A Minister of the Sanctuary: The Present Service of the Glorified Lord
Among the many honours which our glorified Lord bears in the heavens, as set forth in the Epistle to the Hebrews, there is one that receives less attention among Christians generally than its importance claims. We read in chapter 8, “Now of the things which we have spoken”—those enumerated in Chapters 1-7—“this is the sum”—the main point. “We have such an High Priest, who has taken His seat on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” In His present session at the right hand of God our Divine Lord fills the office of Great High Priest, and likewise that of “Minister of the Sanctuary,” which sanctuary is not a house made with hands, like the tabernacle in the wilderness, which was only an “example and shadow of heavenly things,” but a “true tabernacle,” pitched in the heavens by the Lord Himself—in which He officiates in the double character of “Great High Priest over the house of God” (chap. 10:21), and as “Minister of the Sanctuary”.
And these offices He fills for and toward His people, in all the dignity and power of His peerless Person, and value of His perfect work. In this sanctuary all believers are priests and worshippers, and in “one Spirit” all have equal access to the Father “through Christ” (Eph. 2:18). The whole company of the redeemed compose that “holy priesthood,” all of whom have been brought nigh to God, to stand in His sanctuary, in whom He as Father seeks worship (John 4:23). There is no earthly “place of worship” now. Nor is there any sacerdotal priesthood, in which a chosen few have places of preferential nearness to God. There is only one “Great High Priest” over the house of God. And the exclusive honour of this office belongs to the glorified Lord, the called and anointed Son of God. And this same exalted and all-glorious Lord is “Minister” of the true sanctuary in heaven, in which He appears “for us” before the face of God. There also (Heb. 9:24) He ministers to us from God of that grace which is “always, in all things”; for every form of need from heaven continually of His fulness to His people, who are here on earth. “Through Him” their prayers ascend to God, “through Him” and from God all their supplies come down, alike to the individual believer and to the “churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33).
But it is, and ever has been the enemy’s work, to hinder this direct and godly dealing with the living Lord toward His people. He seeks to interpose between their souls and their Great High Priest in the heavens, men exercising sacerdotal functions, who virtually deny to the heavenly priesthood the liberties accorded to all saints as worshippers (Heb. 10:20-22), and seek to absorb in themselves all gifts of ministry toward the saints, such as are given by the living Lord in heaven (Eph. 4:11-12) for the edifying of the church. In the assemblies of the saints, this truth of the Lord being “Minister of the sanctuary,” and Head from whom all true ministry of supply comes, through whomsoever He may be pleased to send it, needs to be ever in remembrance, and full opportunity given for its exercise, if the Lord is to have His due place and honour in the midst of His people.
And where the glorified Christ is truly owned as “Minister of the Sanctuary,” in the appointment of His God, there will be place for a man, however gifted, to assume the title of “The Minister,” in any assembly or congregation of the redeemed. For while there are those who having received gifts of ministry, and who use them to the edification of their brethren, there are none who have any exclusive right to the designation of “The Minister,” as if no other had the ability and the right to minister of “the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 5:10) to the saints, or proclaim the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 20:24) to sinners. All who have been “entrusted” by God with His Gospel (1 Thess. 2:4) are as His stewards all responsible to spread it, as much as in them is (Rom. 1:15), and all who have “received the Gift” of ministering the Word to the saints, are to speak it as “the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11) waiting for man’s sanction, and fearing no man’s frown. But as the servants of God, studying only to be well-pleasing unto Him, and to serve in full view of the judgment-seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), where all service will be manifested, reviewed and rewarded, according as His estimate of what it has been.
Article series: Our Glorious LordAn Advocate with the Father The Attactiveness of Christ