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Temples of God

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It is interesting to note that even though it is generally believed that Solomon's Temple (or House of
God), was the first one, in reality there are many Biblical references that make us think that the
followers of God in all eras had something similar to a house of God. Of course, the "tent of the
tabernacle" was a prototype but the first real reference of a house of God is found in Genesis 12:8

According to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, without temple ordinances there
can be no supreme salvation. But before we can understand what that means, it should be noted
that the ordinances performed in a temple before of the coming of Jesus can't be the same as those
we perform today. The reason for this is that in the days before Jesus the ordinances done in the
temple were meant to focus on the coming of the Messiah. After the death of Jesus, it would be
meaningless to continue looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, seeing how he had already
come. Now the ordinances done in the temple are meant to reflect the atonement which Christ has
already done for us. But, either way, the temple, with its attending ordinances, were always meant
to bring us closer to God.

In Genesis 12:8 we find the word "Bethel." Broken down in Hebrew, "beth" means "the house of"
and "El" is the name of God. Thus, "Bethel" literally means "House of God". From the time of
Moses, a Jewish temple was considered to be the house of God.

Judges 20:26-27 isĀ  a sure proof of this.

(see Genesis 28:19 Genesis 31:13
1 King 12:32 Genesis 35:1-8 Joshua 7:2 1 King 13 Joshua 8:9-12 Joshua 12:9 Judges 1:22 2 King
2:2 2 King 17:28 Nehemiah 11:31 and Jeremiad 48:13). Because of that, the temple was the
center of worship for the Jews. (see 1 Samuel 10:3 1 King 12:29-33 2 King 2:2, 1 Samuel 1:9, 1
Samuel 1:24 1 Samuel 3:3 1 Samuel 1:9 2 Samuel 22:7 1 King 6:3) Furthermore, in Malachi 3:1-2
it tells us that there will be a temple in the last days.

Jesus recognized the Temple as a special place. Each year he came with his family to offer up
sacrifices at the temple. When he was 12 years old (at the age of a deacon) he remained in the temple when his parents
returned home for Galilee. It was on the pinnacle of the Temple that He was tempted by the Devil
before starting His ministry. On two different occasions he cleansed the Temple of the money
changes, declaring it to be the house of his father.

Even after the death of Jesus, His apostles continued attending the Temple (see Acts 2:46 acts 3:1
Acts 5:20) and even taught the gospel in the Temple (Acts 21:26-30). As a Christian, Paul often
went to the Temple (Acts 22:17, 24:6,12,14-21). Revelation 21:22 and chapters 14 and 15 speaks
about a temple in Heaven and a temple to be built in the last days.

Today, almost all Christian churches believe that we no longer need temple, however, there is
nowhere in the scriptures which states that the need for temples is obsolete. Yet there are several
references in the Bible which declare that in the last days there would be at least one temple. The
counter argument to this is that in the New Testament there is no clear reference to the temple
ordinances for Christians to perform. However, this isn't exactly true. The references are there, but
only those who have eyes to see can find them.

In ancient times, the only people who could perform ordinances in the temple were the priests. The
Bible explicitly states Aaron and his sons were ordained as priests. As such, the priesthood was
named after Aaron. Thus, those who hold this priesthood hold the "Aaronic" priesthood. Also, all
males above the age of twelve who belonged to the tribe of Levi were also ordained as priests. The
priesthood they held was known as the "Levitical" priesthood, which served under the direction and
was therefore inferior to the Aaronic priesthood. Yet, in speaking to the Hebrews, Paul explained
that the Aaronic priesthood was inferior to the Melchesidec priesthood, which is the priesthood
Jesus held (Hebrews 5:5,6, 6:11). Therefore, with the coming of the higher priesthood, that also
means that the ordinances of the temple had to be changed.

Let's take a look at what was contained in the first tabernacle and continued in Solomon's Temple.
The first thing that we meet when we enter is the altar of burnt sacrifices. In the very beginning,
Able offered up sacrifices unto the Lord (Genesis 4:4). This represented the sacrifice which Jesus
would offer for our sins.

After this was the basin of water used for the purification (Exodus 30:19-20). According to the
Bible, baptism is for the purpose of washing away our sins (Acts 2:38). This also symbolizes that
when the natural man is sacrificed, and puts his sins to death, he becomes purified and is ready to
be born again (John 3:5).

Inside the temple there was the table of the shewbread, on which every Sabbath day they changed
the bread and the wine. These had the same symbolic meaning as we do today, even though the
Jews probably had no idea what it meant. The candle holder with its seven arms and the olive oil
represented God's perfect light. The altar of incense before the veil was a symbol of the prayers of
the saints which ascended up toward heaven. This represents us relying on the Lord in all we do.

The candle holder, the table of the shewbread and the altar of incense were kept inside the tent in
an area knows as the holy place. Beyond the veil was a room known as the holy of holies. This is
where the ark of the covenant was kept and where the high priest entered in once each year, Here
is where the Jews believed God's presence was shown. The ark of the covenant symbolized the
covenants which God made with Israel and to which Israel pledged to keep. On top of the ark were
two cheubims, or angels, which stood as witnesses of this covenant.

It should keep in mind that without the atonement everything that is done in the temple, both
ancient and modern, would be useless. Yet without temples, man could not enter into the kingdom
of God. The order of the ordinances performed in both ancient and modern temples represent the
path man needs to follow, going from one step to another, until he is cleansed and purified and
ready to pass through the veil into the presence of God. In Acts 3:19 we read, "Repent ye
therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall
come from the presence of the Lord." That is what temples are all about.

btw, did you know that Isaiah 2:2-5: the temple in the "tops of the mountains" in the last days. The temple in Utah fulfils this prophecy. (Utah is a Ute Indian word, meaning the "tops of the mountains". Utah was not the name the Mormon church chose for the state, but was given by the US government). As Isaiah foretold, millions from all nations visit it each year, and the prophet speaks from within or near to it. This must be a particularly important prophecy, since the prophet Micah repeated it so we have 2 witnesses.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:43  

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