A Temple Lost and Found – 2 Kings 25

11 and Josiah (was) the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.  Matthew 1:11 NIV

Two-thirds of the way through the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, we encounter the last godly king of Judah, Josiah, and then witness his wayward sons, Jeconiah (also called Jehoiachin) and his brothers.  These would rule Judah right up until the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple, its official buildings, and the defensive wall around it by the invading armies of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 …In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the Lord had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the Lord. 14 He carried all Jerusalem into exile… 2 Kings 24:10-14a NIV

… Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 10 The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem.  2 Kings 25:8b-10 NIV

In Old Testament times, the temple was the holy residence of God.  It was erected by King Solomon on the spot selected by God as shown to Solomon’s father, King David.  Because of its holiness, it was also a place of sacrifice.  All people are unclean and tainted by sin, and sacrifice is required to atone for this to enter into the presence of a holy God.  This spot in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, was where Abraham had been directed to take his son Isaac, and where the Father’s son, Jesus, would ultimately be sacrificed to provide eternal cleansing and forgiveness of all who would receive Him.

Although the exiles in Babylon would begin to return in seventy years to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and its temple, it was not until the time of Christ, around five hundred years later, when King Herod would begin a long building project that truly restored the temple to its previous majesty.  It was a magnificent walled complex, such that the disciples of Jesus were amazed and excited to point it out to Him.  Jesus then gave them the bad news, found in Matthew 24 – in a few decades, the Romans under Titus would tear this one down, too.  All that remains of it to this day are some excavated walls, impressive as they are.

God had permitted Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the first temple as a judgement for many years of unfaithfulness and idolatry by Judah.  Both the Davidic line of kings and the temple which they were responsible for keeping were ended by Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion.  But why might God permit the Romans to destroy the second temple, and allow its site to lay in a demolished state for almost 2,000 years?

With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, given to Jesus’ disciples ten days after He ascended into heaven, God no longer needed a building to live in.  From then on, God would take up holy residence in the hearts of believers worldwide, cleansed daily by the one-time sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Witnessed by devout people gathered from throughout the known world, the Pentecost event led to three thousand new believers being baptized into a faith in Jesus.  Also being gifted with the Holy Spirit, they returned to their homes, carrying with them the very presence of God.  Here they were able to share their faith and grow the kingdom of heaven as Jesus had directed, prospered by the working of the Holy Spirit.

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20a NIV

Believers in Jesus have been bought at a price – the loving sacrifice of laying down His life on a cross for us, because of His great love for you and me.  He was then raised to life by the power of the Holy Spirit, the first of a long line of believers who will do so after Him.  In the meantime, He has given us the Holy Spirit as a seal and a deposit, to lead and guide us as we seek to grow His kingdom, until one day we, too, will come into His holy presence.  Will you choose to be there?

Reflection

Father God, we choose You, and Jesus Your Son, to be our one and only God.  We desire in our hearts to be a part of Your eternal global temple.  Fill us with the Holy Spirit and lead us to do the works that You would have us do.  Cleanse us from all sin, then heal and strengthen us to live a life that is fruitful and pleasing to You.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: