If you haven’t read the article: ‘The Gates of the Kingdom’, I suggest you read it first to have better understanding of this article…
2 Chronicles 24:7 reads, “Over the years the followers of wicked Athaliah had broken into the Temple of God, and they had used all the dedicated things from the Temple of the LORD to worship the images of Baal.” This is just how some of our fellow Christians mindsets has been intoxicate by false or incorrect and religious teachings. These teachings has broken into the Temple of God, which is our bodies, and robbed us from the truth.
However, let us go step-by-step in the restoration of God’s Temple. I jump to the restoration or rebuilding of the Temple instead of the first construction of the Temple, because many Christians render their worship and sacrifices in a spiritual broken down Temple. This leads the Christian in not experiencing and not entering into the presence of God. Therefore, we must rebuild the Temple of God in our lives first by learning how to worship and praise God in spirit and in truth before we can truly experience coming into the presence of the Lord our God.
As on any construction site, you need to clear the site first. With this mention, I urge you to clear all religious doctrine out of your mind before reading this article further, for it might just cause confusion and upset you as a reader, as a cluttered mind may just block you from receiving the greater truth concerning God’s divine nature and where He wants to lead you to.
In the rebuilding of the Temple, there was repairs made in the foundation of the temple and in some places the damage portion of the foundation was removed and newly laid. Any building standing for sometime in ruins has weeds and even small trees growing out from broken foundations, gutters and drains. Gutters capture rain water and dust, washing it out in the drains. Now, when the gutters and drains is blocked with weeds growing in it, then the waste waters can’t freely be drained and this cause the possibility for the roof to leak. This happens to people too. When we have things cluttering our minds, our filtration systems to take in good and reject bad doesn’t work as well, until we clean our gutters and drains out. Leaks in the roof causes the inside damage and weaken even the foundations. Weaken foundations crack and break up, allowing bad seed to spring sprout and grow. These roots of weeds and trees growing in the foundations needs to be up-rooted before any repairs can start. Do you get the picture now – good! This is a good time to surrender to God, repent and just throw yourself on the floor before God and pour your heart out to Him.
Let’s move on now – It’s important to understand the foundational truth of worship in the Temple in order to worship God in spirit and in truth, as this ushers us into experiencing the presence of God like what Moses experienced on Mount Sinai.
Our first article, the Gates of Zion, had prepare you for the repair work of God’s Temple;
Repair work to the Temple can begin now…
In Ezra 2:70, it tells us the story of ‘…the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled in villages near Jerusalem…’ This should of taken place with you in our first article, ‘the Gates of Zion.’ Now that you are settled, it is time to move on higher. It is important to notice that in Ezra 3:1-2, after the people settled they came together in one purpose and some also joined their fellow priest. We are now called the priest of God (1 Peter 2:9). This also signify the gathering together of the saints (Hebrews 10:25), fellowship in the church. It is the priest who went about rebuilding the altar to offer sacrifices unto God.
In the rebuilding of the Temple, which we will be focusing on, the first thing which was done was to build the altar in front of the Temple entrance. The priest offered sacrifices on the altar before doing anything else. Like I mentioned, Jesus done the sacrifice for sin already when He gave Himself to be crucified. The sacrifice we need to offer on this altar is that of praise, acknowledging God for all He has done for us and in our lives. It is to praise God for His goodness and love and mercy – to exalt God above all. This is coming onto submission of the throne of God. God is the ‘I AM’ (Exodus 3:14) and we are ‘IN HIM’ (Colossians 1:27 & Galatians 2:20).
Many ministries has foundation classes, introducing new people to the doctrine of their teachings who enter in their midst. This is very good, as everything the church will ever preach will be based upon this foundation. Although, many churches don’t cover worship and praise in the foundation classes. Now, that’s not to say they are wrong, but as an individual, it is important to build a strong foundation for worship as well, as this will take you into the realm of the Spirit.
The Temple of God was build within the walls of Jerusalem on higher ground. It is also important to note that the Temple of God was build on the foundations of the city of Jerusalem, which placed it higher then any other place in the city. In the Heavenly Jerusalem, the city called Zion, the city of God; God’s throne is at the highest place. This shows us the importance of the Temple of God.
Ezra 3:10 tells us ‘…When the builders completed the foundation of the LORD’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the LORD, just as King David had prescribed.’ Ezra 3:11 gives us an account of what the people done after the Temple foundations was laid; ‘…With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the LORD: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the LORD because the foundation of the LORD’s Temple had been laid.’ The next verse tells us of the elders who wept when they saw the Temple foundations, for they have seen the first foundation. This shows that something was still not right, and a lot more work was needed to be done.
Restoring the Temple walls:
Reading into Ezra 4, we see that Israel had enemies who opposed the rebuilding of the Temple. In our lives, not only will devil come against us, but also fellow believers. Because of immaturity in the church, people become jealous and don’t want to see you rise above them, instead of being encouraged to lead on and grow. The devil will make good use of these people, because he knows how dangerous a Christian can be who enters into God’s presence.
The rebuilding of the Temple had stopped, because the Jews was afraid of their opposition; but we read in the opening of chapter 5 that two prophets spoke God’s Words unto the people to continue construction. We must never stop building our Temple, because God is for us, no one can successfully come against us (Romans 8:31 & Psalm 105:15). We have been equipped and reassured of this when we go through the Valley Gate (previous article).
Ezra 6:11 shows us what happens to people who come against the works of God, their own houses will be destroyed – so continue the works… Within this time of opposition, you must continue to rebuild the walls and fix the roof.
Dedication of Temple:
When you have completed the restoration work, it is time to dedicate the Temple, for now your joy is overflowing in seeing the hand of God working in your life. Your spirit will start springing forth with celebration, as we saw in the restoring of the Fountain Gate. This is also a place where you will be established and positioned to fulfill your call (Ezra 6:18).
This calls for times of celebrations as we read in the verses following. During the phase of dedication and celebration is also the time to place the ornaments, utensils and furniture of the Temple, together with the decor. The ornaments, utensils and decor is our worship to God. To worship God in His Temple in spirit and in truth is what makes His Temple beautiful and acceptable unto God – and you have now become God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Collecting offerings for the Temple:
By this stage in your spiritual walk, you come into the abundance life (Ezra 7:18 & John 10:10). God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings (Ephessians 1:3), but what this level allows you is to make manifest the blessings God already has given you. People, not only Christian, but also of diverse religions will start giving you things. What is important is that first; a tenth of all income collected goes to God. This is your tithes (Malachi 3:10). Then, out of the remaining, you will offer the best of your income for the running of God’s Temple – which today is the church.
Reading on in the verses that follows in Ezra 6, we gain the understanding what our giving produces. It opens the windows of Heaven (Malachi 3:10-13), and we tap into a source which will never run dry. Not only do we have excess to God’s treasury, but like we read in Ezra, God will also open the hearts of the wicked to bless us even more. This is what Jesus came to give us (John 10:10), life and life in abundance! Our faith by now has become strong; and we are catapulted to even a higher level – praising and worshiping God at His Throne.
Entering the Throne Room:
Hebrew 9:6-8, “When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.”
You now come to a place, after everything has been put in place in your spiritual Temple, that allows you to enter the Most Holy Place; and as a priest of God, you now can enter freely. Unlike in the Old Testament, were the priest could only enter once a year, we, in the new covenant can enter daily.
Entering the Holiest of Holies:
Exodus 30:10, “Once a year Aaron must purify the altar by smearing its horns with blood from the offering made to purify the people from their sin. This will be a regular, annual event from generation to generation, for this is the LORD’s most holy altar.”
Aaron was the high priest of the time and only he was allowed to enter the Most Holiest of Holies. If any other person was to enter this place, they would be struck dead, for they were not pure enough to enter into God’s presence. The process of coming through the Gates of Zion and the rebuilding of the Temple of God makes us pure at heart and allows us to stand in the presence of the Lord at His Throne, inside His Throne Room.
There is more to learn, higher and deeper places to go, but these are truths unspeakable and unteachable. When you come to this stage in your spiritual life, you will only need the Holy Spirit to take you Higher and Deeper, for no man can take you beyond this point.
The Bible tells us that every knee should bow by the Name of Jesus (Philippians 2:10). This speaks of everything outside the presence of God, when we use His Name, every knee should bow. This however depends on our faith and how much we trust in God. But once we reached the level of being in God’s presence, this verse takes on a new description. Studying the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we come to a profound understanding, that in the presence of God, every knee will bow. We see this when Jesus, after His death and burial descended into hell, lined up devil and all his cohorts and stripped them from their authority. Devil and all his cohorts had no option but to bow in Jesus’ presence, for at this time, Jesus already has entered into His full glory. So too, not only will we bow in the presence of God, but everything else hunting after us will also bow down – that gives us freedom to worship God with all our hearts.
In closing: One of the most important duties of the priest in the Old Testament was to prayer and intercede for the nation; and also worshiping God. This was a duty next to that of bringing sacrifices unto God in the Most Holy Place. In the New Testament (1 Peter 2:9) we are called the holy priesthood, and as a born again Christian, one of our most important duties is that of prayer.
In our next article, ‘God Seeks True Worshipers’, we will be tapping into how to worship and praise God in His Temple by looking into the Psalms of David and some other characters of the Bible who knew how to worship and praise God – including Jesus and the real ‘Lord’s prayer’…
God bless you!