GOD'S TEMPLE WORSHIP SYSTEM

SACRIFICES, OFFERINGS, AND THE PRIESTHOOD

Church sacrifice and offerings

From what is recorded in the New Testament, it is clear that all of the various sacrifices and rituals of the earthly temple system of worship given to ancient Israel were symbolic of some higher meaning that is a part of the Father's heavenly worship system. Moreover, all of the objects in the court of the earthly tabernacle and within the sanctuary were symbolic of  things in heaven. All of these had a literal and a symbolic meaning for the nation of  Israel, and they have a literal and a symbolic meaning for the  Father's elect who are his  priests and temples on earth today:

"Now concerning the things which we have spoken of  this is the sum: We have a high priest, who is setting at the right hand of the Majesty whose throne is in the heavens; and he is the servant  of the sanctuary, and of  the true tabernacle which was built by the Lord,  not by man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; therefore, it is of necessity that this man have something  also to offer. Because if  he  were on earth, he would not be a priest, because there are priests that make offerings according to the law: And these serve as an example and shadow of heavenly things. As noted when God cautioned Moses before he built the tabernacle, saying, be careful that you make all these things according to the pattern that you were shown on the mountain" (Heb.8:1-5 Para.).

The temple system of worship that the Creator God gave to ancient Israel was patterned after the Sovereign God's heavenly temple and its system of  worship. Moreover, this is the pattern that will be used for all future worship of the Father after the return of Christ. Because the scriptures show that God is to be  worshiped, served and communicated with through a temple and its accompanying sacrifices and rituals, it behooves the elect of God to understand the literal and symbolic meanings that are associated with this temple system of worship.

The temple worship system that the Creator God gave to national Israel required that certain ordinances, rituals, offerings, and sacrifices be performed in order to establish and maintain a harmonious relationship between him and his chosen people. When the Creator God came to earth as the Messiah and gave himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity,  his sacrificial blood established a harmonious relationship between God the Father and his elect children. It is through the office of Jesus Christ as  high priest and his sacrificial blood that a harmonious relationship between his Father and the Father's elect children is maintained.

Under the Father's agreement with his elect children during the gospel age of salvation, the elect are his priests who serve him in his  temples on earth. Because they are royal priests of his household, they are responsible for administering his worship system on earth under the direction of Jesus Christ who is their high priest.

WITHIN THE COURT AND SANCTUARY

Within the court and sanctuary of  the tabernacle were many objects that were necessary  in order for the priesthood to administer God's worship system and to act as a bridge between the Creator God and the Israelites.

In the court before the sanctuary, there was a brass basin full of water to be used for various washing rituals. There was also a wooden altar overlaid with brass on which various sacrifices and offerings for the atonement of sin and voluntary Peace Offerings were to be burned.

Within the first room of the sanctuary, there was the golden lamp-stand with seven lamps upon it, the table for the twelve unleavened loaves of  bread, and the altar of incense and each had their various accessories that accompanied their use. Within the second room, there was the most holy place on earth where the presence of God dwelt above the ark of testimony and the seat of mercy.

Volumes could be written about each item pertaining to the tabernacle and their literal, prophetic, and symbolic meaning and relationship to the Father's plan for the salvation of humanity. However, because this  study is an attempt to understand what it means to be a priest and a temple of God today, we will only discuss the major items within the tabernacle and their literal and symbolic meanings and the  lessons that pertain to ancient Israel and  to the elect of God who live during the gospel age of salvation.

LESSONS FROM THE SACRIFICES

Just as the  priesthood of  ancient Israel were to offer sacrifices that were pleasing to the Creator God, the Father's elect children are to offer sacrifices that are pleasing to him because they are his priests that serve him through temples on earth. However, the sacrifices that the elect are to offer are not sacrificial animals for the temporary atonement of sin; the sacrifices of  the elect are of a spiritual nature and have eternal benefits:

"You also are living stones that are being built into a spiritual house; moreover, you are a holy priesthood who are to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to the Father through Jesus Christ"  (1.Pet.2:5 Para.).

The writers of  the New Testament often used the examples from the various rituals, offerings, and sacrifices performed at the temple to teach spiritual lessons about one's personal responsibilities to the Father as a member of his household and as his priests who serve him in his temples. Therefore, the symbolism of the sacrifices and the lessons that can be learned from them are important to understanding one's responsibilities as a priest of the Sovereign Father.

The Brass Basin

The scriptures show that before the priests could put on their priestly garments and enter the sacred court of the tabernacle, they had to bathe their bodies. And after they entered the court, they had to wash their hands and feet before they could offer sacrifices on the altar in the court or enter the sanctuary to perform their duties there:

"You shall also make a brass basin with a base of  brass to wash in: and you shall put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and you shall put water in it. Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet with water from it. Before they  go into the tabernacle of  the congregation, they shall wash with water, so that they do not die. And before they go to the altar to minister and burn the offerings made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they do not die. This  shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations" (Ex.30:17-21 Para.).

Notice that failure to perform the washing of  the hands and feet before going to the altar in the court to offer sacrifices or before entering the sanctuary would result in death. There were many kinds of washing rituals that were performed outside of  the tabernacle to remove defilement from people and objects, but the washing rituals concerning the priesthood were the only ones that would result in death if they were not performed correctly.

Because the brass basin or the water from it is not mentioned with the mandatory washing of some sacrificial offerings, it seems that the sole purpose for the basin and its water concerns the ritual washing of the priests hands and feet. Therefore, in order to solve the symbolism connected to the washing of the priest's hands and feet, we need to review the original consecration rituals of the Priesthood:

"And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram's head. And he killed it; and Moses took its blood, and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood on the tip of their right ear, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood on the altar" (Lev.8:22-24 KJV Para.).

Although the whole of  the priests mind and body were dedicated to serving God, this scripture shows that  the right ear, the right thumb and the right big toe specifically were dedicated to God's service. Because the right side is predominantly associated with symbolism concerning authority, power, and righteousness, the following would seem to apply to the right ear, thumb, and toe: The right ear because the priest was always to be attentive to God's words and instructions., the right thumb because the priest was authorized to serve God in the tabernacle and handle holy things; the right toe because  the priest was authorized to walk on holy ground as he served God in the tabernacle.

There are several reasons why the failure to wash the hands and feet would result in death; however, the main reason is because God is a God of purity and requires all that serve him to be pure and free from things that are impure. The symbolism of  purity is inseparably tied to being righteous and only a righteous and sinless person can come into God's spiritual  presence to offer sacrifices and offerings to him or to fellowship with him, because impure things contaminates things that are sacred and render them unacceptable to God. Moreover, nothing can defile God; therefore, any impure thing that comes to close too his spiritual presence is destroyed by his purity:

"And he set the basin between the tent of  the congregation and the altar, and put water in it, to wash with. And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet there: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses" ( Ex.40:30-32 KJV Para.)

The Elect's Bodies, Hands and Feet

The priesthood of ancient Israel clearly understood the issues surrounding defilement and the consequences for noncompliance, but what lessons do these washing rituals teach the Father's elect children who are priests in his temples today?

The writer to the Hebrews says that the elect should boldly enter into the Father's presence because of  the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, the new way to approach God, and because their minds and bodies have been purified through the washing with pure water. The apostle John also says that the elect have had their sins washed away by the blood of Christ:

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb.10:19-22 KJV).

"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; even from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first-born from  the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Rev.1:4-5 KJV Para.) See also Rev.7:9-14.

There is no doubt that the elect are purified in the baptismal waters and that the sacrificial blood of Christ removes their sins. Because the elect stand as righteous individuals before the Father, they can serve him in his temples without ritual washing.

Symbolism of Hands and Feet

Throughout the Bible, we see hands and feet in  allegories about doing good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, and good and evil people. Therefore it is important to review a few of these examples in order to lay a foundation for the spiritual symbolism concerning the hands and feet of the elect.

Holy Hands

"The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9 KJV Para.).

"I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from my lawlessness. Therefore has the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight" (Psa.18:23-24 KJV Para.).

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation" (Psa.24:3-5 KJV).

"Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God in the heavens" (Lam.3:40-41 KJV).

"Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting" (1.Tim 2:7-8 KJV). See also Heb.13:14-15; 2.Pet.2:9.

Just as the priests of Israel were authorized to offer sacrifice to the Creator God with their holy hands, the  elect are  authorized to offer sacrifices to the Father with their holy hands. As we will see, the great difference between the sacrifices offered by the hands of Israel's priesthood and the holy hands of the Father's priests, is that, the Father's priests offer spiritual sacrifices to him, whereas Israel's priests offered physical sacrifices to the Creator God.

Holy Feet

"You shall do my judgments, and keep my ordinances, and walk in them: because I am the Lord your God" (Lev.18:4 KJV).

"Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in my integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For your  loving-kindness is before my eyes: and I have walked in your truth" (Psa.26:1-3 KJV).

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom.8:1-4 KJV).

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal.5:16 KJV).

"For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light" (Eph.5:8 KJV).

"For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Rom.10:13-15 KJV). See also Isa.52:7; Nah.1:5.

Although the Father's priests are not required to perform washing rituals, if one fails to maintain one's spiritual purity and sinlessness through the blood of Christ, the Father will not accept one's sacrifices and offerings. Moreover, one will be punished with the second death, because failure to maintain righteousness is considered wickedness and the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God:

"Don't you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't be deceived: neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, or extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed,  sanctified, and  justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God" (1.Cor 6:9-11 KJV Para.).

Just as the priests and people of ancient Israel were to be holy and maintain their purity while they served the Creator God, the elect who serve the Father within his temples of flesh must also be holy and maintain their purity:

"For I am the Lord your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall you defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the Lord that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy" (Lev.11:44-45 KJV).

"According as he has chosen us in him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him [the Father] in love: Having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself [the Father], according to the good pleasure of his will" (Eph.1:4-5 KJV). See also Rev.22:11.

THE SACRIFICES OF THE ALTAR

Because Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirement of  a perfect sacrifice for the atonement of the sins of humanity, there is no longer a need for a priest to offer a physical sacrifice for the atonement of sin under the terms and conditions of the new covenant :

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commend his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Rom.5:6-11 KJV).

Although Jesus Christ offered the final sacrifice for the atonement of sin, there is a need for the Father's elect children to offer sacrifices to him. However, the sacrifices that are to be offered to the Father are not animal sacrifices, these sacrifices are spiritual in nature and were symbolized by the voluntary offerings made on the brass altar outside the sanctuary.

The Burnt, Meal, and Peace Offerings  were  voluntary offerings;  they were not offerings of necessity, but were brought to God because an individual wanted to please him and show gratitude to him. One of  these voluntary offerings that gave God great pleasure was the Peace Offering, which was also called the Fellowship Offering or Sweet Savor Offering. The  Peace Offering was made by the general  population of Israel and was offered for the following reasons:

As the Peace Offering was being consumed on  the altar,  its smoke ascended toward heaven as a pleasant smell to God. After the offering was consumed by fire, the part of it that was not required to be burned on the altar was given to the  priesthood and to the offerer to eat.

The  eating of the Peace Offering had  great  significance, both literally and symbolically, because the priests were  literally partaking of  God's food, which pictured their eating at his table. Remember that the high priest and the priesthood were  to be  the  bridge between God and the nation of Israel. When  the priesthood ate  the sacred food offered to God, by extension, all of the Israelites were also eating at the table of God.

The  Peace Offering was different from other offerings;  in  that, God, the  priest,  and the  offerer ate together. This was the only offering in which  God, the  priest,  and  the offerer  had something in common; they each partook of  the offering.

In  the  Peace  Offering, the offerer feasts with  God.  God,  the priesthood, and offerer all found satisfaction in this offering because of the common food that was shared among them.  God also found satisfaction in being honored by the one  making  the offering as well as in sharing  the offering with the  priesthood  and the one making the offering. This offering also shows that God desires and enjoys fellowship with his people.

The Peace Offering, which was a pleasant smell to God,  seems to be the offering that the writers of the New Testament drew from for their analogy of the spiritual lessons about the proper attitude of self-sacrifice that one should have toward the giving and sharing of one's time, effort, and wealth in service to God for the benefit of other people. See Lev.3:1-16; 7:11-34.

An Example of Love and  Sacrifice

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, having forgiven one another, even as also God [God the Father] forgave you in Christ. Then be imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love, even as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a pleasant smell" (Eph.5:1 Para.).

The apostle Paul says that the elect are to imitate the Father's loving, kind, and forgiving attitude and have the same selfless love and attitude toward serving other people  as Christ did when he sacrificed his life for us. Under the sacrificial system, no sin could be set aside unless a sacrifice of atonement was made on behalf of the sinner. However, Paul identifies Christ's atoning sacrifice for the sins of humanity with the Sweet Savior Offering that was a voluntary offering,  because, Jesus voluntarily gave his life for others.

SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES

"You also are living stones that are being built into a spiritual house; moreover, you are a holy priesthood who are to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to the Father through Jesus Christ"  (1.Pet.2:5 Para.).

It is clear that the Father desires spiritual sacrifices; but, exactly what are spiritual sacrifices? The answer is that spiritual sacrifices are sacrifices that have as their central focus things that pertain to one's spiritual relationship with the Father and the way of life that he expects one to be living before him in order to develop spiritual character and  have a harmonious relationship with him, his Son, his elect children and other humans:

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O god you will not despise" (Psa.51:15 Para.)

A broken spirit and a contrite heart is the result of crushing a sinful nature and the manifestation of true love and respect toward God. When one renounces their own will and voluntarily becomes subject to the will and authority of God, one has the kind of spirit and heart that is pleasing to God. Notice also the prophetic promise that God gives to those of a contrite and humble spirit:

"The High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, and whose name is Holy; says this: I live in that high and holy place, even with those of a contrite and humble spirit; and I will refresh the humble of spirit and revive those with repentant hearts" (Isa.57:15 Para.)

The sacrifices that are considered spiritual, which the elect must offer to the Father seem to fall into the following four categories:

Giving One's Body as a Living Sacrifice

In his letter to the elect in Rome, Paul uses the example  of  the sacrifices  to illustrate  one's priestly duties in the Father's temples, what one's primary focus should be throughout one's life, and the kind of attitude and behavior one should have as proof of God's will being worked out in one's life:

"Therefore, brothers, I call on you through the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. And do not be conformed  to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of  your  mind, so that  you may prove what is the good, and acceptable,  and  perfect, will of God" (Rom.12:1-2  Para.).

But, how does one become a living sacrifice that is pleasing to God?  And how does one become conformed to God's will and know what is acceptable to him?

Under  the first covenant with national Israel, all sacrifices were to be as physically perfect  as possible. Only those sacrifices that conformed to God's  standards  of  perfection were acceptable to him (Lev.22:20-24; Deut.15:19-2). Likewise, the Father's elect children are to be as spiritually perfect as possible as they live their lives before him in order to be a living sacrifice in service to him.

In order to live the kind of sacrificial life that Paul spoke of to the elect at Rome and accomplish a transformation and  renewal  of  the mind,  a person cannot continue to be conformed to  this world's standards. One must continually seek to conform to God's  standards  of righteousness by overcoming the pulls of the  flesh  and the daily challenges that could damage one's spiritual character:

"If  then  you were raised with Christ, seek  the  things  above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God; mind the things above,  not the things on the earth, for you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God. Whenever Christ our life  is revealed,  then  also  you will be revealed in  glory  with  him" (Col.3:1-4 Para.).

The former life, which was  under the law  of death, is gone forever after one receives the holy spirit. Moreover,  after receiving the holy spirit we should focus our  lives on seeking heavenly things instead of earthly things. Because  the old self died and was buried in the baptismal  waters, one should begin to live as what one has become—the Father's son, who should be seeking to do his will (Rom.6:3-11):

"Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you  are  slaves to sin, which leads to death, or  to obedience, which  leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that,  though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the  form of  teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set  free from  sin and have become slaves to  righteousness"  (Rom.6:16-18 NIV).

Living a righteous life is considered a sacrifice that is pleasing to God:

"Stand in awe, and do not sin ; speak within your own heart on your own bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifice of righteousness, and put your trust in God" (Psa.4:4-5 Para.).

Paul expresses his life of  service in the context of the drink offering that was poured out with the daily sacrifices and offerings that were a pleasant smell to God:

But if indeed I am poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice; and you also rejoice in the same, and rejoice with me" (Phil.2:17-18 Para.).

Praise to the Father

"For here we do not have a continuing city [earthly Jerusalem], but we seek the city to come [heavenly Jerusalem]. Then through him [Jesus] let us always offer up a vocal sacrifice of praise to God the Father by confessing his name" (Heb.13:14-15 Para.).

The writer to the Hebrews says that the acknowledgment and declaration of the Father's awesome greatness to him by his children through the office of Jesus Christ as their high priest is considered by him to be pleasing sacrifices.

"I will freely sacrifice to you: I will acknowledge and declare your name, O Lord: for it is good" (Psa.54:6 Para). See also Psa.107:22; 116:17.

Here, the psalmist speaks of sacrifice and praise to God. Because both sacrifice and praise are mentioned, it seems that the psalmist is referring to the voluntary Peace Offering that is offered on the altar of burnt offerings outside the tabernacle and the offering of incense on the golden altar inside the sanctuary, both of which are pleasing to God as a pleasant smell.

The expression of  praise to the Father has as its central theme the desire to honor and please him through expressing one's acknowledgment and declaration of  his many attributes and great works in an attitude of love, submission, and gratitude to him. The biblical record shows that praise that is pleasing to God is expressed through offerings, prayer, poetry, song, music, dancing, and the clapping and raising of hands. See our study about how to worship and praise God for more details concerning praise to God:

"The Lord takes pleasure in them that have deep feelings of  reverence and awe for him, and in those that have hope in his mercy. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God O Zion" (Psa.147:11-12 Para.).

"I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in you: I will sing praise to your name O you the Most High" (Psa.9:1-2 KJV).See also Psa.13:6; 18:49; 111:1; 113; 135:1; 149:1.

The Giving of One's Substance

"You did well in sharing in my troubles. And you know, O Philipians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in giving, except you. Because you sent me what I needed twice while I was in Thessalonica. I'm not seeking a gift, from you, I seek to multiply  fruit to your account. But I have more than enough things; I have been filled with the things that you sent to me by Epaphroditus. These things from you, are like an odor of  a pleasant smell, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God" ( Phil.4:14-18 Para.).

The apostle Paul identifies the attitude of  the elect of  Thessalonica and the material goods that they sent to him with the pleasant smell of the voluntary Peace Offering offered at the temple and he says that what they had done was especially pleasing to God the Father.

"This is how we know that we love God.  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us; therefore, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. If anyone has material possessions and knows his brother is in need, and does not show compassion and help him, how can the love of God be dwelling in him? My little children, let us not just say we love our brothers, but show that we love them by our actions in deed and truth" (1.Jn.3:16-18 KJV Para.).

The apostle John says that a way to know if one loves God is if one is sacrificing one's life (one's time and effort) and the sharing of one's material goods with those in need within the Father's household. Notice that John identifies this kind of  love through sacrificing of one's time, energy, and material goods with the voluntary loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Doing Good to Others

The Bible clearly shows that generosity  is one  of  the major character traits of God the Father and our Savior and is an attitude and behavior that is repeatedly spoken of as being a desirable and a righteous character trait:

"And do not forget to do good and share, for the Father is pleased with these kind of sacrifices" (Heb.13:16 Para.). See also 1.Jn.3:16-18.

God the Father and Jesus Christ are caring, giving, and sharing individuals; therefore, when one follows their example of  willingly  caring, giving, and sharing with other people, the Father considers the expression of these  character traits as a pleasing sacrifice to him.

"But this I say, he that sows sparingly shall also reap  sparingly; and he that sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.   Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so  let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:  for  God  loves  a cheerful giver" (2.Cor.9:6-7 Para.). See also Pro.11:24-25; Phil.2:3-5.

"Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to pleasethe Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at  the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Gal.6:6-10 NIV).

Although the Father and Jesus Christ are concerned with all humanity, they are especially concerned that the elect who have been given the opportunity to become the first of  humanity to obtain salvation and enter the Family of God learn the lessons of compassion and true unselfish love for all people and especially those of the household of God:

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. . ." (Rom 12:10-16 KJV).

WITHIN THE TABERNACLE

The Golden Lamp-stand

Standing on the  south side of  the first room in the tabernacle and directly across from the golden table  with the twelve loaves of unleavened bread on it was the golden lamp-stand with seven lamps (Ex.25:31-35; 26:35), which were to illuminate the room during the night (Ex.30:8; Lev.24:1-4).

"And you shall make a lamp-stand of pure gold of hammered work . . . and you shall make seven lamps on it and they shall light the lamps on it for light from it" (Ex.25:31,37 Para.).

One of  the curious things about the lamp-stand and its seven lamps is that there seems to be no apparent reason for the room to be illuminated, because the priesthood only performed their duties on behalf of national Israel during the daylight hours. However, as we will see, all the things within the tabernacle including the lamp-stand with its seven lamps are indispensable to a central meaning that requires the combined symbolism of each item in the room.

The golden lamp-stand, the twelve unleavened loaves of  bread, the altar of incense, and all of their accessories form many  individual, literal, and prophetic meanings that together symbolize  a continual service to and worship of God and form the totality of the covenant relationship between God and his chosen people on earth:

"And you shall command the children of Israel to bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to always burn in the tabernacle of the congregation outside the curtain that which is before the testimony. Aaron shall make it so from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a never-ending statute throughout their generations on behalf of the children of Israel" (Lev.24:1-4 Para.).

Throughout the Old and the New Testaments, lamps and the light that shines from them are symbolic of  many things. This section lists a number of the things symbolized by lamps and light, which will later be used to explain some of the symbolism connected to the golden altar of incense and the twelve loaves of unleavened bread.

The Seven Lamps

The number seven symbolically points to completeness and perfection; therefore, the seven lamps on the golden lamp-stand in the first room of  the tabernacle seem to be symbolic of a source of complete and perfect spiritual illumination.

Prophetically the symbolism of the seven lamps that lit the tabernacle is extremely important to the elect of God who live in the end of the age, because each of  the seven groupings of God's people have a lamp-stand that will either remain among them or be removed depending on their attitude toward God. See Revelation chapters 1-3.

The Pure Lamp oil

Although special oils were used for anointing kings, priests, objects, and offerings to set them apart for God's sacred service, an analogy can be drawn to show that the oil in the lamps in the tabernacle is symbolic of the holy spirit within the Father's children who live during the gospel age just before Christ's return. Moreover, it can be shown that the oil is also symbolic of the Father's power, his presence, and his truth, which all give spiritual understanding.

The Ten Virgins

In the parable of the ten virgins the oil is symbolic of  a source of energy (the holy spirit) that fuels the light of understanding:

"The kingdom of heaven is like  ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went to meet the bridegroom. And five were wise, and five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps, but did not take extra oil with them: But the wise took some extra oil with their lamps. While the bridegroom delayed in coming, they all went to slept. At midnight there was an announcement, The bridegroom is coming; go to meet him. Then all the virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of  your oil, because our lamps have gone out. But the wise said, No, because there is not be enough for us and you: but you go to the oil merchants and purchase some for  yourselves. And while they went to buy oil, the bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with the bridegroom to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came and said, Lord, Lord, let us in, But he said, I'm telling you the truth, I do not know you" (Matt.25:1-12 KJV).

Although the Father freely gives his holy spirit to those who obey him, it is the responsibility of each of his  children to put forth the effort to make sure that they do not allow the holy spirit to be extinguished in their life and therefore let the spiritual light of knowledge and understanding go out. Without the holy spirit through which one's mind is enlightened with spiritual knowledge and understanding, one will not enter the Kingdom of God.

The Prophetic Olive Trees

"Then the angel who had been talking with me woke me, as though I had been asleep. What do you see? he asked. I said, I see a golden lamp stand with seven lamps and  a bowl on top of it with seven tubes that feed the seven lamps, and two olive trees are beside it, one on the right of  the bowl and one on its left. And I spoke to the angel that was talking with me, and asked, What are these my lord?  And he said to me, Do you not know what these are? And I said no my lord" (Zech.4:1-5 Para.).

In order to understand the prophetic meaning of verses 1 through 5, it is necessary to study verses 11 through 14, because they seem to be a continuation of the prophecy in verses 1 through 5:

"Then I asked the angel, What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lamp-stand and what are these two clusters of olives that are beside the two golden pipes emptying the golden oil from themselves? He replied, Do you not know what these are? No, my lord, I said. So he said, These are the two sons of fresh oil who stand by the Lord [i.e., Jesus Christ] of the whole earth" (Zech.4:11-14 Para.).

Because the angel says that the olive trees are two individuals who are at the right and left side of Jesus Christ, it can be assumed that these two are the conduits through which the fuel flows into the symbolic lamps which are in turn, converted into spiritual light (i.e., knowledge and understanding) in the seven lamps of  Zechariah 4:1-5.

Because this is a prophecy for the end of the age, it seems logical that the seven lamps are symbolic of the seven churches and/or seven spiritual leaders that exist and give spiritual light to the elect and the world just before Christ's return. See Rev.1:12,20; 2:1.

The Golden Oil

The bowl at the top of the lamp-stand is a reservoir that  holds the golden oil that comes from clusters of olives on the  two olive trees (i.e., the fruit of the two trees). The Hebrew word for fresh oil noted in Zechariah 4:14 is 'yitsar', which refers to fresh oil used for cooking and in lamps to give light. Oil is often symbolic of the holy spirit; however, the holy spirit comes from God the Father and this fresh oil will come through these two men who serve the God of the earth (Jesus Christ) at his right and left hand. Therefore, it seems logical that the fresh oil is spiritual knowledge that is directed through these men to the seven churches who will use this knowledge for spiritual enlightenment.

Lamps, Light, and Lights

The following are important literal and symbolic meanings of  lamps and light from the Old and the New Testaments that can be applied to the elect of God during the gospel age of salvation:

The light gives spiritual knowledge, which removes the lack of  understanding about God and his righteous law:

The light is the righteousness of Christ that reveals the way to salvation:

No evil person can hide from the light of God because all things are revealed for what they are through God's light:

God's commandments are said to be a lamp and his law a light that gives correction and instruction in the proper way to live:

God's words are said to be a lamp that gives forth the light of understanding that illuminates one's mind and guides one's way through this life:

Light is spoken of as a person's physical and eternal life:

Jesus is the light of the world who brought the Father's good news message to the world and the Father's truth concerning his plan for the salvation of humanity:

A major lesson to be learned from the lamps and the light that proceeded from them is that each of the literal and symbolic meanings mentioned apply to the elect and are an integral part of their spiritual nature, because the elect are their Father's temples and the lamp of  his presence burns continually within them to light their way as they live in obedience to him.

The Father is Light

"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God [God the Father] is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1.Jn.1:5 KJV).

God the Father's very nature and personality is composed of all that is good and true (i.e., light) and this is the kind of light (i.e., nature and personality) that he wants his children to emulate as they live in this world.

The Father of  Lights

Many scriptures show that it is the Father's plan to increase his spiritual family through the transformation of humans into sons of his new creation.This is why he is called the Father of lights by the apostle James and why the elect are called the children of  light by the apostle Paul:  

"Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of  lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures" (Jms.1:16-18 KJV).

"But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of  the night, nor of darkness" (1.Thes.5:4-5 KJV).

The elect of God are called out of spiritual darkness into spiritual light. When a person makes the transition from darkness to light their whole being is altered and that person dwells within the Father's light:

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" (1.Pet.2:9-10 KJV). See also Eph.5:6-14; 1.Jn.1:5-7.

Not only do the Father's children dwell in his spiritual light but also they are a spiritual light and must let the spiritual light that is within them shine through good works in order to glorify the Father:

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel, but on a lamp-stand; and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt.5:14-16 KJV).

"No man lights a lamp, and then hides it in a secret place or puts it under a basket, but he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people can see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore, when your  eye is good, your whole body is full of light; but when your eye is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore, be careful that the light in you is not darkness. If your whole body is full of light, and  no part of  it in darkness, your whole being shall be full of light, as when a bright lamp shines to give you light" (Lk.11:33-36 Para.).

The Blue Cloth

The cloths that were placed under and over the various objects in the tabernacle to protect them during the moving of Israel's camp and the tabernacle to another location had both a literal and symbolic meaning.

"And they shall take a cloth of blue and cover the lamp-stand of the light and its lamps, and tongs, and its snuffing dishes, and all of its oil vessels which service it. And they shall put it and all its vessels within a covering of tachash skins . . ." (Num.4:9-10 Para.).

The color blue is closely associated with God's surroundings and his throne,  the tabernacle, the high priest, the temple, and the remembrance of the commandments. Moreover, blue is symbolic of the sphere of sacredness. The blue cloth confirms the sacred purpose of  the golden lamp-stand with its seven lamps and the sacred light that goes forth from it to remove spiritual darkness. See Ex.24:10; 26:1; 28:1-6; Ezk.1:26; Num.15:38-41.

The Tachash Skin

The precise meaning of the Hebrew word 'tachash' is unknown, but it is often translated as 'badger skin', 'dolphin skin', or 'sea cow skin'. However, the use of  these types of skins within the Tabernacle is highly unlikely because the skins  are from  unclean animals, which cause ceremonial defilement if touched by the priest or taken within the Tabernacle. Because the meaning of the Hebrew word 'tachash' is lost to us in this age, its symbolism cannot be determined with any accuracy; therefore, it is not included in this study.

The Elect Dwell in Light

Darkness is the absence of light, but the elect dwell in light and the light of God only continues to shine on those who are obedient to his rule in their life:

"For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord; therefore, walk as children of light. For the fruit of the spirit in each of  you is goodness, righteousness, and truth; therefore, prove what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather rebuke them. For it is a shame even to speak of  the things which they do in secret. But all these evil things are revealed by the light: for whatever brings to light is light. Wherefore he says, Awake out of  sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeem the time, because the days are evil" (Eph.5:8-16 KJV).

THE GOLDEN ALTAR OF INCENSE

And you shall put the altar of  incense  before the curtain that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you. And Aaron shall burn pleasant incense on it every morning when he dresses the lamps. And when Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn incense on it as a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations"(Ex.30:6-8 Para).

The placement of the golden altar of incense next to the curtain just outside of the holy of holies seems to show that its symbolism is especially important to God. Notice also that the incense is to be burned on the golden altar after the seven lamps are made ready in the morning for the evening lighting and after the seven lamps were lit in the evening. This is important, because the burning of the incense is tied to the symbolic meaning of  the seven  lamps and the light that they produce.

The beginning and ending rituals and sacrifices of each day were not only acts of worship but also reminders that one should begin and end one's daily relationship with God by worshiping him and doing the things that please him.

Prophetically the ending in the evening of  the  various rituals, offerings and sacrifices that were performed during the day  pointed toward the time when the world would be in spiritual darkness and the people of God would be unable to do a spiritual work for him: "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work" (Jn.9:4 KJV).

The following things must be clearly understood before one can understand the  symbolic and literal meanings of the golden altar of incense and the incense offered on it:

Keep in mind that the symbolism of light has to do with  spiritual knowledge and understanding, Christ as the light giver, and the Father being light and his children also being light and dwelling in light. Without understanding that God the Father will only accept offerings that are given to him by the spiritually enlightened, one cannot understand the symbolism of the golden altar or the incense that is burned on it.

A House of Prayer

When Jesus said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves"  (Matt.21:13 KJV) after condemning the spiritual leaders of his day for defiling God's temple at Jerusalem, he was quoting a prophecy for the future concerning how people would worship the Father after his death and resurrection. Although this prophecy will have its major fulfillment after Jesus returns, it has a fulfillment today in the elect and is worth reviewing in the context of praise and prayer to the Father through his earthly temples:

Isaiah 56:1-2, 4-7 KJV

"Thus  says the Lord, Keep your judgment, and do justice:  for  my salvation  is near to come, and my righteousness [Christ] to be  revealed. Blessed  is the man that does this, and the son of man that lays hold  on it: that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and  keeps his hand from doing any evil" (vs.1-2).

Here, God speaks of his plan for salvation and says that those who take  hold of  the  Sabbath and observe  it  correctly  will  be blessed.

"For thus says the Lord to the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose  the things that please me, and take hold of my  covenant; Even to them will I give in my house  and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting  name, that shall not be cut off . Also  the sons of  the stranger, that join themselves  to  the Lord,  to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be  his servants, every one that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant"  (vs.4-6). See also Rev.2:17; 3:12.

This  part of the prophecy speaks to the elect of God who have made a conscious decision to keep the  Sabbath holy and to do the things that please him. Notice what God will do for those who take hold of his covenant and do the things that please him:

"Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called an house of prayer for all people" (v7).

Those who truly grasp the significance of the covenant that they have with the Father will be made to rejoice in his house of prayer. Because the elect who live during the gospel  age of salvation are his temples on earth, it follows that they are also his  house of  prayer on earth; therefore, the prophecy of Isaiah also applies to each of the elect today.

Incense, Prayers and Praise

The golden altar of  incense and the incense that was burned on it seem to be primarily symbolic of the offering of prayers and praise to the Father and the ascending of these prayers and praises to him as a pleasant smell that gives  him great pleasure.

King David clearly understood the  symbolic meaning of the altar of incense, and the incense burnt on it. He also understood that the temple was the focal point of  all service and worship to God, because God's presence dwelt there. Moreover, he knew that his prayers should be directed to the tabernacle because that is where his prayers would be heard as they ascended to God as a pleasant smell to him:

"Lord I appeal to you: hurry to me and listen to my voice, when I appeal to you. Let my prayer be set before you as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psa.141:2-3 Para.).

"Hear the voice of my supplications, when I pray to you, when I lift up my hands toward your sacred most holy place" (Psa.28:2 Para.).

In the Book of Revelation, we see the prayers of  God's people ascending to him with the smoke of incense from the golden altar in his heavenly temple.

"And another angel stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and he was given much incense, that he should add it to the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended before  God out of  the angel's hand" (Rev.8:3-4 KJV Para.). See also Rev.5:8.

This text clearly shows the connection between  the symbolism of the golden altar of  incense, its incense,  the heavenly temple, and the prayers of God's children.

The writer to the Hebrews confirms that the acknowledgment of the Father's awesome greatness to him by his children through the office of Jesus Christ as their high priest are considered by him to be pleasing sacrifices:

"For here we do not have a continuing city [earthly Jerusalem], but we seek the city to come [heavenly Jerusalem]. Then through him [Jesus] let us always offer up a vocal sacrifice of praise to God the Father by confessing his name" (Heb.13:14-15 Para.).

The apostle Peter said, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1.Pet.2:9 KJV).

A parallel can easily be drawn between the necessity of the incense to be offered on the golden altar in the light of  the seven lamps in the tabernacle and the necessity for the Father's  elect to praise him in his temple (which they are ) after being called into the light of his truth and presence.

In the Book of Revelation, we see the prayers of  the elect pictured as being accompanied by a musical instrument and as incense:

"And he came and took the scroll out of  the right hand of him [God the Father] that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four beasts and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb [Jesus Christ], having every one of them harps, and golden bowls  full of incenses, which are the prayers of saints" (Rev.5:7-8 KJV Para.).

The incense that was burned on the golden altar at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, and into the night is symbolic of  praises and prayers that ascended to God from his people. Moreover, its symbolism applies to the Father's elect who are his temples today:

"O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before you: Let my prayer come before you: incline your ear to my cry" (Psa.88:1-2 KJV).

"To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day" (2.Tim.1:2-3 KJV). See also 1.Thes.3:10; 1.Tim.1:5-6.

"For this cause also, from the day in which we heard, (heard about the Colossians faith and love) we do not cease praying for you, that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you might walk worthy of the Lord and please him in every way and bear fruit in every good work while growing into the full knowledge of God; being empowered with all power according to the might of his glory, to all patience and long-suffering with joy" (Col.1:9-11 Para.). See also Psa.119:33-4; 1.Cor.14:1; 2.Pet.1:5-10.

A Very Special Offering

Although the high priest was the only priest allowed to offer incense on the golden altar before the holy place where the presence of God dwelt, it is clear from the scriptures and historical records that other priests had incense burning censers that they used to accompany other rituals and offerings performed at the tabernacle. Therefore, it is important for the Father's elect who serve him as priests in his earthly temples to understand that the altar of  incense was a place where something very special was presented to God for his acceptance and that all things that are offered to God must be offered  in absolute conformity to his instructions or the offering will not be accepted.

"You shall not offer any strange incense on it, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering nor pour a drink offering on it" (Ex.30:9 Para).

The prohibition against placing unauthorized incense or other things on the altar of  incense clearly shows that this ritual and its symbolism is extremely important to God and singular in its meaning and symbolism. The death of Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu that was brought about by their violation of the instructions surrounding the burning of incense in their censers shows that priests who offer incense to God must avoid defiling this offering; otherwise they would reap the consequences for failure to pay attention to detail. See Lev.10:1-11.

Making the Sacred Incense

The Creator gave Moses detailed instructions concerning the ingredients that were to be used in making the incense that was to be used in various rituals, offerings, and sacrifices and the extra preparation that was necessary to make the especially sacred incense that was to be burned on the golden altar:

"The Lord said to Moses, Take sweet spices . . . with pure frankincense of equal weight and a perfume . . . pure and holy and you shall beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with you and it shall be most holy to you" (Ex.30:34-36 Para.).

The instruction to make the incense that was to be used on the golden altar into a fine powder shows that, in order to please the Father  when acknowledging his awesome greatness to him, giving gratitude to him, or  requesting something from him, one should thoughtfully prepare and detail what one wants to communicate to him.

Although all things offered to God were to be pure and undefiled and were considered as holy once they were dedicated to him, the incense to be burnt on the golden altar was especially holy because it represented the prayers and praises of God's people.

Communication with the Sovereign Father must not be entered into lightly, because one is coming into his heavenly  presence to praise him, give gratitude to him, and make requests of him. Just as the incense offered on the golden altar in the tabernacle was especially holy, the praises and prayers of the elect directed to the Father are especially holy and should be treated as such.

The High Priest and the Day of Atonement

Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest was to meet with God in the holy of holies. Before he went behind the curtain to meet with God, he had to take  coals of fire from the altar of incense, place them in his censer and put incense on the coals; so that as he stood in the presence of God, a cloud of pleasant smelling smoke would fill the room and shield him from the glory of God's presence:

"And Aaron shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord with his hands full of incense beaten small, and bring them behind the curtain. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, so that the cloud of incense covers the mercy seat that is on the ark of testimony. He shall do this so that he does not die" (Lev.16:12-13 Para.).

Again, we clearly see the importance of  the altar of incense and the burning of incense before the Creator God's presence as something that was especially important to the relationship between God and national Israel.

Only the high priest could go behind the curtain that separated the room where the priests performed their daily rituals in the tabernacle and he was only allowed to go into the presence of the Creator God once a year; however, the Father's priests who serve him in his temples can come within his presence anytime they want to communicate with him. Today, Jesus Christ who was the Creator God of Israel is the high priest in heaven who intercedes on the elects' behalf to the Father, and the Father has authorized Jesus Christ to allow  the elect to personally  offer their praise and gratitude, and to make requests of  him through his earthly temples, which they are:

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb.4:14-16 KJV).

The Blue Cloth

"And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of  blue, and cover it with a covering of tachash skins, and shall put to the staves" (Num.4:11 KJV).

As with the golden lamp-stand, the golden altar of incense is covered with a blue cloth, which shows its close association with God, God's throne,  the tabernacle, the high priest, the temple, the remembrance of  the commandments, and the sphere of sacredness.

The Incense and Light

When the lamps were lit at evening the golden altar and the incense were illuminated by the light of the seven lamps on the golden lamp-stand. The spiritual light of God drives away spiritual darkness. Because the elect dwell in the Father's spiritual light and this light is also a part of one's  spiritual nature, one's praises,  gratitude, and requests of the elect to the Father should reflect the spiritual light that one has.

An Awesome Privilege

In order to understand what an awesome privilege it is to be able to communicate directly with God the Father through his earthly temples, one should clearly understand that this is a privilege that no other humans had before the advent of Jesus Christ. Before Christ, people communicated with the Creator God through a priesthood and the Creator God communicated with the Sovereign God.

When the millennial temple is established after Christ's return, people will communicate with Jesus Christ (who was the Creator God) through a physical priesthood at the temple in Jerusalem and he will in turn communicate with God the Father (the Sovereign God). However, during the gospel age of salvation, the Father's elect children of his new creation are his priests and can worship him and communicate with him through the earthly temples that they inhabit and through their heavenly high priest Jesus Christ.

The Father's elect children are the only people on earth who have the awesome privilege of  being his priests with the authorization to offer the incense of  praise and prayer to him in his temple.  

There are many scriptures that show the importance and necessity of communicating with the Father to acknowledge his greatness  and to talk to him about concerns, desires, frustrations, and needs. The burning of the sacred incense and its ascending up before God's presence in the morning and evening as the priests began and ceased their daily activities teaches the following lessons to the elect:

"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers . . ." (1.Pet 3:12 KJV).

The Drink Offering

The Drink offering is only mentioned twice in connection with the things contained within the first room of the sanctuary. The drink offering was not to be poured on the golden altar of incense (Ex.30:9) and the cups of  the drink offering were to be put on the table with the bread of presence and covered with the blue and scarlet cloth when the tabernacle is moved (Num.4:7 Para).

There is much mystery surrounding the Drink Offering and exactly how it was to be offered to God. Numbers 28:7 seems to say that the Drink Offering was to be poured out to the Lord in the sanctuary; however, because of a lack of information, Bible Scholars cannot agree if  it was to be poured out on the ground within the first room of the sanctuary, which the prohibition against pouring it on the altar of  incense seems to suggest, or if  it was to be poured out on the ground in the court of  the sanctuary or on or next to the sacrifice as many scriptures seem to suggest.

Although there is much disagreement as to where and how the Drink Offering was to be poured out, what is clear is that the priesthood did not partake of the Drink offering as they did with other offerings, and that the Drink Offering is an integral part of  the symbolism of  the lamp-stand with the seven lamps, the golden altar of incense, and the table with the bread of presence on it.

If we consider what Jesus said during his last Passover meal and what took place when the soldier stabbed Jesus in the side with a spear as he was being crucified, the prophetic symbolism of the Drink Offering becomes clear:

"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of  it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt.26:26-28 KJV).

When the soldier stabbed Jesus with his spear, Jesus' blood poured out on the ground. Clearly, the Drink Offering was symbolic of Christ's blood because all offerings that were to be sacrificed on the brass altar had to be accompanied with a Drink Offering, whether they were offered for the atonement of sin or as a Peace Offering.  It is through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ's that the Father draws his elect to him and enlightens their minds to his plan of salvation. Moreover, it is through this blood that he forgives sin and his elect children are allowed to come before him to offer their voluntary service and sacrifices.

It would seem the reason that the priests of ancient Israel could not partake of the Drink Offering and had to pour it out is because it was symbolic of the blood of Christ which was to be poured out on the ground. In addition, its symbolism was to be partaken of  by a future priesthood whom the Father would choose to partake of a different covenant.

"I speak as to wise men; therefore, you judge what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?" (1.Cor.10:15-18 KJV). See also Jn.6:51-56.

The Father's royal priesthood during the gospel age of salvation are partakers of the symbolism of the Drink Offering as they participate in the Passover ceremony and symbolically drink of the life giving blood of Jesus Christ that was poured out on the ground for the atonement of humanity.

THE TABLE AND THE BREAD

On the north side of the room facing the lamp-stand with the seven lamps was a wooden table overlaid with gold. This table was to have twelve loaves of unleavened bread sitting on it continually along with various items that were to be used in rituals within the temple:

"And you shall always put the bread of  presence on the table before me" (Ex.25:30 Para.).  

The Hebrew word 'lechem' means 'bread', but the Hebrew word 'paniym' has many meanings,  such as 'face', 'presence', 'display', etc., which are very close in meaning. Because the meanings of the word 'paniym' are uncertain in verse 30, the meaning of the Hebrew phrase 'paniym lechem' cannot be accurately translated into English. However, what is certain is that these twelve loaves of  bread were to continually be on the table before the Lord.

The books of Leviticus and Numbers reveal much of  the  symbolic meaning that the twelve loaves of  bread had for ancient Israel and now has for the elect today:

"You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves containing two-tenth of a measure for each loaf and place them on the pure table in two rows, six in a row before the Lord. And you shall put pure frankincense upon each row, which is to be a memorial for the bread as a fire offering to the Lord. Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord as an everlasting commitment from the sons of Israel. And it shall belong to Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in the sacred place, for they are most holy things to him, from the fire offerings of the Lord which is an everlasting statute" (Lev.24:5-9 Para.).

The Twelve Loaves

The following are a few  things that seem to be symbolic meanings associated with the bread and a few analogies that can be drawn from what is said in Exodus 25:30 and Leviticus 24:5-9 about these twelve loaves that were required to always be displayed before God in the tabernacle:

National Israel

The Elect

National Israel

The Elect

National Israel

The Elect

National Israel

The Elect

National Israel

The Elect

National Israel

The Elect

The Frankincense

"And you shall put pure frankincense upon each row, which is to be a memorial for the bread as a fire offering to the Lord" (Lev.24:7 Para.).

The Word Frankincense

The word 'frankincense' is derived from a root that signifies 'to be white'. Frankincense is a white fragment substance; therefore, the color of the frankincense is significant because the color white is symbolic of righteousness; moreover, the bread could be said to be symbolically covered or clothed with righteousness while being illuminated in the presence of God by the light of the seven lamps.

The Word 'Memorial'

The meaning of the English word 'memorial' in Leviticus 24:7 is translated from the Hebrew word 'zikkaron', which means  an object or an act that brings something else to mind or represents something else. As such, the word 'zikkaron'  may be used to remind one of an act or historical event. The use of the word 'zikkaron'  adds an important concept to the understanding of  the various meanings of  the bread displayed before God on the golden table, because the table on which the bread is displayed is not an altar as is the golden altar of incense that sits before the holy place. The bread is set before God as a reminder of the things that it represents to him.

Frankincense was burned on the altar outside the tabernacle with meal and oil as a voluntary offering and was ordinarily offered with meal and oil as a token/memorial portion of  other offerings such as the voluntary Peace Offering, which was especially  pleasing to God. When placed on the bread, the frankincense alone was symbolic of the entire burnt offering.

The lamps on the lamp-stand  faced toward the golden table with the twelve loaves of unleavened bread; therefore, these loaves received much of the light from the lamps. If  we consider the symbolism of  the light from the seven lamps, it is easy to picture the twelve loaves with  their tops dusted with the white frankincense having the light of God shining on them as a constant reminder to God of all the things that the bread meant to him and the things that the bread is symbolic of.

The Cloths under and over the Bread

"And on the table of   the bread of  presence the priests shall spread a cloth of blue, and then put on it the dishes, spoons, bowels,  the cups of the drink offering, the covers and the bread of presence. And then place a scarlet cloth over these and a tachash skin over the scarlet cloth" (Num.4:7 Para).

The Blue Cloth

The color blue is closely associated with God's surroundings and throne,  the tabernacle, the high priest, the temple, the remembrance of the commandments, and the sphere of sacredness.

The Scarlet Cloth

The color scarlet is closely associated with things concerning purification from defilement, sin, the atonement for sin, and the blood of atonement that covers and forgives sin. See Lev.14:4-7, 48-53; Num.19:1-10; Rev.17:1-4; Isa.1:18.

During the first covenant with national Israel, sins were never forgiven through the sacrificial blood of animals. Sins were only covered and hidden from God's sight. It is only through the perfect sacrificial body and blood of the Messiah that one can become spiritually pure and have one's sins totally forgiven and erased forever. The scarlet cloth symbolized the covering of Israel's sins and prophetically pointed to the blood of the Messiah through which sin can be washed away and forgiven.

The Two Cloths

The colors blue and scarlet are often mentioned along with the colors purple, which is symbolic of royalty and positions of rulership, and gold, which is the noble metal of royalty. All of the colors were used liberally in the construction of the tabernacle and the making of the high priest's clothing.

The blue cloth placed under the twelve loaves of bread and the scarlet cloth placed over the twelve loaves and the various vessels and instruments used in rituals concerning the bread, drink offering, and frankincense, show that, even when these objects were  away from God's tabernacle, they were still his sacred objects and were to be treated as such.

The Father's elect children are not in his heavenly temple; they are his temples scattered throughout the earth and are always in his presence, which is represented by the blue cloth, they are always covered and protected by the blood of Christ, which is represented by the scarlet cloth. The symbolism of the various vessels and instruments covered along with the bread shows that the elect always have the tools with which to perform their responsibilities and stand in his presence as his children.

THE HOLY OF HOLIES

Within the heart of the tabernacle and later within the temple at Jerusalem was a room called the Holy of Holies. In this most sacred place was a box called the ark  of  the covenant/testimony where the presence of God dwelt between two cherubim above the mercy seat (Ex.25:18-21). Contained within the box under the mercy seat were the following things:

The Law of God

The ark of the covenant contained the ten commandments written on tables of stone by the finger of God to remind the Israelites that God had given them perfect laws that were to govern their relationship between him and his people and between them and their fellow man.

During the gospel age of salvation, the Father's children do not need to be reminded of  his law by looking to tables of stone because his law is now a part of their nature:

"For  this is the covenant [agreement] that I will make with  the house  of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will  put  my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be  to them a God, and they shall be to me a  people:"  (Heb.8:10 KJV). See also Jer.31:33; Ezk.36:27.

When a person receives the holy spirit, God's  law is made  a part  of  that person's spiritual nature. The law that is placed within the Father's children is not just the Ten Commandments, because the law that is written in the elect's spirit is the totality of the  Father's law that pertains to a person's physical and spiritual attitude and behavior toward God and man. The law that is made a part of the elect's nature makes it possible for them to be continually conscious of the difference between righteous  and  unrighteous concepts  and behaviors and  gives them a knowing and an understanding of God and his ways that no other people can comprehend during this age:

"Do we again need to tell you about ourselves? Or do we need someone else to write letters recommending  us to you, or have letters of commendation from you? You are our letters written in our hearts that are known and read by men. For it has been made clearly known that you are Christ's message that is administered by us that is not written with ink,  but  with the spirit  of  the living God; not on tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart" (2.Cor.3:1-3 Para.).

While speaking to the Corinthians of  his and other's credentials and authority to teach them, Paul says that the elect are Christ's letter that shows their credentials and authority to teach and that the things contained in this letter of recommendation is written within their hearts by the holy spirit. But, what does this letter contain that is written in the heart? Paul's references to the writing in ink and stone is a clear reference to the physical writing of God's instructions and law to national Israel. The things that are written in the hearts of the elect by the holy spirit are the laws and ways of God that lead to eternal salvation and happiness in the Family and Kingdom of God.

Aaron's Rod

The ark of  the covenant contained Aaron's rod, which was symbolic of  his authority as the high priest and  the  administrator of God's worship system on earth through the priesthood and the tabernacle and his authority to go within the Holy of Holies to commune with the Creator God once a year.

The prophetic symbolism of Aaron's rod unmistakably points to the authority of  Jesus Christ who actually sits at the Father's right hand as the heavenly  high priest and is responsible for administering the Father's worship system on earth.

The high priest of Israel only had access to the Creator God through a physical temple once a year on the Day of Atonement, but as the heavenly high priest, Jesus has unrestricted access to communicate with the Father and intercede on behalf of the elect:

"Seeing that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens,  Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our  profession" (Heb.4:14 KJV).

Because Jesus qualified to become the heavenly high priest of humanity, God the Father now grants permission through the office of Jesus Christ for his elect children to have unrestricted access to him, so they can personally communicate with him:

For  we  have not an high priest which cannot be touched  by  our infirmities;  but was in all points tempted like as we  are,  yet without  sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to  the  throne of grace,  that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in  time of need" (Heb.4:15-16 KJV). See also Heb.2:14-18; 9:7-25.

Jesus as the heavenly high priest also presides over his Father's holy nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests and has delegated various authorities to them, including the authority to administer the Father's worship system and represent him and his Father on earth.

"Come to Christ, who is the living Foundation of Rock upon which God builds; though men have spurned him, he is very precious to God who has chosen him above all others. And now you have become living building-stones for God's use in building his house. What's more, you are his holy priests; so come to him—[you who are acceptable to him because of Jesus Christ]—and offer to God those things that please him" (1.Pet.2:4-6 LBP).

"John  to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace  unto  you, and  peace,  from him which is, and which was, and  which  is  to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from  Jesus  Christ, who is the faithful witness,  and  the  first begotten  of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the  earth. To  him  that loved us and washed us from our sins in  his  own blood, And has made us kings and priest to God and his  Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen"  (Rev.1:4-6 KJV). See also Rev.5:10.

The Manna

The ark of the covenant also contained some of the food (manna) that the Creator God provided to sustain the Israelites' physical life while they sojourned in the wilderness. Without the manna, the Israelites would have died, because the wilderness could not supply enough food for them. The manna in the ark reminded the Israelites that God was the one who provided food to sustain their life.

The Father's earthly temples  also contain food; however, this food is spiritual in nature and is meant to be used to sustain one's spiritual life. This spiritual food can be eaten anytime one wants spiritual nourishment in order to sustain one's spiritual life and to help one grow toward spiritual maturity.

The apostle John records that Jesus promises to give hidden manna to those who are overcoming the trials and temptations of this life:

"He that has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I  give to eat of the hidden manna. . ." (Rev.1:17 Para).

Although the hidden manna that Jesus promised may well be something that is given after one receives eternal life, it seems more likely that it is symbolic of  spiritual food for the elect today for the following reasons:

Therefore, it seems logical that  the hidden manna is spiritual food that will impart spiritual knowledge and understanding pertaining to the Father's plan and purpose for humanity and the understanding and wisdom that is necessary for the spiritual sustenance needed to help one achieve eternal life in the Father's family and kingdom:

Paul speaks of  hidden mysteries that are revealed through the power of God's spirit and he says that this spirit has access to all knowledge:

1.Corinthians 2:11-16

"For  who among men knows the things of a man, except the  spirit of  man that is within him? So also no one knows the things  of  God except the spirit of God. But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit from God; that we may know the things freely given to us by God." (vs.11-12 Para.).

A person who has the spirit of  God  can understand things that pertain to this physical existence and things that pertain to the spirit-realm of existence. The knowledge that is contained in the word of God (food that sustains and helps one grow spiritually) can be accessed through one's mind and the holy spirit:

"Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but  in  words  taught of the holy spirit,  comparing  spiritual things with spiritual things" (v13).

The knowledge taught by Paul, other apostles, and elders was  not obtained  from the spirit of man, but was knowledge  conveyed  to them through the spirit of God that dwells  within the elect who are temples of God:

"But  a natural man does not receive the things of the spirit  of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to  know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (v14).

A human with only the spirit of man can neither receive nor understand the  things of God, because such humans are of the original human creation. The elect of God, however, are not of the original creation; they  are  a part of the New Creation, which contains  both  the spirit  of man and the spirit of God combined and exists within a temple of flesh:

"But  truly  the  spiritual one discerns all things,  but  he  is discerned by no one. For who knew the mind of the Lord?  Who will teach him? But we have the mind of Christ" (vs.15-16).

As long as the elect live in the flesh,  they  have the authority to  communicate,  serve,  and worship the Father wherever they are and receive spiritual nourishment to sustain them as they journey through life.

THE MERCY SEAT

"And you shall make a mercy seat of  pure gold . . .. And you shall make two cherubims of gold . . .. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other . . . And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat . . . And you shall put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony. . ." (Ex.25:17-22 KJV).

The English term 'mercy seat', which is used to describe the cover of the ark of the testimony is inadequate because the cover of the ark is not a seat that God sat on; it is where his presence dwelt above it. The English term 'mercy seat' is translated from the Hebrew word 'kapporet', which means a place of  atonement. The word 'kapporet' is only used 27 times in the Old Testament and always refers to the golden lid on the ark of the testimony.

Understanding the word 'kapporet' is extremely important, because within the holy of holies, is the place of atonement. Without access to the place of atonement, no atonement can be obtained.

The English word 'atonement' is translated from the Hebrew words 'kippurim' or 'kippur', which comes from the  root phrase that basically means 'to cover up' and it may also mean 'expiation', which  is defined as the extinguishing of guilt by the  suffering of a penalty. 'Kippurim' encompasses the means by which a  person who  is estranged from God is placed back into harmony with him and the result of being in harmony with him.

The conceptual meaning of atonement  (kippurim)  contains both the method by which something is done and the result of doing it. When an atonement was made through the sacrificial system (the method),  the breach between God and man was  healed  (i.e.,  the result  of  sin was removed). God and man were then in  harmony (the result). Therefore, the sacrifice of animals as an atonement for sin was required to restore  and maintain the relationship between God and man.

The most sacred place on all the earth was the second room of the sanctuary where God's presence dwelt and where he would meet with the high priest once a year and grant atonement for the nation of  Israel.

"And Aaron shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord with his hands full of incense beaten small, and bring them behind the curtain. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, so that the cloud of incense covers the mercy seat that is on the ark of testimony. He shall do this so that he does not die" (Lev.16:12-13 Para.).

Early in the morning on the Day of Atonement, the high priest bathed and put on the priestly garments that were only worn on this day and began the daily rituals with the trimming of the seven lamps and the burning of incense on the golden altar. Before going behind the curtain into the presence of God the high priest offered many sacrifices and performed many ritual washings that were specifically  required for this day.

The Day of  Atonement

The  central theme of the Day of Atonement for Israel concerned  the  process  by which sin was atoned for; therefore, it  was extremely important for the high priest to be able to go before the Creator God within the holy of holies and stand before the place of atonement to seek reconciliation for national Israel through the various  sacrifices, rituals, and washings that were required on this day.

Once the high priest successfully performed these rituals, there would again be  a harmonious relationship between God and his chosen people and he would continue to dwell  among them for another year.

The symbolism of the Day of Atonement clearly points to the time when the Father's elect would have access  to him in his heavenly temple and place of atonement before his throne. However, there are major differences between the way the high priest came before the Creator God under the old covenant to communicate with him and receive reconciliation and how the Father's elect communicate with him and are reconciled to him.

Under the terms and conditions of the agreement that the Father has with his elect children during the gospel age of salvation, both God the Father and Jesus Christ personally  dwell within the elect through the power of   the Father's holy spirit:

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" (1.Pet.2:9-10 KJV). See also Eph.5:6-14; 1.Jn.1:5-7.

The Father's children are a royal priesthood who have obtained his mercy, grace, and favor through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ; therefore, they never need to offer a physical sacrifice or perform rituals in order to come before him and stand in his presence at his heavenly throne to seek his grace, mercy, and favor:

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb.4:14-16 KJV).

It is extremely important to keep in mind that the Father allows his children unrestricted access to him, because Jesus Christ is their high priest  and because they are his priests who serve him through his earthly temples. As his children and his priests, they are authorized to come before him anytime they want, in order talk to him, worship him, express love and gratitude to him, acknowledge his sovereignty over their lives, ask him for forgiveness of sin, and make requests of  him.

The Day of Atonement for national Israel pictured the removal of all sin and  the reconciliation between God and man through the forfeiture of  an innocent animal life  as a substitute for the life of the  one  who is guilty of violating God's law. Today, there is no need to be covered with a cloud of incense in order to stand before the presence of God (Lev.16:12-13); there is no need for an animal sacrifice or the blood of sacrifice to be sprinkled on the east side of the place of atonement (i.e., the mercy seat) and before it seven times (Lev.16:9-16), because this symbolism has been fulfilled though the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are you saved through faith. . ." (Eph.2:4-8 KJV).

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the holy spirit; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Tit.3:5-6 KJV).

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE TEMPLE

For the Father's elect children who live during the gospel age of salvation a good understanding of how  the holy spirit and the Father's temple interact can have an enormous impact on one's relationship with him and his Son and can make the difference between success and failure in one's effort to obtain salvation and the performance of  one's responsibilities in the Father's holy nation as a king, an ambassador, and a priest.

Before and after Jesus' death and resurrection, he promised his disciples that the holy spirit would be sent to them as a teacher and a reminder and to immerse them in its power:

"But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and by the Comforter I mean the holy spirit—it will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you" (Jn.14:26 LBP). See also Jn.16:12-13; 1.Cor.2:10-11.

"You are witnesses of  these things. Now pay attention because I will send the promise of  my Father on you. However, you must wait  in the city of Jerusalem, until you are clothed with power from on high" (Lk.24:48-49 Para.).

On the following Feast of Pentecost, just as Jesus had promised, the holy spirit and its power came to dwell within the Father's elect children:

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the holy spirit . . ." (Acts 2:1-4 KJV).

When the holy spirit came to rest on the Father's elect children, they not only became first-born sons of  his new creation, but also the repository for his awesome spirit-power through which he creates, controls, influences, and sustains all that exists. To differing degrees and according to each one's specific needs, each one of  the Father's elect children have the awesome power of  his holy spirit at their disposal.

The Father's earthly temples are  points of contact between the Father's spirit-realm of existence and this physical dimension of  time and space. It is through the Father's elect children in which the holy spirit resides that the various attributes, qualities, functions and power of  his spirit flow. Therefore, it is extremely important for each person who is serious about their opportunity for salvation and their responsibilities as a child of God to gain an understanding of  how the holy spirit functions within them and how to use its various  attributes, qualities, functions and powers.

NOTE:

See our study about the holy spirit for details concerning how the holy spirit functions through the Father's earthly temples.

SUMMARY

The tabernacle in the wilderness and later the temple in Jerusalem were both indispensable to the worship and service of the Creator God. Today, during the gospel age of salvation, a temple for the worship and service of  God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ is also indispensable. Without the Father's earthly temples, there can be no personal contact with the Father, no place for his priests to offer him spiritual sacrifices, no place to offer him praise, gratitude, no place to make requests of him, and no place to seek forgiveness from him through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.

During this gospel age of salvation, the Father has provided a personal temple for each person whom he has called to salvation and has committed their life to him through the process of repentance, baptism with water, and the receiving of holy spirit. Today, there is no need to travel long distances or go to a specific location to be in the presence of  the Father and his son, because the elect are always in their presence  through the temple, which they are, and through the power of the holy spirit that resides within them.

In order to worship and serve the Father and Jesus Christ, one should be totally aware that one is the Father's earthly temple in which his and his Son's presence resides through the power of his holy spirit, his personal spirit, and his Son's personal spirit, and that  the Father's temples are the most sacred places on earth today. Within this most sacred place, each person who is a son of the Father's new creation is responsible as his priest to worship and serve him to the best of one's ability in order to be worthy of one's awesome calling.

By B.L Cocherell, file b6w14