As the Tabernacle of the wilderness, a moveable tent, represented God's dwelling-place—the church—in its present imperfect state, the fleshly condition, so the Temple built by Solomon is, we believe, also a type of the dwelling-place of God. A permanent structure, it is a fit illustration of the church when it shall reach the perfect spiritual condition.
The tabernacle was pitched hither and thither in the "wilderness of sin" (Ex. 16.) and had no continuing place, while the temple was permanently established not only in Canaan, the land of promise, in Jerusalem, the holy city, but in the top of the mountain. So Paul says of us, "Here we have no continuing city [we journey through the wilderness of sin], but we seek one to come" (Heb. 13:14)—the New Jerusalem—and "the Lord God and the Lamb are the Temple of it" (Rev. 21:22), and it shall be established in the tops of the mountains also. Isa. 2:2.
In a certain sense, we may be spoken of even now as God's temple. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Cor. 3:16. But this is only in a limited sense that we are now said to be the temple. In the spirit of our minds we are "risen with Christ and seated with him in heavenly places," speaking of things future as though they now existed, because now commenced.
Really, we, as living stones, are now being taken out of the quarry of humanity, fitted, shaped, trimmed and polished for our positions in the glorious temple of God, and this is the work of this gospel age. Ye are "built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the spirit." Eph. 2:20-22. Solomon, the peaceful and wise king, built the pattern, so a wiser and "a greater than Solomon," called "the Prince of Peace," is to build the antitypical temple. As the building of the temple required seven years (1 Kings 6:38), and much or nearly all of the materials used were made ready before the work of construction began, so with the building of this antitypical temple. We believe that the seven years ("harvest") from the autumn of 1874 to 1881, is the time for the construction of this temple, i.e., the bringing of all the members—fruit-bearing branches of the Vine—into the perfect spiritual condition. And the living stones for this temple selected and prepared during this gospel age, were nearly all ready before the construction commenced (1874), and must all be ready before the temple is completed, and it must be completed before "the glory of the Lord" fills it. 2 Chron. 5:1-13, and Rev. 15:8.
The ending of the 1,335 symbolic days of Daniel, just at the beginning of this seven years (1874), seems to corroborate this, since Daniel was to stand in his lot at the end of the days. (He belongs to the order of prophets who are first mentioned in the order of giving rewards. Rev. 11:18.) And we believe that this constructing of the temple began by bringing into the spiritual condition (like unto Christ's glorious body) the prophets. If we are correct in this matter, it proves, in harmony with the parallelism of the Jewish and Gospel ages, not only that the door of favor to the "high calling"—to be the bride—the temple, will end in the autumn of 1881, but it also proves, as that parallelism does, the presence of Christ. The first proves his presence as the reaper in this harvest, gathering dead and living "into his barn," away from the tares, &c., and this last proves his presence as the constructor of the temple, typified by Solomon. Jesus indicates that he is not only the overseer and director in our quarrying and preparation, but also that He will be the "master builder" in constructing the temple. He has promised "him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God." Rev. 3:12.
Our change from natural to spiritual bodies we at one time supposed to be the marriage, but we now see that the change precedes, as making us ready for the marriage. We still believe that the change is our full deliverance from fleshly conditions and frailties into the perfections of our new being, from weakness to power; from corruption to incorruption; from dishonor to glory; from a natural to a spiritual body; from the image of the earthly to the image of the heavenly (1 Cor. 15:42-48); "made like unto Christ's glorious body." But we are thus changed to His glorious likeness in order that our installment in official power with Him may follow (symbolically called marriage). This was true of Jesus, our pattern and forerunner: He was quickened of the Spirit—"raised a spiritual body"—("that which is born [quickened] of the Spirit is Spirit." Jno. 3:6), though like all spiritual bodies, He must have been "a glorious body" (vailed under flesh forty days), yet the glorifying, in the sense of exalting to official dignity, did not occur until He had ascended up on high and become associated with the Father—"set down with [His] Father in His throne." So we must be changed before we sit with Christ "on His throne," or are united (married) with Him in the glory of power.
When "the body," "the bride," "the temple," is completed, all will have been thus changed, yet there are scriptures which seem to teach that we that are alive (the feet of the body), will, for a time after our change, appear under the vail of flesh [as Jesus did after his change] before the temple is glorified, and that the work to be done then is much the same as that we are now doing, though doubtless more ably done and more successful in results, viz.: Proclaiming to all Christians—the second "great company" (Rev. 7:9-15)—and to the world, during the three plagues which precede the "seven last:" "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come." Rev. 14:7. "Babylon is fallen; come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues" [the seven last]. Rev. 18:1-4.
Though now we "sing the song of Moses and the Lamb," proclaiming restitution—using "the harps [the word] of God." [See article "Having the Harps of God," in August number], yet doubtless all of these proclamations will be emphasized under our new conditions. Then many—"a great company"—will hear and heed—come into harmony with our proclamation.
This work of proclaiming, &c., is shown in the type when the priests took their trumpets and sounded the notes, the Levites took their position as singers to sing in harmony with the trumpets of the priests. We have already seen that the priests represent the "little flock" and the Levites the "great company." The practicing continued, doubtless, for some time before perfect harmony was obtained. So in the future, when these proclamations are made, it will be some time before the second company—Elisha class—come into full harmony—apparently not until the end of the first three plagues. We read, "It came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord,...For He is good, for his mercy endureth forever, that then the house (temple) was filled with a cloud,...for the glory of the Lord had filled the house." 2 Chron. 5:13. This glorifying shows the marriage; after which fleshly priests could no longer remain in the temple—representing the fact that we will no longer be even under the vail of flesh.
That the "great company" learn the song, is shown also by Rev. 19, when they say, verses 1 and 2, "True and righteous are His judgments, &c." Then the enthroned company say: "Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great." The answer shows that they have reached the condition of complete harmony with God—they can sing in harmony in every note—"I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude...saying, 'Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come." (Verse 5-7.) They will realize that the "body" or "bride" is complete, and that they can have no share in that high calling, as the door to that position will then be closed; yet they rejoice to see [as we do] God's great loving plan as it embraces the sin destroyed race, and they are filled with God's praise. Verse 9 contains a promise written specially for this "great multitude," viz.: "Write, 'Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" It is then too late for them to share the honors of the bride—the marriage being over, but the supper, or feast of rejoicings is postponed until this "great company" shall have "washed their robes and made them white"—coming through great tribulation." Rev. 7:14.
Dearly beloved, if we believe these things, our works will attest our faith. If you and I believe that the door to the "high calling" closes in less than a year, should we not increase our efforts to bring all Christians into the light of present truth—the knowledge of the bridegroom's presence—that they and we may be more fully separated from the world.
Does some one say: Ah, you make a test then of knowing of the bridegroom's presence! We reply, that we understand the necessary conditions upon which any one may become a part of the bride of Christ are first that they accept of forgiveness of their sins and justification in God's sight as accomplished not by any works of their own but by the death of Christ Jesus our Lord—our ransom. Second, that they become his followers—walking "in his footsteps" to the crucifying of the fleshly will. These are the only conditions. But we might not be able to discern who are of this company as we know not men's hearts, but are especially instructed of the spirit through the word that He will lead all who will follow, into any and all needed light on the way. And we are further told that in this time of His presence, all whose hearts the Lord sees to be in a right condition will come to a knowledge of His presence. Some of the virgins [Christians] will be away seeking oil [light] in other directions when He is present, and the wise are going "in with Him," (Matt. 25,) others, whom the Lord calls servants, (but unfaithful, hence evil,) will in the days of His presence smite their fellow servants who are proclaiming the presence as "meat in due season to the household" of faith. (Matt. 24:45-51) "Saying, my Lord delayeth his coming"—these servants shall have their portion in the time of trouble with the hypocrites and doubtless constitute a part of the great multitude referred to above.
But of those who will constitute part of the bride it is said: "Ye brethren are not in darkness that that day (the day of the Lord) should come upon you as a thief. Ye are all children of the light;....Therefore let us not sleep as do others." (1 Thes. 5:4-6.) We cannot be too much awake on this subject, and if we see fellow Christians whose lives seem to mark them as ones who have taken Christ for their leader and example, let us spare ourselves neither pain nor trouble in calling to their attention these wonderful things which have so refreshed and strengthened our hearts—the centre of all which is that the Bridegroom has come, and they that are ready are going in to the marriage. (Matt. 25:10.) If you cannot tell the story well tell it the best you can. To him that made use of his talents more were given. You can at least interest some and lend them reading matter. Be awake, and keep active, lest you become drowsy with the lethargy which pervades all around you.