OK friends, here goes. I would ask that those that disagree with the scenario I offer here to hold their peace. I do NOT want this to turn into a referendum on a particular doctrine or theology. Hopefully, we are simply looking for relationships to the Temple service based on symbolic and idiomatic reference and what those relationships might reveal. So please restrict your comments to those relationships. - Thanks you.

NOTE: All quotes are from Alfred Edershiem's "The Temple" unless otherwise noted. All scripture quotes are from the KJV.

It is my purpose to show the book of the Revelation as viewed from the perspective of the Yom Kippur Temple service. The two divisions of forty-two months that make up the seven year period are representative of the morning and evening service in the Temple. I find it interesting that the first three and one half years that encompass the time of the "peace treaty" relate to the daylight hours and the second half that is filled with the judgment relate to the nighttime.

I wrote a couple of earlier posts about the Apostle John that might be considered groundwork for these posts. To some this might be considered controversial, but I hope rather, that it qualifies as interesting and encouraging.

The main points I wish to emphasize from these earlier posts are the letter of Polycrates, the Bishop of Ephesus, relating John’s strict observance of the Passover and Sabbaths and his relationship to the priesthood, more specifically the Zadokim, the rightful heirs of the High Priesthood. Given that relationship (if it is indeed a given) the rich symbolism of the Temple service in heaven is more readily understood by the first-century Messianic Jew. This priestly background would have made him uniquely qualified to observe the Temple service in heaven and relate what he saw in terms that the Priests, Levites and indeed all the first-century observant Jews would understand. But there are subtleties that would have only be understood by the High Priesthood, so it makes me wonder if portions of this revelation were specifically addressed to them, holding up Yeshua as the High Priest in heaven.

It is worthy of note that the High Priest has two sets of garments that he wears on Yom Kippur. There are the garments of beauty that is normally worn by the High Priest. They include the ephod, the tunic, the mitre and breastplate described in Leviticus. But there are also the white linen garments that are worn only once. They are worn when entering behind the Veil of Life, when the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled before the ark. When Yeshua absence from the sepulchre was discovered, His garments were found neatly folded. So what garments was He wearing after His resurrection? Where did they come from and what did they look like? We can only presume that the angels that attended Him brought them. What is interesting to me is what they looked like.
Joh 20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Well, this scripture begs the question, how did gardeners dress in the days of the Messiah? It seems that gardeners to the wealthy wore simple white linen garments and a white turban to cover them from the sun and reflect heat. These garments are remarkably similar to what the High Priest wore when bearing the blood of the sacrifice into the Holy of Holies. The following scriptures further substantiate this presumption:
Joh 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Joh 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
No one could touch the High Priest while dressed thus and carrying the blood of the sacrifice lest both the High Priest and the offering be defiled. And this seems to be the main thrust of His admonition to Mary. So how is He described in the early chapters of the Revelation? Before we address this question, we must keep in mind that throughout the vision that John is seeing into the heavenly Temple.
Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
This is particularly interesting because the Day of the Lord’s Wrath, The great and terrible Day of the Lord, the Day of the Lord’s Judgment is most often simply referred to as the Lord’s Day. It is also most often associated with Yom Kippur in ancient Hebraic texts. I think the trumpet mentioned here is also of interest because the Jubilee is declared on Yom Kippur with a great trumpet blast and the Temple doors are opened for the morning service in the same manner. Either may be applicable though the latter is more likely early on. In any case, the popular assumption that John was in the Spirit on the Sabbath or on the first day of the week (the day that the Christians later chose for their day of worship) is presumptuous and probably in error.
Rev 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
Rev 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
Rev 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
Rev 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
Here is an obvious mention of the Menorah, the seven golden candlesticks (lampstand in the Greek). And here is the Master dressed in the linen garments, presumptively of the High Priest, that being His office. His being barefoot is consistent with the priests in the Temple. They were required to go barefoot because the Temple proper was considered holy ground, as I am sure the heavenly Temple is. The notable exception in this description of High Priest dress is the golden girdle. The High Priest wore a white girdle that was sixteen or seventeen feet long. It was wrapped around the body seven times and tied in a knot in the front on each successive pass. But this too is consistent with Yeshua in the office of High Priest because, while white linen that depicts purity is a given with Yeshua, gold depicts divinity and kingship throughout scripture.

There are five basic things that are present in the preparation for every morning Temple service.
  1. The Temple and Altar are cleaned.
  2. The Menorah is cleaned, re-wicked, refilled and re-lit.
  3. The incense is prepared.
  4. The sacrifice is prepared.
  5. The Temple doors are opened to welcome the worshipers with the sounding of the shofar (or Trumpet depending) at the advent of the sunrise.
So far, we have seen the High Priest Yeshua, barefoot and in the traditional dress reserved only for Yom Kippur, next to the Menorah. He prepares to speak to the seven churches.. It should be noted here that the order of service changed with each service, but the duties and the order of service up to the offering of the daily sacrifice remained basically the same. The daily Temple service differed from the Sabbath service, the new Moon service, with each Feast day and the eventuality of Sabbaths falling on New Moon or Feast day, etc. in terms of the number, type and order of sacrifices offered.

The Temple priests changed shifts in twelve-hour intervals but with a certain amount of overlap depending. For instance the priest of the night shift would offer the morning sacrifice and vice versa, but the Sabbath sacrifice was offered later in the morning to allow for more worshippers to attend. The priest would receive their duties by lot, each according to the level of service to which they were called.

But during the week preceding Yom Kippur, the High Priest would take up residence in the Temple and oversee and practice every aspect of the upcoming Yom Kippur service. He could walk in and take over any duty without announcement, and often did. Plus this Feast was markedly different than all others in terms of order of service and the types and sheer number of special sacrifices. Up to five hundred priests were required to minister on that day. The High Priest on Yom Kippur would enter the Holy Place and prepare the Menorah. Five of the lamps would be cleaned, have new wicks placed in them and filled with oil while two would remain lit. This is strangely similar to the admonitions that Yeshua gives to the seven churches. Two churches received praise. Their light was still shining. The rest received rebukes and a warning that the Master would remove their lamp if they did not repent. In this manner, the Master is cleansing the Temple on earth (the body of believers).

I did a post on the nature of light and showed from scripture that light, being an idiom for knowledge, wisdom and the understanding of things holy, was in fact, a fear of the Lord. So now, gentle reader, dwell for a moment if you will on the sermon that could be preached on the following: Through prayer and supplication, our being cleaned (granted a clean heart), re-wicked (and a right spirit), re-filled with oil (the Holy Spirit) and lit (baptized with fire) that our light might shine!

And what an amazing correlation exists between what Yeshua said to the churches and the Temple services.
During the night the ‘captain of the Temple’ made his rounds. On his approach the guards had to rise and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep when on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire—a punishment, as we know, actually awarded. Hence the admonition to us who, as it were, are here on Temple guard, ‘Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments’ (Rev 16:15).
Now observe:
Rev 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
This is remarkably similar in content to the warning to the church at Sardis:
Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
In ancient times, those Levites found without physical blemish and qualified in every other way were appointed to the priesthood. Now look at this:
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
When a Levite was appointed to the priesthood, he was given a white robe, his name was written in the Temple registry on the scroll of Priests and his name was confessed before the Sanhedrin. So this too appears to be another Temple analogy.

It is common during a cold mountain morning for the Levites to gather in an inner chamber next to a fire to warm their bare feet. And those on the night shift might become sleepy before the chores in preparation of the morning service were complete. The chief among them would make his rounds and knock on the door of these chambers to see if those inside were awake and would answer. Sometimes he would bring bread to share with those that were watching for his coming.
But then the preparations for the service of the morning required each to be early astir. The priest whose duty it was to superintend the arrangements might any moment knock at the door and demand entrance. He came suddenly and unexpectedly, no one knew when. The Rabbis use almost the very words in which Scripture describes the unexpected coming of the Master (Mark 13:35), when they say, ‘Sometimes he came at the cock-crowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. He came and knocked, and they opened to him.
Now notice the similarity:
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
And there is this:
Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
The hidden manna is an obvious reference to the Bread of Life and the white stone is complimentary to that concept. In the first century, an overcomer such as an Olympic champion would be given a “Victor’s Stone”. It was a white stone with their name engraved on it. The holder of such an honor would be supported by their hometown of village for the rest of their life. They were exempt from taxes, all food and merchandise that was needful to them was supplied for free. All they were required to do was to show their “Victor’s Stone”. In Yeshua’s day, if a person went before a judge, the verdict was announced with a stone. If the person received a dark stone then he was condemned. But if he received a white stone, then there was no condemnation and he was free. So, Yeshua is saying to the overcomer that He will never condemn him and he can go anywhere in His city and receive whatever He need for free forever. Hallelujah!

Another interesting mention in His first description of His Divine Self to the churches has to do with His relationship to the seven stars:
Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
These stars are mentioned in Job and Amos as the Plaeides and the Seven Sisters. There are several things that are remarkable about this constellation. And this is where I will continue in my next post...

I hope this blesses you.
In His Love,