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19. Enter the Most Holy Place (1)

Last week we had a look at the three sections of the Temple, namely the outer court, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. And we concluded that God wants all His children to reside in the Most Holy Place. He wants all His children to live and breathe in His presence in the Most Holy Place.

And this morning the Lord showed me that there is another way to look at the three sections of the Temple too. The other lesson He wants us to learn from it (I think there are MANY lessons, but for now let us focus on those the Lord places on my heart), is that it represents the three parts of us, namely our spirit, soul and body.

The Bible declares in a number of places that we do have a spirit, soul and body. I will just quote one scripture today:

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23

We consist of a spirit, soul and body. I explain this in my new book 'God's Answer' in more detail and how it works. But for now, just know that you have a body (that is obvious J), a soul (your mind, will and emotions) and you have a spirit who can connect with God.

Your spirit is the part of us who can communicate with God, because God is Spirit too. All people have spirits, but when your connection with God is severed (unbelievers) then your spirit feels dead within you. That is why most unbelievers give themselves over to either drugs, smoking, alcohol, work, meditation etc. to make themselves feel better. But the only true solution is to restore your spirit's connection with God. This happens when you accept Jesus into your life. Your spirit is born again and reconnected with God. And therefore your spirit is the part of you represented by the Most Holy Place, the area of the Temple where God dwelt.

Your soul is the part represented by the Holy Place. In the Holy Place you can learn a lot about God. You can read the Bible and you can go to church and you can sing Christian songs etc. and all of this is wonderful and good. And of course your soul can also linger on worldly things, focused on the news, films, newspapers, magazines etc. Now this is not bad in itself, but if it overshadows the amount of Godly input your soul gets, it will be detrimental to your spiritual life.

Then the outer court represents your body. Your body is the part that everyone can see and experience. This was also the part of the Temple the ordinary people could see, they were never allowed inside the Temple as we've seen last week.

Now interestingly the outer court didn't have any gold and the utensils used didn't have any gold in them either. In the Holy Place the items used there were overlaid with gold, and in the Most Holy Place the mercy seat were one solid lid of gold. Thus the intensity of gold used increased the deeper one entered into the Temple. In other words, the revelation (gold) and the presence of God increased the deeper one went into the Temple. And therefore we can come to the conclusion, that it was more important to God what went on in the Most Holy Place than in any other area of the Temple. That was where He forgave the sins of the whole nation when the High Priest presented the offering on behalf of them all once a year and this was where He could fellowship with them.

Now I can probably write another book on this topic, but I think I will stop for now. The point is this: On what part of you are you spending most of your time. Is your outward appearance more important to you than what goes on inside your Temple? And once you are in the Holy Place, what are you thinking about? What do you allow to enter into your soul? What keeps your mind busy? Do you ever enter into the Most Holy Place? Remember time spent at church and reading the Bible falls under the Holy Place section. So I will ask again, do you ever enter into the Most Holy Place? Do you make time to just spend with God? In His presence, just soaking in all of His love and leaving all your problems safely with Him? I sincerely hope that you do. It was certainly a wakeup call for me years ago when I realized that I never spent time in the Most Holy Place. I thought going to church and reading the Bible was enough. But with Jesus' death the curtain was torn between the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place and it was done for a reason. God wants us there. He wants our spirit to communicate with His and He wants our spirit to rule over our soul and our bodies, because once it does, life and life in abundance will be ours.

"For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:13

Father thank you that Jesus opened up the way so that our spirits can once again reconnect with Yours. We are so grateful. Father we are sorry that we don't spend enough time in the Most Holy Place. We want to, because You are there in all Your fullness. And we know that the more time we spend with You, the more Your life will bubble on the inside of us out to all the others. Only then can we truly influence them for Your Kingdom. Amen

18. Experience God on a deeper level

Today I want to start with the second section of our series on the Temple of God. As we have seen we are the Temple of God now. And in order for us to understand the deeper meaning of what it entails to be His Temple I would like us to have a deeper look at the symbolic meaning of the Temple that Solomon built. For the next couple of weeks I want us to delve deeper into the symbolism engrossed in the whole set up of the Temple. I hope you are as excited as I am, as there are many things we can learn from that.

So let us start today by looking at the whole layout of the Temple. The Temple was laid out in three different sections if we can call it that. The first area was the outer court. In that area was the altar used for the burning of sacrifices. There was also the bronze sea that the priests used to wash in. And on the sides of the Temple were ten water carts and basins for washing the sacrifices. We will have a look at the symbolism of each of these items. But for now, know that anyone could be in this section of the Temple. All priests could work there and the people could also come there to offer their sacrifices.

Then we have the Holy Place where the priests served God. Inside the Holy Place was the golden table of showbread with twelve breads there, one representing each tribe. Then there were five golden lampstand (menorahs) on the north side and five on the south side. There was also the golden altar of incense. Now here in the Holy Place only a limited number of priests could enter and only after casting lots as to whose turn it is. It was truly a holy place and couldn't be defiled by anyone. It was a privilege to enter into the Holy Place and serve the Lord there.

Then we come to the Most Holy Place. Inside was the ark of the Lord and standing guard over the ark were golden cherubim, their wings extending from wall to wall of the Most Holy Place. Here only the High Priest could enter and only once a year on the Day of Atonement, when he took the blood of the sacrificed animal and laid it on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of the people.

I truly believe that all symbolism in the Bible is there for us to learn from. So what we can learn from these three sections are the following:

Today we can also operate in the spiritual realm in one of these three sections. The choice is ours. We can stay with most Christians in the outer court. We need to sacrifice some of our time, our efforts, our behavior etc., but not a lot is expected of us. We can actually pretty much continue with our lives as is. Not many will raise an eyebrow at our behavior. And if we do step over the line a bit, we can pray and accept God's forgiveness for us. It is a convenient way of being a Christian, and that is why soooo many Christians are stuck here. Unfortunately here God cannot trust you with more and He cannot reveal more of Himself to you. It is only when you dig deeper that you will find Him.

So in the Holy Place God's presence is tangible. You are enveloped with His Holy Spirit (signified by the menorahs) and your prayers go up as incense unto the Lord. Your behavior starts to change and things that never bothered you before starts to bother you now. You don't want to continue as you were before. You start to ask questions about the Bible and you want to know God more. And as you seek God with all of your heart and all of your soul, you will enter into the Most Holy Place.

In the Most Holy Place God is everywhere. He consumes you; He takes you higher than you ever dreamed of. You don't really pray anymore as you are one with Him, you have a relationship far extended above this world. He leads you unto new heights and a deeper understanding of who He truly is. You start seeing miracles and you walk hand in hand with Him. He breathes His life into you and the abundance of the life He promised you start to manifest. You walk on clouds no matter what happens outside of the Temple. You are not stressed anymore; you are content and deeply loved. The noise of this world fades away and all that you hear is His Voice gently whispering your name. You are cherished and ready for where He wants to send you.

May we all strive for more. May we never be content just to be in the outer court. May we all hunger for a deeper revelation of Him. He has given us everything. With Jesus' death the curtain in front of the Most Holy Place was torn to give us all access. We simply need to go in. He is patiently waiting for us to come. Turn away from the lure of this world, and seek His Kingdom above all else. Then and only then can true contentment come!

Father thank you so much that You opened up the way for us. Thank you that we CAN come into the Most Holy Place at any time. Father, we are sorry that You have to wait for us as we run around satisfying a world that will be gone tomorrow. We rejoice in Your patience and that You are always there waiting for us! Hallelujah! Amen

17. Be different

Last week we had a look at the seventh and last Temple mentioned in the Bible, us. We are God's Temple now. And therefore we should be proud to be God's Temple. And I am not meaning being sinfully proud, but that we need to be proud that we have been chosen to be His Temple now. We need to treat our bodies with the utmost respect and we should walk around presenting God's Shekinah glory to the world. We are His representatives on earth now and we need to display His glory and love for all to see. You also need to have the joy of the Lord within you because God is with you, every single moment of every day. Realize that everywhere you go, you are the Temple and therefore you shouldn't be seen participating in sinful practices as this is detrimental to the Temple that you are. The world looks with skeptical eyes at you if you proclaim to be a Christian. And therefore when you participate in the drinking party, if you are the first to gossip, if you speak negatively just like all the others, if you cheat on your taxes, they see it and are pushed away from God. Because you are no different than them. The world needs people who are real, people who will stand up for what is right, people that will stand firm in what they believe in no matter the circumstances surrounding them. If Christians can do that, they will lure people to God and fulfill their life's purpose in the process. And when you fulfill your life's purpose, you will feel God's peace; joy and grace descend upon you like a mighty waterfall. What more could you want from life?

Just interestingly I would like to end of this first section of our Temple series by showing you the last time that a Temple is mentioned in the Bible. It is in Revelation. John is taken and showed a vision of the unfolding of future events. And at the end of the vision he is shown the new, holy Jerusalem. The earth is destroyed and a new city descends from heaven where we all will live with the Lord forever and ever. And here he noticed something interesting:

"But I saw no Temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of the Lord illuminated it. The Lamb is its light." Revelation 21:22, 23

In the New Jerusalem, our ultimate home, there will be no more Temples. God will be the Temple; He will be our light, our everything. We won't be the Temple anymore. Why? Because there will be no more people to lead to the Lord. All who ever believed in Him will already live in the New Jerusalem. Our roles won't be to lead people to God anymore. We will be assigned new roles, specifically tailored for us. I am really looking forward to that. Eternity with our Maker, our Lord and Savior! With peace, love and joy our constant companions, doing what we love doing, doing what we were created to do!

But for now, let us shine and be the Temple of God to the lost, luring them closer to their destiny. God loves all people, and if He is our Father, we will love who He loves. And we will do our utmost best to lure them knowing that He will help us every step of the way.

Father we look forward to eternity with You. We look forward to the specific role that You want us to play there. But thank you for the current roles that we know we need to play as Your Temple right where we are. Please give us the courage to stand up when we must, to speak up when we should and to stay quiet when the time calls for it. We love You and worship You as our everlasting Father! Amen


16. Walk worthy of your calling

Last week we had a look at the Heavenly temple of God. It is the sixth Temple mentioned in the Bible. The Temple built in Jerusalem was a replica of the Heavenly Temple. Jesus took His precious blood and sprinkled it on the Mercy seat in Heaven, atoning for our sins. He paved the way for us so that we can always enter into His presence.

This week we will discuss the seventh and last Temple mentioned in the Bible. And that is us. The Bible tells us clearly that we are now the Temple of God. He dwells in us now. Let us have a look at a couple of Scriptures confirming this:

"Or do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor 6:19

"For you are the Temple of the living God." 2 Cor 6:16

"…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:4-5

We are therefore God's Temple today and there are wonderful symbolism locked in it which I will share in the next couple of weeks with you, but what I want you to realize today is that our Temple needs to be built by the Spirit and not by our own effort. We've seen how wonderfully everything works together when it is within God's will as the first two Temples. God will provide, He will create avenues for you, He will cause your enemies to look favorably upon you, He will give you the strength and His mighty hand will be upon you. But if it is not His Will, and if you are building your temple in your own strength, the glory of the Lord will not descend upon you and success will not follow you. You need to follow His Spirit, only then will His Shekinah Glory descend upon you, only then will you find peace in the Holy of Holies, only then will your relationship with God grow. He has to be your everything. Protect your temple from the onslaughts of the evil one.

You are the Temple, to portrait God's glory to the world. You are the one that is supposed to lure people to God. You are His 'face' here on earth, His representative in every way. As you've seen these past couple of weeks, God's Temples were glorious! A sight to behold. A sense of awe and wonder filled all those who saw His Temple. His Temple lured people to come and have a look, to come and learn more of Who He is. And today as His Temple, He wants people to look at you with awe and wonder. He wants people to see something special in you. We all are special, but we need to allow His Spirit to shine through us for all to see. Therefore look after your Temple. Do not allow vulgar jokes, negativity, gossip or anything inappropriate proceed from your mouth. You need to be an example. You need to look after yourself and be presentable. We are not all rich, but we can all look neat and presentable at all times. That is how you lure people closer, how you draw them into the Kingdom of God. At the end of the day, your sole purpose in life is to spread the Gospel and to spread the Kingdom of God. God has a different way for each of us to do it, but our main purpose remains the same.

We will discuss your Temple in detail over the next few weeks. But for now stand tall, knowing who you are in Him. Knowing how incredibly special you are. When you walk with the fullness of Him inside of you, your steps will be directed, your ways made smooth and your peace will multiply as you fulfill your destiny in life.

Father thank you for regarding us worthy to be Your vessels. Thank you that You made Your home in us. We know that You are proud of us already, and today we want to walk in the confidence that You have in us. Hallelujah! We want to walk worthy as good and faithful sons of God! You are amazing. We love You. Amen


15. Spend time in His presence

Last time we had a look at the magnificent fifth Temple that we find in the Bible. It will be Jesus' Temple in the Millennium. During that period of time He will rule on the earth from Jerusalem. The Temple is discussed in detail in Ezekiel 40-48, it is really worth the read. It will fill you with awe of the mighty God we serve. Your current problems will fade in comparison of what lies ahead for us all.

Now this week I want us to have a look at the sixth Temple mentioned in the Bible. And that is God's Temple in Heaven. Remember when God told Moses to build the Tabernacle, He said that he must build it according to the design that He showed him in Heaven. That design was God's Temple that Moses saw in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5). There are also a number of Scriptures confirming that God has a Temple in Heaven. Let us have a look at a couple of them:

"We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected and not man." Hebrews 8:1, 2

"Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are true copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Hebrews 9:23, 24

"Then the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His Temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake and great hail." Revelation 11:19

"Then another angel came out of the Temple which is in Heaven, he also having a sharp sickle." Revelation 14:17

"After these things I looked and behold, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the testimony in Heaven was opened." Revelation 15:5

I hope I have convinced you that there is a Temple in Heaven. This is the Temple where Jesus took His blood. Remember when He appeared to Mary after His resurrection, He told her not to touch Him, because He needed to ascend to His Father first. Why couldn't she touch Him? He still had to take His blood into the Most Holy Place. And the next time when He appeared to someone it was to His disciples. And this time they could touch Him. Why? Because He had taken His blood to the Mercy seat, where it cries out day and night for our salvation.

He was the perfect offering, so perfect! And today His blood atones for us day and night in the presence of our Father. And that is why we can come with boldness to Him. We can enter into the Most Holy place because of His perfect, sinless blood. In the Old Testament only the High Priest could and only once a year on the Day of Atonement. But now we can enter, every day, the whole day if we want to. The sad part is that we are often times too busy. We are so rushed that we never make the time. We say quick prayers and think that that is enough. It is not. Jesus opened the way for you and me with His expensive, precious blood. He paved the way that we can have entry into the most sacred place in the Universe. Do you not think that it deserves your time? I promise you that if you will make the time to enter into His presence, everything you do that day will be so much more efficient and effective. I have noticed that when I make time for God, time to be in His presence, the rest of the day's events fall into place. And the days where I don't make time, everything takes so much longer to be done and the effectiveness also lags behind.

Make time to come into His presence. See His awesome wonder and experience His goodness. You cannot remain the same. Come to a point where you can remain in His presence, even though you are sitting in a board meeting. It is possible and God's dream for all of us. He wants us so full of Him that He will manifest everywhere that we go. Come and give Him your time. Breathe Him in and meditate on His Word and see how He transforms your life in every aspect. All glory on High!!

O Father, You are so infinitely wonderful, worthy to be praised forever and ever! In Your presence is all that we can ever dream of. In Your presence is true love and grace unending. We love You so very much. Amen




14. Look forward to what lies ahead (1)

Last week we had a look at the fourth Temple of God. It is the Temple that will be rebuilt before the Tribulation period begins. The Jews will sacrifice there again, but then the Anti-Christ will come and exalt himself in the Temple. He will force them to start to worship him instead of God. At the end of the day the Temple will also be destroyed when Jesus and His army comes to destroy the Anti-Christ and his forces. Then Jesus will lock the devil up for a thousand years and then He will reign on earth for a millennium. And I believe this is where the Temple prophesied by Ezekiel comes in. I call it the fifth Temple.

In Ezekiel 40-48 he prophecies about a Temple that has to be built. The specifications are very specific and direct. It is clearly an earthly Temple, with all the dimensions and details given. When and where will this temple be rebuilt? No one knows exactly, there is a lot of speculation. But it will be the biggest and most beautiful of all the Temples thus far. I personally believe that it will be Jesus' Temple when He returns to earth. He will govern from there during His millennium reign on earth. Look at these interesting verses. These verses were written with the millennium context in mind:

"In that day 'HOLINESS TO THE LORD' shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 14:20, 21.

"All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaoith shall minister to you; they shall descend with acceptance on My altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My Sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious." Isaiah 60:7, 13

So according to these verses there is clearly going to be a Temple during the millennium period. And God Himself will glorify the house of His glory. This Temple will be filled with God's glory, the first time since His glory entered Solomon's Temple and God declares that He will remain there forever:

"The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. And He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever." Ezekiel 43:5, 7

"…and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE." Ezekiel 48:35

The Temple Ezekiel prophesied about is going to be magnificent. And God will be there in His Shekinah glory, with the soles of His feet resting there. He will sit on His throne and rule over the earth for a thousand years. How glorifying that will be! How wonderful to behold!

Reading these prophecies makes me very excited. Go and read Ezekiel 40-48 for yourself and see the magnificence of this Temple in your mind's eye and see Jesus ruling from there. See Him in all His glory reigning over the earth as the supreme King over all! Then you cannot help but look at your current circumstances with different eyes. When I read this, my current problems look so small; it pales in comparison to the glory and honor that lies ahead. This world and all its problems and lusts will fade away and only what was done for the honor of His Kingdom will last. When I read these prophecies God is magnified in my eyes and I see how great He is. I cannot help but feel lifted up. I feel part of His royal family and I rejoice for what lies ahead, no matter what is happening on earth at the moment. I rejoice that I am part of the greater scheme of things, so much bigger than I am. It excites me and lifts my spirit, looking forward to what lies ahead!

Father thank you so much that we are part of Your bigger plan for this earth. No matter what we are facing, we are part of Your Kingdom now already. We glorify Your Name and look forward to the physical manifestation of it all! Amen


13. Stay in God's presence

Last week we saw how Herod rebuilt the Temple in order to glorify himself. He wanted to exalt his own name and he even built courts for different classes of people, segregating them from sacrificing and worshipping God. God wasn't impressed and in 70 AD the Temple was totally destroyed by the Romans. And since then the Jews didn't have a Temple.

Only in 1948 did the Jews return to their land as rulers. They desperately wanted to rebuild the Temple on the same site. Unfortunately the Dome of the rock stood on the site where the Temple were. They cannot destroy the Dome without invoking a Muslim war, so they are stuck. They want to build it on the original site. Some scholars believe that the Dome is only standing on the area called 'the court of the Gentiles' and thus the Temple can be built right next to the Dome, because Rev 11:1,2 says the court of the Gentiles should not be measured.

How it will be rebuilt, we do not know, but the Bible tells us clearly that there will be another Temple in the Tribulation period. I therefore call this Temple the fourth Temple. Let us look at a couple of Scriptures:

"Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the Temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the Temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months." Revelation 11:1, 2

"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." Matthew 24:15, 16

"…for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4

And so I can go on with text verses, but all these verses has to do with the end times and all these verses refer to a physical Temple being there. So somewhere in the near future the Temple will be rebuilt. So whenever you hear that the Temple is being rebuilt, know that the end is near. When we were in Israel, they told us about a group of Jews already preparing for the rebuilding. They showed us the menorah already made of gold ready to be put in the Temple. They have also prepared the table of showbread, the garment of the High Priest etc. It is actually very exciting when you see it all. They are getting everything ready so that there won't be any delay when the Temple is built.

Another interesting thing to note is that God is also not mentioned as helping with this Temple, or living in this Temple. The Jews will rebuild the Temple to continue with their sacrifices, but as we all know, Jesus came as our Sacrifice once and for all, therefore these sacrifices are done out of religion and not because God commanded them to. A Temple built without God is no temple at all. God makes the Temple, the Temple. Only His presence.

Without God's presence in any area in our lives, it is hollow and meaningless. Only God's presence brings meaning and power. Only His presence allows things to work out for your good. His presence is holy, filled with grace and power. Walk in His shadow, in His presence and experience His unearned favor, His grace in your life.

Father we look forward to see the world's events unfolding. We look forward to see Your mighty hand working. We want to stay close to Your presence and walk in Your grace and love. Thank you very much that Jesus made all of this possible for us. We praise Your mighty Name. Amen


12. There is no more segregation in Christ

Herod wanted to exalt himself and leave a legacy behind of his greatness. And as part of his construction projects, he rebuilt the Temple of God. He made it bigger and much more imposing than it really was. This didn't please God as we saw last week, because it was all to the glory of men and not to the glory of God.

The Temple was more imposing and magnificent, but basically the layout was the same. However Herod added different courts. A court of the Gentiles were added, then the court of the women, then the court for Jewish men, then the court for the priests, then the Holy Place and the Most Holy place. And between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place a curtain was placed, as it was in the other two Temples.

Now these different courts added were very interesting to me, as the other two temples never had that. God never instructed them to build different courts for different people. And therefore it is my opinion that God never wanted the segregation. God wanted everyone to freely approach His Temple and pray there. He wanted them to be able to sacrifice and worship together. Yet these different courts and segregation between people crept in.

Today still God doesn't want segregation. God loves all people, whether you are black, white, Indian, female or male, He loves all. And He doesn't want us to see different classes of people either. All are special and loved by Him. And with the death of Jesus, we all became sons of God, part of Jesus' body and therefore equal in every aspect:

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28

As we've seen in the Kingdom of God series, we are one in spirit with Jesus. When we accepted Him as our Savior, we were born again and baptized into His body. Our newly born spirit and His Spirit became one. And therefore in the spirit, there is no segregation. There is no male or female, rich or poor, or even ethnic groups, we are all one and the same in the spirit. In God's eyes we are as His Son is, perfect in every way.

This verse helped me a lot, as I believe that I am called to preach His Word to males and females alike, to all ethnic groups. Now some denominations believe that females cannot preach to males, but this text verse set me free. As it clearly states that in Christ I am one spirit with Him, and because I am, He is the one preaching through me and I am only the vessel. And therefore my sex or race doesn't matter; it is Him working through me. And today I want you all to realize that and to look beyond what you can see in the physical. Everyone that accepted Jesus is one and the same. We are filled with Him and His goodness. And therefore we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We shouldn't treat one another differently, we are all His beloved children and we should act that way. It grieves God to see His children racially divided. He doesn't want that. He rather wants us to work together for the good of all, no matter your race or sex. He wants us to build His Kingdom and to be an example to the world in order to draw them closer as well. God has a special plan for you, walk in that and take hands with those alongside you. Collectively we can accomplish so much more than we can on an individual basis.

Father thank you for brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us to walk hand and hand to grow Your Kingdom. We don't want to listen to the world and all its lies, we rather want to listen to You and work together with our spiritual family to draw others closer to You. Please help us accomplish that. In Jesus' Name. Amen


11. Build your Temple on the right foundation

Last week we finished discussing the second Temple and we concluded that the second Temple was merely used for religious activities. The religious leaders followed the Torah to the tee, but their hearts were far away from God. They didn't follow all the rules to draw closer to Him. They rather followed it to receive acclaim from people and to get rich.

They used this Temple until +- 20 BC. Then Herod started to rebuild it into something magnificent, much larger than the other two with open paved areas known as different courts. The Temple was totally transformed and that is why I call it the Third Temple.

Herod was interested in perpetuating his name for all eternity through construction projects and by rebuilding the Temple he hoped to find favor with the Jews. During this project the daily sacrifices and rituals could continue as per normal. The reconstruction took 46 years according to the Jewish leaders to complete (John 2:20).

This Temple was finished in 26AD, but destroyed in 70 AD by Titus. Interestingly to note, God is nowhere to be mentioned in the reconstruction of the Temple. No special mention is made of how God helped them. This Temple was rebuilt by the might of men and to the glory of men. Herod wanted to show how great he was not how great God was. He rebuilt the Temple in order to exalt himself. He wanted all the praise.

There is therefore no mention of God's Shekinah glory occupying the Temple. God didn't approve of this Temple. It wasn't what He wanted. He wanted the hearts of the people. He didn't want them to become proud and praise and worship the Temple more than they praised Him.

Today we must also make sure that we are not building a 'third' Temple in our lives that God doesn't approve of. Many times we want to do something, and without realizing it, it might be to exalt ourselves, it might be to further our career, it might be to 'help' our children excel at school. Whatever the case may be, make sure that you are building on the foundation laid by Jesus Christ! Make sure that you are building your 'house' on the Rock, Jesus Christ. And not on sand that won't stand the test of time.

The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD never to be rebuilt again. Why? Because God wasn't honored there. Make sure that whatever you are busy with honors God. Make sure that He is the One receiving the glory. Make His Kingdom your primary concern, and then all other things will be added unto you.

Jesus said He can rebuild this spectacular new Temple in 3 days. He was actually saying that the era of a physical Temple was coming to an end (John 2:19). Without running too far ahead, just know that we are living in the 'no Temple' era. As we are the Temple of God now. We are the ones in which the Shekinah glory of God resides. But I will come to that in the next couple of weeks. For now, just make sure that your Temple exalts God, that your Temple brings you closer to Him. That is all He wants, a relationship. Christ died so that we can have one. Praise His Name!! May we all rejoice in the wonder of His amazing grace.

Father thank you for Your amazing grace. Thank you for looking out for us. We love You dearly. Please show us clearly if we are building Temples on shaky foundations and give us the courage to tear it down and rather to build our Temples on our Rock, Jesus Christ. Amen

10. Beware of religious activities

The Jews rebuilt the Temple of God and dedicated it to Him as we've seen last week. They rejoiced and were glad that they had a Temple again to worship God in. Unfortunately the backsliding of the Jews continued. They never truly worshiped God as they were supposed to. They never truly loved Him and Him alone with all of their hearts. God became 'quiet' and didn't speak to them for 400 years. The gap between the last prophet in the Bible, 'Malachi' and when Jesus came was about 400 years. No recording of any interaction between God and the Jews were accounted for in the Bible.

Now as far as the Temple is concerned, the Jews continued with their sacrifices. The Pharisees made sure of that. But it was empty and hollow, it was simply rituals. Their hearts were far away from God. The sacrifices were more a display of power by the Pharisees as well as a way to make money. The whole Temple area and everything it entailed was more about the pride and the political status of the religious leaders of the day, than about God.

That is why Jesus became so angry at the Temple:

"When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" John 2:15, 16

Jesus knew what they were doing, He knew their hearts were hardened and that made Him very angry. Instead of the sacrifices at the Temple drawing them closer to God, it drove them further away.

"You do not delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart." Psalm 51:16, 17

God wanted them to have a change of heart. He wanted them to reach out to Him, repent of their sin and draw near to Him. But at this moment, it was just a ritual to them, just a way to display power and to make money. It was so sad and it made Jesus very angry.

Today we must also beware of rituals. Religious rituals without the substance of drawing us closer to God are empty and worthless. Beware of getting trapped into rituals without really focusing on what you are doing. For example it has happened in churches that I attended that they call out a fast for example. And they play on your emotions to join them, but for most it will only be a ritual. They will merely go through the motions without truly focusing on God. Or how many times have you prayed a rhyme before you eat without even truly thinking of what you are saying? It is merely a ritual, something you have been doing from childhood.

God doesn't want us to become trapped in religious activities. Of course it is great to pray before you eat and it is wonderful to fast, but if you are simply going through the motions, you are lukewarm and God doesn't want lukewarm Christians. I have fallen into this trap a number of times, only to feel empty inside and hating every minute of the fast. I have also prayed before I eat without even thinking about it, numerous times! And at the end, I feel sad and far away from God.

God wants US. Our actions will flow once we live in His presence. But first and foremost, He wants us close to Him. Only then will we start to do the things He wants us to do. He wants us to do good and to reach out to others, but make sure that He leads you and helps you on your way. In your own strength you might just burn out and hate all the 'good work' that you are doing for Him. Or even worse, expect from Him to bless you because of all the 'good work' that you have done….. It is not about you, but about Him and glorifying Him at all times! It is about drawing close to Him and walking in His love.

Father, we are sorry that we get trapped in religious activities. You only want our hearts. Lead us into all Your ways and show us the way to walk. Teach us how to walk in Your footsteps. We desire to make You proud of us. Amen