Please excuse what appears to be a bit of a confused question...I am trying to make sense of something that I simply do not fully understand in my own mind. The question is therefore very difficult for me to word as I would like.

After the Jews came out of Egypt and God led them to Mt Sinai, God said to Moses..

Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Exodus 25.8 New International Version

the Lord gave Moses blueprints for one of the most mysterious structures ever built? ... a unique temple that represented God’s dwelling place among His people. Its overall design and services showed this nation of freed slaves a three-dimensional panorama of the plan of salvation https://sdarm.org/publications/bible-study-guide/ptoc/lesson-14

In studying a visual image of the layout of the Tabernacle that Moses was asked to have built, the alter of sacrifice where the lamb was slain and offered as a burnt offering was in the courtyard https://www.goodseed.com/diagram-of-the-tabernacle-and-basic-layout.html

Where are the laver and alter of sacrifice located in the heavenly sanctuary model that the earthly one is based upon as given to Moses?

How do we interpret the relationship between the heavenly and earthly sanctuary, the services, and the plan of salvation...ie, is the courtyard of the heavenly sanctuary actually this earth where Jesus was sacrificed?

Finally, does that therefore mean that there can be no death in Heaven because sin only exists on this earth?

Given the idea that at least part of the heavenly sanctuary might very well be on earth (the courtyard containing the alter of sacrifice and laver), is it possible that in fact the entire heavenly sanctuary is a metaphor for the plan of salvation itself rather than a single literal place/structure in heaven.

  • 3
    It seems to me that you have successfully answered your own question in your last sentence. I agree with your conclusion. Up-voted (question and answer) +1.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 25, 2020 at 5:07
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    I agree - you seem to have successfully answered your own question.
    – Lesley
    Nov 25, 2020 at 8:51
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    Good question (and answer :)) Hebrews 10:20 for the flesh being the veil of separation barring entrance into the most holy place (where God's presence dwells). Nov 25, 2020 at 11:54
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    Answers should go in the answer space not in the body of the question
    – Kris
    Feb 24, 2021 at 20:13

2 Answers 2


The phrase you use, 'a replica of' (the heavenly sanctuary) needs to be changed to 'a representation of'. If the earthly sanctuary was as replica of the heavenly one, then the heavenly one could not be in heaven, as that is a spirit dimension, and not a material, physical one where the earthly one dwelt.

The Big Clue about that is given in the book of the Revelation where we get a description of the holy city, new Jerusalem. In part, it says it has a great wall, 12 gates, 12 foundations, is massively foursquare (including the height), the wall is of jasper stone, the foundations full of precious stones, the 12 gates are 12 pearls, the streets of the city are transparent gold. Now, here's the bit - "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (Revelation 21:10-27). There is no night there, either - the glory of God and the Lamb flood it all with their light.

There is no way a dwelling built of materials on earth could ever be a replica of the spiritual realities in that eternal, immaterial dimension of heaven. You also noticed the crucial difference of death being on earth, but not in heaven. There has to be death on earth for now as "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), but God has promised to "wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death. neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:4)

To see how the Bible compares the earthly sanctuary with the heavenly, just read the whole book of Hebrews to get all the comparisons. Especially note the superiority of the heavenly over the earthly representations from ch. 7 vs. 17 right through to 10:29. Then you will grasp why relics of the old temple sanctuary in earthly Jerusalem are totally inconsequential, now that Christ has done away with sacrifices due to the once-for-all-time, perfect sacrifice of himself.

There's no use keeping on looking at a sign-post on earth that directs you somewhere else. The sign is not that which it signifies. Use the earthly points to direct your gaze to heaven, where the sacrificed, but now living, risen Lamb is, and use the Bible as a sort of spiritual map to notice that which matters, along the way. Then, when you get to the heavenly realities, you will be better able to grasp the wonder of it all. But you won't see very far until you have studied the book of Hebrews, for there the plan of salvation is explained in terms of the reality of what Christ did/does, of which the earthly ceremonies and objects in the temple were but a shadow.

  • Up-voted. A memorable proverb : the sign is not that which it signifies. Staring at a sign post does not equate with arrival at the destination.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 17, 2021 at 18:10

While animal sacrifices are not offered in Heaven, it is still true that:

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." (Hebrews 9:12)

Jesus' death took place on Earth, but His blood is symbolically transferred to the sanctuary in Heaven, where He pleads His blood in behalf of His people. Consider Romans 3:25; 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14, and 1 John 1:7.

Though sin is not presently committed in Heaven, the Bible attests to the fact that it exists there: were this not the case, there would be no need of the sanctuary in Heaven being cleansed.

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Revelation 20:12)

Sins are written down in the record books of heaven, and out of those books sinners are to be judged. So, in a sense, there is still sin, at least on the record books, in heaven until the final judgment when all record of sin will be erased except for the scars from Jesus' crucifixion. Once the final cleansing of sin and sinners takes place, those scars will be the only reminder of sin which we will have for the rest of eternity.

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