Summary Lesson 18: “Establish… A House Of God”
- Entire Encampment of Israel Was a “City Temple:” (Apparently it will be that way again when the Lord returns to Jerusalem): “In pre-Temple times . . . anyone who was tameh (unclean) was forced to go outside the marked boundaries and was forbidden to return until he had completed the purification ritual.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Washing and Temples: The call to go to the temple includes, “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart.” (Psalm 24-1-3) Since the Jews don’t have a temple, they use the meal table as a substitute “altar,” washing hands before every prayer at the beginning and ending of each meal. That is why kosher hotels have a basin and naturally flowing water at the entrances of each dining room.
- “Knocking” and Curtains: At the Western (Wailing) Wall, young Bar Mitzvah lads, anxious to open the ark to retrieve the scroll can be told, “Be polite; first you knock, then pull the curtain aside and only then take the scroll.” The center of the Lord’s house (or city) was curtained because of its sacredness, a courtyard where we could converse with the Lord. We long for the time when we can “dwell in thy courts” (Psalm 65:4), and be “shielded,” safe from the imbalance of the world around us. (Psalm 84).
- Nails in a Sure Place: In Jerusalem, there have been many nails pounded into the old Western (Wailing) Wall, a remnant of the last known Jewish Temple. That remind us of a practice Jews had until just over a hundred years ago. The late Rabbi Yeduh Goetz said, “They would ‘nail their sins in a sure place’ and then get on with life.” “In that day . . . shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 22:21-25)
- Major Events on Biblical Holidays: The dedication of the Kirtland temple culminated with the remarkable visits of Elijah and Moses at Passover, (the first full moon after the first day of spring). Jews are still waiting for them to return. The late Apostle LeGrand Richards once remarked when he saw two decorated chairs fastened to the wall of a synagogue reserved for Elijah and Moses, “Get them down, they’ve already been here!”
- Festivals and Feasting: “Festival” comes from feasting the sacrificial emblems that came from the temple. A festive meal is always a part of a Jewish wedding, in part a connection to the temple. “With the destruction of the Second Temple sacrifices were no longer made. It was then said: ‘Now that there is no altar, a man’s table . . . takes the place of the sacrifices’ . . . persons should engage in a discussion of Torah . . . ‘as though they had eaten at the table of God.'” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Jerusalem, a Temple City: “John the Revelator saw the day . . . the presence of the Father and the Son in the New Jerusalem would take the place of the temple, for the whole city, due to their presence, would become a temple.” (Doctrines of Salvation Joseph Fielding Smith Vol.2, Pg.244)
- Jewish Custom Linking Death and Temples: Small stones are still placed on Jewish graves as reminders of the stone-built temple and an innate desire to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Apparently, it was and will be made with stone – and the Rock of Salvation will come to that temple!
- Home as Part of the Temple: Our homes can become the “temple” model of the Lord’s house. May our feet “stand within thy gates.” (Psalm 122, 134).