Saturday, July 28, 2007

Why the Temple Meant the World to Israel

In my previous post (video clip), Dr. Scott Hahn provides a great understanding of how the ancient Israelites saw the whole world as a temple in Genesis & Book of Exodus. Another great Biblical Scholar of mine, Michael Barber, in his book, Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation (pg 16-17), gives us more information on the connection between the Temple and the World, and relating it to Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 24. . .

“Why did Jesus describe the end of the world when he predicted the destruction of the temple (Mt. 24:1-2)? The answer is connected to the way God ‘writes’ the world.

To ancient Israel, the temple was a miniature model of the world. When Moses built the tabernacle (a mobile temple) and Solomon built the temple itself, they did so in ‘sevens’ – seven days, seven months, and seven years. Why? They imitated the way God created the World in seven days. In fact, the Book of Job describes creation in terms of temple building (Job 38:4-7). The temple is a scale model of the world, and the world is one giant temple.

The temple meant the world to Israel – literally. The temple was the symbol of the world. For Jesus and the people of Israel in His day, then, the destruction of the temple symbolized the end of the world. That is why Jesus’ sermons on the end of the world are always given in the context of a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple.

And Jesus was true to His words. In AD 70, about forty years after He ascended back into heaven, Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed. With this event, the ritual order of the Old Testament came to a definitive end. The temple sacrifice and the Old Testament priesthood were no longer possible. Jesus was right – the end came within one generation (Greek word, ‘gene’ refers to a period of 40 years) {Mt. 24:34}.

Furthermore, Christians heeded Jesus’ warning: “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart” (Lk. 21:21). The early Christians escaped from Jerusalem and fled to Pella just before the Roman legions arrived to besiege Jerusalem. Not a single Christian perished.
Moreover, Jesus’ warning to flee Jerusalem can also be understood spiritually as an admonishment to abandon the obsolete temple sacrifices. Now that He has come and has offered Himself as our sacrifice, there is no longer the need for the Levitical system of priestly sacrifice. Jesus is saying, “Don’t be attached to it, but flee!””

[1] Matthew 24:1-2
[2] Job 38:4-7
[3] Michael Barber, Author of Comming Soon. Unlocking the Book of Revelations

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Scott Hahn: Eucharistic Kingdom

Scott Hahn on Reading Genesis, 'Liturgically.'

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Roman Ecclesiology and Protestants: By Taylor Marshall

Former Protestant Taylor Marshall, over at Canterbury Tales, clears up a lot of confusion surrounding the recent document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the status of Protestant denominations.

Please take a moment and read it here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The word "humility' derives from the Latin word for dirt, humas. This tells us something about the quality of lowliness inherent in humility for what could be lowlier than the ground beneath one’s feet?

Humility is the virtue by which we acknowledge our own limitations and imperfections knowing that God, our loving father, is the Creator and Author of all life. It allows us to freely submit ourselves to Him without pride and in willing service to others.

Here are just a few of the many Scriptural teachings on the beauty and importance of the virtue of humility:

Matthew 8:8 “The centurion answered him, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word and my servant will be healed.’”

Matthew 23:11-12 “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

James 4:6, 10 “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. . (therefore) Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.”

One final verse to ponder is Luke 18:13² , which contains one of the most simple, heartfelt and humble statements of trust in the Lord,
“God, be merciful to me a sinner!”³

[1:a] Matthew 8:8
[1:b] Matthew 23:11-12
[1:c] James 4:6, 10
[2] Luke 18:13
[3] Patrick Madrid, author of 'Where is That in the Bible?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Historical Study

Most people come to find that the New Testament documents afford little historical information about the apostles and the early years of the Church. The details of Peter’s life, especially his later life, are sketchy, for no detailed record has been passed down through the centuries. Luke, on the other hand, one of Paul’s traveling companions, wrote an account of Jesus’ life and also chronicled select portions of Paul’s ministry. Even with Paul’s life, there are long periods of activity about which we are told nothing. Take, for example, the fourteen year period before his return to Jerusalem after his conversion (Gal 2:1)¹, or his two years of house arrest in Rome, or his trip to Spain, or his second journey to Rome, or, of course, his martyrdom. We have precious little information about the other apostles after the day of Pentecost.

To illustrate the point further, what do we know with certainty from the Scriptures, about the life and ministry of Thomas, who preached in India, Matthew, who traveled widely, or John, who cared for the Blessed Virgin Mary and oversaw the Churches of Asia? And what of Bartholomew, Philip, Andrew, Matthias, or James the son of Alphaeus? What happened to Lazarus, Jesus’ friend? The New Testament documents afford little historical information about the apostles and the early years of the Church. And consider the whole twelve chapters of Acts cover a whole decade!

The apostles were too busy making history to write about it. Most of the New Testament were written, not to give us a detailed account of the early Church or a manual for Church polity, but to defend the fledgling gospel, to correct a faulty practice, or to commend or rebuke local Churches. Luke informs Theophilus that he compiled his Gospel “so that you [Theophilus] might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Lk 1:4)². Those who accept the doctrine of sola Spriptura and have the attitude that nothing can be known, and nothing matters, outside the text of the New Testament are deprived of much understanding and knowledge about the continuing work of the Holy Spirit among Christ’s flock.

We cannot assume that the silence of the New Testament is an indication that the seldom-mentioned apostles ceased their apostolic ministries after the Ascension of Christ, or that they were not important in the first century and beyond. Of course not. Again, the New Testament was never intended as a complete history of, or manual for, the primitive Church. The Church herself has kept the tradition of the apostles alive and intact, and she has pondered and celebrated it through the centuries.³

[1] Luke 1:4
[2] Galations 2:1
[3] Stephen K. Ray, Author of Upon This Rock

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Great Oath

We read in the Book of Genesis that God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh. God accomplished His creation and revealed it to us in a particular way. He did so, however, not for His own sake, but for ours. God gained nothing by stretching the effort into six days of narrative time; nor was He refreshed by taking the seventh day off. The seven days of Genesis are intended to signify something about God, the cosmos, and their relationship. What God seems to be doing here on the seventh day, is not resting, but binding Himself to His creation in a perpetual covenant relationship. By blessing the seventh day, God swore a covenant to His world. He is Father to a Family. That action represents the covenant relationship that He established with his creation.

It is no accident that God “hallowed” the seventh day(Gen2:2)¹. The Hebrew word for the number seven, sheva, evokes a wealth of intended meaning. Sheva is the root of the word saba, which means “fullness and completion.” The earth was full and creation complete on the seventh day. At the other end of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, we find an abundance of sevens signifying the end of the world—history come to its completion. But the word sheva has a still closer kinship with another word: Shava is the verb for swearing a covenant oath. Its literal meaing is “to seven oneself.” The verb for swearing a covenant is built upon the number seven.²

[1] Genesis 2:2
[2] Scott Hahn, Author of Swear to God