“Had Your Torah not been my preoccupation, I would have perished in my suffering.” Psalms 119:92
As I put this Op together, it is 19 February 2022, and the world is on the precipice of war via Russia and Ukraine. America is collapsing under the weight of its corruption and wicked society. Canada has fallen into tyranny and martial law. Australia has become a dictatorship and our enemies are emboldened and are giddy at the thought of a world in which America is no longer the dominate superpower. I know, its very depressing and oppressive to contemplate, but HaShem warned us this is how the world would be the closer we get to the Final Redemption!
My hope and intention is this Op is to be the first of a series of Ops in which we discuss in depth the Temple of HaShem, not just what has been erroneously taught over the years by Christendom, but a real, in-depth discussion on not just the Temple of HaShem, but more importantly the FUNCTION of the Temple of HaShem!
Why is this so important, especially in our day today? Because, the Temple of HaShem is THE House of HaShem on earth, it is His Throne where He will dwell among His people and thus understanding His Temple and how it functions will help us understand HaShem Himself!
Is the Temple of HaShem just a conglomerate of buildings put together randomly by a bunch of people who just thought it would look nice or was there a specific reason and unchanging design handed down by HaShem? Obviously the answer is HaShem handed down a specific ‘Tavnit’ or ‘Blueprint’ via His Ruach (Spirit) per Exodus 25 and I Chronicles 28! Ezekiel 40-48 discusses the Tavnit of the Third Temple.
Studying and understanding the layout of His Temple is enormously important because we must understand the function and how it operates. But we must also study and learn the ceremonies, the korbonot (Offerings), the utensils used, the garments worn and the liturgy prayed as they all teach us of HaShem! Nothing has been tossed aside, nothing has been replaced and nothing has been rendered obsolete as Christendom teaches. Sadly, we do not have a Temple in Jerusalem today, so we can only do so much in the Services to HaShem, but Baruch HaShem, He promises His Temple WILL be rebuilt and we are witnessing this time grow closer and closer by the day!
So, with this all said thus far, I want to begin this series of Op’s with discussing a specific topic concerning how His Temple functions. But, before we jump into this, always consider the following eternal characteristics of HaShem:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is the ONLY truth there is per Psalms 119:142
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
- He says Messiah Yeshua is the GOAL of His Torah, meaning without His Torah, Messiah cannot be known per Romans 10:4
- He says if we had believed Moshe/Torah, we would have believed Messiah per John 5:46
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His salvation is far from the wicked for they sought not His Torah per Psalms 119:155
- He says to hold fast to and guard His Torah, for it is our life per Proverbs 4:13
Remember, HaShem COMMANDS you and I in Ezekiel 43:10-11 “You Ben Adam (Son of Man)! Tell the family of Israel of the Temple and let them be ashamed of their sins, and measure the design (Tavnit). And if they are ashamed, the form (Tavnit) of the House and ITS DESIGNS, ITS EXITS AND ENTRANCES, AND ALL ITS APPEARANCE, ITS LAWS, ALL ITS DECORATION, AND ALL ITS REGULATIONS MAKE KNOWN TO THEM AND WRITE IT DOWN BEFORE THEIR EYES, THAT THEY MAY REMEMBER ITS FORM (Tavnit) AND ITS DECREES AND PERFORM THEM.“
HaShem commands we study everything of His House and then we will be ashamed of our sins. Why? Because the Temple of HaShem is also called ‘The House of Kedushah’! This Hebrew word ‘Kedushah’ means ‘Holiness.’ Trust me, when you begin studying His House, you will learn very quickly what the concept of ‘Holiness’ actually means and not what Christendom has taught as they are directly opposed to one another.
Further, HaShem, in Ezekiel 43:10-11, commands that everything of His Temple be written down. It was written down, just as He commanded, its called the Oral Torah i.e. the Mishnah, the Talmud Bavli, the Talmud Yerushalmi, the Mishnah Torah, the Midrash, etc. Another reason why if we want to understand the Written Torah of HaShem contained in His Tanakh (Erroneously called the Old Testament), we MUST have the Oral Torah. The two go hand in hand…cannot have one with out the other.
Of the 613 commandments in the Written Torah, how many of them are explained on how to walk in them in the Tanakh? None of them are! Where do we go to learn how to walk in the Torah of HaShem? We go to where the written rulings of the Sanhedrin, i.e. the court HaShem established and anointed with His Ruach to render such rulings, are contained i.e. the Mishnah. The commentary of the Mishnah is encapsulated in the Talmud Bavli and the Talmud Yerushalmi, which comprise a significant portion of the Oral Torah!
Additionally, of the 613 commandments in the Written Torah, how many apply to the Temple of HaShem? A significant portion do i.e. 271 commandments to be precise apply directly to the Temple of HaShem! It also reinforces the Temple of HaShem is where we see His Torah in action!
SO WHY THE NEED FOR THE TEMPLE?
To answer this question, I will quote from the book written by my teacher, Joseph Good of HaTikvah Ministries, entitled ‘Measure the Pattern’ which states on page 2: “Several years ago a leading rabbi in the movement to rebuild the Temple asked an audience ‘Why do we have to know all of this information, why is all of this detail necessary?’ The answer is simple. There was, is and always will be a plan by HaShem. We are not allowed to change that plan. We must remain faithful to the tavnit of HaShem. The Temple is not just a collection of buildings and ceremonies, but rather a RETURN TO A WORLD WHERE HASHEM IS REVEALED AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS. MAN WAS CREATED BY HASHEM AND PLACED WITHIN A PERFECT ENVIRONMENT, GAN EDEN (THE GARDEN OF EDEN). MAN WAS ALSO CREATED WITH A KEDUSHAH (SANCTIFICATION) AS MAN WAS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF HASHEM AND HASHEM IS KADOSH (HOLY). When man transgressed he was driven from Gan Eden and lost his Kedushah. In Hebrew the term for the Temple is ‘Beit HaMikdash (House of Kedushah)’. THE TEMPLE, THROUGH THIS TAVNIT (ARCHITECHTURE, FLOORPLAN, CEREMONIES, CONCEPTS OF HOLY AND PROFANE, CLEAN AND UNCLEAN AND ALL ORDINANCES ASSOCIATED WITH THE ABOVE), BECOMES THE TRANSLATOR OF HASHEM’S TORAH. ‘LET THEM MEASURE ACCURATELY,’ ‘ALL OF ITS FORMS,’ ‘ALL OF ITS ORDINANCES,’ AND ‘ALL OF ITS LAWS’.”
So, the Temple of HaShem is THE place of Kedushah (Holiness) and if we want to know, understand and further our relationship with HaShem, we MUST study and know His Temple!
With this said, when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are A Dwelling Place of Elohim (Temple) and that the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you? If anyone destroys the Dwelling Place of Elohim, Elohim shall destroy him. For the Dwelling Place of Elohim is SET-APART (Kadosh/Holy), WHICH YOU ARE.” So, if Paul LIKENS us to the Temple of HaShem, shouldn’t we better know how the Temple of HaShem functions and how He defines what is clean and unclean, what He says is kadosh food, behavior, actions, holidays, set-apart days, New Moons, Shabbat, etc? Despite what Christendom teaches, Paul is NOT saying the Temple of HaShem in Jerusalem has now been replaced and rendered obsolete, in reality he is teaching the exact opposite…he is reiterating if we want to know HaShem and know how to walk in His ways i.e. His Torah and how to interact with Him, how to be kadosh, then the Temple in Jerusalem is the ONLY way to do so, reiterating what HaShem says in Ezekiel 43:10-11 which we just discussed above.
Now that this foundation is laid, let’s begin to discuss the topic of Guarding the Temple of HaShem!
There are two categories of Levites who serve HaShem in the Temple. They are the Kohanim (Priests) and the Levi’im (Levites). Every Kohanim is a Levite, but not every Levite is a Kohanim. They serve two purposes in that the Kohanim perform the ceremonies unto HaShem while the Levites perform the duties of the escorts, attendants, singers and musicians.
The Kohanim and Levi’im families were divided up into 24 Courses (Mishmarot) and would take turns throughout the year serving in the Temple. Each group i.e. a Mishmar, would serve for one week of duty within the Temple every six months, with the exception of the three Pilgrimage Feasts (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot) when ALL the Mishmarot were present. During each week of service each Mishmar would begin their service on Shabbat and then exit on the following Shabbat.
One of the duties was to guard the Temple of HaShem. Numbers 18:2 says “And you (Kohanim) and your sons with you shall be before the Tent of Testimony.” In verse four, regarding the Levi’im it says “They shall be jointed to you (Kohanim), and they shall safeguard the charge of the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting) for all of the service of the Tent.” Numbers 3:38 says “Those who camped before the Mishkan to the front, before the Ohel Moed to the east, were Moshe and Aharon and his sons, guardians of the charge of the Sanctuary, for the charge of the Children of Israel.”
So, where did they perform their guard duties because the Written Torah doesn’t tell us. Tractate Middot 1.1 from the Mishnah (Oral Torah) tells us. It says “At THREE sites the Kohanim stood guard in the Temple: Beit Avtinas, Beit HaNitzotz and in Beit Hamoked. The Levites, in TWENTY ONE sites: Five for the five gates of Har Habayit; four for its four corners, from inside it; five for the five gates of the Azarah (The Inner Courtyard), four for its four corners, from the outside; and one in Lishkat HaKorban, and one in Lishkat HaParokhet and one for behind Beit HaKaporet.”
The Mishnah explains further: “At three sites, the Kohanim stood guard in the Temple: in Beit Avtinas i.e. the Avtinas House, the chamber where the incense was manufactured, named after the Avtinas family of Kohanim who specialized in this task; it was on the southern wall of the Azarah, the inner courtyard. And in Beit HaNitzotz i.e. the Place of the Spark, a balcony on the northern side of the Azarah built over Shaar HaNitzotz i.e. the Gate of the Spark, so called because a small flame was kept there, as a permanent source of fire for the Azarah. And in Beit HaMoked i.e. Place of the Hearth, another chamber on the northern side of the Azarah, east of Beit HaNitzotz, so called because the Kohanim warmed themselves up there by a fire.”
“And the Levites stood guard in twenty one sites: Five Levitic guards for the five gates in the outer walls of Har Habayit i.e. the outer compound, four for its four corners from inside it i.e. standing inside Har HaBayit near the corners of its outer walls, five for the five gates of the Azarah. There were four additional Levitic guards of the Azarah from the outside i.e. standing outside its walls because ONE MAY NOT SIT DOWN IN THE AZARAH, and it was difficult to stand all night. There was no such restriction, however, on Har HaBayit. And one Levite guard stood in Lishkat HaKorban i.e. Chamber of the Sacrifices or also called Lishkat HaTela’im i.e. Chamber of Lambs, a room in Beit HaMoked where lambs were kept for the Tamid (Daily Burnt Offerings) and one in Lishkat HaParokhet i.e. Chamber of the Curtain where the curtain demarcating the Holy of Holies was woven, and one for behind Beit HaKaporet i.e. Place of the Kaporet, the cover of the Ark of the Covenant i.e. the Holy of Holies. The Levite stood in the Azarah directly behind the Holy of Holies.”
Per the commentary from the book ‘Avodas HaKorbanos’ it says “Once administrator would be appointed over all the watchmen and their shifts. He was known as the Officer of the Temple Mount. He would make his rounds, checking each watch post throughout the night, and lit torches were in place along his route. Any watchman who did not stand up when the administrator approached and say to him ‘Officer of the Temple Mount, peace be upon you!’, obviously had fallen asleep at his post, and the administrator would beat him with his stick. He was even permitted to set the negligent watchman’s clothes on fire! And we see that such a thing did occur, for they would say in Yerushalayim ‘What is that noise we hear coming from the Temple Courtyard? It is the cry of a Levi being beaten and his clothes being burned, for having fallen asleep while on his watch.'”
It sounds harsh to beat a guard and light their clothes on fire for having fallen asleep on their post, but remember their function is to guard to prevent any contamination or uncleanliness from entering the Temple and if they inadvertently did so via falling asleep, it could bring disaster upon Israel! Its very serious! Keep this in mind.
This is where we must understand and know the layout of the Temple. Sadly, I do not have a map or a diagram with which to show you exactly where each guard post is located. The point I want to stress is HaShem set up guard posts in His Temple every night! Notice also the number 24 keeps coming up i.e. 24 Mishmarot (Priestly courses) and 24 guard posts. Nothing is a coincidence with HaShem!
What’s the significance of the number 24?
- There are 24 hours in a day
- There are 24 books which comprise the Tanakh (Erroneously called the Old Testament)
- There are 24 major limbs on the human male body
- The number 24 represents the Holy City of Jerusalem
- The daily Amidah prayer petition for HaShem to rebuild Jerusalem is comprised of 24 words
- The 24 Mishmarot of the Kohanim and Levi’im
- The 24 guard watches of the Kohanim and Levi’im
- There are 24 Hebrew letters in the phrase “Blessed be the Name of His Glorious Kingdom forever and ever.”
- The word ‘Shalom’ (Peace) is found 24 times in the Chumash (The five books of the Written Torah)
We can see HaShem is very much communicating and teaching us many, many things just through these Temple Guards!! And we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface yet of His Temple!! Baruch HaShem!
The question needs to be asked: “Does HaShem need guards to protect His House?” Absolutely not! He is fully capable of protecting His Own House! So why does He command the placement of guards? The answer is they served as WATCHMAN and to enhance the honor of His House! More importantly they served as watchman to prevent those who were not authorized from entering areas they were not allowed. In other words they kept watch to prevent any contamination or uncleanliness from entering…HINT HINT HINT!
So you may ask how this applies to each of us? Well, if Paul says we are likened to the Temple of HaShem, then we better have set up guards, figuratively speaking, in place to guard our beings from allowing anything contaminated or unclean into our lives as it will affect our service unto HaShem!
Now more than ever before, in my opinion, in the day and time we currently live in, in a world gone utterly mad, with all the filth, debauchery, wickedness, lawlessness and corruption we are having to live in, we must make sure we have set up guards in our lives to try and keep out the garbage and the trash! Can we do so perfectly? Sadly no! But we must try our upmost to do so. And how do we do so? We study, learn and walk in His Torah, because His Torah is a tree of life to those who take hold of it!
Remember, the definition of ‘Faith’ as HaShem defines it, is not just a cognitive belief in something or someone, ‘Emunah’ (Faith) as HaShem defines it is first believe HaShem is King and sole Creator, THEN we put that Emunah into action by accepting upon ourselves the yoke of His Torah and begin to walk and live our lives according to His Torah, submitted to His Kingship and Rulership. HaShem is ‘Echad’ i.e. He is ONE, He shares His glory with no one and He answers to no one…there is no other like Him and we must be set-apart to Him as He is set-apart!
As I said in the beginning, hopefully, HaShem willing, this will be the first of many Ops specifically discussing the Temple of HaShem and how it functions! May we bring honor and esteem to His Great Name because He is worthy and deserving of it!
Much to consider.
- The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research
- Tractate Tamid Koren Tamud Bavli
- Tractate Middot Kehati Mishnah
- Rambam Hilchot Beit HaBechirah Mishnah Torah
- Jewish Wisdom in the Numbers by Artscroll
- The Chumash Shemot by Artscroll
- Measure the Pattern by Joseph Good of HaTikvah Ministries
- Avodas HaKorbanos by Artscroll