THE TEMPLE in this DAY
BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
Our identification with Christ is revealed in a progressive revelation of the tabernacle. This becomes clearer as we go along. In our growth, we don’t lose our early understanding, for it is incorporated in all the stages necessary for our growth into the fruit-bearing stage – just like those who are studying higher mathematics still make use of the facts they learned in elementary school.
The festivals or feasts of Israel were high holy days. They represented things that were to be fulfilled in Christ and now have been fulfilled in Christ. However, in our experience of growing up in Christ, they still need to be fulfilled in us. Although we see them in the natural at first, they eventually become spiritual reality.
Deuteronomy 16 describes the three feasts that the Israelites were to observe. Every male in Israel was to present himself to the Lord during these feasts. Jesus also kept the law and appeared at the temple at the prescribed times; but after His Jordan experience He was led by the Spirit, and testified that He was the way, the truth, and the life.
Because Jesus was not of Levitical descent, He was never anointed to the Levitical priesthood. Therefore He was not qualified to enter the temple proper, which consisted of only two places, the holy and the holy of holies. He was only allowed to enter the outer court of the temple. The only way into the holy place and the holiest was via the outer court, and only the priesthood was allowed entrance into the holy place, and only the high priest could enter the holiest.
Jesus brought in a new order! He is the high priest of a new priesthood and a new law! So the only way we can enter the holiest is in the new priesthood in Jesus Christ! He is the way that goes all the way into the holiest. This priesthood enters the heavens in the Spirit, and comes back to the earth through the humanity that He has called out – the ecclesia or the elect.
The outer court of the temple symbolized the first feast – the Passover feast. This was first celebrated by the Israelites when they left Egypt; it was actually a Passover from the bondage to the world system into the liberty of the children of God. Eventually they would receive the law and get into the holy land or the land of promise. The second feast compares with the first part of the temple – the holy place. In it were the seven lampstands which are the seven Spirits of God. (Rev.1:4) When John looked around he saw one like a son of man amidst the seven lampstands of God. The seven lampstands are the churches. The church is the body of Christ – not groups of people or organizations, but members of His spiritual body! Although it has many members, it is one body.
The son of man, who is the likeness of Christ and who is portrayed here, should be formed by the church. It is a sad commentary on the organized religious systems that they do not even know who the Son of Man is. He is identified in the first holy place as the way and the truth. We can identify Him because the Anointing, the Holy Spirit of truth, teaches us all things.
The third part of the temple complex or the second part of the temple, is the holiest place. Only the high priest could enter this part – and only once a year. The holiest place shows us the oneness and the true nature of God. Just as the nation of Israel could only enter in the high priest, for he carried the names of the tribes on his breastplate, so we have to be in Christ, our high priest, in order to enter. This is our dwelling place with God. Once we enter into Christ we remain or tabernacle in Him.
The high priest could only enter the holiest with blood. He carried the blood all the way in. The blood symbolizes Christ’s soul- His sense of being and understanding. It takes us into the holiest and then sends us forth with the correct witness.
The first Passover was celebrated in Egypt – while the Israelites were in bondage. Keeping the Passover as God had commanded, brought about their deliverance from Egypt. There everything they did was for Pharaoh, so they could not do anything for God. This symbolizes our bondage to the world system where everything we do is for it, and nothing for God. This deliverance occurred before they got the law, but it was a part of Moses’ spiritual ministry of delivering his people from their slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt.
On the basis of celebrating the Passover, the Israelites were released from their slavery. Since the Passover was the beginning of a new life for them, it was the first month of the year from then on. They actually passed from death and the grips of the world, into the liberty of becoming a people that could enter the promised land and receive a new government. In type, this happens to us also.
Fifty days after they had celebrated the Passover in Egypt they arrived at Mt. Sinai. That was in the third month. (Exodus 19) At Mt. Sinai they got the law, written by God’s hand on tablets of stone. Moses broke these. The second set was placed unbroken into the ark.
This first and second giving of the law has great significance for us! The second giving of the law is found in Deuteronomy – deuter meaning 2. The Israelites received the Law of Moses first; and the second giving, symbolized in Deuteronomy, was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out and a new law came into effect, namely, the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus! Since Christ is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, the external keeping of the 10 commandments, etc., is no longer for us. It’s the life that is in the spirit of the law that is in Christ! Everything becomes spiritual in Christ! He is the Spirit of prophecy, the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of the Son, the Spirit of the law, etc. In Christ all things become new in the Spirit!
After the Israelites left Egypt, they needed a new law. The laws of Egypt no longer had any hold on them. “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.” (Ps.119) The law given to Moses was to show the people their need for leaving the world system and for repentance. Notice that Jesus breathed on the disciples after He had accomplished His deliverance of man from the world system. Fifty days after Christ’s Passover experience, the disciples were gathered in one place, and with wind and tongues as of fire, they received the Holy Spirit! Wind is typical of the pneuma or breath of God, and the Holy Spirit and fire are the judgment that comes with it. Judgment first to the church and then to the world!
Moses received the pattern for building the tabernacle or temple on Mt. Sinai, for the tabernacle was intrinsic to the law. It signified the presence of God with the Israelites, and it was called the tabernacle of Moses. When the glory of God came down on it, no one could enter it. This was also the case when the second temple, the temple of Solomon was dedicated to the Lord.
At Pentecost we received a new law! This is very important because a new law also requires a new priesthood. So the new law brought an end to the old priesthood, and the end of ministering the letter of the law. Now we are ministering the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus! The anointing we receive makes us priests. When our understanding is quickened by the Holy Spirit, we learn that we are now in Christ – that is in the high priest. So we are the high priest in the earth today, having the same profession Christ Jesus had when He was in the earth.
Our death brought a separation from Egypt, or the world. We are wakened out of sleep and made alive in Christ. He is the Lamb, the unleavened bread which we eat. He is the first fruits of the law; the sheaf that was waved before the Lord is taken from that which will ripen later. The sheaf had to be cut off from the earth before it could be waved. Eventually the fruit or the seed is separated from the chaff (its protection during the formative stage). The seed can then be used either for food or for reproducing itself in other people.
The hidden testimony here is that eventually our realization of self has to be cut off from the earth. This death of the Adamic man enables us to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, and is increasingly manifested as we grow spiritually. This is our testimony that the world sees. However, we don’t graduate from one holy place to the other; we still have Pentecost when we come to the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. They are all in Christ!
The anointing of the Spirit brings us the realization of everything we have in Christ and into the holy place in which we operate. Our testimony originates in our dwelling place with God.
In John 20 Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” And they did. But this was not Pentecost, for at Pentecost a law was given. At the first Pentecost, 50 days after Egypt, the Israelites received the Law of Moses; in Acts 2, 50 days after Jesus was crucified, the disciples received the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
It was up to the priesthood to administer the law. In Hebrews we read that a new law necessitates a new priesthood to administer the law. Because the old priesthood was too entrenched in the traditions of the old law, it was unable to change. The new priesthood is according to the order of Melchizedek, and Christ is the new high priest! He alone can minister life – the Spirit of the law in Christ Jesus! Melchizedek is without an earthly father and mother, having no beginning and no end. So we are now ministering an endless life! We are not ministering sin and forgiveness – we are ministering from the faith of knowing that we have passed from death to life; we have experienced a resurrection which has nothing to do with the physical body, for it is destined to go back to the earth.
At the first Passover the blood of the lamb was put on the doorposts, and the Israelites passed from death to life. So the blood of Christ was released in the Passover (His crucifixion). When that blood is applied to the doorpost or entrance to our heart (figuratively speaking), we pass from death to life. The Passover takes place in the outer court. This preparation is required for entering the temple, because none of this takes place in the temple.
Pentecost is the first entrance into the temple. It was the giving of a new law, a new priesthood and a new high priest! The new high priest, Christ Jesus, is the Son, and therefore has the authority and power of sonship! The new priesthood is in the new high priest, and in Him we dwell with the Father as sons!
The words of Jesus, “I am going to prepare a place for you”, are well known, but the reason for them, “That where I am, you may be also,” is not as well known! The place He has prepared for us is not a mansion in the sky in a beautiful heaven with streets of gold and animals napping in the shade. Jesus was on the earth, in a physical body, when He spoke these words. He was preparing a place in Himself in which we can have the same fellowship with the Father that He had!
At the Jordan the heavens were opened to Jesus, and God told Jesus that He was His Son. God had planned this, and it is a manifestation of what He has already accomplished for us. In typology, just as the Promised Land lay before the Israelites when they passed through the Jordan (the river of death), so it lies before us once we have passed through the river of death. Passing through death and resurrection changes the government of our life, even as it changed the government of Jesus’ life.
In this world we are plagued by every kind of evil, such as lust, pride and greed that result in wars. Our religious system can’t make any impact on these evils. Instead of being separated from the world, it is being conformed to it; it is trying to marry it; it’s a Jezebel – trying to get strength from illicit sources in order to keep her members. This never works! Our minds need to be renewed!
An intellectual study of the tabernacle and the sacrifices is not enough, for it only gives intellectual knowledge, whereas God wants us to receive life! The tabernacle built by Moses was a type and shadow of what we have in Christ. God ordered what materials were to be used, having supplied them beforehand through the Egyptians. Everything that was used represented some facet of our redemption, but the people were unaware of their meaning. The only one who knew was God Himself. And the only way we can receive true understanding is by being taught by the Spirit.
A true understanding of the tabernacle helps us to understand what happens to us spiritually. Even as we don’t know what is going on when we are born physically, we don’t know what is going on when we are born spiritually. It takes us awhile to understand ourselves in the knowledge of God and to receive spiritual realization. In our growth process we begin to see that God has already supplied everything we need for growth! His light has ushered out our darkness, and He has poured His love into our hearts! His grace supplies our eery need! We are new creatures, born of incorruptible seed; we have passed from death to life; we are the temple of God!
How wonderful it would be if Christians would realize their need of growing up into Christ! This does not happen in the outer court; nor can it be fully realized in the first holy place. We must actually grow up into Him who is the Head -Christ Jesus, the High Priest!
Christ Jesus is the great trumpet of God. In olden days, to announce an upcoming Jewish feast or holy day, trumpets were blown. They carried different messages. One trumpet sound was a call for the leaders to gather at the tabernacle; two trumpets meant the people were to gather at the tabernacle. Trumpets were also blown to call the people to war and to sound an alarm. It was a way of getting a message to the people! So Christ carries a message to the people!
Christ Jesus is the archangel, the great messenger of God – for angel means messenger! Christ is the one true trumpet that can be heard around the world. And in the last days He has blown the last trumpet; the seventh trumpet has sounded and the work of Christ as a physical man is finished in the earth. But now His work is multiplied in His many-membered body which is called the Son of Man.
Jesus said that the Son of Man came down from heaven – that is, His consciousness was formed in heaven. Since we are now in the world as the Lord’s Christ, our testimony or witness has to come from heaven – from the Spirit. It does not originate from the morality that is in the law. It comes from who we are in Christ, our oneness with Him – the realization that we are the sons of God even though we are still in this physical body. Because we have the Holy Spirit, we can truthfully witness even as Christ did!
Let’s remember that Jesus began His ministry in the earth after He repented from having been under the law. Through death, burial and resurrection at the Jordan, He received the anointing on the new man! Then the heavens were opened to Him, and God declared Him to be His Son! This is also the way for us.
This led to a dynamic ministry, then Gethsemane and crucifixion! Rejection didn’t come Christ’s way before His Jordan experience. Everything He did was for us, because He already was the Son of Man! He presented these things to us to show us that His way was to be our way! The things He did, proved that He was hearing from God!
When we get into Christ we get into His way, and things will happen to us just like they happened to Him. After Gethsemane He was put on the cross. It was not a substitutionary sacrifice. His physical death was the outcome of having been put to death in the hearts of people long before that. Man has not changed! If he rejects the words of Jesus, he will eventually desire to have him killed.
After we have been released from the law through death and resurrection, and have received the anointing on the new man – like Jesus did – we will become true witnesses. We will be like Christ in the earth. This witness will not be received by natural man, and it will bring us to Gethsemane and crucifixion. That is the way it happened to Jesus and that is the only way it will happen to us. We will not be crucified as a sacrifice.
In our spiritual growth we learn to identify with what Christ was and is, and what He has done for us! Our adoption takes place when we are no longer servants of the law. Instead, we have become sons of God living in the law of life in Christ Jesus! Adoption means coming out of the law, out of servant–hood to sonship. The servant does not abide in the house forever; the son abides in the house forever. The son is given jurisdiction over God’s things – and that is the work of the priesthood.
Jesus went through all these things to show us the way! He fulfilled all the types and shadows of the festivals and the tabernacle and the priesthood. He was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets!
The feast of tabernacles began with a day of rest and ended with a day of rest. This rest is a cessation of self-effort and a release from all bondages. Therefore it is a time of joy! It is a new existence – a new nature, a new realization of self, and a new place in which we live.
In John 14 Jesus informed His disciples that He was preparing a new and better place for them to live. To do this He had to leave them for a bit, but it would be worth it! He assured them that He would come again! This was emphasized by repetition – three times in that chapter. He promised not to leave them as orphans, desolate, and without a father. He said, “My Father and I will come to you.” In other words, the place Christ has prepared for us is a living relationship with the Father and the Son. This is not a geographical, historical or physical place; it is a realm of realization in the Spirit that the natural man cannot see and does not understand. So of course man doesn’t want to go the way that Christ has laid out for us. Christ, our High Priest, is the only one who was qualified to enter the second holy place. He dwells with God now, so only those who are in Him can enter in!
Notice the change the new birth produces in us! It takes us out of the natural, and places us into Christ, making us a new creation. Then we are anointed with the Spirit, and the Spirit of truth begins to unveil to us our union with God – the union Jesus prayed for in John 17! He prayed that we might be one, even as He is one with the Father. In a natural father-son relationship, the father always remains the father of the son, and so it is in our spiritual relationship with the Father! The Spirit brings us to this realization.
Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Lk.18:8b) His coming consists of His presence in the elect, His called-out ones, of which I consider myself one. God’s presence in the elect is the Son of Man. Jesus was on earth when He wondered if He would find faith on earth when He returned. Now He has come back and indwells us. And does He find faith in His people? In some He does, and in some He doesn’t. There seems to be a lack of faith, even among kingdom people, for God to fulfill His promises at this present time. They only seem to have faith for what He will do in the future – then He will manifest His sons, take care of the earth, take care of the evil, and have a new temple built for Himself in Jerusalem.
Now why should we want the Spirit of God to fill a natural temple? Everything that can be seen is temporal. However, the seen is made of that which is not seen. Our pilgrimage is in the unseen realm, so that our seen witness is made of the unseen! Our witness today is one of faith. When our flesh goes, we will be caught up in the reality of what we had faith for. It is our life now, but we will experience it in greater depth!
John received the message to measure the temple and to leave out the outer court, for it has been given to the nations or Gentiles. (Rev.11:1-2) That is not a part of the temple. The physical body of Jesus was given to the nations, and now the spiritual body of Christ (and we are members of that body) is given to the nations. Christ is manifesting Himself through a corporate body, the manifested sons of God – through the many sons who still have physical bodies. That is our calling!
God’s purpose for us is that we glorify Him! He said, “Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory…” (Isa.43:7) He has no other purpose for us. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Col.1:16) The only way we can enter His rest and partake of His glory, is to be in His purpose for us! This eliminates man’s desire for self-exaltation.
So much preaching emphasizes what God does for us. For example, we hear that God loves us, that He is there for us, that He has given Himself for us and that He has something good in store for us. These things are true, but they were done so that we should have an about-turn and give glory to God instead of to self and man!
There is only one God, one power and one reality! He is the only one worthy to receive glory, and we can only participate in His glory as we live in His divine nature! The types and shadows in the Old Testament are wonderful, but useless to us if we don’t know that there is a New Testament, a new covenant – a testimony of the fulfillment of all these types! The law and the prophets were fulfilled in Christ, and the tabernacle and its festivals are also fulfilled in Christ! The celebration of these types remains a celebration of shadows. We want to live in the reality and realization of them!
We are members of the body of Jesus Christ. He is spirit, and we are of the same spirit He is! We are to grow up into our Head – Christ Jesus! We are one with Him and one with the Father! In Him we live and move and have our being! We are new creatures! This is the new realization and understanding we have received!
Those who form the Son of Man are given to the Gentiles for a testimony. The Gentiles include all who do not know Christ – the heathen, the nations, and the religious systems of the day! In a greater or lesser measure, it is evident to many that there really isn’t much faith in the earth.
We first have to be in Christ before we can grow up into Him. To bear fruit we have to abide in the vine! In bearing fruit, we bring seed that contains life. To harvest the fruit, it has to be cut off from the earth. The seed is then ready to be used for reproduction or to be milled for food for the hungry. These are all types and shadows to which we can testify.
Jesus said, “…but if any man will come to Me, he will know these things whether they are of God or not.” In other words, knowing whether something is of God or not, depends upon our coming to Him! It does not depend on our testimony, preaching, knowledge of the Bible and natural hearing – as important as these things are! Jesus said, “If you will come to Me you will know.” So let’s do that!
Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding. Amen.
THE TEMPLE in this DAY [Lloyd Ellefson] 1