The Most Holy Place

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Saturday, January 26, 2008
(Eze 41:4) So he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said unto me, This is the most holy place. The last few chapters of the book of Ezekiel are a vision of God's temple program. As in other visions and prophecies in the Old Testament there is here a prophetic perspective which blends together aspects of current and future things, of earthly and heavenly things, of natural and spiritual things. Readers and interpreters of Ezekiel's temple visions should keep in mind the following: 1) Ezekiel received this vision during the Babylonian captivity when the city of Jerusalem and Solomon's temple had been in shambles for many years (EZE 40:1). 2) There was a rebuilding of that temple at the end of the Babylonian captivity as detailed by the book of Ezra and that temple answers to some of Ezekiel's vision. 3) The human body of Jesus Christ is the temple of God (JOH 2:18-21). 4) The spiritual body of Jesus Christ which is the gospel church is the temple of God constructed of living stones which are baptized believers (EPH 1:22-23; 1CO 3:16; 2CO 6:16; EPH 2:19-22; 1PE 2:4-5 c/w 1TIM 3:15). 5) There is a temple of God in heaven (REV 7:15; REV 11:19) that is the culminating and true temple and which is eventually seen to be our God and Savior, "...the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (REV 21:22). 6) Those who look for another Jewish temple in a future kingdom age should instead first look at what God has already built and declared by the Holy Spirit to be His temple. There is still somewhat of a veil over this temple vision but there are occasional pinholes through which some light shines. Our text today describes the proportions of "the most holy place" as being equilateral: twenty cubits by twenty cubits. A review of the articles of the tabernacle of witness (which preceded Solomon's temple as God's house for Israel) shows a number of things that were constructed with equilateral dimensions (EXO 27:1; EXO 28:15-16; EXO 30:1-2; EXO 37:25; EXO 38:1, etc.). Similar observations might be made of Solomon's temple (1KI 7:5; 1KI 7:31, etc.). Esotericists (those who assume hidden knowledge and meaning in plain statements) and philosophers have assigned unfounded significations to these geometric curiosities and in so doing have intruded into things not seen, vainly puffed up by a fleshly mind (COL 2:18). It is with good reason that Paul warned, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy..." (COL 2:8). The apostles of Jesus Christ, for example, did not advance things which "least do mean what they most do say" (a Masonic concept) but rather through "great plainness of speech" (2CO 3:12) they wrote "none other things unto you than what ye read or acknowledge" (2CO 1:13). Let whatever light that might come forth from the darker portions of Scripture be according to the Spirit of God in His apostles and prophets (2PE 1:19-21; 1JO 4:6) which wrote for our learning (ROM 15:4; 2TIM 3:15-17), not for wild speculations and proud delusions. It is with trepidation, therefore, that I present the following: It is not only the tabernacle of witness, Solomon's temple or perhaps the rebuilt temple of Zerubbabel that are characterized by such equilateral dimensions. Further, the "most holy place" (otherwise called "the Holiest of all" HEB 9:3) of the earthly Jewish tabernacle or temple was only a "figure of the true" which is heaven itself where Christ entered once "to appear in the presence of God for us" (HEB 9:11-12, HEB 9:23-26) as "a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man" (HEB 8:2). That holy city of heaven itself is said to be "foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth..." (REV 21:16). What we can see from this is that there is a concept of constancy (stedfastness, firmness, fortitude) in God's temple program that extends even to heaven. The equilateral dimensions are seen in each venue and the fact that they are equilateral dimensions does itself seem to speak of stability (stedfastness) since we normally think of an object with a 1:1 ratio base as being more stable than, for example, one with a 150:1 ratio base. The dimensions that we are considering in this meditation were obviously of quadrangle (four-sided) nature. Now an equilateral quadrangle may or may not be "stable," depending on the angles of the corners (imagine a square cardboard box on edge that is then flattened sideways---it's still an equilateral quadrangle but it doesn't stand up so well anymore). Mind that the holy city of heaven is not just of equilateral dimensions; it "lieth foursquare..." (REV 21:16), i.e., of four equal sides and square. That squareness is sometimes associated with solidity or stability may be seen in that one of the definitions of "square" is that it can mean "solidly or firmly constituted" and a "square meal" is one that is "full, solid, substantial." Believers now on earth abide as "strangers and pilgrims" (HEB 11:13; 1PE 2:11), subject to the uncertainties of this world and sometimes having " certain dwellingplace" (1CO 4:11) and no guarantee of a tolerant culture or political system. Now, we have "no continuing city, but we seek one to come" (HEB 13:14): that foursquare Holiest of All which is heaven, which is God and Christ. Yet believers are not now aliens to that stable, stedfast place, for God "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (EPH 2:6). Even now, "our conversation is in heaven..." (PHIL 3:20), where our Lord Jesus lives and reigns for us, "who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth within the veil" (HEB 6:18-19). In our present approach to God in service, we "are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (HEB 12:22). And in the gospel church we partake of that heavenly stability, "we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved" (HEB 12:28), and built upon a sure "foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (EPH 2:20). The church is a kingdom that "shall never be destroyed" (DAN 2:44) and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (MAT 16:18); it shall endure "throughout all ages, world without end" (EPH 3:21). A true gospel church grounded in Christ and His word is a unique foretaste and experience of heavenly stability. It is designed for the perfecting of saints that they be not "carried about with every wind of doctrine" (EPH 4:11-14) by a cunning adversary who specializes in "beguiling unstable souls" (2PE 2:14). It is the last thing that someone who is needing stability should abandon. Believers are commanded to be “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together...” (HEB 10:25). Though it is not expressly stated, the gospel church also has a kind of "foursquareness" to it. Spiritually speaking (and please allow some latitude here), it has equal length sides: the Jewish side is no longer than the Gentile side; the bond side is no longer than the free side; the male side is no longer than the female side---"ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (GAL 3:27-28). Or, as Jesus put it, "all ye are brethren" (MAT 23:8). All partake of the same Lord and Spirit (EPH 4:4-5) being baptized into one body (1CO 12:13). All "have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (EPH 2:18). All are subject to the same law, under the same gospel---there are no double-standards. All may expect the same reward as the great apostle: "a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2TIM 4:8). In final measure, so to speak, we may confidently say with David, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage" (PSA 16:6).

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