Temples: Jewish and LDS

New word for the week: todah raba – thank you very much!  This is polite phraseology.
This week’s email concerns a part of the history of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem (yeru
shalom= peace of the Messiah). Hebrew for temple: Beit  (bay eet) Ha Mikdash (House of the holy place, sanctuary).
When Solomon built the First temple almost 3,000 years ago, it was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. This was a place provided by David, his father. (2 Chron 3:1, Gen 22:1-18).
 It was built in the walled in area in the southeastern corner of the Old City of Jerusalem during the first century a.d.  the shape resembled a trapezoid. It’s walls were built around Mount Moriah, the site traditionally believed to be the location where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice, and where the two Jewish temples were located. The Ark of the Covenant containing the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments lay in that chest.
The Second Temple Period began construction in 516 b.c., during the reign of King Herod.  Jerusalem had grown enormously. It was surrounded by walls with many towers. During a.d. 70 the temple and the Upper City were destroyed by the Romans.
The O.T. (really the First Testament) book of Lamentations is a collection of anguished poetic laments for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 587 b.c. by the Babylonians.
The prophet Ezekiel told of a third temple that would be erected someday. In chapter 40 we read the description of his vision of Jerusalem restored in great detail.
The Jewish holiday of Chanukah celebrates the reclaiming and rededication of the  Second temple during the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Emplre. It is not a national holiday in Israel but is generally celebrated there anyway, Jews do not believe they have a temple in these days, but they do expect Ezekiel’s vision to be realized when their Mashiach (Messiah) is one day recognized as their prophesied ruler.
Why are temples so important?  Because of the ordinances performed there. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available to Heavenly Father’s children. These ordinances prepare us to live forever with Heavenly Father and our families after this life. They bless us with spiritual power and direction during mortality. In the temple, we can also receive essential ordinances in behalf of ancestors who died without having the opportunity to receive these ordinances for themselves.
How were temples of the Jews unlike LDS temples today? Jewish temples only performed washings and anointings for the living. There were no baptisms because those are concern conversion to Christ.
 Temples were an important focus of Jewish prayer, animal sacrifice, a cultural and architectural center. Priests copied holy scriptures from the Torah, wrote psalms and histories, engaged in debate.  Women were cleansed following their menses, sins were forgiven by priests. Temples were an important symbol of national unity. They were sanctuaries for God.
 We believe as Mormons that Ezekiel’s vision will be realized when the Savior returns to earth and a temple will again be built in the Holy Land where the Lord Jesus will reign. The city will be renamed Jehovah shammah (See Is 9:6) meaning Jehovah is there. That is the symbolic title given by Ezekiel (48:35).


Marlena Baker
%d bloggers like this: