Monday, October 25, 2010

Holy of Holies=Church=new Jerusalem?

Recently Eric asked a question that has had me thinking about the New Jerusalem in John's revelation and how we should understand it.  I came across the following passage today and never before meditated on the mention of the heavenly Jerusalem. It says "we have come" as if to say that we have already arrived.  See for yourself.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
(Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV)

For me this is a new revelation and the implications of this are staggering because he is writing to the assembly of believers now alive.  Now, look at what John wrote regarding the new Jerusalem as he described his revelation :
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:2-3 ESV)
Granted the old heaven and earth have not yet passed away and every tear has not yet been wiped away in this age but much of this is true for us today.  Consider what Christ has already accomplished once and for all :
he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
(Hebrews 9:12 ESV)
A little later he tells us how we enter in.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  (Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV)

Now let me try to pull these thoughts together.  In the Jewish temple, the Holy of Holies was the place that God dwelled.  No one could enter there except for the high priest.  He could only enter once per year.  The Holy of Holies was shaped like a cube and the entrance was covered with a curtain.  All these things pointed forward to something greater.  The curtain that covered the Holy of Holies ws torn from top to bottom when Christ breathed his last on the cross.  Hebrews tells us that we enter into the Holy place through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.  So the curtain pointed forward to the once for all atoning death of Christ on the cross and only through Christ can we enter into the Holy place (the dwelling place of God).  So Christ is the curtain and it is only through him that we can enter in.  But enter into what?.

The Holy of Holies of course!  Now, what about the cube shaped Holy of Holies?  The new Jerusalem in John's revelation is also a cube and describes as being "adorned as a bride for her husband".  Could it be that the Holy of Holies was a foreshadowing of the new Jerusalem and that the new Jerusalem is symbolic of the assembly of believers?  They are all described as the place where God dwells.

I am beginning to think so and it is a glorious thing to meditate on.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Bobby, yes, I too see New Jerusalem as the reality of the old testament Holy of Holies, full of God's presence. And, unlike then (only one man, only once a year), now with Christ's redemption, the way is open for all who believe. Hebrews 10:19-22. Let us draw near to Him.
    (In the tabernacle the Holy of Holies was 10x10x10. In the temple it grew to 20x20x20 [1 Kings 6:20]. It was still a physical shadow of reality but it shows the pattern of growth which reaches the ultimate in New Jerusalem.)


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