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Building Up the Temple of the Lord
Building up the Temple of the Lord
In this hub I will be discussing parallels between the Jews' rebuilding of Solomon's temple and the Christians' mission of building up the church. I will be elaborating on three points: compromise, persecution and the love of God.
According to Ephesians 2:19-22, the temple is a symbol for the church:
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Ezra 4:1-5 (KJV) reads:
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.
Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
The first lesson that the passage from Ezra teaches us is to be careful in who we join ourselves with when it comes to building up the church. When the Jews set out to re-build the temple of the Lord, the Samaritans offered to help them. Why didn't the Jews accept their offer? They even claimed to worship and make sacrifices to the same God. The reason being is because the Samaritans not only worshipped the Creator God, they also worshipped idols.
Second Kings 17:27-29 gives us insight into the Samaritans' mixed worship of God and idols:
Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the LORD. Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places.
The Samaritans were divided in their worship to God. The Jewish leaders knew that if they were to unite with them in the building of the temple, their idolatrous forms of worship would make their way into the worship of the God of Israel and corrupt it. Sadly, ancient and modern Christianity has failed to learn from this lesson.
Ancient Christianity failed in the sense that the Roman Catholic church made compromises with Paganism in order to grow and empower the church. The effect of that ended up being over 1,000 years of persecution by the Catholic Church against Christians who held the Word of God as their standard of truth. The book, The Great Controversy, by E.G. White, is an excellent resource on this matter.
Unfortunately, the modern Protestant world has also failed to heed the warning of compromising with Paganism in signing the Ecumenical Movement. At the writing of this hub, there are 349 member churches of the Ecumenical Movement. Some of those include the following major Protestant churches: Charismatic, Lutheran, Evangelical, Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Methodist and Apostolic.
The main aim of the Ecumenical Movement is to bring churches of all denominations and cults, and ultimately, all other religious organisations together as One Ecumenical Church or World Church. This has led Catholic and Protestant churches to make concession for the sake of unity. Not to mention, one of the guidelines of the Ecumenical Movement is that there is to be no cross-evangelism between its members. In other words, Protestants are not warn Catholics about the dangers of Catholicism. This is completely contrary to the purpose of Protestantism's existence. Protestantism was created from a protest against the corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church.
Persecution in the Work
As the builders of the temple were persecuted in their work, in Ezra 4:4-5, so Christians who attempt to build up the church will be persecuted as well. It's interesting to note that the builders of the temple received opposition from those who claimed to worship the same God that they did. I can relate to this. I am a Bible believing Seventh-day Adventist Christian; and I have spent much time in ministering to others, handing out Bible tracts and conducting Bible studies; and I have received the most opposition from other Christians.
I did not expect to experience as much opposition as I did from other Christians. Unfortunately, many Christians think their views about the Bible are correct or their church is the true church of God; and if you don't agree with them you are a dissenter and a heretic. That was my experience, at least, when I lived in the United States. There, I received a lot of criticism from Protestant Christians. Now I live in Poland, a predominately Catholic country. The Catholic Church has taught many of its members here that the Catholic Church is the true church of God and that all other churches are out of the loop. Some of them are really nasty to you when you talk to them about non-Catholic Bible beliefs. However, I have come across open-minded Protestant and Catholic individuals; and so I am going to continue my work.
Persecution is a tool of the devil in order to discourage Christians from sharing their faith. When it comes to sharing your faith, it is imperative to have a strong relationship with the Lord. The devil will put all kinds of stumbling blocks in your path. He will cause his agents to criticise you, ostracise you; and sometimes even physically attack you. If Jesus is not the center of your life, these things will dissuade you.
The good thing is, Jesus gives us something great to look forward to, if we just continue on in the faith. He gives us the hope of eternal life with Him in paradise restored, where we will not be afflicted for our faith. The suffering that we suffer now will just be a distant memory. In the grand scheme of things, it will be like a short moment in time.
Not to mention, our short affliction is nothing compared to the suffering that Jesus went through when He died on the cross for our sins; and that is the strongest motivation for us to face opposition when we evangelize. God loved us enough to die for us. Do we love Him enough to tell others about His atoning sacrifice and share His Word with them?
Who are the Seventh-day Adventists?
More Christian Resources
What will we do in Heaven? Will we be able to high dive into the River of the Water of Life? Will we discover new life in the universe? Will we be able to fly like eagles? Will we build our ultimate dream home? Will we have exotic pets? Find out by reading this hub.
The Catholic Church makes tradition above or equal to Scripture, but in actuality many of its traditions actually stem from pagan sun worship. Its teachings, beliefs and practices come from Mithraism—a form of paganism that existed in Babylonian times.
This is, The Great Controversy, book in PDF form. Free for anyone to read! It explains Bible doctrine, church history and Bible prophecy. A must read! This is one of my favorite books.