FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE- Part XXXVIII
Revival, Repentance, and Reformation
II Chronicles 7: 14 is the key Scripture of the founders of the 9/11 National Day of Prayer and Repentance movement that many mainstream Christians hope will precipitate an end times spiritual awakening in America.
One of the leading causes for not comprehending, thus misapplying God’s Word is failing to be like the early Berean Christians whom Paul and Silas commended as being “more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17: 20, 11.
They were open-minded and careful listeners but verified everything, including what the godly apostles said by the litmus test “it is written,” “Thus saith the Lord.” Sola scriptura. And when both were in harmony it ceased to be a difficulty, for it was the truth as it is in Jesus not because it was posited by the learned and great men of the earth or by church councils.
Lest any Christian forget: we are living and moving in the closing hours of earth’s probation. As never before, God’s people must, individually, free from any preconceived ideas or fanciful, finely-spun, cryptic interpretations (“knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.”2 Pet. 1: 20) but with an eye single to God’s glory in order to better understand the science of redemption—“the science of all sciences,” and the nature of the great controversy and Satan’s masterful deceptions for these last days. They should sink the shaft of investigation more deeply, daily, into the mine of truth of God’s Word, pleading for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, enlighten, convict, convince, and bring to remembrance all that the Bible teaches necessary for our salvation.
We should never, either out of negligence, haste, idleness, ignorance, or worst, intentionally take a text out of context for then it becomes a pretext. We are instructed to study God’s Word not as we would the books of the world but in this manner: “The word of the Lord is to them, precept must be upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little.” Isa. 28: 9-13.
For a fuller context of this familiar verse, 2 Chronicles 7: 14, begin reading chapters 1 through 7 which chronicle Solomon’s request for divine wisdom in order to build, prepare, and finally dedicate the temple. Profound lessons of genuine individual and collective revival, repentance, and reformation are taught here.
“In the prayer offered at the dedication of the temple whose services Hezekiah and his associates were now restoring, Solomon had prayed: ‘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: then hear Thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel.’ 1 Kings 8: 33, 34. The seal of divine approval had been placed upon this prayer; for at its close fire had come down from heaven to consume the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord had filled the temple.(See 2 Chron. 7: 1).
And by night the Lord had appeared to Solomon, to tell him that his prayer had been heard, and that mercy would be shown those who should worship there. The gracious assurance was given [2 Chron. 7: 14 quoted]. These promises met abundant fulfillment during the reformation under Hezekiah.”- E.G. White, Prophets & Kings, p. 335.
It was during God’s second appearance to Solomon by night during the dedication of the temple where we read God’s reply to the king’s prayer recorded in verses 13-22, which includes the following additional conditional promises and warnings:
“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do all according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I have covenanted with David your father saying, You shall never fail to have a man as ruler in Israel. But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then will I uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house [temple] which I have sanctified or My name I will cast out of My sight, and I will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
‘And as for this house [both of the literal temple and the household of faith of ancient Israel], which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house? Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshipped them and served them; therefore He has brought all these calamities upon them.” verses 17-22, N.K.J.V.
By reading to the end of II Chronicles 7 we learn not only the division of Israel beginning at the latter end of Solomon’s 40-year reign into two and the bloody wars that raged between the southern tribes of Judah and the apostate tribes of Israel!
History of the earthly temples
We should also know the true history of the earthly temples. As types of the heavenly temple, there were only four of them on earth, namely:
(1) Moses’ Tabernacle. The portable yet elaborate sanctuary, usually called tabernacle built by Moses not long after the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai according to God’s specifications and directions, “Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” Exo. 25: 8. The ark of the covenant was placed in the most holy place in which the Decalogue, as written by Jehovah’s finger was deposited. The ark was the symbol of God’s presence where His lumen glory actually appeared between the two cherubim
(2) Solomon’s Temple. At the beginning of Solomon’s reign the old tabernacle was in a somewhat dilapidated condition, being several hundred years old and exposed to the elements for that length of time. David desired to build a more permanent house for the Lord but was told that since he was “a man of blood” due to all the wars he fought against Israel’s enemies, he would be denied this desire but his Solomon would accomplish it. This temple was destroyed in the sixth century (c. 586 B.C.) by the invasions of neo-Babylonia’s Nebuchadnezzar. Why? The rulers and the Israelites departed from God and went deeper into idolatry and sin, persisting in their apostasy.
In mercy God sent them His prophets bearing warnings and entreaties “But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. Therefore He brought unto them the king of the Chaldees [Babylon], who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: He gave them all to his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand.” 2 Chron. 36: 16, 17.
In the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar “burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.” 2 Chron. 36: 19. Furthermore, “Them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the king of Persia.” Verse 29. Thus commenced what is known as the 70-year captivity which Daniel much later, was studying and wrote as the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9 “to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths [rests], for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.” Verse 21.
(3) Zerubabbel’s Temple with no more Ark. “Israel was in captivity seventy years. When the days were fulfilled, permission was given them to return, but by that time many had been in Babylon so long that they preferred to stay [this is the dangerous dynamic of acclimatization]. However, a remnant returned, and in due time the foundation of a new temple was laid. ‘And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.’ Ezra 3: 11.
However, it was not all joy, ‘for many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.” Ezra 3: 12, 13.
“The temple thus built was called Zerubabbel’s temple after name of the leader of the work. Not much is known concerning its structure, but it is supposed, and perhaps with good reasons, that it followed the lines of Solomon’s temple. There is no more ark. That had disappeared at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion. Tradition states that holy men took the ark and secreted it in the mountains to save it from falling into profane hands. In any event, the most holy [apartment] was vacant except for a stone which served as a substitute for the ark in use until near the time when Christ appeared.
(4) Herod’s Temple. “Then Herod’s temple took its place. Herod became king in 37 B.C. One of the first things he did was build a fortress, Antonia, north of the temple grounds, and connected with the temple court by and underground passage. A few years later he decided to rebuild the temple on a grander scale than ever before. The Jews were distrustful of him, and would not let him proceed with the building until he had proved his good faith by collecting the material necessary for the structure before any of the old was taken down.
This he willingly did. The priests also insisted that no common person should work on the temple, and that it would be necessary for the priests themselves to erect the temple structure. For this reason some years were spent in training a thousand priests to be masons and carpenters to work on the sanctuary. They did all the work connected to the two apartments of the temple. All together, ten thousand skilled workmen were employed in the course of construction.
“Building operations began about 20 B.C. The temple proper was finished in a year and a half, but it took eight more years to complete the court and the cloisters. John 2: 20 states that the temple at the time of Christ had been forty and six years in building; in fact, it was not until about 66 A.D., just before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, that the temple was completely finished.
“Herod’s temple was a most beautiful structure. It was built of white marble covered with plates of gold, set on an eminence with steps leading up to it from every direction, constituting a series of terraces. It rose to a height of four hundred feet above the valley below and could be seen from a great distance. Josephus likens it to a snow-covered mountain. It was a thing of beauty, especially when seen from the Mount of Olives in the morning as the sun shone upon it. It was one of the wonders of the world.”pp. 37, 38.
“Herod’s temple was perhaps the most beautiful structure the world has ever seen. It was the pride of the Jews. Yet it was destroyed. ‘There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,’ were the words of Christ. Matt. 24: 2. This prophecy was literally fulfilled. Not one stone was left [in the abomination of desolation of Jerusalem by the Roman armies led by general Titus, son of Roman emperor Vespasian in A.D. 70]. The temple is no more, and the temple service has ceased. But the lesson remains. It would be well for us to study carefully the service carried on in the sanctuary on earth. This will give us a better appreciation of what is now going on in the sanctuary above.” p. 41- M.L. Andreasen, The Sanctuary Service, Review & Herald Publishing Assn., 1937, pp. 36-38.
Difference Between Revival and Reformation. “God calls for a spiritual revival and a spiritual reformation. Unless this takes place, those who are lukewarm will continue to grow more abhorrent to the Lord, until He will refuse to acknowledge them as His children. A revival and reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of the mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices.
Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.”- 1 SM 128.
(To be continued next week)