Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest,
who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of
the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For
every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that
this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest,
seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the
example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was
about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to
the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent
ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was
established upon better promises.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for
the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them
by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my
covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into
their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be
to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his
brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For
I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I
remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now
that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (KJV)
A High Priest –
The high priest under the Law of Moses had to be from the tribe of Levi, and the family of Aaron.
We have a high priest from the tribe of Judah, thus after the order of Melchizedek. The high
priest under the Old Testament had the responsibility to sacrifice for the sins of the people. We
have a high priest who sacrificed himself for the sins of His people. The high priest under the
Old Covenant entered into the Holy of holies once a year to present the blood before the Mercy
Seat. We have a high priest who entered into heaven itself, and continually presents His blood
before the very throne of God.
The Sanctuary, The True Tabernacle –
The tabernacle of the Old Covenant, which Moses was given the pattern for on Mt. Sinai, was a
shadow of the true tabernacle that was not made with hands. It taught those in the wilderness
that God was always with them, and was to be the center of their lives.
• The Outer Court – the World
• The Brazen Altar – the Cross
Halfway between the entrance to the court and the entrance to the Holy Place was the altar of
sacrifice made of bronze upon which the burnt sacrifices were continually offered by the priests.
It is here that the smoke of those sacrifices ascended into the heavens. Our sacrifice was not
offered upon an altar, but upon the cross of Golgatha (Calvary). Rather than a stream of blood
flowing as it did from the many sacrifices under the Old Covenant, we have but one sacrifice –
the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world – offered once.
• The Brazen Lavor – Baptism
Halfway between the brazen altar of sacrifice and the entrance to the Holy Place was the Brazen
Lavor, a basin of water used by the priests to wash themselves and make themselves clean
(ceremonially) to be able to enter into the Holy Place. This lavor represents our need to cleanse
ourselves as we come before the presence of God. This basin of water represents that process
of conversion, the regeneration which occurs culminating in the only place water is found in the
New Covenant, baptism (immersion in water in the likeness of the death, burial and
resurrection of Jesus).
• The Holy Place – the Church
The first chamber of the tabernacle proper (that portion which is covered) is the Holy Place in
which are the Table of Shewbread, the Golden Lampstand, and the Golden Altar of Incense.
This represents the Church (not a building, but the spiritual building made of living stones – the
people of God, Christians). Being translated into the kingdom of His dear Son, we stand upon
the ground which allows us to offer acceptable worship to the heavenly Father.
• The Golden Lampstand – the Doctrine of Christ (divine illumination)
The golden menorah which illuminates the Holy Place is representative of the divine
illumination which guides the Church – the Holy Scriptures, and in particular the New
Testament. This guidance is not merely for one day a week, but for each and every day (thus the
seven lamps on the menorah).
• The Golden Table of Shewbread – The Lord’s Supper
The table and the showbread (which was replaced with fresh bread every week), represented
the daily bread and especially the bread from heaven (manna) which God provided for Israel.
We remember the Bread of Life, our Savior, in the Table which we gather around to partake of
the Lord’s Supper. In that Supper, we remember the body of Jesus in the bread and His blood in
the fruit of the vine.
• The Golden Altar of Incense – the worship of the saints
In front of the veil separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, stands the Golden Altar of
Incense upon which the priests continually burn incense which drifts before the Mercy Seat, as a
representation of the people remembering God in prayer and song. It is representative of the
prayers and songs of the saints which raise unto heaven before the throne of God.
• The Holy of Holies – Heaven
The Holy of Holies is foursquare. It houses the Ark of the Covenant and its lid, the Mercy Seat.
These, more than anything else in the Tabernacle represent the presence of God to Israel.
When Jesus was crucified, the veil in the Temple (built similarly to the Tabernacle) was torn
from the top to the bottom, revealing that the way into Heaven was now open for all. The veil has
been removed for us in the New Testament. We have the hope of eternal life.
• The Ark of the Covenant – the Remembrance of His Promises
The Ark of the Covenant held a pot of manna, the rod of Aaron that budded, and had a pocket on
the side for the Book of the Covenant (the Books of Moses). It carried with the nation of Israel
remembrances of the fulfillment of God’s promise for provision, both physical and spiritual. We
know that God remembers His Promises, and cannot lie. He has before Him, and we have
before us in faith, the Bread of Life, the true manna come down from heaven. He has before
Him, the Branch, He whom is our high priest. He knows what He has given us, both physically
and spiritually – something that we need to make sure that we never forget.
• The Mercy Seat – the throne of God
The lid of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat. It is represented by two angels that are
bowing, as though looking into the Ark. It is before the Mercy Seat that the blood of the sacrifice
for the priest, and then the people was poured out each Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). It
represented the throne of God. It was here that the priests prayed and pleaded for mercy in
behalf of a sinful people.
|Lessons to be learned:
1. God is to be the center of our life. Even as the Tabernacle was place in the center of
the camp to remind Israel, so we need to remind ourselves that God and His plan need to
be at the center of our life.
2. One must come to God by the way of the cross. One had to pass the altar of
sacrifice to come to the tabernacle proper. One must go by the cross of Christ (see by
faith’s eye the sacrifice that was made for them) in order to come to God today.
3. One must cleanse themselves to present themselves favorably before God. As the
priest needed to wash in the lavor, we must wash ourselves in baptism (and all that that
means) to enter into the church.
4. The church and its services are precious. Everything in the Holy Place was made or
covered with gold. Whether it is God’s word, the breaking of bread, or the offering of
songs and prayers, it is to be treated with reverence.
5. The throne of God sits upon His promises. He knows what He has said. He will do
what He has said.
6. The blood of our sacrifice, the blood of the Lamb, is presented in the very presence
of God, as our high priest, Jesus, pleads our case. The way to heaven has been revealed.