MYSTERIES OF THE TEMPLE
(Last updated 9/1/01)
This section presents a brief metaphysical study of the Temple of God on earth, including the Tabernacle of Moses' time, the First Temple (Solomon's), the Second Temple (at Yeshua's time), and the coming Millennial Temple as written of in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation.
The Tabernacle/Temple, is our "Meeting Place" with God within the physical realm. It is also a key given to help us in understanding various aspects of God, creation, time and space. Upon examining these four structures, we find a progressively greater revelation with each "Meeting Place" and historical time period.
THE FIVE GARDENS
We will begin our study by taking a look at the layout of the original Tabernacle of Moses' as placed over the extended Tree of Life diagram, seen below. Our study will begin at the bottom of the Tree (the Malkhut of Asiyyah (J), and work its way to the top.
At this time we will also introduce a new Kabbalistic concept, that of the "Five Gardens" (also called "Five Faces") of the Tree of Life. These Gardens have a relationship to the Four Worlds of Asiyya (A), Yetzirah (B), Beriah (C) and Azilut (D), as follows.
As we know from Scripture, the original Tabernacle was "portable," and thus was not as established as the coming Temples, which are fixed in Jerusalem. Although the Shekinah was present in the Tabernacle, the journey leading to the Promised Land is not always spoken of in the highest terms.
For instance, the Zohar depicts the Shekinah as "complaining" about this 40-year trek:
MY MOTHER'S SONS, the sons of my nation, namely the spies, WERE INCENSED AGAINST ME: they attacked me, they filled the Judge with wrath against me. THEY MADE ME KEEPER OF THE VINEYARDS: because I stayed in the wilderness journeying forty-two stages, I was not able to enter the land of Israel. Hence, MY OWN VINEYARD I DID NOT KEEP.
Looking at the Tree diagram above, beginning in the first Garden (E), we have the location of the camps of the people and the Levites. This area is outside the courtyard and represents the world. The camps lie below the Tipheret of Asiyya (K), which marks the entrance to the courtyard. As will be shown, Tipheret is commonly associated with being a "gate" that one must pass through.
Beyond the Tipheret of Asiyyah (K) we enter the second Garden (F), corresponding to the lower face of Yetzirah and the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Here, between Tipheret (K) and Da'at (L) is placed the Altar. Aligned with Da'at itself (L), is the Laver.
Between the Da'at (L) and Keter (M) of Asiyyah is the location of the Levites within the courtyard. Recall that here, the Keter of Asiyyah (M) corresponds to the Tipheret of the next world, Yetzirah. Hence we find another "gate" at this Tipheret (M), this time in the form of the screen leading into the sanctuary, the third Garden (G) and lower face of Beriah.
In the center of the sanctuary is the Incense Altar. We are now in the the midst of the third Garden, at the Da'at of Yetzirah (N) (which is the Yesod of Beriah), directly midway up/down the Tree. As mentioned earlier, this is a critical juncture as it is here (N) that a person goes from a stage of "approaching" God, to one of deveikut (communion/cleaving) with God. (This is in fact commanded by God in Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 11:22; 13:4; 30:20.)
The extended Tree diagram depicts this well, as this was the function of the incense in the Temple, which ascended to the heavenlies (the upper face of Beriah where Metatron is situated at Keter (W), which is also the Tipheret of the Divine world of Azilut), creating the bond between man below and God above.
As mentioned earlier, the triad formed by the Tipheret (M), Hesed (O) and Gevurah (P) in Yetzirah is the Triad of the Soul. The soul is what connects man in the physical world and God in the Spiritual world. From here emerge the prayers of man toward God (which are as "incense" to Him). Note that the "souls of the saints," in the book of Revelation (whose prayers are mixed with incense), are seen as located "under the altar," corresponding to the Tree diagram. (Revelation 6:9; 8:3-4).
Above the Sephirah of Da'at in Yetzirah (N) (Yesod in Beriah), is the area of the Priests. Just beyond the priests (still below the Tipheret of Beriah (S) is the location of the High Priests.
Moving to the outer pillars, we have the Bread of the Face located at the Hokmah of Yetzirah (Q) and the Menorah located at the Binah of Yetzirah (R). Recall from our previous study that these two Sephirot underlie the Netzah (Q) and Hod (R) of Beriah, which function as the agencies of God from the Heaven of Beriah, establishing the Wisdom and Understanding of Yetzirah below, which in turn nourish the Triad of the Soul (M-O-P) below them.
At the Tipheret of Beriah (S) (which is also the Malkhut of Azilut, thus giving "contact" with the Divine), is the location of Moses and Aaron. Once again, we are at Tipheret and have another "gate" -- this time the veil, beyond which lay the Holy of Holies. As discussed in a previous study, the Tipheret of Beriah (S), where Moses and Aaron (Chief Prophet and High Priest) are located, is the Seat of the Messiah. This corresponds to Yeshua who held both offices of Prophet and High Priest in one person.
The veil beyond the Tipheret of Beriah is the heavenly counterpart to the veil torn in two upon the death of Yeshua as mentioned in the "New Testament" accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke. As the earthly High Priest would go beyond this veil at Yom Kippur, Yeshua has effected a permanent Yom Kippur by "tearing" this heavenly veil. (See also prior analysis on Hebrews chapter 9.)
Beyond the veil, is the Ark of the Covenant, located at the Da'at of Beriah (T), which is also the Yesod of Azilut (the "Foundation" of the Divine Fourth World). Above this Sephirah, along the horizontal path connecting the Hokmah (U) and Binah (V) of Beriah, is the location of the Mercy Seat. The two cherubs (upon the Ark), are situated at the Hokmah (U) and Binah (V) of Beriah themselves. Again, these two Sephirot are in turn the Netzah (U) and Hod (V) of Azilut, which as mentioned, act to "bring down" divine light from above.
Just above this, in the Keter of Beriah (W) (which is also the Tipheret of the Divine World of Azilut), is the presence of Hashem ("The Name"). As mentioned, this is also the location of Metatron, who is called "Head of Creation," and "the lesser YHWH." This Sephirah (W) is the "gate" to the Divine upper face of Azilut.
Note that Tipheret in Azilut (W) (and therefore Metatron), corresponds to the aspect of the "Divine Son" of Hokhmah (X) (Father) and Binah (Y) (Mother) of Azilut. As mentioned in an earlier study, the Zohar states that all prayers and petition are said to have to "go through" Metatron to get to the Father. Hence, no one goes to the "Father" unless he goes through "the Divine Son." This corresponds to Yeshua's words about Himself.
In contrast to the Tabernacle, "Solomon's Temple" was stationed in its predestined place, in the city of Jerusalem. As with the Tabernacle, it too had the presence of the Shekinah appear in it, and reflected a high point in Jewish history, largely based on the merit of David and Solomon.
Beginning at the base we have the "middle pillar" of the tree with Malkut at "A," Yesod at "B," Tipheret at "C," Da'at at "D," and Keter at "E."
The candles on the left of Keter (E) correspond to the left side of the Tree, with Binah located at "F," Gevurah at "H" and Hod at "J." The candles on the right of Keter correspond to the right side of the Tree, with Hokhmah at "G," Hesed at "I" and Netzah at "K."
Further, the areas between the stems represent the four worlds, with Azilut found in the area above/between F, D, and G (Binah, Da'at and Hokhmah), Beriah found below this in the area above/between H, C and I (Gevurah, Tipheret and Hesed, Yetzirah above/between J, B, and K (Hod, Yesod and Netzah) and Asiyyah below the area of J, B and K.
Scripture tells us that, though the Menorah was said to have different "parts to it," it was hammered out from a single piece of gold. This depicts the unity of the Godhead as seen in the Tree of Life.
As mentioned in an earlier study, each Sephirah has an aspect of itself and all of the others within it. Thus, each of the ten Menorot in the Temple of Solomon depicted one of the ten Sephirot, containing all ten within itself. Solomon thus have a very "complete" picture of the Godhead in place.
THE SECOND TEMPLE
The Second Temple, which was in existence at the time of Yeshua, came about from a less glorious epoch in Israel's history. It did not contain an ark, and it never saw the Shekinah's presence, as the Tabernacle and First Temple did. However, the Second Temple was clearly sanctioned by God, and did host the visitation of Yeshua, who is an even more perfect image of the presence of God among us, one not "clothed by the Shekinah" (i.e., the Sephirah of Malkut as discussed in earlier studies). In this sense the Second Temple "held" an even higher revelation than the previous two structures.
The eastern entrance to this Temple has significance, as this gate was called the "Beautiful" (Tipheret) gate in the Second Temple period (Acts 3:2,10). It also featured, the "Porch of Solomon" (also called the "Couch of Solomon"), which is a representation of the Shekinah and community of Israel. Note how the people of Israel were gathered within this Porch to hear Peter and John.
(As can be seen, there is a great deal of hidden meaning in even the most innocuous texts of the Bible, if you know what to look for.)
THE MILLENNIAL TEMPLE
Even greater spiritual insight comes from the study of the Millennial Temple (as described in the book of Ezekiel). In fact, study of the design and ordinances of this future Temple was a command given by God to His people in exile. In times when there was no physical Temple standing in Jerusalem, study of this future Temple was considered by God, the same as actually having the Temple present and performing its ordinances.
This remarkable concept is found in the book of Ezekiel, and further elaborated on in a Hebrew commentary:
In both the books of Ezekiel and Revelation, the idea of measuring different aspects of this Temple is mentioned. These measurements in turn reveal aspects of the Temple that point to deeper realities about God and creation. By learning these hidden truths, we become more able to "sanctify the Name of God." Kabbalistically, this means to "unify the Name of God" (Yichud Hashem). As we learn what these measurements represent, we "connect together" the various aspects of the Temple. This is how we can "build the Temple" by studying it.
THE GATE TO THE HOLY OF HOLIES
There are many aspects of the Millennial Temple that can be measured. For the purpose of this study, we will focus on the gate to the Holy of Holies. As mentioned earlier, the Sephirah of Tipheret is often associated with the concept of "gate," particularly on the side of the east as is the entrance to the Holy of Holies.
The dimensions of this gate are given as six cubits by seven cubits:
As discussed in our previous studies, the number "6" is closely associated with the Sephirah of Tipheret. i.e., Tipheret represents the Vav ("V") in YHVH, which has a numerical value of six. Tipheret is also sixth Sephirah and represents the synthesis of the six Sephirah of Ze'er Anpin (Chesed, Gevurah, Tipheret, Netzah, Hod, Yesod), when they are not united with Malkhut, the last of the "lower seven" Sephirot.
The number "7" in Gematria is associated with "completion," This occurs when Ze'er Anpin (specifically Tipheret), is joined with its bride, Malkut, thus completing the unity of the lower seven Sephirot.
Thus, the gate to the Holy of Holies in the Millennial Temple is representative of the final union between the groom (Tipheret) and bride (Malkhut). This is reflected in the dimensions of the gate, which are 6 cubits (representing Ze'er Anpin, the incomplete arrangement), by 7 cubits, (representing the completed arrangement that includes the bride, Malkhut/Shekinah).
Besides their association with the union of Tipheret and Malkhut, the numbers 6 and 7 are also important in term of their product. The product of 6 and 7 (6 multiplied by 7) is 42, a number which we have already discussed the importance of in an earlier study, as Tipheret is linked to the "Forty-two letter name of God."
(Recall the "frustration" of the Shekinah mention above in, Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs I:41, which depicts the "42" legs of the journey outside of the land.)
As mentioned earlier, the Sephirah of Tipheret is associated with the idea of a "gate" one must pass through to move upward spiritually. Recall also, that Tipheret is the Sephirah of Truth. (i.e., You can fool yourself as to who you think you are at the ego-level of Yesod, but you won't fool God at Tipheret!)
The Talmud and Zohar pulls these themes together in these passages:
The forty-two lettered Name is entrusted only to him who is pious, meek, middle-aged, free from bad temper, sober, and not insistent on his rights. And he who knows it, is heedful thereof, and observes it in purity, is beloved above and popular below, feared by man, and inherits two worlds, this world and the future world.
As Tipheret in Azilut is also the Head of Creation (the Keter of Beriah) in Metatron, the Forty-two letter name is directly tied to creation and to Metatron:
Up to this point only extend the allusions to the Most Mysterious who carves out and builds and vivifies in mysterious ways, through the esoteric explanation of one verse. From this point onwards bara shith, he created six, from the end of heaven to the end thereof, six sides which extend from the supernal mystic essence, through the expansion of creative force from a primal point. Here has been inscribed the mystery of the name of forty-two letters.
In summation, this gate to the Holy of Holies in the Millennial Temple, is equated with the forty-two letter Name of God and with Metatron, who is the Divine Son. Those who walk through this gate (Zohar 3:256b - above) enter eternity with God.
Again, Yeshua spoke of Himself in these kabbalistic terms:
As the forty-two letter Name is also associated with advent of creation (which "groans" for tikkun/restoration - Romans 8:22), the "completed gate" of Ezekiel's Temple reflects this state of restored creation.
1. Secrets of the Future Temple (Mishkney Elyon), by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, translated by Avraham Yehoshua ben Yakov Greenbaum, The Temple Institute and Azamra Institute, Jerusalem, 2000, p. 41.
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