I recently read an article which said, "The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's shechina, or 'presence,' dwelled. All Jewish holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Jewish Temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place for the Jewish people." I also read recently about Nadab and Abihu [Leviticus 10], and was reflecting on when God's presence left the Jewish nation. One might consider the rending of the curtain before the Holy of Holies as that point [Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 9:8, 10:20], but I wonder. If God was so severe with Nadab and Abihu for some unauthorized practice, would not the first high priest not of the line of Aaron/Zadok have also been "torched" by God if his presence was still there at that time? I believe that was Menelaus, sometime during the reign of Antiochus IV [2nd C. BC]. Nadab and Abihu didn't even enter the Holy of Holies, where Menelaus and his successors did. Of course this theory would mean that God was already "gone" before the Maccabean rebellion, the capture and rededication of the temple, etc. Maybe he "came back" at that time. Ever thought about this? - S.J.
Passover originally did not center on the Temple, though in later times this changed. Just an aside…
Good point about Menelaus. I am not sure. I think one can make a good case that God’s presence doesn't always depend on our exact compliance… Nadab and Abihu were still legitimate priests, but were disciplined (and lost?) for their presumption. The verses following their death suggest that they may have been intoxicated while serving.
Anyway, I would look for continuity in the institution (though I hate that word!) -- that is, the Tabernacle -- Temple -- Church -- not in the human leader. Similarly, under the new covenant, ecclesiastical legitimacy is not so much a function of an authorized “clergyman” as of a willingness to do one’s best to follow the Spirit of God.
So I would still hold with the traditional view that the glory left the temple after the crucifixion. And yet some early traditions have it going from the Temple to the Mount of Olives long after after Jesus' execution, at the time of the Jewish War:
Believers in Christ congregate from all parts of the world, not as of old time because of the glory of Jerusalem, nor that they may worship in the ancient Temple at Jerusalem, but...that they may worship at the Mount of Olives opposite to the city, whither the glory of the LORD migrated when it left the former city (Eusebius, Book VI, Chapter 18 (288)).
However we interpret the conjunction of the ages -- the glory departing with Christ's execution or a generation later, after some 40 years of "overlap" between the covenants -- the upshot is the same. The glory has departed. Ichabod (1 Samuel 4:21). Now the glory rests on the church through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21).