By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1984
The Temples of Solomon and King David were designed to be permanent replicas of the Tabernacle that Moses constructed in the wilderness. There were some minor differences between the permanent Temples and Tabernacle, but their central designs were always retained. The architectural necessity was the retention of the three distinct compartments known as the Holy of Holies, the Holy Place and the Court of Israel. That is, the western portion of the Sanctuary had the compartment called the Holy of Holies with an eastern entrance. Just to the east of that was another compartment called the Holy Place where the priests did their daily administrations. It also had an eastern entrance. Further east was the large compartment called the Court of Israel where ordinary Israelites were allowed to congregate.
In the Tabernacle this large eastern Court also had a single entrance on its east side. Besides these three compartments, surrounding the Tabernacle was the Camp of the Israelites with its outer limits being 2000 cubits from the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was housed. Just to the east of this outer limit of the Camp was the Altar of the Red Heifer which was positioned precisely east of the entrances to the Court of Israel, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies
These three compartments found in the Tabernacle and the permanent Temples were analogous to the three divisions of the Garden of Eden.
In the time of Christ, this Altar of the Red Heifer was situated directly east of the Temple entrances near the summit of the Mount of Olives. This was the region of Golgotha where Christ (the greatest sin offering of all time) was offered for the sins of Israel and the world. 1
The 22 books of the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures along with the 27 books of the Greek Scriptures (representing 49 books in all, that is, 7 times 7 books) are found in seven precise divisions:
These books were given into the custody of the priests and elders of Israel for safekeeping (Deuteronomy 31:9, 26) and Paul confirmed this by stating that the Jews had great advantage over the Gentiles because "unto them were committed (or "entrusted") the oracles of God" (Romans 3:1–2). The priests and elders of Israel were assigned these authoritative roles in association with the Tabernacle and later at the Temple in Jerusalem. Interestingly, the Seven Divisions of the Holy Scriptures are also intimately connected with Temple symbolism.
The Holy Scriptures are called the Word of God for Israel and mankind. Paul said they represent "the oracles of God" in an authoritative way. But the Temples were also called "the Oracles of God" (1 Kings 6:5; Psalm 28:2). 2 The place where God spoke in a Temple was specifically referred to as "the Oracle of God" (2 Samuel 16:23). It was significant that the written Law of Moses was deposited for safe keeping alongside the Ark of the Covenant inside the Holy of Holies (the Oracle, Deuteronomy 31:26).
When we look closely at the relationship between the written Oracles of God and that compartment of the Temple called, in a geographical sense, the Oracle of God, there is a definite connection. The First Division (the Law of Moses) placed alongside the Ark of the Covenant became inextricably affiliated, in a geographical sense, with the First Compartment of the Temple (the Holy of Holies.
Division One:The Law of Moses. These first five books of the Bible were written by Moses and given into the hands of the priests and elders for preservation and teaching (Deuteronomy 31:9–10ff). They represent the primary "oracles of the law" and they were placed in the "Oracle of God" (the Holy of Holies) in the Temple alongside the Ark (Deuteronomy 31:26). For those who lived during the Old Testament period, this was the holiest written part of the divine oracles and they were placed in the holiest geographical spot in the Temple.
Division Two:The Prophets. The next six books of the Bible (Joshua/Judges, the Book of Kingdoms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve) were written by prophets (most of whom were priests) and these books were prophetic introductions or messages designed for Israel and spoken primarily by priests. The priestly division of the Temple was the Holy Place just east of the Holy of Holies and Division Two of the Bible became associated with this area. The Prophets’ Division is analogous to the Holy Place.
Division Three:The Writings or Royal Division. These eleven books of the Bible were associated with the royal personalities such as David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, etc., and they represented the philosophical and esoteric teachings to Israelites in a calendar context. The holiness of these books is associated with the Court of Israel located east of the Holy Place or the Holy of Holies.
Division Four:The Gospels and the Book of Acts. These five books of the Bible represent the Law of Christ as found in the Greek Scriptures and are similar to the Law of Moses in the Hebrew Scriptures. They are also associated with the Temple, but NOT with the three compartments of the Temple located near the southern summit of the Mount of Olives. Ezekiel prophesied that the Shekinah of God (the Spirit of God which made the Temple on Mount Moriah holy) was to leave the three compartments of the physical Temple at Jerusalem and position itself on the top of the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:22–23).
Both Jewish and Christian records from the 1st to the 4th centuries show that the Shekinah did in fact leave Moriah and located itself at the top of Olivet near where Christ was crucified and resurrected. 3 What this means is that the Shekinah left the Temple and the Camp of Israel to go to the Altar of the Red Heifer east of Mount Moriah on the Mount of Olives and that Olivet became a new "El-Beth-El" (or God’s own House of God) for Israelites and for Gentiles.
The Shekinah through the death and resurrection of Christ established itself in the midst of the world for all people to approach and become part of it. This was the place of the sin offering that God promised Cain and his descendants that was east of Eden (the Camp and Court of Israel) and east of the Garden (the Holy Place on Moriah). And the five books of the Bible that represent this new "House of God" are the four Gospels and the Book of Acts. Note that these historical works about the life of Christ (on earth and in heaven) began their messages within Israel but the final destination of teaching the Gospel extended to the capital of the Gentile world, Rome (Acts 28).
Division Five:The General Epistles. The "Jewish apostles" wrote these seven epistles and they were written to the twelve tribes in the dispersion — that is, to those Israelites who were away from Jerusalem and the new "House of God" which was associated with the Red Heifer Altar on the Mount of Olives. These seven epistles to the Gentiles are placed before Paul’s simply to accord with biblical law that the oracles of God should go first to the Israelites (which teaching is found throughout the Book of Acts and the epistles of Paul).
With the Shekinah’s abandonment of Mount Moriah as the "House of God" as Ezekiel promised, the new "Bethel" (the "El-Beth-El") was now centered around the ritualistic symbolism associated with the Red Heifer and the sacrifice of Christ on the Mount of Olives. The Jewish apostles in these seven epistles were directing Israelites to devote their attention now to Jesus and to the symbolism of the Mount of Olives — the new gateway to heaven in a figurative sense (like in the case of Jacob’s ladder). In other words, Jesus had become the new "Holy of Holies" on Olivet for all Jews scattered over the whole world.
Division Six:The Epistles of Paul. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, wrote these fourteen books of the Bible. Since the Book of Acts started its message with the symbolic holiness now attached to the Mount of Olives (the new "House of God) and leads us directly to Rome (the capital city of the Gentile world), the teachings of these fourteen epistles were designed to bring to conversion the Gentiles in the European section of the Empire (and by later extension to all those in the whole world).
Division Seven:The Book of Revelation. The final book of the Bible sums up the prophetic history of the earth with the earth becoming the residence of God the Father with no physical Temple. Finally the earth itself becomes the new "Holy of Holies" for the entire universe. The biblical story thus began with the Holy of Holies being at the center of the Garden of Eden, then the Tabernacle and physical Temples were its center, then the Mount of Olives, then it expanded to all areas on earth where Israelites were, then expanding to include Gentiles, and finally continuing to expand until all the earth becomes the "Holy of Holies" to the whole universe.
1 See my book Secrets of Golgotha (Portland, OR: ASK, 1996) which shows this. ELM
2 The verses where the Holy of Holies is called an "oracle" are 1 Kings 6:5, 16, 19-23, 31, 7:49, 8:6, 8, Psalm 28:2, 2 Chronicles 3:16, 4:20, 5:7, 9. DWS
3 Again see my book Secrets of Golgotha for the historical references that prove this. ELM
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