In his vision about Earth’s end-time events, the prophet John saw a point in time in which heaven’s sanctuary was opened. He wrote, “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” (Revelation 11:19). The temple in heaven was the original structure from which God instructed Moses and the Israelites to build a model. “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell amongst them,” God told Moses. “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exodus 25:8-9).
The “pattern” God referred to was the sanctuary in heaven described in the book of Hebrews. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Hebrews 8:1-2). To understand the significance of the heavenly sanctuary, we need only look at the earthly model built by Moses.
The tabernacle, or tent-like structure, of the earthly sanctuary contained two rooms—the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place contained only one piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant which was overlaid with gold on the inside and the outside. On top of the Ark sat two golden cherubs, or angels. Inside the Ark rested the two stone tablets containing the law of God. God told Moses, “And thou shalt put into the ark the Testimony [Ten Commandments] which I shall give thee” (Exodus 25:16).
The earthly sanctuary contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, but the great original law of God still stands in the heavenly sanctuary! This means that the principles of the Ten Commandments—including the fourth commandment’s reminder to keep the seventh day holy—are still binding for all people everywhere on earth.