Sunday, March 01, 2009

Second Temples and Types

Today in church my Biblical Hebrew Scholar friend made several insightful comment about the historical background of Haggai. One part of his comment was that the revelation of Haggai to Zerubbabel was the second time God had commanded the Jews to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

Hag 1: 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.

The first time God had commanded His temple be rebuilt after the captivity was through Ezra during the reign of King Cyrus of Persia.

Ezra 1: 3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

But Ezra was unsuccessful in completing the work of the Temple during the reign of King Cyrus and the days of Ezra. The Samaritans offered to help to build the temple then hindered its progress.

Ezra 4: 4-5 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. . . . Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

However, from Ezra 9 we find out that the it was probably the sin of Israel for intermarrying with the Canaanites and adopting their pagan practices that resulted in their failure. So God gives a second decree to build the temple through King Darius and the prophet Haggai. This time the the Jews are given more freedom to build the temple and the Second Temple of Zerubbabel was completed.

There seems to be a interesting pattern here and with the construction of the first temple. With the first temple, King David was not permitted to build the temple. But that honor was given to King Solomon. Since, many Bible stories are an allegory predicting future events at the time of Christ and the Last Days. King David is a type of Christ and would represent Christ. And the temple which represents Christs body also is synonymous with Christ's Church and Kingdom. If we see the story in this light, the story foretells that Christ would not fully establish His Church and Kingdom in His lifetime, but at a future date. And we know that this is what happened. The Church of Christ fell into apostasy and Christ restored His Church through the prophet Joseph Smith just as Daniel predicts in Dan 2 when he says that God would establish an everlasting kingdom during the days of the kings represented by the feet of iron mixed with clay on the Image (not Roman times but the Last Days).

Dan 2: 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

Again, when the Temple is commanded to be rebuilt by King Cyrus. Ezra is unsuccessful. The reasons for this failure are instructive. But upon the second decree by King Darius, and revelation to Haggai, Zarubbabel is successful and the Lord accept His Holy House. Again, this initial failure represents that the Saints of the Church of Christ would be unsuccessful in establishing the Kingdom of God during the time of Christ, but that the Everlasting Kingdom that Daniel speaks of and the everlasting gospel which John says will be brought by "another angel" would occur after a second decree in the Last Days.

Rev. 14: 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

In addition to applying to the Last Days, these events are an allegory for the time of Christ and have multiple fulfillment. We see that Christ was born during the time of the second temple. And again, if we look to the future, we see this pattern repeat itself with the building of the temple in Jackson County Missouri and Zion. If you read D&C 101, you can read an allegory about the LDS Saint's failure to build the temple in Zion and that this temple and the blessings of Zion would have to wait for a future date and a second decree and commandment from God. And it will again be this Second Temple in Zion where Christ will "suddenly come" during Christ's Second Coming.

D&C 101: 43-50 And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion. A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees; And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard. Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower. And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower? And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace? Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things. And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.

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