The Jerusalem Debate – Objection Number 1: There isn’t a Temple in Jerusalem any more. | The Lamb’s Servant
Response by Bob Parham
For many people, the thought that there isn’t a Temple in Jerusalem is, by itself, sufficient reason not to go to Jerusalem. After all, if we can’t or don’t need to bring sacrifices anymore, there is no need for us to go to Jerusalem.
Let’s have a look. Does Torah prove this out?
First we need to understand the significance of the Temple in relation to properly bringing our sacrifices to Yah.
- Do we need a Temple?
- Is it required to be standing in order to bring our sacrifices?
To both questions, the answer is NO! — – NO??? — – a NO!!!
Only two things were required for you to bring your offerings to Jerusalem:
- A ritually clean Levitical priest to assist you and
- A proper altar for him to serve at.
None of the regular sacrifices were ever taken into the Temple. The only time the blood of the sacrifice was taken into the Temple was on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Outside of that holy day, the Temple was never REQUIRED in order to make sacrifices.
One of the reasons sacrifices are not made today is because the priests are not able to ritually purify themselves without the ashes of a red heifer, which are not yet available. HOWEVER, we will see as we go along that this problem does NOT relieve believers of the obligation to obey Yah’s commands to the best of their ability.
The contention that the lack of a Temple in Jerusalem justifies the lack of sacrifice and our disregard of the other commands involved with the sacrifices is a good statement ONLY IF the Torah agrees with it. Let’s take a look at the following passage:
Ezra 3:1-6 (NIV) – (1) When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem. (2) Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. (3) Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. (4) Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. (5) After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred festivals of the Lord, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the Lord. 6 On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid.
Now, notice the verses that are underlined in the passage above. The first two verses that are underlined show the two things that are required in order to properly make sacrifices: a priest and the altar. The last verse that is underlined (vs. 6) makes it clear that THERE WAS NO TEMPLE. Nevertheless, the people joyously went to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage Feast. They went even when they couldn’t sacrifice: there wasn’t even an altar until after they assembled and built one! Although it wasn’t safe for the children of Israel to return to Jerusalem to do this task, (as you see, they feared the people around them), nevertheless, “the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem.”
SO WE SEE THAT TORAH DOES NOT REQUIRE THE PRESENCE OF A TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM BEFORE PEOPLE CAN COME THERE TO OBSERVE THE COMMANDS OF YAH.