This series of teachings is the next level to the Temple 101 series on this site and should be read after Temple 101. This is because we are going to go into things a little deeper, building on the Temple 101 concepts. In the “messianic world” people can get so Torah “centric” that all they see is the commandments. They read them, try to comment on them and center their activities around them. All that is good, but they can lose sight of the rest of the Tanach, Gospels and Epistles and other “foundational concepts.” The study of the Temple is one of these concepts, but it is more than that. It is one of the foundational subjects that believers need to know. Heb 6.1-2 and Rom 9.4-5 give us an idea of the elementary principles that are needed. Many of these principles deal directly or indirectly to the Temple.
Ezek 43.10 says, “As for you, son of man, describe the Temple to the house of Israel that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; let them measure the pattern.” The word “measure” means to calculate, or “plan or weigh out.” Most believers know very little about the Temple, and what they do know is often inaccurate. In Gen 2.8 it says, “And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east in Eden and there he placed the man whom he had formed.” The question is, “east of where?” The answer is that he planted the garden east of his throne. Ezek 43.7 says that the Temple was his throne on earth. Jer 17.12 says the sanctuary (Temple) was the place of his throne. So, the garden was east of his throne. The Temple is set up like the garden of Eden and it was seen as such. As you come into the Temple, you would come up successive courtyards, called an azarah. One was higher than the other because the kedushah increases as you approach the Lord.
The inner courtyard (azarah) was where the priests were, where the Ma’amad stood, the altar, the slaughter area and where the Levites stood to sing. This was seen as a return to Eden. The whole plan of the Lord is a picture of the return to Eden. Man lost this and was driven out. That is why the Temple is called “the house of Kedushah” or “holiness.” But, what does “holy” mean?
We suffer from what is called the “lullaby effect.” We just gloss over words and don’t pay much attention to what they mean. For instance, sing the words to “Rockabye Baby” and see just how inappropriate it is to have a baby in a treetop, and then have it crash to the ground. People sing this to their children without really looking at the words. That is what we do with the Scriptures.
When you read the Scriptures, you will not see the Lord call anyone “holy.” But, how many times have you heard someone say “that guy is a holy man of God.” That is not how to use that word. Genesis only uses this word one time, and that is in relation to the Sabbath in Gen 2.3. In Exo 3, the ground at the burning bush is called holy. For more on the concept of holiness, see the article “The Concept of Holiness” on this site.
In Exo 25.8 we have the command to build the Mishkan, or Tabernacle. This was seen as building a house of Kedushah that will go with them. The main reason for the Mishkan or the Temple was to teach the concept of kedushah. That is the first thing Moses tells the people to do from the Lord when he returned from receiving the commandments. In the Mishnah, Kelim 1.6-10, it lists ten levels of kedushah and it is very interesting. So, in Exo 25.8 we have the actual command to build. The actual Hebrew reads like this, “Asooli mikdash v’shkanti b’tawcham.” You can see the word “shkan” in “shkanti” and it means to dwell. It is related to the word “Shekinah” which means a dwelling presence. There is no such thing as the “shekinah glory” because those are two different manifestations. The shekinah is the presence, the kivod is the glory. Now the Hebrew root “shkan” can be found in the word “mishkan” or tabernacle. In this study, we are going to use the word “mishkan” and other Hebrew words to communicate what the Lord was trying to say.
In Exo 25.9 it says. “According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all the furniture, just so you shall construct it.” The word “pattern” is the word “tavnit” and it means a blueprint or shadow. The Lord is saying you need to make this exactly the way I show you in the “blueprints” or tavnit. How important is it to do things according the pattern God tells you? In Exo 17.6 the people were thirsty, and the Lord tells Moses to strike the rock at Horeb and water would come out. But later, in Num 20.8-13, the situation was the same at Kadesh and the Lord told Moses that he only needed to speak to the rock, but Moses was angry and he struck the rock again. He destroyed a picture of the Messiah that the Lord was trying to convey. Yeshua was struck one time, and the living water of salvation came forth. He doesn’t need to be struck again, but Moses destroyed the tavnit. As a result, he was not permitted to enter the promised land.
Uzzah (strength) was a good man, and he tried to steady the Ark of the Covenant and was struck down by the Lord. For one thing, he was not permitted to touch the Ark, and secondly, the Ark is the throne of God and God does not need help. That is the tavnit and the kedushah. The Temple is a major subject in the Scriptures. We are told in Ezek 43.10-11 that we are to understand its gates and exits, its designs, its statutes and laws and that we are to write it down. Now, going back to Exo 25.8, he tells them to build a “mikdash” which menas a “sanctuary.” The Temple was called in Hebrew the “Beit ha Mikdash.” But, the mishkan is not considered a “mikdash.” So, why did they start with a mishkan. This verse is a vision for the future when a mikdash would be built, a Temple. In building this, there will be eight phases of construction:
*the mishkan in the wilderness
*mishkan with stone walls at Shiloh
*Solomon’s Temple (destroyed)
*Zerubbabel begins to rebuild
*Hasmoneans expand that
*Herod finishes another expansion (destroyed)
*the coming Third Temple in the birth-pains
Now, the number 13 is a sacred number in the Temple. In the Mishnah, Shekalim 6.1, it says that there were 13 shofar-shaped treasury chests; 13 tables; 13 gates and 13 prostrations in the Temple. In the non-Jewish world, the number 13 is seen as bad. When people mention Friday the 13th, what is their first thought? That is a bad day. Horror movies have been made called this. But, why is this? The enemy has stolen a sacred concept and turned it into something to be avoided. Friday is the day to prepare for the Sabbath, and 13 is a sacred number in the Temple. But in the non-Jewish world, put the two together and you have a negative impression. Exo 25.9 is a command for every generation to build the Temple. As we study this concept, we are building the Temple personally and we will be changed (Ezek 43.10-11). We have the tavnit, a pattern. We have a command for the people to learn about the Temple.
In 1 Chr 28.11-19 we have the Temple and its plans being given by God, not man. All the services that we will be learning about in the series are all given by God. Even though we don’t have a Temple right now, we can go to the Mishnah, the Talmud and Tosefta, Josephus (a priest) and the Temple Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls to see what is recorded in them to reconstruct what happened. The Temple Scroll has four volumes on this subject. The Lord has supplied all the information on how these were done because they are going to be done again, in his timing.
In Part 2, we are going to give you an example of how the Gospels were written in the sub-language of the Temple, starting in Luke 1. To understand Luke 1.8-56, you will need to understand what happened in the Temple. By doing so, you will also be able to find the time of the birth of Yochanon ha Matvil (John the Baptist), the birth of Yeshua and the death of Herod. We are just giving an example of how studying the Temple and its services can open up the Scriptures to you, and that is the bottom line for what we want to accomplish.