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    10 THE SANCTUARY

    WE now reach a point in this study when that wonderful building which God caused the children of Israel to erect that he might dwell among them, demands our attention. Viewed in its true light, it becomes luminous with the most glorious and far-reaching truths. The objects connected with it were typical of the blessings of the gospel. The services there carried on were typical of the work of Christ. No man can look unto Jesus, and properly understand his position and work, without viewing it in the light of this tabernacle of God, built by Moses in the wilderness, - this shadow cast on earth to show forth “heavenly things.” It was called indiscriminately, tabernacle and sanctuary; but its prominent and permanent name was “sanctuary;” and under that name it will not become of the greatest interest to study the important place it holds in the economy of God’s grace.LUJ 56.1

    The reader will allow, by way of anticipation a few statements, which, if they are not made good ere the conclusion of this argument, he may feel at liberty to discard, in connection with what is herein intended to be set forth as truth. This sanctuary will be found worthy of our attention, as the great central object in the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. It was not something confined to the old dispensation, but has a place also in the new. Next to Christ, the minister of the new covenant, and the mediatorial work in which he is engaged, it claims our attention, as the place where the mysterious process of the world’s redemption is carried forward. There is no one object connected with the plan of salvation in the revealed design of which we see the different subjects of revelation blended together in such a harmonious whole. The different parts of a wheel, considered by themselves and alone, may possess symmetry and beauty; but it is only when all are joined together by the central hub and the external fellies that their utility and value are demonstrated, as component parts of a perfect whole. So in the great wheel of truth. All its parts have in them strength and beauty; but the subject of the sanctuary, like the central hub, unites them all together in a harmonious whole. In this subject the great truths of revelation find their focal point. From it in all directions they radiate. It unites the two great dispensations, the Mosaic and the Christian, and shows their relation to each other. It divides with no other subject the high honor of explaining the position and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like a brilliant lamp, it illuminates the whole Mosaic economy. In the light of this subject, the books of Moses, with their detail of offerings and sacrifices, their minutiae of rites and ceremonies, usually considered so void of interest and use, if not of meaning also, become animated with life and radiant with consistency and beauty.LUJ 56.2

    It is a key to the interpretation of some of the most important prophecies pertaining to the present time. Neglecting to use this, an expositor can hardly come to right conclusions; using it, he can scarcely go astray. It shows our present whereabouts in the world’s history. It answers the question, What of the night? It places the law of God in its true light, draws out the heart in practical Christianity, points the inquirer the way to Christ, shows on what lines the judgment proceeds, how and when the work of mercy for the world will close, Christ appear, redemption be completed, and the blessings of the everlasting covenant be secured. Strange that a subject occupying so important a position in the divine economy should have been so long overlooked. Strange that so few even now are found to give it in any degree their attention, still less their study. In one movement only is it made a prominent feature. By one people only is it made a special subject, discussed in full, and dwelt upon with delight, as will hereafter appear.LUJ 57.1

    But let us first acquaint ourselves with this building by considering its origin and structure. The way will then be open to consider its uses and design. Perhaps no language can better introduce this part of the subject than that of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrews. In chapter 8, he speaks of the two covenants, the first and the second, the old and the new, under the latter of which we now live. In chapter 9, he shows that both these covenants have a sanctuary, as follows:-LUJ 58.1

    “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second vail, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat,” etc. Verses 1-5.”LUJ 58.2

    Let this language of the apostle’s be carefully considered. It both introduces and settles one great division of this question. It tells us definitely what, for a time, constituted the sanctuary of the Lord. During the period covered by the first covenant, which was a period of nearly fifteen hundred years from Moses to Christ, while the tabernacle, ordained as thus plainly described, was in existence, there can be, in the face of these words of Paul’s, no controversy as to what constituted the sanctuary. Turning to the records of those times, we find a more definite mention of this unique structure, which, from its bearings and relations in the temple of divine truth, deserves to be examined with absorbing interest.LUJ 58.3

    Go back to the time when Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage. They had just passed to the farther shore of the Red Sea, through the path the Lord had opened for them, while the waters stood as a wall on either side. The Egyptians essayed to do the same thing, and went into the midst of the sea. God commanded Moses to stretch out his rod over the sea, and the Egyptians were caught in the grip of the returning flood, and perished at his feet. Listen to the song of triumph which Moses then sang: “The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation.Exodus 15:2.LUJ 59.1

    Here is given the first intimation of that building which the Lord was soon to cause to be erected, that he might dwell among his people. In Exodus 15:17 the word “sanctuary” occurs for the first time in the Bible: “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.” It has been inferred from this that the land of Canaan, in which Israel were at length to be settled, must be the sanctuary. But it should be borne in mind that the language here used is pronounced in the exhilaration of triumphant song, and all the figures of poetry are freely allowable. The word “sanctuary” is by metonymy applied to the place where Israel were to dwell, because there at last the sanctuary was to be located, and would then constitute the most important object therein. David, in Psalm 78, describes this portion of Israel’s history, and thus furnishes an inspired commentary on this song of Moses. Psalm 78:54: “And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.” And then referring to the temple, he says in verse 69, “And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established forever.”LUJ 59.2

    Returning to the record in Exodus, there is found in chapter 25 and onward, more definite information concerning this sanctuary and how it was to be constructed. God communed with Moses in regard to the offerings the people were to bring, out of which to construct his dwelling-place, and then said, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Verse 8. The definition of the word “sanctuary” is, a “holy or sacred place;” and to this must now be added, according to this revealed purpose of God, “the dwelling-place of the Most High.” So far as its use in the Scriptures, therefore, is concerned, it is to be looked upon, while it was located here upon the earth, as the visible habitation of God among men. How this fact tends to enhance the interest with which it should be regarded by every inquiring mind!LUJ 60.1

    In the third month after their departure from Egypt, the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sinai. Moses was then summoned up into the mount, to an audience with his Maker. Forty days and nights were consumed in the memorable interview. During this time Moses was shown the pattern of the sanctuary, and all the sacred vessels, and received full instructions in relation to its construction and arrangement. The reader will do well to study the particular description of the tabernacle erected by Moses, as minutely set forth inLUJ 60.2

    Exodus 25-31. Suffice it here to say that it was a structure of extraordinary magnificence. Being at first adapted to the situation of Israel before their entrance into Canaan, it was made a movable structure, which could easily be taken down, transported from place to place and erected again in the various stages of their journey. To this end, the walls of the building were formed of detachable boards, set upright, and joined together with bars; and all, both boards and bars, were overlaid with gold. The building was thirty cubits in length, ten in width, and ten in height. At the east end, which was the entrance, there were five pillars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, having hooks of gold and sockets of brass. Over the tabernacle, thus erected, were thrown four different coverings. The first and inner covering was composed of fine linen, embroidered with figures of cherubim in blue, purple, and scarlet. By this would be formed a ceiling of surpassing beauty and magnificence. The second covering was made of goats’ hair; the third of rams’ skins dyed red, and the fourth and last, of badgers’ skins. A richly embroidered curtain suspended from the five pillars overlaid with gold, that stood at the entrance upon the east, formed the door of the tabernacle.LUJ 61.1

    The sacred tent was divided into two apartments by means of a vail suspended from four pillars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, set in sockets of silver. In what proportion the sanctuary was thus divided we are not informed; but it was undoubtedly the same that was afterward observed in the temple (1 Kings 6) in which two thirds of the space was allotted to the first apartment, and the remaining one third to the second. In this case the holy place, or first apartment, would be twenty cubits long by ten wide and ten high; while the second apartment, or most holy place, would be ten cubits in all its dimensions, constituting a perfect cube.LUJ 61.2

    In the first apartment, or holy place, were three pieces of furniture worthy of notice; the golden candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. The candlestick was of solid gold, the table of showbread and the altar of incense, of shittim wood, but overlaid throughout with pure gold. The candlestick had three branches projecting from each side, which with the central shaft furnished seven lamps. 1This is the form shown on the arch of Titus in Rome, representing the candlestick brought from Jerusalem, and is doubtless the same as it had always borne in the Jewish service. These were kept continually burning, and were the only means of lighting the sanctuary. The table of showbread contained twelve loaves to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. These were changed every Sabbath, fresh bread being put in place of the old. The altar of incense was used for the purpose of offering up sweet incense with the sacrifices. In the second apartment, or most holy place, were also three objects to claim attention; the ark, the mercy-seat, and the cherubim. The ark was a chest of shittim wood, two cubits and a half in length, a cubit and a half in breadth, and the same in height. It was overlaid within and without with pure gold. In this ark were deposited the two tables of stone, containing the ten commandments, written by the finger of God. It was made expressly for this purpose. The mercy-seat was the cover of the ark, of solid gold, and the cherubim were likewise of pure gold, on either end of the mercy-seat. It was called the mercy-seat, not because the high priest ever sat there in the sanctuary service, but because mercy there had its seat. For the day of atonement, as we shall see, blood was sprinkled on the cover of the ark to satisfy the claims of the law reposing beneath; and through this service mercy was extended to repentant sinners.LUJ 62.1

    It was above the ark, over the mercy-seat, in the most holy place of the sanctuary, that the holy shekinah of God’s presence was manifested; and from that awe-hallowed spot, God usually communicated with his people. And so David prays: “Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” Psalm 80:1.LUJ 63.1

    For the construction of all this wonderful work God called certain ones, and qualified them by putting his Spirit upon them. The sanctuary was not therefore merely the work of men; it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, manifested in a most wonderful work of art. How impressive must have been the scene presented by the interior of this building. There were its walls, having all the appearance of massive and solid gold, and reflecting in a thousand directions the light of the seven lamps of the golden candlestick; there were the table of showbread and the altar of incense, glittering in the light of the candlestick like burnished gold; and there was the curtain that formed the gorgeous ceiling, with its mystic figures of cherubim in blue, and purple, and scarlet, adding its beauty to the brilliant scene. While in beyond the second vail, was the glorious shekinah, or visible manifestation of God’s glory, into the awful presence of which, except the high priest’s entrance once every year, no man could venture and live. Hebrews 9:7.LUJ 63.2

    In the second year after Israel had departed from Egypt, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was reared up. And Moses spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and he put the testimony (the tables of the ten commandments) into the ark, and the mercy-seat upon it, and brought it into the tabernacle, and hung the vail; he placed the table of showbread and the golden candlestick in the first apartment, and lighted the lamps before the Lord; he put the golden altar of incense before the vail, and burnt sweet incense thereon; and on the altar, before the door of the tabernacle, he offered the burnt offering and the meat-offering as the Lord commanded. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40. The dwelling-place which God had directed the people to prepare for his habitation, was now completed; and in a cloud of glory, into the presence of which even Moses was not able to enter, God accepted their work, and took possession of his dwelling. All the particulars herein alluded to, will be found set forth in that portion of the book of Exodus to which the reader’s attention has been cited. God had now taken possession of his dwelling-place, in the midst of his people.LUJ 63.3

    We have now before us the sanctuary as Moses erected it in the wilderness of Sinai one thousand four hundred and ninety years before Christ. With its ark of the covenant, its mercy-seat, and its glorious shekinah, it constituted the heart and center of Israel’s religious worship under that typical system. Being, as already noticed, at this time in the period of their wanderings, the sanctuary as first given to the Israelites was adapted to their condition. It was so constructed that it would be easily taken down and borne with them in their journeys, and immediately erected wherever the divine presence, which accompanied them in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, should direct them to pitch their camp. Numbers 9:15-23.LUJ 64.1

    The Levites were set apart to the service of the sanctuary, and were commanded to bear it, and all its sacred vessels, when the camp set forward. Thus it was
    [NO PAGE NUMBER] PICTURE with them during the forty years in which they journeyed in the wilderness. During this time, this building which God claimed as his dwelling-place, and where his service was performed, is fifty-six times called the sanctuary, in the following instances: Exodus 25:8; 30:13, 24; 36:1, 3, 4, 6; 38:24-27; Leviticus 4:6; 5:15; 10:4; 12:4; 16:33; 19:30; 20:3; 21:12(twice), 23 (plural); 26:2; 27:3, 25; Numbers 3:28, 31, 32, 38, 47, 50; 4:12, 15 (twice), 16; 7:9, 13, 19, 25, 31, 37, 43, 49, 55, 61, 67, 73, 79, 85, 86; 8:19; 10:21; 18:1, 3, 5, 16; 19:20.
    LUJ 64.2

    It will be of interest to follow briefly the history of this building in the vicissitudes through which it passed so long as it constituted the sanctuary, or dwelling-place of God, on the earth. Long after Israel had entered the land of Canaan, according to the promise of God; the sanctuary assumed a new phase, in the form of -LUJ 65.1

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