Question: I would love to hear more about the temple covenants. So many Christians use the New Testament to say that the veil of the temple was rent, so that access to God changed and the temple was no more to be used. Can you write more about why temples were not to be ended, how temple use or temple endowments are part of God’s plan for man?
Answer: The rending of the temple veil was symbolic of Jesus providing access to the Father through the atonement for transgression he had just made by his suffering unto death. Temples on earth provide sacred spaces for the making of sacred and formal covenants. When we indeed fulfill those covenants, they actually bring us into the presence of the Father and the Savior, so that persons who truly fulfill them should be experiencing that. In other words, those things don’t just happen because we accept Jesus as our Savior.
Isaiah’s seeing the Lord in the temple didn’t have to wait until Jesus came. Nor are we limited to seeing God in the temple. The covenants we make in the temple provide the vehicle for our being brought into his presence, wherever that may occur. It was the covenants the ancients kept that brought them into God’s presence through Jesus’ infinite and timeless atonement. Isaiah was sanctified to see the Lord, as symbolized by the ember from the altar of atonement (Isaiah 6:1–10). After that, he qualified to serve as a prophet of God.