Friday, December 23, 2011

The significance of 70AD and the destruction of the temple: Part I


1Corinthians 15:54-57  “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."  (55)  "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"  (56)  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  (57)  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The temple was the symbol for the Old Covenant and the Mosaic economy. All of Jewish religious practice was brought to fruition in the temple sacrifices. The purpose was to build a sanctuary so that God could dwell among the people Exodus 25:8. The temple was the symbol of God dwelling among the people. When you look at the scripture as the story of redemption, it tells the story of *the* God who has always desired to dwell among his people… his creation.

In the very beginning, the Garden of Eden was the sanctuary that God had prepared to dwell with his people.  Now then, whether you take Genesis two and three literally or allegorically, the result is the same. It describes humanity in a state of innocence not understanding either good or evil. There was only the assumption that it was good based upon God’s declaration in Genesis 1:31. Therefore, if God declares that it was good how could anyone question the fact? Based upon God’s declaration it must in fact be good. The problem is this; it would only be possible for one to believe this completely if they were in a state of naïve innocence. They would have to be oblivious to the knowledge of good and evil.

The minute the knowledge of good and evil is introduced into the equation one would have to ask the questions; am I good, or am I evil? What is good and what is evil? These questions are at enmity with God’s declaration. He has already declared that humanity was very good. Still, one is left with a dilemma. If humanity remained in the innocence they would have no way of truly worshipping God because they would be void of choice. They would simply accept without question his declaration;  their relationship with him would be automatic, similar to that of a robot and its creator. There is no real chance for love. On the other hand, humanity armed with the knowledge of good and evil, would have to question what was good and what was evil especially and most importantly, are they good and acceptable to God?

The result of receiving  the knowledge of good and evil would ultimately lead to judgment. That is, those with the knowledge of good and evil would be capable of  judgment. Judgment is the opposite of faith. Judgment is based upon understanding the difference between good and evil and judging one way or the other. Faith is accepting a declaration or situation as true and acting accordingly. This is why the author of Hebrews said that without faith it is impossible to please God. He goes on to say that one must believe that God exists and that he rewards all who diligently seek him.

Herein lies humanities problem. They have the knowledge of good and evil, and they have the ability to judge. Unfortunately however, they no longer have the innocence of being able to believe God without judgment so their judgment is not based upon faith in God’s declaration. Further, because of mortality, the sentence received for gaining the knowledge of good and evil, humanity usually judges in their own favor when they have the power to do so, and here you have the catalyst of all sin and selfishness. It is a quandary indeed. It is easy to begin to see the result of the fall in real human terms. Therefore, humanity was given the Law that would declare good and evil from God’s perspective. Unfortunately, humanity was not given God’s understanding and perspective, and thereby was unable  to render righteous judgment based upon the Law.

As the story progressed, Jesus, the *last Adam,*  became the new tabernacle for God to dwell among his people. With Jesus on the scene the temple was rendered obsolete. This was the reason that the temple would one day be destroyed. It had served its purp0se as a figure or type. With Jesus on the scene a new and better way was made for God to dwell with his creatures, and, when Jesus returned to the Father, a way was made for God to dwell among his people in their heart. We have a lot of ground to cover here and this is but a good beginning. It is getting longer than I like so I will end it right here.

In this particular post we have taken a look at *the first* Adam and what his/her part was in the story of redemption, and have set the ground for looking at how the story progresses. We will over several posts get to the significance of the destruction of the temple after the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord. You may already be putting it together in your mind but get ready for the continuation of the story.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Melanie,
    I have been a little bit under the weather.... hopefully I will finish the next one in a few days. I appreciate your enthusiasm!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Along with the result of receiving the knowledge of good and evil ultimately leading to judgment and judgment being the opposite of faith, it's a shame that not only does our faith in God suffer, but our faith in each other suffers too. We don't trust each other and we judge each other so very harshly.

    ReplyDelete