Through the Word in 2020 #74 – July 15 / From Temple to Temple

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Church. When we think of coming to or going to Church, we think of entering a building, gathering with other Believers, sitting in pews or chairs, singing, praying, hearing the Word of God preached and fellowship with one another. The Old Testament Jews in Solomon’s time had a very different experience. One we can not identify with at all. The why behind that massive shift is something worth our consideration – which we’ll do today on Through the Word in 2020.
Circumstances wouldn’t allow our visiting yesterday – but I trust you continued reading. If we take yesterday’s and today’s portions together, they lead us through Psalm 111, Colossians 1:15-2:23, Luke 6:17-36 and 1 Chronicles 29:23-2 Chronicles 6.
Now the section in 2 Chronicles is probably most familiar to us due to Solomon’s prayer there, and God’s oft mis-applied answer in Ch. 7.
But if you read the description of the construction of Solomon’s Temple carefully, the one thing you may have noticed is that it had no place for the average guy or gal to sit. In fact, it had no seating at all. And as the singular house of worship for the entire nation – for millions of people – it was only 90’ long and 30’ wide. You see, it wasn’t meant to provide access for the average worshipper at all. All of their sacrifices, all of their worship activities were done outside. Only the priests could enter at all. And then, only the High Priest – once a year could go into the most Holy Place.
God and His people were separated. Until Christ.
It is why when Jesus was crucified, the curtain in the Temple, separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two. And why Hebrews 10:19-22 can read:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Jesus has given us the access directly to the Father no generation prior to His coming ever had. And even our architecture reflects this astounding reality.
The next time you enter a Church building, remember that this way of gathering together before God as a people was unheard of prior to Jesus death, burial and resurrection. Even the synagogue (which didn’t come about until long after the Temple was destroyed) served mainly as a teaching and social gathering place. They had no concept – and still don’t – that all these were symbols of the Temple He is building out of the living stones we as Believers are.
We, The Temple of God, indwelt by His Spirit who is no longer hidden behind a curtain, gather together in groups and worship without the aid or need of priests, artifacts or minutely prescribed rites and ceremonies. We draw near with true hearts in full assurance of faith and sprinkled clean from an evil conscience. Because of Christ and Christ alone.
Lay hold of the miracle and the privilege the ordinary Church service is. Those humble pews, communal hymns, common prayers, hearing of God’s Word and sharing at the Lord’s Table were purchased with nothing less than the blood of the eternal Son of God – for us.
Don’t neglect it.
I’m Reid Ferguson. And God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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