By Moshe Morrison, Tents of Mercy Congregation in Kiryat Yam, Israel
The temple construction of which I speak belongs to the second category and is the one described in 1 Peter 2: 4-6, “And coming to Him as to a living Stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua. For this is contained in Scripture: ‘Behold I lay in Zion a choice Stone, a precious Cornerstone, and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed.’” If the majority of the body of believers would get as excited about that temple being built as some do about the physical one, we would see a greater manifestation and advancement of the purposes of God on the earth in these days.
There are Christians who are caught up in expecting a physical temple to be built so that the anti-Christ can show up there and then they can be caught up in the “rapture” while the Jewish people get stuck here with a useless temple and a great tribulation. The tragedy in this is that some of them are willing to give thousands of dollars to fringe Orthodox Jewish groups who are making all kinds of preparations to reestablish the priesthood, sacrificial system and rebuild the temple. (Incidentally, it is by no means a majority of religious Jews who are actively working to build that temple. Though the traditional liturgy contains unequivocal prayer for the restoration of the temple and its services, most observant Jews are content to pray for it and leave it in God’s hands. Opinions on how it might come about are as widely varied in the Jewish community as they are in the Christian community.)
The great irony is that many of those Orthodox Jews who are the most involved in the move to rebuild the temple despise us Messianic Jews. One very prominent leader in this physical temple restoration movement told a Messianic Jewish friend of mine how much he hates us and that we are traitors and worse than Nazis because our faith in Yeshua. However, this should come as no surprise since Peter points out that the very foundation upon which we are being built was rejected by the leaders of our people. “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very cornerstone,.” and “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” (1 Peter 2:7,8 quoting from Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14) Accordingly, it is especially the temple that is made up of Messianic Jewish living stones in the land of Israel that is far more significant in the eyes of God than the temple made of stone and mortar which our unbelieving brethren wish to rebuild. One of the most important signs of the end times is not a physical building project, but a growing Messianic Jewish presence in the land of Israel which has not been seen for nearly two millenia. This is what believers ought to be watching for and praying for and supporting with their resources.
The first and second temples in Jerusalem served their purposes in providing a place for Israel to receive atonement and also as a place for intercession on behalf of the nations. However, Yeshua changed that sacrificial system by the sacrifice of Himself nearly 2000 years ago. If a third temple now only serves as a platform for the anti-Christ to unveil his program, I would think that true believers would have a greater stake in the true Messiah unveiling His program in the spiritual temple that He is building. The salvation of Israel is near and dear to the heart of God. It should also be near and dear to the hearts of his followers. The fact that there are all sorts of temple preparations being made by various groups should not unduly occupy the hearts and minds of followers of Yeshua. Red heifers, priestly garments, and setting a symbolic cornerstone mean nothing compared to the setting into the walls of living stones more Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua. As the living temple of believers grows within the household of Israel it will have a greater impact on outreach to the rest of the nations of the world than anything we have seen since the first century (Romans 11:15).
One brother in the United States who has been teaching prophecy for many years told me that people tend to call him when they hear rumors about what is happening in Israel. They figure that he can confirm whether or not what they’ve heard is true and whether it is a sign of the imminent return of Yeshua. He said that some one called him because they heard that all the stones for the temple had been cut and numbered and each one was hidden in a different K-Mart department store all across America, waiting for the right time when they would be rapidly brought out and shipped to Jerusalem and quickly assembled. He graciously informed the caller that his information was incorrect. Though somewhat humorous, it is sadly just one of many wild stories that find wide and willing circulation because of a wrong emphasis in large segments of the body of Messiah.
If it is the will of the Lord that the physical temple of God be built in Jerusalem to facilitate the outworking of His plans in the last days, it shall be done. In fact, there is no other way that it could possibly be accomplished. The Islamic authorities that control the temple mount as well as Muslim leaders around the world have clearly stated that any action that would compromise the Islamic presence and authority there would result in a major war. Even if the Dome of the Rock mosque collapsed due to an earthquake, Israel would be blamed for it. In spite of all that, if God wants it, it would be built. However, we’ll only know for sure once it has happened. However, there is no question about the living temple. It is happening now!
Make no mistake by thinking that because it is a “spiritual” house it is less tangible than one made of stone. For the stones in the temple being built here are living, flesh and blood Jews dwelling in very real communities in the same Land that God gave to our forefathers and to us. As we move forward in the year 2007, let us pray that the world will be able to see a manifestation of the presence of God in this temple like they have never seen before. Not only with Jewish stones in Israel, but also among the nations. It is God’s desire now for the true holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices in this temple built by the Spirit on the cornerstone of Messiah Yeshua. ?
At the time of this writing Moshe Morrison was the Associate Leader in Ohalei Rachamim, or Tents of Mercy congregation in Kiryat Yam. Now he is a beloved elder and a Tikkun Ministries associate. http://www.tents-of-mercy.org/