Kidron Saga, Part 3: The Temple
Our study of the Tabernacle in part 2 of our Kidron saga comes into play this week in part 3 as we study God’s home on Earth: the Temple. King Solomon built this amazing structure for the Lord and His glory, and he put it right in the center of God’s holy city, Jerusalem. The Temple gave the Israelites a place to dwell with God Himself.
But what happens if God’s glory leaves His people? And what is the value of the Temple if His glory is not in it? Since God cannot tolerate sin, the Israelites’ struggle to remain faithful to the Lord and refusal to repent warranted punishment. Find out what this disobedience meant for God’s dwelling place and His people in this week’s program!
If you missed the first two parts of this series, you can find them on our Archives page!
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. And with me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. I'd like to encourage you to visit our website, foiradio.org. There, you can find out more information about The Friends of Israel Today radio program. You'll also find our archives page and you can listen to six years worth of Chris's teaching. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, today, we're going to continue our Kidron Saga series. It's a six part series. We're entering into episode number three, where we're going to actually be moving into Jerusalem. You're going to see the presence of God. We've been talking about the presence of God in Eden, the physical presence of God coming down into the tabernacle. And now we're going to see that same physical presence of God come into Jerusalem. Something that God has desired to do. But we're going to see that prophetic tension happen now as he begins to build between Mount Moriah, where the Temple Mount is, and the Mount of Olives.
Steve Conover: We've really enjoyed this series. We hope you stay with us for the entire program. But first, in the news, Israel's Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, warned that Israel must act immediately against Iran. This after a ship managed by an Israeli-owned company was struck by a drone sent by Iran earlier this month. Gantz described the attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker as a major escalation by Iran. Two crewmen were killed in the strike.
Chris Katulka: Steve, here's my take. Gantz is right to do this. This was a planned attack from Iran sending a message to Israel just as Iran's new president, Ebrahim Raisi, will take office. Raisi is called the “Butcher of Tehran.” He opposes Israel. He hates the Iran nuclear deal. He does not like America at all. So Raisi is letting the world know that there's a new sheriff in Tehran and Gantz is right to speak out against this and to put Israel on notice that there could be higher threats in the future.
Chris Katulka: So we're continuing our six part series I've called the Kidron Saga. And the reason I call it the Kidron Saga is because it takes place in the Kidron Valley, a specific location in Jerusalem that much of biblical prophecy takes place in. In Jerusalem, there are two mountains that sit side by side next to one another. That's Mount Moriah, where the temple was constructed. And remember, Mount Moriah is where Solomon built his temple. It was bought by his father, King David. And Solomon, his son, built a temple there for him. It's where the second temple was constructed after the Jewish people returned from exile. It's where Herod reconstructed and built up the second temple to make it one of the most magnificent temples in the Roman Empire. That's where our Lord Jesus taught. It was in that temple.
All of that was on top of Mount Moriah. And I can't leave this out either. Mount Moriah is also the same place where Abraham bound Isaac, but God provided a substitute. You remember that account, when Abraham was supposed to offer his one and only son to the Lord, as God commanded him. And just before he was about to offer him, the Lord stopped him and provided a ram, a substitute, a picture of the true sacrifice that only Christ could provide in Jerusalem. That's all atop Mount Moriah.
To the east, directly to the east of Mount Moriah, sits another mountain, the Mount of Olives. And there are so many biblical events that took place on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives looks out over Jerusalem. It's where the Lord Jesus cried out to God in the Garden of Gethsemane. It's where Jesus took a donkey, according to Zachariah 9:9, and went down into Jerusalem. It's where the Lord Jesus taught the disciples about the last days. It's why we call it the Olivet discourse, because Jesus taught the disciples from the Mount of Olives. It's the place where the disciples watched the Lord Jesus ascend into heaven. There are so many biblical events that happened on the Mount of Olives.
But what's in between these two mountains is the Kidron Valley. The prophetic events that take place in the Kidron Valley are almost innumerable. God is doing something amazing in this little valley. It's really a prophetic tension point, as I've been telling people for the past few weeks now. It's a prophetic tension point between these two mountains. Now, as I said last week, first, we needed to go back into the Bible to find out why the Kidron Valley is so important. We started with the Garden of Eden and then we moved into the Tabernacle, where we saw the physical presence of God come down to dwell with his people, a monumental moment in biblical history according to scholars.
Look, as we study the Kidron Valley, this is going to be a major part of what we're looking at here. God's physical presence dwelling with his creation. He did it in the Garden of Eden. He came down physically into the Tabernacle. The Hebrew word for that concept is Shekinah, the Shekinah glory of God, dwelling with his people. This Hebrew word makes its way all throughout scriptures. It's found in the Old Testament, and even in the New Testament, a reminder that God desires to dwell with his creation. And the Kidron Valley is going to be the prophetic footpath, if you will, for that to happen.
So for the past two episodes, I've been dancing around Jerusalem. I promised you that we were going to get to Jerusalem. We're journeying to Jerusalem where the Kidron Valley is. Well, today, we've arrived. Today, I want to take you to one of Israel's most exciting moments and Israel's most devastating moments at the same time. And it's all connected to the Temple and the Kidron Valley. So first, let's go to First Kings chapter eight, verses nine through 13. Solomon finishes building a temple to the Lord atop Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Now, if you've been following along with this series, you remember we talked about the physical presence of God coming down to dwell in the Tabernacle. And it happens at the very end of Exodus chapter 40 starting in verse 34. And remember, it reads like this. "Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle."
God came down into the tabernacle. God led the people through the wilderness. He brought them into the Promised Land. He helped Israel defeat the nations around them. He established the kings of Israel, and now Solomon is fulfilling the dream of his father, David, to build a permanent home for the presence of the Lord, a temple in the capital city of Israel, Jerusalem. Now, watch what happens when the temple is finished. It practically mimics the moment the glory of the Lord entered the tabernacle.
Listen to what it says in First Kings chapter eight, verses nine through 13. "There was nothing in the Ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel when they came out of the land of Egypt. And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. And then Solomon said, 'The Lord has said that he would dwell in a thick darkness. I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.'"
Now listen, if you were catching the connections here, all of the key moments from the tabernacle experience are found in the temple account. First, the temple is completed just as the tabernacle was completed. Second, the cloud, which is the physical presence of God, came down into the temple in the same manner the cloud in Exodus came down and filled the tabernacle. Third, God's presence was so real, so palpable, so holy that the priests couldn't stand to stay in the temple so they had to leave. Look at the tabernacle event. God's presence was so real, palpable, and holy that Moses, even Moses, wasn't able to stand within the tabernacle. Finally, look at the same Hebrew word that appears. Shekinah. It's used to highlight the event that took place. In Exodus 40, it says that the cloud, the presence of God, settled on the tabernacle, literally. God tabernacled in the tabernacle.
And here in First Kings chapter eight, look at what Solomon says. "The Lord has said that he would dwell," Shekinah, "in a thick darkness. I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell," Shekinah, "forever." Solomon is picking up on that same concept, going back to Exodus chapter 40, that tabernacle moment, and how God's presence came down to dwell. Solomon is picking up on that same thing and you see the exact same event happened in the first temple. God's presence came to dwell. God's glory, his physical presence, was dwelling with the Israelites in the city of Jerusalem.
It's one of the reasons I actually, knowing this concept, knowing that God's physical presence was there in Jerusalem, it's one of the reasons I love reading Psalm 46, a Psalm connected to the historical moment when King Hezekiah, 250 years after Solomon built the temple and God's glory came down, King Hezekiah was in Jerusalem, surrounded by 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. And from a human perspective, Hezekiah should have just thrown in the towel, given up. But instead, he turned to the Lord and he was delivered. And Psalm 46 is connected to this moment. And look at this amazing section of the Psalm, as we think about God's presence, dwelling in the temple with his people. Listen to what it says, because Hezekiah, remember, he is looking out over the walls of Jerusalem. He is looking out over impending destruction. It could be the end of Jerusalem. It could be the end of his people.
And then Psalm 46 says this. "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved. God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter. He utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress."
Even though the nations were raging, the kingdoms were in an uproar, it looked to be the end for Hezekiah, Jerusalem, and Judah, the Psalmist is reminded that God is in the city of Jerusalem. God is in her midst. Therefore, the city will not be moved. It cannot be shaken because the creator of heaven and earth, the one who spoke all things in existence, is dwelling in her midst. But what happens if God's presence leaves the temple?
Well, listen, before we get to that, I want to enlighten you to a new book that we have, that we're offering here from The Friends of Israel, if Jerusalem is something that interests you like it interests me. There's a lot of things that's going on in Jerusalem. It's been the center of the world's attention throughout history. But its greatest moments are actually still to come. Dr. Randall Price digs into scripture to explain how major Bible prophecies will converge and culminate in this very city, Jerusalem, in the end times. His writing will take you through biblical history to the current state of Jerusalem and the Middle East, the glorious future that the city has to wait in the New Jerusalem. Find out what will happen, who will be involved, and how God will fulfill prophecy in Jerusalem in this comprehensive study, which is called Jerusalem in Prophecy, by Dr. Randall Price. Steve, how can our listeners purchase Jerusalem in Prophecy?
Steve Conover: Yeah, to purchase Jerusalem in Prophecy, visit foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: So we're talking about God's physical presence dwelling in the temple in Jerusalem. And as we followed the glory of God from the Garden of Eden to the tabernacle, now we're in the temple, God's presence in the temple was protecting and preserving his people and his city, as we saw in Psalm 46. God was in her midst. But what happens if that glory leaves? Well, the sin of God's people, the Jewish people, reached its tipping point for God. The Lord was patient with his people. He promised them restoration if they would return and repent. But that never happened. I want to fast-forward now to 597 BC. Solomon builds the temple around 950 BC. And by 597 BC, the prophet Ezekiel has been carried away with other Jewish people from Judah into Babylon. There are still Jewish people living in Jerusalem. The temple is still standing. But God is moving to judge his people for their sins.
The Babylonian Empire is going to be used by God to punish his people. The prophet Ezekiel is in Babylon and he gets caught up in a vision and carried from Babylon, which is Iraq today, to Jerusalem to see what's happening in the temple. And my friends, it's not a pretty picture. The Jewish people had abandoned the Lord. Ezekiel was brought into the temple. And in chapter eight, he sees what's happening in the temple, where God's presence was dwelling. Remember, God's physical presence is there the entire time. In Ezekiel chapter eight, verse four, it says that, "The prophet was brought into the temple and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there." And then Ezekiel saw what was going on. And God said to Ezekiel, in verse 6, "Son of man, do you see what they're doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see even greater abominations."
Ezekiel saw creeping things and loathsome beasts engraved on the walls of the temple. He saw idols that were erected as well. The elders of Israel were standing among them, worshiping them. The women were weeping toward a false idol named Tammuz. But what's most disgusting that Ezekiel saw that really prompted God here to show him was that 25 men were standing there with their backs to the temple and they were facing east, worshiping the sun. The picture here is that they literally turned their backs on the Lord. And so God was going to leave. The presence that came down in the tabernacle in Exodus 40, the presence that came down into the temple in First Kings chapter eight, is now leaving his people.
And you can feel, as you're reading through this, you can feel God's apprehension to leave. The step-by-step process of leaving the temple is drawn out over three chapters, Ezekiel chapter nine through 11. And at the end of Ezekiel chapter 11, the cherubim that are carrying the Lord from his throne in the Holy of Holies led the glory of God to the East gate of the temple, which looks out over the Kidron Valley. And look what it says here in Ezekiel chapter 11, verse 22 through 23.
"Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them. And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is east side of the city." Friends, the presence of the Lord that came down in the temple left. His glory moved from the Temple Mount, from Mount Moriah, down the Kidron Valley, over to the mountain to the east. Did you hear that in Ezekiel 11? That's the Mount of Olives. And the glory of the Lord departs from his people. The presence of God that led his people since the exodus left the temple. And we see that first moment that God went into the Kidron Valley and up the Mount of Olives was a moment for him to depart.
And you're going to begin to feel the prophetic tension in this place because, by 586 BC, the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem was raised. But what Ezekiel wants us to know is this. God was not in the temple when that happened. It was just another building, like any other building in Jerusalem. But just because God left the temple, it doesn't mean God left his people. So you're going to have to come back next week for the next installment of the Kidron Saga, because the glory returns, just not the way that the Jewish people thought.
Steve Conover: Chris, I can't help but think of the Psalm that talks about the dwelling place of God. And I think it;s Psalm 84, "My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord." And another Psalm, it says, "To seek His face, your face, Lord, will I seek." It really prompts me to think about my need of his presence continually in my life, as James says, "Come near to God and he will come near to you."
Chris Katulka: Yeah. And what's amazing is that when you actually get the vision in your mind that God's presence was in the temple and in Jerusalem, it gives you that greater appreciation for why people would make that trek to Jerusalem to worship there. Because they knew, David said that he rejoiced when it came to going into the House of the Lord. And those Psalms of God's presence being with his people, you get that sense of rejoicing and joy because you know you're in the presence of God and God's presence is there. And you know what? Sometimes, I think, as Christians, we need to be reminded that that same presence is dwelling with us and we're going to get there too in the Saga.
Steve Conover: Israel, on the verge of becoming a state, a teenaged Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collective writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: The situation in Israel is very tense. There is no peace. Most of the time I am on duty and must patrol the dark streets of Jerusalem on the Arab side. My task is to look for mines and booby traps. Our neighboring Arab countries continually threaten to destroy us. But we're not afraid and trust in the Lord. We must hold on to this land, otherwise, they shall drive us into the sea. The Lord has promised the land to our people, and there is no power on earth that can gainsay the Lord's will. In the meantime, I give my testimony concerning our Messiah and Savior to as many people as possible. I have visited many friends, witnessing to them, because we do not know what the next day will bring.
Last Thursday, I was on patrol in the main street to former Arab Jerusalem. Around three o'clock in the morning, I noticed a group of people coming my way. They were fully dressed in black robes. I thought that they were priests, but when they came close, I realized they were students at an Orthodox Jewish school. Because it was my duty to do so, I stopped them and asked what they were doing out so early in the morning. They answered in unison, "We're going to the West Wall to recite Selichot," penitential prayers, usually recited before New Year and the Day of Atonement. At first, they were frightened. But when they saw that I was an Israeli soldier, they took courage. I asked, "When do you think the temple will be rebuilt?" One of them said, "Only when the Messiah comes will the temple be rebuilt." "And where is the Messiah?" I asked. He answered, "He is already here, but he is waiting to make himself manifest. He will build the temple and all the dead shall rise from the graves."
The leader, who was a rabbi, asked, "What do you think of the Messiah, the Son of David, soldier?" I answered, "The Messiah, the Son of David, has come and is coming again. I know him and many other people know him and have received him as their Messiah and Savior. He laid down his life for our sins and made full atonement for us, according to Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22." They stood there amazed, hearing things that apparently they did not know. The Lord himself put the words into my mouth. Whatever the question, I gave them a scriptural answer.
Usually, Orthodox Jews do not talk to anyone who confesses Jesus as Messiah. But they were most thrilled and impressed by the fact that I was a soldier guarding their safety while they were asleep, or when they go to the Wailing Wall to pray. After I gave them my testimony, I asked, "Do you think I should have the same rights as any other Jewish person here in Israel, or don't I deserve such rights?" The rabbi said, "You have asked a hard question. If all the Jewish Christians were like you, we would have no difficulty at all." Instead of going on to the Wailing Wall, they lingered around me and discussed the Messiah and messianic prophecies until nearly six o'clock in the morning. We hardly realized that the night had passed and the morning had arrived.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for joining us today. Chris, we're not done with the series yet, are we?
Chris Katulka: No, we're not. And you know what? The Jewish people were expecting the glory of God to return, but it's not going to come the way they thought it would. So that's what we're going to be looking at next week.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Jerusalem in Prophecy
Apples of Gold: What Do You Think of the Messiah?
Because of unrest in Jerusalem, soldiers must patrol day and night. As a soldier, Zvi was working the night shift patrolling the main street of former Arab Jerusalem. A group of young students in robes were walking down the street, headed to pray at the Western Wall. As Zvi engaged with them and listened to what they believed, he was able to share how he believed the Messiah had already come and was coming again. Listen and find out how the Holy Spirit moved in this conversation and how these students responded.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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