CHRIST’S MINISTRY IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY
Introduction: Heb. 9 24 Christ appears now in the presence of God for us.
In order to experience the full benefits of the Gospel, we must
appreciate the work that Jesus has done for ua to the past, and the
work that He will do for us in the future, but most of all, we must be aware of the work
that He is doing for us NOW! If Christianity is to be to us a saving, satisfying, keeping,
power, we must know Christ in the present tense.
When we studied Why Jesus Came to the World (Lesson 9) we promised that at a later
time we would come back and learn more about the sixth “rung” of the Gospel Ladder –
Christ’s Priesthood – which involves His present ministry In the Heavenly Sanctuary, No
area of Bible truth is more satisfying or rewarding than this.
Discussion 1 – THE PREVIEW OF HIS PRIESTTHOOD
This preview was given to us in lesson 33, when we studied the
Earthly Sanctuary and its services.
Heb. 8:5: The Earthly Sanctuary was the “example” and “shadow” of heavenly things.
Heb. 9:8, 9: The first tabernacle was a “figure” for the time then present.
We learned that the Earthiy Sanctuary service was a ‘Telescope of faith”, by which
Old Testament believers could grasp the essentials of Christ’s sacrifice and heavenly
ministry. The value of this “telescope” is greatly increased for us by the addition of two
more powerful “lenses” – the Book of Hebrews and the Book of Revelation – ‘which are
supplied in the New Testament.
When Leviticus, Hebrews and Revelation are studied together, they provide a
remarkably clear and satisfying picture of the work Jesus is doing for us in Heaven now!
Matt. 27 : 51: “The veil of the Temple was rent in twain.”
The supernatural rending of the Temple veil at the very moment Jesus died signified
that the Earthly Sanctuary had completed its work. The earthly priesthood had now been
replaced by the Priesthood of Christ. From henceforth the attention of God’s people must
be focused upon the Heavenly reality to which the shadowy services pointed.
2 – THE PLACE OF HIS PRIESTHOOD
Heb. 9 :24: “Into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
Heb. 9 :12: “He entered in once into the holy place”.
Heb. 8:1,2: “A minister of the true tabernacle.”
Heb. 8:5: God showed Moses a heavenly “pattern”, or blueprint, from which the Earthly
Sanctuary was copied.
Heb. 9:11: The Heavenly Sanctuary is “greater” and “more perfect” than the Earthly.
Therefore, it cannot be any less real!
From these texts the conclusion is inescapable that there stands in Heaven today a
“true” tabernacle – a great, original Sanctuary – of which the Earthly was merely a minia-
ture copy, or model. Whilst it is futile to speculate about the size, materials, or appoint-
ments of the Heavenly Sanctuary, there can be no doubt whatever about its reality, or
about the fact that it is the place where Jesus performs His present work for man!
3. – THE PROGRAMME OF HIS PRIESTHOOD
Obviously, this programme follows the pattern that is already familiar to us by our
study of the Earthly Sanctuary.
If the Heavenly Sanctuary is the original,and the Earthly is the miniature or copy, there
must be a close correspondence between the programme of ministry in the sanctuaries
at least, in general features – else, what point would there be in comparing them?
The most conspicuous feature of the Earthly Sanctuary Service was its two fold
division. It was conducted in two apartments, and the full year’s programme of ministry
was divided into two phases – the Daily and the Yearly.
(See Chart No. 47-Parallels Between the Two Sanctuaries)
From this comparison we conclude that the two phases of ministry in the earthy
Sanctuary during one year, provide a key to the two phases of ministry in heavenly
Sanctuary during the whole Christian era.
The keynote of the Daily Service on earth was the continual priestly ministration of
the blood of sacrifice, and the continual rising of the incense of intercession, this corres-
ponds with the first division of Christ’s heavenly ministry.
I John 2:1: “An Advocate with the Father.”
Rom. 8 : 34: “Christ makes intercession at the right hand of God.”
Heb. 7: 25: “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.”
Rev. 5 : 6: “A Lamb as it had been slain.”
The keynote of the Yearly Service on earth was the judgment and final blotting out
of sin. This corresponds with the second division of Christ’s heavenly ministry,
Heb. 9 : 23: The Heavenly Sanctuary, like the Earthly, must be “purified” or “cleansed”
from the defiling shadow that sin has cast.
Dan. 7:9,10: The books are opened for final judgment.
Acts 3 :19: The promise of the “blotting out” of sins in a “last day” setting.
Rev. 22:11: All human destinies decided and characters fixed. Rewards apportioned.
“Unjust – unjust still”; “holy – holy still”.
4 – THE POWER OF HIS PRIESTHOOD
Three New Testament words describe the power of Christ’s priesthood. They are:
“HE – IS – ABLE”.
Heb. 7 :25: “He is able to save to the uttermost.”
Heb. 2:18: “He is able to succour them that are tempted.”
Jude 24: “He is able to keep us from falling and present us faultless” to God.
Jesus, in His present role as our great High Priest, is the inexhaustible supply of all
our needs. He is the evergreen, moment-by-moment REALITY which was pictured so
vividly by the various symbolic features of the earthly sanctuary:
The Human Priest – pictured ACCESS TO GOD through Jesus.
The Ark and Law – pictured RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE GOD through Jesus.
The Mercy Seat – pictured ACCEPTANCE BY GOD through Jesus.
The Blood of Sacrifice – pictured RECONCILIATION WITH GOD through Jesus.
The Golden Candlestick – pictured ENLIGHTENMENT FROM GOD through Jesus.
The Table of Shewbread – pictured SUSTENANCE FROM GOD through Jesus.
The Altar of Incense – pictured the CONTINUAL FRAGRANCE OF JESUS’ INTERCESS-
ION BEFORE GOD.
When we studied ‘The Saving Work of the Holy Spirit” (Lesson 7), we learned that
Jesus, from His place of authority at God’s right hand, sends forth His Holy Spirit – His
Other Self” – to translate these Divine provisions into daily reality in our lives!
What more could we ask? What needs do we have that Jesus does not supply?
Three other New Testament words describe the ideal response which
we must make to the truth concerning the present ministry of Christ.
They are “LOOKING – UNTO – JESUS” (Hob. 12:2).
This means focusing all our love and devotion upon Him. It means complete reliance
upon Him; utter trust in Him; total commitment to Him for time and eternity. It means
refusal to be satisfied with any substitute for Him. It means refusal to tolerate any rival
to Him. It means abandoning all reliance upon our own gifts, or merits, or works, or will-
power. It means personal, daily, moment-by-moment dependence upon Christ, “the
Living Bread (John 6 : 51), who is also “the Living Vine” (John 15 : 4, 5).
A radiant young Christian was dying. Her influence had drawn a whole community
nearer to God. Friends asked her the secret of her fragrant life. Lifting one hand to Heaven,
she said with calm conviction: “CHRIST THERE!” Then, pointing to her own heart, she
whispered: “CHRIST HERE!”
That dedicated Christian girl had found the innermost secret of the life of victory.
She was qualified to become a teacher to the world. “CHRIST THERE!” . . . “CHRIST
HERE!” That is the Everlasting Gospel condensed into four vibrant words. When we have
laid hold upon the saving work of Christ In this way, we have found the very key to