Sunday, November 02, 2008

Zion: A Temple City

During LDS General Conference this past October, several new temples were announced to be built. One of the temples to be built will be in Kansas City in Clay County adjacent to Jackson County. My wife at hearing this asked me if I thought that building the temple there was in fulfillment of the revelation that a temple would be built one day in Independence, Missouri. I said, I didn't think so. Here is why.

The temple that will be built during or just before the tribulation preceding the Second Coming of Christ will not just be a simple temple. It will be a temple city. As I have explained earlier, the concept of a temple is scalable. It begins within each individual and expands to an individual home and family, and then to a building, and then to a city, a nation, and then the whole Earth until when John in Revelations sees the Celestialized Earth, he comments, "there is no temple there." That is because there are no temples in Heaven. There are no places set aside as clean and holy. Heaven is God's place, and the whole place is holy and pure and not just part of it.

So, before the coming of Christ, God will reveal exactly the details of what a temple city should look like. He has already begun by revealing this City Plat by Joseph Smith for the City of New Jerusalem or "The New City of Peace." First off, you will notice that the city is only 1 mile square, and each city block is 10 acres, divided into 20, 1/2-acre lots. So, if you count up all the lots it adds up to just over 1000 lots. The significance of a city with a 1000 families is that it parallels Jethro's instruction to Moses to select captains of 1000, 100, 50, and 10 for the judging and civil governance of the people.

There are 20 lots per block, and the houses on each adjacent block do not face each other. While the homes on one block are oriented east-west, the homes across the street are oriented north-south. The lots are very elongated as well. This is the genius of the design right here. What happens here is that the home is build on the front of the lot near the street, while the back yards of all the homes of the block become a large common garden area. Because of the alternating orientation of the blocks, none of the houses face other houses, but would have a spectacular view of the central garden or forested area of the adjacent block.

There are no barns or farms in the city. All farms, barns, and animals are kept outside the city to the north and south. Everyone lives in the city. This allows everyone to enjoy the blessings that come from social and cultural interaction with others. However, the city doesn't sprawl and get too big. Once the city is full, then another city is surveyed and built like it according to the same pattern in another favorable location.

The city center is said to contain 24 temples. Now these buildings are not just for church. There will be a place for worship services, but the other 23 building will be used for government, education, and commerce. Brigham Young was said to have seen this city built and noted that the building were terraced and planted with lush gardens and fish pools on the rooftops and the terraces just like the Conference Center in Salt Lake. What is interesting about this detail is that this characteristic of terraced gardens is what made the ancient city of Babylon one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. And to those who have been to the LDS temple, there is an interesting parallel between the serpent-inspired idea of Adam covering himself with fig leaves and God later suggesting that we use that same idea to accent our white temple robes. In the same way that the "hanging gardens" were a symbol of the wicked city of Babylon, the same terraced gardens will later become a symbol of the future righteous city of Zion. However, we should remember that it is Satan who is the great impersonator and is the one who steals ideas and not God.

The 3 central acres which are reserved for the 24 temples of learning, commerce, government, and worship are symbolic of the God Head or God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost which must be the center focus of any perfect society.


Anonymous said...

Why is size of the City of Zion, repeatedly said to be one square mile, or 640 acres, if the numbers do not add up to that? Each block is 660' x 660', except those which dissect the middle which are 660' x 990". The streets are supposed to be 132' wide. If we do the math: 660' x 7.5 blocks + 132' x 7 streets, we get 5,874', north to south. And if all blocks in an east west direction are uniform, that is: 660' x 7 blocks + 132' x 7 streets, or 5,544'. If multiplied, 5874 x 5544, divided by 43,560, we get 747.6 acres, not 640 acres. If the 132' wide streets were eliminated in the math, the city plat would only be 525 acres.

David B said...

Individual lots and city blocks are not square. City blocks appear to be more of the "golden ratio".