THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TEMPLE IN ISRAEL
The Temple of Jerusalem played important roles in religious, social and economic lives of the Israelites as follows.
- It symbolized God’s presence among his people through the Ark of the Covenant which was kept in the Temple.
- It was a dwelling place for God. I Kings 8:12 – 13.
- It was a centre/house of worship and prayer for the Jews/ priests offered sacrifices, burnt incense and prayers to God in the Temple.
- All the Jewish Religious festivals/feasts such as Passover, Pentecost and New Year were celebrated in the Temple.
- The Temple was a symbol of national security because the Jews believed that the Temple would never be destroyed.
- Religious rites were performed in the Temple e.g. Purification and dedication rites, naming, circumcision of baby boys and lepers were cleansed in the temple.
- It was a place for pilgrimage for the Jews living in Palestine and the Jews of the Diaspora
- It was a commercial centre and housed the Jewish treasury where currencies were exchanged and animals for sacrifices sold.
- It was a centre for Jewish learning where the teaching of the law was conducted
- It was used as a law court where social and religious issues could be solved by the Sanhedrin/council of Jewish religious leader.
- 11. It was a symbol of Jewish unity. It united the Jews as the people of God, since it was built and maintained by Kings. It was a royal sanctuary thus providing stability for the monarch.
- It was the residence for the religious leaders and the place where priests and prophets Lived, e.g. prophetess Anna, Luke 2:36 – 38.
- The Jews believed that the Messiah would appear in the Temple.
- The Temple was the only place where sacrifices to God were offered by the priests.
- God revealed himself to many in the Temple e.g. Hannah, Isaiah etc.