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medium through which the blessings of our great High Priest are bestowed, he calls it “ a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;" and when alluding to the intercession of our Lord, verse 24, he says, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
But admitting that the tabernacle was a type, of what was it designed to be so? Some have found in it a type of heaven--of the incarnation of Christ, and of the church on earth.* And doubtless, if we were to proceed upon the principle of making everything to be a type in which a resemblance can be traced, all this and much more might be very easily made out. If, however, we take the Scriptures as our guide, it would appear that the first of these only was actually intended. It is heaven that we are to consider as shadowed forth by the tabernacle of old; and there are three respects in which it was a type of that celestial world.
I. As the peculiar residence of God.
Knowing the great propensity there was in man to turn to idolatrous uses any sensible representation of Deity, the Almighty might have refused any such manifestation of his presence on the earth. Such, however, was his condescension and compassion for our infirmities, that he has been ever ready to reveal himself to his creatures in every way in which it could be consistently done. Hence, when
Moses, both on his own account, and also with a view to the stability and glory of that dispensation which had been committed to him, entreated that he might behold God's glory, all that it was possible to make manifest passed before him, and in a clift of the rock where he was secured, he saw the back parts of the God of Israel, and heard his name proclaimed.* In the pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night, there was a constant accompaniment of the Divine Presence with the Israelites in their journey. But it was in the tabernacle where His presence was considered especially to dwell. There were to be found, as collected in a focus, all the rays of this sun. Here not only did the rich embroidery of the hangings and coverings of the sacred edifice remind the beholder of the beautiful canopy of the heavens—the work of God's fingers—the moon and the stars which he has ordained; but the holy of holies—the principal of the three compartments into which the sacred building was divided--bore a striking resemblance to the heaven of heavens in which the throne of the Eternal is situated, and where his real special presence is maintained. Here was the table of shew-bread, the golden candlestick, and the golden altar-all of which may be regarded both as necessary appendages to constitute one glorious habitation, and as in themselves setting forth the heavenly majesty of Jehovah. Here, too, was the mercy-seat, which was regarded as the dwelling-place of the God of Israel; while around and overshadowing it were the cherubims of glory to represent the
* Ex. xxxiii. 18.
celestial attendants of the Sovereign of the skies, and all was enlightened with the resplendent glory beaming from the Divine countenance.
That, however, which places its typical character as an emblem of heaven beyond all doubt, is the allusion which the Apostle makes to it in the Epistle to the Hebrews; for when speaking of those things to which we have alluded, he adds, “ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. Which was a figure for the time then present.-But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."*
The tabernacle was a type of heaven,
II. In regard to the degrees of glory which will exist.
In this ancient edifice there were two compartments-the holy and the most holy place; or, in the words of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, “the sanctuary, and the holiest of all.” As these differed in their form and furniture, and the persons who were allowed to enter them, although they both constituted but one house of God, and the occupants of both were happy and blessed, so it is in respect to heaven. Each saint will possess a perfection of bliss, and dwell for ever in the presence of the Eternal God; yet there will be a greater degree of felicity conferred upon some than upon others, according to the capacity of the recipient and the sovereign will of God. This seems to be alluded to by our Lord, when he says, “ In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you."*
* Heb. ix. 8, 9, 11, 12,
It is true, as it has sometimes been argued, that every ransomed soul is alike the object of Divine love-has been equally redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb with. out spot and blemish; and is fully as much the child of God as another—and that the idea of degrees in glory, even if considered as regulated by attainment here, may seem to reflect upon the freeness of Divine grace, and favour the idea of merit. But still it is to be remembered, that whatever difference there may be among the saints in regard to the attainments by which these degrees will be regulated, since that difference itself will be the result of Divine influence, first, in implanting the principle of Divine grace in the heart, and then in maturing the character, God will after all but proportion the glory which he bestows to the capacity he imparts. It is admitted that the doctrine of degrees of glory is not very distinctly taught in the Scriptures; but there are some parts of the sacred records in which this is fairly implied. Not to find it so amply contained in the Old Testament as in the New, is nothing peculiar to this doctrine, and may be accounted for by the difference in the former and present dispen
* John xiv. 2.
sations. Even there, however, are to be found traces of it. Thus Daniel, when referring to the eternal state of the blessed, says, They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever:”* and our Lord himself, speaking of the same circumstance, declares, “ He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward ; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” +
But in the parable of the servants, recorded in Luke xix. 16, this doctrine seems more fully set forth, for each was rewarded according to the talents he had received, and the use he had made of them. I Paul declared to the Romans, ii. 5, 6, “ God will render to every man according to his deeds ;” and writing to the Corinthians, says,
“ There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” S
The tabernacle was a type of heaven,
III. Because it was the place in which the service of God was carried on.
This service was constant, uninterrupted, and conducted in the highest possible perfection of Dan. xii. 3.
* Matt. x. 41, 42. I Matt. xxv. 15.
§ 1 Cor. xv. 41.