We can see in scripture the slow demise of the temple. Under king Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem and took treasures from the temple back to Egypt (1Ki .14:25). Later, king Asa of Judah took all the remaining silver and gold from the temple’s treasury to Ben-Hadad, king of Aram in Damascus, to bribe him to go to war against Israel (1Ki 15:18). Later, king Ahaz also took silver and gold from the temple’s treasury, and may have taken gold off the temple itself, to bribe the king of Assyria to attack Damascus (2Ki 16:8). He also had a duplicate altar like he saw in Damascus put in place of the bronze altar in Jerusalem and put the bronze altar, originally in front of the temple’s entrance facing east, on the north side of the temple (2Ki 16:10-14). It seems he took the bronze from the lavers Solomon had made and the twelve-oxen base of the giant laver to make this altar (2Ki 16:17). Ahaz even dismantled some of the structures attached to the temple so as not to offend the king of Assyria (2Ki 16:18). He also took the furnishings of the temple and cut them in pieces, shut the temple doors, and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem (2Ch 28:24). King Hezekiah took the silver in the temple treasury and stripped gold off the temple doors and doorposts and gave it to the king of Assyria trying to bribe him to withdraw from Jerusalem (2Ki 18:16). As you can see, all the gold was already depleted from the temple’s treasury and so he resorted to more drastic measures to obtain the gold the king of Assyria demanded. Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, built altars to other gods within the temple courtyard, put Asherah poles (i.e., phallic symbols) within the temple, had an image placed within the temple, and had living quarters constructed within the temple courtyard for the male shrine prostitutes which were now part of their worship rituals (2Ki 21:4-7, 23:7; 2Ch 33:7). So, you can see the temple lost its significance to the people and in the end was used for something totally against God, whereas it was originally built as something beautiful in which the people could worship God.
God stated he was going to put an end to these practices in a severe way. God would have king Nebuchadnezzar destroy all these high places, but it would not end there. Many would die by the sword. Those who did not die by the sword, would die by plague. When there are so many deaths at once, the other people cannot attend to bodies properly, so they breed plagues. Many will flee seeking to save their lives, but God states the plague would follow them. After all, animals and rodents are the ones who carry the plagues, and they are wherever the people are. Many would flee to Jerusalem, as cities had walls for protection, but God states this will not be a protection for them, but a death trap. Those inside Jerusalem would die from starvation because Nebuchadnezzar would surround the city and not let anyone in or out. Food supplies would dwindle, Jerusalem’s economy would collapse (Ek 7:12-13). Even the gold of the wealthy would become useless (Ek 7:19).
While we may chide them for their actions, can we really do that considering our own actions? They neglected their temple and worship of God. Are we not guilty of the same? Today, his temple is our bodies, as that is where the Holy Spirit dwells (1Co 3:16). Are we making it a pure place for him, or are we crowding him out with other things. Yes, I think we have a lot to learn from Ezekiel and his message to his people. Let’s heed the message for ourselves as well. We can accomplish so much more with a guilt-free conscience.
Spirit of the Law
Perfection is the Standard
Sin Offering Applications