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5 Comparisons of the Tabernacle to the Kingdom

July 30, 2013

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As the Hebrews writer details the superiority of Christ and the new covenant, he shows the audience how the old was actually a shadow of the new – pointing to more excellent things to come. Everything they did represented the events to come and Christ’s kingdom.

The writer reminds us in Hebrews 8:5 that God’s pattern was to be followed exactly. When we understand just how tight the comparison is between the Old and New Covenants, we see why God has always been concerned with attention to detail.

Shadows of things to come

The Old Testament comparison to the Kingdom shows us the shadows reach back to the beginning.

Here are five of the items used in Hebrews 9 to compare the earthly holy place to the spiritual one:

  • The Golden Candlestick – As the only source of light in the tabernacle it compares to the only true light in the church – the word of God. We can see this foreshadowed in Zechariah 4:1-6 in a talk between him and an angel. Much like the candlestick needed constant care to remain lit, the Bible requires our frequent attention to stay fresh and growing within us.
  • The Table of the Showbread – Two rows of fresh bread, twelve loaves in all, were kept on the table. This suggests a number of things: 12 tribes of Israel, the provision of their needs, two Israels (physical and spiritual.) Luke referenced it as Christ’s kingdom (Luke 22:29,30)
  • The Golden Alter – This is a symbol of the prayers of God’s people. (Revelation 5:8) The fact that it was located in the holy place, in front of the veil, instead of out in the court area, (Exodus 40:22,24,26) shows that prayer was intended for those in his Kingdom and not generally for just anyone.
  • The Veil of the Temple – Its three colors suggest the Trinity. It was discussed in Scripture to represent the mysteries of the Old Testament (2 Corinthians 3:14-16), Christ’s death and triumph over it (Isaiah 25:7-8), the flesh of Christ (Hebrews 10:19-22), A symbol of the separation of God and man (Hebrews 10:20)
  • The Ark of the Covenant – The container of the most holy things laid before God. It had the tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod that budded, and an urn of manna. It is interesting that the Hebrews writer chose not to detail those things.

Great arguments like those made in Hebrews are the reason we can be confident in the Bible. It took 1600 years and 40 men to pen the book conceived and written by single Author. The cohesion and unity of all the elements make it clear that it was inspired by God.

The Arch of Titus includes an honor to the siege of Jerusalem, showing the spoils from the temple.

The Arch of Titus includes an honor to the siege of Jerusalem, showing the spoils from the temple.

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