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Temple at Old Jerusalem to be Like Shiloh

The confusion among ministers is also caused by their mistaken belief that God chose the old city of Jerusalem perpetually as the place where He would place His Name. But like Shiloh, Jehovah's presence there was conditional upon Israel obeying God. This is made very plain in Jeremiah 7 where we read, "The Word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the gate of the Lord's house [the temple in Jerusalem], and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the Word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord."

So God gave Jeremiah a commandment to speak to all those who worshipped at the temple. Verses 3 through 10 give a promise that if they obeyed the Lord, they would then, "dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever."

But then God accused them of disobeying and said, "Is this house which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. But go ye now unto My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My Name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel" (verses 11-12). Then God pronounced the fate of the temple at Jerusalem, "Therefore will I do unto this house [the temple], which is called by My Name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and your fathers [Jerusalem and Judah], as I have done to Shiloh."

So in order to see what God has done to Jerusalem, we must see what he did to Shiloh. Its history as the place where God had set His name at the first starts in Joshua 18:1, "And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there." The ark of the covenant was there, and it was there that the high priests sacrificed to the God of Israel.

This continued for many years for we read in Judges 18:30-31, "And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land [Philistine captivity]. And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God [the tabernacle] was in Shiloh."

God To Forsake Shiloh

Then in 1 Samuel we read the story of God's leaving Shiloh, as He was later to leave Jerusalem. This is quite lengthy and requires the reading of all chapters 2 through 7. We will quote only a few verses because of space limitations.

The story begins in 1 Samuel 2:12 with the sons of Eli, "Now the sons of Eli were the sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord." Because of their abominations and the sins of Israel, the Lord appeared to Eli and among other things told him, "Behold the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. And thou shalt see an enemy in My habitation [the tabernacle at Shiloh]. And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them."

Then God tells Eli what will replace His habitation. "And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in My mind; and I will build him a sure house…" This was a reference to Samuel.

Shiloh Forsaken

God then set about to carry out this promise of punishment to Eli and removing Himself from Shiloh. In chapter 4, the Philistines won a battle against the Israel armies, and Israel made a decision (1 Samuel 4:3).

"And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies." Instead of putting their trust in God, they put their trust in the physical ark.

Verses 10 and 11 tell the results: "And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent - and there was a great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain." God's promise that the enemy would be in His habitation and that the sons of Eli would both be slain in one day had come to pass.

Eli died when he heard the news, and Phinehas' widow was so shocked by the events that she was immediately delivered of her child. That she recognized the terrible disaster to Israel is shown in the name she gave the baby. "And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken" (verse 21). The Lord had departed from Shiloh.

Ramah - Then Jerusalem

Chapter 7 shows that God then gave Samuel rule over Israel, but he did not worship at Shiloh for we read in verses 15-17, "And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the Lord."

Psalm 78:59-61 verifies this forsaking of Shiloh in this manner: "When God heard this [Israel's abomination] He was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which He placed among men; and delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy's hand." Then verses 65-72 refer to the placing of His temple in Jerusalem under David and Solomon. Most Bible students know the story, so we will not recount it here. But the Psalmist does verify that Shiloh was forsaken. So, if Jerusalem was to be "as Shiloh," and if God's Word is true, which it is, then the old city of Jerusalem is forsaken and deserted by the God of Israel forever!

Old Jerusalem to be a Curse to All the Nations of the Earth

But just so the same Bible students understand with perfect clarity that God has now forsaken the old city of Jerusalem and will never rebuild His temple there, turn to Jeremiah 26:1-3. Again Jeremiah is ordered by the Lord to stand in the entrance to the temple in Jerusalem and say, "Thus saith the Lord: If ye will not hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth." This is a double warning to the city and a promise of what the old city of Jerusalem would be at some time in the future.

Christ Confirmed These Promises

"Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Rom. 15:8). Now these fathers here were the people of Israel, of course. And so we find Christ confirming this end of the temple and of old Jerusalem as the place where His Name would be.

We read in Jeremiah 7:11, "Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?" This was followed by the promise to make it as Shiloh. In Matthew 21:12, 13 we read that Christ personally entered the temple at Jerusalem, overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."

After spending some time teaching in the temple, he then left the temple and later pronounced on the city of Jerusalem, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 23:38-39) Two verses later we read His sentence on the temple, "Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."

Christ never went back to the temple, it was destroyed and burned to the ground in 70 A.D. The temple became "as Shiloh," and Jerusalem as "Ichabod." The promise of God through His prophet Jeremiah was confirmed by Christ, and history verifies its fulfillment. Not only is the Lord's name (Christ) not there any more, but with much of the world's intrigue and tension centered in the Jewish state called Israeli, the old city is now becoming "a curse to all the nations of the earth" as God had prophesied! Ministers who still insist the Jews will rebuild the temple (which they may) and that God will bless it (which He will not) have "seen a vain vision", and "spoken a lying Divination."

This Foolish Preaching That the Jews are Israel

A great part of this absurd teaching about old Palestine is caused by the erroneous belief by ministers that the Jews are Israel and that the Jewish state of Israeli is the regathering of the tribes of Israel. I wonder how many preachers have stopped to think that there are about the same number of Jews now in old Palestine as there were Israelites in the Exodus from Egypt over 3,300 years ago. (3 milleniums ago!) And if there was any one thing God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it was to multiply their seed!

According to Genesis 48:4, God said to Israel, the father of the twelve men who became the twelve tribes of Israel, "Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people." And in verse 19, speaking of Ephraim, one of Joseph's sons and Israel's grandson, Israel prophesied of this one man alone that, "his seed shall become a multitude of nations." Ephriam's descendants alone were to become many nations!

In Genesis 28:3 is God's prophecy to Jacob-Israel, "And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people." Moses, speaking to the two million or more Israelites in the Exodus, said to them, "The Lord God of your fathers make ye a thousand times as many as ye are and bless you as He hath promised you" (Deut. 1:11).

Solomon is estimated to have had more than fifteen million Israelites in his kingdom over 2,500 years ago and yet preachers today would have us believe that less than fifteen million Jews in the world today constitute this "multiplied" seed of Israel (14,334,195 is the 1976 estimate from the Jewish Statistical Bureau, Dr. H.S. Linfield, Exec. Secretary, 1976 World Almanac, page 214).

Ministers who teach that the two million or so Jews in Palestine are fulfilling Bible prophecy of the regathering of Israel are completely ignoring the promises God made to Abraham of the immense numbers of descendants who would be in that regathering.

Their teaching is actually an affront to God, yet millions of churchgoers believe and support this foolish preaching. Jeremiah was trulyright when he said of our day,

"The prophets prophesy falsely ….and My people love to have it so" (Jer. 5:30-31).