Furniture of the Temple 1
The verses I’ve chosen to focus on during this word study are: John 19:30; “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” And also Gal. 2:21; “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
A few days ago I received an e-mail from a young man telling me how he and his friend had visited the new temple in Newport Beach,California. His e-mail was asking me how to explain to his Mormon friend that there is no need for temples since the body of the believer is now the place where God resides.
While they were there, the tour guide told him the bulls that held the baptismal font for the proxy work for the dead were representative of the twelve tribes of Israel. When someone such as the tour guide serves in this capacity for the Church, the average member takes these people at their word, never questioning the information the Church puts out, thus, the Mormon’s confusion when the Christian explained the reason for not needing temples anymore. This prompted me into action for more word studies.
For the next few months we’ll have articles on the website that will be looking at the various temple furniture, their uses and how each of those items are actually a foreshadowing of either the gospel, Jesus and His sacrifice or the gift we now have as believers; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Because the e-mailer asked me about the baptismal font we’ll begin our study there! There is already an article on the website about baptisms for the dead that you can read here which challenges the Mormons to think about why they do this pagan ritual, but this time we’re taking an in-depth look at the actual font as I once again ask the Mormons to truly look at what purpose this piece of furniture served in the temple in Jerusalem.
First off the Mormon must be made aware this was/is not a baptismal font! The Bible tells us in 1 Kings 7:23 the name for this is called a “molten sea”. “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.”
Our next step in the process of learning about the original molten sea is to find the original Hebrew word for it, the purpose of it and where it was placed in the temple. From the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible it says this for the transliterations of the following words:
Molten: #3332 – yaòtsaq
“A primitive root; properly to pour out (transitively or intransitively); by implication to melt or cast as metal; by extension to place firmly, to stiffen or grow hard:—cast, cleave fast, be (as) firm, grow, be hard, lay out, molten, overflow, pour (out), run out, set down, stedfast.”
Sea: #3220 – yaòm
“From an unused root meaning to roar; a sea (as breaking in noisy surf) or large body of water; specifically (with the article) the Mediterranean; sometimes a large river, or an artificial basin; locally, the west, or (rarely) the south:—sea (X -faring man, [-shore]), south, west (-ern, side, -ward).”
Now let’s look at the transliteration of the word molten as it is used in the sense of when Aaron made a calf. Our example comes from Exodus 32:8; “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”
The Hebrew word for molten here is # 4541 in the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance as massekah. It says; “From H5258; properly a pouring over, that is, fusion of metal (especially a cast image); by implication a libation, that is, league; concretely a coverlet (as if poured out):—covering, molten (image), vail.”
I pray the Mormon sees the difference in the way Aaron used the metals to create false images compared with the way Solomon used metals and how he had these things made. Solomon wouldn’t even have the lavers made inside the city limits because of the dust and dirt it would create inside the temple walls.
Here we see that Aaron paid no mind to any such thing and instead of creating it for God, he made it as a place of sacrifice to other gods. This is exactly what the Mormons are doing with these baptismal fonts. They are using this as something not meant for the God of the Bible.
The Israelites took things that were man made and melted them down into the molten image of a golden calf. The Mormons have used the calf as an image for their works for the dead in which these dead spirits now have the ‘opportunity’ to become gods themselves. They are doing the exact same thing Aaron did!
The Israelites thought Moses’ delay meant that he had either been translated as Enoch had been or that perhaps he had starved to death. Either way they didn’t want to wait on God’s timing; they did things based on their human reasoning and their timing.
Every Mormon missionary that I’ve spoken to has told me the reason they do baptisms for the dead is because God certainly couldn’t have known or saved some unknown person from centuries ago who didn’t have the chance to hear the gospel. This sounds eerily similar to what the Israelites were saying to Aaron while waiting on Moses’ return does it not? Question for the Mormon: How could God not know someone He created?
In addition to this reasoning I would challenge the Mormon to read the account of the golden calf in Exodus 32. When the people waited for Moses’ return, they performed burnt sacrifices at the foot of the golden calf to appease the gods and afterwards they busied themselves with “play”.
The Hebrew word for this is like the word used in Genesis 26:8 which denotes sexual play. The scene had most likely turned into a drunken orgy. I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not insinuating there are orgies going on inside the Mormon temples…however, I found it not to be a coincidence that in order for the people who are dead to be saved, Mormons believe they must be baptized for them first and then have their endowment work done by proxy for them as well.
If you’re unfamiliar with this type of ceremony in the temple, you must know that Mormons do not believe you can be truly saved unless you go to the Celestial Kingdom to become a god yourself. The only way this is possible is if you are married and able to procreate with a goddess wife to establish an earth of your own. The similarities between what the Israelites did at the foot of the golden calf and what the Mormons do in their temples are striking.
The Ryrie Study Bible and Matthew Henry’s Commentaries both say the molten sea was used as a gigantic laver for the priests’ washings, the washings of the sacrifices and the upkeep of the temple. The oxen were made of brass and were so tall they must have needed stairs to get up to the laver of water that sat upon them. The Gibeonites had the care of keeping the water filled for the priests and some people say Solomon had the images of the oxen made in contempt of the Israelites’ worship of the golden calf during the exodus with Moses and Aaron. He wanted them to see there was nothing worthy of adoration in the worship of calves, but was better suited to make posts of them.
As you can see from the true description of the use for this item in the temple it certainly had nothing to do with the twelve tribes ofIsrael, nor had it anything to do with baptisms for the dead as the Mormon Church would have you believe.
In fact the commentaries even state that by having a laver representing the sea would intimate by and through the gospel of Christ all could be cleansed as this served to be a better preparation than the law of Moses which only contained a laver, but the gospel was “a fountain opened” as described in Zech. 13:1.
Let us continue to look to Him who was crucified and who came to fulfill the Law, something we could never do! The other description of the molten sea can be found in 2 Chronicles 4:2-5.
The next item to study has been on my heart for quite some time now. It is the mercy seat located in the holy of the holies in the temple. I pray the Mormons would see with their hearts how this priceless object is also known in the New Testament as Jesus Christ Himself! The first time we see mercy seat mentioned in the Bible is in Exodus 25:17;
“And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.”
The Hebrew word and transliteration for mercy is: #3727, kappoòreth. Strong’s says this about the meaning: “From H3722; a lid (used only of the cover of the sacredArk):—mercy seat.” The literal meaning for it is the lid of the ark but also the place where the sins were covered, the place for propitiation.
A good example of God’s directions to Aaron for the process of propitiation can be found in Leviticus 16:11-22. This explains how Aaron is to apply the blood to the mercy seat; it explains that the sins of the people would be covered by the sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat as it points to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ Himself. God tells His people this is the place where He would commune with them. It gives direction of how Aaron was to sprinkle the blood around the base of the seat, how he was to confess the sins of the people and how to even approach as well as leave the room of the holy of holies in reverence to God.
One of my questions for the Mormon is that if you are still going to temple why is it you are not performing these ordinances in the way prescribed in the book of the Law? Why have the ordinances changed if you say they are still in effect?
Next month we’ll be looking at the story and reason for a scapegoat, but for the time being this month place yourself in the 11th chapter of Leviticus as well as Hebrews chapters 7, 9 and 10.
One of my personal favorites is Hebrews 9:14-17;
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” I challenge the Mormons to really study and read Hebrew chapter nine. In verse 5 it says; “And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.”
There is nothing else we can do my friends to cover the iniquity of our lives. Thus, the death of our Lord Jesus and His final words to us stating the sacrifice and the Law is indeed finished in John 19:30! And if we need to keep going in for these ordinances then Christ indeed has died in vain as it says in Galatians 2:21.
To continue our study click here for part two.