Built Upon the Rock
by E.H. ‘Jack’ Sequeira

Chapter 21:  Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
Fundamental Belief #24 There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man.  In it, Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross.  He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension.  In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry.  It is a work of Investigative Judgment, which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement.  In that typical service, the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus.  The Investigative Judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and, therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection.  It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom.  This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus.  It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom.  The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent.
[Hebrews 8:1-5, 4:14-16, 9:11-28, 10:19-22, 1:3; 2:16-17; Daniel 7:9-27, 8:13-14, 9:24-27; Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6; Leviticus 16; Revelation 14:6-7, 20:12, 14:12, 22:12.]

After the apostles passed from the scene, Christian church leadership fell into the hands of Gentile believers, commonly known as “Church Fathers.”  These Gentile leaders saw little value in studying the Jewish Sanctuary service.  As far as they were concerned, God had given the Sanctuary system exclusively to the Jewish nation, under the Old Covenant.  So the Sanctuary and its message gradually lost its significance and was generally considered obsolete.

In the mid-19th Century, however, the newly formed Seventh-day Adventist Church resurrected the importance of the Sanctuary message.  Today, one of the Church’s 28 fundamental beliefs deals with this subject.

Many Adventists consider this doctrine to be one of the two major contributions their church has made to 21st-century theology.  The other is the seventh-day Sabbath.  The doctrine of the Sanctuary, however, has been proclaimed for more than a century and a half and has had little positive impact on Christianity, as a whole.  Most non-Adventist Christian scholars, in fact, give it a negative evaluation.

Whose fault is this?  Theirs, or the doctrine’s?  Or is it possible that the fault lies with the way it has been presented?  Have Adventists followed the example of the Jews and put emphasis on buildings and rituals, rather than on the Person the Sanctuary represents?  The Jews, of course, focused on the earthly temple, while Adventists focus on the Sanctuary in heaven.  But the words of Ellen G. White point out the mistaken approach of both groups:

Christ’s Object Lessons, Pages 34
The Lord Jesus was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy.  Its [the temple’s] imposing services were of divine appointment.  They were designed to teach the people that, at the time appointed, One would come to whom these ceremonies pointed.  But the Jews had exalted the forms and ceremonies and had lost sight of their object.  ...And when the Reality came, in the person of Christ, they did not recognize in Him the fulfillment of their types, the substance of all their shadows.  They rejected the antitype, and clung to their types and useless ceremonies.

As we examine this fundamental belief, we will discover that it encompasses more than one, single, major truth.  Besides the Sanctuary truth itself, this fundamental belief also includes the date 1844 and the Investigative Judgment, both of which are major Church doctrines.  All have come under fire, both from within the Church and from outside it, and it is now impossible, in a single chapter, to cover enough material to do justice to these vital truths that have made Adventism what it is as a denomination.

The Sanctuary Truth

So I have divided the study of this major fundamental belief into three parts, and will limit our study of this chapter to the Sanctuary message itself.  In the appendices, then, we will consider the significance of 1844 and examine the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.  As we have done throughout the book, we will consider all these doctrines in the light of the everlasting gospel.

When God gave the Sanctuary and its services to the Israelites of the Exodus, He was providing a visual aid to reveal vital aspects of the Plan of Salvation.  It was His “show-and-tell.”  Through this visual aid, God showed Israel the whole Plan of Redemption, from beginning to end.  The Sanctuary and its services modeled God’s master plan to save lost humanity.  Had the Jews fully understood its significance, they would have recognized Jesus Christ when He came to earth as the fulfillment of the message they had been learning in the Sanctuary.  (For a detailed study of the Sanctuary message, read The Sanctuary, God’s Show and Tell.)

Stephen, the first Christian martyr, tried to get this concept across to the Jewish leaders of his day.  Notice his words, just before his martyrdom:

Acts 7:44-51
“Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness.  It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen.  After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them.  It remained in the land until the time of David, who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.  But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands.  As the prophet says:  ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.  What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord.  Or where will my resting place be?  Has not my hand made all these things?’
“You stiff-necked people!  Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised.  You are just like your ancestors:  You always resist the Holy Spirit!”

Stephen calls the Sanctuary model “the tabernacle of witness.”  For what did it witness?  Clearly, it witnessed for the gospel truth, as it is in Christ:

Hebrews 4:2
For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

But, as Stephen pointed out, the Jewish nation resisted the convictions of the Holy Spirit, and they did so again, as they rushed upon Stephen and stoned him to death.  This unprovoked murder drew the Jewish nation across the line of no return, described in Scripture as “the abomination of desolation”:

Daniel 11:31; 12:11
“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.  Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  ...From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.”

During his final visit to Jerusalem, Christ Himself predicted that the Jewish nation would commit this final sin of unbelief:

Matthew 23:37-39
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.  Look, your house is left to you desolate.  For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Christ, The Reality

While on earth, Jesus gave the Jewish leaders a final opportunity to accept Him as the Messiah.  In doing so, He pointed them to the Jerusalem temple as the ultimate sign that He was the One sent of God to redeem them.  The apostle John describes it as follows:

John 2:13-22
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.  So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here!  Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”  His disciples remembered that it is written:  “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”  But the temple he had spoken of was his body.  After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.  Then they believed the scripture [the Old Testament] and the words that Jesus had spoken.

This incident reveals several things.  First, it points out where the Jews went wrong in their understanding of the Sanctuary message.  They put the emphasis on the temple building and its services rather than on the realities to which these things pointed.

Second, Jesus’ declaration that He would raise the temple (His body) in three days referred to His resurrection, the ultimate sign to the Jewish nation that He was the Messiah and confirmation of the covenant God had made with them through the Sanctuary message.  The stoning-to-death of Stephen in 34 A.D., then, provided the final, outward evidence that their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah was deliberate and final — that, as a nation, they had reached the point of no return.  The prophetic 70 weeks of years predicted by Daniel the prophet was finished:

Daniel 9:24
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people [the Jews] and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.”

Third, Christ’s disciples were also victims of the teachings of Judaism, and failed to understand what Jesus meant, until after His resurrection.  When they eventually saw the light, they “believed the scripture,” the Old Testament that described the Sanctuary of witness, God’s visual aid of His Plan of Redemption:

John 2:22
After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.  Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Finally, the “temple” Jesus was referring to was the temple of His body:

John 2:21
But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

The book of Hebrews clearly brings out the significance of this truth:

Hebrews 10:5-7 [Emphasis Added]
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:  “Sacrifice and offering you [the Father] did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.  Then I said, ‘Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll [Old Testament] — I have come to do your will, my God.’”

The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers in New Testament times, its purpose to convince them that Christ was the complete fulfillment of the Old Testament Sanctuary model.  The passage quoted above comes from Psalms 40:

Psalms 40:6-7
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire — but my ears you have opened — burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.  Then I said, “Here I am, I have come — it is written about me in the scroll.”

The very next verse in Psalm 40 states:

Psalms 40:8
“I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

The body God prepared for Jesus in Mary’s womb was the corporate body of the human race.  This legally qualified Jesus to become man’s substitute and Redeemer, whom the apostle Paul refers to as the “last Adam”:

1 Corinthians 15:45
So it is written:  “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

As we have seen already, the word Adam in Hebrew means “mankind.”  When Paul calls Jesus the “last Adam,” he is saying that Christ assumed our corporate humanity at the incarnation, met the full demands of the law on mankind’s behalf (both its positive demands — obey and live — and its demands for justice — disobey and die).  Thus Paul could declare to the Roman Christians:

Romans 10:4
Christ is the culmination [end or fulfillment] of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

The Significance of the Sanctuary Model

With this background, let us now examine the true meaning of the Sanctuary message, God’s Master plan of Salvation given to the Israelites, through Moses.

First we come to the courtyard, 100 cubits long by 50 cubits wide (approximately 180 feet by 90 feet), made of two joined squares (see diagram at end of this chapter).  The eastern square represents Christ’s earthly mission; the western square His heavenly ministry.  Together, they point to the complete Plan of Redemption in Christ.

In the very center of the eastern square is the bronze altar, or altar of burnt offering.  On this altar, the sacrificial animals are consumed by fire.  This fire has been kindled by God Himself and is kept alive throughout the Exodus journey.  It represents God’s wrath against sin in the world — the sin heaped on the crucified Christ:

Isaiah 53:6
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

God is described as a “consuming fire” and, on the cross, sin was consumed forever in Christ:

Hebrews 12:29
...For our “God is a consuming fire.”

This is the good news of the gospel:

Galatians 3:13
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written:  “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

In Gethsemane, Jesus pled three times with His Father to deliver Him from the ordeal to come.  With blood pouring down His brow, He prayed:

Matthew 26:39
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus was not referring to the physical torture of the cross, but to God’s wrath against sin:

Revelation 14:9-10
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice:  “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.  They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.”

Because God so loved the world:

Romans 8:32a
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all....

The bronze altar in the Sanctuary plan is placed at the center of the eastern square of the courtyard, for it represents the central message of the gospel, Christ and Him crucified.

In further review of the Old Testament Sanctuary, the ark of the covenant is placed in the center of the western square.  In this ark are two tables of stone, on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed — the law that condemns sinners, for all have sinned and stand guilty before it:

Romans 3:19, 23
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  ...For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God....

On top of the ark of the covenant lies the mercy seat, which covers the sins of God’s people.

I find it significant that the Greek word translated “atoning sacrifice” [“propitiation” in the KJV] in the New Testament is the very same Greek word used in the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) to refer to the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant.

Romans 3:25
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received by faith.  He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished....
1 John 2:2
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

The mercy seat, then, represents Christ’ atoning sacrifice.  On the basis of this atoning sacrifice on the cross, Christ is able to cleanse all human sin and unrighteousness:

1 John 1:7, 9
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  ...If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The blood of Christ — that is, His life laid down in death — is the means by which the Savior is lawfully able to forgive sins in His priestly ministry in the heavenly Sanctuary.

Leviticus 17:11
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.
1 John 2:1
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Animal Sacrifices

Now we turn to the system of animal sacrifices in the Sanctuary service.  These sacrifices occur in the eastern square of the courtyard, and God emphasizes two important requirements in the Old Testament.  First, the sacrificial lamb must be spotless; second, it must be completely consumed by fire on the bronze altar.  These two important requirements point to two essential truths of salvation, both of which Christ accomplished in His earthly mission.  The spotless lamb represents His perfect obedience, from birth to manhood.  On mankind’s behalf, this perfect obedience met the positive demands of the law (obey and live).

But Christ came to save sinners, so this perfect obedience alone was but the first step in redeeming fallen mankind.  Christ then took His body — a body that contained the fullness of corporate humanity — and surrendered it to the full wages of sin.  On the cross, Christ tasted death for every person, and the sins of mankind were fully consumed, once and for all:

Hebrews 2:9
But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Romans 6:10
The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
2 Corinthians 5:14
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

The Priestly Ministry

The priestly ministry, carried out in the western square of the earthly Sanctuary, points to Christ as great High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary.  It involves two services — the daily and the yearly.  The daily service represents Christ’s continual intercession for humankind and is necessary because Satan, as the accuser of the brethren, presents his case before God day and night:

Hebrews 7:25
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Revelation 12:10
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:  “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah.  For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”

The blood of the Lamb is the only weapon that counteracts these accusations:

Revelation 12:11
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

In the ancient Jewish system, the second service is conducted only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, and points to Christ’s final, concluding work in the Plan of Redemption.  This work includes the Investigative Judgment of the believers (see Appendix C), the last-day judgment of the wicked, the final disposition of Satan and his angels, and the final eradication of sin and onset of everlasting righteousness in the earth made new:

Revelation 21:1-4
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look!  God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

The two goats used on the Day of Atonement to cleanse the Sanctuary point to the fact that, although Christ is the sin-bearer, the ultimate blame, or responsibility, for sin falls on Satan, its originator.  On the cross, Christ, the sin-bearer, experienced the guilt and punishment for humanity’s sins, and is represented by the sacrifice of the Lord’s goat on the Day of Atonement.  God has assumed this responsibility until the antitypical Day of Atonement when the actual responsibility for all sins will be placed on Satan, where it rightfully belongs.

One of the final issues God must address before bringing sin to an end is the determination of who is responsible for the sin problem.  This is represented by the scapegoat in the service of the Day of Atonement.  Lucifer was created perfect but, somehow, a bent toward self entered his heart and, thus, began the great controversy between God and Lucifer/Satan.

Ezekiel 28:15
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
Isaiah 14:12-14
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!  You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!  You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

When Adventists talk about the Day of Atonement as the “final atonement,” it is important that this not be confused with the perfect, objective, and finished atonement accomplished by Christ on the cross.  When Christ cried out, “It is finished,” He was announcing to the universe that the atonement that reconciles a holy God to sinful man was indeed finished:

John 19:30
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Romans 5:10
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.

But this objective truth of the atonement must not be confused with the subjective application of the atonement.  The final atonement, or at-one-ment, symbolized by the Old Testament Day of Atonement, refers to the ultimate eradication of sin from the universe and the ushering in of everlasting righteousness.  This is still future today, and will be realized when the antitypical Day of Atonement will have done its work:

Romans 5:19b [Note the Future Tense]
...So also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

The final atonement is best described in the closing paragraph of Ellen G. White’s classic, The Great Controversy:

The Great Controversy, Page 678
The great controversy is ended.  Sin and sinners are no more.  The entire universe is clean.  One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation.  From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space.  From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in the unshadowed beauty and perfect joy declare that God is love.

Because of what Christ accomplished in His earthly mission, represented by the spotless lamb being sacrificed and consumed by the fire, He is able to present believers without spot or wrinkle to His Father, as He ministers in the heavenly Sanctuary as High Priest:

Ephesians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

To this heavenly reality, the daily and yearly services of the earthly Sanctuary pointed.  Ellen G. White expresses it well:

The Acts of the Apostles, Page 14
The whole system of type and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption.

The Sanctuary Message Fulfilled

Everything in the Sanctuary God gave the Israelites through Moses — the building itself, the furniture, the various sacrifices, and the daily and yearly services — pointed to Christ, the Savior of the world.  The whole Plan of Salvation, depicted by the earthly Sanctuary, was accomplished within the white linen curtains of the courtyard.  What happened in this enclosure represented the truth as it is “in Christ.”  Outside the courtyard stood the sinners.  But the moment a person entered the courtyard, either personally or through the priest who represented him, he was hidden by the white robe of Christ’s righteousness.  This is justification by faith, represented by all that took place within the courtyard.

In Adam, humanity was defiled and marred and no longer fit for God’s indwelling.  But, in Christ, that same humanity was redeemed, reconciled to God, and cleansed.  That is why Paul can say that, in Christ, the believers are already sitting in heavenly places:

Ephesians 2:5-6
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus....

This redemption applies to all, but is made effective individually when that person professes faith in Christ, enabling them once again to become God’s temples:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.
2 Corinthians 6:16-18
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said:  “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.  Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Ellen G. White explicitly links the cleansing of the Jerusalem temple with Christ’s earthly mission:

The Desire of Ages, Page 161
In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work.  That temple, erected for the abode of the Divine presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and the world.  From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator.  Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God.  Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One.  But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of heaven is fulfilled.

Application of the Sanctuary Truth

The good news of the everlasting gospel makes it possible for sinners to once again become temples of God, as revealed symbolically in the Old Testament Sanctuary and its ceremonies.  God met sinners in the Sanctuary:

Exodus 25:22; 29:42-43
“There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.  ...For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord.  There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory.”

Today He meets us in Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:19
...That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

God revealed Himself to sinners in the Sanctuary:

Exodus 29:46
They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them.  I am the Lord their God.

Today He reveals Himself in Christ:

John 14:7-9
“If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered:  “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?  Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

The Sanctuary was where God dwelt with sinners:

Exodus 25:8; 29:45-46
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.  ...Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God.  They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them.  I am the Lord their God.”

Today He dwells with us in Christ:

Matthew 1:23
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
John 14:23
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.  My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

God spoke to sinners in the Sanctuary:

Exodus 29:42
“For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord.  There I will meet you and speak to you....”
Leviticus 1:1
The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting.

Today He speaks in Christ:

Hebrews 1:2
...But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
John 8:43, 47
“Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.  ...Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

God accepted sinners in the Sanctuary:

Leviticus 1:4
You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.

Today He accepts them in Christ:

Ephesians 1:6
...To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

God forgave sinners in the Sanctuary:

Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35
...And do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering.  In this way the priest will make atonement for the community, and they will be forgiven.  ...He shall burn all the fat on the altar as he burned the fat of the fellowship offering.  In this way the priest will make atonement for the leader’s sin, and he will be forgiven.  ...They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord.  In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.  ...They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the Lord.  In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.

Today He forgives them in Christ:

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace....

Everything in the earthly Sanctuary pointed to Christ; therefore, those who present the Sanctuary message must emphasize the truth as it is in Jesus.  Preachers in the past have tended to emphasize the Sanctuary’s effect on the individual, or subjective experience — and this is not unimportant.  But the objective facts of salvation — the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ — are the foundation for all subjective experience:

1 Corinthians 3:11-13
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.

The Sanctuary, above all, pointed to Christ as Savior of the world and High Priest in Heaven.  The Sanctuary presents in microcosm the complete Plan of Redemption — which is why it remains relevant as a guide, right down to the end.

Below is a diagram of the Sanctuary model, as God described it to Moses.  This diagram will help you appreciate the gospel (especially if you are visually inclined), as foreshadowed in the earthly Sanctuary and its services.


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