Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Future Temple?

I don't think Paul or Jesus taught that a future, physical Temple in Jerusalem is the 'ultimate', as one Bible teacher said. Jesus said the time had come when Jerusalem would no longer be the required place of worship. Worshipping Him in spirit and in truth is what the Father is now seeking. He doesn't need a Temple in order to dwell with His people. The Church is His people, His Body, the House which He is building - made up of Jews first of all, and also Gentiles. Jesus didn't say a future replica Temple must be built in order to fulfil Prophecy. His predictions about the Temple were about the Temple which stood in His day, and His predictions about that Temple came to pass. That was in answer to a question about that Temple. He was also asked about His coming and the end of the world - and he also answered that. He also implied that there would be an indeterminable period of time between the destruction of the Temple and His coming and the end of the world: He only said that the time in between would be a period of tribulation and the continued preaching of the Gospel. So I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Jesus wasn't talking about that Temple at all, but instead about some future replica temple. OT prophecies about the nations making annual pilgrimages to the altar to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, were fulfilled while the Old Covenant still stood. The NT gives us examples in history of that very thing taking place, like Acts chapter 2. It can't be about the future, because the altar was only a shadow - and God isn't into returning to the shadow. No Jew today can currently prove by genealogy his descent from Levi. According to the Tenakh, if a person couldn't prove by genealogy his descent from Levi, he was expelled from the priesthood as if polluted. So a Levitical priesthood can't function legitimately anymore. But even if someone today could prove his descent from Levi, it still wouldn't make a restored Levitical priesthood authentic - because the Levitical priesthood was only a shadow and its sacrifices aren't necessary this side of the cross, the new covenant, with its priesthood under a different and eternal Order. OT prophecies describing the restoration of Levitical worship in a rebuilt Temple were therefore fulfilled in Old Covenant times. And the Bible provides history showing us that happened. Modern Jews don't need to resume animal sacrifices in order to understand their need of the cross - they only need to read their own Scriptures. Rightly dividing the Word is important - because it keeps our focus where it should be on Jesus and His Gospel, without deflecting part of our focus onto modern Judaism which cannot give life. God has already fulfilled His promises for Israel - it's called the Gospel. And He never revoked it, despite their unbelief. Therefore the sky is the limit for modern Israelis - but on the basis of faith in Jesus, not Judaism.

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