Tuesday: The Sanctuary Motif in Revelation

Besides the two major divisions, Revelation also has another structural layer, one built around the Hebrew sanctuary. This sanctuary motif is not confined to either of the two major divisions but goes through them both.

Heavenly Priest

Image © Review & Herald Publishing from GoodSalt.com

In the earthly sanctuary one begins in the courtyard, at the altar of burnt offering, where the animals were slain. After the death of the animal, symbolic of the Cross, the priest would enter into the first apartment of the sanctuary, which was a model of what Jesus did in the heavenly sanctuary after His ascension. This is represented by Jesus’ walking among the lampstands (Rev 1:13).

Read Revelation 4:1-2. What does the open door represent? Where is this scene located? See also Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 10:12-13; Ps. 110:1; Rev. 12:5.

Soon after His ascension, Christ was inaugurated in the Holy Place of the heavenly temple, through this first open door. When Christ first appears in the book of Revelation, He is standing before the lampstands of the first apartment in the heavenly sanctuary (see Rev. 1:10-18).

Read Revelation 11:19. What is the significance of the fact that as the heavenly temple was opened, John could see the ark of His covenant, which sat in the second apartment of the earthly sanctuary, appears (see Lev. 16:12-14) ?

The image of the ark of the covenant in the heavenly sanctuary is an indisputable reference to the Most Holy Place, or second apartment of the heavenly. In the book of Revelation, we can see not just Jesus’ two-apartment ministry but the crucial and comforting fact that events in heaven and earth are linked. Even amid the trials of history and the last days as depicted in the book of Revelation, we can have the assurance that “all heaven is engaged in the work of preparing a people to stand in the day of the Lord’s preparation. The connection of heaven with earth seems very close”. — Ellen G. White, My Life Today , p. 307.

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons