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“Because of the steady departure of the people of God from true worship according to His explicit commands, and the moral decline that invariably resulted, the nation of Judah was overthrown by the Babylonians and the remnant that remained were taken captive for seventy years. At the end of that time, according to God’s promise, the remnant was permitted to return to Jerusalem.

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the events surrounding this return from captivity. The very first order of business upon their return was to be the rebuilding of the Temple, which God enabled by stirring up the heart of Cyrus.”

The Temple is central to God’s design for worship (Ezra 1:1-11)

“The centrality of the Temple and of the pure worship of God is at the core of Ezra’s message. The importance of the Temple lies in the fact that worship itself presupposes a Mediator between the Holy God and His fallen people. The functions of the priesthood and the symbolism of the altar all pointed to Christ and the reality of the Heavenly Temple, upon which the Temple in Jerusalem was modeled. Man cannot approach God on his own terms, but must always draw near according to God’s own provision. The corruption of worship, which included the introduction of many elements invented by the hearts of men, distorted the truth of God’s sovereignty and therefore tarnished the image of Christ so beautifully illustrated in God’s commanded worship.

Some have argued that the strictness of the regulation of Old Testament worship was the result of the nature of the worship of that period, which was outward and typical. Because the visible elements of worship pointed to Christ in specific ways, it was necessary that they be
rigidly regulated and observed. The conclusion is offered that now that the fulfillment of these outward elements has been revealed in Christ, there is no further need for strict regulation of the elements of worship. The New Testament Church is left, more or less, to its own discretion, in designing the particular elements of worship, so long as nothing is done that blatantly contradicts the broad principles of the Word of God.
This conclusion, however popular and accepted in modern evangelical Christianity, is false. The Temple remains the central focus of worship under Christ. It is not, however, the earthly temple, but the Heavenly Sanctuary, which provides the context for New Testament worship, as the Scriptures, and particularly the books of Hebrews and Revelation clearly teaches.” (Comin, 147-148)

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