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Why Did They Face East?

According to God's instructions, The Tabernacle In The Wilderness faced east:

"And those to encamp before the Tabernacle on the east, before the Tent of Meeting toward the sunrise, were Moses and Aaron and his sons, having charge of the rites within the sanctuary, whatever had to be done for the people of Israel" (Numbers 3:38 RSV)

Then, according to God's instructions, The Temple (see Temples) In Jerusalem, which replaced the Tabernacle In the Wilderness, faced east, toward The Mount Of Olives (shown in the photograph) which will be "ground zero" for The Return Of Jesus Christ (symbolized by The Feast Of Trumpets):

"Now when the priests came out of the Holy Place, for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to their divisions; and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with a hundred and twenty priests who were trumpeters" (2 Chronicles 5:11-12 RSV)

What Was The Significance Of Facing East?

Mount Of Olives The symbolism of the Tabernacle, and then the Temple, facing east is revealed in Prophecy:

"For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man." (Matthew 24:27 RSV)

"Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the Glory of the God of Israel came from the east; and the sound of His coming was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His Glory. And the vision I saw was like the vision which I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the vision which I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. As the Glory of The Lord entered the Temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the Glory of The Lord filled the Temple.

While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the Temple; and he said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel for ever." (Ezekiel 43:1-7 RSV)

After the Return of Jesus Christ, "living waters" (physical, and spiritual i.e. the Holy Spirit, see Living Waters) will flow from the Temple then in existence, which will also face east:

"Then he brought me back to the door of the Temple; and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the Temple toward the east, for the Temple faced east; and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the Temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate, that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side."

"Going on eastward with a line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the loins. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?"

"Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw upon the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the stagnant waters of the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand beside the sea; from Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing." (Ezekiel 47:1-12 RSV)

Fact Finder: After Jesus Christ has completed all of the work that God gave Him to do, and after all Judgment has been completed, and then after the earth has been purified with fire (see Planet On Fire!), God and the New Jerusalem will come to earth (Revelation 21:1-3, see also The Camp and The City). Why won't the New Jerusalem have a physical Temple?
Revelation 21:22


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This Week's Bible Quiz

Name the English-language translations of The Bible that are represented by these abbreviations:

1. KJV

2. ASV

3. NIV

4. RSV

5. NKJV

6. NASV

7. NRSV

8. TEV

9. YLT

10. NEB

For the answers to this October 8 2002 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page


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Bible Quiz Daily Bible Study Library
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