From Tent to Temple - Chapter 5

From Tent to Temple
- George H. Warnock


We are not going to deal with the Temple of Zerubbabel at length because we dealt with it in a previous writing (The Feast of Tabernacles). But we will comment upon it briefly so as to keep the continuity of the seven temples, showing how in God's plan and purpose He would continue to move from Tent to Tent, until He finds for Himself a true habitation in the Spirit.

After Solomon's time we have nothing but continual deterioration in the kingdom as well as in temple worship. Of course after the captivity had ended there was a new sense of expectancy as the faithful remnant returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Nevertheless, along with this sense of expectancy there must have been a lot of disappointment in the hearts of the builders of the temple, and in the hearts of the scribes and teachers in Israel. For God had said, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former." They must have found it difficult to reconcile what they were hearing from the mouths of the prophets with what they were seeing before their eyes. Certainly what they were seeing was far, far inferior to what they had known in the old Temple of Solomon, But the prophets would inquire of the Lord as to what time they were referring, as Peter tells us: "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify" (1 Pet. 1:11). It was not as clear to the prophets as it is to some of our modern theologians who can read the Old Testament and immediately pinpoint it as a prophecy to be fulfilled at the second coming in a very literal and carnal way. God, however, revealed to these prophets that they wrote of a people who would be living in the day and hour following the sufferings of the Christ. Peter declared that "unto us" they were ministering words of truth that "are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven" (1 Pet. 1:12). And now as the Kingdom of Heaven takes root in the earth, and God's eternal wisdom shines forth from the Church, the very heavens themselves are stirred with wonderment as the celestial beings, angels, archangels, cherubim and seraphim, look down upon us and seek to pry into the hidden secrets of our redemption in Christ Jesus. For the apostle Paul tells that the intent of the Gospel is that "now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by [or, through] the church the manifold wisdom of God [or, the many-sided aspects of the wisdom of God]" (Eph. 3:10). God is using the Church to bring forth into the heavens this glorious revelation of the wisdom of the Cross. They do not understand it, except as they see it unfolded through a redeemed people in the earth. Beloved, let us not get unduly excited about angelic visitations. We thank the Lord for the angels, whom God hath sent into the earth to minister on our behalf. But if they start to give teachings that pertain to our redemption, we need to be very suspicious. Redeemed man knows more about these things than they do. Peter tells us that even the angels "desire to look into" these things. They are seeking to learn from us. Moses in great boldness said:

"Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth" (Deut. 32:1).

Moses would declare unto the heavens a word that would reveal the wisdom of God. David cried unto God, and as we have observed, the very heavens mobilized their forces for battle. Joshua commanded the sun and the moon to stand still. Ezekiel prophesied unto "the wind" over the dry bones, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live," and the dead bones began to arise and stand in battle array. Paul was known in heavenly places. Because of his life and his identification with the Cross, he penetrated the world of darkness, and even spirits cried out: "Jesus I know, and Paul I know..." For when Paul spoke the heavens heard what he said, and when he walked in obedience to the Lord and in the sufferings of the Cross, the world of darkness became aware of it, bringing great fear upon them.

But this Glory that the prophets spoke about was for the "Latter House," not for Zerubbabel and the faithful remnant.

This must have left them greatly concerned, and their minds filled with many questions. Where was the Glory that Haggai told us about? Where was the shining forth of God's presence? Where was Urim and Thummim that would give us infallible counsel and guidance for the people of God? Where was the holy fire that ought to have burned on the mercy seat? Where was the Cloud of Glory? It just wasn't there.

How could they have known that God's real intention concerned not the temple they were building, but "the true tabernacle" which the Lord would pitch in the fullness of time, and that the temple they were building was but a type and shadow of the real. The True Tabernacle, the Perfect Tabernacle, was the real intent of Haggai's prophecy, and the real intent of Zechariah's prophecy, and the real intent of Ezekiel's prophecy (Heb. 8:2; 9:11).

And so the prophets of old, and the builders of God's temples, must learn the age-enduring lesson of patience. There are so many things we cannot reconcile with God's Word and promises. God would have us to simply walk in obedience, whether or not we see the full intention of His heart realized in our day and generation. Many, many of God's chosen ones have passed off the scene feeling that they had failed to see the Glory of God for which they had waited. But this does not mean that they have fallen short of what God had promised. It only means that for them there still remains a better resurrection"!

Chapter 6 - The Temple of Herod the Great
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