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the glory of God and the Temple— especially in light of the coming Jewish holidays. The Temple and the Jewish People The Temple was the heart and soul of the biblical Jewish faith. Over the last 2,000 years, since the destruction of Herod’s temple, the Jewish people have reformulated the Jewish religion in light of our inability to sacrifice and shed blood for the atonement of sins (Leviticus 17:11). Jewish people have always known that the only place where sacrifices could be made was at the Temple and therefore, after the destruction of the Temple, all sacrifices for sins ceased. Today Jewish people offer “sacrificial replacements” including prayers, good deeds and contrition of soul as our personal sacrifices to the Lord in hopes of His granting forgiveness. There are many well-known stories of great rabbis who went to their deathbeds wondering whether or not their sins were forgiven. This is the problem, of course, when there is no recognizable means or moment when one knows that their sins are forgiven. Jewish people live with ambiguity, not knowing if our good works and repentance are enough for God to forgive us of our sins. The Glory of God and the Temple I believe that we sometimes overemphasize the animal sacrifices in the ancient Temple and forget that the most important part of Temple worship was the glory of God present and hovering above the mercy seat where the once-a-year Yom Kippur offering was made. Without the glory of God, the Temple would have simply been a very elaborate, but empty building. After King Solomon completed the building of the first Temple, the glory of God filled this one-of-a-kind worship facility enabling the Israelites to worship through sacrifice, song and ceremony. When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). Unfortunately, the children of Israel quickly reverted to disobedience and ultimately the glory of God would depart from the Temple, leaving the building an empty shell. The glory of God left the Temple, according to Ezekiel chapters 8–11 in three stages.1 Again, I am grateful to Arnold and other great scholars like Charles Feinberg, who also wrote a superb commentary on the Book of Ezekiel, who point this out so clearly. Eventually the glory of God left by way of the Eastern Gate of the Temple! This passage must be viewed in light of Ezekiel 43:1-2, where the prophet envisions the future Kingdom Temple again becoming filled with the glory of God and that the returning glory of God would come through the Eastern Gate. The glory of God will return the same way it left! Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory (Ezekiel 43:1-2). Jesus and the Glory of God Perhaps the simplest lesson to learn from the departure of God’s glory is that the Lord cannot dwell in a house tainted by disobedience and sin. Ezekiel describes a litany of sins (Ezekiel 8:5-18) committed by the Jewish people as the basis for the Glory’s departure from the Temple. God could not remain in the Temple nor among the Jewish people while His chosen people were so persistently engaged in sin. The Lord, from the Garden of Eden onward, often judged sinful humanity through the departure of His presence or by banning sinful man from entering His presence. Of course, the good news is that God did not leave Israel and the Nations without a full manifestation of His glory. The writers of the New Testament describe Jesus as the fullness of the glory of God…in the flesh! And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature… (Hebrews 1:3). I believe that His coming in the flesh gives us the assurance that one day He will return and that this Glory will not only fill the future Temple, but the whole earth! As John writes, And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:5). I realize that there are many good Bible interpreters who suggest that the coming of Jesus and His identifying Himself with the Temple in John 2:19-21 makes the future Temple unnecessary and therefore the future Temple mentioned by Ezekiel should not be viewed as literal. However, I see no reason not to accept both. Certainly, Jesus is the quintessential home of God’s glory as He is the fullness of God in the flesh, but that does not mean that a future temple could not also be filled with the glory of God. I suppose this remains to be seen! And hallelujah, those of us who know the One who came as our atonement secures us frontrow seats for both Israel and all humanity’s glorious future! Enjoy the newsletter and thanks for your prayers and faithful support! Your brother, Mitch Dr. Mitch Glaser President 1 The Stages of God’s Glory Leaving the Temple: Stage 1-Ezekiel 8: 3-4; Stage 2-Ezekiel 9: 3 and 10:4; Stage 3-Ezekiel 10:18-19; Stage 4-Ezekiel 11:22-23 September 2016 3


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