The Temple…A Pattern of Heaven
Hebrews 8:1-13 ISV
1 Now the main point in what we are saying is this: we do have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven
2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tent set up by the Lord and not by any human.
3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, this high priest had to offer something, too.
4 Now if he were on earth, he would not even be a priest, because other men offer the gifts prescribed by the Law.
5 They serve in a sanctuary that is a copy, a shadow of the heavenly one. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tent: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”
6 However, Jesus has now obtained a more superior ministry, since the covenant he mediates is founded on better promises.
7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one,
8 but God found something wrong with his people when he said, “Look! The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors at the time when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. Because they did not remain loyal to my covenant, I ignored them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11 Never again will everyone teach his neighbor or his brother by saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because all of them will know me, from the least important to the most important.
12 For I will be merciful regarding their wrong deeds, and I will never again remember their sins.”
13 In speaking of a “new” covenant, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete, and aging will soon disappear.
It is good to carefully examine the patterns God gave us in His temple design and arrangement. And particularly so for anyone who entertains the hope of serving as a priest in Heaven.
We learn about the order, function, and the manner of that honored role by studying this pattern described in Hebrews Chapter 8.
Moses served as a faithful steward in constructing the Tabernacle exacting according to God’s instruction and conducted Tabernacle functions ritually correctly according to God’s instruction.
All the Temple priest of God in the past as well as the future have the obligation to do so. They have to be highly conscious of the need to exercise due diligence in handling their duties in order to do all things “according to the pattern” God has given.
All the things about the earthly Temple arrangement, were just a pattern or copy point to something much greater that exist in High Heaven that serves in the actual presence of God.
The earthly arrangement pointed to the installment of God’s only begotten son, Jesus, as High Priest for eternity. It was for His firstborn son whom all of this (creation) was created as a gift and as an inheritance.
16 For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things have been created by him and for him.
Even so, his father required him to prove himself worthy. And he proved himself so as Hebrews 3:6 tells us he “obtained” this “special” ministry.
The lord Jesus Christ as a High Priest was required to present a sacrifice. The high priest in ancient Israel first presented a sacrifice in his own behalf and then for others. Our Lord presented one sacrifice at one time for all.
Hebrews 10:11-12, 14
11 Every priest indeed stands day by day serving and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins,
12 but this one, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;
14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
Those who serve in the Heavenly Tabernacle are spirit creatures. Foremost, there is High Priest Jesus Christ. And there is also the “bride” of the High Priest.
The apostle Paul likened the anointed church members to the bride of Jesus Christ:
2 Corinthians 11:2
“For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ”.
It is to the time when those church members are resurrected to Heaven and join the Lord there, that the prophecies in the Book of Revelation are foretelling.
7 Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad and let us give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.”
8 It was given to her that she would array herself in bright, pure, fine linen: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9 He said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” He said to me, “These are true words of God.”
2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
Also, in the Book of Revelation, the number of members of this resurrected bride class is revealed:
“I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel:”
This is the same “great multitude” or “great crowd” seen by John in Revelation Chapter 7 verses 9 and 15:
9 After these things I looked, and suddenly there was a great multitude, which no one could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.
15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them.
144,000 is a “great crowd” of people to have assembled at one time. It need not to be several hundred thousand or millions.
Did you note where the “great multitude” are standing? Please reread Revelation 7:9.
When John is shown a “great crowd” worshiping, they are standing in the “temple”. Verse 15 mentions His “tabernacle”.
Where is the location of God’s tabernacle? Is it on earth? What does the Bible say?
Revelation, chapter 13, tells of the beast speaking blasphemies against God. Note what verse 6 says:
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
Therefore, it could not have been a vision pertaining to human beings because the Tabernacle is in Heaven and its Sanctuary is directly in front of the Most Holy abode of God as the pattern reveals. The vision is a Heavenly scene.
I have been to religious assemblies where there has been over 70,000 attendees. I found that crowds that were much smaller than 70,000, I could not personally count or number. It required a small army of attendants to get a physical count and it wasn’t exact.
There were 70,288 in attendance at the Super Bowl football championship played in 2015. Imagine beholding that number of people together in one place at one time. Would you consider it to be a ‘great crowd’? Would you be able to count them?
144,000 is a number of individual persons that no one man could count alone. A city with a population of 144,000 would be considered a fairly large city.
This “great crowd” is the assembly of Temple workers (the under-priest class) standing in sanctuary praising God and Christ and rendering the sacred service exclusive to the priesthood.
That is why “they do not go out” (Revelation 3:12). They now reside in the sanctuary with Christ (the empty upper room until Jesus’ was resurrected to Heaven). Jesus said, “My Father has prepared a place for me, and I must go a prepare a place for you”. The sanctuary (the Holy compartment) has become their permanent abode.
At both the Lord’s evening meal and at Pentecost, the Lord chose to use an empty (unoccupied) upper room. There is significance in why he did so.
Testing during this lifetime is in preparation for a most honored role of service. God in His wisdom chose to have all of His sons whom He has chosen to be tested as to their worthiness for such a great honor and privilege to serve. His only begotten Son led the Way.
Jesus In the Sanctuary-John’s Vision
In the Revelation to John, he is seeing Christ standing in the Holy compartment of the Temple of God in Heaven. Before Him at a distance are seven golden lamp stands which He says represent the complete congregation of those to whom He is addressing.
They are out before Him because they are human beings made of flesh and as of yet are not where He is, which is in Heaven in the Sanctuary.
However, He is seen in the Sanctuary holding “seven stars”.
Notice when reading that these “stars” are in His right hand. His right hand would have to be connected to His right arm. His right arm would then have to be connected to His body. And His body while He is addressing John is standing with His feet planted in the Temple Sanctuary.
These must be existing spirit creatures as they are already with Christ while He is addressing the complete congregation represented by the lamp stands before Him.
Jesus actually says they are angels.
“Here is the secret meaning of the seven stars that you see in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches”.
Yet many do not believe Him. Some have the teaching that these “stars” are fleshly men, and that Jesus is calling fleshly men “angels”. You can find many Bible commentaries that repeat this erroneous conclusion.
But, nowhere in the Bible are men referred to as ‘angels. This teaching does however glorify men into a position of unquestionable authority and leadership.
The angels mentioned have a ministry where the lamp stands are located which is on Earth. Therefore, they as mortal beings are exposed to possible corruption or failure just as human beings are. They are not incorruptible as proven by the fact that Satan and the other fallen angels were corruptible. So, He also warns them of the consequences of any deviation.
There have been Holy angels serving before God’s throne for eons of time. They have a share in priestly service (as the seven in the Revelation to John) and have not been forgotten or discarded. They now answer to Christ as their Master.
As you study the Temple references in Revelation realize that its pattern does not fit any of those of made by human hands in the past.
The pattern of the Temple in the Book of Revelation is much like the one shown to Ezekiel which describes thick walls between each compartment. These various functional compartments are within the Sanctuary. All Temple functions are carried out from within the Holy and not as before. All Holy attendants and utensils are all assembled in the Sanctuary before the Most Holy. These ‘compartments’ are the residing place of the chosen children of God (the elect).
God’s family of chosen children will be brought under His roof and into His Tent literally. His son and bride together will exist there. Their going out will be as God ‘goes out’ and that is by His Spirit. They will have inherited the attributes of the Son and the Father.
This is the Great City, New Jerusalem, seen coming down out of Heaven. The city exist within the Temple Sanctuary from which blessings will flow throughout all Creation.
“Who Really Is the Faithful and Wise Servant?” Matthew 24:45
What is required?
Whom has measured up so far?
This servant or ‘slave’ can only be approved (confirmed) after being both trained in priestly service and then thoroughly tested. Jesus has said approval will occur when he returns.
While it is possible to be born in a priestly lineage, one cannot be born a ‘priest’ of God.
To become a priest, a man would have be subjected to thorough instruction and rigorous training by the High Priest.
He must learn and understand the purpose and function of the priesthood, the duties of a priest, and how to carry them out precisely according to directives given by the High Priest.
All Temple priest underwent such training when God established the priesthood in ancient Israel. That Temple arrangement is but a pattern of the one in Heaven. Hebrews 8:25
That all cannot happen in a short period of time. It takes many years of growth and development; development especially of character. It takes many years for a human to become disciplined to strictly adhere to what is required and not be self-willed or arbitrary.
During their training, there is ongoing testing to identify strengths as well as areas in which that priest in training needs to exert more effort.
God does not test with evil. But He did permit Jesus to be exposed to the devil’s test. So too for those who follow.
That is how they are proven “faithful and true” as Jesus was declared at the end of his earthly life.
Since a priest can be called on at any time to perform any of the services in the house, he must be acquainted with all the duties and all of their requirements.
As you consider the question Jesus’ question quoted at Matthew 24, imagine working in a large mansion with many floors, each floor with many rooms.
Ask yourself, to the master of this house who among his servants would be of greatest value in service to him?
It would be the servant who has become the most familiar with the house. The one who knew what should be and what should not be present in the house, exactly where is was located, the various task, and how the various systems function. The most valued house servant is the one most versatile and useful to his master.
Clearly the servant who began his service at the lowest level perhaps even sweeping the basement floor and then over time successively moving up floor by floor while taking on more responsibilities would be of most value.
This servant would have obtained a comprehensive, thorough knowledge and would be more versatile and useful to his master. This one shows proof that they have lent themselves to the masters training and preparation program. They will have also exhibited due diligence and reliability….that they can be trusted.
This servant would have obtained a comprehensive, thorough knowledge and would be more versatile and useful to his master.
No one wants a leader who has never done the job! This kind of leader speaks about what he does not know by experience. Granted, there are many of such so-called leaders in this world. They are not leaders; they are mere taskmasters pushing someone else to do labor.
This is not the example Christ set. There are no such positions in Heaven.
Everyone works in Heaven because our Father and our Lord are workers who continue to keep working and the rest of the House follows their example.
Shaking someone else like a tree and then gathering their fruit is not an offering of your own. We must bear fruit of our own and bring it forth as an offering. We must produce.
Even Christ was not a ‘born’ leader. His father felt it good that He should groom and prepare him to be the Leader of all creation. His role as High Priest is the most critical to the house of God.
High Priest is the Chief Steward of God’s House.
Jesus stressed, “He, who would be greatest in the house of God, would least”, or would be ‘lessor’ before. Luke 9:46-49
At the time of Passover just hours before he was crucified, the Bible states, “He then took a towel, wrapped it around his waist and took a lowly position washing his disciple’s feet”, here setting an example of what he meant. John 13:3-8
Jesus Christ is God’s only approved ‘Faithful and Wise Servant’ who has been consecrated up to this moment and as Head of House he has set this example for any who will to be approved in His order.
He came from the highest possible station under God of his own free will to assume a role in the lowest order of intelligent beings…human and die.
It was a dirty task in the worst of conditions and there was no possibility of coming home alive.
He humbled himself in honor of his father willingly.
His ‘house servants’ that follow must show the same love for God and His house. Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, you must disown yourself and pick up your cross and follow me. Remember, that that earthly journey ended at Calvary in death.
As Jesus was fulfilling his earthly ministry, he was attentive as well as patient and did not deviate from faithfully following the course God mapped out for him to follow.
He withstood torment from the devil himself and yet he maintained his integrity even to death. His servants also have been being tested by the devil who attempts to break their integrity and they as well may have to die doing so.
It was only after Jesus had completed his earthly ministry and after he had been resurrected that he received the full value of the stewardship God entrusted upon him.
Yes, it is true that he has been blessed with God’s holy spirit from his begetting and he was again at his water baptism. Yet he had to go through a training and confirmation process created and arranged God.
Who really is the “faithful steward” to whom God as entrusted ALL of his belongings?
That is Jesus Christ, for whom God made ALL things as a gift of inheritance and has given him authority over ALL things.
No one lesser than Christ has been given all-encompassing authority over Creation (all of God’s possessions).
The priestly under class of priest who will serve Christ in Heaven will have had to meet the same requirements, be thoroughly tested out over his or her lifetime, and await until after his death on Earth for confirmation as occurred with Jesus our High Priest.