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Looking Unto Jesus

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    3. - DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE

    With the dedication of Solomon’s temple, the earthly sanctuary reached the zenith of its glory. Its sacred vessels were perfect and complete. It contained the very ark which was made by Moses, under the express direction of Heaven; and that ark contained the very tables of stone which had been written by Jehovah himself. The temple building was a structure of unsurpassed magnificence and glory, and there was nothing to hinder the Levitical worship from going forward in all its perfection.LUJ 70.3

    It would be pleasant long to contemplate both the temple and the sanctuary in this prosperous condition; but the dark specter of sin, with its inevitable train of judgments and calamities, soon appears upon the scene.LUJ 70.4

    The temple was dedicated B.C.1005. Thirty-four years after this, B.C.971, Shishak, king of Egypt, having declared war with Rehoboam, took Jerusalem and carried away the treasures of the temple. 1 Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chronicles 12:9. But when the king humbled himself, thus turning from the sins which had brought down the judgments of God upon him, God turned from his wrath against him. Verse 12.LUJ 70.5

    Jehoash commenced the work of repairs B.C.856. 2 Kings 12:4, 5. Ahaz, king of Judah, becoming involved in war with the kings of Israel and Damascus, robbed the temple to pay Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, whom he had summoned to his aid (2 Chronicles 28:21, 11) B.C.740. Hezekiah, his son, in a measure repaired this loss, but was himself finally compelled to take all the riches of the temple to purchase peace from Sennacherib, who had come against him. 2 Kings 18:14-16.LUJ 71.1

    Manasseh, son and successor of Hezekiah, profaned the temple of the Lord by setting up altars to all the host of heaven, even in the courts of the Lord (2 Kings 21:4-7), for which God delivered him into the hands of the king of Assyria. He was loaded with chains and carried beyond the Euphrates (2 Chronicles 33:11) B.C.677. But, humbling himself and repenting of his sins, he was sent back to his own dominions, and labored to repair the profanations he had committed upon the house of the Lord. Verses 14-16.LUJ 71.2

    Josiah, king of Judah, labored zealously to repair the edifices of the temple. 2 Kings 22:4-6. He commanded the Levites to put the ark of the Lord in the sanctuary in its proper place, and that they should no more bear it about, as they probably had done during the administrations of the wicked kings who had reigned before him. 2 Chronicles 35:3.LUJ 71.3

    But these were only slight profanations and calamities, compared with the storm of destruction, the projected shadow of which was now beginning to darken that devoted land. The nation had sunk to so low a depth of sin that God could no longer dwell among them. Zephaniah complains that her prophets were light and treacherous persons, that her priests had polluted the sanctuary and done violence to the law. Zephaniah 3:4. By the prophet Ezekiel (chapter 23:38, 39), the Lord laid the same things to their charge, and adds (chapter 24:21), “Behold, I will profane my sanctuary.” Therefore,—LUJ 71.4

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