At this point, I want to take a brief moment to discuss God’s temples in relation to the Feast of Pentecost. Prior to Moses and the giving of the Law and the Old Covenant, God spoke to people directly. He then led the Israelites into their promised land by His presence through a pillar of cloud by day and a column of fire by night. I am not aware of any specific connection to feast dates prior to the first Pentecost (Shavuot), but I will update this post if I discover any!
Tabernacle, First & Second Temples
We have already discussed in parts 1-3 of this study that God instituted the dispensation of Law and the Covenant of Moses on the first Pentecost (Shavuot). In addition to the 10 Commandments and the 603 laws given to rule Israel, God also gave Moses detailed instructions to build Him a Tabernacle in which His presence would dwell:
Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. Exodus 25:9 ESV
This Tabernacle was to be patterned after the heavenly Temple. We know that God gave the instructions for His earthly Tabernacle in association with the first Pentecost. It took awhile to prepare all the furniture and supplies according to plan, and in the second year on the first day of the first month (1 Nisan), God commanded Moses to set it up:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. And you shall put in it the ark of the testimony, and you shall screen the ark with the veil. And you shall bring in the table and arrange it, and you shall bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. And you shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the screen for the door of the tabernacle. You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. And you shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court. “Then you shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it may become holy. Exodus 40:1-9 ESV
In verse 3 we see how the ark of the testimony (covenant) is screened by the veil – this is the veil that is torn in two when Jesus died. In verse 9, note how the tabernacle and everything within it is to be anointed with oil. In the Bible, oil often is used to refer to the Holy Spirit.
What Exodus doesn’t record for us is how long it took Moses to set up the tabernacle and complete the anointing process. Was it days? Weeks? Did the glory of the Lord fill the tabernacle on Pentecost? We just are not told, but the glory of God does come down after the anointing:
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. Exodus 40:34-38 ESV
In the old testament, under the Old Covenant, God’s Holy Spirit dwelt among His people in the Holy of Holies first in the Tabernacle, then in the First Temple. Instructions for the first Temple were given to King David, to be constructed by his son Solomon. This Temple was also to be patterned after the heavenly Temple. It was built over a period of approximately 7.5 years and we are told in 1 Kings chapter 8 that God’s presence entered the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles in the month of Tishrei. I am not sure when God’s presence left, perhaps it was when the Temple was destroyed? Or perhaps it was when the Ark of the Covenant left…
The second Temple was rebuilt in around 525BC. Ezra 3 records the dedication service, which was also held during the Feast of Tabernacles in the month of Tishrei. Notably, God’s Holy Spirit never did fill the Holy of Holies in the Second Temple. Notably, the Ark of the Covenant never was present in the Second Temple.
Prior to the cross, the Israelites worshiped God first in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple. This temple and sacrificial system pointed forward, towards Jesus.
The Holy Spirit came upon, or anointed, special people chosen by God such as prophets, kings, priests, and judges. This was represented by anointing with oil (Exodus 29:7; Exodus 30:22-33; 1 Samuel 16:1; 2 Kings 9:6; Ecclesiastes 9:8).
God’s presence, sometimes called His Shekinah Glory, filled the Holy of Holies and seems to be connected with the Ark of the Covenant. I would suggest a connection between this ark and the Holy Spirit’s dwelling, but would have to research further.
The Holy Spirit was also represented by the Menorah in the Tabernacle/Temple, which was to be kept burning at all times:
“You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel. Exodus 27:20-21 ESV
When Jesus came to the earth, the fullness of God dwelt in Him (Colossians 2:9). When Jesus died for the sins of the world as the Lamb of God, the veil in the temple was torn in two. Jesus Himself became our high priest. No longer would the Spirit of God reside in the Holy of Holies in a building built by human hands. He would now come to reside within the hearts of individual believers, and this takes us once again to Pentecost.
Bodily Temples & The Holy Spirit as Restrainer
On the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection:
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4 ESV
We previously discussed that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon all believers is unique to the church age. Whereas in the Old Covenant (Age of Law), the Holy Spirit came upon specific individuals such as the kings, prophets, and judges, the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant (Age of Grace) comes upon all believers at the moment of salvation to Seal them for the Day of Redemption. Instead of living in building, God takes up residence within us at the moment of salvation:
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 ESV
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ESV
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 1 John 2:20 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
The sealing of the Holy Spirit is the mark of being part of the New Covenant, at least in the church age. This time of special sealing is coming to an end, though, as the day of our redemption through the resurrection/rapture event draws near. The Holy Spirit will depart from the hearts of individual believers when the Restrainer is removed and the church is taken up into heaven in what we refer to as the “rapture”. In 2 Thessalonians 2, we learn that there is a “what” that is restraining the man of lawlessness that must be removed. The phrase specifically used is “that which”, as in “that which is restraining him”. We also learn that there is a “he” that is restraining the man of lawlessness that must be removed. The word is “the one”, as in “the one restraining him”.
The Restrainer is both a “what”, or “that which”, and a “he”, or “the one”. There is only one possible interpretation for the Restrainer: The Holy Spirit residing within the true body of Christ. The “what” is the church, the “he” is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s presence on the earth through believers acts as a restraining force to lawlessness in general, as believers are salt and light to the world. As far as the man of lawlessness, we are told next that he is empowered by satan. Satan, as the anointed cherub, was the head of the angelic host before he fell. So the Restrainer must be more powerful than satan, in order to be able to hold him back until his appointed time. The only One powerful enough to do this is God (the Holy Spirit).
The presence of the body of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is currently restraining the man of lawlessness. The Holy Spirit is restraining the full expression of the mystery of lawlessness and will do so until He is taken out of the way. I understand that these can be confusing concepts and they are frequently argued against so I have devoted entire posts to them here:
- Studying the Prophetic Keys in 2 Thessalonians 2:
- The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope
This sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit I believe is a special key to understanding the seals of Revelation 6. I believe that the transference of His sealing from the church to the 144,000 marks the opening of the Seals of Revelation and is detailed in this post: Seals, Sealing, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit. As we saw in Part 3 of this study, it appears that Peter may have defined the day the Restrainer will be removed as Pentecost: Pentecost Part 3 – Pentecost Prophecies.
When we are redeemed from the earth, we will see both the Father and the Son in all their glory:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2 ESV
Back to a Physical Temple
Future events predicted in Biblical Prophecy involve a Jewish Temple. Since a Temple hasn’t existed since 70AD, a new one must be built to at least partial completion (minimum: altar of sacrifice) before certain prophesied events can occur. This is one of the reasons why the Third Temple is so interesting – the closer the Third Temple comes to being a reality, the closer we must be to other end-time events.
- In Revelation 11 we are told: “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (V1-3 ESV) John sees and measures a future temple which will exist during the times of the end. We will discuss the ministry of the two witnesses elsewhere, but here we notice that the outer court of the gentiles may or may not be constructed in this Third Temple.
- In the books of Daniel and Matthew (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15), we are told that during the yet future 70th week of Daniel, an event known as the “abomination of desolation” will occur to desecrate the Temple/altar. For this to occur, a Jewish Temple needs to be in place, or at the very least, an altar of sacrifice.
- We also know from Daniel that there will be Jews in Old Covenant relationship with God, and that they will be offering daily sacrifices. At some point during the 70th week of Daniel (likely at the abomination of desolation), a strong ruler (the lawless one) will cause the sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27). So thus, we know the sacrifices will be restarted before this stopping can occur.
- In 2 Thessalonians 2:4, we are told the man of lawlessness will “set himself up in the temple and proclaim to be god”. For this to be possible, there must be a Third Temple in place.
- The prophet Ezekiel describes a temple in chapters 40-48, the likes of which has never existed. The third temple may try to follow these very detailed plans. It is unclear if the Third Temple will become the Millennial Kingdom Temple, or if a Fourth Temple will be built. It will depend how exactly the Third Temple meets Ezekiel’s Millennial Temple description.
- Note that the temple Ezekiel describes is far larger than the current temple mount could hold, so even if the third temple is built on Mount Moriah, the entire city of Jerusalem will need to be resurfaced in the Millennial Kingdom to allow the temple to be built to specification.
While the glory of God will not enter a physical Temple in the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, He will again dwell in the Temple during the Millennial Kingdom. For more on the Third Temple, please see this post: The Third Temple – Prophecy and Progress.
With this discussion on the Temples of God and the Holy Spirit as Restrainer within the body of Christ complete, let’s continue on in our study with how to determine the day of Pentecost:
Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church
ADDENDUM April 24/18: Our watching sister Kate Engel has most interestingly pointed out that God led the Israelites into the Promised Land via the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. That’s not the interesting part. The astonishing part is that the cloud/fire acted as a RESTRAINER – if the cloud settled, the people camped. If the cloud lifted, the people set out. Does this foreshadow the Restrainer settling down to mark the Church Age and being lifted to end the Church Age as He leads us into the heavenly realms? It’s worth considering!
On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the Lord they remained in camp; then according to the command of the Lord they set out. And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses. Numbers 9:15-23 ESV
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!