Who did God want to build the temple?

I’d always heard, read, and understood that David wanted to build a permanent dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant.  Based on what I read this morning in 2 Samuel 7, I think this is right.  God gently  rebukes David, essentially reminding him who is in charge; lovingly, he says “I’m the one who does things for you, and will set you up a permanent house.”

He goes on to say that it falls to one who will “come from David’s body” to set up a permanent house for God on Earth.  And I’d always heard and understood this to be a reference to Solomon, who would build the first temple.

As I ponder it, I begin to think that this — at best– half right.

I think God was talking about Jesus.  Jesus was a decendent of David.  And his body was a permanent house for God.  So was his church.

On the other hand, Solomon’s temple didn’t last forever.  Solomon was just as human as David, and so it stands to reason that he’d be just as inapropriate a builder.  As I continue to read through this portion of scripture, it’ll be interesting to watch how and when Solomon builds the temple, and whether God seems to be fully behind Solomon’s plans or merely not opposed to them.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

One thought on “Who did God want to build the temple?”

  1. Solomon’s Temple was the only one that was really inhabited by the Divine Presence, as can be seen from the smoke which was inside so thick that the priests had to come out for air (I am recalling all this from memory, so forgive me if some of the details are not quite right).

    Solomon’s dedicatory prayers were quite inspired and appropriate. To have a Temple built to give the Divine Presence an earthly location was necessary, but still it was only a type of the true Temple which is, as you observed, the Body of Christ.

    The First Temple was nonetheless a necessary stage in the journey of the people of God, and it had to be destroyed to demonstrate that their own righteousness and devotion to God was not adequate to meet the demands of sin and death.

    The Second Temple did not have either the Divine Presence or the Ark of the Covenant but was nonetheless a further stage in the revelation of God’s utter Holiness versus man’s inability to overcome sin on our own, as well as to demonstrate that blood sacrifices using animals was also ineffective.

    Christ’s sacrificial and life-giving death on the Cross revealed and performed the necessary and only sacrifice for sin, and not just for one man or one people (Israel) but for all mankind.

    The Second Temple, raised up only to be destroyed once again to demonstrate the helplessness of man’s religious systems, put an end to the Temple until modern times.

    The Third Temple is what the pious and orthodox Jews are hoping to rebuild, and they have already resurrected almost every part of it and its systems, except for the edifice itself and the Holy Ark, which remains in the hands of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.

    They think that when they have acheived an acceptable level of personal and national holiness, that God will allow them to rebuild the Temple. This is, of course, the veil that covers their eyes.

    Prophecy suggests that a Third Temple will be rebuilt so that the antichrist can be enthroned there, only to be utterly destroyed by the second and glorious coming of the true Messiah and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    There’s a lot here to ponder, isn’t there?


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