Replica of First Temple to be Built in Brazil
Mega-church to feature replica Ark of the Covenant.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a controversial Pentecostal church, has announced that it will construct a mammoth $200 million replica of the First Temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The Guardian reported that the church will be modeled on King Solomon’s Temple and will feature a replica Ark of the Covenant in the centre of the sanctuary. The church will reportedly be twice the height of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janiero – the largest Art Deco statue in the world at 130 feet tall. The temple replica will be 55 metres high, about the size of an 18-story building.
The leader of the church, Bishop Edir Macedo, told the British newspaper that they are getting ready to build the temple in the “same mold as Solomon’s.”
“[Solomon’s] Temple… used tons of pure gold,” he said. “We are not going to build a temple of gold, but we will spend tons of money, without a shadow of doubt.”
The mega-church will be constructed following “biblical orientations,” and when finished will hold 10,000 people.
The Brazilian Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper stated that permission for construction was granted in recent days with church leaders saying that the church will be completed in four years.
The Universal Church has already paid $8 million to import stones from Israel.
“We have signed the contract and commissioned the stones that will come from Jerusalem, just like the ones that were used to build the temple in Israel – stones that were witnesses to the powers of God 2,000 years ago,” said Macedo. “It is going to be a knockout, it is going to be beautiful, beautiful, beautiful – the most beautiful of all. The outside will be exactly the same as that which was built in Jerusalem.”
The mega-church will include a parking lot for 1,000 cars, TV and radio studios, and enough classroom space for 1,300 kids.
The church is being designed by well-known Brazilian architect Rogerio Silva de Araujo.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, with an estimated 8 million members in 180 countries, began in Brazil in the late ‘70s. It has its own TV station, a newspaper that claims a weekly circulation of 25 million and a blog run by Macedo that claims as many as 4 million hits per month.
The church has courted controversy for its “prosperity theology,” a belief that those who commit acts of faith will be blessed with material wealth.
In 2009, the Sao Paulo prosecutor alleged that 10 senior church clerics, including the leader, embezzled billions of dollars from donations and used the money to buy property and cars. Macedo, who owns a $45 million private jet, professed his innocence.