WORSHIP JEHOVAH GOD IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE CONGREGATION (THE TEMPLE-SANCTUARY)

INTRODUCTION

To understand how a Christian congregation or a Christian church should be organized, it is important to refer to the spiritual administration of the Temple that was in Jerusalem, in order to worship Jehovah: "For all the things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).

The Apostle Paul, in inspiration, wrote this, regarding the prophetic dimension of the Law given to Moses by Jehovah God: "For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things" (Hebrews 10:1); "Those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ" (Colossians 2:17). Moreover, in almost the last words of the prophecy of Malachi, it is written: "Remember the Law of my servant Moses, the regulations and judgments that I commanded at Hoʹreb for all Israel to obey" (Malachi 4:4). Why should such an exhortation be useful for us today, when we are no longer under the authority of the Law given through Moses? Also, Christ is the end of the Law: "For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness" (Romans 10: 4).

We must make the difference between the fact that we are no longer, as disciples of Christ, under the authority of the Law and its prophetic dimension, because these are two fundamentally different ideas. The symbolism of the prophecies of Ezekiel (37-48) and the biblical book that echoes it most, the prophecies of Revelation (along with other prophetic books), is completely modeled on the symbolism of the prophetic dimension of the Mosaic law. So that, to use the expression of the prophecy of Malachi 4: 4, if one does not "remember the law of Moses", or if one did not read it, he will be in the absolute impossibility to understand or decipher them. So that to understand that the administration of the current Christian church, must be modeled on the symbolism of the Law given to Moses, is an important biblical truth that even the first disciples of Christ understood.

The law given to Moses by God has a prophetic dimension

 THE TEMPLE AND ITS ADMINISTRATION

THE GREAT TEMPLE

The temple is a place where we worship Jehovah. The Great Temple had two major parts (see the photo of the Temple of King Herod, at the time Jesus Christ ministered on earth, comments are written in French):

1 - The Outer Courtyard of the Gentiles (or nations), surrounded by external fortifications, constitutes the "great temple".

2 - The temple sanctuary is the tall T-shaped building, with the small inner courtyard in front of its large porch where there was the large copper sea of water and the sacrificial altar.

In the representation of the temple, seen in vision by the prophet Ezekiel, modeled in broad outline on the plans of the tabernacle and later the temple of Solomon, allows us to have a more simplified view to better visualize the explanations that follow.

According to the prophecy of Revelation chapter 11, the great temple, with its temple sanctuary, inside, represents both, the Earth Planet (The outer courtyard of nations), in connection with the Heavens with the temple sanctuary (The Most Holy). Here is what it is written in Revelation 11: "And a reed like a rod was given to me as he said: “Get up and measure the temple sanctuary of God and the altar and those worshiping in it. But as for the courtyard that is outside the temple sanctuary, leave it out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for 42 months" (Revelation 11:1,2).

"But as for the courtyard that is outside the temple sanctuary, leave it out and do not measure it", this simple sentence shows that the great temple symbolized the planet earth, which in the long run, after the thousand years of Christ reign, will be organized in its entirety to worship Jehovah (Isaiah 11:9): "I did not see a temple in it, for Jehovah God the Almighty is its temple, also the Lamb is" (Revelation 21:22).

For the moment, for as shocking as it may be, human sovereignty, without the intervention of God, is exercised in the "Outer Courtyard of the nations", according to Revelation 11:2. The court of nations is not measured because, for a time fixed by God, it is not under His jurisdiction, but rather under the jurisdiction of the devil, according to 2 Corinthians 4:4 ("among whom the god of this system of things" (the devil) currently, reigns provisionally, on the earthly "outer courtyard" of the great temple because it has been given, provisionally, to him and the nations (Matthew 4:8,9)).

The human sovereignty without God on Earth, will soon end

Jesus Christ has been enthroned as king in the Heavens, in 1914

Satan was expelled from the Heavens in 1914

 THE TEMPLE SANCTUARY

But what does represent the temple sanctuary? It represents the place where God has always reigned, especially through His Son Jesus Christ. There is a simplified plan of the sanctuary temple, in three main parts (the description is as if one entered by the porch which is in the inner courtyard). Here is the description with their respective symbolic meaning:

1 - The Inner Courtyard of the temple sanctuary, in front of the entrance to the sanctuary, where there is the water basin (Sea of ​​bronze), the altar. Since all was made of copper, we understand that this is the small earthly part where God reigns today, through his Son Jesus Christ: the earthly Christian Congregation (Acts 11:26).

2 - The Holy, the first room entering the sanctuary (Holy Place). It is the part of the earthly Christian congregation in connection with the Heavens, of which Jesus Christ is the mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). In the book of Revelation chapters 1 to 3, the apostle John, is in vision in the Holy of the spiritual temple sanctuary, where is the glorified Jesus Christ. Among the furniture all gold (which symbolizes the Heavens) of the Saint, there were golden lampstands. In the book of Revelation, there is the meaning of their symbolism: The Christian congregations that aim to make the light of the Word of God, shine. Jesus Christ designated His disciples as "the light of the world" that gives glory to God (Matthew 5:14-16). These faithful Christians, lights of the world, when they are all together, constitute a congregation or local church, a lampstand, which is in the Holy of temple sanctuary. According to Revelation 2 and 3, there are seven Christian congregations, in seven different cities, in this Holy ot the spiritual temple sanctuary where there is the glorified Jesus Christ. This shows that the Spiritual Holy, the Christian congregation, is the link between the Heavens and the Earth. When Jesus Christ speaks to the "seven lampstands", he is speaking to the "angel" responsible for the "lampstand" or the congregation. Is it a heavenly angel? Obviously, no. Sometimes, the accusations made by Jesus-Christ to him, are too serious, for imputing to a heavenly angel who is faithful to God. The word "angel" is to be taken in its etymological definition, that is to say, "messenger". And the word "messenger" is biblically linked to the priest: "For the lips of a priest should safeguard knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth, because he is the messenger of Jehovah of armies" (Malachi 2:7). This means that the angel of the congregation refers to the "priest" or group of "priests" responsible for the Christian Congregation. These "priests", in Christian congregations, are symbolized by the seven stars in the right hand of the glorified Jesus Christ.

What will be the role of future priests in the earthly paradise?

3 - The Most Holy, the Holy of Holies, where was the famous Ark of the Covenant. It is the symbol of the place where Jehovah God lives, in the company of hundreds of millions of angels. Always, in the vision of the Revelation, from chapters 4, until the conclusion of chapter 12, the apostle John is (in vision) in the Most Holy of the spiritual temple sanctuary. As it is written in Revelation 11: "And the temple sanctuary of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen in his temple sanctuary. And there were flashes of lightning and voices and thunders and an earthquake and a great hail"(Revelation 11:19). There is no doubt that this is indeed the Most Holy of the temple sanctuary because it was there, where was the Ark of the Covenant, symbol of the Divine Presence.

What does the vision of the Ark of the Covenant mean?

 THE BODY OF CHRIST

The spiritual temple sanctuary (The Holy), is symbolized by the body of Christ, according to the Apostle John: "The Jews then said: “This temple was built in 46 years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples recalled that he used to say this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had spoken" (John 2:20-22). This means that the spiritual sanctuary is the pattern of the human body when he worships Jehovah. The spiritual body of Jesus Christ, represents the spiritual temple sanctuary, the Christian congregation administered to worship Jehovah. This is what the Apostle Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 12: "Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you individually is a member. And God has assigned the respective ones in the congregation: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services; abilities to direct; different tongues. Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they? Not all have gifts of healings, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all are interpreters, are they? But keep striving for the greater gifts. And yet I will show you a surpassing way" (1 Corinthians 12:27-31). The administration of the Christians congregation, with their different spiritual gifts, given by God, together represent the spiritual body of Christ and the spiritual temple sanctuary.

Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life

We must celebrate the memorial of the death of Jesus Christ

 THE HUMAN BODY

Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul and also the Apostle Peter emphasized that on an individual level, the human body of the Christian who adores God, may also represent the spiritual temple sanctuary made to worship God:

"Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that the spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16).

"But I consider it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you with reminders, knowing as I do that my tabernacle is soon to be removed, just as also our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me" (2 Peter 1:13,14).

The Saint represents the symbolic heart where Christ must symbolically live: "and that through your faith you may have the Christ dwell in your hearts with love. May you be rooted and established on the foundation" (Ephesians 3:17). The human symbolic heart represents the spiritual inner part of the human being. This symbolic heart must have a spiritual circumcision, that is to say, to remove the symbolic "prepuce", the bad reasonings that can make impure: "However, whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man; but to take a meal with unwashed hands does not defile a man" (Matthew 15:18-20). "But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit and not by a written code. That person’s praise comes from God, not from people" (Romans 2:29; Deuteronomy 10:16).

The lampstand that illuminates the inner part of the human body, the spiritual heart, the spiritual Holy, according to Jesus Christ, are the eyes: "The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye is focused, your whole body will be bright. But if your eye is envious, your whole body will be dark. If the light that is in you is really darkness, how great that darkness is!" (Matthew 6:22,23).

The altar and the offerings, made in the spiritual courtyard of the temple sanctuary, represents the lips (altar) and the words that come out of it (spiritual offerings): "And we will offer the praise of our lips as we would young bulls" (Hosea 14:2). "Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that make public declaration to his name" (Hebrews 13:15).

The preaching of the Good News is a spiritual sacrifice as spiritual offering to God (Matthew 24:14)

Human life is sacred

Blood is sacred and it is the symbol of life

 The administration of the Christian congregation

In the prophecy of Revelation, it represents the worldwide Christian congregation. But what does it mean that the Apostle John measures the spiritual temple sanctuary, and not the outer courtyard  given to the nations. The "Measuring" is a judgment, or an authority that does not exceed the limits of the spiritual sanctuary temple (Amos 7:7-9). The fact that God asks the apostle John to measure shows that this authority was given to a man, the apostle John, who was probably the last apostle still alive. More generally, the measuring of the spiritual sanctuary, symbolizes the authority on earth, within this spiritual temple sanctuary, the Christian congregation, would be entrusted to men (and not in the outer courtyard of this Sanctuary): "They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world" (John 17:16)) ((Revelation 11: 1,2). It is again the Apostle Paul who showed how a congregation should be administered.

The angel of the congregation: The Elders, The Overseers and The Stewards

As suggested by the glorified Jesus Christ, the Christian congregation must be administered by at least one "angel", a "messenger" or a "priest" who transmits to the congregation the sacred declarations of God, through the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16,17; Acts 17:11). The Apostle Paul designated them as "elders", "overseers" or "stewards":

"This statement is trustworthy: If a man is reaching out to be an overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but reasonable, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner, having his children in subjection with all seriousness (for if any man does not know how to preside over his own household, how will he care for the congregation of God?), not a newly converted man, for fear that he might get puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed on the Devil. Moreover, he should also have a fine testimony from outsiders so that he does not fall into reproach and a snare of the Devil" (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).

The word of the Greek text, translated as "overseer" is "ἐπίσκοπος" (epískopos) (Strong's Concordance (G1985)): "an overseer

a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent

the superintendent, elder, or overseer of a Christian church". In the text of Titus 1:5-9, the word "presbyteros" is used for "elders", with other synonymic expressions, such as that of "overseers" (epískopos) and "steward" (oikonomos (G3623)). If we merge all the spiritual functions of the elders, the overseers and the stewards, we understand that they are teachers of the Word of God, but also, they can be judges in the congregation (Matthew 18:15-17). The only function the Apostle Paul does not directly write, is the prayer within the congregation, although it is obvious that they were praying on behalf of the congregation. The disciple James describes them primarily, as people who pray for Christians spiritually sick: "Is there anyone sick among you? Let him call the elders of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him, applying oil to him in the name of Jehovah" (James 5:14). Thus, the elders, the overseers or the stewards, of the congregation have three major roles in the congregation: The Prayer, The Teaching, and The Judgment of the congregation. Who in the temple sanctuary fulfilled these three functions? burning spiritual incense offerings, praying (Psalms 141: 2), teaching (Malachi 2:7) and judging (Deuteronomy 19:15-17)? The priests.

If the elders or supervisors are priests, why then did not the Apostle Paul and the other apostles directly use the word "priest" to designate the elders of the Christian congregation ("hiereus" (G2409); "chief priest" "archiereus" (G749)), which is well differentiated from the word of "elders", in Matthew (16:21; 21:23; 26: 3)? The first meaning definition of "hiereus" is that of "sacrificer" (and not of people who pray, teach or judge in the name of a congregation), whether in Israel, but also in the cities of Rome, Corinth and many others with Greco-Roman customs (1 Corinthians 10: 18-22). At the time, the fact of appointing the elders as priests, even in a spiritual sense, would have created, perhaps, a confusion: The image of the priest sacrificer of the temple of Herod, the Christians no longer under the Mosaic Law, and the Greco-Roman priest in the pagan temples. The word "elder" is closely associated, in their role, with the chief priests, as judges, in the narrative of the Gospels. The high priest finds his correspondence in Jesus Christ, himself (Hebrews 4:14). The congregation elders, in his right hand, are the priests of the spiritual sanctuary temple (Revelation 1:20).

The Ministerial Servants

"Ministerial servants should likewise be serious, not double-tongued, not giving themselves to a lot of wine, not greedy of dishonest gain, holding the sacred secret of the faith with a clean conscience. Also, let these be tested as to fitness first, then let them serve as ministers, as they are free from accusation. Women should likewise be serious, not slanderous, moderate in habits, faithful in all things. Let ministerial servants be husbands of one wife, presiding in a fine manner over children and their own households. For the men who minister in a fine manner are acquiring for themselves a fine standing and great freeness of speech in the faith in connection with Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 3:8-10,12,13).

The word "likewise" shows that the conditions required to be ministerial servant, are exactly the same as for the "elders". The only difference is the teaching requirement, which is not mentioned directly. However, the expression "great freeness of speech in the faith that is in Christ Jesus", suggests a verbal declaration or a public declaratin of his faith in Jesus Christ ("παρρησία" "parrhesia" (Strong's Concordance G3954)). In the framework of Christian meetings, the servant ministerial may speak out, to express his faith in Christ with freeness.

The Greek word used for "ministerial servant", is "διάκονος" ("diakonos" Strong's Concordance (G1249)): "an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):—deacon, minister, servant". Concretely, the ministerial servants help the elders of the congregation. How? Their christian minister allows to the overseers to focus fully on their spiritual minister of prayer and teaching, to spiritually build the Christian congregation. More concretely, the ministerial servants are attendants for the material stewardship activities of the congregation, whether to help Christian brothers and sisters, or stewardship in relation to the building that houses the congregation, if it exists. In the book of Acts we find a situation in which this division of labor is described between the elders and the ministerial servants: "Now in those days when the disciples were increasing, the Greek-speaking Jews began complaining against the Hebrew-speaking Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called the multitude of the disciples together and said: “It is not right for us to leave the word of God to distribute food to tables. So, brothers, select for yourselves seven reputable men from among you, full of spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them over this necessary matter; but we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” What they said was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit, as well as Philip, Prochʹo·rus, Ni·caʹnor, Tiʹmon, Parʹme·nas, and Nic·o·laʹus, a proselyte of Antioch. They brought them to the apostles, and after praying, they laid their hands on them" (Acts 6:1-6).

This does not mean that the appointed men, in this circumstance were ministerial servants, nevertheless, they did a material assistance work to allow the apostles to focus fully in their spiritual activities (In Acts 7, if Stephen was appointed for this food distribution activity, his speech shortly before his death in martyrdom, denotes a great spiritual maturity that could have been that of a Christian overseer). What activity in the temple corresponds to the function of ministerial servant? To that of the non-priestly Levites who were serving the priesthood. The tribe of Levi, in its non-priestly part, were material stewards of the tabernacle (Numbers 1:47-53), and later of the temple (1 Kings 8:1-6). The non-priestly Levites were in the material service of the Aaronic Priesthood (Numbers 3: 9,10: "You are to give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They are given ones, given to him from the Israelites. You should appoint Aaron and his sons, and they are to carry out their priestly duties, and any unauthorized person who comes near should be put to death").

The great crowd that will survive the great tribulation and never die, is the representation of the tribe of Levi

 Who does what ?

The elders are teachers, those who represent the congregation with prayers and if necessary, they judge in the congregation. The ministerial servants are primarily working in the material stewardship of the Christian congregation. In 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14, the Apostle Paul gives instructions for the Christian meetings to proceed in order. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, the Apostle Paul shows that in a congregation there is a diversity of spiritual gifts to build the congregation, which represents the body of Christ: "Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you individually is a member.  And God has assigned the respective ones in the congregation: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services; abilities to direct; different tongues. Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they? Not all have gifts of healings, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all are interpreters, are they? But keep striving for the greater gifts. And yet I will show you a surpassing way" (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).

In 1 Corinthians 14, the apostle Paul insists that Christian meetings should be conducted in order: "For God is a God not of disorder but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33). Let everyone speak for the purpose of spiritually building the congregation (1 Corinthians 14:26). This teaching must be understandable for the whole congregation: "Nevertheless, in a congregation I would rather speak five words with my mind, that I might also instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Corinthians 14:19).

As part of congregational meetings, in the spiritual sanctuary temple, in the framework of teaching, women are not allowed to speak in any way: "As in all the congregations of the holy ones, let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak. Rather, let them be in subjection, as the Law also says.  If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation" (1 Corinthians 14:33-35). The expression, "As in all the congregations of the holy ones", shows that it is not simply a local decision, or only applying to the congregation of Corinth, but a divine instruction applied to all Christian congregations of holy ones. Moreover, this biblical instruction is repeated in the first letter to Timothy: "Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent" (1 Timothy 2:11,12).

All situations can not be written, it is up to the elders to make the right decisions, based on the Bible to administer the Christian congregation, in order to give glory to God and to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31; Hebrews 10:24,25).

THE PROMISE OF GOD

YHWH REVEALED NAME

 HOW TO PRAY GOD ?

READ THE BIBLE DAILY

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SPIRITUAL MATURITY

PREACH THE GOOD NEWS

THE GREAT CROWD

THE SACRED VALUE OF LIFE

THE SACRED VALUE OF BLOOD

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