Understanding Christ in the Hebrew Sanctuary

By John Thiel

It is important that we understand Christ in the sanctuary as the Psalmist occupied his mind with the sanctuary.

Psalms 77:13 Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a God as [our] God?

As the psalmist contemplates Gods way in the sanctuary, as was said in Moses time;

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

They discovered a God that was incomparable to anything else.

Psalms 77:14 Thou [art] the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. 77:15 Thou hast with [thine] arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

A worshipful exclamation, God is so great, so precious as revealed in the sanctuary. The key is here, thy way O God is in the sanctuary. In regards to the way.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Thy way is in the sanctuary. Jesus said I am the way. Hence to help the Christian to appreciate the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, we need to study the sanctuary. The psalmist again prompts us to do that.

Psalms 63:1 O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; :2 To see thy power and thy glory, so [as] I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness [is] better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

He thirsted for God, he related to God in a very personal and affectionate manner. He thirsted for him in a dry and thirsty land to see his power and his glory. Then he makes a connection. For us to be able to see his glory, to see his love, to appreciate and to be able to live in the presence of God, to be able to behold the glory and not be overwhelmed and destroyed by the brightness of his glory, the sanctuary has been portrayed by which we can gain a progressive appreciation of all his glory. This is what we will look at now;

  • Firstly to find Jesus in the sanctuary
  • Secondly to find his activity there

Let us examine the sanctuary and look at the detail given so we can seek for Jesus in that detail. To get the detail of the sanctuary you would have to read right through Exodus chapters 25-27. It is also summarised Hebrews 9;

Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first [covenant] had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein [was] the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God]. 7 But into the second [went] the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and [for] the errors of the people:

There is a very brief account and the rest of it we have already known of the past. There was the courtyard. Here was the place where the people came in through this veil to sacrifice their sin offering on the altar of sacrifice. There went the priest into the sanctuary. Before he went, he had to wash in the laver. To see that description and to find Jesus in there. We are looking for Jesus. The way, Gods wonderful way.

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Also in the upper room he displayed that in the law of Moses things concerning himself what would he have done.

The Court

Around the sanctuary itself was a court. The descriptions given the hangings of the court, were clean linen was the fence around it. Then as you see there, the entrance into the court, there was no place you could enter in, only through the front door. Incidentally, the entrance is facing the east and the altar in the west. It was quite important as when the priests entered they had their backs to the back of the rising of the son because of paganism. That court enfolded by white linen and the entrance only being one entrance.

John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

There is no other way to enter, there is only one way. Anyone who entered another way was violating the sanctity of the sanctuary.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

This is where Gods people would come to enter into salvation. They would come and confess their sins upon the animal and the animal was slain. Even to come in, they would have to come into the door. The very entrance with their sins was through Christ. Christ, is the door. There was the very way to the Father to the throne. To get to the Father you had to get through the door. Christ is the door. The linen, that surrounded the sanctuary, what does it mean?

Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.

Sinners have weapons pointed at them and tongues that lash at them. The servants of God who come in with their sin riddled life through Jesus Christ into the courtyard are protected. If there are people outside that want to do you harm, they can’t touch you. It is a refuge like the cities of refuge. It surrounded by protection, Christ’s righteousness, it is he through which they come. No one can do them any harm while they are in the precents of that temple court. As we look at the surrounds and the sanctuary itself, they’re the first door/veil, the second and a third.

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

I am the way, no man cometh to the Father but by me. As you go through the exercises of the sanctuary precincts you come through the first veil, second and then the third and then to the Father. No man cometh to the Father but by me. What is the veil? His flesh. Let us read something very thrilling as to our approach to the Heavenly Father.

Christ is not praying for the manifestation of the glory of human nature; for that human nature never had an existence in His pre-existence. He is praying to His Father in regard to a glory possessed in His oneness with God. His prayer is that of a mediator; the favor He entreats in the manifestation of that divine glory which was possessed by Him when He was one with God. Let the veil be removed, He says, and let My glory shine forth–the glory which I had with Thee before the world was (ST May 10, 1899). {5BC 1146.2}

What is being stated here? The human nature that veiled Gods glory, let that be removed so that my glory may shine forth. Have a good look at these veils. You arrive at the sanctuary at the beginning. The sanctuary itself houses the glory of God. The walls of the sanctuary are all gold. The light from the candle reflects. The mercy seat that we will be coming to, the Shekinah glory is so bright, if anyone but the priest walked in, he would be slain. As you come in to one veil to the next, through Jesus, the brighter glory shines each time. The flesh of Jesus lets it be removed and you come to the glory of the Father. Inside Jesus body temple, he had the glory of the Father. That veil his flesh had no glory of its own. The flesh of Jesus had no glory. The veil is a new and living way through Jesus Christ.

How different was the true High Priest from the false and corrupted Caiaphas. Christ stood before the false high priest, pure and undefiled, without a taint of sin. {5BC 1105.1}

Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race. By His suffering and death a new and living way was opened (RH June 12, 1900). {5BC 1105.2}

A new and living way through the veil. The sanctuary communicates to us a living path travelling through Christ becoming a human being like us and we together in him becoming one. We are able to embrace and enjoy a union with the glory of God inside of us. This glory was encased and encompassed in this sanctuary. We may also have this. The discovery of Jesus in the veils of the sanctuary and his flesh that shields us as we travel to wards the glory gets brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

It starts of bright, and then gets brighter as we travel through the sanctuary. The mind becomes accustomed as it becomes brighter and brighter as we come through the first veil in through courtyard. The first object we come across is the Altar of Burnt Offering.

The Altar of Burnt Offering

Exodus 27:1 And thou shalt make an altar [of] shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof [shall be] three cubits.

What did brass represent regarding Jesus? Brass is a metal that has two metals mingled within. One is copper and one is tin, these are mingled together to make brass. Let us look at the value of copper.

Ezra 8:27 Also twenty basins of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.

According to scripture, copper is also precious like gold. Even today it has a huge value. Gold and copper are precious metals. They are pure and precious. Now let us look at tin;

Isaiah 1:25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:

Tin is compared with sin. What is sin? Something to be purged, something to be cleansed out of our life. Sin, dross, impurity. It is not a very valuable metal. Copper is something pure and as precious as gold and combined together with tin what does this represent? Where is Jesus here?

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Jesus came as a combination being. He was pure as gold mingled with sin in the flesh. That was the brass. While Jesus was on earth he was all the instruments inside the court of the sanctuary which are all brass. He was the brazen altar of sacrifice and the laver. On earth in the outer court, Jesus represents brass. Both of these, the laver and the altar of sacrifice can be dealt with both by the death of Jesus, the sacrifice and baptism. We are washed by Jesus. This is Jesus reflected in the sanctuary. I am the way. Then he takes us to the next veil by our co-operation in Jesus Christ.

The Laver

A place where priests washed themselves before they went into the sanctuary. What is Jesus? He is the water of life, the place and the word.

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

He is the one through his word, he is the word himself. We are washed by the water and the word. What I participate in as I study Gods word, it brain washes me from wrong ideas and my brain changes as its being washed in the laver in the precious life of Jesus Christ. The shedding of his blood and the word that he is. These are all aspects that we can find relief in Jesus.

The Candlestick

The candlestick was made of pure gold, no sin there. Purity.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Inside this enclosed tent covered with badger skins and other furs so no light could come, this place with no windows, there is the light shining.

John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 1:9 [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man

The Bread

John 6:48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your Fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

We want to have life eternal? We must eat Jesus which is the bread. Then to qualify perfectly;

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

Everything you study in the bible is Jesus. If we would only always remember before we start to open the bible and read, we are meant to be choosing to look for Jesus in everything we read. Jesus is that bread. It is the spirit that makes the bible alive to me. The spirit of Jesus. They will have life that eat of Jesus like that. Bread in the sanctuary. The table of shewbread was on a table of gold.

Exodus 25:24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. 25 And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.

The bread was sitting on the table, which had a crown around it. What did that mean? What was that place?

Isaiah 28:5  And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

The bread of life Jesus Christ has a throne that he sits upon. When you look at the altar of incense, can you see a crown? The ark of the covenant also has a crown. How many crowns? Three. Who sits on each one? Jesus on shewbread, The Holy Spirit prayers, and the Father the ark of covenant. Why were the thrones cast down and put into place? The ancient of days did sit and Jesus came to the ancient of days. Why did they have to set up the seats? The throne was moved into the most holy place. This throne is the same as this one. The alter of incense and the ark of the covenant. When you study the creatures in heaven and how they moved about, they were moving from there to there. In between them were coals, where it says take the coal from you, a hand pulled it out. The altar of incense is part of the throne. Here is Jesus and here is the Father and they are sitting in close activity.

The Altar of Incense

What was on the altar of incense? The crushed herbs that were described in the old testament. The incense rose up to the Father.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.

The crushing of the herbs represented Jesus. There on the altar of incense on those coals Jesus was cast as a sacrifice. He arose before God as a sweet smelling savour. The sacrifice of Jesus is all there, not in the form of an animal, but as an herb. You can find Jesus in every aspect of the sanctuary.

The Ark of the Covenant

Exodus 25:10 And they shall make an ark [of] shittim wood: two cubits and a half [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.

Exodus 25:17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat [of] pure gold: two cubits and a half [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 18 And thou shalt make two cherubims [of] gold, [of] beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: [even] of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth [their] wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces [shall look] one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which [are] upon the ark of the testimony, of all [things] which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

Did you notice how big the mercy seat is? It’s the lid of the ark. On each two cherubim’s sit. There we have Gods glory in completeness. In conclusion, Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. The whole study of the sanctuary and all its instruments plus the work of the high priest, is all the work of Jesus Christ bringing us to the glory of the Father. The work of the high priest in the laver, veil, candle stick, the bread, the incense, and once a year going into the most holy place. It is all the work of Jesus Christ in every detail to bring us to the glory of God. If they will come through Jesus, he will be able to dwell with them. Ultimately to dwell with him forever. As part of the glorious harmony of the Godhead.

Hebrews 8:5 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 showed to thee in the mount.

Hebrews 9:9 Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Here was the figure, on the Hebrew temple, everything that prefigured Christ, the reality.

Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This [is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 [It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Jesus is the function of all these things as they were given in the sanctuary on earth. He is the one who is ministering there. He is ministering a cleansing activity and a bonding activity. How much we talk about this. How people continually want to be bonded together. Every detail of the sanctuary, there can be bonding elements. The very fact copper is bonded with tin. All these things are precious realities that we are to be fascinated by and thrilled to see that God has not forgotten anything in the process.

In giving us His word, God has put us in possession of every truth essential for our salvation. Thousands have drawn water from these wells of life, yet there is no diminishing of the supply. Thousands have set the Lord before them, and by beholding have been changed into the same image. Their spirit burns within them as they speak of His character, telling what Christ is to them, and what they are to Christ. But these searchers have not exhausted these grand and holy themes. Thousands more may engage in the work of searching out the mysteries of salvation. As the life of Christ and the character of His mission are dwelt upon, rays of light will shine forth more distinctly at every attempt to discover truth. Each fresh search will reveal something more deeply interesting than has yet been unfolded. The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last; and looking to heaven with its unnumbered years he will exclaim, “Great is the mystery of godliness.” {COL 133.4}

In eternity we shall learn that which, had we received the enlightenment it was possible to obtain here, would have opened our understanding. The themes of redemption will employ the hearts and minds and tongues of the redeemed through the everlasting ages. They will understand the truths which Christ longed to open to His disciples, but which they did not have faith to grasp. Forever and forever new views of the perfection and glory of Christ will appear. Through endless ages will the faithful Householder bring forth from His treasure things new and old. {COL 134.1}

It is a great privilege we have to do that. The nearer you get to the throne of God, the closer you will become like him. As we study these subjects, go deeper, there is much more. We could be in advance for what we will learn in eternity one day. We can get it here. There is a field of rejoicing. We can do it here. We can have a union and communion that is heavenly. Let us take hold of this to marvel and be charmed with Christ and the sanctuary. Then all the other charms of the world can’t distract us anymore.


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Posted on 04/09/2009, in Hebrew Sanctuary, The Day of Atonement. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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