A TEMPLE FOR TRUTH
by Jacques Isaac
Most of the world knows about Christmas, and many have also heard about Hanukkah. At Beth Ariel, a Messianic congregation composed of Jews and Gentiles, we readily affirm the advent of both these celebrations, recognizing their vital link with the First Coming of the Messiah.
Hanukkah and Christmas witnessed perilous times for Israel and both events pointed to the work of the Evil One in his attempt at preventing Yeshua's First Coming. Throughout history, there is a prevailing link between the threat of annihilation of the people of Israel, and the threat to the Seed, referring to the promised Messiah. There is, therefore, a vital interdependence between the survival and existence of the nation of Israel and Yeshua's incarnation.
Interestingly though, with Hanukkah, not only was Israel's survival threatened, but more so the Temple itself was under threat of total desecration, which could have prevented or delayed Yeshua's coming at the preappointed time (see Daniel 9:24-26). The Temple played an essential role in Yeshua's First Coming. He was to fulfill all the law, which could only be done if the Temple was operating under Mosaic Law (example: Luke 2:27). Two thirds of the Law of Moses related to Temple activity. Without the Temple priesthood and its associated sacrifices and laws, Yeshua would not have been able to fulfill all points of the Law.
When speaking of His coming to the Temple, Yeshua referred to John the Baptist as the messenger of Malachi 3:1 which reads: Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, says the LORD of hosts. This verse authenticates the need to have had an existing Temple at the time of Yeshua's First Coming.
We see God's providential hand in securing the Temple and removing it from the hands of Antiochus.
It was imperative that the Feasts of Israel, in particular the Feast of Passover, be observed in the Temple, as Yeshua was to use the motif of the Passover Lamb, concerning Himself and His atoning work that would cover the sins of the world. In fact, the first four Fall Feasts were fulfilled through His First Coming. Yeshua operated within the Jewish framework of reference so that His own, to whom He first came, would be able to recognize who He was. Since the Jewish Temple needed to be functioning, the Evil One would surely have wanted to see this Temple totally desecrated, thus preventing or postponing Yeshua's return.
Just as that Temple was both protected and prepared by God's hand, we today, as the Body of believers are the Temple. God prepares our heart to receive salvation and protects us against the enemy through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. And we rejoice when His Word of salvation falls on ears that willingly hear the message of repentance. Beth Ariel Congregation has seen in the last month the rebirth of three individuals: a young boy of 8, a young lady in her 20's and a man in his 50's. Each of them has now become the Temple where the Spirit of God will forever reside.
The mention of Hanukkah in John chapter 10 is strategically placed in between two important lessons that Yeshua teaches us. Just prior to Hannukah's mention in John 10:22, Yeshua had explained that He was the Good Shepherd, emphasizing our protection in the sheepfold. Just after the mention of the Feast of Dedication (Hannukah), Yeshua affirms that no one will snatch the believer out of the Father's hand, confirming our eternal assurance of salvation. We are excited for these three individuals who have professed faith and look forward to seeing an even greater number of people being transformed into a Temple for truth.
Jacques Isaac Gabizon is the
director of Ariel Ministries Canada and