Light from the Ancient Sanctuary A
Understanding its Design and Services
The Gospel is the Good News that God both forgives and restores! Our characters and attitudes are included in this restoration. In fact there is nothing that is not included in this restoration, we become a new creation. It is all connected with the True Worship of our great God.
Did the people have the Gospel in the days before the Cross? Were
they saved in a different way than we are?
The Gospel was given to Adam and Eve. As soon as sin entered this world, they were given the promise that a Redeemer would come. It was to show faith in that coming Redeemer, they were told to offer innocent lambs as a sin offering.
This was to impress upon them that sin was a deadly thing that would one day take the life of the Holy Son of God. The Creator Himself had pledged to be surety for the lost race, to give mankind a second chance. If they would choose to repent and forsake sin, and through faith in the coming Redeemer, live lives of obedience to God, they could be restored to a place in God’s universal family.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This was the first Gospel promise and also a prophecy. It shows us that the Gospel always creates two classes–those who accept it and those who reject it.
Yes, the Gospel was known in the Old Testament, and nowhere do we see it more clearly outlined than in the services and offerings, and even the very design of the Ancient Hebrew Sanctuary. Designed by God to be an object lesson for people down through the ages, to help them better understand the Great Plan of Redemption, it is full of deep meaning for any one who would seek to walk the path of Salvation at Jesus’ side.
Bring an offering and come and join me, as we go to worship our Creator and Redeemer in the Ancient Sanctuary. But is there really anything we can ‘give’ to God? “. . for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” 1 Chronicles 29:14
Although Salvation is a Free Gift, yet to receive it calls for
complete surrender of all we have and are to our dear Redeemer, this was
the lesson in the bringing of offerings. Bring an offering–Bring
everything to the altar:
TIME, TALENT, BODY-TEMPLE, TREASURE.
Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” [Margin: “Give unto the Lord the honor of His name in His glorious sanctuary.”]
The whole plan of Salvation is to be found here in the sanctuary and its services: the vindicating of the honor of God’s name from Satan’s accusations and the transformation of the repenting sinner to the Divine character of unselfish Love (Agape). This is the Gospel; Good News. If there is no transformation, there is no Good News.
All doctrines must fit with the sanctuary or they are not true doctrines and should be rejected. This gives us a useful guide while evaluating new theories on the Gospel.
John 1:9 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
The sanctuary was a very beautiful tent shaped like a rectangle. It had two parts inside which were like two squares. All around this tent was a courtyard. We are going to look at that courtyard first.
As the repentant sinner, through the wooing of the Holy Spirit, is led to feel his need and to desire to approach to God, he is invited to enter by the one doorway open to all.
The courtyard tells us about things that were going to happen on
earth. It had only one entrance on the east side. This was so the people
coming to worship would have their back to the rising sun and not think
about worshipping the sun like the pagans did. The one entrance means
Jesus is the only way for us to be saved. There are not ‘many different
John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
The first object to catch the eye upon entering the courtyard of the sanctuary was a pile of ashes. These were systematically removed from the Altar of Burnt Offering and were the remains of the sin offerings. The pile was kept in view there until the next cleaning of the altar, whereupon the old ashes were carried out of the camp and the newly removed ashes put in their place.
These ashes showed clearly to the people what the final end of sin really is; the destiny of the unrepentant. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
This represented the work of the Spirit in reproving sin and urging to repentance and righteousness. We see this in the words of David in Psalms 73, when he couldn’t understand the prospering of the wicked; “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” He saw their end in the pile of ashes.
The next object to meet the gaze is the Brazen Altar of Burned Offering. On this the innocent lambs, symbolically bearing the sin of the repentant sinner were consumed. It pointed clearly to Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, who would take upon His innocent soul the sins of the world and pay the death penalty. We are going to look at this service and what it shows us about Jesus and what He is to us
It was only as the sinner saw by faith that the sacrifice of the lamb pointed to Christ, the sin bearer, that this service served the purpose God intended. Later the Israelites began to adopt the pagan idea that the burnt offering was a gift from them to please or pacify God, as the heathen made offerings to please their demon-gods.
When Adam first sinned, God told him a way to be saved would be provided and he was to offer a lamb to show his faith in what the Lamb of God had promised to do for him.
The very first man born on earth had his own ideas about how to worship God, and we know what happened in the story of Cain and Abel. The ones who followed Cain’s ways had their own kind of religion. Their offerings were a gift from them to the god they worshiped, but the offering of a lamb by God’s people was to show faith in the great Gift God was giving to man. It was the opposite.
If we give something to God, we can be proud of that. But when we know the truth, that God has to give everything to us, or we will perish, then we can’t be proud any more. God wants us to be humble, so He can change our wicked hearts and give us Jesus’ unselfish heart.
The lamb was slain by the sinner himself, to impress that his sins caused the death of the Son of God. Without this unspeakable gift, mankind would perish. And as the lamb suffered eternal loss, so Christ forever lost certain abilities of Deity, such as omnipresence, the ability to be in more than one place at one time. Now forever bearing human flesh, He cannot do this.
His body will always bear the marks and scars of the crucifixion, while the redeemed will have perfect bodies. God gave His Son; He didn’t lend Him.
Next on our journey through the courtyard, representing Justification, we see right in front of the sanctuary tent, a double dish of water called the Laver. It is where the priest would wash their hands and feet before they would go into the tent.
The Laver also is like baptism; a dying to sin, burial of the ‘old man’, and a rising to a new life in Jesus. It indicates we have given ourselves to Jesus, and represents Christ’s cleansing power in His blood. It shows us that Justification is not only pardon and forgiveness for past sins, but cleansing for the sinful heart and a bringing of the self under the control of the Holy Spirit.
It tells us about the power of Jesus to cleanse our souls and take sin out of our hearts. Jesus’ power can set us free from the chains of sin, creating in us a new, kind, obedient heart, in place of our selfish, rebellious one.
David shows this in Psalm 51:9-11: “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”
It is clearly shown that those who would enter into the Holy Place and have the New Birth must not only be forgiven but cleansed and then the white linen Ephod, pure and clean, must be put on. This represents the righteousness of Christ—synonymous with His Love, His obedience to the Law, His Divine Nature, His holiness. This is imparted to us at conversion.
All these things take place simultaneously at the New Birth. The repentant sinner accepts the death of the Savior as his death and rises as a New Creation to live the life of Christ, not only imputed to him, but imparted to him. He is justified and sanctified, forgiven, cleansed, set free from sin’s hold on him and empowered to live the Christ-life by abiding in Christ.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Notice it doesn’t say he ‘will become new’, but ‘is become new’.
This is the ‘New Creation’, not the ‘New Evolution’.
At this point he stands before God as if he had never sinned, Christ’s life covering him and living in him by the Holy Spirit.
This is where many mistake; they think the Holy Spirit is something extra, given later, sort of an option, but notice what it says here: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9
No Spirit—no new birth; no new birth—no forgiveness; no forgiveness—no salvation.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Romans 2:13
This shows that being given power to ‘do the law’ is a part of justification, without which there is no justification.
Anyone who would just receive forgiveness of sins, but not cleansing; removal of sin from the life; surrender and the new birth; putting on and wearing the robe of Christ’s righteousness; must dwell forever in the courtyard, they can approach no closer to God at all. Unless a change takes place, they can never see God in peace. The ‘Courtyard’ experience is the best the ‘new theology’ has to offer, and it is woefully inadequate. The aim of the Sanctuary is to get rid of sin entirely, not just ‘forensic substitution’.
Now we are ready to enter in through the veil, into the Holy Place—the Sanctified life. Notice that Sanctified means: sacred, holy, blessed, set apart.
Because of what happened in the courtyard we now belong to Jesus. Everything in this Holy Place tells us what Jesus has given us and how He helps us to grow up in Him. You see, when we first choose to belong all the way to Jesus, we are like a little, newborn baby. Even if we are a grown-up, a new Christian is a baby Christian. He needs to be cared for and grow. Jesus takes care of us so we can grow.
Now the new-born child of God is taken into the Holy Place, a kind of nursery, where everything needful for his growth in grace is to be found. It is a quiet, sheltered place where he comes into closer personal relationship with the Godhead, who have pledged themselves to recreate and restore him. Although both justification and sanctification are received at the new birth and one cannot be had without the other; living the sanctified life is an ongoing process. This is also where cooperation between the sinner and God is emphasized.
God provides everything, Light, Power, Nourishment, Guidance, Victory, and Love, but each individual must receive and utilize all this for his self, no one else can do it for him.
In the Holy Place we find three articles of furniture; the Table of Shewbread is for his daily food. The loaves of the Bread of Life and the unfermented wine represent the Word of God, body and blood of the Lord. On this he must feed, eating it for himself chewing it and assimilating it into his life. Just as no-one can eat for another, we all must eat for ourselves. We can share food with each other; but we must eat it and assimilate it for ourselves.
“That he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” Deuteronomy 8:3.
The loaves had incense sprinkled on them to show us that we must always pray, before reading the Bible, for Jesus to send the Holy Spirit, to help us understand His Word. He is our own personal Teacher, and will help everyone who asks in the name of Jesus. Did you know that Jesus sends you a Teacher to help you understand the Bible? No matter if you are young or old; He will teach you if you ask Him.
The loaves were arranged carefully, showing that our study must be systematic and orderly, approaching the Word with care and prayer for the Holy Spirit’s teaching. They are always fresh, showing that our experience is to be vibrant and living.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26
The seven Lamps continually burning are God’s promise to His children that they need never walk in darkness, but always they can have the light of life. God pledges to give us light always through the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit.
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
The Altar of Incense is our communication station. This is God’s pledge to be always available to us. Like the incense kept constantly burning, the prayers of His children ascend up before the throne continually, bearing praise and thanksgiving heavenward from hearts made joyful through the mercies of God and confidently presenting His promises, fragrant with His love, for all needs. Like a mother always alert to the cry of her child, so God’s ear is bent low to hear the least plea from lip or heart directed to Him through Christ.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14, 15
Thus is described to us what pure worship is. It requires participation; each must do it himself. It is not a spectator sport or an entertainment, but rather an intimate giving and receiving between the individual and God. True worship must take place on God’s terms, not man’s.
Justification is like getting married and the sanctified life is staying married; coming into Christ and abiding.
MOST HOLY PLACE
Next is the Most Holy Place, representing the final sealing and glorification; man fully restored to the very presence of his God, able to see His face and live.
Behind a most beautiful red, blue and purple curtain, all full of golden pictures of angels, was the Most Holy Place. This place represented God’s throne room in heaven.
Inside was an ark, which is a Bible word that means a box. It was a beautiful golden box. Inside were three things; the two stones with the Ten Commandments on them, Aaron’s rod that budded, and a pot of Manna.
Over top of this box was a pure gold lid called the Mercy Seat. It represented the very throne of God and two angels made of gold, stood, one on each end, just like the angels that are near God’s throne in heaven. Their heads were bowed reverently, and they looked towards God’s Law in the ark, which had been written by the finger of God.
In the sanctuary on earth there was a bright, beautiful light called the Shekinah Glory there above the Mercy Seat. Do you know what that light really was? It is such a wonderful thing! It was the very presence of Jesus.
When Christ died, the inner veil was rent in twain from top to bottom; this showed that the way to the Most Holy Place was now open. No human priesthood is now needed, as Christ our Mediator and High Priest stands interceding for us, pleading the merits of His blood before His Father. We are to enter by faith, trusting only in that merit.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession….Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14, 16
The Ark of the Covenant, like the Table of Showbread and the altar of incense was wood, covered by gold which represents the union of humanity with Divinity in Christ. It is covered by a solid gold mercy seat where the glory of God is to be seen brooding over His Law of Love, the foundation of universal government.
It contains the Tables of the Law, the Pot of Manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded.
Many spiritual lessons are seen here: the Manna shows God’s willingness and ability to provide all our needs. Aaron’s rod, a dead walking stick which came to life and in one night leafed, budded and brought forth almonds, shows us God’s willingness and ability to take the sinner, dead in trespasses and sins and restore him to life, recreate him and make him fruitful.
In the earthly service, only once a year the High Priest would enter the Most Holy on the Day of Atonement, the Day of Judgment. Now in this great antitypical Day of Atonement, we are called to be a part of the vindication of God’s character and government before the universe. Satan has accused God of having a law which man cannot obey, which would show Him to be a cruel tyrant. It is our privilege to allow God to work His complete restoration in us, restoring man to holiness and happiness. The end result of the restoration process is for man to be restored to the very presence of the Holy God; to see Him in the beauty of holiness, and live!
When we are fully surrendered and abiding in Him, we will naturally bring forth fruit unto holiness, the Power all coming from Him. Then comes the pruning, He takes off from us whatever He sees we don’t need, or that interferes with our spiritual development. The true Christian walk is a long trail of dropped habits, indulgences and worldly entanglements. The life is simplified, the affections channeled heavenward. It is only this way that we can bear more fruit.
Sometimes the pruning knife is most unpleasant to us and if we decided to pull out of the vine and stop abiding, we can always do so. But if we do, we begin to wither and die, first spiritually and eventually physically.
The Sanctified life is a movement, a walk with God, not a social club or a place to sit and be entertained. Jesus said “Follow Me”; this movement ends only when we leave this earth.
“O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.” Psalms 96:9
The Hebrew here means ‘in holy adornment’. This has to do with what we put on both physically and spiritually.
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4
Nothing should be put on or done to direct people’s attention to ‘self’. Our Redemption has been purchased at a great price to God! It is our transformation that He is working for.
We are to Worship Him; it means to bow down, admire and adore Him and submit to Him. Then He fills us with power to resist sin and Satan; we win by surrendering.
“Educate the soul to cheerfulness, to thankfulness, and to the
expression of gratitude to God for the great love wherewith He hath
loved us . . Christian cheerfulness is the very beauty of holiness.”
Child Guidance pg 146
If our life is oriented to performance, to rules and regulations, it is not joyful, but if the focus is on following Jesus, then the joy just radiates from that life.
“I am the Vine,” said Christ; “ye are the branches.” The closest possible connection is here represented. Engraft the leafless twig upon the flourishing vine stock, and it becomes a living branch, drawing sap and nourishment from the vine. Fiber by fiber, vein by vein, the sapling clings, until it buds and blossoms and bears fruit. The sapless twig represents the sinner. When united to Christ, soul is joined to soul, the feeble and finite to the holy and infinite, and man becomes one with Christ. 5 Testimonies p. 591
“Religion is not to be confined to external forms and ceremonies. The religion that comes from God, is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit…” Desire of Ages p. 189
Some try to say this obedience is Legalism, but the redeemed do what they do out of Love for their Redeemer, who gave His life for them. This is Love, not Legalism. True Love obeys!
Our Redemption has been purchased at a great price to God! It is our transformation that He is working for. A religion of externals is of no value to Him, only character matters.
True worship must be in Spirit and Truth; it must be compatible with God. We can’t bring in our carnal packages and then call that Worship. What happened when two rebellious priests decided to ‘do their own thing’ in the sanctuary and brought in ‘strange fire’? They perished before the Lord! The principles of God’s truth must be applied to the heart or our worship is in vain.
We must always keep in mind the Great Controversy in which we are all involved, the whole thing about the seal and the mark is about worship; Who and how will you worship. Will it be God and His Law, or self and man’s laws?