SANCTUARY STUDY Part 2
Shared Study by Joan LaCelle
GOD SEEKING TO DWELL WITH US
“Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” Exodus 25:8
What does that mean? Let’s study that passage out till it shines, because it is so beautiful. God is speaking and He is asking us to make Him a Sanctuary. Why? Because He wants to Dwell . . . Dwell where? Well, let’s see.
The Word Dwell is translated from “Shakan” which means: “to reside, or permanently stay, to abide, to rest, habitation”.
The Word Sanctuary is translated from “miqdash” which means: “a consecrated thing or place, palace, asylum, hallowed, holy”
The Word Among is translated from “Tavek” which means: the center, between, middle, midst, within.
The word “Among” in this scripture is what really touched me. God not only wanted to dwell close enough to me - He wants to dwell in the midst of me - (within) me. He wants my heart as a Sanctuary. He longs for my heart to be a place that is consecrated wholly and completely to Him. An asylum in this world that is casting Him out.
In the wilderness the Sanctuary was built in the “midst” of the Israelites. With all the tribes represented all around it. And truly God was in the “midst” of them. That was just a lesson on how intimate He longs to be with us. He wants to be in the midst of our very thoughts, actions, words, deeds, and heart. Perhaps this verse could be rewritten:
“Let them make (or prepare for) me a consecrated, holy place - an asylum that is hallowed (pure, holy and set aside for only Me), that I may stay permanently (and never leave) and make my habitation, my home in the center of them - within them”.
That is where this study begins. It doesn’t begin with a sinner bringing a lamb to sacrifice. It begins with a God - that is so in love with us that He requested that we make room for Him. It’s about Him making the first step not because we did something right that pleased Him enough to come closer to us. No, as filthy and unworthy as we are, He broke the silence of sin and said “I long to be with you. I long to hold you. I long to forgive your every sin and cleanse. I long to recreate in you my image - the image that sin has marred so deeply. I long, my friend for . . . . You!”
A gentlemen who lived in the 1800s made this statement: “The one who allows nothing to break his connection with heaven becomes an earthly dwelling place for the Most High because the Bible says in Isaiah 57:15: ‘for this saith the High & Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I (God is speaking of Himself) dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.”
It is an awesome thought that God longed this deeply to bridge the gap my sins have made between Him and I and desire to live within my heart. I didn’t go looking for Him. He sought me out and gave Himself unreservedly to me.
THE THREE TEMPLES OF THE BIBLE
There are three temples that I find spoken of in the Word of God. The First is the Temple in Heaven. The Second our human body - as it is spoken of as the temple of God. The Third is the Earthly Temple (sanctuary) that God instructed the Israelites to build for Him. This third Temple eventually was done away with and Solomon’s Temple was built. Then there were other temples built after this temple was destroyed. But let’s just focus on the three basic temples covered in the Bible.
God’s people had drifted so far away from Him that they couldn’t comprehend how God could live with them being invisible. So, God told them to build Him a Sanctuary and He would live among them. In doing so - God would give them a great and rich object lesson of His love for them. This lesson book would reveal (be a Revelation) of His great love and longing for us. God would use this as a means to teach His precious children a “Homeschool Lesson” about how He will take sin and destroy it forever and how He will take the sinner and cleanse them white and snow (recreate them and make them whole). Is there any greater Revelation?
Revelation 18:1 states, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with His glory”. God’s glory is His beautiful, spotless, ever loving and just character (see Exodus 33 & 34). This angel coming down from heaven is putting the spotlight, so to speak, on God’s character (God’s Glory). God’s character has been marred by satan’s lies. This angel is revealing what God is really like.
The Word “Lighten” is translated from “Photizo” which means: “to shed rays; to brighten up, illuminate, make to see, to shine, to make manifest”.
I believe that the Sanctuary in the wilderness was a shadow - that is now lightened or illuminated so we can see more deeply God’s Glorious perfect character of love, forgiveness, mercy, redemption and restoration.
One hundred years ago, a Pastor Haskell stated, “If the one who longs to know more of Christ and His infinite love, will study the types and symbols of the earthly sanctuary, connecting each with it’s glorious antitype, his heart should will be filled with rapture. Like the lenses of the telescope, they reveal wondrous beauties in the character of our blessed Redeemer, beauties that are revealed in no other way”. That is so true because the Bible itself tells us that “Thy way O God is in the Sanctuary” Psalm 77:13. And Psalms 96:6 reinforces that thought with “Honor and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His Sanctuary”.
Some other texts of interest about the Sanctuary are found in Jeremiah 17:12; Isaiah 8:14; Ezekiel 37:26-28.
God longed to show the world His glory (his character) through His abiding in the hearts of His people. And He is longing for that today. The sanctuary was a lesson book not only to us – but to also the world of what happens when people allow God to abide in the midst of them and within them . . .
It would lighten the world with His glory - with his character. We would become vessels (or sanctuaries) that reflect and show forth His character by the change in our own lives that God has accomplished. This will do a work in converting people to God as nothing else will ever do. It is only His will “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith”.
Seeing the Glory of God (His beautiful Character) and mirroring it by His grace alone and our choice is the greatest gift we can give to our Heavenly Father.
COMING TO THE SANCTUARY
Normally in studying the Sanctuary Service it is started with a sinner bringing a lamb to offer as a sacrifice for his sin. And we will get to that shortly. But I am choosing to direct our thoughts to the Most Holy Place first. I think it is very important to put the focus on God completely. It was by His direction and guidance that the sanctuary was built in the wilderness. It wasn’t something that sinners did to appease an angry God (as falsely seen in pagan religions and more falsely seen in Chrsitian faiths that claim we have to make ourselves right before God will forgive us. It’s very important to impress our minds with the truth that this is God’s desire to come and dwell among (or within us). Yet how could a Holy, Sinless God dwell among sinners? It is so beautiful the lengths that God goes through to win us to Himself. Let’s see how He deals with this dilemma.
God could not dwell in person around sin and sinners - lest His Holiness would consume not only the sin but also the sinner who was attached to it. So He veiled Himself in the Most Holy Place not because He didn’t want to touch us - but because He wanted to be close to us but not have us destroyed by His holiness. Today we are so flippant with regard to holiness that we scarcely can understand it. However, this shows His great, enduring love. He wasn’t nor is He now, disgusted with us. No, He hates sin. Yet, He loves us and can see what we are truly with Him dwelling in us. It was great love to veil Himself so could be close to us (revealing Himself to us) without destroying us by the presence of His Holiness. When God comes in contact with sin face to face – sin is destroyed along with anything attached to it. This is because sin is such an antipathy to God. They are exact opposites. Holiness is the exact opposite of sin. The two cannot reside together.
It is important to start our study in the Most Holy Place where God the Father and God the Son are because it is very very important for us to solidify in our minds that it is God that is seeking us. There is nothing that we can do to make ourselves more appealing or forgivable to God. He is making the first step.
The Ark is the central figure of the entire sanctuary. What was in the ark of the covenant? The broken law contained within the ark was the only reason for the sacrificial system and services. (For information on how the ark was to be made go to: Exodus 25:10: They shall make an ark of shittim (acacia wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and half the height thereof.” It was overlaid within and without of pure gold and garnished with a crown of gold around the top).
The Cover of the Ark was called the Mercy Seat and was made of pure gold. On opposite sides of the Mercy Seat were cherubim (or angels of beaten gold, with their wings stretched forth covering the Ark, and their faces were looking with reverence at the Law of God tucked within the Ark. God’s Law (His Ten Commandments) are just and good the Bible says. There was nothing wrong with the Law. The law was just a revelation of God’s love. However satan conned man into believing that the Law of God was legalist and hindered freedom – and we bought his lie and have found ourselves not in freedom but instead we flounder in bondage to sin, self and satan.
It gives me great consolation in the fact that the Lord Himself covered the broken law with the Mercy Seat and that He my Merciful Heavenly Father takes His position upon the seat, so that when I come confessing my sins - I may receive mercy, pardon & power - “to go and sin no more”.
Thankfully God is a God of mercy. Exodus 34:5-7 states this so clearly as one of God’s attributes. But in Romans 6:23 we are told that the broken law demands death. That broken law (the 10 commandments written by God’s own finger that cannot be changed) was placed inside the Ark covered with the Mercy Seat. Not to be done away with - however, to be dealt with in mercy towards us. To reclaim, redeem and recreate us to His perfect image is God’s will and destiny for us (but we must choose God – God will never use force. He only longs for willing obedience). We will get to this later when we enter the courtyard of the Sanctuary. However now it is important to establish this fact in our mind because God is sometimes viewed in a negative manner – forcing us to do what we do not want to do. This is not true. The Bible reveals our God standing outside the door knocking (wooing us) but there is only one doorknob – and that is on the inside of the door. We ourselves must open the door to Him.
God communed with Israel from the Cloud of Glory that rested above the Mercy seat in the Most Holy Place of the Sanctuary . The angels that stood on either side of the ark represented the Angels in Heaven that ever surround the throne of God in Heaven (see Ezekiel 28:14 & 16). These angels are willing to go and come to do God’s every bidding – for they have perfect peace with God – for they have not sinned. They know the pure joy of serving God – it brings them freedom.
While the Ark was made for the sole purpose of containing God’s Holy Law (the Ten Commandments). It also housed a pot of manna (see Exodus 16:33 & 34) and Aaron’s rod that budded (see numbers 17:10).
The Manna was a type of Christ. The Israelites had to gather the manna first thing in the morning and only gather enough for the day. Whatever was left over would spoil. This typified how our experience with Jesus is. We need a fresh, living experience every day - every morning - first thing. We can only gather what we need for that day. Tomorrow will bring fresh “manna” or a fresh experience with Jesus. If we try to live on our experience of yesterday - it will spoil and not provide the spiritual nourishment that we need for today.
Make a study of manna or bread from the Bible. It is such a beautiful word study as it reveals that Jesus is that Manna sent from heaven. He is fresh and nourishing. We can live in a wilderness of emptiness and brokenness – yet daily we can feast on a manna that the world cannot begin to understand. We can feed and be satisfied. Manna also built good health by making healthy blood. As we will see the “Life of the Flesh is in the blood”. Our life is made up from the food we eat. Good food will make good blood. So it is in the spiritual. We can only have good, healthy blood by partaking on the Bread of Life, the Manna – which is Jesus. Feasting on Him daily and each morning gathering a fresh experience – this will transform our lives. It will bring spiritual health and vibrancy.
Aaron’s rod that budded is an interesting analogy to us as Christians too. Dead sticks do not bud. However, Aaron’s rod not only budded, but had leaves and fruit. We are dead in sin. Yet by the Omnipotent Power of God we can revive and bud and bear fruit to His honor and glory.
It is important to note at this point that the Most Holy Place was strictly off limits to anyone but the High Priest and then the High Priest entered only on the Day of Atonement. We will study more about that later in our study. The Ark was also Holy. God commanded that no one should touch it. God is able to protect His own Law, His own character which is reflected in the Law. When Uzzah touched the ark (see 2 Samuel 6:6) he was immediately stricken. This was not God’s petty anger. The Ark was holy. Never was it to be touched by human hands - it was carried by a rod driven through rings in the ark. And it was only to be carried by the Levites. This seems harsh of God on the surface. But the deeper issue is that obedience is important to God and that Holiness cannot be touched by filthiness/sinfulness and not be consumed. This is an important thought. Because it reveals that God must have a plan of removing sin from us in order to save us to live in His presence through eternity. Think it through - if sin is consumed by the beautiful, Holiness of God, how will sinners be able to live in His presence? God must have a plan!! He does and it is beautiful.
The Law (or Ten Commandments) is the standard by which all will be judged. The Law will condemn the guilty; sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4). The same Law that condemns the sinner will witness to the righteousness of those who through faith in Christ have tried to walk in harmony within it’s holy precepts, humbly seeking forgiveness for every transgression. (Romans 3:2)
Go to Part 3