This weekend marks one of the most somber observances for the Jewish nation. It is the time when both temples were destroyed on the same day. There is much to be said of “Tish B’av” and I plan on working through some of these things on my blog for anyone interested. I am currently in the process of writing my Th.M. thesis on the temple and figured I’d post a few things about it in the next few weeks as well.
Today, I have been studying Jeremiah. Both the nation and the king have turned away from following after the LORD. They have broken His covenant. In Jeremiah 22, God calls the Davidic kings to “Do justice and righteousness” (22:2-3). If they obey, then God would perpetuate the reign of David’s descendants on Judah’s throne (22:4). If they disobey, then David’s “house” would become a desolation (22:5). All they need to do is follow after God, doing justice and righteousness. Yet that same theme will come up and expose their lack of these qualities. They are without” righteousness” and without “justice” (22:13). Not only will God make the Davidic “house” a desolation, but He has also said if the nation fails to follow after Him and continues to break the covenant, that His “House” (the Temple) will become a desolation (7:12-15; 12:7-11). The Davidic king and the people were to follow God, not reject Him or His Word. Yet they fail and the Temple is destroyed, the people exiled and the nation laid to waste. Tish B'av remembers the destuction of the Temple on the same day in 586 B.C. with the Babylonians and then again in 70 A.D. with the Romans.
While chapter 22 calls for justice and righteousness to be found in the king and then shows that these qualities are lacking, chapter 23 brings about a significant promise for a future Davidic descendant who will one day reign as king and who will do…..”justice” and “righteousness” in the land (23:5). This coming one will be a righteous Branch from the line of David. Zechariah 6:12-13 show us that this righteous Branch will also build the temple of the LORD and will be both a priest and king, sitting on the throne of David. One day, there will be a righteous ruler who does justice and righteousness as King over a one world order. I love how Jeremiah 23:6 ends, “And this is His name by which He will be called, The LORD our righteousness.”
Israel laments the loss of its temple which signified the dwelling place of God. They long to rebuild the temple and look to the day when Messiah reigns. Yet we know that the God-man, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus the Messiah will reign as King over the entire world. Matthew 25:31ff describes Christ's promise to return in glory, with angels and THEN He will sit on His throne, judging the nations (righteously and justly) and giving those who truly know Him the priviledge to enter into His kingdom (Matt 25:34). What a promise indeed!