“Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of Yehovah, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods.”
Cyrus was a very powerful and arrogant man whom Yehovah God had made ruler over all the kingdoms of the world. His ascent to this position is recorded in the histories of men but not one of these accounts could imagine the intricacies which the hand of the sovereign of the Universe had orchestrated in this man which brought him to the conclusion that this same God “has charged me to build Him an house in Jerusalem”.
The attitudes and disposition of this man cannot be discerned from the text except to say that at the prescribed moment in his administration, the purpose of God was fulfilled in this man’s life. God caused him to refrain from pillaging the treasures that were left to him by his predecessors and to not give the normal regard to his labour force that that was obtained when the children of Judah were taken captive. Instead he signs a proclamation delivering whoever desires to leave the captivity and return to the Promise Land and then he finances the expedition with the wealth that was secure in the house of the pagan gods.
This treasure has a very long and illustrious history that begins hundreds of years earlier. David had just ascended to the kingship as the nation was united unto him and, after taking the hills from the sons of Jebus, the same is called the city of David, he “went on and grew great and Yehovah of Hosts was with him, and Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David (II Sam. 5:11)”. This is the first mention of this man of ‘nobility’ who was the ruler of the ‘rock’ yet by the hand of God these men had a league that was essential to the development of the nation of Israel and this treasure.
God put it in the heart of David to build a Temple unto Yehovah but because he was established as a man of war, David was prevented from performing this labour. Instead his son, Solomon, was to build according to all that his father had purposed and prepared. Once again, this noble man of the rock, after the love he had for David, sent forth not only the building materials of timbers of cedar and timbers of fir but also pillars of brass, jewelry and gold as he desired. Solomon also created a navy whereby he sent to other parts of the world and brought forth gold dust (gold of Ophir), “once every three years came the navy from Tharshish, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks so King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and wisdom” (I Kings 10:22).
The gold that covered the building and all the furniture was so extensive that people came from many distant countries to see the beauty of the form and hear the wisdom of Solomon. Some had only heard of the reputation but were astonished when they sat before him and heard some of his over three thousand proverbs which he spoke but this glory was not to last; “So ended all the work that King Solomon made for the house of Yehovah, and King Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated, the silver, and the gold and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of Yehovah” (7:51).
After the death of Solomon and the division of the nation of Israel, Rehoboam and all of Judah did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord and Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. Rehoboam was able to pay tribute to the invading army by giving them of the treasuries of his father (14:26). So also was Asa enabled to buy protection and make a league with Hezion, king of Syria to come and fight against Baasha King of Israel (15:18). When Hazael, king of Syria, set his face towards Jerusalem, Johoash, king of Judah, paid him off with the hallowed things that his fathers had dedicated and all the gold found in the treasures of the house of Yehovah” (12:18); So Hazael returned from destroying Jerusalem.
The treasures of Solomon were reduced even further when in a fit of rage the king of Israel attacked Jerusalem and braking down the walls, pillaged the treasuries once again and the king’s house, taking hostages and returning to Samaria (14:14). Two hundred years after Solomon had completed the work and dedicated all unto Yehovah God, King Ahaz of Judah sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria to come and save him from the hand of the king of Syria and in payment for this assistance, “Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of Yehovah and in the treasuries of the kings house and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria” (16:8).
But God raised up a King whose heart was right before Him. Hezekiah stood for that which was right in the eyes of the Lord and causes all Judah to reform its ways before Him. He set up the sacrifices and rededicated the Temple unto Yehovah and when Leah, the king of Israel, laid siege to Jerusalem, Hezekiah sent to Lachish, king of Assyria for help. He again opened the treasuries of the Temple and gave tribute of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold to pay for this assistance. But when the ambassadors of Assyria came and blasphemed the name of Yehovah, in the ancient Hebrew tongue, before the people, Hezekiah was given to refuse to surrender to the Assyrains and was delivered from their captivity.
The purpose of God, however, according to this wealth, was not yet completed. After raising Hezekiah up from a sickness, God gave him favour in the sight of Balaadan, king of Babylon, who sent get well wishes to the king. “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them and shewed them all the house of his precious things of silver, and of the gold and the spices and precious ointment, and his armour and all that was found in his treasures, there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah did not shew them” (20:13).
This demonstration of the pride of the king was the prelude to King Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of the land and the pillaging of the treasures of the house of the king and the Temple of Yehovah, wherein he burnt the city to the ground and took the people captive. Thus the wealth of Solomon made its way to the house of the gods of Babylon, over five hundred years after being mined for the building of the Temple. Here it would rest for another seventy years as man after man ascended to the throne of this great and powerful kingdom, not one of them having been given a mind to use the wealth or to desecrate it by distributing it for their own gain.
“Even those did Cyrus, king of Persia, bring forth by the hand of Mithre-dath, the treasurer, and numbered them with Shesh-bazzar, the prince of Judah” (Ezra 1:8)
Yehovah God had provided such things as were needed for the construction of the Temple by Solomon so that it would rival the greatest buildings of the world. He preserved a remnant of that wealth, proportionate to the needs of re-building the Temple, for many years and made an evil king willing and able to relinquish control over the same for the facilitating of the type of the coming Messiah.
This would appear to be a great incentive for the people of Judah; that they should be delivered from the captivity, as the word of the Prophet had predicted, and return to their home land with a wealth they had never expected. But only those who the Lord made willing to go returned and not for the wealth; each one, whom Yehovah God was with, was made willing in the day of the manifestation of His power to go. The exact amount of the children of the captivity were moved by the Spirit of the Lord to endure the long trip back to a desolate area where they would endure the privation of the land and the antagonisms of the indigenous people all for the purpose of fulfilling the Word of God.
The mindset of these people is not revealed but many could have been expecting the imminent return of Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom. But God intended this adventure as a sign of the event whose time had not yet come of age. The people were given to labour and to rebuild the Temple and when the foundation was plaid, those with great expectations rejoiced while those who remembered the glory of the first Temple cried, for the second type could not match the glory of the first.
God created the heavens and the earth with an ore that he would make precious in the eyes of man. He caused men to know how to extract the ore form the ground, even though it is a dust (Ophir), and then gave them the understanding to work all manner of curious work in the shaping and molding of this material. He used it to manifest the glory of God and though all men continue to crave it so much that they would kill one another for it, yet it remains akin to the things of this world whose glory is vanishing with the passage of time. Just as the gold that overlaid the building and the accouterments within, so the eyes and hearts of man seeks to return to that former glory of a building made with hands, encapsulated in the glory of this world where the kingdom of their god shall reign.
“And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations and I will overthrow the chariots and those that ride them and the horses and their riders shall come down, everyone by the sword of his brother’ (Hag. 2:22)
The kingdoms of this world are doomed. God has placed over them each the basest of men and has put it in their heart to fulfill His will and give the kingdoms of this world unto the beast, until the Word of God be fulfilled (Rev. 17:17). He has provided all things necessary for the first Temple and the kingdoms of this world to show forth His great power and bring praise unto His name but He will not give that glory to another for He is a jealous God (Is. 42:8). He has the power to set a kingdom up, such as Cyrus and the Persian Empire, only to destroy it when it has completed all that He has assigned. He causes the hearts of the people to be focused upon the things of this world and to crave that which they do not have. He has lifted up the heart of man according to pride, causing the sons of Adam to think more highly of themselves than they aught, thus he raises them up and He casts them down, but “there is no power but of God and the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rms. 13:1).
No prisoner of the dust may raise his fist, lift his trowel or envision a thought but it has been decreed of Yehovah God for the facilitation of His perfect will upon this earth. His will is done throughout creation as it is done in the heavens where He speaks and it comes to pass. Each earthen vessel, like the gold ore, rests in a hidden place until the appointed time of habitation, when it is brought forth upon the stage of time to fulfill his or hers place in the advancement of God perfect will. No man has power over the first birth, neither can a man enter into his mother’s womb a second time to be born; yet Yehovah God knows all his members, being written in the book, though his substance is without form and bringing the bones together in the womb He fills and replenishes the earth with that which He has decreed to be needful and good.
“Is the seed yet in the barn? Yea! As yet the vine and the fig tree and the pomegranate and the olive tree have not brought forth, from this day I will bless” (Hag. 1:19)
The kingdom of God is not of this world. It was not formed in the mind of ancient man and refined by the intellect of the learned scholars of time. His kingdom is eternal and without end and neither the hands of man nor his good intentions shall ever approach the perfection of His glory. The perfection of this glory is so complete that to the Apostle it appeared transparent as glass having neither spot nor blemish (Rev. 21:18). This glory and such perfection cannot even be imagined by the mind of man yet within each earthen vessel, afore prepared unto glory, dwells the fullness of that Holiness.
The eternal seed from the storehouse of God is planted in the earthen vessel, sown in corruption, and in the appointed time is awakened unto righteousness. This seed grows in the grace and knowledge of His will unto the Holy habitation of God whose tabernacle is with men. This is His Temple, wherein He dwells with His people for He can never leave nor forsake them; “What, you do not know that your body if the Temple of the Holy Ghost in you, which you have of God and you are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:19). The glory of this later Temple, which indeed is the first being eternal, is far more glorious and the eyes of man cannot see it.
Such meticulous care and preparation was shown forth by the hand of God in His creation and the passage of time for the glory of the first Temple which continues today to impress the natural man. Many will come and swear by the building, saying, “The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord are these” as did the children of Israel (Jer. 7:4) but there is no magical power or life in the building. The eternal building, made without hands who’s Builder and Maker is God, however, is life, and as Yehovah God preserved and protected that which was needful for the natural building so much more has He sanctified, preserved and protected His Temple in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah.
The fruit of the vine of the children of grace is the peaceable fruit of righteousness “I am the vine you are the branches”. The seed of the pomegranate is ‘exalted’, the fig tree is the kingdom of God, “now learn the parable of the fig tree” and the olive is the oil of the anointing. These all point to the eternal seed that is of the Father which, in the time pleasing unto the Father, is revealed being blessed of the Lord to have been made subject to the corruption of this world. There is enmity between the eternal seed and the natural which will never be erased or appeased for that which is of the earth cannot receive, recognize or savour the things of the Spirit while all who are born from above have their affections set on things from above. The Spirit of the fullness of the Godhead bears witness with the children of grace that they are the sons of God testifying that they shall be hated of all men for His name’s sake.
Yehovah God has given unto His people, all things needful for life. He knows the needs of His people because He has fashioned the frames they inhabit and He provides His children with their daily portions. He has also given unto them all things that pertain unto Godliness. These things have nothing to do with the natural man except that the wrath of God is poured out upon the ungodliness of man; which is why the outer man is perishing in the Refiner’s Fire until all the residue of Edom is consumed. The inner man, however, is strengthened by the power of God within and has been given everything that the Sovereign God of heaven has decreed sufficient and needful for his existence.
The seed is reserved in the barn awaiting the time of planting and growth. It is the Husbandman who knows the time of planting, when the earthen vessel is ready, and the time of manifestation. He has blessed His Beloved as they labour in the field to know that He alone is God as He openly reveals His great love wherewith He loved His people and gave Himself for them.
“And I saw no Temple therein for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is the Temple of it” (Rev. 21:22)
The Temple of Yehovah God is His body. His glory outshines the cumulative glory of all creation in comparison and if there were no glory at all in that latter. Just as the children of Israel could not steadfastly look upon the face of Moses, which shone as a testimony that he was in the presence of God, because it faded away, so also the glory of man and this world fades away. No materials upon the earth can compare to the clear perfection of the glory of God and as no man tore down the Temple which Jesus spoke of, for He laid it down of His own, so no man can build the Temple of Yehovah.
The New Jerusalem is the city of peace of His which is because of His faithfulness and He alone reigns as the Solomon, the King of Peace. The walls around this city which no man can enter is the salvation of His people and the gates are praise unto our God for the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah; “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:9). The Temple is the tabernacle of God with men and the twelve manner of fruit each in his season and the leaves are for the therapy of His people, each rendering service unto each other, as they endure the contradiction of sin against themselves.
Yehovah God has decreed all things which come to pass by the power of His will; why shall the children of hope fear what man may do?
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
July 1, 2018