The Sanctuary
By E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

2 – Redemption Unfolded

Exodus 25:1-9

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering.  You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.  These are the offerings you are to receive from them:  gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.  Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.  Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”

In Chapter 1, we saw that the sanctuary is God’s “Show and Tell,” God’s visual aid, His object lesson of His saving activity in Christ.  Everything in the sanctuary — the furniture, the material, the set-up, the ritual and the services — must point to Jesus Christ.  That is what we are going to cover in detail from the next chapter onward.  In these first two chapters, we will see an overall picture so that we will understand what the sanctuary is all about.  In the first chapter, we looked at the sanctuary as the revelation of God’s plan of redemption and we saw that Christ is the reality of the sanctuary.  In this chapter, we will see how the sanctuary unfolds the plan of redemption.

A master plan is a plan that gives you development of a project from the beginning to end.  That is what the sanctuary does for us.  It unfolds for us the plan of redemption from the beginning right up to the end.  We need to keep in mind that the sanctuary is the gospel in type, especially when it comes to interpreting Daniel 8:14, which is the key text upon which this [Seventh-day Adventist] church found its birth:

He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”

There are six points to show what the sanctuary pointed to and how it becomes a reality in Christ.

  1. God met the sinner in the sanctuary.  Today God meets us in Christ.  That’s the good news for the world.

  2. God revealed Himself to the sinner 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.

    Now God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ.  Jesus said to Philip in John 14:9:

    ...Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father....

    So when we want to see God and see what He really is like, we look at Jesus Christ.  This is extremely important, because there are many Christians who have one picture of Christ and another picture of God.  They think Christ is loving and forgiving but that God is a fierce, angry judge with a pitchfork ready to push you into the fire.  That is not true.  God was, in Christ, revealing Himself to us and those who have first seen Christ have seen God.

  3. God dwelt with sinners in the sanctuary.  Exodus 25:8, 29:46:

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

    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.

    Now He dwells with us in Christ and through Christ we saw His glory.  Matthew 1:23 says:

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

  4. God spoke with the sinner in the sanctuary.  Now He speaks to us in Christ.  Hebrews 1:2 brings this out very clearly:

    ...But in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

    In other words, Christ is God’s spoken word to us who are living in the New Testament period.

  5. God accepted the sinner 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.

    Now He accepts us in Christ.  “We are accepted in the beloved" says Paul says in Ephesians 1:4-8a:

    For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God&$8217;s grace that he lavished on us.

  6. God forgave sinners in the sanctuary.  It is in Christ that we receive forgiveness of sins.

So we see that the sanctuary is the gospel in type.  When we talk about the “little horn polluting the sanctuary” in Daniel 8:14, we need to understand it in the context of the New Testament, but first we need to get the overall picture.  Daniel 8:9-14:

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.  It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.  It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down.  Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.  It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled — the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”

He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”

Notice how God revealed His plan of redemption to the Jews and how this revelation is meaningful to us today.  We read in Exodus 25:1-2:

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering.  You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.”

This offering was to be used to build a sanctuary.  Exodus 25:8-9:

Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.  Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

The offering was to be given from the heart — a freewill offering.  God told Moses that he was to build the sanctuary exactly as it was shown to him.  God is a very careful master builder.

The psalmist says everything in the sanctuary revealed God’s glory; everything had a function and a meaning.  That is why we do not look at the sanctuary in a glibbish way because everything pointed to the gospel.  There are areas that we sometimes ignore.  We want to look at the sanctuary to find out how it revealed the plan of salvation.

The first thing we will study is the courtyard.  It was one hundred cubits by fifty cubits.  That was the measurement that God gave Moses.  Of course, we don‘t use cubits today.  The cubit was the space from a man’s elbow to the tip of his finger.  Even today in the Middle East, especially out in the bush, when you buy cloth, the merchant will not measure it by a piece of tape.  He will take the cloth and measure it by the length of his arm from the tip of his finger to his elbow.

It is established by Hebrew and Old Testament scholars that the cubit was approximately 1.5 feet or 18 inches.  If you multiply 100 cubits by 1.5 feet you get 150 feet.  In Ezekiel 43:13, God tells us that the cubit for the sanctuary was a little bit different from the normal cubit:

These are the measurements of the altar in long cubits, that cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth:  Its gutter is a cubit deep and a cubit wide, with a rim of one span around the edge....

It was a normal cubit plus a handbreadth.  The Hebrew scholars interpret that to mean 1.8 feet.  According to that, the courtyard was 180 by 90 feet.

This courtyard had a wall of pure white linen nine feet high.  What would people in our communities say if we built a nine-foot wall around our churches?  When we used to go to church in Nairobi, we used to pass the Russian embassy.  This one and the one in Addis Ababa had a nine-foot, not curtain wall, but metal and stone with a barbed wire on top.  My wife used to say every time we passed that wall, “I wonder what’s going on inside there.”  Why would God have a nine-foot wall so that nobody could see inside?  We‘ll come to that in our next two chapters, especially when we study the “in Christ” motif.

Actually, the courtyard was made up of two squares.  [Click on courtyard graphic below to see enlarged, more detailed image.]  The eastern square which was on the right hand side which contained the brazen altar and the lever which was the basin where the priests washed their hands.  It was the only part that had an entrance to the courtyard.  Then you have the western square, which is also fifty cubits by fifty cubits like the eastern square.  It is important that we realize the layout.  At the very center of the eastern square was the brazen altar and at the very center of the western square was the ark of the covenant.  These two pieces of furniture were extremely important in revealing two things:  that Christ crucified is our hope and Christ our propitiation, which the mercy seat is, which is the ark of the covenant.  He is our intercessor.  The two focal points in the sanctuary service are Christ crucified and Christ our intercessor.

In the eastern square the common people could enter.  It was called the tabernacle of the congregation.  In the western square, no common person was allowed.  How did they know where the eastern square ended and the western square began?  There was no barrier there.  The most holy place was ten cubits by ten cubits and the holy place was twenty cubits by ten cubits.  If the ark of the covenant was at the center of the most holy place, then from the center of the western square to the middle curtain was five cubits.  Then to the first curtain or the outer curtain was twenty cubits, so there are twenty-five cubits from the center of the western square which was the ark of the covenant to the outer curtain.  Therefore, the outer curtain represented the entrance into heaven.  The gate into the eastern square represented entering into Christ.  Romans 8:1:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

May I remind you that baptism in the New Testament is always “into Christ.”  In other words, you cannot be saved subjectively unless you enter into Christ.

For a good study, read the epistles of Paul.  If that is too much for you, take just the book of Ephesians.  Every time you come across the phrase “in Christ” or “in Him” or “in the beloved” or “together with Him,” underline it and, when you have finished, count how many times you come across that expression.  It will bring a tremendous blessing to your own spiritual growth.

There was a time since the reformation that most New Testament scholars looked at the central theme of Paul’s theology as justification by faith.  Modern Biblical research is turning away from that.  It is saying that the central theme of Paul’s theology is the “in Christ” motif or idea.  It is only when we have understood that idea that we can understand Paul’s concept of justification by faith.  We are going to have two chapters on this one concept because it is important that we understand the “in Christ” motif.  It is a difficult concept for the western mind.  May God give you understanding, because it will change your life when you have understood the “in Christ” motif.  [See also The Objective Facts of the “In Christ” Motif.]

After you have underlined those phrases, look at the verbs that are connected with that phrase.  You will discover a wealth of truth.  The courtyard was where God saved man.  The courtyard represents the “in Christ” motif.  The eastern square represents the earthly ministry of Christ.  The western square represents the heavenly ministry of Christ.  Together you have the plan of redemption for mankind.

Are you aware of the fact that the nearest line of the Jews to the ark when they travelled or the nearest tent to the ark when they were camped had to be two thousand cubits or approximately two-thirds of a mile?  No tent could be pitched nearer.  In 1981, I held a series of meetings for the pastors of Egypt.  In the Middle East they hold very strongly to the principle of reciprocity and so, as a gift to me, they said, “We will take you on a trip to Mount Sinai.  We covered the distance from Goshen right up to Mount Sinai in eight hours by car.  I do not know how they managed in forty days for there is nothing but desert — sand, sand, and more sand.

There are two plains there that are believed to be the place where the Israelites camped the first time when they received the sanctuary instruction.  I believe that Dr. Horn’s location is correct for, at St. Catherine’s monastery, there is hardly any plain.  At the location Dr. Horn sites, there is a big plain and I can see how the sanctuary and all the tents were built around it.  They could not build a tent any nearer than two thousand cubits or two-thirds of a mile, so, if anyone came to the sanctuary to offer a sin offering, everybody could see him.  Probably the chins wagged.  “I wonder what he did that he had to go with a sacrifice.”  But the moment he entered that courtyard, no one could see him.  He was engulfed in the righteousness of Christ.  And that’s good news!

Both squares had two phases.  The eastern square represents the earthly ministry of Christ which points to two things — His doing and His dying.  The sanctuary unfolds Christ’s earthly mission.  Hebrews 9:12 tells us that Christ obtained for us eternal redemption:

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

We should be careful that we use Biblical terms.  The Bible doesn‘t teach that Christ made a provision.  He obtained eternal redemption.  In Romans 10, Paul is contrasting salvation in Christ with salvation by works.  Romans 10:4:

Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

The word “culmination” (or “end” in some translations) does not mean that Christ did away with the law, but that Christ is the completion of the law.  Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness for every one that believes.  Romans 10:5 is legalism — salvation by works:

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”

The righteousness of the law involves two parts.  If you are to stand righteous before God through the law, there are two things that the law would demand of you.  First, perfect obedience but, because we are sinners, that perfect obedience would not make you righteous.  Obedience cannot cancel your disobedience.  The law also demands justice and so God would say, “I don‘t care how well you have obeyed the law.  To remove your condemnation, you must die, because the wages of sin is death.”

Christ performed both of these.  The saving experience of Christ did not begin with His baptism or with the cross.  It began at His incarnation.  From the time He was born until the time He reached age thirty-three, He obeyed the law perfectly.  Therefore, He could say, “Satan has come and could find nothing in me.”  But that perfect obedience could not make Christ our Righteousness.  He had to go to the cross and meet the justice of the law.  By His positive obedience to the law, and by His death on the cross, He met all the demands of the law on our behalf.  Therefore, Christ is the culmination or end of the law for righteousness for all who believe.

Remember that, when Christ died on the cross, He did not die just for our past sins.  He died for all our sins.  I would like to challenge you to provide me with one text in the Old or New Testament that says that Christ died for only our past sins.  Please don‘t use Romans 3:25, for I don‘t want you to be embarrassed:

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....

If you use that text, you are using it out of context.  In Christ, we have forgiveness for all sins.  I will come to that in detail.

That is the earthly ministry of Christ.  When Christ went to heaven, He went with a righteousness that qualifies every human being for heaven if he accepts that gift.  We read in Romans 5:18:

Consequently, just as one trespass [by Adam] resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act [by Christ] resulted in justification and life for all people.

That is the good news of the gospel.  That is what Christ has commissioned the church to proclaim to the world — that, by His obedience, righteousness has come as a gift, resulting in justification and life, not simply justification but justification unto life.

Notice one distinction here.  When he talks about our condemnation in Adam and about our justification in Christ, there is one word that Paul uses with Christ that he does not use with Adam.  That is the word “gift.”  What is ours through Adam is ours by native right because we are by nature the children of Adam.  What is ours in Christ is a gift and, like any gift, you cannot enjoy it unless you receive it.  Romans 5:17 shows this:

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

The heavenly ministry of Christ also includes two phases, the daily and the yearly.  After finishing His earthly ministry, Christ entered into heaven — not into the temple in Jerusalem but into heaven itself — to intercede for us.

There are some who teach that the day of atonement was fulfilled at the cross and we want to research this so that we are clear about the heavenly ministry of Christ which began in A.D. 3l and will not finish until the earth is made new and sin is eradicated.  One of the things that we need to keep in mind is the distinction between the type and the antitype.  In the book of Hebrews, we are told that the sanctuary is a parable.  You cannot project a parable in every detail.  You cannot project everything in detail in type.  Otherwise you will be in trouble.  The book of Hebrews brings this out clearly time and time again, which we will cover.  I would like to give you two examples.  In the earthly sanctuary there was the morning and the evening sacrifices and five other individual types of sacrifices and the day of atonement sacrifices.  In reality, there is only one.  Whether you talk about the daily or the yearly day of atonement sacrifices, all of them point to one sacrifice.

Let us look at a second distinction.  In the earthly sanctuary, God dwelt in the most holy place.  That which made the most holy place was not the building but the presence of God.  The priest interceded for the people in the holy place but there was a problem.  The priest interceding for the people was a sinner himself.  Therefore, there was always a curtain between him and God, because he had infirmities.  In Hebrews 7:28 we are told:

For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

The priests serving in the earthly sanctuary were sinful men.  They had infirmities and weaknesses.  So there always had to be a barrier between the priest and God.  Even on the day of atonement, when the priest went into the most holy place, this barrier was represented by a special sacrifice that the priest had to offer for himself.  Christ did not have to offer a sacrifice for Himself.  Christ died for your sins only for He was without sin.

But here again there is a distinction.  The priest had to offer a sacrifice for himself and for his family before he could enter the most holy place.  Even then they tied a rope around him so that, if he died in the most holy place, they could pull him out for no one ever went in there.  That is the type but, in reality, there is no barrier between Christ and God.  Therefore, we can come to God in Christ directly and boldly because there is no barrier.

Do you think I am preaching heresy?  Well, I‘m going to give you a little help for those of you who want proof from Ellen G. White.  You don‘t need her to give full proof because our doctrine is based on Scripture, but, for those who need it, I will give it.  First from Desire of Ages, page 757:

“The great sacrifice has been made.  The way into the holiest has is laid open.  A new and living way is prepared for all.  The mercy seat upon which the glory of God rested in the holiest of all is open to all who accept Christ as the propitiation for sin.”

Next is from Christ’s Object Lessons, page 386:

“Christ came to demolish every wall of partition to throw open every compartment of the temple that every soul may have free access to God.”

Finally, the SDA Bible Commentary, page 1109:

“A new and living way before which there hangs no veil is offered to all.”

When Christ died on the cross, the veil between the holy place and the most holy place was torn from top to bottom.  God did that to show that there is no barrier now between a Holy God and sinful men who come to Him in Christ.  There is free access.  Here is a text in Hebrews 10:19-22:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body...

New for the old:  by the old way, the common man could not enter the western court.  The priest could not come directly to God.  There was always this curtain or veil.  Continuing the verse:

...and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

That’s good news!  You see, the outer curtain represents entering into heaven.  The inner curtain represents entering before the very presence of God.  And I thank God through Jesus Christ that, not only do you and I have access to heaven without a curtain, but we have access to God.  That’s the privilege of being a Christian.

Does that mean that the day of atonement was fulfilled on the day of the cross?  The answer is no.  The day of atonement was centered around the two goats.  It is true, the Lord’s goat, which was slain on the day of atonement, represents the cross, but the goat that represents azazel was not fulfilled in 33 A.D.  That is still future.  When we come to the day of atonement, that is significant and we will see that.  What does azazel represent?  As far as the way into heaven and as far as the way into the presence of God is concerned, that has been laid open for every soul who will accept Jesus Christ as his Saviour.

When we go to the heavenly ministry, there are two phases:  number one, intercession.  Why?  He continually intercedes for us.  Please turn to Hebrews seven.  I want you to look at three words in this chapter seven.  Hebrews 7:3, 25, 28:

Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

In verse three, the last word “forever,” and then, in verse twenty-five, “always lives” and again the word “forever” (“evermore” in some translations) in verse twenty-eight.  All are synonymous words with the Hebrew word tamid, which is “the daily.”  Let’s go back to verse three:

Without father or mother [that is, Christ having an everlasting priesthood], without genealogy [coming from the order of Melchizedek], without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

This is the same word that is used in the Old Testament for “the daily.”  In other words, while we are still sinners, we need an intercessor.  May I remind you of another text in Romans 8:34; maybe that will help us understand why we need a continual priest at the right hand of God:

Who then is the one who condemns?  No one.  [Paul says it cannot be Christ because] Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding [present continuous tense] for us.

When we go back to Hebrews 7:28-8:1 (in the original, the chapter division did not exist, so we include verse one of chapter eight):

For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.  Now the main point of what we are saying is this:  We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven....

Of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum:  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.  We have an Advocate, Christ, who is at the right hand of God to intercede for us.  That is our hope.  There is coming a time when God has to eradicate sin and that is the day of atonement.  Sin has to be eradicated.  Today we have to put dead bolts on our doors to keep the thieves out.  We will not need that in the New Jerusalem, because sin will be eradicated.  There will be no thieves there and no murderers.  May God bless us so that when we come to God through Christ we can come boldly.

God has a plan for you and me and that plan is not partial.  From beginning to end it’s all of God.  God has planned our salvation.  He has planned our redemption from beginning to end, and those who put their faith in Christ will not be disappointed, assures the Bible.  So let us keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, who has gone before us to intercede for us and one day He is coming back to take us home.

Jesus told His disciples (John 14:2):

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

In the King James Version, this is the well-known verse:

In my Father’s house are many mansions:  if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.

That’s the KJV but the original doesn‘t say that.  I think if John were living today he would say, “In my Father’s house there is perfect full vacancy.”  When you come to a motel and you see “no vacancy,” it means there is no room for you.  You are too late.  But, in God’s house, there is vacancy for everybody.  Yes, there will be mansions and there will be saber-tooth tigers that young people can ride on.

There is room in God’s kingdom for all people.  He is the Redeemer, He is the propitiation for all men, and God wants everyone to come in.  He is preparing a place for everyone, but He will not force it upon you.  That is why He has delayed His coming, because He desires none to perish.  Our job is to tell the world the good news!  We are given the commission to preach the message of reconciliation.  May God help us to tell the world that we have a Saviour Who has obtained for us — not just provided, but obtained for the human race — salvation full and complete.  And this salvation is a gift to them, if they will only accept it in gratitude.  May God bless us to understand the sanctuary message and be a light for Him in all our communities.

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