2. Christ in the Hebrew Sanctuary Part 1

By John Thiel, Audio: Christ in the Hebrew Sanctuary Part 1

In our last study we learnt that God wants to come very close to sinners and to the Hebrews back then who He used to illustrate this.

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

God did not abhor them even though they were so faulty. He does not abhor any person who is a sinner as He wants to come close to them. In coming close to them, He wants to save them. The Hebrew sanctuary was a method by which God would come close and while they provided all the material for the sanctuary, Jesus said He would destroy this temple which was Himself and raise it in three days, His body was the temple.

In His body the people of God provided for Him His flesh and His hereditary so that He would receive everything that we have so God could dwell among us. Having died and risen again He went into another sanctuary, into the heavenly sanctuary to minister for us. We want to go into more detail of the Hebrew sanctuary. The sanctuary that the Hebrews were told to build was something they were to frequently consider.

Ezekiel 43:10 Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.  11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write [it] in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

God actually wants his people to take a close look at the sanctuary at all the fashion and forms thereof, comings in and goings out. Everything was to be placed before their mind so that they may be ashamed of their iniquities and measure themselves in regards to the sanctuary. If they would be so occupied in doing this, God would be able to help them. The psalmist occupied His mind with the sanctuary of the Hebrews. By beholding the sanctuary it would dawn upon those who would look at it in the detail of Ezekiel would exclaim like the psalmist.

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

The Way

To find our way to Gods ways, the sanctuary is what we need to study. Here was the direct point of what Jesus said to the disciples.

John 14:5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The way of God is in the sanctuary. As we look in the Hebrew sanctuary and do exactly what God commissioned the people to do in Ezekiel, we will see the way which is Jesus in the sanctuary as He says ‘I am the way’. As we go carefully through the forms and functions of the sanctuary we will find our way to the Father. As we do that it will help us to appreciate the very thing that God meant, I will not abhor you, I will come close to you, I will walk among you to bring you to me. Because of sin the sinner had been separated from God. The Psalmist is prompted to exclaim and so should we when we discover what the sanctuary is all about.

Psalms 63:10 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. 

As he saw God in the sanctuary, he saw His power and His glory and he exclaimed, this is what I want to keep on absorbing, I’m thirsty for it. I see thy loving kindness and it is better than life. This will cause praise to God. The people were told to study the Hebrew sanctuary so they could see the power and glory of God.

Our study now is to understand the Hebrew sanctuary in its connection with Christ – the way to the Father. Our first principle is to see Him in the forms of the house in the furniture and the actual sanctuary itself. In the next study we will see Him in the activities of the sanctuary. Today we are looking at the form of it. As we study the sanctuary and its form, we see it in Exodus. The purpose of this study is not to go into a long detailed reading of the whole three chapters but to glean the most important part out of it.

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. 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. 16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.

The ark of the testament is in the most holy place and the cherubim are on each side of the Shekinah glory.

Exodus 25:23 Thou shalt also make a table [of] shittim wood: two cubits [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.

The crown is around the table and it is overlaid with gold.

Exodus 25:25 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. 31 And thou shalt make a candlestick [of] pure gold: [of] beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.

It then goes on to describe the altar of sacrifice, incense and the laver as well. The tabernacle had ten curtains with fine linen and curtains of blue, purple and scarlet. On top of the curtains which were seven there was a covering of goat’s hair. Then there was the altar of sacrifice and the laver.

The Coverings

Exodus 26:7 And thou shalt make curtains [of] goats’ [hair] to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make. 14 And thou shalt make a covering for the tent [of] rams’ skins dyed red,

The goat’s skins were white and the ram’s skins were dyed and after came badger skins which was the last covering. It hung over the entire sanctuary.

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 mercyseat; 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: 

We need to study this not for the detail of what is in there, but to be applied to ourselves. This is the most important part of the sanctuary.

Although the Hebrews and the disciples in Christ’s time had the sanctuary in front of them, like so many today who know what the sanctuary of the Hebrews is all about, the disciples missed out on Jesus and the true understanding of Jesus in the sanctuary. That’s why they were so disappointed in Jesus because they didn’t know what Jesus was in the sanctuary. It is so important for us to see ‘Jesus the way’ in it. Jesus had to explain their disappointment in Him after He was resurrected. Recall the two miserable disciples were walking along the road to Emmaus.

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Beginning at Moses

Jesus started at Moses. Jesus then comes to the disciples in the upper chamber.

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Where did He teach them about Himself; that which was written in the Law of Moses. Show them my sanctuary. What for? That they may be ashamed of themselves and discover Gods love. Many are mere students of the form and the legalistic side of the sanctuary but they can’t see Jesus in it. This is why the disciples were disappointed and this is why early Seventh Day Adventists were also disappointed in 1844. They needed to know the detail of the sanctuary.

The purpose of the sanctuary is to permit Jesus to become alive to us. As you look at the sanctuary, the court was enfolded and surrounded in white linen. We already know how much white has to do with the righteousness of God, Jesus Christ. To get into the sanctuary to where God is, there were veils to go through – curtains.

The Veils

The entrance was on the eastern end of the sanctuary court. There were three curtains. They were described as blue, purple and scarlet. What are they? They are the entrance. Jesus is speaking as the shepherd to the fold.

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.  

If you get into the sanctuary any other way you are a thief and a robber. There is only one way to get into 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.

To enter into the first area of Gods way you must come through the veils. That is the door – Christ. Here is the first main Biblical description that identifies Jesus. The linen all around says, “their righteousness is of me.” We are to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness. He is the door.

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.

As we explore the fine linen in Hebrews and consider the veil, the door that you enter in, the door is Jesus, the entrance.

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;

The veil that keeps the entrance way veiled is His flesh.

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}

Here is the true appreciation of the symbolism of the sanctuary. We observe that the covering of the sanctuary was of such a nature that Gods glory could not be seen through the coverings made. It was totally covered by those curtains. The glory of the Father is inside of the sanctuary which the curtains veiled. Let the veil be removed He says and let my glory shine forth–the glory which I had with thee before the world was. As you look at the curtain being pulled aside a little, you can see the light shining through. It was covered and the covering was the flesh of Christ. When Jesus was upon the planet his glory was covered by his flesh. Recall when Jesus was standing before the priest and the priest tore his garment and when Jesus died on the cross, the veil between the most holy and holy was torn.

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}

Jesus’ flesh opened a new and living way when it was torn, bruised and lacerated. This is the sanctuary veil, the flesh of Jesus. This is one of the reasons why the veil was torn from top to bottom because Jesus flesh was being torn.

The Brazen Altar

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. 2 And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.

This was the brazen altar which was in the court. This was where the sacrifices were to be burnt. The lamb was to be slain there. This was brass. Let us look at the altar itself to see if we can find Jesus there. What is brass made of? What metals? It is a combination of copper and tin. What does copper symbolise?

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

Copper is to be equated as precious as gold. Gold and copper are very precious and pure. The symbolism of tin mixed with brass. What does that represent?

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

What is tin? It represented as dross. It is represented as part of sin of the human race. Here is pure copper and gold, a pure precious metal combined with tin in purity bonded together in one metal. What does that represent? Is the altar of any significance to find Jesus there?

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:

The veils were blue, purple and scarlet. What does blue represent? The law. His law is represented by the blue. The purple represented royalty. What does the scarlet represent? Sin. In the laver of brass is the same representation of Jesus. He was pure but the garment that He wore, the flesh, the veil was tin. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh as the veil had scarlet so the altar had tin. Here we see Jesus even in the brass. The laver was also made of fine polished brass. Here on earth which is the outer court, the Hebrew sanctuary represents Jesus on earth in the laver, altar and the veil. It has to do with saving us. He condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk after the spirit not the flesh.

We who have sinful flesh, Jesus partook with us of it and He walked with us in the same. In walking with us here on earth He condemned sin in the flesh so that brass doesn’t look as cheap as tin. The copper made it look attractive even though there was sinful flesh or tin in it. This is to help us appreciate Jesus. At the laver the priests were called to wash themselves before they went into the sanctuary. The water they washed with was Jesus as Jesus said He is the water of life. Jesus is in the laver.

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

On earth the laver represents Jesus who washes us which is the word. Jesus was the word. Jesus is in the laver, water and brass. Jesus reveals His way here on earth for us.

The Golden Candlestick

We now move into the first veil of the sanctuary itself. We discover as you walk into the veil on the left you see the candlestick. The candlestick was pure gold. In the first apartment was no tin. What do we read about the candlestick in reference to Jesus?

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.

As you notice the sanctuary has no windows. The covering was thickly covered by three layers and beside the layers underneath was the curtains. The only light that came through was from the Shekinah glory which lit the first apartment but primarily it was the candlesticks. Jesus describes Himself as the candlestick, pure gold. This was a dark place and it needed to be lit up by Jesus in the holy place and the most holy place by the Father. It was all veiled so the people outside would not be blinded by the brightness.

John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Jesus is the light of men. You will see how valuable this is when we study the sanctuary of the body temple. We are also in darkness and the only light that can light us is Jesus which is the candlestick that lit the sanctuary. Jesus is that light.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The candlestick is a reflection of the glory of God in Jesus Christ in His face.

The Shewbread

On the right hand side of the first apartment is the table of shewbread. There were six loaves, flat bread loaves on each side of it. There were twelve loaves altogether and the bread on the table with a crown around it. The table was overlaid with pure gold. On top of the table was this bread.

John 6:48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

 6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

 6:51 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.

 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?

 6:53 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.

 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

In the ark was the pot of manna. Jesus said He was the bread of life. You must eat this bread as this bread is me He says.

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.

Altar of Incense

Jesus is again represented by the gold throne of the table. A crown was around it. It represents a sceptre or kingship. It was right in front of the veil in the first apartment. The incense on top of those coals was smoking and it would come up and over the veil and settle down on the Shekinah glory. What is the altar of incense? The herbs sprinkled on it and it would smell.

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 sweetsmelling savour.

The herbs had to be crushed like Jesus was crushed in giving His sacrifice. The crushing of Jesus was symbolised by those herbs that were put on those hot coals and caused the sweet smelling savour to rise and go over the veil in front of God, this is Jesus again.

The Second Veil

We now come directly through the second veil. Each veil deals with veiling so the people would not be overwhelmed by the brightness of God. As they come closer and closer, the path of the just is as the light that becomes brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. As the sinner comes through the door or the first veil, he begins to see the light glimmering out of the second veil and as he comes through the second veil there is the brightness of Jesus the light of the world and he is conditioned to receive greater light. As he continues to walk towards the final veil finally by faith he is conditioned to take the full brightness of the glory of God. That is the path of the just to the Father in heaven. Jesus the veil brighter and brighter is being withdrawn so people can bear the brightness.

The Ark of the Covenant

We now come right into the presence of God in 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. 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.

Through Jesus Christ, the veils, altar, laver, the next veil, the table of shewbread, the candlestick and altar of incense we are right into the presence of God. I am the way, no one cometh to the Father but by me. If you look at it from top down, you actually see the cross. There is one line. Some of the furniture is in one line. The candle stick and shewbread are on the sides. There is the story of the cross. The ark has a crown as well.

Exodus 25:24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.

There are three crowned instruments in the sanctuary.

Isaiah 28:5 In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

Jesus is the shewbread, the bread of life, a diadem of glory and a crown of life. That is where Jesus is situated. The crown itself is a representation of the glorious rulership of the God of heaven and His son Jesus Christ. The description of the sanctuary inside was timber covered with gold. As the light shined, it reflected on the golden planks and it brightened up the whole sanctuary inside.

No Comeliness

Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him.

As you look at the sanctuary with the gold on the inside with all the glittering light, what do you see with the badger skin over the top of the other coverings? Do you see something attractive on the outside? Badger skins are not very attractive. Jesus is the sanctuary and on the outside were badger skins. Inside was pure gold. Inside of Jesus was purity but the veil on the outside was not attractive. There was no form or comeliness and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.

Jesus is the Sanctuary

Everything we study in the Hebrew sanctuary depicts Jesus on earth. The Hebrews began to see all those symbols as charms in themselves. Good luck charms. They took the ark once as a good luck charm as they tried to fight the Philistines. They were worshipping the instruments. As we are looking at the Hebrew sanctuary we are not looking at the real thing but what it is symbolic of.

The Real Thing

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.

What are these? What is the Hebrew sanctuary? While we have been exploring and seeing Jesus in it, it is only a shadow of heavenly beauty. If you just look at the shadow it is indeed boring but when people are affected by the glories of these kinds of materials, they glory in the temple rather than its true meaning. After a while they get so used to it as the Hebrews did, they don’t understand anymore what is behind it.

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;

There was no real value in this. It was symbolic. It was not something you could deify in itself.

Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

It is a shadow and not the very image. We have looked at the Hebrew Sanctuary in its forms and coverings and we are fascinated to some degree by its beauty but it’s not the real thing. It’s not to be deified. This is what humanity has always done, they deify the forms.

Colossians 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

In the study of the Hebrew sanctuary we can study the body of Christ in symbol and as we study this, we learn and continue to learn more and more as we look at it. This is why this series will take up to thirty studies because of what is written in the Spirit of Prophecy. Even after thirty studies we have only just scratched the surface.

“This is life eternal,” Christ said, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” John 17:3. Why is it that we do not realize the value of this knowledge? Why are not these glorious truths glowing in our hearts, trembling upon our lips, and pervading our whole being? {COL 133.3}

Recall the two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus.

  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. {COL 134.1}

We have looked at something that is to unfold and become more and more beautiful. This is the privilege and the thrill that we have to be able to pursue details in the sanctuary that we are to keep on studying so they become bigger and more precious to us as we proceed.

Amen.

Posted on September 12, 2009, in The Sanctuary Series and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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