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At Pentecost the disciples of Jesus were united in Peter's interpretation because he made his declaration "standing up with the eleven" (Acts 2:14). Their present spiritual application of the kingdom prophecies (which the Jews applied only in a strictly literal sense in relation to the future) made the Old Testament a new and a living book for them and their hearers. No longer was it a book containing dry records of the past, and future blessings which were unrelated to the present, but a Book containing a past and a future which lived in the present - a living book vibrant with messages from a living Christ. Not only were proofs afforded by the Old Testament itself, but the living Christ by his ever-present Spirit gave an experience in harmony with the interpretation.

The New Testament teaching is clear that, since the rejection of the Jewish nation, the church is now the "temple" in which Christ by His Spirit reigns. "The man of sin" - the counterfeit king-who was to sit "in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thess. 2:3, 4) is the Papacy within the spiritual temple - the professedly Christian church. Futurists - whether Papal or supposedly-Protestant - apply this prophecy in connection with a literal temple yet to be built in literal Jerusalem by an enemy of the literal Jews. Futurism fails to see the moral purpose of the prophecies concerning "the temple of God" referred to in 2 Thess. 2:3, 4, and in other temple prophecies such as described in Ezek. 40-48 and in Rev. 11:1. By applying these prophecies literally in relation to the future and Palestine, they fail to understand the present moral purpose for which they were given.

Paul not only spoke of the church as being God's "temple," but also of each individual. (Ephes. 2:21, 22; 1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19, etc. The tabernacle in the wilderness was made after the heavenly "pattern" (Ex. 25:9, 40). After Moses had completed every detail of the structure and all the furnishings "as the Lord had commanded" him (Ex. 40:16, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29,31), "the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (v.35). The same thing occurred at the dedication of Solomon's temple. (1 Kings 8:10, 12; 2 Chron. 5:13, 14; 7:2.) The spiritual lesson is obvious: when we do all that the Lord commands us to do we, too, shall be filled with the glory of God. The New Testament command: "Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephes. 5:18) is tantamount to urging us to obey God in everything, for only in this way will the Spirit of God flood the soul with His glory. ". . . the Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32).

The temple described so minutely in Ezek. 40-48 also has its present fulfillment in the Christian church, and each individual believer. Individually as well as collectively the Messiah is now building His "temple" in which He now reigns in power. (Zech. 6:12,15; 1 Cor. 3:16,17; 6:19; Ephes. 2:21,22, etc.) The minute and most exact measurements of each part of the temple is experienced by those who seek to do only that which is in harmony with the Divine measuring rod. (Compare Ezek. 40:3, etc., with Rev. 11:1.) Christian experience harmonizes with the interpretation. All the temple scenes of the Bible whether as recorded in the history of ancient Israel or in the prophetic portions of Scripture - were written to typify God's moral purpose, and that by them individuals might find the way of salvation. This truth has been clearly pointed out by the author of the book entitled: "The Desire of Ages." This well-known writer says :-

"From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. . . . But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple. God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul" (p.161).

"In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. . . . In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin - from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul" (ibid.).

Solomon's magnificent temple symbolized the church and each believer. Concerning the building of this temple on Mount Moriah we read: "And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building" (1 Kings 6:7). The noiseless building of this temple typified the building of Christ's spiritual temple by the quiet operations of the Spirit of God. (See Ephes. 2:21, 22.) The author of "The story of Prophets and Kings," p.36, says

"Of surpassing beauty and unrivalled splendour was the palatial building which Solomon and his associates erected for God and His worship. Garnished with precious stones . . . was a fit emblem of the living church of God on earth, which through the ages has been building in accordance with the divine pattern, with materials that have been likened to 'gold, silver, precious stones,' 'polished after the similitude of a palace' (1 Cor. 3:12; Ps. 144:12). Of this spiritual temple Christ is 'the chief cornerstone; in Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.'"

"Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol - that glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains in-wrought with cherubim, the fragrance of ever-burning incense pervading all, the priests robed in spotless white, and in the deep mystery of the inner place, above the mercy seat, between the figures of the bowed, worshipping angels, the glory of the Holiest. In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul." ("Education," p.36.)

"Though the ministration was to be removed from the earthly to the heavenly temple; though the sanctuary and our great high priest would be invisible to human sight, yet the disciples were to suffer no less thereby. . . . While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth." ("The Desire of Ages," P.166.)

"We are in the day of atonement, and we are to work in harmony with Christ's work of cleansing the sanctuary from the sins of the people. . . . Those who do not sympathise with Jesus in His work in the heavenly courts, who do not cleanse the soul temple of every defilement . . . are joining with the enemy of God and man." ("Review and Herald," January 21, 1890.)

"His church is to be a temple built after the divine similitude, and the angelic architect has brought his golden measuring rod from heaven, that every stone may be hewed and squared by the divine measurement, and polished to shine as an emblem of heaven, radiating in all directions the bright, clear beams of the Sun of Righteousness." ("Testimonies to Ministers," p. 17.)

In these extracts we see applied the principle that the tabernacle in the wilderness, the temple in Jerusalem, and the temple described in prophecy, symbolized God's moral purpose for His church and for each individual.

Incidents, such as the Babylonians' destruction of Solomon's temple (2 Chron. 36:17-19); their carrying off to Babylon the vessels belonging to the house of God (2 Chron. 36:18; Ezra 1:7-11; Dan. 1:2) and using them there in the service of their false gods (Dan. 5:2, 3); the deliverance and the return of ancient Israel from their Babylonian captivity, the rebuilding of the broken down temple and city of Jerusalem, etc., are all recorded in the Scriptures (Ezra, Neh., Hag., etc.) for a moral purpose. While the study of sacred history is interesting and profitable in itself, yet the main reason for which these incidents are recorded is that by them we might receive spiritual strength. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4). Not only may we discern the building of Christ's church and of each individual believer in the building of the tabernacle and the temple, but the restoration of the backslidden soul or church as an habitation of God may be seen in the rebuilding and restoration of the temple and its services after being subjected to assault and damage at the hand of the forces of Babylon. A writer who always draws the moral lesson from the historical records of Scripture, says:-

"The work of restoration and reform carried on by the returned exiles, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, presents a picture of a work of spiritual restoration that is to be wrought in the closing days of this earth's history. . . Varied were the experiences that came to them as they rebuilt the temple and the wall of Jerusalem; strong was the opposition they had to meet. . . . The spiritual restoration of which the work carried forward in Nehemiah's day was a symbol, is outlined in the words of Isaiah: 'They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities.' (Isa. 61:4.) 'They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.' (Isa. 58:12.)" ("Prophets and Kings," p.677.)

When describing the call of God's people out of spiritual Babylon, the Revelator (he uses the same principle throughout the Apocalypse), refers to the moral purpose of literal Israel's call out of the literal city of Babylon, and their return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and city. (See Rev. 18:4.) Individually, people are now being called out of Babylon to repair and to restore the true worship of God.

The damage done in the Dark Ages by the spiritual Babylonians to the spiritual temple and city of God (Rev. 11:1, 2) is being repaired. The vessels taken from the house of God in Jerusalem (Dan. 1:2) and used in the service of Satan's Babylonian false system of worship (Dan. 1:2; 5:1-4) are being restored to the house of true worship. (Ezra 1:1-11; Matt. 17:11.) The rebuilding and restoration of an individual and the church as a temple of God are illustrated in this experience of Israel.

Keeping in mind the New Testament principle of applying Old Testament history and prophecy in connection with God's moral purpose not only causes the book to be a living book, pulsating with power and purpose, but guides us in our interpretation of prophecy.

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