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An Evangelical-Pentecostal church has built a huge replica of Solomon's Temple in Brazil. But why Solomon's Temple? What does it have to do with Jesus Christ and the Christian faith? It's very odd to me that they are embracing elements that seem more Jewish than Christian like Solomon's Temple, the Ark of the Covenant and a kippah when preaching. But maybe my idea of Christian traditions is too modern. Have these elements ever been part of any Christian faith?

Further information about this replica: It's from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God that operates in more than 100 countries and was even banned from some African countries. The owner is Edir Macedo, that also appears on Forbes's list of billionaires. He spent 300 M on the construction. Here's the story as covered by The New York Times. Here's the inauguration video, where you can also see how they have used the religious elements I've talked about.

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange. If you haven't done so already, check out the site tour. It would be helpful to provide a link to a news story about this temple, or at least the name of the church. – ThaddeusB Jul 28 '15 at 20:10
  • Solomon is just as much a part of Christian history as is Paul. The same God that gave the law of Moses and commanded the temple be built in Old Testament times brought about the atonement and is building His kingdom today. Jewish history before Christ is our shared history with today's Jews. – Samuel Bradshaw Jul 29 '15 at 2:37
  • There is a famous replica of the Tabernacle in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that has been operated there by a Christian group for years. – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Apr 11 '17 at 1:45
  • I doubt that the church did that to be recognised. Why? Because the founder of the universal church doesnt do things to be recognised, he did that for his God. Even if you check the list of richest pastors and prophets, you will not see his name on the list even though he managed to build the Temple of Solomon worth more than 300m. We appreciate his hard work.. – melody mathuthu Aug 18 '17 at 10:19
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Why Solomon's temple? What does it have to do with the Christian faith?

The temple that Solomon built was magnificent, and the glory of the Lord filled it 2 Chr 7:1 But it was only good because of the LORD. Otherwise it was just big stones and gold plating, valuable sure, but also meaningless, as Solomon himself would attest in Ecclesiastes.

Under Roman occupation, around the time that Jesus was born the Herod the Great was reconstructing the temple. Perhaps for reasons similar to those outlined by Dick Hartfield in another answer: to gain legitimacy. When one of Jesus' disciples noted how magnificent the temple was Jesus answered him: 'Do you see these great buildings? There will not be here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down'. In that passage Jesus foretold of his return and linked it to the even in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the temple.

Jesus' prediction of the destruction of the temple was also one of the charges brought against him, but actually, he was using the word 'temple' to refer to his own body.

In Christianity we see the temple as a type of the real temple of God, which is Jesus, and indeed any human body in which the Spirit of God dwells. Having an ostentatious building might even be counterproductive in the Christian faith since it focusses our attention on this world, instead of looking toward the invisible God.

I was more interested in a deeper explanation of why they are choosing elements of the Old Testament.

There is a lot in the Old Testament that we ought to attend to: the repeated commands to justice, mercy and righteousness, the commands to fear the LORD, love one's neighbour and so on. But there are some elements that it would be wrong for a Christian to indulge in: cirumcision and animal sacrifice. Given Jesus' expressed disdain for the great temple building project in his day it might be appropriate to add temple building to the list.

And to indulge in a bit of end-times speculation. The temple builder might be trying to make some Jewish folk a bit jealous so that they hasten to build the third temple in Israel and restore the sacrifices until the Antichrist installs himself in the temple, claims that he is God and finally we can get on with the schedule outlined in scripture that culminates in the return of Christ Jesus!

EDIT: 11 Mar 16 Just to add another perspective to the end times speculation, some say that there is a wide misunderstanding of prophecy and the antichrist referred to in scripture, is actually a system of false belief that has been around for a long time. On this reading there is no need to look for a rebuilding of Solomon's temple near the end, for the sacrifice has already been abolished when Jesus performed the sacrifice of his sinless self.

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    While these are all valid observations, they don't actually address the title question: "Why has a Brazilian church built a replica of Solomon's Temple?" Based on what is available publicly about Pastor Edir - who calls himself a bishop - it seems pretty clear that the reason why this particular Brazilian "church" built this was in order to attract more members and further enrich the Macedo family (materially, not spiritually) – guest37 Mar 5 '17 at 5:07
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The relationship is perhaps best explained by theNew York Times article to which you refer:

Scholars say that the Universal Church’s promotion of Jewish symbolism in its replica of Solomon’s Temple stems from a quest for historical legitimacy in a church that is just 37 years old.

In other words, the symbolism of the Solomon’s Temple replica is a stunt intended to attract attention and then followers. The articles says this is working:

If the new Solomon’s Temple is meant to lure new attention to the Universal Church, that strategy is working.

  • I was more interested in a deeper explanation of why they are choosing elements of the Old Testament. But it might be the case that they are doing this only because it is the unexpected thing to do, thereby indeed luring new attention to them. – Yuri Borges Jul 28 '15 at 22:23
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    @yurihbss Yes, if I thought there was a genuine spiritual significance, I would have said so. The history of the Church's founder suggests opportunism rather than a deep sense of the spiritual, which is why I answered straight up and down. – Dick Harfield Jul 28 '15 at 23:17

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