Parallel Temples
Lesson 35
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If the High Priest Sins

If the high priest sinned, his atonement had to be presented on the Alter of Incense rather than the Alter of Burnt Offering because his sin was considered a corporate offense. As a living parallel of Jesus, God held the office of high priest to a higher standard of accountability than that of ordinary people. If the high priest sinned, his actions were considered more denigrating in God’s sight than anything a political leader of a country may have done! Therefore any sin committed by a high priest was sin against God and Israel (a corporate offense) and atonement was required on the Alter of Incense. (Leviticus 4:3-7)

Incense Pleasing to God

The Alter of Incense derives its name from its most obvious function; namely, the continual burning of incense. The object lesson for burning incense before God is this: Approach God with reverence. The sweet smell of incense predisposed God for grace and favor. If we want God to hear us and receive us, then we must approach Him with the sweet fragrance of humility and reverence. Although it has been more than 25 years now, each evening after her bath, our daughter would come running from the bathroom and jump into my lap, ready for a bedtime story. I still remember the scent of freshly shampooed hair that was neatly tied in a ponytail. How could I refuse such a sweet-smelling bundle of love and curiosity? Of course, there were moments throughout the day when she did not smell so good, but all that was forgotten at bedtime…

An offering of sweet-smelling incense is pleasing to the God who made the roses and the fresh smell of spring. The fragrance of incense invites Him to hear the prayers and petitions. Of course, the need for incense says much about man’s true condition as a sinner. In our cleanest state, we stink! I am not talking about body odor, but rather the stench of sin. Even the pagans burned incense to predispose their gods for favor. (1 Kings 11:8) In other words, God uses the burning of incense as an object lesson to demonstrate our degenerate and offensive condition to Him. We are sinners and we live in the pigsty of sin. Therefore, it is not possible for us to comprehend our sinful, degenerate state as God sees it. A bath or a shower does not remove the guilt of sin. The ever-burning Alter of Incense confirms man’s hopeless condition before God, but it also confirms God’s faithful promise. Daily, He masks our offensiveness with the fragrance of our prayers so that we can draw near Him with our requests. The burning of incense on this alter is directly associated with the prayers (petitions) of the saints. (Revelation 8:4) He hears our prayers. Few things move the arm of Almighty God like the sweet prayers of humble and contrite believers. (Luke 18:10-14; Hebrews 11:6) It has been said that if you wish to receive God’s favor, call Him by the name that He likes most, “Father.”

Alter of Incense Summary

1.      The Alter of Incense was dedicated to corporate services for the whole community.


2.      The daily services on this alter provides continual or daily around-the-clock atonement.


3.      The services conducted on the Alter of Incense point backwards to the covenant that was established between the Father and the Son the day man sinned.


4.      The daily intercession of Jesus in Heaven will terminate at a point in the near future and the Great Tribulation will begin.


5.      Twice a day, evening and morning, atonement was placed on the alter.


6.      The Alter of Incense was cleansed of defilement or recons crated on the Day of Atonement.


No Veil in Heaven’s Temple

The earthy tabernacle had a veil that divided the tiny building into two rooms. The first room was called the Holy Place and the room in the back was called the Most Holy Place. It appears that the Heavenly Temple does not have or need a veil. Even if there had been a veil in Heaven’s temple, just like the earthy veil, its function would have terminated at the time of Jesus’ death. The veil in the earthy temple is important for three reasons:

1.      First, as a practical matter, the veil was a wall of protection for the priests who ministered before the presence of the Lord in the tabernacle. The veil protected them from the consuming Skekinah Glory of God. (Exodus 40:3; Leviticus 16:2) Of course our High Priest, Jesus, would not need such a veil in Heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father and is not threatened by the glory of the Father. In fact, Jesus shares in that Glory! (John 17:5)

2.      The presence of two rooms in the earthy temple confirms that in Heaven’s temple there is two distinct phases in the Plan of Salvation. Just as there were two altars that had unique roles in the earthy process of atonement, there are two rooms representing two unique phases of service. The first room shadows the daily services of Jesus as our High Priest in the heavenly temple. The backroom, the Most Holy, shadows the services of Jesus as He concludes the Plan of Salvation. In other words, the earthy temple’s Holy Place and its daily routine parallel the “daily intercessory routines” of Jesus as He intercedes on behalf of the whole world in Heaven’s temple. The backroom or Most Holy Place and its annual service on the Day of Atonement parallels the final phase of Christ’s work at the end of the world in Heaven’s Temple. (Hebrews 9:25,26) So, the veil creates two rooms in the earthy tabernacle because there are two distinct phases in Jesus’ ministry in Heaven’s temple.

3.      Paul uses the veil as an illustration explaining how prior to Jesus’ ministry and death, man could only go so far in comprehending the salvation of God. The sanctuary service and its shadows are wonderful, but they are only shadows of the reality found in Jesus. However, when Jesus died, the temple veil was ripped open because temple services were no longer necessary. Paul emphasizes that everyone can see behind the curtain now and watch the ministry of Jesus our High Priest sitting at the right hand of the Father. Paul’s point is that6 we now have a much better revelation of God’s plan to save man. (Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:26; Hebrews 6:19,20)

The tiny earthy sanctuary does not physically compare to the glorious temple in Heaven Isaiah 66:1) but there are distinctive parallels between them. The Heaven-Earth-Linkage-Law connects the two temples so that the earthy temple reveals the services and processes of the heavenly. God’s response to sin can be compared to lemon into lemonade. God took the bitterness of sin and used it as an opportunity to reveal certain characteristics about Himself and His government that were previously unknown. Because of sin, the whole universe has seen a drama and dimension of God’s love that could not have been seen in any other way. Angels have a clear understanding of the properties of law, sin, penalty and grace. They understand the reasons why Lucifer was expelled much more clearly now. They also understand why God allowed Lucifer to live. The sin drama has revealed to the angels that there is no justification for rebellion against any of the laws of God, for God’s laws have their origin in infinite Wisdom.

The Ark of the Covenant

Physically, the Ark of the Covenant was a small box of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, about 3 feet wide by 5 feet long and 3 feet tall. (Exodus 25:10) It had two rings on each side through which poles could be inserted. (Exodus 25:12) The poles enabled priests to carry the ark from place to place without touching it. The lid or top of the ark was called the atonement cover or “mercy seat.” (Compare KJV Exodus 25:17; 26:34; 30:6 with later translations.) Two golden figures (cherubim) stood on the top of the box. (Exodus 25:20) The Israelites considered the ark to be the most holy piece of furniture in the earthy temple because the Shekinah glory hovered between the two cherubim on the ark. These items included the Ten Commandments that were written by God’s own finger on two tablets of stone, a bowl of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded. (Exodus 31:18; 40:20; Exodus 16:33; Numbers 31:26) The ceremonial laws that God dictated to Moses were kept in a “pocket” attached to the outside of the ark. (Deuteronomy 31:26)

A Hidden Ark

The ark was located in the backroom of the earthy tabernacle, inside the Most Holy Place. The High Priest was the only person allowed seeing the ark and he could see it for just a few minutes each year on the Day of Atonement when he entered the Most Holy Place. When preparing the ark for travel, the veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy was used as the first layer of protection around the ark. Then, the ark was completely hidden from the view by a blue covering. (Numbers 4:5,6) When traveling, the Israelites kept a radius of about a thousand yards (seven tenths of a mile) between them and the Ark. (Joshua 3:4) As the priests prepared the ark for travel, Jewish tradition says they approached it by walking backwards because to look upon The Presence was certain death.

God designed the ark and He hid it from view of everyone but the high priest. The hidden ark reveals a profound truth about God and sin. Before sin defiled the human race, God’s law was written in the hearts of Adam and Eve. They instinctively knew the Ten Commandments and Jesus often communed with Adam and Eve face-to-face in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:8) But when sin separated man from God, the presence of God’s law evaporated from their heart. The nature of man changed. Instead of having a proclivity for righteousness, man had a propensity toward rebellion. Furthermore, sinners could not survive the glorious presence of God. (Exodus 19:21) So, God hid Himself from man because He desires to be close to man. At Mt. Sinai it was necessary for God to cover Himself with dense darkness so He could be close to His children without His glorious Presence consuming them. (Exodus 19:18; 20:21) The darkness at Calvary covered the Father’s presence. (Matthew 27:45) No doubt the Father wept as He bowed near the cross. God is always near, but we cannot physically see Him because His glory would consume us in a split second. When Moses wanted to see Jesus, Jesus would not allow it. (Exodus 33:20) Consider the paradox: The natural eye cannot see God and live, but the eye of faith can behold His presence and rejoice! (2 Kings 6:17)

The Ark of the Covenant was hidden from view in the earthly tabernacle because God’s ways are hidden and mysterious to sinners. The carnal eye cannot see the beauty and wisdom of God’s laws. (1 Kings 3:7-9, 14; Psalm 95:10; Isaiah 55:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14) God understands the tendency of fallen man to make an icon out of religious things. God did not want His people worshipping the Ten Commandments or the ark. Instead, He wanted His people to understand and absorb the intent of His law through love, and worship Him with thanksgiving and obedience. The imprint of the law of God within the human heart is something entirely different from the adoration of a stone relic.

Ark to be Exposed

            Some scholars believe that the earthy Ark of the Covenant was hidden away by priests in Jeremiah’s day just before Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem. Some people believe it will be found before Jesus comes, while others claim the ark has been found – although no one has yet produced any evidence to verify the claim. Nevertheless, the Bible predicts the true Ark of the Covenant in Heaven will some day be visible to all people on Earth. The book of Revelation describes the dazzling wonder at the conclusion of the seventh trumpet (1,260 days into the Great Tribulation). “Then God’s Temple in Heaven was opened, and within His Temple was seen the Ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.” (Revelation 11:19) At that time, God will demonstrate the supreme authority of His holy law that the wicked have trampled upon. God will reveal the ark and its contents, the Ten Commandments, with a dazzling display of power and glory because the Ten Commandments are the legal basis to condemn the wicked. God’s vengeance is always fair, just and legal. Before He inflicts the seven last plagues upon the wicked of the world, God will reveal the basis of His justice. (Revelation 15:1; Revelation 16)

The Mercy Seat

The golden lid on the ark was also called the atonement cover or mercy seat (KJV). When the high priest entered the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement, he sprinkled blood on this part of the ark to illustrate atonement for a broken law. (Leviticus 16:14) “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Notice that Paul also writes: “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) So, blood was sprinkled on the broken law because the law had been defiled by sin. (Romans 3:23)

Divine Love

The Ark of the Covenant represents the character of god in an interesting way. The Ten Commandments represent justice and the atonement cover or “mercy seat” above the law represents grace. The balance between God’s justice and God’s mercy is defined as divine love. This is why John says, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) God placed the ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy Place because His character and government are the most important things He owns. (Leviticus 11:44,45) He will not allow anyone to bring reproach upon His holy name without a response. (Exodus 20:7) “For I am a great King, says the Lord Almighty, ‘and my name is to be feared among the nations.’” (Malachi 1:14)

The Laver

“Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the alter, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. In addition, when they approach the alter to minister by presenting an offering made to the Lord by fire; they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come.” (Exodus 30:18-21)

The bronze basin (NIV) or laver (KJV) has practical and spiritual lessons associated with it. In practice, the previous text reveals that God required a state of physical purity, orderliness and cleanliness among those that served in the temple. The ever present “desert dust” soiled the hands and feet of the priests who served in the temple and God required them to wash before entering the tabernacle (tent of meeting) so they were clean. Spiritually speaking, the application of water on the hands and feet reveal man’s perpetual need to be “made clean” of sin from time to time. Sin (like desert dust) defiles our hands and feet and we, like the priests in the desert, need to be made clean!

Notice the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’” (John 3:5) Some people misinterpret this verse to make it say that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. This is not the case. The thief on the cross was not baptized in order to be saved, nor does salvation come through rites, rituals sacraments or works. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Instead, a willing baptism confirms submission to the purifying experience of God’s sanctification. Christians need to be “cleansed” from time to time as they travel along the road of life. Baptism marks the beginning of a purifying experience. At the Jordan River, John baptized people into the kingdom of Heaven after they repented from their sins. (Acts 19:4) Washing one another’s feet as our Lord commanded serves as a “miniature baptism,” representing the fact that we need our sins to be washed away from time to time. The ordinance of foot washing reminds us who we are, servants – not masters. (See John 13:6-8.)  It is so easy to forget that our righteousness is as “filthy rags” in God’s sight. (Isaiah 64:6) God requires physical and spiritual cleanliness. The laver teaches God does accept sinners for what we are, but He requires, as a minimum, that we clean up before we approach Him. If this is true in the physical realm, what can be said of the spiritual? The Psalmist wrote, “Who many ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” (Psalms 24:3,4) No doubt this text is the basis for the adage: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Before we leave the matter of priests cleansing their hands and feet at the laver, consider the implication of this verse concerning those who will occupy mansions in the New Jerusalem: “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)

The Golden Lampstand

“Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flower-like cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it…See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Exodus 25:31,40) The golden lampstand was made of one talent of pure gold (about 66 pounds) and it had seven lamps on top of it. It was placed next to the south wall of the Holy Place, directly across the room from the Table of Presence. (Exodus 25:37,39; 26:35) Jesus reminded the Jews, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14; Acts 13:47) God wanted a special relationship with the trustees of His covenant (Exodus 19:1-6) and the golden lampstand represented the union of the human with the divine.

The lampstand was made of pure gold. Gold is often used to represent faith after it has been purified by trial and tribulation. (Revelation 3:18) The purpose of a lampstand is light and this was the spiritual purpose for Israel. Israel was chosen to be a “light to the world,” to represent God’s love for man. God required the priests to refuel the seven lamps daily with pure olive oil so the seven lights on the lampstand would burn continually through the night. (Leviticus 24:3) The oil represents the power of the Holy Spirit that enables the light of God’s truth to burn continually until the darkness of sin has been finally removed. The responsibility for keeping the lights burning rested on the priest of Israel. If they became negligent or careless, darkness would overtake God’s people. Just as God held the priests accountable for keeping the “lights on” on the temple, they were also responsible for carrying the “light of truth” to His people. The priests were “the keepers of the flame.” Unfortunately, Israel’s priests failed and Israel apostatized many times. History also confirms that, “As priests go, so go the people.” In fact, much of today’s social rot continues to escalate because of the poor leadership of pastors, priests and rabbis.

The Table of the Presence

“Make a table of acacia wood – two cubits long [44 inches], a cubit wide [22 inches] and a cubit and a half high [33 inches]. Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it…And make the plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as the pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. Put the bread of the Presence on the table to be before me at all times.”(See Exodus 25:23-30, insertions mine.) This table represents the throne of God. All blessing flow from His throne. The idea that the Table of the Presence represents God’s throne may surprise you, since in the earthy tabernacle, the focus is always directed toward the “hidden” Ark of the Covenant located in the Most Holy Place. The Shekinah glory lived within the Most Holy Place, so the second room in the Earthy tabernacle was holier than the first room. The veil obscured the Most Holy Place from the view of everyone but the high priest, indicating its extreme sacredness. These physical facts have led many people to conclude that the Ark of the Covenant must represent the throne of God. Here are three reasons why I believe the Table of the Presence represents the throne of God:

Reason # 1 – Name

“Put the bread of the Presence [shewbread, KJV] on this table to be before me at all times.” (Exodus 25:30) The table received its name from the twelve loaves of bread that were placed on it each Sabbath morning. (Leviticus 24:8) The priests baked the loaves on it each Sabbath morning and placed them on the table while they were still hot. (1 Samuel 21:3-6) At first, this practice seems contradictory to the instructions God gave Israel in regards to appropriate Sabbath behavior when He forbade them to cook and bake on the Sabbath. (Exodus 16:23) However, this bread was “special.” The twelve loaves represent “a serving of the bread of life” for each tribe. Jesus is the bread of life. (John 6:48) The fresh bread represented a spiritual meal for the twelve tribes from God rather than an offering from the twelve tribes to God. Putting “hot fresh bread” on the table each Sabbath morning was a shadow of the responsibility given to the priests. They were to offer “freshly prepared” spiritual food from God’s Word every Sabbath morning. (Matthew 12:5; Luke 4:16) The Hebrew words lechem (Strong’s: #3899) and paneh (Strong’s: #6440) mean visible food, having presence, within sight or showing. KJV translators indicate the bread was clearly visible – as in “the bread is showing.” Thus they gave it the name “Table of Showbread” (Exodus 25:30). The presentation of spiritual food on Sabbath morning through “freshly prepared” words of life is the primary meaning of the twelve loaves of fresh “showbread.” It is interesting to me that Jesus fed great multitudes twice with loaves and fishes. When the first multitudes of over 5,000 people were fed, Jesus used 5 loaves. (Matthew 14:19) When the second multitude of over 4,000 people was fed, Jesus used seven loaves. (Matthew 15:36) In all, Jesus fed Israel with twelve loaves of bread.

Twelve loaves of bread (along with other items), one loaf for each of the twelve tribes, were placed on the Table of the Presence for the priests to consume at regular intervals. The table also had cups, bowls and pitchers. (Exodus 37:16) When a person looks at the Table of Showbread in terms of the utensils and the food placed upon it, it became obvious that this Table represents “A King’s table.”  The priests were invited to eat from the King’s table because they were highly honored to serve in His earthy temple. Eating from the King’s was not only a great honor, but also it also showed intimacy with the King. It was common for Kings in ancient times to honor special friends by inviting them to eat at their table for as long as they lived! (2 Samuel 9:7) Even the wicked Jezebel knew the value of good cooking! She controlled Baal’s prophets by feeding them well at her table. (1 Kings 18:19) It would not surprise me to learn that Jezebel coined the phrase, “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

Jesus told His disciples, “And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22: 29,30) So, the Table of the Presence in the earthy temple is associated with special privileges granted to priests. It is associated with Jesus as the Bread of Life (John 6:35) who has come down from Heaven. The Table of the Presence reflects the source of these blessings because the Bread of Life was served to the people each Sabbath from the table.

Reason # 2 – Location

The Table of the Presence was located on the north side of the tabernacle. In ancient times, the direction of “north” was regarded as the direction of divine residence, divine judgment or divine authority. Divine destruction and /or judgments always came from the north. Notice these five examples (Italics mine.):

Isaiah 41:25        I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes – one from the rising sun who calls on my name. He treads on rulers as if they were mortar, as if he were a potter treading the clay.

Jeremiah 1:14     The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.”

Jeremiah 4:6       Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction.

Jeremiah 46:20   Egypt is a beautiful heifer, but a gadfly is coming against her from the north.

Jeremiah 50:9     For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed.

Now, notice the location of the Table of the Presence: “Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle and put the lampstand opposite it on the side of the south side.” (Exodus 26:35) No matter where Israel moved the earthy tabernacle, the Table of the Presence always sat on the north side. Look closely at the following text to see what the north side of the temple suggests: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hadst said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14: 12-14, KJV) Lucifer conspired to place his throne “in the sides of the north” because this is the location of God’s throne. He wants the adoration that God alone deserves. The following text underscores the importance of the “north side” of Jerusalem: “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole Earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of a great King.” (Psalms 48:2, KJV) The Psalmist describes the location of God’s throne as being “on the sides of the north.” These verses suggest the north side of the temple is where the throne of God is located. Since the Table of the Presence was located on the north side of the temple, it is reasonable to say the Table of the Presence represents the throne of God. But, there is one final reason that brings the question to a close.

Reason # 3 – The Seat of Christ

Remember that the Ark of the Covenant represents the character of God. The ark symbolizes the divine balance between justice and mercy. Because God is consistent and reasonable, it is possible that He can be understood to some extent by finite minds. God is thoughtful and purposeful in everything He does. God designed the earthy tabernacle to teach men and women about Himself without resorting to an overpowering spectacle. The vastness of god’s beauty is always below the surface. The tent of the Meeting was covered with common black sealskins. (Exodus 36:19) In other words, God could have “wowed” the Israelites with a Sinai cathedral dwarfing the tombs and pyramids of Egypt. He could ensconce Himself in some lofty and glorious grandeur that would have utterly embarrassed Pharaoh and the Philistines. He could have intimidated the Israelites into submission each week by showing great displays of power, miracles, sign and wonders from the mountain. On several occasions, God did perform marvelous miracles on behalf of Israel, but He does not want to be worshipped because He happens to be the greatest King in the entire Universe who has great authority and owns everything. (Psalms 95:3; Malachi 1:14) No, God desires His children to worship for different reasons. He desires our worship because a loving relationship between the Creator and the created is the only way to the fullness of life that He designed for us. Last, God desires our worship because the more we exalt Him the more we become like Him. The more we understand His character, the more we can appreciate His ways and government.

God seeks our worship, but it is for our good, not His. God will not force Himself on one creature because He is love. Jesus’ life is an excellent example of this point. He could have chosen any high-ranking, wealthy parents on Earth, but He chose to live and look like a common person. To God, our understanding of His character, ways and government are of greater value than beholding His glory. The bible says of Jesus, “He grew up before him [the Father] like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:2,3, insertion mine.)

When Jesus returned to Heaven, He was seated at the right hand of the Father. (Hebrews 8:1-5) If the Table of Presence represents God’s throne, then the physical location of Jesus (at the right hand of the Father) puts Him between the Ark of the Covenant and the Father – the perfect place for an intercessor! Consider the work of Jesus: He sits on His throne upholding the righteousness of God’s government (to His right); He sits on His throne exonerating the righteousness of the Father (to His left) and while in this middle position He is man’s representative before Heaven’s watching host! What a High Priest!

During the days of the earthy tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place was the focus of worship. The Shekinah glory hid behind the veil in the Most Holy Place because God wanted mankind to focus on the principles of His government of love and the righteous ways more than His veiled glory. Still, the evidence indicates that the banquet Table of the Presence was the source of the Bread of Life. In addition, the Table of the Presence was always physically located on the north side of the temple. The Table of the Presence symbolizes the throne where His presence is located.  If these conclusions are true, then the physical location of Jesus at the right hand of the Father makes a great deal of sense. Jesus sits where you would expect a mediator to sit, between God the Father and the Ark of the Covenant.

Summary – Temple Furniture

We have briefly examined the purpose of each item in the earthy temple and how it parallels a corresponding item in Heaven’s temple. Much more could be written on this topic, so much more, that it could fill many books. We know that God is thoughtful and deliberate in all that He does and the parallels between the earthy and the heavenly temple are no exception. The essential purpose for understanding the earthy tabernacle today is twofold. First, the services of the earthy temple provide a backdrop against which we can test our ideas and understanding of the Plan of Salvation. Second, parallel operations between the earthy temple and the heavenly temple explain a number of processes and events that take place in the book of Revelation. The ways of God in redeeming man are revealed in His temple. We have covered a lot of information, so perhaps a brief summary about temple furniture will be helpful.

1.          Services at the Alter of Burnt Offering pointed forward to the death of Jesus as man’s perfect substitute.

2.          Daily services at the Alter of Incense pointed backward to the day intercession by Jesus began for sinful man. The covenant Jesus made with the Father to save man currently stands between the wrath of God and a condemned world.

3.          The Ark of the Covenant represents the government of God. The wonderful balance between justice and mercy is called divine love.

4.          The Laver illustrates the spiritual cleansing that man regularly needs.

5.          The Lampstand represents the agents or trustees of God’s salvation who are to let their light shine before others for the glory of God.

6.          The Table of the Presence, on the north side of the temple, represents the throne of God.

7.          The Heaven-Earth-Linkage-Law indicates that earthy tabernacle services and processes are parallels of heavenly tabernacle services and processes.

Memory Verse:     “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay, ‘says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)


1.          After reading this lesson, what are Heaven’s Temple two major functions?

2.          God is concerned with levels of sin: ___________ and _____________sin.

3.          What is the only sin that cannot be forgiven?

4.          What is God’s vengeance?

5.          Can sinners be forgiven?     What process does God take with the sin of sinners who have asked for His forgiveness?

6.          What is the purpose of restitution in God’s government?

7.          Explain what is defiant sin is.  Can God forgive this sin?


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