the Oppression was a golden figure of the Asp, in the act of striking, encircling the Kingís head; and the god of Rameses was the Dragon. He says:- "The diadem of the royal snake adorned my head.It spat fire and glowing flame in the face of my enemies.I brand with a hot iron the foreign peoples of the whole earth with thy name [the name of his god].They belong to thy person for evermore."With the newly-established divinities the King united himself, both in effigy and in name.He put up his own image among the gods, which was worshipped.

 

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PART 5

 

THE MILLENNIAL TEMPLE

 

ByG.H. LANG.

 

 1. The Divine Predictions.

 

The All-seeing and Fore-seeing has no afterthoughts, but works all things according to the purpose and after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1: 11).Therefore He can announce in advance what He intends to do.

 

1. 2 Chron. 7: 15, 16.As soon as the first house to His name at Jerusalem had been consecrated He said: "Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent, unto the prayer that is made in this place.For now have I chosen and hallowed this house, that my name may be there forever; and mine eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually".

 

This affirmed an everlasting and perpetual regard, yea, a heart interest, of God in that house.Yet it is followed in verse 20 by the seeming contradiction that, upon Israel worshipping idols, "this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples".This had a fulfilment about three hundred and fifty years later.

 

The manner in which God purposed to fulfil both statements, and to have perpetual regard to that house while on occasion destroying it, can be learned from statements He made during the period that house stood before its first destruction.

 

2. Psa. 66.The psalm preceding this is millennial, for "all flesh shall come", to God in Zion as the Hearer of prayer (1, 2): at the time in view He is "the confidence of all the ends of the earth" (5); for He has "stilled the tumult of the peoples" (7), and all nature has been made exceeding fruitful (9-13).The psalm following is also millennial; pointing to an era when all the peoples and nations will be glad and sing for joy, because God will be Judge and Governor; He will have blessed Israel and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.

 

The intervening psalm (66) is likewise millennial.All the earth is joyful and is singing Godís praise (1, 2, 8).He has completed His terrible but purifying works upon mankind at large (5-7); He has brought Israel through tribulation into a wealthy place, into "overlooking refreshing" as Darbyís German gives it (Zu uberstromender Erquickung) (8-12): whereupon the psalmist says: "I will come into thy house with burnt-offerings; I will pay thee my vows, which my lips uttered, and my mouth spake, when I was in distress. I will offer unto thee burnt-offerings of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats" (13-15).

 

This contemplates that at the period of Israelís restoration there will be a house, with burnt offerings, free-will offerings in payment of vows, incense, and with sin offerings, for the goat was used chiefly as the sin offering (see Lev. 4: 24 ; c. 16: etc, etc).

 

3. Isa. 19.Isaiah prophesied in full view of his peopleís apostasy and their consequent rejection by God, but also of their full and permanent restoration.This chapter predicts a period when, first, Judah shall become a terror unto Egypt, and when thereafter Assyria, Israel, and Egypt shall be simultaneously revived and be co-jointly the people of Jehovah, and a blessing in the midst of the earth (23-25).These things never have been.They show the prophecy to be millennial.At that time "Jehovah shall make himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Jehovah in that day; yea, they shall worship with sacrifice and oblation, and shall vow a vow unto Jehovah and shall perform it . . . and the Egyptians shall worship with the Assyrians" (21, 23).Here again is international worship of God foretold, and as to be accompanied by sacrifice, oblation, and vows.

 

4. Isa. cs. 24 to 27.This whole section of Isaiah is millennial. From the uttermost parts of the earth songs are heard, "Glory to the righteous" (24: 16): Jehovah is reigning in Zion (24: 23): death is swallowed up for ever (25: 8: comp. 1 Cor. 15: 54): God is a strong city for the righteous (26: 1): the godly of Israel have been raised from the dead (26: 19): and the glorious prophecy concludes on the high note that Israelís outcasts have been gathered and shall "worship Jehovah in the holy mountain at Jerusalem" (27: 13).Thus is Jerusalem to be again the centre of worship on earth.

 

5. Isa. 66: 20-23. It is upon this same high note that Israelís seraphic strains conclude. All the nations shall honour the God of Israel by facilitating that return of His people unto the house of Jehovah at His holy mountain Jerusalem, and weekly and monthly all flesh shall come to worship Jehovah there. Thus in millennial times there is to be at Jerusalem a house of God, with priests and Levites, offering oblations, and with weekly and monthly festivals.

 

6. Jer. 33: 14-22. This passage also is millennial, for the Branch of righteousness has grown up in the house of David and is executing justice and righteousness in the land; Judah has been saved and Jerusalem dwells safely; her name is "Jehovah our righteousness"; Davidís throne is established (though at the time of this prophecy it was tottering to its fall): and, concludes the prediction, as certainly as that "David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel" (the fulfilment of the everlasting covenant with David: (2 Sam. 7: 16; Psa. 89: 19-37); neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before Me to offer burnt-offerings, and to burn meal offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

 

Priests, Levites, sacrifices are all contemplated, implying a house and an altar. If these things are not to be, as some affirm, then as certainly must the covenant with David fail and his son, Messiah, not rule. They who get rid of the altar must get rid of the throne, as indeed they do, denying a national future to Israel.

 

7. Ezek. Capters. 40 to 48. This portion of Holy Writ is fully to the same effect. The prophecy follows that of the destruction upon the mountains of Israel of their last enemy, Antichrist (cs. 38, 39), and of the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the nation (c. 39: 29), in fulfilment of c. 37, the dry bones being made alive. Jerusalem is then known by the name Jehovah Shammah, Jehovah is there (48: 35) which never since Ezekielís day has been the case. All the features mark the period as millennial. The details of the land, the city, and the temple are so elaborate, minute, and multiplied as simply to defy any sense whatever but the literal. If they are not to be taken literally it is wholly idle that they are given. For the conveying of merely general ideas, general statements, which might carry a non-literal meaning, would have been more to the purpose and would have sufficed.

 

The plain sense of the whole vision shows the people of Israel in their own land, with a new temple, with priests of the family of Zadok (48: 11), and Levites (c. 44), offering on the altar sin, trespass, meal, peace, and burnt-offerings with oblations of firstfruits, and with sprinkling of the blood. (cs. 43 to 45).

 

8. Hag. 2. At the time the second temple was being built God said to the people : "Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?" (verse 3). To encourage them to press forward the erecting of what seemed so insignificant in comparison with Solomonís temple the promise was added : "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desirable (or precious) things of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saint Jehovah of hosts. The silver is mine and the gold is mine, saith Jehovah of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, saith Jehovah of hosts; and in this place will I give peace, saith Jehovah of hosts" (6-9).

 

It is plain that these promises and those in 20-23, are millennial. The throne that has exercised lordship over kingdoms, namely, that of Antichrist, is to be overthrown, and his armies destroyed (22). The riches of the kingdoms are to go to Jerusalem and to contribute to the glory of the house of God there. Nothing of all stated has yet had fulfilment. But it must do so: Jehovah of hosts has guaranteed it by the solemn sevenfold use of His own great name in these five verses (6-9, 23). A most impressive that by the use of the pronoun "this" He connects the second temple with both the first and the one yet to come: "Who among you saw this house in its former glory?" and "I will fill this house with glory". In the reckoning of God they are all one and the same house. It is a usage which carries the same force among men. A nobleman might say: My family has dwelt in this house for eight hundred years; though the mansion may have been rebuilt more than once. The expression marks continuity and identity.

 

9. Zech. 6: 12, 13 reads: "Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying, Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: and he shall grow up out of his place; and he shall build the temple of Jehovah; even he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne".

 

This gives the specific particulars that Messiah shall be the Builder of that final temple, that His throne shall be there, and that He shall be Priest-King. It is this last feature that is elaborated in Heb. 7, treating of Christ Jesus as the priest-king after the order of Melchidezek.

 

10. Zech. 14. Verse 9 extends this kingship of Messiah to the whole earth, thus showing incontrovertibly that the period is the millennium. This is emphasized by ver. 11 stating that "there shall be no more curse, but Jerusalem shall dwell safely" Comp. Rev. 22: 3.

 

Verses 16-21 repeat Isaiahís prophecy (see no. 5 above) that Jerusalem shall be the centre of world worship of Jehovah. Penalties are denounced against refusal of this worship. It is asserted three times that the feast of tabernacles will be kept. The pots and bowls of Jehovahís house are particularized, and it is declared that these pots shall be used for the boiling of sacrifices. All is millennial, as the earlier part of the chapter makes plain; for Messiah shall have descended to the Mount of Olives, and no loophole is left for "spiritualizing" this, for the detail is added that this mount is "before Jerusalem on the east" (verse 4). The armies attacking Jerusalem shall have been destroyed. So wholly sanctified will be the people in their life that the very bells on the horses shall be inscribed "Holy unto Jehovah", that is, shall be sanctified as was the dress of the high priest, whose head-band was so inscribed; and the common vessels of every house shall be as holy and consecrated as the vessels kept for use in the temple.

 

11. Mal. 3. This chapter is millennial, for the Lord did not at His former coming to Jerusalem, in the days of His flesh, fulfil this prophecy. Whatever searching effect His presence had upon a few who were Israelites indeed, it is certain that the sons of Levi were not purified and refined, nor did they learn to offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteousness. On the contrary, Christ abandoned to them the temple, and forty years later they and it were destroyed by the judgments of God. It therefore remains that the Lord will come suddenly to His temple (verse 1), and will deal effectively and permanently with all wickedness (5, 6), and then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah.

 

All this asserts a temple, priests, and offerings at that period.

 

12. Mal. 4: 4 suggests that this re-instituting of Mosaic ceremonies will be but part of a general divine intention to restore the Mosaic legislation. "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances". Elijah will return and will renew his labours as the restorer of the ancient economy. This is to be set at the era when the Sun of righteousness shall arise for the healing of the devout and the destruction of the impious (1-4). Isaiah 56 is to the same effect. At the period when Godís salvation is "near to come" (verse 1), and therefore not yet come, and when all the peoples are invited to share in the sure mercies of David on the basis of an everlasting covenant (55: 4, 5), it is shown that the law of the sabbath will be in force and be a divine test of fidelity (56: 4, 6). In harmony with this, Christ, referring to the days immediately before His coming, said, "Pray that your flight be not ... on the sabbath" (Matt. 24: 20).

 

It would seem impossible that "the law of Moses" - a single all-inclusive term - could be re-imposed and not include that large and dominant part thereof which intermingled religious exercises with every phase and detail of life in Israel and made the house of God the heart and centre of it all.

 

Surely there can be no reasonable meaning to all this testimony of the Old Testament save the plain and first sense of the statements, that Messiah is to build at Jerusalem a final temple, to be the world-centre of worship and rule, that priests and Levites will officiate, that feasts will be observed and sacrifices will be offered, all according to the law given at Sinai.

 

It is definitely made impossible to treat this body of prophecy as only an earthly parable of things heavenly by this fact if by no other, that in Rev. 21: 22 it is stated explicitly that in the heavenly Jerusalem there will be no temple, whereas in the scriptures cited as to the earth the temple is mentioned equally explicitly and is wholly essential to the situation described.

 

13. For the completeness of study and clearness of understanding it is necessary to observe that Messiahís temple will not be the one in view in Rev. 11, for the latter is already there in the time of the Beast, before the coming of Messiah. That a prior temple will be built is plain from Dan. 8: 9-14; 9: 27; 12: 11; Joel 2: 15-27; Matt 24: 15; and Rev. 11. This last place intimates that there will be an altar, implying that sacrifices will be resumed, and that there will be worshippers.

 

John was directed to "measure" the temple (Rev. 11: 1). When a surveyor receives instructions to measure-up a long-neglected property it may be presumed that the owner is about to renew active interest in it. Thus when Zechariah saw the vision of Jerusalem being measured, it was because the time had arrived for Jehovah to return to dwell there (c. 2). And when Ezekiel in vision (cs. 40-42) witnessed the measuring of the temple it was because the glory of God was about to return thither. This meaning of the measuring intimates that it is the real city and temple that all three visions are connected, and events have shown that the fulfilment was far distant from the time when John lived. It is still future today, for Jehovah has not yet returned to Zion, nor since Johnís day has there been any temple to be measured. The end of this age is in view.

 

It should be further noticed from Rev. 11: 1 that God will own this pre-Messianic temple as His, for it is styled "the temple of God", and it has an altar, worshippers, and sacrifices (Dan. 8: 11-13): How should God not own it seeing that among the worshippers of that era will be Two Witnesses specially sent by Him to maintain His rights there at that time?

 

This divine acknowledgment of that temple is in exact harmony with which Paulís teaching in

 

14. 2 Thess. 2: 3, 4, which states that immediately before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ "the man of sin will be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is an object of worship; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God". Upon the godly resisting this profane worship the final persecution will set in fiercely, and the altar and sanctuary will be cast down. This will necessitate that before-noticed building of a temple by Messiah, when He shall have set up His kingdom shortly thereafter.

 

2. THE CHIEF DIFFICULTY

 

The boldest ought to hesitate to deny or to emasculate this weighty and consentient testimony. It was announced by the Spirit of truth while the first temple was standing, was renewed while the second temple was being built and after, was confirmed through Paul while the third temple (that of Herod) still stood, and was finally repeated in the Revelation after this last temple had been destroyed. It involves utterances by God Himself to Solomon and by the Son of God when here, and further statements by the Spirit of truth through twelve of His inspired messengers.

 

Nor do we know but one serious difficulty urged against the taking of this testimony in its plain sense. This is what the re-instituting of the sin-offering appears to conflict with the teaching of Hebrews 9 that the offering of Christ on the cross annulled that sin-offering.

 

Allowing the surface reality of the difficulty, and even assuming that it were beyond solution, there will nevertheless apply here the sound cannon that if a belief be once established by adequate evidence no objection can overthrow it, because in such case the belief is founded on our knowledge but the objection on our ignorance.

 

The belief in question is founded upon the plain sense of the many scriptures cited; the objection is founded upon the ignorance as to how to reconcile these scriptures with another scripture. Were Hebrews not before us probably no one would question the evident meaning of the former passages, or at least it would be irrational to do so. Moreover, where is the believer so conceited as to affirm that because he cannot resolve a problem therefore it is beyond solution? The modest schoolboy does not question the well-attested fact that one and one make two, even though he cannot solve a problem to which that fact leads the way. The devout might leave the matter here, assured that no divine statements can be really in conflict and that there must be a solution of the supposed disharmony.

 

Let us look at the question. It may be well approached through the statement in Rom. 10: 4 that "Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth". This does not say that "Christ the end of the law", that is, absolutely, completely, so as to bar the continuance of or the re-imposing of the law. This limitation is clear from the fact that the whole and fundamental part of the law of Moses which we term the moral law is of perpetual validity. The atonement of Calvary has not cancelled the duty not to steal. Our passage says only that Christ is the end of the law for one particular purpose, namely, "unto righteousness", that is, for the purpose of a condemned sinner acquiring a righteous standing before a holy Judge. This does not bar that reviving of the law of Moses in the End Days of which Isaiah and Malachi had before spoken. It would only conflict therewith if that reviving were a directing the sinner to the law as the ground of righteousness before the Holy One; but there is not a word to this effect in any of the passages concerned. The temple and its ordinances are set forth as for "worship," "prayer", "thanksgiving", "paying of vows", "oblations" and "freewill offerings". All these suppose the offerer to be already justified as to his standing before God, for even of old under the law they were never a ground of justifying the ungodly; and therefore the reviving of them hereafter will not infringe the truth that only through the cross of Christ is a sinner justified.

 

There are three passages in Ezekiel which may be thought to contradict this. In these, sacrifices, including "sin-offerings", are said to be for "acceptance" (43: 27), for "cleansing" (45: 18), and for "atonement" (45: 17, 20). But there is no real divergence.

 

The first of these passages has to do with the cleansing of the altar, not of the worshippers (43: 18-27). The altar being on a yet defiled earth, made of earthly materials, and being built by still imperfect men, (for the millennial era and persons will not be perfect), partakes of that defilement and imperfection, and must be ceremonially cleansed, as a humble acknowledgment by men of this situation as felt by God. This having been effected, then it is said that "the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah". Here again it must be noted that burnt and peace offerings are accepted only from the already justified.

 

The third passage (45: 18-20) is of similar but wider scope; it has to do with the cleansing of the sanctuary entire: "thou shalt cleanse the sanctuary ... so shall ye make atonement for the house". The same considerations apply here; and not only once, as at the initial dedication of the altar, but perpetually, for this atonement must be made annually. But this is because of the defiling of the house by two specified classes, the "erring" and the "simple". The exact parallel is Heb. 5: 2: the high priest "can bear gently with the ignorant and erring". It is to be the revival in the future of the great day of atonement (Lev. 16), only in the first month instead of the seventh. But that day of old had no connection with the justifying of an ungodly transgressor. It was for the benefit of the ignorant and erring, that is, for the covering of the unrecognized failures of the people of God, who sought indeed to walk with Him according to His law, but, like ourselves, did not do so perfectly, according to Godís character and estimates. The present parallel to this is 1 John 1: 6, 7. He who knowingly walks in darkness derives no benefit from the work of Christ (ver. 6), but "if we walk in the light, as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanseth us from all sin". The emphasis is upon the word "all," including sins through error, simplicity, ignorance. But this implies prior justification, prior attainment of a standing before God through grace and atoning blood. The unjustified is not "in the light" and cannot "walk in the light". It is "if we [John and fellow-saints] walk in the light" that this cleansing avails.

 

This shows the force of the immediately preceding passage (Ezek. 45: 13-17). It is similar and entirely corporate aspect of atonement that is contemplated, not that of an individual transgressor seeking justification. "All the people of the land" are to present a united and stated "oblation" unto the prince, out of which he is to provide the necessary sacrifices "in all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel ... to make atonement for the house of Israel". There is corporate and accumulated defilement, and this is dealt with by corporate acknowledgment by the whole people, in giving needed materials for sacrifice, and by the official civil head of the whole people presenting these as ordered. He could not thus act for one individual.

 

Concerning all earthly persons and their worship, both of old and now and in the millennial era, it is to be remembered that there is iniquity in "holy gifts" (Ex. 28: 38), in the sanctuary, and in the priesthood (Num. 18: 1). This iniquity must be purged, not only that of the unjustified when first approaching God, and this it is that the presented by the Word of God in connection with that coming temple and its sacrifices for sin. This may be gathered from Isa 60: 21. Speaking of Israel in that era when the Lord shall be their everlasting light and the days of their mourning shall be ended, it is declared: "My people shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, that I may be glorified". As, then, they are "righteous" the sacrifices cannot be a means of making them so. These must have that purpose and effect which applied to the already justified, as above indicated, and therefore they are in harmony with Rom. 10: 4 that Christ is the end of the law for the justification of the ungodly. For the very little remnant of Israel then in question will have repented toward God and have exercised faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, which repentance and faith will then, as now, assure justification.

 

Hebrews. As far as the teaching of this Epistle is an expansion of the teaching stated in Rom. 10: 4, what has been said above will apply thereto; but some particular observations may be helpful and confirmatory.

 

1. The whole epistle proceeds upon the opening acknowledgment of a certain status in those addressed. All its reasonings and exhortations are based on the fact of this status. It is set forth (1) that a man, Jesus the Son of God, is crowned with glory and honour in the heavens to be the Ruler of the universe; and (2) that God has in view to bring many others, also of the status of sons to Himself, that they may share that glory and rule of the Son, He and they being alike from one Source, the Father, as the Son acknowledges by calling them His "brethren" (2: 5-13).

 

In consequence of this association and this status, those addressed are "partakers of a heavenly calling" (3: 1), that is, a calling to live and reign in that upper world, not simply on the earth as if still men of the earth. Therefore the writer deals with them, instructs them, pleads, exhorts, warns them as men already justified, as dissociated in the purpose of God from the earth as their sphere of hope, and belonging to the heavens above, whither they are hereafter to be taken and where already their hearts should ascend to reside.

 

For such persons a sanctuary of this world, with earthly priesthood and ceremonies, is obviously unnecessary and a hindrance, for it would still attach them to the earth. Therefore they who would cling to such an earthly institution cannot share in the corresponding and superior heavenly sanctuary with its superior advantages, for the simple reason that a man cannot be at once of heaven and of earth, in heaven and on earth. Each must take his choice. The heavenly region is available, as Canaan was for Godís earthly people of old (cs. 3 and 4); but as these had to accept redemption by blood, to forsake Egypt as their home, to traverse the wilderness as pilgrims, and to take possession by conflict of their inheritance, so must the heavenly people follow the same course; and if any turn back he will not reach the land.

 

Thus these in view were addressed as already redeemed, already related to God, already dissociated from this earth and partakers of the heavenly portion. Clearly for such no earthly sanctuary can be in question. But this reasoning seems to fail when it is sought to apply it to an earthly people of God, and in consequence those who deny that there is to be an earthly temple are soon driven on to deny that there is to be an earthly people of God and to say that Israel has no national future. This sets aside the plain sense and force of all Scripture and throws the divine program into utter confusion. Upon this topic the reader should by all means read S. H. Wilkinsonís admirable discussion "The Israel Promises".

 

But grant that there is to be an earthly people of God, Israel, and other saved nations on earth, it does not follow that for such persons an earthly sanctuary, priesthood, and sacrifices will be out of order and hurtful. As well might it be argued that the earthly territory, political economy, and dignities were out of order. Where the whole order is earthly, visible, material it will be part of that order that religion shall bear the corresponding aspect. The public organization would seem structurally incomplete without public and organized religion. A world association of saved nations will as much require a centre of worship as of government, and the wisdom of God has designed both for the coming era, as the scriptures here considered show. This is the basic principle of a state church; but, it is true that the former religious economy, associated with the law and centred in the tabernacle, made no worship perfect, as to the conscience or relationship with God: it is equally certain that no future visible arrangements will do so of themselves. The former covenant, made at Sinai, displayed this ineffectiveness; the law could not in practice be anything but weak and unprofitable, for the reason given in Rom. 8: 3, that it was weak through the bad material, the flesh, on which it had to work. But the future relations of man to God will be on the basis of a new covenant and will include regeneration, which feature is stressed in Heb. 8, quoting from Godís advance promise this in Jer. 31. Under the new conditions of renewed human nature, cannot the law be as helpful as before it was helpless? This goes far to account for it being re-imposed.

 

Moreover, even under the former imperfect conditions the law could and did help faith by pointing it forward to Christ, and to His sacrifice, and to the good things to come. It was a tutor to direct to Christ (Gal. 3: 23-29). In the same way the temple and ceremonies of the future will direct hearts to Christ, and the more fully that it will be known that they are pictures, no longer of events yet to be but of facts of history. And this knowledge of Christ and His perfect sacrifice cannot but operate to prevent any view of the sacrifices on the altar other than that they are memorials; even as the same knowledge by Christians of this age forbids that the bread and wine on the table of the Lord be thought of as more than memorials. The arguments used against a future altar of God can as well be used against the present table of the Lord.

 

And it would seem that there will be real need at that time of such a picture-book instruction, especially for the Gentile peoples. For the light of both Christian and Jewish witness will have been all but extinguished by the Beast and his Prophet; paganism will be dominant, and "darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples" (Isa. 60: 2) which ... agrees with Christís significant question, "When the Son of man cometh shall He find the faith on the earth?" (Lk. 18.)

 

This was the state of Israel Godward when He come down to redeem them from Egypt. Moses was aware that they did not know even the name of the God of their fathers (Ex. 3: 13). And Joshua reminded the next generation that in Egypt their fathers had served the gods of that benighted land (Josh. 24: 14). To meet this spiritual ignorance and infantile incapacity God in grace gave types and symbols, not only direct instruction. It will but be in harmony with that grace that He will hereafter repeat the same method of instruction to meet the same ignorance.

 

Thus with an earthly economy, marked by visible glory, a visible and noble sanctuary will be harmonious and helpful. There will be nothing to challenge the solitary efficacy of the cross of Christís acceptance with God, but, on the contrary, all will illustrate its usefulness and power. Especially will the ceremonies teach the means of maintaining that fellowship with God into which justification introduces the believer. They will say in symbol what we now sing in verse,

 

"I stand upon His merit;

I know no other stand,

Not eíen where glory dwelleth

In Immanuelís land."

 

The calling to the heavenly portion, glory, and service will, as far as we see, have been closed by the resurrection and rapture of the church of God at the descent of Christ (1 Thess. 4), but then God will resume His dealings with the world at large, with Israel as the central nation; and with the establishing of the temple of Messiah, there shall be fulfilled at last the word which must find fulfilment, but never had done so, ("My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples" Isa. 56: 7). This scripture Christ applied, as Isaiah had done, to the visible house of God at Jerusalem (Matt. 21: 13). How otherwise than as above shown shall it be accomplished?

 

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PART 6

 

BENEATH THE TEMPLE

 

About the middle of the nineteenth century, Dr. R. G. Barclay, a missionary, was walking outside the walls of Jerusalem with his dog.Suddenly the animal disappeared from view through a hole. Upon examining the spot, Barclay found that the crevice seemed to lead under the ground. Shortly afterward his dog reappeared through the small opening. Dr. Barclay says:- "We proceeded cautiously in the work of removing the dirt, mortar, and stones; and, after undermining and picking awhile, a hole (commenced a day or two before by our dog) was made, though scarcely large enough for us to worm our way through the ten-foot wall. On scrambling through and descending the inner side of the wall, we found our way apparently obstructed by an immense mound of soft dirt, which had been thrown in, the more effectually to close up the entrance; but after examining awhile, discovered that it had settled down in some places sufficiently, to allow us to crawl over it on hand and knee; which having accomplished, we found ourselves enveloped in thick darkness, that might be felt, but not penetrated by all our lights, so vast is the hall" (Barclay, City of the Great King, p. 46o).

 

* * * * * * *

 

As one walks through these old quarries, he wonders how the stone could have been dislodged, since the quarrying of Solomonís day was carried on hundreds of years before the use of blasting powder. An examination of the quarries reveals the ancient method. The workmen would cut into the rock so as to make slots on about four sides of a piece of stone. Then wooden wedges would be driven in on one side, and water poured on the wedges. As the wood swelled, it would break the stone free from the native rock. We could see the holes into which the wooden wedges had been driven. Dr. Barclay says:- "For some time we were almost overcome with feelings of awe and admiration (and I must say apprehension, too, from the immense and impending vaulted roof), and felt quite at a loss to decide in which direction to wend our way. There is a constant and in many places very rapid descent from the entrance to the termination, the distance between which two points, in a nearly direct line, is seven hundred and fifty feet; and the cave is upwards of three thousand feet in circumference, supported by great numbers of rude natural pillars".

 

* * * * * * *

 

When referring to Himself, our Lord said: "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner" (Matt. 21: 42). Apparently this is a reference to an incident which is believed to have occurred in connection with Solomonís quarry and the building of Solomonís Temple.

 

The workmen below the ground in the quarries finally set themselves to the task of fashioning the cornerstone for Solomonís great structure. For a long time they laboured, and at last it was finished and sent up to the surface. The labourers who were working on the Temple were still engaged in the earlier stages of the building. This new stone which had been sent up, did not fit anywhere, and since it was in the way, it was laboriously moved over to the eastern edge of the Temple area, and tumbled down into the Kidron Valley. It was the stone which the builders rejected.

 

Years later the Temple had progressed to a point where they needed the corner stone. An order was sent down to the quarries. The answer came back that the cornerstone had been sent up years before.A consultation was held, and the older men remembered that some such stone had been rolled down into the valley. A search was made, and there it was found, covered with vines and brambles.

 

With great joy it was brought back to the Temple area, and set in its right place. And so Christ, at His first coming, was rejected Ė[descended into Hades, resurrected after three days and returned to His Father in heaven]. But when He returns, He will have His rightful place as the Lord of Glory. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1: 11-I2).

 

- PROFESSOR J. P. FRET.