Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Temple Cosmology

Last night I covered temple cosmology in my Intro to Old Testament class. The following is taken from the lecture notes which all the students received. Ignore the outline structure (this was point number six out of 8 in the handout).

6. The world as temple
6.1. Creation is more than simply a structure for life—it is a place for communion with God.
6.2. Genesis 1 attributed to the “P” source, recognizing the liturgical themes in Genesis 1.
6.3. The world as temple
• Psalm 78:69: "He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded for ever." [Notice: the temple is built like the heavens and the earth. The reverse is also true, the cosmos is built as a temple.]
• Job 38:4-11: uses temple building imagery to describe creation--“foundation… measurements…bases… cornerstone…bars and doors”.
• Parallels with the building of the Tabernacle: God instructs Moses to build the Tabernacle in seven speeches (Exod 25:1-30:10; 30:11-16; 30:17-21; 30:22-33; 30:34-38; 31:1-11; 31:12-17). The content of the seven speeches often have parallels with the parallels in the seven days. For example, on the third day God gathers the waters into the seas. This seems to parallel the third instruction speech given to Moses, in which he is given instructions for the construction of the pool of ritual washing [the bronze laver]. Likewise, the seventh day of the creation narrative is evoked in the seventh speech which contains a reminder of how God reested on the seventh day. Other parallels could also be mentioned, such as the fact that God blesses and hallows the Sabbath when he is done creating, just as Moses blesses the tabernacle when it’s complete (Gen 2:3; Ex 39:43; 40:9). Moreover, God dwells over the tabernacle as the Spirit hovered over the waters (Gen 1:2; Exod 40:34).
• Parallels with the construction of the temple. See 1 Kings 6-8 – Solomon builds the Temple in 7 years in time to consecrate it in the 7th month, on the 7th day of a 7-day feast, offering 7 petitions. Solomon decorates the sanctuary with imagery evoking the garden of Eden (cf. 1 Kgs 6-7).
6.4. Eden as the Holy of Holies:
» place of cheribum (Gen 3:24; Ezek 28:14)
» Candelabra as the Tree of Life (Exod 25:31-36; Josephus, Antiquities 3.145)
» Garden imagery in the Temple (1 Kgs 6-7)
» Source of water (Gen 2:10; Ezek 47:1-12 [Rev 21:1-2]
» On a mountain (Ezek 28:14, 16; Ezek 40:2; 43:12)
» Facing East (Gen 3:24; Ezek 40:6)
» Place of where God dwells [hithallek] (Gen 3:8; Lev 26:11-12; Deut 23:14; 2 Sam 7:6-7)
6.5. The Temple is often associated with God's defeat of the powers of chaos, evoking other ancient near eastern cosmonogies (cf. Ps 74:2-21)
6.6. Adam as priest
» Told to 'abad and shamar (Gen 2:15)
Num 3:7-8: “And [the Levites] shall keep [shamar] his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the Tabernacle of the congregation to do [‘abad] the service [‘abodah] of the Tabernacle. 8 And they shall keep [shamar] all the instruments of the Tabernacle of the congregation and the charge of the children of Israel to do [‘abad] the service [‘abodah] of the Tabernacle” (cf. also Num 8:26; 18:5-6; also see Num 17:12-18:6).
» Adam clothed with garments like God clothed Aaron clothed
Gen 3:21: “God made [‘asah] garments [kathoneth]of skins and clothed them [labash]…”
Exod 28:39-41: “you shall weave the coat [kathoneth] of fine linen and you shall make [‘asah] the mitre of fine linen and thou shalt make [‘asah] the girdle of needlework. 40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make [‘asah] coats [kathoneth]… 41 And thou shalt put [labash] them upon Aaron thy brother and his sons…
» Priests to cover nakedness in the Lord’s presence [cf. Gen 3:10; Exod 20:26, 28:42]
• Sabbath day as climax
» Day of rest = our sake not God’s
» Work a part of God’s design prior to the Fall (later it will be toil; Gen 3:18-19)
» Practical (rest) and theological (not trust in work of our hands)
» At the end of the week (=waiting for the promise)
» 6th day = humanity created with the beasts; 7th day worship = goal
» “6” associated with “sin” Goliath stood sixty-six feet tall and used a spear that weighed six hundred shekals (1 Sam. 17:4, 7). The king of Babylon’s erected a statue that was sixty cubits high and six cubits wide (Dan. 3:1). 1 Kings tells us that Solomon amassed “six hundred and sixty six talents of gold” in taxes (1 Kings 10:14).
» Goal of creation = worship


AJG said...

6.1. Creation is more than simply a structure for life—it is a place for communion with God." Great lecture MB. You do a great job of capturing the fullness of everything you study. With my understanding of 'the Great Oath,' this lecture has given me even more knowledge and understanding of, "Creation is more than simply a structure for life—it is a place for communion with God."

anonymous person said...

Good stuff.