There have been water surveys done on the Temple Mount subterranean features and we know where the Temple building stood. There are no cisterns in the immediate area. We know the location of the building where the Kior stood, and it is called Beit Avtinas. It sits right over a cistern called the “Beer (well) Gulah” meaning the “cistern of the round/bowl.” There is a tunnel system where they operated the cistern from and we are told that it is a permanent (fixed) cistern.
Wells don’t move and a “fixed” well is one that is supplied by its own source of water. It was not dependent on rain water or a conduit bringing water into it, it was “independent.” The tunnel system is 45 feet below the surface of the Temple Mount. The cistern is below the tunnel system but it has not been located yet.
Water is heavy and there had to be a technology in place in order to drop the Kior below the tunnel system (45 feet) in order to bring water back up. It makes more sense that there was a pumping system in order to get the water into the Kior. Each evening they would drain the Kior and then fill it back up in the morning.
Two hundred years before Yeshua, there was a Greek inventor and mathematician named Ctesibius who invented the water organ, an air pump with valves at the bottom, a tank of water in-between them, and a few pipes on top. Also, the Archimedean Screw was developed well before that. A screw system that brought water up from low laying areas was used in Babylon. Josephus and the Letter of Aristeas both record that Ptolemy from Egypt requested seventy scribes from Jerusalem to come and translate the Scriptures into Greek. He gave great gifts to Jerusalem. The high priest had gifts to give Ptolemy of great value also.
Aristeas is sent by Ptolemy to bring these gifts. So, he wrote about his journey and Jerusalem. He described the Temple and the surrounding area (the fortress called the “Baris” for example). He described the Altar and said around the Altar, every few seconds, a mist of water came out from the base in order to wash the blood down. That is a “water clock” and the water clock was already in Jerusalem before Ctesibius “improves” it. It is our opinion that the high priest gave to Ptolemy the plans for the water pump and the water organ, and he gave that to his inventor Ctesibius in Alexandria who got credit for it in history.
It is thought that the Magrefah, an instrument used in the Temple, was two items. It was a loud instrument and described as a “rake” with “pipes” (like a bag-pipe). Bag-pipes were not invented in Scotland. But the Magrefah could have also been a water organ, but Ctesibius is also credited with inventing that also. We believe the Jewish people had that type of technology from the First Temple period because God gave it to them. It was part of the “Tavnit.” They could pump water from down deep and do fantastic things with it. This technology was what God gave David, and David to Solomon when he actually built the Temple (1 Chr 28.9-19). Now, this is our opinion, but we know they had a water technology that even Aristeas saw around 200 BC.
In short, we don’t think there were “images” of oxen on the Kior as depicted, but they were vessels of utility that the Kior sat on. However, the legs were used as part of the pumping in order to bring water up from a cistern below. For more information on the Kior, there is a book called “Measure the Pattern” by Joseph Good of Hatikva Ministries that will have more detail on this.
Exo 30.22-33 will give us instruction about the anointing oil. They were to take the finest of spices. We are also going to see how the word “karet” (cut off) is used in these passages. They were to take myrrh (500 shekels in weight), cinnamon (250 shekels), calamus (250 shekels) and cassia (500 shekels), according to the shekel of the Sanctuary (at the time). They were also to take a hin (5.5 qts) of olive oil. A shekel weighed a half an ounce, so 500 shekels weighed 250 ounces (15.625 lbs). Then they were to mix it all together and anoint the Ohel Moed, the Ark, the Table for the bread, the Menorah and the Incense Altar. They also were to anoint the Altar of Burnt Offering, its utensils and the Kior, with its stand. They were to consecrate them so that they were “Kodshai Kodeshim’ (most holy) and whatever touches them should be most holy already.
They were to take Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so that they may minister as kohanim. They were to tell the sons of Israel that this shall be the anointing oil to God for all generations (used only for the Lord). They were not to use it on their body, nor were they to make any like it in the same proportions. Whoever mixes any like it, or puts any of it on a non-priest or a lay person shall be “cut off (karet) from his people.
Now, there are three types of “karet” in Jewish thought. First, you could die but you are still a part of the redemption. This karet affected only the body. The second type is, you could live physically but you do not have a part in the redemption. This affected the soul only. The third type is you would die, and the soul is cut off, too (body and soul).
Now, let’s move on to the incense found in Exo 30. 34-38. The following spices were used. The first one was Stacte, a drop which is extracted from a drop of a balsam tree. Next we have Onycha, and has its name from the color of a man’s nail, like the onyx. It is the door membrane of a snail-like mollusk found in the Red Sea. Next we have Galbanum, an arromatic gum resin from a certain species of plant genus called Ferula. Last we have Frankincense which is a resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia.
These are mixed together only after they have been left alone. Then it is salted, like the korbanot were. It is beaten very small so that they can mix together better and it is easier to spread. It is used on the altar of incense to be burned, not looked at and smelled. They were not to make this incense for their own use, like for their houses. It was to be used entirely for the service of God (the Avodah). To do so, one could be “karet.” Now, let’s go back to Exo 25 and the command to build the Mishkan. In that command we have the command to build the Temple (Mikdash).
Moses has gone up the mountain to God. The Ten Commandments have already been audibly given, which terrified the people. So, when Moses goes up, the first actual command that is given to him is found in verse 2. They were to bring a terumah (contribution) or a free will offering of gold, silver, bronze, techelt, argamon, tolat shanni and shesh of goat hair, ram’s skins dyed red, acacia (shittim) wood, oil, spices, onyx stones and setting stones.
Then in Exo 25.8-9 the Lord tells Moses “and let them construct a sanctuary (mikdash) for me that I might dwell among (“in”) them. According to all that I am going to show you as the pattern (tavnit/blueprint) of the tabernacle (mishkan) and the pattern (tavnit/blueprint) of all its furniture, just so shall yo construct them.” It is important that Moses is going up the mountain. People know he went up for the Torah, but most people don’t know that he also went up to receive instructions for the Mishkan.
Now, when do we receive a command that is not directly related to the Mishkan or the services? The answer will be amazing. We started out with Exo 25.1 and we go to Exo 31.11. We know that Exo 31.12-17 deals with the sign of the Sabbath, and it is related to the Mishkan/Temple also. It just wasn’t put in these verses about the Temple and its services as an after-thought, it is related. God had already given the Ten Commandments audibly, and in Exo 31.18 they are written down and given to Moses. So, all these verses are related to the Mishkan.
Next we come to the Golden Calf incident. In this chapter, Levi is the first tribe to repent, and they will be chosen to serve in the Mishkan/Temple. This is also a Mishkan/Temple command. All of Chapter 32 is related to the Mishkan/Temple.
In Exo 33 we have the Lord saying they will leave Sinai and the command to build the Ohel Moed (tent of meeting). This tent will be outside the camp, used until the Mishkan was built, then it moved to the Mishkan inside the camp, called the Heichal.
In Exo 34 Moses goes up the mountain again. Exo 35 takes us right back into the Sabbath and the work of the Mishkan. They were not to make “work fires” in their dwellings for work on the Mishkan. There were no factories or Home Depots in the wilderness, these fires were needed for work. Exo 36-40 is about the Mishkan. SO, from Exo 25 to Exo 40 we have a chiastic structure. Moses goes up, then we have Exo 32 and the Golden Calf, then he comes down and we have corresponding passages.
So far, we have 16 chapters with commands relating to the Mishkan or the services. In Part 42, we will move on to the book of Vayikra to find out where we find a command that is not directly related to the Mishkan or the services.