The Sanctuary

Hebrews 8:1-2 “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at 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 erected, and not man.”

The sanctuary has always been known as a place that carries significance. Revered as Holy, the term derives from the word Sanctuarium implying a container for keeping something in—in this case holy things or perhaps cherished people (sanctae/sancti).

Contained within the Jewish Sanctuary or Tabernacle were articles that served as priestly ornaments representative of the Holiness of God.

The Ark (Aron) – A cedar-wood chest plated with gold on both the inside and the outside. It had gold-coated staves on either side with which it was carried. The Ark was covered by the cover (Kapporet), with the two cherubs (K’ruvim) on the top.

The Show-bread Table (Lechem HaPanim) – A cedar-wood table plated with gold on which the twelve loaves of the Show-bread were placed. It also had gold-coated staves positioned at its corners.

The Golden Altar – The incense altar (Mizbeach HaK’toret) had two golden coated staves positioned at its corners.

The Menorah – A candelabrum was made of pure gold with seven lamps.

The Priestly Garments – Four garments were worn by an ordinary priest and eight garments worn by the High Priest.

These items were representative of the depth of God’s nature as He relates to us. The Ark showed the judgement seat of God, the table of showbread representative of the Bread of Life that (Jesus gives), the Altar of incense revealed the Spirit and presence of God, while the Menorah gave symbolism to God’s perfection and order, the priestly garments not only displayed the perfection of our High Priest but also the pattern by which we will be clothed one day in perfection.

Isaiah 8:13-14 “The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

The dread of God’s judgement was motivation for appointing a High Priest. His unique privilege was to enter the Holy of Holies(inner sanctum) once a year on Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement, to burn incense and sprinkle sacrificial animal blood to expiate his own sins and those of the people of Israel. On this occasion he wore only white linen garments, forgoing the elaborate priestly vestments worn during the year whenever he chose to officiate at services, he would enter the Holy Sanctuary and give offerings on behalf of himself and the people.

Before the judgement seat of God we have a Sanctuary, it is Christ the Lord. When we enter into His presence with thanksgiving and praise, we enter into the purity of Holiness that He offers on behalf of His anointed.

Ezekiel 11:16 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.”

The distinguished rank of the high priest is apparent and the fact that his sins are regarded as belonging also to the people, He wore upon His chest the Urim and Thummim which contained 12 gemstones representing the 12 tribes of Israel. He alone entered the Holy of Holies barefoot, he alone wore the priestly garments of white and made atonement for himself and for the people.

Jesus bore our sin upon the cross, barefoot and naked, He suffered immeasurable pain and humility on behalf of us. We have been grafted into His vine, a spiritual heredity through Abraham that allows us to be counted among His people.

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

There were 5 Levitical offerings made by the High Priest.

  1. The Burnt Offerings–The burnt offering was a sacrifice that was completely burnt. None of it was to be eaten at all, and therefore the fire consumed the whole sacrifice. It is also important to note that the fire on the altar was never to go out.
  2. The Meal Offerings—The purpose of the meal offering was an offering of gifts and speaks of a life that is dedicated to generosity and giving.
  3. The Peace Offerings—The peace offering was a meal that was shared with the Lord, the priests, and sometimes the common Israelites. Jacob and Laban offered a peace offering when they made their treaty (Gen 31:43 ff). It was required to make offerings while making a vow of one’s life to God and thanking Him with praise while free-will offerings were voluntary.
  4. The Sin Offerings—The sin offering expiated (paid the debt in full) the worshippers unintentional weaknesses and failures before the Lord.
  5. The Trespass Offerings—The trespass offering was very similar to that of the sin offering but the main difference was that the trespass offering was an offering of money for sins of ignorance connected with fraud.

Jesus–Our High Priest

Hebrews 7:17-19 “For He testifies:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

Jesus is no longer on the cross. His sacrifice was one that only He could bear. His perfection modeled the priestly cleansing, His blood sacrifice was sufficient to cover all sin and separation, His robe is white and He now stands in the Heavenly sanctuary making atonement continually for us today.

Wherever we go, the sanctuary of the Lord goes with us. We have now been made His temple, He dwells in and among His people. When the enemy brings accusation, our High Priest stands there as a bulwark of God’s grace.

We have been made white through the greatest act ever known, the redemption of mankind. Jesus stands between you and judgement. He is our priest forever. We need not fear reprisal or grow concerned that we might err again, the Holy one of all Creation has anointed you as His own.

Today, I want to lift up Jesus…..for all He is and all that He has done. This is where our strength lies. This is our Savior.

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