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From Heaven With Love

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    The Beginning of the Final Rejection of Christ

    The priests and rulers should have seen in Jesus the Anointed of the Lord, for, in their hands were the sacred scrolls that described His mission. They knew that the cleansing of the temple was a manifestation of more than human power. Much as they hated Jesus, they could not free themselves from the thought that He might be a prophet sent by God to restore the sanctity of the temple. With a deference born of this fear, they went to Him with the inquiry, “What sign showest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou dost these things?”HLv 102.2

    Jesus had shown them a sign. In doing the work which the Messiah was to do, He had given convincing evidence of His character. Now He answered them by a parable, showing that He read their malice and saw to what lengths it would lead. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”HLv 102.3

    In these words He referred not only to the destruction of the Jewish temple and worship, but to His own death—the destruction of the temple of His body. This the Jews were already plotting. As the priests and rulers returned to the temple, they had proposed to kill Jesus and thus rid themselves of the troubler. Yet they took His words as applying only to the temple at Jerusalem, and with indignation exclaimed, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days?” Now they felt that Jesus had justified their unbelief, and they were confirmed in their rejection of Him.HLv 102.4

    Christ knew that His words would be misconstrued by His enemies and turned against Him. At His trial and on Calvary they would be flung at Him. But to explain them now would give His disciples a knowledge of His sufferings and bring on them sorrow which as yet they were not able to bear. And an explanation would prematurely disclose to the Jews the result of their prejudice and unbelief. Already they had entered on a path which they would steadily pursue until He should be led as a lamb to the slaughter.HLv 103.1

    Christ knew that these words would be repeated. Spoken at the Passover, they would come to the ears of thousands and be carried to all parts of the world. After He had risen from the dead, their meaning would be made plain. To many they would be conclusive evidence of His divinity.HLv 103.2

    The Saviour's words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” had a deeper meaning than the hearers perceived. The temple services were typical of the sacrifice of the Son of God. The entire plan of sacrificial worship was a foreshadowing of the Saviour's death to redeem the world. The ritual economy had no value apart from Him. When the Jews sealed their rejection of Christ by delivering Him to death, they rejected all that gave significance to the temple and its services. Its sacredness had departed. It was doomed to destruction. From that day sacrificial offerings were meaningless. In putting Christ to death, the Jews virtually destroyed their temple. When Christ was crucified, the inner veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, signifying that the great final sacrifice had been made. The system of sacrificial offerings was forever at an end.HLv 103.3

    “In three days I will raise it up.” From the rent sepulcher of Joseph, Jesus came forth a conqueror. By His death and resurrection He became the minister of the “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:2. Men reared the Jewish temple; but the sanctuary above was built by no human architect. “The Man whose name is The Branch ... shall build the temple of the Lord: ... and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne.” Zechariah 6:12, 13.HLv 104.1

    The sacrificial service that had pointed to Christ passed away; but the eyes of men were turned to the true sacrifice for the sins of the world. The earthly priesthood ceased; but we look to Jesus, the minister of the new covenant. “The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: ... but Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 9:8-12.HLv 104.2

    “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25. Though the heavenly sanctuary and our great High Priest would be invisible to human sight, yet the disciples would realize no break in their communion and no diminution of power because of the Saviour's absence. While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. His parting promise is fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. His energizing presence is still with His church.HLv 104.3

    “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15, 16.HLv 104.4

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