The purpose of this article is to show that the Temple from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to 70 A.D. when it was destroyed by the Romans was of no value to God. Its only value lay in the stones and wood it had been constructed from. Therefore, the desecration of it by Atrocious in 12/16/ 167 B.C., made absolutely no difference except to an already fallen people.
King Nebuchadnezzar in 599 B.C. removed the sacred vessels from the Temple, and from that time forward, the Ark of the Covenant, the mercy seat and two gold covered Cherubim were never seen or heard from again?
The book of Amos was written between 767-740 B.C.
Amos 5:21, The LORD is speaking to the house of Israel, “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell (savor) in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.”
Jeremiah was written between 627-586 B.C. We read in,
Jeremiah 14:12, “When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.”
The 10 Northern tribes of Israel went into captivity during the Assyrian siege. The Southern two tribes went into captivity in 589 B.C. when king Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel in 598, the year before he had removed the sacred vessels from the Temple. The reason these foreign invasions were successful was because the Jews had been cursed by God for idolatry.
The LORD said to this people, I will give to you my law: I will have you purchase for me a piece of ground, I will let you build for me a Temple, a house of worship. I will give to you my terms and rituals for the remission of your sins. In this was the sacrificial system of the Jews established. The Levites, the tribe of priest was set aside; a system of animal sacrifices; Holy vessels, washing, burnt offerings and a specially woven curtain made, separating the Holy of Holies from all but the High priest where the LORD would present himself on the Mercy seat which sat atop the ark of the covenant once each year. This was God’s Holy of Holies.
God said, all this will I do for you, and if you obey my commandments, you will have my blessings and your sins forgiven.
The tabernacle of the Holy of Holies had been partitioned off from the Holy Place. This inner room was 20 cubits on the sides of the house and a heavy curtain covered its way. Within its walls the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat rested between the two Cherubim having outstretched wings. The two Cherubim were 14 or 15 feet tall and their wings 8 feet in length.
1 Kings 8:20, Solomon said, I “built a house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD,--.”
Concerning the second Temple, there is no complete description of the Temple built by Zerubbabel, but, there are some details available from various sources. Those who returned to Israel from captivity constructed their altar on the site of the altar of the First Temple. The Temple building was of hewn stone, with wooden beams reinforcing the walls from within. The Temple itself was approximately 90 feet high. But the Holy of Holies was nothing but an empty room, having no Ark, no mercy seat, no cherubim and no sacred vessels.
After twenty years the construction of the second Temple was completed in 515 B.C.E. Certain sacrifices could now take place in accordance with the rules laid down by the codes of the Torah, but for the most part to no avail. Some 500 years later, Herod the Great would refurbish the Temple starting in 20-19 B.C. God’s house had been rebuilt, but the LORD said to Haggai concerning the temple,
Haggai was written about 520 B.C. or later, he wrote,
Haggai 2:3, “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as NOTHING?
Zechariah as written between 520 and 505 B.C.
Zechariah 10:6, “For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land (the Jews), saith the LORD: but lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land (Israel), and out of their hand I will not deliver them.”
Malachi the last book of the O.T. was written between 436 to 400 B.C.
Malachi 1:13, “Ye brought that which was torn, and lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? --- cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and vow, and sacrifice unto the Lord a corrupt thing:”
Malachi 2:1, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, --- I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings, yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
Verse 8, “But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.”
The purpose of the ark and the mercy seat was to provide a covering for the sins of Israel, the Covenant people. Israel was too come to the LORD as the sinless Bride and be united with God in union. The Ark was Jehovah's holiest Altar of sacrifice. The other two altars were the bronze Altar of Burnt Offerings in the courtyard and the golden Altar of Incense. Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement" the "mercy seat" served as the holiest altar of sin-offerings.
In the ordinary sacrifices on ordinary days and during the days of the 7 Sacred Feasts of God, the blood of the sacrificed victims was sprinkled and then poured out at the corners of the great bronze Altar of Burnt Offerings in the courtyard of the Temple or sprinkled upon the horns of the golden Altar of Incense that stood in the Holy Place in front of the curtain woven with cherubim that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in which the Ark of the Covenant rested.
Neither in principle nor even in minute detail were the directions of Jehovah about the Temple’s construction to be disobeyed or changed. From the ark to the hooks for the curtains, to the priests, God’s command was,
"See that thou make all things according to the pattern showed thee in the mount.”
The Temple building was a place for prayer. It was also a place where the priests, prophets, vessels etc. were consecrated. Men learned to call nothing that God has cleansed common or unclean. And most important of all, the Holy of Holies with the ark and the mercy seat was the place for the revelations of God to this people. But without these vessels, the Jews only hope lay in the coming Messiah.
So, what has the Temple from the time of king Nebuchadnezzar 599 B.C. to do with end-time prophesy? NOTHING! When Jesus came, they had false teachers leading the people, thus when the Lord came to the Jews, he called them “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”