The Prophets Division
The Prophets Division of the Old Testament books (which is the second division of the old Testament canon) answers to the priestly section of the Holy Temple and the symbolic furniture that was found in that Second Section. There were exactly 6 pieces of furniture in this priestly division of the Temple. There are also 6 books in the original manuscript numeration of the Old Testament books) and I believe that they are analogous to these 6 pieces of furniture (as I shall explain momentarily. Those 6 items, which are shown in a counterclockwise direction of influence (as one would leave the Holy of Holies), are:
Why should they be viewed in a counterclockwise manner as one would leave the Holy of Holies? This is because all people (including the priests) who entered the Temple areas did so by always turning toward the right:
“Whosoever it was that entered the Temple Mount came in on the right and went round and came out on the left.”
This rule applied even if one’s destination was immediately to the left of the entrance gate. All movements of people in the Temple were performed in a counterclockwise manner. When the Temple was entered from any area (or movement was made within the Temple), the direction of movement was always toward the right hand side — thus, counterclockwise.
The Jewish authorities to this day observe the same procedure in their synagogue services.
“Whenever the Torah is carried in procession around the synagogue before the Torah reading begins, it is always taken to the right side of the synagogue (proceeding counterclockwise as one leaves the pulpit). After circling the synagogue once, the Torah is taken to the reading table.”
Kolatch, This Is the Torah 1 (words in parenthesis are Kolatch’s)
This rule of proceeding counterclockwise was applied even when entering the camp of Israel that surrounded Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. This ceremonial rule goes back to the days of Moses. In the wilderness Moses had the Israelites encamp with the four principal tribes on the east, the north, the west and the south. These were positioned in accord with the four seasons of the year, and to look like the Cherubim who also had four faces that denoted the four seasons of the year.
The east was dominated by Judah (with a lesser tribe on each side) and this tribe had the sign of the Lion, or as we say today, Leo. It governed the summer season. Then, one turned right (in a counterclockwise direction) and one would encounter Dan (with a lesser tribe on each side). This tribe had the sign of a venomous creature like the Snake (or, as we say today, the venomous Scorpion, or Scorpio). This governed the autumn season. Then, in the original astronomical arrangement of the tribes, the next primal tribe was Reuben (with a lesser tribe on each side) which had as its sign Water (or, as we say today, Aquarius, the Water Bearer). Reuben answered to the time of the rainy season (winter) in the wilderness and also at Jerusalem. Then, finally, before Reuben was placed in last position as a result of his sin against his father Jacob (Genesis 49:3–4), we find that the springtime sign was that of Joseph (specifically Ephraim, with Manasseh and Benjamin on each side). The sign of Joseph was the Bull (or, as we say today, Taurus).
The twelve signs in the heavens (along with the Sun and Moon that traverse them each year and month) were reckoned very early in the Old Testament to equate with the twelve sons (and later, tribes) of Israel, Recall that Joseph had a dream that the Sun and the Moon and the eleven stars (constellations) would one day bow in obedience to him (Genesis 37:9–11). When Joseph told this dream to his father and brothers, they became very envious of him because they recognized that the Sun referred to Jacob (his father), the Moon to Rachel (his mother) and the eleven stars to his eleven brothers, with Joseph himself being the twelfth star or constellation. Thus, it was established that each of the twelve sons (and later, tribes) of Israel were equated by God with the twelve zodiacal signs in the heavens. 2
In regard to the biblical indications regarding celestial signs, let us note some important astronomical illustrations in the Holy Scriptures. It will help to explain how the books of the Old Testament came to be positioned in the canon. Recall that the main entry gate for astronomical purposes that led into the camp of Israel while they were in the wilderness 3 was the entrance from the east, through the tribe of Judah which had as its sign the Lion (Leo). Indeed, the zodiacal interpretation for the twelve tribes began with the sign of Leo. 4 This astronomical sign answered to the 5th Hebrew month of Ab (the “father” month, or the beginning month for astronomical interpretation). The month of Ab was reckoned to be Judah’s month, and all biblical astronomical significance in a prophetic sense started in the middle portion of Leo (in the time of Moses it began with Ab 15).
In fact, the design of the biblical Zodiac that the tribes of Israel displayed in their encampment prefigured the history of Christ. Note this important point.
This astronomical story of the Messiah is found in the arrangement of the tribes in their encampment around the Tabernacle (and also in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus), but it can only be seen when one proceeds in a counterclockwise direction after entering the camp of Israel from its eastern entrance. In the time of Jesus, the twelve tribes of the camp surrounding Jerusalem (in a symbolic sense) were all located in a perfect circle from a central point in the Temple. 6 This central point for astronomical measurement was just inside the entrance to the Holy Place. This was where Josephus stated that the curtain in front of the Holy Place displayed the heavens (see War V,5.4 ¶214). When the priests entered the Holy Place, just beyond the curtain displaying the heavens, it was like entering (in symbol) the second heaven where the planets and stars were.
The first heaven as mentioned in biblical texts was the atmosphere on earth where birds fly and all weather phenomena take place. This first heaven was analogous to the outer court of the Temple which was always open to the air. Birds could fly within it because it had no roof and the rain/snow from the clouds could reach its pavement. 7
The second heaven, however, was where the Sun, Moon, planets and the stars existed, and this realm was symbolically entered when the priests passed the curtain (resembling the heavens) and came into the Holy Place. This Holy Place contained, in a symbolic way, all the outer heavenly bodies that we observe in the heavens today.
The apostle Paul mentioned that there was a third heaven even beyond this heaven of the stars, and this was the heaven of God’s abode and where he had his throne (2 Corinthians 12:1–4). This heaven of God’s abode answered in the Temple to the Holy of Holies into which the High Priest could enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. This third heaven was located beyond the zodiacal signs of the second heaven found in the outer Holy Place.
In the second compartment of the Temple (the Holy Place), Josephus said there was a Zodiac displayed in the Temple. This was, of course, the proper place to position a zodiacal design because this area represented the (second) heaven of the planets and stars. Outside the Temple walls was reckoned to represent the rest of the physical creation of the terra firma or the earth itself in the symbolism associated with the Temple.
The Temple Zodiac was located in the Holy Place (which represented the second heaven). Josephus noted that both the Menorah of the 7 lamps and the 12 loaves of the Shewbread in the Holy Place had zodiacal significance. 8 After all, with the Sun, Moon, planets and fixed stars representing the second heaven in the eyes of the early Jews, the second compartment of the Temple would naturally show this (second) heavenly realm with a zodiacal display in this priests’ portion of the Temple.
This zodiacal display in the Holy Place was no doubt a perfect circle etched on the Temple floor because Josephus said the Menorah (the 7 lamps) represented the 7 planets. Since the planets were located within the zodiacal zone in heaven, the Menorah must have been positioned within the southern portion of this zodiacal circle in the Holy Place (representing the second heaven).
The Table of Shewbread (with its 12 loaves representing the months and the year) was also showing these signs within the northern portion of this zodiacal zone of the Holy Place. Consequently, this means that the Golden Altar of Incense would have been located within the western portion of the zodiacal circle, and the outer curtain (representing the entrance to the second heaven in the Temple) would have been positioned directly over the eastern portion of this zodiacal circle in the Holy Place. This inner Zodiac within the Temple (whose center was called the “navel” or the “apex” of the earth) would have linked up perfectly with the positioning of the outer zodiacal circle of the 12 tribes (with their zodiacal signs in an imagined outer circle) which were reckoned as surrounding the city of Jerusalem with their outer limits being 2000 cubits from this central point in the Temple.
This reference in Josephus is important because he stated that Jewish authorities in his time reckoned the seven lamps of the Menorah as representing the 7 planets 9 and that the 12 loaves on the Table of Shewbread represented the 12 months and the solar year. All these astronomical bodies and signs fall within the circle of the Zodiac. This means that a zodiacal circle must have been embedded in the floor of the Holy Place in front of the Altar of Incense, reaching eastward to the curtain at the entrance to the Holy Place, and touching the Menorah in the south and the Table of Shewbread in the north. 10
Extending outward from this central Zodiac in the Holy Place, there were 12 imaginary astronomical divisions reaching as radii to the outer zodiacal circle surrounding the city of Jerusalem. This circle within a circle 11 resembled a design with one inscribed circle being near its inner point and another outer circle being imagined to surround Jerusalem. There were 12 equal divisions to each of these circles (a circle within a circle) that gave an appearance like slicings of a modern apple pie into 12 pieces with the center of the two circles being the precise center of the pie.
God was felt to dwell both in the inner circle of the Temple and also around the outer circle of the tribes of Israel. The psalmist put it this way: “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people” (Psalm 125:2). All these mountains surrounding Jerusalem (including the Temple mount itself) were known as “the mountains of Zion” (Psalm 133:3) — and this included the highest mountain in the area of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives where the tribe of Judah dominated in its tribal (astronomical) positioning around Jerusalem.
Look at this encirclement of the tribes of Israel around Jerusalem, and also that of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. If one went by the first astronomical arrangement of the 12 tribes in their encampment (reckoned before Reuben sinned against his father Jacob), the eastern most section would be Judah’s while the western most slice of this zodiacal arrangement in the Temple and surrounding Jerusalem would have been Reuben’s. Reuben was reckoned as symbolically being a man (a human being) carrying water (or, as most say today, Aquarius — the sign that dominates the winter season). This means that this firstborn son of Jacob would have had the principal part of the Zodiac in relation to the Temple reaching outward from the astronomical center point on the porch of the Holy Place.
Reuben’s slice would have extended immediately westward from the central point to embrace the Golden Altar of Incense and the principal part of the Holy of Holies. But because of Reuben’s sin against his father Jacob, Reuben was moved to last position (to the southern most section) and the Joseph tribes (with Ephraim predominating) were moved into Reuben’s western position. Thus, Joseph came to occupy the prime position of possession, the Holy of Holies. From this astronomical arrangement of the tribes, Joseph (Ephraim in particular) assumed the role of protecting the holiest part of God’s House and this gave him an exalted rank of being (1) the Chief Shepherd, (2) the foundation stone of Israel, and (3) the one to have a crown of leadership in the world (see Genesis 49:23–26).
In the New Testament, the apostle John records that the four faces of the Cherubim which surrounded God’s throne in heaven (viewed from God’s viewpoint when He sat on His heavenly throne), God would have viewed Judah first (Leo the Lion) which was eastward and directly in front of God’s face. Then as God would look to the right (on the south), He would view the Calf (Ephraim as the Bull, or as we say today, Taurus). Next after the Bull was the sign of the Man (Reuben or Aquarius, the Man Carrying Water) that was westward and behind God’s throne. And then, there was finally the Eagle (the tribe of Dan, with the Eagle holding a venomous serpent in its talons) which was to the left of God on the north. See Revelation 4:1–7 where all of this is shown.
This New Testament reference to the Cherubim (representing the four seasons and the four angelic creatures whom God had placed over the four principal tribes of Israel) is presented to readers of the Book of Revelation in the original order of the twelve sons of Israel before Reuben was disgraced and had to exchange places with Joseph. In Ezekiel, we also find the prophet showing the four Cherubimic creatures with their four divisions, but in this instance Ezekiel shows Reuben in a disgraceful position on the south (Ezekiel 1:10). It seems that the Book of Revelation finally restores Reuben as Aquarius to its original position in the west (representing wintertime) while Ephraim as the Calf (or Bull, Taurus) is returned to its proper astronomical position in the south (representing springtime). These two schemes of looking at the biblical zodiacal positioning of the tribes (one with Reuben in disgrace and the other with Reuben restored and in his proper astronomical position) have much teaching in them.
Relative to the motions of the Sun in the heavens, from the vantage point of God sitting on his throne as shown by the Cherubimic creatures in the Book of Revelation, God would observe the Sun traversing the twelve heavenly signs (starting with Judah, that is, Leo the Lion located directly in front of Him and dominating the mid-summer season) and then proceeding in a counterclockwise direction through the twelve tribes and finally returning to Leo the Lion after a one year period.
Look at what this means. If one could stand on the Mount of Olives and look westward toward Jerusalem and the Temple, one could imagine the tribes of Israel surrounding Jerusalem in a perfect circle (with the center of the circle just in front of the Golden Altar of Incense in back of the curtain depicting the heavens of the planets and stars). It would be noticed that the tribes were positioned in a counterclockwise circle around the Temple and Jerusalem with the center of the circle (located in front of the Golden Altar of Incense) precisely between the Menorah in the south and the Table of Shewbread in the north. This is one of the main reasons for the rule of turning right in entering the Temple, or holy areas; and modern synagogue ceremonies still follow the same rule. One would enter the Temple and then proceed in a counterclockwise direction to the place of one’s destination anywhere in the Temple.
This counterclockwise ceremony is also related to another matter associated with God’s heavenly residence. The early Israelites reckoned that the actual throne of God was located in the north part of the heavens in a region of the sky which never moves as far as the human eye is concerned. 12 If one would look down on the earth from this northern aspect (as one looks on the earth from God’s viewpoint), the earth would turn counterclockwise in its revolution on its axis.
Indeed, in Psalm 19 (an astronomical psalm of the Bible) the Sun comes forth as a bridegroom each day and it appears to traverse the heavens in its normal diurnal movements. But the Sun also has its yearly motions and these are mentioned in verses 5 and 6 of Psalm 19. This describes the Sun’s motions through the fixed stars each year. For the Sun to do this, as shown by the zodiacal positions of the twelve tribes in their encampment, the Sun would perform its yearly task by appearing to travel in a counterclockwise direction from its beginning point in Leo the Lion (or the month of Ab). It would then take a year to return once more to the first portion of Leo (Ab) and the process would start over again.
When Moses established the twelve tribes in their encampment in a designed and particular way to accord with the twelve signs in the heavens, he placed the Sun in Leo (in the middle of Leo, or Ab). This is precisely where the summer solstice was located in the time of Moses. Since that time, because of what scientists call the Precession of the Equinoxes (and also Solstices), the solstice would move one degree westward among the stars about every seventy-one years. The summer solstice is now (some 3300 years later) almost forty-seven degrees west of where it was among the fixed stars in the time of Moses. Yet, still, the starting month for the summer season in the biblical Zodiac is still reckoned to be Leo. This is what Psalm 19 is talking about. The Sun starts its annual journey each year through the heavens from the mid-zone of Leo (the month of Ab). The sun does this each year by moving counterclockwise through the twelve signs until it returns to Leo the next summer.
A further illustration of this rule for walking in a counterclockwise direction within the Temple is the movement of all gaseous or liquid elements in the Northern Hemisphere (where the model and standard city of Jerusalem is located) if they move en masse. For example, the direction of the air as the atmosphere moves (that is, the wind) is deflected to the right by what scientists call Coriolis Force (caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis). The ocean currents do the same. Solomon and others must have known this law of nature (Ecclesiastes 1:6, 9). All these astronomical and physical movements of things, which the ancients considered governed by God, could easily explain how the early Israelites related such counterclockwise motions in the Temple to the astronomical design of the 12 tribes of Israel from the porch of the Holy Place and surrounding the city of Jerusalem.
|A. Holy of Holies||H. House of Abtinas|
|B. Outer Holy Place||I. Chamber of Wood|
|C. Outer Curtain||J. Court of Priests|
|D. Altar of Burnt Offering||K. Court of Israel|
|E. Slaughter Area||L. Steps to Nicanor Gate|
|F. Chamber of Hewn Stone (Sanhedrin Hall)||M. Eastern Gate|
|G. Counsellor's Chamber||Diagram by Norman Tenedora|
Now, I have spent a considerable time in explaining the reason for walking counterclockwise in the camp and in the Temple. 13 What does this have to do, however, with the positioning of the books of the Old Testament by Ezra the priest? Look at an important point. As a matter of policy, if one entered the Camp, the Temple, or any area of the Temple, the people always turned right and then they continued their walk in a counterclockwise manner. Even if one (like the High Priest) left the Holy of Holies and entered the outer court called the Holy Place, the priest still turned right. Let us notice what this means from God’s viewpoint in regard to the arrangement of the furniture in the Holy Place.
Recall that there were 6 pieces of furniture in the priestly compartment in the Temple (the Second Division), and there were also 6 books in the Second Division of the Holy Scriptures. When the High Priest would leave the Holy of Holies, what was the most important piece of furniture in the Priestly (or Second) Division of the Temple that he would encounter? This was the Golden Altar of incense (which Paul in the Book of Hebrews said was a part of the furniture of the Holy of Holies though it was located outside the curtain that separated the Holy Place of the priests from the Holy of Holies — see Hebrews 9:4). This Golden Altar of incense was in front of the entrance to the Holy of Holies. If the priest continued in the ordained counterclockwise direction from
1. the Golden Altar of incense,
2. he would next meet with the Menorah,
3. then the Laver,
4. the Altar of Burnt Offering,
5. the Slaughtering Area,
6. and finally the Table of Sbewbread.
Is there a literary connection between these 6 pieces of furniture in the priestly compartment of the Temple and the 6 books (in the original numeration) of the Prophets (Second) Division of the Old Testament? Let us see.
We are informed that the 15 steps that led from the court level of the Israelites and the women to the priestly section of the Temple was where the 15 Degree psalms (120–134) were read in succession:
“Fifteen steps led up from within it to the Court of the Israelites, corresponding to the fifteen Songs of Ascents in the Psalms, and upon them the Levites used to sing. They [the steps] were not four-square, but rounded like the half of a round threshing-floor.”
We see in this a literary connection of a body of canonical readings to an architectural design of the Temple. Also, the significance of the Menorah being reckoned as the 7 planets (among other things) means there must be literary teaching within the Bible or tradition to explain this analogy. This also applies to the 12 loaves on the Table of Shewbread being reckoned as the 12 months and the solar year and this requires literary teaching within the Bible or tradition to explain the analogy. And recall that Psalm 19 gives an astronomical basis for teaching the word of God. The first four verses speak of
1. the heaven (v. 1),
2. the firmament (v. 1),
3. the day (which meant the Sun, v. 2), and
4. the night (v. 2),
These four celestial divisions with their movements give a voice — a speech and a language — to all areas of earth. But there are two other astronomical factors. They are:
5. the line (or rule and direction, v. 4) that these heavenly bodies
traverse throughout all the earth, and also
6. their words (v. 4) to the end of the world.
The chief astronomical body is the Sun (item number 3 above which answers in a symbolic sense to the “Sun of righteousness” in Malachi 4:Z). In Psalm 19 the Sun acts like a bridegroom making a marriage covenant with his bride (Israel) in a tabernacle (like being in God’s Tabernacle or Temple) while he traverses his circle around the heavenly vault. In doing so, the Sun and the heavenly bodies (divided into 6 celestial items) teach the world their truths (and Paul referred to this in Romans 10:18).
Then note a comparison that the psalmist makes in Psalm 19. He gives precisely 6 literary comparisons (which appear to be 6 equations) with these 6 celestial items that are speaking forth the knowledge of God. These 6 comparisons are:
1. the law of YHWH (v. 7),
2. the testimony of YHWH (v. 7),
3. the statutes of YHWH (v. 8),
4. the commandment of YHWH (v. 8),
5. the fear of YHWH (v. 9), and finally
6. the judgments of YHWH (verses 9).
In actual fact, the Tabernacle in Moses’ time (and the later Temples) were designed to show forth these astronomical themes of teaching the Word of God, just as the literary works found in the canon of the Old Testament provided the written Word of God.
It is my belief that the same type of literary connection or comparison is made between the 6 pieces of furniture in the priestly compartment of the Temple (where the astronomical zodiacal center for the Temple was located) with the 6 books of the Prophets (Second) Division. Look at this matter from a canonical point of view.
The Golden Altar of Incense (the first piece of furniture on the western side of the Zodiac) would answer to the first book of the Prophets which was Joshua/Judges written by the priest Samuel. This book was the connecting link, the historical link, between the first five books of the Law and the later books of the Old Testament, as the Golden Altar of Incense is also the connecting link between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Thus, the Book of Joshua/Judges (or the “Pre-Kingdoms Book”), like the Golden Altar of Incense, was the connecting historical book that showed Israel’s proper relationship with God from the time of Moses onward. It connects the first five books of the Law with the rest of the Old Testament.
Then, continuing outward while still in the Holy Place, the priest would proceed in a counterclockwise fashion from the entrance of the Holy of Holies. The next piece of furniture in the Temple was the 7 lamps called the Menorah (representing the 7 planets in an astronomical sense). It was located to the south of the Golden Altar of Incense and its western lamp was always to be kept burning. This Menorah answers to the Book of Kingdoms (which we call today the two Books of Samuel and the two Books of Kings). Again, Josephus said the 7 lamps answered to the 7 wandering stars (the planets), and this is true, but in a literary sense this one “Book of Kingdoms” also features the history of seven rulers who were known for their importance in the righteous development of the Kingdom of Israel (later, and most specifically, the “Kingdom of Judah” which was ruled by Davidic kings.).
Those rulers were (1) Samuel, (2) Saul, (3) David, (4) Solomon, (5) Hezekiah, (6) Josiah, and (7) Jehoiachin, the last ruler mentioned in the book. Interestingly, all these seven rulers had their good points with God at the first but at their deaths they left a legacy of evil or captivity for Israel.
The moral of this single “Book of Kingdoms” is the fact that even the seven principal human authorities that God picked to rule his people Israel and ones He greatly cared for still wound up (as do many human rulers) with many problems facing them and the nation of Israel. The Menorah has seven lamps like the seven rulers of the Book of Kingdoms. The moral of this historical account in the Bible is this: Only one king and ruler will be successful, according to prophecy, and that is King Messiah.
From the Menorah (the 7 branched lampstand, representing the 7 planets in an astronomical sense), a person would continue in a counterclockwise direction in the priestly section of the Temple to reach the Laver, located between the Holy Place and the Altar of Burnt Offering. This answers in a literary sense to the Book of Isaiah. Interestingly, the first chapter of Isaiah emphasizes the need for all Israel to wash themselves clean before appearing before God to ask Him any favors or petitions. “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:16).
In the priestly section of the Temple one then comes (in the counterclockwise direction) to the Altar of Burnt Offering of the priests. In a literary sense this answers to the Book of Jeremiah. The central services in the Temple were conducted daily at the Altar of Burnt Offering. It was the center area of the Temple (the fulcrum for Temple activities), and Jeremiah, a priest, was the “fulcrum” prophet of the Bible. He was an “axial” prophet who was commissioned to destroy the civilization into which he was born and to begin a new one with different principles and social norms governing it. See Jeremiah 1:4–19 for this prophetic role that Jeremiah was to fulfill. The central theme of Jeremiah’s prophecies was the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple of God.
It is often not realized, but the burning of animal sacrifices on the Altar of Burnt Offering represented in symbol a type of judgment on the animals who in turn represented either the people of Judah and Israel or even Gentile nations. 14 Indeed, in Isaiah God’s judgment of destruction upon the evil nations is called a “sacrifice” like that of animals (Isaiah 34:6) that are being devoted (in the original Hebrew) on an altar (Isaiah 34:2, 5).
The exact same illustration is given by the apostle John in the Book of Revelation who wrote that God’s judgment on the nations of the earth at the Second Advent of Christ is compared to a gigantic sacrifice on an altar of judgment (cf. Revelation 19:17–21).
That is precisely what the Book of Jeremiah is all about: the judgment of God on the nations of the world, starting with God’s own children the people of Judah. But before these animals on God’s altar can be offered up in a sacrificial burning, they must first be killed. Both Isaiah 34 and Revelation 19 show that one of the prime symbols of such destruction are the animal sacrifices on the Altar of Burnt Offering.
The actual killing of such animals for sacrifice, however, was not performed on the Altar of Burnt Offering itself, but at the next piece of furniture located just to the north of the Altar. This was the Slaughtering Place and it answers to the Book of Ezekiel — a companion book of prophecies to Jeremiah — where we find a further description of the judgments upon Judah and Israel and the nations of the world. The whole book of Ezekiel is showing, carrying on with the theme in Jeremiah, the sacrifice (the slaughter) of the Kingdom of Judah for all their sins against God and the sacrifice (the slaughter) of judgment upon the evil nations. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, however, show that Israel and Judah will be restored at the end of the age. The Altar of Burnt Offering and the Place of Slaughter in the priestly section of the Temple fit the themes of Jeremiah and Ezekiel very well.
And then, continuing in a counterclockwise direction, one would return to the Holy Place and in its northern section would be found the Table of Shewbread. This answers to the Twelve Minor Prophets, from Hosea to Malachi. And indeed, on that Table of Shewbread were placed every Sabbath twelve loaves of bread (Leviticus 24:5–9). 15 Since there was only one Table of Shewbread but twelve loaves, this answers to the fact that the twelve Minor Prophets were all placed on one scroll but there were twelve of them altogether.
All this relationship of the 6 pieces of furniture with the 6 books of the Second Division of the canon is seen when one goes counterclockwise (that is, from right to left) in walking in the Second Division of the Temple. And remember, since the books of the Old Testament are analogous to each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, it is also instructive that the Hebrew language is written and read from right to left.
It thus appears that the 6 pieces of ritualistic
furniture located within the priestly section of the Temple can answer in a
literary sense to the 6 books of the Prophets Division (the Second Division) of
the Holy Scriptures in the Hebrew language. These 6 books are associated with
the priestly section of the Temple (and not in the outer region of the Court of
the Israelites, either the men’s or the women’s courts). This indicates that
these prophetic books are best interpreted by priests who have a firm grasp of
the rules, customs, and history of the people of God and the nations of the
world. The Book of Daniel, however, was not placed alongside these 6 books of
the prophets for reasons which I will discuss in the next chapter.
|A. Holy of Holies||H. House of Abtinas|
|B. Outer Holy Place||I. Chamber of Wood|
|C. Outer Curtain||J. Court of Priests|
|D. Altar of Burnt Offering||K. Court of Israel|
|E. Slaughter Area||L. Steps to Nicanor Gate|
|F. Chamber of Hewn Stone (Sanhedrin Hall)||M. Eastern Gate|
|G. Counsellor's Chamber||Diagram by Norman Tenedora|
|Tabernacle / Temple||Psalm 19
|1||Golden Altar of Incense||Heavens =||Law||Joshua/Judges|
|2||Menorah||Firmament =||Testimony||Book of Kingdoms|
|4||Altar of Burnt Offering||Night =||Commandments||Jeremiah|
|5||Slaughter Area||Line =||Fear||Ezekiel|
|6||Table of Shewbread||Words =||Judgment||Book of the Temple|
1 Alfred J. Kolatch, This Is the Torah (Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 1988), p. 74.
2 While this is true, it should also be remembered that the Bible condemns faulty interpretations by the so-called astrologers of this world, a profession which the prophets held in disdain. Yet, there are clear astronomical signs given in the Bible in numerous places, and biblical interpreters should not try to avoid understanding them. It is time to get back to the basics of biblical teachings in the Holy Scriptures, and try to comprehend the significance of the furniture and symbolism of the Temple at Jerusalem as well as avoid the nonsense with which modern astrologers try to influence the world.
3 The same thing applied to Jerusalem in the time of Jesus.
4 This was also the case with the early Babylonian zodiac. See the James Hastings, The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh, T.& T. Clark; New York, Scribners, 1908–1921), vol. XII, p. 51.
5 This happens to be the closest star in the heavens to the ecliptic, the path of the Sun.
6 Rosh ha-Shanah 2:5, see also Sanhedrin 1:5 and Shebuoth 2:2.
7 The first heaven, where the clouds and birds dominate, in the Temple was divided into the western portion for the men and the eastern portion for the women.
8 Josephus, War V,5.4–5 ¶¶214, 217.
9 We will see a further significance to their number being 7 shortly.
10 We will soon see that the 12 loaves of bread also represented the 12 Minor Prophets in the Holy Scriptures (from Hosea to Malachi).
11 This is something like the Cherubimic conveyances described Ezekiel chapter 1 being “a wheel in the middle of a wheel.”
12 See Psalm 75:6; Isaiah 14:13. See also James 1:17 where, in the time of the apostles, the invariableness of the North Star is used as a symbol of God’s abode and intractability.
13 See Chapter 9-1.
14 The seventy bullocks that were offered on the seven days of Tabernacles, symbolically represented the seventy nations on earth.
15 This is the bread that David illegally ate when he went to the Sanctuary of the Tabernacle that was then located at the city of Nob on the Mount of Olives (1 Samuel 21:1–9). This event was referred to by Christ in Matthew 12:4.
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