The Tabernacle Times
July 2017 ......................... Tammuz - Av 5777 ......................... Volume 12 Issue 7

The House Of G-d

Angela Kunkel
his month's
guest contributor Angela Kunkel
  The synagogue is the most important institution in Judaism. The three Hebrew terms for the synagogue indicate its major function— the Beit Knesset (House of Assembly), the Beit Tefillah (House of Prayer), and the Beit Midrash (House of Study). The Yiddish term for a synagogue is “shul” (school), reflecting that worship and learning take place in the same building. Early Reform Jews choose the word Temple for their synagogues, referring to their yearning for the re-building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Historically, the synagogue represents the site Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Don’t you know that you are G-d’s temple and that the Ruach Elohim dwells among you?" In Jewish understanding G-d lives in His Temple, that is where His Glory dwells, His Shekinah, His Spirit. The Samaritan woman in John 4:20 tells Yeshua “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you all say that the place where we must worship in Jerusalem.” This is where the Temple was. Yeshua replied that the time would come when ”the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). According to Paul, that time has come! Paul even uses the word “temple” in 1 Corinthians 3:16. Later in Chapter 6, verse 19, Paul describes the physical body of and individual believer when he declares, “Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from G-d, and that you are not your own?”
of the first communal worship divorced from sacrifice.

The very first sites of worship in Ancient Israel were shrines established by Abraham, who erected altars to HaShem at a site between Beit El and Ai (Genesis 12:7-8) and at Hebron (Genesis 13:18). Jacob set up an altar also, at Beth El, the site of Angels ascending and descending on a ladder from earth to Heaven (Genesis 28:18-19).

Torah Scholars agree that the synagogue as an institution originated during the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE. With the Temple destroyed, the Israelites were suddenly cut off from the traditional methods of seeking Divine assistance, forgiveness of sin, thanking HaShem for merciful Salvation, and celebrating the Holy days. After the destruction of the second Temple, prayers for its rebuilding were incorporated into the synagogue service. The Rabbi’s observed that even during the Messianic Age, when the dispersed Jews would return to the Land of Israel and the Temple would be rebuilt, the Synagogues of the Diaspora would still exist to serve the vital purpose of expounding the Torah to the masses.
            (Continued at top of next column)


There will come a day when the Temple will be restored, but in Yeshua we can rest in the knowledge that the Temple of G-d resides in each of us. Those who proclaim Yeshua is L-rd and honor the words of His Father, the Holy One of Israel, will continue to glorify Him each and everyday in their own bodies.


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