Two years ago, on January 2, 2015, this writer was immersed in further research on the Palestinian Problem, resulting in the following essay with the above title. This followed the approval of my doctoral thesis “Christ our high priest: post-sacrificial services” in 2012.
No-one would have guessed that this encounter between the King of Salem (MKS) and Abram was a door-opener much less a door that opens two critical roads to appreciating Messiah’s priesthood and reign. I dare say that no-one has imagined that these two avenues of divine intervention have anything to do with the current shameful turmoil over Jerusalem. Jews may wish to paper over the facts about the holy cities and the Gentile world may want to sympathize with either Jews or Gentiles but what’s to be will be.
Facts about Canaan’s Holy Cities.
There are two holy cities. Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Isaiah 64:10 (KJS)
God’s ruler will be both priest and king;Neither Moses nor Aaron have a future as authorities; The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Ps 110:4) If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? (Heb 7:11)
Salem, MKS’s city is not Jerusalem; Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. (1Kgs 8:1)
There is no Abrahamic greatness without Gentiles. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. (Gen 15:5) And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude. (Gen 32:12),
If ever there was a prophet in New Testament times, it was John. However, when John the Baptist was murdered did any Jews rise in protest? There was only one act left to fill up the cup of Israel’s rebellion, deliver Messiah to the Gentiles (Mat 23:31-32). Like the plot against the patriarch Joseph, the execution of Messiah paved the way, despite human malice, for Abraham to get descendants like the stars of the sky and sands of the sea. Jews cannot have enough children to make this happen, so let us not waste any more time with temple mount and the land promise.
It is no surprise that followers of Moses and descendants of Ishmael are shedding blood like pouring water in the name of their most cherished traditions. Modern Zionist expectations have taken over the Biblical idea and resulted in all kinds of contradictions. We hear a great deal about the land promise but we see no embrace of the purpose for the Abrahamic promises in their widest application, namely the blessing of all of earth’s families.
The temple was built on land bought from a Jebusite (Salemite, Zionite)
And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. (2Sam 24:21)
And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. (2Sam 24:22)
All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” (2Sam 24:23)
And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (2Sam 24:24)
And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel. (2Sam 24:25)
The temple’s location; not Zion, the city of David.
Let us follow David with his primary innovation: housing the ark. It really begins with David’s capture of Jebus-Salem-Zion, and his building of homes for his growing family.
Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion : the same is the city of David. 2 Sam 5:7
And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. (1Chr 15:1)
Then he immediately turns his attention to the ark.
Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. (1Chr 15:2)
And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it. (1Chr 15:3)
DAVID TALKS TO THE PROPHET NATHAN ABOUT HOUSING THE ARK
Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains. (1Chr 17:1)
David wants to see the ark housed in a residence suitably ornate and more so than his own residences.
And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death. (1Chr 22:5)
David’s primary preoccupation.
Remember, O LORD, in David’s favor, all the hardships he endured, (Ps 132:1)
how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, (Ps 132:2)
“I will not enter my house or get into my bed, (Ps 132:3)
I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, (Ps 132:4)
until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Ps 132:5)
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar. (Ps 132:6)
“Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!” (Ps 132:7)
What place was this?
For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: (Ps 132:13)
“This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. (Ps 132:14)
I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. (Ps 132:15)
Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. (Ps 132:16)
There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. (Ps 132:17)
His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.” (Ps 132:18)
The chosen place was the place from which David’s house would reign
It was to this place that our Lord rode on a donkey (Zech 9:9)
Zion receives the King, but Jerusalem puts up all kinds of resistance.
And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt 21:9)
And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? (Matt 21:10)
And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. (Matt 21:11)
David attempts to bring the ark to Zion-Salem
David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. (2Sam 6:1)
And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. (2Sam 6:2) And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, (2Sam 6:3)
So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. (2Sam 6:10)
And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. (2Sam 6:12)
Here begins the Tent of David Tradition (Amos, not so much in competition with, but in primacy over the temple.
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: (Amos 9:11)
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: (Acts 15:16)
From this citation of Amos in the Book of Acts we see that David’s tabernacle is central to God’s inclusion of Gentiles in the royal city. Gentiles and neighbours cannot reasonably be included in the Levitical institutions, hence Jewish temple mount interests and priorities are an anachronism and an affront to the reconstituted kingdom.
DAVID’S PLANS AND GOD’S DIRECTION
Then David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. (1Chr 22:1)
And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God. (1Chr 22:2) And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight; (1Chr 22:3) Also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David. (1Chr 22:4) And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death. (1Chr 22:5) Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel. (1Chr 22:6) And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: (1Chr 22:7) But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. (1Chr 22:8)
We learn here that God rejected David as temple-builder because of his many homicides, however they may be justified, which leaves a great many of our 21st century leaders out of the short list as nation-builders.
THE TEMPLE AND THE ARK
Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. (1Kgs 8:1)
The geography is quite clear here: “out of the City of David, which is Zion”, and the destination, temple mount, where David had purchased the property from the Jebusite, Ornan (Araunah).
The inclusion of Gentiles was authorized but never fulfilled due to strict Jewish adherence to Levitical conventions. Here is a portion of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer.
“Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name’s sake (1Kgs 8:41)
(for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, (1Kgs 8:42)
hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name. (1Kgs 8:43)
A House of sacrifice confirmed by the Lord
Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. (2Chr 7:12)
A House of Prayer confirmed by the prophet Isaiah
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— (Isa 56:6)
these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isa 56:7)
The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (Isa 56:8)
Even after the Persian exile, Jews are stuck in kindergarten with their shocking exclusion of Gentiles (Ezra 9) and the priority of the temple in the conflicts between Judaism’s leaders and Yeshua’s disciples indicates no change. The diagnostic exchanges between Yeshua and the temple authorities shows that the temple had become something no-one but the perverse wanted.
John the Baptist set this conflict off with his announcement of Yeshua as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). John’s contemporaries had to read between the lines. If a man from Nazareth was the sin-bearer, then the countless animals whose blood was shed in the temple were irrelevant and symptomatic of the deep sleep into which succeeding generations of Jews were plunged. The temple was far from being what God intended. Matt 21:12-17
The Leaders were on the wrong side of history when Yeshua spoke about the demise of the temple and its services.
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. (Matt 21:45)
But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. (Matt 21:46)
It is the king’s city. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. (Ps 76:2)
See also Ps 2:6, Ps 48:2, Ps 132:13
The seat of perfection; Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. (Ps 50:2)
The divine rod comes from Zion-Salem
The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. (Ps 110:2)
Eternal life comes from Zion-Salem
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Ps 133:3)
The pertinent intrigue is about the fate of East Jerusalem, with its typical and appointed population of Rahab[ites] (Egyptians), Babylonians, Philistines, Tyrians, and Ethiopians (Psalm 87). Temple mount is an irreversible embarrassment to Moses and Abraham. While today’s Zionist state claims descent from Abraham descendants they have over the centuries have rejected the prophetic focus on David and Messiah, and hence the MKS tradition. They want a holy city cleansed of Gentiles thereby opposing the inclusion of Abraham’s larger family.
For Christians the furor about Jewish and Palestinian rights miss the point of God’s plan for the most treasured piece of real estate on the planet. To reduce its importance to who has a building there is sheer blindness. The matter will be be decided when Messiah touches down.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zech 14:4)
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. (Zech 14:9)
The Melchizedeqite priesthood of Christ must be the hub for the disposition of the sacred sites. In the absence of an informed basis for discussion we will have to endure the revolving door of xenophobic rhetoric and violence. In the absence of a Christian witness the world stands aghast at the interminable malice between Ishmaelites and Israelites. Any resolution of the Palestinian problem and the legitimate expectations of the Jewish people by civic intervention will be temporary and inadequate. Let us therefore stand with our great High priest, eagerly expecting the king and his ideals in the style of MKS, bringing forth bread and wine and blessing all.