The Tabernacle pt 3
When war broke out in Heaven, God immediately “took over.” The Bible is very clear about the glory, power, and person of God. He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28); thus, Lucifer could not stay in the direct presence of His maker without his sin and rebellion being consumed. Yet God was not prepared to destroy him, at least right away. Lucifer had accused God of being less than love, suggesting that he would be a better authority than was God. He exalted his own throne to that of God Himself (Isaiah 14:13, 14). Lucifer needed to be removed from God’s presence and allowed to demonstrate to the universe the true nature of his rebellion.
So, angels chose sides. One third of all the angels in Heaven joined forces with Lucifer against God (Revelation 12:4), itself a demonstration of how cunningly deceitful Satan is. These angels were removed from heaven but not destroyed. By the expulsion of Satan and his angels, God actually preserved their lives because they couldn’t remain alive in heaven.
But heaven was now stained with the accusations against God; stained with questions in the mind of the faithful as to whether Lucifer’s accusations were true; stained with war, with the scars of rebellion, selfishness, and sin, and God’s heavenly home was stained with sorrow and separation.
Stains n Heaven
In a sense, time first began when Lucifer sinned. God had always existed. God created angels to exist for eternity. What need was there for calculating days, months, and years amid eternity? It was only with the fall of Lucifer that the history of a great war began. Events began to take temporal significance. God had already foreseen the fall of angels and of humans. He had counseled together and created a plan to redeem humanity and to save all the universe. And He would do this by demonstrating the lies of Satan in contrast to the truth as it is in Him. The truth is that He is love. This plan was set into motion, within time, and would be a process of events.
God on Trial
The accusation against God was that something remained faulty with His government. Lucifer asserted that he should be like God and that he would be better suited as the king of the universe. (Isaiah 14:13, 14) God’s throne and character were called into question. Was God really love? Was His kingdom and authority really what was best for all the universe? Could this powerful being be trusted?
God decided that the accusations could be met only with transparency: the transparency of His government, His decisions and actions. He had nothing to hide, and so He opened before the universe a plan that showed His love in action. It would involve the fallen human race, who had been deceived by Satan’s lie. He would redeem fallen humanity and, in the process, make His throne room in heaven the central hub for atonement. All who wanted could, indeed, watch the process of Salvation and atonement take place. Talk about transparency!
God told Moses in Exodus 25:9 “…make me a sanctuary…According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Exodus 25:9). Hebrews tells us that the pattern is from the “true tabernacle,” which the Lord erected in the heavens (Hebrews 8:1-6). Revelation gives us the clearest picture of what God’s heavenly sanctuary looks like.
His throne room is full of all the same elements that existed in the earthly Tabernacle, but they are the originals, so they look a lot more incredible than the earthly ones. They look more supernatural.
In Revelation1, Jesus is among 7 lamp stands which is what the menorah on earth was made to resemble. The 7 lamps that go on those lamp stands can be found in Revelation 4.
In Revelation 5, Jesus is a lamb whose death was symbolized by the bronze altar used for the sacrifices, all of which pointed to Him.
In Revelation 5, Jesus is presented in the heavenly sanctuary as giving life to humanity, which was symbolized by the “Bread of the Presence,” itself in the earthly sanctuary. Revelation 5:6 tells us that Jesus is present throughout the earth through the Spirit.
In Revelation 5, there are golden bowls full of incense, which the earthly altar of incense resembled.
In Revelation 4, there is the Trinity on the Throne as light, what the ark of the covenant was patterned after.
In Revelation 4, there are four creatures around the throne of God (a lion, a bull, an eagle, and a man), symbols of the four divisions of Israel as they camped around God’s house.
In Revelation 4, there is a sea of glass upon which the Israelites had patterned the earthly laver.
Long before Jesus came, the sins of humanity were piling up against God, and they were fodder for the accusations against Him and His character. When Jesus came, God was in a large sense vindicated. No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. God Himself laid down His life for His creation. The universe understood now the character of God’s government in direct contrast to the character of Satan’s. God was self-sacrificing, Satan was selfish. The angels in heaven rejoiced; the demons and Satan knew that they were doomed. The kingdom of darkness would end, and sin would eventually be eradicated.
At the death of Christ, questions were answered for the angels in regard to whether God was love, as He claimed to be. The cross proved that, yes, He was. Yet all the issues were still not over. Christ had provided for the salvation of humanity, but there was still a process to be performed in heaven and on earth. The universe would still watch and, even, play a part.
For a time, God would let the sins of humanity pile up in the Heavenly tabernacle. He would bear the accusations of Satan against humans until the day when the books would be opened, and God would vindicate His love in a different way than He had at the cross. He would demonstrate to the angels, and anyone else in the universe, the names of those who were worthy to live together with them in heaven. He would outline the reasons why He could safely bring them into their sinless environment and bless them with immortality. This would be the time of the Heavenly Judgment. When this was complete, He would send the angels to get them (Matthew 24:31).
In the end, the stains are going to be removed. There is going to be not only a new earth, free from the stains of sin, but a new heaven as well (Revelation 21:1). Angels have had intimate interactions with sin and would like to have its effects cleansed from heaven. To the same degree that God cares for humanity, He loves and cares for all the universe.