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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Ten Archaeological Discoveries in 2016

Archaeological discoveries announced in 2016 help us better understand the Bible and the biblical world, and affirm the Bible’s details about events and people.
Below are the top findings from the important excavations taking place in the lands of the Bible or that have a biblical connection. (This list is subjective, and based on news reports rather than peer-reviewed articles in scientific publications.)

10. Ancient papyrus mentions Jerusalem

What appears to be the oldest non-biblical Hebrew-language reference to Jerusalem was found on a small piece of papyrus recovered from antiquities robbers who said they had found it in a cave in the Judean desert. The inscription reads, “From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem.” Dated to the seventh century B.C., the inscription was found four years ago but announced this past October. Only one other papyrus document from Israel’s First Temple Period has ever been found. However, some archaeologists and textual scholars have raised questions about the provenance of the text, and have suggested that since it was not found in a supervised excavation, it may be a forgery.

9. Ancient glass factory

Judea was known as one of the centers of glass manufacturing in the Roman world. Archaeologists excavated the remains of a glass production facility at the foot of Mt. Carmel, near Haifa, when it was discovered by workers of the Jezreel Valley Railroad Project.

8. Sunken junk from Caesarea Maritima

Old metal objects were typically melted and recycled, so a ship that sank on the way to the recycler offered a treasure trove of ancient metal objects when its cargo was discovered by scuba divers last summer. Protected by the sand on the sea bottom for 1,600 years, the mostly bronze objects include idols, lamps, and several clumps of coins.

7. Solomon's Palace at Gezer

A monumental residence built in the 10th century B.C. and excavated this past fall has been dubbed “Solomon’s Palace,” even though there’s no direct connection to the Israelite king outside of the dating, which was done through pottery remains and stratigraphic chronology. According to 1 Kings 9:16–17, the Egyptian pharaoh conquered and burned Gezer, and presented it as a dowry for his daughter’s marriage to Solomon, who then rebuilt the city.

6. Hundreds of Roman writing tablets

From the other end of the Roman Empire comes evidence for the ubiquity of writing in the first century. (Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, used a writing tablet in Luke 1:63.) More than 400 ancient wooden tablets were excavated in London, the oldest dating to A.D. 57. The tablets were originally covered with wax and written on with a stylus. The wax is gone, but the impressions of many notes in Latin remain. They are being translated and studied.

5. Temple Mount floor designs identified

The geometric patterns of the stone tile floors of the porticos of the Jewish Temple built by King Herod have been identified from tile fragments recovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Volunteers have been steadily processing tons of dirt illegally excavated from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in 1999. Seven different tile designs have been recreated so far by Frankie Snyder, a project team member with an academic background in mathematics and Judaic studies.

4. Philistine cemetery excavation

Some of the secrets of the Philistines, the nemesis of the ancient Israelites, are expected to be revealed as archaeologists study remains excavated from a cemetery at Ashkelon. The excavations took place over the last three summers, but were revealed only in 2016. Although most of the main cities of the Philistines have been excavated, there is still a lot of important information that has eluded scholars. But that may change with the new information gleaned from these burials. “It was just a goldmine of a cemetery,” said Daniel Master, a Wheaton College professor who co-directs the excavation.

3. Stone jar factory found near Cana

Halfway between Cana and Nazareth, a cave was discovered where limestone had been mined and carved into cups, bowls, and jars, which were highly valued for their ritual purity during the first century. The cave’s proximity to Cana suggests it may have been the source of the water jars that were used for the wedding in Cana attended by Jesus and his disciples in John 2:1–11.

2. Lachish gate shrine illustrates Hezekiah’s reforms

In the ruins of a shrine excavated next to the gate of Lachish, the largest city of the kingdom of Judah after Jerusalem, archaeologists found an altar with the horns cut off from each corner. They also found a stone toilet that was never used, which had been placed in the holy of holies, apparently to desecrate it. They attributed both discoveries to the religious reforms under King Hezekiah, described in 2 Kings 18:4.

1. Unsealing the tomb of Christ

The most notable aspect of repairs that took place at the traditional tomb of Christ in October—the first look inside the tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre since at least the year 1555—is that the workmen found just what they expected. The badly-in-need-of-repair marble edicule that surrounded the tomb was stripped down to the limestone platform where the body of Jesus was believed to have been laid after his crucifixion. “It appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades," said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic’s archaeologist-in-residence. The original limestone cave walls of the tomb were also preserved to a higher level than expected inside the edicule.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Toilet Converted from a Shrine

https://bryanwindle.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/top-ten-discoveries-in-bible-archaeology-in-2016/


Top Ten Discoveries In Bible Archaeology In 2016


...

#7 – Desecrated Gate-Shrine Discovered at Tel Lachish (Sept. 2016)
showimage-ashx
The gate structure at Tel Lachish. Photo credit: Guy Fitoussi/Israel Antiquities Authority
Archaeologists excavating a six-chambered gate at the biblical city of Lachish made three discoveries that they claim confirm details described in the Old Testament. The gate-shrine of Tel Lachish – the largest discovered from the First Temple period – has been dated to the eighth century BC using artifacts that were found in the rooms, including jars, grain scoops, and jar handles stamped with a lmlk (“belonging to the king”) seal:
1) Benches were unearthed at the city gate, confirming what is known from history, that the city gates were a place the elders, judges, governors, and kings sat to do business. “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land” (Prv 31:23).
2) Within one of the rooms in the city gate, excavators found two four-horned altars with the horns intentionally broken off. This is believed to be evidence of the reforms of King Hezekiah, who “removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles” as part of his reforms (2 Kgs 18:4).
3)
Finally, a stone chair with a hole in the middle, which archaeologists have identified as a toilet, was found in the corner of the room. This suggests an intentional desecration of the gate-shrine, and is reminiscent of the Bible’s description of Jehu turning the temple of Baal in Samaria into a latrine(public toilet) (2 Kgs 10:27).
(They smashed the sacred pillar and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet, as it remains to this day.)


3 Archaeological Finds in 2016 That Confirmed Biblical Accuracy



 A toilet discovered at Tel Lachish. It was discovered in a "large room that appears to have been a shrine."
"The room contained two four-horned altars, whose horns had been intentionally damaged." As John Stonestreet told BreakPoint listeners, the damage was, in likelihood, part of King Hezekiah's reforms.
But what about the toilet? Well, if you're going to desecrate a pagan shrine, nothing does the trick like turning it into an outhouse, which is exactly what another reformer, Jehu, did to a temple of Ba'al in 2 Kings. Apparently, Jehu wasn't unique in this regard.

Findings like these should not surprise us. As John put it, "The Bible is the best-attested book of antiquity. Nothing else is within the same solar system." Our faith is firmly rooted in history, not some "once upon a time."


Monday, January 23, 2017

Was the Three Wise Men Story Wrongly Fabricated ?

Image result for three wise men

Dear friends, here below is an email Q&As between SS( a sincere seeker) & me

SS: Do you admit that the three wise men story is wrongly fabricated or not?

Me: There were not just 3 wise men, there were 3 gifts therefore, tradition assumes there were 3 wise men.

I think there were more than 3 of them but they contributed to 3 expensive gifts to bring to child Jesus in the house. 

 I sincerely believe that the Magi really visited Jesus and Herod the Great did kill Bethlehem's babies under two.( that implied the Magi told Herod the star appeared roughly about 2 yrs ago)

It's not a fabricated story at all. The star was prophesied by a pagan prophet Balaam as the Star of Jacob roughly 3000 yrs ago and the location of Jesus' birthplace Bethlehem was foretold more than 700 yrs before His birth , and it was foretold His origin is from antiquity and from eternal. And He should be born in the tribe of Judah.  That was why the chief priests & scribes were able to pinpoint Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah when the magi arrived in Herod's palace TO INQUIRE.

( Micah 5:2 )Bethlehem Ephrathah,
you are small among the clans of Judah;
One will come from you
to be ruler over Israel for Me.
His origin is from antiquity,
from eternity 

Matt 2: 3  When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.

Dear SS, Can you explain away all these? Can any human being's birth could be so precisely predicted like Jesus who fulfilled all above prophecies and more???

I honestly believe it is a historical event though I understand it is hard for you not to doubt. If the star of Bethlehem is supernatural, I can accept it knowing nothing is impossible with our Creator God. I also firmly believe the integrity of Bible writers, they don't make up something to fool us. Above all, they dared not cheat!!!

I do firmly believe God exists and Satan, the fallen archangel also exists. You believe neither, so we of course have different perspectives about things. You don't need to question my honesty. I never question your sincerity. You need to have a paradigm shift to see differently. 

Dear SS, if you assume both God and Satan exist, would you have a 2nd thought about lots of things? We humans are pretty limited, of course this fool can't explain everything, can smart you explain everything or all mysteries of life away???

Karl Payne, the author of “Spiritual Warfare” and the former chaplain of the Seattle Seahawks, says the debate over the Star of Bethlehem, while interesting, does not detract from the core truth of Christianity.
“You cannot remove the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ from Christianity and still have Christianity,” he told WND. “Whether the shepherds and Magi saw a star, a planet or something else does not impact the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The same is true, said Payne, as to the timing of Christmas. He said it is irrelevant whether Jesus Christ was actually born sometime in late December or not.


Could the Star of Bethlehem be Sh'khinah?

Image result for bethlehem star

An email Q&As between SS & me below:


SS: I wondered about this three wise men story long time ago as to why this mistake has been so acceptable to the believers and has not been corrected so far. In my opinion no stories in the Bible can be more obviously wrong than this story of  the wise men following the star to the little town of Bethlehem as you quoted( to me ).

Please try this, look at the starry sky and ask yourself, can you follow any star and pinpoint a city on earth to tell me yes this is the city the star leads me to? When sun rises in the sky can you tell which city it shines on, which city it intends to lead you to? Or try to hold a ping-pong ball and a flash light about ten meters away, and try to identify which is the point on the pp ball that the flash light leads you to.


 MeWell, a retired scientist from Ntional Lawrence Laboratory, told me long ago that he believes that the Star of Bethlehem which stopped at the house where Jesus was, was Sh'khinah, God's glory shining like a brilliant star.

 I like his insight about this Star of Bethlehem very much. I believe when Jesus was born, the star could be a Nova or Jupiter, moon...etc lined up and became a brilliant star signalling the birth of Jesus, King of kings.

Of course, the star can only shine in the night sky or early dawn. that also explained why the magi lost sight of the Star and came to inquire Herod the Great about it. Besides, as we couldn't see some Sun or Moon eclipses in our location, also as seasons change, some stars may not be seen in our night sky, right? So the Jews might not see the brilliant star those Magi saw.

And at the last leg of Magi's journey, it could be Sh'khinah that guided them to the house of Jesus. That seems to solve all the problems of the Star stopped at the top of the house. Don't you think?

 Unthinkable? but if our Creator God who created our whole universe, yet He couldn't do this simple magic, He is not qualified to be our Creator God at all. Nothing is impossible for our Creator God.

 How did God guide the Isarelites in the wilderness by a column of cloud in the daytime and a column of fire in the night time, have you read about that? Likewise, God might have guided the Magi in His glorious way. His way is always higher, remember. 

Another interesting article for you, click the link below.


We are not told how the God of revelation caused the magi to know that the King of the Jews had been born, only that He gave them the sign of His [the One called Kingstar in the east. Almost as much speculation has been made about the identity of that star as about the identity of the men who saw it. Some suggest that it was Jupiter, the “king of the planets.” Others claim that it was the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, forming the sign of the fish-which was used as a symbol for Christianity in the early church during the Roman persecutions. Still others claim that it was a low-hanging meteor, an erratic comet, or simply an inner vision of the star of destiny in the hearts of mankind.
Since the Bible does not identify or explain the star, we cannot be dogmatic, but it may have been the glory of the Lord-the same glory that shone around the shepherds when Jesus’ birth was announced to them by the angel (Luke 2:9). Throughout the Old Testament we are told of God’s glory being manifested as light, God radiating His presence (Shekinah) in the form of ineffable light. The Lord guided the children of Israel through the wilderness by “a pillar of cloud by day … and in a pillar of fire by night” (Ex. 13:21). When Moses went up on Mount Sinai, “to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop” (Ex. 24:17). On a later occasion, after Moses had inscribed the Ten Commandments on stone tablets, His face still glowed with the light of God’s glory when he returned to the people (Ex. 34:30).
When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matt. 17:2). On the Damascus road, just before Jesus spoke to him, Saul of Tarsus was surrounded by “a light from heaven” (Acts 9:3), which he later explained was “brighter than the sun” (26:13). In John’s first vision on the Island of Patmos, he saw Christ’s face “like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev. 1:16). In his vision of the New Jerusalem, the future heavenly dwelling of all believers, he reports that “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).
Both the Hebrew (kôkab) and the Greek (aster) words for star were also used figuratively to represent any great brilliance or radiance. Very early in the Old Testament the Messiah is spoken of as a “star [that] shall come forth from Jacob” (Num. 24:17), and at the end of the New Testament He refers to Himself as “the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16). It was surely the glory of God, blazing as if it were an extremely bright star-visible only to the eyes for whom it was intended to be seen-that appeared to the magi in the east and later guided them to Bethlehem. It was a brilliant manifestation of “the sign of the Son of Man” (see Matt. 24:29–30Rev. 1:7). The Shekinah glory of God stood over Bethlehem just as, centuries before, it had stood over the Tabernacle in the wilderness. And just as the pillar of cloud gave light to Israel but darkness to Egypt (Ex. 14:20), only the eyes of the magi were opened to see God’s great light over Bethlehem.
That the magi were not following the star is clear from the fact that they had to inquire about where Jesus was born. They saw His star in the east, but there is no evidence that it continued to shine or that it led them to Jerusalem. It was not until they were told of the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah (2:5–6) that the star reappeared and then guided them not only to Bethlehem but to the exact place “where the Child was” (v. 9).
These travelers from the east had come to Palestine with but one purpose: to find the One born King of the Jews and worship Him. The word worship is full of meaning, expressing the idea of falling down, prostrating oneself, and kissing the feet or the hem of the garment of the one honored. That truth in itself shows that they were true seekers after God, because when He spoke to them, in whatever way it was, they heard and responded. Despite their paganism, quasi-science, and superstition they recognized God’s voice when He spoke. Though having had limited spiritual light, they immediately recognized God’s light when it shone on them. They had genuinely seeking hearts, hearts that the Lord promises will never fail to find Him (Jer. 29:13)...

Exodus 13:21

The Lord went in front of them during the day in a column of cloud to guide them ... By night he went ahead of them in a column of fire to give them light ...

( the Sh'kinah is the visible representation of the localized presence of God. By God’s design, the Temple is the location where His abiding presence is intended to dwell and where He has put His name, Column of fire & cloud could be a kind of "Sh’khinah"  )
It is interesting to read that Complete Jewish Bible has used
  "Sh’khinah" in place of "glory" on John 1:14
John 1:14 The Word became a human being and lived with us,
    and we saw His Sh’khinah,
the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son,
    full of grace and truth. 

The concept of the "Sh’khinah"(Shekinah) is behind the wonder of the incarnation. The very glory of God “tabernacled” within human flesh and was handled and beheld. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us(ἐσκήνωσεν [eskēnōsen] ), and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” [emphasis added] (John John 1:14). To know more about Sh'khinah, click the link below.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Did Luke interview Mary herself, if she still lived?



https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1196-luke-the-beloved-historian

Image result for gospel of luke

...The Process of Luke’s Research

Luke’s gospel was written upon the basis of investigation. His research was complete, thorough, and comprehensive, in order to record the truth. He describes himself as “having traced the course....” He followed a trail of evidence bit by bit. He utilized a process “whereby one arrives at a knowledge of the matter” (Rienecker, p. 137). Luke used the perfect tense when he wrote “having traced,” indicating that the investigation was over and his findings were preserved in his document.
Luke reveals that his research was thorough. He said that he investigated the course of “all things.” Concerning the relevant facts, he made thorough inquiries. His research no doubt involved a number of investigative techniques. He may have made use of other narratives, which represented the account of eyewitnesses. He had the opportunity to talk to people like James (Acts 21:17-18), son of Mary and Joseph, and a half-brother of Jesus. What might Luke have learned from James, the son of Mary, about the things she wondered and pondered in her heart (Lk. 1:29; 2:29,33,51)?
Did Luke interview Mary herself, if she still lived? What could Mark have told the physician and companion of Paul when they were together in Rome (Col. 4:10,14)? While in Jerusalem, Luke met people like Mnason, “an early disciple,” in whose house Luke stayed (Acts 21:15-16). Might Luke have interviewed some of the 500 brethren to whom the resurrected Christ appeared (1 Cor. 15:6)?
Not only was Luke’s research thorough in every detail, it was comprehensive as well. He wrote that he traced the course of all things “from the first.” He researched and recorded more than any other writer concerning the foundational events of Christianity. He reported the amazing circumstances of John’s birth, the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary, Mary’s visit with Elizabeth, the shepherds’ worship of Christ, the visit to the temple and the testimony of Simeon and Anna, and the twelve-year-old Jesus talking with the elders in the temple.
A.T. Robertson says, “The idea of Luke seems to be that, having decided to write another and a fuller narrative than those in existence, he first made an investigation of all the available material that he could lay his hands upon” (p. 51). This comprehensive investigation led him back to a day when an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias in the temple (Lk. 1:5ff).
Luke also indicates that his aim was to verify the events. He was concerned with the truth, not just a good story. He traced the course of all things “accurately.” Consider Luke’s precise care with the facts. He relates the beginning of John’s preaching with no less than six political figures and their respective jurisdictions (Lk. 3:1-3). His accurate reporting is also illustrated in the book of Acts where he mentions thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine Mediterranean islands.
When he spoke of the ancient world, he was accurate. When he used political terminology, he was precise. When medical insights were appropriate, his skill enabled him to paint a more vivid picture. It is not without reason that the former critic of Luke would write, having traced the course of Luke himself, “The present writer takes the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness” (William Ramsay, The Bearing of Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979, p. 81).

The Purpose of Luke’s Gospel

Dr. Luke did not scoff at the idea of the virgin birth or at the thought of the resurrection of the dead. It was not, however, that he had observed these kinds of things in his medical career. To the contrary! Yet, with unabashed clarity, Luke presents these remarkable events with certainty, based upon the abundant evidence that he reviewed.
And when you trace them, step-by-step, you will “know the certainty” of these matters concerning the life of Jesus Christ. He reported the truth concerning Jesus’ life — from his virgin birth to the miraculous ascension. And the truth to which these facts and events point is: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Lk. 19:10, ESV).
Luke distinguishes himself from the eye-witnesses who saw and heard these things (note the “they” versus “us” in Luke 1:1-2). But his investigation was so thorough, his research so comprehensive, his aim to record the truth so noble — that although he himself was not there, he can take us there, that we may know the certainty of “those matters.” In fact, once we leave verse three (i.e., the “me” reference), the greatest historian fades into the background behind the greatest story ever told.

(*note ...B. Luke specifically claims that he did research (Luke 1:1-4) into Jesus' life from eye witnesses. Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea by the Sea in Palestine allowed Luke time and access to these people. Luke 1-2 may reflect Mary's memories (See Sir William Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem?)), as may the genealogy of Luke 3.
C. Several of the early church sources mention that Luke was a traveling missionary companion of the Apostle Paul. Some of these early sources also assert that Luke's Gospel was affected by Paul's preaching. It cannot be denied that the worldwide mission of the gospel is clearly identified as fulfilled prophecy in Luke, Acts, and Paul's writings.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sh'khinah--The Abiding Presence of God

16.2. The Abiding Presence of God Commentary - A Testimony of Jesus Christwww.biblestudytools.com

The Abiding Presence of God

At the heart of the idea of a Temple is the abiding presence of God. Although God is omnipresent, He has chosen to manifest His presence in certain locations and at certain times within history. This physical manifestation of God has come to be called the Shekinah.
the Shechinah Glory is the visible manifestation of the presence of God. It is the majestic presence or manifestation of God in which He descends to dwell among men. Whenever the invisible God becomes visible, and whenever the omnipresence of God is localized, this is the Shechinah Glory. The usual title found in Scriptures for the Shechinah Glory is the glory of Jehovah, or the glory of the Lord. The Hebrew form is Kvod Adonai, which means ‘the glory of Jehovah’ and describes what the Shechinah Glory is. The Greek title, Doxa Kurion, is translated as ‘the glory of the Lord.’ Doxa means ‘brightness,’ ‘brilliance,’ or ‘splendor,’ and it depicts how the Shechinah Glory appears. Other titles give it the sense of ‘dwelling,’ which portrays what the Shechinah Glory does. The Hebrew word Shechinah, from the root shachan, means ‘to dwell.’ The Greek word skeinei, which is similar in sound as the Hebrew Shechinah (Greek has no ‘sh’ sound), means ‘to tabernacle.’. . . In the Old Testament, most of these visible manifestations took the form of light, fire, or cloud, or a combination of these. A new form appears in the New Testament: the Incarnate Word [John John 1:14].1
The concept of the Shekinah is behind the wonder of the incarnation. The very glory of God “tabernacled” within human flesh and was handled and beheld. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us(ἐσκήνωσεν [eskēnōsen] ), and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” [emphasis added] (John John 1:14).

(Σκηνή [Skēnē] was the word used by the translators of the Septuagint for the Hebrew מִשְׁכָּן [miškān] , “tabernacle” (Ex. Ex. 25:9). During Israel’s pilgrimage from Egypt to Canaan the tabernacle was the place of worship for the people. The tabernacle or tent in the wilderness was the “tent of Jehovah,” Himself a pilgrim among His pilgrim people. In sound and meaning σκηνόω [skēnoō] recalls the Hebrew verb שָׁכַּן [šākkan] meaning “to dwell,” which is sometimes used of God’s dwelling with Israel (Ex. Ex. 25:8; Ex. 29:46).

In postbiblical Hebrew the Jews used the term שְׁכִינָה [šeḵînâ] (“Shekinah,” literally, “presence”) of the bright cloud of the presence of God that settled on the tabernacle. The Shekinah glory was nothing less than the visible manifestation of God.2)

The manifestation of the Shekinah is at the heart of understanding the meeting of God with man. In the earliest communion of man with God, God is said to have been “walking in the Garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. Gen. 3:8). This must speak of a localized presence with which Adam and Eve could interact—the Shekinah. The word itself embodies the notion of dwelling or abiding. This emphasizes the single most important aspect concerning God’s localized presence: where is He abiding? For wherever the Shekinah is, there is relationship with God in a more intimate way and all the benefits which come from His special presence. 

This is the essence of the promise made to the overcomer in Philadelphia, the fulfillment of that first love which was lacking in Ephesus: to walk once again in full fellowship with God (Gen. Gen. 3:8Gen. 5:24; Rev. Rev. 21:3+Rev. 21:22+). This was the ultimate desire of the psalmist (Ps. Ps. 23:6Ps. 65:4). Thus, it is an incredible blessing to enjoy the presence of God. This was the primary purpose of the Temple throughout history: to house the Shekinah glory of God among men. It is in the Temple where God’s presence “dwells between the cherubim” over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. Ex. 25:22; Num. Num. 7:89; 1S. 1S. 4:4; 2S. 2S. 6:2; 1K. 1K. 7:29; 2K. 2K. 19:15; 1Chr. 1Chr. 13:6; 2Chr. 2Chr. 5:72Chr. 6:41; Ps. Ps. 80:1; Ps. Ps. 99:1; Isa. Isa. 37:16; Eze. Eze. 41:18). Unless the glory of God “inhabits” the Temple (1K. 1K. 8:10-11; 2Chr. 2Chr. 7:1; Eze. Eze. 43:2-4Eze. 44:1-2; Hag. Hag. 2:7-9; Mtt. Mat. 20:12) it is just a dead architectural edifice.3 Conversely, in the history of the Temple, there are grave consequences when the Shekinah departs from the Temple, for it indicates God’s displeasure with those among whom He previously dwelt and the removal of His protection and blessing in His departure. The Temple, the house of Israel, is left desolate when the glory of God departs. In at least two occasions in history, the result has been the destruction of the Temple. When the Shekinah left Solomon’s Temple in the days of Ezekiel’s prophecy (Eze. Eze. 10:18Eze. 11:22-23), the eventual result was the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. When the Shekinah left the Second Temple in the days of Jesus (Mtt. Mat. 23:38), the eventual result was the destruction of the Temple by Titus Vespasian of Rome (Mtt. Mat. 24:1-3).

 Whether God remains in His house is serious business! Although it is beyond the scope of our treatment here to consider an extensive discussion of God’s abiding presence, it will be helpful to note some of the most significant historical events related to the Shekinah.4 The Shekinah glory:5