16.4. A Heavenly Pattern

The earthly Temple is patterned after a greater reality: the heavenly Temple (Heb. Heb. 8:4-5; Heb. Heb. 9:1-11). Almost everything which was shown Moses (Ex. Ex. 25:40) and David (1Chr. 1Chr. 28:12-19) concerning the Tabernacle and Temple, respectively, has a purpose in revealing a greater reality which ultimately serves the purpose of God in heaven. The heavenly pattern which is reflected in the earthly Temple communicates truths about the nature of sin, redemption, God’s holiness, communion with God, and ultimately points to the promised sacrifice of Messiah Jesus to reconcile man to God (Luke Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44; John John 5:39; Acts Acts 10:43). Price has identified many of the parallels between the earthly and heavenly Temples, which we’ve incorporated in the table below.1

Shared Elements of Earthly and Heavenly Temples
called “worldly sanctuary” versus “Temple in heaven” or “true Tabernacle” Heb. Heb. 9:1-2Rev. Rev. 7:15+; Rev. 14:17+; Rev. 15:5+; Rev. 16:17+; Heb. Heb. 8:2
seven-branched lampstandEx. Ex. 26:35Rev. Rev. 1:12+
trumpetEx. Ex. 19:13, Ex. 19:16, Ex. 19:19Rev. Rev. 8:2+, Rev. 8:6+
altar of sacrificeEx. Ex. 27:1-2; Ex. 39:39Rev. Rev. 6:9+
sacral vestmentsEx. Ex. 29:1, Ex. 39:1Rev. Rev. 4:4+; Rev. 6:11+; Rev. 15:6+
altar of incenseEx. Ex. 30:1-6; Ex. 39:38Rev. Rev. 8:3-5+
four horns of the altarEx. Ex. 30:10Rev. Rev. 9:13+
Ark of the CovenantEx. Ex. 25:1Rev. Rev. 11:19+
golden censer1K. 1K. 7:50Rev. Rev. 8:3-5+
incenseEx. Ex. 30:34-36Rev. Rev. 5:8+; Rev. 8:3-4+
incense bowls1K. 1K. 7:50; Num. Num. 7:13, Num. 7:19, Num. 7:25, Num. 7:31, Num. 7:37Rev. Rev. 5:8+
throne (mercy seat)Ex. Ex. 25:22; Lev. Lev. 16:2Ps. Ps. 11:4; Rev. Rev. 7:9+; Rev. 16:17+
Holy Place1K. 1K. 7:50Heb. Heb. 9:11-12, Heb. 9:24
Holy of HoliesEx. Ex. 26:25-33Rev. Rev. 4:1-10+
high priestHeb. Heb. 4:14Heb. Heb. 9:6-7
priestly officiants versus priestly officialsPs. Ps. 110:4; Heb. Heb. 7:17Rev. Rev. 8:2-5+
ritesLev. Lev. 1:1-Lev. 10:1; Lev. 16:23-34Rev. Rev. 4:8-11+; Rev. 8:2-5+; Rev. 15:1-8+
24 priestly courses versus 24 elders1Chr. 1Chr. 23:3-6Rev. Rev. 4:4+, Rev. 4:10+; Rev. 5:8+
cherubim versus living creaturesEx. Ex. 25:18, Ex. 25:22; 1K. 1K. 6:23-28Rev. Rev. 4:6-8+
worshipers2Chr. 2Chr. 7:3Rev. Rev. 5:11+; Rev. 7:9+; Rev. 19:6+
sacrifice of lambs versus slain Lamb of GodEx. Ex. 29:39Rev. Rev. 5:6+


1 Adapted from [Randall Price, The Coming Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1999), 57] which, in turn, is adapted from a chart by J. A. and Donald Parry in Temples of the Ancient World, p. 521.