by John Bunyan
Gospel Light Fetched Out of the Temple at Jerusalem To Let us More Easily into the Glory of New Testament Truths
'Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Isreal;—shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out hereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof'—Ezekiel 43:10, 11
Courteous Christian Reader,
I have, as thou by this little book mayest see, adventured, at this time, to do my endeavour to show thee something of the gospel-glory of Solomon's temple: that is, of what it, with its utensils, was a type of; and, as such, how instructing it was to our fathers, and also is to us their children. The which, that I might do the more distinctly, I have handled particulars one by one, to the number of threescore and ten; namely, all that of them I could call to mind; because, as I believe, there was not one of them but had its signification, and so something profitable for us to know.
For, though we are not now to worship God in these methods, or by such ordinances, as once the old church did: yet to know their methods, and to understand the nature and signification of their ordinances, when compared with the gospel, may, even now, when themselves, as to what they once enjoined on others, are dead, may minister light to us. And hence the New Testament ministers, as the apostles, made much use of Old Testament language, and ceremonial institutions, as to their signification, to help the faith of the godly in their preaching of the gospel of Christ.
I may say that God did in a manner tie up the church of the Jews to types, figures, and similitudes; I mean, to be butted and bounded1 by them in all external parts of worship. Yea, not only the Levitical law and temple, but, as it seems to me, the whole land of Canaan, the place of their lot to dwell in, was to them as ceremonial, or a figure. Their land was a type of heaven, their passage over Jordan into it a similitude of our going to heaven by death (Heb 3:5–10). The fruit of their land was said to be uncircumcised (Lev 19:23). As being at their first entrance thither unclean (Exo 12:15). In which their land was also a figure of another thing, even as heaven was a type of sin and grace (Lev 6:17, 23:17).2 Again, the very land itself was said to keep Sabbath, and so to rest a holy rest, even then when she lay desolate, and not possess of those to whom she was given for them to dwell in (Lev 26:34, 35).
Yea, many of the features of the then church of God were set forth, as in figures and shadows, so by places and things, in that land. 1. In general, she is said to be beautiful as Tirzah, and to be comely as Jerusalem (Can 6:4). 2. In particular, her neck is compared to the tower of David, builded for an armoury (Cant 4:4). Her eyes to the fish-pools of Heshbon, by the gate of Bethrabbim. Her nose is compared to the tower of Lebanon, which looketh towards Damascus (Cant 7:4). Yea, the hair of her head is compared to a flock of goats, which come up from mount Gilead; and the smell of her garments to the smell of Lebanon (Cant 4:1, 11).
Nor was this land altogether void of shadows, even of her Lord and Saviour. Hence he says of himself, 'I AM the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys' (Cant 2:1). Also, she, his beloved, saith of him, 'His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars' (Cant 5:15). What shall I say? The two cities Sion and Jerusalem, were such as sometimes set forth the two churches, the true and the false, and their seed Isaac and Ishmael (Gal 4).
I might also here show you, that even the gifts and graces of the true church were set forth by the spices, nuts, grapes, and pomegranates, that the land of Canaan brought forth; yea, that hell itself was set forth by the valley of the sons of Hinnom and Tophet, places in this country. Indeed, the whole, in a manner, was a typical and a figurative thing.
But I have, in the ensuing discourse, confined myself to the temple, that immediate place of God's worship; of whose utensils, in particular, as I have said, I have spoken, though to each with what brevity I could, for that none of them are without a spiritual, and so a profitable signification to us. And here we may behold much of the richness of the wisdom and grace of God; namely, that he, even in the very place of worship of old, should ordain visible forms and representations for the worshippers to learn to worship him by; yea, the temple itself was, as to this, to them a good instruction.
But in my thus saying, I give no encouragement to any now, to fetch out of their own fancies figures or similitudes to worship God by. What God provided to be an help to the weakness of his people of old was one thing, and what they invented without his commandment was another. For though they had his blessing when they worshipped him with such types, shadows, and figures, which he had enjoined on them for that purpose, yet he sorely punished and plagued them when they would add to these inventions of their own (Exo 32:35; 2 Kings 17:16–18; Acts 7:38–43). Yea, he, in the very act of instituting their way of worshipping him, forbade their giving, in any thing, way to their own humours or fancies, and bound them strictly to the orders of heaven. 'Look,' said God to Moses, their first great legislator, 'that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount' (Exo 25:40; Heb 8:5). Nor doth our apostle but take the same measures, when he saith, 'If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord' (1 Cor 14:37).
When Solomon also, was to build this temple for the worship of God, though he was wiser than all men, yet God neither trusted to his wisdom nor memory, nor to any immediate dictates from heaven to him, as to how he would have him build it. No; he was to receive the whole platform thereof in writing, by the inspiration of God. Nor would God give this platform of the temple, and of its utensils, immediately to this wise man, lest perhaps by others his wisdom should be idolized, or that some should object, that the whole fashion thereof proceeded of his fancy, only he made pretensions of Divine revelation, as a cover for his doings
Therefore, I say, not to him, but to his father David, was the whole pattern of it given from heaven, and so by David to Solomon his son, in writing. 'Then David,' says the text, 'gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy-seat, and the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord' (1 Chron 28:11–13).
Yea, moreover, he had from heaven, or by Divine revelation, what the candlesticks must be made of, and also how much was to go to each; the same order and commandment he also gave for the making of the tables, flesh-hooks, cups, basins, altar of incense, with the pattern for the chariot of the cherubims, &c. (vv 14–19). 'All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the work of this pattern' (v 19). So, I say, he gave David the pattern of the temple, so David gave Solomon the pattern of the temple; and according to that pattern did Solomon build the temple, and no otherwise.
True, all these were but figures, patterns, and shadows of things in the heavens, and not the very image of the things; but, as was said afore, if God was so circumspect and exact in these, as not to leave any thing to the dictates of the godly and wisest of men, what! can we suppose he will now admit of the wit and contrivance of men in those things that are, in comparison to them, the heavenly things themselves? (Heb 8:5, 9:8–10, 23, 10:1).
It is also to be concluded, that since those shadows of things in the heavens are already committed by God to sacred story; and since that sacred story is said to be able to make the man of God perfect in all things-2 Timothy 3:15–17-it is duty to us to leave off to lean to common understandings, and to inquire and search out by that very holy writ, and nought else, by what and how we should worship God. David was for inquiring in his temple (Psa 27:4).
And, although the old church-way of worship is laid aside as to us in New Testament times, yet since those very ordinances were figures of things and methods of worship now; we may, yea, we ought to search out the spiritual meaning of them, because they serve to confirm and illustrate matters to our understandings. Yea, they show us the more exactly how the New and Old Testament, as to the spiritualness of the worship, was as one and the same; only the old was clouded with shadows, but ours is with more open face.
Features to the life, as we say, set out by a picture, do excellently show the skill of the artist. The Old Testament had the shadow, nor have we but the very image; both then are but emblems of what is yet behind. We may find our gospel clouded in their ceremonies, and our spiritual worship set out somewhat by their carnal ordinances.
Now, because, as I said, there lies, as wrapt up in a mantle, much of the glory of our gospel matters in this temple which Solomon builded; therefore I have made, as well as I could, by comparing spiritual things with spiritual, this book upon this subject.
I dare not presume to say that I know I have hit right in every thing; but this I can say, I have endeavoured so to do. True, I have not for these things fished in other men's waters; my Bible and Concordance are my only library in my writings. Wherefore, courteous reader, if thou findest any thing, either in word or matter, that thou shalt judge doth vary from God's truth, let it be counted no man's else but mine. Pray God, also, to pardon my fault. Do thou, also, lovingly pass it by, and receive what thou findest will do thee good.
Thy servant in the gospel,
Table of Contents
To the Christian Reader
SOLOMON'S TEMPLE SPIRITUALIZED
1. Where the temple was builded.
2. Who built the temple.
3. How the temple was built.
4. Of what the temple was built.
5. Who was to fell the trees, and to dig the stones with which the temple was built.
6. In what condition the timber and stones were when brought to be laid in the building of the temple.
7. Of the foundation of the temple.
8. Of the richness of the stones which were laid for the foundation of the temple.
9. Which way the face of the front of the temple stood.
10. Of the courts of the temple.
11. Of the great brazen altar that stood in the inner court of the temple.
12. Of the pillers which were before the porch of the temple.
13. Of the height of theses pillars that thus stood before the porch of the door of the temple.
14. Of the chapiters of the pillars of the temple.
15. Of the pomegranates adjoining to the nets on the chapiters.
16. Of the chains that were upon these pillars that stood before the temple.
17. Of the lily-work which was upon the chapiters that were upon these pillars of the temple.
18. Of the fashion of the temple.
19. Of the outward glory of the temple.
20. Of the porch of the temple.
21. Of the ornaments of the porch of the temple.
22. Of the ascent by which they went up into the porch of the temple.
23. Of the gate of the porch of the temple.
24. Of the pinnacles of the temple.
25. Of the porters of the temple.
26. Of the charge of the porters of the temple more particularly.
27. Of the doors of the temple.
28. Of the leaves of this gate of the temple.
29. What the doors of the temple were made of.
30. How the doors of the temple were adorned.
31. Of the wall of the temple.
32. Of the garnishing of the temple with precious stones.
33. Of the windows of the temple.
34. Of the chambers of the temple.
35. Of the stairs by which they went up into the chambers of the temple.
36. Of the molten sea which was in the temple.
37. Upon what the molten sea stood in the temple.
38. Of the lavers of the temple.
39. Of the tables in the temple.
40. Of the instruments wherewith the sacrifices were slain, and of the four tables they were laid on in the temple.
41. Of the candlesticks of the temple.
42. Of the lamps belonging to the candlesticks of the temple.
43. Of the shew-bread on the golden table in the temple.
44. Of the snuffers belonging to the candlesticks and lamps of the temple.
45. Of the snuff dishes that were with the snuffers of the temple.
46. Of the golden tongs belonging to the temple.
47. Of the altar of incense in the temple.
48. Of the golden censers belonging to the temple.
49. Of the golden spoons of the temple.
50. Of the bowls and basons belonging to the temple.
51. Of the flagons and cups of the temple.
52. Of the chargers of the temple.
53. Of the goings out of the temple.
54. Of the singers belonging to the temple.
55. Of the union of the holy and the most holy temple.
56. Of the holiest or inner temple.
57. Of the vail of the temple.
58. Of the doors of the inner temple.
59. Of the golden nails of the inner temple.
60. Of the floors and walls of the inner temple.
61. Of the ark of the covenant, which was placed in the inner temple.
62. Of the placing of the ark in the holiest or inner temple.
63. Of the mercy-seat, and how it was placed in the holy temple.
64. Of the living waters of the inner temple.
65. Of the chains which were in the oracle or inner temple.
66. Of the high-priest, and of his office in the inner temple.
67. Of the high-priest's going into the holiest alone.
68. Of the high-priest's going in thither but once a year.
69. Of the cherubims, and of their being placed over the mercy-seat in the inner temple.
70. Of the figures that were upon the walls.