The Shadow and Copy of the True Tent.
(Continuing “Our Great High Priest”)
a. Engage: A week ago most of us had never heard of the digital game
Pokemon Go. Briefly for those who are still in the dark it is a search
and find challenge generated by an application that is downloaded to
cell phones. GPS Coordinates are given to show where little creatures
are hidden. Gamer players then try to “find” as many of these
imaginary creatures as they can to score points. There are at least
two pokemon creatures right here around old first church and every
day this past week there have been dozens of people walking around
the church with there faces buried in their phones hoping for
Pokemon success. The game has become such an addictive rage that
the news reported last night that a young man in New Zealand has
quit his job to become to search fulltime for the 151 Pokemons hidden
on his island. Not content to have found 90 of them he seeks fame as
the one to find them all first. Whatever the attraction of the game it is
completely dependent on signs, pointers and directions. The game
would not exist without them. We could not easily exist without signs,
directional signals and pointers. We have become very used to having
an electronic device of some sort to guide us. Signs and directions can
be either words or symbols. The Bible uses both. This morning we will
explore two of the most prominent symbolic directional signs that are
given to us in the Scriptures.
b. Review: As you remember the past several weeks we have been
following the leading of the author of the epistle to the Hebrews as he
walks through the various ways that Christ Jesus is superior to
anything and everything in the religion of the Jews as given by God in
what we refer to as the Old Testament. Last week we saw five ways
that Christ is perfectly fit to our needs as our great high priest. We did
this be working through the list of his attributes given to us in 7:26.
He is holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and seated in
c. Preview: This morning we will move into the first 5 verses of Chapter
eight and continue to show the superiority of Christ as our high priest
by comparing the tabernacle (or temple) of the Levitical priesthood
with the “true tent that has been erected by God” We will do this with
i. A brief description of the Tabernacle in the wilderness that
ii. An explanation of what this Tabernacle was meant to
Moses bus instructed to build according to the pattern that God
showed him on Mount Sinai.
represent to the Jews and also to us.
iii. Showing how the present heavenly tent and its high
priest are beneficial to us.
any priest on earth or any earthly priest.
d. Big Idea; Having a great high priest in heaven is infinitely better than
2. The greatness of our high priest is shown by the perfection of his place of
service (the perfect tent). He ministers in a better tent. Now to properly
understand the excellency of this “true tent” we need to review the tent that
is called “a shadow and a copy” that was made after the “heavenly pattern.”
We need to review it because this is not a normal part of our study and
understanding, but it would have been to the Jews who received this letter.
a. What is this “earthly tent”? We are talking about what is referred to
the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.
i. This is first introduced in Ex. 25:1-9 and among other things
we see that it was a incredibly beautiful, but temporary and
mobile, meeting place between God and man, the symbol of
God’s dwelling with the Jews in time and space.
ii. Moses was given specific instructions about the
structure of the tent as well as its furnishings.
1. The Ark of the Covenant (25:10-22)
2. The Table for Bread (Ex. 25:23-30)
3. The Golden lamp stand (Ex. 25:31-39)
4. The Bronze Altar (Ex. 27:1-8)
5. The Altar of Incense
6. The bronze basin for washing (Ex. 30:17-21)
7. And specific articles of clothing for the priests.
b. It is the physical structure, which is what we will look at this morning.
iii. We will go into particular detail about the furnishings
later where they are listed for us in chapter 9.
We will describe the physical Structure and then suggest the
symbolism of the Structure.
i. The Structure The Tabernacle was made up of three distinct
spaces within its enclosure..
1. The Largest of the spaces was san open air court yard
surrounded by a fabric and wood frame wall 100 cu
(150’) x 50 cu (75’). The fabric was “fine white twisted
linen. Individual curtains were attached to bronze
pillars and bases hung from silver clasps and secured
with bronze tent pegs.
2. The second space was a room 10 x 20 cubits, or a5 by
30 feet. This room, called the holy place contained three
articles of furniture: a table for bread, a lamp stand with
seven candle holders, and an altar for burning incense.
It was separated from the open court by a curtained
opening made of fine linen woven with scarlet, blue and
purple thread. The common people could not enter this
space, it was reserved for the Levitical priests. If one
were to go into the second structure he would see
embroideries of angelic figures, and stars and planets.
3. The third space in this worship are is referred to as the
Holy of Holies. It too is separated from the second area,
the Holy Place by a curtain of blue fabric embroidered
by figures of cherubim—heavenly guards. This very
thick curtain was meant to restrict everyone except the
high priest from entering. This is referred to as the veil.
This third structure is the smallest of the three only 10 x
10 cubits, or 15’ x 15’. It had a single piece of furniture,
the Ark of the Covenant. A smallest 1.5 by 2.5 box that
contained the two stone tablets of the Ten
Commandments, and the branch of an almond tree with
its buds. The Lid was named the mercy seat—the seat of
4. The second third space appeared from the outside to be
one structure; it was only from within that the two
rooms could be discerned. This two roomed structure
was surrounded be a wall 15’ high made up of
interlocking planks about 2.5 feet wide. These
interlocking planks were covered from top to bottom on
both sides with gold. In addition there were four layers
of curtains or tenting covering its entirely The first of
linen woven again with scarlet, blue and purple threads,
the second of goats skin, the third of ram’s skin dyed
red, and lastly a water proof covering that was made of
skins that we are not quite sure of—some translators
think it was badger skins, others sea cows or porpoises.
5. The whole was a stunningly beautiful structure set in
the exact center of the Israelite camp with the twelve
tribes set around it in order. God and his worship at the
center of their life.
ii. The Symbolism of all of this. What are we to understand
about this? Commentators both Jewish and Gentile have
diligently sought to know what to make of all of this. It is not
and will not be our goal to connect significance to every color,
curtain ring, and board in the tabernacle. It is however
appropriate to see a very evident symbolism of these three
areas. We can do this when we keep in mind that the tented
area was meant to be a representation of God’s dwelling with
the people and a place of his meeting with them. This dwelling
of God with his creatures and having a place to meet with them
is seen so clearly in the first pages of Genesis as well as the last
pages of Revelation. In Genesis we have the beautiful Garden of
Eden, a small part of the vast cosmos where God dwelt and met
with the first man and his wife. In Rev. 21:1-3 we see and hear
a newly created dwelling place of meeting between God and
man. What was destroyed by sin in Genesis three is renewed
and redeemed in Rev. 21-22. The last words of Scripture tell us
that all of the workings of God have been, are, and will be to
bring a restored order to the cosmos so that the original may
be realized again. We miss the meaning of the biblical narrative
and the study of last things if we fail to see this. As New
Testament scholar Greg Beale says it, “All Eschatology is
Protology.” By this he means all of the study of the future is a
study of beginnings. What is yet to be is what was always
meant to be. So then, here is what we can see in the tabernacle
in the wilderness.
1. Outer Court can represent for us the portion of the
creation where humanity dwells. Here is a dirt court
with a large basin representing the oceans. The whole is
surrounded by white linen to show the purity and
holiness of the original creation.
2. Holy Place then moves us from earth to the visible
heavens. This is why the curtains are blue for the skies
and this is the meaning of the Seven candles in the lamp
stand—one candle for each of the seven heavenly lights
in the skies visible to the unaided eye. It is interesting to
note the word light is used to describe the sun and
moon in Genesis 1. Sun and moon aren’t used. The word
lights is used ten more times in the Five books of Moses,
but only for these lights on the candlestick.
3. Holy of Holies. Lastly we have the invisible realm of
God’s dwelling with his heavenly creatures, a place
where no sin enters. This is the throne room of creation.
We are told that the dimensions of the Ark of the
Covenant are the same as the dimensions of the
footstool of a king who is sitting on throne. Christ our
royal priest sits with the creation as the footstool of his
c. The true tent being better than the earthly tent gives superiority to
the priest serving there. The heavenly is better—why? how?
i. For one thing, it is Permanent and immovable. When the priest
ii. For a second thing its Workmanship is the work of God.
sat down in the Holy of Holies in the heavenlies he sat down in
a place that is to exist eternally. It is always to be in the same
place. We will never need wonder where our priest is—he is in
the permanent, immovable, indestructible temple of heaven.
This tent was not erected or pitched by man. It is made
personally and perfectly by God to be his personal and perfect
dwelling place, his place of meeting with his people.
iii. Materials are of another sort completely. How are we to
understand or comprehend gold that is transparen
t or pearls
that are 144 feet high serving as gates? Psalm 104—God
3. Now then, what is all of this me
ant to represent to the Old Testament Jews
and to Us.
a. It was the representation of the presence of God with his people
b. It was meant to reveal the holiness of God (White, separated,
c. It was the place where people received their help from God
d. It is a promise of a yet to come eternal home of God and his people.
4. What about now, what do we now have that is better?
a. Christ himself dwelt, tabernacled among us.
b. We are the dwelling place of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit,
c. he abides with us.
d. We have access to help, help that is sufficient
5. This greater ministry is shown in the greater symbolism before us, the Lord’s Supper exclusive