The Temple is the grand intersection of Heaven, Earth and The Plan of Salvation
The Temple And An Ancient Temple Drama
Of course! The core of the Old Testament church, like today, was the temple and its drama!
Many of the prophets relied heavily on the temple, its imagery and its drama when authoring the scriptures. This should come as no surprise. Many of them had temple-like visions such as Enoch, Abraham and Isaiah and many would have likely had the Melchizedek ordinances of the temple. And they weren't alone! Either through these visions and/or their own temple experiences, the authors of the scriptures pulled from these sources to help guide our minds, as does the temple, to our journey through the creation, the fall, the atonement, the resurrection and all of the plan of salvation. When we look for this Interpreter we can gain context and meaning and see many passages in a whole new light.
Temple Imagery- Many prophets write scripture passages drawing on the rituals, objects and overall journey of the temple to frame their message. A great example of this is The Sermon on the Mount! Most readers of this Sermon will look at this text as a moral compass. Some even as Jesus' core teachings. And certainly they would be right. But put in the light of Temple Imagery (sometimes called, Temple Theology), the text brings a much stronger message to our minds and leaps from the pages to enlighten and enrich us with the knowledge of its setting and practice! Is this a ritual?! Likely! Without this understanding, Martin Luther actually rejected it because of its focus on 'works'. But with the Interpreter of Temple Imagery & Drama everything changes. John W. Welch, an esteemed LDS scholar said, "seeing the Sermon on the Mount in a temple setting gives the Sermon on the Mount greater clarity, power and vitality, helping it to be understood as it originally sounded, especially to Jewish audiences, who lived in one way or another in awe or awareness of the Temple. . . Cut off from its spiritual roots in the sacred values of its traditional heritage, the legitimizing moral foundation of the Sermon the Mount withers. . ." (Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and Sermon on the Mount)
Indeed, seeing the Sermon on the Mount as a temple text we better understand, for example, Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect (teleios)." This is a temple word meaning 'completion'. For example, this Greek word was used for many Greek temple rituals signifying the 'completion' of the temple journey.
Mathew even says something remarkable when setting the stage for the sermon in Matthew 5:1, "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:" Hmmm. What's going on here? Go read it again! See the whole thing as a temple journey, passing perhaps from one part of the temple to another, even from one temple object to another! These examples are found throughout the scriptures!
Temple Drama- Most years ancient Israel would gather for the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. They would face their tents or 'tabernacles' toward the temple and watch this drama play out. This drama, perhaps, began with a Royal Procession from the King and possibly the Queen. He/They would enter the city from the East and arrive at the temple. Just like Jesus in His 'Triumphal Entry'. Once at the temple a drama would have been played out featuring several characters. We can see much of this drama in the Psalms. These are temple texts. Although they are now, apparently, completely out of order losing the fluid temple narrative. This narrative included the creation and the ascent of the king (and maybe the queen) up to their coronation. In this drama, the Davidic King would have played the part of himself, perhaps those in the congregation and even the King of Kings, Jehovah.
In this drama we would see titles such as 'David', Melchizedek, Counselor, the Lamb, the 'Annointed One', the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, etc. Each title filled a role just as one would have several titles for a king or queen in an English coronation.
We might even see some scripture passages apart from even the Psalms as part of a the then well-known temple drama. For example, what is happening with Isaiah and King Hezekiah? What about the Servant Songs from Isaiah? And what is going on at the temple with King Benjamin's speech? Doesn't he play the part of the 'Servant' as well?
A great resource for Temple Drama is Who Shall Ascend Into The Hill Of The Lord by Legrand L. Baker and Stephen D. Ricks
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