Jesus as the High Priest of the Heavenly Tabernacle in Rev. 1:10-13
(by Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg and Peter Shirokov)
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 saying: “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches—to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” 12 I turned to see whose voice was speaking to me, and when I did so, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man.
John saw his vision on the Lord’s Day (see comments to the previous section as to the identity of the day). John was looking ahead, when suddenly he heard a voice speaking from behind him. John compared the voice to the sound of a trumpet. It is not easy to imagine what trumpet sound is meant here. Is it an Israelite “shofar,” a trumpet made of goat’s horn? Is it a type of bronze trumpet also known in the Mediterranean region? It is not possible to tell what the sounds were that John actually heard, but the fact that he described it as a trumpet sound lets us know that the message John received was connected with how the trumpet was normally used – a call to prepare for action.
When John turned back to look in the direction of the voice speaking to him, he first saw the Temple menorah – a seven-branched lamp that was once located in the Holy Place in the Temple in Jerusalem. The presence of the Temple menorah showed John’s audience that his visionary experience took place, at least partially, in the vicinity of the heavenly temple/tabernacle, or, more precisely in the section of the temple that is known as the Holy Place. We read about the existence of the heavenly temple in Hebrews 8:1-5:
“Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things…”.
The idea of a heavenly temple first surfaces in the books of Moses. Moses ascended Mt. Horev and received instructions for the construction of the tabernacle (mishkan), the tent of God’s presence when Israel was in the wilderness. As Moses did this, he was “shown” the temple in the heavenly realm (Ex 25:9, 40) and his job was to somehow reflect in the earthy structure what he had seen in the heavenly realm. Ezekiel 40 offers an elaborate vision of the heavenly temple that was yet future. The idea of a heavenly temple is also mentioned in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, an apocalyptic Jewish work from the 2nd century BCE, and is quoted in several of Paul’ letters.
“And thereupon the angel opened to me the gates of heaven, and I saw the holy temple, and upon a throne of glory the Most High. And He said to me: Levi, I have given thee the blessings of the priesthood until I come and sojourn in the midst of Israel (Testament of Levi 5:1-3).
The fact that the Son of Man walks among the seven heavenly lamps (menorah), means that he (Jesus), as the heavenly high priest, was the source of this revelation. In various Jewish traditions, the figure of Metatron, who is if not identical, is very similar to the Son of Man, acts as the high priest of the heavenly temple. This temple is located in close proximity to the heavenly chariot at the base of God’s throne.
We read in 3 Enoch 15B (also known as Hebrew Enoch or Sefer Hekhalot):
Metatron (the name means “the one next to the throne”) is the Prince over all Princes, and stands before him who is exalted above all gods. He goes beneath the throne of glory, where he has a great heavenly tabernacle of light, and brings out the deafening fire, and puts it in the ears of the holy creatures, so that they should not hear the sound of the utterance that issues from the mouth of the Almighty.
The writer of Hebrews expressed similar ideas to those found in the Qumran scrolls, namely that Melchizedek is the heavenly high priest (11Qmelch). We read in Hebrews 7:1-3:
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.
It becomes clear that here in the book of Revelation, the Jewish apocalyptic figure, who previously appeared in a variety of Jewish Son of Man and Metatron traditions, is in fact Jesus Christ – the eternal heavenly high priest. This connection in Revelation is intentional and definite.
 1 Thess. 2:16 is a quotation of Test. Patr., Levi, 6:10; Rom. 12:19 is taken from Gad, 6:10; Rom. 12:21 is taken from Benjamin, 6:3; 2 Cor. 12:10 is a quote from Gad, 5:7.
 Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, ed. Robert Henry Charles (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004), Enoch 108:15.
Join the conversation (54 comments)
I’m sorry, you said to look in the comments for a previous section to learn about the identity of “the lords day”. I don’t see it here.
Em quê tempo nós estamos?dentro da profecia?Qual será o próximo evento?
Zacarias 12? e todas as nações se levantarão contra ISRAEL,JERUSALÉM será um cálice de tontear para todos os povos,e uma pedra pesada para aos povos ao seu redor.
Olharão para aquele a quem traspassaram e chorarão como quem chora pelo seu unigênito,O ETERNO será glorificado e o que está escrito se cumprirá,pois os céus e a terra passarão mas a palavra do SENHOR jamais passará.
C om certeza o SENHOR não fará coisa alguma sem primeiro revelar os seus segredos aos seus servos os profetas (Amós 3.7) .
DEUS abençoe a ISRAEL!
Coming from a” form of Judaism” background, I have always seen grace (the gift) as the Holy Spirit rather than forgiveness (the sacrifice) as the gift. Your article reminding me that Jesus as High Priest had to offer a sacrifice and a gift says the same thing to me. Am I supposed to combine both words (sacrifice & gift) into the word grace? If so, why?
Kat, for Hebrew understanding of Gift/Sacrifice in the High Priest office, at any bible search engine look up; gift, offering, sacrifice, sin, peace, blood, burnt, heave, etc. single & in comb. and let the Ruach lead.
I’ve found Christianity take Grace & use many definitions of it as a foundation for faith. I.e., Gen 2:7, every time we take a breath it is so(u)lely by G_ds Grace, nothing NT about it. The same w/ forgiveness.
Also, any online search of “Levitical offerings” will provide more than you may want to know of the 5 types; Burnt, Meal, Peace, Sin and Trespass. Of these 5, Meal and Peace could be considered “gift” offerings, the rest deal w/ sin and forgiveness.
Jerry S, thank you. I think what I am finally figuring out is that the three (trinity) that I see in the scriptures is what John in Revelation describes as the number seven. In other words I was really seeing grace.
People usually see what they want to see. My suggestion, commune with the Holy Spirit in solitude. Just be still & just ask Him your questions & patiently wait for His answer. He has always taught me, both old & new things. The key to intimacy with GOD is “you will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
Dear Fred, I am at least 4 generation non-Christian non-Jew. I am not on a religious side. I brought grace up as bigger than just forgiveness at a church where I worked and I was told that in spite of the excellent job I was doing they liked the person who did a poor job. I brought up grace at a study group where I attended church and I was told I can no longer lead. So you see what I want to see is the truth. What I know is that the sacrifice and the gift that the High Priest offered is exactly why I can to Christ. What I am willing to admit is that sometimes I understand things that are only a glimpse of a bigger truth I grasp at.
Shalom Dr Eli !
DEUS continue a te abençoar, e a te usar para sua Glória.
Dear Eli, hi.
I have left my comments few hours earlier, but, i am not seing it.
Peace and blessings,
Dren, all comments are checked for spam and other issues manually. It may take some time for them to show up. 🙂
I have gone through Old and New Testament several times, especially through New Testament. I am a deep believer of Jesus Christ as the Son of Man and The Son of God. My testimony has several parts of my life and it probably goes through all of my life. By this, I consider myself Israel as a Jew considers the same, Israel. Biblical Christians and Jews are Israel, both. Jews are by DNA and by Jewish spirit Israel, but, also Christians are spiritually Israel and descendents of Abraham.
I have gone through two online studies on The Bible, and one of the classes I had it was The Book of Revelation. This Book contains many, many details and of course it was very difficult to get everything from one class. Therefore, I have learned many thinks from this lesson.
Interesting view and it was very useful, the more specific explanation on theme from Hebrew perspective, which I liked it very much. I am taking few parts, which came to me more interesting:
1. Trumpet, of goat’s horn or bronze trumpet, but, the last explanation would be more direct, a call for action.
2. The Voice came from The Holy Place of the of the heavenly temple/tabernacle.
3. Confusing on the High Priest detail. If he were on earth, He would not be priest, since that is for men, not for God. (My opinion, Jesus was 100% Man and 100% God)
4. The History of the idea for the heavenly Temple came from the time of Moses.
5. The ties between Jesus, Son of Man and The High Priest, brings that Jesus was Him.
6. Metatron “the one next to the throne” is the Prince over all Princes.
7. Melichisedek is the high heavenly priest of the Most High God in this line.
8. Book of Revelation tells that The Son of Man is Jesus Christ-the eternal heavenly high priest.
It is nice perspective from Jewish point of view, which was new to me. I enjoyed it.
Is John 14:1-14 also a description of the menorah? I am trying to understand the word eternal vs earthly
“without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.”
Thank you for the teaching. I love the whole thing about our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Welcome to the forum!
You co-authored the article on Jesus the High Priest.
It is a great article and very interesting.
The writer of book of Hebrew as well has spoken on this same topic. As you know this book was written for the Hebrew Christians drifting away from Christian faith and returning to Judaism.
I want to know if you will be teaching the book of Revelation. If so when?
Dear Benedicta, A course on the book of Revelation is on our radar, but we are not ready to launch it any time soon. We have some more courses planned before we can consider this book for a formal course. For now we will be posting some select commentaries and thoughts. The more specific the feedback our readers provide us, them more we see what we need to address.