From Tent to Temple - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 3 (CONTINUTED) - ASCENDING REALMS IN THE TEMPLE
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness was laid out on a horizontal plane. There were no steps involved from one area to another, but the priests proceeded from the outer court, into the holy places and from there into the holy of holies, on one horizontal plane.
The Temple on the other hand was built on a mountain, called Moriah. And therefore the prophet Isaiah, speaking of the new Temple not made with hands, declares:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days,
That the mountain of the LORD'S house
Shall be established in the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow unto it"
Also, we find that the priests court was higher than the great court. (See Jer. 36:10.) We do not know how much higher; but in the vision Ezekiel had, he mentions seven steps leading up to the great court, and then eight steps from there to the priest's court. The Temple itself was built on a large foundation that would elevate it a few steps higher.
This "ascending" principle is taught in many places in the Word. The 15 psalms from Psalm 120 to 134 are called "Songs of Degrees" or "Songs of Ascending." They have been called Pilgrim Songs, and were believed to have been sung by the pilgrims as they made their way "upward" toward Jerusalem for worship and sacrifice, and to keep the feasts of the LORD in their season. In the old order of the Tabernacle there was no "going up." But God is preparing a people who are going to experience the life of the heavenlies. As they learn to put on and use the whole armor of God they are going to be able to penetrate the walls that principalities and powers have erected to hinder the conquest of our heavenly heritage. Not only will they ascend the mountain, but as we enter into priestly ministry and service, there is an ascending from one realm to another, on the 15 steps of our approach to God.
Let us not think it strange, therefore, that the first step in the "Songs of Ascending" begins with this matter of "distress." "It my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me" (Psa. 120:1) This is one thing that is common in this day and hour concerning the people who have caught a vision of the Holy City, and who have heard the call to "Come up higher..." And when we hear that call, let us be prepared to "go lower"... for this is God's way of bringing us higher. God's people are knowing all manner of distress, frustration, perplexity, sickness, and calamity of one kind or another--strange dealings of the Lord. Be encouraged! This is but the first step. There are 14 steps more, And the weary pilgrim must know and experience many strange things before he eventually stands in the house of the LORD in Psalm 134. He must experience peace in the midst of war... come to know the LORD as his helper and keeper... experience the joy of fellowship with others who are travelling the same pathway... have his vision enlarged concerning the City that is "compact together," as member is joined to member in the Body of Christ... learn much waiting upon the LORD, as he seeks to know His ways and walk with Him... experience Divine protection against the waters that would overwhelm him, and come to know the strength that there is on Mount Zion... rejoice in the turning again of his captivity... recognize that he can do nothing, absolutely nothing, by way of building with God, "except the LORD build the house"... learn to walk in His ways and come forth triumphant over affliction and testing... and in and through it all, come to know the comfort of God's promise, and the hope that cannot fail.
For if we are to go forward in this day and hour of the new Temple, we must also go upward with God into higher realms of the Spirit, And the only way to ascend is to first of all know how to descend... like the Son of God Himself. It is a realm in God that few have known... but God wants to bring a people into it. There are breadths and lengths in the expanses of God's love that we have heard about. But what do we know about the "depth and the height" that Paul speaks about? (See Eph. 3:18.) It is still another realm that we must explore, though we know little about it now.
God said to Abraham, "Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it" (Gen. 13:17). That was in the early part of his experience with God. But in the fullness of God's dealings with him, God would take him higher and higher, even to the top of Mount Moriah (and even as he climbed the mountain he was going lower and lower in realms of selflessness and abasement). There he began to see somewhat of the "depth and height" of God's love for him, and of His purposes; but he would explore this realm only in the place of "sacrifice"--a very grievous kind of "sacrifice"--here on the top of Mount Moriah. We are talking about ascending steps unto "the mountain of the LORD's house."
"Lord, may our exploration into realms of truth, and our desire for increased revelation, be tempered with the realization that as we enter the outer court of this new realm in God, on Mount Moriah, the first place we take our stand is on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, the very spot where Abraham had offered his son Isaac on the altar many centuries before. But rather than frightening us, may this revelation encourage us to know that it is only as we give You our all, that we too shall see Your Day, and be glad!"
Abiding Places In The Temple
We speak of climbing the steps one by one into the various areas of the Temple. But as we do, God would incorporate us into that Temple that we might abide there forever with Him:
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, And he shall go no more out" (Rev. 3:12).
Paul tells us that we are to grow "unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Eph. 2:21).
The Temple faced the east, like the Tabernacle of old, for God wants us to be constantly anticipating the dawn of the new day, and the rising of the Sun of Righteousness. Surrounding the Temple on the north, west, and south, there were chambers attached to the Temple walls, and linked together with a system of galleries and staircases. These chambers were in three stories, which one entered on the south, and then went up by a winding stairway into the second floor, and from the second floor into the third floor.
Jesus said, "In my Fathers house are many mansions [or literally, 'abiding-places']: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (Jn. 14:2). The word mansion in verse two is the same as the word abode in verse 23. These chambers were in three stories because the true Temple above, and yet to be manifested in the earth, is also in three stories. Paul on one occasion was caught up "into the third heaven" (2 Cor. 12:2). There are first, second, and third realms in God, the number three speaking of full growth and development. Therefore in the manifestation of truth there is a three-fold unfolding: "first the blade, then the ear, and afterward the full corn in the ear." It is the yearning of God's Spirit that we do not come short of full development, the third phase; because that is the whole purpose for which God has saved us and brought us where we are now: redeemed and justified and enriched with spiritual graces and gifts... but not yet fully matured. It is only in the third realm that God finds in us the full intention of His heart. Because it is only in the "full corn in the ear" that the original Seed (which is Christ) that was planted in our hearts, has come forth in full reproduction. It is only then that Man has come back to the image of God. It is only then that God has a family of many sons, each one fashioned after the image of His Only Begotten.
Holy Of Holies And The Upper Chambers
We spoke of the holy of holies, the place of God's glorious presence, earlier in this writing. Here again we have the holy of holies in this enlarged and beautified Temple. But something else is mentioned here, simply described as "the upper chambers." This is about all we know about this area.
How we would like to know more about some of these secrets that are hidden in the Word! There is a "secret place of the Most High" that God has made available to His own (Psa. 91:1). There is a life that is "hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). David also said, "He shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me" (Psa. 27:5).
We may never know too much about some of these obscure patterns of the Temple of Solomon. But it is far more important that we come to experience those secret places in God where He would bring His friends. "The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him" (Psa. 25:14). Jesus said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Lk. 10:21). And the Lord says of His Bride:
"O my dove,
That art in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the stairs,
Let me see thy countenance,
Let me hear thy voice"
We may get discouraged as we seek to enter this glorious realm. Where is the stairway? If we only knew where the stairway is, we could begin our ascent. But we must learn what Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." We will only discover the stairway as we follow closely in His footsteps. There is no other way.
Jacob saw the stairway in the distress of his heart, as he slept on the open fields in the darkness of the night at Bethel. Upon awakening he knew instinctively that he had received a revelation of "God's House"; and so he called the place "Bethel." He also saw God Himself; but He was still beyond his reach, at the top of the staircase. Jacob must know the weariness and frustration of many years of labor before he would come to Peniel and see the face of God. And that night at Peniel, when Jacob was left alone, and when he had surrendered all that he had acquired and accumulated through many years of hard toil, God Himself came down from that staircase and met with Jacob in a face-to-face confrontation that lasted till the breaking of the day. It is going to take this, beloved, for our name and nature to be changed to "Israel," which means "Prince of God," or "Power with God."
The Cherubim Of Glory
Towering above the mercy seat in the holy of holies were two large cherubim made of an olive tree, overlaid with pure gold. They were not in a state of inactivity, like the cherubim in the old Tabernacle. But they were standing on their feet, with wings outstretched as if in readiness to fly. The former ark of the covenant that rested in Moses' tabernacle was also there in the holy of holies in Solomon's Temple, underneath the extended and outstretched wings of the cherubim made of olive wood. But the staves were drawn out. The ark had found her final resting place. Nevertheless, God had given David a plan of a chariot for the cherubim rather than staves. (See 1 Chron. 28:18.)
Idleness... inactivity... ease and contentment... waiting around doing nothing? This is the concept that many have of God's people who have caught the vision of the "glorious Church," the new Temple. But no! It's time for the butterfly to emerge from the cocoon. Let the other worms continue to crawl around the ground doing their own thing. Perhaps they are going as fast as they can, and travelling as far as they can in as little time as possible. But God continues to shut others up in the cocoon of His dealings, that they might know and experience--in the fullness of His workings--the life of the heavenlies and the activity of the spiritual world. God has a chariot for the cherubim! As in Solomon's Temple, the wings of the cherubim are spread wide, ready for flight. Not to fly away from it all, in order to find security from the storms of life in some hidden recess of Heaven! But to engage in true spiritual warfare in "heavenly places" that will eventuate in total victory for the people of God over principalities and powers in the heavenlies. And having waged a good warfare, they "stand" in triumph with the conquering Lamb on Mount Zion! (We will pursue this study of the cherubim further in Chapter 4.)
The Two Brazen Pillars
2 Chronicles 3:15-17
Standing on either end of the porch that formed the vestibule of the Temple there were two large pillars made of bronze, to which Solomon gave the names of Jachin and Boaz.
Now the right and the left sides of the Temple are determined by the Lord's position, as He sits enthroned between the mercy seat. It is not right and left from our viewpoint from the outside looking in, but from God's viewpoint, and that of the priests, from the inside looking out. (The brazen sea was on the right side of the east end, over against the south. Quite evidently if we were on the outside of the gate looking in, and the sea was on the east end toward the south, we would be viewing it as on our left. See 2 Chron. 4:10.) We simply emphasize this because God wants us to see the Tabernacle and all the Temples from His viewpoint, and not from ours. It is His Temple, not ours. We are bought with a price, we are not our own. We are His workmanship. He is the Master Workman, and it is He who is masterminding all the intricacies of His glorious Temple. We are but "workers together with Him." And our redemption is for His glory, and not for ours.
And so we want to emphasize that Boaz is the name of the pillar that stood on the left side of the entrance to the porch of the Temple, and Jachin on the right side (left and right from God's viewpoint, looking out). God's emphasis is on Jachin. But before we consider the meaning of the pillars, let us describe them briefly.
The pillars were cylindrical in shape, of hollow structure, and on the top of each pillar was a capital, ornamented with lily petals. Then on top of the capital a "pommel" covered with chains, from which were suspended two rows of pomegranates, with a hundred in each row, making 200 pomegranates on each pillar.
The word "pommel" is translated "bowl" by some translators, as in Zechariah 4:2 where the prophet had the vision of the bowl of oil. So these "pommels" may have been large bowl-shaped vessels containing oil; and the pillars themselves huge fire-altars or cressets, with the flames kept alive by huge wicks that were placed in the bowls. If this were so, the faint glow of the flames would have illuminated the stone facade of the porch; and the smoke of the incense in the oil would drift lazily over the columns, and perhaps hang suspended at times over the Temple, reminding the Israelites of the pillar of the cloud and fire that hovered over the old Tabernacle in the days of their wanderings.
The pomegranates hanging from the chains would remind Israel of God's faithfulness to His promise. The pomegranate is a fruit that is full of seeds, with each seed a little fruit in itself, and yet together but one fruit. It takes multitudes of them in corporate unity to form the fruit. God's promise was: "I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore" (Gen. 22:17); a promise that was fulfilled in the days of Moses and Joshua. (See Deut. 1:10; 10:22; 28:62.) Not that God has two Israels--an earthly and a heavenly--but within the one Israel there has always been a mixture of the earthly and the heavenly; and God's desire has been to bring them out of the natural and carnal, and into heavenly realities. The pomegranates hanging from the chains of bronze at the top would give constant reminder to the people of God that their God was a covenant keeping Jehovah Who had brought them into the land of promise (a land of milk and honey and grapes and pomegranates), and Who had increased their numbers as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. But it is in the names of these two pillars that we discover their real significance. Looking at them from inside the Temple, we have BOAZ on the Left, and JACHIN on the Right:
BOAZ -- "In Him is Strength"
JACHIN -- "He will Establish"
God wants us to know that He is able and that He will do it. Many will read the scriptures and begin to question what God said, or openly deny that it can happen. They consider it to be their democratic right to choose for themselves. But God says that to doubt Him is to speak against Him... and to limit God is to tempt Him... and to tempt Him is to provoke Him. (See Psa. 78:19, 41, 56.) We need to thoroughly embrace these two pillars. We need to know that He is able and that He is faithful to do what He said. We need to know that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Man has always found a problem with either the one or the other pillar--or both. The man with the epileptic son doubted His ability: "If thou canst do any thing..." But Jesus immediately replied, "If thou canst believe..." (Mk. 9:22-23). The real problem was not if Jesus was able to heal the boy, but was the man able to believe.
The whole substance of God's Covenant is bound up in who He is and what He will perform. And they form a perfect pair because in the revelation of the Name of the Most High God, it is God's plan and purpose to reveal and to bring into being in His people, that which He is inherently in Himself. All that He is in Himself, He desires to become that in His people. This is the fullness of the inheritance, when God Himself becomes our reward and He writes His own Name upon the foreheads of His people. This is why He has revealed Himself as having many names; and yet in the final analysis all the various titles and names of God are contained and are inherent in that one great Name, whom we call JEHOVAH. But He has added certain appendages to that Name from time to time that His people might have greater confidence, and that they might know that their particular need is not beyond His ability to satisfy.
BOAZ JACHIN "In Him Is Strength" "He Will Establish" His Name His Promise Jehovah-Hoseenu LORD our Maker Psa. 95:6 Jehovah-Jireh LORD will Provide Gen. 22:14 Jehovah-Ropheca LORD that Healeth Ex. 15:26 Jehovah-Nissi LORD my Banner Ex. 17:15 Jehovah-Mekaddishken LORD doth Sanctify Ex. 31:13 Jehovah-Elohay LORD my God Zech. 14:5 Jehovah-Shalom LORD send Peace Judg. 6:24 Jehovah-Rohi LORD my Shepherd Psa. 23:1 Jehovah-Tsidkeenu LORD our Righteousness Jer. 23:6 Jehovah-Shahmmah LORD is There Ezek. 48:35
There may be other such combinations. But in all of these covenant Names of Jehovah He would have us to know that what HE IS He desires to BECOME that very thing to, and in, His people.
Now the Lord Jesus came to earth in the fullness of time to make known Jehovah's Name, the Father's Name, to His people. In the above list we have spelled out Jehovah's Name in the various titles He gave Himself in the Old Testament. This is faulty, but how else can we humans spell out God's Name in our language, in a way we could pronounce it, and in faint measure understand it? In fact we are told that the Hebrew scribes did not even attempt to spell out the Name of God in a pronounceable word, but left it without any vowels: "YHWH"; and that when they came across that awesome Name in the scriptures they would just say "Adonai" which corresponds to our word "Lord." (Note: in our Authorized Version of the Bible, when the name Lord is capitalized as "LORD," it is to indicate that the writer used the word "Jehovah," or "Yahweh.") The ancient scribes and teachers in Israel considered it an unutterable, unspeakable Name! And so Jesus came to reveal that glorious and awesome Name, and do what learned scribes and prophets and sages were unable to do. Jesus came to reveal the Father's Name! If space would permit we could fill many pages showing how every one of the Jehovah-Titles enumerated above were clearly written out by our Lord Jesus; not in the Hebrew, or Greek, or Aramaic symbols, but in His life, and ministry, and death, and resurrection, and ascension.
Jesus said, "O righteous Father... I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it" (Jn. 17:25-26).
His earthly ministry alone did not bring forth the fullness of this revelation, and so He added, "I will declare it." How did He do it? In everything He said, in everything He did, in everything He was, He was declaring unto men the covenant Name of Jehovah God.
"Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation" (Heb. 6:18). The two immutable things are: the oath and the promise. The oath is based upon His own Name, His very character. And because of WHO HE IS... He gives THE PROMISE. He is saying, "This is Who I am, and therefore this is what I will do."
This may help us understand that strange scripture in Psalm 138:2: "For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." A word is the expression of the thought, the intention of the mind. And therefore Jesus, God's Word made flesh, is the full expression of the heart and mind of God. In this declaration of the psalmist we are told that God has magnified His Word above His Name. God is clearly teaching us that He is more to be glorified in revealing Himself and making Himself known to His creation, than He is in standing alone and apart in solitary isolation! And this explains the whole mystery of the Fall and of Redemption! God must reveal Himself His heart cries out for a way in which He can show Himself forth unto His creatures in the full expression of all that He is in Himself. And in MAN alone, of all His created beings, was He able to find that vehicle of expression... I mean in the Second Man, the Last Adam Who is the very Logos of God... the full expression of God in human form.
"O the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!"
And so Jachin must be placed at the right side of the Temple, and Boaz on the Left. Jesus is enthroned at the right hand of God. The going forth, and the expression of Who He is, must have the preeminent place. For God is more to be praised and honored and glorified as He flows forth in the Logos of His redemptive purposes, than He could ever be in the hidden, unutterable, unrevealed Name of JHWH... no matter how well we might try to write that Name, or utter it.
The Brazen Sea
"Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim" (2 Chron. 4:2).
The Sea was constructed of solid bronze, shaped like a large bowl with a brim, and ornately decorated around the brim with the likeness of lily blossoms and two rows of knops or colocynths under the brim. The Sea was ten cubits in diameter, five cubits high. And the brim was a handbreadth thick. It rested on 12 oxen; the oxen so standing that three looked toward the East, three to the West, three to the North, and three to the South, with their hinderparts inward.
"And he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward over against the south" (1 Kgs. 7:39).
The Sea, along with the ten lavers, was for ceremonial washings connected with the burnt offerings and sacrifices of the Temple. Water could be dipped out from the top, or perhaps by tapping it from below.
John in Revelation saw the true Sea that brings ultimate cleansing to God's people: "And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal" (Rev. 4:6).
"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" (Rev. 15:2).
There are two kinds of cleansing mentioned in the scriptures: cleansing by water, and cleansing by fire. The earth that was cursed must undergo this two-fold cleansing and purging: first by water (the Flood); and eventually by fire. The old earth once "destroyed" by water came forth a renewed earth; but only in its external form. It is now reserved for a "destruction" by fire, this time so thorough that "the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Pet. 3:10). God says, "All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my Jealousy" (Zeph. 3:8). But then he promises something very wonderful: "For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent" (vs. 9). The psalmist also saw the desolations that the LORD would bring to the earth through fire, and His exaltation among the heathen because of His judgments:
"The heathen raged, The kingdoms were moved:
He uttered his voice, The earth melted."
Then what, after the earth "melted"?
"Come, behold the works of the LORD,
What desolations he hath made in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease
Unto the end of the earth;
He breaketh the bow,
And cutteth the spear in sunder;
He burneth the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah"
God's people must know this purging, cleansing fire of God; that when His fire begins to purge the earth there will be a people in the midst of it all, walking in union with the Son of God like the three Hebrew children in the furnace of fire that was heated seven times more than it ever had been before. Seven times more. For although it has been the lot of God's people to know affliction and tribulation from the very beginning, and Paul tells us that His people are "appointed to tribulation," in the end-time there will be a greater measure of tribulation than ever before. And with that greater measure of tribulation there will be a greater measure of the grace of God causing His people to overcome in the midst of it. And what to the world is wrath and destruction, to His people it will be a refining and a purifying... "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purifier the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness" (Mal. 3:3). This is the particular working of the Lord when He comes "suddenly" to His Temple. He is "like refiner's fire" and "like fuller's soap". The fuller could make a beautiful job with the potash and the nitre that he used for his work; but it is going to take the fire of the seven eyes of the Lamb, the fire of transfiguration glory, to do the thorough job that God must do in His people. And the garments of the people who come into union with Him shall be "shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them" (Mk. 9:3). The cleansing work of redemption is in the blood; but only the Spirit of God can apply the cleansing of the blood to the hearts and minds of His people. We must bathe in the brazen sea of His Living Word. The sea is "mingled with fire." And this fire will thoroughly cleanse and purge the inner man from all sin and defilement.
The deluge that destroyed the earth is likened in scripture to water baptism, which was an external cleansing by water. (See 1 Pet. 3:21.) But we need another baptism, and we need it before the earth receives her baptism of fire, or I am afraid we will not be able to minister or in any way deliver a Church that is swiftly going to experience the fires of Tribulation.
John the Baptist was sent of the Lord to minister the baptism of water unto repentance. But John prophesied there would come another baptism: "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." The fire of God is not intended to make a person excited, or noisy, or acrobatic... the fire of God is something that will burn deeply within, bringing repentance and godly sorrow... and that will burn up the dross so completely and thoroughly that God's priests will be able to "offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness." The baptism of fire will make us holy.
"And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning" (Isa. 4:3-4). Then what follows?
"And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night" (vs. 5).
We believe we are fast approaching the hour of this mighty baptism, which is not another but the fullness, of which we have only had a small portion. We have craved after the power of this baptism, but too often we have not been concerned about having the fire. And therefore we have not received too much of either. But in that day we shall discover that the Power is in the Fire.
God says, "Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar" (Joel 2:17). This is where the brazen sea was located in Solomon's Temple. God is saying, "Let My people come to the Sea that is mingled with fire... then they shall walk on the sea, and the fire that has cleansed them shall keep them clean, and shall make them immune to all the fiery darts of the evil one."
This old hymn of the Church is almost out of date, but we need to pray it again and again...
"God of Elijah hear our cry!
Send the Fire, send the Fire, send the Fire!
'Twill make us fit to live or die,
Send the Fire, send the Fire, send the Fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the Light and Glory in;
The Revolution now begin!
Send the Fire, send the Fire, send the Fire!"
Chapter 4 - The Temple of Ezekiel's Vision
Table of Contents