Signs of the destruction of the Temple

As Jesus was leaving the Temple complex, the disciples noticed how ornate and impressive it was. One disciple exclaimed “Look, Teacher! This building has such massive stones!” Jesus said to him “Notice all of this now, because mark my words, the day is coming when not one stone will be left standing on another!”

A little later, Peter, James, John, and Andrew approached him privately when he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, across from the Temple complex. They begged him to tell them when this destruction would happen, and what the warning signs would be.

Jesus said “Be alert so that you are not deceived, for many will come in my name saying ‘I am the Messiah’ and they will lead many people astray. Don’t be alarmed when you hear of wars and rumors of wars. These things have to occur, but the end isn’t happening yet. There will be battles between nations and kingdoms. There will be earthquakes and famines all over and there will be terrifying sights in the skies. But all these events are just the beginning of what is to come.

Then the authorities will grab you and hand you over to the local courts and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will be brought before kings and governors because you follow me. This will give you an opportunity to reveal the Gospel, because it must be proclaimed to all nations. Therefore, don’t worry beforehand about what you are going to say, because the Holy Spirit will give you the words when you need them. You will have all the wisdom and words you need so that your enemies will not be able to contradict you.

At that time families will betray one another. You will be hated by everyone because you follow me but by your endurance you will be saved.”

MT 10:17-22, MT 24:1-10, MK 13:1-13, LK 12:11-12, LK 21:5-19

Cleaning out the Temple complex and authority challenged.

Jesus went up to Jerusalem because it was nearing the time for the festival of Passover. When he reached the Temple complex he found money changers and people selling the animals that the Jews bought to sacrifice there to atone for their sins. He made a whip of cords and drove everyone and their animals out, even overturning the money tables. He would not permit anyone to bring in anything to sell there. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, (56:7) he said “‘My house will be a house of prayer for all people,’ but you have made it into a den of thieves! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Seeing this, the disciples recalled this verse from the psalmist “Devotion for God’s house will consume me” (PS 69:9)

He was teaching and healing there every day. Children cheered out “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The temple leaders said “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus answered “Haven’t you read the Scriptures? ‘From the lips of children The Lord has called forth praise’ (PS 8:2)?”

The chief priests, scribes, and elders started looking for ways to undermine him. They were afraid of him because the crowd of people there was captivated by what he taught.

All the Temple leaders challenged Jesus, saying “Who gave you authority to do these things?”

Jesus said “Answer me this, and I’ll tell you – was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” They debated amongst themselves, saying “If we say from heaven, then he’ll challenge us, saying ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say it was from men, the crowd will get angry with us because they thought John was a true prophet.” To be safe, they said “We don’t know.”

Jesus said “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Jesus also told them “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will restore it in three days.” The Temple leaders looked at him like he was crazy. “This Temple took 46 years to build! Who are you to say you can do all this in three days?” But Jesus was talking about the sanctuary of his body. Later, after he was resurrected, his disciples remembered these words.

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MT 21:12-17,23-27 MK 11:15-19, 27-33 LK 19:45-48,20:1-8 JN 2:13-22

Many people believed in Jesus while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival because of the miracles he was doing. Jesus, however, did not fully reveal himself to them because he knew mankind’s’ true nature.

JN 2:23-25

What is the Church?

Let us look at what Jesus meant when he came to build his Church. When he was speaking to his disciples, he asked them who they thought he was.

Matthew 16:15-18
15 He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

The church is built up not of stones, but of everyone who the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to. The foundation of Jesus’ church was a human being.

After Jesus threw out the money changers in the Temple, the Jewish authorities challenged him. He turned around the idea of what the Temple is.

John 2:19-21
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

At Jacob’s well, speaking with the Samaritan woman, he told about how God is to be worshipped everywhere, not in a particular place. The Samaritan woman is talking in the first verse.

John 4:20-24
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. 22 Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

We are not to amass money.

Matthew 19:21
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

Matthew 6:19-21
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.

So church isn’t a building, or a place. It is us. We, the believers who have had the truth of Jesus revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, are to worship God in spirit and truth, wherever we are. We aren’t to spend our money to build cathedrals with gold and stained glass windows. We are to glorify God by our service to God’s children, our neighbors.

Who is to build the Temple? Not Solomon.

King David thought that he should build the Temple, but God told him otherwise through his prophet Nathan. God tells Nathan to tell David that the Temple, the holy House of God, will be built after David has died.

These verses are at the end of Nathan telling him to stop his plans –

1 Chronicles 17:11-14
11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days are fulfilled that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will set up thy seed after thee, who shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build me a house, and I will establish his throne for ever. 13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee; 14 but I will settle him in my house and in my kingdom for ever; and his throne shall be established for ever.

Note that God says God will “…set up thy seed after thee” after David has died. Clearly, this is not referring to his son Solomon, who was already alive at this time. God is talking about a descendant of David who will be born after David has died.

David seems to understand this when he talks to God a little later.

1 Chronicles 17:16-17
16 Then David the king went in, and sat before Jehovah; and he said, Who am I, O Jehovah God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me thus far? 17 And this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; but thou hast spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O Jehovah God.

Note David’s words in verse 17 – “…for a great while to come”. He is aware that this is in the far distant future.

Then David, like Abraham, tries to take matters into his own hands. Either he misunderstood what he seemed to understand earlier, or he just thought he’d get a head start on things.

1 Chronicles 22:6-10
6 Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build a house for Jehovah, the God of Israel. 7 And David said to Solomon his son, As for me, it was in my heart to build a house unto the name of Jehovah my God. 8 But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days: 10 he shall build a house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

At no point did God tell David why he didn’t want him to build the Temple. Being a man of war wasn’t the reason he was prevented. It just wasn’t time yet. Solomon can’t be the one that God wanted to build it, because God talked about bringing forth a seed of David (a descendant of his) after David had died. Also important to realize is that at no point in the intervening chapters did David hear from God directly – it was always through a prophet, either Nathan or Gad.

David keeps telling himself this story, and it keeps being wrong. This is a little later –

1 Chronicles 28:5-7
5 And of all my sons (for Jehovah hath given me many sons), he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Jehovah over Israel. 6 And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts; for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. 7 And I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and mine ordinances, as at this day.

God didn’t choose Solomon. David did. David wanted the Temple built, and he wanted to make sure it happened.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

1 Chronicles 17:4-6
4 Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith Jehovah, Thou shalt not build me a house to dwell in: 5 for I have not dwelt in a 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. 6 In all places wherein I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to be shepherd of my people, saying, Why have ye not built me a house of cedar?

If God wanted a house, God would have asked for one. God would have made it happen. God was happy dwelling in a tent or a tabernacle. God was happy being free and not stuck in one place.

But David wouldn’t listen, and made sure that there were plenty of materials ready. He didn’t leave it to chance, but most importantly, he didn’t leave it to God.

1 Chronicles 22:2-5
2 And David commanded to gather together the sojourners that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God. 3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the couplings; and brass in abundance without weight; 4 and cedar-trees without number: for the Sidonians and they of Tyre brought cedar-trees in abundance to David. 5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for Jehovah must be exceeding magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.

Interestingly, some of the materials that were used for the Temple were gotten from David waging war. In 1 Chronicles 18 we learn that David went to war against the Philistines, the Moabites, and the Syrians. From those spoils came a huge amount of brass, which Solomon used to make the brass reservoir, pillars, and vessels. So much for not wanting David to build the temple because he was a man of war!

God does what God wants in God’s time, and in God’s way. We keep acting like it is all up to us to do. We have to wait patiently, knowing that God is in charge.

(All translations of the Bible are from the American Standard Version, which is in public domain.)