Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Temple Symbolism in Genesis

I don't often copy and paste articles on my blog, but I found this article online and knew that to alter it in any major way would be a disservice, so I have copied it to my blog in an effort to share this well thought out description of “The Temple Symbolism in Genesis.”  I hope you enjoy the article.  I have posted links to the original article at the bottom.

The temple was a physical replica of God’s heavenly abode. When Moses was first ordered to construct a temple, he was told to make it portable — it was a tent, or tabernacle.

“Let them make me a sanctuary: that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make it.”  Exodus 25:8–9

In the Book of Hebrews we are told that the tabernacle, and all its services, were “...patterns of things in the heavens...” (Hebrews 9:23). The physical objects associated with the earthly sanctuary were “...figures of the true...” (Hebrews 9:24) — the “...shadow of heavenly things...” (Hebrews 8:5). Each physical item had its spiritual counterpart in heaven. So, as long as there was a tabernacle or temple on earth, there was a material reflection of God’s heavenly palace for mankind to see. The temple represented God’s home on earth. Of course, God does not literally dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24), and though the temple at Jerusalem was a true image of the heavenly, in Hebrews it is made abundantly clear that the earthly sanctuary of God is “...not the very image of the [heavenly] things...” (Hebrews 10:1). It was only “...figures of the true...” (Hebrews 9:24).

If we wish to know what God’s heavenly abode is really like, then we must understand the significance of the three general compartments in the earthly sanctuary, the furniture, and the persons (the priests) who served within the holy areas. All these physical things typify spiritual counterparts in heaven. The heavenly dwelling place is where God is at the present.

In the Book of Revelation, which depicts a period of time yet future to us, John is transported by the Spirit into heaven (Revelation 4:2). While there, he saw a throne with God seated on it. Around the throne were 24 elders and four living creatures (Cherubim). Before the throne was a seven branched lampstand and a sea of glass. The heavenly beings gave glory and honor to the Father who sat on the throne (Revelation 4:2–11). Inside this heavenly temple — the inner temple — John also saw individuals worshipping God who no longer needed the sun for light (Revelation 7:16). In the inner temple he witnessed the true “...ark of his testament...” (Revelation 11:19) and received the promise of manna (Revelation 2:17). And finally, the inner sanctum contained “...the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7).

Outside the Holy of Holies and just to the East of it was the general Holy Place. In it John saw a golden altar with incense and a censor associated with it (Revelation 8:3). Located in front of this incense altar, outside the Holy Place, was another altar under which were the “...souls of them that were slain for the word of God...” (Revelation 6:9).

Everyone of these heavenly features was represented in typical form by the physical sanctuary on earth. The complete and permanent temple was that of Solomon which he built in Jerusalem. It had all the heavenly factors exhibited. The celestial throne of God was portrayed by the mercy seat located in the Holy of Holies.

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest [the Holy of Holies] by the blood of Jesus... through the veil...”  (Hebrews 10:19–20)

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy...”  (Hebrews 4:16)

The throne of God is one of mercy. Also within the holiest area of Solomon’s temple was “...the golden pot of manna...” (Hebrews 9:4). Those who will eat of this manna “...shall serve him day and night in his [inner] temple [the Holy of Holies]... they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more...” (Revelation 7:15–16).

The Ark of the Covenant

Alongside this pot of manna was the “...ark of the testament...” (Hebrews 9:4). In the earthly tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon the slabs of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments were placed within this ark, a box-like structure supported by two horizontal poles that enabled it to be carried. These stones were called the “...tables of the covenant...” (Hebrews 9:4). These physical stones with their laws were meant only for Israel under the Old Covenant. Spirit beings do not need these Old Covenant physical regulations, so the ark of the testament in heaven does not have within it the two tables of stone or the extra scrolls positioned in its sleeves (Exodus 40:20; Deuteronomy 31:26).

Only the ark itself is in heaven. It represents the external witness that God has the power to make any necessary laws for the supervision of the universe. The ark could figuratively contain different laws for the administration of the various phases of divine government that God imposes on His creatures. Thus, the tables of stone which originated from the granite outcroppings at Mt. Sinai were never positioned in the heavenly ark. They were carved out of Sinai and only placed in the tabernacle in the time of Moses.

The Holy of Holies

But what else was located in the Holy of Holies? In heaven there were twenty-four elders. On earth these were typified by the twenty-four priestly courses (each headed by a chief priest) who performed the regular daily services in the temple on a rotation basis (2 Chronicles 24:1–19). The father of John the Baptist was portraying the role of one of these heavenly elders when he administered in the eighth course of the twenty-four orders (Luke 1:5, 8).

There were also the Cherubim in the heavenly temple. Statues were made of them and placed near the mercy seat in the earthly temple. Also within the Holy of Holies was “...Aaron’s rod that budded...” (Hebrews 9:4). This staff was made from a limb of an almond tree (Numbers 17:8). The almond is the earliest of the springtime trees to blossom in the Holy Land. It represents new life — the first new life of every new year. This rod made from an almond tree was typical of the tree of life located in the Garden of Eden.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise [park or garden] of God. (Revelation 2:7)

With this reference to the tree of life, we are ready to investigate the theme of this Exposition: “The Temple Symbolism in Genesis.” The events associated with the story of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the land of Nod, etc., will take on normal temple features which anyone in the time of Moses would have recognized. Even in the New Testament the scenes within the Garden of Eden were reflections of things in God’s heavenly temple. John told the Ephesian church that they could have a right to partake of “...the tree of life...” located in God’s paradise in heaven (Revelation 2:7). There was once an actual “tree of life” in the Garden of Eden.

If all the symbolic features have literal counterparts (which they do) then this “tree of life” could have been represented by a real almond tree growing in the Garden of Eden. But there was also another tree in the Garden called “...the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...” (Genesis 2:17). Our first parents were allowed, at the beginning, to eat of any tree of the Garden.  Only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was off-limits to them. If it's possible that the tree of life was the almond tree, what was this latter tree? The identification may also be given in the Bible. We will show this in due course.

The Plan of the Temple

It is necessary to recognize the basic patterns of the temple before one can grasp what happened (in a symbolic way) with the story of Adam and Eve. The temple had three compartments with major pieces of furniture located within each of them.

Note that the entrance into the temple was from the East. Only Israelites were permitted to pass the eastern gate and enter the court of Israel. On the West side of this court, and just before the entrance into the Holy Place, was the “altar of burnt offering.” This was the altar on which animals were sacrificed. Into the next compartment (the Holy Place) only the priests could enter — they also entered from the East. And into the third room (the Holy of Holies) only the High Priest could go on the Day of Atonement — again he could only enter it from the East. I am emphasizing that the entrance to all compartments was from the East. There is an important reason for this that I will explain in a moment.

The Temple and the Garden of Eden

When Adam and Eve were put into the Garden they were in a state of moral and spiritual perfection. As a result they were able to observe God in a visible sense and even talk with Him at particular times of the day. Only after they sinned was this privilege taken away. This occurred when they were cast out from the Garden.

Before they sinned, however, they were in a very privileged state. Of all the multitudes of spiritual beings in the universe, how many of them are able to have such a close and daily contact with the Creator God? Just very few — probably those associated with the throne itself such as the Cherubim and the twenty-four elders. But in the Garden were two human beings in the closest of association with God Himself. It must have been like a heaven on earth! And indeed, that’s just what it was, in a symbolic way. It was as if God’s celestial palace temporarily had come to earth. Even the Garden, the Cherubim of the Garden, the altar built by Cain and Abel, the land of Eden, and the land of Nod are all connected with the temple symbolism and are direct images of God’s heavenly abode. And for the brief period of time before the sin of Adam and Eve, "heaven” was really here on earth.

In the Garden our first parents were able to talk face to face with God. But note an important point. They only had conversations with Him at certain times of the day. They did not see Him on all occasions. It was “ the cool of the day...” that they came into “...the presence of the Lord God...” (Genesis 3:8). The expressions “cool of the day” and “the presence of the Lord God” were a part of temple language. “The cool of the day” was the period when the Sun got lower in the sky and the cool sea breezes normally swept over the Palestinian region. This was the time of the evening sacrifice (1 Kings 18:36; Daniel 9:21) — about three in the afternoon. This was the time when the animals were being regularly sacrificed (and also in the morning about nine o’clock). At these times the people were then reckoned as being in the presence of God.

Finally, Adam and Eve sinned. They ate of the tree of which they were forbidden. This tree, like the tree of life, was also in the middle of the Garden. But with their partaking of it, God was angry and sent them out of the Garden. Never again could they enter the Garden in this life.

“And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:  Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”  (Genesis 3:22–24)

This episode has some very significant features associated with it. Observe they were expelled East of the Garden. Cherubim (angelic beings — later connected with temple symbolism) were also stationed at the East gate to the Garden with a flaming sword to prevent Adam and Eve from re-entering.  When this happened, the tree of life became off-limits to them. Their face-to-face contact with God came to an end. The Cherubim guarded the East entrance (the only gate) into the Garden and forbade anyone to enter. We will see in a moment that these features represent precise arrangements found in the later tabernacle and temple.

Cain and Abel

Our first parents were cast out of the Garden — never to re-enter in this life. They still remained, however, in the territory of Eden. It is important to note that the “Garden” and the country of “Eden” were not synonymous. The Garden was in Eden, but the Garden did not represent all of Eden. Adam and Eve were simply expelled from the Garden that was in the land of Eden. They were still able to live in other regions of Eden.

Adam and Eve then had children. The first of which we have record were Cain and Abel. Cain became a tiller of the ground — he raised fruits and vegetables. Abel was a sheepherder (Genesis 4:2).

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.  And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.’  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”  (Genesis 4:3–8)

There are three major points to consider in this narrative. First, both men decided to bring offerings at a set time of the year — on a particular day. The phrase “in process of time,” in Hebrew, means “at the end of days.” It often signified the end of the agricultural (or civil) year and was near the beginning of Autumn. Recall that the Israelites were required to appear three times in the year at the temple (Exodus 23:14–17). One of these occasions was “ the end of the year...” (verse 16). This was the season of Tabernacles. Cain brought token offerings of his crops “at the end of days.” This shows the brothers must have appeared before God at a precise time near the Autumn of the year. This means they must have been told by God when to bring them.

Second, they also must have been told where to bring them because they “brought” their offerings to one altar.

Third, they were no doubt told what to bring. God would hardly have been angry with Cain unless he brought offerings not sanctioned by God.

This is similar to what happened with the later Israelites in regard to the temple. They were told when, where, and what to bring to the temple. All sacrificial offerings could only be presented at the sanctuary. Under no circumstances was any other location allowed (Deuteronomy 16:5-16). With Cain and Abel, the same factors are in evidence. Back at that time, they went to the area where they knew God had been dwelling — He was a resident of the Garden. They built their altar as close to God as possible near the East entrance (the gate or door) to the Garden.

When the proper time came they both offered their gifts, waving them in sacrificial praise to God whom they believed to be in the Garden. God then issued His approval of Abel's offering, but He was displeased with Cain’s offering. The older brother no doubt had been told to bring a lamb or goat, but Cain offered fruit and vegetables. God was not pleased and Cain’s countenance fell. God then answered:

"...Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well [in the future and bring the proper sacrifice], shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin [a sin offering] lieth at the door..."  (Genesis 4:6–7)

Many people for generations have stumbled over the meaning of this verse. Yet it is quite clear what is meant if one understands that temple language is being used. God was really being merciful to Cain. The mercy was this: If Cain would repent and still bring the proper offering, “if you do well”, then he would be accepted; but if he did not do so, then “sin [a sin offering] lies at the door.” This “sin” was a sin-offering. God said that He would provide a sin-offering which would lie “at the door.” What was this door?

The Gate of the Garden, the Door of the Temple

The matter becomes understandable once this “door” is identified. The word in Hebrew is {pehthagh" and refers in other parts of the Old Testament to the entrance of any tent (Genesis 18:1), but more particularly to the “...door of the tabernacle...” (Exodus 29:4), or the “...door of the temple...” (Ezekiel 8:7, 16), or “...the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house...” (Ezekiel 10:19).

In the case of Cain and Abel, they constructed their altar at the East gate of the Garden just in front of the Cherubim which guarded its entrance (Genesis 3:24). God was indicating to Cain that he still had a chance to obtain a proper offering and offer it. Cain, on the other hand, was a tiller of the ground. He had no lamb to give unless he got one from his brother. God understood the problem, so He added further: “if you do not well” (even if Cain was unable to obtain the proper animal sacrifice) God would have a sin-offering to lie “at the door” of the Garden where the altar was located.

The next phrase has been an enigma to many. “...and unto you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.” This expression is explained in Genesis 3:16. Like a wife desired her husband and like a husband ruled his wife in Old Testament times (Genesis 3:16), so Cain would have a sin-offering provided for him that would allow him to rule over “sin.” It simply meant that Cain would gain mastery over sin — over his mistakes — by an offering provided by God. (Genesis 4:7). This was a noble gesture of grace on God’s part. Yet in spite of this act of mercy, Cain did not obtain the proper animal, nor did he accept God’s grace of supplying a sin-offering for him to master sin. He responded with something very bad and in no way in accordance with the divine command. He offered up his own brother.

“And Cain talked with Abel” (Genesis 4:8). They got into an argument. “...Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:8). This murder took place in the field. God then reprimanded Cain. “What have you done? the voice of your brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10). In later times it was recognized that the murder of Abel was a sacrifice of one of God’s saints. Such sacrifices symbolically took place on the altar of God. Jesus said:  “That upon you [Pharisees] may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the [inner] temple and the altar.”  (Matthew 23:35)

In Revelation the blood of righteous saints was also reckoned as flowing from the altar from whence they were figuratively sacrificed:  “...I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?’”  (Revelation 6:9–10)

This is very similar to what God said about Abel. “...The voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10). Clearly, a New Testament connection was made between Abel and the end-time martyrs mentioned in Revelation. Like Abel, their blood was dripping down from their sacrificed bodies into the pool located under the altar. This receptacle for blood was supposed to be for that of animals, but in the case of righteous Abel (and all the other martyred saints), their deaths were considered human sacrifices — killed on the altar of God. Abel’s murder was too much for God to take:

“Now are you [Cain] cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand ... a fugitive and a vagabond shall you be in the earth.”  (Genesis 4:11–12)

Whereas Cain had worked in the same area of Eden with his brother and parents, he was now to be sent away from the land. He was to be a wanderer — one without a fixed abode. He was to live at a distance from God, even “out of His sight.” Cain considered this almost too much to carry.

“...My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me out from the face of the earth [the land where Cain lived]; and from your face shall I be hid...”  (Genesis 4:13–14)

Cain’s punishment involved him being “driven out” from the land he formerly tilled, and away from the “face” of God.

“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod [Wandering], on the east side of Eden.”  (Genesis 4:16)

What marvelous teaching is found in this latter scripture once it is understood that temple language was being used by Moses. Note that Cain was sent OUT OF EDEN. He went East of Eden. And by leaving Eden, he “went out from the presence of the Lord.” Now look at the second diagram.  It will be similar to the outline of the temple which we gave earlier, but this time we will involve the story of Adam and Eve, the Garden, the Cherubim with the flaming sword, the altar of Cain and Abel, the land of Eden, and the land of Nod [Wandering]. It has excellent teaching.

The Tabernacle of Moses

The whole story revolves around the later design of the tabernacle of Moses — and the temple of Solomon. The Garden in which Adam and Eve were first placed was later represented by the Holy Place into which only priests could enter. When Solomon built the temple at Jerusalem he decorated the outside and inside walls of the Holy Place in a way that made it look like a garden.

“He carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, within [on the inside walls] and without [on the outside walls].”  (1 Kings 6:29)

Israelites came into the court of the temple and looked westward beyond the altar of burnt offerings towards the Holy Place, it looked like a garden protected by Cherubim. This exactly depicts the Garden in Eden.

When Adam and Eve were at first in the Garden, they could talk with God at certain times. He was “...among the trees...” (Genesis 3:8). The two important trees (the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) were located “ the midst of the Garden...” (Genesis 2:9). And in the Holy of Holies (in the “middle” of the temple), was placed Aaron’s rod that budded and produced almonds. This rod was not attached to the earth; it needed no water or nutrients to cause it to grow. It represented life coming from a supernatural source. It was a fit description of the tree of life. The tree of life was no doubt symbolized by the almond tree.

But there were many kinds of trees in the Garden (Genesis 2:9; Ezekiel 31:9). But the main type that Solomon most associated with the Garden was the palm — the date palm (1 Kings 6:29). In fact, in Solomon’s temple only the date palm figured prominently. This was also the case with Ezekiel in his future temple. So, alongside the main almond tree, it could well be that a date palm represented the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve “...saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes...” (Genesis 3:6). This could well describe the dates that grow in clusters near the top of the palm tree.

Maybe it was or maybe not, but within the future temple as described by Ezekiel there are representations of Cherubim and palm trees directly inside the Holy of Holies (Ezekiel 41:18–20, 25–26). This could show that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the midst of the Garden alongside the tree of life (the almond) was the date palm. Of course, there is nothing wrong with date palms or the dates they produce, but if God said not to eat from a tree of the Garden (be it any type of tree), it became bad — not for the tree — but for any who would partake of it. This is the essence of the narrative.

Further Temple Teaching

Cain was sent into the land of Nod, East of Eden, away from the presence of God. He became cut off from the Eternal. God then gave him a “mark” to show that Cain was not completely forgotten and that a measure of protection would be afforded him and his descendants. Cain became a representative of all Gentiles. They were reckoned as being in Nod (wandering — without a fixed spiritual home). And while they could approach the East entrance to Eden, they could not go in. A barrier was placed around Eden. The altar which Cain and Abel constructed in the area of Eden near the East gate (door) of the Garden was out of bounds to those who lived in Nod.

This condition existed throughout the antediluvian period. But with the great flood of Noah, everything was destroyed — the Garden, the altar, the barriers, etc. When Noah and his children began to repopulate the earth, none of these former things were retained — except in the memory of man, and only in symbol. In the time of Moses, however, God selected the Israelites to be His nation — in favored status to Him. Moses was ordered to build a tabernacle which resembled the condition that existed in the pre-flood age. Outside the tabernacle was represented the land of Nod. The court on the inside of the tabernacle (the court of Israel) was Eden. The Holy Place was the Garden. The Holy of Holies was the center of the Garden. The tabernacle not only represented Eden and the Garden, but it was also a physical type of God’s heavenly abode.

The Israelites were reckoned as being in Eden like Adam and Eve were. However, even the privileged nation could only go to the East entrance to the Holy Place — which represented the Garden. Into the Holy Place (the Garden) only the Aaronic priests could go at the time of the morning and evening (the cool of the day) sacrifices. And even the priests were barred from entering “the midst of the Garden” — the Holy of Holies. They were only able to get close to the curtain that separated the outer Garden from its midst.

Only once in the year was anyone allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. On the Day of Atonement the High Priest, after many ceremonies of purification, and after he clouded the entire inner chamber with incense so that the mercy seat would be hidden from view, was able to push the curtain aside and briefly step into the inner sanctum. After he did his required duties, the curtain came down once again, and the Holy of Holies (the midst of the Garden) became closed for another year. This showed that while the tabernacle stood, God still reckoned barriers between Himself and mankind.

While Adam and Eve before they sinned were able to witness God’s presence, their sins caused them to be sent from the Garden (the Holy Place). Cain and his descendants were sent further East — they were expelled from Eden and went to Nod. But when the Flood came the Garden, the altar, Eden, etc. all disappeared from earth. Mankind now found itself without any physical area on earth in which God dwelt. That’s why the early descendants of Noah wanted to build a tower “to reach to heaven” (Genesis 11:1–9). They wanted to reach God, to have access to His heavenly presence. But God would not allow it. He had been angry with man for his ways, so He changed their languages and scattered them into all the earth. He sent all mankind into a condition of “Nod.”

Finally, God selected Abraham to be the father of a nation which would be responsible for leading man (in a step-by-step way) back to God. By the time of Moses, the Abrahamic family had now reached nationhood. Moses built the tabernacle, and Israel was brought back into Eden once again. A middle wall of partition was erected, however, that kept all Gentiles out. God even put restrictions on Israel. Even they were told to stay out of the Holy Place (representing the Garden). The Aaronic priests were allowed to go in. But no one was permitted in the Holy of Holies except the High Priest on the Day of Atonement — and even then he (the holiest man on earth, symbolically) was not allowed to see the mercy seat. All of this shows that God still had several barriers which kept many sections of mankind away from an intimate association with Him.

The Revelation of “the Mystery”

Through Christ (who was the sin-offering that God first told Cain about, which God would place on the altar at the door of the Garden by grace) through that offering the whole barrier system was to be abolished. Instead of a step-by-step expelling of man eastward into relative oblivion (as happened with Adam, Eve, Cain, the antediluvian world, and those at the tower of Babel), all the barriers to God as shown by the temple (and the Garden) were to be removed in Christ. Paul said, “...the middle wall of partition...” has now been broken down (Ephesians 2:14). This means that the Gentiles (like Cain) who were in a state of wandering and without any fixed spiritual home, can come into the court of Israel where the altar is located. This got them back to Eden. But there is more than simply getting access to the holy altar.

Once the “sin-offering at the door” is accepted they can join hands with Israelites (with both peoples now called “the new man” — not Israelite or Gentile), and both walk up the fifteen steps into the Holy Place. The Cherubim no longer will keep them out with their flaming sword. They are now back in the Garden from whence our first parents were expelled. But that is not the end. When Christ died on the cross, the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. "the midst of the Garden,” was supernaturally torn in two from the top down (Matthew 27:50–51). In Hebrews we are told that the destruction of this final barrier now gives us “...boldness to enter into the holiest [the Holy of Holies] by the blood of Christ ... through the veil...” (Hebrews 10:19–20).

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:16)

What glorious teaching! All the obstacles that God set up in a progressive sense to alienate Himself from man (in a spiritual way) from the time of Adam and Eve onward, He has systematically abolished through the work of Christ Jesus.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances [decrees of separation]; for to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace;  (Ephesians 2:15)

All the commandments and decrees which God formerly ordained to separate Himself from various peoples, have been removed in Christ. Adam and Eve, Abel and Cain, Israelite and Gentile, you and I, are now back “in the Garden” — and now in the very midst of it. We do not even have to wait for “the cool of the day” to come into contact with our Father. We now have a constant presence — in a spiritual sense. And the day is soon coming when we ourselves will be spirit beings (1 Corinthians 15:42–55).

When that day arrives, we will not only be able to talk with God face to face as did our first parents, but “...we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2). As God is Spirit, so will we be. We will then be “as he is” — as His own Spirit-born children. This is far more glorious than it was with our first parents. Indeed, reaching this position is the very purpose for living. Our experience with sin, with an alienation from God, with suffering, will help us for all eternity to love God our Father in a much greater way than our first parents were able to experience. What a glorious future awaits mankind through Christ.

The Holy of Holies is now open to all people on earth without social, racial, or outward religious distinction. It is Christ who has redeemed Adam and his family to Himself. Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead are mankind’s guarantee of a certain salvation. It comes to us by God’s grace, not man’s works. One day all humanity will understand this truth.

Source:  The Temple Symbolism in Genesis, Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D, 1977, Edited and expanded by David Sielaff, March 2004

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Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Word Of God Confirmed By Science


This is a short list of scientific discoveries that confirm what has been written in the word of God.  These are just a hand full of examples.  There is no other book in any of the worlds religions that contain scientific truth.  The bible is the only one.  With all these truths revealed, how can anyone still believe that the bible isn't supernaturally inspired by God?

“He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.” Job 26:7
God’s word states that earth is free floating in space, in contrast to the common belief at that time that the earth sat on a large animal.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
The universe had a beginning.  Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900's and continuing today, science has confirmed the biblical view that the universe had a beginning. When the Bible was written, most people believed the universe was eternal.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“As the host (stars) of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.'" Jeremiah 33:22
God’s word states that the number of stars are so numerous that they cannot be counted, in contrast to the common belief at that time that there were only 1,100 stars.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion?” Job 38:31
The Pleiades star cluster is gravitationally bound, while the Orion star cluster is loose and disintegrating because the gravity of the cluster is not enough to bind the group together. 4,000 years ago God asked Job that question, yet it is only recently that we realized that the Pleiades is gravitationally bound, but Orion's stars are flying apart.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”  Hebrews 11:3
Science discovered that everything we see is composed of invisible atoms.  Here, God tells us that the things which are seen were “not made of things which are visible.”  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”  1 Corinthians 15:41
God’s word states that each star is unique and differs one from another in contrast to the common belief at that time that all stars were the same.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home?” Job: 38:19-20
God’s word states that light moves in contrast to the common belief at that time that light was fixed in place.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“When He imparted weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure,” Job 28:25
God’s word states that air has weight in contrast to the common belief at that time that air was weightless.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns.”  Ecclesiastes 1:6
God’s word states that the winds blow in a circular pattern in contrast to the common belief at that time that the wind blew in a straight line.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“Then the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were laid bare by the rebuke of the LORD, At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.”  Samuel 22:16

“I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.” Jonah 2:6
God’s word states that there were “channels” and “mountains” in the sea in contrast to the common belief at that time that the bottom of the sea was flat.  Science has now proven God’s word to be correct.

“All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full.  To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again.”  Ecclesiastes 1:7

“The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens and has founded His vaulted dome over the earth, He who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth, the LORD is His name.” Amos 9:6

“Behold, God is exalted, and we do not know Him;the number of His years is unsearchable.  For He draws up the drops of water, they distil rain from the mist, which the clouds pour down,they drip upon man abundantly.”  Job 36:27-28
Four thousand years ago the Bible declared that God "calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth…" The ancients observed mighty rivers flowing into the ocean, but they could not conceive why the sea level never rose. Though they observed rainfall, they had only quaint theories as to its origin. Meteorologists now understand that the hydrological cycle consists of evaporation, atmospheric transportation, distillation, and precipitation.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep?”  Job 38:16
God’s word shows us that the oceans contain springs, in contrast to the common belief at that time that the ocean was fed only by rain and rivers.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.” Psalm 8:6-8
Three thousand years ago the Bible described the "paths of the seas." In the 19th century, Matthew Maury - the father of oceanography – after reading Psalm 8, researched and discovered ocean currents that follow specific paths through the seas.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”  Job 38:7
God tells us that the stars make noise.  Modern man has discovered that stars emit radio waves, which are received on earth as a high pitch.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2
Science expresses the universe in five terms:  time, space, matter, power and motion.  “In the beginning (time) God created (power) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering (motion) over the face of the waters.”  God proves by His word that He controls every aspect of the universe.

“I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.  There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.” Luke 17:34-36
The second coming of Jesus will occur while some are asleep at night and others are awake and performing daytime activities in the field.  God’s word shows a planet that revolves, with day and night occurring at the same time.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.”  Genesis 1:25
The Bible states that God created life according to kinds.  The fact that God distinguishes kinds, agrees with what scientists observe - namely that there are horizontal genetic boundaries beyond which life cannot vary. Life produces after its own kind. Dogs produce dogs, cats produce cats, roses produce roses. Never have we witnessed one kind changing into another kind as evolution supposes. There are truly natural limits to biological change.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.”  Genesis 6:15
The Bible specifies the perfect dimensions for a stable water vessel.  Ship builders today are well aware that the ideal dimension for ship stability is a length six times that of the width. Keep in mind, God told Noah the ideal dimensions for the ark 4,500 years ago.  Science has proven God’s word to be correct.

“Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!”  Zechariah 14:1-5
The book of Zechariah describes Jesus’ returns to earth at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period.  At the moment that Jesus’ feet touch the soil of the Mount of Olives, the earth will fracture and divide, forming a new valley with one half of the Mount of Olives moving to the north and the other half moving to the south.  In fact, when this event happens and this new valley is formed, those left in Jerusalem will flee the battle of Armageddon by escaping through this newly formed valley.  Also...

"And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.' Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey." Acts 1:10–12
The book of Acts also confirms that when Jesus returns, He will return to the top of the Mount of Olives.  Scientists have discovered that one of the largest tectonic plate faults on the earth is in this area of the Jordan Valley.  After an extensive study, it was discovered that there was a large fracture in the earth running right through the middle of the Mount of Olives from east to west.

Here in the bible is just another example of God’s omniscience.  This fault line was placed here at the creation of the world for one purpose.  That purpose will be fulfilled when the Lord returns at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period.

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Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!

Why I Believe In A Pre-Tribulation Rapture Pt 2 - Noah, Lot, and Rabbit Holes



The people laughed at Noah. He was building a huge ark, was going to fill it with animals and then just float away on some phantom flood. Seems ridiculous, right? Everyone went on with their depraved lives, shaking their head at the crazy old man and his family. Then the animals came to the ark, lead by God. Then Noah and his family entered the ark and God closed and sealed the door shut. Then, without warning, came an outpouring of water from the sky and from the depths of the sea!

People often say that the story of Noah isn't an example of the rapture, but of the tribulation. I understand that point of view, I just don’t agree with it. Why? Because I see the story of Noah as being more than just an ark floating on water. I see it as an example of being raised out of harm’s way. I see it as an example of the Bridegroom ushering His bride into the bridal chamber and sealing the door shut to protect her. I see it as an example of returning to a new earth, cleansed by God. There was an urgency to Noah’s entrance into the ark. He wasn't told to enter the ark by a certain time. God told him to move now, and he did. He was rescued from the tribulation that immediately came upon the world.

Then there’s the comparison with Lot. Some say that Lot’s flight from Sodom and Gomorrah was an example of God bringing Lot through that tribulation and not out of it. Again, although I understand that point of view, I just don’t agree with it. I see Lot’s flight as God taking Lot out of the situation, rescuing him and his family from the tribulation to come. Before the destruction of those two cities, people were living their lives as always, unaware that their moment of judgment was upon them. There was a sense of urgency when Lot left Sodom.  He was removed from the city just before the tribulation began.

Some Christians seem to think that we must go through the Tribulation in order to be refined, like somehow we can make ourselves more worthy to enter the Kingdom of God by participating in that final period of suffering
. That way of thinking sounds a lot like the Catholic version of purgatory, except it’s experienced in the flesh here on earth. It also sounds like Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross wasn't enough to satisfy God’s anger and judgment against us; that somehow we must refine ourselves through that bitter trial of the Tribulation in order to be made complete.

But all this revolves around the timing of the Rapture. If you’re a pre-trib believer, then things are pretty much settled in your mind. You believe that the Rapture will happen just before the Tribulation and that, as the bride of Christ, you will be sheltered in the bridal chamber with the Lord until the Tribulation reaches it's end, at which point, you will return with Jesus and the rest of the saints to witness the defeat of Satan and all who still reject Jesus as Lord.

If you’re a mid-trib or post-trib believer, then you have to deal with a field of rabbit holes. What do I mean about rabbit holes? The rabbit holes that Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation proponents would have us follow them down are these:
  • They would have us believe that the Tribulation has already begun and offer up "proof" that we're at a specific point in the Tribulation. That includes proof such as:
    • "There’s a secret peace treaty already in place between Israel, America, and Israel's enemies." This "secret peace treaty," although there is no proof it even exists, is used as proof that we're in the first half of the Tribulation.
    • "The President is the Antichrist." This was said about Presidents Bush, Obama, and now Trump. They even offer mathematical calculations based on imaginary theories that result in the sum of 666, which, to them, is "proof" that a specific person, whether it's the president or not, is the Antichrist.
    • "We're already at such and such a place in the Tribulation." They state that we're at a particular point in the Tribulation, and then offer up "proof" that their claims are accurate, bringing us down a rabbit hole as we try to follow their logic. 
    • We need to refine ourselves through the suffering of the Tribulation. Every Christian has to go through this type of refining process in order to be found worthy to enter the Kingdom of God.
  • Then there's the unscriptural logic of some of these so-called born again believers:
    • "There's going to be a new rise of Nephilim as angels will once again have intimate relations with human women."
    • "We're encoded with alien DNA."
    • "Nuburu is real, and it factors in to biblical prophecy."
There is so much speculation going on in this part of the Christian community, from which seals have been opened, to who the Antichrist could be, and even some way-out-there speculation on the strangest things. Some of these speculations are coming from people who I thought had their act together. They’re great brothers and sisters in the Lord, lead by the Holy Spirit, but they've allowed themselves to be taken down rabbit holes that they can’t seem to find their way out of. Instead of investigating these claims and praying about them, they just announce it openly on the internet, causing others to head down that rabbit hole with them. Some of them even say they have been led directly by the Holy Spirit to the conclusions that they have made, only to have those conclusions be proven false days or weeks later. So what does that make them? False prophets? Liars? If there's a spirit guiding you in prophetic utterances, and these prophecies don't pan out, then what kind of spirit are you allowing to influence you? It's definitely not the Holy Spirit, that's for sure!

The main issue that Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation proponents have to deal with is speculation. Everything that they believe in, as far as already being in the Tribulation, is speculation. Everyone will have a different opinion as to where we are in the Tribulation timeline. Pre-Tribbers are all of one mind... that no matter what happens, no matter when it happens, Jesus will return as a thief in the night to rapture His bride and take her safely out of the way at the very moment that the Tribulation begins and the Antichrist is revealed. No speculation. No questions. We wait with hope, and know that these things prophesied for the Tribulation will not begin until we are taken out of the way along with the Holy Spirit. Those who believe in a Mid-Tribulation or Post-Tribulation have to constantly deal with where we are in the Tribulation timeline and speculate on who the Antichrist is (when scripture already states that he'll be identified at the onset of the Tribulation), and what judgment we're in the midst of. As I look at all of the information out there that they post on social media, I can see that there isn't even consensus within those groups on exactly where they are in the Tribulation timeline, meaning there's massive disagreement among those who believe in the same type of Rapture.

In all love and concern, I ask all my brothers and sisters who are looking for the Antichrist and looking for the two witnesses and looking for any other little tidbit of information to justify their theories to just stop! Think about what you’re doing before you affect the lives of those who are reading what you're posting. Understand that anything except a Pre-Tribulation Rapture leads to nothing but false speculation that does nothing but take your mind off of REAL bible study and REAL interpretation of current events. 
  • We do not have to go through the Tribulation to refine ourselves. Jesus suffered and died for us. There is no other sacrifice that we can make on our own to be worthy of receiving salvation.
  • There is no secret peace treaty. If that were so, Israel wouldn't be on the receiving end of constant missile attacks and attempted terrorist attacks.
  • We are not encoded with alien DNA. Aliens don't exist.
  • Niburu has never been proven to exist. It's not even part of biblical prophecy!
  • Fallen angels are not going to return and have sex with human women to create a new race of Nephilim in this day and age.
  • We are not yet in the Tribulation timeline, so stop trying to use current events to support your false assumptions.
Stop chasing after every vain thought and imagination. Stop cherry picking scripture to support your rabbit hole theory, while you ignore those scriptures that would prove your theory false.

There are some things we will not know while we are here on earth, and God has not promised to give us fore-knowledge of the intricate details of His plans. He has given us an overall view of what is going to happen and has definitely filled in some blanks, but the actual fine details of it are in God’s hands.  Just as believers in Paul’s time were mistaken that the Tribulation had already begun, so some of us are mistaken that we are firmly planted in the first half of the Tribulation at this moment.

Don’t make the same mistake our brothers and sisters have made throughout Christianity’s history. We look back and wonder how they could have believed some of the things they did, but some of us are operating under the same misconceptions that the saints before us dealt with. Those dealing in speculation and working to convince other believers to follow their misleading doctrine need to repent of this type of behavior.

I confess that I have been a victim of this way of thinking as well. I am not better than anyone else. I am better off than some because I have learned to temper my desire to post something online until I have researched it both online and through the word of God. If it doesn't line up with God’s word, then it’s not fit to be shared.

Remember, God separated Noah from His judgment upon mankind. God separated Lot and his family from the judgment He was about to mete out on Sodom and Gomorrah. These are just two of the most talked about instances where God has protected His own. There are more examples throughout biblical history. Be assured that He will take us out of the way and separate us from what is to come BEFORE it happens. 

I hope none have taken this as a personal attack. Everything I have said was out of love and concern (and yes, a little frustration). Keep your eyes on the Lord and keep pushing forward, ignoring those who would convince you to believe in false doctrine that would take you away from God's word and toward false prophecies and biblically inaccurate understanding of where we are in biblical history. Don't be lead down a rabbit hole. Take the bible as a whole, study all the instances where God has separated His own from the tribulation at hand, and understand that it will be the same for us.

You can read the other parts of this series by clicking on the title of the article below:

To God be the glory and honor and power forever and ever!  Amen!

If you like this article, or any of the other information on this web site, please consider following me. You'll be one of the first to be notified when I create new content! You'll find the section at the top of the right hand column on this page. It says, "Follow Tribulation Harvest by Email." After entering your email address, you may be prompted to sign in to your Google account. Thank you!!!

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!