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Five Essential Bible Truths – Part 5
The Temple of God
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Introduction

Have you ever considered that the events that mark the end of the world synchronize with special services in God’s Heavenly Temple? The end of the world is not a random sequence of calamities caused by man. On the contrary, the Bible declares that God strategically controls the events leading to the end of the world. (Isaiah 45: 7-12) The apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation outline a very clear, orderly progression of divine commands originating in Heaven’s Temple. Angels dispatched to earth implement the commands that culminate in Earth’s complete, fiery destruction. Therefore, understanding the process that will soon conclude in Heaven’s Temple should be of utmost importance for those who are waiting and watching for God’s salvation.

Of all the concepts in the Bible, God’s Temple is the most profound, intricate, sublime and beautiful. It ties all Bible themes together as nothing else can. Yet, today, most Christians have never considered this topic, nor have thy enjoyed the vast insights it reveals regarding God’s ways. No doubt, this was the topic that captured the heart and mind of the 12 year-old boy, Jesus, many years ago as He stood in the temple in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:43-47) His understanding of the temple services was so comprehensive that He astonished the priests who served there.

The Heaven Earth Linkage Law

There is a direct correlation between events in Heaven and events on Earth. These events are described in apocalyptic prophecy. The concept is simple: Since the human race cannot see the Heavenly Temple, the Father has linked events in Heaven with the events on Earth so that His people may know His timely movements in Heaven. This principle is summarized by the acronym, H.E.L.L., the Heaven Earth Linkage Law. (This one acronym should be easy to remember.) For example, when each of the seven trumpets sound in Heaven, a corresponding event occurs on Earth. The same principle applies to the seven bowls (plagues). When the seven angels receive each of the seven bowls in Heaven’s Temple, a corresponding event occurs on Earth. This synchronism will help us determine our chronological position within God’s strategic plan by simply observing Earthy events. In the days to come, a great number of meteoric showers of burning hail will ignite thousands of forest fires all around the world. When we see this, we will know the first trumpet has sounded in Heaven! (Revelation 8:7)

Event in Heaven – Event on Earth

The Bible clearly demonstrates that Earthy events are linked with Heavenly events. Notice this text: “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened…As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom… He [the horn] will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and a half of time.” (Daniel 7:8-10, 21, 22, 25)

Daniel 7 describes four beasts that rise out of the sea: A lion, bear, leopard and a terrible monster. Daniel was told: “The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.” (Daniel 7:17) The lion represents the ancient kingdom of Babylon, the bear represents the kingdom of Medo-Persia, the leopard represents the third kingdom of Grecia and the terrible monster represents Rome. According to prophecy, the homogenous empire of Rome would eventually be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, the ten horns of Daniel 7:24. Then, a new horn, little at first, would rise up and become powerful, uprooting three of the original ten horns. Daniel predicted this last horn would gain dominion over the seven remaining horns. Further, this same little horn would wage war against the saints for a time, times and half a time. These and other specifications can only point to one organization that grew out of ancient Rome. That organization was known as the Roman Christian Church and today is called the Roman Catholic Church.

 According to Daniel 7:21, the little horn would wage war against the saints until the Ancient of days took his seat and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints. This means the ancient of days issued a restraining order (a judgment) against the actions of the little horn on Earth. Then the war against the saints ended. This sequence of events helps to demonstrate the importance of the Heaven/Earth Linkage Law. Since no human can observe this Heavenly courtroom scene-taking place, we must watch for predicted events on Earth to know where we are in Heaven’s order of events! Let us see what happened on Earth that coincided with this Heavenly courtroom scene.

In February 1798, Napoleon sent his generals, Berthier and Waller, into the Vatican City and took the pope prisoner. Napoleon’s “official” action broke the dominion of the Roman Church. Historical records may cite various “human’ reasons for Napoleon’s triumph over the church of Rome, but the papacy’s fall was not a matter of human prowess. God allowed the Roman Church to have its authority for 1,260 years, and at the right moment, that power was removed. Napoleon’s ability to inflict a deadly wound upon the papacy came from “On High.” Thus, because a definite link exists between the events in Heaven with events on Earth, we know that the Father took His seat and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints in 1798.

The Temple of God

The term, “The Temple of God” generally refers to the dwelling place or throne of God. King David indicated the throne of God is in His Temple. “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them.” (Psalms 11:4 David also says: “Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” (Psalms 97:2) Isaiah also saw the throne of God in His Temple: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)

It is interesting to note that God’s throne is moveable. Ezekiel saw four living creatures transporting the throne. (See Ezekiel 1 and 10.) Daniel saw a great courtroom scene in Heaven in which thrones were arranged in a special order. The Ancient of Days (the Father) came and took His seat to oversee a special event. (Daniel 7: 9,10) This point illustrates that God’s Temple is not a building per se, for what pavilion can contain the Almighty. The Temple of God could be considered a “campsite” setting rather than a “building” located at one street address. The Bible describes the absence of a temple “address” in the earth made new: “I did not see a temple in the city [New Jerusalem], because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Revelation 21:22) No doubt, John considered it strange that there was no Temple in the New Jerusalem, for in his day the earthy temple and its activities were the focus of Judaism, both geographically and intellectually.

The absence of a Heavenly Temple throughout eternity indicates that even though the purpose of the Heavenly court scene described in Daniel 7:9,10 is highly important, it is nevertheless, temporary. However, the throne of God will endure forever. Remember, God’s Temple is not a building; it is a temporary site He establishes by His Presence. Consider this: The Earthy tabernacle that Moses built was not intended to be a physical description of what Heaven or God’s throne is like. Instead, Moses’ Earthy tabernacle reveals the issues and processes that God addresses for man’s redemption.

Linkage Between the Temples

Notice the linkage between the earthy tabernacle and the Heavenly Temple in Hebrews 8: 1-5 “The point of what we are saying is this: We do have a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If we were on Earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

These five verses confirm that (1) The earthy sanctuary Moses built was a copy or shadow of what occurs in Heaven, (2) Jesus serves in the true (real) tabernacle in Heaven, and (3) Moses was warned to carefully follow the pattern God gave him. The Earthy sanctuary was to be an important teaching tool, revealing the parallels between the copy (The Earthy temple) and the true (the Heavenly Temple). This text describes the relationship between the two temples: “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.” (Hebrews 9:24)

The essential purpose for a parallel between the earthy and Heavenly temples is to reveal the issues involved with law, sin, penalty and grace, as well as God’s orderly process to redeem man. In 1798, God convened a special court session in Heaven to deal with man’s salvation and several Earthy tabernacle services point to this special court. This special court setting and this segment in the PLAN of salvation being implemented there are both temporary. Also remember, the PLAN of salvation has a beginning point in time and an ending point in time. Even though God prepared the PLAN before any creatures were made, the PLAN is only effectual during the existence of sin – and this PLAN will be studied and reviewed throughout eternity.

What does John say about Heaven’s Temple?

For reasons beyond the scope of this article, the prophet John was zoomed forward in time to view the “campsite” as it would appear around 1798. (Revelation 4-6) John saw the brilliant glory of God’s throne and saw the same four living creatures that Ezekiel did. John, like Daniel, saw myriads of angels gathering around God’s throne. John, however, mentions that he saw 24 elders, each sitting on a throne, arranged around God’s throne. John also mentions several pieces of temple furniture. This is very important because descriptions of the Earthy tabernacle include similar furniture! If we understand the function of the Earthy furniture, we should be able to learn the purpose of the Heavenly furniture. John saw seven golden Lamps stands (Revelation 1:12-20; Exodus 25: 31-37), the Alter of Incense (Revelation 8:3; Exodus 30:1-6), the Alter of Burnt Offering (Revelation 6:9; Exodus 29:12) and the Ark of the Covenant (Revelation 11:19). John does not directly mention the Table of the Presence (Shewbread) or the Laver.

Even though there are many similarities, there are also important differences between the earthy and the Heavenly tabernacle (a direct parallel does not exist for every aspect). For example, animal blood was routinely placed on the horns of Earthy altars. Obviously, this does not occur in Heaven. The annual feasts associated with the Earthy tabernacle services have never been celebrated in Heaven. Rather, annual feasts and animal sacrifices that accompany them reveal certain elements about God’s process to save man. Obviously, the scale and structure of the Earthy temple is different from the Heavenly Temple since the Earthy wilderness tabernacle a tiny tent structure, only 18 by 55 feet in length. Moses did not build a tabernacle in the likeness of Heaven’s Temple. Rather, Moses followed the pattern that was given to him, and the resulting construction reflects the details of the pattern that Moses was shown. (Exodus 25:9)

The Earthy tabernacle was a temporary teaching device, a shadow of reality. Contrary to what many people believe, the Earthy temple and its services held no efficacy then or now. The sacrifices of animals and/or accompanying rituals did not/cannot provide atonement for sin. (Hebrews 10:4) Instead, these services reveal the properties of law, sin, penalty, grace and the orderly process God follows to restore man. The ceremonial system of laws God gave to Moses pointed toward the issues God has to resolve. Sin’s presence in God’s Universe introduced three problems for Him. These problems will be resolved to every creature’s satisfaction even though the process takes thousands of years.

First, God must demonstrate the righteousness of His government to all His creatures. It is not sufficient for God to declare His government righteous; He must demonstrate that it is righteous. (This is the one reason why God allowed Lucifer and his angels to live after their expulsion from Heaven.) Second, God must demonstrate that He is a God of love and that He really does offer each of His creatures the power of choice. He must prove He does not manipulate His creatures through omnipotence or omniscience. Last, God has to reveal the lawful (fair) process that determines that some creatures will be eternally destroyed and other creatures restored and granted eternal life. These three issues will be resolved when sin is removed from God’s Universe.

Practical and Informative

The functions of the earthy tabernacle consisted of three levels of operation. First, there was the administration of some of the practical aspects of the tabernacle that included the livelihood of the ministers – the Levites. Not only did the Levites eat much of the meat that was roasted as sacrifices, they also received produce from offerings people gave to the Lord. In Addition, they received wages from the contributions of gold and silver. Second, the tabernacle was the center of Israel’s economy. Issues like public health, civil and social governance all centered in the tabernacle. Originally, under God’s direct leadership, Israel was to be a “church/state,” but God modified that plan when they rejected Him as their King. (1 Samuel 8:7) Last, the highest function for the Earthy tabernacle was to reveal divine law, sin, penalty, grace and salvation. This third level of operation explains why god established a linkage between the Earthy and Heavenly Temples. He wants us to understand the properties, even the price of our salvation.

The subject of God’s temple is expansive (as the wonders of God always are). It is not difficult to grasp the essential lessons of the Earthy tabernacle and its services. Wonderfully, God has placed the basic issues of life and death just beneath the surface of the Bible. Why does God put such important information beneath the surface? He does it simple to separate “surface readers” from “Bible students.” There is a significant difference between Bible reading and Bible study. Six thousand years of recorded history proves that God is very cautious about revealing Himself. If He revealed too much at one time, the truth would be more than we could bear. (John 16:12; Daniel 10:7) If God were too aggressive, His created beings would regard Him as a cosmic bully. Instead, God chooses either to cloak Himself in brilliant unapproachable light or dense darkness. Truth can be obtained if a person sincerely wants to see the wisdom of God (John 16:13) and God only reveals His wonders to people who seek diligently. God told Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Heaven and Earth Parallel is Necessary

Before we examine the contents of the Earthy tabernacle – en route to understanding the actual processes of the Heavenly Temple – there are a few points that need to be clarified so you can quickly grasp why certain things are the way they are. When studying this subject, it is important to remember that a Heavenly Temple/Earthy temple parallel is necessary because sin entered into and affected both realms. The following series of ten statements are basic concepts that will help you see the perspective of salvation from God’s point of view:                             

1. When God created Lucifer, he was perfect in every way. In time, Lucifer became jealous of the archangel, Michael (Jesus). Lucifer wanted to take Michael’s place on the throne as the Archangel. The more Lucifer brooded, the more determined he became. To gather followers, he mounted a very intelligent assault against God. The assault was so effective that one-third of the angels rebelled against God. Here are some issues that Lucifer distorted to mislead the angels:

      a. God is purposeful and deliberate in all He does; however, sometimes it takes His    creatures several thousand years to understand His actions. Therefore, during the interval between creation and understanding, God’s creatures must choose to “blindly” trust that God’s actions are righteous (not evil or harmful to existing creatures)

b. God is Sovereign King of His universe. Heaven is not a democracy. God declares

 that He is righteous. God claims that He does not use His great powers of omnipresence (being everywhere simultaneously), omnipotence (having the power to do anything) or omniscience (knowing everything about everything) to manipulate His creatures. God claims that all creatures have the power of choice. They can choose to serve Him or they can choose to rebel. God claims to always act in the best interest of His subjects.

c. God’s ways are not the ways of His creatures. He is infinite, but they are finite. 

2. Lucifer distorted the truth and cleverly misrepresented God’s character and government, causing doubt to fill the hearts of influential angels. Lucifer preyed upon other angels in Heaven, asking questions which seemed to have no solid answers at the time. (Sometimes, God’s plans require 7,000 or more years to clearly understand – as in the PLAN of salvation.) Using the advantage of doubt against Michael, Lucifer eventually led one-third of the angels to believe he was more deserving of the position of archangel than Michael. When the Father informed Lucifer that Michael was a member of the Godhead, in the form of an angel (Jesus), Lucifer and his angels defiantly rebelled against God. This resulted in Lucifer and his angels being cast out of Heaven.

3. God foreknew the actions of Lucifer – even before Lucifer was created. Foreknowing the rise of sin and the allegations Lucifer would make against His character and principles governing the universe, God prerecorded the whole story of sin before Lucifer or any angel was created. He wrote a book called the Book of Life and perfectly sealed it with seven seals so no creature could know the contents until a specific, future moment in time arrived.

4. Then Jesus created Earth. He gave Adam and Eve access to the Tree of Life that would keep them alive indefinitely. They could sty in the Garden as long as they believed and obeyed God. (Genesis 3:22-24) Jesus placed them under the obligation of law on their first day of life. Jesus commanded them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or they would die. (Genesis 2:16, 17)

5. Lucifer entered the Garden and lied about God’s command. Eve believed the devil’s lie and followed him in rebelling against God. Before they rebelled, Adam and Eve were naturally predisposed to live righteously, believe and obey God. After they sinned, they became prone, by nature, to disbelieve and disobey God. Today, human beings are born with a sinful nature in rebellion against God. (Romans 8:7) The devil’s greatest deception is to make people believe they are in a “born again” state when in reality; they remain in their “natural state” of rebellion. (John 8:39) The devil remains the Father of lies. (John 8:44)

6. Jesus warned Adam and Eve they would be executed the day they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, Adam and Eve’s execution was stayed because Jesus agreed to be executed in their place. The covenant between the Son and the Father (the Plan of salvation) offers release from execution for those who put their faith in Christ as their substitute. However, the stay of execution for those in rebellion is not indefinite. It will take place at the end of the 1,000-year millennium. (Revelation 20:14)

7. God implemented the PLAN of salvation for Adam, Eve, and their offspring because their sin was not in open defiance of God. When Lucifer deceived Eve, Adam’s love for Eve proved to be stronger than his love for his Maker that prompted his willful disobedience. Lucifer’s rebellion, on the other hand, defiantly challenged God and His principles of government.

8. The PLAN of salvation stipulates the following:

  1. The penalty for sin is death by execution.
  1. The result of sin is death through degeneration.
  1. Atonement requires restitution.

Any violation of law is sin.

  1. A sinner’s execution can be transferred to a perfect substitute provided the guilty party submits to a life of faith in the perfect substitute.
  1. The essence of living by faith in Christ is a GOBEDO attitude. This means a person is willing to go, be and do all that God requires.
  1. The actions of every creature are accurately recorded in Heaven’s book of deeds.
  1. The judgment of mankind requires three prerequisites: First, the judge must be worthy to judge man. Second, the substitute for man must be perfect; otherwise, the substitute is condemned for his own sins. Last, man is saved on the basis of whether or not he or she submitted to the authority of Christ in faith.
  1. The character of God must be fully exonerated from having any selfish or evil traits.

9. At the end of the 1,000-year millennium, God will resurrect wicked people for three reasons: First, God will reveal to each rebellious person why he or she cannot be saved. Second, He will review the PLAN of salvation with each person and show him or her everything He did to help him or her obtain eternal life. At that moment, every knee will bow before God admitting that He is fair and His judgment righteous. (Isaiah 45:23-25) Last, God’s law requires people to provide restitution for any wrongs committed and any unconfessed or unforgiven sins. The saints will determine the amount of restitution justice requires while they reign with Christ during the 1,000 years. The restitution will be accomplished through suffering by fire. Some wicked people will vanish quickly, while others will suffer for days. Lucifer and his angels will perhaps, burn for years.

10. Just before God destroys the wicked with fire from Heaven, Jesus breaks open the last seal on the Book of Life. This final act will clear God’s Holy Name of any wrongdoing. Of course, by the time the book is opened, everyone (including Lucifer and His angels) will have admitted that God is fair and His judgment righteous. The opened Book of Life will reveal and confirm to all created beings that God knew from the beginning – even before sin originated. The truth about three things will be confirmed: First, God did not use His foreknowledge to prevent sin. Thus, His creatures do have the power of choice. Second, God did not use His powers to manipulate the choices of any creature. Every creature is in the eternal condition that he or she chooses to be in. Third, every creature, including Lucifer and the angels that followed him, voluntarily agrees that there is no evil in God


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