I continue to marvel that we have such a unique opportunity here in this area to hear Rabbi Chaim Richman, Director of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, speak in person. He is the man who is over-seeing the process of the rebuilding of a third Temple in Jerusalem. I know many believers struggle with this and wonder why we should even be interested in that subject. Perhaps, in sharing some of the deep insight that Rabbi Richman brought to us, you might gain a new understanding. The Rabbi shared with us about his hope – Israel’s hope – for the building of the third Jewish temple in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. He shared his thoughts and his heart on WHY there is a longing for the Temple to be re-built and he challenged us with the question, "What purpose did the ancient temples serve?" His answer was:
My heart skipped a beat. Isn’t this what Jews and believers in Messiah all over the world are again longing for? TO DRAW NEAR TO GOD? Of course we believe that Yeshua, His Son, was given to us for this reason – to reconcile us to God, to intercede for us, and of course to make atonement for us once and for all on the Cross – putting an end to the need for the blood of bulls and goats. In Isaiah 1:11 God speaks to the Israelites and makes it clear that He is greatly displeased with their offerings, because they are just slaughtering and sacrificing animals to do their religious obligation – not to DRAW NEAR TO HIM.
Isaiah 1:11: “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
And in Hebrews 9:14 it says,
How much more, then, will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
This phrase “acts that lead to death” in the original text was “useless rituals." Is it not true that both Jews and Christians fall into the trap of doing useless rituals to try to please God instead of having a moment-by-moment, day-to-day living relationship with the Living God? And doesn’t that lead us right back to the beginning, where Rabbi Richman told us the Holy Temple was for PRAISE – WORSHIP – PRAYER – AND OFFERINGS?
In Romans 12:1, Paul tells us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
How do we offer our bodies? We spend time with the Lord every day. We offer our time! We learn to praise Him in all things, even when we don't feel like it. We take a day when we feel miserable, alone or sick and we go visit somebody in the hospital or an elderly person with no family nearby. These are not useless rituals -- this is serving the Living God!
Rabbi Richman also showed us that the patriarchs each had their own way of looking forward to the Temple.
Hebrews 11:8: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Genesis 24:62-65): 62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. 63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate,[f] and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”
Genesis 35:14-15: 14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it.15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel (which means House of God).
I came home and meditated on these Scriptures. Abraham looks forward to the temple as a place where he receives his inheritance in the family of Elohim. Isaac looks forward to the temple as a field where he can meditate on God’s word, pray, and then witness the pure bride of Messiah being brought forth! Jacob looks forward to the temple as a house of God – the place where God dwells – and it is defined as “the place where God talked with him”! Wow....the place where God talked with him. Isn't that the place of intimacy? Isn't that the flow of conversation, the heart-to-heart encounter between us and our God?
As questions arose about the current Islamic Dome of the Rock situated right over the original place of the Holy of Holies in Solomon's Temple, Rabbi Richman replied, “Those who attempt to de-Judaize the Temple are pathetic attempts to UNSEAT GOD.” I thought that was a most profound way of putting it when you consider the Scripture that says, "He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. " (2 Thess. 2:4) The “He” of course is the Anti-Messiah who literally sits himself in the ‘SEAT OF GOD’ which is the Temple! From this we have to acknowledge that a third temple WILL be built, in order for this prophecy to come to pass (including the prophecies of Daniel). Interestingly, Rabbi Richman’s closing statement was this:“ Pray that GOD’S OWNERSHIP BE RESTORED.” That quickened in my heart. My spirit understood that statement at a very deep level as I thought about the fulfillment of all things when God's ownership of His land, His city where He put His Name, and His people whom he foreknew and loved are fully restored.
In my own heart, as a watchman on the wall, I am keeping watch for any sign of the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem because it signals the return of Messiah Yeshua and ushers in HIS GLORIOUS KINGDOM AND HIS MILLENNIAL REIGN - the place, the field and the House of God!
Kelly Ferrari Mills