Sign in to follow this  
Latter Days Guy

Jewish and LDS Temples question

Recommended Posts

Came across an interesting statement tonight during my private study time. I'm preparing to go to the temple for endowment and have been reading through the various manuals and scripture references for preparing to enter the temple. One question popped into my head, how does the current temple compare to the jewish temple of the old testament? Doing a bit of google fuing I came across several people saying that the temples services today are as they were carried out in the time of Solomon, without going into specifics regarding sacred temple stuff, would this be an acurate understanding of LDS teaching on the link from OT temples and temples today?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would respectfully disagree.  The modern temple rite is done under the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  The Israelite temples functioned under the authority of the Aaronic priesthood; therefore the modern endowment could not have been practiced in the Israelite temples except surreptitiously by the few prophets who held the Melchizedek Priesthood (and were generally perceived as renegades by the Levitical priests who oversaw temple worship).  Moreover, the rites of the Israelite temple are carefully recorded in the Pentateuch; and--at least superficially--there are almost entirely unrelated to the modern endowment.  The closest you really get, IMHO, that the initiatory ordinances make reference to an ancient Mosaic ritual and (again, IMHO) are better seen as a "memorial" (see D&C 124:39) to that ancient rite, not a re-enactment thereof.

 

Bear in mind that the LDS temple endowment isn't technically one ordinance.  It's a series of ordinances, punctuated by instructions and explanations, that are administered over about a two-hour period.  I think that conceptually, the LDS temple endowment is very ancient--the idea of man's separation from and return to God; the ideas of making specific covenants with God and getting particular signs and tokens of those covenants (along with an increased proportion of the Spirit as one keeps those covenants); the idea of sacred vestments, and so on.  I also believe that the specific covenants made in the LDS endowment ritual are probably, in essence, the same ones that were done anciently.  But the liturgy and procedure of the LDS temple endowment has evolved quite a bit since 1842 (the original endowment lasted for six hours); so I have no reason to think that the ritual the Church administers in AD 2014 is liturgically identical to that received by Adam, Abraham, or the other patriarchs of old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought as much myself but wanted to make sure I'd not got it wrong.  The OT temple was primarily to do with the sacrifice system and atoning for the Jewish nations sins.  But since that was done away with through the atonement of Jesus Christ that part of temple worship was no longer needed.  Also with the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood as you state the full benefits and ordinances of that priesthood are now available in the temple today. 

I've been learning so much over the last few weeks about the temple and how it all fits into the plan of salvation, it's just amazing what Heavenly Father has done for us, and what he makes available to us through the churches temples.  They are the house of the Lord!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Came across an interesting statement tonight during my private study time. I'm preparing to go to the temple for endowment and have been reading through the various manuals and scripture references for preparing to enter the temple. One question popped into my head, how does the current temple compare to the jewish temple of the old testament? Doing a bit of google fuing I came across several people saying that the temples services today are as they were carried out in the time of Solomon, without going into specifics regarding sacred temple stuff, would this be an acurate understanding of LDS teaching on the link from OT temples and temples today?

I would say that various symbols or form of symbols and their meaning are still used. probably not in the same exact process tho. (for instance we don't burn incense or do blood offerings anymore as one example of something that is different).

that being said there are prbably a couple ceremonies that are quite similar to what took place. It was interesting seeing a temple cermony depicted in ancient egyptian hieroglyphs (one of Hughe Nibleys works can't remember which one)... also as well as seeing one of Iroqouis forms of greeting that wwas certainy interesting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might find this helpful:

 

Early Christian and Jewish Rituals Related to Temple Practices

 

The Encylcopedia of Mormonism articles on the Endowment, Garments, Prayer Circle, and Washing and Anointing should be helpful to you in preparing for some of what to expect at your Endowment:

 

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Endowment

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Washings_and_Anointings

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Garments

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Prayer_Circle

 

You are right, the LDS temple is not exactly what was going on in Solomon's temple, since different priesthoods are involved, and we see that animal sacrifice was practiced anciently, but is unnecessary today.  However, you will find many elements of the LDS temple tied to ancient Jewish and Christian practices.  There are many books and articles available on that subject, and I think they will be helpful to you after you receive your Endowment.  I have always loved the Initiatory washing and anointing that you receive at the beginning of your Endowment, as it includes a clear, explicit reference to ancient Jewish practices related to washing and anointing. 

 

A great book for you to read after your Endowment is: The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple.  It touches on many of these ancient (i.e. restored) aspects of the temple. 

 

As you continue your scripture study, concepts I think that you should focus on include things like washing, anointing, sacred clothing, new names, creation, the Fall, Atonement, covenants, returning to God's presence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might find this helpful:

 

Early Christian and Jewish Rituals Related to Temple Practices

 

The Encylcopedia of Mormonism articles on the Endowment, Garments, Prayer Circle, and Washing and Anointing should be helpful to you in preparing for some of what to expect at your Endowment:

 

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Endowment

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Washings_and_Anointings

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Garments

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Prayer_Circle

 

You are right, the LDS temple is not exactly what was going on in Solomon's temple, since different priesthoods are involved, and we see that animal sacrifice was practiced anciently, but is unnecessary today.  However, you will find many elements of the LDS temple tied to ancient Jewish and Christian practices.  There are many books and articles available on that subject, and I think they will be helpful to you after you receive your Endowment.  I have always loved the Initiatory washing and anointing that you receive at the beginning of your Endowment, as it includes a clear, explicit reference to ancient Jewish practices related to washing and anointing. 

 

A great book for you to read after your Endowment is: The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple.  It touches on many of these ancient (i.e. restored) aspects of the temple. 

 

As you continue your scripture study, concepts I think that you should focus on include things like washing, anointing, sacred clothing, new names, creation, the Fall, Atonement, covenants, returning to God's presence.

 

Thanks, found this all very helpful.  The first link was very informative and gave me much to think about, especially liked the closing passage in the final note section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To Latter-Days Guy:

 

Here's an article I wrote a few years ago that you will probably enjoy.  

 

http://spamldsarchive.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-temples-esoteric-teachings-and.html?q=esoteric+teachings

 

When i taught the Temple Prep class in a ward where we used to live, i used to stress to the members in it that we have to keep in mind that temple ordinances are full of symbolism.  Mormons tend to be very literal about our understanding of spiritual things.  When it comes to ordinances, like baptism for example, that they are assigned meanings by the Lord.

 

Think for a moment of a stop sign.  It is so common (like baptism) that we automatically know what it means when we see an octagonal red sign anywhere in the world.  However, there is nothing about the octagonal shape or the color red that inherently means "stop."  We have assigned the symbol a meaning and it has become commonplace now.  

 

Baptism is an example.  Aside from the imagery of bathing, burial, and resurrection that we might see with our eyes, the dunking of a person in water has been assigned a specific meaning by the Lord and taught to his servants.  It symbolizes a covenant to always remember Jesus Christ, take his name upon us, and keep his commandments.  Likewise, the Lord elegantly used the common symbols of bread and wine to remind us of a covenant.  He could have used something else, but he used things that were commonplace.  It would have been novel when it was first instituted, but now it's a generally accepted symbol.

 

When you go through the temple, the ordinances are given specific meanings by the Lord and we learn them as he has designated them.  Like a stop sign, they are abstract.  They only have meaning because the Lord has assigned them those meanings.  If they resemble something else familiar to us or anything outside the temple, we need to remind ourselves that we need to understand the Lord's assigned meaning.

 

Here's another example.  We all have a strong emotional reaction to the swastika because of its association with Nazi Germany.  However, the swastika is an ancient symbol that was sacred to Native Americans.  There is no connection between Native Americans and Nazis separated by an ocean and thousands of years.  The symbol means different things to them.

 

Likewise, there have been some people who have tried to connect the endowment to other traditions or sources, like Freemasonry.  That trouble some people unless you realize that the meanings are different because, regardless of any similarities, the Lord has assigned the signification of temple ordinances. 

 

When you go to the temple, keep an open mind, expect to see commonplace things that are given spiritual significance by the associations with the temples.  It is a beautiful experience.  Its meaning is only understood through revelation.  That revelation comes little by little with repeated visits.  As you'll see in the linked article, the temple has long been a part of the Christian faith.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, found this all very helpful.  The first link was very informative and gave me much to think about, especially liked the closing passage in the final note section.

 

No problem.  Definitely read that first article again after your Endowment, it'll make more sense then.

 

When are you being Endowed? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a side comment concerning ancient and modern temples.  As we worship in our modern temples - I believe that through the understanding we receive from the L-rd's university that is the temple we come to understand that the ancient temples were all places of learning of the things of G-d and that such learning was indeed line upon line upon line leading to the things that are taught in temples in this last dispensation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To Latter-Days Guy:

 

Here's an article I wrote a few years ago that you will probably enjoy.  

 

http://spamldsarchive.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-temples-esoteric-teachings-and.html?q=esoteric+teachings

 

When i taught the Temple Prep class in a ward where we used to live, i used to stress to the members in it that we have to keep in mind that temple ordinances are full of symbolism.  Mormons tend to be very literal about our understanding of spiritual things.  When it comes to ordinances, like baptism for example, that they are assigned meanings by the Lord.

 

Think for a moment of a stop sign.  It is so common (like baptism) that we automatically know what it means when we see an octagonal red sign anywhere in the world.  However, there is nothing about the octagonal shape or the color red that inherently means "stop."  We have assigned the symbol a meaning and it has become commonplace now.  

 

Baptism is an example.  Aside from the imagery of bathing, burial, and resurrection that we might see with our eyes, the dunking of a person in water has been assigned a specific meaning by the Lord and taught to his servants.  It symbolizes a covenant to always remember Jesus Christ, take his name upon us, and keep his commandments.  Likewise, the Lord elegantly used the common symbols of bread and wine to remind us of a covenant.  He could have used something else, but he used things that were commonplace.  It would have been novel when it was first instituted, but now it's a generally accepted symbol.

 

When you go through the temple, the ordinances are given specific meanings by the Lord and we learn them as he has designated them.  Like a stop sign, they are abstract.  They only have meaning because the Lord has assigned them those meanings.  If they resemble something else familiar to us or anything outside the temple, we need to remind ourselves that we need to understand the Lord's assigned meaning.

 

Here's another example.  We all have a strong emotional reaction to the swastika because of its association with Nazi Germany.  However, the swastika is an ancient symbol that was sacred to Native Americans.  There is no connection between Native Americans and Nazis separated by an ocean and thousands of years.  The symbol means different things to them.

 

Likewise, there have been some people who have tried to connect the endowment to other traditions or sources, like Freemasonry.  That trouble some people unless you realize that the meanings are different because, regardless of any similarities, the Lord has assigned the signification of temple ordinances. 

 

When you go to the temple, keep an open mind, expect to see commonplace things that are given spiritual significance by the associations with the temples.  It is a beautiful experience.  Its meaning is only understood through revelation.  That revelation comes little by little with repeated visits.  As you'll see in the linked article, the temple has long been a part of the Christian faith.

Thanks for the post, your linked article was also very helpful.  I'm seeing more clearly now how the apostasy and falling away took so much from the faith that only a restoration could sort it out properly.  Not that I'm saying I didn't believe in the apostasy in the first place, but informative posts like yours and with the studies I've been doing it has added more to my understanding of the event and its effects on the church before the apostasy, during the apostasy and after the restoration. Putting the flesh back on the bone so to speak!   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The temple worship anciently as well as today has the ultimate purpose of making men and women holy. The elements or principles that allow us to become holy have not changed. The temple worship of the Old Testament is in this sense the same as modern day temple worship. The outward ordinances all pointed toward the inward person. It was about becoming a holy people, a Zion people. A people who dwelt with God. Those who could be in God's presence just as Adam and Eve were.

I believe we can learn much from ancient temple worship that will help us to understand modern temple worship. They are all based in the same principles.

-Finrock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this