The Sanctuary – One of God’s Lesson Books
From the creation of the world to the present time, the one outstanding purpose of Heaven has been to make known to man the character and work of our Creator and Redeemer. To accomplish this, God has given to the human family three books: first, the book of creation, His word in nature; second, the sanctuary, His Word visualized in an object lesson; and the Bible, the Witten Word. The grand central theme of each of these books is the plan of salvation. To study any one of them with any other object in view than to understand God’s character and his plan for us is to miss His purpose entirely.
- Who is the creator of this world? Genesis 1:1
________ God _____________________________________________________
The word used in Hebrew to describe God is Eloheem which can be used in singular form or plural form describing more than one. The name Elowahh or Eloah is a form of the word Eloheem which is usually used when describing God in a singular term. In Arabic the word Eloah is pronounced Allah which is the Islamic name for God.
Keep in mind, that Judaism, Christianity and Islam claim their faith back to Abraham and so all three major religions claim the God of heaven is the supreme ruler of the earth. Only Christianity embraces the trinity, in that the Godhead is made up of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
- Who is said to now have control of the earth? Ephesians 2:2
________ The prince of the air (Satan) ___________________________________
As sin marred this fair world, nature everywhere revealed the presence and character of the evil one. The atmosphere, once so mild and uniform in temperature, was now subject to marked changes. Satan had become the “prince, the power of the air” and the terrible conflict between good and evil, between Christ and Satan, was on. This conflict is still on, and the book of nature plainly reveals this in death and decay on every hand. To understand this conflict so that we shall line up on God’s side is the real objective of true nature study. Unless in our study and teaching of nature the work of Christ, not only as Creator but as Redeemer, is made plain it cannot truthfully be called Christian education, even though it be so labeled.
- Read Isaiah 61:11. The closing statement of this passage tells us that “the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations.” What could possibly be implied by this statement? Read also Galatians 5:19-23.
Throughout the Bible, references to nature have been used to illustrate a point. In Isaiah 61:11 the Gospel message is likened to a seed that has been planted in a desolate land. Galatians 5:22 – 23 shows the result of a seed that has been sown and watered and cared for by the Holy Spirit.
This seed naturally develops in the life when the Spirit has control. The results of such control stand in marked contrast with the works of the flesh we saw outlined in verse 19-21 of Galatians chapter 5. The fruit of the spirit is not the natural product of human nature, but of a power wholly outside of man.
Note how Paul uses the word “fruit” in the singular, whereas the word “works” in verse 19 is plural. There is but one “fruit of the Spirit,” and that one fruit includes all of the Christian graces enumerated in verses 22 and 23. In other words, all of these graces are to be present in the life of the Christian and it cannot be said that he is bearing the “Fruit of the spirit” if any one is missing. On the other hand, there are many different forms in which evil may manifest itself, and it is necessary for only one of these evil traits listed to be present in the life for a man to be classified with those who produce “works of the flesh.” It takes all the Christian graces to make a man a true follower of Christ, but only one of the works of the flesh to make a man a follower of the evil one.
- In Genesis chapter 3 we have the tragic story of good gone bad. Eve and then Adam sinned against God. What did they first notice about themselves after they sinned? Genesis 3:7
_____ they were naked _____________________________________________
Prior to the fall, they had been clothed with the garment of Christ’s righteousness. How could this be? It is because they reflected the perfect character of their creator and thus were clothed with the same righteousness as their creator.
After sin, they no longer reflected Christ’s character. Instead they now reflected the character of the evil one. The one who had brought reproach and shame into the hallowed halls of heaven had now separated God’s new creation from their creator.
When God called to Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening they hid themselves. They had attempted to create garments out of fig leaves because the fig leaves have a light or aura about them similar to the original robe of righteousness. They hoped that this would keep Jesus from knowing what they had done.
Imagine what it must have been like for Adam and Eve to witness the first signs of decay in the dropping flowers and falling leaves. It might have first been evident in the cloths that they fashioned out of fig leaves. Perhaps it was a beautiful flower that drooped as a petal fell to the ground.
But they were not left without hope. The book of nature still revealed the love and character of God. In His mercy He has left many of nature’s beauties. While it is true that nature reveals the presence of the enemy, it also teaches the lesson of redemption. Although death and decay are everywhere manifested, the trees shed their leaves only to put forth new ones in the freshness of springtime. Plants die only to rise again in fresh verdure at the appointed time. Even man himself as he lays down his life, looks forward to the resurrection, when he shall come forth in immortal youth and glory. Each yearly round demonstrates the spring, summer autumn, and winter of life, and on resurrection morning. All show God’s gracious care and imperishable love toward all works of His hand.
- Read Romans 1:19, 20; Romans 2:13-16; Psalm 19:1-3. What do these passages mean to you? What does this reveal regarding the relationship between nature and God?
Question: How many of you when being out in nature feel that the presence of God is near?
- At the time God created the world, what did he tell man to do? Genesis 1:28
____ Subdue it, Have dominion _________________________________________
Verse 26 of Genesis 1 also uses the word dominion. This word implies that man was to care for the earth and was to be totally responsible for everything housed within the earth. God planned to make man his representative or viceroy over this planet. This included every aspect of nature including the animals, and in this way he would learn of the mysteries of God.
As a just and honest king serves the people under his dominion, so our first parents and all to come after were to serve all of creation.
For about 2500 years the book of creation was man’s only lesson book. During this time, man gradually failed to discern the spiritual lessons in nature, until at last the Creator was lost sight of. It is at this time that mankind began to worship the things of nature, such as the sun, moon, stars, water, earth, and even the animals that God had made for man’s use. Mankind began to worship the creature more than the Creator and as a result, mankind’s heart was darkened, Romans 1:25, 21.
- When did mankind fail to comprehend the book of nature? What did God do? Genesis 11:4, 5
_________ At the Tower of babel __ God visited the people ____________________
- When the book of nature failed to teach man of God’s great wonders, what did God do next? Genesis 12:1
___________Called Abraham __________________________________________
God called Abraham away from all his idolatrous kindred. He called him away to reveal in a new way the character of God to the world. God desired to reveal himself through a chosen people and through a special style of worship. But before that could happen, he needed to prepare a people so that the world through them might see the wondrous power of God. The wondrous plan of salvation. Yet even with this special people their manner of life made it difficult for them to grasp the grand truths of God’s redeeming love.
So God, the Master Teacher would teach them through the most marvelous object lesson ever conceived and ever used – the sanctuary. He who knew that nearly ninety percent of what was remembered is done through the eyes and the hands while only 10 percent comes from listening. Yet God chose to use the ear, first to explain the sanctuary and its service down to the most minute detail. Next, God showed them the pattern and finally to the hand by instructing the people to unite in its construction. In this masterpiece of true Christian education, this comprehensive textbook of visual education, God demonstrated in perfect detail all the various stages of the plan of redemption. Redemption not only for the world as a whole, but for each individual for whom the Lamb of God would give his precious life.
Every step of the way from the moment we enter the gate of the sanctuary and experience justification by accepting the offering made for our sins typified in the court, through the lifelong process of sanctification typified in the holy place, into the glory room – the most holy place, where are typified the blotting out of all sin and the granting of life’s reward – the entire work of Christ for our salvation is made clear and simple and beautiful and deeply impressive in the book of the sanctuary. It is indeed The Path to the Throne of God. As in the book of nature each yearly round represents the full span of life, so in His second book, the sanctuary, that the complete plan of redemption was repeated in type every year.
People, young and old can enjoy the book of nature; and the book of the sanctuary is also for people of all ages and from all walks of life. By means of this divinely planned object lesson, that which otherwise would be a complicated study suited only to the learned, is made plain and simple even to a child.
For the mature Christian who is yet a student of God, a knowledge of the sanctuary is of inestimable value, because it makes the entire plan of salvation visible in one magnificent view. Through this study he is able to organize and classify his knowledge so that he can see its parts in their proper order and perspective. Indeed, the sanctuary may be compared to the mammoth and limitless filing case, where every essential Bible doctrine has its own place into which it fits perfectly in God’s great plan.
When viewed in the light of the sanctuary, the Bible becomes a great system of truth, not a scrapbook of disconnected and unrelated fragments. When considered in its fullness, the sanctuary and its service is like a wonderful mosaic of divine revelation; one truth omitted spoils its symmetry; one error introduced mars its perfection. The sanctuary not only illuminates truth, but it reveals error. For this reason, the importance of understanding the lessons portrayed in the sanctuary can hardly be overestimated.
A spiritual study of sanctuary is sure to awaken in the Christian student an insatiable longing to delve more deeply into the inexhaustible mine of Bible truth. It will inspire him with a profound love of truth for these last days. How quickly, how vividly and how truly will a study of this book of God – the sanctuary – reveal the importance and the eternal perpetuity of the Creator’s divine law – the Ten Commandments! Such a study will give the student an experience that will be his anchor through earth’s final crisis.
- The sacrificial system failed to be of need after the crucifixion of Christ and yet it remained in use until 70 AD when the temple was destroyed and the sacrificial service forever ended. How is it then that God chooses to communicate to us today? II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:19 – 21
____Holy Scripture or the Bible _________________________________________
- Besides the Bible, what else reveals to us the will of God? John 20:22
______The Holy Spirit _______________________________________________
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truths written in God’s three books, pointing all to Jesus.
God’s Third Book, Is the Written Word. For about fifteen hundred years the sanctuary was the main book through which God taught His people of His character and the plan of salvation. Not until after the sacrificial lamb met its antitype in the death of the Lamb of God (Jesus) was God’s third book, the Bible, completed. Even then it was another fifteen hundred years before the printing press came into use and the Bible began to be printed in the language of the people, and thus made available to the world.
As in the book of nature and the book of the sanctuary, so the “grand central theme” of the Bible is Christ and redemption. The Bible is a divine commentary which throws the searchlight of Heaven on the other two books giving a brilliant illumination of their theme – redemption. While the Bible illuminates the truths worked out in God’s wondrous object lesson, the sanctuary is the substructure of the entire Bible. It is not merely a golden thread running throughout the Bible, but is a complete golden network of truth entering into and binding together into one harmonious whole all parts of Sacred Volume – history and prophecy, poetry and song, law and gospel. It is a visible illumination of all its essential doctrines, giving to each a new and deep significance.
These three books make a vast and complete library of divine revelation, and with them at his command, the student will be enabled to interpret with accuracy not only God’s plan for the world as revealed in prophecy, but God’s plan for himself personally, so that we, even more than those who have gone before, shall most surely be “without excuse” (Romans 1:20), if we neglect to study God’s three books and be benefited by their truths.