Monday, March 03, 2008

Majesty Too Great to Dwell in Temples of Stone

Ancient Arad is located in the Negev, some 30 km. northeast of Be'er Sheva, on a hill that rises 40 m. above the surrounding plain.

During the 18 seasons of excavation conducted from 1962-1984, it became clear that the remains of ancient Arad are located in two separate areas and are from two distinct periods. The Canaanite city (3rd millennium BCE) was located mainly on the southern slope of the hill. On the summit of this hill, several fortresses were built in the period of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah (10th-6th centuries BCE) and also later, during the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods (5th century BCE to 4th century CE). Source:

Why am I telling you this? Let me explain.

During the excavation of the Arad, they found a Israeli Temple just like the temple of Solomon buried six layers deep. The temple seems to have been in existence durign the time of Solomon's temple.

Located in the northwestern corner of the citadel, the temple comprised three rooms along an east-west axis: ulam (entrance hall), heichal (main hall), and dvir (holy-of-holies). To reach the dvir three steps had to be mounted to an elevated platform, on which a one-meter high stone stele, painted red, stood. Stone altars, 50 cm. high, flanked both sides of the entrance to the dvir. The tops of the altars were concave and in them burnt organic material was found. At the center of the large courtyard in front of the temple was an altar built of bricks and stone, measuring 2.5 x 2.5 m. (5 x 5 biblical amot). It was probably similar to the altar described in the Bible (Deut. 27:5) and to that in the Temple in Jerusalem. (II Chronicles 6:13)

The Israelite temple discovered at Arad is the only one known outside of Jerusalem. It was part of the first Israelite citadel there and served as a roadside temple for travelers, merchants and the garrison of the citadel.

At the end of the 8th century B.C the reformations under King Hezekiah, King of Judah, all high places and worship centres were to be destroyed and only true worship was to take place at Jerusalem (II Kings 18: 4, 22. However the inhabitants of this place were Yahewstic worshippers, worshippers of the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they instead of destroying this temple built bupon it and layers of cities were built on this site. Apprently the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed but today this one still stands as the reminder of these worshippers who worshipped the true God.

In the first part, I did explain the Holy of Holies was were God promised to dwell with His Shekinah Glory on the roof of of the tabernacle. In the tabernacle were two sets of stones one a copy signifying God's love covenant and the other our responsibility because of this love covenant. It was not just a list of do and don't of commandments as we have always percieved. When Jesus died on the cross the temple veil was torn now symblizing we can enter the Holy of Holies but it also meant God was now also coming out of the sanctuary and now in His great mercy has chosen hearts of flesh to reveal His Glory. We are thus to be carriers of His light from the Holy of Holies to the world we are living into. Oh! How beautiful truly God and His majesty has chosen now hearts of flesh.


Sam Kurien

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