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DEDICATING THE TEMPLE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part I

    Dedicating the Temple
    The Church Concept of God

 

Part III

(3)  The Man with the Writer's Inkhorn
      
The Second Assignment
(4)   The Dedication of Ezekiel's Temple

 

Part II

   (1)  The Dedication of the Tabernacle
         
Bringing Home the Ark
   (2)  Solomon's Temple
         
Dedicating the Temple
              before It Was Finished

Part IV

  (5)  God's True Temple
        
"Filled with Smoke from
             the Glory of God"
        
What Happens Next?
        
What Does the Dedication
             of the True Temple Portend?
        
Why Is the Dedication of
             God's Temple  Important?

 

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Part II

(1) The Dedication of the Tabernacle

 

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The Tabernacle

God had commanded Moses to build Him a Tabernacle where He would meet with Israel.

While it was very beautiful on the inside, the tabernacle was very plain in outward appearanceyou might say, disappointing.

It looked like a big box, coffin like, covered with sealskins. Not much to look at.

    In that the people never really saw the inside of the Tabernacle, it seems to have become very commonplace in later years and neglected. It did not take long to build either. We read in Exodus 4:17:

"And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up."

 

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Construction of Tabernacle

It took about three months to get from Egypt to Mt. Horeb, the Mount of God.

Moses was up in the mountain forty days.

When he came down from the mountain he lay prostrate before the Lord another forty days.

Then Moses went up into the mountain the second time for forty days.

This comes to about five months to construct the tabernacle.


    How long did it take to put the Tabernacle together once it was made? One day. We just read in Exodus 40:17 that the tabernacle was reared up on the "first day of the month."

"Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.

"And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle." Exodus 40:34, 35

    The Israelites were not familiar with the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day until the Tabernacle was dedicated. Numbers 9:15, 16 reads:

"On the day that the Tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the Tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the Tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.

"So it was always; the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night."

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God’s glory was manifest not only within the Tabernacle to the priests, but also to the whole nation by reason of the pillar of the cloud and fire.

   

    The Tabernacle could not be used for its intended purpose until it was dedicated and filled with the "smoke of God’s glory." This became a witness to everyone in Israel, especially to Moses and the Priests and Levites.
    It must have been awesome standing there in such glory. Perhaps a trembling came upon them, as they realized God was meeting with them there. While He was not visible to them, His power and majesty were felt.
    No one thereafter could doubt this whole arrangement was from God. When they had complied with all the requirements in building it, God accepted their labors and sacrifices and was pleased to meet with them there.
    We shall see that God dedicates every Temple or Tabernacle, temporal or spiritual, before it is used for its intended purpose. God does not have many ceremonies, but this is one ceremony He consistently employs without exception. So we do well to take note of it.
    We notice the blessings of the Tabernacle arrangement could not be invoked or any sacrifices be offered up until the dedication was completed. There was a time pause here in which God’s glory was manifested and His approval was given. This is most important.
    Unless it can be demonstrated that God’s glory is dwelling therein, any edifice or building would lack the credentials it needs to represent God. Men can build all the temples in the world, lavished with gold and silver and jewels, but unless they have evidence of God’s glory within they are nothing.

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Preparing to Bring Home the Ark

    Next, we look at Solomon's Temple. The Tabernacle had lost its place among the children of Israel. It had been housed at Shiloh through most of the period of the Judges, but came into disrepair and soon just the Ark and some of the holy articles were in order.

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Philistines Capturing the
Ark of the Covenant

Their troubles started when they took the Ark of Covenant onto the battlefield thinking God would have to save it and them in that battle.

But, lo and behold, to their amazement the Lord allowed the Philistines to capture it.

The Lord plagued the Philistines all the while they kept it, so they sent it back on a wooden cart pulled by two cows.

 

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Eli hears about the Ark being captured by the Philistines.

The Ark was taken by the Philistines during the closing days of the Judges.

When Eli heard the Ark had been taken in battle, he fell over and died.

From this time on the Tabernacle began to languish.

Saul did nothing to restore it to its former glory.

 

     David, had built himself a splendid house on Zion’s hill. As he sat in such splendor he realized the Ark and the Tabernacle were not being used. He wanted to bring the Ark from where it was housed at Kiriathjearim.
    With much fan-fare they placed the Ark on a new cart and started out toward Jerusalem. You remember how, as the Ark began to shake, Uzzah tried to steady it. We read:

"He died there before God.

"And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breech upon Uzzah." 1 Chronicles 13:10,11

    Sometimes our good intentions turn into disaster. Indeed, David meant well. Why would the Lord seemingly rebuke him before the whole nation even while his heart was right before the Lord?  Then we read:

"David was afraid of God that day; saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?" 1 Chronicles 13:12

    This is a question he should have asked at the outset. Sometimes it takes us a while to find what we must do.

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Ark of the Covenant

Because of the tragedy, David had placed the Ark in the house of Obededom, the nearest place he could find after Uzzah’s death. While the Ark was there we read:

"The Lord blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had."
1 Chronicles 13:14

 

    When the Ark was held by the Philistines it only brought them plagues and death. The same Ark brought blessings to Obededom’s household. How beautiful! It is a principle, "Those that honor me I will honor."
    Obededom’s heart was right before the Lord, and he and his house reverenced the Ark and treated it with holy devotion. What a blessing came to him and his house.

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   Only the Levites were to carry the Ark of the Covenant.

"David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.

"Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever."  
1 Chronicles 15:1, 2

    This information was available to David before, but in his haste to bring home the Ark he did not seek guidance from the Lord. This is a lesson we may all learn as well. Good intentions are not enough.
    David had Asaph and his brethren sing that wonderful song on the day they delivered the Ark into its tent in Jerusalem. It is when the antitypical Ark is finally brought to its place that true meaning of 1 Chronicles 16:31-34 will be realized.

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Carrying the Ark

"Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.

"Let the sea roar, and all the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.

"Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.

"O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever!"

1 Chronicles 16:31-36

    Then will follow the blessings the Lord has so abundantly in store for the world.

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(2) Solomon's Temple

    David now had the Ark in Jerusalem. We read in 1 Chronicles 17:1, 2:

"Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord remaineth under curtains.

"Then Nathan said to David, Do all that is in your heart; for God is with thee."

    David’s desire to bring the Ark to Jerusalem was frustrated for a while until he learned how to do it properly. Now, he wanted to build a Temple for the Lord. Millions of people often desire to do something for the Lord. However, much of what people want to do for God He does not want done. If only we could learn this lesson.
    Think of all the great sacrifices being made every day and every year through the centuries supposedly for the Lord’s glory. Most of it has not been for His glory, and only a tiny portion was for His sake. Even Nathan was carried away by David's largess in wanting to build a temple.
    Well, we know the story. Nathan had no sooner left David’s presence when the Lord turned him right around and told him to go to David and say:

"Thou shalt not build me a house to dwell in."
1 Chronicles 17:4

    Twice David had started out to do something for the Lord, and twice he met with negative results. Someone of lesser stature might have have withdrawn in discouragement. Just because our first efforts are not accepted is no sign to stop.
    David had the right heart attitude and the right discipline in reading God’s will. David could have said, "All right. I’ll just give up on this whole idea." He could have become morose and discouraged and left off seeking the Lord.

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If David could not build the house of the Lord, at least, he would make provisions for his son, Solomon, whom God had said would built the Temple.

He set about gathering all the materials and resources that he could husband to insure the speedy success of this task under Solomon.

    He not only gathered supplies but he also arranged the Priesthood into 24 courses to serve in the Temple and the Levites into 24 courses of singers to serve in turn in the music of the Temple.
    Now, you can see why David was a man after God’s own heart. Even when rebuked and denied, he never lost heart but proceeded with dispatch in those areas were he could serve. How many of the Lord’s people have lost blessings because when they were not privileged to do things they aspired to do in the Lord’s service, they decided not to serve at all.
    Now it may seem that the Temple and the new arrangements in the service of the Temple were just David’s off-hand idea. Such is not the case. In 1 Chronicles 28:19 we learn:

"All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writings by his hand upon me, even all the works of the pattern."

Also in 2 Chronicles 29:25 it states:

"According to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets."

(See also 1 Chronicles 28:11-18.)

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David and Solomon

The Lord instructed David just as he did Moses.

The Lord made it clear how the Temple was to be built and how it would be serviced.

David gave to Solomon what the Lord had given him in the way of instructions.

    In the fourth year of Solomon’s reign work on the Temple was begun. Solomon began "to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign" (2 Chronicles 3:2). It took nearly seven and one half years to complete, after which it was dedicated.
    Every edifice of God was always dedicated. Solomon’s Temple was no exception. The building was unique in that it went together without the sound of a hammer. All the cutting and shaping was done beforehand. When finally shaped and polished each stone was placed in its respective place.

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Building Solomon's Temple

Every beam and piece of wood was cut and sanded and then placed in its setting. There was no noise, no confusion, and no fanfare.

Everything was quietly and efficiently seated in its place, just as the true Temple of God in this Gospel Age is placed in the body of Christ.

    Here, the Lord is putting together the most magnificent Temple where He will dwell forever, and the world does not know what is going on. Because it is being done quietly, no one recognizes God’s work.
    Oddly, the Temple seems to have been dedicated before it was completed. In Reprint 5713 Bro. Russell says: "It was dedicated about a month before it was completely finished. Doubtless this contained some important typical lesson, which we may some day more fully understand." Actually, we learn the Ark was brought into the Temple on the beginning of the seventh month. We read:

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Priests Praising God

"Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month." 2 Chronicles 5:3

That is when the Ark was brought to the Temple. Then as the singers were praising and thanking God, we read:

"That then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord.

"So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God." 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14

    We learn in 2 Chronicles 7:10, 11:

"And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.

"Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king’s house."

    This makes it about really three weeks difference before when the dedication started and when it is declared finished.

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Perhaps the priests were startled by this event. Especially, the fact that it was a "dark cloud."

Usually, we associate darkness with evil and trouble but not in this case.

Solomon says: "The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness."
2 Chronicles 6:1

    In 1 Kings 8:12 we read:

"The Lord [has set the sun in the heavens, but has] said that he would dwell in thick darkness."

    This is something of an enigma. The Hebrew does not sustain "The Lord has set the sun in the heavens," but He did say He "would dwell in the thick darkness." Just before the Church, the Christ of God, "shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father," it is preceded by the Dedication wherein God dwells in the thick "darkness."
    Maybe we do not understand the full meaning of all this. In Reprint 3283 Bro. Russell suggests: "That which outwardly had the appearance of a cloud in the Sanctuary on the mercy seat represented an extreme brightness, so great that the priests could no longer remain in the Holy."

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Dedication of Solomon's Temple

Whether it was brightness in the Most Holy that made the cloud in the holy as a blinding fog or whether indeed it was a "darkness" that was profoundly dense so that it seemed impenetrable, we do not really know.


  God’s presence was generally shown in the cloud above the Tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire by night. However, there is nothing said about this in regard to the Temple.
    At any rate there was a glory in this Temple that left the priests with the awesome realization of God’s presence and power. Perhaps the time of the dedication of the true Temple will be a time of darkness in the world such, as was never before, Armageddon darkness. At such a time as this God takes up His abode in His Holy Temple.
    "The Ark, representing typically the divine covenant with Abraham, the fulfillment of which centered in the Christ, must be transferred from the Tabernacle to the Temple, that thus the latter might supersede the former as the meeting place between God and his covenant people" (Reprint 3282, last paragraph). It is not, therefore, until the Church is dedicated with the Ark being placed in it, that the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant will come to Israel and the world.

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What Is the Meaning
in Dedicating the Temple
before It Was Finished?

    Bro. Russell mused on what might be the meaning in the Temple being dedicated before it was completed, as the Scriptures we read earlier seem to indicate. He says in Reprint 5714, last paragraph:
    "The fact that the typical Temple was filled with the glory of the Lord before it was entirely completed seems to imply that at this present time there will be some manifestation of God’s favor toward His Church in glorification while yet the work of construction is not quite finished. However, it is difficult to read prophecy in advance of its fulfillment. We must wait to see what will be the fulfillment of this feature."
    Bro. Russell is turning over in his mind what might be the possible meaning here. We notice his great caution but none the less he suggests something that seemed plausible to him. Yes, "there will be some manifestation of God’s favor toward His Church in glorification while yet the work of construction is not quite finished."
    This very well might imply God’s favor would be manifested toward His Church while some sealed members are on this side of the veil, just before they are taken to glory. This would tie in very well with Bro. Russell’s expectation that the saints would, while in the flesh, be instrumental in executing

"Vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;

"To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;

"To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints."
Psalms 149:7-9

 

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