The Trinity Temple: Who? What? Where?
In my blog last week I shared various ways for me and you, my Reader, to better understand the concept of the Holy Trinity of God. I concluded by making the comparison of my threefold nature of body, soul and spirit to that of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today I am still thinking along the same line. My mind wanders back to the Old Testament and the instructions God gave to men regarding the building of the temple. Moses built the first tabernacle or temple when the Israelites were traveling to the Promised Land. It was a temporary structure. Later Solomon built a more permanent temple in Jerusalem. (The details for Moses building the tabernacle are found in Exodus 25:8 – 27:19 and for Solomon building the temple are recorded in I Kings 6. You might like to read these references for your own information.)
The primary reason I want to highlight the temple is because it has 3 distinct sections. Hmmm, the number 3 seems very familiar to me. I think I see an example of the trinity coming into view! The three sections are the Outer Court, the Inner Court or the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place. The outer court was really the courtyard in front of the tabernacle itself. The Holy Place was the first part of the actual building and it was separated from the Holy of Holies by a veil or curtain. The Ark of the Covenant was kept inside the Holy of Holies where the priest entered only once a year. The temple was considered the House of God and the further one went into the temple, the closer one was to the presence of God. The diagram below shows you and me the layout of the tabernacle and the pieces of furniture in each section. This diagram is labeled as Moses’ Tabernacle, but Solomon’s Temple had the same pattern.
I now remember another scripture that will allow me to make another comparison. Paul says in I Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?’
Now I compare the structure of the Old Testament temple with the makeup of my body. The sections of the temple are Outer Court, Holy Place and Holy of Holies. The parts of my body are body, soul and spirit. As I align the design of these two entities, I can easily compare the Outer Court to my body, the Holy Place to my soul, and the Holy of Holies to my spirit. The diagram on the left portrays a good example of this. Just as proceeding further into the temple allows me to come to a closer proximity of the presence of the Lord, the deeper I look into my personal nature the more I delve into my spiritual nature and not simply my physical makeup. My thinking process continues and I ask, “Did these similarities just happen or was God telling me something through these similarities?” I know God does not waste anything, so I do believe God is revealing more of Himself to me and showing me more of how I can develop a closer relationship with Him. If I just come into the Outer Court of the temple when I perceive myself just as a physical body, how can I proceed closer to Him? I can move a little closer into the Holy Place if I rely on my soul and not just my body. I can make choices with my mind, will and emotions that will allow me into the Holy Place. However, to truly enter into God’s presence in the Holy of Holies, I must focus on my spiritual nature because God is spirit.
Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with Praise;
In order to learn how to move within these three levels, I refer to Psalm 100. Verse 4 begins by saying, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving.” I thank God for what He has done and what He has given to me – here I focus on being thankful for the things God has done for my physically: providing food, healing, financial security, family, friends, etc. By thanking God for what He does in the natural realm allows me to enter the gates into the Outer Court. The last part of verse 4 says, “and His courts with praise.” I can come into the Inner Court or Holy Place by choosing to praise God for who He is. This involves my mind remembering the attributes and character of God and praising Him for who He is and not just for what He has done for me. For example, He is my Provider, my Healer, my Redeemer, etc. I am surrendering my will to God’s will and allowing my emotions to love God for who He truly is. I focus more on Him and less on me. However, I still have one section of the temple to enter and for that I look at verse 2 of Psalm 100. The Psalmist says, “Worship the Lord with gladness.” When I sincerely worship God and truly sense His presence, I no longer can say anything. I am overcome with joy and awe and reverential fear. All I want to do is feel His presence and listen for His still small voice. I am beyond thanking Him or praising Him. This is not about me at all. This is spirit to Spirit. Steve Fry says in his book I AM (p.216) “worship is the closest in this life I come to union with my beloved; a place where I encounter my very identity; a place where I am being like my Father-God; a place where I come the closest to his character.”
My Reader, are you still with me? I hope I have challenged you and not discouraged you. Basically, I simply want to portray three trinity images for you:
Outer Court – Holy Place – Holy of Holies
Body – Soul – Spirit
Thanksgiving – Praise – Worship
Through these images, I wish for you to see two specific things. First, the sacredness of your complete makeup of body, soul and spirit. Secondly, the power of your choosing to thank, praise and worship God.
Challenge for the week: As you spend time with the Lord this week, do not be content to just thank and praise Him; move into true worship.
Sharing from last week: I received one very interesting “tri” image. This reader shared the word “trifocal” and went on to say, “My tri- word is trifocal referring to a type of eye glasses but for me this can also refer to our Lord God who is near (in our heart), intermediate (all around us) and far (His kingdom extends to the ends of the earth).”