- Online School
- About Us
- Contact Us
The Symbolic Sanctuary
Publish date: May 21, 2009
Summary: The ceremonies performed in the ancient sanctuary—and the structure of the sanctuary itself—are symbolic of Jesus' life and ministry.
|Share with others:||
The ceremonial law prefigured the ministry of Christ. We can see this by studying the ancient sanctuary. Moses had to construct the sanctuary exactly according to the pattern shown him on mount Sinai:
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:8).
... 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 (Hebrews 8:5).
The earthly Old Testament sanctuary, and the entire ministry associated with it, reflects the ministry of Christ on our behalf. It is also a miniature enactment of the much greater ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, of which the earthly sanctuary was merely “a figure for the time then present” (Hebrews 9:9). The earthly was a copy of the heavenly.
Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle (Hebrews 8:5).
Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary that was not built by human hands after His resurrection and ascension into heaven.
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 (Hebrews 9:24).
The price for sin was paid for at the cross. Justice was satisfied, but the ministry of Christ did not end there. Sin still exists and sinners still have to have access to God through Christ.
The teaching that Christ's work was finished on the cross is inconsistent with the model God gave us in the sanctuary. Jesus' death and resurrection only began His ministry in the sanctuary. He was the Lamb on the altar of burnt offerings in the outer court of the tabernacle, but we also must travel into all the other areas of the sanctuary to understand the fulness of His ministry.
Jesus still has many roles to fulfill before the sin problem can be fully eradicated from us and this world forever. We serve a risen Saviour, who is our High Priest, our Advocate, our Judge, and our King who is interceding in our behalf in the heavenly sanctuary. Read about these roles of God in the article Our Judge and Advocate.
We have such an high priest...in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man (Hebrews 8:1-2).
Read more about the symbolism of furniture in the tabernacle:
The laver and all the vessels of the court that were used in the services connected with the altar were of brass. The entire body of the whole burnt offering and portions of various offerings were burned upon this altar. It consumed that which typified sin. Sin separates us from God, and all sin must be put away before the sinner can be at-one-ment with God. Therefore the work done upon this altar was a symbol of the final destruction of sin, which will be necessary before the redeemed can enjoy their eternal inheritance. We must remember that Christ was the Lamb who was slain, and He could not begin the rest of the sanctuary work without first going through the sacrifice on the altar in the courtyard. The services in the courtyard represented the work on Earth, while the inner sanctuary work was for the work done in heaven.
The golden candlestick with its seven golden lamps was on the south side of the first apartment of the sanctuary. It was made of gold beaten into shape by the workman's hammer. Christ, in explaining to John the meaning of what he had seen, said, "The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches" (Revelation 1:12-20). Read more about the seven churches. The Church, represented by candlesticks, is to hold the Light of the world, Christ, high for everyone to see.
The table of shewbread, or showbread, was placed on the north side of the first apartment of the sanctuary. On the Sabbath day the Levites made twelve loaves unleavened bread. During the entire week the bread lay on the table. At the end of the week it was removed and eaten by the priests. This bread symbolizes the twelve tribes of Israel in that time. However, it also represented Christ—the Bread of Life—and His living Word that brings life. We are to eat this Bread of Life by reading the Bible and obeying its life-giving words.
The golden altar, or altar of incense, was before the veil in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The high priest alone was to perform the sacred duty of placing incense before the Lord on this altar. The altar and the fragrant incense in the earthly sanctuary were an example of the work our great High Priest, Jesus, is performing for us (Hebrews 8:5). Our prayers, like incense, go up to God with the help of our High Priest.
Romans 8:26 tells us that we "know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." This means that sometimes we don't know how to pray, but God can read our hearts, and through His Spirit, He is listening deeply to what we are saying. The sincere prayer a pleasure to God. He wants to be asked for the help we need because He so much wants to help us.
The broken law contained in the Ark was the only reason for all the sacrificial services, both typical and antitypical. The cover of the Ark was called the mercy seat, and was of pure gold. There is great consolation in the fact that the Lord Himself covered the broken law with a mercy seat; and then He, the merciful God, took His position upon that seat, so that every sinner who comes confessing his sins, may receive mercy and pardon.
This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
Is there evidence for Creation science? How does it compare to evolution? The following articles give insight in to these questions and more.
Can we understand the age of the earth by the rocks? What theory does the evidence support?
What does the fossil record show us? Is it all random or a defined science that we can understand? Where does evolution fit? Uncover mysteries in the history of the Earth.
As we study the genome, the molecule, and the atom, we see a vast network of intricate systems beyond our understanding. Were these systems really formed by chance?
How did this world change from the perfection depicted in Genesis to a world full of thorns, thistles, parasites, and death? If God made everything perfect, how could it have all been so changed?
Archaeology and prophecy have proven the Bible to be true. But what's so special about the Bible that makes it a point of so much controversy?
Music is a powerful emotional motivator that crosses cultural and language barriers. Its message can be understood by every culture and people across the planet.
What is the system of worship found most often in our society? Does it glorify God?
Research has shown that our sensitivity to stimuli reduces itself yearly by about 1%. Is your brain hibernating?
Beware of the television's abilities to hypnotize, alter moods, and even cause depression.
Like music and movies, video games are addictive and can cause behavioral problems.
What is the origin behind this popular festival celebrated every October 31?
Read proof that throughout the Roman Church's history, the Papacy has often claimed that the Pope is divine.
This book "Cross and Crown" is a powerful and thrilling recital of the most romantic and dramatic incidents in history to be found on record, told in the simplest, most graphic, and entertaining form.
The historian Ranke says this about Protestant-Catholic relations: "In the year 1617, everything betokened a decisive conflict between them. The Catholic party appears to have felt itself the superior. At all events it was the first to take up arms."
This article highlights quotes from historical and Catholic sources proving the Papacy's aggressive nature.
This article highlights quotes from historical and Catholic sources proving the Papacy's aggressive nature.
Language can be used to communicate both truth and lies. Learn about the religious doublespeak being used to pull the wool over the eyes of the world.
Hegelian dialectic thinking is applied in many situations in world politics. Often the ordinary people are used as pawns in the game of Hegelian psychology played by those who pull the strings of world control.
Read this classic work by Ellen G. White.
If archaeology and prophecy have proven the Bible to be true, then why is it a point of so much controversy?
Is Jesus really who He says He is?
Consider the crucial points of the Christian life with author Wendy Goubej.
Did God create sin? If not, where did it come from?
Have you taken a day to recreate lately?
Since the beginning of time, God has communicated timely messages to the inhabitants of planet Earth. It all started in Eden, with the first Gospel announcement.
Are miraculous signs the best way to be sure that God exists?
Dive into prophecy and history in this chapter-by-chapter commentary of the book of Daniel.
Join us on a journey through the pages of this letter from Christ to His people.
The greatest deceptions are still being formed in society today. Secret international alliances, the mark of the Beast, the New Age, and other issues are discussed.
How will Christ return, and what will it mean for His people?
Learn about the Bible's prophecies on God's judgment, deliverance, Armageddon, and the earth made new.
Learn from Paul as he teaches the Corinthian Church about spiritual gifts.
Is there more to death than the fact that it is the opposite of life?
Excitotoxins cause physical and spiritual destruction. Learn about the main types of exitotoxins and what can be done to avoid them.
Reports show that red wine may be beneficial to heart health. Is that a good enough reason to start drinking alcohol?
Get the truth about lactose, calcium, and the need for caution around dairy products.
Today's meat and dairy industries are focused on profit rather than health.
The agriculture industry is fast becoming reliant on genetically modified foods. Learn the facts about GMOs and the effects this trend is having on health worldwide.
Most of the bread products consumed today are made of refined grains. Are our breakfast cereals and "fortified" loaves as healthy as we like to think?
Do the stimulating benefits of coffee really outweigh the costs?
Refined sugar is addictive, destructive, and devoid of any nutritional value. Why does it continue to be a staple food across the world?
Smoking leads to massive amounts of sickness and death every year. Can you beat the nicotine?
From mammograms to prescription drugs, the modern medical industry is always presenting a new way to diagnose and solve health issues. But are these new treatments really healing anything?
There isn't one person I have ever met who knew anything about cosmetics, and that is because the chemistry of cosmetics has always been cloaked in secrecy.
Find practical ideas for dealing with depression in these articles about symptoms and treatments.
We are surrounded by unhealthy foods, unwise practices, and even harmful medical advice. Learn how to overcome these obstacles and choose a healthy lifestyle.
These graphs and tables can help you jumpstart your health routine.