Some of the words and phrases that Jesus used can be confusing and leave a non-Jew confused. As I read the Bible on my own, I found many things unanswered. To some, when reading, “I am the light of the world” could be confusing, it is literal? Is it an analogy? Well, it is my hope to help reveal Jesus even more so to you, so that you might understand what Jesus meant with some of His words. One of the key elements is to understand that the Temple of God that was to be built, was to be an exact replica of the Temple of Heaven. God would begin by telling the people of Israel what items to have and how to put them to use. Each item was very specific and represented His Son that would later be born and become the Savior of the world.
Let’s first understand what the Temple of God looked like and what it represented, while here on Earth. First, as one entered in, the first item that one would’ve seen, would’ve been the altar of sacrifice. Here, every Israelite would’ve brought a spotless lamb to be sacrificed to God for the removal of their sins. That same altar later represented the cross of Jesus and how Jesus would be sacrificed as the perfect Lamb of God. In John 1:29 “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
The next item one would see was the laver. The laver was the place where people would wash with water and cleanse from sin, it represented what would later come to be known as water baptism. This was modeled by Jesus when John baptized Him. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? Jesus replied, Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.Then John consented” Matthew 3:13-15.
As one kept moving forward, they would approach the show bread, which represents the Word of God. Our spiritual life is dependent on the Word of God and is a direct comparison as to how we grow spiritually with God. By reading our Bible, we are feeding our spirit. The Word of God speaks to us and we begin to understand God better. When one accepts Jesus, asking for the gift of wisdom is like asking for food because it nourishes our body spiritually, just like food nourishes our body, physically.
The next piece was the incense, this represents our prayers that go up to God and shows a direct communication line that was provided through the sacrifice of Jesus. During the time before Jesus, only the priests of the Temple could offer prayers to God on behalf of the people, but after Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice, what divided people from God, was now an open line of communication. This allowed for individuals to have direct access to God and speak directly to Him. Incense was symbolic of that, which would come to pass after the death of Jesus on the cross.
Then, we come to the candle sticks in the Temple, there were seven because seven represents God and His perfection. The candlesticks are symbolic of our witness to others when we share the Gospel message and let our “lights” shine to others because that “witness” or “testimony” represents God, Himself. God is able to use saved people, which the Bible calls Saints, to share with others that are not saved yet. This action is like a light in the darkness. It is a light in a dark spiritual world.
The last 15 feet that remain of the Temple was where the veil separated the sanctuary of the Temple from the Holy of Holies. On the other side of that veil is where the Law of God resides, as well as His Holy presence. This veil symbolized the division between people and God. Only the High Priest was able to enter past the veil and it was only allowed once a year. This same veil was torn from top to bottom, when Jesus died on the cross because it was God Himself that tore it. God was making a huge statement when this happened. He was saying that the sacrifice of Jesus had been accepted and that now all that accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior would be looked upon with grace and mercy. This would allow for forgiven people to enter into a Covenant relationship with God directly. It would be an eternal, spiritual contract that would provide grace, mercy and redemption from sin. So when God looks upon a forgiven sinner, it is as if He was looking at a perfect person, like His Son, Jesus. “At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split” Matthew 27:51.
“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and said, “Truly this was the Son of God” Matthew 27:54.
“The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn down the middle” Luke 23:45. I just wanted to note what a sight this would’ve been because when Jesus died, it was 3:00 p.m. The Earth went from having daylight to complete darkness from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. as the sins of the world were placed upon Jesus, while on the cross. Then, to have the earth quake at the moment He died, people would’ve taken notice. In this case, there was a centurion placed in charge by Rome to make sure that Jesus died on the cross. He witnessed all of it and was absolutely convinced that Jesus had to be the Son of God, after he saw these things.
Now let’s go backwards…
Taking into consideration the set up of the temple, let’s begin at the Ark of the Covenant where God’s Law was. Jesus fulfilled the Law of God because He was the only one that kept every single commandment, He was perfect and free of sin from the beginning. Jesus represented God’s perfect law. Jesus said this in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” After sin entered the world, no one was able to keep all the commandments of God.
Next, we go past the candlesticks, Jesus also fulfilled being the “light” of God’s Word because He is the Word of God and this is why Jesus referred to Himself as the “light of the world”. “Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12.
At the altar of incense, we are now able to have direct communication with God through Jesus. Jesus confirms this to the world in John 14:6 “Jesus says to him, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, if not by Me.” Jesus is our intercessor to God. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all—the testimony that was given at just the right time” I Timothy 2:5-6.
The show bread was also symbolic of Jesus, who also refers to Himself as the “bread of life.” John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Apart from the show bread representing God’s Word (the Bible and scripture) it also represents Jesus and His diety. When Jesus was being tempted by Satan, we can see that Satan himself was acknowledging that Jesus was the Son of God. He was tempting Jesus to remove His physical hunger by turning rocks into bread, but this was mocking Jesus because this was a spiritual test, more than just a physical test. Jesus answered Satan, in Matthew 4:4 “But Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” We also see how at the beginning of creation, the Word of God is present, the Word of God is Jesus!. John 1:1 reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We now have eternal life through Jesus because He became that “bread of life” for us. It is through His Words that we also have life, eternal life.
As we approach the laver, we also see how Jesus not only modeled that we should be baptized, but baptism also represented the death to sin and the resurrection of Jesus’ body. That same process would happen to anyone that would accept the Gospel message and ask Jesus in as their Lord and Savior. Like Jesus, the curse of sin would have no power over us and we would be made “perfect” through the sacrifice of Jesus. We would gain eternal life. As Jesus was lowered into the water for baptism, this was symbolizing His physical death. Since He had never sinned, death had no power or hold over Him, spiritually. As Jesus came out of the water, at baptism, it symbolized when He would be raised from the dead with a new body and because He is eternal, He would also give us eternal life. We would have eternal life in a new body, just like Jesus did. This is where Jesus became the “living water.” He is the only sacrifice that gave power to humanity to have eternal life through Him only and no one else. “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” John 4:14.
Lastly, we come to the entrance of the Temple again. Here, we see how Jesus became God’s perfect Lamb that was sacrificed to redeem humanity. He died on the cross, which was God’s altar. In order to get into the sanctuary of the Temple, people had to walk though a “door” like anyone else. Jesus also referred to Himself as “the door” to get to God. “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” John 10:9.
The process of first entering into the Temple, is called justification. We can look at it as, “justified.” “Just if I’d” never sinned.
Through what Jesus did, leaving Heaven to come down to Earth to redeem us, this process is called sanctification.
Once, we accept Jesus as that perfect sacrifice and the Gospel message of the Bible, we can see how we are justified. Many Christians are not “perfect” instantly. It is a process of sanctification that takes time. Jesus begins to heal us and remove sins we struggle with, from the inside out. Our behavior changes and begins to model Him and so does our thinking. I hope this helps to understand what Jesus did through His sacrifice and how He fulfilled every part of God’s Word and the items in His Holy Temple.
We no longer need a temple to go to for forgiveness of sins because once Jesus died, that veil was tore in two, symbolizing that the plan of God had been completed and salvation was now possible for all who believe.