The last two chapters of the Book of Revelation have held the attention of many Christians for decades. Many questions concerning the NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH have been asked. How different from the present ones will they be? What will the New Earth be like? Christians read about the great HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM and want to be a part of it. But many are still wondering what this Holy City is all about. They ask many questions concerning it: “Is it a literal city?” “What sort of mansion will I have in this heavenly city?”
For years, even when I was in the the A.o.G. church, I have held the belief that the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM would be composed of the redeemed saints of God of all ages. I have never read or heard any teaching on the subject which made sense to me. Few years ago, an Endtime Message minister wrote a booklet in which he taught that the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM would be a literal city which would hang directly above the old city of Jerusalem in the Eternal Age.
Having felt led of the Lord to teach this subject this year, I was shown some beautiful pictures and revelations of the Word. This book is the result of many hours of waiting upon the Lord.
May the Lord Jesus bless you and grant you the revelation of His Prophetic Word.
Richard l. s. Gan
The Year 1990.
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And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
– Revelation 21:1-3
As much as they are looking for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians all over the world are also waiting for the day when these visions of the Apostle John would become realities. With a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH replacing the present polluted ones all things upon the earth will then become new. We will certainly be dazzled and overwhelmed by the awe-inspiring beauty of all the new things which God would bring forth in that day.
Undoubtedly, each individual Christian has his or her own picture of how the New Heaven and New Earth will look like. Many may picture the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM as a literal physical city of gigantic size as described in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation. Perhaps there are some who may imagine the new age to be very much like a type of space-age world which they read about in 'sci-fi' books. Nevertheless, by the Grace of the Lord and the leading of His Holy Spirit, we shall see the Holy City, New Jerusalem and the New Heaven and New Earth exactly as they were seen by the Apostle John in his visions.
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
To have an understanding of the Holy City, New Jerusalem, we need to look at the loci of the GARDEN OF EDEN and the City of David called JERUSALEM. They hold the mystery to the Holy City, New Jerusalem.
The Sacred Scripture declares that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh day. Read Genesis 1:1-2:6. It also states that all of God's creations were “good”, which means that they were “fitting”, “suitable”, or “pleasant” to Him. Yes, the earth and everything therein were created in good condition. “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else” (Isa.45:18).
However, there was a place called Eden which God had formed. The whole earth was not Eden. Eden was God's “paradise”, God's “delight” and God's “pleasure”. Eden means just that. And eastward in Eden God planted a Garden which was more beautiful than any other place on the earth, even Eden itself. Genesis 2:8-16 records:
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat.”
Most Bible scholars believe that the location of the Garden of Eden was somewhere in the Middle East. Well, that is true. While some may speculate that it was somewhere in present-day Iraq, near the Persian Gulf, others believe that it was the area near the headwaters of the two rivers, Tigris (Hiddekel) and Euphrates. Because of the order in which the four rivers, Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and Euphrates are listed in the Scriptures, those Bible scholars, who believe that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in Eastern Turkey, feel that Pison had to be the first and the northern-most river since Euphrates is shown on today's map as the last of the four rivers in the south of the Mesopotamian Basin. They believe that it flowed through the present-day Armenian S.S.R. and then turned southward through Western Iran and emptied itself into the Persian Gulf.
Beloved, I beg to differ. Eden and its Garden were not located in either of those two areas. No one could actually know where Eden and its Garden were located unless the Spirit reveals them to him. A common fact often overlooked by most Bible scholars is that the existing surface of the earth is radically different from that of the period before the Flood. Today's maps do not show us the original land surface of Eden, but we could pinpoint the original location of the Garden of Eden. The land surface of the whole earth was transformed in the days of Noah when all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows and floodgates of heavens were opened. And floods of waters burst forth and poured upon the earth for forty days and nights. With such a great deluge, which caused all the high mountains to be covered by the waters, it would be a great wonder if the land surface was not transformed. With the constant pounding of the torrential rain upon the mountains, hills, valleys, plains and rivers for forty days and nights, the original formations and settings of all the geographical landscapes would inevitably be altered. [Note: The earth is made up of different types of soil. Hence, with tons of water on the earth, earthshakes and earth movements were inevitable.] Some mountain ranges had either been reshaped or altered into plateaus or hills; some headwaters would have been shifted that the rivers began to flow on new courses; lands and plains would have become valleys or had become 'bowls' holding large amount of waters; and mountain tops of hard rocks might have become islands. As large areas were flooded with water, terra firma would be weighed down, pushed or heaved in different directions. Such movements in the earth structures caused mountains to be brought low and valleys to be raised up (cf. Isa.40:4). The Great Rift Valley which stretches from Syria to Mozambique is a good example of such land movement. The Red Sea which is a part of this rift is still tearing itself apart inch by inch every year. [Note: One of these days the boiling pot under the San Andreas Fault in California will erupt and cause a great earthquake that a vast proportion of land will slide into the sea. There will be great tidal waves and many small islands around the Pacific will be covered with waters for many days. The land behind it will undergo a transformation. There will be even greater changes at the Second Advent of Christ in the Day of the Lord (Zech.14:4-10; Rev.16:10-21) and when the earth is made new again (Rev.21:1-2).]
By the revelation given unto me by the Lord, let me establish the location of Eden and its Garden. Geographically, Eden was a vast location. Remember that the Garden of Eden was planted in the east of Eden. It must be relatively smaller than the area of Eden itself. There was one place befitting the description “God's Garden of Eden” — “paradise”, “delight” and “pleasure”. It was the Land of CANAAN. Hence, the area stretching from the north of Canaan to Turkey and from the south of Canaan to the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt and westward must have been Eden. The large river that flowed eastward out of Eden to water the Garden no longer exists today as most part of Eden had become a sea after the great deluge. The Great (or Mediterranean) Sea was most probably a large area of plains and valleys with many large lakes and rivers flowing into them. Its coastlines were originally ranges of hills and mountains. There were four “heads” into which a large river from Eden flowed eastward through the Garden and split up after flowing out of the Garden. But only the Hiddekel and Euphrates rivers are identifiable although their “heads” have been displaced in the region of Eastern Turkey.
Where the four rivers originally were are not very important. Just remember that there were four of them. However, let me try and trace where the four rivers were most likely located.
The large river of Eden which flowed eastward through the Garden divided into four “heads” when it flowed out of the Garden. The River Pison was the first to break off from its 'mother' and flowed southward, most probably, zigzagging downwards along the mountain ranges of the Sinai Peninsula towards the top half of the Red Sea and crossed the Nubian Desert southward. The second “head” thrust toward southeast along the mountain ranges of the Arabian Peninsula and downward into the land of Ethiopia. The Nile River and the Red Sea are part of the Great Rift Valley. They might have been part of the two rivers, Pison and Gihon. Geographically, River Hiddekel and River Euphrates might have flowed along the mountain ranges of Lebanon and Syria, with River Hiddekel flowing as far north as Eastern Turkey, before they meandered downward through the Mesopotamia and emptied their waters into the Persian Gulf.
Throughout the history of God's dealing with His people, the Land of Canaan had always been His focal point. This is well supported by facts found throughout the Old and New Testament Scriptures. The “goodly mountain” was Canaan (Ex.3:8; Deut.3:25; 4:22). It was the “pleasant land” of milk and honey, and the “glory of all lands” (Psm.106:24; Ezek.20:6,15; cf. Isa.8:8; 62:4; Hos.9:3; Zech.2:12). The Scripture tells us that God had chosen only one place on this earth to put His Name, and that was Jerusalem in the Land of Canaan (2 Chr.6:6, Neh.1:9). Before Jerusalem was chosen, Israel could worship Yahweh at any place where they could build an altar to offer their sacrifices. However, since the day when God made it the chosen place of worship, Jerusalem had been the only acceptable place of worship for the True Worshippers. Offerings unto the Lord were acceptable only upon the altar in the temple ground of Jerusalem (Deut.16:2-6). THE HOUSE OF THE LORD was in the City of Jerusalem.
When the children of Israel possessed the Land of Canaan, they made certain cities as cities of refuge (cf.Num.35). Ancient cities were usually built with high walls around them to give its inhabitants security and comfort in times of troubles. A high mountain was an ideal place for building a good strong city. And usually the ruler would live in and govern from the city which was also the capital of his empire where all national and religious activities were centered. With this understanding, we should realize what kind of city Abraham was looking for when God called him out of Ur of Chaldees to the Land of Canaan. Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb.11:10). Amen. “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge” (Prov.14:26 cf. Deut.33:27; 2 Sam.22:3; Psm.9:9; 46:7; 48:3; 62:7; 91:2,9; 94:22).
Yes, Jerusalem was the place where God revealed His Presence and made Himself known to Israel, His chosen people, the natural seeds of Abraham. When God wanted to reconfirm His Covenant with Abraham, He commanded Abraham to take his son, Isaac, to “the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen.22:2b). Since 691 A.D. the mountain peak of Moriah has been occupied by the Mosque of Omar, better known as 'The Dome of the Rock'. This is the place where the Temples of Solomon and Zerubbabel once stood in their respective times. The word “Moriah” bears these meanings: “high place, awe, light, Lord”. The Jews even believe that this place is located at the center of the earth and that it was here that light first shone upon mankind. And was it not so that the Shekinah Glory of God came shining upon Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when God came to fellowship with them in the cool of the day, at evening time? (cf. Gen.3:8). The Psalmists have declared: “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psm.132:13-14). (Don't you notice the hidden mystery of the Spiritual Jerusalem?) Yes, the city, Jerusalem, on Mount Zion is God's habitation forever. The Psalmists (in Psalm 48:1-2) describe the holy mountain as “beautiful for situation” (“fair and beautiful for elevation” – Amplified) or beautiful in its loftiness. It was the “perfection of beauty” (Psm.50:2).
The Land of Canaan was the very place where the Garden of Eden was located and where Man had his beginning in an environment rich with the beauty of God's creations. God's relationship with Man began here. It is therefore obvious that God had chosen this place where He would deal with His chosen people and dwell with them forever.
Satan has caused much trouble in this place since the dawn of Man. Today, many religious and political conflicts are still prevalent in the land. It is certainly not what we would expect of a land that is “beautiful” and “pleasant” and which was supposed to be a delightful paradise. Yet, the Lord God had chosen that place to make His Presence known and to put His Name in the midst of it. God has allowed His adversary to somewhat 'hinder' His Divine Plan for a season that the Gospel might be preached to the Gentiles (Rom.11:24-25). But eventually all things will be fulfilled according to His Eternal Plan. Yes, I believe the Light of the Shekinah Glory will soon shine upon God's chosen people again in the midst of Israel – for the last time – to establish Itself there forever.
“IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN”
Let us study the types and shadows of the “garden” as mentioned in Genesis 2:9. With the interjection of the “two trees” in this verse, there is actually a play on the word “garden”. A mystery is hidden here. The “two trees” — the “Tree of Life”, and the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” — are not literal natural trees growing out of the ground in the midst of the Garden of Eden. The particular expression as used by the Holy Spirit refers to Two Laws governing the sexual reproductive organ which is “in the midst of the garden” of the human body. And these two laws are diametrically opposed to each other. Now, if you look at the map of the Land of Canaan, you will notice that Jerusalem was right in the midst of the boundaries of the land. And Jerusalem was the place where the Lord God had put His Name and where He had planted His TREE OF LIFE – HIS DIVINE WORD – by which His chosen people might have access to the Life of His Shekinah Glory. It was also in this same place that the Adversary of God, Satan, had continually been fighting against God and His Truth by getting His people to break His Divine Word the same way he deceived Eve into partaking of that forbidden tree – “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” – in the midst of the Garden of Eden. And as Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the children of Israel were also cast out of the Land of Canaan and delivered into the hands of their enemies, the Assyrians and the Babylonians.
WATER OF LIFE
Well watered by a river which came from Eden, the Garden produced and supported an abundance of life. It was God's paradise. God planted the beautiful Garden and gave it to Adam to dress it. And the Lord God would come down to the midst of the Garden in the cool of the day to fellowship and communicate with the Man and his Wife. Hence, Life Itself – Eternal Spiritual Life – was here in this Garden.
Though Adam and his Wife were natural living beings, created in the image and likeness of God, they were planted by God as 'spiritual trees' in the Garden. And although their lives were without sin, they constantly had to drink of the Spiritual Water of Life and eat of the “meat” of the TREE OF LIFE which only the Shekinah Glory of God could supply, just as the natural environment of the Garden needed the life sustaining water and nutrients from the River of Eden for its continual growth. Natural trees need natural water, so do 'spiritual trees' need 'spiritual water'. Amen. Hence, the two 'spiritual trees' were overshadowed by Christ, the Spiritual Rock, the very Fountain of the Water of Life, and the very TREE OF LIFE, which was right there in the midst of the Garden of Eden during the cool period of each day. Truly, even as they were in the physical Garden, Adam and his Wife were in that GARDEN OF GOD — the true spiritual “Garden of Eden” with the Eternal Presence of God.
As the River of Eden watered the Garden, different kinds of natural seeds sprang forth and produced fruits. These were foods not only for Adam and his Wife but also for the many kinds of animals. Yes, Life was in the Garden. As the River of Eden flowed eastward out of the Garden, it became four rivers flowing in four different directions 'into the world'. These rivers carried with them the very 'water of life' that was in the Garden of Eden unto their utmost ends. And this 'life' watered and fed the earth that was outside Eden and its Garden.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
– Genesis 2:8
Adam was God's first earthly son. His dwelling place was the Garden of Eden. The earth was his 'domain'. He was charged to populate the earth, to subdue it and to exercise dominion over all the fish of the sea, over all the birds of the air and over every living thing that moved on the earth. He was the king and the lord over all the creatures. And God performed an operation on Adam's side and made a woman and brought her unto him (Gen.2:22b) and she became his wife and queen.
It wasn't very long that Satan, the intruder, got into the Garden and caused the Serpent to seduce the Woman into partaking of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. The Woman was deceived and she sinned against the Word of God (1 Tim.2:13-14). Death for her was certain. She hounded Adam with her nagging, until He yielded to her (Gen.3:17). But Adam was not deceived when he identified with her transgression. He willingly paid the price of death to identify with her who was a part of him. He could choose either to live with her in death or to live without her in life. However, Adam was not without the revelation regarding the saving power and grace of the Great Merciful God, for he was a part of Him. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! He was willing to die just so that she might live, even if it was just for a few hundred years — a temporary salvation, so to speak.
Thus, he stood in the gap between his sinful wife and the Holy God. And because of his action, Adam was imputed the death penalty which was passed down to all his descendants. To save his bride, Adam identified with her sin and laid down his own life for her. He died for her. Adam was (portrayed by the Spirit of the Lord) to type Christ Jesus, the second Man, the last Adam. Read 1 Corinthians 15:44-49. Like him, Jesus Christ willingly chose to listen to the pleadings of His fallen Bride (the Church). And He identified with her fallen state that He might live with her as Husband and Wife eternally. Christ Jesus chose to give His life so that we might live. His death brought Life to us. Yes, He stood in the gap between us and God. Blessed be His Holy Name!
When Death entered the Garden, the Man and the Woman were driven out of the Garden and Life was withheld from them. The way into the Garden was from the east — the 'eastern gate'. Since that day, it has been guarded by God's ministering angels (cherubim) and a flaming sword which turned every way so that mankind could never eat directly and wholly of that Tree of Life (Gen.3:22-24) although a chosen group may be permitted to 'nibble' at It. Until the dawn of God's “Sun of Righteousness”, mankind was denied access to Life. However, Yahweh, Who is rich in Grace and Mercy, would never allow Death to remain long. Almost 4,000 years later, wise men from the east proclaimed: “We have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him!” O, blessed be the Holy Name of the Lord! Yes, the Only Begotten Son was seen entering the 'eastern gate' and Life was returned to the Garden — Canaan, the Promised Land. He did not come in the form of a theophany, He was born of a virgin woman. Amen! And only “wise” men and women would recognize the return of that Life and would worship Him!
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
– Hebrews 11:8-10
The call of Abraham is the beginning of God's revelation to a chosen people concerning the building of His Heavenly Holy City. In the Book of Genesis, Moses mentioned nothing about this Holy City. Yet, Abraham was the first to be shown this Holy City of God. He was the Father of the Faith. He saw it afar off and passed on the revelation to his descendants, Isaac and Jacob. On the other hand, there are many records showing how Satan, through his seeds of the Serpent, built many great cities on earth. And after the Flood, through Cush and Nimrod, Satan also deceived a people and got them to build an utopian empire. He deceived them into believing that Heaven could be reached by the mere power of the carnal flesh so as to bind them together in a certain area of the earth. Hence, the tower of Babel. To the contrary, Abraham, our Father of the Faith, was shown that Heaven must come down in order that we might see the Glory of God in our souls.
PROMISED LAND, PROMISED CITY
Abraham was called of God to receive a two-fold inheritance: one, the promised Land of Canaan, and two, the promised City of God. To receive such an inheritance for himself and his descendants was not an easy thing to do. Though they sojourned in the land which was theirs by the promise of God, it was only after hundreds of years of trials and testings that they gained possession of the inheritance. That was how God would refine a man as gold is refined by the fire! Oh my! Yes, for to Him a man is far more precious and worth far more than fine gold or even any precious metal or stone. Abraham was tested and refined, Isaac was tested and refined, and so was Jacob tested and refined. They were faithful men with a vision. They were not just looking to inherit the promised land, which they did sojourn in, but they were strangers who were looking for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. They did not see it in their lifetime, much less enter it, for that City was not a literal physical city. Together with many others, they “all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: whereby God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb.11:13-16).
Yes, they were but pilgrims, yet a holy nation of faithful people (1 Pet.2:9) on a journey to a land, a country, beyond the sky. They were as stones hand picked, chiseled and polished by the Master Builder Himself for the day when He would lay down the HEAD Stone as the FOUNDATION Corner Stone (for the foundation) of the HEAVENLY HOLY CITY. Then the Supreme One would begin to positionally place these stones as He build His HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM. And, as promised, the Lamb of God, which was slain even before the foundation of the world, came and fulfilled what was written of Him. Christ Jesus laid down His life as a sure foundation stone in Zion nearly 2,000 years ago that He might fulfill the predestinated purpose of God in building a Holy City for Himself to dwell in for eternity. Amen. Yes, every chosen one of God will then be placed and “blessed with all blessings in heavenly places in Christ” Who is the Foundation of the City (cf. Eph.1:3-12). Even the stones which were gathered from the time of Adam, before Abraham, and cut accordingly by the Master Builder, would also be positionally placed. Listen to what Paul said concerning us at this time: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph.2:19-22). Yes, sir! “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb.13:14). Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Canaan, the Promised Land, was a goodly land filled with milk and honey. From the time the promise was given to Abraham, it took some 500 years to raise a nation of people large enough to move in, conquer the land and occupy it. However, though the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (Israel) did possess the land, a large percentage of this people never had the faith of their father, Abraham. Many could not see beyond the earthly “Garden of Eden” for they, being carnal, were looking only for the best of what their land, their country, their nation and their city could afford them. Those were the very ones who sapped the faith of the Faithful and destroyed the Word which was given unto them. So, who were the true Israelites? They “are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are of the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom.9:4-8). Yes, those carnal Israelites were not the children of God though they were the children of Abraham. Only those who were born of the promised seed (Isaac) were truly the children of the promise, for they were the ones who were called as a holy nation of people to partake of the heavenly calling. And the called-out saints, the Israelites and Gentiles, are such children of the promise who are pilgrims journeying through this world which is not their home.
“For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”
– Hebrews 12:18-23
SHEKINAH GLORY — GOD'S PRESENCE
After some 430 years of sojourning (and slavery in Egypt) the children of Israel were delivered. God's Presence was in their midst in a Pillar of Cloud by day and in a Pillar of Fire by night as they left Egypt. After their deliverance from the bondage of the Egyptians, the children of Israel could have directly entered Canaan, but because of their lack of faith and their evil report, they were sentenced to wander in the wilderness for some 40 years (Deut.2:14; Num.14:33-35). Only two men were faithful believers of the Promised Word of God. During that period, God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle for Him to show His Presence among the people (Ex.25-27). The TABERNACLE OF MOSES, as it was called, was only a temporary building. It was in the shape of a rectangle. It had two parts: the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place with a surrounding court (Ex.26:33-34; Heb.9:2-7; Ex.40:8). The Ark of the Covenant was in the Most Holy Place. The Mercy Seat, a lid of solid gold, was the top of the Ark. Upon it were two cherubim of gold which faced each other. It was here between the cherubim that the SHEKINAH GLORY OF GOD (or the TREE OF LIFE) was enthroned, and from where God communicated with His prophet, Moses. (The Ark was a wooden box or chest which was overlaid with gold. It represented the Divinity of God in humanity.) The Levites and the priests were assigned the responsibility of guarding and transporting the holy things of the Tabernacle which was moved from one location to another as the children of Israel, being led by the Pillar of Fire, journeyed on (Num.3-4; 10:33-36; Josh.3:3-6). The Tabernacle was always erected with its only direct entrance (into the Holy Sanctuary) facing eastward. (All the later temples were similarly built with their main entrance facing eastward, cf. Ex.27:13-14; Ezek.8:16.) The Tabernacle of Moses was Israel's religious center.
The Tabernacle of Moses foreshadowed the LOGOS OF GOD coming to dwell in a tabernacle of flesh — the Man, Christ Jesus. The layout of the whole Tabernacle foreshadowed the Life, the Ministry and the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was also called “the tabernacle of the house of God” (1 Chr.6:48). Rightly so, for God has indeed come to tabernacle in Christ (the Tree of Life) who dwells in the Church, the household of God. And out of this “tabernacle of the house of God” the Word of the Lord is ministered to the people.
After almost 40 years in the wilderness, the Tabernacle was moved across Jordan into Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. Now, the Shekinah Presence of the Lord had returned to the “Garden of Eden” after He had left there 'many days', so to speak. And He would live with His chosen ones there in that “Garden” as long as they would obey the Word. In the days of King David, when he had captured Zion from the Jebusites, he brought the Ark of the Covenant there, leaving the tabernacle in Gibeon (1 Kg.3:4; 2 Sam.5-6). And Mount Zion, which was also called the City of David, was situated “in the midst of the Garden” — Canaan. “But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel” (2 Chr.6:6) How appropriate. King David was a type of our King Jesus who was the very ARK OF GOD dwelling among His people in Jerusalem in His days. And in the Age of Regeneration King Jesus would also sit in His Millennial Throne in Jerusalem and reign over Israel and the earth.
“For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”
– Psalm 132:13-14
Hence, the TREE OF LIFE, which was in the midst of the Garden of Eden in the days of Adam, had returned to Its original place to manifest Its Presence. But because of sin, no one could have direct access to It like Adam and his wife could. And unless the TREE OF LIFE chose to open up His belly of the River of Living Waters (cf. Jhn.7:37-39) to reveal His Love and Truth through certain chosen vessels, there would be no life among the inhabitants of Israel.
King David proposed a more permanent temple building to replace the Tabernacle of Moses. But the temple was built only under the reign of his son, Solomon. The Temple, which housed the Ark, was built by Solomon just north of the City of David on Mount Moriah, at the spot where the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite had stood (2 Chr.3:1; cf. 1 Chr.21:20-22) and upon the site where Abraham was believed to have offered Isaac as a sacrifice unto the Lord (Gen.22:1-2). It was a very beautiful and magnificent temple to behold, for not only were great skills utilized in the cutting and carving of the wood of cedar and cypress from Lebanon, but very large amounts of gold and silver were also used in its construction. It took the people seven and a half years to complete the building (1 Kg.6:1,38). It was twice as big as that of the Tabernacle of Moses. When the Ark was brought in and the Temple (called SOLOMON'S TEMPLE) dedicated, the Glory of the Lord filled the House insomuch that the priests could not perform their service. Read 2 Chronicles 3 to 7.
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
However, the Temple did not stand forever because of the apostasy of Israel, especially the elders. They lived a life of spiritual and moral decadence. Prophet Ezekiel saw all these in the visions God showed to him. Read Ezekiel 4-24. He was even shown the termination of Israel's kingly rule “until He come whose right it is; and I will give it to Him” (cf. Ezek.21:25-27). In those days God sent the Babylonians into Jerusalem to make its people captives and to slaughter the king (Zedekiah) and his sons. But just before Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem in 587-586 B.C. (2 Kg.25:8-21), the Shekinah Glory of God left the Temple and “went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city” (Ezek.11:22-23). It went eastward, towards the Mount of Olives (which is nearly 2,700 feet above sea level, some 150 feet higher than Mount Zion), a distance of less than half a mile away. However, the Shekinah Glory, which left the Ark in the Temple and went eastward towards Mount Olives, settled upon another ARK some 620 years later. This ARK was not made with hands, and It ascended into Heaven with a GLORIFIED BODY. And, according to Zechariah 14, in that Day of the Lord, the Shekinah Glory of the Lord will again return and stand upon Mount Olives in that Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty (Rev.16:14,16). After that He will return to the very place where He had always shown His Presence — “And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like the voice of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory…And the glory of the Lord came into the house by way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east” (Ezek.43:2,4 cf. vv.7). “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isa.60:1).
In their conquest of Israel, the Babylonians razed the Temple to the ground. The Ark was presumed to be destroyed or lost during this time. Even before the fall of Israel, Jeremiah had prophesied that in days to come the Ark would no longer be sought, because Jerusalem would eventually become the Throne of Yahweh (Jer.3:16-17), the symbolism of the Ark being replaced by direct faith in God under the New Covenant (Jer.31: 31-34). (Remember the 'wooden box' overlaid with gold was never the true mercy seat of Yahweh, but served only as a type until the TRUE ARK and MERCY SEAT appeared.) Yet, Jerusalem being the Throne of God also points to the spiritual realm where the ARK OF THE COVENANT (Christ, the Revelation of God) will be found seated in the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM from Heaven.
A new temple called ZERUBBABEL'S TEMPLE was built in 516 B.C. after Israel's return from captivity. It was erected upon the same foundational stone as Solomon's. It was a modest temple. However, in the days of the Roman rule, Herod the Great, who was appointed king of Judea by the Roman Senate, contributed much to its extension and architectural appearance. That's why it was commonly known as HEROD'S TEMPLE. Although the Temple was beautifully built with a lavish display of precious metals, the elaborately carved ornaments, and the beauty of the textile fabrics, the true Glory of God was not in the Temple because the Ark of the Covenant was not in the Most Holy Place. And as there was no Ark, the Shekinah Glory of God was not there in the Temple. Alas! It seemed that the Ark was lost, but it was not so. In the days of Malachi, a prophecy for Israel was pronounced, saying: “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal.3:1). The lost Ark was replaced by a far greater one which was not constructed of earthly materials by the hands of men. Amen. The Shekinah Glory came 'boxed' in the flesh of the Man called Christ Jesus as It overshadowed Him. Even as the Man Himself worshipped and taught in the Temple in Jerusalem, very few people, even the religious ones, recognized the Presence of the Glory of the Lord in their midst. Yes, very often people are blind to the revelation of the Son of God because of their involvement in religious activities. “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psm.46:10a).
Jesus Christ was the MESSENGER and the ARK of the Second Covenant. He was also the rightful King to the Throne of David. His triumphal entry, from Mount Olives into Jerusalem, where His followers hailed Him as the King before He entered into the temple to cleanse it in the final week of His earthly life and ministry (Mk.11:1-11), foreshadowed the fulfillment of the prophecies of Ezekiel 21:27 — “until He come whose right it is; and I will give it to Him”. Yes, from the Mount of Olives in the east (where Jesus Christ ascended), after the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty (Rev.16:14,16), the Glory of the Lord shall enter into the MILLENNIAL TEMPLE through the eastern gate and sit on His Throne forever. And the TRUE ARK of the Covenant shall no longer depart from His Throne.
Because Israel rejected and crucified the Messiah Whom God had sent unto them, Jerusalem was again trodden down by the Gentiles in 70 A.D. when the Romans laid siege to it for 143 days. The daily sacrifice ceased, the Second Temple, stripped for its gold, went up in flames and the Holy City fell with some one million dead. Israel was dispersed and became a people without a country until she was 'reborn' “in one day” (with her own government and flying her own flag) on the 14th day of May 1948. Read Isaiah 66:8.
VISIONS OF EZEKIEL
In the 25th year of the exile of the children of Israel in Babylon, God showed Prophet Ezekiel several visions concerning Israel's future worship during the Millennial Reign of Christ. These visions are recorded in the last nine chapters (40-48) of the Book of Ezekiel. In the visions, Ezekiel was taken to a “very high mountain” in the land of Israel. Toward the south of this “very high mountain” was the structure of a city. Ezekiel was then brought there where a brazen being with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand was waiting to take him on a tour of the TEMPLE. That “very high mountain” was, of course, Mount Zion. But Mount Zion, which was slightly more than 2,500 feet high, was not really a very high mountain compared with the many mountains around the Land of Israel. The expression of height here signified the importance of Jerusalem as a place of very high authority and supreme power – a kingly position – which commanded respect and awe. It will be the earthly seat of God's reign during the Millennium (cf. Isa.2:2; Mic.4:1; Zech.8:3; 14:10; Ezek.28:14; Rev.21:10). Jerusalem, after all, was the city of King David and King Solomon, both of whom were types of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Beloved of our God and Wise King, who will sit and reign over Israel and the world in the Millennial Age of Regeneration (Matt.19:28; Rev.20:6). Again, the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM – a Spiritual City – in the New Heaven and New Earth will be the HOLY MOUNTAIN OF GOD which the kings of the earth will have to bring in their glory and honor (Rev.21:24).
THE 'BATTLE OF EZEKIEL 38 AND 39'
The Temple which Ezekiel saw in his visions would be the Third and Final Temple that Israel will ever have. Undoubtedly, it would be more beautiful and more magnificent than the other temples before it. However, when will the construction of this Temple begin? According to Bible prophecies, except for the outer court, this Temple and its Altar would have already been built by the time the last week of Daniel's Seventy Weeks (Dan.9:24-27) is being fulfilled. Read Revelation 11:1-2. Hence, the construction of the Temple would have to begin before that period of time. (When Israel recaptured the old city of Jerusalem with its remains of the Temple in 1967, the aged Jewish historian Israel Eldad was quoted in 'TIME' magazine as saying, “We are at the stage which David was when he liberated Jerusalem. From that time until the construction of the Temple by Solomon only one generation passed. So will it be with us.”) But the present 'Dome of the Rock', which stands in the way, will have to be removed somehow without the force of men because it is not possible to remove it without much bloodshed between those of the Judaic and the Islamic faiths and also between the people of different political alignments. Prophetically, the battle which was prophesied by Prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, must come to pass. He prophesied that God would bring about “a great shaking in the land of Israel...and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground” when the armies of Russia and his communist allies invade Israel (Ezek.38:19b,20b). No doubt this great earthshaking will be the biggest one since the dawn of mankind. It will certainly bring down the Mosque of Omar from the Temple Mount, and restore the Jews' right to that holy place. The moment the Jews lay their hands upon that Sacrificial Rock, I believe they will offer prayers of sanctification and thanksgiving and burnt offerings unto Jehovah. Then the nation of Israel will make their daily sacrifices and offerings again. However, the Antichrist will usurp the Temple in the middle of his seven-year covenant with the many nations who have interests in the Biblical Land of Israel. And he will cause the sacrifices and oblations to cease and he will sit in the Temple and proclaim himself to be God. (Read Dan.9:27; 2 Thess.2:3-7; Rev.17.) But he shall be destroyed by the brightness of the Coming of Christ (2 Thess.2:8-9).
[Note: Many have misinterpreted the battle recorded in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as that recorded in Revelation 20:7-10 which Apostle John saw in his visions on the Isle of Patmos. It is not so. The battle which John saw would be fought after the Reign of our Lord Jesus Christ – the Millennial Age of Regeneration (Matt.19:28) – when Satan, after having been bound during that period of time, would be released to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth and gather them to fight against the Lord's Christ (Rev.20:1-10). Bible readers are confused by the words “Gog” and “Magog”. The word “Gog” denotes that which is proud, powerful, large, huge, rebellious, and anti-God in nature; and the word “Magog” symbolizes the great number of the people of the same land. The 'Battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39' would be fought before the last week (seven years) of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel's prophecy. This is obvious from verses 9 and 10 of Ezekiel 39 which state that it would take seven years to burn up the weaponry used in this war. If this war is to take place any time during the 70th Week of Daniel's prophecy of Seventy Weeks, then the burning of those weapons would extend into the Age of Regeneration. On the other hand, if this war is to take place after the one thousand years, then an additional period of seven years would be required for the burning of those weapons before the New Heaven and New Earth could replace the present ones. Also, this battle is not the 'Battle of Armageddon' for the latter would only be fought in the Day of the Lord towards the end of the Great Tribulation followed by Christ's return to the earth with His saints.]
THE MILLENNIAL TEMPLE
The Temple which Ezekiel saw in his visions would be constructed differently from the Tabernacle of Moses, the First Temple of Solomon and the Second Temple of Herod. Instead of a rectangular wall around the Temple (i.e. the Inner Sanctuary or Sanctuary proper which comprises the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place), which itself is rectangular, it has an inner court of 300 cubits square and an outer court of 500 cubits square around it. [1 cubit is about 12 feet.] The outer court separates the “sanctuary” area (i.e. the courts and buildings) from the “profane place” (i.e. the common area). The altar area which is just outside the Temple is 100 cubits square. [In Biblical numerology, the odd single-digit numbers relate to divinity. 1 represents Unity, the Oneness and Sufficiency of God. 3 represents Divine Perfection and its Completeness. 5 represents the Grace and Saving Power of God.] The symmetrical layout of the whole sanctuary emphasizes the Grace of Divine Worship of the One True God. Also, unlike the other sacred buildings, EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE (as it is called) has three gates in the outer court, each positionally centered in the north, east and south. The inner court has three gateways relative to the gates of the outer courts. (Read chapters 40-42.) Each of these gates has seven steps, and each of the gateways has eight steps. The one last entrance into the Temple has ten steps. These different levels of steps and heights toward the Temple proper point to the worshippers seeking for spiritual perfection, deliverance and the laws of God. Hence, Ezekiel's Temple looks like a PYRAMIDAL BUILDING with a TOWERING TEMPLE, the place of God's Shekinah Glory, where the Prince of Israel, Jesus Christ (Y'shua HaMashiach), shall sit and receive worship as He rules over Israel and the nations of the world. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is THE ARK OF THE TRUE COVENANT, there will be no wooden ark overlaid with gold in the Temple. Yes, in that day, when the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven is over and the Great Tribulation is ended, when the Lord's Christ shall come with His saints, all riding on white horses, to Jerusalem to fight in the Battle of Armageddon (Rev.16:16; Zech.14:1-15) and to set up His Kingdom, the Glory of Israel shall come from the “way of the east” into the House (Ezek.43:2,4), and the Lord (Yahweh) shall say, “The place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile…” (Ezek.43:7). “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light" (Isa.2:2-5). Amen. The Prince shall teach them to walk in the Light of the Glory of Yahweh – the Father of Life! The Wife of Christ (the Glorified Redeemed) shall rule with Him together with the Twelve Apostles over the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt.19:28; Rev.20:6).
The worshippers shall enter the Temple by the north or south gate, and leave by the opposite gate. No worshipper shall enter and leave by the same gate for there is no turning back in the ways of God (Job 34:27; Psm.78:40-41; Jer.11:10; Mk.13:16). Only the Prince of Israel shall enter and leave by the east gate. And only on the sabbaths and the day of the new moon shall the east gate be opened until the evening for the people to worship at the door of the gate.
When the people of the land shall come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, there will be no high priest anointed from the seeds of Aaron to lead them. But the Prince of Israel and the King (of kings of all nations of the earth) shall lead the people in the worship of Yahweh for He will be the High Priest, and the priesthood of Israel will be given unto the sons of Zadok, the descendants of Aaron the high priest, whose duties are to teach the people of Israel to keep the ordinances and laws of the House and judge them accordingly. And, as a consecrated priesthood who are separated and set apart for holy use, they must put on linen garments when they enter the gates of the inner court and the temple to minister. Read Ezekiel 43-46. They type the “elected lady”, the Church of Christ who are separated and set apart as “a spiritual house”, “a holy priesthood”, “a chosen generation”, “a royal priesthood” and “a holy nation” of people who will serve the Lord in the Holy City, New Jerusalem in the Eternal Age.
Like the other Houses of worship, the door openings into the Inner Sanctuary progressively narrow as one proceeds (Ezek.40:48; 41:2,3). It signifies that the way to Life must be approached with holiness, sacredness and dedication. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt.7:13-14). Truly, the path of the redeemed is illuminated by the Light of the Shekinah Glory of the Lord.
[Note: The word “prince” mentioned in these visions of Ezekiel comes from the Hebrew word “nasiy”. It refers to an exalted one such as a chief, ruler, prince, governor, deputy, or noble. However, in the Peshitta Bible the words “high priest” are used in several places where the word “prince” appears in the Authorized Version. Israel had many princes and high priests but they have only one known as 'The Prince' and one known as 'The High Priest' – Messiah The Prince – “Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec…first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually” (Heb.6:20b; 7:2b-3. Read Isa.9:6; Dan.8:25; 9:25). Anointed kings of Israel, like Solomon and David, reflected The Anointed King Who will reign over the earth in the Age of Regeneration. As Solomon and David sat on the throne of Israel to rule over the people as well as to receive honour, so will Messiah the Prince. As they offered up burnt offerings unto Yahweh (1 Chr.21:26; 2 Chr.7:1), so will the Prince of Israel (Ezek.45:22-25). (Remember that Jesus Christ identified Himself with the chosen people of Israel, their customs and worship – Matt.3:13; Lk.4:16.) Notice that the godly kings of Israel did not just sit on their thrones to receive honour day in and day out. They ministered to the needs of the people by walking among them and worshipping together with them. Hence, contrary to what some theologians are teaching, there will not be another prince, even King David himself, who will rise and rule over Israel besides the Lord Jesus Christ “Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim.6:15). The Scripture clearly shows us that the Messiah will be the King-Priest (Zech.6:12-13). However, there will no doubt be other princes to rule over the tribes of Israel (Ezek.45:8-9; cf. Num.7), and other “nasiy” (rulers, nobles, etc) for specific administrations in the Land of Israel.]
Approximately 12 miles south of the Temple is the City, bordered by four walls whose sides are all equal. (Remember that JERUSALEM comprises the Temple and the City, where the Temple is the Palace or Habitation of the Messiah (Isa.2:2; Ezek.43:7) in connection with the City, when He, as the Glory of Yahweh, will from time to time visit His earthly metropolis.) Each of the four walls measures 4,500 reeds (or approximately 11 miles) long. Including the suburbs around it, the City is about 12 miles square. Read Ezekiel chapter 48. “All the oblation” (i.e. the area of land offered as heave offering to God) has a total area of 25,000 by 25,000 reeds (60 by 60 miles) — the northern portion for the Levites is 25,000 by 10,000 reeds; the middle portion for the priests is 25,000 by 10,000 reeds; and the southern portion, the “possession of the city” is 25,000 by 5,000 reeds. In the centre of the “possession of the city” is the City. North of the “oblation” are allotted to seven of the twelve tribes of Israel. South of the “oblation” are allotted to the rest of the five tribes.
The distance of 12 miles between the Temple and the City is the result of the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of Zechariah 14:4-5 (cf. Rev.6: 12-17). A “very great valley” will cleave through the Mount of Olives towards the west (Mount Zion is on the west) and towards the east when the Lord Jesus shall return with His saints to fight for Israel in the Day of the Lord. Hence, the psalm of King David: “Beautiful for situation (elevation), the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (Psm.48:2).
There are three gates on each side of the city wall. Each gate carries a name of the twelve tribes of Israel. This proves that the Oracles of God were truly given unto Isaac, the Promised Son of Abraham and Sarah, and not Ishmael who was of the bondwoman, Hagar (Acts 7:37-38; Rom.3:1-2). In the Book of Revelation, the Holy City, New Jerusalem also has twelve gates with the names of the twelves tribes upon them (Rev.21:12-13), but it is not recorded which name appears on which gate. (There are reasons which we shall see later.) However, many theologians, even Endtime Message believers, with their intellectual reasoning have 'cleverly' deduced that Ezekiel's Temple is that Holy City, New Jerusalem. How could they fail to see that in the Millennial Age the Temple of Ezekiel is 12 miles north of the City, whereas in the Eternal Age the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM has the “TEMPLE” within IT? (The “Temple” within the Holy City, New Jerusalem shows us the perfect oneness of Christ and His Redeemed.) Ezekiel's Temple is a literal temple, so is the City a literal city. Both will be built in the very near future. The Temple of Ezekiel is as real and as tangible as the Tabernacle of Moses, Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple. However, contrary to popular belief, the Holy City, New Jerusalem is not a literal city that has a literal temple in it. Some even believe (or fantasize) that it is a literal city hanging or floating above the city of Jerusalem. The fact is that the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM is nothing less than the Glorified Spiritual body of the people of God who have been redeemed throughout the ages since Adam was created until the time Death is destroyed by Jesus Christ (Y'shua the Messiah) Who would then hand back to God the Father (Yahweh) the authority that was invested in Him, and be subject unto God, that God may be all in all (1 Cor.15:24-28).
From our study thus far, we have notice that a river played an important part in the settings of both the Garden of Eden and the Millennial Temple. The river brought life to everything around it. In the “Garden of Eden” scene, a river flowed eastward from Eden to water the Garden and from thence it parted into four heads. This river cut through the middle of the Garden where the Tree of Life was presented and it brought life to all the living things in the Garden, from mankind down to the tiniest of flora. Wherever its water flowed there was life. As it left the Garden to the 'four corners of the world' outside, its nutrients also sustained all the living things around it. Adam and his Wife ate of the natural trees and drank of the natural water to sustain themselves naturally, but they ate of the spiritual Tree of Life and drank of the spiritual Water of the Word of Life which were in the midst of the Garden to sustain themselves spiritually. And in the “Millennial Temple” scene, a river also flowed eastward. Ezekiel saw waters issued forth towards the east from under the threshold, from the south side of the altar. The waters became deeper with every measurement of a thousand cubits, and on the banks of the river were very many trees. Like the river in the beginning, this river was also full of life — a double waters, for it not only came from a mountain source (fresh spring) but it also came from where the Tree of Life (the Shekinah Glory of the Lord) was presented. It came from the Temple ground. The waters gave life wherever it flowed as it moved eastward towards the Dead Sea. There would be a great multitude of fishes thriving in these waters. Except for certain swampy and marshy areas which would be given to salt, the Dead Sea would be healed and every kind of fishes which are found in the Mediterranean Sea would be found in it. (The fishes in these waters could only be the result of the geographical upheaval in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 14:1-8.) It would be a great place for fishermen. (Read Ezekiel 47:1-11.)
“And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”
– Ezekiel 47:12
Yes, the natural river would be so full of waters of life that there would be no lack of fruits growing upon the trees, and because of the healing properties of the waters, the leaves of these trees would also possess medicinal values. Likewise, spiritually, from the Throne of the Temple, the Lord's Christ would issue forth His Word of Life like waters flowing all over the earth, and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa.11:9; Hab.2:14). The King of kings and the Lord of lords shall rule the earth with a rod of iron (Rev.12:5; cf. Mic.4:1-4, Isa.2:2-4) such that the natural and mortal man may be regenerated under His Laws and His Righteousness. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jer.17:7-8). Truly, those who trust and obey the Laws of the Lord during His Reign of a thousand years will live forever, but the days of the rebellious shall be cut short.
THE AGE OF REGENERATION —
THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF CHRIST
The Age of Regeneration will move towards an Edenic condition (which will be in the Eternal Age — the New Heaven and New Earth) by bringing about a change all over the earth as prophesied in Isaiah 11:1-10 and 65:18-25:
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”
“But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; thy shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.”
Satan and his hordes of demons will be bound during this thousand years as Christ brings about a 'new creation' upon the earth (Rev.20:1-3). The ordinary natural life and living conditions on the earth will continue in this period. But all nations will come under the rule of Christ and there will be peace and safety throughout the whole earth. While the Lord's Christ will rule from Jerusalem over His people, Israel, and over all the nations of the earth, His Redeemed and Glorified People (His Wife) will rule with Him in their various places of authority all over the earth. The Gentile saints will rule the country from which they were taken (Matt.19:28; Rev.3:21). During this period, the natural people who are the subjects of the kingdom shall give birth to children to replenish the earth (cf. Ezek.47:22). There will be no death from aging but disciplinary action will be taken against rebellious sinners. Those who commit a sin worthy of death will be executed. Poisonous creatures will be rendered harmless and wild animals will eat grass. Mankind will gradually revert to eating herbs and fruits of the earth. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles” (Zech.14:16-19). Yes, “The Lord Is There” in Jerusalem (Ezek.48:35). And Life shall flow from there because the Shekinah Glory of the Lord dwells there in Jerusalem. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
SHADOWS OF REALITIES
Thus far, we have seen that God had chosen one locality upon this earth where His Presence was manifested since the beginning of Man. That place was Israel. It was also called Palestine, Canaan, and even the Garden of Eden. However, on the whole Land of Israel God had chosen only One Place to put His Name, and that place was the City of Jerusalem where a House was built for His habitation on Mount Zion. Now, all these natural earthly things and places reflect the reality of Spiritual Things and Places. “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?” (Acts 7:48-49; cf. Heb.8:1-2,5-6). Since Adam and Eve were created both spiritual and natural, God had to deal with them in both realms. They had to eat of the spiritual food from the Tree of Life as well as the natural food from the natural trees. However, the children of Israel, a nation of God's chosen people and descendants of spiritual Abraham (to whom God chose to reveal the Heavenly City) were carnal minded. They were looking for an earthly kingdom and were seeking earthly blessings and a natural redemption. But, spiritual Israel, the true seed of Abraham, looked for a spiritual redemption of the whole man – spirit, soul and body – that he might put on immortality. Truly, natural minded people look for natural things whereas spiritual minded people look for spiritual things. Hence, all that were spoken of and manifested in the natural were shadows of the reality of spiritual things and places.
If God had chosen to put His Name in a House (Temple) in Jerusalem, how much more would He put His Holy Name in a Body, that is, Jesus the House, Who will stand in the midst of the Heavenly Holy City of Jerusalem, which is the Spiritual (Heavenly) Body of His Redeemed. Before the foundation of the world, God had already chosen one place to put His Name. That place is HIS WORD. (THE WORD is The Anointing – The Christ – which issued forth from The Spirit of God to reveal Himself – Jhn.1:1; cf. Exod.23:20-21.) He had put His Name – YAHweh — in His Word – YAHshua (Psm.68:4). “And the Word was made flesh” (Jhn.1:14). Yes, almost two thousand years ago, The Word became Flesh and took the same Name — “thou shalt call his name YAHshua” (Matt.1:21). God had put His Redemptive Name in THE HOUSE OF FLESH, the Son of God. Yes, God and Christ are One (not Two) — “I and my Father are one” (Jhn.10:30; cf. 14:10-11).
Now, the Son of God was the TABERNACLE OF GOD. He was the fulfillment of the 'humble' Tabernacle of Moses when He came to serve, and was the 'lordly' Temple of Solomon when He was glorified (Heb.8:2,5; 9:11,24). We are also His Tabernacle, His Body, which was broken for us. We are His 'NEW TESTAMENT TABERNACLE'. “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Cor.6:16b). That was why He came in the form of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and indwelt the believers. He is the Head over His own Church (Body) for God “hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph.1:22; cf. 4:15; 5:23; Col.1:18; 1 Pet.2:6-8; 1 Cor.3:16-17). There is One Body but many members. He is the Temple (Sanctuary proper) and we are the Tabernacle (Building).
The Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon foreshadowed Christ Jesus and His Body of believers in the Grace Age of Redemption. But God is not just building a Building; He is building a City. Jesus said: “In My Father's house are many mansions” (Jhn.14:2a cf. Eph.2:19; 1 Cor.12: 12,20). The word “house” carries these meanings: “family, residence, household, resting (dwelling) place”. In other words, “In My Father's residence (or household) are many abodes.” Simply, “In My Father's city are many houses (buildings)”. The Scriptures clearly state that God had put His Name in a House (Temple) in Jerusalem. In the Age of Regeneration, His Name would remain there forever because “The Lord Is There” in the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem. This setting foreshadows God in Christ (“the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple” – Rev.21:22) in the redeemed (the Holy City, New Jerusalem) in the New Heaven and New Earth. And since the days of the Acts of the Apostles the Holy City, New Jerusalem has been progressively taking shape. After the Sure Foundation Stone (whose House was Yahweh) was laid in Zion (1 Pet.2:6-8; cf. 1 Sam.28:16), and the Shekinah Glory returned on the Day of Pentecost, more dwelling places (houses) were built as the Spirit breathed life into the 120 disciples, the 3,000 converts, and many more. They were all lively stones being built up as spiritual houses, and set up in the Heavenly Holy City (1 Pet.2:5; Rev.3:12). Notice. The old city, Jerusalem was built of earthly stones by the hands of men for men, but the Holy City, New Jerusalem is built of spiritual stones by the hands of God for God. Yes, the Temple reflects Christ Jesus Who was the first building set up in the Holy City, New Jerusalem, which City comprises all the Redeemed of the Lord. Hence, the words of the Lord Jesus: “In My Father's residence are many abodes (or buildings). If it were not true I would have told you so, for I am going to prepare a place for you. And when I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jhn.14:2-3, paraphrase mine). And the words of the prophets, Isaiah and Zechariah: “And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence [Heb: chuppah — covering, defence, protection]” (Isa.4:5); “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain” (Zech.8:2-3). Hallelujah! “The Lord Is There” forever in His Redeemed, the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM — “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of It” (Rev.21:22).