WONDERFUL HEAVENLY SANCTUARY
1 - HOW IS SALVATION MADE POSSIBLE TO US?
Without the shedding of blood there is no remission, or forgiveness, of sin.
Hebrews 9:22- "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Leviticus 17:11).
Years ago a young Brahman called to see a missionary in Culcutta. They talked together about Christianity and the Hindu religions. During the visit the youthful Brahman said, "Many things which Christianity contains I find in Hinduism. But there is one thing Christianity has and Hinduism has not." "What is that?" asked the missionary. "A Saviour" was his reply.
Christ is the world's Saviour because He paid the penalty for our sins by shedding His blood in sacrifice. He was the divine-human substitute who laid down His life, to save the human race from the penalty of God's broken law. All through human history, the coming of Jesus, as the Lamb of God who would give His life blood as the offering for sin, was the great hope of the world. The animal sacrifices offered by Abel, Noah, Abraham, and other Old Testament characters represented Christ who would come into the world and shed His blood in sacrifice for our sins. And the blood of these slain animals typified the blood of Christ. Notice two texts carefully:
Hebrews 9:12-"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He . . obtained eternal redemption for us" (Matthew 26:28; Isaiah 53:5-7).
John 1:29- "John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God."
Christ is the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). He stood in readiness to make the sacrifice before the world (1Peter 1: 18-20). He came from heaven to this earth to accomplish this. None but Christ, one equal to God, whose law had been broken, could redeem man from its curse. The blood of bulls and goats could not do this (Hebrews 10:4). This blood could serve only as a type of Christ's blood.
2 - HOW DID THE OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES REVEAL THE SAVIOUR?
Abel, Noah, and Abraham offered blood sacrifices because they had faith in the salvation promised through the coming Saviour. These Old Testament sacrifices were symbolic of Jesus and intended to keep fresh in mind the true Lamb of God who would come to earth and shed His blood for our redemption (Hebrews 9:3-5, 8, 13, 20, 22).
From the time of Adam's sin to Moses, some 2,500 years, the offering of sacrifices was made by the head of the family.
From Moses' time till the advent of Christ, animal sacrifices were offered in a special building, or sanctuary, constructed for this purpose. In this beautiful building, God promised to meet with Israel. Here is the record:
Exodus 25:8-"Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."
These sacrifices were a temporary arrangement, "a figure for the time then present" until the true Lamb of God would come.
Hebrews 9:9-"Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices."
The entire sacrificial work was organized in, and about, the sanctuary that Moses was instructed to build. Later, Solomon's Temple housed this service. It was built upon the very spot where Abraham brought his son, Isaac, to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah.
3 - HOW MANY ROOMS WERE IN THE SANCTUARY?
Exodus 26:33-"Thou shalt hang the veil. . . and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy:"
The sanctuary proper had two rooms and was situated inside an open air court some 75 by 150 feet. The walls of the court were made of linen screens suspended from upright brass pillars. The entrance was at the eastern end. In the court were the altar of burnt offering and the brass laver, where the priests washed their hands and feet before entering the sanctuary.
1. The first, or holy, apartment was for daily use.
Hebrews 9:6-"Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God."
The first, or holy, apartment had three articles of furniture: the golden candlestick with seven lamps (Exodus 25:37), the table of shewbread, and the altar of incense. The service here was daily. On the altar of incense, the priest burned incense morning and evening. A magnificent veil separated this apartment from the second.
For a description of the furniture of the first apartment, turn to Exodus 25:23-40; 30:1-6; 40:22-27.
2. The second, or most holy, apartment was entered only once a year.
Hebrews 9:7-"Into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people."
In the second, or most holy, apartment was the ark, the central figure of the entire sanctuary. In the ark were the Ten Commandments engraved on tablets of stone. All services centered in the fact that men had transgressed this holy, unchangeable law. All men needed mercy. So, above the law, as a covering of the ark, was the mercy seat, made of pure gold. On either end of the mercy seat were cherubim made of beaten gold. Their faces looked downward in reference to the holy law.
Above the mercy seat was the Shekinah, or the manifestation of the divine presence. The law decreed death upon the transgressor, but above the law was the mercy seat, overshadowed by the presence of God. Mercy and pardon were granted by virtue of the atoning blood.
For a description of the second apartment and its furniture, turn to Exodus 40:20-21; 25:10-22; Hebrews 9:3-4; Deuteronomy 10:4-5.
4 - WHAT WAS REPRESENTED BY THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY?
Hebrews 8:5-"Who served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle; for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount" (Hebrews 9:24).
Keep in mind that in Old Testament times, Christ, the Saviour, had not yet come to earth; and God was seeking, by the sanctuary service, to fix the faith of the people upon Jesus by illustrating His work (through the different services of the earthly sanctuary) of the original, which is in heaven. It represented the work of Christ as man's Saviour.
Since the time of His ascension, Christ has been our high priest in the heavenly Sanctuary.
Hebrews 8:1-2-"We have such an 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 9:24).
In vision, John, the Revelator, saw the articles of the heavenly Sanctuary. He saw the golden candlesticks (Revelation 1:12-13; 4:5). He saw the golden altar of incense (Revelation 8:3-4). And, as he viewed the future, he saw the "ark of His testament" in the temple of heaven (Revelation 11:18-19).
5 - HOW OFTEN WAS THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY CLEANSED?
Let us now come back to the earthly sanctuary. This building was cleansed once a year by a blood sacrifice.
Leviticus 16:19-"He shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hollow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel."
This yearly service was a service of atonement and judgment.
Leviticus 16:30-"On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord." (Read all of Leviticus 16 for the complete service of this Day of Atonement, as it is called.)
As the people confessed their sins day by day and sacrifices were offered, blood was placed on the horns of the altar and the sins, in symbol, were transferred to the sanctuary. Then, once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, final opportunity was given for full disposition of sin. It was a solemn day indeed! It was now or never. It was the annual day of judgment.
The noted Dean Farrar wrote: "So awful was the Day of Atonement that we are told in a Jewish book of ritual that the very angels run to and fro in fear and trembling, saying, 'Lo, the day of judgment has come!" (The Early Days of Christianity, p. 238).
So the yearly cleansing of the earthly sanctuary on the Day of Atonement was a day of judgment for the people.
6 - WAS THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY ALSO TO BE CLEANSED?
The answer to this question brings us to the key point in this lesson. Remember that the prophecy of Daniel 8: 14 pointed forward to the cleansing of the heavenly Sanctuary. Here are the words of the prophecy:
Daniel 8: 14-"Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed."
When Jesus died on the cross, the old, or earthly, sacrificial system which pointed to His life and death was no longer necessary. As far as God was concerned, the earthly sanctuary service ended. Then, after His death, Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven to begin His work as our high priest in the heavenly Sanctuary.
At the close of the 2300 days (1844), the Sanctuary was to be cleansed. This was not the earthly Sanctuary, because its work ended at the cross.
Therefore it must have been the heavenly Sanctuary. In 1844, the hour struck for the beginning of that cleansing. At the time appointed, the great antitypical cleansing, or judgment. in the most holy place of the Sanctuary in heaven began.
In 1844, Jesus entered the most holy apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary and began that work. There is no sin in heaven, but a work of judgment is being done in connection with the records of sin (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Revelation 20:12).
Consider that "when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son" (Galatians 4:4). At the end of the 483 years of Daniel 9, Jesus was baptized and anointed by the Holy Ghost, just as predicted. That was in AD. 27 He was also crucified at the stroke of the prophetic clock. Just as the first part of the 2300-day prophecy was fulfilled at the time appointed, so the judgment hour began in 1844, at the end of the 2300-day prophetic period.
As the cleansing of the sanctuary was a day of judgment, the final day to get right with God, so the cleansing of the heavenly Sanctuary is God's appointed time for judgment. "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world" (Acts 17:31).
This judgment was future in Paul's day (Acts 24:25). It was "judgment to come."
This is an investigative judgment, in which all cases must be decided before Christ comes, since He brings His reward with Him. During the millennium a study will be made of the cases of the wicked, with the redeemed saints assisting. The final sentences will be pronounced upon the wicked. Then the execution of the sentences will be carried out at the end of the 1,000 years, after the wicked are resurrected. So we have the three regular phases of judgment - the investigation now, the determining of the sentences during the 1,000 years, and the execution of the sentences at the end of that period.
Christ will come soon after the judgment ends. Here are the words of God, indicating that, when the judgment ends, Jesus' coming follows quickly:
Revelation 22:11-12-"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as His work shall be" (Revelation 14:6-7 for the judgment message).
7 - WHAT JUDGMENT SCENE DID DANIEL SEE IN VISION?
Daniel 7:9-10--"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him. and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened."
The scene becomes very vivid as Christ comes to the judgment room.
Daniel 7:13-"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him."
Jesus appears before God, the Father, as our advocate.
1 John 2:1-"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (Acts 17:31).
The Ancient of Days is God, the Father (Daniel 7:9. 13). He is the great, unchanging, merciful, but holy God. Myriads of angels attend the heavenly court. Jesus is our advocate. God created all things by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9). He reconciled the world to Himself by Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18). And He will judge the world by Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31). Jesus is our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Friend at the judgment bar of God. He will plead our case and win it if we will let Him.
8 - WHAT SHOULD WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE JUDGMENT?
1. Heaven's court will take into consideration not only what a man did, but why he did it.
There will be complete understanding of all factors and therefore complete justice. There will be no mistakes as in earthly courts, where innocent men have sometimes paid the penalty for other mens' crimes. Were you ever accused of something you did not do? It will not be so there. Were you ever given credit for a good deed you did not do? It will not be so there.
Jeremiah 2:22- "Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord. "
Ecclesiastes 12:14-"God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing."
This is possible because there is a record of every man's life. God knows all. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3).
2. We will be judged from the books of record in heaven.
Revelation 20:12-"The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books."
One of these is the book of life (Revelation 13:8; Daniel 12: 1; (Philippians 4:3). And there is a book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16). And there is one, and only one, remedy. That is the blood of Jesus Christ. This precious lifeblood of Jesus is available to all who will freely confess all sin and walk in the light of truth (1 John 1: 7-9). The blood reveals God's merciful plan to forgive our sins. His justice and mercy together declare the breadth of His love. Friend, let His love warm and win your heart. He wants only your allegiance of love. Jesus is ready to be your advocate before God and present His blood for you.
9 - WHAT IS THE STANDARD IN THE JUDGMENT?
The holy, eternal, immutable, unchangeable Ten Commandments will be the standard in the judgment. The law that says, "Thou shalt not kill," etc. (James 2:10-12), will judge us; so Solomon concluded, "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). And we read again:
James 2:10-12-"Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty" (James 1;22-25; Ecclesiastes 12;13-14).
And now, dear student, we must come to a personal question - How shall we stand in the judgment? We all have a case pending there, for all must appear in the judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). All have sinned (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But Christ died for us. His blood atones for sin. So now is the time to confess our sins to Him (1 John 1: 9) and send them beforehand to judgment (1 Timothy 5:24).
We must also forsake sin (Proverbs 28: 13); for sin is the transgression of God's law, which is the standard of the judgment (1 John 3:4). Jesus Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), and God will judge us by Christ (Acts 17:31). His Word will settle our cases. "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Turn to Jesus with all your heart. He will forgive you - gloriously forgive you and make you acceptable to God. Will you not accept Him now?
THE GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT
"We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
"Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon - none know how soon-it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behoves every soul to heed the Saviour's admonition: 'Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is' (Mark 13:33). 'If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee' (Revelation 3:3).
"When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. . While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments - it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence: 'Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting' (Daniel 5:27)." -Great Controversy, 489-491
THE SANCTUARY IN HEAVEN
"The sanctuary in heaven, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy. God placed His Spirit upon the builders of the earthly sanctuary. The artistic skill displayed in its construction was a manifestation of divine wisdom. The walls had the appearance of massive gold, reflecting in every direction the light of the seven lamps of the golden candlestick. The table of shewbread and the altar of incense glittered like burnished gold. The gorgeous curtain which formed the ceiling, inwrought with figures of angels in blue and purple and scarlet, added to the beauty of the scene. And beyond the second veil was the holy Shekinah, the visible manifestation of God's glory, before which none but the high priest could enter and live.
"The matchless splendor of the earthly tabernacle reflected to human vision the glories of that heavenly temple where Christ our forerunner ministers for us before the throne of God. The abiding place of the King of kings, where thousand thousands minister unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before Him (Daniel 7: 10); that temple, filled with the glory of the eternal throne, where seraphim, its shining guardians, veil their faces in adoration, could find, in the most magnificent structure ever reared by human hands, but a faint reflection of its vastness and glory. .
"The holy places of the sanctuary in heaven are represented by the two apartments in the sanctuary on earth. As in vision the apostle John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven, he beheld there 'seven lamps of fire burning before the throne' (Revelation 4:5). He saw an angel 'having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne' (Revelation 8:3). Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there the 'seven lamps of fire' and 'the golden altar,' represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary on earth. Again, 'the temple of God was opened' (Revelation II: 19), and he looked within the inner veil, upon the holy of holies. Here he beheld 'the ark of His testament,' represented by the sacred chest constructed by Moses to contain the law of God. .
"Moses made the earthly sanctuary after a pattern which was shown him. Paul teaches that that pattern was the true sanctuary which is in heaven. And John testifies that he saw it in heaven.
"In the temple in heaven, the dwelling place of God, His throne is established in righteousness and judgment. In the most holy place is His law, the great rule of right by which all mankind are tested. The ark that enshrines the tables of the law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner's behalf. Thus is represented the union of justice and mercy in the plan of human redemption. This union infinite wisdom alone could devise and infinite power accomplish; it is a union that fills all heaven with wonder and adoration. The cherubim of the earthly sanctuary, looking reverently down upon the mercy seat, represent the interest with which the heavenly host contemplate the work of redemption. This is the mystery of mercy into which angels desire to look-that God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinner and renews His intercourse with the fallen race; that Christ could stoop to raise unnumbered multitudes from the abyss of ruin and clothe them with the spotless garments of His own righteousness to unite with angels who have never fallen and to dwell forever in the presence of God.
"The work of Christ as man's intercessor is presented in that beautiful prophecy of Zechariah concerning Him 'whose name is the Branch.' Says the prophet: 'He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His [the Father's] throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between Them both' (Zechariah 6:12, 13) . .
" 'He shall bear the glory.' To Christ belongs the glory of redemption for the fallen race. Through the eternal ages, the song of the ransomed ones will be: 'Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, . . to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever' (Revelation 1 :5, 6).
"He 'shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne.' Not now 'upon the throne of His glory'; the kingdom of glory has not yet been ushered in. Not until His work as a mediator shall be ended will God 'give unto Him the throne of His father David,' a kingdom of which 'there shall be no end' (Luke 1 :32, 33). As a priest, Christ is now set down with the Father in His throne (Revelation 3:21). Upon the throne with the eternal, self-existent One is He who 'hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,' who 'was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,' that He might be 'able to succor them that are tempted.' 'If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father' (Isaiah 53:4; Hebrews 4: 15; 2: 18; 1 John 2: 1). His intercession is that of a pierced and broken body, of a spotless life, The wounded hands, the pierced side, the marred feet, plead for fallen man, whose redemption was purchased at such infinite cost.
" 'And the counsel of peace shall be between Them both.' The love of the Father, no less than of the Son, is the fountain of salvation for the lost race. Said Jesus to His disciples before He went away: 'I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you' John 16:26,27. God was 'in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself' (2 Corinthians 5: 19). And in the ministration in the sanctuary above, 'the counsel of peace shall be between Them both.' 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life' (John 3: 16)." Great Controversy, 414-417
THE EARTHLY TABERNACLE
The sanctuary in the wilderness was constructed under the direction of Moses, in accordance with the pattern shown him in the mount (Ex 25:7-8,40; Heb 8:5).
. Enclosing this wilderness tabernacle was an OUTER COURT which was made of white curtains attached to poles (Ex 27:9-18), and was about 75 feet wide by 150 feet long (based on an 18-inch cubit). Within the Court was the ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING, the Laver, and the Tabernacle. This altar was also called the Brazen Altar since there was a second altar (the Golden Altar) inside the Tabernacle. This outside (Ex 27:1-9) altar was hollow inside, overlaid with brass, and was 5 feet high and 7% feet square. Upon this altar were placed the animals that were offered as burnt sacrifice. Just beyond, stood the brass LAVER (Ex 30:18-21), where the priests washed before entering the Tabernacle.
The TABERNACLE (the sanctuary) (Ex 26:1-37) was a tent with wooden walls, four layers as a roof covering, with gold and beautiful curtains inside. About 15 by 45 feet in size, this Tabernacle was portable, so it could be taken apart and moved from place to place during the journeys of Israel through the wilderness. Divided by an inner veil into two rooms (apartments), it was the holiest place on earth.
The priest entered the FIRST APARTMENT everyday with the blood, and went past the seven-branched Golden Candlestick, with its seven lamps of fire (Ex 25:31-40); past the Table of Shewbread, containing the dedicated bread, that stood before the Presence of the Lord (Ex 25:23-30); and on to the Altar of Incense, or Golden Altar (Ex 30:1-10), from whence the smoke of a specially prepared incense wafted up, over the top of the dividing veil (which did not reach to the ceiling) and into the Holy of Holies beyond. Upon the Golden Altar and dividing veil, the priest sprinkled some of the sacrificial blood (Lev 4-5). A partial description of this may be found in Hebrews 9:1-7. All of the furniture within the First and Second Apartments was of solid gold, or covered with gold.
The SECOND APARTMENT, or Most Holy Place (Ex 26:33), contained the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 26:17-22). Between two CHERUBIM was the glory of the SHIKINAH-the Presence of God (Ex 26:22; 40:34). Beneath it was the MERCY SEAT, a solid gold slab that covered the top of the ARK, wherein lay the foundation of God's government: the MORAL LAW OF TEN COMMANDMENTS (Ex 20:3-17) which was written by the finger of God on stone (Ex 24:12) and then placed in the Ark (Ex 40:20). All of mankind is to be governed by those holy precepts, even down to the end of time (Rev 12:17; 14:12) and beyond (Rev 22:14; Isa 66:22-23). The DAILY SERVICE continued all year; but, once a year on the DAY OF ATONEMENT, the high priest entered the Second Apartment-to cleanse the sanctuary and the people of sin (Lev 16:30, 33-34 and all of the chapter; Dan 8:14).