The Sanctuary 
 by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira 

3 – God With Us

Hebrews 10:5-10:

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:  “Sacrifice and offering you 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 — I have come to do your will, my God.’”

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” — though they were offered in accordance with the law.  Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Our last two chapters laid the foundation for a meaningful understanding of the sanctuary message.  We noted two very important facts.

  1. God gave the sanctuary through Moses as His master model plan of salvation.  Through the sanctuary, we have a revelation of what God has done and is doing from beginning to end in terms of our salvation and restoration.

  2. We discovered that the reality of the sanctuary model is Jesus Christ.  This does not mean that there is no literal sanctuary in heaven.  Hebrews chapter 8 makes it clear that there is a sanctuary in heaven.  But that is not where the emphasis is.  God did not give the sanctuary message to put emphasis on buildings but on a person, Jesus Christ.

Now, let us begin an in-depth study of God’s great plan of salvation and His saving activity in Jesus Christ.  When we come to the Word of God, we must do one thing.  We must put aside our preconceived ideas and our opinions and our prejudices and let the Word of God speak to us.  Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 35, by Ellen G. White:

“There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error.  The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible.  Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair.  No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.”

Let us investigate the truth as it is in Christ.  Let us put our preconceived ideas aside, remembering that when Jesus taught the disciples they had a hard time understanding because they were trying to put old wine into old bottles.  We cannot do that.  Therefore, let us come to the Word of God and let it speak.  We are going to make some discoveries that do not agree with our previous opinions.  We have to let the Word of God be the measuring stick of truth.

Here is a statement that reveals the ultimate goal of the plan of redemption.  God has a goal — an ultimate goal — in the plan of salvation.  Through Christ, God will fulfil that purpose so He is the reality of the plan.  Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, page 161:

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.

That was the original plan of God.  When man fell, that plan was ruined because the Spirit of God left man and our human life was plunged into darkness.  You and I were born as children of darkness.  Through Jesus Christ, God wants us to be back as the children of light.  The ultimate plan and purpose of God is referred to in the Bible as “the everlasting covenant,” sometimes called the “new covenant” in contrast to the “old covenant,” which was the type.  The everlasting covenant is synonymous to the everlasting gospel that is to be preached to every nation, tongue, and people.

In 2 Corinthians 6:16 we read:

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God....

God doesn’t want to live in buildings.  He lives in heaven and He wants to live in us.  “We are the temple of the living God.”  Continuing the verse:

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.”

That is God’s purpose for us.  He wants to dwell in us, not only that He may save us and we may go to heaven, but that He may reveal Himself through us.

In speaking to other Gentile believers Paul says in Ephesians 2:19-22:

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

God wants to build us up.

Notice that Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone.  The chief cornerstone is not necessarily the stone that carries the main weight.  Here in America most of our houses are built out of wood.  In the Middle East, in the Bible country, wood is a luxury.  It is hard to get wood there.  It is mostly desert.  There are plenty of stones and rocks, so most of the houses are built out of stones.  When the foundation of a building is laid the first thing that a builder does is to lay the chief cornerstone.  By that stone everything else is measured.  He sets the first cornerstone and then the other three cornerstones and then he ties a string.  Everything is measured by the chief cornerstone.

So what Paul is saying here and Peter also — it is a common saying in the New Testament — is that everything is measured by the chief cornerstone.  Your experience and mine is to be measured by one person, Jesus Christ.  Therefore we need to start, not with our experience, but with the Chief Cornerstone and that is why we will begin our study with the Chief Cornerstone.  We should be built up around Him until the temple of God is finished.  That is God’s ultimate goal.

John 1:14 is a fulfilment of Exodus 25:8 where God told Moses:

Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.

The reality of that, of course, is Jesus Christ.  God dwells in us today through Jesus Christ.  We find the context in John 1.  Here Jesus is introduced as the Word who is God.  In John 1:14 we are told this:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We need to analyze each one of these statements.  We will first look at the word “flesh.”  This means that Jesus Christ, who was God, was made human.  It is the humanity of Christ, the sanctuary, where God dwells.  It is in that humanity that God saves us and restores us.  That is why we are told by the pen of inspiration that “the humanity of Christ is everything to us.”  [Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 244.]

Now look at the words “made his dwelling” (or “dwelt,” in some translations).  The Word was made human and dwelt among us.  The common word in your English Bible, “dwelt” is translated from the Greek word kataikathele.  That’s the common word for “dwelt.”  That’s not the word John used.  He used a very impressive word, which is the same word found in Hebrews 9:2.  Let us notice verse one, also, to get the context:

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.  A tabernacle was set up.  In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.

The word that John used and is translated by the word “dwelt” is translated in the book of Hebrews by another word, “tabernacled.”  What John is saying is:  “The Word was made flesh and ‘tabernacled’ among us.”  So Christ in His humanity was God’s sanctuary which God prepared.  God made the Word flesh, not Mary nor Joseph.  God dwelt in that flesh and God redeemed the human race in that flesh.  This is the first thing that we need to discover.

Another statement that complements what we have just read is in Matthew 1:23:

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

So Jesus Christ was the sanctuary and God dwelt in that sanctuary (humanity).  The reason that God dwelt in Christ was to redeem us.

One more text, John 2:13-22, tells us that Jesus Himself identified His humanity with the temple of God [starting with verses 13-15]:

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.

Here is an object lesson.  Jesus had come to the Passover feast and found that they had defiled the temple of God by making it into a market.  He made a whip and drove them out of the temple with their sheep and oxen.  In verse 16, He says:

To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here!  Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

As he said those words (verse 17):

His disciples remembered that it is written:  “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Verse 18:

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

“Who gave you the authority to cleanse this temple?”  Verse 19:

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

There are two things to notice.  God created a perfect body for Adam and Eve.  What did they do with it?  They defiled it.  Now God creates a body for Jesus Christ and what did the Jews do with it?  They crucified and destroyed it.  In verse 20:

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”

Verse 2l:

But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

Verse 22:

After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.  Then they believed the scripture [that is, the Old Testament, the sanctuary message] and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Jesus Christ in His humanity is the temple of God.  In John 1 we are told that, in this temple, we beheld the glory of God.  John defines the glory of God in John 1:14:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We are told that “the glory of God” is described as “full of grace and truth.”  God’s grace is His loving disposition to sinners by which He redeemed us in Christ.  So the glory of God is His self-giving, self-emptying love.  This is why we can see the true character of God in Christ.  He is not a fire that wants to come and consume you.  He is a God of love who wants to come and save you and for that He sent Jesus Christ.

Speaking about the incarnation of Christ we read in Hebrews 10:5:

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:  “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me....”

When Christ, the reality of God’s sanctuary, came into the world, He said, “a body you prepared for me.”  What this verse is saying is that Christ did not come into this world to perpetuate the sacrificial system.  He came to be the reality of the sacrificial system.  Therefore we read in verse 6:

...With burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.

Now what does the writer of the book of Hebrews mean by that?  It was God who gave the sacrificial system.  Then why does He say He has no pleasure?  Is it because of what the Jews did to it?  The Jews took the sacrificial system and gave it merit.  They gave it salvic value and we must never do that to the ceremonies of the New Testament, whether it be baptism or the Lord’s supper.  They are simply reminders or symbols that point us to Christ the reality.  Therefore the writer of Hebrews is saying that God has no pleasure in offering up animals.  He hates it because He has created those animals.  The cross is so expensive a way of saving us that God wants to show the human race what it costs Him to save us.  But the rituals themselves, the animal sacrifice itself, has no value.

Hebrews 10:7:

Then I said, “Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll [in the volume of the book it is written of me] — I have come to do your will, my God.”

That is a quotation from Psalms 40.  Let us turn to that because the writer of Hebrews is giving only a partial quotation.  He took for granted that the Jews knew the whole text but we are not familiar with it so let us look at what the full text says.  Psalm 40:6-8:

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.  I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

The law here is the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament and in that law are given all the types and symbols of the reality.  When Jesus was on this earth, in Matthew 5:17 He said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

This is what Hebrews 10 is saying.  The will of God is our redemption or our restoration.  We read, for example, in John 3:17 that God sent forth His Son not to condemn:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Galatians 4:4, to redeem us from under the law that we may be adopted as His sons and daughters.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law....

Hebrews 10:8:

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” — though they were offered in accordance with the law.

That is the type.  A clearer picture of the type, talking about the sacrificial system is found in Hebrews 9:9:

This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.

There was no salvic value in that sacrificial system.  Verse 10:

They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings — external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

So in Hebrews 10:8 the writer is saying, this sacrificial system has no value:

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” — though they were offered in accordance with the law.

Now read Hebrews 10:9:

Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.

“The first” is the sacrificial system, the type.  The second is the reality.  Remember, the sanctuary is God’s model plan.  A model is important as long as the reality is not there.  When you have the reality, you take the model and maybe you put it in the showcase to show what the model looks like, but that is all.  It has no more value.  A blueprint after the building is built is in the cupboard on the shelf or sometimes even in the fire.  I wonder how many know where the blueprint of their church is.  You don’t need it any more but, when you were building it, you needed it.  The reality is Jesus Christ.

The sanctuary service did not end with the earthly ministry of Christ.  It does include His heavenly ministry.  It does include the eradication of sin.  So we still need to look at the sanctuary service to see the total picture of salvation.  The reality of the plan of redemption took place in the humanity of Christ.  The Bible has a phrase for that which we are going to cover in the next chapter.  That phase is called the “in Christ” motif or the “in Christ” idea.

One text to show that, in the humanity of Christ, everything essential for your salvation and my salvation, everything necessary for our restoration is there, is 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.

Look at the verb “blessed.”  It is past tense or in the Greek it is in the aorist tense — something that has happened once and for all.  He has blessed us with all, not eighty percent.  It is not eighty percent Christ and twenty percent you or ninety-nine percent Christ and one percent you.  It is all the blessing that comes from God in one parcel.  And that parcel is Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places concerning heaven but He has blessed us not yet in ourselves in this sinful body but in Christ.  Verse 4 again:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

How many of us are holy and without blame?  In Christ we are holy and without blame.  May I remind you of Hebrews 10:10:

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

In Ephesians 1:4, we are told that God had planned this even before the fall:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

That is God’s purpose for us.  Everything that God planned for us He supplied in one parcel.  God is not a shop keeper.  You go to the shop — some go to buy sugar, some to buy wheat, some to buy granola, and some children go there and buy bubblegum.  God is not a shopkeeper, but He dispenses to you what you need.  God gives each one of us only one item.  That is Jesus Christ.  In Him we have salvation full and complete.  That is the wonderful truth of the sanctuary message.  It is in Christ that we truly behold the glory of God full of grace and truth.  May God bless us that as we learn about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.


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