Returning To the House of God

The People Return

Book of Ezra Chapters 7-10

We have already seen Ezra but could trace his hereditary all the way back to Aaron the brother of Moses.

He sought the king’s consent to return to Israel.

He was a scribe, a doctor of the Law of God.

Ezra had made sure that copies of the Word of God would be true copies and preserved for all generations.

Ezra had assembled the Old Testament canon up through his day.

But we can be sure it was God who had chosen Ezra for this great mission.

It was time for all those who were willing to go home to Israel and Jerusalem, to leave for the promised land.

Notice God only accepts those who freely choose to be in His family. God will never force anyone to accept Him!

It just makes good sense to be in the family of Jehovah God, Jesus will guide you into His family.

Notice also, it was not the King of Persia who would get the credit for releasing the Jews to go home, it was God who made tender the heart of this King, so these things could take place!

God has a way of getting His will done, regardless of the times and regardless of who sits in power!

God always works through some man to get His will done and this time it was Ezra.

Just as God had chosen Moses and just as God had chosen Joshua, God now chose Ezra.

*****Ezr 7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.

The first expedition of Jews to Jerusalem and home was led by Zerubbabel and was now complete, with a dedication to rebuild the Temple.

Ezra would lead the second expedition back home and he desired that Jerusalem could be rebuilt.

Later Nehemiah would lead a third group home with the intent to rebuild the broken-down walls of Jerusalem.

We can be sure each group would meet opposition, much like the opposition that confronts the tiny nation of Israel today.

No one but God Himself wants to see this tiny nation prosper, and they would be well ahead if they would only learn to trust God and be obedient to Him!

Ezra had to get permission to see the King of Persia and make his request.

Aren’t you glad that another gift Jesus Christ gave us, was the gift of answered prayer?

Those who love the Lord can reach into the throne room of our Father in Heaven without asking for His permission. He is ready to hear from His children at all times!

Ezra was a scribe and besides teaching the Word of God, it was Ezra’s job to reproduce accurate copies of the Scriptures.

God did not allow for error from His Scribes!

Many believe Ezra wrote not only the Book of Ezra, but he probably also wrote the two Books of Chronicles and the two Books of Kings.

What did Ezra believe about the Scriptures?

Ezra believed that the Scriptures were not just some human code written by some men.
Ezra did not believe that the Scriptures were just a national treasure of Israel.
Ezra believed the Scriptures were a Divine Gift of God, the Law of the Lord!

Without many questions, King Artaxerxes granted every favor that Ezra asked of him, so we can be sure that God had made the heart of this king to be tender toward the Jews.

How did God give His Words to be written?

Many ways for sure, but one way was giving His words to those who would write it down.

Psa 45:1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: “my tongue is the pen of a ready writer”.

*****Ezr 7:7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

This Artaxerxes may have been the husband of Esther, but I cannot say that is true.

Since the Temple was nearly complete then not only the children of Israel, but some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the porters and the Nethinims were also a part of these that returned to Jerusalem.

We are familiar with all but the Nethinims.

It is probable that these were at one time captured enemies of Israel, who were allowed to stay in Israel if they worked at the Temple and they volunteered for this duty from then on.

These are probably the same ones who had the foreign names (Ezra 2:43-58).

In reality these people had to obey the laws of Israel and were likely the ones who were water carriers for the Temple and workers of menial task at the Temple.

Today we can associate these people with those of the Church who work behind the scenes of the Church, who without them the Church would not function as it should.

We should understand that the trip from Babylon to Jerusalem was near 900 miles and by God’s favor this trip took only 4 months.

This roadway was infested with thieves and robbers and this road passed through many of the enemies of the Jews!

This group traveling with Ezra numbered at least 50,000 men, women, and children.

The year of this group was 458 BC.

*****Ezr 7:8 And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
Ezr 7:9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

We can be sure that Ezra was totally committed to the Lord God of Israel! Ezra was also a precious servant to his people!

If we remember Moses had stood before a King (Pharaoh) and said let my people go and that king had only hardened his heart and he refused and it cost him his life and his oldest son.

Ezra had been bold enough to stand before this Persian king and he just said how can I help you to do this thing!

Ezr 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
Ezr 8:32 And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.
Ezr 8:33 Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites;
Ezr 8:34 By number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time.

This group of Jews had traveled this long journey with hardly an incident to be reported, which means the hand of protection of the Lord was with them.

*****Ezr 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Ezra had a great testimony. Ezra had prepared his heart to not only learn the Word of God, but to learn the will of God.

If we do not observe the will of God as written in the Scriptures, we will never know the special will of God for our lives.
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What is the will of God for every Christian?

1) 2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2) Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

3) Rom_12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

4) These things are necessary so that the ultimate will of God will be done in all our lives!

Gal 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

It is the will of God that we be delivered from this present evil world!

None of these things can take place, until we have prepared our heart to seek the law of God!

This thing will never change!

If God said we live in an evil world, then how can we deny what God says?

None of us can be of service to God, until we have prepared our hearts to do so!

Ezra was a captive in a foreign nation, and he needed the permission of that government, not so much for him but to show to anyone who questioned the rebuilding of Jerusalem and Temple, the House of God.

*****Ezr 7:11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.
Ezr 7:12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.
Ezr 7:13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

The Holy Spirit decided that this letter was to be preserved so that all the world would know the decree of Artaxerxes, which was similar to those letters from King Cyrus and King Darius, his predecessors.

The first thing we notice is, that every Israelite from every tribe was given the permission to go back to Israel.

We should also notice that Ezra was made to be a representative of the King.

We should even notice that Ezra had certain qualifications. Priest, Scribe, and Scribe of the written Word of God, which would be the cannon of the Bible in that day.

Ezra had the right to encourage all Israelites to go home, but he could not try to force them to leave.

Remember they also had the words of Daniel and of Ezekiel.

Artaxerxes was known as King of kings, because he had so many kings, he had conquered, but he expected them to run the government of those nations according to the laws of Persia and not their own laws.

The difference with Israel was that he gave these Jews the permission to rule according to the Word of God and His laws.

By saying that Jehovah was the God of heaven, He was then God of gods. This king was not a true believer!

This king just chose to believe that Jehovah was the greatest of all gods, but there are no gods, but Jehovah.

It is here that we see that this king was well aware of the ten tribes of Israel that had already been captured by other kings in lands that he now ruled.

It seems that some of those people did go back with Ezra and Israel was to be reunited with all 12 tribes.

We will see this fact when Ezra gets back to Jerusalem and “twelve bullocks for all of Israel” were sacrificed.

Ezr_8:35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.

Ezra was sent of the King to rebuild Jerusalem and to complete the Temple which had already been started by Zerubbabel.

*****Ezr 7:14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;

Ezra was sent of the king to make sure that all Israelies lived according to the laws of God.

It seems that Ezra had a copy of the Scriptures in his hand this very day.

These Jews did not need this king’s permission nor his commands, because they had already been charge of God to obey all His Word, just as we have here today.

Now do not get me wrong, the commandments and laws given to the Jews and all Israelites, were never given to the Church but we live understanding the same principle of obeying the Word of God.

The Scriptures must always be rightly divided!

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Even though this is true, we must understand that we are to learn from all the Word of God!

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

God does not ever change, so the Ten Commandments applies to all people, except the Church is to gather on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and not the Sabbath (Saturday). The Lord Jesus Christ arose on a Sunday, therefore it is the Lord’s Day!

The other 603 laws of God to the Jews do not apply to the Church but many, if not all those laws are to be considered, for reproof, which means, (God points out our errors and we are to correct our ways), for correction which means to the Church to be (Christ like, or Christian), for instruction in righteousness, which means (God has given us the means of living according to “Divine Law”).

We next see that it was Ezra who would be held responsible for the free will offering from the king himself.

*****Ezr 7:15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
Ezr 7:16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

Now this was not money to rebuild the Temple, King Cyrus had already donated the funds to rebuild the Temple and to pay for the material and the laborers.

Ezr_3:7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

This king offered Ezra a military escort, but Ezra had bragged on God so much, that he could not show that God did not have the power to protect not only this silver and gold but also the people who were going home.

To be honest, we should be ashamed for not bragging on God enough!

Ezra was also authorized to ask for free will offerings from all those in Babylon who did not want to leave Babylon at this time.

It can be said that Ezra had found “Grace” in the eyes of the Lord!

So what was this money to be used for?

*****Ezr 7:17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 7:18 And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.

Most of these Laws can be found in Numbers Chapter 15.

Num 15:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 15:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you,
Num 15:3 And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:

They were returning to the Promised Land once again.

We should also note that any of this money that was left over, Ezra was to use at his own discretion.

History tells us Ezra used all that remained on the Temple. He kept none for himself, a true steward of God’s money.

Once things have been given to the Lord, such as money, then it should be used to promote the Gospel and never for personal use!

*****Ezr 7:19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.
Ezr 7:20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the
king’s treasure house.

We know that all the things of the Temple that Nebuchadnezzar had robbed from Solomon’s Temple had been returned to Zerubbabel so these things from the state treasury were not those things.

There is a list of these things:

Ezr 8:25 And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered:
Ezr 8:26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents;
Ezr 8:27 Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.
Ezr 8:28 And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.

Just so we understand, one commentary estimated that one talent of silver would be valued at about 250,000 dollars in today’s market. A talent of gold would be more than 1 million dollars.

These were the free will offerings offered from the King to the God of Jerusalem.

We all know that you cannot buy God’s love so we can only say this Persian King was well aware of the need for the Jewish people to return to be able to worship the God of Heaven in His own House.

In reality this pagan King had no idea that he was doing all these things because it was the will of God that caused these things to happen.

In the day of the third Temple, it will cost this world dearly as God will cause the world to finance the new Temple.

Ezra was an emissary of the King, so he could go to the Kings treasury and get whatever else was needed to build the Temple and restore the worship of these Jews to Jehovah. We can be sure that Ezra took no more than was needed.

The truth is, it will cost this dearly to be on the wrong side of God!

*****Ezr 7:21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
Ezr 7:22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
Ezr 7:23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
Ezr 7:24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.

This King sent a decree to all his treasurers that whatever Ezra needed to complete this work would be freely given to him.

Every ruler can be used of God to do His will!

Pro 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

It should be obvious that this king did not love Jehovah as he should, but he did have absolute fear the power of God, something most people of today ignore, or just do not believe.

Many of the church think of God only as an old grandfather, looking after His grandchildren but we serve an almighty God who we should have at least some of this same fear.

Php_2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

As we see the Prophets of God were shown some respect in almost every nation, and I believe many nations know all the prophecies of God today.

Some will just make note of them, others will try change those prophecies to their own advantage, but God will have His plan move along as only He can!

Notice that at this time there would be no taxes upon Jerusalem nor any part of Israel.

We can just imagine how these things stirred up the enemies of Israel.

The main thing we notice is, that Ezra was given the right to teach all these Jews the Law of God and not the false gods of this pagan king.

This was something was not normally allowed to conquered nations!

Another thing that Ezra was allowed to do, he was allowed to execute judgment according to the Word of God, with the power of this king behind this order.

Justice would be carried out by Ezra or the Persian government at the request of Ezra.

All the laws of God would be observed, and any local laws would be observed, all according to the Word of God.

*****Ezr 7:25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.
Ezr 7:26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

Notice it was not Zerubbabel the Governor of the land of Judah, but it Ezra who would appointed the Judges and Magistrates.

The Jews would not have to face the magistrates of pagan laws, but only the Laws of God and we know that the Jews not only had the “Ten Commandments” but also a total of 613 commandments given to the Jews in everything they did, in every portion of their lives.

Psa 119:98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
Psa 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
Psa 119:100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
Psa 119:101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Psa 119:102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
Psa 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psa 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

We should remember all those who came home were those who came of their own free will, they were ready to serve the Lord.

Ezra was blessed.

*****Ezr 7:27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:
Ezr 7:28 And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.

Ezra did not bless this pagan king, but he praised the Lord for putting such thoughts in the head of this king.

You see this is an example of the way we should feel!

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God does not ever put bad thoughts in the heads of rulers, but God can put good thoughts into the mind of any evil man!

Rev 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

So how do all these things relate to the Church?

We must understand, that being a Christian is also being a Temple of God, which is to grow in the “Grace” and “Mercy” of God!

It is our job to lead people to the “Promised Land”. (Heaven) (Only God can forgive their sins)

It is our job to come out from the world and live according to the Word of God, and to introduce all we can to the Messiah, who is the only way to get to Heaven.

That Messiah is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

We must acknowledge that we are the ones sent by the Lord and God does still call certain men and women for special work!

Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

From the time the second Temple was built, Israel did all they could to remain free from foreign domination and they did until the time of the Romans, just as the Prophet Daniel had said.

Today, those who love the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior are the Temple of God, and God expects to live a holy life in obedience to the Word of God, “rightly divided”, and know it is Jehovah God who sits of the throne and directs this world as He see fit!

The most important thing God does is make sure everyone gets an opportunity to know the truth and the “Gospel” that saves is that “Truth”!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

Solomon The Dedication Of The Temple

The Dedication Of The Temple

1 Kings 8:1-9:28; 2 Chronicles 5:1-7:22

Focus On: 1 Kings 8:3-6, 10, 11, 18-20, 22, 23, 33, 34, 46-51, 63, 66

In our last lesson we saw part of the construction of the Temple and it’s furnishings.

It took seven years from start to finish in the construction of the Temple, not for the lack of skills but only because of the lack of modern machinery.

And as brother Buddy can attest to, it would have taken a great skill to assemble material that was custom made and processed in so many different places.

This glorious Temple built under the direction of King Solomon had as one of it’s purposes to be a witness to the world in that day.

Since God will not live in temples made by hands but only in temples that He constructs Himself, we that are saved have this same purpose, to be a witness of the glory of God to this world we live in!

So now it was time to “dedicate” this marvelous Temple.

To “dedicate” this Temple meant “to set it apart for God’s use”!

It was not just the building itself that was dedicated for God’s use. It was the building, all the furniture, all the vessels, all the altars, and all the tools that were a part of this glorious Temple.

Another word for this “dedication” would be “sanctification”.

The Temple of Solomon could only be dedicated one time.

The Temple of Solomon could never be perfect.

We know that God will not live in man made structures but He will live in a “Born Again” child of God and it is the work of the Holy Spirit to take that dedicated child of God on to perfection!

1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

These temples that are made by the hands of God are built upon our own “Faith”!

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

So let’s see the dedication process for the Temple of Solomon and relate what we see to each Christian.

*****1Ki 8:3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
1Ki 8:4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.

We must realize that this entire Temple complex and all the things associated with it were designed to house the Ark of the Covenant.

It was the Ark that was the symbol of God’s presence and without the presence of God, this Temple would be just a building and of no use for the work of God!

King David had made the mistake of moving the Ark in his own way the first time and not obeying the Word of God and it had caused the death of a good man, Solomon was not about to make that same mistake.

God had said the Ark could only be moved one way.

Num 3:30 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.
Num 3:31 And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof.
Num 3:32 And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary.

The movement of the Ark had to coincide with the proper time.

This was not only the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles but it also fell a Jubilee year and the fulfillment of the words of Moses!

Deu 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Deu 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

It was in Jerusalem where God chose to have the Temple that was built by Solomon.

It was also the time of the Jubilee that is considered the acceptable year of the Lord:

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Isa 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

We know that Jesus Christ also used this same passage when He began His ministry.

So the purpose of the Temple was:

1) To provide a fixed place for all the Nation of Israel to worship.

2) To provide a central place where all the tribes of Israel could assemble at the time of the three feast as directed by God to preserve the unity of Israel.

This was the place to meet Jehovah.

This was the place to offer sacrifices, the blood atonement, the propitiation.

This was the place to meet the Priests, the intermediary between Jehovah and the people.

This was the place to meet Jehovah at the right time which was, daily, weekly, monthly, and especially yearly at the annual feast.

This was the place to learn how to approach God in the proper way.

3) This was the place that was to be a type of the buildings that God would build.

1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

And as many as believed Word Of God showed up.

*****1Ki 8:5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
1Ki 8:6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
1Ki 8:7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.

We need to remember that this entire Temple complex was designed to house the Ark of the Covenant and only then to become a house of prayer!

Isa 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Isa 56:8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

The Temple was never to be just for the people of Israel but for all people. The Temple was never to be just some royal chapel nor become some tourist attraction.

It Jesus who showed God’s wrath at what was taking place in the Temple in Jerusalem as He trained the disciples.

Mar 11:15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
Mar 11:16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
Mar 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

To the Church, the Ark emphasizes the “Person” of Jesus Christ just as the “Mercy Seat” portrayed by the Cross, emphasizes the “Purpose” of Jesus Christ!

The Cherubim on the Mercy Seat faced each other as a sign they observed the mysteries of God’s Grace.

1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

The Cherubim in the Holy of Holies faced the Holy Place where the congregation were, as a sign that they also observed the ministry of God’s people.

1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

Once put in the Most Holy Place, the staves were withdrawn enough to guide the High Priests but not far enough to be seen by the congregation.

Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

*****1Ki 8:8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
1Ki 8:9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
1Ki 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,

Originally the Ark had contained not only the stone tablets but also the “golden pot that held manna” and also “Aaron’s rod” that had budded but these had been removed leaving only the two stones.

Heb 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

The Ark has since disappeared and may never be found again!

Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and “there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament”: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

This Ark was originally called the Ark of the Testament:

Exo 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon “the ark of the testimony”, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

It was then that God showed up!

This is the same Cloud of Glory that had filled the Tabernacle when it had been completed.

This cloud was the symbol of the divine presence of the Lord and a symbol of God’s acceptance of the Temple as a place of worship.

Exo 40:34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Exo 40:35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

Just as Moses had been awestruck by this obvious sign of the presence of God, so it was with all of Israel this day of the Temple dedication.

*****1Ki 8:11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

The glory of the Lord is known as the “shekinah”.

Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Today in our churches it is that presence of the Holy Spirit!

Jo 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

And in another parallel it is God’s presence in each believer.

Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Solomon spent a great price in building the first Temple but God paid an even greater price for the living temples He builds with the blood of His Son Jesus!

And so the Temple became a place where the divine glory of God is revealed to His people and just as Solomon establish his royal residence in sight of this Temple, the Lord Jesus will one day establish His residence in the New Jerusalem and become our Temple.

Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

It was not Solomon that had caused this to happen as much as it was his father King David.

*****1Ki 8:18 And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
1Ki 8:19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.
1Ki 8:20 And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.

On this day of dedication Solomon acted as King and High Priest in other words a royal priest, a priest that sat on a throne!

Solomon had rule over the civil power.

Solomon had rule over the priestly power.

Solomon had rule over the religious power all the days of his life.

Solomon was given a tremendous responsibility and Solomon failed!

BUT, on this day of dedication Solomon made the nation of Israel aware that God will always keep His promises!

God in His “Goodness” and His “Grace” had made a covenant with David concerning his family and this House of God.

What God speaks with His mouth, God accomplishes with His hands.

1Ki 8:15 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,

What God promised to David, God fulfilled through Solomon.

But we must not believe that God did these things to glorify Solomon nor his father David.

God did these thing in honor of His own name Jehovah!

We can see the title LORD mentioned 14 times in this prayer of Solomon.

Solomon was very careful to give God the glory for what he had accomplished.

When we come together to worship we must remember why we came to the House of God for it must be to worship God, by the Holy Spirit and through His Son Jesus.

We must give God the glory for what He has done in our lives and even if God only saves us He has done much more than what we deserved!

We must also certainly never forget that when God makes promises, God uses people to fulfill those promises during this time of God’s “Grace”!

Solomon rejoiced in his being the son of promise to his father David but the true Son of Promise is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
Rom 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
Rom 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

Solomon began his prayer of dedication while standing but Solomon just as soon went to his knees.

*****1Ki 8:22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:

Our prayers are not to be a request only thing!

It is by Prayer that we have fellowship with the Lord.

It is by prayer that we have communion with God.

And it is by prayer that we are identified with God.

True prayer is a soul that knows who his true Father is and pours out his heart in loving devotion!

*****1Ki 8:23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

There may be many religions in our world but there is only One Jehovah God.

Sure He is the God of Israel but He is also the God of joy of all those that believe but also the God of wrath to all those that do not believe!

There are many in our world that think they can loose their salvation but that could only happen if we did not have an Intercessor who is dedicated to keeping us saved!

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

The Lord Jesus is not just preparing us a place in our new home but He is also saving us to the uttermost so we can get there!

Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Even when we make a sinful mistake, and we all do, it is our Intercessor who restores us to fellowship when that fellowship is broken.

1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

No, there is no other god like unto the LORD!

Mic 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
Mic 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

All these things are just as true for the nation of Israel!

*****1Ki 8:33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
1Ki 8:34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

If we need a time piece to know where we are in Biblical fulfillment, then we need only to look toward Israel!

Israel has been restored as a nation and as small and as vulnerable as they are, Israel stands firmly and boldly before the world.

This is a sign to the “Born Again” Christian that we are also to stand boldly before the world!

Solomon recognized that Jehovah God rules all His creation and has complete provincial control of all nature and all of Heaven.

Solomon realized that prayer changes things!

If prayer could not change the outcome of things God would not teach us to pray!

The hope of Israel is the ultimate restoration of all things under the Messiah!

Mic 5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.

The hope of the Church is the Rapture!

1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

The Rapture has not taken place and God is not through with Israel but these things get closer with every passing day.

Most all remaining prophesy concerns Israel as the Church could be removed at any moment!

*****1Ki 8:45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
1Ki 8:46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
1Ki 8:47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
1Ki 8:48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:

What is the truth of repentance?

To repent is to “bethink”, which is to recall to the mind.

Repentance is a complete change of mind followed with a complete change of direction!

Repentance is not just saying I’m sorry!

And how are we to love the Lord?

Moses taught the children of Israel with these words:

Deu 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Jesus taught the disciples:

Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

God said the way to get restored after wickedness Israel would have to return to the Lord with all their heart and all their soul, even if they were in the land of their enemies!

This is a picture of the “Grace of God” and God tells the Church to do the very same thing!

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament!

And all these things come about when we pray.

*****1Ki 8:49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
1Ki 8:50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
1Ki 8:51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:

How do we know that God will hear our prayers?

1st) Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

If we have not repented then we can be sure God will not hear our prayer!

2nd) If we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive our sins.

If we have confessed our sins we can be sure that God is listening to our prayers.

The truth is that God will answer every prayer that reaches into Heaven!

And, God will always provide the things that meets His will for our lives!

What is the will of God?

Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Being able to get our prayers answered is the will of God!

Being filled with knowledge and understanding of God, we will have the wisdom of God’s will for our lives.

Walking worthy of the Lord Jesus is being in the will of God!

We can know that our prayers will be answered if we belong to God!

Not one Word out of the mouth of God will ever fail!

*****1Ki 8:54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
1Ki 8:55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
1Ki 8:56 Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

God had promised David that the reign of King Solomon would be a time of peace for the nation of Israel!

Joshua had seen the same thing as Solomon was seeing.

Jos 23:14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

And if all the good things will always come true, then all the bad things will certainly be true when we ignore the Word of God!

Jos 23:15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

But what is the pure truth of God?

When we become part of the family of God, He will never leave us or forsake us!

1Sa 12:22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.

God will simply not ever do anything that goes against His own nature!

Why?

*****1Ki 8:57 The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
1Ki 8:58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
1Ki 8:59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
1Ki 8:60 That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.

If we will just walk in the ways of God’s Word.

If we will just keep the two “royal commandments” of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we will just study the Word of God we will be able to know how God deals with sin.

And all the world will know that the LORD, He is God!

2Jn 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

1Jn 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

1Jn 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

There is no other way to be in the family of God except by Jesus Christ!

If we walk in His ways, then all the world will know that the LORD, He is God!

Not Allah, not Confucius, not Buddha, not any other false thing!

*****1Ki 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
1Ki 8:62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD.
1Ki 8:63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.

The pure truth of the Lord is that He provides the needs that we require daily.

With the nation of Israel observing his actions, Solomon had prayed directly to the Lord.

Solomon was dedicating the new Temple to the Lord.

Now Solomon was asking the entire nation of Israel to rededicate themselves to the Lord.

It was a time of national revival and we need this in America today!

We need to let our hearts be as perfect as humanly possible with the Lord.

We need to walk in the statutes of the Lord, the “royal law” of Jesus Christ.

We need to keep all the commandments of God and see that no man-made laws are written that go against the statutes of God.

And We Must Then Sacrifice Ourselves To The Lord!

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We can see that a godly national leader can have a tremendous impact on the any nation.

We must dedicate ourselves to the Lord!

We must dedicate our places of worship to the Lord!

We must dedicate our Nation to the Lord!

*****1Ki 8:66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

A nation that knows Jehovah God will truly be blessed and they will know it!

A nation that knows the Lord will also be a blessing to it’s leaders.

1Pe 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
1Pe 2:14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
1Pe 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
1Pe 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
1Pe 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Today we find America is even more divided than it was at the time of the Civil War!

AND, it is not because of States Rights as it was in those days though that is a major part of it.

It is not because of slavery because slavery does not exist in that form today in America even though it is still in much of the world.

America is divided because we do not follow the statutes and the commandments of God!

America is divided because our national leaders do not accept the Word of God as the basic tool for humanity!

America is divided because God’s people have allowed Satan’s worldly system to dominate over the truth of God!

Solomon dismissed Israel to go back home hoping they would return to the ways of God.

Our leader has dismissed America in all things, because he has exalted himself above not only the office that he holds but he has exalted himself above God!

We “may” get one more opportunity to use our vote to change things but if we fail once again we may never have that same opportunity again!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!