Christian Churches of God

No. CB113

 

 

 

Courtyards of God’s

Dwelling Places

 

(Edition 1.0 20070719-20070719)

 

We have seen from the papers The Tabernacle in the Wilderness and The Temple Solomon Built that the courtyard was also an area that was set apart and special. In this paper we will review what things occurred in this area.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

E-mail: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

(Copyright ă 2007 Diane Flanagan, ed. Wade Cox)

 

 

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 Courtyards of God’s Dwelling Places

 

 


Most of us know what a schoolyard or the play-yard is around the school. The schoolyard is the fenced off area that is entered through a special gate or gates. The schoolyard is where certain activities take place, like recess, lunch or sometimes classes. Most often the classes or learning happen inside the classrooms.

 

The courtyards around the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, the Temple Solomon built or the Millennial Temple all function similarly to the school courtyard. It is a separate area that divides the “regular area” for a special place of learning, or as in this case, for worshipping God.

 

Before we look at the physical courtyards of God, let’s see if there are any spiritual examples of God having a courtyard in Heaven.

 

In Ezekiel we see:

Ezekiel 10:4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, [and stood] over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court [2691] was full of the brightness of the LORD'S  glory.

 

Ezekiel 10:5 And the sound of the cherubims wings was heard  [even] to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh.

 

Just from those two scriptures we see there is a house/temple and a courtyard and an outer courtyard. There are numerous references to the courts of God. Psalm 84 comments on two other references.

 

Psalm 84:10 tells us what it is like to be in the courts of God.

 

Psalm 84:10 For a day in thy courts (2691) [is] better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

 

In all three verses the word court (SHD 2691) is chatser which means:  1) court, enclosure a) enclosures b) court 2) settled abode, settlement, village, town.

 

Chatser (2691) is from chatsar (SHD 2690):  chatsar 1) to sound a trumpet a) (Piel) players on clarions (participle) b) (Hiphil) sound with clarions (participle).

 

This is interesting that just as the school bell calls us to class, we will see there is something that calls God’s people to His commanded assemblies.

 

At first it was a shofar, and at the dedication of the Temple Solomon built it was a 120 priests sounding 120 trumpets praising God (2Chr. 5:12). In the future, we see it is two silver trumpets made of one piece of metal (Num. 10:1ff.) calling the physical Host and the spiritual Host. We know one of the titles of God is Yahovah Sabaioth since He is Lord of Hosts (man and spiritual beings). See the footnote to 1Samuel 1:3 in The Companion Bible.  For more details of the calling of the assemblies of God see The Shofar and the Silver Trumpets (No. 47).

 

We know from Revelation 15:5 and 11:19 that there is a Temple in Heaven.

 

Revelation 11:19 And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm. (NASV)

 

Revelation 15:5 After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, 6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. (NASV)

 

Let us now look at where on Earth God instructed His Temple to be built.

 

Location of the Temple

 

2Chronicles 3:1 tells us Solomon began to build the House of the Lord in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah. This is where the Angel of the Presence appeared to his father David, and the place where David prepared an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah, or Ornan the Jebusite.

 

The pestilence was stopped short of the threshing floor of Araunah who, as a king, gave the floor to David. However, David refused the gift and paid 50 shekels of silver for it. The altar was built there and the plague was stayed.

 

1Chronicles 21:25   So David gave Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.

 

This contradiction of cost can only be resolved by us assuming that the original area was purchased for 50 shekels and the surrounds were purchased for 600 shekels of gold and the area was enlarged for the construction of the Temple. 

 

The note in the NASV states: “This is where David sacrificed  (1Chr. 21:18-30) and was the probable site where Abraham attempted to offer Isaac (Gen. 22:2ff.)”. We see the location had a very strong tie to the sacrifices being offered.

 

In this paper we will just focus on the courtyard or things that are located in the courtyard. For more information see the papers Burnt Offering Altar (No. CB108) and Brazen Sea and Ten Lavers (No. CB114).

 

Remember, there was a courtyard in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. Let us briefly review what was found in that courtyard.

 

The courtyard of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness 

 

The Tabernacle was located in a court. A court is a big area that is enclosed or marked off. The court was 100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide, creating two perfect squares of 50 x 50 cubits. (In those days, length was measured in cubits, which was the distance from the tip of a man’s finger to his elbow - about 18 inches.) There was a large gate on the east side where people entered.

 

The boundary wall that separated the rest of the camp from the Tabernacle area was made up of fine linen hangings, hung from 60 pillars spaced five cubits apart. There were 20 pillars on the south side, 20 on the north, 10 pillars on the west and 10 on the east. The total of 60 pillars could represent the two Inner Councils of 30 each. The Council is described in chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation.

 

We also know that there are 2 sets of 60 Jubilees that make up the first 120 Jubilees that will be followed by the period of Just Rule in the 121st Jubilee.

 

Four central pillars on the east supported a gate hanging of blue, purple, and scarlet (red) yarn and finely twisted linen (Ex. 27:9-19). The pillars had copper or bronze bases with silver hooks and bands on each post (Ex. 27:17; 38:28). As one looked at the court one would see the white linen curtains with a border of silver on top, and the copper (or bronze) bases below the pillars. And there would be the beautiful blue, purple, and scarlet (red) woven gate through which all would enter the court.

 

Everything in the Tabernacle and the court was made portable and moveable. Each time that God instructed the people to move, there was a set procedure for taking down the court and the Tabernacle, and moving it in the correct fashion.

 

The courtyard contained the burnt offering altar, laver and the Tabernacle.

 

The diagram in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures in Appendix 8B has the burnt offering altar centred in the most easterly front square of the courtyard.

 

In his work, Sir Issac Newton also places the burnt offering altar in the centre of the square courtyard.

 

(MANUSCRIPT BY ISAAC NEWTON SHOWS SOLOMON'S TEMPLE – This schematic by Isaac Newton, "A Description of the Inner Court and Buildings for the Priests in Solomon's Temple," is part of a new exhibit in Jerusalem of never-displayed manuscripts by the 17th-century mathematician and physicist. The manuscripts, on display at Hebrew University's Jewish National & University Library, reveal Newton's fascination with theology and apocalyptic and biblical writings. (CNS/Courtesy of the Jewish National & University Library))

 

Newton's idea may be correct based on a comment in 1Kings and 2Chronicles in relation to the Temple Solomon built.

 

1Kings  8:64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that [was] before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that [was] before the LORD [was] too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. (KJV)

 

2Chronicles 7:7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that [was] before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat. (KJV)

 

We see also the tree of life was in the middle (SHD 8432) of the Garden of Eden.

 

Genesis 2:9  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 [H8432] of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

 

And Israel went on dry ground through the middle [midst] of the Sea.

 

Exodus 14:16  But lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry  [ground] through the midst [8432] of the sea.

 

The middle seems to have great significance or importance at certain times. The Hebrew word (SHD 8432) for middle is defined as: 1) midst, middle ... c) among (of a number of persons) d) between (of things arranged by twos) e) from among (as to take or separate etc) (BDB)

 

Let us now look at the courtyard of the Temple Solomon built, and how the courtyard and its furniture expanded.

 

The Temple Solomon built

 

The Courts

 

Outer Court

 

The Great or Outer Court surrounded the whole Temple (2Chr. 4:9). Here the people assembled to worship God (Jer. 19:14; 26:2). Over the years we were given examples of the capacity for Gentiles to sacrifice at the Temple. As with Israel, it was permitted – provided it was done by the priests. In the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and the Temple Solomon built the court was a large rectangle shape.

 

Inner Court

 

As shown above, the people could enter the Outer Court and bring their sacrifices to the priests.

 

Round about the Temple building was the court of the priests (2Chr. 4:9), called the Inner Court (1Kgs. 6:36). It contained the altar of burnt offering (2Chr. 15:8), the brazen/molten sea (2Chr. 4:2-5,10), and ten lavers (1Kgs. 7:38,39).

 

Priests’ chambers

 

These chambers were built about the Temple on the southern, western, and northern sides (1Kgs. 6:5-10). They formed a part of the building. For more details on the priestly chambers see 1Kings 6.

 

Christ goes to prepare the chambers for us:

 

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (KJV)

 

In the City of God, the elect will serve as the wall to protect and defend the city.  See The City of God (No. 180). 

 

Porch

 

2Chronicles 3:4 explains the porch or entrance before the Temple on the east (1Kgs. 6:3; 2Chr. 3:4; 29:7). It was 20 cubits wide and 10 cubits deep.

 

Here again we see the numbers 20 and 10, as we noted with the burnt altar.

 

2Chronicles 3:4 also goes on to say the porch was 120 cubits high. This is four times as high as the Temple proper (30 x 4). The number 120 symbolizes the length of the time of the physical creation from the start of the Jubilees, when sin entered the world, to the Millennium. Moses’ life was divided into three lots of 40 years, just as Saul, David and Solomon all ruled for 40 years. We also saw that there were 120 priests with 120 trumpets at the dedication (2Chr. 5:12).

 

We also see within the Temple there are 120 loaves of shewbread (12 loaves per table and 10 tables). The shewbread is stacked in two piles with a golden bowl of incense on top of them

 

There were six levels of entry to the Temple. The seventh level took the person into the Temple. The first six levels are the process we all go through as we are called into God’s work and are developed. When we are perfected we are then able to enter the Temple and be part of the Holy of Holies as spiritual beings in the Temple of God, when Messiah returns to the planet. For more details on the God’s Spiritual Temple see Rule of the Kings Part I: Saul (No. 282A); Rule of the Kings Part II: David (No. 282B); Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David and Solomon (No. 282C).

 

Two Pillars

 

Solomon also set up the pillars in the porch of the Temple. The right pillar (south side) was called Jachin, and the left pillar (north side) was called Boaz. The capitals on the top of the pillars were in the shape of lilies, and so the work of the pillars was finished (1Kgs. 7:21-22). Jachin (SHD 3199) means: He will establish, or [Yah (or more fully, Yaho vah]) will establish. This can be seen as a reference that the One True God will establish. Boaz (SHD 1162) means God is strength. Here we see the concept God has established His strength in Christ and in the Temple, which we are.

 

Hitchcock states: Boaz: or Booz, in strength; and, Jachin: he that strengthens and makes steadfast.

 

From our studies on Ruth, we remember Ruth married Boaz, a nobleman with the same name as the main pillar of the Temple of God and symbolic of Christ. Boaz was of the tribe of Judah. Jachin was a Simeonite, the ancestor of the Jachinites.

 

Each pillar was eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference (Jer. 52:21; 1Kgs. 7:15). We know that the number 12 has importance from the paper Symbolism of Numbers (No. 7).  We see two lots of 12, one on the right side and one on the left when entering the Temple. 

 

The pillars were symbolically important since they do not appear to have structural significance. In his note to 1Kings 7:15, Bullinger makes the reference that the pillars were hollow (Jer. 52:21) and not for support. They were four fingers thick.

 

From 1Timothy 3:15 we learn that truth is a main structural support/ pillar in God’s House.

 

1Timothy 3:15 But in case I am delayed, I write so that you many know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. (NASV)

 

Galatians 2:9 speaks of people being pillars:

 

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. (KJV) 

 

We see from Revelation 3:12 some will be made pillars in Eloah’s Temple.

 

Revelation 3:12 He that overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, and new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God and My new name. (NASV)

 

So we see the two pillars in front of the Temple Solomon built carry a lot of symbolism. Let us now look at what we may learn from the number two.

 

There are numerous references to the number two in Scripture: two aspects to creation – man and Host; two silver trumpets (Num. 10:2); two wave loaves at Pentecost (Lev. 23:17); two days of Pentecost; two onyx stones on top of the High Priest’s shoulders (Ex. 28:12; 39:7); etc. The two pillars on the porch of the Temple Solomon built are representative of the two aspects of creation in which God will dwell – man and Host. Thus, at its entry, the Temple dislays the basis upon which God has chosen to build his dwelling. God destined that He would dwell in His Creation. He chose to implement that second phase of the indwelling of God through the Holy Spirit in the human Host at Pentecost. Through keeping the two days of Pentecost and the rest of God’s Law, we are able to enter the Temple and become part of the spiritual Temple.

 

We see a symmetry that is present in the Temple Solomon built that was not present in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. For example, there are five lavers on the right/south and five on the left/north; five lampstands on the right/south and five on the left/north; and the same with the tables of shewbread. The Ark, altar of incense and burnt altar remain consistent in number, though the burnt altar increases in size. Is this symmetry that is present in the Temple Solomon built prefiguring the comment in Revelation 21:17: “and he measured its wall 144 cubits according to the human measurements, which are also the angelic measurements”? Here we see that both aspects of creation – man and Host – together form the Temple of God as a living edifice.

 

The pillars were 17˝ cubits high + ˝ cubit taken up to attach the capital/top to the pillar (see note on 1Kgs. 7:15 in The Companion Bible). 2Chronicles 3:15 adds the height of each pillar together for one combined total of 35 cubits (see The Companion Bible note to 2Chr. 3:15). The capital or top of the pillar was five cubits as per 2Chronicles 3:15, but 2Kings 25:17 states that it was three cubits not including the wreathen/chain work. This wreathen/chain/lattice work, which is described separately, must have been two cubits. Each pillar also had wreathen/chains and pomegranates on it. It appears there were 100 pomegranates per chain/network as per Jeremiah 52:21 and the corresponding footnote in The Companion Bible. There were four chains of 100 pomegranates per chain, or 400 pomegranates total (see note on 1Kgs. 7:20 in The Companion Bible and in Rule of the Kings: Part III Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C)).

 

The 400 (or two lots of 200) decorative motifs of pomegranates and 600 bull’s-head knops in the sea and the entry, totalling 1000. This number is understood as the number of the controlling elohim, one of which redeemed mankind according to Job 33:23.

 

We also remember that on the bottom of the High Priest’s blue robe were bells and pomegranates.

 

The Millennial Temple

 

In The Companion Bible, Bullinger notes in Appendix 88 1: it is a mistake to speak of the wonderful series of the courts and buildings described in the closing chapters of Ezekiel collectively as the Temple. The proper term is the “the Sanctuary” as it is set forth in 45:1-4.

 

Easton’s comments on Sanctuary is as follows:

denotes (1) the Holy Land (Exd 15:17; Psa 114:2); (2) the temple (1Ch 22:19; 2Ch 29:21); (3) the tabernacle (Exd 25:8; Lev 12:4; 21:12); (4) the holy place, the place of the Presence (Gr. hieron, the temple-house; not the _naos_, which is the temple area, with its courts and porches), Lev 4:6; Eph 2:21, R.V., marg.; (5) God's holy habitation in heaven (Psa 102:19). In the final state there is properly "no sanctuary" (Rev 21:22), for God and the Lamb "are the sanctuary" (R.V., "temple"). All is there hallowed by the Divine Presence; all is sanctuary.”

 

From Ezekiel 48:35, we learn that the name of the City is “Jehovah Shammah”, which means  Yahovah is there (see The Names of God (No. 116) for more details). From the point Messiah does return to Earth he will replace Satan as the Day Star of this planet. In the Millennium, Messiah will be ruling the planet under God’s perfect Law from Jerusalem. See the papers The Advent of Messiah, Part I (No. 210A); and Outline of the Timeline of the Ages (No. 272).

 

From Ezekiel 40:14 through to Ezekiel 46, there is mention in great detail to various courts of the Millennial Temple.

 

Ezekiel 40:47 describes the altar court being 100 cubits square.

 

In Appendix 88 in The Companion Bible, Bullinger goes into a lot of detail about the Millennial Temple/Sanctuary even to include diagrams. The area that is dedicated to the city, sanctuary and portion for the oblation/offerings of the Levites, Priests, City etc. expands greatly compared to the Temple Solomon built. We see the area God considers holy and sacred to Him expands greatly with each progressive Temple or Sanctuary.

 

In his diagrams, Bullinger also has the altar in the centre of the square holy area just as we saw earlier. See also Appendix 88, number 8, for even more detail of the layout of the courts, Separate Place, etc.  As it is with us, Christ’s sacrifice is central to us being able to be restored back to the Father. See the papers The Passover (No. 98); Sanctification of the Simple and Erroneous (No. 291); Who is Jesus? (No. CB2); The Law of God (No. CB25) and Burnt Offering Altar  (No. CB108).

 

Ezekiel 43:14-17 describes the burnt offering altar in the Millennial Temple. See the paper Brazen Sea and Ten Lavers (No. CB114) for more details on the size of the altar and the changes that take place with the burnt offering altar.

 

We no longer see a molten sea or lavers; rather, the healing waters are described in Ezekiel 47:1-12.

 

The chambers for the priests in charge of the house are found in Ezekiel 40:45 and those in charge of the altar in verse 46.

 

Let us look now at the City of God and see what we can learn of God’s Courts.

 

City of God

 

Revelation 11 makes brief mention of the court outside the Temple.

Revelation 11:2 But the court (SGD 833) which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty  [and] two months.

 

Court (SGD 833) is described in the Blue Letter Bible as: 1) among the Greeks in Homer's time, an uncovered space around the house, enclosed by a wall, in which the stables stood, hence among the Orientals that roofless enclosure by a wall, in the open country in which the flocks were herded at night, a sheepfold; 2) the uncovered courtyard of the house. In the O.T. particularly of the courts of the tabernacle and of the temple in Jerusalem. The dwellings of the higher classes usually had two, one exterior, between the door and the street; the other interior, surrounded by the buildings of the dwelling itself. The latter is mentioned Mat. 26:69. 3) the house itself, a palace.

 

Over the course of history, we have seen that Jerusalem is a very important place to God. From Revelation, we learn of the spiritual Temple. It would appear that the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven to the site of Jerusalem and encompasses or covers a very large area.

 

In Revelation 3:12, we hear of a New Jerusalem being referred to. Revelation 21 and 22 give us a clearer and more detailed image or picture of New Jerusalem.

 

The City’s size is given in Revelation 21:15-17; the number of gates and their location are given in Revelation 21:12,13,21 as well as details of the foundations of the City (Rev. 21:19,20). We know the glory of God illuminates or lights the City and its lamp is the Lamb. There will no longer be sun or moon because God and the Lamb serve as the lights of the City (Rev. 21:23, 26; Rev. 22:5).

 

There is not a clear description of the court, or if there is a court, in the City of God. Revelation 21:27 tells us nothing unclean will be there. We know that God would not relocate His Throne to the Earth if sin existed; therefore, the courtyard may extend to the whole Earth in its new fashion.  

 

We have now progressed or moved to the point where there is no Temple needed as God and Christ dwell in the entire structure. The Millennium was the testing vehicle for the new structure. The entire Host are converted and the entire Gentile structure has become associated with this City, and are in fact part of it through the elect and the administration. Those led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom. 8:14). This Plan of God was laid out before the foundation of the Earth.

 

The ‘tree of life’ is restored and the fruit is given for the healing of the nations under the twelve divisions, which are based on the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus each nation is grafted onto a tribe. See the paper The City of God (No. 180) for more details.

 

Summary

 

The key of David is the opening of the Mysteries of God as they concern the Temple and its ultimate construction as a spiritual edifice that is the Church of God, and in which God dwells in the power of the Holy Spirit. See the paper Rule of the Kings: Part III Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C).

 

As we see, God gives us a physical representation of the spiritual (Heb. 8:5). From the physical we have seen there is significant spiritual symbolism in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness that is expanded in the Temple that Solomon built. The courtyard was very small in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness but the “holy area” continued to grow and expand with God’s dwelling places.

 

We have learned that one day in the court of the Lord is better than a 1000 days without (Ps. 84:10). We need to remember we are the spiritual Temple (naos) of God (1Cor. 3:16-17).. We need to see what a privilege and responsibility it is to have any part in God’s spiritual Temple.

 

Remember the admonition of Revelation 22.

 

Revelation 22:7 “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book” and verse 12 “Behold I am coming quickly, and My rewards is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. (NASV)

 

Let us all be found worthy to be a pillar in the House of God. Let us all labour and work together to get the work of God done prior to the arrival of the two Witnesses.

 

When Christ lands on the Mount of Olives the entire Mount will split in two and move North and South to make a valley of enormous size and a new land area and city will be developed.

 

In that new and clean area the centre of the world will be built centred on the Temple Mount.

 

 

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