The glory of the Lord rested on the mercy seat, between the two cherubims, on the top of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark itself sat in the back of the temple, in the most Holy Place, and was visited only once per year by the High Priest. This glory was often characterized by a cloud, and all of Israel knew that this was the very Spirit of the Lord.
Ezekiel saw a vision of the final moments of the presence of the Spirit of the Lord in Jerusalem. Having shown Ezekiel the corruption that was taking place in the temple; idolatry, prostitution and blasphemy (Ezekiel 8), God is now ready to depart from the temple, emptying it of His presence, making room for the enemy to ransack and destroy it. In view of how bad things were during those times, you would think that God would leave as fast as possible, but His slow movements speak of someone who was hesitant, but would rather stay as long as He can, speaking just a bit longer.
Notice the progression of his departure from the temple. He starts in Ezekiel 10:4, “over the threshold of the house”, which is the doorway into the temple. Then He proceeds outward, “Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims” (Ezekiel 10:18). Now outside of the main room of the temple, the Spirit is hovering near the cherubims that were present at the event, who now fly out the east gate of the temple, with the glory “over them above” (verse 19).
Next we find God’s glory over the heart of Jerusalem, “And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city” (Ezekiel 11:23). Still slow to leave, the Spirit takes one more look at Jerusalem before going up from the mountain, back into heaven (verse 24).
When God’s spirit left, Jerusalem was uncovered and the Babylonians came in and destroyed the city in 586BC.
Forty years after Jesus prophesied about the same destruction upon the temple and land, which is considered in prophetic language as heaven and earth. God was leaving again that place to take up residence in another temple. This temple is not the one made with hands but Him.
He instituted a new covenant that would make him tabernacle in the hearts of men. So for forty years he was also patient with them to bring many into Jesus the Ark. His patient seemed to surprise to Christians who were being martyred.
Peter explained in 2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[b] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
History tells us how Titus and the 10th Legion of the Roman Army surrounded the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD, burned the Temple to the ground and took the temple treasures back to Rome. Also he took many of the Jewish people captive that were in the city. All that happened prior to the destruction did not happen in a hurry.
According to the Jewish Talmud (a book of commentary and discussions by Rabbis), in Yoma 39, there is mention of a number of events or unusual signs that had taken place before but that ceased and never again happened after 30 AD. Before 30 AD, during a 40-year period when a Rabbi by the name of Simeon the Righteous was serving as high priest there were a number of unusual miraculous signs that took place during his ministry as the high priest, that all ceased in the year 30AD. Jewish history tells us that for this 40 year period when Simeon the Righteous was the high priest, prior to 30 AD, these positive supernatural signs took place, then ceased.
What were the signs.
(1) The drawing of Lots. On the day of atonement, the high priest reached his hand into a box called the lottery and would pull out what some say was a stone, there being a white stone which had written upon it, ‘for the Lord’ and a black stone which said, ‘for azizel’. Then the high priest offered a goat upon the alter as a sacrifice unto the Lord and he laid his hands upon the second goat, called the scapegoat and spoke the sins of the people, which would then be sent into the Judean Wilderness, where it would die, being shoved off a cliff. For centuries, when the high priest reached into that lottery box, it always fell on ‘for the Lord’, which was the stone removed from the lottery box, until 30AD, when for the first time it fell on ‘for azizel.’ That continued to happen for the next 40 years. The Jews believed this positive sign to mean that God’s blessing was upon them and that He had accepted their sacrifice, but then when ‘for azizel’ came up in the high priests right hand and kept coming up year after year, they took this to mean God’s displeasure upon the priesthood and Israel.
(2) The second sign was concerning a crimson strap. A red thread was placed around the neck of one of the goats and a red thread around the horns of the other goat. A third red thread or strap was attached to the door of the temple. When the scapegoat was shoved off the hill of the scapegoat in the Judean Wilderness, the red thread on the temple door supernaturally turned white. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” According to Jewish history that red thread on the temple door turned white consistently, every year, until 30AD, after which it never turned white again from 30 to 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed.
(3) The third unusual sign was concerning the Candlestick or Menorah in the Temple. Every morning, the wick had to be changed, fresh oil placed in the Menorah and it had to be lit. During the time of Simeon the Righteous, they always lit the Menorah from the western end of it and then from it they would light the other six branches. What happened beginning in 30 AD, was the western branch went out and they were not able to light the other branches from it.
(4) The Alter of Sacrifice. During the time of Simeon the Righteous, only two logs were used for the entire sacrifice, they lasted all day during the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement. They needed no other logs for the sacrifices. In 30 AD that miracle ceased and they had to keep putting more logs on the fire to enable them to complete the sacrifices.
(5) The priest would eat a small amount of bread from the table of shewbread. History tells us that the priest was satisfied by eating a piece of bread the size of an olive. That also changed in 30 AD and the priest was no longer satisfied with that small amount of bread.
(6) There were doors to the Temple that opened and closed by themselves. In Yoma 39, a commentary on Zechariah 11:1, it teaches that the doors of the temple opened and closed by themselves. The scripture says, “Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.”
All these positive supernatural signs took place until 30 AD, when they ceased and did not happen again for the next 40 years before the destruction of the Temple. We have to note that all these Temple sacrifices and rituals were only a type and shadow to point to Jesus, who was the reality and fulfillment of them. Jesus fulfilled all the types and shadows and sacrifices and made them unnecessary.
Because Jesus came into His ministry in 30 AD and became our high priest, and was revealed as all these things above for His people, these signs were no longer needed to point the way to Jesus for He had come in the flesh and they had Him now. God was saying, the Temple and the Temple sacrifices and rituals are no longer needed and they will no longer be the center of my working among men on the earth. All the types and shadows were replaced with the living Christ, our Messiah. He would become God’s sacrifice and would make us the Temple of God and the place on earth where His Spirit would reside and He would now work through His people, who would become kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:5-6). Matthew 5:14, Mark 16:15-16, John 20:21, Acts 1:8.
Josephus also said that the East Gate of the inner court, made of brass opened by itself at the 6th hour of the night (midnight). This gate according to the Talmud in Yoma 38a was made of Corinthian bronze. One gate was 60 feet by 23 feet and there were two of them. This gate took 20 men to open, and that with great difficulty. The watchman who saw the gate open ran and told the captain of the temple who came with a group of men and shut it. There were two interpretations to what happened. One group said; we believe God’s favor is on Israel and God has now shut the door upon our enemies and the city is protected.
That doesn’t make much sense because the door which was shut was opened by God, not the door being opened was shut by God. However, a group of wise men said no, this is a sign that God has left His temple once and for all and it is now left unguarded. That was really the crux of the whole matter. God’s presence had left the Temple leaving it open for the Roman 10th legion to come in and take over the Temple and destroy it and take the people captive. History confirms that these wise men were right in their interpretation of this sign from God.
Quoting from Josephus; “Besides these, a few days after the feast, one the one and twentieth day of the month of f… a certain prodigious and incredible phenomena appeared. Before the sun was setting, chariots and troops of soldiers were seen in their armour and were seen running among the clouds surrounding the city.” This is a supernatural sign that is very unnatural. This was seen just before the destruction of the Temple. The way Josephus wrote it, it seems that it was not a vision by him, but seen by many people. We are talking about a strange series of supernatural signs that the city was about to be taken and the Temple destroyed. God sent signs in 30 AD and again in 70 AD.
After the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit makes His triumphant return to Jerusalem. The book of Acts records the way that He arrives as, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). He comes in a hurry! There is no slow arrival. Some say that He had to be begged in by the prayers of the 120, but that is not true. He waited until, “the day of Pentecost was fully come” (Acts 2:1), so that He could arrive on time.
Some say that if you are not very careful you will run the Holy Spirit off. Some even said that any foolishness in a service, even down to someone chewing gum will run the presence of the Lord out of the house. If chewing gum can quench the power out of a service, then there wasn’t much to begin with! The Holy Spirit was slow to go and quick to return. Don’t be deceived into believing that He is quick to leave you now. In fact, He will not leave you, nor forsake you. He will stay with you through all things because He is your comforter, and He is always pointing you to Jesus.
He has now made you his tabernacle. He went to a great extent to pull down the former so that it will not be remembered. You are now his new residence and He cannot find any reason to leave.
Go in the assurance that the Holy Spirit is in you as a child of God. He is not looking for some excuse to leave you high and dry, but rather, He is looking for another excuse to bless you. Take the abundant grace and dwell in it.