The Mystery of the Temple Doors
A Lecture by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn
"We start in the Garden--Gen3:17-- Then to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the
voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying,
"you shall not eat of it". Cursed is the ground because of you: In toil you shall eat
of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you: And you
shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread. Till you
return to the ground. Because from it you were taken: For you are dust, And to dust you
shall return. Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the
living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. Then
the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us. knowing good and evil: and
now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live
forever. --therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the
ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out: and at the EAST of the garden of
Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the FLAMING SWORD which turned in every direction, to
guard the way to the Tree of Life.
The beginning--pardise lost, the fall of man. With this loss was the loss of fellowship
with God, the way to God, the way to Paradise.
The way to peace is blocked by the cherubim with the flaming sword that turns in every
direction, guarding the way to the Tree of Life. So this represents the cherubim standing
guard with the flaming sword. It represents the separation of God and man. God and us.
Heaven and Earth. man and his fellow man, husband and wife, father and son, mother and
daughter, the lion and the lamb, man and himself. It represents the separation between God
and us, the separation between peace and life and the separation of us and true fullness
This is the first mention in the bible of the word "WAY" --"DEREKH" in Hebrew. There is a
way that leads to the Tree of Life--"derekh, It is a way that was once open but is then
blocked by the cherubim. Since that day, we have all tried to get back to Eden in some
way--we have all tried to come home. Each of us try to go back, to find innocence again,
to find purity, meaning, life, redemption--to find a way to know love again, EDEN!
The Lord calls the people Israel, and with His people, He seeks to show them the way back
to EDEN--to life. He said unto them: I will make a way (a derekh) where there was no way.
The word Hebrew comes from the word "IVRIE", which means to "CROSS OVER"--to cross from
death to life, cross over the Jordan, cross over the Red Sea, cross over back to the
Promised Land. It says this Promised Land will one day be like the garden of EDEN.God is
trying to bring it all home. HEBREW--crossing over.
Exodus 1:1 They cross over from Egypt and the wilderness to the Promised Land but something
is in the way: Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, The priest of
Midian:and he led the flock to the WEST side of the wilderness, and came to Horch, the
mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst
of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not
consumed. So Moses said, I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush
is not burned.
This is the first mention of the word HOREB--Mount Horeb. Also known as Mount Sinai. Before
they get to the Promised Land, the Hebrews must stop at the Mount Horeb.It is in the way,
just as the cherubim were in the way.
There is a mystery in the word HOREB. In Hebrew, the word HOREB is an altered form of a word
which means "to destroy" to make desolate, From the same word we get the word "sword". It is
the same root word which was used in EDEN. The cherubim were standing in the way of the
Tree of Life with a HEREV (The SWORD of God)--the same altered word.
So now they are on their way to the Promised Land-- the land which is to become like EDEN.
Yet, there is something in the way--the HEREV--the mountain of the sword, as the sword of
EDEN. The orthodox have a song in which they say the LAW is a Tree of Life. The LAW is not
really a Tree of Life, but a sword on the way to the Tree of Life, It is a sword that on one
hand, repels us, and on the other hand, urges us on to the presence of God: the needed sword
that brings death.
According to the book of Romans, the LAW reveals the separation between holiness of God and
the sinfulness of man. On one hand it tells us, "you cannot enter in" On the other hand it
tells us, "There is life just on the other side" It is the sword of EDEN, in word and stone.
When you look at Mount Sinai, and see the thunder and lightning and the people quaking in
fear, this represents the age of the LAW. We are shown what is right, but also that we
cannot enter in--the SWORD of the cherubim.
It was said in EDEN that on the day you eat of the tree, you will die. This speaks first of
spiritual death, then physical death. by convicting us of sin, we were shown to be dead.
Thus, as a sword brings death, so does the LAW.
That was not the only thing that came from Mount Horeb. From Sinai, we also received the
symbols, the veils and the shadows. From Mount Sinai came the veils: The veils which blocked
the way of man to God: the veils which hid the presence of God from man and man from God:
the veils which prevented the priests from entering God's presence, except with the blood
of the sacrifice.
The Tabernacle bears witness to the separation between man and God. The way to EDEN was
blocked. From Horeb comes the "Tent of Meeting". In the Tent of Meeting there were three
veils. The first is the outer veil, blocking the way to the courts and the altar. The second
veil is that, which blocked the way to the holy place--the Temple Proper or the Tabernacle
itself. And the last veil (or the first veil, depending on how you look at it), the innermost
veil, is of course, that which blocked the way to the Holy of Holies--three veils.
You canot understand the Tabernacle, Leviticus, the Priesthood, or any such things, without
understanding EDEN, because the Tabernacle represents the way back--the coming back to
God--the way that was blocked and which is here blocked again. And there are several clues
which link the two together.
The first clue: Genesis starts describing that man and God are separated, that they cannot
meet, and now here is a place called the TENT OF MEETING.
The second clue: Man was driven out to the EAST of EDEN. These cherubim were stationed at
the east of EDEN and so in order to come back you have to go west. And so the Tabernacle
always faces WEST, In order to go back to God, you always had to journey west, away from
the east of EDEN--always.
The third clue--Exodus 26:33 And you shall hang up the veil under the clasps and shall bring
in the ark of the testimony there within the veil;and the veil shall serve for you as a
partition (a dividing) between the holy place and the Holy of Holies. And you shall put the
mercy seat on the ark of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies. And you shall set the table
outside the veil, and the lamp-stand opposite the table on the side of the Tabernacle toward
the south: and you shall make a screen for the doorway of the tent of blue and purple and
scarlet material and fine twisted linen, the work of a weaver.
Exodus 27:16: And for the gate of the court (the other veil) there shall be a screen of
twenty cubits, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen---.
Exodus 36:37: And he made a screen for the doorway of the tent (this is another veil), of
blur and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen...
The fourth clue: Every veil had to be made of blue, scarlet and purple. Blue is the symbol
of Heaven. Scarlet or red from the same word in Hebrew, is Edom, we get Adom, or Adam. It is
the name of man because he was taken from the earth, which was to be red. And so the word for
Adam (Edom or Adom) is red--scarlet. So, on one hand you have Heaven and on the other hand
you have Earth and in the middle you have the mixture of the two--purple--meeting, meaning
the two together, ultimately Messiah. Every veil has this mark on it.
The fifth clue:--Exodus 26:30: Then you shall erect the Tabernacle according to its plan
which you have been shown in the mountain. And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and
scarlet material and fine twisted linen: it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a
Its quite incredible--right on the veil are the cherubim, which first appeared at EDEN--now
guarding the Temple and the Tabernacle.
So to pass through any of the veils (or the innermost veil), you are reminded of the
cherubim, stationed to guard the way to the Tree of Life. Now they guard the way to the
Holy of Holies--the presence of God--the same thing. Thus, you had to pass through three
curtains: the curtain of the court yard on the outside, The curtain of the holy place, and
the curtain of the Holy of Holies, for which the cherubim guard the way.
Why three? There is mystery to it. Some say for the three heavens, but surely it is for the
three deaths, Spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death. The veils stood for the
separation, and also for them hope that one day you would cross it. Thus, it is all about
EDEN. The way, the westward walk, the colors, the cherubim, the sacrifice, the priests, and
of course, YOM KIPPUR, The very central day of the Jewish people. It is all about passing
through the veil--coming back to EDEN--coming home.
The Tabernacle now fades away. Now stands the Temple in its place. The curtains have now
become cedar and gold. They become doors. The shadow of EDEN now stands in a Temple which
always faced eastward. so you walk westward. Now the curtains have become doors--the Temple
1 Kings 6:32: So he made two doors of olive wood, and he carved on them carvings of cherubim,
palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold: and he spread the gold on the
cherubim and on the palm trees.
The veils are now doors of olive wood covered with gold. The cherubim are guarding the way
to the Temple. The first division, or the innermost division, is now fortified by gigantic
golden doors. And the veil now becomes an enormous veil, which stretches up to heaven like
The next veil, that of the holy place, now becomes two doors, known as the Doors of the
Hekel or the Doors of the Porch--these are the doors which lead into the Temple Proper.
The third curtain now becomes the Gate of the Court (the great court) two colossal brass
doors, which in the time of Messiah were called the Nickanor Gates. An awesome structure,
through which multitudes would come in and out. It was also known as the Beautiful Gate.
So there are three central doors of the Temple. The doors of the Temple become the central
issue of Judaism. In the central day of the Jewish faith, YOM kIPPUR, the theme concerns
passing through the Temple Doors. The Yom Kippur service known as NEILAH, specifically
concerns the closing of the Temple Doors. Jewish prayer books often speak about the gates of
righteousness, an allusion to the gates of the Temple and the way to life.
It is interesting to note that there were also palm trees engraved on the Temple Doors.
Why Palm Trees? Well Palm Trees are trees. It is interesting that we do not know what the
Tree of Life was. It could very well have been a palm tree.
The Song of Songs has long been taken as an allegory of God and His people. The ancient rabbis
saw it as a revelation of the relationship between God and Israel:Israel as the bride and God
as the Bridegroom. So it is written, from the Groom to the Bride, open to me, my sister, my
bride. This is a hint of things to come--salvation is about God opening what is closed.
Isaiah 22:21 is a prophecy which speaks about something specific to the time of its writing,
but it also has something deeper and more revealing. And I will cloth him with your tunic,
And tie your sash securely about him, I will entrust him with your authority, And He will
become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Then I will set
the key of the house of David on his shoulder, When he opens no man will shut, When he
shuts no one will open.
In Psalm 118:19, it is written "Open to me the gates of Righteousness, I shall enter through
them...Verse 24 reads 'This is the day which the Lord has made...This is the very same Psalm
which was sung on the day the Messiah died. I will open--open the "gates of righteousness".
The Psalm that is read on Passover. And it was read in the Temple courts on the day He died.
It is linked to the opening of the way of the Lord. The Psalm is quoted in Matthew's Gospel
of Yeshua Jesus. In fact, it is the same Psalm that says, "Hosanna, blessed is He who said
the stone is rejected.
Further, from the Torah of Moses onward, the Hebrew Scriptures declare that the way to God
and the Holy of Holies, could only be opened by the blood of sacrifice. Every year, this fact
was demonstrated over and over again when the high priest entered the Holy of Holies carrying
the blood of the Yom Kippur sacrifice. Further, there is the prophecy of Messiah's coming,
in Isaiah 53, which reveals that through the death of Messiah, the way of blessing will be
opened up to us.
And then there is an incredible verse found in the book of Zechariah. Zechariah 11:1 Open
your doors, O Lebanon, That a fire may feed on your cedars, Wail, O cypress, for the cedar
has fallen. Because the glorious TREES have been destroyed. Wail O oaks of Bashen, for the
impenetrable forest has come down.
This is a mystical verse. Open your Doors, O Lebanon... It is a prophecy that goes on to
speak of the destruction of the land of Israel by the Romans, which occurred in 70 AD, after
Messiah came. Open your doors, O Lebanon, for the armies of Rome came down from the north
and destroyed. But deeper, the rabbis saw this verse as a mystical one, referring to the
Temple. The Talmud itself says that Zechariah 11:1 prophesied the destruction of the Temple,
as the Temple in the Talmud is sometimes known as Lebanon, since it was made from the trees
of Lebanon. They therefore took it to mean,"Open your doors, oh Temple, and you will be
destroyed. But if the doors are opened then it must also signify that the way to God has
In Daniel 9, it is prophesied that Messiah will come and then the Temple will be destroyed,
but not until He makes open the way, Meanwhile Zechariah 11:10-14 goes on to speak about
thirty pieces of silver that are given for the death of Messiah. It happened in 30AD-- the
exact price was given.
The Passage in ZACHARIAH continues to speak about the pierced Messiah Zech 12:10.
In Zechariah 13:7 it reads, Awake , O sword against my shepherd...In other words, the whole
section is about the death of the Messiah, and at the same time, it is all linked to the
opening of the doors to the Temple--thirty pieces of silver, the Sheppard who is pierced and
the sword that comes against Him.
The rabbis believed that if the doors of the Temple would open by themselves, as by God, this
whole prophecy would be fulfilled.Meaning, there is a whole new covenant to be fulfilled--one
whose inauguration is linked to the opening of the Temple Doors in this way would mean
Messiah has come.
Matthew 26:14 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and
said What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you? And they weighed out to him
thirty pieces of silver. And from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray
The thirty pieces of silver were paid by the keepers of the Temple. They unwittingly
fulfilled the first part of ther prophecy. The second part was fulfilled when Judas came
back to the Temple and, with remorse, threw the thirty pieces of silver therein-- he threw
them through the temple door and into the courts.
Messiah's death bears all the marks of EDEN. In EDEN came the curse. It was said, You shall
eat bread by the sweat of your brow until your death. So on the eve of Messiah's death--the
last day, which began at the Last Supper--He ate bread, and later, sweated during prayer in
the face of his suffering and death. In EDEN, it was said you will work the ground but it
shall produce thorns and thistles. So they placed upon His head a crown of thorns and
thistles--the sign of the curse, the weight of the curse falling upon his head. Thus He
became the king of the curse: the full weight of it fell on Him.
Circa 30 AD, a Jewish man is executed under the procurator-ship of Pontius Pilate and Tiberius
Caesar. But something cosmic is happening--Messiah crucifies. And on that day, as He dies on
the cross, He utters these words: "This day you will be with me in paradise" This is
significant statement because the word 'paradise" (paradizo) comes from a Hebrew word,
PARDUCE, which in turn, comes from an ancient word referring not to clouds in the sky so much
as to a "garden" It means particularly "a garden of trees" Thus , it can be rendered, "Today
we will enter the garden"
Only in Yeshua does it all come together. And who, but God, could weave this all together?
In order to effect salvation, He had to open the way which was closed. And if He did that,
we would expect it to affect the symbols that were set up to remind man of the obstruction.
Thus, if He did enter paradise, it would effect the Temple. It does not mean it would
necessarily be recorded, because the people who were in a position to witness it--the Temple
Keepers--were not in a position to know the significance. But those who did know the
significance--the apostles--were not in a position to be there at the Temple Doors. So, it
would be unlikely that these events would have been recorded. However, the amazing things is,
they were recorded!
There is a witness who is so awesome! There is nothing like this in any history of religion.
Is there evidence that God had opened the doors of the Temple? YES! It is amazing because the
witnesses are all different. The first witness had nothing to do with the New Testament. He
was a famous secular Jew (not a believer) and knew nothing of the Talmud! He was Josephus.
Josephus was born in 37 AD and died in 100 AD. He never read the New Testament. He did not
know about the significance of these things. He was secular, He wrote for the Romans. Yet he
wrote that, before the destruction of the Temple, just before the war between Rome and Judea,
on the anniversary of that day on which He said He would enter paradise, the first division,
or the outermost separation of the Temple, the great bronze Nicanor Gate opened by itself!
This corresponded to the outer veil, the third veil. It opened by itself! Here is the exact
recording of that event, from the 'WARS OF THE JEWS" CHAPTER 5 VERSE 3, in the Wars of
the Jews, Josephus writes "The eastern gate of the court of the Temple, which was brass and
rested upon vases armed with iron and had bolts fastened very deep into ther firm floor which
was made of one entire stone, was seen to open of its own will, about the sixth hour of the
night. Now those that kept watch in the Temple came running to the captain of the Temple and
told him of it.
Thus, Josephus bears witness that this great colossal gate, which separated the Temple from
the rest of the world, opened by itself, and the guards ran. They took it as a sign from God!
Thus, The door corresponding to the third veil opened, symbolizing that the doors of paradise
were now opened. That would be enough. But there is more!
In a court of law, when you have two independent witnesses, with no collusion between them,
and they confirm an exact truth, you accept it. The LAW of Moses says if you have two
witnesses ro a truth, it is established. Now we move to the second witness.
There is another door--the second one--the door of the second veil, which separated the holy
place from the outside. After you passed the Nicanor Gate, you had to pass through the Golden
Doors of the Hekel, on which the guardians of EDEN, the cherubim, were stationed in gold. Is
there another independent witness to Messiah and the keys of David and the Tree of Life? YES
It is totally awesome. It has nothing to do with Josephus. It has nothing to do with the New
Testament. It was written by religious Jews who did not believe in Jesus. The Talmud bears
witness to our faith in one of the most awesome witnesses and testimonies ever given to any
faith. It is the only instance where one religion, in a sense, testifies to the truth of the
other. One which totally rejects the truth of the other, now testifies to its truth in a
most amazing way.
The Talmud (the embodiment of the writings of rabbinical Judaism) speaks against Jesus (Yeshua)
in many ways. But when a witness that has no vested interest, in fact, has a vested interest
against it, bears witness, you accept it. And this is a great witness to invoke when sharing
with Orthodox Jews--the Talmud.
Remember the sign. It was said when God opens the doors of the Temple, that is the time! That
must be the most significant moment in human history.
The Cosmos is changing and it is all linked to the Messiah. Therefore, when the book of the
Talmud, known as "Moed"(meaning "the book of the appointed time"), and the Talmudic tratate
Yoma (a rabbinic volume all about this day of Yom Kippur the day when the way would be
opened). declares in Yoma 39:3a, the Doors of the Hekel, the doors leading into the holy
place, estimated to be between thirty and eight feet in height, would open by themselves,
this would mean that all the redemptive events regarding the Messiah's First Coming were
concluded. When did the Doors open by themselves? The Talmud records that it began opening
forty years before the destruction of the Temple, Thus, count back 70 minus 40 and you come
to 30 AD, the time of Messiah's death.
So this is the middle door. It pinpoints the time and it is in order. First, there was a
second door and then there was a third door, right in order. And each has a different
testimony to it. According to the Talmud, one Rabbi was so alarmed that he began to rebuke
the Temple Doors saying, "Temple, Temple (or hekel, hekel), why will you give up this alarm?
I know you will be destroyed , for Zachariah (they linked it to Zachariah 11) has prophesied
of you, but stop doing this." But it kept doing it, from 30 AD onward. And then the Talmud
goes on to say that our rabbis taught that these happened the last forty years of the
Temple--beginning 30 AD
(Some believe that Messiah died in 33 AD It is important to note that ancient literature
speaks in round numbers. Whether the exact date was 30 or 33 AD, the symbolism of circa 30 AD
is still pertinent).
There were three veils and three doors. We just had two witnesses for each door. But there is
one left--the missing piese of the puzzle. When would it happen?
Well, what happened near the end, the outermost , the next one happened somewhere from 30 AD on.
We expect the first one would happen right on that day. The first division. the cosmic change.
The third witness
Matthew 27:50: And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His Spirit. And
Behold the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook: and the
rocks were split...
Messiah dies, and the very first division is opened up. The three passages of the Temple are
complete. First, the innermost veil, Second: the veil opens, We do not realize, but on that
veil were the cherubim. These were the guardians of EDEN. And suddenly, these veils and
cherubim were torn apart and separated, signifying that Messiah passed through them. You see,
when God set up the cherubim and the flaming sword, He did not set it so you could never go
back to EDEN. He set it up so you could go back. But it would only be through death that you
would pass through. Not that no one would pass, but that ONE would pass through it, He would
pass through in death. Messiah would open paradise, but in doing so, He would have to pass
through the flaming cherubim. And so the cross is the HEREV, It is the sword of the cherubim,
through which we must enter.
All sin dies by the sword. Our sin dies at the gate of EDEN. As Adam was clothed when he left
EDEN, so Messiah was stripped naked to enter EDEN, through death. All sin came from the foot
of this living tree and all sin ends at the foot of this dead tree(the cross).
Messiah was taken down from the cross, naked, and put into a garden tomb, from which life
comes. There are guards stationed at the tomb. Man stations his guards and says,
"you are not getting out". while God stations His Angelic messengers and says, "The way is
open, the stone is rolled away'. In a garden of life they fell and in a garden of death we
find new life.
Messiah walked through the cherubim, that the separation between man and God, between our
lives and true life and joy and peace would be wiped away, showing us that the way to the
garden is through the flaming cherubim--the death of Messiah. This is truly an amazing thing.
It means that all the promises of the bible are true, and God is also true, and you can truly
count on Him. It means that it is all very real. He offers us real life, real peace and real
joy, And if those things are not real in our lives, it is because we are not walking as He
called us to. It happened by entering through the cherubim, by letting our egos be touched by
the flame, by the sword of the cross.
So these three great witnesses testify to this fact--God is awesome. Salvation is awesome.
He means business and His promises are good. We are so passionate about flimsy things.
How much more passionate should we be about something that is so solid?
We closed the doors in our lives, We have all sorts of closed doors blocking the blessings
that God would give to us--the doors of anger, self-pity, pride, doubt and gloom. But His
word to us is "OPEN! We honor closed doors but God says, "No My word is OPEN?" Even to the
heavy doors in our lives, God is saying "OPEN UP" We must not despise the dying self if we
truly want to enter the life that is waiting on the other side. So open up the closed doors
in your life--the doors of self-pity, the doors of disobedience, the doors of unforgiveness,
the doors of guilt, the doors of regret--all the doors. Open the doors of self. It is only in
keeping with God's will, because God likes to open closed doors.
At the end of the Bible, in the book of Revelation, it says, in effect (and I paraphrase) 'I
hsve opened the doors. Nobody can shut it. So go through it. There is the Tree of Life here
waiting for you!
God has come and has performed miracles, He has truly opened up the doors of salvation. There
is only one door He will not open without you--the door to your heart. That is the only thing
you have to say "YES TOO" The only thing you have to do is say YES God is real. God is
awesome and the doors are opened for you to have true life. Walk ye in it Amen.
Lets close with a prayer. Father, We praise you. Like the prophets said "You are awesome!
And you are true and real and we thank you that you are real. You are not only Good but you
are really good. Father, Help us all to walk in your way. Help us to not be stopped or
hindered by anything when you have done so much, when you have loved us so much that you
have opened us the way of peace, the way of joy, the way of hope and the way of life. Lord,
help us to walk through and help us to say good-bye to the old and to leave it at the gates
of life, so that we can enter in, let us leave it at the gates. We ask, Father, help us,
that we might walk on and walk farther and press on with all full assurance, for a new and
living way is opened to us. Lord, help us to walk in boldness and confidence and to step
out on every promise you have. To press on and to not rest until we are there in the fullness
of your calling on each of us, for which you put us in our mother's womb. Father, We praise
you for this day and we thank you for all things. I ask that you anoint your word, that it
bears fruit in each of our lives. In the name of Yeshua ha Mashiach, the great opener of the
doors, our Messiah beloved. Amen"