“Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.” (Hebrews 9:1, ESV)
My wife and I have made many moves during our marriage. To the best of my knowledge we have moved somewhere around eleven times and have purchased seven different houses in these moves. Some of the homes we bought were better than others based upon the amount of maintenance they needed both immediately and over time. Certain things are better than others for a variety of reasons.
In the Book of Hebrews, the author has been stressing that certain things are better than others. He has presented the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the angels, the prophets, the patriarchs, and the priests. He has presented that Jesus’ sacrifice was superior to those presented under the Old Covenant. He also has shown that the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant.
Now the author moves on to partially explain the earthly Tabernacle. He has already alluded to the fact that the earthly Tabernacle was merely a shadow of the superior sanctuary in heaven (Heb 8:5). In the next couple posts, we will investigate some of the ways we see Jesus in the Tabernacle furnishings. However, today we will see several ways the heavenly sanctuary is better than the earthly Tabernacle.
First, the heavenly sanctuary is better because the Lord has set it up rather than earthly men (Heb 8:2). Even though God had given Moses the instructions on how to build it (Exod 25:40), it was still only a copy of the heavenly things (Heb 8:5). It was not the true Tabernacle in heaven.
Second, the earthly Tabernacle was temporal. Its materials were subject to decay and would require constant maintenance. In contrast, the heavenly sanctuary is eternal.
Third, the earthly Tabernacle was made for Israel. The heavenly sanctuary is built for all who would come by faith irrespective of nationality.
Fourth, the priests who served in the earthly Tabernacle, and the high priest were mortal men. Their ministry was temporal. The priest who serves in the heavenly sanctuary is Jesus Christ, the eternal God-man, king and high priest. His priestly ministry there is permanent. He is seated in the holiest place in heaven (Heb 8:1).
We who truly have trusted in Christ, are in some way already seated with Christ in this heavenly sanctuary (Eph 2:6), though today we can only see this dimly. However, there is a day coming when we shall join Him and shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2) in this glorious sanctuary in heaven. That will be a day of great rejoicing.