Should a temple be built in Jerusalem?
A few of months ago I wrote a blog entitled How could I have been so blind? I wondered how I could have believed for so long that the temple in Jerusalem had passed its use-by date, and that God had no desire to ever see one built again. Scripture so plainly teaches that God loves the temple — always:
For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually (2 Chron. 7:16).
Jesus — a fleshly embodiment of that same God — was “consumed” by zeal for the temple (John 2:17). Followers of Jesus Christ seek to put on the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5), meaning they will be zealous for the same things Jesus was zealous for. When Jesus reigns on earth, the temple will serve as “headquarters” of His reign over all nations. All peoples will come up to Jerusalem to hear Jesus speak there (Is. 2:1-3). The question I ask today is, “What are they waiting for?” Why won't the government of Israel recognize its obligation to build God's house? Why does it remain blind to the benefits it would bring? Israeli leaders don't have to look far to discover that they have perpetual permission — no, perpetual obligation — to build. They don't have to wait for a prophet to rise up and cajole them into action. Indeed, it seems fairly plain to this author that those who could do something about it stand accountable to God if they don't. Scripture leaves no doubt as to God's will for all generations:
Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." ' Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?'
God chided them for failure to make construction of His house a top priority. Has His will changed? Whatever you do, please don't swallow the line that Jesus'
coming has rendered the temple and its ceremonies useless. (See the Dawn to Dusk book “Shadow and Reality” for a thorough analysis of the Scriptures on this topic.) God promised remarkable benefits for Israel and all mankind if they would turn to Him with their hearts and show respect towards His earthly dwelling place:
When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance (1 Kings 8:35-36).
These verses show that the temple itself holds no magical properties — repentance is the key element in hoping for divine aid. But prayer towards God's house, coupled with faith in Jesus Christ, carries extra weight with God. Hey, I'm just pointing out what the Scripture says. Please read those verses again. Verses 41-43 show that similar benefits would accrue to any people or nation that sincerely and humbly appealed to Israel's God (the Father of Jesus Christ) at the place where God's eyes and heart perpetually rest. The country I live in — Australia — is in the grip of a drought that threatens our survival as a nation. Oh that a temple stood, and our leaders humbly sought the aid of Him who would dwell there.
So what are they waiting for? Oh, yes, slight problem. The entire Muslim world would rise up in alarm should anybody lay a hand on the Dome of the Rock and try to build a “Jewish” house of worship on that spot. Yes, I can see the dilemma facing the Israeli government. Perhaps we do have to wait for God to send a prophet to show His people it can be done, that He will back them up if they set their hand to build a house to His glory. Oh Lord, how long must we wait for You to stir up Your people to build? I for one am getting anxious to see our drought end. And even more to see the One True God receive the glory due to His Name.