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Israel and Jerusalem
- in history and prophecy -
Tabernacle and Temples
Compiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, September, 2016
Last Edit: September 28, 2021
Scripture from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.
It all began at the summit of Mount Sinai. Yahweh gave instructions to Moses, for the Tabernacle - a portable holy place, where priests and people would come to meet with Him. It was called “the Tabernacle of Meeting.” It was also called “the Tabernacle of the Testimony,” “the Tabernacle of Witness,” and “the House of the LORD.” The tent housed the golden Ark containing the two stone tablets upon which the LORD Himself had written the Covenant. That law bore “witness” against those who broke covenant.
Exodus 25:8 “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.”
Hebrews 8:4-5 [Written before the 70AD destruction] “If He [Christ] were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’” (Exodus 25:40).
The Tabernacle was a symbolic representation of Heaven itself. The work of the priests was an acted prophecy of Christ’s work - of His mediation for mankind, to accomplish a reconciliation with God.
Hebrews 9:24 “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
Hebrews 9:11 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.”
Hebrews 8:2 [Christ is] “a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.”
The Tabernacle erected at the foot of Mount Sinai, was a prophecy - yes, but it was also the immediate place of interface between Yahweh and His people for some 1400 years (Reese Chronological Bible). We cannot simply ignore its message and its history.
For 40 years the Levites moved the Tabernacle from place to place, as Israel roamed the wilderness, led by the LORD. The cloud pillar hovered above the most holy place of the Tabernacle, giving light or shade for the camp. When the pillar moved, the Children of Israel followed. When at last they came again to the Jordan, the Levites carrying the Ark of the Covenant, (suspended on poles and hidden beneath three layers of special coverings) went ahead of Israel through the river.
From the first campsite in “the land” at Gilgal, to the start of construction work for the Temple of David and Solomon, a period of some 480 years passed. That’s a long time - for a fledgling nation. The journey of the Ark during those years is somewhat complicated. I will not take time to cover it here. The Children of Israel lost their way several times. They won many victories, but also endured several defeats. The “promised land” became more like the “wild West.” The LORD sent prophets, raised up judges, and finally anointed a king (only because the people wanted to be like the nations around them).
JERUSALEM - THE PLACE OF HIS NAME
Deuteronomy 12:5-7 [Moses speaking] “But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.”
IKings 11:32 & 36 [The prophet Ahijah speaking to Jeroboam the future King of the 10 Northern Tribes] “But he (Solomon’s son Rehoboam) shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel” . . . . “And to his son I will give one tribe (Judah), that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.”
The 10 Northern tribes revolted against Solomon’s son Rehoboam and Israel was split into two nations. I included the verses from 1Kings only because they repeat the LORD’s choice of Jerusalem.
2Chronicles 3:1 “Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
Mount Moriah was the mountain where Abraham was directed to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God (Genesis 22:2).
1Chronicles 28:19 “‘All this,’ (the design for the Temple) David said, ‘I have in writing as a result of the LORD's hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.’” (NIV)
See 1Chronicles chapters 22 and 28, and 2Chronicles 7:1-11.
The Temple designed by King David under divine inspiration, and built by his son King Solomon, was consecrated some 488 years after the Children of Israel left Egypt. It stood for 386 years. Here is the warning God spoke to King Solomon concerning the Temple which he had built.
2 Chronicles 7:12, 16 “The LORD appeared to him at night and said: ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices’ . . . 16 ‘I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there . . .’
19 ‘But if you1 turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.
21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them-- that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” (NIV)
Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586BCE (2Chron. 36:19).
Lamentations 2:7 [Jeremiah the prophet] “The LORD has spurned His alter, and He has abandoned His sanctuary.”
2 Chronicles 36:18-19 “And all the articles from the house of God, great and small, the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king and of his leaders, all these he took to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions.”
There is no mention of the Ark from the Most Holy Place, among the holy articles taken to Babylon. Tradition says the prophet Jeremiah with the help of certain priests and Levites, hid the Ark in one of the many caves that honeycomb the Mount. Most believe it is hidden still. The Muslims, who have controlled the site of the Temple for many years, poured a 40 ft wall of cement in one of the caves to block any attempt at access. This was according to a rabbi visiting the Messianic Synagogue at Albuquerque.
TEMPLE OF THE RETURN
After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, a remnant of Judah was allowed to return and to rebuild the Temple of Yahweh. The Ark of the Covenant was missing from the Most Holy Place, and a stone was placed where the Ark had been. The two stone tablets of the Covenant were missing. No fire descended from Heaven to consume the sacrifice on the Alter, on the day of dedication (as happened at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple) (2Chron. 7:1-3). No glory “filled the Temple.”
The Temple of the return, was constructed under the direction of Zerubbabel and later Ezra (a priest and scribe, and an official of King Artaxerxes). Still later Nehemiah served as governor of Judea (appointed by Artaxerxes) to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.
The Temple of the return was later greatly enhanced by King Herod the Great. Then it was destroyed once again, by the Roman General Titus in 70AD, on the very anniversary of the first destruction. Since that time, the prophecy of Yeshua has been fulfilled.
Luke 21:6 [Jesus prediction concerning the Temple] “These things which you see-- the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Luke 19:44, Mark 13:2, Matthew 24:2).
Much of the gold covering tables and alters, and the gold lining the walls of the inner Temple was melted in the great fire. It ran down between the stones. The Romans later pulled up the pavement and moved great stones to get at the gold.
John 4:21 “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.’”
For almost two millennia there has been no Temple of Yahweh on Mt. Zion.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16). Today we worship “in spirit” - but not in physical presence. Our Messiah Jesus, presently ministers as High Priest of “the True Tabernacle, which is Heaven itself” (Hebrews 8:2). One day soon we will “see His face.” We will stand on the “sea of glass,” before the Throne of God in Heaven (Revelation 4:6 & 15:2).
THE FINAL TEMPLE
At the end of the Book of Revelation, you will find a City - the Holy City New Jerusalem. Within that City there is NO TEMPLE.
Revelation 21:22-24 “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (NIV)
Revelation 21:25-27 “On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.” (NIV)
Revelation 22:1 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.” (NIV)
ABRAHAM WAITED FOR THIS CITY
Hebrews 11:9-10 “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (NAU)
JESUS HAS PREPARED THIS CITY - FOR HIS BRIDE
John 14:2 “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Hebrews 11:16 “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
NOTE: The word translated as “prepared” is the same in both verses.
When Jesus left this earth, he returned to “where He was before” (John 6:64). He returned to sit at the Father’s right hand. In Heaven he has “prepared” a place for His “bride.” That place is “a city” - the Holy City New Jerusalem. Within that City, God the Father and Christ the Son will share one throne. They will be the Temple of that City.
THE NEW JERUSALEM - IS MASSIVE
The base of the City is perfectly square. It’s perimeter is 12,000 furlongs, (1500 miles). Each side of the base is approximately 375 miles. The City is also 375 miles high. Picture a Ziggurat with its base covering an area the size of the State of New Mexico. It will cover “the land” area promised to Abraham’s Seed.
A Ziggurat is a stepped pyramid. Each step has a foundation. The New Jerusalem has twelve levels, going up through the clouds, past the atmosphere of our planet. Each foundation is made of a different precious stone. When the glory of God shines out through those crystal stones, the City will appear as a giant rainbow.
Personally, I believe the New Jerusalem will be a portal between this earth and the heavenly realm. Think of Jacob’s ladder - going up by steps, up to Heaven.
A wall 144 cubits high (216 feet), surrounds the City. This wall is made of Jasper and is nearly 20 stories high. In the wall are twelve gates (three on each side) which appeared to John as giant pearls. Truly, eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, the things which God has prepared for those that love him (1Corinthians 2:9).
I have heard various Messianic teachers dismiss the idea that the redeemed will leave the earth at the Second Coming. They say the “place” that Christ has gone to “prepare,” is our “place” within the family of God - our adoption as sons and daughters of God. I can’t accept this interpretation. I believe Jesus has prepared a literal City, and someday that City will descend from Heaven to earth.
OUR FINAL HOME WILL BE ON THIS EARTH
When the New Jerusalem descends from Heaven to earth, it will completely cover all of the land area promised to the Seed of Abraham. The Seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ. The New Jerusalem is His City. He has prepared that City for His bride.
Revelation 21:1 “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.’”
The New Jerusalem is presently in the heavenly realm. It will not descend to earth until Christ has cleansed every trace of evil from this planet - hence “a new heaven and a new earth.”
Some believe this present earth will cease to exist, and that the redeemed will occupy a different “earth.” I personally believe the evidence is stronger for a healing and restoration of this earth. “You fixed the earth on its foundations, never to be moved” (Psa 104:5 CJB).
Revelation 21:9-11 “. . . Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal . . .”
Paul called the Heavenly Jerusalem “the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26). The writer of Hebrews told believers of his day “you are come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.”
The “firstborn” are registered in the Book of Life (Heb. 12:22-23). In other words, you are a citizen of that City, if you belong to Jesus Christ. You are part of “the bride.” Paul wrote that “our citizenship is in Heaven” because we are “betrothed” to the risen Christ (Philippians 3:20; 2Corinthians 11:2).
AT THE SECOND COMING
Most believers - both Evangelical and Hebrew Root, expect that when Messiah returns in glory, He will immediately set up His kingdom on this earth. They believe that He will then rule for 1000 years of peace. I do not hold this view.
I have done my best to explain the impossibility of life on planet earth following the devastation caused by the seven Trumpets and the seven Bowls of wrath. See our studies: “Millennium” or “Trumpets and Vials.”
I believe those redeemed from this age, will be removed from this earth for some time following the 7th Trumpet. John “saw” them in a vision, “standing on the sea of glass” (Rev. 15:2). That “sea of glass” is “before the throne” of God, in Heaven (Rev. 4:6).
The last “two witnesses” ascend to Heaven (Rev. 11:12). At His glorious return, the dead in Christ will be raised and will “meet the LORD in the air.” Those who are still living at that day will also be “caught up” to the clouds (1Thessalonians 4:16-17). They will go with Jesus to the City he has prepared for them.
At the City we will prepare to serve as “priests” for “the nations.” When our preparation is complete, we will return to earth. We will be priests of the Melchizedek order - not the Aaronic/Levite order. Priests from “every nation, kindred, tongue and people.”
Please see the study “A Kingdom of Priests.”
If these “priests of God and of Christ” (Rev. 20:5-6) are going to govern and teach the nations, teaching them the “way of the LORD,” they will need a Temple.
Ezekiel’s Temple will be that Temple.
EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE - ANOTHER TEMPORARY HOUSE
The people from “the nations” who are resurrected after 1000 years (Revelation 20:5), will not be ready to enter the presence of God. They will still have mortal physical bodies (not immortal spiritual bodies). Like the ancient Israelites, they will need a buffer - a place where they may approach the LORD, while they are shielded from His glory. Ezekiel’s Temple will be that buffer - that House of the LORD (Ezekiel Chapters 40 - 44).
For more information concerning just who will be resurrected at the 8th millennium, see “The Rest of the Dead.” For information concerning the animal sacrifices shown to Ezekiel in connection with this Temple, please see “The End of Sacrifices,” and “Two Covenants.”
Some teach that Ezekiel’s Temple vision describes what “might have been” if Israel had turned back to the LORD with her whole heart. I don’t buy that one. Why give such a detailed description of something that only might have been? Ezekiel’s Temple stands 200 feet high. The technology for building high rise structures was only developed in the last century. This tells me that Ezekiel’s Temple was not intended as the Temple of the return from Babylon back in 517BC.
God’s word will be fulfilled. Ezekiel’s vision will come to pass. The Temple of the LORD will be restored on Mount Zion at Jerusalem, but it will not be the final Temple. When the New Jerusalem descends it will cover the entire mountain, the area now occupied by the modern State of Israel, and all of the territory promised to the Seed of Abraham.
ANOTHER TEMPLE - BEFORE CHRIST RETURNS?
Will another Temple be erected on the Mount at Jerusalem before Christ returns in glory? I believe so. I believe that future Temple will be central to Satan’s final masterpiece of deception. I believe that Temple will be built as described in Ezekiel’s vision. I believe that animal sacrifices will be offered at that Temple, at least until the Little Horn - the Son of Perdition abolishes them (Daniel 11:31, .
It will not be necessary to construct a massive Temple, before sacrifices can be offered there. Only a Tabernacle is necessary, with an alter in the court as described in the Book of Exodus. Work can begin on the larger Temple, while the sacrifices and other rites continue in a Tabernacle. The “Temple Institute” of Jerusalem, has prepared everything. Clothing for the priests, a golden Menorah, a gold overlaid Table of Shewbread, an Alter of Incense, golden bowls and a gold overlaid firepan, even a special bred “red heifer” who’s blood is necessary to consecrate the Temple/Tabernacle and its priesthood - everything is ready. Only the Ark of the Covenant is still missing.
If the Dome of the Rock is blown up in a Middle East war, it is possible the Ark may be found in one of the caves under the Mount.
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
Go to Part Two of this series - “Who are Israel?”
Go to Part Three of this series - “Ezekiel’s Temple.”
Go to Part Four of this series - “The Temple of Antichrist.”
Go to Part Five of this series - “The New Jerusalem.”
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