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Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | September 11, 2018

House of Prayer (Mark 11:17). Dr. R.L. Horton

Immediately after Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem a couple days before His crucifixion, He entered the temple and drove out those transacting business there. “Then He taught them, saying to them, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations”?’” (Mk.11:17). This had to be a curious statement to the Israelites, both when Isaiah first said it (Isa.56:7) as well as when Jesus quoted it.

Think of the original construction of the tabernacle which was the pattern for the temple that would later be built. The people are at the foot of Mount Sinai which is covered with dark clouds, lightning flashes, thunder shakes the mountain, and all Israel hears the voice of God as He delivers to them the Ten Commandments. While still camped there He gives Moses explicit instructions on building the tabernacle and its purpose. The priests, and priests only, minister in it as they offer the sacrifices prescribed by God. So sacred is the tabernacle that Moses, Aaron, and his sons were to camp in front of the entrance with instructions that “the outsider who came near was to be put to death” (Num.3:38).

Jesus, however, tells the people that the primary purpose of God’s house, the temple, was prayer. Sacrifices and the ministry of the priests were secondary to communing with God. From the beginning, God’s intention was that people come to the tabernacle and later the temple to have fellowship with God. In the old dispensation it was mediated through priests and sacrifices, but it still represented entering into communion with God. The priesthood and sacrifices were never an end in themselves. God always wanted the hearts of the people. And secondly, it was a place for the people to join one another in prayer. Private and family prayer is important, and yet it is corporate prayer that God institutionalized. In this present dispensation we come together “in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim.315). When we do so, let’s be careful to commune with the living God with a full heart through every part of the service.

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