Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Twelve Oxen

The Temple of Solomon had a "sea" for washings of the priests.  The description of that "sea" is found in 1 Kings 7: 23-26Significantly the "sea" sat upon the backs of twelve oxen. (verse 25.)  Three were facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east. 

In the time of the First Temple, these twelve oxen foreshadowed the scattering of Israel to the four corners of the earth.  The destruction of the First Temple completed the scattering, which began at the death of Solomon, who was responsible the construction of the First Temple.  When he died, the kingdom was divided north and south.  The northern kingdom contained ten tribes, which would be taken into Assyrian captivity at about 725 b.c., and then be lost to history as they scattered northward.  The remaining two tribes of the south were taken captive by Babylon at 600 b.c., and then a "remnant" returned.  They were finally dispossessed of their land at 70 a.d. by the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, and scattered throughout the Roman Empire.

We also build fonts in Temples with twelve oxen bearing the font of water used for baptisms for the dead.  These twelve oxen are also divided into groups of three facing north, west, south and east.  Now, however, the oxen signify the gathering of scattered Israel.  They also signify by their number, three, the concept of presidency or organization under restored priestly authority.  The circle of twelve also are a symbol of restored, reorganized Israel in the latter-days to once again exist as a united people upon the earth.

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