“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks split.”

Matthew 27:51

Before the second temple was destroyed, a new temple was established. When Jesus died on Calvary, the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. God the Father personally ripped the veil from heaven to earth. The torn veil, that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place, the various courts, and Solomon’s Porch, changed the perspective of the temple in several ways. In the next three devotions, we will examine the changes.

The first change was the temple was no longer a place, it was now a person. The temple was no longer a building but a believer. It was no longer necessary to go to the temple because the believer was the temple. The apostle Paul said, “Or do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) God’s two greatest creations, the temple and humanity, were created to become the dwelling places of God. God took up residence in the temple building once it was dedicated and moved His residence into the believer once salvation’s plan was completed. The believer became the permanent dwelling place of God.

The purpose of both, the building and believer, was and is to be a reflection of God’s glory. The goal was and is not for people to be enamored with the creation but the Creator. Everyone in Jerusalem and Judea, Jew and Gentile, knew the temple was the dwelling place of God. Its unique look set it apart from all other structures. The actions manifested in the temple were not duplicated in any other place. Likewise, as believers, in whom God dwells, we should live in such a manner that it is obvious to everyone that we belong to God. The way we act sets us apart from the world. Our actions in the spirit cannot be duplicated by the world’s works in the flesh. Just as God dictated what would and would not happen in the temple building, God dictates what should and should not happen in the life of His child because we are no longer our own. We have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus. The apostle Paul made this perfectly clear when he said, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)Just as the priests were charged with the upkeep of the temple building, we are charged to take care of our bodies. The priests removed anything or anyone who would defile the house of God. God has charged us to keep our bodies free from corruptible things. How you take care of your temple reflects not only what you think of yourself but how much you value God. To abuse your body, as a believer, is to mock the One who created and redeemed you. (1 Corinthians 10:31) Are you doing anything with your body that would impede your ability to serve and reflect God’s glory? During your time of fasting, has the Lord revealed anything that must be removed from your life? Is there anything that keeps you from being the very best servant for God? Would you let go of it and let God remove it? I promise, you will not miss it!


“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.”

Leviticus 16:15

 Within the veil of the Holy of Holies sat one piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant. The ark represented the presence and the power of Jehovah God. The ark emitted God’s glory. Inside the ark was the golden pot filled with manna from the wilderness, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. The mercy seat was the golden top that covered the ark. When the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, he carried a golden censer of incense to cover the mercy seat with smoke so he, who was sin, would not see God’s glory, Who was not sin, and die. The high priest sprinkled the blood of a bull and a goat on the mercy seat for the atonement of sin.

In this holy act, we see both the mercy and grace of God on display. Mercy is a Holy God withholding what sinful man rightfully deserves: eternal separation from Him in a devil’s hell. Grace is a Holy God giving sinful man what he does not rightfully deserve: the forgiveness of sin and the right to experience and enjoy a relationship with Him in His eternal kingdom. God, in His holiness, cannot give one without the other. When the high priest sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat, God withheld what the high priest, his family, and Israel rightfully deserved: death in hell. When God accepted his sacrifice and let him, his family, and Israel live another year, God gave them what they did not deserve: an opportunity to know and love Him.

Through the death of Christ, God made it possible for us to enter into the Holy of Holies without dying (mercy) and receive forgiveness (grace) for our sin. How? Christ’s death appeased the wrath of God (mercy)  and atoned   for our sin (grace). The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:4-8, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Jesus is rich in mercy and grace! He has an endless supply.

Have you experienced God’s mercy and grace? You have if you committed your life to His lordship. If you have not experienced His mercy and grace, He, through an endless supply, wants to lavish both upon you. Will you allow Him to do what He died to do? Salvation is not sinless perfection on earth. No, sinless perfection occurs once we enter heaven. As believers, although we should and can resist sin, in weak moments will yield to the power of sin. When we sin, God demonstrates His rich mercy: He does not kill us, and He demonstrates His rich grace: our salvation is secure.

It is easy to take God’s mercy and grace for granted. We take both for granted when we do not seek God’s forgiveness, when we sin, in the midst of our relationship with Him. God, in His mercy, will allow us to wander but in His grace, He will convict us to repent of our sin and return to fellowship with Him. Are you wandering? Jesus says, “Here, have mercy! Are you convicted?” Jesus says, “Here, have grace!”


“There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for the assembly of Israel.”

Leviticus 16:17

 The Holy of Holies was the innermost chamber in the temple, a room so sacred only one person could enter it, and then only one day out of the entire year. This room was a perfect cube, 15 feet in each direction. Only one object was housed there: the ark of the covenant. There was no light inside the chamber other than the glow from God’s glory. A thick, embroidered veil separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies inside the temple proper.

Regular priests were allowed in the outer holy place, but the Holy of Holies could be entered only by the high priest on the annual Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur. On that day, the high priest would bathe, then put on the clean linen garments of the priest. His robe had solid gold bells hanging from the hem. The noise of the bells told the people he was making atonement for their sins. A rope was tied around the high priest so if he died in the inner sanctuary, because of unconfessed sin in his life, the priests could pull him out. If the priests went in after him, they would all die because only one man, the high priest, could enter.

The high priest entered the inner sanctuary with a censer of burning incense, which would produce thick smoke, hiding the mercy seat on the ark where God was. Anyone who saw God would die instantly. The high priest brought the blood of a sacrificed bull and two goats into the inner sanctuary. He sprinkled the blood of a sacrificed bull on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant as a sin offering for himself and his family. Next, he sacrificed one of the goats and poured its blood on the mercy seat of the ark as a sin offering for the Israelites. The other goat was used as a scapegoat. The high priest placed his hands on its head, confessed over it the rebellion and wickedness of the Israelites, and sent the goat out with an appointed man who released it into the wilderness. The goat carried on itself all the sins of the people, which were forgiven for another year. (Leviticus 16:1-34)

 When the high priest emerged from the Holy of Holies, the priests, and the Jews knew their sins had been forgiven for another year. They were reconciled back to God because the sins they committed were remembered no more. However, it was necessary for the high priest to atone for man’s sins yearly because the blood of bulls and goats administered by an imperfect man could only atone for sins if the ritual was performed year after year.

When Jesus, who was the perfect High Priest, the Sacrificial Lamb, and the Scapegoat, shed His blood on Calvary, his death was sufficient for the forgiveness of all the sins of everyone who would believe in Him. When His sacrifice was made, He declared, “It is finished”. (John 19:30) He then sat down at the right hand of the Father and no further sacrifice for sin was ever needed. (Hebrews 10:1-2)

 Have you been forgiven of your sins? Absolutely, if you placed your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior! If Jesus has not forgiven you of your sin, would you commit your life to Him right now and receive His salvation through the forgiveness of your sin? If you receive His forgiveness, it means He has forgiven you of the penalty of sin. You will never experience eternal death in hell. Jesus will never remember or recall your old sinful life for as long as He lives! Not only has Jesus forgiven you of the penalty of sin, He has provided forgiveness from the power of sin on earth and the presence of sin when you enter heaven’s eternal rest. This is the gospel: Jesus forgives sin!

A profound truth in scripture is: Jesus forgave us of our sins so we can forgive others who sin against us. One of the ways you know you have received eternal life and are walking in fellowship with Christ is by your willingness to forgive others. Jesus said, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 5:14-15) Is there someone who has sinned against you, a loved one, or a friend whom you have not nor will not forgive? Do you realize your unwillingness to forgive is hurting you more than them? It is robbing you of God’s forgiveness, God’s faithfulness, and God’s friendship. God will not answer your prayers if you harbor an unforgiving spirit. (Psalm 66:18) Forgiveness does not mean you condone the sin. On the cross, Jesus showed how much He hated sin while at the same time, He showed how much He loved the sinner. Will you confess your unforgiving spirit and set the captive free? (Oh, by the way: You are the one held captive!) Do not miss the opportunity to worship and serve the living God freely because you are unwilling to forgive others as you have been forgiven by God.


“So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”

Luke 1:8-9

Next to the Court of the Priests was a porch that led to the temple proper consisting of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Into the Holy Place, the priests entered to perform various duties, in particular, to offer incense on the golden-incense altar, as Zechariah did on the occasion when an angel appeared to him and announced the forth coming birth of his son, John the Baptist (Luke 1:8-23). The only two pieces of furniture in the porch were the two tables, one of gold and the other of marble, on which the showbread was placed. This entrance was covered by a veil. In the Holy Place stood the Golden Altar, the Golden Table for the showbread, on which were two frankincense cups and the Golden Lampstand.

God commanded the priests to burn incense on the golden altar every morning and evening, the same time that the daily burnt offerings were made. The incense was to be left burning continually throughout the day and night as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. (Exodus 30:34-38) The incense was a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people going up to God as a sweet fragrance. God wanted His dwelling to be a place where people could approach Him and pray to Him. (Isaiah 56:7)

The golden altar, furthermore, is a representation of Christ, who is our intercessor before God the Father. During His days on earth, Jesus prayed for the believers. He was like the high priest of the temple, who bore the names of each of the Israelite tribes on his breastplate before God. Just before He was betrayed and sentenced to death, Jesus interceded for His disciples and all believers, asking God to guard them from evil and sanctify them by His Word, and that they may see God’s glory and be a witness to the world (John 17:1-26).

Today, Jesus still is our high priest at the Father’s side, interceding for us. He carries our prayers to the Father. Just as God commanded the priests to keep the incense burning, He also wants us to keep our prayers coming. This is why the apostle Paul said, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Our prayers are a sweet aroma that permeates the throne of God.

Do you pray without ceasing? Do you remain in a spirit of prayer throughout the day? If you were God’s only child, would Jesus receive any word from you on a daily basis to make intercession to the Father? Would your prayers permeate the throne with a sweet aroma? Are you carrying the burdens and requests of others to the Lord? Can others count on you to make intercession for them before the throne? The lack of communication is the weak link to any relationship. If you wait to pray until you are in trouble, then friend, you are in trouble!

The purpose of this prayer guide is to assist you, through fasting, to cleanse your mind and purify your heart, so you can make proper intercession to the Lord. Like a weak or dropped WI-FI signal that prevents an e-mail or text from transmission, your life possessed by unconfessed sin, can keep your prayers from reaching God’s throne. Has God revealed any sin you are hesitant to confess? Would you confess it right now so your prayers will not be hindered from reaching God’s throne? Keep the incense burning!


“Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Spare your people, O LORD, and give not to your heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: why should they say among the people, Where is their God’?’

Joel 2:17

Two steps up from the Court of Israel was the inner most court called the Court of the Priests. A small eighteen-inch curtain separated these two courts. Inside the Court of the Priests were three steps leading up to a pulpit. The priests occupied the pulpit while pronouncing a blessing. Twenty-three senior priests oversaw the daily operation of the temple, including the sacrifices and offerings. Before the break of the day, the priests on duty were ready and they assembled to cast lots to decide the assignment of the various daily tasks. It started with filling the lavers and preparing the altar. At about 9:00 a.m., they opened the gates and blew the silver trumpets to announce the commencement of the morning service. The service included slaying the sacrificial lamb, salting the sacrifice, trimming the lampstand, burning the incense, presenting the burnt offering and drink offering, blessing the people and blasting the silver trumpets. This was followed by the Psalm of the day, presented by the singers, accompanied by instrumental music. Immediately after the morning service, the Israelites might bring in their private sacrifices and offerings. It would occasionally continue till near the time for the evening sacrifice, which was about 2:30 p.m. The evening service was similar to the morning service. It ended at about 4:00 p.m.

At night, the priests kept watch about the innermost places of the Temple, including the inner court and the Temple itself. They also opened and closed all the inner gates. While the priests ministered in the Court of the Israelites, they wore a common priestly garment but when they ministered unto the Lord in the inner court, they removed their common garment and put on a holy garment, sanctified to the Lord. (Ezekiel 44:16-31) It was in the inner court where the priests presented the offerings to God they received from the laymen at the gate in the Court of the Israelites.

Priests were God’s ministers who spoke to God on behalf of the people. Prophets were God’s ministers who spoke to the people on behalf of God. The priests delivered the people’s offerings and sacrifices to God. The prophets delivered God’s message to His people. The prophet Joel brought a message of warning to the priests to stand in the gap between God’s children and the LORD. It was imperative for the priests to live exemplary holy lives before God’s children. While they performed their daily duties in the temple, Joel cautioned them to be mindful of Israel’s spiritual condition. For the priests to serve faithfully in the temple while God’s people lived in disobedience was unacceptable to God. If the children of Israel worshiped in the temple regularly but lived ungodly lives in the world, a host of unbelievers would have due cause to question the effectiveness or existence of their God. Joel told the priests to weep in repentance over this very sin that was being committed by the priests and God’s people. Joel urged the priests to uphold and model a standard of holiness so everyone, Jew and Gentile, would see and respond to God’s glory.

Is this true of the church today? Are we, the body of Christ, guilty of acting holy in church services and unholy in the world? Are we, as spiritual leaders, so mindful of what we do in the church building that we fail to see how we are representing Christ in the world? Do our actions in the world cause the people who know we are “Christians” to question the effectiveness and existence of God? Does all our time spent in worship and Bible study cancel out once we step back into the world?

In your realm of influence, are you consistently the same whether you be in church, at home, working, at school, on social media, or attending social events? Do you maintain a standard of holiness wherever you may be at any given moment? Do you represent God’s glory at all times and in all places so no one would ever question the effectiveness or existence of God in your life? Would someone be turned off by your unholy actions, what you say or how you act, that they say, “That’s why I want nothing to do with God or the church!” If you have been inconsistent in your walk, would you heed the prophet Joel’s warning, repent of your sin, and turn back to God? Would you do so because, if you are a follower of Christ, you are a royal priest in the midst of all people. (1 Peter 2:5, 9) By your actions today, will you point others to God and glorify Him in the process?


“So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law.”

Luke 2:27

 Continuing on from the Court of the Women, was a magnificent circular fifteen step staircase leading to an entrance called the Nicanor Gate. Through the gate was a narrow hall filled with beautiful columns called the Court of the Israelites. Jewish laymen gathered in the Court of the Israelites for fellowship but primarily to bring and present their various offerings to the priests, on behalf of themselves and their family, for gratefulness and forgiveness. Also, the entrance was the place where Jewish women came on the eighth day after giving birth to a male child for purification rites. The male babies were brought for their naming ceremony and for circumcision according to the Law. (Leviticus 12)

 On the eighth day after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple to present Him to the Lord. Mary carried Him to the entrance of the Court of the Israelites. It was here that they called Him “Jesus,” the name given to Him by the angel. Joseph would later enter the Court of the Israelites carrying a pair of turtledoves and two pigeons to present to the priest as a sacrifice for their gratefulness to God and for the cleansing of their sin. It was in this court where Jesus was circumcised. The male child was given to the priest for their official naming and circumcision. However, Simeon, a just and devout Jew, who was led by the Spirit to come to the temple at this very moment to see his Messiah, took Jesus in his arms and blessed Him.

The first person commanded to be circumcised was Abraham at the age of ninety-nine. (Genesis 17:7) God told Abraham by doing so, He would establish an everlasting covenant with Abraham and with every future heir who obeyed this command. The covenant demonstrated God’s unconditional love for His people. Nothing or no one would ever keep God from loving His people. It was in the Court of the Israelites where the covenant, a reminder of God’s promise, was continually expressed. Jesus, who was circumcised in this court to reaffirm God’s Covenant with Israel would one day be crucified on a cross to establish a new covenant with all people, Jew and Gentile, who would believe and receive Him as Lord and Savior. (Hebrews 9:15)

 This new covenant, established between Christ and the redeemed, is an everlasting covenant based on God’s unconditional love. (Hebrews 13:20) Do you know that nothing or no one will ever separate us from God’s love? (Romans 8:35) We, the redeemed, are eternally secure in Him because of His covenant promise to us, which means, you will never lose your salvation! We did absolutely nothing to earn it, we don’t deserve it, and we can do nothing to lose it or keep it. The covenant is a 100% work of God and a 0% work of man.

Have you taken God’s covenant relationship with you for granted? You have if, at some point, you think God does not love you. To doubt the love of God not only shows your lack of understanding for His covenant but also for His character. He loves you for you, not for what you do! You cannot live abundantly in Christ if you doubt His love for you. If you have taken His covenant relationship for granted, would you ask God to forgive you right now? Please live today knowing you are loved by God because of who you are in Him, not because of what you do or do not do for Him! The most profound truth in scripture is: “Jesus Loves Me!” If you know it, then show it!


“And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple.”

Acts 3:2

 Moving from the Court of the Gentiles, Jews would pass through a sixty foot wide gate called “Beautiful” and enter into a large court called the Court of the Women. During the time of morning and evening sacrifices, this great entrance was the place of public worship for the Jews. It was called the Court of Women not because there were only Jewish women there but because Jewish women could not go beyond it. Inside this court was stationed eleven treasure chests for the voluntary offerings of money. It is in this court where Jesus was sitting when He saw a widow put into one of the treasuries her only two mites. (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-2)

 It was at this wide entrance that a lame man, recorded in Acts 3, was placed every day. Beggars always positioned themselves in the most advantageous places to receive a handout. This man knew the Jews would be bringing their offerings to the Lord so what better way to cash in on some loot. Not only was the handout to benefit the beggar, it would also profit his family or friends who brought him. Was there an ulterior motive? Maybe! Who, whose pockets were filled with coins, could resist helping someone in need? While the lame man begged, in walked Peter and John to this man’s request for a handout. Peter told the man he did not have any silver or gold much less a coin. I suppose, like many of us today, it was easier for Peter to carry his Jewish Express Card than a pocket full of change. Peter told this man that what he did have, the authority to heal the sick, he would gladly give him, and he did. The lame man, who came for alms, received the ability to walk for the first time.

Jews gathered in the Court of the Women for two reasons: to get or to give. The lame man came to get and the widow came to give. The lame man came to receive a blessing while the widow came to be a blessing. Who receives the greater blessing, the one who wants a blessing or the one who blesses? The lame man received a healing he never expected because of Peter’s boldness but the widow caused Jesus to look and notice. Jesus bragged on her to His disciples. The lame man praised Jesus for what he received while Jesus praised the widow for what she sacrificed.

Why do you worship, work, and witness? Is it to get or to give? Are you always anticipating what you will get or do you look for an opportunity to give? Are you consumed with wanting a blessing or would you rather be a blessing? You are either spiritually lame because you focus on what you may get from God or spiritually maturing because you focus on what you can give for the glory of God. If God can heal the lame man from his physical limitations, He can set you free from your spiritual limitations. It is a joy to praise Jesus for His blessings but it is a greater joy to know Jesus rejoices in your willingness to be a blessing. Today, would you look for an opportunity to be a blessing?


“Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it,” Luke 19:45

The entire temple complex was considered holy, but it became increasingly more holy as one entered farther in. Beyond Solomon’s Porch was the Outer Court or the Court of the Gentiles. All Gentiles could enter into this court but this was as far as they could go. They were forbidden to go any further. They were excluded from entering into any of the inner courts. Warning signs were posted in Greek and Latin giving notice that the penalty for trespassing was death. The Roman government permitted the Jewish authorities to carry out the execution of any Gentile who violated this law.

The creation and designation of the Court of the Gentiles was a miracle. The Jews permitted the Gentiles, known as “God-fearers,” to have a place in their most sacred building. Gentiles, who acknowledged and worshiped the God of the Jews, were allowed to come and practice their belief in this court. To the Gentiles, God was as real to them in their court as He was in the rest of the inner temple. However, it was easy to see the resentment the Gentiles felt as they considered how they were viewed as “unacceptable” in the eyes of the Jews. The Jews, who considered the people and practices of the Gentiles to be unacceptable, worshiped God in prideful futility. Therefore, God considered their worship to be unacceptable.

One of the practices of temple life was the offering of sacrifices for the restitution of sins. For decades, prior to the reign of King Herod, four markets were located around the Mount of Olives, where birds and other animals were sold to become a sacrifice during the feasts. As pilgrims journeyed to the temple, they would stop at one of these markets to purchase an animal sacrifice to take to the temple for the forgiveness of their sins. Around 30 A.D., Caiaphas, the High Priest, permitted the merchants of these markets to move their markets into the Court of the Gentiles. The Court of the Gentiles became a marketplace. The High Priest’s decision created a greater stumbling block between Jews and Gentiles. Not only were the Gentiles considered an “unacceptable” people to the Jews, the Gentiles felt this unacceptance as they were now inhibited in their ability to worship the God of the Jews. A place of prayer and worship for the Gentiles had become desecrated.

When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem during Passover Week, He entered the Court of the Gentiles. This was the part of the temple that He cleansed. Jesus turned over the tables and drove out the merchants and the consumers who had made God’s House of Prayer a den of thieves. Racketeering in the temple was unacceptable to God. The inability of Gentiles to worship the Father could not be overlooked. In this action, Jesus made it perfectly clear that even the “least of these” were created to have access to Almighty God through prayer and devotion.

Are you guilty of finding people unacceptable to God? Do you make people feel they are not welcomed in His house of worship? Do you look at people who are different than you with disdain? Do you accept all people or do you wish certain people would not attend worship because they do not dress or act appropriately? Do you make it difficult for the “least of these” to approach God? If you consider certain people or their actions unacceptable to God, then please know that God finds your attitude and actions unacceptable to Him. Just as Jesus cleansed the temple of unholy practices, He wants to cleanse His people from their sins. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, will you confess your sin and allow Jesus to cleanse you so you never think less of others as long as you live. The only worship that the Father can and will receive is the worship that comes from a pure heart.


“And Jesus walked in the Temple, in Solomon’s Porch.”

John 10:23

 Solomon’s Porch was located on the eastern side of the temple’s outer court. This porch was the place where the religious leaders would interpret the laws of Judaism and the King would make judgments and exercise justice. The sick, primarily leprosy and other skin diseases, were ruled ceremonial unclean to enter the temple and those who were under arrest or accused of a crime, were tried for all to see in this open venue. It was known as the place for judgment, condemnation, and open shame.

Those who were ruled ceremonial unclean could not participate in temple rites, for fear of defiling God’s house, until the priest deemed them clean according to Mosaic Law. Oftentimes, the one considered unclean and his or her family, in the case of leprosy, were barred from the temple. Once leaving the temple grounds, the unclean person must announce “unclean, unclean” to everyone they passed.

Those convicted of crimes either paid their fines, were led away to execution or served out their sentences. Do you think it was difficult for a Jew or Gentile, who had been convicted but not sentenced to die, who served restitution for his crime, when he returned to the temple, did so with great apprehension? Would the shame of his judgment bring back painful memories, cause him to hesitate, or keep him from returning? Would he be welcomed or shunned? Would his accuser(s) become a roadblock to his return? Would he break free of his past or be broken by his past?

Jesus loved to hang out at Solomon’s Porch. He could have easily walked right by the Porch through the Court of the Gentiles, beyond the Court of the Women, into the Court of the Israelites to share the Scriptures but He intentionally remained on Solomon’s Porch. Do you think Jesus felt compassion for those who were being tried, judged, condemned, or ruled unclean? Was He there to show grace in the midst of shame? Was He there to encourage those who wanted to go in but felt unworthy because of their past? Did He ponder the words He would later inspire John to write, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved?” (John 3:17) Jesus made a point to mingle on the Porch because glorifying the Father was what Jesus wanted to do. As a matter of fact, He wanted everyone, Jew and Gentile, male and female, ceremonial pure and impure, sinner and saint, to be free to do likewise.

Is a sinful past keeping you from experiencing the abundant life of Christ? Do you still feel a sense of uncleanliness from past sins? Has the accuser of the brethren made you feel unworthy to approach the Lord? It is not necessary for you to pay for your past, to serve restitution for your sins, because Jesus did that for you on the cross. Would you accept His forgiveness so you can walk in freedom? Would you run boldly to His throne? Maybe you are walking in God’s abundance but do you know someone who is hesitant to return because of a painful past? Would you pray for them and encourage them to run to Jesus? Let them know that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) There is no need to remain on the porch when there is plenty of room inside!


“I have consecrated this House which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and my heart will be there perpetually.”

1 Kings 9:3b

Once completed, King Solomon led the children of Israel in dedicating the temple to God. At the conclusion of the dedication, God told Solomon He would take up residence forever. The temple consisted of seven major areas: Solomon’s Porch, the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of the Israelites, the Court of the Priests, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. In the devotions to come, we will learn more about the significance of each area.

Although this house honored a perfect God, the people who entered in and the functions they performed were not perfect. This building did not represent an end unto itself; rather, it was a means to a greater end. The temple was not perfect because it posed several restrictions. First, there were restrictions on the people concerning who could come in. The temple was not freely open to everyone. Some people were not allowed on the premises. The unclean and unlawful were forbidden to enter. Their sins and sicknesses would defile the holy house of God. Second, there were restrictions as to the places where people could go. The Gentiles were the most restricted of peoples. They could gather on Solomon’s Porch and in the Court of the Gentiles but that is as far as they could go. The rest and majority of the temple was off limits to them. Jewish women could gather on Solomon’s Porch, pass through the Court of the Gentiles and enter the Court of the Women. The Court of the Women was for Jewish women only. The Jewish men could pass through all the above and enter into the Court of the Israelites. The Jewish priests could pass through the above and enter the Court of the Priests. The High Priest could pass through the above and enter the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The High Priest was granted full access to the temple because he held the master key!

Just think, most likely, if you are reading this devotion, you are a Gentile and if so, you would have been limited as to where you could go in the temple. You would have known what it felt like to be considered among the very least of God’s creation. The restrictions placed on you may have dampened your self-worth. You would never hear the reading and instruction from God’s Word, or participate in the giving of tithes and offerings, or seek the forgiveness of sins, and worship Jehovah God because of your restrictions. The imperfections noted by these obvious restrictions would have clouded your ability to experience the glory of a perfect God. You would not know the joy of communing with a holy God simply because of your race. You would be restricted because you did not possess a master key that gave you full access to God and His house!

However, praise God, you are no longer restricted! Through Christ, you can come boldly to the throne of God. Jesus made available to all who would believe a master key that provides full access to Him. Sickness and sin cannot separate you, race cannot separate you, and gender cannot separate you. Nothing can separate you from the love of God!

At this very moment, do you feel any restrictions to God? Do you feel unworthy to approach God? Do you have unconfessed sin that keeps you from enjoying divine fellowship with God? Have you allowed the adversary to convince you into believing the restrictions are still in force? Would you confess your feelings and possible sins to God? Our Great God wants to free your body and mind from any restriction that would stand in the way of your relationship to and fellowship with Him. Use you master key, I promise, it works!