DAY 220- BIG PICTURE IN A YEAR - THE LAND
Reading: 1 Kings 8:1-66
Following on from yesterday’s reading, Jerusalem is also the place where the Temple was built. Solomon’s Temple was built just 480 years after the Israelites left Egypt, in the fourth year of his reign. The reason that he was able to achieve this was that David, his father, whom the Lord had forbidden to built the Temple had prepared everything for Solomon and got all the resources together.
During Solomon’s time the Israelites inhabited the Promised Land and it was a golden era in many ways. But if it was all so great, why isn’t there a Temple in Jerusalem today? Well, Solomon’s Temple, that was known as the First Temple, was destroyed when the Babylonian Empire conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC. The Second Temple, originally a rather modest structure, was built by the Jewish group who returned from Babylon after the 70 years exile. During the reign of Herod the Great, this Second Temple was refurbished and overhauled. This is the Temple that was standing when Jesus came on the scene.
In John 2:19-22 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”. He was speaking of the temple of His body that was raised from the dead on the third day, not the physical building that existed in Jerusalem at that time. Jesus’ words came true some 40 years later, in AD70, when the Romans destroyed it in retaliation for ongoing Jewish revolts.
The destruction of the temple and the placement of a mosque in it’s spot are powerful reminders of this: God now meets with man in the ‘temple’, the person of Jesus. More than that, in 1 Corinthians 6: 19, we read that we too are temples because the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us.
Dear Father, it is an encouraging thought that we do not need to draw near to You through priests and sacrifices at a physical temple. Help us to be pleasing temples and pleasant living sacrifices today. Amen