|God's Temple in Prophecy
A VISION OF THE WORLD TOMORROW We live in an amazing and yet frightening age. These times are unlike any since man was put on the earth.
In an age when mankind is in special need of God we find man has cut himself off from God. He is cut off from the only source that can tell him of things to come.
Without the correct knowledge of Bible prophecies, only uncertainty and doubt face the inquiring mind. To avoid the unpleasantness of thinking about events to come - of possible world annihilation, most people in the Western world have resorted to pleasure and material goods to gratify the desires of the flesh. Man wants to hide from the realities that lie immediately ahead.
The man who has put his trust in God looks on beyond this present evil and upset world. He looks past the soon-coming catastrophes to the world tomorrow. That new world will bring peace and happiness for the whole world. It will bring abundance and prosperity to all mankind.
The Pillars in God's Temple Just as Daniel wrote (Daniel 12:4), knowledge has been increased in this time of the end. Part of the knowledge which God has increased concerns the many prophecies of the Bible.
God has promised that the overcomer of the Philadelphia era of God's Church will become a "pillar" in the temple of God (Rev. 3:12).
This is speaking symbolically of a position of authority in the headquarters of the world, which will be at a new Temple to be built in Jerusalem. Do you know where the pillars are located in God's temple? Most people know that there are two large pillars that stand in front of the temple, but are they the physical types of the offices to which Christ refers?
The saints of this era who do overcome and endure to the end will be right at this temple of God. They will be here for the one thousand year period, and even on through the following one hundred year period (Is. 65:17-25). If you are one of God's faithful saints in this age, you will be assigned at the temple for this whole period. Here is an opportunity for you to have described, right now from your own Bible the description of that wonderful place, God's Temple in prophecy.
A Pattern of Things in Heaven The book of Hebrews reveals that the tabernacle in the wilderness (which was of the same general pattern as the temple), was built after the pattern of things in the heavens (Heb. 8:5, 9:23-24). The former temple and the one to come are constructed by men as a special dwelling place for God on this earth. These buildings made with hands are "figures (or copies, RSV), of the true (which is in heaven)."
When we therefore come to fully understand the details of the physical temple we also can better understand the temple and dwelling place of God in heaven. Many of the prophecies in the Bible are pictured from God's throne in the heavens. In the book of Revelation there are several places where God's temple in heaven is specifically mentioned.
In a sense, then, we are privileged not only to understand physical things by this study, but we are also able in the "mind's eye" to see dimly into the very throne and temple of God in heaven.
Christ spoke through His disciples on several occasions concerning this house (the Temple) of His Father. On one occasion He referred to the house as having many rooms (incorrectly translated "mansions") (John 14:2). In this particular place He was referring more specifically to the spiritual offices that He will give to the saints at His coming.
Because of His allusion here to the Temple of God during the millennium, it certainly ought to be interesting to the Christian to know how many rooms there will be in that temple. What will be their size and location? What is their purpose? Christ here was emphasizing the fact that there were many offices to be filled, and not a few.
The Bible describes the many and various kinds of rooms or chambers in the temple. It also numbers them and gives their specific locations. Do you know how many there are, or where they are located? This book will show just how many there are, where they are located, and just where they are described in the Bible.
Ezekiel saw the World Tomorrow The prophet Ezekiel was projected forward in time through many centuries to the soon-coming world tomorrow (Ezekiel, chapters 40 to 48). In this particular vision he even saw God's temple from which Christ will rule the whole earth! He saw the coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords in His new kingdom, the Kingdom of God. He saw the glory of Christ which will then fill the whole earth. Ezekiel was inspired of God to write of that world tomorrow. It was recorded and handed down to us today so that we might understand the details of the marvelous temple of God in prophecy.
Many scriptures in the Bible show us that all nations will come to Jerusalem to worship God (Zech. 14). They will come to the very temple that Ezekiel describes. In that day, the nations of the earth will come to see the glory of Christ and the beauty of His Temple.
God has preserved a description of this temple for us to understand. It has not been placed in the Bible in vain. It is there for God's people to view and understand. It is this particular temple described by Ezekiel which is here described and explained in detail in this book.
But in order to understand correctly the details of this particular temple, it will be necessary to come to understand little-known details of Solomon's temple, since both are designed after the same pattern.
We will also have a better idea of what the tabernacle in the wilderness was like. It was also patterned after the same manner, except for smaller dimensions.
Is the Temple a Part of the Gospel? God has commissioned His Church go into all the world and preach the gospel. God's Church is doing just that. Do the details of God's Temple have any connection with the gospel?
To answer this question, we must first understand what the gospel is. It is, in simple language, good news. What is this good news about? It is the good news concerning the coming Kingdom of God. It is the advance news concerning the soon-coming government of God on this earth.
Jesus Christ is coming again, but this time He will come to rule the world. He will rule from Mount Zion, from His Holy Temple. Since Christ will rule from His Temple in the soon-coming kingdom, then any information about this temple is a part of the good news concerning Christ's soon-coming kingdom. This particular part of the good news concerning the coming Kingdom of God is probably the least understood.
Why is this?
Scriptures Regarding the Temple Neglected The sections in the Bible concerning the temple are the parts that are so often skipped. Since it is not easy to understand, and since it concerns primarily physical things, it is of little interest to many people.
One man has aptly described the situation in the following way. "Most people skip over the part concerning the temple since it is hard to understand, just like they skip portions concerning the genealogies of who 'begat who.'"
Since the portions of the Bible concerning the temple are sometimes relegated to a similar category with the genealogies they are among the parts least understood.
On the other hand, some of the Biblical scholars have spent years, and even decades of their lives trying to understand this one small phase of the Bible. We must have a right balance. The parts in the Bible concerning God's Temple are comparatively very small, but nevertheless include many chapters.
The scholars who have studied on this particular subject have often not permitted the Bible to correct and reprove them. Many have leaned to their own understanding on this subject, and therefore they have not been able to come to the correct answers. There are no drawings or photographs of what God's Temples have been like. The only reliable record we have is in the Bible. For clarification of what the Bible says it is necessary to write the description in modern easy-to-understand English and convert that information to a drawing or picture to convey what is meant. It is not quite as easy as it may sound however, since the Bible account of the temple has purposely been clouded and difficult to understand.
Even though it is difficult to understand in some places, there is no need to skip this portion of the Bible in our private Bible study. The Apostle Paul said that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (II Timothy 3:16). Therefore, this particular portion of the Bible can be profitable for us today. God has included it in the Bible for us to understand.
God Inspired Many Chapters About the Temple The tabernacle in the wilderness, the houses where God has dwelt here on this earth, and will dwell during the coming age take up many chapters in the Bible. Even though this is not one of the most important things during this time, it is important enough that God has devoted considerable portions of the Bible to it.
Several chapters in the book of Exodus are devoted exclusively to the description of the tabernacle. When Solomon built a house for God to dwell in, we find again that several chapters were necessary to give adequate description.
Following the captivity, Joshua and Zerubbabel built another temple. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which were written a little later gave information about this temple, the wall, and the city of Jerusalem. In fact, much of the book of Ezra rehearses the details of the rebuilding of the temple. It is even further mentioned in the books of Haggai and Zechariah. In fact, the whole book of Haggai concerns this subject.
When it comes to the description of Herod's temple, very little is said in scripture. And yet, there are many allusions or comments concerning it by Christ and the apostles.
For the millennium to come God has inspired several chapters in the book of Ezekiel to the description of His Holy Temple.
In summary then, there are more than seven chapters in the Bible which deal solely with the description of God's Temple. There are other chapters dealing with the tabernacle. Many other chapters have been inspired which give us the history concerning the building of these various temples.
In addition, there are many prophecies concerning various aspects of the temple. And there are many incidental verses in the Bible concerning the tabernacle in the wilderness and these temples.
In all, there are approximately thirty or forty chapters in the Bible which concern the description of the temple, its history and prophecy. If they were all compiled in one place, there would be a book which might possibly be as large as the book of Deuteronomy.
We Can Understand Since God has left so much information in His Word about this subject, it certainly is one that we should understand. It will help us in our own personal study of the Bible if we understand God's Temples, whenever we read the various scriptures concerning them. With this information we will be better able to understand certain historical and prophetical texts in the Bible which refer to the temple.
Many religious scholars do not understand God's temple in most of its important details. There is no work available which always follows the Bible description to my knowledge. In this particular work, the Bible will be the basis for understanding, not the various ideas of men.
Chapter II will give many more details regarding this particular point.
The apostle Paul stated, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16). That includes these various scriptures concerning God's Temple.
Do You Love the Gates to the Temple? God has given the descendents of Jacob the choicest of the lands of this earth as promised to Abraham. He has blessed them with every conceivable blessing both individually and nationally. He has given us such beauties in nature as the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Fjords. He has given us many of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. These all are prophetically a part of the "dwellings of Jacob."
Since God has given us such a choice heritage, it would be easy to think that God would regard these beautiful sights with great love. Even though these places are so often beautiful beyond description, they do not compare at all to the love that God has for even the gates to His Temple.
"The Lord loveth the gates of Zion (at the Temple) more than all the dwellings of Jacob" (Psalms 87:2). Since God loves even the gates to His Temple, we also ought to know more about it, and to begin to love what God has planned and designed to be His capital in the world tomorrow. He calls this temple His Holy Temple in many places in scripture. If it is a holy place then we should learn to reverence and respect it, just as we should reverence and respect all those things that are holy to God.
David looked forward to the coming world tomorrow to the time when he again would be king over Israel. In that time to come, he will be at Jerusalem, at the very Temple of God. He was inspired to write of this time in the Psalms 84:11.
"For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand; I had rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" Just what are the courts of God like? How many are there, what is their shape, their dimension? Are there buildings in the courts, or is it just open ground? Is there a wall around the exterior? How high is the wall? How many gates are there and where are they located? What are the gates like? These are just physical aspects of the temple which may help us picture what beauty God has designed for His people.
God Will be There Even though these physical aspects are important, the most important part, the part that makes the Temple of God so grand and glorious is that Jesus Christ, in all of His glory will be there.
"Afterward he brought me to the gate that looketh toward the east; and, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth did shine with his glory...And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. And a spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house. And I heard one speaking unto me out of the house; and a man stood by me. And He said unto me: "Son of man, this is the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever" (Ezekiel 43:1-7). Do you understand the physical aspects of the preceding scripture? Where is the east gate? What is it like? What is the inner court and where is it located?
Do you know what the pillars named Jachin and Boaz are like? They are not what some lodges thinks they are, nor are they like the scholars picture them to be.
Where will this millennial temple be located? Will it be where the former temples were located? The answer is almost stranger than fiction, and yet the Bible gives the answer plainly and clearly, when you come to see it in the Bible.
Do you know the differences between the various temples that have been built, and the one to come? Was Zerubbabel's temple the same as Solomon's? These and many other questions will be answered right out of the pages of your own Bible.
But before we can understand what the temple is really going to be like, we must first determine why there is so much confusion in the many works on this subject that have already been written. We also must establish a sure and firm foundation as a basis for this work. It is not just another work based on unsure facts, which will not stand, because it will be based on the Bible. The next chapter will show the error of these other works and establish the basis for this present work.