THE TEMPLES OF THE LORD
Ever since the Garden of Eden when God walked with Adam in the cool of the day, God has longed to dwell with man. He created Mankind so that He could fellowship with him forever. When Adam and Eve ate of the wrong tree and chose knowledge above union with God, spiritual death came into their spirits. They could no longer dwell in the glory of His presence. This spiritual death came into all their descendants, including our own generation. Man was separated from God. Thank God, He did not leave us in this doomed state. The Holy Bible is the story of God’s pursuit and redemption of fallen Man.
In Genesis 3:9, God asks, “Adam, where art thou?” The broken heart of Father God pursued all of us with unfathomable, unconditional love from that moment on. The story of the Bible is God’s unrelenting pursuit of selfish, sinful Mankind until once again, as it is written in Revelation 21:3:
“…Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with then, and be their God.”
There are ten different major sanctuaries, tabernacles, dwellings, or temples that the Lord speaks of in the Bible. Each of them represent stages of a progression of Mankind’s return back into the glory of God’s presence.
The first is found when God instructed Moses to build a mobile tent of meeting where God would dwell with the Israelites in the wilderness after they were delivered from slavery in Egypt. In Genesis 25:8, it is written:
“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”
Then, God gives a very lengthy and detailed list of exactly what He wants and how it is to be made. We know from the book of Hebrews that this “pattern” to build the tabernacle of Moses is based on the Temple of God Himself in heaven, and it is to be a replica of this. (Hebrews 9:1-11)
What was the purpose of the tabernacle of Moses?
“And there will I meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory….And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.” (Exodus 29:43,45)
God instituted the animal sacrificial system to cover the sins of the children of Israel. The blood of these animals temporarily covered their sins until the Messiah would come and shed His own blood to remit our sins forever.
King David also made a tabernacle to house the Ark of the Covenant in a tent. During his lifetime, David established 24 hour a day, seven days a week, worship in singing and instrumental worship. It was highly organized in shifts of Levites and musicians that were extensively trained so that they would be excellent in their praise, worship and music. God told David when he inquired of Him if he could build a temple:
“Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in: For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another…” (1 Chronicles 17:4-5)
However, He promised David through Nathan the prophet that his son, Solomon, would build a temple:
“And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne forever (that is – David’s throne).” (1 Chronicles 17:11-12)
David accumulated vast amounts of wealth and supplies for the rest of his life after this and stockpiled it. He then charged Solomon before he died to use all of it to build a magnificent temple in Jerusalem. He received detailed plans by revelation from God according to the same pattern that is written in the Torah given to Moses. Only this temple was on a far greater pattern in size and majesty and it was to be much more permanent, and built out of quarried large stones, gold, silver, iron, brass, different woods, precious stones, stones to be set, different multicolored and brilliant stones, and marble (1 Chronicles 29:2).
When Solomon had completed this great temple, he dedicated it with thousands of animal sacrifices, and great prayer and worship. In the climax of the Old Testament, God’s fire came down and consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices. His glory entered the temple like a cloud, and the priests, the Levites and the musicians, could not enter or stand. (2 Chronicles 7:1-3)
But the Lord warned King Solomon and all Israel that judgment would fall on this temple if they would forsake Him and turn to idols. He even said that it would be torn down and destroyed if Israel was disobedient and the children of Israel would be removed from the land and go into exile. Even the land would become so desolate that the gentile nations would be astonished that it was so forsaken and barren. (2 Chronicles 7:19-22)
Sadly, this happened and the children of Israel went into seventy years of captivity in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed this temple. For seventy years, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet, the land of Israel was forsaken, desolate, and rested. (2 Chronicles 36: 12-21)
At the end of seventy years, the prophet Daniel, after reading and studying the prophecies of Jeremiah and others, was stirred up by the Holy Spirit to intercede for the return of Israel from Babylon (Daniel 9:2-19). In response, and in fulfillment of God’s Word, the Lord raised up Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah to lead a movement to return to the land of Israel, rebuild the city of Jerusalem: it’s walls, and the temple from the foundation up.
Many returned from all twelve tribes and repented in humility before God. Ezra the scribe of the Holy Torah and Nehemiah their leader brought the children of Israel into a great revival. Through great prayer, sacrifice, warfare, and hard work, all of this was accomplished as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. God, once again, had mercy on Israel and dwelt among them in this temple at Jerusalem for a short time. This temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem on a much grander scale by King Herod a short time before the birth of Yeshua our Messiah. Although Israel was occupied by Rome at this time and experienced much oppression, they still had some religious freedom to worship, pray and sacrifice animals daily there.
So, in the Old Testament, there were five physical temples or sanctuaries that God came and dwelt in throughout Israel’s history.
In the New Testament, there are also five spiritual temples:
Yeshua our Messiah was born in Bethlehem, and the Bible says that His name shall be called “Immanuel” or “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). In Luke 1:32-33, Yeshua is called “The Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David…and he shall reign…forever and ever.” The Apostle John wrote, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth…No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared (or manifested) him. (John1:14,18)
The invisible and Almighty God of the universe became a Man forever in the Person of Yeshua, Jesus. When Yeshua was born in to this world. God Himself walked the earth and dwelt, or “tabernacled” among us. He said of Himself, “Destroy this TEMPLE, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19b) The Jewish leaders who were challenging Him in the Temple in Jerusalem thought He was referring to the physical temple and replied, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” But he spake of the temple of his BODY. (John 2:20-21)
So, the physical body of Yeshua the Messiah was the first spiritual temple of God in the New Testament. God dwelt in His fullness in Him, as it is written in Hebrews 1:1-3:
“God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, AND THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged or sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
The second spiritual temple in the New Testament is found after Yeshua died on the cross and then rose from the dead. He made it possible for us to be “born again” spiritually. Perhaps the most well known scripture is in John chapter 3, where Yeshua prophesies:
“…Ye must be born again…For God so loved the world that his gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:7b, 16)
On the day of Shavuot (Pentecost), 120 Jewish believers in Yeshua were changed forever when the Holy Spirit came upon them in the upper room in Jerusalem as tongues of fire and with the sound of a rushing, mighty wind. (Acts 2:1-2). They all received the gift of eternal life and were spiritually born again and were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then God moved into them to dwell as His temples. This was the birth of the church, and the beginning of the age of grace. No longer would God be confined to stay in the Holy of Holies in a building; no longer would He only be present through Yeshua the Messiah alone, but He would now dwell in the hearts (the spirits) of all born again believers in Yeshua, through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. In Acts 7:48 17:24, it is written:
“Howbeit, the Most High dwelleth not (any longer) in temples made with hands…God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands…”
God now dwells in His people through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This means that God now dwells in each individual believer as His temple, as it is written:
“Know ye are the TEMPLE OF GOD, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. If any man defile the TEMPLE OF GOD, him shall God destroy; for the TEMPLE OF GOD is holy, which TEMPLE YE ARE.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Not only does God refer to each individual believer’s bodies as His temple, but He also refers to the church as a whole, and the local churches throughout the world as His temple(s). In 1Peter 2:5, it is written:
“Ye also, as lively (living) stones, are built up a spiritual house (temple, dwelling place), and holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Yeshua our Messiah.”
Yeshua promised in Matthew 18:20:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
So, together as the Body of Messiah, we are the temples of the Lord. God dwells in us, both individually and collectively as His temple. This is the second spiritual temple.
This second temple can also be seen in a historic progression of restored truth into the earth: it has built a spiritual “temple” that can never be removed or erased. It is the collective revelation of the Word of God in the earth, that has been sown by the preaching of the Gospel, Revivalist movements, the blood of the martyrs and all believers who have clung to the truth of the Word of God and obeyed God during this “church age” of grace. It can be seen in the progressive fulfillment of the spiritual meaning of the articles of furniture in the tabernacle as given to Moses.
This temple was started with the ministry of Yeshua and then the ministries of the early church during the first one hundred years. During this time, the foundation was laid of the writing of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul said, as it is written:
“For we are labourers together with God…YE ARE GOD’S BUILDING. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION, and another buildeth thereupon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. FOR OTHER FOUNDATION CAN NO MAN LAY THAN THAT IS LAID, WHICH IS YESHUA THE MESSIAH.”
Even the though the primary meaning of this text is referring to the judgment seat of Messiah where the individual believer is warned by the Apostle Paul to build on His salvation with good works, there is also a secondary revelation, which could easily be overlooked. That is, the foundational work of the temple of the Lord is the finished work of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua, our Messiah. THIS IS THE FOUNDATION. Yeshua also referred to Himself as the door through which all of Mankind must enter to be saved. (John 10:7,9) He is the entrance to this mystical temple of restored truth. Yeshua also referred to Himself as every article of the temple in the book of John. I do not have time or space to write about this at this time.
The church departed from truth, just as Yeshua and the writers of the New Testament warned it would, and by 300 AD, it had left her Hebraic roots and the preaching of the truth of the Gospel of grace and the world plunged into the darkness again. Although there were sporadic revival movements all through these times, it was difficult to find the truth, because the New Testament was translated into Latin, shoved into monasteries and out of the knowledge of any but a few Catholic priests. Since they were among only the elite who could read and write, there was little light in these times: hence the term, “the dark ages”.
Then through a few brave men (and women), among whom were primarily Wycliffe, Huss, and finally Martin Luther, the Word of God became known and began to be preached to the common people in their language. One day the phrase from the scriptures, “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17), exploded into the spirit of Martin Luther, and he boldly proclaimed the truth of the book of Romans of salvation by faith in Christ alone and His finished work on the cross. This was the restoration of the brazen altar of sacrifice. Yeshua is the Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the earth. Man cannot save Himself through His own efforts, holiness, or sacrifice. God used Martin Luther to restore this great truth and by the early 1500’s Europe began to receive light spiritually and to come out of its’ religious bondage to Rome. This was also the restoration of the ministry office of pastor. The local church was established on New Testament authority and not the rule of the Roman Church.
In the 1700’s, God used John Wesley to proclaim the message, “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy…” (Leviticus 11:44a). This is the spiritual function of the second article of furniture in the temple: the laver, or washbasin. It was like a curved sink filled with water that the priests in the temple would use before they entered into the holy place to minister unto the Lord. It had a mirrored surface that would reflect the image of the one washing in it. This was the message of Wesley, and others of that time. “Wash away your filthiness and sin, and be clean for the Lord” was his message. From this time forward, the office of traveling evangelist was restored, and mass meetings where hundreds were born again swept through much of the known world. This was also the birth of world missions, with great men like Count Zinzendorf and many others who went to the far corners of the earth with the salvation message.
Starting at the dawn of 1900 and culminating in the great Azusa Street Revival of 1906, the modern outpouring that was called “Pentecostal” swept the earth. The Acts chapter two experience of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was once again experienced. Within a few years, millions of Christians were “baptized in the Holy Spirit” with the evidence of speaking in the supernatural languages called “tongues”. (Also at this time, the modern movement of “Zionism” or the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland of Israel was born.) This Pentecostal outpouring restored the original supernatural power, miracles, healings, signs and wonders that the early church received and walked in. This is the restoration of the lamp stand of gold – the menorah. The light of the Holy Spirit and his Person and Ministry burst into the earth in a greater way than had ever been seen since the first one hundred years of the church.
In 1948, the nation of Israel was miraculously reborn after nearly two thousand years of Jewish dispersion and persecution among the Gentile nations. This was a direct and literal fulfillment of Bible prophecy. After seven years of the Holocaust and WW2, God saved the Jews from extermination. At the same time, a seven-ten year healing revival broke out all over the world. There were miracles of healing that defied modern scientific explanation. At the height of this revival, the evangelist Oral Roberts was on nationwide television throughout the United States – during prime time and live - where hundreds of people received miracles of medically documented healings while millions watched his massive tent revival meetings. This is the restoration of the table of showbread. Healing is called “the children’s bread” in the bible. God also gave to Oral Roberts the revelation he called “seed-faith” or the planting of faith for a harvest that would transfer from the spiritual to the natural realm. This truth released many from poverty and financial lack and bondage in the Pentecostal church of his generation.
In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was once again given back into Jewish control, never to be ruled over by any Gentile nation. This was also a great prophetic fulfillment predicted in the Bible. At the same time, what became known as the Charismatic Renewal, and the Jesus Movement swept through the earth. Many millions of souls came to the Lord throughout America and the entire world. The Holy Spirit filled experience swept millions into the Kingdom. At this time, many hundreds of Jews young people (including me!) were also saved and the movement called “Messianic Judaism” began. I believe that this was a first-fruits harvest of the Jewish people forerunning the salvation of Israel as a whole and the return of Yeshua our Messiah.
Right on the heels of this came a teaching movement that began to break the bread of the table of showbread for God’s people and feed it to them in a much greater way. In the mid to late 1970’s God raised up Derek Prince, Kenneth E. Hagin and a number of others and began to reveal to them the riches of the New Covenant of grace, the authority of the believer over Satan and evil spirits, the new creation truths, and Paul’s revelation of victory in Messiah. This released the second part of that table of shewbread: provision and prosperity. God delivered us in Messiah from the curse of the law: poverty, sickness, and spiritual death (hell) through our redemption and Yeshua’s finished work. The ministry office of teacher was restored at this time. Sadly, this message has been prostituted through some, primarily in the television ministries, to such an extent that it has brought reproach and shame to the church and our dear Lord’s Name.
Now I am aware that all of these truths were preached at different times since the early church throughout the centuries, however, as a whole, these were not openly proclaimed and the revelation of them were for the most part hidden from the common man in the church through the centuries.
In the end of the 1980’s through until about 1997, I believe that the Lord restored the final piece of furniture in this spiritual temple: the altar of incense. This small altar stood right before the entrance into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant and the glory of God resided. This incense altar represents prayer and worship. Starting in 1987, with Larry Lea’s message of the Lord’s prayer and how to pray, Ulf Ekman’s message of victorious warring corporate prayer, and then primarily through the ministry of Benny Hinn starting in 1990, God began restoring the altar of incense in the earth. I would also mention Rodney Howard-Browne and the ministry of joy, holy laughter, and refreshing for about three years from 1992-1995 as a part of this restoration, although after that it did not remain in the same purity. By 1997, I believe that this altar was completed and was restored in the earth. I was in the meeting when the Lord told Pastor Benny that His work in bringing the presence, person and ministry of the Holy Spirit had been completed. After that he began winning souls by the thousands and millions.
During this time (1985-present) the ministry offices of both prophet and apostle have been also restored, although due to the great apostasy of the present day church, most have been seduced, deceived or destroyed and their power and purity has been defiled because of false sinful practices and teaching. We must return to the message of Wesley and the cross or we will not see the fullness of these ministry offices before the rapture of the Bride of Messiah. It is a sad day for the Body of Messiah, we have departed from the Bible, holiness, the fear of the Lord, the message of the cross, judgment, heaven and hell, to name of few. These are perilous times indeed.
As for the final article of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant, I believe that this will be restored during the Millennium when the Torah (law) will go forth from Jerusalem in the Messianic Kingdom soon to come. God’s holy presence and rule will be among us forever.
The fourth spiritual temple can be found in the final vision of the prophet Ezekiel. Even though he wrote in the Old Testament, God gave him a vision of the Temple that Yeshua our Messiah will reign from in Jerusalem. He writes of the time after the Tribulation period of judgment, when a magnificent temple will be built there at the beginning of the 1,000 years of His reign. In Ezekiel, chapters 40-48, he describes in great detail the dimensions, articles, measurements, restored priesthood of Levi, a restored form of animal sacrifice (only to teach us the spiritual significance of what Yeshua did for us as the Lamb of God on the cross – not to atone for any sins), the final division of the 12 tribes by lot in the promised land (this is where the fullness of God’s promise to Abraham concerning the land of Israel is finally and completely fulfilled), and the outpouring of God’s glory that covers the whole earth coming from the river of waters proceeding from this temple that brings healing to the nations during the millennium (Ezekiel chapter 47). In fact, the book of Ezekiel ends with God revealing one of His covenant names as Adonai Shammah, “The Lord is there”, or “always and ever present.” Another words, God will dwell in His glory in this temple and in all the restored land and people of Israel. The glory of God will cover the earth like the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14) It is interesting to note that the prophet Zechariah speaks of this time also as being a time when the Gentile nations shall come up to Jerusalem to worship King Messiah in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles each year. This will be at the millennial temple also, where three times a year all Israel all men must come up and present themselves before the Lord, as the Torah teaches us. Whoever does not celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem at this time, according to Zechariah, will not receive any rain on their land and a plague of some kind will come upon them, as it is written:
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain…there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles...this shall be the punishment of Egypt…and all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16-19)
(There is temple that will soon be built in Jerusalem. It will be desecrated by the Antichrist and be cursed. According to prophecy in Daniel and Revelation, he will proclaim himself God and blaspheme His holy Name and the Temple in heaven. I have not included this temple in this teaching because it is not a primary one in the restoration of glory in the earth. It is my opinion that man builds this one and not God. Although for a short while, (perhaps 3 ½ years), there will be a restored animal sacrifice and Levitical priesthood, it will not be blessed or inhabited by God in my opinion. However, we do not have enough scripture to fully establish many details about it. Only that it will be built, operate for a time, then be desecrated by the son of perdition – (Mr. Antimessiah –whoever or whatever that “beast” is.)
Finally, the fifth “temple” of God is found in the book of Revelation. It is the most glorious and beautiful of them all. In fact, it is likened to the “Bride” of Messiah. That is because we, as the overcomers, are dwelling in it with Messiah forever. It is called “The New Jerusalem”. It is in the shape of a gigantic cube that is about 1500 miles in each direction. It is a huge heavenly city that God built and made for us. It will descend from heaven and come to the earth. It will be centered over where Jerusalem is now, except it will be in a new and recreated heavens (universe) and earth.
In Revelation 21:1-4, it is written:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, BEHOLD THE TABERNACLE OF GOD IS WITH MEN, AND HE WILL DWELL WITH THEM, AND THEY SHALL BE HIS PEOPLE, AND GOD HIMSELF SHALL BE WITH THEM, AND BE THEIR GOD. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
After the thousand years of Messiah’s Kingdom over the restored nation of Israel and its’ commonwealth of Gentile nations -they are redeemed by Him and grafted in to Abraham’s covenant promises - heaven will finally come to earth, not only in Messiah’s Kingdom, but in the glory of the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem.
Heaven on earth shall finally be not just a dream or a promise, but an eternal reality. And we shall live together with God forever and ever, world without end. Amen.
Even so, Come Lord Yeshua!
May the Lord continue to bless you and to keep you through His grace in the secret place of His eternal love!
Love in Our Messiah,