Introduction: Last week our study was the sanctuary built by Moses in
accordance with a “pattern” given to him by God. We learned that this
“pattern” was an actual sanctuary that presently exits in heaven! We
also learned that the sacrificial system of the earthly sanctuary
pointed to the future sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior. Further, we
learned that Jesus, after His life, death and resurrection here on
earth, is presently in the heavenly sanctuary acting as our High
Priest! This week we dive deeper into the heavenly sanctuary and
exactly what it is that Jesus is doing for us in heaven.

  1. Our Need For A High Priest

    1. Read Hebrews 4:12. What do you think is the “word of God?”
      (Bible commentators have differing opinions. It could mean
      Jesus, the Bible, the Gospel or prophecy. The common
      denominator is that it is some form of the revelation of
      God’s will.)
      1. What are the characteristics of the word of God
        according to this text? (List them.)

        1. Living and active;

        2. Sharper than a sword;

        3. Cuts between the soul and spirit, joints and
          marrow; and,

        4. Judges our attitudes.

      2. As you look at these characteristics, what lessons do
        you learn for today? Let’s go down each of these:

        1. I hear people say that the Bible was for a
          different time and a different culture,
          therefore we need to “adjust” (modify) its
          advice to our culture. What does the “living and
          active” description say about this thinking?
          (The Bible has a relevant message for today!)

        2. How is the revelation of God’s will sharper than
          a sword? Is this a reference to “paper-cuts”
          from reading the Bible? (Learning the will of
          God “cuts through the nonsense” and reveals what
          is right and wrong.)

        3. Why do you think the text refers to “soul and
          spirit” and “joints and marrow?” (This seems to
          refer to the spiritual (mental) and physical
          aspects of our life. God’s will, if we listen,
          goes deep into us. If we don’t listen, this
          suggests some damage may result.)

          1. How does the revelation of God’s will
            “cut” the spiritual and physical aspects
            of our life? (It seems that God’s word
            applies to all aspects of our life. God’s
            will applies to our mental and physical

        4. Why would God’s word judge our thoughts and
          attitudes instead of our actions? (The
          battleground for sin is your mind, your
          attitudes! Your actions follow long after the
          war has been won or lost.)

    2. Read Hebrews 4:13. Does this text give you comfort,
      considering that it follows immediately the “sword” text?
      (This is all very worrisome. We find that God sees
      everything, we must “give account” of ourselves –
      including our private thoughts – and the standard for the
      judgment is this very sharp sword that is alive and well
      today! There is no place to run! No place to hide!)

  2. Our High Priest

    1. Read Hebrews 4:14. Why does this verse start out with
      “therefore?” (This links verses 12 and 13 with what is
      about to be said next. Since 12 and 13 seem to be
      warnings, this is like saying: “Some very large and heavy
      trucks come speeding down this road. Therefore…..”)

      1. So, what is the important message that follows about
        this dangerous sword and us being held accountable
        for our thoughts? (The “therefore” message is one of
        comfort considering the dangers that lurk around us.
        The message is that we have a great High Priest in
        heaven. We have someone on our side.)

      2. What is the faith that we must profess and to which
        we must hold tightly? (This is the heart of the
        matter. Last week we discussed how the earthly
        sanctuary and its sacrifice were a living parable
        (and prophecy) of Jesus’ coming sacrifice for our
        sins. We also touched on the fact that Jesus is
        currently in heaven acting as our High Priest and is

        offering His blood in the heavenly sanctuary for our
        sins. It is necessary for us to “hold firmly” to our
        faith in Jesus’ work. This is part of the word of God
        referred to in verse 12.)

    2. Read Hebrews 4:15-16. What is great about Jesus being our
      High Priest? (He can sympathize with us because He has
      dealt with the same kind of problems that we face every

      1. If Jesus is our substitute (i.e., He died in our
        place), why is it important that He be sympathetic?
        (This assurance of sympathy shows that Jesus’ death
        in our place is not some sort of mechanical thing. It
        is not a simple repeating of “I believe” and then
        your Christian experience is done. This shows that
        Jesus is looking for people who take seriously their
        beliefs and are co-laborers with Him in overcoming
        their weaknesses and temptations. He can help us with
        this because of His experience.)

      2. Why does verse 16 tell us that we can come
        confidently (KJV: boldly) before God? (Because of

        1. When is our “time of need?” Is this just when
          our name comes up in the judgment? (We are
          talking in general about the judgment, but I
          think this also goes back to the point we were
          discussing earlier – Jesus is able to help us in
          our daily struggles with sin.)

    3. Let’s skip ahead to Hebrews 7:23-25. What is Jesus’
      current work in the heavenly sanctuary on our behalf? (He
      is interceding for us.)

    4. Read Hebrews 7:26-27. Last week we learned that the
      sanctuary on earth had morning and evening sacrifices. Is
      that going on in heaven? (This says that Jesus “offered
      Himself” and He did this “once for all.”)

      1. If Jesus did this “once for all” then why does verse
        25 tell us that “He always lives to intercede” for
        us? (This suggests that Jesus’ activities are not the
        same as the routines of the priests in the earthly
        sanctuary. Instead, we have this ongoing intercessory
        (“lawyer”) work by Jesus on our behalf. To get a
        better idea about this, I suggest you read Hebrews
        chapter 8.)

  3. Headquarters

    1. Let’s change gears now and look at some of the other
      activities that are (or will be) going on in the heavenly
      sanctuary. Read Revelation 15:2-4. What scene is pictured
      here? (Those who have been saved from earth and who are in

    2. Read Revelation 15:5-16:1. What very different work do we
      see being directed from the temple? (Judgment is being
      sent to earth from the temple in heaven.)

    3. Why is the temple, the scene of Jesus’ intercession for
      us, involved in the judgment? (Read Revelation 11:18-19.
      The temple in heaven is not only the place where Jesus
      intercedes on our behalf, but after His work of
      intercession is done (that is the judgment is completed),
      then the temple is headquarters for the final battle
      against sin and evil.)

      1. Did you notice that both of these texts (Revelation
        15: 5 and 11:19) refer to the temple being “opened.”
        What do you think this means? (It suggests that the
        temple is “closed” during the intercession of Jesus
        (much like the earthly sanctuary could not be entered
        except by the High Priest on the day of Atonement),
        but when Jesus’ work is over, the temple is “opened”
        for the work of executing the final judgment.)

    1. Read Revelation 16:17. What significance do you find in
      the fact that this command, “It is done,” comes from the
      temple? (It shows that God has won. He declares when the
      battle with sin is over.)

    2. Read Revelation 21:22. This chapter describes the New
      Jerusalem. Why does it say the temple is gone from heaven?
      Why would it be gone? (The battle with sin is over. Jesus’
      intercession on our behalf is over. Instead of needing an
      intercessor, instead of needing a “procedure” to deal with
      sin, we find that we can now be in the presence of Jesus
      and our Heavenly Father!)

    3. Friend, there is a battle going on. Will you choose Jesus?
      He not only intercedes for us, but He will bring an end to

  1. Next Week: The Hour of God’s Judgment.