By Gary Amirault
In recent months, and in the future, I will be spending a great deal of time dealing with first century Christianity and the topic of tabernacles and Temples. So, I thought I would mention some of the books which are still in print which I will be using in this research. While there are many books written about the tabernacles and Temples, many of them are very superficial. They usually just deal with basic factual information. Few get into some of the meanings of the "types and shadows" which are contained within the structures themselves. Then again, those that try to interpret the symbols often go too far or just outright misinterpret them. This is a difficult area of research. Who is right? Well, I am sure I don't have all the answers, but I enjoy studying the symbols in Scripture. They help me better understand the plan of God. Yes, some of these books probably have some errors in them. This kind of study is what I call "eating fish," that is, one has to learn to eat slowly so as to be able to spit out the bones before they get caught in your throat and you find yourself propagating foolishness. When I recommend a book, I don't put a carte blanche stamp of approval on it, its publisher, nor the author.
One publisher has printed several books on the subject of Tabernacles and Temples. Bible Temple Publishing has published several of Kevin J. Connors works on the subject. The books I have found helpful to me in my work are The Tabernacle of Moses (paperback, $10.95, The Tabernacle of David (paperback, $11.95), The Temple of Solomon (paperback, $11.95), and The Feasts of Israel (paperback, $9.95). Most of these books are well illustrated. Kevin Connor has done an excellent job in finding all the references to the tabernacles and temples, the furniture, the priesthood, and what went on during the administration of the period of time in which each structure functioned. He goes very heavily into the symbolism of each structure. Although I don't agree with him on some of his interpretations, these works are great tools for quick reference to just about anything related to the structures and its priesthood. They will save many hours of research combing concordances and Bible Dictionaries. The books are very well organized. Kevin Connor and Bible Temple produce other books which I totally disagree with. Their teaching on tithing is an example. They also do not see the fullness of the ministry of reconciliation. As a result, some of the symbols get misinterpreted. Remember spit out the bones. Bible Temples books may be ordered direct by calling 1-800-777-6057 or ordered from most Christian book stores.
Kregal Publications, publisher of the Companion Bible, The Rotherham Emphasized Bible, Newberry Reference Bible, as well as Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech, have reprinted The Tabernacle: The Priesthood and the Offerings by Henry W. Soltau. It was originally published in the last century. It is available at your local Christian bookstore. (I didn't check the discounters to see if any of them carry it.) This paperback consisting of 474 pages retails for $14.95. Kregal also has published a couple of different versions of Josephus. They are: Complete works of Josephus, and Josephus: the Essential Works, both by Paul Maier. Some readers may have a difficulty reading the full version of Josephus. Due to the fact it was translated in the last century, the English is sometimes difficult. The book Josephus: The Essential Works (hardcover, $24.99) comes to the rescue. This hardback provides the essentials of Josephus' writings in an inviting and exciting edition that's as readable as today's newspaper. It includes many color photographs, maps, illustrations, and charts. It also touches recent archeological discoveries. Paul Maier wrote a historicl novel entitled The Flames of Rome in 1981, a historic novel published by Doubleday. Kregal has reprinted it paperback for $10.99. It was an extremely enjoyable book to read. Although is was fictional, the book was based upon historical facts which opened up to me the political and social climate in Rome at the time in which the New Testament was being written. Glancing at their catalog, I noticed they have also published another one of Paul Maier's historical fiction entitled Pontius Pilate (paperback, $10.99). I haven't read that one, but if The Flames of Rome is any indication of how good Pontius Pilate will be, it should by a hot and exciting book. Well, I have listed so many of Kregal's books maybe you should get their catalog. It can be had by calling 1-616-451-9330. (By the way, I mentioned the Bibles Kregal published because these Bibles go a long way in clearing up the "hell" and "eternal punishment" problems which other translations contain.)
Another publisher who has published a simplified version of Josephus is Barbour Bargain Books. They have paraphrased the "essential" parts of William Whiston's original translation. William Whiston originally made his translation in the mid 1700's. This makes for tough reading, too tough for most of us soft Americans. This paraphrase comes in hardback at $14.95 and in paperback for $5.95. This company specializes in reproducing what is commonly known as "Christian Classics," that is, best-sellers. Barbour has reprinted two of Hannah Whitall Smith's books Christian's Secret of a Happy Life hardback, $14.95) and The Unselfishness of God, a Spiritual Autobiography (hardback, $14.95). The problem with the second book by Hannah Smith, is the publisher cut the chapter which deals with God's unselfishness out! Hannah Smith, a great woman evangelist who was loved across many denominations at the turn of the century, told in chapter 23 of this book how God showed her that He was going to save the whole world. This is the very purpose of the whole book, to declare universal salvation for all mankind! Yet Barbour and another Christian company who has reprinted this book took the liberty to edit an entire chapter out of the book. Why? The doctrine of universal salvation doesn't sell! It is labeled heresy by those to whom Barbour sells. Rather than not print her books and in the process lose potential profits, Barbour Bargain Books chose another method, alter a dead woman's writing to totally misrepresent her view of God. I told you with some of these publisher's and authors one must "spit out the bones." In some cases, such as this one, we must find the meat they took out and paste it back. I will gladly send the deleted chapter to those interested is seeing Christian editing at its worst. (By the way, this is not unusual in the Christian publishing industry. I have seen this happen even in Bible translations, such as Weymouth's. While I deplore this kind of activity in Christian publishing, we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater.) Barbour's Josephus books are helpful and a good value. Their books are available at your local Christian bookstore. Their customer service number is 1-800-852-8010. If you call for a catalog, tell them to keep their hands off of dead women's writings if they are going to falsify them!
Another treatment of Josephus comes from Zondervan Publishing House. The Topical Josephus by Cleon L. Rogers, Jr. breaks up material the Jewish historian Josephus provides into three categories: Important Personalities of the time; Important Institutions; and Important Events. It contains many black and white photographs, maps, and charts. The book is full of very informative footnotes dealing with this period in history derived from other historians of that time as well as other sources. This is a helpful book in understanding what transpired during the formation of the early church. I believe unless a person sees clearly that what happened historically from 30AD to 73AD, one cannot rightly divide the New Testament and what the writers were talking about. There are many Scriptures which refer to events which have already occurred which many modern teachers of eschatology have put into our time. This has made Christianity look very foolish. The above books dealing with Josephus combined with a few books on "realized eschatology" will go a long way in correcting much erroneous teachings floating around in the Christian world.
Back to the Temples. I came across a little goldmine of books on the tabernacles and temples recently. Few acquaintances I have are aware of these books, yet they are some of the most researched books on this subject I have come across. Dr. B. Maureen Gaglardi has written a number of books, most of which I do not have. She sent me a couple for review. The Path of the Just: The Tabernacle of Moses obviously deals with the Tabernacle of Moses. It is a 114 page paperback which sells for $13.95. The other one she sent me is The Path of the Just Volume Two: The High Priests Garments (234 page paperback, $18.95). She has done extensive work in these books both is gathering the material and in giving interpretation of the symbols. Since she appears to believe in the doctrine of eternal torment, she misrepresents a few things or makes some symbols confusing. Her treatment of salt in the Bible is an example where she has the same symbol mean opposite things. As I said, this stems, I believe, from her belief in the false doctrine of eternal torment. Both books are well illustrated, the second one containing several color photographs of her concept of what the garments of the high priest looked like. She spends a great deal time dealing with the names of the tribes of Israel and the meaning of the precious stones associated with each tribe. The name of her ministry is Immanuel Restoration Ministries and her books can be ordered by writing or calling at: Box 2186, Sun City, AZ. 85372, phone number 1-602-566-1140. I wish there were books on the tabernacles and Temples from a total reconciliation point of view, but I am unaware of any. Perhaps we will one day be privileged to take on such a project. It would be a delight to do, but would require a great deal of time and finances.
There have been a flood of books on the Dead Sea Scrolls ever since the first cave coughed up the first 7 of many other scrolls and pieces of scrolls in years to follow. Due to the fact that many of the scrolls were not published within a reasonable period of time, all kinds of conspiracy books came forth some of which declared the information on the scrolls would destroy Christianity itself. The public library shelves and used book stores are still full of these kinds of books. In speaking with Dr. Tabor who is presently working on a new Bible translation which will incorporate some of the finding from the scrolls, he made mention of a book which he feels really tells the story of the history behind the discovery of the scrolls and gives factual information regarding the publication of them. The book is entitled The Dead Sea Scrolls Today by James C. Vander Kam. It is a 208 page paperback, published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. priced at $15 retail and available from your local Christian bookstore. While it is a scholarly work, it is not out of the reading range for anyone who is hungry. The Dead Sea Scrolls will certainly have an effect on Bible translations of the future. We gave an example from Dr. Tabor's project in Dew 7. For those who want to kill a few of the myths floating around or are just very interested in the manuscripts behind our English translations, this would be an excellent book to have in your library.
Since we have put up put up quite a bit of our material on the Internet, we have noticed quite a few King James Only voices on the Web. Two excellent resources to answer this voice out of darkness and ignorance are The King James Only Controversy, a 286 page paperback book written by James R. White, and a two set video series from the John Ankerberg Show entitled Which English translation of the Bible is Best for Christians to Use Today? The book, published by Bethany House Publishers lists for $10.95 and is available at your local Christian bookstore. Bethany's phone number is 612-829-2500. In this book, James White has done his homework. It is loaded with well documented solid information. While King James Only advocates using fill most of their books with mudslinging and little scholarship, James White has laid out the real story behind the King James Bible and the Textus Receptus in a very thorough way. He takes on the strongest arguments put forth by the King James defenders and shows very clearly that behind the mudslinging tactics of the KJV Only camp is nothing but hot air, no substance. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has to deal with the King James Only party or those who are being influenced by it. James White also appears on the John Ankerberg video. This video consists of 8 Ankerberg shows on two video tapes. Ankerberg had a panel of several New bible translation editors as well as a couple of scholars debate a couple of King James Only promoters, one of which represented Gail Riplinger's New Age Versions. I enjoyed watching this debate. When the KJV Only camp is put to the task of supporting their accusations, their whole argument falls flat. The two videos sell for $39 each. A transcript of the entire 8 shows on the two videos is available for $30. While this is a bit expensive, it is much cheaper than a college course. The tapes can be purchased by writing John Ankerberg Show, PO Box 8977, Chattanooga, TN. 37414. Their phone ordering number is 1-800-805-3030. There is a $5 shipping and handling charge. While both the book and the video focus on the KJV debate, both offer excellent insights into the whole topic of Bible translations and how they are made.