On January 1, 1923, this mighty temple was opened. Since the break of day, surging multitudes had been gathering, filling the streets in every direction, waiting for the doors to open. At 2:00 p.m., scaffolding had been hastily erected in front of the temple and draped with an American flag. The outside dedication service was held; we read the story of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem and, kneeling down, repeated Solomon’s prayer.
A door in front of the temple is opened. We are on the platform, looking into that great sea of upturned faces. And now they are singing, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”
Another song, a prayer, and we are lowered to the pavement, where a trowel with some mortar is put into our hand; we are completing the laying of the dedicatory stones.
“Here it is, O Lord. We lift this temple in the arms of faith and give it unto Thee. Set it apart unto Thy cause and the preaching of Thine eternal gospel.
“May thousands of sinners in Thee find salvation. May the sick in multitude be made whole. May believers be baptized with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.
“May consecrated young lives be trained and consecrated to the preaching of Thy Word and go forth as flaming evangels who will turn communities upside down for the Lord Jesus. May young men and women consecrate their lives and be trained for missionary work, then go out to sail the seven seas, bearing the message to the ends of the earth.”
The meeting is on. How the volume of the singing fills the temple. We lift our eyes to the great concrete dome, the largest unsupported concrete dome in America, if not the world, we are told. Thousands of friends are about us.
Prayer and short addresses by others; a song; a quartet; and we are on our feet, reading from the Book of Ezra the story of the rejoicant people when the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.
Then we are talking out of the fullness of our bursting hearts about the worship of the Lord. It has been the custom and longing of believing hearts to assemble together to call upon His name.
Starting with the first recorded altar—that of Abel, then the altar of Noah, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; on to the days of Moses in the wilderness and on to the magnificent temple which Solomon did build; the altar fires, whereunto Samuel did minister; then to the days of the Son of Man when He gathered His little flock about Him; the Lord’s sermons in the synagogues and the temples; the church established by the disciples of the Lord; their ministry in the temples and synagogues and from house to house was rapidly sketched.
Now we beheld the embers of a lonely altar fire upon Moriah rising heavenward from a night of prayer, and again we gaze upon the glory of Solomon’s Temple. Then likewise rapidly we sketch the story of our own life. The calling of Jesus to our own soul from that Canadian farm to preach the gospel of the crucified, resurrected Savior. The years of toiling, battling wind and rain and weather in tents and open fields; the blessing of the ever-present Lord, the call to build unto Him a house in the city of Los Angeles for the cause of evangelism and the training of workers.
All over the building people are weeping and praising the Lord. How good He has been. And now we are giving our first altar call in the new temple. Even though it is the first and the dedication service, we feel we must not let the opportunity slip past unheeded.
And now they are coming, down the aisle, swarming up yonder passageway; they are coming from the balconies, trooping down the ramparts, coming from the gallery and from every direction. The communion rail is filled, again and again. They are crowding the orchestra with their instruments from before the platform and filling the space reserved for them, and yet they come.
Thank You, O thank You, dear Jesus, for this token at the first service. We are unworthy, but Thou, Thou art worthy. Let them come unto Thee and be saved.
Adapted from This Is That by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1923. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
Read part one: The Angelus Temple Story: Building the Temple
Read part three: The Angelus Temple Story: A Day in the Life