“And after that I looked and behold the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened”
John was on the island of Patmos for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Whether he was imprisoned there at this time or not is a point that is of no importance to the subject. He was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day when he heard behind him a great voice as of a trumpet. The word of the Lord was being revealed and John was the eyewitness of His glory. So when he looked and beheld the temple of the Lord open it was in heaven. Not in some land in Palestine, being built on the dilapidated ruins of some ancient civilization as a result of some social/political or military endeavor, it stood completed in heaven. And when it opened John saw the temple which is the body of Christ. This is the same body which Christ said to the Pharisees, “tear this temple down and in three days I shall build it up again”. He was not talking of the building of brick and stone which Herod had constructed. Nor was He speaking of the one which King Solomon had erected some 1000 years earlier. He was speaking of the resurrection of His glorified body from the dead and the unified body of His people in Him. All of the components of this body, members in particular, had been assembled from every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue in fulfillment of the prophesy of old, by the Beloved who had put all His enemies under His footstool, and the Servant of God, the Branch, as the wise and master builder, the King of Peace, who would raise them up together with Him in His resurrection. This is an Holy temple not made with the hands of man and in which no flesh and blood has the right to enter.
He also saw the tabernacle which is the dwelling place of God. Under the covenant of Sinai, God would come and meet with His people in the tabernacle in the wilderness between the wings of the Cherubim above the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Later He would do the same when the Ark was placed in the temple of Solomon. But this box of acacia wood overlaid with gold signifying the scourging of the Lamb of God and the glory for which He died, was a pattern of heavenly things. It was a shadow and not the very image thereof and was of the earth, earthly. These things wax old like a garment and fade away but the tabernacle of God in heaven is the reality of the pattern. It stands eternal in the heavens where moths cannot eat and rust cannot corrupt.
In the ark was the tablets of the Ten Words which God told Moses to write after the Law which was written by the finger of God was broken before the people. These Ten words stood as a testament to the Holiness of God and the Righteousness of His justice. There was also the rod of Aaron which budded and brought forth almonds. The almond represented perpetuity and the eternal nature of the true ‘Bringer of Light’, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. When He came and dwelt among us His name was called ‘Emmanuel’ which being interpreted is, God with us. So, when He became partaker of flesh and blood, it was a manifestation that “the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them” (Rev. 21:3). Not that He would take on a symbiotic relationship to an earthly host, but that there would be the eternal seed of Christ, born from above in an earthen vessel, afore prepared unto glory, that would grow up unto the Holy habitation of God. This is the inward man who delights after the Law of God, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.(Note that this does not say a type of Christ or a portion of Christ or something that is like Christ, but it states, Christ in you. The eternal Son of God, the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in His people. Let the enemies of the truth scoff. The children are hewn from that Rock and that Rock is Christ. They are one with Him in every aspect as He is One with the Father and the Spirit ) This earthen vessel was washed in the blood of the Lamb an the house was cleansed just as the children of Israel were to cleanse the house of all leaven. The interior of the house was made ready for the feast of the Passover as the blood covered the entrance and appeased the justice of God. The Pharisees cleansed the outside of the plates and cups and white washed the sepulchers but there was death with. The blood of the Lamb cleaned the house and swept it clean even thought, “in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing”. The new man is born from above and the body (the earthen vessel) is dead because of sin. In the resurrection of Christ from the dead, all His seed, His people, His Bride, His church, His body was risen up together with Him and are now seated together with Him in the heavenlies. Thus John saw the temple and the tabernacle in heaven.
These are the testimony of Jesus Christ which is a finished work, “I have glorifies thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do”. This is not a work in progress or a work in prospect. Man was never asked to help because man cannot help. The hands of Adam are polluted, his mind is temporal and his understanding is limited. He cannot receive the things of the Spirit and God does not need any help. He is Jehovah and He brought salvation to Himself by His right hand and His Holy arm. No man was permitted in the temple of God until His judgment was completed and His work finished, “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled” (Rev. 15:8). The testimony of the two witnesses, the two olive tress and the two candlesticks, as mandated by the law, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be established, stands firm in the confirmation of a completed work. This is the surety of the faith of the children of hope, that He who is called faithful and true has satisfied the wrath of God to the fullest extent required. And that assurance is the life of His people. The Omer of Manna contained in the Ark signified the Bread of Life and that Life is eternal in Christ Jesus. The mercy seat is confirmed by the glory of God from above and the work of His anointed from beneath. He fulfilled the Law in righteousness, He is the Light to His people and He is the bread of Life wherein they are sustained.
The new heaven and the new earth, wherein is the new Jerusalem, having the glory of God and the Lamb to lighten it, is not after then manner of the old covenant, which covenant they broke. It stands in the new covenant, wherein the Spirit causes His people to walk according to His statutes. Here is the new name which no man knows, the new song which no man can sing and the new temple which no man can enter. The temple is not built and never will be built with the arm of the flesh. Nor is it fashioned after the weak and beggarly elements of this world.
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Rev.21:22).
Let the world run mad dog crazy after the dust of Palestine and the hope of the resurgence of national Israel. The hope of the Israel of our God and the patience of His saints is in the Lord God Almighty and the Faithfulness of His Servant the Branch.
“Behold the man whose name is the Branch; He shall grow up out of His place and He shall build the temple of the Lord: even He shall build the temple of the Lord and He shall bear the glory and shall sit upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6:12f).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 9, 2011