DEVOTIONAL – DEC 12
THE TEMPLE DESTROYED
Leslie M. John
King Jeroboam and his successors did evil in the sight of the LORD. Nineteen Kings ruled the Northern Kingdom and there was not a single one of them, who did what was pleasing to the LORD. They all, one after another, did evil in the sight of the LORD and deviated from God’s ways and followed after their own methods by setting up idols and burning incense to them. Therefore, the Northern Province, which was the ”House of Israel”, incurred the wrath of God.
The LORD handed over them to Assyrian King, who conquered the Northern Kingdom and took captive of ”House of Israel” and scattered them. The Assyrian king’s strategy was to relocate them in different regions in order that they might not become united to rebel against him.
“In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 17:6)
“Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day” (2 Kings 17:23)
Thus the ‘House of Israel’ was scattered and, in spite of many Jews returning to Israel during Persian Regime, and in subsequent periods of time, and even after Israel becoming one Nation on 14th May, 1948, no one until today is able to locate them fully as to where they are.
Before Solomon fell from the presence of God he married Pharaoh’s daughter and built a separate palace for her (Ref. 1 Kings 3:1, 9:24). The LORD’s anger burnt first against Solomon, next against Rehoboam, and then against Jeroboam. Solomon’s glorious Temple, inside of which was fully overlaid with gold, was looted by Shishak, King of Egypt, in the fifth year of King Rehoboam.
”And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.”(1 Kings 14:25, 26)
As for Southern Kingdom, there were only some of the Kings, of the total twenty Kings, who obeyed God fully and others did the same as their brethren in the Northern Kingdom. Babylonians took captive of Southern Kingdom and they destroyed the Temple. Later Babylonians subdued Assyrians and the rest is history.
Solomon’s Temple was rebuilt as authorized by Cyrus but that was not as elegant as the first temple was. It did not last long after Lord Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. When Jesus was facing trial before Pilate he was found not guilty of any crime, yet the people cried that He should be crucified.
Pilate saw that he could not prevail upon them to ask for the release of Jesus, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying ”I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Ref. Matthew 27:24b-25)
Neither Pilate, who as a governor with earthly authority, released nor the people there preferred Jesus to be released instead of noted criminal Barabbas; rather they vehemently cried that He should be crucified. They answered and said ”His blood be on us, and on our children”. They, indeed, paid very dearly in AD 70 when Roman army under Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian, sieged Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple utterly and leveled it to the ground fulfilling the prophecy of Lord Jesus Christ.
”And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down”. (Matthew 24:1-2)
God was so unapproachable and terrible in the Old Testament period and He punished other nations for the sake of protecting and blessing His children but whenever His people worshipped other gods he chastised them terribly. One King after another fell beyond recognition and the glorious temple built by Solomon was destroyed. The second temple was leveled to the ground leaving not a single stone one upon another.
It is, indeed, so terrible to dishonor God and worship other gods behind the idols. Somehow man seems to be hankering after finding peace and solace in the faces of idols that do not speak, nor hear. But there is real peace and joy in worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth. Lord Jesus Christ said He is the way, the truth and the life.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6) Peter, one of the disciples said:
”Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”. (Acts 4:12) Believe in Lord Jesus Christ. Today is the day of salvation.