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Temple Builders: The High Calling
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  George H. Warnock: "From Tent to Temple"

Chapter 3
 

THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON

 

One day as David sat in his beautiful cedar home talking to Nathan the prophet, and glanced across the yard at the flimsy Tent that he had erected for the Ark of God, the thought occurred to him that he had a more comfortable and more beautiful residence than God did, and it bothered him. Turning to the prophet he said, “Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains” (1 Chron. 17:1). Nathan understood what he meant and he encouraged David to go ahead and build a suitable dwelling place for the LORD.

 

However, that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan with a message for the king, which he immediately took to David. God reminded David that He had always walked with His people and moved in their midst in a simple tent-like structure, going “from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.” He made it clear to David that He really did not need a house of cedars to dwell in, and concluded by telling him that His purpose was really to build David a house; and that He would settle David’s son in His house and in His Kingdom forever. (See 1 Chron. 17:13-14.) The immediate promise was to Solomon, who would build the temple that David wanted to build; but the promise looks far beyond Solomon and embraces the Day of Christ, David’s greater Son, who would inherit “the sure mercies of David” and would build a Temple “not made with hands.”

 

David was quite overwhelmed with this revelation. He came and “sat before the LORD,” and in his reply to the LORD there was really nothing he could say but extol God’s great and glorious Name. He simply concluded his prayer by saying, “LORD, do as thou hast said.”

 

The Transitional Tent Of David

 

In the previous chapter we talked about the Tabernacle, or the Tent of David. When the ark was on its way back to Jerusalem no doubt it was just taken for granted by the priests in Israel that it would be restored to the old tabernacle that Moses built, which was then on the hill of Gibeon. The Tent of David must have come as quite a shock to them. How could they continue to worship in the old tabernacle without the ark of the Covenant? Without the Glory? Without His Presence? But they were going to have to understand from David’s action that this was no mere “renewal” of a former institution. This was restoration to a higher order. This was something new. They were moving out of one order and into another; and the Tent of David was to be the connecting link between the old and the new, between the Tent in the Wilderness and the Temple of Solomon. It was to be preparatory to the Temple.

 

Transitional Difficulties

 

Transitional times are always difficult times for God’s people. It is so in the natural realm, and it is so in the spiritual. Jesus reminded us, “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better” (Lk. 5:39). Only those with the adventurous, pioneer spirit will step forward into the unknown. As usual, men of the world are often “wiser in their generation” than the children of light. They will continue to reach forth into the realms of space, and are constantly developing new methods and new inventions to meet the challenge of the unreachable. But men in the Church sit back and feel they have everything there is to be had in the realm of the Spirit. Satan himself, with all his principalities and powers in the world of darkness, is daily bringing forth new, diabolical weapons of destruction, and using them to destroy the spirits and souls and bodies of men. But God’s people can envision nothing better than a restoration of something we had in the Church many years ago, or many centuries ago. They think it is right and scriptural for the wheat of God’s harvest fields to remain forever in a state just a little short of maturity... because, after all, no one can be perfect. Satan does not hesitate to exercise complete lordship in the lives of his subjects; but it is thought to be incredible that our Lord should exercise anything like total Lordship in the lives of those whom He has purchased with His own blood!

 

But I think the real reason we do not want to venture forth in response to the new vision is because we do not want to become involved with the unsettling and disturbing changes that the new vision demands. The changing of the order requires a new beginning, and a relinquishing of the old titles and deeds. And this demands a price that seems to be just too high for most people to pay. Yet real Christianity knows of no life, and no spiritual progress, except as we are prepared to lay down the life we have, and to relinquish the things we have come to prize as our very own. It is the truth of the Cross as it is enacted and reenacted in our lives, from the moment of our spiritual birth until the moment of glorification.

 

Where do we go from here? It might seem a lot safer if we could see the pathway clearly laid out before us... but God’s Way is the Rule of the Cloud, which we have already talked about. We must move forward when the Cloud of God’s Glory moves forward. We may not see the pathway ahead of us clearly, but we hear Him calling, and we must have confidence that “the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

 

Where are we today in God’s unfolding plan and purpose for the Church? To pinpoint our present spiritual location might be difficult; but preeminently this is a day of preparation. God is seeking to lead us in a new way. If we are assured of this, then we can rest in the midst of all the disturbing and perplexing things that we see transpiring in us and about us. Preparation was the key word in the message of John the Baptist for his day; and we believe once again it is the key word for this hour. Let us observe some of the preparatory things that had to be done for the temple that Solomon was to build.

 

Preparations For The Temple

 

“And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it” (1 Chron. 22:5).

 

There are living trees in the earth estimated to be as old as four thousand years or more. There they stand in stately glory, defying the changes of the seasons and of the weather today as they have done throughout the centuries. But a mushroom will grow up overnight, and perish in the heat of the sun the next day. What we are saying is that the greater the magnificence and the glory that attends God’s workmanship, the greater will be the care that He will exercise in its creation, and the more prolonged will be the time of its preparation. God will not permit His people to pressure Him into a premature and imperfect execution of His plans and purposes; because what He is doing is for His own Glory, and not for ours. In the outworking of the maturing process in our lives we must not yield to the persistent temptation to hasten forward the work of God by our own device and planning. At the same time, let us be spiritually alert to see God’s timing in our lives, lest we fail to grasp the opportunity that God affords in the fullness of His times. There is no substitute for the simple procedure of “walking with God.” We might be very active and energetic in ministry and still not learn God’s ways. But if we walk with God, we will not miss out in any area of ministry that God has planned for our lives. Simeon did not just casually walk into the temple that day when the baby Jesus was presented there for dedication. Simeon was led there, because he had been walking with God. He must go to the temple that day... and he must go now. The promise of perhaps many, many years duration was to be fulfilled today! Tomorrow he may die... but today he must see the Messiah! He could not miss it! God would not let him miss it!

 

The Preparation Of The Site

 

“Then David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel” (1 Chron. 22:1).

 

It was the threshing floor of Oman the Jebusite, where David had offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings to eliminate the plague that had come upon Israel through David’s folly. We do not know how Satan had gained this foothold in David. At any rate the ransom money had not been collected from the people when David took the census, and God had already warned that a plague might fall if this was not done. (See Ex. 30:12-16.) But God in mercy revealed to David his sin, and also the solution. David obeyed and set up an altar on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite which he purchased from Ornan for 600 shekels of gold. Now it was this plot of ground that was to become the site of the exceedingly magnificent Temple of Solomon. David said, “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering.” It was a proclamation of faith--God had declared this to be His plan, and therefore it was so. It had yet to become manifest. The preparation of the site was extremely important. It was the place of the burnt offering. It is believed to have been the very spot upon which Abraham had offered up Isaac as a burnt offering many centuries earlier. But now in David’s time it had become a threshing floor. The Temple of Solomon was to be erected on a harvest floor. It would also be dedicated on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, when the nation had gathered in their wines and oils, and had reaped their harvest. The early Church was really the seed Church. True it was inaugurated at Pentecost, which was the Feast of Harvest, but it was really a “firstfruits” harvest. The final harvest would be in the seventh month on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, which was the Feast of Ingathering. The “glorious Church”--not having spot, or wrinkle, or blemish, or any such thing--is the harvest Church. The great winnowing fan of the Harvester is in the hands of the Husbandman, Who has patiently waited for “the precious fruit of the earth.” The fire has been kindled to destroy the chaff of the threshing floor. Then He will gather the grain into His garner--grain that has come to full maturity and perfection, just like the good seed that was planted in the earth almost 2,000 years ago, when our Lord Jesus was faithful as the “corn of wheat” to “fall into the ground and die.”

 

Preparation Of The Man

 

“And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God; but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name” (1 Chron. 22:7-10).

 

Great conflicts have raged through the centuries as God sent forth His truth in the earth and the haters of truth resisted it. This is inevitable, as light has no communion with darkness. However, it is most regrettable that God’s messengers of truth should so often have yielded to the temptation to propagate their message by carnal warfare. We realize that God did ordain Israel to fight His battles on many occasions in the Old Testament, for they were God’s own weapons to execute His judgments upon corrupt and idolatrous nations. But it must not be so with you and me in this day of the New Covenant, when the people of God have been given a mandate, and spiritual weapons, to wage warfare in the realm of the Spirit... and in that realm only. He who builds in the Temple of God must be a man of peace.

 

Man has always sought to perpetuate the old order for his own glory, but sooner or later it will come to nought; and we do not have to attempt to tear it down. Now Solomon’s brother Adonijah exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” He was David’s son too, and he is described as being “a very goodly man.” He had Joab on his side, who was the general of David’s army. He also had Abiathar with him, who was David’s high priest. Surely with such great men behind him Adonijah would succeed in his efforts to perpetuate the Davidic era. “Behold, Adonijah reigneth” they shouted. His name means, “JAH is my Lord.” He, too, would honor the true God of Israel. We are told that they slew oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and all the king’s sons were invited to the feast. (All except Solomon, of course--the builders of religion always reject the chief corner stone.) And what did Solomon do about it? Nothing!

 

David was notified of the conspiracy and before he died he proclaimed Solomon to be king of Israel with the blessing of Zadok the priest, and of Nathan the prophet. No need for Solomon to stand up for his rights. When he became king he would judge righteously, and with power, authority and wisdom. But he would not seek to establish himself in that position. He, as his name means, would simply rest in the plan and purpose of God. And he, the man of peace, would build a temple which was to become God’s place of rest... but of course it was only a type and shadow of the true Temple yet to come, a Temple not made with hands.

 

Preparation Of The Materials

 

“Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD a hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto” (1 Chron. 22:14).

 

In this time of transition God’s people everywhere are in a state of trouble and unrest; and oftentimes in the midst of their trouble, they do not understand that God is shaking the old systems in preparation for His new order. Like David in his trouble, we would like to get away from it all...

 

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove!

For then would I fly away, and be at rest.

Lo, then would I wander far off,

And remain in the wilderness. Selah” (Ps. 55:6-7).

 

But David soon discovered that running away from it all accomplished nothing either, it simply brought him into still greater dangers:

 

“How say ye to my soul,

Flee as a bird to your mountain?

For lo, the wicked bend their bow,

They make ready their arrow upon the string,

That they may privily shoot

At the upright in heart” (Ps. 11:1-2).

 

God help us to see that in our trouble we can prepare spiritual gold and silver and timber for a dwelling place for the Most High! God help us to see that a change of environment cannot change the situation, And that no matter where we go, or what we do, the archer is there with his bow to shoot us down and to molest. We must know and understand that we have “the shield of faith” whereby we can “quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.”

 

Preparation Of Priest And Levite

 

“For David said, The LORD God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever: and also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof” (1 Chron. 23:25-26).

 

God has a rest for His people. Solomon was to be a man of rest. The priesthood was to be a priesthood of rest. Some fear that this could make for ease and carelessness. The truth is, when we enter into God’s rest we will become more active in the Spirit, even as we are ceasing “from our own works.” No longer will we be moving from one desert oasis to another, always looking for something beyond our grasp. For God has promised...

 

“Thou shalt bring them in,

And plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance,

In the place, O LORD,

Which thou hast made for thee to dwell in,

In the Sanctuary, O Lord,

Which thy hands have established” (Ex. 15:17).

 

In this realm there is constant abiding in Him. The springs which once blessed our soul for a season and then wasted away in the desert sands, flow eternally from the heart of God because on the mountain of His inheritance we have come to the source of the springs. In God’s Zion we can say, “All my springs are found in thee.” No longer is the Tabernacle a “burden” to carry, and the vessels are no longer “burdens” of ministration in God’s house. Rather we become those vessels in whom He dwells, and through whom He flows forth in blessing to others.

 

Preparation Of The Officers

 

The officers of Solomon’s kingdom had served faithfully in the kingdom of Saul, but it only brought them to disillusionment and distress. Their real training was in company with David as they wandered about the hillsides of Judaea, unrecognized by the realm of Saul, the offscouring of the earth. Jesus said, “Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matt. 19:29). You will not learn the principles of discipleship in seminars and institutions of learning. You will only learn true discipleship as you take His yoke upon you, and walk with Him in His rejection. Let us consider some of the qualifying degrees of the officers of the kingdom. (See 1 Chron. 27.)

 

Jashobeam. How did he qualify for a place in Solomon’s kingdom? He suffered rejection with David, and became one of David’s mighty men. Single-handedly he slew 300 men with a spear. We know little more than this about the man. But he became the officer over the first course, for the first month, in Solomon’s kingdom; and he had 24,000 men under his command.

 

Dodai. How did he qualify? He suffered with David in his rejection, and on one occasion, he “saved a parcel of ground full of barley” as the Philistines tried to take it. How tremendous! He saved a barley field! The things which seem insignificant in our eyes are often of great importance in the sight of God. And so Dodai the Ahohite, David’s mighty man that saved a barley field, became the officer over the second course, in the kingdom of Solomon; and he had 24,000 men under his command.

 

Benaiah. What did he do? He followed David in his rejection, and on one occasion, he slew a lion in the midst of a pit. On another occasion he slew an imposing looking Egyptian, and his only weapon was a stick in his hand. Oh, how God yearns over His people that they might discover His ways! When are we going to get away from the notion that every time the Enemy challenges the people of God, we have got to come forth and meet the challenge with equal kinds of weapons and with equal strategy? In obedience to God, and with nothing but the dry stick that we are, the devices of the Enemy become his own destruction.

 

What is that in your hand, Moses? Just a staff... just a stick. But as he walked in obedience before the LORD, he would take that stick, and in his hand it would become the very rod of God to deliver a nation from her bondage, to smite Egypt with all manner of judgments, and to open up the Red Sea that the people of God might march over.

 

What is that in your hand, Shamgar? Just an ox-goad... just a stick! I work with oxen, and I use the ox-goad as I go about my daily, menial tasks. But as he walked in obedience, and moved in faith, the ox-goad became the rod of God in his hand, by which he slew the enemies of God and delivered His people.

 

What is that in your hand, Benaiah? Just a stick! But prompted by the Spirit of God the stick in his hand became the rod of God, by which he would strike the Egyptian, rob him of his spear, and then slay the Egyptian with the Egyptian’s own spear.

 

All these men had was a stick. And by nature that is all we have--it is all we are. But in the boldness of faith and confidence in God we shall learn, as we continue to walk in fellowship with our David, that once again God is going to use the foolish things to confound the wisdom of the wise and to bring to nought the things that are. It is the secret of the Cross that we must learn. It was “through death” that Christ destroyed “him that had the power of death,” and brought the kingdom of Satan to nought.

 

David’s mighty men are not striving for a place of leadership, or trying to produce for themselves a great ministry. They are simply weary of the old ways of Saul, and they follow David out of love for him. They are not opportunists. They are not out to save their own lives. They are not looking for an office or a position in the Church. They are willing to risk their lives in order to bring a cup of cool, refreshing water from the fountain of Bethlehem to their thirsty king... and then stand by and watch their king waste it, by pouring it on the ground. “Why this waste?” the disciples said, as they watched Mary of Bethany break the alabaster box, and pour its contents on the Lord Jesus. But God wants us to know that nothing is wasted that is done out of love for Him… foolish as it may seem in the eyes of men.

 

Preparation Of The Plan Of The Temple

 

“Then David gave to Solomon his son

The pattern of the porch,

And of the houses thereof,

And of the treasuries thereof,

And of the upper chambers thereof,

And of the inner parlours thereof,

And of the place of the mercy seat,

And the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit,

Of the courts of the house of the LORD,

And of all the chambers round about,

Of the treasuries of the house of God,

And of the treasuries of the dedicated things” (1 Chron. 28:11-12).

 

As Moses was taken up into the mountain and given the pattern of the Tabernacle, so David was given the pattern of the new Temple by the Spirit--no doubt as he sat before the LORD in the Tabernacle of David. But though the pattern of the new Temple was given to him, he was not permitted to build it, nor did he attempt to do so. We need to learn this lesson well. All over the earth Christian leaders are eagerly trying to rebuild the Church in a vain attempt to bring it back to New Testament pattern and order, and it is all in vain. God has something better in mind than the Tabernacle of David, something better in mind than the early Church. God’s plan is a Church that has come to perfect fruit--”a glorious Church”--not having spot or wrinkle or blemish, or any such thing. Admittedly there are eternal principles in the early Temple which must be incorporated into the latter Temple. But its structure will be different-far different. Let us be content to do just what we know God wants us to do in this hour. Let us just walk in the Spirit, and allow the Master Builder to build His own Church.

 

We have gone into considerable detail concerning the preparation that David made for the new era, and rightly so. Preparation we believe is the key word for this hour. Those who have the vision of what God is doing, and are pursuing it... they know and understand, at least in part, the solemn implications of the word preparation. Many others, who feel they are already prepared, are zealously trying to build something that eventually God will have to tear down.

Now let us consider the order of the Solomon era, with particular reference to:

1.         The Order Of The Temple.

2.         The Order Of The Kingdom.

 

1. The Order Of The Temple

 

The Gathering Of The Leaders

 

I am always suspicious of these leadership and shepherding conferences that abound in the land today... concerned that in many cases it may be another Adonijah coup... and wondering if perhaps God may have hidden away his chosen ones whom He is grooming for this hour, and they are not even known or recognized as yet. But of course we know God’s plan will not fail, and that He is doing a secret work in the earth which will not be manifest until God’s appointed hour. David numbered the Levites from the age of 30 years and upward (1 Chron. 23:3), in preparation for service in the new temple. And we believe that God is numbering a people in this hour for His new order. There were both Levites and princes of the sanctuary. The Levites were the helpers of the priests, a sort of deacon ministry in the Old Testament order. “Their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chron. 23:28). The deacon ministry is great in God’s eyes, because if one accepts it gracefully and uses it well, God gives them a degree. Paul says they may “purchase to themselves a good degree” (1 Tim. 3:13). But they cannot purchase this degree with money, or by political wire-pulling. It is a degree for faithfulness. The word “degree” means “a step upward.” Philip the deacon took the lower, menial task, and God enlarged his ministry into one of evangelism and miracles. Likewise Stephen, one of the seven deacons in the Church at Jerusalem, became a teacher of great wisdom, and the first martyr mentioned by name, in the early Church. But even as God’s deacons come to enlargement in ministry, they are still deacons at heart. It ought to be a characteristic of all God’s people, including all ministers; for Jesus Himself “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister”.... and the word used is the same as “deacon.”

 

The “chief men” of the priesthood were called “governors [or princes] of the sanctuary” (1 Chron. 24:5). There were 24 such princes, 16 from the line of Eleazar, and eight from the line of Ithamar. They were not elected by the people. God has never authorized a democratic order for His people in any age, and certainly not for His Church. These princes or governors were designated for their course of duty by “lot.” But this does not mean it was a case of “chance.” The secret ballot is intended to assure that the will of man be done--in the church, and in the world. The lot, as directed by the Lord, is to assure that God’s will be done. Because,

 

“The lot is cast into the lap;

But the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Prov. 16:33).

 

We are not suggesting that we go back to the use of the lot that was used in Old Testament times. God has something better than that for us… and that is that the Holy Spirit be given His Lordship in the midst of His people, and when He is Lord He will be faithful to clearly reveal God’s will for the government of the House of God. “Government” is as clearly a gift and ministration of the Spirit, as are miracles, healings, tongues, prophecies, and so forth (1 Cor. 12:28). And God will yet displace this democratic system that we have in the Church, as well as in the world.

 

Notice in this new order that there were 24 priestly princes of the sanctuary. These correspond with the 24 elders in the book of Revelation, where we have the Revelation of Jesus Christ in His Church. (See Rev. 4:4.) John saw them clothed in white raiment (in priestly garments); but they had on their heads crowns of gold (denoting a royal office). And so we have 12 times two; and we are going to come across these numbers often in Solomon’s Temple, as well as in the book of Revelation. The number 12 is related to government and rulership; and the number two is related to the corporate relationship in the Body of Christ. And so we hear the 24 elders singing a new song:

 

“[Thou] hast made us unto our God Kings and priests:

And we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).

 

And though some versions read, “Thou hast made them kings and priests,” they were nevertheless singing on behalf of redeemed men in their representative office as kings and priests.

 

The Musicians Of The Temple

 

Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun were ordained as the leaders in song and praise; and those under their leadership were set apart unto the priestly ministry of song. They were to “prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals” (1 Chron. 25:1). These musicians were not performers or entertainers, they were singing prophets. They did not stand up to entertain and do a number to the acclaim and applause of the congregation. They “prophesied according to the order of the king.” Now Asaph means “gatherer,” and God’s Asaphs have a ministry in the Spirit to gather the people of God together in harmony and in union with the King. Heman means “faithful,” for that is all that God requires of any man, or any musician; not natural talent... not greatness... not success... not achievement… but faithfulness. Jeduthun means “Choir of Praise.” For God’s people were given names at birth that pointed to some characteristic or aspect of their future life and calling. This Levite would lead a Choir of Praise in prophetic song, in the house of the LORD. They were not chosen because they had special talent. They were born into the families of these men; and whether they were great or small, teacher or scholar, they must submit to the lot that set them apart for this service. It was God who set them in their course. Again we are told there were 24 courses with 12 in each course, for a total of 288 who ministered in prophetic song and music in the house of the LORD.

 

In the New Testament Church, the “psalm” finds its place in spiritual ministry, along with “a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation...” (1 Cor. 14:26). And so in this way it is the Lord Himself who sings praises unto God “in the midst of the Church” (Heb. 2:12). Zephaniah said that God would rejoice over His people “with singing” (Zeph. 3:17; see also Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

 

Paul speaks of “spiritual songs.” They are not spiritual songs because they happen to mention God or Heaven or the Bible. They are songs that are born of the Spirit, And the time must come when songs that are born of the Spirit will be freely used by the people of God when they come together. If God gave these songs, they are His, and do not belong to that particular person who happened to receive them. They are really prophetic songs designed of the Lord to bring forth thoughtful meditation in the minds of the people; not designed to activate their feet but to penetrate their hearts, to melt them in His presence, to humble them before the majesty of the King, and to enlarge their vision concerning God’s purpose for His people. That is why all through the Psalms we find that little word “Selah” so often; for the songs are designed to produce thoughtful meditation. As if to say, “Just pause a moment... and think this over...” One wonders where you might insert a “Selah” in many of our “spiritual songs” today. The book of Psalms means the book of Praises. It was the hymnal of Solomon’s Temple, and also of the restored temple after the Captivity. By this time many other psalms were added to the original 72 that were ascribed to David, covering the period following the destruction of Jerusalem. They were psalms that were born of the Spirit as men of God poured out their hearts before the Lord, and sang of the trials and tribulations and triumphs of a life lived in fellowship with God.

 

God’s people have always been fraught with many perplexities and many questions, and the book of Psalms is therefore filled with many questions. The answer that God gives may not always satisfy the disobedient or the proud... but it always satisfies the one whose trust and confidence is in God. Perhaps as the Temple Choir sang forth these prophetic utterances, part of the choir would sing the question, while another part would sing forth the answer. And then together in unison they would exalt the LORD in great anthems of praise and worship. The book of Psalms is therefore once again coming forth as the hymnal of the Church, which is the true Temple of God in the earth. And this hymnal is quite up to date: “Why do the heathen rage? Why do the people imagine vain things? My soul is sore vexed, but thou, O LORD, how long? Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me? My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God... when shall I come and appear before God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me?”

 

But in each case God has a satisfying answer to those who love Him, and whose hearts are open to Him...

 

The Divisions Of The Porters

1 Chronicles 26

 

The porters were the doorkeepers of the house of God. Theirs was a very simple ministry, but very important. They were to guard the doors of God’s house, to keep out and to let in. They must guard the various treasure rooms of the temple as well as open the doors for the priest and Levite who must enter certain rooms in the course of their ministry. Their place of appointment was likewise determined by “lot.” It was God who set them in their place. (Here again we have 12 times two: 24 porters.) We do not know the significance of all these doors, but here the Levites stood at the threshold to open and to close the doors as necessary. The priests must go in to minister unto the Lord, and they must come out to minister unto the people. God has purposely designed His Temple so that we are not able to minister effectively as an individualist. That is why the strong, individualistic type of minister is going to find it increasingly difficult to flow together with God’s anointed people in this hour, when God sends forth the river of life from the threshold of the Temple. There must come a melting if we are going to flow in the River of God.

 

As we learn to minister in the Spirit we recognize how important the ministry of the doorkeeper really is. We come to recognize that we cannot minister effectively unless the door has been opened into one of God’s treasure rooms. And very often it is one of these doorkeepers who has opened the door and enabled us to see some of God’s treasures, and bring them forth to His people. Or we may seek to peer through the crack in the door, dimly catching a glimpse of something; then a doorkeeper turns the key, and for the first time we see it more clearly, The Levite who opens the door may not get any particular credit for this, but he is only seeking the welfare of the Body of Christ, and this becomes his reward. He cannot boast of having done very much, compared to some of the laborers in the fields. Evidently his task was considered to be rather menial, prompting the psalmist to say:

 

“I had rather be a doorkeeper In the house of my God, Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps. 84:10).

 

Therefore let the doorkeepers in the house of the LORD rejoice in that God is using them: to bring forth His presence in the midst of the congregation, to open doors that lead to true worship and praise, to make way for the choir of praise to flow forth in spiritual songs to the LORD, or to open the door for one of His priests to go in and explore the “spoils of battle” or some treasure of truth that may lie concealed in the inner parlors. And so let the doorkeepers “lift up the gates” that the King of Glory may come in:

 

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates;

And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;

And the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory?

The LORD strong and mighty,

The LORD mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:7-8).

 

The Treasure Rooms

 

The Temple was made with storehouses to guard the treasures of the house of God and of the dedicated things. The spoils of battle, won in many wars against the enemies of the LORD from the days of Samuel and afterward, were stored away in the various buildings connected with the Temple compound, and guarded by the doorkeepers. Jesus is going to “divide the spoil with the strong.” Canaan was God’s land, intended for God’s people, but it was inhabited by seven mighty nations. It was God’s plan for His people to subdue the mighty, and take the spoil of the land for themselves. We stand amazed sometimes at the knowledge and wisdom and power that evil principalities exercise over the minds and souls and bodies of people. It is a usurped authority, and a perverted wisdom and knowledge. And when God’s people “take the kingdom,” Satan is thereby robbed of his power and wisdom, and his kingdom is spoiled in the lives of the people he held in bondage. Let us cherish the treasures of truth that have been won on the battlefields of the past. God is doing a new thing, I know. But the faithful scribe will continue to bring forth out of his treasures, “things new and old.”

 

In the days of Nehemiah, the priest had become so tolerant with the enemy that he actually prepared a housekeeping apartment for Tobiah in the very place that was intended for the treasures of oil and wine and frankincense, and the meal offerings. This made Nehemiah so angry that he went into the Temple and dumped all of Tobiah’s furniture outdoors, and brought in again the vessels of the house of God, and the meal offerings, and the frankincense (Neh. 13:8).

 

The “mystery of iniquity” was at work in Paul’s day in the Temple of God, in the very midst of God’s people. God hasten the day when His people stop looking over to old Jerusalem for a temple, and for the man of sin sitting in it. You will find the man of sin where God’s people are. You will find him in the Temple, in the place of God’s habitation. You will find him wherever and whenever there is a moving of the Spirit of God toward the restoration and refurnishing of God’s true Temple, not made with hands. He is right there, ready to set up housekeeping. Not because he wants to worship God, but because he wants to hinder and frustrate true worship... the worship that ascends as frankincense from God’s people... the worship that comes forth in Spirit and in Truth.

 

Let us cast out all this household stuff of Tobiah. His name means, “God is good.” But don’t let slogans like this fool you. We must get to know the spirit behind the words that are spoken, and the front that is presented; for he professes to love God, but he wants to take God’s place in the Temple. The ultimate Antichrist will rise up in the Temple, which is the Church of the Living God. The spirit of Antichrist has been in the Church from the beginning. John the apostle recognized him, and Paul recognized him, and in the latter day Church God wants us to recognize him (2 Thess. 2:7; l Jn. 2:18-19). The anointed people of the last days will recognize him, and drive him out. But the apostate Church will be deceived by his flatteries, and allow him to “sit in the Temple of God.”

 

Antichrist means against Christ... but it also means instead of Christ. Our only safeguard is in the anointing--the anointing which is Truth--Who alone can keep us free from the seductions of the Enemy. (See l Jn. 2:27.) It is not enough that God’s people receive certain charismatic gifts and blessings. We must become an anointed people, born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, led of the Spirit, baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, walking in the sevenfold Spirit of God. And as we assemble in the Name of the Lord, the Holy Spirit will be in charge to take the things of Christ and make them known to us. We must begin very earnestly to make way for the Lordship of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and in our gatherings. If there is singing, let it be the song of the Lord, born of the Spirit, and flowing forth by God’s Spirit to admonish and teach God’s people, and not to entertain them. If there is ministry in the Word, let it be “the oracle of God”--that living Word that God has for His people in this hour--and not something that has been studied out intellectually and given forth with the art of rhetoric. If there is to be a healing, may there be the love and compassion of Christ Who is there to administer the healing, and not a display of the power of a charismatic man of God. If there is teaching, let it be “meat in due season” to feed the hungry, and to enlighten the eyes of the blind with the eyesalve of illumination and insight into the mysteries of God.

 

Let us cast forth all this household stuff of Tobiah out of the chambers of the House of God! And while we know and expect that there will be an ultimate Antichrist taking a firm hold on an apostate Church, let us recognize that his spirit is there now... the mystery is already at work... and we can only resist him by the power and anointing and presence of the Lord Jesus in our hearts and lives, and in our gatherings in His Name.

 

2. The Order Of The Kingdom

1 Chronicles 27

 

The Officers Of The Kingdom

 

We have already mentioned the names of three of these officers, the men who had followed David in his rejection and who had come to a place of rulership in the new order. But there were 12 such officers, each having 24,000 men under their charge. We are told that these served the king “in any matter” as they came in and went out month by month, according to the 12 courses. There were therefore 12 times 24,000, or 288,000 officers; and again we have their spiritual counterpart in the book of Revelation:

 

“And I heard the number of them Which were sealed:

And there were sealed an 144,000

Of all the tribes of the children of Israel”(Rev. 7:4).

“And I looked, And, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, And with him a 144,000,

Having his Father’s name

Written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1).

 

And so adding these two companies together, we have 288,000, which corresponds to the 288,000 officers in the kingdom of Solomon. Whether these numbers are literal numbers, or symbolic, we do not need to speculate. But they are the overcomers. They have gone beyond gift and ministry as such, and now they minister out from their relationship with the Lamb. In union with Christ they can do anything He wants them to do, simply because in themselves they can do nothing. They are utterly dependent upon their Lord, even as He was utterly dependent upon the Father when He walked this earth.

 

We must remember that the angel made known the Revelation to John in “signs.” He used “sign” language as he spoke to John-the message was “SIGN-ified” unto him. We do not have to conclude, therefore, that the numbers mentioned are necessarily literal numbers. But either way, they are significant numbers. They speak of governmental authority and rulership (12 times 12); and they minister out from the holy of holies, which in the Tabernacle measured ten times ten times ten cubits, which equals 1,000. (Half the linen tent covered the holiest of all, and so being 20 cubits wide it would have covered ten cubits over the top, and ten cubits down the back, and the other half of the tent would have covered the holy place, with the golden clasps holding the sections together over the four pillars. See Ex. 36:9-13.) We have shown previously how the number “two” speaks of a corporate relationship; so we have 144 times 1,000 times two, which equals 288,000. For the Body of Christ, the true Israel, is a new entity composed of both the natural Israel and the wild olive branches, brought together in the one good olive tree. The middle wall of partition which once separated them has been broken down by the Cross, and Christ has made “in himself of twain, one new man, so making peace” (Eph. 2:11-15). This is the true Israel, yet still comprised of the twelve tribes on a higher plane. It is not our purpose in this study to pursue the meanings of the names of the tribes. But let us take note that when John gives the list of the tribes, the tribe of Dan is excluded, and in his place we have the tribe of Manasseh. Are we to suppose that there is no room for Dan in the true Israel? And why is Manasseh mentioned as well as Joseph? For the line of Joseph includes both Ephraim and Manasseh. I can only conclude that God is showing us that in this new overcoming Israel, the “serpent” nature has finally been eradicated; for of Dan it was said, “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path” (Gen. 49:17). And by inserting Manasseh God is showing how there has come into the midst of His people total deliverance from the serpent in the sin-conscience, for Manasseh means “Cause to Forget.” This new Israel has the fruitfulness of Joseph through Ephraim his son, which means “double-fruitfulness.” But to come to this, there has to be a Manasseh: a forgetting of those things which are behind. We cannot come into the place of total victory in Christ until there has been a cleansing and a purging; not only of the serpent of Dan, but from the very remembrance of it all. The serpent of our fallen nature, with all its shame, its frustrations, its failures, is completely swallowed up by the Rod of Aaron (which became a serpent even as Christ was made sin for us). There is no condemnation to them which are “in Christ Jesus,” not only because of the blood of Jesus which was shed on the Cross, but because of the cleansing and purging ministration of the Spirit in our hearts, Who is faithful to apply the cleansing of the Blood to our hearts. We cannot emphasize enough that the Holy Spirit witnesses to the perfect cleansing that is available in the Blood; and that the reason there is so much uncleanness in our hearts and minds is because the Holy Spirit is not given His due Lordship in our lives and in our gatherings together in His Name. And when we as God’s people, through the workings of God’s grace in our midst, return to the Fountain of Life and the Spirit of God flows once again in the midst of His people, there will be a perfect cleansing from all sin for the heart and mind and conscience of God’s people. This cleansing is there for us in the Precious Blood of Christ, and the Spirit of God will bear witness to it, as we give Him His Lordship.

 

The Overcomers

 

Let us consider briefly the character of these overcoming ones. Sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads. It’s about time we lift our foreheads to God to receive His seal, instead of talking so much about the mark of the Beast! The mark of the Lamb of God will make us totally immune to the mark of the Dragon!

 

The mark and seal of the Lamb of God is the mind of Christ. They are preserved in the hour of judgment on the earth and the sea.

 

The serpent is now under their feet, even as was promised to those who are in Christ (Rom. 16:20).

 

The past is under the Blood, and the Spirit of God in their lives has purged them not only from the serpent, but from the very remembrance of his curse.

 

They have followed the Lamb, even into their heritage in the heavenlies, and stand with Him on Mount Zion... yet even as they find their place there, they walk in the midst of men, without blemish, without fault, as virgins in His sight.

 

It is a high and holy calling… but to these overcomers it is more. They are “called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14). In union with the Son they have partaken of the Father’s nature. Therefore the Father’s Name is in their foreheads... not blasphemously spelled out in some earthly language, nor visible to the eyes of men among whom they walk... but spelled out in the language of the Spirit, by the imprint of the Father’s nature and character in their lives. Jesus said, “I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it [will make it known]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn. 17:26).

 

They are not only born of God, they are thoroughly disciplined as His sons, and conformed to the image of the Only Begotten. Therefore they have His very nature and character.

 

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the 144,000, which were redeemed from the earth” (Rev. 14:3).

 

They are “firstfruits” unto God and to the Lamb. Christ is the “firstfruits” (1 Cor. 15:23). But these are in union with Him, and are therefore a class of “firstfruits”—“a kind of firstfruits” (Jas. 1:18).

 

They are a people that are totally victorious over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. They were not caught away from the battle. They have fought a good fight and have kept the faith in the midst of the battle. They are not escapees or deserters. They confronted these evil hosts head-on, and overcame... not in their own strength, but by “the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”

 

They are true witnesses (Gr. “martus,” from which we get our word “martyr”). “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11). At times they may have walked away from death, if that was God’s will, as Jesus did (Jn. 7:1). But they gladly returned to the place of death, in obedience to the Father, as Jesus did (Jn. 11:7-8). In either case they walked in God’s will, and did not hesitate to choose death, if they knew this was pleasing to the Father (Heb. 11:35). They were not looking for an easy escape from tribulation, because they knew they were “appointed” to tribulation (1 Thess. 3:4); and because they desired to be companions with the heirs of the Kingdom, they desired also to be companions in tribulation (Rev. 1:9). These are the ones who stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God, and singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb--the Song of Victory.

 

The Rulers Of The Tribes

 

Here again there are 12 rulers over the 12 tribes. The names of the 12 tribes are inscribed on the gates of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is said to be “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (See Rev. 2 1:2, 9, 12.) And the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb are inscribed on the 12 foundations of the wall of the City. (See Rev. 21:14.) And so there is a very close identity between the Holy City (which is the Bride of Christ), and the heads of the 12 tribes, and the 12 apostles of the Lamb. Jesus promised his apostles, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). Jesus calls this new phase of the Kingdom of God (after the resurrection) “the regeneration.” But the spirit of that new day is something we partake of now, in the “washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5), the same word that Jesus used in Matthew 19:28. It is the same energy and power working in His people now, the resurrection life of our Lord Jesus, that will “make all things new” in the “regeneration” that Jesus spoke about. (See also Rev. 2 1:5.) The same power that “worketh in us” that will eventually change us from mortality to immortality, and subdue all God’s enemies under the feet of Christ (Eph. 3:20; Phil. 3:21). For the powers available to us now, really are the “the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:5).

 

Then just where do we draw the line, between God’s provision for us in this life and what is available for us in the next? All I can say is, the line is far, far beyond our most hopeful prayers and desires, as the apostle said (Eph. 3:20). Going beyond God’s provision for us has never been God’s problem, but ours. God’s earnest longing for His people is not: “Beware, lest you try to go farther than I want to lead you,” but rather, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb. 4:1). This is God’s great concern! Don’t fall short of God’s desire! There is no danger you might appropriate more than He has in mind for you. But let there be no presumption here, For the promises of God are not appropriated by carnal, presumptuous faith. You can only go on with God into the realms and depths of His love and truth, as you walk with Him in the pathway of total commitment and discipleship, loving not your life, even unto death. Like Abraham, we just keep “looking for the City...” And as we “look for it,” the vision of it and the longing for it gives us new perspective, and new hope. The things of this world lose their lustre in the light of the City of God, the New Jerusalem, which will yet come down from God out of Heaven. For “we look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

 

The Stewards Of The King’s Property

 

The king’s property was divided into 12 categories, with one steward in charge of each class of labor or industry. (See 1 Chron. 27:25-31.) These were:

 

1.   The King’s Treasures.

2.   The Storehouses.

3.   The Cultivators.

4.   The Vineyards.

5.   The Wine Cellars.

6.   The Orchards.

7.   The Oil Cellars.

8.   The Herds Of Sharon.

9.   The Herds Of The Valleys.

10. The Camels.

11. The Asses.

12. The Flocks Of Sheep.

We will only briefly touch on these.

 

1. The King’s Treasures. Paul called himself a steward of “the mysteries of God.” God wants His treasures to be distributed. Not at random, of course, but the steward will distribute the treasures according to the direction of the King. The truths of the Kingdom of God are called “mysteries,” which simply means that they are “secrets.” And these secrets are to be made known only to those whose hearts have been prepared to receive them. So what can we do but meditate upon them, write about them, talk about them, and trust God to open up the hearts of His people to receive the Word that God wants them to hear. Jesus Himself spoke in parables to the people; but He could only speak to them “as they were able to hear it” (Mk. 4:33).

 

2. The Storehouses. These were scattered throughout the land: in the fields, cities, villages, and towers. God has stewards for these also--to dispense these treasures to His people. Jehonathan was in charge of this, and we suspect that he was quite a popular man. He had riches to give to the people in their time of need. Asmaveth was just in charge of the King’s Treasures. Perhaps there was not too many who knew what riches he had in his trust. And what difference did it make? It was only for the King anyway--or so they thought. They were not interested in those far-out things! (At least this is the response we get sometimes, as we seek to relate to God’s people those things which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” the things that “God hath prepared for them that love him.”)

 

3. The Cultivators. Ezri was over the cultivators. Not too glorious a task, but at least everyone in Israel recognized that it was a very important task. That is more than can be said for God’s cultivators in the Church. Plowing the ground? Why waste your time on that? Get out into the fields where you can reap without any plowing! Invariably the evangelist gets the credit for what is harvested--and many times no one knows anything about the plowmen that went before and dug up the soil. Invariably the cultivator is considered to be wasting his time--and he too weeps over his futile efforts.

 

But in the end we can be assured that...

“The tears of the sower, And the song of the reaper, Will mingle together, in joy bye and bye...”

 

4. The Vineyards; 5. The Wine Cellars; 6. The Orchards; 7. The Oil Cellars. We will speak about these together, because they are somewhat related. God has in His Kingdom those who are qualified to bring forth the wine and the oil in the midst of His people.

 

“Wine that maketh glad the heart of man,

And oil to make his face to shine” (Ps. 104:15).

 

There are those who shine with the glory of God’s presence, and who bring the “glad tidings” of the Gospel to those in prison-houses of sin and darkness; those who can bring a spirit of rejoicing in the place of heaviness. The plowman may not be able to do that, nor is he to come under condemnation for his failure to do so.

 

Then there is the man in the wine cellar. His job is to pour the wines from one vessel to another, to drain off the dregs that the purest wine might come forth. He is entirely out of sight of the people. But he is very necessary if the people of God are going to remain fresh and full of life. Moab’s problem was that he “hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed” (Jer. 48:11). And so God said He would send pourers into their midst. I believe this must speak of true fellowship in the Spirit. To remain tightly sealed and preserved in our own little bottle makes for stagnation and sickliness. There must be a pouring forth unto others, a sharing one with another. Not just so much talk, but opening up the heart to one another as God may lead: in confession, in exhortation, in an acknowledgment of some aspect of God’s goodness or of His dealings. This in turn will bring forth a pouring from others. And so we give and receive, and give again. We are not talking about idle talk one with another, not everyone giving their little sermon. But an open, face-to-face, heart-to-heart ministration of the Spirit. We will not leave such gatherings the way we came, with the same taste, the same scent.

 

We cannot manufacture this type of fellowship, but we need to recognize our need for it, and ask the Lord to pour us from vessel to vessel that there might be the joy of the Lord in our midst, and the oil of His anointing.

 

8. The Herds Of Sharon; 9. The Herds Of The Valleys; 10. The Camels; 11. The Asses; 12. The Flocks Of Sheep. Here again we will speak of these together, so as to compare or contrast the one with the other.

 

The camels and the asses were the burden-bearers. Both were important: the asses for the smaller, local trips; and the camels for the long desert journeys to lands afar off. Their burdens may have been heavy and their trials very severe, but they were suited and equipped for the task. The keepers of the flocks and herds had a different task, and they could not take the place of the others. They must feed the cattle and the sheep to provide the food and clothing for the king’s household. Sharon was famous for its rich pasture lands, and the name has taken on prophetic significance for God’s people:

 

“And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, And the valley of Achor a place For the herds to lie down in, For my people that have sought me” (Isa. 65:10).

 

Herds of Sharon, and Herds of the Valley! God has His herds in both. Not only does He feed His own in the rich pasture lands of Sharon, but also in the valley of Achor. Now Sharon means “plain.” And we might be inclined at times to envy that one whose life seems to be unruffled, always on an even keel, always blessed with the sunshine of the open plains. But there are pasture lands in the valley of Achor also. Achor means “trouble.” Admittedly we bring a lot of trouble on ourselves, as Israel did in the time of Joshua when Achan sinned against the LORD and was punished in the valley of Achor. But whether our troubles are self-inflicted, or designed of the Lord for the refinement of our nature, God wants us to know that as we return to Him in weeping and mourning, we are going to find rich pasture lands in those areas of our lives which once caused us so much grief. Let us not take sides with Job’s comforters and condemn those who are in trouble and distress, when it might well be that God’s plan is to make a perfect man still more perfect, and to reveal Himself in a manner He has done before.

 

On the other hand, if it is because of judgment, then we can rejoice in the fact that God deals with us as with sons, and that His dealings are a token of His love for us. “For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.” Therefore let the troubled ones in our midst search their hearts and draw closer to God; for that is the purpose for which He allowed, or ordained, their troubles. And as they do, they will discover that God may have ordained greater glory and rest for them than He has for the herds who bask in the sun on the beautiful plains of Sharon.

 

“A place for the herds to lie down in, For my people that have sought me” (Isa. 65:10).

 

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, And the valley of Achor for a door of hope:

And she shall sing there, As in the days of her youth” (Hos. 2:15).

 

Therefore God says,

“That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know” (1 Thess. 3:3-4).

 

These officers recognized the task that lay before them, and they performed their duty without any thought of competing one with the other. The circumstances and trials as well as the joys of life have had much to do by way of preparing each one for that particular ministry and calling that God has in mind. For God has a purpose for each one, and only the unwise in our midst will judge who is doing the King’s business and who is wasting his time. As if the keeper of the herds would say, “After all, you must admit that I have the most important task of all!” Who would deny that his job was important? The king needed the cattle to provide meat for his table, and sacrifices for the priesthood. But he also needs the burden-bearers, the cultivators, and the guardians of the storehouses. Or can you imagine Jaziz who looked after the sheep taunting Joash, “Well, Joash my friend, how many sheep were added to your flock this year?” Of course Joash would have to reply: “Not one, I’m sorry to say... you see my job is to work in the cellars of oil.” Of course we cannot imagine that these men exalted themselves one over the other, but it is a true parable of what goes on in the Church. God hasten the day when He will take away that competitive spirit from His people, and especially from the ministry, and cause them to know that each person has a ministry and a place in the Body of Christ, as a “member in particular,” for the welfare of the whole Body. Obil the Ishmaelite was over the camels. He did not have a shepherd’s heart. He did not expect to be placed in charge of the sheep, or of the herds. But he did have the ability to look after the camels, to equip and prepare them for their journeys to distant lands, and to care for the ones that returned home, footsore and weary because of their long missionary activities.

 

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Cor. 12:27).

 

The Five Royal Ministries

 

Little is said of these ministries, but their position speaks for itself. They were especially close to the king and his household, and led his armies to victory over the enemy. (See 1 Chron. 27:32-34.)

 

1.         Counselor.

2.         Companion Of The King’s Sons.

3.         King’s Counselor.

4.         King’s Companion.

5.                  King’s General.

6.                   

These were special ministries requiring much wisdom, knowledge and understanding. But let us be assured that it is only a spiritual wisdom and understanding that God requires in the Body of Christ, and this enablement proceeds only from Him. We are not speaking about men who are able to give good counsel or good advice because of their learning; but men who by reason of Urim and Thummim which God has placed in the Body of Christ, shall be able to give that direction and guidance that God’s people must have in times of need and perplexity. Solomon tells us about a certain city that was delivered by the wisdom of a “poor wise man,” but whose wisdom was soon forgotten by those who dwelt in the city.

 

“Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength:

Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised,

And his words are not heard.

The words of wise men are heard in quiet

More than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

Wisdom is better than weapons of war” (Eccl. 9:16-18).

 

It is the same way in the Church. Good wisdom and counsel comes forth from the meek and the humble who know God and walk with Him. And instead of receiving it, men turn to those who have studied the art of “counselling.” The Church of Christ will never come to fullness and perfection without a ministration of spiritual wisdom and understanding. The gifts of the Spirit, known as a word of wisdom and a word of knowledge, are not sufficient in themselves. We must come to that place where the “spirit of wisdom and understanding” come to abide in God’s people in abundant fullness. It is not enough that a person can give a word of wisdom one moment, and the next moment continue to walk in his own ways. There must yet come forth in the Church a people who, like Jesus, are endued with the sevenfold Spirit of God and walk in the light of those “seven eyes of the Lamb”--a people who live, and move, and abide in the fullness of Christ.

 

The five royal ministries are very close to the heart of the king. These men had been with David in his rejection, and had known David’s many wars. But their greatness required of them greater dedication and greater responsibility for the new era of Solomon that was about to be ushered in, and not all of these men qualified. Ahithophel had great wisdom; but when he went against David, God turned his wisdom into foolishness. Abiathar was a priest in the Davidic era, and Joab was the general of David’s army. But both of these men took sides with treachery and rebellion. These are solemn warnings to God’s people everywhere, and especially to those who have gained a reputation for greatness in the Body of Christ. In the new order we must understand that spiritual achievements of the past will not, and cannot, guarantee an easy, automatic transition from the old into the new. It is much more likely that success will lead to pride of heart, than to a lowly and a contrite spirit. And when the heart is lifted up in pride, though it be in Lucifer son of the morning, very quickly is he brought down to the ground. Rudyard Kipling’s strong warning to Great Britain in the height of her glory is something we all need to be reminded of... lest we forget...

 

“The tumult and the shouting dies,

The captains and the kings depart;

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts be with us yet!

Lest we forget! Lest we forget!”

 

But why does our King need counselors? Not for His sake, but for the sake of His people. Our King needs those who share His counsels that they might in turn share His wisdom with the people. Can I not go to God for myself? True, and we must always have that open line of communication with the King. But in this hour of the tempering of the Body of Christ, God is revealing areas of great weakness in all of us, causing us to draw closer to Him and to one another. God is bringing forth a corporate Man in the earth. The great ones of the past must be brought low. The low and the despised He will exalt… yet in their exaltation they must still remain lowly and of a contrite heart. And this blending of the Body of Christ is designed of the Lord “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor. 12:25). God wants to bring us individually into a clear, open line of communication with Himself and we would encourage the Lord’s people to know this heritage is for them. But we have observed many who would go their own stubborn way and refuse the admonition of one who had a clear Word from the Lord, and end up in shipwreck. There are times when God cannot cause us to hear as we ought, and He may give a word through another, to turn our feet back to the paths of righteousness. And there are times when He wants to give us further confirmation concerning the way He is leading us.

 

May God lead us in pathways of obedience, and create a right spirit within us, that we might know the Voice of the Shepherd, whether He speaks to our heart in the quietude of our personal fellowship with Him or through the words of another member of the Body of Christ.

 

Only the ignorant would criticize Jonathan as he drove past the fields, riding in the king’s chariot. Or Jehiel as he strolled along, in communion with the king’s sons. Why were they not doing something profitable, like cultivating the fields or helping reap the harvests? Why were they wasting their time in idleness, while others were working feverishly with the sheep, or the camels, or the asses? But the king’s sons need companions for fellowship, and these men were doing what the king had appointed them to do.

 

He is not wasting his time, who waits for God’s hour to come to pass in his life. He is not standing idly by, who stands ready to do God’s will. He is not an unprofitable servant, who mingles with the King’s sons for fellowship and companionship.

 

These men may have been open to criticism by the hard workers in the orchards and vineyards, and by those who herded the cattle in the fields of Sharon. But they did not choose their lot. (Again, we are just speaking a parable. They knew what was going on... but God’s people in this hour are slow to comprehend.) Many a time they may have longed to do something that would seem profitable in their own eyes, and in the eyes of men. But now they have learned that they can do nothing, except as God does it through them. Because they have come to understand the heart of the King, and His desire for His sons, the King has seen fit to bring them into royal fellowship, that they might impart wisdom and understanding to His other sons. ...But not only do the King’s sons need fellowship, so does the King Himself. Jesus called twelve disciples that they might go forth and preach the gospel. But this was secondary; first of all we are told that He chose them “that they should be with him” (Mk. 3:14). We lose sight of this so often. Abraham became God’s “friend,” and that is how he learned many of God’s secrets. Jesus wanted the friendship of those with whom He could share God’s secrets. God has never had any problem getting servants to work for Him. But He has very few friends. What is the difference? The servant does not know what the King’s plan and purpose is, and often times cares less. He is just too busy working for God. But the friend is different. He is introduced into the counsels of God. He is not there to “advise” the Almighty. He is there to learn His secrets; and we need to know His secrets if we are to walk in peace and confidence before Him. There is therefore no frustration in the hour of apparent futility, and no panic in the hour of universal distress. He knows what God is doing. He knows that God’s plan cannot fail, and he can rest in that. Jesus said, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (Jn. 15:15).

 

But there is more to friendship with God than an understanding of His purposes. For in intimate fellowship with God we partake of His very image and likeness, and are vitally joined unto Him. His own nature and character is imprinted upon our lives, and God Himself makes His abiding place within. “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23). “We will come unto him,” Jesus said. He is not speaking about two different persons coming in to abide. We lose much if we start looking within and trying to discern that which is the voice of the Father, and that which is the voice of the Son. And Jesus was not implying anything like that. But because the Father and Son abide within, there begins to come forth in the hearts of His people the heart and mind of the Father: the One Who ever existed, Who knows and purposed the end from the beginning, the eternal One, the Origin of all things, and the One Who has a large family of sons and is greatly concerned about them. And yet at one and the same time there is the recognition that we are begotten of God: that like His Only Begotten we must learn obedience by the things that we are called upon to suffer... that we must like the Son live in utter dependence upon the Father... that in ourselves we “can do nothing.” In union with the Father we partake of His power, the outflow of His love, and a father-like concern and compassion for mankind, enabling us to flow forth unto them in mercy, in truth, in healing and delivering grace. But in and through it all we have the heart of the Son... living and moving in total helplessness, in total dependence upon Another, drawing from His heart, and walking in obedience and in the fear of God.

 

“Dear Lord! Make us to be Your friends! Draw us and we will run after You. We long to come into the fullness of Your presence, there to abide continually under Your shadow. Often we would despair of entering that holy realm because of the obstacles that lie in our pathway. And therefore we would pray, ‘Cause us to approach unto You... cause Your face to shine upon us... make us to know Your way.’ Looking at ourselves we know we shall never attain to that fullness of glory. But we turn our eyes heavenward, and embrace Your promise... ‘Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name’ (Rev. 3:12).”

 

David’s Charge To The Priests And Officers

 

In all that we are saying, our hope is that God’s people will be nurtured of the Lord, that we might be prepared for what God has in mind in this great hour. They said to Jesus just before His ascension, “Lord wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The important thing for them was to do what Jesus said: go to Jerusalem and wait upon God. Like the disciples, we want to get involved in His Kingdom... and we think it would help us if we knew when it was going to happen. Even if we knew the precise times and seasons of the Father, this would not prepare our hearts for what He would do. The most important thing for us right now is that God should prepare our hearts and cause us to know and recognize our real need--and that our need is not a case of getting more and more knowledge about future aspects of the Kingdom, but to come to meekness and poverty of spirit, which alone can qualify us for a place in that Kingdom.

 

And so as the kingdom of Solomon was about to emerge, David charged the people to proceed with the task that lay before them, and to walk in obedience to the LORD. To Solomon he gave this charge,

 

“And thou, Solomon my son, Know thou the God of thy father, And serve him with a perfect heart And with a willing mind” (1 Chron. 28:9).

 

Then David handed over to Solomon the complete plan of the Temple as he himself had received it from the LORD. Nothing was left to man’s imagination. Everything was set forth in clear and precise detail.

 

I think our greatest problem today is the fact that we are living in the last stages of the “Davidic Era” of the Church, and God is saying, “Just wait before Me in the Tent and know My Presence...”  But many are out there on Mount Moriah (as it were) trying to lay foundations and establish structures something like they had in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, not realizing that God has a glorious Temple in mind. God is certainly laying foundations of Truth in the hearts of His people; but let us not forget the bedrock foundation of the new Temple is in the place of the Burnt Offering, and it is on a Threshing Floor. It is there where men and women are totally dedicated to God, through sacrifice, to do His will; and who, in consequence of this dedication, are being subjected to the flaying of the grain that the wheat might be separated from the chaff, gathered into the garner, and later subjected to the mills of God. If we recognized this, we would be far more zealous to see God’s people come to the threshing floor where they give their all to Him, than to promote our schemes and visions and plans for the building of “temples” made of wood, and glass, and stone.

 

Solomon’s Kingdom Established

2 Chronicles 1 and 1 Kings 1-4

 

Solomon’s first act upon coming to the throne was to seek the LORD his God. Together with the officers of Israel he went up to the high place at Gibeon where the brazen altar was situated, before the Tabernacle of Moses. There must be a total commitment unto God at the altar of burnt offering. The way of the burnt offering is the only sure and safe way of knowing God’s will--His perfect will. There God appeared to Solomon and said, “Ask what I shall give thee?” God knew what Solomon needed. He knows what we need. But often times He will leave the choice with us... hoping we will make the right choice. When God promises, “Ask what ye will, and it shall be done,” I wonder if we realize that God is not only offering to supply every need, but He is also subjecting us to a very severe test! How we need God to search our hearts, for when He searches there is no escape from His all-seeing eye:

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart:

Try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

 

Solomon said, “Give me now wisdom and knowledge... for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?”

 

I wonder sometimes how many have fasted and prayed earnestly for power--and got it--often times to their own destruction? The wisdom and knowledge Solomon prayed for was not to build up his ego, but that he might know how to rule over God’s people. Solomon’s request pleased the LORD, and God gave him his request, and added much more than he asked for. It was this divinely imparted wisdom that thoroughly established Solomon’s kingdom. It was through wisdom and knowledge that God established the heavens and the earth in their courses (Prov. 3:19)... and when He arises to establish the true wisdom and knowledge of God in the Church, we are going to see God’s intention realized far beyond our expectations.

 

We really do not need to know too much about His intention for the future phase of His Kingdom. What is His intention right now? It is... “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ... [Before we go on, let us notice this: the purpose of ministry is to bring the saints as a Body into the work of ministry that the whole Body might be edified. But let us go on.].... till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13). “Perfection” is a scary word in the Church. Because we all know... nobody can be perfect. So there are all kinds of plausible definitions of the word, to cushion the stumbling block. But God tells us what the standard is, for the perfection, the maturity, the character that He has in mind. It is the measure of the stature of the fullness (the completeness) of Christ Himself, For the incredulous, I would just say: read this passage in any version you have; and for the faint-hearted I would remind you: this is not your work, it is the working of your High Priest in the Heavens, Who rules from the throne of glory, and Who has all power in heaven and earth to mediate the New Covenant--even this portion of it--to His people in the earth.

 

The Construction Of The Temple Begins

 

As we consider the temple structure, of course, we are only concerned about the Temple “not made with hands,” for this is the only Temple that has eternal significance.

 

“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne,

And the earth is my footstool:

Where is the house that ye build unto me?

And where is the place of my rest?

For all those things hath mine hand made,

And all those things have been, saith the LORD:

But to this man will I look,

Even to him that is poor,

And of a contrite spirit,

And trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:1-2).

 

Solomon himself fully recognized that it was just a place for God’s glorious and awesome Name. And in this day when there is so much excitement about the possibility of Israel rebuilding a temple of wood and stone, an excitement that is equally shared by both natural Israel and the Church, we must remind God’s people over and over again that God’s Name has been called upon a people in the earth destined to come forth in His image and likeness, And that we, in union with a redeemed and regenerated Israel, “are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). This is the only habitation that is compatible with the heart of God anywhere in the Universe. And when God finds His place there, He is totally at rest, and desires no other temple.

 

Zion Takes On Enlargement

 

As we pointed out earlier, when God established Zion as the place of His “rest” in the time of David, Zion became something eternal in the heart of God. It was to be eternally “The City of the Great King.” When the Ark moves from Zion to Mount Moriah where the temple of Solomon was built, it was still Zion. When Israel went into captivity, it was Zion that went into captivity. When they came out of captivity, it was because “the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion.” God had said, “This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Ps. 132:14). Later through the prophet God said, “O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian” (Isa. 10:24). Of course there were not too many people living up there on the slopes of Zion where David had pitched his tent. But now it means “the people of God.” Finally, when Jesus came on the scene, and suffered the anguish of the Cross, God laid in Zion “a chief corner stone, elect, precious” (1 Pet. 2:6), even as Isaiah had prophesied. (See Isa. 28:16.) Even the Old Testament prophets recognized this enlarged concept of Zion, as it related to them. But a greater problem arose in the New Testament when the apostles and teachers began to speak of a still greater concept of Zion, and a greatly enlarged sphere of activity in the new “mount... the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). Men loathe to relinquish their hopes and dreams into heavenly realms, because this would seem to be too ethereal, too unreal. And this can only be because we cannot believe that the real things are the things we cannot see, and the real life is the life we cannot see. It is this life, this earth, this Jerusalem that is in bondage with her children... these are the things that are unreal. The throne of Zion is real, eternal, actual, immoveable, and Israel’s Messiah is ruling and reigning on that throne now, on the eternal throne of David. (See Acts 2:29-35; Ps. 110:1-7; 1 Cor. 15:25.) This is the clear teaching and consensus of God’s holy apostles who wrote the New Testament scriptures. Or are we going to accuse the apostles, as they do us, for just spiritualizing Zion to prove a doctrinal issue? As one searches the writings of the apostles, in vain will we discover, after the resurrection of Christ, any other Zion but the heavenly, spiritual Zion, the New Jerusalem, the City of the living God. And not only so, but as the apostles with the spiritual revelation they had looked back into the Old Testament, they recognized that Abraham himself looked for that same City, that the prophets “foretold of these days” (Acts 3:24), and that “these days” are the days in which we live (1 Pet. 1:11-12).

 

The Surpassing Beauty Of The Temple

 

We recognize at once from the plans of the Temple that it was built with a very fundamental likeness to the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. But the Temple was to be a permanent structure, greatly enlarged and beautified, exceedingly magnificent to behold, and of glory and fame throughout all nations. In the former tent there was really no beauty to behold from without; just a rough exterior covering like a tent, and the whole area surrounded with a linen fence hanging on posts. But it did have a cloud of glory hovering over it by day, which became a pillar of fire by night. The Temple on the other hand was glorious to behold, without as well as within. We have emphasized much that by nature we are as “nothing”...just “vessels,” just “channels,” through whom God would work. And this is true. But God wants His own life and His own glory to shine forth. He is creating a people in the image of His Son... that when people behold Christ’s many brethren, they will see the Christ. He has promised there would be a day when the nations would see His salvation, and not only read about it, or hear about it. He is crying aloud with creative voice: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee” (Isa. 60:1). He “will not rest” till the righteousness of Zion goes forth “as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth” (Isa. 62:1).

 

The beauty of God’s Temple is not the beauty of human achievement, it is “the beauty of the LORD.” The stones from the quarry, even in their finished condition, were probably not too breathtaking in appearance. The brazen wheel of the laver, taken from the clay where the brass was poured, may not have been too exciting to behold. The cedar timbers, peeled and squared and shaped, really had no great beauty in themselves. To look upon this mass of material around the Temple area, it must have seemed like total confusion. But when Solomon and the master-workmen in their wisdom took the various members of the Temple and fitted them together, the building was so glorious it caused kings and nations to stand in awe and admiration. The time is past when any individual, in virtue of his great gifts and wisdom, is going to flaunt his glory in the eyes of men. But when God is finished hewing the rocks and squaring the wooden timbers, and joins them together in His own wisdom and skill,

 

THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON (See 2 Diagrams)

Sot.JPG

SOLSTEM.gif

 

then adorns the building with the precious glittering stones of His own grace and glory, and applies the golden lining of His nature and character within... the nations of the world are going to stand in awe and fear before Him. For it is God’s wisdom that shall be revealed, and His own glory that shall shine forth. Therefore God says,

 

“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness,

And all kings thy glory:

And thou shalt be called by a new name,

Which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

Thou shalt also be a crown of glory

In the hand of the LORD,

And a royal diadem

In the hand of thy God” (Isa. 62:2-3).

 

It must always have been a great thrill to the weary pilgrims as they approached the holy city, and saw the beautiful Temple glittering in the sun. And perhaps they would sing,

 

“I was glad when they said unto me,

Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Our feet shall stand within thy gates,

O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is builded as a city

That is compact together:

Whither the tribes go up,

The tribes of the LORD” (Ps. 122:14).

 

The Temple had everything in principle that existed in the old Tabernacle; but there was much more. Everything was on an enlarged and more magnificent scale: walls of wood and stone rather than curtains… a magnificent brazen altar... a beautiful brazen sea resting on 12 oxen rather than a laver... and ten smaller lavers resting on ten wagons. The cherubim in the holy of holies spread their wings in a flying position, reaching from wall to center, and center to the other wall. (We must speak of these later.) There were ten candlesticks instead of one... ten tables of shewbread instead of one... And then there were chambers about the Temple, three stories high: with the first, second, and third floors connected with winding staircases. Also above the holy of holies there was an area known as “the upper chambers” which were overlaid with gold, and of which we know practically nothing.

 

The whole interior of the sanctuary was lined with cedar wood and overlaid with plates of gold, and beautifully garnished with precious stones. Even the floors, which were of cypress wood, were overlaid with plates of gold. From the outside, as you approached the Temple, there were two large pillars of brass, almost four feet in diameter, one on each side of the entrance. These were beautifully wrought with ornamental brass, or bronze, resembling lily petals, and adorned with chains of brass and pomegranates.

 

It would be doubtful if it would be possible to build such a structure today, when one considers the amount of gold and silver and precious stones that would be required. It would have to cost several billion dollars, even if the materials were available. Herod the Great may have tried to duplicate it when he built the temple for the Jews, which took 46 years to complete. And Justinian boasted, “Solomon, I have outdone thee” when he exulted in the building of Hagia Sophia, once the Church of the Holy Wisdom, but now a Moslem Shrine.

 

How sad that the Church of Jesus Christ has never been able to see beyond the gold and the silver and the costly stones, and the beautiful works of their own hands... and to recognize that the true riches are eternal, spiritual, heavenly. True, God ordained it for Solomon’s Temple... but only as a type and shadow of the things that are real-the heavenly things. It is all symbolic of a far greater, spiritual Temple that God is erecting, “the Church which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” And God help us as we consider some of these types and shadows, that our real quest may be for the “true riches”—“the knowledge of Him”--and not merely to attain to some kind of knowledge that does not edify. May we receive that instruction and revelation that will enable us to see Christ in a greater way, that we might show forth the beauty of the Lord in our lives.

 

Ascending Realms In The Temple

 

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness was laid out on a horizontal plane. There were no steps involved from one area to another, but the priests proceeded from the outer court, into the holy places and from there into the holy of holies, on one horizontal plane.

 

The Temple on the other hand was built on a mountain, called Moriah. And therefore the prophet Isaiah, speaking of the new Temple not made with hands, declares:

 

“And it shall come to pass in the last days,

That the mountain of the LORD’S house

Shall be established in the top of the mountains,

And shall be exalted above the hills;

And all nations shall flow unto it” (Isa. 2:2).

 

Also, we find that the priests’ court was higher than the great court. (See Jer. 36:10.) We do not know how much higher; but in the vision Ezekiel had, he mentions seven steps leading up to the great court, and then eight steps from there to the priests court. The Temple itself was built on a large foundation that would elevate it a few steps higher.

 

This “ascending” principle is taught in many places in the Word. The 15 psalms from Psalm 120 to 134 are called “Songs of Degrees” or “Songs of Ascending.” They have been called Pilgrim Songs, and were believed to have been sung by the pilgrims as they made their way “upward” toward Jerusalem for worship and sacrifice, and to keep the feasts of the LORD in their season. In the old order of the Tabernacle there was no “going up.” But God is preparing a people who are going to experience the life of the heavenlies. As they learn to put on and use the whole armor of God they are going to be able to penetrate the walls that principalities and powers have erected to hinder the conquest of our heavenly heritage. Not only will they ascend the mountain, but as we enter into priestly ministry and service, there is an ascending from one realm to another, on the 15 steps of our approach to God.

 

Let us not think it strange, therefore, that the first step in the “Songs of Ascending” begins with this matter of “distress.” “It my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me” (Ps. 120:1) This is one thing that is common in this day and hour concerning the people who have caught a vision of the Holy City, and who have heard the call to “Come up higher...” And when we hear that call, let us be prepared to “go lower”... for this is God’s way of bringing us higher. God’s people are knowing all manner of distress, frustration, perplexity, sickness, and calamity of one kind or another--strange dealings of the Lord. Be encouraged! This is but the first step. There are 14 steps more, And the weary pilgrim must know and experience many strange things before he eventually stands in the house of the LORD in Psalm 134. He must experience peace in the midst of war... come to know the LORD as his helper and keeper... experience the joy of fellowship with others who are travelling the same pathway... have his vision enlarged concerning the City that is “compact together,” as member is joined to member in the Body of Christ... learn much waiting upon the LORD, as he seeks to know His ways and walk with Him... experience Divine protection against the waters that would overwhelm him, and come to know the strength that there is on Mount Zion... rejoice in the turning again of his captivity... recognize that he can do nothing, absolutely nothing, by way of building with God, “except the LORD build the house”... learn to walk in His ways and come forth triumphant over affliction and testing... and in and through it all, come to know the comfort of God’s promise, and the hope that cannot fail.

 

For if we are to go forward in this day and hour of the new Temple, we must also go upward with God into higher realms of the Spirit, And the only way to ascend is to first of all know how to descend... like the Son of God Himself. It is a realm in God that few have known... but God wants to bring a people into it. There are breadths and lengths in the expanses of God’s love that we have heard about. But what do we know about the “depth and the height” that Paul speaks about? (See Eph. 3:18.) It is still another realm that we must explore, though we know little about it now.

 

God said to Abraham, “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it” (Gen. 13:17). That was in the early part of his experience with God. But in the fullness of God’s dealings with him, God would take him higher and higher, even to the top of Mount Moriah (and even as he climbed the mountain he was going lower and lower in realms of selflessness and abasement). There he began to see somewhat of the “depth and height” of God’s love for him, and of His purposes; but he would explore this realm only in the place of “sacrifice”--a very grievous kind of “sacrifice”--here on the top of Mount Moriah. We are talking about ascending steps unto “the mountain of the LORD’s house.”

 

“Lord, may our exploration into realms of truth, and our desire for increased revelation, be tempered with the realization that as we enter the outer court of this new realm in God, on Mount Moriah, the first place we take our stand is on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, the very spot where Abraham had offered his son Isaac on the altar many centuries before. But rather than frightening us, may this revelation encourage us to know that it is only as we give You our all, that we too shall see Your Day, and be glad!”

 

Abiding Places In The Temple

 

We speak of climbing the steps one by one into the various areas of the Temple. But as we do, God would incorporate us into that Temple that we might abide there forever with Him:

 

“Him that overcometh will I make A pillar in the temple of my God, And he shall go no more out” (Rev. 3:12).

 

Paul tells us that we are to grow “unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:2 1).

 

The Temple faced the east, like the Tabernacle of old, for God wants us to be constantly anticipating the dawn of the new day, and the rising of the Sun of Righteousness. Surrounding the Temple on the north, west, and south, there were chambers attached to the Temple walls, and linked together with a system of galleries and staircases. These chambers were in three stories, which one entered on the south, and then went up by a winding stairway into the second floor, and from the second floor into the third floor.

 

Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions [or literally, ‘abiding-places’]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn. 14:2). The word mansion in Verse two is the same as the word abode in verse 23. These chambers were in three stories because the true Temple above, and yet to be manifested in the earth, is also in three stories. Paul on one occasion was caught up “into the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2). There are first, second, and third realms in God, the number three speaking of full growth and development. Therefore in the manifestation of truth there is a threefold unfolding: “first the blade, then the ear, and afterward the full corn in the ear.” It is the yearning of God’s Spirit that we do not come short of full development, the third phase; because that is the whole purpose for which God has saved us and brought us where we are now: redeemed and justified and enriched with spiritual graces and gifts... but not yet fully matured. It is only in the third realm that God finds in us the full intention of His heart. Because it is only in the “full corn in the ear” that the original Seed (which is Christ) that was planted in our hearts, has come forth in full reproduction. It is only then that Man has come back to the image of God. It is only then that God has a family of many sons, each one fashioned after the image of His Only Begotten.

 

Holy Of Holies And The Upper Chambers

 

We spoke of the holy of holies, the place of God’s glorious presence, earlier in this writing. Here again we have the holy of holies in this enlarged and beautified Temple. But something else is mentioned here, simply described as “the upper chambers.” This is about all we know about this area.

 

How we would like to know more about some of these secrets that are hidden in the Word! There is a “secret place of the Most High” that God has made available to His own (Ps. 91:1). There is a life that is “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). David also said, “He shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me” (Ps. 27:5).

 

We may never know too much about some of these obscure patterns of the Temple of Solomon. But it is far more important that we come to experience those secret places in God where He would bring His friends. “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him” (Ps. 25:14). Jesus said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Lk. 10:2 1). And the Lord says of His Bride:

 

“O my dove,

That art in the clefts of the rock,

In the secret places of the stairs,

Let me see thy countenance,

Let me hear thy voice” (Song 2:14).

 

We may get discouraged as we seek to enter this glorious realm. Where is the stairway? If we only knew where the stairway is, we could begin our ascent. But we must learn what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” We will only discover the stairway as we follow closely in His footsteps. There is no other way.

 

Jacob saw the stairway in the distress of his heart, as he slept on the open fields in the darkness of the night at Bethel. Upon awakening he knew instinctively that he had received a revelation of “God’s House”; and so he called the place “Bethel.” He also saw God Himself; but He was still beyond his reach, at the top of the staircase. Jacob must know the weariness and frustration of many years of labor before he would come to Peniel and see the face of God. And that night at Peniel, when Jacob was left alone, and when he had surrendered all that he had acquired and accumulated through many years of hard toil, God Himself came down from that staircase and met with Jacob in a face-to-face confrontation that lasted till the breaking of the day. It is going to take this, beloved, for our name and nature to be changed to “Israel,” which means “Prince of God,” or “Power with God.”

 

The Cherubim Of Glory

 

Towering above the mercy seat in the holy of holies were two large cherubim made of an olive tree, overlaid with pure gold. They were not in a state of inactivity, like the cherubim in the old Tabernacle. But they were standing on their feet, with wings outstretched as if in readiness to fly. The former ark of the covenant that rested in Moses’ tabernacle was also there in the holy of holies in Solomon’s Temple, underneath the extended and outstretched wings of the cherubim made of olive wood. But the staves were drawn out. The ark had found her final resting place. Nevertheless, God had given David a plan of a chariot for the cherubim rather than staves. (See 1 Chron. 28:18.)

 

Idleness... inactivity… ease and contentment... waiting around doing nothing? This is the concept that many have of God’s people who have caught the vision of the “glorious Church,” the new Temple. But no! It’s time for the butterfly to emerge from the cocoon. Let the other worms continue to crawl around the ground doing their own thing. Perhaps they are going as fast as they can, and travelling as far as they can in as little time as possible. But God continues to shut others up in the cocoon of His dealings, that they might know and experience--in the fullness of His workings--the life of the heavenlies and the activity of the spiritual world. God has a chariot for the cherubim! As in Solomon’s Temple, the wings of the cherubim are spread wide, ready for flight. Not to fly away from it all, in order to find security from the storms of life in some hidden recess of Heaven! But to engage in true spiritual warfare in “heavenly places” that will eventuate in total victory for the people of God over principalities and powers in the heavenlies. And having waged a good warfare, they “stand” in triumph with the conquering Lamb on Mount Zion! (We will pursue this study of the cherubim further in Chapter 4.)

 

The Two Brazen Pillars

2 Chronicles 3:15-17

 

Standing on either end of the porch that formed the vestibule of the Temple there were two large pillars made of bronze, to which Solomon gave the names of Jachin and Boaz.

 

Now the right and the left sides of the Temple are determined by the Lord’s position, as He sits enthroned between the mercy seat. It is not right and left from our viewpoint from the outside looking in, but from God’s viewpoint, and that of the priests, from the inside looking out. (The brazen sea was on the right side of the east end, over against the south. Quite evidently if we were on the outside of the gate looking in, and the sea was on the east end toward the south, we would be viewing it as on our left. See 2 Chron. 4:10.) We simply emphasize this because God wants us to see the Tabernacle and all the Temples from His viewpoint, and not from ours. It is His Temple, not ours. We are bought with a price, we are not our own. We are His workmanship. He is the Master Workman, and it is He who is masterminding all the intricacies of His glorious Temple. We are but “workers together with Him.” And our redemption is for His glory, and not for ours.

 

And so we want to emphasize that Boaz is the name of the pillar that stood on the left side of the entrance to the porch of the Temple, and Jachin on the right side (left and right from God’s viewpoint, looking out). God’s emphasis is on Jachin. But  before we consider the meaning of the pillars, let us describe  them briefly.

 

The pillars were cylindrical in shape, of hollow structure, and on the top of each pillar was a capital, ornamented with lily petals. Then on top of the capital a “pommel” covered with chains, from which were suspended two rows of pomegranates, with a hundred in each row, making 200 pomegranates on each pillar.

 

The word “pommel” is translated “bowl” by some translators, as in Zechariah 4:2 where the prophet had the vision of the bowl of oil. So these “pommels” may have been large bowl-shaped vessels containing oil; and the pillars themselves huge fire-altars or cressets, with the flames kept alive by huge wicks that were placed in the bowls. If this were so, the faint glow of the flames would have illuminated the stone facade of the porch; and the smoke of the incense in the oil would drift lazily over the columns, and perhaps hang suspended at times over the Temple, reminding the Israelites of the pillar of the cloud and fire that hovered over the old Tabernacle in the days of their wanderings.

 

The pomegranates hanging from the chains would remind Israel of God’s faithfulness to His promise. The pomegranate is a fruit that is full of seeds, with each seed a little fruit in itself, and yet together but one fruit. It takes multitudes of them in corporate unity to form the fruit. God’s promise was: “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore” (Gen. 22:17); a promise that was fulfilled in the days of Moses and Joshua. (See Deut. 1:10; 10:22; 28:62.) Not that God has two Israels--an earthly and a heavenly--but within the one Israel there has always been a mixture of the earthly and the heavenly; and God’s desire has been to bring them out of the natural and carnal, and into heavenly realities. The pomegranates hanging from the chains of bronze at the top would give constant reminder to the people of God that their God was a covenant keeping Jehovah Who had brought them into the land of promise (a land of milk and honey and grapes and pomegranates), and Who had increased their numbers as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. But it is in the names of these two pillars that we discover their real significance. Looking at them from inside the Temple, we have BOAZ on the Left, and JACHIN on the Right:

 

BOAZ -- “In Him is Strength”              JACHIN -- “He will Establish”

 

God wants us to know that He is able and that He will do it. Many will read the scriptures and begin to question what God said, or openly deny that it can happen. They consider it to be their democratic right to choose for themselves. But God says that to doubt Him is to speak against Him... and to limit God is to tempt Him... and to tempt Him is to provoke Him. (See Ps. 78:19, 41, 56.) We need to thoroughly embrace these two pillars. We need to know that He is able and that He is faithful to do what He said. We need to know that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Man has always found a problem with either the one or the other pillar--or both. The man with the epileptic son doubted His ability: “If thou canst do any thing...” But Jesus immediately replied, “If thou canst believe...” (Mk. 9:22-23). The real problem was not if Jesus was able to heal the boy, but was the man able to believe.

 

The whole substance of God’s Covenant is bound up in who He is and what He will perform. And they form a perfect pair because in the revelation of the Name of the Most High God, it is God’s plan and purpose to reveal and to bring into being in His people, that which He is inherently in Himself. All that He is in Himself, He desires to become that in His people. This is the fullness of the inheritance, when God Himself becomes our reward and He writes His own Name upon the foreheads of His people. This is why He has revealed Himself as having many names; and yet in the final analysis all the various titles and names of God are contained and are inherent in that one great Name, whom we call JEHOVAH. But He has added certain appendages to that Name from time to time that His people might have greater confidence, and that they might know that their particular need is not beyond His ability to satisfy.

 

         BOAZ                                   JACHIN

In Him Is Strength                 He Will Establish

      His Name                               His Promise

Jehovah-Hoseenu                     LORD our Maker                    Ps. 95:6

Jehovah-Jireh                           LORD will Provide                   Gen. 22:14

Jehovah-Ropheca                     LORD that Healeth                   Ex. 15:26

Jehovah-Nissi                           LORD my Banner                    Ex. 17:15

Jehovah-Mekaddishken            LORD doth Sanctify                 Ex. 31:13

Jehovah-Elohay                        LORD my God                        Zech. 14:5

Jehovah-Shalom                       LORD send Peace                   Judg. 6:24

Jehovah-Rohi                           LORD my Shepherd                 Ps. 23:1

Jehovah-Tsidkeenu                   LORD our Righteousness         Jer. 23:6

Jehovah-Shahmmah                  LORD is There             Ezek. 48:35

 

There may be other such combinations. But in all of these covenant Names of Jehovah He would have us to know that what HE IS He desires to BECOME that very thing to, and in, His people.

 

Now the Lord Jesus came to earth in the fullness of time to make known Jehovah’s Name, the Father’s Name, to His people. In the above list we have spelled out Jehovah’s Name in the various titles He gave Himself in the Old Testament. This is faulty, but how else can we humans spell out God’s Name in our language, in a way we could pronounce it, and in faint measure understand it? In fact we are told that the Hebrew scribes did not even attempt to spell out the Name of God in a pronounceable word, but left it without any vowels: “YHWH”; and that when they came across that awesome Name in the scriptures they would just say “Adonai” which corresponds to our word “Lord.” (Note: in our Authorized Version of the Bible, when the name Lord is capitalized as “LORD,” it is to indicate that the writer used the word “Jehovah,” or “Yahweh.”) The ancient scribes and teachers in Israel considered it an unutterable, unspeakable Name! And so Jesus came to reveal that glorious and awesome Name, and do what learned scribes and prophets and sages were unable to do. Jesus came to reveal the Father’s Name! If space would permit we could fill many pages showing how every one of the Jehovah-Titles enumerated above were clearly written out by our Lord Jesus; not in the Hebrew, or Greek, or Aramaic symbols, but in His life, and ministry, and death, and resurrection, and ascension.

 

Jesus said, “O righteous Father... I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it” (Jn. 17:25-26).

 

His earthly ministry alone did not bring forth the fullness of this revelation, and so He added, “I will declare it.” How did He do it? In everything He said, in everything He did, in everything He was, He was declaring unto men the covenant Name of Jehovah God.

 

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation” (Heb. 6:18). The two immutable things are: the oath and the promise. The oath is based upon His own Name, His very character. And because of WHO HE IS... He gives THE PROMISE. He is saying, “This is Who I am, and therefore this is what I will do.”

 

This may help us understand that strange scripture in Psalm 138:2: “For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” A word is the expression of the thought, the intention of the mind. And therefore Jesus, God’s Word made flesh, is the full expression of the heart and mind of God. In this declaration of the psalmist we are told that God has magnified His Word above His Name. God is clearly teaching us that He is more to be glorified in revealing Himself and making Himself known to His creation, than He is in standing alone and apart in solitary isolation! And this explains the whole mystery of the Fall and of Redemption! God must reveal Himself His heart cries out for a way in which He can show Himself forth unto His creatures in the full expression of all that He is in Himself, And in MAN alone, of all His created beings, was He able to find that vehicle of expression... I mean in the Second Man, the Last Adam Who is the very Logos of God... the full expression of God in human form.

 

“O the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!”

 

And so Jachin must be placed at the right side of the Temple, and Boaz on the Left. Jesus is enthroned at the right hand of God. The going forth, and the expression of Who He is, must have the preeminent place. For God is more to be praised and honored and glorified as He flows forth in the Logos of His redemptive purposes, than He could ever be in the hidden, unutterable, unrevealed Name of JHWH... no matter how well we might try to write that Name, or utter it.

 

The Brazen Sea

 

“Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim” (2 Chron. 4:2).

 

The Sea was constructed of solid bronze, shaped like a large bowl with a brim, and ornately decorated around the brim with the likeness of lily blossoms and two rows of knops or colocynths under the brim. The Sea was ten cubits in diameter, five cubits high. And the brim was a handbreadth thick. It rested on 12 oxen; the oxen so standing that three looked toward the East, three to the West, three to the North, and three to the South, with their hinderparts inward.

 

“And he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward over against the south” (1 Kin. 7:39).

 

The Sea, along with the ten lavers, was for ceremonial washings connected with the burnt offerings and sacrifices of the Temple. Water could be dipped out from the top, or perhaps by tapping it from below.

 

John in Revelation saw the true Sea that brings ultimate cleansing to God’s people: “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal” (Rev. 4:6).

 

THE BRAZEN SEA (See Diagram:)

Brazensea.jpg

 

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” (Rev. 15:2).

 

There are two kinds of cleansing mentioned in the scriptures: cleansing by water, and cleansing by fire. The earth that was cursed must undergo this twofold cleansing and purging: first by water (the Flood); and eventually by fire. The old earth once “destroyed” by water came forth a renewed earth; but only in its external form. It is now reserved for a “destruction” by fire, this time so thorough that “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). God says, “All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my Jealousy” (Zeph. 3:8). But then he promises something very wonderful: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent” (v. 9). The psalmist also saw the desolations that the LORD would bring to the earth through fire, and His exaltation among the heathen because of His judgments:

 

“The heathen raged, The kingdoms were moved:

He uttered his voice, The earth melted.”

Then what, after the earth “melted”?

“Come, behold the works of the LORD,

What desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease

Unto the end of the earth;

He breaketh the bow,

And cutteth the spear in sunder;

He burneth the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God:

I will be exalted among the heathen,

I will be exalted in the earth.

The LORD of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Ps. 46:6-11).

 

God’s people must know this purging, cleansing fire of God; that when His fire begins to purge the earth there will be a people in the midst of it all, walking in union with the Son of God like the three Hebrew children in the furnace of fire that was heated seven times more than it ever had been before. Seven times more. For although it has been the lot of God’s people to know affliction and tribulation from the very beginning, and Paul tells us that His people are “appointed to tribulation,” in the end-time there will be a greater measure of tribulation than ever before. And with that greater measure of tribulation there will be a greater measure of the grace of God causing His people to overcome in the midst of it. And what to the world is wrath and destruction, to His people it will be a refining and a purifying... “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purifier the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness” (Mal. 3:3). This is the particular working of the Lord when He comes “suddenly” to His Temple. He is “like refiner’s fire” and “like fuller’s soap”. The fuller could make a beautiful job with the potash and the nitre that he used for his work; but it is going to take the fire of the seven eyes of the Lamb, the fire of transfiguration glory, to do the thorough job that God must do in His people. And the garments of the people who come into union with Him shall be “shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them” (Mk. 9:3). The cleansing work of redemption is in the blood; but only the Spirit of God can apply the cleansing of the blood to the hearts and minds of His people. We must bathe in the brazen sea of His Living Word. The sea is “mingled with fire.” And this fire will thoroughly cleanse and purge the inner man from all sin and defilement.

 

The deluge that destroyed the earth is likened in scripture to water baptism, which was an external cleansing by water. (See 1 Pet. 3:2 1.) But we need another baptism, and we need it before the earth receives her baptism of fire, or I am afraid we will not be able to minister or in any way deliver a Church that is swiftly going to experience the fires of Tribulation.

 

John the Baptist was sent of the Lord to minister the baptism of water unto repentance. But John prophesied there would come another baptism: “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” The fire of God is not intended to make a person excited, or noisy, or acrobatic... the fire of God is something that will burn deeply within, bringing repentance and godly sorrow... and that will burn up the dross so completely and thoroughly that God’s priests will be able to “offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” The baptism of fire will make us holy.

 

“And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (Isa. 4:3-4). Then what follows?

 

“And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night” (vs. 5).

 

We believe we are fast approaching the hour of this mighty baptism, which is not another but the fullness, of which we have only had a small portion. We have craved after the power of this baptism, but too often we have not been concerned about having the fire. And therefore we have not received too much of either. But in that day we shall discover that the Power is in the Fire.

 

God says, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar” (Joel 2:17). This is where the brazen sea was located in Solomon’s Temple. God is saying, “Let My people come to the Sea that is mingled with fire... then they shall walk on the sea, and the fire that has cleansed them shall keep them clean, and shall make them immune to all the fiery darts of the evil one.”

 

This old hymn of the Church is almost out of date, but we need to pray it again and again...

 

“God of Elijah hear our cry!

Send the Fire, send the Fire, send the Fire!

‘Twill make us fit to live or die,

Send the Fire, send the Fire, send the Fire!

To burn up every trace of sin,

To bring the Light and Glory in;

The Revolution now begin!

Send the Fire, send the Fire, send the Fire!”



 
 



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