THE TEMPLE IN HEAVEN
The reference in this place to existence of a heavenly temple or tabernacle requires that any notion of a literal or actual temple or court in some particular locale beyond the earth’s atmosphere be refuted.
Therefore, with the deepest reverence and humility, people should strive in these matters to think God’s thoughts after Him, and not to crush the knowledge of that upper and better world into the straitjacket of its revealing metaphor.
“In his temple doth every one speak of his glory. The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King forever” (Psalms 29:9,10).
Micaiah saw a vision of the Almighty hold court in heaven: “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left” (1 Kings 22:19).
Isaiah’s vision of God’s throne (Isaiah 6:1ff) located it within the temple and stressed the service of the seraphim, mentioning the Lord’s train, the smoke of incense, and the live coals on the altar.
Ezekiel beheld God’s throne above the firmament as having the appearance of a sapphire stone, and as the appearance of fire, and as of the brightness of the rainbow, a very high eminence, being invariably above even the heads of the cherubim (Ezekiel 1:26-28; 10:1).
Psalms 11:4 has “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven.”
Micah saw the Lord’s “holy temple” as far above the earth from which the Lord would come down and tread “upon the high places of the earth” (Micah 1:2,3).
Habakkuk has the renowned call to worship, “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20).
These revelations symbolize and typify facts and realities beyond any intellectual grasp.
That such a conclusion is true appears from the surpassingly extensive vision of the apostle John concerning the Holy City coming down from God out of heaven, in which it is categorically stated, “I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple thereof” (Revelation 21:22).
THE SUPERIORITY OF OUR HIGH PRIEST
- In human priests, if the most extravagant claims were admitted, it would yet be true that the dignity is only in the office, and not in the men. But when we turn to the true High Priest, how different it is!
- Here is not only the glory of the office, but the glory of the Person, infinitely qualified in his deity to stand between the justice of God and the whole human race.
- He is no mere dying man like an earthly high priest, but clothed with “the power of an endless life.”
- He was not made after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the oath of God himself, “a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
- He hath not entered into the tabernacle made with hands, with the blood of bulls and goats, “but with his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
- He is not one among many, like earthly high priests, but is alone in his own single, unequaled majesty, “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
- He does not fill a delegated office, like earthly priests, but fulfills his own office, and that so perfectly that he “is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.”
- He needs not daily, as earthly priests, to seek forgiveness for his own sins, but is “holy, harmless, and undefiled, and separate from sinners.”
- He does not minister afar off from God, like earthly priests, but is already “made higher than the heavens,” and at the right hand of his Father pleads evermore for us.
- He needs not to repeat his daily offerings, as earthly priests, but has made atonement, once, “when he offered up himself.”
- He has no infirmity, like earthly priests, but is the Son of God, himself God, blessed forevermore – omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite!
- Who perfect as he? and what wonder that, thus perfect, he should govern as well as atone?