The drawing above is by Ken Tunell, in Leroy Neff's 1988 GN magazine article, "A Look at Ezekiel's Temple".
Temple modifications will made, at a later date, that reflects Future Watch's understanding of this Temple Prophecy.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
Psalm 42:1-2, NIV
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD?
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Psalm 84:1-2, NIV
Copyright: "Fair use":
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The quotes used in this booklet are for non-profit purposes, comment, criticism, and teaching. These quotes are typically a small percentage of the overall original work or publication.
Note on quotes:
Various Biblical commentators are quoted in this "research-article". Some of these quotes are selective. That is, their material is used, as it agrees with the premises of this booklet.
Ezekiel's Temple in the Plan of God
"Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan... (Eze 43:10, NIV).
"It seems ... that Ezekiel 40-48 may be primarily describing the millennial temple, its regulations for worship, and tribal allotments.
"The Millennium is only a beginning, sort of microcosm, of the eternal state and a transition into it. Consequently, to observe reflections of Ezekiel 40-48 in the picture of the eternal state revealed in Revelation 21-22 should be expected and should not surprise the reader" (Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel, The Expositor's Bible Commentary (EBC), Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), Vol.6, p.946).
The Ezekielian Temple, following the Mosaic Tabernacle and Solomonic Temple, is the next structure in the plan of God that plays a part in the 'transition' to the Eternal State. That there are 'reflections' in the Mosaic Tabernacle, the Solomonic Temple, the Ezekielian Temple, and the City of the New Jerusalem in the Eternal State, "should be expected and not surprise the reader", as this article will emphasize.
Restoration of the Kingdom of God
After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion ... when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority... (Acts 1:3-4, 6-7, NIV).
"Jesus' vague response to their query is nothing like "an indirect denial that it is Israel to whom the Kingdom will be given". Nor does it point to "the rule of God over human hearts," since Acts steadfastly refuses to substitute a distinctively Christian or spiritualized meaning for a traditional Jewish hope of Israel's restoration" (Robert W. Wall, Acts, The New Interpreter's Bible (NIB), Vol.10, Leander E. Keck, General Editor, (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 2002), pp.41-42).
The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: "Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever... (Ezekiel 43:4-7, NIV).
"The subject of the closing chapters of Ezekiel, Ezek. 40-48 is the restitution of the kingdom of God. This is expressed by a vision, in which are displayed not only a rebuilt temple, but also a reformed priesthood, reorganized services, a restored monarchy, a reapportioned territory, a renewed people, and, as a consequence, the diffusion of fertility and plenty over the whole earth" (Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Referenced from Ezekiel 40, e-Sword 7.9.8, e-sword.net).
But is it meant to be interpreted as a 'literal' or 'spiritual' fulfillment? The latter position:
"It would have been inconceivable for Ezekiel to envision a full restoration of his people without a literal fulfilment of each of these elements. Nevertheless ... it seems best to interpret chs. 40-48 ideationally. The issue for the prophet is not physical geography but spiritual realities...
"Ezekiel's final vision represents a lofty spiritual ideal: Where God is, there is Zion. Where God is, there is order and the fulfillment of all his promises. Furthermore, where the presence of God is recognized, there is purity and holiness. Ezekiel hereby lays the foundation for the Pauline spiritualization of the temple..." (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-48, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT), Robert L. Hubbard, Jr., General Editor, (Grand Rapids, William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), pp.505-06).
The position taken in this article is that Jesus Christ is going to literally restore the Kingdom to Israel and that the "glory of the Lord" will dwell once again among the Israelites in Ezekiel's Millennial Temple.
God dwelling in Ezekiel's Temple is the next phase of a 'dwelling presence' leading to the realization of the goal of God.
This article will therefore look at the 'dwellings' of God in relation to the earth - Creation, the New Jerusalem, Eden/Garden of Eden, Moses' Tabernacle, Solomon's Temple and Ezekiel's Temple.
Blessing or cursing - you choose
This article will have a focus on the principles mentioned by Daniel Block above:
"Where God is, there is order and the fulfillment of all his promises;
where the presence of God is recognized there is purity and holiness."
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deuteronomy 30:15-20, AV).
"We all want life and good, and to escape death and evil. And so Moses declares that we can choose between these alternatives... Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden in hopes of gaining the knowledge of good and evil. The learned the knowledge of good by losing it; and they learnt death and evil by experiencing it. Moses argues that the choice to obey God brings real advantages our way and the choice to disobey brings with it the certainty of ruin. We have the power to choose life and good instead of death and evil" (Duane L. Christensen, Deuteronomy 21:10-34:12, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Bruce M. Metzger, General Editor, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002), p.748).
The right response of Israel to being saved by God was "to love the LORD thy God." This love toward God is expressed by walking in his ways and keeping his commandments, statutes and judgments. Keeping God's law is a loving response to God's salvation under both the Old and New Covenants.
Not loving God, by not keeping His Law, has consequences.
When God is not there, there is disorder and chaos;
when God it not there, there is evil, cursing and death.
Having said that, God can 'be there' and 'not there', in a number of ways.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"- which means, "God with us" (Matthew 1:21-23, NIV).
In the NT fulfillment of this prophecy:
"No greater blessing can be conceived than for God to dwell with his people ... Rev 21:23)..." (D. A. Carson, Matthew, The Expositor's Bible Commentary (EBC), Frank, E. Gaebelein, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), Vol.8, p.80).
"... sin ... separates man from God's presence, so that salvation from sin results in 'God with us' (R. T. France, Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (TOTC), Leon Morris, General Editor, (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1987), pp.79-80).
"Having prepared us through the genealogy for the appearance of the most important birth in all history, Matthew tells us in no uncertain terms who this baby is. He does so by unmistakable allusions to two Old Testament passage. The child is Immanuel and he is Jesus.
"Immanuel (23) means 'God is with us'. It is not a prayer. It is a statement. It takes us back to Isaiah 7:14: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel. That child of prophecy, that child who was to be a 'sign', has come at last. And he is no less than God with us. The Hebrews had such an exalted conception of God that they did not even make any image of him - something which so amazed their Roman conquerors that they dubbed them 'atheists', people without gods. Against this background Matthew claims, not that God has given us a representative of himself, but that he has come in person to share our situation... He is God with us'...
"The other great name accorded to the child of promise here is Jesus (21). That word, too, has a meaning: 'Yahweh saves.' 'God to the rescue' if you like... As with Immanuel, he explains what it means: Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. This, too, was an Old Testament allusion. It comes from Psalm 130:8, where we are told that 'God will redeem Israel from all their sins'... God promises that he will provide a rescue from sin; and, centuries later, Jesus comes to do it..." (Michael Green, The Message of Matthew, The Bible Speaks Today (BST), John Stott, NT Series Editor, (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000), pp.59-60).
"In Jesus Messiah, God is with us indeed" (Michael J. Wilkins, Matthew, The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), p.81).
In the OT fulfillment of this prophecy:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right (Isaiah 7:14-15, NIV).
"Then follows the interpretation of the sign (vv.16-17), a promise that before the child knows how to "refuse the evil and choose the good' - that is within a short time - the present military threat from "the two kings" (Rezin of Damascus and "the son of Remaliah" of Israel, vv.1-2) will have ended. Although the means are not stated, the prophet promises that God will intervene to save king and people.
"Seen in its historical and narrative framework, these verses are an announcement of salvation to the king and people of Judah concerning the immediate future... the birth of the a baby is a symbol of hope... Here the good news is carried by the child's name, "Immanuel" (v.14), "God is with us." Deliverance will come, not through alliances or military might, but through divine intervention, by a God who keeps promises" (Gene M. Tucker, Isaiah, The New Interpreter's Bible (NIB), Vol.6, Leander E. Keck, Editorial Convener, (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 2001), pp.112-13).
God can be 'there' and at the same time God is not 'there':
Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him" (Isaiah 1:4, NIV).
While God was with the house of David and Judah, symbolized by the ark in the 'holy of holies' and the 'glory of the LORD' filling Solomon's temple at its inauguration and by Ahaz's sign, God was not present with the people as they were not motivated by faith in a holy God that resulted in a desire to be holy as God is holy (Lev 19:2) and to live by his "statutes and judgments and laws" (Lev 26:42, AV). The people of God were not reflecting the presence of God in their lives - God was not there.
Sin was so great God could no longer dwell with His people. But there would be a secondary reason for His departure.
In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure" (Genesis 15:16, NIV).
When the sin of God's people had reached "its full measure" - society had descended into disorder and chaos - the covenant blessing of being 'in the land' was over. God's judgment required Israel to be expelled out of the land, as had the Amorites before them.
The neo-Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. There was no longer a place for God to dwell in.
When the exiles came back from their captivity they rebuilt the Temple, but God did not return.
This is what the LORD says: "I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain" (Zechariah 8:3, NIV).
God has promised to return, but it was not fulfilled when Judah came back from the neo-Babylonian captivity. Jerusalem did not become the "City of Truth". It can only happen when there has been a transformation in the people.
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live (Deuteronomy 30:4-6, NIV).
All this takes place after a future captivity and deportation - a time of disorder and chaos.
"This is what the LORD says: 'You say about this place, "It is a desolate waste, without men or animals." Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals (Jeremiah 32:10, NIV).
They will say, "This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited" (Ezekiel 36:35, NIV).
Out of what appears like a hopeless situation, God will restore order and as the people respond to God, through the pouring out of God's spirit, life, good and blessings will follow.
Order out of chaos
"A central feature of the Priestly world view is the belief that the world order is a created order, brought into being by Yahweh. Indeed, at the heart of Priestly theology is the belief that Yahweh brought into being an ordered world and that at the heart of that created order is a ritual order...
"The Priestly [read Mosaic] creation account in Gen. 1:1-2:4a gives clear expression to this concern for order. It can be characterized as a process in which God brings into existence or constructs the order of creation. The Priests present the creative work of God as the establishing of order and they contrast the order of creation with the ever present threat of chaos. Von Rad characterizes the Priestly creation account as a movement from chaos to cosmos and argues that the true concern of the account is 'to give prominence, form, and order to the creation out of chaos'. The very nature of this account, with its seven day temporal framework and its formulaic way of expressing the various acts, points to a concern for order.
"... the order of creation was brought about through the separation and classifications of the basic elements of creation. Order is brought about through divisions, separations, and distinctions between one element and another. It is only as these lines of demarcation, or boundaries, are established that order is realized. If true, it means that divisions must be recognized and maintained if the created order is to continue and exist and not collapse into confusion and chaos...
"In the priestly writings the two most significant threats to order are sin and defilement. It thus becomes necessary for a means to be established by which the created order may be maintained and, when necessary, restored..." (Frank H. Gorman, Jr. Ideology of Ritual: Space, Time and Status in the Priestly Theology, JSOT Sup 91, (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990), pp.39-42).
This is an important theme of this article: God 'creates' order out of chaos to establish His dwelling-places - man by choosing death, through sin and defilement, necessitates new beginnings. As the article progresses, as it works out this theme, it lays the groundwork for the relevance of "Ezekiel's Temple in the Plan of God".
The earth is the LORD'S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters (Psalm 24:2, AV).
"An echo of Ge 1:1-10. founded . . . established. A metaphor taken from the founding of a city... or of a temple... Like a temple, the earth was depicted as having foundations (see 18:15; 82:5; 1Sa 2:8; Pr 8:29; Isa 24:18) and pillars (see 75:3; Job 9:6). In the ancient Near East, temples were thought of as microcosms of the created world, so language applicable to a temple could readily be applied to the earth" (John H. Stek, "Psalms", The NIV Study Bible, Kenneth Barker, General Editor,(Grand Rapids: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1985), p.808).
"Despite all the distinctions that existed across the ancient world, any given culture was more similar to other ancient cultures than any of them are to Western American or European culture" (John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p.12).
Academic Biblical theologians, who have studied ancient Near East culture, have their own naming conventions that they employ when explaining the Bible. So an overview of "cosmology" helps not only in understanding its use but also in understanding Biblical concepts.
"Though the word [cosmology] had an established place in the vocabulary of the Greeks from the time of Homer, its etymology is uncertain. In its original sense the idea of building or establishing ... seems to be linked with that of order...
"As regards the origin of the Greek view of the cosmos [6@FL@H] we thus reach the following conclusion. The 6@FL@H ... is in the first instance the order whereby the sum of individual things is gathered into a totality. In other words, it is the cosmic system of the cosmic order. Only later does cosmos come to denote the totality which is held together by this order, i.e., the world in the spatial sense, the cosmic system in the sense of the universe...
"The spatial sense of 6@FL@H, and its identification with the universe, are found in Plato, though the older ideas of world order is still present. For Plato the cosmos is the universe ... inasmuch as in it all individual things and creatures, heaven and earth, gods and men, are brought into unity by universal order..." (Hermann Sasse, "6@FL@H", Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), Vol.3, Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Editor Gerhard Kittel, (Grand Rapids, WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965), p.871).
God that made the world [kosmos] and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24, AV).
"6@FL@H = World I, as Universe, the Sum of all Created Being.
"a. In the sense "world," "universe," 6@FL@H is synon[ymous] with the OT "heaven and earth"... Acts 17:24. It denotes here the universe which consists of heaven and earth and in which is found the totality of all individual creatures... It has the sense of the spatial, just as 6@FL@H, used of the world, carries the temporal..." (Hermann Sasse, TDNT, Vol.3, p.884).
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world [kosmos], and the glory of them (Matthew 4:8, AV)
"6@FL@H = World II, as the Abode of Men, the Theatre of History, the Inhabited World, the Earth.
"a. When the world is seen as the theatre of human life and earthly history, the meaning of 6@FL@H can be narrowed to "inhabited world," "earth."
"6@FL@H is to be taken in this sense in passages like Mt. 4:8... In relation to Mt. 4:8 there also belongs here the saying ... "to gain the whole world" (i.e. to gain possession of everything that man can control..." (Hermann Sasse, TDNT, Vol.3, p.888).
Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly [kosmikos] sanctuary (Hebrews 9:1, AV).
"In secular Gk. The adj. 6@FL46@H [kosmikos], which derives from cosmos in the sense "world," is found from the time of Aristotle. And means "belonging to the world," "cosmic"...
"In the usage of early Christianity the word denotes something "which belongs to this world," with a suggestion of the transitoriness or... In the NT the tabernacle is called ... "the earthly sanctuary"... (Hermann Sasse, TDNT, Vol.3, p.897).
"In its most general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. It originates from a Greek term 6@FL@H meaning "ordered world" and is the antithetical concept of chaos. Today the word is generally used as a synonym of the word Universe (considered in its orderly aspect)" ("Cosmos", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos, Accessed November 20, 2010).
"Cosmology A system of beliefs that seeks to describe or explain the origin and structure of the universe. A cosmology attempts to establish an ordered, harmonious framework that integrates time, space, the planets, stars, and other celestial phenomena. In so-called primitive societies, cosmologies help explain the relationship of human beings to the rest of the universe and are therefore closely tied to religious beliefs and practices. In modern industrial societies, cosmologies seek to explain the universe through astronomy and mathematics. Metaphysics also plays a part in the formation of cosmologies" (The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. Retrieved November 19, 2010, from Dictionary.com website).
Microcosm - Greek mikros kosmos = little world.
Macrocosm - Greek makros kosmos = large world
Creation and Eden
"Genesis opens with the account of creation, which is as profound as it is simple. It focuses on the way God ordered the earth...
"The purpose of this account ... teaches essential facts about the way God ordered the world so that humans might understand their place and role in creation. Second it leads us to praise God as the wise, all-powerful Creator...
"God defines the purpose of what came into being, evaluates it, and in certain cases blesses it. The repetition of this structure echoes God's careful ordering of the cosmos, while scarcity of detail about how God created fosters our sense of wonder at the marvelous creation. In the process of creating, God was involved with the world in many ways: speaking, creating, making, naming, evaluating, deciding, caring for, pondering, blessing and resting...
"This account gives God's people the proper orientation to the created world... (a) God entrusts humans, who bear God's image, with stewardship of the earth. (b) God has set boundaries within which the various dimensions of the created order fulfill their purposes. (c) God assigns tasks and responsibilities to various members of creation; for example, the lights in heavens establish times and seasons..." (John E. Hartley, Genesis, New International Biblical Commentary (NIBC), Robert L. Hubbard Jr. & Robert K. Johnston, OT Editors, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 2000), pp. 39-40).
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:1-2, NIV).
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array (Genesis 2:1, NIV).
"There are numerous explanations for the relationship of 1:1-2 to the account of the six days of creation... A fourth view takes verse 1, "God created the heavens and the earth, as the heading of the account of creation" (1:3-2:4a). That first sentence came to possess concrete meaning only after the completion of creation. Verse 2 is a circumstantial clause about the unorganized state of matter before God began to create. A description of disorganized matter before speaking of creation accords with the ancient practice of beginning an account of origins by describing that which did not exist (2:4b-7).
"By juxtaposing verse 2 with verse 1, the author highlights a key theme of Scripture, the polarity between cosmic order and chaos. God created by organizing chaos into cosmos. In so doing, however, God did not eliminate the two key elements of chaos, water and darkness. Their presence accounts for the ebb and flow between abundance and want, blessing and curse. This movement is at the core of human experience. In particular, when Israel keeps covenant throughout the OT, God blesses nature so that the land yields abundantly. But when Israel forgets covenant, God unleashes curses that cause nature to languish, resulting in deprivation and hardship.
"This movement between abundance and want is evident in the material that follows creation (ch. 1-11). God placed humans in a lush garden. But after they rebelled, God expelled them from the garden, and once east of Eden humans had to work the stubborn soil hard to produce their food. Then, when human society became dominated by violence, God brought judgment by wiping out almost all humans by the cataclysmic flood (6:9-8:22). In that judgment God returned the earth to a chaotic condition similar to that described in verse 2.
"This movement between blessing (cosmos) and curse (chaos), which is formalized in the blessings and curses of the Sinai covenant (Lev 26; Deut. 27-28), also came a major theme in eschatological passages. God's final judgment was sometimes described as the uncreating of the cosmic order (Isa 34:8-15; Jer 4:23-26). When God finally creates a new heaven and a new earth (Isa. 65:17-25; 66:22-23) his lordship will be further established. Therefore, the juxtaposition of cosmos (v.1) and chaos (v.2) grounds the interplay between abundance and want in God's lordship over order and chaos...
"The focus here is on God's sovereignty over the dynamic movement between cosmos and chaos, so as to discount pagan cosmogonies as a valid way of understanding the world's origin. As a result, the theme of creating out of nothing was not addressed because it was not an issue. Nevertheless, the wording of this account does not conflict with the idea of creation ex nihilo, which is taught in other Scriptures (e.g., Prov 8:22-31)..." (John E. Hartley, Genesis, NIBC, pp. 41-42).
Now the earth was formless and empty... (Genesis 1:2, NIV).
"formless and empty. The phrase, which appears elsewhere only in Jer 4:23, gives structure to the rest of the chapter... God's "separating" and "gathering" on days 1-3 gave form, and his "making" and "filling" on days 4-6 removed the emptiness" (Ronald Youngblood, "Genesis", The NIV Study Bible, Kenneth Barker, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1987), p.6).
Days of Forming
Days of Filling
"light" (v. 3)
"lights" (v. 14)
"water under the expanse...
water above it" (v. 7)
"every living and moving thing with which the water teems... every winged bird" (v. 21)
"dry ground" (v. 9)
"livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals" (v. 24)
"man" (v. 26)
"vegetation" (v. 11)
"every green plant for food" (v. 30)
(Ronald Youngblood, "Genesis", The NIV Study Bible, p.6).
John Walton defines Days 1, 2 and 3 as creating functions - time, weather and food (see also below); and Days 4, 5 and 6 as creating functionaries.
"So on day one God created the basis for time; day two the basis of weather; and day three the basis for food. These three great functions - time, weather and food - are the foundations of life...
"In the account of days four through six we see a shift in focus. While a functional orientation is still obvious, God is not setting up functions as much as he is installing functionaries. In some cases the functionaries will be involved in carrying out functions (especially the role of the celestial bodies in marking periods of time), but in most cases the functionaries simply carry out their functions in the spheres delineated in the first three days (time, cosmic space, terrestrial space). The assignment of functionaries to their tasks and realms is equally an act of creation. Days four through six are literarily parallel to days one through three, as has long been recognized, but the literary structure is secondary" (John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, pp.59 & 63).
"1:3 / The presence of light before the creation of the sun is inconceivable from our contemporary understanding of the universe. However, it was possible according to the view of the ancient Hebrew; several OT texts speak of light existing independently of the stars (Job 38:19-20); Isa 30:26; 60:19-20).
"Separation is a major activity in establishing the created order: light from darkness, day from night, upper waters from lower waters, and dry land from water. Separation of the profane from the holy is also a central theme in the law (Lev. 10:10; 11:47) and in the final judgment (Rev. 20:4-6)" (John E. Hartley, Genesis, NIBC, p.52).
God as Law-giver
"God is more than a creator, he is a law-giver... He divides the light from darkness and the land from sea, and he names them. He appoints the stars for signs and for fixed times. The animate creation is told to be fruitful and multiply. Man is to subdue the earth, and the seventh day is hallowed. God sets bounds for the natural order and specifies the roles of the species within it. With this goes the corollary that all creatures will fulfill their divinely appointed role only if they adhere to God's directive...
"Man created in the divine image is expected to imitate God in his daily life: how far he conforms to this idea is the story not only of Genesis but of the rest of Scripture. God is here portrayed as a benevolent creator concerned for man's welfare, creating man in his own image, blessing him, and giving him instruction. That man can enjoy fellowship with God, obey him, and be blessed by him are the presuppositions of all the subsequent narratives..." (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), General Editors David A. Hubbard & Glen W. Barker, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987), pp.38-39).
Time and the Number 7
"On day one, God created time. This is the first of the functions God will use to bring order to the chaos of the cosmos: the orderly and regular sequence of time" (John H. Walton, Genesis, The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), p.79).
"1:1 - 2:3 form the first section of Genesis... 2:1-3 echoes 1:1 by introducing the same phrases but in reverse order: "he created," "God," "heaven and earth" reappears as "heaven and earth" (2:1) "God" (2:2), "created" (2:3). This chiastic pattern brings the section to a neat close which is reinforced by the inclusion "God created" linking 1:1 and 2:3.
"The correspondence of the first paragraph, 1:1-2, with 2:1-3 is underlined by the Hebrew words being multiples of 7. 1:1 consists of seven words, 1:2 of 14 (7x2) words, 2:1-3 of 35 (7x5) words. The number seven dominates this opening chapter in a strange way, not only the number of words in a particular section but in the number of times a specific word or phrase recurs. For example, "God" is mentioned 35 times, "earth" 21 times, "heaven/firmament" 21 times, while the phrases "and it was so" and "God saw that it was good" occurs 7 times.
"Gen 1 is characterized by a number of recurrent formulae: (1) announcement of the commandment, "And God said" (10 times; vv 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29); (2) order, e.g. "Let there be ..." (8 times; vv 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26); (3) fulfillment formula, e.g. "And it was so" (7 times; vv 3, 7, 8, 11, 15, 24, 30); (4) execution formula or description of act, e.g. "And God made" (7 times; vv.4, 7, 12, 16, 21, 25, 27; (5) approval formula "God saw that it was very good" (7 times; vv 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31); (6) subsequent divine word, either of naming or blessing (7 times; vv 5 [2 times], 8, 10 [2 times], 22, 28); (7) mentioning of days (6/7 times; vv 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 [2:2]). It is worth noting that although there are ten announcements of the divine words and eight commands actually sighted, all the formula are grouped in sevens..." (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1:15, WBC, pp.5-6).
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Genesis 2:2-3, NIV).
"... 2:1-3, the account of the seventh day, stands apart from the standard framework of each of the other six days" (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1:15, WBC, p.7).
"The paragraph devoted to the seventh day consists of thirty-five words, twenty-one of which form three sentences of seven words, each of which includes the expression "the seventh day"... Aryeh Toeg ["Genesis 1 and the Sabbath", (Hebrew), Beth Miqra' 50 (1972):291] notes that the first sentence of the paragraph includes five words, that is two fewer than we expect, but the last sentence, which follows the three heptads, consists of nine words and thus compensates for the deficiency of the incipit, leaving five sentences that average seven words apiece for a total of thirty-five" (Jon D. Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), p.67).
"The threefold mention of the seventh day ... draws attention to the special character of the seventh day. In this way form and content emphasize the distinctiveness of the seventh day" (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1:15, WBC, p.7)
Holy Time and Space
And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Genesis 2:23, NIV).
"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground" (Exodus 2:3, NIV).
"God's first creation is time (vv.3-5). His second creation is space (vv.6-10). Can it be without significance that this Creation story commences in the context of time and concludes (2:1-3) with a return to that category, a day of rest? A civilization whose concept of time is essentially cyclical will ... not sanctify the category of time. Its exclusive obsession will be with sanctification of space. The Genesis concept of time (compare the root qds in Ge. 2:3) receives more prominence than does the concept of the sanctification of space; in fact, not until Exod. 3:5, which is incidentally the next occurrence of the root qds ("sanctify"), does one encounter the concept of the sanctification of space - "for the ground on which you are standing is holy ground" (Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis 1-17, New International Commentary of the Old Testament (NICOT), Hubbard, Jr., Robert L. General Editor (Grand Rapids, William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990), pp.120).
Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD (Leviticus 26:2, AV).
"The Temple is to space what the Sabbath is to time..." (Jon D. Levenson, The Temple and the World, The Journal Of Religion 64, No.3 (July, 1984), p.298).
"The functional cosmos is not set up with only people in mind. The cosmos is also intended to carry out a function related to God. On the seventh day we discover that God has been working to achieve a rest... It intimates the purpose of creation and the cosmos. God not only sets up the cosmos so that people will have a place, he also sets up the cosmos to serve as a temple. As Wenham observes, the creation of people may be the climax of the six days of work, but it is not the conclusion of the narrative. It is the seventh day that is blessed and sanctified, which suggests the significance of what happened there" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.148).
"In days four to six functionaries of the cosmos are installed in their appropriate positions and given their appropriate roles. Using the company analogy, they are assigned their offices (cubicles), told to whom they will report, and thus given an idea of their place in the company. Their workday is determine by the clock, and they are expected to produce. Foremen have been put into place, and the plant is now ready for operation. But before the company is ready to operate, the owner is going to arrive and move into his office" (John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, p.71).
Cosmos and Temple
And I saw
And I John saw
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying
a new heaven and a new earth
the holy city, new Jerusalem
the tabernacle of God
for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people ... and be their God
"Revelation 21:1-22:5 contains the well-known and much discussed final vision of the entire Bible. There is, however a major problem... Why does John see 'a new heaven and a new earth' in Revelation 21:1 and yet in 21:2-3, 10-22:3 he sees a city that is garden-like, in the shape of a temple? Why does not John see a full panorama of the new heavens and earth? Why does he not see the many forests, rivers, mountains, streams, valleys and the many other features of fertile worldwide creation?
"... after initially saying that he saw 'a new heaven and a new earth', John focuses only on an arboreal city-temple in the remainder of the vision. The dimensions and architectural features of the city in these verse are drawn to a significant extent from Ezekiel 40-48, a prophecy of the dimensions and architectural features of a future temple (so vv. 2, 10-12, 21:27 - 22:2). The precious stones forming the foundation in Revelation 21:18-21 reflect the description of Solomon's temple which was also overlaid with gold and whose foundations was composed of precious stones: see respectively 1 Kings 6:20-22 (and 5:17) and 7:9-19, and note that the dimensions of Revelation 21:16 ('its length and width and height are equal') are based on the dimensions of the 'holy of holies' in 1 Kings 6:20 (where the 'length ... and the breadth ... and the height' of the holy of holies were equal in measurement)...
"This equation of the new world with the city-temple becomes clearer when one begins to reflect on Revelation 21:27, which declares that 'nothing unclean ... shall ever come into' the urban temple. In this respect, it is significant to remember that in the Old Testament any uncleanness was to be kept out of the temple precincts (e.g., 2 Chr. 23:19; 29:16; 30:1-20)... This observation probably means that no uncleanness will be allowed into the new world... the exclusion of the unclean from the new city in 22:15 ... means they will also be excluded from dwelling in the new creation, since they will be in the lake of fire for ever...
"Another observation points to the equation of the new cosmos with the city-temple. Revelation 21:1 commences, as we have seen, with John's vision of 'a new heaven and a new earth', followed by his vision of the 'new Jerusalem, coming down of heaven' (v.2), after which he hears a 'loud great voice' proclaiming that 'the tabernacle of God is among men, and he shall dwell among them'. It is likely that the second vision in verse 2 interprets the first vision of the new cosmos, and that what is heard about the tabernacle in verse 3 interprets both 1 and 2. If so, the new creation of verse 1 is identical to the 'new Jerusalem' of verse 2 and both represent the same reality as the 'tabernacle' of verse 3" (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, New Studies in Biblical Theology (NSBT) 17, Series Editor, D. A. Carson, (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004), pp.23-24).
Revelation 5:5, NRSV
Revelation 5:6 & 9, NRSV
Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven head and seven eyes... They sing a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals...
"The 'seeing-hearing' pattern elsewhere in Revelation suggests that verses 1-3 refer to the same reality... A good example is Revelation 5:5, where John hears about a 'Lion that is from the tribe of Judah' who 'conquered'. John sees a slain lamb possessing sovereign authority in verse 6, which interprets how the messianic conquered: he won victory ironically by dying as a 'slain lamb'" (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, pp.24-25).
and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create:
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth:
for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy
"That the 'new heaven and new earth' of 21:1 is defined by and equated with the paradisal city temple of 21:2 and 21:9-22:5 is also supported by J. D. Levenson's observation that 'heaven and earth' in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which 'Jerusalem is a metonymy (A metonymy is the substitution of what is meant with something associated with what is meant). He quotes Isaiah 65:17-18 in support... These two new creation statements in these verses appear to be in a synonymously parallel relationship" (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.25).
"... the nature of Hebrew poetry always involves some form of parallelism and the one common form is that called synonymous parallelism (where the second line repeats or reinforces the sense of the first line). In this type of parallelism, then, the two lines together express the poet's meaning; and the second line is not trying to say some new or different thing" (Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, Second Edition, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, No Date, p.189).
"Since Isaiah 65:17 is alluded to in Revelation 21:1, it is most natural to understand that the new Jerusalem in 21:2 is equated with the 'new heaven and earth' of 21:1... Consequently, the new creation and Jerusalem are none other than God's tabernacle. This tabernacle is the true temple of God's special presence portrayed throughout chapter 21" (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.25).
Isaiah 66:1 (NIV)
Psalm 132:13-14 (NIV)
Revelation 21:1-3 (AV)
This is what the LORD says:
"Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it -
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Where is the house you will build for me?
For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling:
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Where will my resting place be?
"This is my resting place for ever and ever;
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
"Isaiah 66:1 expresses clearly the temple/cosmos function in biblical theology as it identifies heaven as God's throne and earth as his footstool, providing a resting place for him. God likewise achieves rest on the seventh day of creation, just as he takes up rest in his temple... "rest" does not imply relaxation but more like achieving equilibrium and stability" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.148).
"In the Old Testament the idea that rest involves engagement in the normal activities that can be carried out when stability has been achieved can be seen in the passages where God talks of giving Israel rest in the land:
But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and he will give you rest from all your enemies around so that you will live in safety... (Deut 12:10; cf. Josh 21:44; 23:1).
"Although security and stability might allow one to relax, more importantly it allows life to resume its normal routines. When Israel's enemies no longer threaten, they can go about their lives: planting and harvesting, buying and selling, raising their families and serving their God" (John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, pp.74-75).
"The environment he [God] creates is not intended to provide rest for the people he has created (though that becomes a significant piece of theology as time goes on). Rather he is making a rest for himself, a rest provided for by the completed cosmos. Inhabiting his resting place is the equivalent of being enthroned - it is connected to taking up his role as sovereign ruler of the cosmos. The temple simply provides a symbolic reality of this concept" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.148).
"God resting in Genesis 1 does not specifically describe his engagement of the controls, but it describes the opportunity to do so. He can disengage from the set-up tasks and begin regular operations. It would be similar to getting a new computer and spending focused time setting it up (placing the equipment, connecting the wires, installing the software). After all those tasks were done, you would disengage from that process, mostly so you could engage in the new tasks of actually using the computer. That is what it is set up for.
"Some people have raised the question, What did God do on the eighth day? In the view presented here, on the eighth day, and on every day since then, he is in the control room from where he runs the cosmos that he set up. This is the ongoing work of creation" (John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, pp.76-77).
Before tying these propositions together a quote from Levenson:
"In his commentary, Claus Westermann finds these verses [Isaiah 65:17-18] perplexing:
We today of course feel that the gulf is too great - announcing a new heaven and a new earth, and then representing the new salvation as for Jerusalem alone...
"The cure to Westermann's perplexity is to be found on the same page, for there he recognizes that "heaven and earth" is simply a merism for "the world.""YHWH is creating a new world and a new Temple city. In light of our argument here and of [Mircea] Eliade's demonstration that temple and city are easily well-nigh universally homologized [Patterns in Comparative Religions (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1958), pp.173-85], the "odd inconsistency" disappears and a simple instance of synonymous parallelism takes it place. YHWH is building a new Temple, therefore creating a new world, and vice versa. In light of Gosta Ahlstrom's astute argument that Syro-Palestinian temples were meant to be "heaven and earth," ["Heaven on Earth - at Hazor and Arad" in Religious Syncretism in Antiquity, B. A. Pearson, Editor (Missoula: Scholars Pres, 1975), pp.67-84] I am led to wonder whether "heaven and earth" in Isa 65:17 and elsewhere is not functioning as a name for Jerusalem... Perhaps it is not coincidence that the Hebrew Bible begins with an account of the creation of heaven and earth by the command of God (Gen. 1:1) and ends with the command of the God of heaven "to build him a Temple in Jerusalem" (2 Chron. 36:23). It goes from creation (temple) to Temple (creation) in twenty-four books" (Jon D. Levenson, The Temple and the World, p.295).
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9, NIV).
"This means that Jesus is the revelation of the Father" (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Revised, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (NICNT), General Editors, Ned B. Stonehouse, et al., (Grand Rapids, William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), p.572).
"In Christ Philip has before him the full embodiment of God that can be seen by humanity" (Gary M. Budge, John, The NIV Application Commentary, Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), p.393).
If you see the microcosm, the Temple, then you see the cosmos, the heaven and the earth. The New Jerusalem is the 'full embodiment' of the cosmos and more. The New Jerusalem is the promise and revelation of the new heaven and new earth and without which, there would be no new cosmos.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God (Revelation 21:3, AV).
and there was no more sea... And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:1 & 4, AV).
The 'voice from heaven' announces the realization of the goal of God. The goal that God and Jesus Christ have been working towards since the beginning of creation - God literally within His creation.
God could not be with his creation until there was no more sea, sin and death, for God is holy.
So a plan was implemented that worked towards the goal of God in creation.
While God was not literally in His creation, His dwelling/resting places were on the earth, at various times, as revelation of His role as sovereign ruler of the cosmos.
God was in the world in Jesus Christ - and the latter's 'shekinah glory' was a physical manifestation of this reality in Moses' tabernacle and Solomon's temple, as it will be in Ezekiel's temple.
God's dwelling places were set up on the earth for God to have a relation with that part of creation that was made in His image. The relationship was to be on the Creator terms. Man was given a choice to maintain order and so maintain the presence of God. Obeying God led to life and blessing; disobeying led to death and cursing. Unfortunately, man in these instance of God's presence, and non-presence, e.g. the pre-flood world, chose disorder, chaos and death.
While the great lesson from human experience is that man needs to continually to choose the good there is an even greater lesson in studying the 'dwelling places' of God and the order that is required to maintain them, is the revelation, even though through a glass darkly, of God's holiness and glory. This appreciation and awe helps prepare man to be with God in creation - the new heaven and new earth.
... a sanctuary that is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly one (Hebrew 8:5, NRSV).
"The sanctuary on earth, with its animal sacrifices, was a "sketch and shadow" of the real sanctuary in heaven, which has the truly effective sacrifice and perfect priesthood of Christ.
"The earthly sanctuary and its rituals had limitations, just as a prototype of an automobile is not the same as a regular production car. But a prototype is important because it teaches how everything is supposed to work when it is fully developed, when "the rubber meets the road..."
"The basics of salvation are so simply a little child can grasp them. But God has revealed much more for those who want to "go on to maturity" (Heb 6:1; RSV). The details are for our benefit. They not only show us more clearly how we are saved, they teach us what God is like. If we want to spend eternity with God, it is good idea to get acquainted with Him now as much as possible.
"Details are important to relationships. When I was dating Connie, the young woman who later became my wife, I wanted to know everything about her. I was interested in her childhood, family, friends, values, plans, habits, talents, and the way she treated people. Nothing was unimportant. Everything was fascinating. I find the same to be true of what I learn about God" (Roy Gane, Altar Call, (Berrien Springs: Diadem 1999), p.31).
Note on New Covenant
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people (Jeremiah 31:33, NIV).
Above Levenson quoted Westermann:
"We today of course feel that the gulf is too great - announcing a new heaven and a new earth, and then representing the new salvation as for Jerusalem alone..."
The answer to Westermann dilemma helps to explain that the new/renewed covenant with the people of Israel, is also a covenant with all the peoples of the other nations:
Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3, NIV).
And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat him" (Zechariah 8:22, NIV).
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16, NIV).
"The one festival uniting all nations in worship is to be the feast of booths... [In the Mosaic legislation] it was open to all, including 'the stranger' [Deut 16:14], and continued its importance during the post-exilic period (Ezr. 3:4; Neh 8:14-18). The reference in Nehemiah shows that the festival was not only a thanksgiving for the harvest, but also an occasion for hearing the law read. This means that the covenant was renewed. In God's kingdom the gentiles would be brought within that covenant when they came to worship in the Temple the King, the Lord of hosts..." (Joyce G. Baldwin, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), D. J. Wiseman, General Editor, (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972), p.206).
While the covenant may be called a 'national covenant it is also 'personal':
No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD (Jeremiah 31:34, NIV).
"The verb know here probably carries its most profound connotation, the intimate personal knowledge which arises between two persons who are committed wholly to one another in a relationship that touches, mind emotion, and will" (J. A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT), Robert L. Hubbard, Jr., General Editor, (Grand Rapids, William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980), p.581).
God's covenant with Israel was facilitated by the Levitical priests and Levites.
"The ministry of the Levitival priesthood was vital to the health of the community because through their instruction and ritual actions the people were led into righteousness and away from sin (Mal. 2:5-9; cf. Deut 33:10). In this way, covenant relationship with Yahweh was maintained and the community of God's people enjoyed peace and the prosperity of his blessings" (Andrew E. Hill, 1 & 2 Chronicles, The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), p.421).
In a similar way, God's covenant with the nations will be facilitated by Israel: "... Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation'..." (Exodus 19:5-6, NIV).
he [God] says: "It is too small a thing for you [Jesus Christ] to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 49:6, NIV).
In the time after Christ's first coming, Christ delegated Israel the Church to take God's salvation to the ends of the earth (cp. Acts 13:47); after Christ's second coming Christ delegates, as part of the renewed covenant, Israel the Nation to take God's salvation to the nations.
Earthly typology of the Heavenly
"The multi-faceted magnificence of Christ's sacrifice explains why there were different kinds of animal sacrifices at the Israelite sanctuary (Lev 1-7). It is true that all the ancient sacrifices pointed to Christ's sacrifice (Jn 1:29; Heb 9:25-28). But no one single kind of animal sacrifice could possibly express even the basic aspects of what Christ has done" (Roy Gane, Altar Call, p.58).
In a similar sense, three earthly 'places' give a "sketch and shadow" of the heavenly realms. Mount Sinai could be included.
The heavenly "most holy place/Eden/Mount Moriah" is the 'location' of God, Jesus Christ, the four living-creatures, the twenty-four elders, the cheribum, the seraphs and the 'good' angels.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;... You were anointed as a guardian cherub,.. You were on the holy mount of God (Ezekiel 28:13 &14, NIV).
"The second half of v. 14 locates this cherub on the holy mountain of God... The expression "mountain of God" is familiar from the Sinai and Zion traditions... The statement bears a closer resemblance to Isa. 14:13... But here our prophet seems again to be mixing his metaphors. How can the cherub be in the garden of God and on the mountain of God at the same time. Two possibilities exist. Either the garden is on the mountain, or the former highlights the paradisiacal aspect of his home while the latter reflects his status, viz., he had access to God, the head of the divine assembly. This privilege was necessitated by his role as anointed agent of God, guarding the garden.
"The final line depicts the cherub walking back and forth among stones of fire... Unlike the carved stationary cherubim that decorated ancient hallways or guarded entrances of buildings and grounds, this figure walks back and forth, expressing his freedom and especially his supervisory role within this environment..." (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapter 25-48, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT), Hubbard, Jr., Robert L., General Editor, (Grand Rapids, William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), p.114).
The heavenly "holy Place/Garden of Eden/Mount Zion" is still the 'location' of Satan and the 'bad' angels.
Satan was "cast out" (John 12:31) in a judicial sense with the death of Christ but in a sentencing sense he is not cast out until the return of Christ - cp. David/Christ typology.
The good news of the gospel is that Christ and the saints are going to replace Satan and the demons in this heavenly realm.
Features of the New Jerusalem
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God... (Revelation 21:2, NIV).
Features, listed as they occur in Revelation, of the New Jerusalem that maybe seen, though not necessarily all of them, and with variations to, in the previous dwelling places of God:
It shines with the glory of God (21:11)
It has a wall (21:12)
It is laid out like a square and is cubic (21:16)
The building materials are of precious stones (21:18-21)
God is in it (21:22)
It has the river flowing from God (22:1)
It has the tree of life (22:2)
Some features common to the Mosaic Tabernacle, the Solomonic and Ezekielian Temples are also included in the presentation of the ‘dwelling place’ of God, presented below.
Eden/Garden of Eden as Temple
"In addition to the notion that the earthly temple reflected the heavenly, cosmic temple, Revelation 22:1ff. appears to be aware of an earlier interpretation of Eden as a sanctuary. Following the lead of John's allusion to Genesis 2-3 that is woven into his depiction of the city-temple, it will be instructive to go back and study this beginning narrative of sacred history. Such a study will reveal hints that the Garden of Eden was the first archetypal temple in which the first man worshiped God... such an understanding of Eden will enhance the notion that the Old Testament tabernacle and temples were symbolic microcosm of the whole creation" (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.66, 26).
Eden/Garden of Eden/Outside the Garden
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads (Genesis 2:10, AV).
"Because the garden in Genesis was planted in a well-watered place (Eden), it took Eden as its name. But technically speaking, the garden should be understood as adjoining Eden because the waters flows from Eden and waters the garden (see Gen. 2:10)" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.168).
Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king's garden... (2 Kings 25:4, NIV).
"... ancient near Eastern temples ... normally encompassed a large enclosure with a garden, not just a building" (Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel, EBC, Vol.6, , p.883).
"'Eden is the source of the waters and [is the palatial] residence of God, and the garden adjoins God's residence.' Similarly Ezekiel 47:1 says that water flowed out from under the holy holies in the future eschatological temple and would water the earth around. Similarly, in the end-time temple in Revelation 22:1-2 there is portrayed 'a river of the water of life ... coming from the throne God and of the Lamb' and flowing into a garden like grove, which has been modelled on the first paradise in Genesis 2, as has been much of Ezekiel's portrayal.
"If Ezekiel and Revelation are developments of the first garden-temple ... then Eden, the area where the source of water is located, may be comparable to the inner sanctuary of Israel's later temple and the adjoining garden to the holy place...
"I would add to this that the land and seas to be subdued by Adam outside the Garden were roughly equivalent to the outer court of Israel's subsequent temple, which would lend further confirmation to the above identification of Israel's temple courtyard being symbolic of the land and seas throughout the earth. Thus, one may be able to perceive an increasing gradation in holiness from outside the garden proceeding inward: the region outside the garden is related God and is 'very good' (Gen. 1:31) in that it is God creation (= the outer court); the garden itself is a sacred space separated from the outside world (= the holy place), where God's priestly servants worships God by obeying him, by cultivating and guarding; Eden is where God dwells (= the holy of holies) as the source of both physical and spiritual life (symbolized by the waters)" (G. K Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, pp.74-75).
A tripartite sacred structure will be later encountered at Mountain Sinai.
Tree of life
In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9, NIV).
"We should view the tree of life as having fruit that extends life rather than instantly grants immortality. The tree was not forbidden to Adam and Eve, and there is no reason to argue (either here or in 3:22) that they did not eat from it. But when they were cast from the garden, they were forbidden access to the tree" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.170).
If this is the case it would be the 'physical' counterpart to the 'spiritual':
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 (Revelation 22:1-2, NIV).
"The tree of life symbolized Adam and Eve's continued relationship with God in maintaining obedience... the tree of life stood in the paradise of God as the symbol of blissful eternal life in the presence of God. If the Garden of Eden is a type of heaven, then the tree of life is a type of Christ through whom eternal life may be gained" (Elmer B. Smick, "Tree of Knowledge; Tree of Life", International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Fully Revised, Vol.4, General Editor, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, (Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988), pp.901-3).
"The 'tree of life' itself is a good candidate to be considered as the model for the lampstand placed directly outside the 'holy of holies'. The lampstand in the tabernacle and temple looked like a small, flowering tree with seven protruding branches from a central trunk, three on one side and three on the other, and one branch going straight up the middle. Exodus 25:31-36 pictures the lampstand having a flowering and fructifying appearance of a tree with 'bulbs and flowers', 'branches', and 'almond blossoms' (likewise, Josephus, Ant. 3:145)" (G. K Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.71).
"... Eden and its adjoining garden formed two distinct regions. This is compatible with our further identification of the lampstand in the holy place of the temple with the tree of life located in the fertile plot outside the inner place of God's presence. Additionally, 'the bread of presence', also in the holy place, which provided food for the priests, would appear to reflect the food produced in the Garden for Adam's sustenance" (G. K Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, pp.74-75).
It is suggested here that the "ark of the covenant" in the holy of holies symbolizes God in that part of "heaven" where God is now. The "lampstand" in the holy place symbolizes Jesus Christ in that part of heaven that will be exclusive His in the future. The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" symbolizes Satan who is the 'delegated' ruler in that part of heaven that will become Christ's and the Saints'.
The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD (Job 1:12, NIV).
While Satan is in that realm of heaven, that rules over the earth, He can only do what has been delegated to him. It would follow, since God is holy, that Satan comes before God when Jesus Christ enters his realm; as observed below, this is similar to Jesus Christ with Adam and Eve in the garden, which is the earthly counterpart to the heavenly holy place/garden.
But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid"...
Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"... So the LORD God said to the serpent... (Genesis 3:9-10, 13-14, NIV).
kai ephuteusen kurios o theos paradeison en edem (Genesis 2:8, Transliterated Septuagint).
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise (paradeisos) (Luke 23:43, AV).
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago... such an one caught up to the third heaven. How that he was caught up into paradise (paradeisos)... (2 Corinthians 12:2,4, AV).
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise (paradeisos) of God (Revelation 2:7, AV).
"Paradeisos ... is an Oriental word, first used by historian Xenophon, denoting the parks of Persian kings and nobles. It is of Persian origin (... akin to [the] Greek peri, around, and teicho, a wall) whence it passed into Greek... The Septuagint translators used it of the garden of Eden, Gen 2:8" (W. E. Vine, "Paradise", Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Vol.3, (Iowa Falls, Word Bible Publishers, 1981), p.158).
"A garden (gan, ganna) is a plot of ground protected by a wall or a hedge" (James E. Smith, "defend," Theological WordBook of the Old Testament (TWOT), Vol.1, R. Laird Harris, General Editor, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p.168).
C.F. Kiel defines Eden as "delight," and garden as literally "a place hedged round" (Pentateuch, Commentary on the Old Testament, KD, (Peabody: Hendrikson Publishers, 1996), p.50).
"The entrance to Eden was from the east (Gen 3:24), which was also the direction from which one entered the tabernacle and later temples of Israel, and would be the same direction from which the latter-day temple would be entered (Ezek. 40:6)" (G. K Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.74).
The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone (Genesis 2:11-12, AV).
Havilah is not Eden, but as it is described in the context of Eden, it may be noted that:
"Whatever the correct identification of the "onyx stone," they were widely used in decorating the tabernacle and temple (Exod 25:7; 1 Chr 29:2) and in the high-priestly vestments (Exod 28:9, 20). The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were engraved on two onyx stones, set in gold, and attached to the shoulder of the ephod (Exod 28:9-14). "Pure gold" (note Gen 2:12: "the gold of that land is good") was widely used in covering sacred furniture, such as the ark, altar of incense, lampstand, in the holiest pasts of the tabernacle" (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, WBC, p.65).
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold... AV [Your settings and mountings were made of gold (NIV)] (Ezekiel 28:13).
"The role of the stones in v 13 is not clear. Are they worn by the king or do they feature in his topographical environment" (Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Bruce M. Metzger, General Editor, (Dallas: Word Books, Publisher, 1990), p.94).
"Deriving mesukateka [covering] from suk, "to hedge about" ... van Dijk (Ezekiel's Prophecy, pp.116-18) sees here a reference to a protective hedge of fence, analogous to the walls surrounding ancient royal gardens and temple grounds..." (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel 25-48, NICOT, p.106).
"If this is correct, then perhaps, the passage is about some fence of precious stones that surround "Eden, the garden of God." This is unknown from the rest of Scripture. However, the "settings and mounting" (which are not without their own problems) mentioned later in the verse would imply jewelry perhaps more than fasteners of a fence. If the noun is derived from the verbal root ... (sakak, "overshadow," "screen," "cover"), then the noun has the usual meaning of a "covering," often in reference to garments. In this sense the noun would tend to refer to the clothing of the "king" (Ralph Alexander, Ezekiel, EBC, Vol.6, p.885).
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters (Genesis 2:10, NIV).
"The picture presented is of a mighty spring that gushes out from Eden and is channelled through the garden for irrigation purposes. All of these channels thus serve as headwaters, for the four rivers flow out in various directions as the waters exit the garden.
"... the geography used here is not a topographical geography, but a cosmic geography. Though the four rivers were real bodies of water, their description concerns their cosmic role. The river of Eden was the place of God's abode and the source of life-giving water for the earth that flowed through the rivers" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, pp. 168-169).
God in the Garden
And they heard the voice [sound, NIV] of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (Genesis 3:8-9, AV).
"Israel's temple was the place where the priest experienced God's unique presence, and Eden was the place where Adam walked and talked with God" (G. K Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.66).
"The description of Eden with its trees, rivers, gold, and so on emphasized God's presence there. Therefore it seems likely that it was not unusual for him to be heard walking in the garden "in the breeze of the day," i.e., in the afternoon when cool breezes spring up and the sun is not scorching. Maybe a daily chat between the Almighty and his creatures was customary. The term "walking" ... is subsequently used of God's presence in the Israelite tent sanctuary (Lev 26:12; Deut 23:15 ; 2 Sam 7:6-7) again emphasizing the relationship between the garden and the later shrines..." (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1:15, WBC, p.76).
"... the coming of the Lord at the mountain of Sinai is foreshadowed in this scene of the Lord God's coming to the first disobedient couple... (John H. Sailhamer, Genesis, EBC, Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), Vol.2, p.52).
"[God] comes around ... in the cool of the day (3:8), but for most of the time all that man has to go on is God's word. This is what faith is about: living by God's word, when God is absent from the Garden. Learning to trust even when we do not see and do not fully understand. Keeping away from the tree just because that is the way God wants it, even though we can find many good reasons for not doing so. Accepting that there are boundaries set for us which though unclear are, we believe, are not arbitrary. Growth comes by learning to live in commitment, obedience and trust, on the basis of the word God has spoken" (David Atkinson, The Message of Genesis 1-11, The Bible Speaks Today (BST), J. A. Motyer, General Editor, (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), p.65).
"the voice of the LORD God"
"the presence of the LORD God"
"the LORD God" (Genesis 3:8)
The NT reveals that Jesus Christ is the "Word", and that the Word was with God and was God (John 1:1, 14). It may then be said the Jesus Christ is the "Word of God".
In a similar way Jesus Christ in the OT is the "Voice" of God, the "Presence," or literally, the "Face" of God, the "Glory" of God and the "Name" of God. So it was literally Jesus Christ in the garden; but God was in the garden in/through Jesus Christ.
When it is said that God created the "heavens and the earth" it should be read in the absolute sense with God being "God the Father"; even though in the dynamic sense it was Jesus Christ who created.
Keeping the Garden
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15, NIV).
They are to take care of all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle (Numbers 3:8, NIV).
"... (1) since there are a couple of contexts in which smr ["take care of"] is used for Levitical service along with bd ["work"] (e.g., Num. 3:8-9), (2) since the context used of smr here favors sacred space, (3) since bd is as likely to refer to sacred service as to agricultural tasks, and (4) since there are other indications that the garden is being portrayed as sacred space, it is likely that the tasks given to Adam are of a priestly nature - that is caring for sacred space. In ancient thinking, caring for sacred space was a way of upholding creation. By preserving order, chaos was held at bay" (John Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.173).
"Adam's priestly role of 'guarding' (samar) the garden sanctuary may also be reflected in the later role of Israel's priests who were called 'guards' (1 Chr. 9:23) and repeatedly referred to as temple 'gatekeepers' (repeatedly in 1 and 2 Chronicles and Nehemiah: e.g., 1 Chr. 9:17-27) who 'kept [samar] at the gates' (Neh. 11:19), 'so that no one should enter who was in any way unclean' (2 Chr. 23:19)" (G. K Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.69).
"If Eden is seen then as an ideal sanctuary, then perhaps Adam should be described as an archetypal Levite" (G. Wenham, "Sanctuary Symbolism in the Garden of Eden Story," in Proceedings of the Ninth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Division A: The Period of the Bible, (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1986)] p.21), noted by John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.186).
"Genesis 2 reflects the concept of sacred space and the sacred compass, and it served as the model for the tabernacle and later the temple" (John Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.193).
"It is necessary, however, to move beyond the "serving and preserving" role. If people were going to fill the earth, we must conclude that they were not intended to stay in the garden in a static situation. Yet moving out of the garden would appear a hardship since the land outside of the garden was as hospitable as that inside the garden (otherwise the garden would not be distinguishable). Perhaps, then we should surmise that people were gradually supposed to extend the garden as they went about subduing and ruling. Extending the garden would ... [be] extending sacred space (since that is what the garden represented)" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.186).
But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:35b, NIV).
Keeping the Commandment
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden... And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:15-17, NIV).
"... in v.16 we read for the first time that "God commanded" (wayesaw) the man whom he created. Just as in the remainder of the Torah, enjoyment of God's good land is made contingent in "keeping" (lismor) God's commandments (miswot) (cf. Deut 30:16). The similarity between this condition for enjoyment of God's blessing and that laid down for Israel at Sinai and in Deuteronomy is clear. Indeed, one can hardly fail to hear in these words of God to the first man the words of Moses to Israel: "See I have set before you today life and blessing [lit., 'the good' (hattob); NIV, 'prosperity')], death and calamity (lit., 'the evil' (hara; NIV 'destruction')]. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep [lismor] his commands [miswotayw], decrees and laws; then you will live [hayah] and increase [rabah], and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient,... You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess" (Deut 30:15-18).
"The inference of God's commands in vv.16-17 is that God alone knows what is good (tob) for man and that God alone knows what is not good (ra') for him. To enjoy the "good" man must trust God and obey him. If man disobeys, he will have to decide for himself what is good (tob) and what is not good (ra'). While to modern man such a prospect may seem desirable, to the author of Genesis it is the worst fate that could have befallen him. Only God knows what is good (tob) for man. Only God can know what is good" (John H. Sailhamer, Genesis, EBC, Vol.2, p.45).
Fall-out and Cherubim
And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24, NIV).
"... the idea [is] that man does not leave the garden of his own will. Nor is he gently escorted to the garden's edge. In fact he is thrown out! Sin separates from God. Intimacy with God is replaced with alienation from God...
"The expulsion of man from the garden is not an ad hoc arrangement. Something is done which cannot be undone, at least not immediately. God stations the cherubim and the fiery whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to prevent reentry to the garden, as if reentry into the garden is only through an opening on its east side, much as the entrance into the tabernacle/temple complex was by a gate on the eastern side. In such a capacity the cherubim function much like the later Levites who are posted as guards around the tabernacle, and who are to strike down any persons who encroaches upon the forbidden sancta (Num. 1:51, 52)" (Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, NICOT, p.210).
"The book [of Ezekiel] understands both heavenly beings (the cherubim) and human priests (the Zadokites) to occupy special spheres of holiness and authority close to God's presence. They act as boundary holders and mediums of God's holy presence to people located at farther and safer distances from the sacred center" (Stephen L. Cook and Corrine L. Patton, "Introduction: Hierarchical Thinking and Theology in Ezekiel's Book," Ezekielss Hierarchical World, Cook and Patton, Editors, (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004), p.1).
"In his depiction of the garden and the tree of life after the Fall, the author has again anticipated God's plan to restore man's blessing and life in the covenant at Sinai and the Torah. The tree of life stands guarded by the "cherubim" just as in the Sinai covenant the Torah lies in the ark of the covenant guarded by the "cherubim" (Exod 25:10-22; cf. Deut 31:24-26). Only through the covenant can man's fellowship with God be restored: "There, above the cover between the cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give all my commands for the Israelites" (Exod 25:22). In the covenant man was returned to the state he enjoyed in Genesis 2:15 - one who serves God, obeys his will, and enjoys his blessing" (John H. Sailhamer, Genesis, EBC, Vol.2, p.59).
"... Gen 1:1-2:3, the Priestly creation story, is not about the banishment of evil, but about its control. It describes a process of separation and distinction making in which the dark, ungodly forces are effortlessly overcome by placement in a structure in which they are bounded by new realities created by divine speech alone. This new structure is essentially cultic in character. Its construction is highly reminiscent of the rites of temple building... More important, in building the new structure that is creation, God functions like an Israelite priest, making distinctions, assigning things to their proper category and assessing their fitness, and hallowing the Sabbath. Priestly tradition has adapted to its own sacral regimen the picture of creation without opposition as evidence in Psalm 104. As a result, the creative ordering of the world has become something that humanity can not only witness and celebrate, but something in which it can also take part. Among the many messages of Genesis 1:1-2:3 is this: it is through the cult that we are enabled to cope with evil, for it is the cult that builds and maintains order, transforms chaos into creation, ennobles humanity, and realizes the kingship of God who has ordained the cult and commanded that it be guarded and practiced. It is through obedience to the directives of the divine master that his good world comes into existence" (Jon D. Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil, p.127).
And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain" (Exodus 3:12, NIV).
"The sanctity of the mountain is expressed in its tripartite divisions, which a number of commentators (going back at least to the Middle Ages) have compared to the tripartite structure of the tabernacle, hinted at more clearly in 24:1-2:
Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the LORD; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him."
"According to this division, the top of the mountain, to which Moses alone has access, corresponds to the Most Holy Place. Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders have access to the mountain but not the summit; this corresponds to the Holy Place. The rest of the people stay at the foot of the mountain, which corresponds to the outer court where the laity gather.
"This is a helpful connection. Even if the tripartite division is not crystal clear, the fact that only some people have access to certain portions of the mountain foreshadows the more highly structured divisions of the tabernacle, which dominate most of the second half of the book. It also highlights the fact that the tabernacle itself is an earthly reflection of God's heavenly abode. In other words, the mountain does not mirror the tabernacle, the structure of the tabernacle is patterned after the mountain" (Peter Enns, Exodus, The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), p.391).
There is also a hint that the mountain of God, the place of God's presence, is approached by Moses from the east; and that the burning bush, a symbol of God's presence, points towards the lampstand - both are on holy ground.
Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar (Exodus 24:5-6, NIV)
"... an altar was in the outermost section of the temple, so an altar was built at the lowest and least sacred part of Sinai..." (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, NSBT 17, p.105).
"Jonathan Smith has divided Ezekiel's temple complex into "three zones of relative sacrality." The center zone from east to west ... is YHWH's zone. On either side of this central zone, there are spheres of priestly domestic activities... On the other side of the priestly zone, there is the zone for the people" (Kalinda Rose Stevenson, The Vision of Transformation The Territorial Rhetoric of Ezekiel 40-48, SBL Dissertation Series 154, (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996), pp.39-40).
Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain
In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying ... let them make ('asah) me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make ('asah) it (Exodus 25:1, 8-9, AV).
"The tabernacle was a new paradigm for God's relationship to the people. God took the initiative to live among them in a very specific way. The Lord would not remain on the distance horizon in a cloud, or unapproachable on a mountain, but would be present in the midst of the camp. God was not geographically fixed at Sinai, but was and would be mobile, traveling with them to the land of promise... The tabernacle provided, for the first time since Eden, a place for the visible presence of God in the midst of the people..." (James K. Bruckner, Exodus, New International Biblical Commentary (NIBC), Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, OT Editors, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 2008), pp.231-32).
Tabernacle and Creation
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying ... let them make ('asah) me a sanctuary (Exodus 25:1, 8, AV).
"Israel made the tabernacle, even as God made the world..." (James K. Bruckner, Exodus, NIBC, p.231).
"Commentators for centuries have noticed that the phrase "the LORD said to Moses" occurs seven times in chapters 25-31. The first six concern the building of the tabernacle and its furnishings (25:1; 30:11, 17, 22, 34; 31:1), while the final introduces the Sabbath command (31:12). It seems clear that the purpose of this arrangement is to aid the reader in making the connection between the building of the tabernacle and the seven days of creation, both involving six creative acts culminating in a seventh-day rest" (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, p.509).
... I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make ('asah) everything I have commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent - the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand - and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make ('asah) them just as I commanded you (Exodus 31:6-11, NIV).
"The Hebrew word for "make" ('asah) frequently refers to the Lord's making the world (Gen. 1:7, 16, 26, 31; 2:3-4, 18; 3:21)" (James K. Bruckner, Exodus, NIBC, p.231).
"In the midst of a fallen world, in exile from the Garden of Eden - the original "heaven on earth" - God undertakes another act of creation, a building project that is nothing less than a return to pre-Fall splendor. The tabernacle, therefore, is laden with redemptive significance, not just because of the sacrifices and offerings within its walls, but simply because of what it is: a piece of holy ground amid a world that has lost its way. It this is a correct understanding of the tabernacle, we begin to see why the writer of Exodus devotes so much space to its description" (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, p.521).
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:2, NIV).
Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill ["wisdom", AV], ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts - to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you" (Exodus 31:1-6, NIV).
"The work has been entrusted to two skilled artisans, Bezalel and Oholiab. Beyond their pedigree and competence, nothing is known of them. It is remarkable that with the complete domination of the text by Moses (and to a lesser extent by Aaron) the names of the senior craftsmen have not been lost...
"The text explicitly states what is everywhere assumed in God's address to Moses: Creating a home for holiness is human work. That human effort, however, is powered and driven by the wind [Spirit] of God. If [Terence] Fretheim [Exodus, Interpretation, (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1991)] is correct in relating these texts to creation, then this action entrusted to Bezalel and Oholiab is indeed a new creation fitted for holiness, generated by God's wind [Spirit], which was the initial agent of creation (Gen 1:2)... These artisans are indeed agents of Godss powerful Spirit, which makes new life possible" (Walter Brueggemann, Exodus, The New Interpreters Bible (NIB), Vol.1, Leander E. Keck, Convener, (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1994), pp.921-22).
Creation - Genesis
Tabernacle - Exodus
God saw all that He had made, (kal 'aser 'asah), and found it (wehineh) very good (1:31a).
And when Moses saw that they had performed all the task (kal hamela'kah) - as the LORD had commanded, so they had done (wehineh 'asu ’otah) - Moses blessed them (39:43).
The heavens and the earth were finished (wayekulu), and all (wekal) their array (2:1).
Thus was completed all (watekel kal)the work of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting (39:32).
On the seventh day God finished the work which he had been doing (2:2a).
When Moses had finished the work, (39:21a)
and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work He had done (2:2b).
The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle (39:32b).
And God blessed (wayebarek) the seventh day... (2:3a).
... Moses blessed (wayebarek) them (39:43b)
and declared it holy (wayeqadas), because on it God ceased from all the work of creation which He had done (2:3b).
You shall take the anointing oil and anoint the Tabernacle and all that is in it to consecrate (weqidaseta) it and all its furnishing so that it shall be holy... (40:9).
(The above chart a combination of, and slightly modified, Jeff Morrow, Creation as Temple-Building and Work as Liturgy in Genesis 1-3, ocabs.org/journal/index.php/jocabs/article/viewFile/43/18, p.6 and Jon D. Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil, pp.85-86).
Then the LORD said to Moses: "Set up the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the first month... (Exodus 40:1-2, NIV).
"The narrative of the tabernacle concludes, appropriately, by recounting how it is set up. Verses 1-11 are the detailed commands given by God to Moses concerning what needs to be done. The tabernacle is to be set up, the furnishings put in their places, and both the tabernacle and the furnishings are to be anointed. Verses 12-15 follow with commands concerning the anointing of the priests. After the summary acknowledgment that Moses obeys God fully (v.16), the details of the set-up are recounted (vv. 17-33)" (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, pp.551-52).
"Exod. 40:17-33 is of particular importance. These verses describe the actual construction of the tabernacle by Moses. In this brief text, the phrase that Moses did 'just as Yahweh had commanded' occurs seven times (vv.19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 32). Thus, the instructions are given in seven speeches of Yahweh and the actual construction takes place in seven distinct acts" (Frank H. Gorman, Jr. Ideology of Ritual, Space, Time and Status in the Priestly Theology, p.48).
"There is also creation language here. In fact, this section ends (v.33) by repeating almost verbatim the language of Genesis 2:2. Compare the Hebrew transliteration of both verses:
waykal moseh 'et bammela'aka
So Moses finished the work
waykal 'elohim bayyom bassebi'i mela'leto
So God on the seventh day
finished the work
"Only Genesis 2:2 has the clause "on the seventh day," but both say that God/Moses finished (Heb. root klb (work) (Heb. ml'kh). Moses' overseeing the construction of the tabernacle is like God building the universe.
"We also see that the tabernacle is set up "on the first month in the second year" (v.17). As we saw in 12:2, the Exodus inaugurated a new calendar in Israelite life: The month in which the Exodus took place would be the first month of the year. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt marked a new beginning for God's people, a "new creation." It is no surprise, therefore, that the tabernacle, itself a microcosm of creation, is also set up one year later on the first day of the first month. It, too is a new creation.
"A final creation connection here is perhaps more subtle, but worth pointing out. We see not only in this passage but throughout the tabernacle section that marked attention is given to the precision by which the tabernacle and its furnishings are to be made and where precisely the furnishings are to be placed in the tabernacle. The uncompromising attention to detail is another indication that the tabernacle is an act of creation. It reflects the order that God originally created in the universe. There is no room for human disorder or for chaos to invade this holy space. Everything must be exactly as God has commanded. The order of the tabernacle reflects God's very nature, a nature that creation itself reflects.
"... the tabernacle was an earthly representation of heavenly reality. It was a microcosm of the created order - hence, a microcosm of the only spotless point in creation, Eden" (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, pp.552-553).
Order-disorder-order: Genesis and Exodus?
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens - and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground (Genesis 2:4-5, NIV).
"Chapter 2 begins with a description of the condition of land (ha'ares) before the creation of man. In this respect it resembles the description of the land in 1:2" (John H. Sailhamer, Genesis, EBC, Vol.2, p.40).
If this is so there is a pattern of disorder (Genesis 1:2) followed by creation of the heavens and the earth, over six days, as God's dwelling place, followed by a sabbath-resting, followed by disorder (Genesis 2:4-5) followed by God's dwelling/meeting place with man (the Garden of Eden) and with God in the Garden: "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8, AV). While verse 8 is set in the context of disorder it pictures a relationship that existed between God and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before sin and disorder severed that relationship - setting a pattern for the future.
So in Exodus there is the disorder of Egypt, instructions for the tabernacle - God's dwelling place - comprising six commands (Exodus 25:1-31:11), followed by the Sabbath-instruction (Exodus 31:12-18), followed by disorder - the incident of the Golden Calf - followed by the setting up of the Tabernacle and with God in the Tabernacle:"Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:34, NIV).
'Precious' building materials
These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them (Exodus 25:3-8, NIV).
"This is the beginning of what God speaks to Moses upon entering the cloud (24:18). The reader is provided with a list of the materials that are to be brought before God for the purpose of building the tabernacle and related items" (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, p.509).
"The fourteen components or materials that went into the tabernacle are listed..." (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Exodus, The Expositor's Bible Commentary (EBC), Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), Vol.2, p.452).
"The materials themselves represent a catalog of opulence: the finest metals, the finest fabrics, the finest leathers, the finest wood, the finest oil and incense and semiprecious stones" (John I. Durham, Exodus, WBC, p.354).
"Driver points out there is a definite principle by which the closer to the presence of God, the more precious the metals used" (Alan Cole, Exodus, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), D. J. Wiseman, General Editoor, (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973) p.189).
"The metals are obviously listed in a descending sequence of value, and Haran (Temples, 160) maintains that the colored yarns are as well..." (John I. Durham, Exodus, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Bruce M. Metzger, et al., General Editors, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987), p.354).
"The gold was of two grades. They used "pure gold" (zahab tahor) for the ark, cover, lampstand, table, and incense altar. They used ordinary gold for the cherubim, the moldings and poles of the ark, the table and incense altar, and the gilding of the planks and pillars of the frame for the tent of meeting" (James K. Bruckner, Exodus, NIBC, p.237).
"The descriptions of both the Garden and the tabernacle mention 'pure gold... Genesis 2:12b and Exodus 25:7 both refer to onyx stones. The word for "onyx" occurs only in Genesis 2:12; Exodus 25:7; 28:9, 13, 20; 35:9, 27 39:13 (all describing the tabernacle) and elsewhere in the entire Hebrew Bible only in 1 Chronicles 29:2 and Job 28:16 [see also Ezekiel 28:13]... Whether every one of these parallels is completely convincing is besides the point. The total evidence argues strongly for the fact that the original audience would see the connection between the two and realize that in some way the tabernacle is a way for an utterly holy God to maintain in a symbolic way an "edenic" relationship with humanity" (Paul J. Kissling, Genesis, The College Press NIV Commentary, Vol.1, (Joplin: College Press, 2004), p.155).
The courtyard shall be a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide, with curtains of finely twisted linen five cubits high, and with bronze bases (Exodus 27:18, NIV).
"As far as the Tent is concerned, the court marks the outside limits of holiness (cf. the markers set all round Sinai on the day of God's descent and revelation there, Ex. 19:12). The later Temple at Jerusalem would have a stone wall, marking off its 'courts'..." (Alan Cole, Exodus, TOTC, p.197).
"The Courtyard that was to surround the Tabernacle and to separate it and the activities before it from the world outside was to be designated by draperies of woven fine linen suspended by hooks and rings of silver from columns of unspecified material (presumably acacia) set in pedestals of copper... The entrance to the Courtyard was of course on the east side, paralleling the opening of the Tabernacle itself...
"The linen draperies that enclosed the Courtyard constituted an effective but entirely portable barrier to interference or distraction from outside the space set aside for special worship in Yahweh's Presence. Since the height of the Courtyard draperies was 7½' and the height of the Tabernacle's upright supports was 15', the draperies purpose was not to block any view of the Tabernacle, or the view of anything outside the Courtyard taller than the draperies and their supporting columns, but to shut out the view at ground level. Indeed, a view from outside the Courtyard standing within the Courtyard, given what and whom it symbolized, was entirely desirable.
"The use of copper for the pedestals supporting the draperies and the Screen covering the entrance of the Courtyard is indicative ... of the decreasing gradation of the special materials with an increasing distance from the Holy Space and the Holiest Space of Yahweh's Presence. This is the reason, also, for the use of copper for the anchor-pegs and the tools employed in the tasks of preparation, assembly, packing and unpacking. These were all used outside the Tabernacle itself, and so were seen outside it; thus they did not need to be made of the gold reserved for every nonfabric object within the Tabernacle. The silver hooks and rings for the columns holding up the draperies and the Screen also belong, apparently to what Haran (Temples, 164-65) has called the "concentric circles" of diminishing holiness...
"All these materials are precious, but they also suggest by their decreasing value the fact that anything (or anyone) must be better with increasing nearness to Yahweh's Presence. This lesson is not merely a lesson for worship: as the narrative of Exodus makes clear, it is what every lesson in worship is supposed to be, a lesson for the living of life" (John I. Durham, Exodus, WBC, pp.378-79).
"A deliberate tension is presented by these accounts, a tension between a Yahweh who may move at a moment's notice and a Yahweh whose Presence demands a sequence of special spaces set off by carefully prescribed patterns designated by a specific order of materials" (John I. Durham, Exodus, WBC, p.379).
"The people would soon discover that although the Lord was the central resident of their camp and, and as the sequence of entrances implies, there was a way into his presence (cf. Heb. 9:8), he was not, so to speak 'at home' to callers (40:35). In this way a dilemma was created: the provision of entrances and yet the implicit erection of a sign that said 'No Admission' " (Alec Motyer, The Message of Exodus, The Bible Speaks Today (BST), Alec Moyter, OT Series Editor, (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2005), p.262).
In the Mosaic Tabernacle and Solomonic Temple there is no literal 'river'. A 'water' connection is with the Mosaic laver, and the Solomonic Sea and lavers.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations (Exodus 30:17-21, AV).
"No dimensions are given for this Laver, either here or in the parallel reference in Exod 38:8, but it is not to be regarded as of anything like the size of the ten massive Lavers of Solomon's Temple (1 Kgs 7:27-39), which with their stands were more than eight feet tall and held two hundred and forty-three gallons each (Garber, "Laver," IBD 3:76-77)" (John I. Durham, Exodus, WBC, p.405).
Square-Cube in the Tent of Meeting
The LORD said to Moses ... Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you (Exodus 25:1 & 9, NIV).
"It is noteworthy that the dimensions of the Tabernacle itself are nowhere explicitly given, but are left to be inferred from a combination of the details. It is our opinion there would be uncertainty as to whether the internal or the external size were meant" (James Strong, The Tabernacle of Israel: Its Structure and Symbolism, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2003), pp.32-33).
"Make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. Each frame is to be ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide, Make twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, make twenty frames... Make six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, and make two frames for the corners at the far end (Exodus 26:15-16, 18, 20, 22-23, NIV).
The height of the tabernacle, based on the height of the frame, is ten cubits.
Internal 'plan' dimensions are assumed in this article. Therefore the north and south sides of the tabernacle, that is, walls running from east to west, butt into the west wall. There are no frames on the east, or front, side of the tabernacle.
The outside length of the south and north walls are each 20 frames x 1½ cubits = 30 cubits long plus the thickness of the western frame. The inside length of the west wall is 6 frames x 1½ cubits = 9 cubits plus 1 cubit (2 x ½ cubits at each end) = 10 cubits, assumed, of the corner frames, that can be seem from inside.
Therefore the height of the tabernacle is 10 cubits, the internal length is 30 cubits and the internal width is 10 cubits.
You shall hang the curtain under the clasps, and bring the ark of the covenant in there, within the curtain; and the curtain shall separate for you the holy place from the most holy (Exodus 26:33, NRSV).
The 30 cubit length of the tabernacle is divided into two rooms. The length of the rooms may be determined by taking the observation below with the description of the tabernacle curtain.
"When the frames were assembled the distance from the top of the frames at the front along the roof and down to the bottom of the [west] frames was 20 x 1½ + 10 = 40 cubits” (D. W. Gooding, "Tabernacle", New Bible Dictionary (NBD), 2nd ed., J. D. Douglas, Organizing Editor, (Leicester, Inter-Varsity Press 1982), pp.1157).
"Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman. All the curtains are to be the same size - twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five. Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and do the same with the end curtain in the other set. Make fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. Then make fifty gold clasps and use them to fasten the curtains together so that the tabernacle is a unit (Exodus 26:1-6, NIV).
"In its stricter technical meaning the term 'tabernacle' refers to a set of ten linen curtains, which when draped round a structure of wooden frames formed God's dwelling-place...
"These curtains were spread over the top, back and two sides of a framework... The most likely interpretation of these qerasim [frames of acacia wood] is that given by A. R. S. Kennedy (HBD, 4, pp.659-662); they were not solid boards (as AV, RV), nor planks (as NEB), but open frames... and instead of hiding the beautiful tabernacle curtains [they] would allow them to be seen from inside all round the walls...
"Each [curtain] measured 28 cubits by 4, they were sewn together along their lengths into two sets of five, which when assembled were held together by fifty golden clasps..." (D. W. Gooding, "Tabernacle", NBD, 2nd ed., pp.1157).
Each set of five curtains was 20 cubits wide (5 cubits by 4 cubits). The sets were joined by fifty clasps giving a combined width - width running east to west - of 40 cubits.
When the combined curtain was draped over the framework, starting from the east side of the tabernacle, the clasps were situated twenty cubits from the east side.
You shall hang the curtain under the clasps, and bring the ark of the covenant in there, within the curtain; and the curtain shall separate for you the holy place from the most holy (Exodus 26:33, NRSV).
"The interior of the dwelling was divided into two compartments by a veil [curtain, NRSV] hung under (not 'from' as RSV) the clasps that joined the tabernacle curtains (Ex. 26:31-34). Hence we know that the first compartment was 20 cubits long, the second 10. The height of the frames, 10 cubits, gives us the second dimension, and in all probability the breadth of the both compartments was 10 cubits likewise: for while the six frames at the back give a total of 9 cubits, allowance must be made for the thickness of the side frames and corner frames. The first compartment is called 'the holy place', the second 'the holy of holies', i.e. the most holy place..." (D. W. Gooding, "Tabernacle", NBD, 2nd ed., pp.1158).
The 'holy of holies' was therefore 'like a square' and cubic (10 cubits by 10 cubits by 10 cubits), if consistent with Solomon's Temple - which was twice the size (20 cubits by 20 cubits by 20 cubits) - and the New Jerusalem (12,000 stadia by 12,000 stadia by 12,000 stadia) (Revelation 21:16).
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying ... let them make ('asah) me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:1, 7-8, AV).
"From the start, the Lord revealed the secret of his purpose: the Israelites were to make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them (25:8)...
"The vocabulary of the tabernacle is important, there are two key words in 25:8. First, the verb 'to dwell' (sakan), giving rise to the noun miskan, a 'dwelling', widely used throughout Exodus 25-40, and secondly, the noun miqdas, 'a sanctuary' or 'place of holiness'. In addition to these words, 'ohel, the ordinary word for a 'tent', makes its appearance in 26:7 and occurs frequently thereafter. 'Tabernacle' has become the conventional name for the Lord's tent, intended presumably to express a sense of dignity and uniqueness, but we must not lose sight of the fact that it is the common word for tent used to refer to the homes in which the Israelites themselves lived. It was, in fact, as Goodings says, 'the tent God used when he went camping'. Considering simply the words, 'ohel ('tent') points to the nature of the structure, a mobile home, miskan to its purpose as 'somewhere to live', and miqdas ('holy place') to the divine character of the occupant.
"Each word contributes to the significance of what happened. The Israelites were living in tents at the time (16:16), and for the Lord to command the pitching of his tent ('ohel), therefore, symbolized his coming alongside, his identification with them and their circumstances. To call the Lord's tent his miskan indicates permanency, as though it were his 'address', the place where he was to be found living...
"Even though miqdas ('sanctuary') is found only once in the chapters dealing with the tabernacle, its importance is immense. In common English usage a sanctuary is a place to run to for safety. This is not what the word means in the Old Testament. Rooted in the verb qades ('to be holy'), the noun means 'a place where holiness is', and it specifies the tabernacle as the place where the Lord in his holiness, in the full reality of the glory of his holy name, would come to settle among his people.
"When we speak, popularly, of our church building as 'the Lord's house', we mean a place where we go to be with him; in the Bible, the tabernacle - and, later, the temple or 'house' - is where the Lord comes to be with us.
"All this is summed up in Exodus 29:42b-46. The Tent of Meeting is where the Lord keeps his appointments with Israel (42b, 43), where he speaks with them (42b). It will be a sanctified place because his glory is in it (43-44), and there the Lord will dwell (sakan) (lit.) in the middle of the sons of Israel' (45) in fulfilment of the covenant promise to be their God (Gen 17:7; Exod. 6:7). More than all this, however, the tabernacle sums up the whole divine purpose in redemption: he brought Israel out of Egypt 'so that I might dwell (sakan) among them' (29:46)" (Alec Motyer, The Message of Exodus, BST, pp.251-2).
... at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD ... there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory [kabod]. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God (Exodus 29:42-46, AV).
"... the name for the Tabernacle (miskan, ...) suggests the permanent dwelling of God, as do the phrases 'before Yahweh'..., and 'bread of the presence'... The contents of the Tabernacle (the tent and its furniture, which includes a chest, table and bread, and lamp), together with the regular attention paid to them also imply that a permanent dwelling is meant. Although this imagery is qualified by its evident symbolism, it does not undermine the positive significance of presence. Israel is assured of ready access to God in his sanctuary" (Philip Peter Jenson, Graded Holiness - A Key to the Priestly Conception of the World, (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992), p.113).
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them (AV)... I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people (NIV) (Leviticus 26:3, 11-12).
"God promised to dwell among his people (v.11) in the tabernacle spiritually, not materially. From the word for "dwelling" (miskan) and its root, the later Israelites developed a name for the presence of God in the Most Holy Place - the Shekinah. The expression "I will walk among them" (v.12) is not to be literalized. It is like the NT word translated in the KJV "have your conversation." It refers to life fellowship, and behaviour. Enoch, Abraham, and many others were said to "walk with God"... God would continually fellowship with his people if they obeyed his word; he would live among them. The thought repeats that of his promised dwelling at v.11" (R. Laird Harris, Leviticus, The Expositor's Bible Commentary (EBC), Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), Vol.2, pp.643-45).
Glory of God
Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory [kabod] of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:33-35, NIV).
"The work on the tabernacle was finished (... kala 39:32). Moses' work of legitimating the tabernacle is also finished (kala; 40:33). Everything that could be done by human agents is now complete. What remains unfinished is that which only Yahweh can do. Yahweh had promised, "Have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell [... sakan] among them" (25:8 NRSV). Now the sanctuary is complete, and Israel awaits the Dweller for whom the tabernacle is constructed.
"This is obviously the literary conclusion of the book of Exodus. It is also the theological conclusion of a priestly theory of presence and the liturgical culmination of the work commanded in chaps 25-31 and enacted in 36:8-40:33. Indeed, for the book of Exodus, it is for this moment and this event of presence that all of creation has been prepared. Creation is God's work with the goal of God's full and glorious presence. The tabernacle is the vehicle which the glory of God sojourns with Israel. It is also the means by which the glory of God can be present in sovereign ways in the midst of the whole earth...
"The affirmation of presence is expressed in two devices: cloud and glory. The "cloud" does not refer to an overcast sky, but is a standard device to signify presence and at the same time to keep God hidden, remote, and inaccessible. The cloud "covers" - i.e., surrounds - the tabernacle and "settles" (sakan) upon the tent of meeting. The "glory," in contrast, is a bright light that is nearly physical in its power and presence. It "fills"the tabernacle, so forcefully that even Moses cannot enter the place.
"The intent and effect of "cloud" and "glory" are to assert that the cult Moses has authorized does indeed host the real presence of God, which has faithfully, specifically, visibly, and powerfully come. This presence-filled place becomes the center and focus of Israel's life. This company of erstwhile slaves now becomes the caretakers, custodians, and "possessors" of the very place and device where the glory of God has chosen to dwell on the earth..." (Walter Brueggemann, Exodus, NIB, Vol.1, p.978).
"Israel's sanctuary ideology can therefore be seen as a restoration of Eden... God's presence again dwelt among people. The priests and Levites were once more able to take up the mandate given to Adam and Eve, to serve and preserve sacred space as they performed their duties in the temple complex, though the presence of sin required elements not necessary in the garden..." (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.193).
Tabernacle and Temple Furniture and its Symbolism
This section develops a concept mentioned earlier regarding Eden. It begins with the symbolism of the Ark in the "Most Holy Place" and the Lampstand in the "Holy Place". Then it looks at the role of the Cherubim in these 'rooms' followed by the symbolism of the absence of the Ark and Lampstand from their proper places.
"Have them make a chest of acacia wood... Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. "Make an atonement cover of pure gold... And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover... make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites (Exodus 25:10, 16-19, 22, NIV).
"Nothing was more intimately connected with the presence and power of Yahweh than the ark of the covenant... the "Song of the Ark" equates its presence with Yahweh's presence" (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Towards and Old Testament Theology, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978), p.157).
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son (Hebrew 1:1-2, AV).
"... in the New Testament, the most remarkable thing that happened in the faith of the earliest followers of Jesus is that they came to identify him - Jesus - with Yahweh, in calling him Lord, and in many other ways... But on the whole it is probably more appropriate in most cases that, when we read about Yahweh [in the OT], we should have God the Father in mind" (Christopher J. H. Wright, Knowing God the Father through the Old Testament, (Oxford: Monarch Books, 2007), p.17).
"... the first point to be made about the instructions of Yahweh concerning the Ark is made by the placement of those instruction. The Ark is the foremost symbol of Yahweh's Presence beyond Sinai, and so its design and specifications are given first after the call for materials for the media of worship" (John I Durham, Exodus, WBC, p.358).
There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites (Exodus 15:22, NIV).
The heavenly 'holy of holies' is where God the Father dwells, but He was also 'present' with Israel and the symbol of that reality was the Ark of the Covenant - His earthly throne- which had its home in the earthly 'holy of holies'. (The 'glory' above the ark was the physical manifestation of God at home with His people).
"Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand - three on one side and three on the other. Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair - six branches in all. The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold. "Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it (Exodus 25:31-37, NIV).
"[D. W.] Gooding (How to Teach the Tabernacle, [Everday, 1977] p.32) says it was 'made to look as if it were a living tree ... [with] buds, blossoms and almonds ... the three stages of life', the tree of life. [R. W. L.] Moberly [At the Mountain of God (JSOT Press, 1983)] (p.11) sees the lampstand as a stylized representation of the burning bush..." (Alec Motyer, Exodus, BST, p.254).
"The lampstand, like the Table and the Ark, was a symbol of the immediate Presence of Yahweh and so was constructed with pure gold... The OT gives no direct clue as to the symbolism of the Lampstand, though the description of it ... and the location of that description with the descriptions of the Ark and the Table [of the Presence] make plain the connection of the Lampstand with Yahweh's Presence. The light and fire of the lamps themselves must have been linked also to Yahweh’s theophany, of which brightness and fire were primary symbols" (John I. Durham, Exodus, WBC, pp.364-65).
"... the objects kept in the antechamber of the Old Testament sanctuary are intended to evoke the garden. The menorah is a symbol of the tree of life, and the table for the bread of the Presence provided food for the priests" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.182). Beale adds, as quoted earlier, that the latter "would appear to reflect the food produced in the Garden for Adam's sustenance".
The heavenly 'holy place' is the realm of Jesus Christ, more on this below, and the symbol of that reality is the lampstand in the earthly 'holy place'.
And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat (Exodus 25:18, AV).
Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them (Exodus 26:1, AV).
And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made (Exodus 26:31, AV).
"The most obvious parallel between the Garden of Eden and the tabernacle is the presence of cherubim... In the entire Bible cherubim are only mentioned in relation to the Garden of Eden, the tabernacle and the temple" (Paul J. Kissling, Genesis, The College Press NIV Commentary, Vol.1, p.155).
Ezekiel 10 equates the "living creatures" of chapter one as cherubim.
In Moses' tabernacle there was only one item of 'furniture' in the 'holy of holies'. But in Solomon's Temple two more items of 'furniture' are present in the 'most holy place'.
In the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubits - ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip. The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape. The height of each cherub was ten cubits. He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room (1 Kings 6:23-27, NIV).
"Two cherubim made of olive wood and covered with gold were placed in the inner chambers (vv.23, 28). Each had a wingspan of ten cubits (vv.24-26) They were so placed that they faced the door (2 Chron 3:13). Thus their combined wingspan reached from one wall to the other (v.27) (Notice that the two [smaller] cherubim on the ark faced each other.) These composite figures (cf. Ezek 1:4-14) represent the cherubim associated with the throne and government of God (Ezek 1:22-28). They are also the guardians to the way to God (Gen 3:24). The impact on the beholder of these representations of the cherubim would be to impress on him the awesomeness of God's holiness. Approaching God is not a light or frivolous matter and must be undertaken in the exact way he has described - through the blood" (R. D. Patterson and Herman J. Austel, 1 & 2 Kings, The Expositor's Bible Commentary (EBC), Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988), Vol.4, p.67).
"As Stephen Cook observes, the cherubim in Ezekiel's visions are boundary figures... the cherubim both guard and mediate access to divine presence (S. Cook, "Cosmos, Kabod, and Cherub: Ontological and Epistemological Hierarchy in Ezekiel," in Cook and Patton, Editors, Ezekiel's Hierarchical World, pp. 184-85)" (Steven Tuell, Ezekiel, (New International Bible Commentary (NIBC), Robert Hubbard, Jr. & Robert K. Johnston, OT Editors, (Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 2009), pp.196-97).
After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24, NIV).
Cherubim guarded the ark, the symbol of God's presence in the 'most holy place' and Cherubim guarded the tree of life symbol of Christ's presence in the 'holy place' of the Garden of Eden.
And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me (Luke 22:29, NIV).
While the heavenly 'holy place' is Jesus Christ's realm of responsibility, it appears that God and Jesus Christ originally delegated the responsibility of the heavenly garden to a guarding cherub (Ezekiel 28:14), who through sin, became Satan, hence the symbol of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the earthly Garden of Eden. Satan's manifestation of his irresponsibility was his role in the sin of Adam and Eve.
In the analogy of the US government and God's government the President and vice-President picture God and Jesus Christ. While both the President and the vice-President have offices in the White House the vice-President is also the President of the Senate, two miles away on Capitol Hill. When the VP is not in the Senate, the President pro tempore technically presides. Satan is the President pro tempore of the heavenly 'holy place'. In the future this heavenly position will be eliminated.
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:31-32, AV).
The plan of God necessitated that Christ die for the sins of man and thereby cast out Satan and his demons, from their domain, so that Christ and the Saints would then replace them.
Curtain/Veil and Doors
"Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it... The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (Exodus 26:31 & 33, NIV).
He made the curtain of blue, purple and crimson yarn and fine linen, with cherubim worked into it... and the gold doors of the temple: the inner doors to the Most Holy Place and the doors of the main hall (2 Chronicles 3:14 & 4:22, NIV).
"A veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in the Mosaic tabernacle or Tent of Meeting (Ex. 26:31-36). The veil of Solomon's temple replicates that tapestry, including the decorative embroidery of cherubim worked into the fabric (2 Chron. 3:14). The temple also has wooden doors overlaid with gold, including the inner doors to the Most Holy Place (4:22).
"The Chronicler, then, understands Solomon's temple to possess both carved doors and a veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. This fits well with the description of Herod's refurbished temple; according to Josephus that temple too had both a veil and doors at the entrance to the Most Holy Place (Jewish War 5.5). For the Chronicler, the veil represents continuity with the Mosaic tent and the Hebrew worship traditions established by the Sinaitic covenant" (Andrew E. Hill, 1 & 2 Chronicles, NIVAC, pp.386-87).
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body let us draw near to God... (Hebrews 10:19-20 & 21, NIV).
The Saints in the present dispensation, are able to draw near to God, symbolized by the tearing of the Temple curtain at Christ's death, through worship and prayer; in the future, when the Temple doors are opened for the Saints, at the first resurrection, they will literally be in God presence in the heavenly Most Holy Place of the heavenly Jerusalem:
... These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple (Revelation 7:14, NIV).
Which may also be a type for the future of the New Jerusalem:
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. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there (Revelation 21:23-25, NIV).
Missing Tabernacle/Temple furniture - Missing God/Christ
The item of furniture, symbolic of God's presence, for the OT 'tabernacle' Covenant is the Ark'. (The Ark has its home in the most holy place).
So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and ... The slaughter was very great...
She said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured" (1 Samuel 4:10 & 22, NIV).
"The glory of God has departed [lit., 'has gone into exile'..] from Israel..." (Ronald F. Youngblood, 1 & 2 Samuel, The Expositor's Bible Commentary (EBC), Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), Vol.3, p.599).
"Their defeat at the hands of the Philistines is not a result simply of Yahweh's absence, but rather of their own spiritual crisis... If God is now absent from their midst on the battlefield - despite the presence of the ark of the covenant - it is because they have driven him away by breaking the covenant...
"This unnamed (and unfortunate) character gives voice to the narrator's concern: God is gone! ... he has been driven away by the sin of his own people... He has reluctantly accepted the reality of Israel's sin and responded accordingly. Divine judgment, then, is not so much the vengeful presence of an angered God but the imposed absence of the loving and protecting God... and with his departure the nation also loses his grace" (Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), pp.97,110-11).
The item of furniture, symbolic of Christ's presence, for the NT 'tabernacle' Covenant is the 'Lampstand'. (The Lampstand has its home in the holy place).
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world... (John 8:12, NIV).
... If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place (Revelation 2:5, NIV).
Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring - those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17, NIV).
"Associated with worship. The lamp in the shrine at Shiloh is called "the lamp of God" in 1 Samuel 3:3; this suggests that its light symbolized God's presence...
"Blessing/Presence of God. A different lamp metaphor occurs in connection with God's oath that the Davidic dynasty would endure (2 Sam7:16). Solomon's son and grandson failed to keep the covenant. "Nevertheless for David's sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him (1 Kings 15:4 NIV). Similarly, "I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one [David]" (Ps 132:17 NRSV). Since David's men had referred to him as the lamp of Israel, the psalmist must expect another king with David's charisma. The Lord was the source of that charisma, "Indeed, you are my lamp, O LORD, the LORD lightens my darkness" (2 Sam 22:29 NRSV), and he was to come in the person of Jesus (Jn 8:12). At the end of the Bible, when the new Jerusalem is seen coming down from heaven, lamps are no longer needed because "its lamp is the Lamb" (Rev 21:23 NRSV) and "the Lord God will be their light" (Rev 22:5 NRSV). The lamps in the opening chapter of Revelation symbolize the divine presence with the seven churches. Christ's warning that the lamp could be withdrawn connotes God removing his active presence from them (Rev 1-3)" (Leland Ryken, et al., General Editors, "Lamp, Lampstand", Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998), p.486).
"remove your lampstand. Immediate judgment" (Robert Mounce, "Revelation", The NIV Study Bible, Kenneth Barker, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1987), p.1927). Tribulation bound.
... To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7, NIV).
In the 'genesis' letter of Revelation there is the symbolism of the lampstand of the holy place and, its counterpart, the tree of life in the Garden in Eden.
"The tree of life is not simply a symbol for eternal life alone, but also represents the cosmic center of reality where eternal life is present and available, and where God dwells" (David E. Aune, Revelation 1-5, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Bruce M. Metzger, General Editor, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997), p.152).
Rest and Presence in the Land
And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand (Joshua 21:44, AV).
"The Old Testament understands "rest" as the gracious gift of God to his people. Against the background of a long journey and intense warfare (so ch. 21), it connotes a sense of relief from frightening threats, of safe, happy arrival, of realizing long-held dreams, of coming into unexpected wealth, of finally being "home." This is what Yahweh's faithfulness in settling Israel in its Promised Land means to Israel. But rather than inactivity, "rest" also opens the door to unhindered creative activity - to making towns livable, to earning a livelihood, to raising a family, to savoring the good life.
"A part of Israel's "rest" is its duty properly to maintain its relationship with the God of Israel" (Robert L. Hubbard Jr., Joshua, The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 2009), p.465).
The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control (Joshua 18:1, NIV).
"Shiloh... A town in Ephraim that was the center of tribal administration and worship for the twelve Israelite tribes ... during the period of tribal history recorded in Joshua and Judges... The prominent tell of Shiloh ... stands at the northern end of a large valley 31 km. (19 mi.) N. of Jerusalem, just E. of the main road to Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim..." (L. T. Dolphin, "Shiloh", ISBE, Vol.4, G. W. Bromiley, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988), p.477).
... at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD (Joshua 18:8, NIV).
"Shiloh ... represents the fulfilment of God's promise to dwell with Israel (Lv. 26:11-12; Dt. 12)... The Tent of Meeting appears in parallel with Shiloh. The tent was the place where Israel and God met: through it, the divine will was made known" (Richard Hess, Joshua, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), D. J. Wiseman, General Editor, (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996), p.262).
"Having received the land, Israel is called to a life in the land. The opening verse characterizes the life. It is a life of peace in a land under control. This is God's desire and God's provision. When Israel loses control of her land, she cannot blame God. She must look back to the traditions which tells her how she received the land. There she will see that the land was given to an obedient people...
"The gift of the land brought blessings not only to the nation as a whole and to the individual tribes. It also brought blessing to the faithful leader [14:13, 19:49]. Thus the Deuteronomic understanding of blessing and curse is expressed not only on the corporate, but also on the individual level..." (Trent C. Butler, Exodus, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), David A. Hubbard & Glenn W. Barker, General Editors, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), pp.207-08).
Breaking the Commandments
The children of Ephraim... They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law... So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men... Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim (Psalms 78:9-10, 60, AV).
... we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,... so the next generation... would put their trust in God and ... would not be like their forefathers... (Psalm 78:4, 6-8, NIV).
"The teaching of Psalm 78 takes place on two levels: one has to do with the personal decision the current generation of listeners faces, the other has to do with corporate tribes and Gods elected program for Jacob-Israel. The first is explicitly set forth in the opening section: "we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,.. so the next generation ... would put their trust in God and ... not be like their forefathers" (vv.4-8). Each generation must hear the story of salvation and so choose to trust God. In sum, God has revealed his deeds (vv.4, 7, 11), wonders (vv.4, 11, 32, 43), power (v.4), and signs (v.43). He has established his law (vv.5, 10), statutes (or "testimonies," vv.5, 56), covenant (vv. 10, 13), and his commands (v.7)... And he was merciful and atoned for their inequities, even though their repentance was phony (vv.34-39). In spite of this the people responded by being stubborn and rebellious... They did not keep his covenant (vv. 10, 56). And so they continued to sin (vv. 17, 32)... And so he rejected them and abandoned the sanctuary (vv. 55-60)...
"The second level of the psalm's teaching has to do with the fact that God's saving activity was first centered in the northern tribes and expressed in the traditions concerning the exodus, wilderness journeys, and the conquest... The OT refers to this northern region not by the designation "northern Israel" but often by its prominent tribe, Ephraim (Ps. 78:9; cf. 7:2; Jer 7:15; Hos. 4:17). The patriarch Ephraim was the first-blessed son of Joseph, Jacob's own favorite. National leaders such as Joshua and Samuel [see also 1 Ch 6:33-38] were from Ephraim. King Saul was from the northern tribe of Benjamin... But now God rejected the tent ... of Joseph (perhaps alluding not merely to the people but also the tent or tabernacle of v.60) and "did not choose the tribe of Ephraim..." (Craig C. Broyles, Psalms, New International Commentary (NIBC), Robert Hubbard, Jr. & Robert K. Johnston, OT Editors, (Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 1999), pp.319-20).
And delivered [the Ark] his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand. He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance (Psalm 78:61-62, AV).
And the men of Kirjath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD (1 Samuel 7:1, AV)
"After the destruction of Shiloh, God had no dwelling among the people. The ark, which survived the battle was returned by the Philistines and housed at Kiriath-jearim (1 Samuel 6:1-7:2), but there was no shrine there to take the place of the one at Shiloh" (Marvin E. Tate, Psalms 51-100, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), David A. Hubbard & Glenn W. Barker, General Editors, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), p.294).
When God heard them, he was very angry; he rejected Israel completely (Psalm 78:59, NIV).
"The phrase, he rejected Israel completely (better: "exceedingly," Hb. me'od), needs to be interpreted in light of the events narrated in verses 60-64. The rejection is not ultimate, as evidenced by verse 71. These events are described in more detail in 1 Samuel 4-6 (see esp. 4:10-11), where the Philistines overran Shiloh, took the ark into captivity, and slaughtered the people with the sword, including the priests Hophni and Phinehas..." (Craig C. Broyles, Psalms, NIBC, p.325).
... he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved... (Psalm 78:67-68, AV).
He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever. He chose David his servant... to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them (Psalm 78:69-72, NIV).
"Remarkably, we find that while God has rejected Israel (v.59), Jacob-Israel has been reconstituted under God's new economy (v.71). In this light, we can now see that the shift lies not so much in a rejection of northerners and a choice of southerners as it does in a transfer of the poltical government and the religious sanctuary from the north to the south" (Craig C. Broyles, Psalms, NIBC, p.321).
The Past as Future
You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 47:21, NIV).
God is going to once again reconstitute Israel as a 'new' economy after the destruction of the end-time Jerusalem and Temple, and the slaughter of His end-time people. It appears that there will also be a 'political' transfer at this time.
"Their historical order has been reversed, moving Judah to the north of the sacred reservation while Benjamin is on the south. This may be due to a desire to stress the integration of the new nation. No longer are they "north" and "south," "Israel" and "Judah"; now Judah itself , the royal nation, is part of the north.
"It should also be noted that the site of the temple itself seems to have migrated north in Ezekiel's vision. Given that the tribal strips are equal (47:14) and that there are seven to the north of the sacred reservation and five to he south, the site of the temple ought in strict geographical terms to be located somewhat close to Shiloh, thirty miles north of its old location. Although the vision (perhaps surprisingly) does not explicitly identify the location of the heart of the sacred portion within the renewed Israel, it would not be surprising to finds that Ezekiel envisaged a change in place for the sanctuary. Given his radical assessment of defilement of the temple's former home in Jerusalem, a location in the heartland of the old traditions, such as Shiloh, may well have proved attractive. Yet the shift in theological geography may also have been driven by a simple desire to locate the temple closer to the center of the land, in the midst of the people, while still (in deference to history) slightly south of center" (Iain M. Duguid, Ezekiel, The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Terry Muck, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999), pp.544-45).