Past the Altar to the Holy Place
Let’s go into this paper here. Notice the little thing that looks like a top hat there. That’s a meager representation of the Temple. I’m not going to go into that, but I just want you to think about it, because if you’ll ponder that point, sometime later it might click with you. Maybe it will now, but I don’t intend to explain it well enough for it to click now.
But, this is a representation of the temple that God designed, that’s the sanctuary that is a representation of the things that are in heavenly realms that we can share in. First is the altar. That was where the lamb was sacrificed. That was where the atonement for sins was made, and as we come into the court of the Israelites, we’ve got to come past the altar. We’ve got to have the forgiveness of sins before we can come into the temple itself. “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” “The kingdom of God is neither here nor there, it’s within you.” We’ve got to come past the sacrifice for sins or we can’t enter the temple. Are you with me that far?
When we have the sacrifice for sins, the next thing that happens is if you’re a priest, you can go into the Holy Place. We could’ve read in Hebrews 9 how the priests carry on their duties in the Holy Place day after day after day. You read back in Numbers and you find that they had a lot of different sacrifices and priestly duties that they did every day. So this is the generic priesthood. All the Levites could go into the Holy Place and do their priestly duties.
Now who is the royal priesthood? That’s God’s intention. Not everybody goes there. Not everybody goes into a place where they are “ministering” before the Lord day after day. Some of them are satisfied to be Israelites and just go past the altar of sacrifice and stop there. They’re not doing the priestly duties. They’re just simply saved, just simply past the altar.
But God’s intentions are that we penetrate on into the place where there’s daily ministration of the Lord’s duties, to carry out His purposes day after day after day as it says in Leviticus and Hebrews 8 and various other places.
Then there is this place called the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place, and that’s where it’s at. That’s where the action is. Behind that curtain is the Ark of the Covenant, and in the Ark of the Covenant (again, in Heb. 9) was Aaron’s staff representing the Authority of God. There was the jar of manna, better known in the Revelation letter as hidden manna, that was given to the overcomers. The only manna that was hidden was the manna that was hidden in the ark in the pot.
The third thing that was in there were the stone tablets representing the righteousness and holiness of God. All of those things were in the ark. And as we will see later on, the Ark was Jesus. And the two cherubim that were seated at the top and the bottom of His grave cloths in the tomb were the representation of a Risen Jesus, like the Ark of the Covenant had the mercy seat with the two angels on top. It’s just a perfect foreshadowing of Christ as the Ark of the Covenant.
When we get through the veil by the Blood of Jesus and we Celebrate that Life, and we begin to taste the powers of the coming age which is available for every Christian -- not to study it, not to know about it, not to analyze it, but to live in the glory of a risen life! Like Stephen, he looked up and he saw heaven open and he saw the Son of Man standing at the right hand of the glory of God. That’s the way it’s supposed to be!
Jesus said to Nathaniel, “You, plural, will see angels ascending and descending from the Son of Man.” That’s the nature of a life that we’re supposed to be restored to. We have the opportunity to be restored to the glorious life that Stephen and Paul had and that Jesus shared with the Father. That’s what we’re supposed to be! Unto the full measure of the stature of Christ, not half of what Jesus lived! Not half of what He celebrated in His relationship with the Father, but unto the full measure of the stature of Christ. That’s what we were predestined to before the world was (Rom. 8). Those who would call on His Name were predestined to go that far if they’d pay the price, if they’d be willing to do that.
So we can go through the veil and not just go around doing the Lord’s duties like “evangelism” and “benevolence” and “bible studies.” We can actually move into the place where we see angels ascending and descending from the Son of Man. We can celebrate the actual presence of God and be like Stephen, “I see heaven open. I see the glory of God. I taste the powers of the coming age. I have rivers of living water gushing out of my belly.” Jesus said that’s the way it’s supposed to be -- the norm!
When Peter wrote about “joy inexpressible and full of glory,” he was writing to the strangers scattered around Galatia and Pontus and Bithynia and so on. He didn’t even know those guys! But his assumption was that they were filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory. That was his assumption because that’s the normal Christian life is to be through the veil by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10). By the blood of Jesus, to move into the Most Holy Place and to experience the presence of God. That’s where the glory of God was over the Ark of the Covenant. That’s where the manna was and where the rod was and where the tablets of stone were. That’s where the Shekinah Glory of God that you read about all through the Old Testament and that made Moses’ face shine. And Stephen’s face did that too if you remember. It’s not as if it couldn’t happen.
So that’s the picture that I want to share with you. It’s God’s will for your life and for my life that we go past the altar, past forgiveness of sins -- way past that into the Holy Place where we’re about our Father’s business, doing the priestly duties of God. Not just sitting on it and watching it happen but doing the priestly duties as a royal priesthood, a kingly priesthood.
Then thirdly, is to go into the glorious presence of God and to eat the hidden manna and to understand the authority of God and to live and walk in that authority and to share the righteousness and holiness of God. That’s a visual picture of what the rest of this is about.
Turn to 1 John chapter 2. Did everybody at least get a glimpse of that? Just a tiny, tiny glimpse of that -- this journey that we’re on?