by Beth Voltmann
Did you know that God’s heavenly temple was the prototype for the tabernacle built by the early Hebrews? God gave Moses direct instructions for modeling every small detail, including the attire and service of the high priest.
“They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’” (Heb. 8:5)
The glorious majesty of the earthly sanctuary, resplendent with gold, jewels, and fine fabrics, was merely a shadowy reflection of the glorious temple to come. Similarly, the high priest, Aaron, was just a forerunner for Jesus. Aaron was to wear a breast-piece mounted with “precious stones” bearing the names of the sons of Israel over his heart whenever he entered the Holy Place. (Ex. 28:17, 29)
The book of Hebrews is replete with images comparing the earthly tabernacle and priests to God’s heavenly temple and Christ Jesus as our great and ultimate high priest. (Heb. 4:14)
“Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Heb. 7:24)
Now, consider the beautiful way that God weaves the Old Testament passage into the language used to describe followers of Christ in the New Testament.
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (Pet. 2:4-5)
We, too, are stones that have entered the Most Holy Place with Jesus. He bore our names when he went to the cross for our sins, and He now serves as our High Priest and King. Even more amazing - we are chosen to be a part of His temple and His holy priesthood as precious living stones. (1 Cor. 3:16)
May these words, inspired by God, wash over us as we pray today:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:19-23)