There is a critical passage of scripture that is almost always overlooked when talking about Salvation, the Sanctuary and the Judgement. It clearly shows that the Cleansing of the Sanctuary in heaven - the anti-typical Day of Atonement - is the same event as the Judgement presently proceeding in heaven.
In this Pre-Advent Judgement (or the Judgement before the second coming of Christ), God is determining who is to be rewarded with salvation at Jesus' second coming. It is described in Daniel 7 and 8 - and also in Revelation 4, 5 and 11. We will look at these and other verses to give an unmistakably clear context to this often "overlooked and important text". This note will strengthen your faith and show that we have the most solid Biblical teaching on this issue which has everything to do with our Salvation. It will be a great teaching tool to add when teaching about the Sanctuary and also to keep you from being deceived when some will try to discredit this foundational teaching.
Most important of all, we will see how the Judgement is not something that we need to fear. It is the Gospel given under a different symbol and is always "in favor", or "given to" the saints (Daniel 7:22). We will see Jesus as our Advocate, our Representative and our lawyer in this proceeding. He is fighting with everything at His disposal for us. In addition to this, the Father who is also our Judge is fighting for us also. This is not a judgement of fear but one of rejoicing, because it is where the saints receive "the Kingdom" (Daniel 7:27) which will never end. That is eternal life, the great reward of the Judgement. Only if we turn away from Christ is there reason to fear, but why do so when we have so much "in favor".
A Quick Summary Review of the Major Prophecies in Daniel
This chart below summarizes the critical events in Daniel 2, 7, 8 and 11 in order from first to last. It gives us the prophetic background and context needed for our "overlooked and important text".
Just a quick look at this chart tells us that the same empires and events are described by different symbols in various chapters throughout the book of Daniel. Here are the events in order:
- The Babylonian empire (605 B.C. to 539 B.C.). No symbols for Babylon are given in chapter 8 or 11 since Babylon's empire either ended or was ending when these chapters were written.
- The Persian empire (539 B.C. to 331 B.C.).
- The Macedonian (or Greek) empire (331 B.C. to 168 B.C.).
- The Roman empire (168 B.C. to 476 A.D.) - the Little Horn of Daniel 8 - 1st phase.
- The divided Roman empire (Europe today) - the Ten Horns (476 A.D. to 2nd Coming).
- The Roman Catholic Papal system (not people) and its 1,260 year rule (from 538 A.D. to 1798 A.D.) during the dark ages. This is the Little Horn of Daniel 7, and the Little Horn of Daniel 8 - 2nd phase.
- The Judgement in Heaven before the second coming (Pre-Advent). It is described in Daniel 7:9,10,13,14. Based on the parallel order of events, this is the same event as the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 (from 1844 A.D. to the Second Coming). THIS IS THE EVENT WE ARE LIVING THROUGH IN THIS PRESENT TIME:
- The future Second coming of Christ (date unknown) is described as Christ's Kingdom being set up here on earth represented by the great Stone in chapter 2. At this time God destroys the Papal little horn and the Kingdom of Glory is given to Christ and His saints as outlined in Daniel chapters seven and eight. This is also when the King of the North is destroyed and Michael stands up do deliver His people as described in Daniel 11:45 and 12:1.
This is the main point of this summary. We are living after the time of the Vatican's supremacy which ended in 1798 A.D. (point six in the list). The judgement before the second coming (also the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary) comes next (point seven in the list). After that the second coming happens (point eight in the list). Since the second coming is still future and the papacy's supremacy ended in 1798 A.D., that puts us as presently living during point number seven. This is clear and critical evidence that we are living during the Judgement hour in Daniel 7 (which is also the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary in Daniel 8). This is also during the time of the end in Daniel 11:40-45. This is the time frame of the Three Angel's Messages showing that they apply to us as this present time - ".. the hour of His Judgement is come ...". Revelation 14:7.
This is the first major part of the context where we will see how our "overlooked and important text" fits perfectly to describe this event. Let's get the summary of the second major part of the context.
The Plan of Salvation in Symbols and Reality
According to Exodus chapters 25 to 31, God gave Moses the detailed design of the Sanctuary, its services, its furniture and the garments the Priests had to wear performing its ceremonies. Hebrews chapters eight and nine tell us two main things:
- This earthly sanctuary was a copy, a model, and a pattern of the real Temple in heaven that the LORD built.
- Its ceremonies and services were shadows, examples and "copies" of the true work of salvation that Jesus our great High Priest is presently doing for us in heaven. He will continue these heavenly "ceremonies" and "services" for our salvation until the sin problem is completely eliminated.
Hebrews 8:1-51. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest (Jesus), who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2. A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
3. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
4. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
5. Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Now that the Word of God has made it clear that the earthly priests served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things", let us quickly summarize from the Bible how the services and furniture in the earthly sanctuary pointed to the reality of Jesus' Priesthood. Here is His Plan of Salvation in action:
THE COURTYARD: Salvation though Justification by Faith
The courtyard of Moses' tabernacle is in the picture above and includes items one through four in it. The courtyard (the TYPE or SYMBOL) and its ceremonies represent the experience of Justification by faith we have on this earth (the ANTI-TYPE or REALITY).
Step One (1) - At the Gate: The Lost Sinner Comes to Christ
TYPE (SYMBOL): The sinner brings a live animal (usually a lamb or goat) without blemish to the gate of the temple courtyard as a sacrifice for his sins (Leviticus chapters 4, 5 and 6). This gate was the only entrance to the sanctuary. It was to the east which meant that the sinner had to turn his back to the sun and face in God's direction in the throne room inside the sanctuary.
27. And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance ... and be guilty;
28. Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.
ANTI-TYPE (THE REALITY): In the same way, when we come to the Father, we present Jesus the Lamb as our sacrifice for our sins. We turn our backs from the world and false worship (the sun) and face God when we come to the Father for forgiveness:
I John 2:1,2:
1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2. And he is the propitiation (or sacrifice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Also, a lamb was slain at Passover in Exodus 12 and was called the Passover lamb. That was the symbol, but Christ in reality is now our Passover Lamb sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and John 1:29).
Step Two (2) - Death for Sin: Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness
TYPE (SYMBOL): After this, the sinner comes before the brass altar of sacrifice, lays his hands on the head of the live animal confessing all his sins - transferring them to the animal who now bears them (Leviticus 4, 5 and 6). This frees the sinner from all his sins. After, he kills the animal since it must die for his sins. The Priest then symbolically transfers the sins to the bronze (brass) altar by putting the animal's blood on it's horns.
29. And he (the sinner) shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering.
30. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar.
And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat ...
Through this symbol, God was showing the sinner how much his sins cost. The animals used for sacrifice were very expensive. They loved their owners and the owners love them back. It is like having a pet who is a part of the family. The sinner's action of killing the animal drove the point home that sin costs the life of someone you love and who is very valuable to you.
After the sinner's sins were transferred from the animal's blood to the brass altar, it (along with the whole sanctuary and all its other items) will later need to be cleansed from these sins once a year on the Day of Atonement. Atonement is only made for sins.
And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.
And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.
ANTI-TYPE (THE REALITY): In the same way, we present to the Father Jesus' death and blood as the sacrifice for all our sins. When we confess them, Jesus the Lamb takes them away from us and bears them for us and we are sin-free. We are saved at that moment, not once saved, always saved as salvation can be revoked if we go back to our sins. Just like how the sinner killed the animal because of his sins, so we killed Christ on the cross through our sins.
I John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 Corinthians 15:3:
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.
*These verses show we are not once saved, always saved for we can turn away from Christ after receiving Him.
4. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Just like how the sinner had to kill his lamb, we killed Christ our Lamb through our sins. We see the infinite cost of our sins. It cost Jesus His life and He is infinitely valuable to us just like the lamb was valuable to its owners. We love Him and He loves us back - just like the lamb loved its owners and they loved it back.
Like the transferring of the sins from the animal's blood to the sanctuary, a record of our sins is kept in the books of heaven. They figuratively pollute the heavenly Sanctuary and its items. They must be cleansed also by Christ's blood.
19. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law,he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
20. Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
21. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
22. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens (the earthly sanctuary) should be purified with these (the blood of sacrificial animals); but the heavenly things themselves (the sanctuary in heaven and all in it) with better sacrifices than these (the sacrifice of Jesus).
* The books have the record of sin since Jesus isn't literally putting his blood in the sanctuary.
12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (good or evil).
15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him (the Father): thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him:the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
13. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the wholeduty of man.
14. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Step Three (3) - The Bronze Altar: The Final Destruction of Sin
TYPE (SYMBOL): After the lamb was slain by the sinner, the priest had to cut out its fat and burn it up to ashes on the brass altar. The smoke from this would be very visible as it rose.
Leviticus 4:31 (see also verses 19, 26, 35):
31. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn itupon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.
And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar.
ANTI-TYPE (THE REALITY): The burning of the animal's fat to ashes symbolizes the final destruction of the lost being burnt to ashes in the lake of fire.
But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
9. And they (the lost) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are ...
Malachi 4:1,3 (this happens at the end of the 1,000 years in Revelation 20:1-10):
1. For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
3. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
Through the symbol of burning the sacrifice, God designed that we should see the awful penalty of sin (eternal death) and Jesus' infinite sacrifice to free us from this horrible fate. David in Psalms 73:1-15 was perplexed as to why the wicked prosper and generally don't suffer like good people do. He considered the meaning of the sanctuary ceremonies and the answer was clear before him in the next two verses:
16. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
17. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
It was clearly when he saw the fat of the lambs burning up that the Holy Spirit made it clear to his mind how the wicked will end. He then wrote it as the Holy Spirit inspired him to in Psalms 37:20 as quoted above.
Step Four (4) - The Bronze Laver: Cleansing and Baptism
TYPE (SYMBOL): While the priest is performing the ceremonial services, he had to wash himself to stay clean as God instructed with water from the bronze (brass) Laver.
17. And the LORD spake unto Moses saying,
18. Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his footalso of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
19. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
20. When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:
ANTI-TYPE (THE REALITY): This clearly points to Baptism - our being washed and cleansed from Sin through Christ, His blood and His Word. Jesus was baptized as our example (Matthew 3:13-17). All who will believe in Jesus must be baptized (Matthew 28:18-20).
25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
John 4:13,14; 15:3
13. Jesus answered and said unto her (the woman at the well), Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15:3. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells (i.e. Lavers) of salvation.
Being washed "by the blood" of Jesus shows that the water in the Laver is also a symbol of the Blood of Christ as Baptism is also.
This ends our summary of the Courtyard experience of redemption through Justification by Faith. Now we can see clearly that the Courtyard is a symbol of Earth - where we receive this experience. On earth we come to the Father in faith presenting Jesus' as our sacrifice for our sins. On earth, we repent of them and confess them. On earth Jesus was crucified as our sacrifice. On earth we get baptized. Finally, on Earth the wicked are burned up into ashes in the lake of fire, which covers the whole earth. This is why the courtyard is a symbol of the earth where God redeems us through Justification by Faith, and where the unsaved are destroyed by fire.
We can clearly see the wonderful and awe inspiring Gospel that God was giving to ancient Israel and by extension to all humanity in every age from Adam on down. At this point, the Courtyard experience has made us clean from our sins. We are justified and are ready to go inside the Sanctuary to receive Sanctification.
Step Five (5) - The Sanctuary
THE HOLY PLACE: Salvation through Sanctification by Faith
Before we go into the Most Holy Place where God's throne is, we must go to the Holy Place first. It has three golden items in it - the Candlesticks, the Altar of incense, and the Table of Shewbread. They are powerful symbols of sanctification - how we grow up in Christ after we have been justified. This is where God empowers us to live right, where He develops our characters and prepares us for heaven. There are those who would say that sanctification is partially or completely works based. Some go as far as saying or implying that it isn't a part of salvation but some kind of side work. These ideas are not true at all as the Bible tells us that by faith we are sanctified and saved through sanctification (along with Justification):
2 Thessalonians 2:13:
13. ... God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth ...
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Christ).
Also note that the whole sanctuary, its walls and all its items are covered with gold, a symbol of faith according to 1 Peter 1:6-8 - "the trail of your faith, being much more precious than gold." Even in the symbols, it is all of faith. Love is included in gold also because without love (charity) we are nothing and faith without love is nothing. See 1 Corinthians 13.
We will see that this sanctification in the Holy Place had to have the blood of the sacrifice (Jesus' blood) in order to make it effective by faith (the gold) in Christ. It is all faith based through love. Works are the result of it all.
The Golden Table of Shewbread and its Crown
TYPE (SYMBOL): As we enter the Holy Place with our backs to the east, this golden table is on the right to the north. The priest had to continually keep fresh bread called the shewbread on it. This bread was always to be placed there before God daily. The golden crown around the table's borders is also significant.
23. Thou shalt also make a table of shittim (acacia) wood ...
24. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.
30. And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.
This was to remind Israel that God always provides for them like when he rained down Manna - the bread from heaven for them in the wilderness. See Exodus 16.
ANTI-TYPE (THE REALITY): Jesus told us that He is our Bread of Life from heaven. If we eat this bread, we will never go hungry. The written Word is how we "eat" Jesus the Bread so we can have eternal life. Without daily feeding on the Word, we will go back to sin (which is to die of "hunger"). It is needed for sanctification. By feeding on the Word, we become more like Christ in character which prepares us for heaven.
33. (Jesus said) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
48. I am that bread of life.
51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
54. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
63. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
When taking the communion bread, Jesus in Matthew 26:26-28 tells us that it symbolizes his body. The grape juice symbolizes His blood.
26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave itto the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
This bread also shows us that God will provide for all our needs - physical and spiritual - as He did by giving Manna from heaven to ancient Israel in the wilderness.
Notice this table is made of gold, which means as we feed on Christ through his Word it is to be done in the context of faith (i.e. the gold).
1 Peter 1:7,8:
7. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Also, the crown of gold around the table represents our receiving eternal life (the crown) by faith (the gold).
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful (gold) unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
1 Peter 5:4:
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
2 Timothy 4:8:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
The Candlestick of Gold with Seven Candles
TYPE (SYMBOL): The priests were to keep the light in the seven candles continually lighted every day always before the Lord.
31. And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold ...
37. And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
They had to provide pure oil from olives to do this.
20. And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.
ANTI-TYPE (THE REALITY): The light from the seven candles primarily symbolized Christ who said "I am the Light of the world" (John 8:12). Also, the Word of God is a Lamp and a Light (Psalms 119:105) so we won't be deceived into darkness. The Law of God is also symbolized by this candlestick light. Having pure doctrines centered in Christ and his Law is a part of this Light. False doctrines cannot be a part of sanctification.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
The oil needed to light the lamp represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives, Who keeps Christ the Light before our minds and hearts always. All over the scriptures, oil was used to anoint people as a sign that the Holy Spirit was with them. Anointing with oil symbolizes the reality of being anointed with the Holy Spirit. For example, when Samuel anointed Saul with oil, the Spirit came upon him.
1 Samuel 16:13:
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward...
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river, he was then anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
(Jesus said) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ...
The angel in Zechariah's vision of the olive trees (with their oil of course) and candlestick told him they symbolize "the Word of the LORD ... saying, 'not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit', saith the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 4:1-6. Now we can see the symbol of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. Five were sanctified by the Spirit having oil in their lamps. The other five, though claiming Christ held on to their sins and therefore had no oil. They had the courtyard experience of Justification, but they didn't take part of all the Holy Place experience of sanctification and therefore were lost. The shows how much we need the Holy Spirit day to day to keep us from sinning and falling away from Christ.
Notice again that the candlestick is pure gold. This shows that we must have by love and faith (gold) the oil of Holy Spirit keeping Jesus the Light shining in our hearts. If the Holy Spirit isn't with us, then there is no oil for the light as they both go together. Then it will be darkness all around.
Also, in a secondary sense, the saints are represented as being lights to witness to the world about Jesus the true Light. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 that we are to let our light shine like a candlestick for a witness. This is further shown by the fact that each of the seven candles were symbols of the seven churches (i.e. people) in Revelation 2 and 3 (see Revelation 1:20). These were real candlesticks in the real heavenly Sanctuary because John saw the real Jesus walking among them:
10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia ...
12. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
When someone tells you that the sanctuary isn't literally in heaven, but just an allegory don't believe it. It is as real as the angels and God who are in it. You can't have a allegorical sanctuary with real living beings in it. It has to be just as real.
The Golden Altar
TYPE (SYMBOL): The golden altar was the item in the Holy Place closest to the presence of God in the Most Holy Place. This altar was to have burning coals on it for incense to be offered on it always. This is a different altar from the brass (bronze) altar of sacrifice and burnt offering which is in the courtyard.
1. And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim (acacia) wood shalt thou make it.
3. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold ... and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.
7. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning ...
This altar was polluted with the sins of the people when the blood from their animal sacrifices was applied to the horns on this altar. That is why God commanded that this altar also be cleansed or atoned for one a year on the Day of Atonement:
And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.
ANTI-TYPE (THE REALITY): The golden altar in heaven is where our prayers are offered before God mingled with the righteousness of Christ so they are acceptable to the Father. The heavenly incense symbolizes this.
3. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with theprayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
This altar is real. It is as real as the real angel who offers incense with our real prayers upon it before our real God. Again, don't believe those who say the heavenly sanctuary isn't a literal structure. It is a literal one and we see that our real God made it (Hebrews 8:1-5) to execute His real plan of salvation for us His real creation.
Along with our prayers being offered before the Father, the Holy Spirit intercedes also with our prayers to help us along. What a good God we have.
26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself (or himself) maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
King David understood under inspiration from the Spirit that our prayers are offered up as incense:
1. LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.
2. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands asthe evening sacrifice.
The incense offered up with our prayers is Christs righteousness:
The Faith I live By, page 197. The Incense of Righteousness, July 10:
The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. Before the veil of the most holy place, was an altar of perpetual intercession, before the holy, an altar of continual atonement. By blood and by incense, God was to be approached—symbols pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may approach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul.
This ends our summary of the Holy Place experience of Sanctification by Faith through Christs blood. The gold everywhere in everything in the Holy Place showed that it is all by faith. Remember that according to James 2:14-26 that "... faith without works is dead". Faith can't be alone. Works must show that it is a genuine faith. Here we have the Holy Spirit keeping Jesus the Light in our hearts giving us power to overcome sin on a day to day basis. We develop a character in Christ that fits us for heaven and translation at the second coming.
Conclusion to Part 1
It should be clear now that everything the priests did in the sanctuary that Moses built was in every way the symbolic re-enactment of the Plan of Salvation. We will see how true this is for the Judgement in the next part where we will cover the experience we must have in the Most Holy Place. We needed to see how the Sanctuary and all its services are Christs way to saving us. This is why David says the following in Psalms:
Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?.
We will look at our "overlooked and critical text" with all this in mind.
God Bless you all.