THE OLD TEMPLE SYSTEM,
Old Earth, Old Covenant, Old Bodies,
All Ready to Vanish Away.
“Much of the Old Testament treats God’s presence in the Jerusalem temple as the earthly correlate of YHWH reigning from heaven.“
J. Richard Middleton,
” The Ancient Universe and the Cosmic Temple“
“…[T]he creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay….” (Rom. 8:21).
“… [Y]our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…” (1 Cor. 6:19).
23 …[W]e ourselves…wait eagerly for… the redemption of our bodies.…” (Rom. 8:23).
“Having been perfected, He [Christ] became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him, being designated by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Concerning him we have much to say, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become poor listeners” (Heb. 5:9-11).
“The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change of the law“ (Heb. 7: 13).
What law is changed?
The law regulating the ordination and obligations of priests:
“…After the similitude of Melkizedek there arises another priest, [Christ, the Messiah] Who is not ordained on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but after the power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16).
A certain “bodily descent” was and is “a legal requirement” for priests in Israel. This specific section of the law authorized a hereditary priesthood. It required that Levi’s tribe provide priests for Israel.
This specific section of law that regulated the ordination and operation of Levitical priests did not always exist. “It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come” (Gal. 3:19).
430 years before Israel received its constitution (Torah) from Yahweh at Mount Sinai and officially became a nation, God promised to give Abraham a “Seed” or special descendent. The Messiah was the distant future relative that “Abraham believed Yahweh” (Gal. 3:6) would give him, a descendant so special that His Soul would be “an offering for sin” (Is. 53:10). “Abraham believed Yahweh” would give him the same “Seed” or offspring that was previously promised to Eve, a Son whose heel would be bruised in the act of crushing the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15).
“Abraham believed” in the promised offspring who would “make many to be accounted righteous…” (Is. 53:11), and by that faith Abraham was “accounted righteous” with the many (Gen. 15:6). “Abraham believed” in his distant grandson who would carry “the sin of many” and make “intercession for the transgressors” (Is. 53:12). Walking by faith not sight (2 Cor. 5:7), old and childless Abraham “saw” God’s promises “from a distance” (Heb. 11: 13): a promised Savior from a promised family that would dwell safely in a promised land; but, the patriarch saw and longed for more than the country where Goliath would be slain by David whose son Solomon would build a glorious Temple. “Instead,” Abraham was “longing for a better country—a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:16). By faith, Abraham looked through the promised land of Israel like a prophetic telescope and saw the promise of heaven. Likewise, faith looks through the prophetic telescope of the Temple system, which mediated between heaven and earth, and finds evidence that heaven will rest on earth after the full pregnancy of time.
The Torah’s restrictions and compulsions do “not revoke the previously established covenant” or “nullify the promise” made to Abraham (Gal. 3:17). Also, the specific laws regulating the ordination and obligations of Levitical priests in the Temple do not “nullify the promise” previously made to Abraham.
When Abraham arrived in Salem (meaning Peace), he was blessed by his superior. Abraham’s superior was Melkizedek, a name meaning “Righteous-King.” Melkizedek, The King of Righteousness, dwelt in a land called Peace and was more native to that promised land of restful peace than Abraham.
[Note: There is confusion about the identity of Melkizedek. Some simply think he was Christ ruling on earth. The confusion stems from Hebrews 7:3– “He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but *resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.” This author believes that Melkizedek was a parentless immortal only in the same sense and to the same degree that the Temple is “symbolic for the present age” (Heb. 9:9), *resembling the superior Temple of Heaven that is “not of this creation” (9:11) which is, in its deepest sense, God Himself; for, if our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are made in the image and likeness of God, then God Himself must be the arch-temple. Materially speaking, Melkizedek’s ancestors relocated from Armenia, closer to the place where Noah’s ark landed; it’s also possible Melkizedek’s family arrived in Salem, Canaan from Armenia after first passing Eastward though the land closer to Chaldea, forced to reject Chaldea’s contagious witchcraft, its centralized temple-banking cartel, its material dialectic priestcraft. The author speculates that Melkizedek was a title, not a proper name, and that there was an order of these priests in Canaan that sanctified the memory of Noah emerging from Ararat after the Flood; his diffused disciples built pyramids with consecrated peaks in memory of Ararat from whence the new creation emerged, and disciples of these disciples defected from the pure faith once delivered to their ancestors. His order was greatly renowned for its triple majesty of being king, priest, and prophet, and defective disciples deviated in their memorials to his honor, the consequence being that he was renamed Thot or Hermes Trismegistus or “Thrice-Greatest Hermes,” a god of communication. His identity is also to be found buried under the name “Sydyk,” later erroneously exalted into a Phoenician god. These speculations are drawn from statements made by Cicero, Philo of Byblos preserved by Eusebius Pamphilius, George Stanley Faber, David Rohl, and cuneiform records of 3rd Dynasty Ur.]
No matter exactly where Melkizedek relocated from, this Righteous-King ruled over a restful land of peace called Salem, and he was also a Prayerful Intercessor in his sphere of influence. King Melkizedek was a priest of “El Elyon” (meaning: the Highest God, God Most High).
Just as Yahweh blessed and promised to bless Abraham before Israel’s state constitution (Torah or Law) was given to Moses, and “Abraham believed” in the multi-generational continuum of God’s blessings before the Law was given to Moses, likewise: Melkizedek blessed Abraham before God breathed into Moses Israel’s divine legislation which defined Justice for the economy of God’s people.
The priestly tribe of Levi then lived merely as predestined potential in Abraham’s sperm. The Righteous-King over the land called Peace, who was a priest of God Most High before Moses got the Law for Israel, named Melkizedek: he was so noble, royal, holy, that both Abraham and the future Levitical priesthood paid him tithes (Gen. 14:20).
The same Spirit of El Elyon that inspired Melkizedek to bless Abraham with a spiritually real and symbolic meal of bread and wine (which represented fellowship and union with God like how swallowed food is absorbed and forms a strengthening union with every fiber of our bodies), this same Holy Spirit also inspired both Abraham and the entire Levitical priesthood to pay tithes to Melkizedek, and this same Holy Spirit also later inspired King David to prophesy. Melkizedek then Abraham then Moses then David were inspired by the Holy Spirit of the Highest God. Prophet-King David “believed Yahweh” like his greatly grandfather Abraham did. David joined his greatly grandmother Eve, and his greatly grandfather Abraham, in believing that his very bloodline would give birth to a special future relative whose heel would be bruised while crushing the serpent’s head (Gen. 3).
Jesus Christ is that special relative. Christ’s Spirit shared His future Testimony through Prophet-King David when David said:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1);
“Dogs surround Me, a pack of villains encircles Me.
They pierce My hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16);
“I can count all my bones” (Psalm 22:17).
“… [Y]ou will not abandon Me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your holy one decompose.
You make known to Me the path of life” (Psalm 16:10,11).
David believed the soul of Christ would be “an offering for sin” (Is. 53:10) whose murdered body, with its pierced hands and feet and unbroken bones, would not be abandoned “to the realm of the dead” (Psalm 16:10), but would know “the path of life” after entering “the realm of the dead” (v11).
The Holy Spirit that inspired Melkizedek to bless Abraham, and inspired both Abraham and the Levitical priesthood to pay tithes to Melkizedek, also inspired David to share Father God’s Testimony, specifically His eternal oath to God the Son, when David said: “Yahweh has sworn and will not change His mind: ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek'” (Psalm 110:4).
So then, let us again spin the time-refreshing wheel of memory and say that an eternal, most noble, unequalled rank of priesthood existed in the Promised Land of restful Peace before Abraham arrived at its border with the Levitical priesthood in his loins. And just as the Torah didn’t nullify the previous promise given to Abraham, so also, the specific section of Torah that regulated the ordination and operation of Levitical priests did not always exist. “It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come” (Gal. 3:19), and it does not nullify the priestly order of Melkizedek that existed before it.
The specific section of the Torah that regulated the ordination and operation of Levitical priests was grafted into the previous code of restrictions and compulsions “because of transgressions,” but “where there is no law there is no transgression” of the law (Rom. 4:15) because “sin is transgression of the law” (1 Jn. 3:4), so, the “law” that was “added… until the Seed… come” was necessarily added to a law that existed before.
The Levitical priesthood was “added” to the Torah’s previous code of restrictions and compulsions at the time of Israel’s “transgressions” at the base of Mount Sinai, where the wicked servants began to doubt in the return of their ascended proto-Christ named Moses, then indulged in a ritual Egyptian orgy around the golden idol calf (cursed Baalat, Astarte, Hathor). However, to their shock of doom, the ascended proto-Christ named Moses did descend. He returned and, in apocalyptic tones, he called forth messengers of death to sweep through the camp, north, east, south, and west, to cut a distinction between the elect and the apostate, saying:
“ ‘Who is on Yahweh’s side? Come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. And he said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘ ‘…[E]ach of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’ ‘ And the sons of Levi did… And Moses said, ‘Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.’ “Exodus 32:26-29
Thus, “all the sons of Levi” were “ordained” as holy agents of sacred destruction, and then a specific section of the Torah that regulated the ordination and operation of Levitical priests was grafted into the previous code of restrictions and compulsions “because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19).
Therefore, when the Levitical order of this age ends then the endless age of the order of Melkizedek resumes, and Christ will give us “bread and wine” in the Eternal Kingdom -like Melkizedek gave Abraham bread and wine: God’s very Being will be absorbed perfectly into our beings.
Truly, the elements of the Old Covenant that regulate mediation between God and man through the ordination and intercession of human Levitical priests, those elements are faulty, faulty because human hearts are stamped with Adam’s degenerative fault.
Christ was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). Necessarily, Yeshua the Messiah was the archetype, the original Interceding Priest-Prophet-King that existed in Heaven from eternity past, and He cast the shadow of Melkizedek on earth. According to the Holy Script, in the grand cosmic Tragi-comedy of spiritual history, Melkizedek was role-playing on earth the part of the resurrected, glorified Christ in highest Heaven, and Melkizedek’s restful stage was called Salem or Shalom or Peace: The Promised Land. Christ will truly rule on earth for all futurity in the age to come, seated where Melkizedek once dwelt, in that place which I think could be more accurately called The Sabbath Land or Land of Rest.
This Promised Land of peace on earth is, in fact, considered symbolic of an eternal Sabbath Rest in Heaven. As it is written, “If Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God… Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” (Heb. 4:8,9,11), for that eternal life of Sabbath rest is where the “narrow door” leads, which Christ too told us to “strive to enter” (Lk. 13:24).
Therefore, if Melkizedek foreshadowed the ultimate priestly order of the transfigured Christ-as-God-as-Sabbath (who was the Savior-Seed promised to Eve, Abraham, and David), ruling on the glorified earth-as-Sabbath “where righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13), reigning where the elects’ “sins and lawless acts [Yahweh] will remember no more“… and therefore “an offering for sin is no longer needed” (Heb.10:17,18), ruling in the land long ago promised to Abraham before Moses gave the Law), and if the glorified Christ rules as a king, prophet, and priest who “lives forever to intercede” (Heb. 7:25) for Abraham’s promised family, then: the Levitical priesthood foreshadowed the ministry of the man Christ on the old earth-as-unrest, or earth-as-“dominion of darkness” (Col.1:13) where Satan is “the god” (2 Cor. 4:4), where a yearly cycle of sacrifices spilled “the blood of goats and calves” (Heb. 9:12), “the blood of goats and bulls” (Heb. 9:13), “the blood of calves and goats” (Heb. 9:19), “the blood of bulls and goats” (10:4), and authorized men, by the visceral symbolic transfer of their death-worthiness to killed animals, to get close to God’s manifest glory on earth, even though there was “a reminder of sins in those yearly sacrifices” (Heb. 10:13). The Levitical high-priest prophetically role-played the ministry of the man Christ through crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension when our “great high priest” “passed through the [veil of the] heavens” (Heb. 4:14) and “entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12). In the future after the Great White Throne Judgment, the cocoon of this age’s temple-like universe with its Judean temple sacrifices that perpetuate the memory of sin, and the temple of our mortal bodies, with our ability to sin, each and all will shed and a new heaven and earth will burst forth, and all God’s children will dwell in the heart of God-as-Temple (Rev. 21:22).
The New Covenant will be consummated as the Bridal Church merges with Christ the Groom, and the two are synced in all their willing and feeling. In the fixed high noon of eternity, where Christ in God replaces the sun (Rev. 22:5), shadows will vanish and substantial reality will endure.
“Truly, the previous command is annulled because it was weak and unprofitable” (Heb. 7:18).
What is the “weakness” of the annulled command?
The “weakness” (Heb. 7:18) is contrary to the “power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16).
We know “the Law” is “weak through the Flesh” (Rom. 8:3).
But, “the Law is Spiritual…” (Rom. 7:14).
So, is the Spirit weak? God forbid! Lawless thoughts and actions are weak!
“… [T]hose who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5).
“The Law is spiritual…” (Rom. 7:14).
We must set our mind on God’s spiritual Law and say with Apostle Paul:
“I myself serve the Law of God with my mind…” (Rom. 7:25).
The Spirit and flesh “are opposed to each other” (Gal. 5:17).
The carnal mind “does not submit to God’s Law; indeed, it cannot” (Rom. 8:7).
“The mind governed by the flesh is death…” (Rom. 8:6).
“Death is the payment for sin [law-breaking]” (Rom. 6:23).
Smoke follows fire.
Death follows sin.
“…[Levitical priests] were prevented by death from continuing in office” (7:23).
Smoke follows fire.
A Levitical high priest needed to “…offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins…” (7:27).
Death follows sin.
Sin breeds death like the natural law of cause and effect (see: Rom. 8:2).
“The soul that sins shall die” (Ezk. 18:2).
“Sins” and the resultant “death” (Heb. 7:27) were the “infirmity” (7:28) “and weakness” (7:18) of the Levitical priesthood.
YHVH found “fault with them” (Heb. 8:8)— ie, God found “fault with” the “infirmity” and “weakness” of “sin and death” which plagued Israels’ priests— who served as mediators in accordance with “commands” that specifically sanctified the Levites alone for the Temple ministry. The hardest work of eternal redemption required the “power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16) to get the job done “once and for all” (Heb. 10:10). God promises in the new covenant to gift believers with new bodies on a new earth; in view of that future eternity, and from that perspective where “Jerusalem above” (Gal. 4:26) has descended and replaced this “present age” (Heb. 9:9), the “previous command” that made Israel’s ministry of mediation hereditary in Levi “is annulled” (Heb. 7:18). Only Yeshua the God-man will stand between men and God as mediator, eternal high priest.
The fact the Levitical priesthood was haunted by “sin and death” necessitated “a more excellent ministry” regulated by a “better covenant” (Heb. 8:6). Thanks be to God in Christ that we have it!
I end by saying: If Christ were on earth “He would not be a priest at all” (8:4). The earthly temple is only “a copy and shadow of heavenly things” (8:5), “symbolic for the present age” (9:9). In the KJV, Heb. 9:11 says Christ came as a “high priest of good things TO COME [indicating the NEXT AGE consummates the Church’s divine union with God AFTER the future Marriage Supper], by a greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands… not of this building” (or as the ESV translates it), “NOT OF THIS CREATION,” and that is why He “passed into the heavens” (Heb. 4:14). Yeshua essentially passed into the Future Age when He ascended from earth to heaven, for in the Future Kingdom Age heaven will descend to earth with Christ who “shall appear a second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28) and “there,” unlike “here” now (Heb. 7:8), there will be no system of sacrifice for sin because “in those sacrifices there is a yearly REMEMBRANCE of sin” (Heb. 10:3) but The Father promises in the New Covenant, saying: “I will REMEMBER their sin and their lawless deeds NO MORE” (Heb. 10:17).
This in no way abolished the 7th day Sabbath, Passover, Unleavened Bread, First-fruits, Pentecost, kashrut, beards, tassels or head coverings, etc, etc.
As a matter of fact, Lamsa translates Hebrews 4:9 from the Aramaic Peshitta thus:
“It is therefore the duty
of the people of God
to keep the Sabbath.”
Therefore, what is “becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13), and this includes:
“the earthly place of holiness” (Heb. 9:1)
(which is the Judean Temple-system of sacrifice
that perpetuates the “remembrance of sin” (Heb. 10:3)),
and this very temple-like “present age” of space and time as we know it
(the elements will melt with fervent heat” –2 Pet.3:10),
with our old mortal temple-bodies (1 Cor. 3:16),
our ability to sin (Ezk. 36:26,27),
and finally: the very memory of sin (Heb. 10:17).
May God’s grace save you from God’s wrath.
I give thanks to the High Terror
Who surveys the heights of heaven
and depths of hell,
and tenderly touches the blind and broken with sight.
Let all the cycles of space and time,
and all the dust that breathes here below,
prepare to stop and bow before this Majesty.
The kingdom, power, and glory belong to Him forever.
P.S. By pattern recognition, this appears to me:
Most Holy Place: Heaven where Yahweh now dwells, substantially speaking.
Holy Place: The human being.
Outer Court: Earth in outer space.
The lost human being moves from the dark aphelion of spiritual estrangement
in the Outer Court of mere external material life on earth,
inward into the Holy Place of spiritual inner-space,
where the stamp of God’s Image shines,
where it is fed God’s bread,
and made glad with fragrant joys,
then finally draws closer,
upward through the torn veil of Christ’s flesh
into the Most Holy Place of God’s Being,