August 8, 2008

Matthew Brown: The Israelite Temple and the Early Christians

In Exodus the Lord prescribed a Tabernacle, priestly dress, and rituals. Once settled, a permanent temple was to be built. Here, priests were initiated, also kings were enthroned in rituals there. Christians do not believe that temples have nothing to do anymore with the gospel.
-atonement made it unneeded
-rituals were never part of the gospel

A few objections of the critics:

The temple became obsolete with the disciples of Christ. 
The New Testament itself did not make this apparent:

Mark 14:48-49
Acts 2:44,46
Acts 5:19-20, 42

They did not leave the temple behind, they were forcibly removed from its precincts. Paul even submitted to the rituals there before being removed.

Acts 22:17-18 where Paul prayed in the temple and received a vision of the Lord and instructions on building the kingdom. Attended often, experienced rites there, prayed there, taught there, and received revelation there, all after the temple veil had been rent.

Since Moses build the Tabernacle, the rituals must have been a part of the Law of Moses. 

The office of priest predated the law of Moses and so did office of King, as in Melchizedek.
The Book of Revelation makes the connection of the Heavenly temple of God and the earthly counterpart. (Cf. Revelation with Exodus)

Revelation and Exodus
Slaughtered lamb - alter of sacrifice (Rev. 5:6; Ex. 27:1)
sea of glass - laver of water (Rev. 4:6; Ex. 30:18)
seven candlesticks - seven lamp candlestick (etc.)
golden bowls - table with golden bowls
golden alter of incense - golden alter of incense
ark of covenant - ark of covenant

Kings and priests in the heavenly temple
Christ had "made us" kings and priests unto God. Those surrounding the throne declared Christ had "made them" kings and priests. It included clothing in white raiment and a golden crown on the heads. What is the nature of the Christian kingship idea? Was it allegorical, or did they experience initiation rites as in the days of Moses and Solomon.

Promises in Revelation and Initiation as King and priests

1) Eat of the tree of paradise (Rev. 2:7) (Ps. 2:6)
-Inherit the garden of Eden.
-no more curse there (rev. 22:3)
-no more death or sorrow (rev. 21:4)
-act as servants in holy of holies (rev. 22:3)
-All motif's of Adam and Eve. (Gen. 2:9-10, etc.)

2) Not hurt by the second death (Rev. 2:11)
The priestly and kingly power gives people power over the second death because they have power to serve in the presence of God. (See Exodus 28:33-35) Rev. 21:12 shows that only some will be able to pass through the veil. (Lev. 16:2) Bells were attached to the robe of the priest when initiated. They were neccessary so he wouldn't suffer death when going within the veil. Didn't go through veil without making a sound at the veil and asking leave to enter at that point.
-Initiation of Priests: Ex. 40:12
-Initiation of King (1 Kings)

3- Eat of the hidden manna (Rev. 2:17) (Ps. 110:7)
During Christ's ministry he identified himself as the bread of life, as the bread or manna from heaven that fed the Israelites. The bread was part of the regalia that was handed to the new kings. See Psalm 110:7) This was considered mythologically to be the fountain of life, the water of life, which is something that will be done in holy of holies.

4- Receive a new name (Rev. 2:17; Ps. 72:20)
Bestowal of a throne name occurred from time of David to Zedekiah. This dealt with adoption, too. Image of the wrestle Jacob had with an angel; it depicts them as embracing. Instead of wrestle, embrace, receiving a new name. A symbolic relationship between God and Israel. 150-450 A.D. Chrysostom reported Christian embraces, etc.

5- Given power over nations (Rev. and Psalm 2:8-9)

6- Receive the morning star (Rev. 2:28; Psalm 110:3)
Representing victory and kingship.

7- Clothed in white raiment (Rev. 3:5 Psalm 110:3)
Temple priests received white clothing, but so did the king of Israel. Lev. 16:4, took place on day of enthronement. Garments, robes.

8-Name not blotted from the book of life (Rev. 3:5; Ps. 72:17)
The scene of judgment, a kind of citizen registry of the heavenly host.

9- Made a pillar in the temple, never leave (Rev. 3:12; Ps. 110:4)
Set forth dignity of faithful as priests in the next world; a priest forever.

10- Name of God, New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12; Ex. 39:30; Ps. 89:24)
All who overcome are designated as high priests and have access to the holy of holies.

11- Seated upon the throne of Christ (throne of David, Israelite King, Deification) (Rev. 3:21; Ps. 110:1)
Sat with father in throne refers to deification, etc. Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord, etc.

12- Adoption and Inheritance (Rev. 21:7; Ps. 2:7-8)
King adopted by deity when consecrated. Sonship is divine guarantee of power and authority. Jacob adopting Eph. and Manas. Becomes "firstborn."

Referred to Margaret Barker; The Great High Priest and Temple Themes in Christian Worship

Early Christian rites not derived from synagogue but from the view of the Heavenly initiation, etc.

See also Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy.

Enter paradise by passing cherubim who guard the entrance. Their names written in book of life, adopted by God. Priests and kings anointed in Israel, do so likewise.

Christian anointing ceremony
-Initiate brought to temple to receive
-with olive oil
-oil is fine and scented,
-from container of horn-shaped
-anoints body completely.

Initiate receives a white garment as a piece of baptismal clothing called "the robe that Adam lost," etc. Garments of glory. (ex. 28)

Ephod is identified as ceremonial loin cloth girded about the waist, fastened by a belt. Embroidered by colored threads. Found in literature and in archeological findings on monks buried. (7th century)

"Gamma marks"
Christian cemetary in Egypt is being dug right now, they wear aprons, robes, knot on shoulder, etc. Decorated over the breasts and the mark over the knee. Also depicted in early christian art in garments. Coptic Christians have marks on their tunics as well as on their veil above. Byzantine church in Greece has marks on a veil over a door, associated with Solomons temple, etc.

Other images showing Christ with compass, etc. as creator.

Initiates were approached by Satan and they instructed him to leave, etc.

Initiates also made covenants by clasping hands.

See more in Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy by E. C. Whitaker, Maxwell E. Johnson.

Eastern Christian church structure was built reflecting the axis of space and time, beginning with creation then moving through the events of Savior's life, etc. It is a close replica for Solomon's temple. Men and woman would be separated, there was a holy of holies representing heaven, etc. It paralleled the Tabernacle and the old temple.

Initiation rites of Greek orthodox monks also parallels it.
a-New name, investiture
b-Baptismal washing, return of prodigal son and marriage
c-goes to the veil where abbot meets him (representing the father from prodigal son's father) Vows are taken on obedience, chastity, angels are present, clothing is given and they embrace
given full monk clothing including apron, etc. garment not to be removed. Renounce world, etc.

Temple ceremonies never part of gospel? That is a claim that is now called into question. Early Christians had a distinct temple ideology. They were promised that they could then all receive the rites once reserved only for priests and kings.

Questions and Answers:

Q- What is symbol behind the horn-shaped vial of oil?
A symbol of kingly power, the horns used as strength and moving. Ephraim uses horns to push together the people to gather them.

Q- Why did some use leather for aprons?
Relates to sheepskins and goatskins, perhaps the leather was thought to  be related to that. One community of early monks were wearing leather and the woll was still on them, but when removed they covered white linen.

Q- When is book coming out?
Which one? Brown has been asked to expand some of his current projects. Dan Browns' book on Solomon's temple will be coming out, so he will probably look at that. There is a symposium coming up at BYU on temples etc.

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