BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

LESSON 10 - God in The Sanctuary

God instructed the Israelites to build a sanctuary that He might "dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8). The sanctuary built by the Hebrews was a type or a symbol representing greater realities.

The New Testament Scriptures reveal that there are several places where God dwells, all of which were symbolised by the Hebrew temple.

  1. There is the temple of the human soul. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  2. 2.2. There is the sanctuary of the Christian Church. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
  3. 3.3. There is the sanctuary in heaven, the literal dwelling place of God where He sits on the throne of the universe. (Hebrews 8:1,2; Revelation 11:19)

"Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol--that glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains inwrought with cherubim, the fragrance of ever-burning incense pervading all, the priests robed in spotless white, and in the deep mystery of the inner place, above the mercy seat, between the figures of the bowed, worshiping angels, the glory of the Holiest. In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul." _ Education, p.36  

          

Part 1: the presence behind the veil

                                                                                   

Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. 1 Tim 6:15-16

"Man cannot by searching find out God. Let none seek with presumptuous hand to lift the veil that conceals His glory. "Unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out." Romans 11:33. It is a proof of His mercy that there is the hiding of His power; for to lift the veil that conceals the divine presence is death. No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy in which the Mighty One dwells and works. Only that which He sees fit to reveal can we comprehend of Him. Reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself. Heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM." _ Ministry of Healing, p.438

 

How did God manifest His presence in the Jewish sancutary? Lev 16:2

". . . . Under the Old Testament dispensation every important work was closely connected with the sanctuary. In the holy of holies the great I AM took up His abode. . . . There, above the mercy seat, overshadowed by the wings of the cherubim, dwelt the Shekinah of His glory, the perpetual token of His presence, while the breastplate of the high priest, set with precious stones, made known from the sacred precincts of the sanctuary the solemn message of Jehovah to the people . . . ." _ That I May Know Him, p. 101

"Above the mercy seat was the Shekinah, the manifestation of the divine Presence; and from between the cherubim, God made known His will. Divine messages were sometimes communicated to the high priest by a voice from the cloud. Sometimes a light fell upon the angel at the right, to signify approval or acceptance, or a shadow or cloud rested upon the one at the left to reveal disapproval or rejection. . . ." _ Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 349

 

What greater reality did the Jewish sanctuary represent? Heb. 8:5

"No language can describe the glory of the scene presented within the sanctuary--the gold-plated walls reflecting the light from the golden candlestick, the brilliant hues of the richly embroidered curtains with their shining angels, the table, and the altar of incense, glittering with gold; beyond the second veil the sacred ark, with its mystic cherubim, and above it the holy Shekinah, the visible manifestation of Jehovah's presence; all but a dim reflection of the glories of the temple of God in heaven, the great center of the work for man's redemption." _ Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 349

Key Thought

What lessons may be learned from the fact that God veiled His presence from the Jews?                        

                                               

Part 2: A Mediator

                                                                                               

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (Rev 8:4)

"The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin, ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary: but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. . . . All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ's propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. . . ." _ God's Amazing Grace, p. 154

 

Who was represented by the high priest in the Sanctuary Service? Heb. 8:1,2; 1 Tim. 2:5

"The sin of Adam and Eve caused a fearful separation between God and man. And Christ steps in between fallen man and God, and says to man: "You may yet come to the Father; there is a plan devised through which God can be reconciled to man, and man to God; through a mediator you can approach God." And now He stands to mediate for you. He is the great High Priest who is pleading in your behalf; and you are to come and present your case to the Father through Jesus Christ. Thus you can find access to God." _ God's Amazing Grace, p. 154

"Let faith pierce through the hellish shadow of Satan and center in Jesus, our high priest, who hath entered for us within the veil. Whatever clouds overcast the sky, whatever storms surge around the soul, this anchor holds firm, and we may be sure of victory." _ In Heavenly Places, p. 127

 

As we seek salvation through Christ what assurance may we have? Heb. 7:25

"In the courts above, Christ is pleading for His church --pleading for those for whom He has paid the redemption price of His blood. Centuries, ages, can never lessen the efficacy of His atoning sacrifice. Neither life nor death, height nor depth, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus; not because we hold Him so firmly, but because He holds us so fast. If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises. Our grasp on Him may seem feeble, but His love is that of an elder brother; so long as we maintain our union with Him, no one can pluck us out of His hand." _ Acts of The Apostles, p. 552             

Key Thought                                                                         

No matter how bitterly we have been battered by sin we have a Mediator who can sympathise with us (Heb. 4:14-16)                   

           

Part 3: Justice and Mercy

                                                                                               

Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. (Psa 97:2)

 

"God's love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan's purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God's law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God's plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Ps. 85:10." _ The Desire of ages, p. 762

 

How did God illustrate the fact that His justice is mingled with mercy? Exodus 25:21,22

"The law requires righteousness,--a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God's holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ. God can "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Rom. 3:26." _ The Desire of ages, p. 762

"By His life and His death, Christ proved that God's justice did not destroy His mercy, but that sin could be forgiven, and that the law is righteous, and can be perfectly obeyed. Satan's charges were refuted. God had given man unmistakable evidence of His love." _ The Desire of ages, p. 762

How was it possible for us (great sinners that we are) to escape the judgement of God? Isa. 53: 5,6

"Through Jesus, God's mercy was manifested to men; but mercy does not set aside justice. The law reveals the attributes of God's character, and not a jot or tittle of it could be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. God did not change His law, but He sacrificed Himself, in Christ, for man's redemption. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." 2 Cor. 5:19." _ The Desire of ages, p. 762

"Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race." _ The Desire of ages, p. 834               

 

Key Thought                                                                         

While mercy finds a way to satisfy justice, it does not nullify justice of excuse sin. (Exodus 34:7)               

           

Part 4: The Way to God illustrated

                                                                                               

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? (Psa 77:13)

". . . . Those who make slurring remarks concerning the old Jewish age, show that they are ignorant of the Scriptures, and of the power of God. Amid the moral darkness of the idolatrous nations of that time are seen burning traces of the great I AM. His goings forth stand registered in the pages of Bible history. What is now needed is divine enlightenment, and a more intelligent knowledge of the wonderful dealings of God with his people anciently. The psalmist exclaims, "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God." _ Review and Herald, March 2, 1886

 

Who was the central focus of the Sanctuary services (apart from God the Father). John 14:6; John 1:29, Rev. 5:6; Heb. 8:1,2

"The system of sacrificial offerings pointed to Christ. Through these, the ancient worthies saw Christ, and believed in him. These were ordained of Heaven to keep before the people the fearful separation which sin had made between God and man, requiring a mediating ministry. Through Christ, the communication which was cut off because of Adam's transgression was opened between God and the ruined sinner. But the infinite sacrifice that Christ voluntarily made for man remains a mystery that angels cannot fully fathom. "The Jewish system was symbolical, and was to continue until the perfect Offering should take the place of the figurative. The Mediator, in his office and work, would greatly exceed in dignity and glory the earthly, typical priesthood. The people of God, from Adam's day down to the time when the Jewish nation became a separate and distinct people from the world, had been instructed in regard to the Redeemer to come, which their sacrificial offerings represented. This Saviour was to be a mediator, to stand between the Most High and his people. Through this provision, a way was opened whereby the guilty sinner might find access to God through the mediation of another. The sinner could not come in his own person, with his guilt upon him, and with no greater merit than he possessed in himself. Christ alone could open the way, by making an offering equal to the demands of the divine law. He was perfect, and undefiled by sin. He was without spot or blemish. The extent of the terrible consequences of sin could never have been known, had not the remedy provided been of infinite value. The salvation of fallen man was procured at such an immense cost that angels marveled, and could not fully comprehend the divine mystery that the majesty of Heaven, equal with God, should die for the rebellious race." _ Review and Herald, Dec. 17, 1872                       

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

If I wish to know God I must find Him through Christ. There is no other way.                

                       

Part 5: God in the human soul

                                                                                               

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exo 25:8)

"God commanded Moses for Israel, "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them" (Ex. 25:8), and He abode in the sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them. So Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life. "The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." John 1:14, R. V., margin." _ Desire of Ages, p. 23

 

What vital truth did God seek to convey to men by the Hebrew sanctuary? 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16

"Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol--that glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains inwrought with cherubim, the fragrance of ever-burning incense pervading all, the priests robed in spotless white, and in the deep mystery of the inner place, above the mercy seat, between the figures of the bowed, worshiping angels, the glory of the Holiest. In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul. It was the same purpose long afterward set forth by the apostle Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit:" _ Education, p. 36

 

The Jews often misunderstood the words of Christ. What truth were they ignorant of as John 2:19-21 illustrates?

They went to Jesus with a deference born of the fear that still hung over them; for they concluded that he must be a prophet sent of God to restore the sanctity of the temple. They asked him, "What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?" Jesus had already given them the strongest proof of his divine commission. He knew that no evidence he could present to them would convince them that he was the Messiah if his act of cleansing the temple had failed to do so. Therefore he answered their challenge with these words, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." They supposed he referred to the temple of Jerusalem, and were astounded at his apparent presumption. Their unbelieving minds were unable to discern that he referred to his own body, the earthly temple of the Son of God. With indignation they answered, "Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?" _ Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 2, p. 121                     

 

Key Thought                                                                                     

May I believe the Bible when it says that God lives in the temple of my body? What effect should this realization have on my behavior?                 

Part 6: God in the church

                                                                                               

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph 2:19-22)

The church on earth is God's temple, and it is to assume divine proportions before the world. This building is to be the light of the world. It is to be composed of living stones laid close together, stone fitting to stone, making a solid building. All these stones are not of the same shape or dimension. Some are large and some are small, but each one has its own place to fill. In the whole building there is not to be one misshapen stone. Each one is perfect. And each stone is a living stone, a stone that emits light. The value of the stones is determined by the light they reflect to the world." _ In Heavenly Places, p. 281

 

What description of the Church suggests the very close relationship between God and the Church? (Eph. 1:22,23)

 

So to Israel, whom He desired to make His dwelling place, He revealed His glorious ideal of character. The pattern was shown them in the mount when the law was given from Sinai. . . ." _ The Faith I Live By, p. 192

How was God's ultimate purpose for His Church illustrated by the services of the Hebrew sanctuary? Lev. 16:30 (compare Eph. 4:11-13; Mal. 3:1-3)

"The apostles built upon a sure foundation, even the Rock of Ages. To this foundation they brought the stones that they quarried from the world. Not without hindrance did the builders labor. Their work was made exceedingly difficult by the opposition of the enemies of Christ. They had to contend against the bigotry, prejudice, and hatred of those who were building upon a false foundation. . . . But in the face of imprisonment, torture, and death, faithful men carried the work forward; and the structure grew, beautiful and symmetrical. . . . "Through the ages that have passed since the days of the apostles, the building of God's temple has never ceased. We may look back through the centuries and see the living stones of which it is composed gleaming like jets of light through the darkness of error and superstition. Throughout eternity these precious jewels will shine with increasing luster. . . ." _ God's Amazing Grace, p. 123                      

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

The body of Christ will never be stronger than its weakest member. We must help one another to grow.


Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

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