Mosaic Tabernacle as an Aaronic Temple

The Tabernacle at Sunset - by Pat Marvenko Smith

The Tabernacle at Sunset - by Pat Marvenko Smith (click for larger view)

Note: I taught our Elders Quorum class today, and was assigned the topic of the Mosaic Tabernacle as a Temple.  Below are the notes and illustrations I used for my lesson.

Review of prior lesson on the exodus:

  • Children of Israel escape Egyptian bondage (Ex. 14)
  • Moses leads them out
  • Parting of the Red Sea, Pharoah’s armies are drowned
  • Lord begins to organize his people
  • Manna rains down from heaven, sends Quail for meat (Ex. 16)
  • Moses strikes the rock, and water comes out
  • Lord covenants to Israel a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests, an holy nation (Ex. 19:5–6)
  • 10 commandments and Mount Sinai (Ex. 20)
  • The people start to refuse to become what the Lord had offered them – “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (Ex. 20:19).  Foreshadowing…
  • Many instructions, laws, covenants, etc. are delivered to Moses, which he delivers to the people, who all answer with one voice, “Yes, we will be obedient (Ex. 24:3, 7)

Moses goes up Mount Sinai again to receive instructions for 40 days and nights (Ex. 24:18).  Matthew Brown – “As part of his ascension experience, Moses is said to have been washed, anointed, clothed in heavenly garments, called with names of honor, enthroned, and initiated into heavenly secrets”1.  Joseph Smith noted that Moses received the “keys of the Kingdom,” and “certain signs and words”2

Next 7 chapters are instructions to Moses of how to build the Tabernacle while he is at Sinai.  Meanwhile the children of Israel are at base camp without their prophet, and things start to go bad.

Preliminary considerations – The Tabernacle functioned under the Aaronic priesthood, and as such things are different than we would expect from a temple functioning under the Melchizedek priesthood.  But much of the symbolism and typology remains the same.

Also, because of the translation, editing, and copying of the Bible through many generations, particularly during Josiah’s reforms3, the Old Testament has some interpolations and insertions of Aaronic priesthood as the dominant authority throughout much of its history, even before the golden calf.  Some things seem out of place, anachronistic, counterintuitive, or unlogical (see for example Ex. 33 verses 11 and 20).  Some biblical scholars have noted that these are likely the result of later editing and rewriting.

Schematic drawing comparing Garden of Eden to Mosaic Tabernacle.  From Temples of the Ancient World, Donald W. Parry, ed. (click for larger view)

Schematic drawing comparing Garden of Eden to Mosaic Tabernacle. From Temples of the Ancient World, Donald W. Parry, ed. (click for larger view)

Exodus 25 – Tabernacle, Tabernacle of the Congregation, Tabernacle of Witness or Tent of Witness, literally “Tent of Meeting” – Read Ex. 25:8–9 (first mention of Tabernacle).  Translated from two Hebrew words:

mishkan” – the verbal root of which means “to dwell” = this was going to be a the dwelling place of the Lord among the people.  All the people!
ohel” meaning “tent or covering”4

Garden of Eden as a prototype for the Tabernacle – temple functioned as a reversal of the effects of the Fall, and include many of the symbols in reverse order, going from the profane to the sacred:

The schematic drawing attempts to depict the sacred landscape of Genesis in simplified form.  The first land to arise from the waters became the Mountain of the Lord, where the Lord created Adam.  It is from this divine center that creation begins and extends out in all directions.  The Hebrew for east means “faceward or frontward”; thus, driving Adam from before his face is part of the continuing eastward movement.  Once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Adam’s eastward expulsion from the Garden is reversed when the high priest travels west past the consuming fire of the sacrifice and the purifying water of the laver, through the veil woven with images of cherubim.  Thus, he returns to the original point of creation, where he pours out the atoning blood of the sacrifice, reestablishing the covenant relationship with God.5

Mosaic Tabernacle. From templebuilders.com

Mosaic Tabernacle. From templebuilders.com (click for larger view)

Construction of the Tabernacle – Exodus 25-27 -

  • Holy of Holies = Celestial
  • Holy Place = Terrestrial (Garden?)
  • Courtyard = Telestial
  • Altar & Laver = sacrifice, obedience, baptism, washing
  • Menorah = tree of life, the cross, the light of the world (Christ).. Fall
  • Table of shewbread and wine = fruit of the tree of life, sacrament, flesh and blood of Christ.. Atonement
  • Altar of incense = prayer, sacred ritual prayer, before the veil
  • Veil = separation from God… we can rend through the rending of Christ’s flesh (Hebrews 10:19–20)
  • Ark of the covenant = throne of God, immortality and eternal life
Aaron's holy garments (high priest). Diagram Illustrated by Janshen. (click for larger view)

Aaron's holy garments (high priest). Diagram Illustrated by Janshen. (click for larger view)

Aaron’s holy garments (or all of Israel before their great sin) – Exodus 28 -

  • Aaron’s garments consecrate him and allow him to minister as a priest. (Ex. 28:3).  Consecrate being translated from the Hebrew words meaning to “fill the hand” – sacrificial emblems, olive oil, incense6.  The “filled hand” is a widespread sign of offering sacrifice.
  • Breastplate (Ex. 28:4; includes many of the following items)
  • Ephod = apron
    • Holman Bible Dictionary – “Priestly garment connected with seeking a word from God . . . In early OT history there are references to the ephod as a rather simple, linen garment, possibly a short skirt, apron, or loincloth.  It is identified as a priestly garment… From its earliest forms and uses, it appears that the ephod was associated with the presence of God or those who had a special relationship with God… There are references to a special ephod associated with the high priest.  It appears to have been an apron-like garment worn over the priest’s robe and under his breastplate… Woven of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet materials, it was very elaborate and ornate… The ephod was fastened around the waist by a beautiful and intricately woven girdle”7.
  • Robe
  • Broidered (embroidered) coat = garment worn next to the skin8
  • Linen breeches (Ex. 28:42) = to cover nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach
  • Mitre = a turban or round cap.  Something wrapped around with white linen.  Holman Bible Dictionary – “a type of headdress, probably a turban… In Zech. 3:5 the high priest Joshua received a clean mitre as a sign of the restoration of the priesthood”9
  • Girdle = sash – Holman Bible Dictionary – “An ornate sash worn by the officiating priests… to gird up one’s loins means literally to tuck the loose ends of one’s outer garment into one’s belt.  Loins were girded in preparation for running, battle, or for service for a master.  The call to ‘gird your minds’ means to be spiritually alert and prepared”10.
  • Bells on the hem (Ex. 28:35) = sound heard when he goes into the holy place, as an announcement11
  • Golden crown (Ex. 28:36) = HOLINESS TO THE LORD.  Taking upon him the name of the Lord, literally.
  • Blue lace (Ex. 28:37) = a thread, a line, or cord; string to attach the crown, and secure it to the mitre.12
Sons of Aaron (priests). (click for larger view)

Sons of Aaron (priests). (click for larger view)

Aaron’s sons garments – Ex. 28:40 -

  • Coat
  • Girdle
  • Bonnet (hat or headdress)

Aaron and his sons were to be anointed, consecrated, and sanctified, and clothed in these holy garments so that they could minister in the priest’s office and come to the altar in the holy place. (Ex. 28:41–43; Ex. 29:29)

Exodus 29:4 – “And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.”

Clothing in the garments of the priesthood – Exodus 29:5–6

Exodus 29:7 – “Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.”

These things were done before the priests entered the holy place.  They were preparatory or initiatory ordinances to become ritually clean to serve in the Tabernacle.

Other offerings of animal sacrifices were offered on the altar.

The Tabernacle was to be a place of meeting the Lord and speaking with Him – Exodus 29:42–46This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door [veil?] of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord:  where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.  And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory… And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.  And they shall know that I am the Lord their God… that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.”

All this was given to Moses while he was on Mount Sinai.  The children of Israel, meanwhile, were beginning to build idols, “which shall go before us” (Ex. 32).  Were desiring some intermediary to go before the Lord, now that Moses was gone, and they didn’t know if he was coming back (Ex. 32:1).

The Adoration of the Golden Calf, Nicolas Poussin, April 1633

The Adoration of the Golden Calf, Nicolas Poussin, April 1633 (click for larger view)

Golden Calf!  Here is the turning point.  Moses comes down and breaks the tablets in his anger (Ex. 32:19, symbolic of the covenant being broken, literally).  The Lord chastises Israel for their great sin.  They will no longer be able to become a kingdom of priests – “Ye are a stiffnecked people: if I came up into the midst of thee in a moment, I would consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee” (JST Ex. 33:5; see also Ezek. 24:17, 23).  The children of Israel can no longer come into the presence of the Lord because of their wickedness, and breaking their covenants.  The Lord commanded the Israelites to remove their “ornaments” (Ex. 33:4–6).  Matthew Brown suggests that this might have been connected with the “robes of . . . glory” that the Israelites were required to remove.  “These robes may be related to the ‘garments . . . for glory’ (i.e. temple robes) worn by the Israelite priests”13.  Here we see that all the people were preparing to wear the sacred robes, not just Aaron and his sons.  But they were now unworthy of them.

Brigham Young once took note:

If they had been sanctified and holy, the children of Israel would not have traveled one year with Moses before they would have received their endowments and the Melchisedec Priesthood.”14

Moses, and later on Aaron, become the intermediary for the people (Ex. 33:7–11).  They would go before the face of God, not the people.  We get more insight into what happened here in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 84:17–27).

17 Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years.
18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.
19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;
26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

Moses goes back up the mountain to get the stone tablets again, but this time the covenant did not include the “everlasting covenant of the holy priesthood” that the people were not prepared to receive anymore (JST Deut 10:2)15.

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them. 2 But I will give unto them the law as at the first, but it shall be after the law of a carnal commandment; for I have sworn in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage. (JST Ex. 34:1–2)16

For the rest of Israelite history until the coming of Jesus Christ, the temple performed its functions primarily through the Aaronic priesthood, the authority to perform outward and carnal ordinances, but not the authority to bring mankind into the presence of the Father.  Christ restored what was lost through Israel’s iniquity, brought back the higher priesthood, reacquainted man with his Father, and restored the ordinances through which mankind may come once again into the presence of God.  These ordinances have been restored again today.

Here is another schematic drawing of the Tabernacle.

(To see more Tabernacle illustrations see TempleBuilders.com.)

Notes:
  1. Brown, Matthew B. The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 1999. 58 []
  2. ibid. []
  3. See Margaret Barker, “What Did King Josiah Reform?” in Welch, John W., David Rolph Seely, and Jo Ann H. Seely. Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem. Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Brigham Young University, 2004. Link []
  4. Brown, Matthew B. The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 1999. 57 []
  5. Parry, Donald W. Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co, 1994. 134-35 []
  6. Brown, Matthew B. The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 1999. 89 []
  7. Brand, Chad Owen, Charles W. Draper, and Archie W. England. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, Tenn: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003. 499 []
  8. Brown, Matthew B. The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 1999. 82 []
  9. Brand, Chad Owen, Charles W. Draper, and Archie W. England. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, Tenn: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003. 1145 []
  10. ibid., 653-654 []
  11. Brown, Matthew B. The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 1999. 83 []
  12. ibid., 84-85 []
  13. ibid., 92; see also Exodus 28:2 []
  14. Brigham Young, JD 6:100; reference brought to my attention by John Tvedtnes. []
  15. Brown, Matthew B. The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 1999. 59 []
  16. ibid., 59 []

24 Comments

  1. Daniel
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Hi!
    This may be interesting regarding the measures of the Mishkan:

    (from http://www.aish.com/torahportion/moray/Of_Matzot_and_Mitzvot.asp)

    … the Talmudic discussion of the Holy of Holies reveals an easily-overlooked feature of the Ark:

    So said Rabbi Levi: This is transmitted to us by tradition from our fathers: The place of the Ark is not given to measurement. And Rabbanai said in the name of Shmuel: The Keruvim stood by sheer miracle. Talmud Bavli Yoma 21:1) 11

    The dimensions of the Mishkan are transmitted in the Torah with great precision, including exact measurements for the various chambers and the placement of each of the holy vessels within them. The measurements for the Holy of Holies include the exact dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant, and the precise placement of the Ark. Yet these measurements create a physical impossibility: The Ark was placed in the center of the Holy of Holies, a chamber of 20 square cubits, yet there were ten cubits of empty space between the walls of the chamber and each side of the Ark. In other words, the Ark did not consume any physical space.12 It transcended space. Much like Sinai experience, the Ark of the Covenant was neither defined nor confined by space; the essential element was the content, not the location of the Revelation. The physical construct that housed the Tablets of Stone somehow transcended space, and fit in to the Mishkan perfectly.13 Although physical, the Ark and the Tablets belong to a metaphysical reality. Similarly, Shavuot, the day of the Giving of the Torah, is about transcending space.

    11. Also see Talmud Bavli Baba Batra 99a, Megila 10b.

    12. See Rashi’s comments on Yoma 21b, and the comments of the Vilna Gaon found in the Kol Eliyahu, on Aggadot Brachot 47b.

    13. See the Comments of Rabbenu Bachya Sh’mot 25:10.

    Greetings,
    Daniel

  2. Posted April 13, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Very good summary, Bryce! You were very thorough in your preparations for this! The one comment I would make is on the problem of the loss of the Melchizedek Priesthood with Moses. The D&C and JST passages you cite seem to conflict with other scriptures and LDS tradition that there were other prophetic figures (Elijah and others) who must have had the Melchizedek Priesthood, and also the Israelite kings (Psalm 110). In light of the latter, I interpret the passages concerning the removal of the Melchizedek Priesthood from the people of Israel to refer to a restriction of the higher priesthood to certain individuals–not a complete removal from the earth. I think Matthew Brown and others would agree with this.
    There is much external evidence that under the monarchy there continued to be performed rituals (especially those surrounding the New Year Festival) that appear to have been very similar to what we would see as Melchizedek Priesthood rituals and our temple endowment.
    I believe that these traditions persisted for centuries, but became corrupted over time and were largely eliminated by the reforms of King Hezekiah and King Josiah. Editors of the sacred texts, such as the “Deuteronomists” (time of King Josiah) and the “priestly” redactors (during or soon after the exile) were largely successful in removing these ancient Melchizedek ordinances from the religion and scriptures of the Jewish people. The post-exilic priesthood was likely exclusively Aaronic — the priesthood of the prophets and kings had been suppressed and virtually eliminated from public awareness, except from fringe groups (Qumran, Hebrews) who careful preserved more ancient traditions.
    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  3. Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    You are absolutely right, David, that the D&C and JST passages seem to say that all Melchizedek Priesthood was taken away. But I agree with you that it was taken away from the people of Israel at large, but likely stayed in very limited fashion with the prophets and kings. That makes sense to me. Indeed, the high priest could still go into the Holy of Holies, but he was the only one. In fact, I was just reading in Matt Brown’s Gate of Heaven yesterday about how several General Authorities have stated that Aaron and his sons probably held the Melchizedek priesthood. I’ll have to find the reference and post it here.

  4. Posted April 13, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Here is the quote from Matthew Brown in The Gate of Heaven. He has some good LDS references to the concept of a continuing limited Melchizedek priesthood:

    “It is a commonly held view among Latter-day Saints that the temple priests of ancient Israel were only ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood, and this lesser authority was all that was had among the Israelites after the time of Moses. But this is not the view held by some LDS commentators. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has stated that Aaron and his sons ‘held the Melchizedek Priesthood and were numbered with the elders of Israel when the Lord first conferred the lesser authority [or Aaronic Priesthood] upon them. This is precisely what we do today when we take a holder of the Melchizedek Proesthood and ordain him a bishop in the Aaronic Priesthood.’ President John Taylor likewise believed that ‘Aaron and the seventy elders of Israel . . . had the Melchizedek Priesthood,’ and according to Joseph Fielding Smith ‘Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Elijah, and others of the prophets held the Melchizedek Priesthood.’” (Brown, Matthew B. The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communication, 1999. 78)

  5. Posted April 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that quote, Bryce! That is very helpful. I wonder, however, if Aaron and his sons held the Melchizedek Priesthood, which isn’t a problem for me, then when did Aaron’s line lose it? Was it when Moses and the higher law were taken away? Was there a decision made to exclude the priests from the higher priesthood and restrict it only to prophets and kings? Of course, the Bible gives us no insight into this transition.
    David

  6. Posted April 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Bryce, this is excellent information. When comparing this to Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life, it becomes so interesting. The symbols and parallels to that vision open it up just that much more.

  7. Posted April 13, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Excellent work yesterday. I had a lot of comments come to me (even though I didnt give the lesson) saying, “that was a good lesson, Im glad you guys decided to share that about the temple…”

  8. Paul Bottino
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Bryce, excellent text, but I have a question. How come you get to teach this stuff, and I have to teach the high preists. from the Joseph Smith manual. I am not complaining, because my testimony of Joseph Smith has increased several orders of magnitude since I started teaching from that manual last year. I thought everyone was using it.
    Just curious.

  9. Posted April 13, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve had a couple people question me about this, so let me explain. :) Yesterday was our Elders Quorum Presidency message. I was assigned by the quorum president to present the message on the subject of the Mosaic Tabernacle. One Sunday per month, usually the first, is reserved for a choice of subject of the Elders Quorum president. So that’s what it was. We teach from the Joseph Smith manual and the Teachings for Our Times the other Sundays of the month as prescribed.

  10. Posted April 14, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Bryce,

    I’m glad to see someone make a post about this and get most of the correspondences correctly mentioned. You have done all students of the Temple a great favor with this post. Keep up the good work. There is far more depth beyond this, of course, and anyone following this guideline should be able to find at least some of it if they study the Temple Endowment in minute detail while bearing these things in mind.

    ~Jeff

  11. Kevin Harris
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Bryce,

    Thank you so much for this. We are so blessed to live in a day when the presence of God is found on the earth in his Holy Temples. We can endure his presence because of the ordinances of the Greater Priesthood. Not just the prophet, but anyone who will prepare himself can have this experience. It is not something that God is trying to hold back from us. He wants us to “come unto Him”, and then return into the world filled with his love.

  12. Posted April 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your comments everyone.

    I should note that it is not necessarily the ordinances themselves that permit us to endure God’s presence, but they prepare us to be able to do so. Hugh Nibley once put it this way:

    In the temple we are taught by symbols and examples; but that is not the fullness of the gospel. One very popular argument today says, “Look, you say the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, but it doesn’t contain any of the temple ordinances in it, does it?” Ordinances are not the fullness of the gospel. Going to the temple is like entering into a laboratory to confirm what you have already learned in the classroom and from the text. The fullness of the gospel is the understanding of what the plan is all about—the knowledge necessary to salvation. You know the whys and wherefores; for the fullness of the gospel you go to Nephi, to Alma, to Moroni. Then you will enter into the lab, but not in total ignorance. The ordinances are mere forms. They do not exalt us; they merely prepare us to be ready in case we ever become eligible. (Nibley, “The Meaning of the Temple“)

  13. David
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Aaron and his sons did not hold the _keys_ of the Melchizedek priesthood. The Keys were not carried down. They left with Moses. Aaron, nor his sons, were authorized to ordain others to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Aaron held the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood. For all intents and purposes, he was the Presiding Bishop.

  14. Posted April 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, commenter of my same name! Good explanation for Aaron’s relationship to the Melchizedek Priesthood — I think presiding bishop is a pretty good characterization of Aaron’s role. I am still not sure about the passing down of the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, though. Did Elijah not have the keys of the priesthood? How did Samuel anoint King David as king and Melchizedek priest if he did not have keys?
    David

  15. Posted April 14, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this great post. I love studying the Old Testament and the temple sybolism contained therein. I was wondering why you believe that Aaron was dressed any differently than his sons. Could it be possible that the different clothing (white linen) was worn by anyone officiating as the High Priest, who changed his clothes to the white linen only one time of year, when he officiated on The Day of Atonement (Lev. 16) and entered into the Holy Place. This change of clothing as one enters into a different “level” is still symbolic today. What do you think?

    Also, thank you for posting the quote by McConkie. I love the thought that Aaron held the Melchizedek priesthood, it makes so much more sense in all that was done in the tabernacle.

    Perhaps understand the “no man shall see the face of God and live” quote… we need to understand how the Children of Israel viewed death. They viewed it as one of Satan’s lies. Think about it… it really is a lie, because we do not die we move on to the next estate. This was a great testimonial that they believed in eternal exsistence. Now, when we understand that they did not believe death was real… the word to die might have held a different meaning to them. Those who previously saw the face of God did “die” as to this world… they were translated. Perhaps they were referring to the ability they had to stay in this estate once they were being personally tutored by God??? Those who saw the face of God simply progressed further still… and ultimately were “taken” to live with him in Zion…. The Children of Israel needed to stay here so that the covenant with Abraham could be fulfilled… sort of like Noah….Does that make sense?

    Great research and information.. thanks for sharing.

  16. David
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    You said, “I am still not sure about the passing down of the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, though. Did Elijah not have the keys of the priesthood? How did Samuel anoint King David as king and Melchizedek priest if he did not have keys?”

    I said they weren’t passed down through Aaron. I didn’t say they were never on the earth. Remember, Moses still held the keys, even though he was translated. And I’m sure there were other Translated being who may have been authorized to bestow priesthood as well. When there are no authorized Priesthood Key holders on the earth, authority has been known to have bestowed by heavenly messengers. This is what I believe happened.

  17. Helen Brower
    Posted April 26, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I have been following your blog/site for a few months now and have been impressed with the amount of accurate information you display. Thank you.
    I wondered if you could help me with a reference problem I’ve been having. I went to a lecture at BYU education week last fall and recall hearing about a “garment of light” which was worn by Adam and Eve before the Fall. This garment of light was taken away when they transgressed and therefore “they were found naked” and the need for a new garment to replace the one they lost was given to them – as a place holder and protection to them until they had proven themselves worthy to receive their garment of light in the next life according to the covenants they made. It is just as we make covenants in this life within the temple, those blessings promised to us cannot be fulfilled unless we prove ourselves worthy. In the next life, those blessings will be realized upon us.
    Have you heard of this and if you have, where can I find the reference to this doctrine?
    Thanks so much! If all else fails, I will wait until the next BYU education week and try to corner the lecturer to find the reference.

  18. Posted April 27, 2009 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Hi Helen,

    Thank you for the kind compliment. There are many traditions and sources which speak of the “garments of light.” For some of them you could try John Tvedtnes article “Priestly Clothing in Bible Times” in Temples of the Ancient World, or Donald W. Parry’s article “The Garment of Adam in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Tradition” in the same book. There is also Nibley’s “Sacred Vestments” in Temple and Cosmos. They all speak extensively on this subject, and it is very fascinating.

  19. Helen Brower
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Oh! That is fantastic news!! Thank you!

  20. Greg R
    Posted May 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Bryce,
    I stumbled across your site today, from what I have seen so far it is very nicely done. I share your passion on the temple and am also not a scholar but have read as much as I possible can on the subject. I was able to take Nibley, Parry and Steve Ricks though while at BYU. They were wonderful.

    Surprisingly my bishop asked me to teach a 5th sunday lesson this month on the temple. I am headed down a similar path but with a couple of twists. My twists are below…
    I believe that Israels journey to the promised land represents man’s journey back to God (Temple Journey). Most my twist on Ancient Israel is going to be based on 1Cor 10.

    I compare the following…
    a. Egypt as sin or telestial kingdom
    We also live in sin and bondage until we are born again

    b. Waters of red sea and cloud of fire as baptism and holy ghost, Lamb’s blood on the door posts as the blood of Christ.
    Passing through the water is like baptism, it covers up our sins in this case the Egyptian army. We are led by a cloud of fire or the holy ghost

    After we are born again we enter into a time of sanctification for Israel it was the desert
    c. Bread (manna) and water (from rock) as sacrament
    d. Tests and trials as fiery serpents – must look to Christ to live… also I think the serpent on the pole represents the tree of life
    e. Over come our lusts for (of) quail (flesh)
    f. Ultimately the desert of sanctification is the terrestrial kingdom
    g. Waters of Jordan river are parted like the veil of the temple
    h. Angel on other side of veil as the Lord
    i. Promised land as celestial kingdom

    I believe that one of the points about the temple is that it also represents man’s journey back to God. We pass through the telestial kingdom and the terrestrial kingdom making covenants and receiving ordinances that will move us on to the next section of our lives.

    I’m a little less bold than to talk about as you say things like “the filled hand” in such a big audience but do like to discuss such things in smaller settings. I used to be bolder when I was younger.

    Thanks again for a very nice site.

  21. Jennifer
    Posted August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Just an additional idea on the mitre mentioned above. I have always preferred to think of it as the “round cap” and not the turban for one major reason. If we examine Exodus 29:6, it speaks of the crown placed upon the mitre. I can imagine a crown being placed upon a flat mitre, but not as much on a turban. It helps me fully appreciate even more the plan of salvation.

    Regardless of the specifics, though, what beautiful temple imagery to know that one day, through righteousness, we can expect a crown to be placed on our heads.

  22. Ed & Shirley
    Posted November 16, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    This is just what we were looking for. I am looking for a picture of the original Tabernacle Menorah?

  23. Posted November 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    No one really knows what the original Tabernacle menorah looked like. One of the best known representations of what the menorah might have looked like is captured on the Arch of Titus in Rome:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menorah_%28Temple%29

  24. Posted November 16, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Some authors have made a connection between the “asherah” that King Josiah removed from the temple during his reforms and the original menorah. The Hebrew word “asherah” is usually translated in our bible as “grove.” This “stylized tree” was supposed to have been in the Holy of Holies (not in the Great Hall of the temple, as the menorah was in later periods). The asherah is thought to have represented the Tree of Life, and was lit up by burning olive oil, symbolizing the idea that the Tree was fiery. Perhaps it looked much like the menorah of the Second Temple, but it may have looked even more like a tree. Representations that are available are of the menorah of the Second Temple, not that of Solomon’s Temple.

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