by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D, September 1, 2000
Read the accompanying Newsletter for September 2000
(This content is the intellectual property of Associates
for Scriptural Knowledge)
The Sanctuary of God contained idolatrous images that God commanded to be included in the Tabernacle! This preliminary statement may surprise some people who study and love the biblical revelation because of its widespread condemnation of idolatry and its outward teaching of God’s adamant strictures against depicting Him in any physical fashion (that is, by making idols, images, statues, pictures, icons, etc.). So stringent is the biblical theme of avoiding idolatry (or, idolatrous ways) that the Israelites were ordered even in the Ten Commandments NOT to make similitudes of ANYTHING in the heavens, of ANYTHING in the earth or of ANYTHING under the earth (that is, of ANYTHING within the seas and oceans) and they were ordered NOT to devote those images to any religious activity in any ritualistic manner.
Though we read throughout the Bible that God loathes idolatry in any form, still the introductory statement of this research article is absolutely true. God actually commandedthe Israelites to accept idolatrous rituals in the time of Moses that led the Israelites directly into the practice of idolatry (at least that is how Israel interpreted those commands of God). What we all need to learn is the fact that there is always a particular right manner in which to interpret or to understand a command of God, and the manner should never be twisted to produce opposite effects that will evoke diametrically opposed views as coming from God.
This teaching that I am referring to is in the Bible but many people have passed right over some of its most important doctrinal statements regarding God’s commandments. This is usually because of preconceived (and often erroneous) ideas on what they think the Scriptures teach (or what they think the Scriptures ought to teach). But strange as it may seem, even God Himself, through the words of one of His most powerful prophets in the Old Testament, made the judgmental appraisal that the Israelites were commanded by Him to perform certain rites and to involve certain images that caused them to commit idolatry. And, even God admitted that those commands of His were NOT GOOD. Furthermore, the prophet who stated these things was backed up by another who even named the images that the Israelites were commanded by God to recognize. Amazingly, those images that became idolatrous were ordered by God to be located within the very Temple of God.
That command of God concerning the introduction of those images into the Tabernacle and later Temple remained in force for almost a thousand years. And, interestingly enough, even the first martyr of the Christian Ekklesia (who was Stephen the Deacon) referred to this early period of time when the Israelites were practicing a form of idolatry that involved certain spiritual beings that God had commanded to be used in His worship in the Sanctuaries (Acts 7:41–43). The fact is, the Israelites were so endued with the practice of idolatry when they came out of Egypt that they were not prepared (or spiritually ready) to adopt more mature and advanced teaching in which idolatry became a prime transgression.
Only later, in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel do we find God finally having such images banished from the Temple. It was then that Jeremiah and Ezekiel got rid of much of the idolatry that stemmed from initiating the earlier commands of God as they related to the Tabernacle in the wilderness and finally in the Temple at Jerusalem.
But in the early age of Israel being a nation (at the time of their Exodus from Egypt), the conduct of the Israelites showed they were so prone to accept idolatrous principles that even God felt He had to give them some idolatrous teachings in order for them to comprehend what little spiritual truths the Israelites had mustered while in Egypt. God, in a sense, went to the “bottom of the barrel” and gave the Israelites some commands that finally resulted in them accepting a vast amount of idolatry into their mainstream teachings involving the Tabernacle (and later, the Temple). Or, as the Holy Scriptures relate it, we find God commanding Israel to accept doctrines and to perform religious rituals that were NOT GOOD for the Israelites to practice at the time.
Yes, even God Himself recognized that some of those commands that He gave to the Israelites were NOT GOOD — they turned out to be commands that led Israel into full-scale idolatry. That is precisely what the Scriptures teach us, if one will read the Word of God at its face value and try not to interpret away what the plain words state. Most people, however, are not aware of these commands of God that are recorded in the Bible because most (it seems) read right over them quickly without pausing to ask why in the world were they first given by God Himself.
The Strange Commands of God that Led to the Practice of Idolatry
Although God in the Ten Commandments utterly condemned any form of idolatry and He placed His proscription against the practice in those early constitutional commands, God still taught the Israelites to perform commands that were NOT GOOD for them. These commands concerned the introduction of Cherubimic images in their worship within the Tabernacle (the portable Temple). God even allowed it to happen again in the time of Solomon where images of Cherubim and twelve bulls were outwardly displayed in the Temple (1 Kings 6:24–29; 2 Chronicles 4:15). Indeed, God even approved of this image display that Solomon continued when he built the Temple in Jerusalem. This was a violation of the strict wording of the Second Command.
Did you read me correctly? I stated that God not only allowed a certain amount of violation of the Ten Commandments in the Tabernacle and later Temple, but God even commanded that those Cherubimic and bovine images be introduced even though His commands finally led Israel into idolatrous practices that were contrary to the plain statements of the Ten Commandments! Now WHY would God “command” these things is the knowledge we should seek in order to understand these things.
The real truth of the matter is that anything can be made to say what a person wishes the “truth” to say, and usually it can occur quite easily. A rational person might argue that a mere image of itself does not mean that the person uses it in an idolatrous fashion. Yes, but still it often takes an image to show outright idolatry in action. So, images need not of themselves be idolatrous, the temptations are strong to make them such by most human beings who come in contact with them (especially if the images are God ordained).
Those commands of God to build images within the Temple are an action that should not be taken by us in a frivolous manner (or an oversight on God’s part). God’s commands should always be taken seriously and they should not be jettisoned into oblivion as a mere sideline issue and without any significance for us as is often done by some theologians, preachers, and priests. These commands of God also should not be explained away as irrelevant (as do many modern exegetes who do not understand why God did what He did). The foolish attempts to get rid of or minimize these explicit commands of God should never be looked upon as simple allowances by God to accommodate the weak character traits of the early Israelites at the time of the Exodus or in the period of Solomon.
As a matter of fact, it was the prophet Ezekiel that God inspired to record His final displeasure at having had commanded the early Israelites under Moses to observe and to recognize images in the Temple that led them into abject idolatry (and even to the practice of evil idolatrous worship) and these idolatrous results were witnessed within the precincts of the Tabernacle that God commanded in the wilderness.
That is right, dear folks, God Himself commanded (this means, God actively ordered the Israelites in the wilderness at the start of the Exodus period) to make images that proved to be idolatrous and to place them within the Holy Sanctuary. Now is the time to read those commands in this research paper. I deliberately took considerable introductory space in order to show the seriousness of those “bad commands of God.” That is what Ezekiel said under inspiration that God introduced commands that were not good once the Israelites showed very early in the Exodus period that they were not willing to practice all of the “good commands of God.”
Note carefully these negative commands of God in Ezekiel’s prophecy that the Israelites were expected to obey. Indeed, what do some of you think about the majestic ARK of the Covenant? Is it a piece of architectural junk from the Age of Idolatry, or is it to you the resplendent symbol of the holy presence of God himself within His divine Glory? You may come to a strong opinion about this before you finish this article. Let us now read the biblical texts on these important and significant matters. The Prophet Ezekiel stated:
“I lifted up my hand unto them [warned them] also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths [these were “good” commands], and their eyes were after [they pined away for] their fathers’ idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were NOT GOOD, andjudgments whereby they should not live.”
That is, God gave them commands which resulted in them NOT living in a righteous and proper manner:
“And I polluted them in their own gifts [in their sacrificial gifts that they gave to God], in that they caused to pass through the fire all that open the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord.”
In the plainest of language, we read in Ezekiel that God gave them commandments that were not good and that those negative commands led the Israelites [through their ignorance and natural fleshly inclinations] into presenting paganized sacrifices in the Temple and even to the practice of killing one or more of their children as a human sacrifice (usually the sacrifice of the firstborn was the normal heathen method). Yes, the commands that God gave them led them in the final outcome to commit human sacrificing of children — “they caused to pass through the fire all that opens the womb”).
Some humanitarian parents, according to Maimonides, the great Jewish authority in the time of the Crusades, did not kill their children at all, though they “pretended” to. They seemed to have the idea that this pretended sacrifice of the firstborn son in some way reflected what God would do in the world when the Messianic period would come at the End of the Age. The pretence was to wrap the child and bundle it carefully (so that not even a spark of actual fire would hit the child’s skin). This, according to Maimonides was the final ritual. In some cases, the old practice of the Amorites persisted. Of course, God did not intend that introducing those images into the Tabernacle rituals would lead to infant sacrifice. But they did! Give an inch, and the people take a mile. This type of accumulation of pagan teachings is by the attrition method — a little at a time.
“And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”
“For when you offer your gifts, when you make your sons to pass through the fire, you pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord YHWH, I will not be enquired of by you.”
“That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them. Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths. For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.”
What we read in Ezekiel chapter 20 is the appraisal of God Himself (stated through His prophet) that His initial commands in some contexts proved in later times to be“commands that were not good.” The outcome was very bad indeed. But what were those commands that God at first gave to the Israelites that turned out to be so very bad for them? Before I answer that question precisely, we should be aware of what God did not mean. It is plain that God did not mean in Ezekiel chapter 20 that He simply ALLOWED the Israelites to continue in their heathen ways.
This is what God did with the early Gentiles according to Paul. He
“… gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another. … and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God GAVE THEM OVER to a reprobate mind”
Romans 1:26, 28
God ALLOWED the Gentiles to do wrong WITHOUT THE PERMISSION of God. But in the section of Ezekiel chapter 20, the texts state in the clearest of Hebrew (and also in the clearest of English translation) that GOD COMMANDED (not simply “ALLOWED”) the Israelites in the wilderness to practice the commands of God that led them finally into idolatry.
These odious and bad commands given by God to the Israelites (remember, it was God who said they were NOT GOOD) were given in the precise manner (and with the same wording in the Hebrew — even the vowel points are identical) in which He “gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them” (Ezekiel 20:11). These commands that were NOT GOOD were also written in the Scriptures (with the exact Hebrew words and even the same vowel points) as when God gave Israel His positive commands that they should keep His sabbaths. Notice how this is the case in the same chapter in the Book of Ezekiel.
“Moreover also [God said], I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign, between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord YHWH …”
These were positive commands that God gave to those Israelites.
In the same manner (and with the same wording in the Hebrew) God gave the Israelitescommandments that WERE NOT GOOD (Ezekiel 20:25). God does not say the commands turned out to be bad ones in the end. He stated dogmatically that some of His early commandments to the Israelites were simply NOT GOOD to begin with. True, they turned out to be worse than God intended (indeed, they turned out to be far worse).
The reason this occurred is because of the nascent proclivity for the early Israelites to rebel against the basic commands of God that He intended for their good. It seemed to be in their very nature to want to be idolaters. Recall that when Moses was on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments and some subsidiary laws, the Israelites clamored for Aaron to make them a molten calf as an image of their “God” who brought them out of Egypt, and Aaron went along with the endeavor (Exodus chapter 32). Moses was infuriated at their example of patent idolatry and the Israelites were punished for this error. This, however, did not stop their inclinations to sway toward image-making and the production of human artifacts to “aid them” in their worship. So ingrained were their emotions to gravitate toward idolatrous ways that God finally gave them commandments that were NOT GOOD that led them into further debauchery with those images.
God’s Bad Commands
What was it that God commanded that turned out to be very bad commands to the Israelites? The context of Ezekiel (along with the teachings and example of Jeremiah and the prophet Amos) showed that it was God’s command to place images within the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle (and later to allow — or command — Solomon to do the same thing). What is remarkable in all of this is the fact that those commands of God to make images of Cherubim and place them in the Tabernacle were given to the Israelites in spite of the Second Command of the Ten Commandments which stated:
“You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
The rest of the Second Command states that Israelites should not bow before such images or idols nor to serve them. But when the Israelites in the wilderness blatantly refused to keep the commands concerning the sabbaths and other statutes and judgments, and that they continued in their idolatrous practices of their own accord, He then “gave them statutes that were NOT good, and judgments whereby they should NOT live” (Ezekiel 20:25).
God gave these later commands even though He had just deposited the Ten Commandments into their hands that proscribed such idolatrous acts. But, and in accord with God’s threat as we read in Ezekiel, God commanded exactly five chapters and sixteen verses after giving the Second Command of the Ten Commandments:
“You shall make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shall you make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat [what later became known as the Ark of the Covenant]. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy [covering] seat shall you make the cherubim on the two ends thereof. And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy [the covering] seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy[covering] seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.”
Later God commanded Moses to make even more images of cherubim and to place them on the veil in the Temple (Exodus 26:31) and on the curtains (Exodus 36:8). These images were forbidden by the Second Command of the Ten Commandments. These commands God later said were “NOT GOOD” (Ezekiel 20:25).
But there is even more. About 39 years after God gave Moses the Ten Commandments to present to Israel as His law, God then commanded Moses to make a brazen image of a snake (which is also a clear violation of the Second Command of the Ten Commandments). It should be understood that if God wishes to change (or even to violate) a former command that He made (even if it were one of the Ten Commandments) God has the power and authority to do such actions. After all, it was He who gave the laws in the first place, and He has the right and the prerogative of changing or eliminating such laws at any time He chooses. So God Himself in the year 39 of the Exodus gave a command that was contrary to the Second Command of the Ten Commandments. He ordered Moses to make an image of a poisonous snake and to hang that snake/image onto a pole that the Israelites could look toward for a physical remedy in the wake of being bitten by poisonous snakes (Numbers 21:6–8).
Let us understand once more that God can change any law He wishes and at any time He chooses. He has done so in the past and He can do it in the future. If God wishes to introduce idolatry into the Tabernacle (His divine Temple) even though it is a violation of the Second Commandment, God can do as He jolly well pleases. This is a principle that must always be understood and recognized by God’s own children and His people. God is in charge, not us!
So, near the end of the 40 years of wilderness journeys by the Israelites, God decided to adopt some idolatrous ways to teach the immature Israelites what calamitous consequences would develop by their insistence on having images of Cherubim in the Temple and also having an idolatrous brazen snake on a pole. And true to form, the Cherubim and the snake/image later became so idolatrous to the Israelites, that in the time of Hezekiah the snake/image had to be destroyed because of the rampant idolatry that it provoked (2 Kings 18:4). But that did not end the matter. We find that the Israelites also began to worship those two cherubim that God had placed in the Holy of Holies associated with the Ark of the Covenant. Even in the wilderness the Israelites had commenced their worship and adoration of those two Cherubim (and others that were depicted on the veils and curtains within the Tabernacle and the Temple that Solomon built). Do these words not smack of a clear violation of the Second Command (of the highly prestigious “Ten Commmandments”)? It seems they languish the very spirit and the meaning behind the Second Command.
What is important to realize is the fact that these commandments of God ordered that the Israelites make the images of the Cherubim and also the image of the snake on a pole (which we find in our modern caduceus symbol which identifies the medical profession).
|ancient style caduceus||modern style caduceus|
Yes, this was the case in the time of Moses. In doing this, one might think that IT WAS NOT ALWAYS INEVITABLE THAT IDOLATRY WOULD EMERGE. Yes, but it almost always did!
But what happened to the Israelites in their appreciation of these images of the Cherubim associated with the Ark of the Covenant? They soon (even while they were still in the wilderness) began to worship those statues and images. This infuriated Jeremiah at a later time as well as Ezekiel. So, when the Temple was just on the verge of being destroyed by the Babylonians, the prophet Jeremiah decided to get rid of the Ark of the Covenant and the worship of it by the Israelites. He felt the best thing to do was to bury it and then to tell the Israelites to forget it and its place of burial. Jeremiah knew the evil that those images in the Temple caused.
Jeremiah (who was a priest), with the confirmation of Ezekiel took the Ark of the Covenant with its idolatrous depiction of Cherubim out of the Holy of Holies and (according to the Book of Second Maccabees) deposited them in a cave on the east side of Jordan (opposite Jericho) near the area where Moses was buried. Notice the reference in this historical work that was written about a hundred years before the birth of Christ:
“One finds in the records that Jeremiah the prophet ordered those who were being deported to take some of the fire [from the altar of the Temple], as has been told, and that the prophet after giving them the law instructed those who were being deported not to forget the commandments of the Lord, nor to be led astray in their thoughts upon seeing the gold and silver statues and their adornment.”
There were images and idols in the Temple and some God had commanded to be there. [Continuing on:]
“And with other similar words he [Jeremiah] exhorted them that the law should not depart from their hearts. It was also in the writing that the prophet, having received an oracle, ordered that the tent and the ark [of the covenant with the two cherubs] should follow with him, and that he went out to the mountain where Moses had gone up and had seen the inheritance of God.
And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark [with the two cherubs] and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance. Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: ‘The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy. And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated.’
It was also made clear that being possessed of wisdom Solomon offered sacrifice for the dedication and completion of the temple. Just as Moses prayed to the Lord, and fire came down from heaven and devoured the sacrifices, so also Solomon prayed, and the fire came down and consumed the whole burnt offerings.”
2 Maccabees 2:1–7 RSV
So exasperated was Jeremiah about the penchant of the Israelites (both those of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah) to turn physical things that God ordained even in the Temple into idolatrous artifacts that Jeremiah prophesied that in the future NO TEMPLE OF GOD would ever have an Ark of the Covenant again (with its permitted image of two Cherubim brazenly depicted). That is the main reason that Jeremiah took the Tent that housed the Ark and the Ark of the Covenant itself (with its two Cherubim) out of the Temple to hide them so that they would not be found to be placed in any Temple after the Babylonian Captivity was over. Note what Jeremiah the Prophet predicted would occur (and his prophecy was uttered under the inspiration of God Almighty).
“Turn, O backsliding children, says YHWH; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when you be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says YHWH,
they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of YHWH:
neither shall it [the ark] come to mind:
neither shall they remember it [the ark];
neither shall they visit it [the ark];
neither shall that be done any more” [allowing images of Cherubs for an Ark of the Covenant].’
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of YHWH; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of YHWH, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”
[ NOTE: the Book of Jeremiah is inspired Scripture, the Book of Second Maccabees is not. While Second Maccabees contains very accurate historical accounts, its accuracy cannot be extended to either its conclusions or its prophecies. DWS ]
The Two Cherubim with the Ark of the Covenant Had Personal Names
We now come to an interesting fact that many of you may never have seen before. Do you realize that the two Cherubs that made up the one image in the Holy of Holies had personal names and that the Israelites called them by those individual names? That is right. Those names are revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Recall that Jeremiah (according to the historical account from Second Maccabees) said that he took the Tent (or Tabernacle) that housed the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. 1 This separate “Tabernacle” is mentioned in First Kings 1:39. This was a small Tent that became associated always with the Ark of the Covenant. This is the Tent that Jeremiah took along with the Ark to bury across the Jordan River east of Jericho. 2
These factors concerning the small Tent that accompanied the Ark of the Covenant becomes a major key in identifying the names of the two heavenly Cherubim that the two images (soldered together as one image) depicted on earth. That key comes from Amos chapter 5. Notice this scriptural indication.
“Have you offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O House of Israel? But you have borne the Tabernacle [the special Tent] of your Moloch and Chiun your images [there were two images], the star of your Elohim [the Star — a single “star” of your “gods”], which you made to yourselves.”
What kind of a Tent (or Tabernacle) contained two images that were indeed a single “Star” (an image molded together into one image of two heavenly beings)? This was the special Tent that was erected over the Ark of the Covenant that contained the two Cherubim that faced one another with their wings outstretched toward each other over the Mercy [Covering] Seat that contained the sacred items within the Ark of the Covenant. In the plainest of language, we have the two Cherubim named by the Israelites. One of them was Moloch (which is the Hebrew word for “King” or “King Star” which was the name given to the planet Jupiter). The other was Chiun (which was another name for the planet Saturn, the furthest planet observable by the naked eye in our solar system).
Now note this. When the two Cherubim were first constructed at the beginning of the forty years wandering of the Israelite Exodus period, Moses was told to have the two Cherubs facing one another. This represented Jupiter (a closer planet to earth) facing Saturn (the furthest visible planet from earth) in a conjunction with each other in the sky. Now Jupiter takes about 12 years to traverse the path of the Sun (which means to orbit the Sun) while Saturn takes about 30 years to do the same thing. If the two planets are shown in conjunction with one another (that is, as the Cherubim were shown in the Tabernacle and Temple) facing one another, it will take just over 20 years for the two planets to be exactly in the same position of the sky together and in conjunction again.
It is interesting that the great Massing of the Planets in Taurus (the Bull) that happened on May 5/6 of this year (2000 A.D.), and which I mentioned last year in a Prophetic Report, was also a time when Moloch (Jupiter) and Chiun (Saturn) once again “faced each other” as they did in the time that Moses ordered the Ark of the Covenant to be placed in the Holy of Holies at the beginning of the Exodus. At that time in May of this year , Jupiter and Saturn (as seen from earth) were about 2 degrees from each other, and both (of course) were in Taurus (the Bull) and very near “facing each other” after an absence of just over 20 years. But precisely on May 27, 2000, the two planets came to an exact “facing.” They “faced each other in a marvelous conjunction” (only about one degree latitude separated them).
As just mentioned, this would have been how the two planets were situated when Moses had the Ark of the Covenant constructed. Then they had 2 times 20 years (or 40 years) for the period of the Exodus that Amos 5:25 mentioned. There was then to be a period of 480 years (1 Kings 6:1) for the start of Solomon building the Temple in Jerusalem (that is 24 times 20 years — a significant biblical number).
The next time in our modern period that Jupiter and Saturn (or Moloch and Chiun) “face each other” will be on December 21, 2020 when they appear at the very beginning of the sign Aquarius (not Taurus). So, in just over 20 years we find that Jupiter (Moloch) and Saturn (Chiun) “face each other” again to become like a “Single Star.” 3
The early Israelites noticed this remarkable astronomical phenomenon of these two planets and they gave religious value to it. Indeed, they began to worship the two Cherubim (named Moloch and Chiun that symbolized Jupiter and Saturn) and they fell into an idolatrous worship of those two Cherubs (and their images in the Holy of Holies) for the whole period of the forty years wandering in the wilderness. They were even continuing the practice (and even with worse consequences) in the time of the prophet Amos (Amos 5:25–26). 4 Stephen even referred to the same practice in his discourse before the Sanhedrin in the year following Christ’s crucifixion:
“Yea, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your godRemphan, figures which you made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.”
Note that Stephen then called Saturn by the name “Remphan” which is a Greek translation of the earlier Semitic term “Chiun.” Those images of Cherubs did great harm in Israel.
There are people today who are still enamored with this Ark of the Covenant (and its two Cherubs named Moloch and Chiun). Without doubt, if the Ark could be once again discovered, they would readily place the two Cherubs right back in any newly built Temple in Jerusalem. The human tendency is strong to do it. The fact is, however, Jeremiah saw the idolatry that had developed over the two Cherubs so he (under inspiration of God, in my view) took the special Tent of the Cherubs as well as the two images of the Cherubs molded into one image and hid it away. Then he wrote Jeremiah 3:14–18 that the true people of God would no longer require the Tent or the Ark of the Covenant in which to worship God.
And there was another reason why Jeremiah took those two images out of the Holy of Holies. That is because ONE OF THOSE VERY CHERUBS became a sinner of the first magnitude. That one Cherub had done such evil in heaven that he had been thrown out of his exalted position next to the throne of God and was in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel considered by God as an evil being — a Cherub that had gone wrong. Which of the two Cherubs was the one who went wrong? The prophet Ezekiel tells us.
One of the Cherubs Depicted on the Ark of the Covenant Had Fallen From Grace
Notice what Ezekiel had to say about one of the Cherubs who had formerly been a righteous spirit being of very high rank in the heavenly hierarchy of divine beings associated with the very Throne of God Himself. This particular Cherub had become rebellious and as a result God had rejected him. Which Cherub was it?
“Moreover the word of YHWH came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king [Moloch or Melek] of Tyrus, and say unto him, ‘Thus says the Lord YHWH;
- you [Moloch] seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
- You have been in Eden the garden of Elohim; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created.
- You are the anointed [Messianic] cherub that covers; and I have set you so:
- you were upon the holy mountain of Elohim;
- you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire [to mimic this, the Israelites caused their firstborn to “pass through the fire”5].
- You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God[Moloch would be jettisoned from God’s Holy Temple in heaven and on earth]: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire [where the children sacrificed to Moloch were placed].
- Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness [Moloch was a bright planet in the heavens at times]: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.
- You have defiled your sanctuaries [both in Jerusalem and in Tyre] by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffick;
therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of you, it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you [like the firstborn children of Israelites were burnt to ashes in sacrifice]. All they that know you among the people shall be astonished at you: you shall be a terror, and never shall you be any more.’”
There you have it! It was Moloch (represented by the planet Jupiter) that was the sinning Cherub. The other Cherub was named Chiun (represented by the planet Saturn with the Sabbath being his day of consecration for worshipping him). But the Sabbath was made by God for His people to rest, and it was not made for Chiun (Saturn). The early Israelites took the command of God to make the images of the Cherubim and place them in the Holy of Holies as an example given by God to worship those Cherubim (named Moloch and Chiun). This was one of the commands that God gave to the Israelites in the time of Moses that WAS NOT GOOD for the Israelites because it led them into idolatry (Ezekiel 20:25–26). It would do the same today.
But with Ezekiel condemning the practice of having the Ark of the Covenant (and its two Cherubs named Moloch and Chiun) in an idolatrous form of worship, and with Jeremiah even hiding the Ark of the Covenant with its special Tent east of Jericho and across the Jordan River, that put an end to such false worship in the Temple built by Zerubbabel.
In the Temple of Herod (which was in existence in the time of Jesus), there was no Ark of the Covenant displayed in physical form in the Holy of Holies. Though the actual Ark of the Covenant is still in heaven (Revelation 11:19), it was not looked on as proper by God-fearing people to have the Ark again placed in a Temple at Jerusalem since we find Jeremiah and Ezekiel objecting to its placement in the Temple.
At our end of the age, however, we are told in the Book of Revelation that there will once more be an image of a wild beast (remember that the Cherubs are shown as having four faces: one of a man, an eagle, a bull and a lion — which equals a “wild beast”). This image of the wild beast (probably in the form of Moloch the King) will again be placed in a Temple in Jerusalem as described in Revelation chapter 11. This “Image of the Beast”(or, it means that one or both of the Cherubim will be replaced in a new Temple — remember that there were two images of the Cherubs but they were molded together to form one image) will be again placed in a new Temple in Jerusalem (Revelation 13:11–18). There will also be a “Mark of the Beast” associated with this new Ark of the Covenant. So, the rebellion to God of replacing the Ark happens at the End Time.
Questions to ask: Will this new Ark of the Covenant (which will be the Image of the Beast mentioned in the Book of Revelation) be the one that Jeremiah buried east of Jericho and across the Jordan River? That is possible. As far as Jeremiah is concerned, he stated that the ideal Temple in the future would NEVER AGAIN have an Ark of the Covenant in it (Jeremiah 3:16). This is the position that I personally take. In fact, God was honest in His statement in Ezekiel that His commands “were not good.”
If anyone wants to replace the Ark of the Covenant back into a renewed Temple, what he or she will be doing is placing the Image of the Beast mentioned in Revelation 13 back into the Holy of Holies. While God did allow that to happen in the time of Moses — though remember that God said that command to put those images in the Temple, contrary to the Second Command of the Ten Commandments — it was one of those commands that Ezekiel 20:25–26 said God gave that “were not good.” It led them directly (and quickly) right into idolatry of the most serious kind.
I am certain that if the Ark of the Covenant were once again found (or even a new one made by the Temple authorities), it would lead the people back into the kind of idolatry that the early Israelites engaged in, and what the Book of Revelation states this evil world will adopt when the Beast and the False Prophet are on earth.
Ever since I discovered that the Image of the Beast was indeed the reintroduction of the Ark of the Covenant into an End Time Temple (I came to this conclusion well over twenty years ago), I have turned away all my emotional connection with a physical Temple in Jerusalem (or even with a physical Jerusalem) and I now have more important things to be concerned about. True, I plan to give more information on the Temple site as it becomes available, but I have written my book (and with the other articles on our Internet Web Page), I believe I have done my duty to God and to my readers in this matter for the present.
As for me, I have no need for any Ark of the Covenant in my worship. I have only one mediator between the Father and me and that person is Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:4–6). As for Temples that are made by the hands of human beings, I have the express teaching of the Holy Spirit that came from the mouth of Stephen. Stephen boldly told the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem (and quoting teachings directly from the Old Testament): “the Most High dwells not in Temples made with hands [human hands]” (Acts 7:48). I have not the slightest need for a physical Temple (with its Moloch or Chiun — the two Cherubs that Moses placed in the Tabernacle). All I need (and I already have Him) is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Indeed, when one reflects upon the teaching of the Second Commandment of the Ten Commandments (and applies what the words state explicitly and without preconceived notions), it could be argued that even the building of a Temple is prohibited in the strict sense of the word. This is because the Temple represents an image or similitude of the House of God in which God resides in heaven. Do we not read in the Second Commandment that Israelites should not make an image of ANYTHING in heaven (or in earth or under the earth, Exodus 20:4)? That is right! Even the building of a physical Temple on earth is getting close to breaking the Second Commandment. Of course, it must be realized that God did in fact order Moses to construct the Tabernacle and later God told David to have the Temple built by Solomon. Yes, indeed, but still we are later told that God does NOT dwell in Temples made with human hands in an actual sense (Acts 7:48). Whatever the case, we Christians do not need a physical Temple in any manner whatever.
Ernest L. Martin, 2000
Edited by David Sielaff, March 2007
1 The Holy of Holies was a small tent that covered the two Cherubs and the Ark. It is not to be confused with the large Tent (or Tabernacle) that made up the whole of the portable Temple in the time of Moses and lasted until the time Solomon took the Ark of the Covenant into his Temple building in Jerusalem. ELM
2 The Tent and Ark never went to Ethiopia as some people have imagined, nor were they buried in the bowels of the Temple precincts in Jerusalem as some later Jews speculated. ELM
3 Whether these indications can be used in a prophetic sense is another question altogether and it takes too long for me to discuss this possibility in this Prophetic Report of my Temple Update. I plan to write a book on the Chronology of the Bible as it relates to prophetic events for the future when I can spare the time. ELM Dr. Martin was not able to write that book on chronology before he died in January 2002. DWS
4 While other translations vary, the King James Version translation is shown to be correct according to the citation of Amos 5:25–26 in Acts 7:43 by the evangelist Stephen. DWS
5 See Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 18:1; 2 Kings 16:3, 17:17, 21:6, 23:10; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 32:35; and Ezekiel 16:21, 20:26, 31; 23:37. All were done to Moloch or Moloch by a different name. DWS
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