Sanctuary: Introduction Index
Research Material


  • Since a misunderstanding of the sanctuary question led to the disappointment in 1844, it seems proper to devote [space] to the consideration of this all-important subject. (SNH 154)
  • Three sanctuaries, or temples, are brought to view in the Bible. The first is the heavenly sanctuary, where God reigns upon His throne (Psalm 11:4; 102:19), surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousands of angels (Daniel 7:9-10). This temple was opened (Revelation 11:19) to the wondering gaze of the lonely seer on the Isle of Patmos, and also to Moses on Mount Sinai. The second, or earthly, sanctuary was a miniature model of the heavenly one (Exodus 25:40), in which the priests served unto the example and shadow of the service in the heavenly temple (Hebrews 8:3-5).For more than fourteen hundred years, God designed that the service should be in the shadowy sanctuary. The time came when those following the shadow reached the substance (Hebrews 9:8, 9, 11, 23, 24). (SNH 154-155)
  • Two days before the crucifixion (Matthew 23:38), Christ slowly and regretfully left the temple for the last time. The priests and rulers were struck with terror as they head His mournful words: "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:38). The beautiful structure remained until A.D. 70, but it had ceased to be the temple of God. The Father showed by an unmistakable sign that the glory had departed. When the words, "It is finished" (John 19:30), were pronounced by the Sufferer upon the cross, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom by unseen hands (Matthew 27:51). Terror and confusion prevailed. The knife raised to slay the sacrifice fell from the nerveless hand of the priest, and the lamb escaped. Henceforth the sinner need no longer wait for a priest to offer his sacrifice. The great Sacrifice had been made (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Each child of Adam could accept His atoning blood (1 John 1:7). The way into the heavenly temple was now made manifest (Hebrew 9:8, 9). The heavenly had taken the place of the earthly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:14). Hereafter man's faith was to enter within the veil, where Christ officiated (Hebrews 6:19-20). (SNH 155)
  • The third temple brought to view in the Bible is the temple of the human body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The Jews had lost sight of the fact that their bodies were to be the temples of the Spirit of God; and when the Saviour said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19-21), they thought only of the massive structure of marble and stone, and replies that it had taken forty-six years to build the temple, not perceiving that "He spake of the temple of His body." (SHN 155-156)
  • Glorious rays of light shine from the heavenly sanctuary upon those who study the typical work in the earthly sanctuary (Psalm 80:1). These rays, when gathered into the temple of the body (Ecclesiastes 7:29), reflect the character of our great High Priest in the heavenly courts (Romans 6:6-8).... In the beginning the body of man was created to be a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit; but Satan gained possession, and man partook of an evil nature. Before the body can again become a temple for the Spirit of God, the evil nature must die. Christ offered His life for the sinner (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 2:20); before the foundation of the world He was counted as a "Lamb slain" (Revelation 13:8).... That man in his fallen condition might comprehend this gift, and understand the work of redemption, the sinner that longed to crucify "the old man" (Ephesians 4:22; Revelation 2:7) the evil nature, was directed to bring an innocent animal, and take its life, as an object lesson of the Lamb of God, and also to illustrate the fact that the evil nature of the sinner must die, in order that the Holy Spirit may dwell within. (SNH 156)
  • Before the gates of the garden of Eden, Adam and his family presented their offerings. Their clear minds grasped by faith the promise of the Redeemer, who would again open to them the joys of the garden. Adam by faith looked forward to the time when the Saviour would lead him once more to the Tree of Life, and bid him pluck and eat of its life-giving fruit (Ezekiel 47:12; Zechariah 14:8; Revelation 22:1, 2). As he took the life of the innocent lamb, and saw by faith the "one sinless Man" suffering death for him, his heart went out in love and gratitude to God for His wonderful love, and for a time he forgot the terrible sorrow that weighed upon his soul. Every falling leaf, while it taught the death of Christ, was also a constant reminder to him that sin had brought death into the hitherto perfect earth. (SNH 156-157)
  • While men lived near God, the altars were lighted by fire from heaven. But this perfect worship was marred. Cain's mind became so blinded by sin that he failed to grasp the infinite sacrifice. Satan convinced him that God was an austere judge, demanding service. The love and sacrifice of the Saviour was overlooked. Cain and Abel each brought an offering to the gate of the garden; but the desires of the two hearts were greatly different. Abel brought a lamb (Genesis 4:3, 4; Hebrews 11:4), and as he took its life, his faith laid hold of the Lamb of God. The lamb was laid upon the altar, and fire flashed from the shining sword of the cherubim guarding the way to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24), and the sacrifice was consumed (Leviticus 9:24; I Kings 18:13; Judges 6:21).... Cain brought an offering of fruits (Genesis 4:5). There was nothing in his offering that typified the dying Lamb of Calvary. No innocent life was taken in exchange for his forfeited life. He waited for the fire to consume it, but there was nothing to call forth the fire from the heavenly Watcher (Leviticus 17:11). There was no sweet love, no longing for deliverance from the thralldom of sin and death. (SNH 157)
  • Cain and Abel are types of all worshipers from that time to the present (I Corinthians 19:11). The followers of Cain multiplied ceremonies, and made offerings to the sun and various other objects. In it they overlooked the all-important principle that self must die, and that Christ must live in the temple of the human body. (SNH 157-158)
  • Anciently each family erected its own altars (Genesis 12:8). The father was priest of the household, and was succeeded by the eldest son. At times sin separated the eldest from the family, and character, instead of age, decided who should act as priest... Jacob knew the character of the one great High Priest; and as he lay with his head upon the stone in Bethel, and watched the angels ascending and descending upon that glorious ladder, he also say the Lord above it (Genesis 28:10-13). He beheld His glorious vestments, and in imitation of those garments he made Joseph a "coat of many colors" (Genesis 37:31). The other sons of Jacob could not comprehend these beautiful truths. Even the coat was an object of hatred to them. When the brothers sold Joseph, they dipped the coat in blood, and its beauty was marred (Genesis 37:31). The future revealed that Jacob had read aright the character of Joseph, for in the midst of Egyptian darkness he reflected the light of heaven (Genesis 39:9). He was a temple for the indwelling of the Spirit of God. (SNH 158)
  • When Israel came out of Egypt, their minds were so beclouded by sin that they no longer saw the promised Savoir in the simple offerings. God then said: "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8, 9). Six days were spent by Moses on the mountain side in deep searching of heart; then the think cloud of glory covering Mount Sinai broke forth like devouring fire in the eyes of all Israel, and Moses was ushered into the presence of Deity. Before his wondering gaze was spread out the beauties of the heavenly sanctuary. Forty days the Lord communed with him, giving minute directions in regard to building a shadow of that heavenly structure upon the earth (Exodus 24:16-18). In the midst of the idolatry of Egypt, Israel had lost the spiritual truth that the body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Neither could they form any conception of the work done in heaven for sinful man (I Corinthians 2:14). (SNH 158-159)
  • To reach man in his fallen condition, God directed the building of the earthly tabernacle, that humanity might become acquainted with the nature of the work in the heavenly sanctuary. In this building, men divinely appointed were to perform in the sight of the people a shadow of the work (Hebrews 9:9) that would be done in the heavenly sanctuary by the Saviour of mankind, when He should officiate as our High Priest (Exodus 28:40-41).... The whole Jewish economy was a compacted prophecy of the gospel (Galatians 3:8). Every act of the priest in the shadowy service, as he went in and out, was a prophecy of the Saviour's work when He entered heaven as our High Priest (John 5:45-47). He entered heaven as our High Priest. "It was the gospel in figures," the Lord's object lesson or kindergarten for the "children" of Israel. They had become children in understanding, and in order to reach them God taught the gospel in a way that the senses could grasp.... Man finally became so depraved that he failed to see light flashing from the Levitical laws and sacrificial offerings, and when the Antitype of all their offerings came, they rejected Him (Matthew 27:21-22). (SNH 159)
  • Let us in imagination go back to the wilderness tabernacle, and see if we can discern the glorious gospel of Christ shining from the Jewish economy (Numbers 5:6,7). A man enters the outer court with a lamb, which he brings to the door of the tabernacle. With solemn awe, and eyes raised to heaven, he lays his hand upon its head, while his moving lips, like Hannah's of old (I Samuel 1:12, 13), betray the burden of his heart. Then he lifts the knife, and takes the life of the sacrifice. His faith lays hold of the bleeding Lamb of Calvary, and his sin rolls from off his burdened heart on to the great Sacrifice. The blood is carefully caught; every drop is precious, for by faith he views the real sacrifice. The priest meets him, takes the blood of the sacrificed life (Leviticus 4:5), and passes from sight within the first veil, while the worshiper awaits with anxiety his return. (SNH 159-160)
  • In childhood his father had told him of 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 cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; (Hebrews 9:1-6)" that at times the bright glory of the Shekinah above the mercy-seat shown out and filled the sanctuary (Exodus 29:42, 43). He had been told of the mystical table, with its twelve loaves covered with frankincense (Leviticus 24:57); also of the beautiful candlestick, whose seven lamps were ever burning (Exodus 27:20, 21); how the golden-plated walls (Exodus 26:29) on either side reflected the light, and like great mirrors reproduced again and again the brilliant hues of the richly embroidered curtains with their shining angels. Before the second veil (Exodus 26:31, 32), which concealed the sacred ark, he pictured the altar, from which the fragrant incense constantly ascended (Exodus 30:7, 8). (SNH 160)
  • By faith he sees the priest place the blood of the atoning sacrifice upon the horns of the altar. His faith looks past the shadowy service to the time when Christ shall plead His blood in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:11, 12). It is the gospel of a crucified and risen Saviour that he beholds in the object lesson he himself is helping to carry out. (SNH 160-161)
  • Soon the veil is lifted, and the priest returns. The offering has been accepted. The priest has made atonement for him (Hebrews 9:9), and he is forgiven (Leviticus 4:26). In the joy and freedom of forgiveness he prays: "O that the influence of all my sins might be forever wiped away!" when lo, he sees the priest go to the brazen altar in the court, and "pour out the blood at the bottom of the altar" (Leviticus 4:7, 18, 25, 30). As he sees that blood, precious to him, because it represents his own ransomed life as well as the sacrificed life of the Saviour, poured out upon the ground, his heart bounds with joy. He grasps the fact that the decree, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake" (Genesis 3:17), is met in Christ, and that the promised Saviour will finally cleanse the earth from all the effects of his sins (Leviticus 4:8-10). (SNH 161-162)
  • The body of the lamb still lies near the door of the sanctuary, where the life was taken. He next turns to it, and with a sharp knife separates from the flesh every particle of fat - "all the fat that covereth the inwards" (Exodus 29:13). All the fat is taken away, and the priest burns it upon the altar of burnt offering for a sweet savor unto the Lord (Leviticus 4:31). The fat is burned as a type of the final destruction, when "the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away" (Psalms 37:20). Every sinner that clings to sin will be destroyed with the sin. God has made provision for every one to separate from sin (Galatians 1:4), that He may destroy the sin and save the sinner. The burning fat upon the altar came up as a sweet savor before God (2 Corinthians 2:14-16), for it represented sin that had been separated from the sinner and destroyed, while the sinner lived a new life through Christ.... The sinner separated the fat from the sacrifice; the priest received it and burned it (Leviticus 4:27-31), illustrating the truth that we must co-operate with the Lord; and through Christ who strengthens us we can do all things (Philippians 4:13). (SNH 162)
  • As the man carefully searched for the fat, he realized more fully than before that his body was to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, and that when his past sin is forgiven and he is accepted, it is that he may become a dwelling place for the Spirit of God (Ephesians 3:16, 17). When that Spirit enters a man (John 6:63), it, like a sharp knife (Hebrews 4:12), reveals one sin after another, and separates them from the sinner until the soul temple is cleansed. His faith grasps the promise of the "One" who dwells in the hearts of His people by faith. As he goes from the shadowy temple court, he realizes that he is a temple, not "empty, swept, and garnished" (Matthew 12:43-45), ready to be again entered by the power of evil, but a temple in which the Spirit of God rules and reigns. (SNH 162-163)
  • Another man brings an offering; and as the priest takes the blood, instead of entering within the veil, he pours it at the base of the altar of burnt offering. Then a portion of the flesh, which represents sin, is prepared and eaten by the priest in the holy place (Leviticus 10:16-18; 6:30). In this act the priest taught the children of Israel the wonderful truth that Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree (2 Peter 2:24).... Each separate offering presented some different phase of the work of Christ. The incense constantly ascending from the altar was an object lesson of the inexhaustible fund of perfect obedience accruing from the sinless life of our Saviour (Ephesians 5:2), which, added to the prayers of all saints as they are offered upon the golden altar in heaven (Revelation 8:3, 4), makes them acceptable before God. The perfume of the incense filled the air far beyond the temple court (John 12:3). Likewise the sweet influence of Christians who live a life of faith in God, is felt by all who come in contact with them (Matthew 26:13; Exodus 30:7, 8). (SNH 163)
  • The fire was replenished morning and evening, representing the morning and evening worship in the family. "The whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense" (Luke 1:9, 10). The lamps were a type of the seven lamps of fire before the throne of God in heaven, which are the seven Spirits of God (Revelation 4:5). These "are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth" (Zechariah 4:10). Seven denotes the complete Spirit of God (Isaiah 11:2, 3; Exodus 35:31-35) that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). Its life-giving rays lead the Christian to the celestial city (Proverbs 4:18). (SNH 163-164)
  • The golden table held the "bread of His presence," which represented man's dependence upon God for both temporal and spiritual help and strength. The ark was the center of all worship; it was the first article mentioned in describing the sanctuary. The law hidden in it was the great standard of judgment (Romans 2:12, 13), and a perfect copy of that heavenly law (Deuteronomy 10:1-5) before which the character of every child of Adam will be tried in the tribunal on high. If that law witnesses (Romans 3:21) to a character cleansed from sin by the blood of the atoning sacrifice, then the name will be confessed before the Father and the holy angels (Revelation 3:5). (SNH 164)
  • The continual burning of that which typified sin pointed forward to the time when sin and sinners (Psalm 17:9, 10; Obadiah 1:16; Proverbs 11:31) would be consumed in the fire of the last day (Revelation 20:9, 15; Ezekiel 28:18). As the ashes accumulated upon the altar of burnt offering, they were carefully collected by the side of the altar; and at a certain time the priest laid aside his priestly robes, carried the ashes without the court, and deposited them in a "clean place" (Leviticus 6:10, 11; 4:12). They were not thrown carelessly to one side, but put in a clean place. These ashes represented all that will be left of sin and sinners after the fires of the last day. "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts." (Malachi 4:1-3). In that day the real ashes of the wicked will be left upon a "clean earth." (SNH 164-165)
  • As the Jewish father walked to the sanctuary with his child, the mind of the child would be attracted by the ashes in the clean place. He would ask, :Why are those ashes put in a clean place, when you throw the ashes from our fire upon the dunghill?" The father's answer (Deuteronomy 11:19) would explain the beauties of the new earth, when it shall be made like Eden (Isaiah 51:3), and sin and sorrow shall be forever removed. With it would come the gentle admonition to separate from sin, and keep the body temple pure, that in the great burning day the sin may be consumed without the sinner (I Corinthians 3:17), and he be among the ransomed of the Lord. Much of the service and many of the customs of ancient Israel were designed to call out questions from the children, that the spiritually minded parents might instruct them in the ways of God (Joshua 4:21, 22). (SNH 165)
  • After speaking of the peculiar manner in which the passover should be eaten, God adds, "Your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?" (Exodus 12:26-27) showing that He intended that it should call forth questions from children of all ages, and thus the children become acquainted with the saving blood of the great Passover Lamb. (SNH 165-166)
  • The sight of the pile of stones by the Jordan was to arouse inquiries in the minds of the children of future generations, which, if answered properly, would acquaint them with the mighty power of God. The same was true of the whole Jewish service. (SNH 166)
  • The leper that sought cleansing (Leviticus 14:4-7) was to bring two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood and scarlet and hyssop. The priest commanded that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel, over running eater. The live bird, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop were all dipped in the blood, and the leper was sprinkled with the blood; then the live bird was let loose in the open field. It flew through the air, bearing on its feathers the blood, which was a type of Christ's blood that will purify the air, and remove from it all the germs of sin and death. Now death comes in at our windows (Jeremiah 9:21), but the blood of Christ will give us a new atmosphere. (SNH 166-167)
  • Earth, air, and water are elements which compose our planet. All are tainted by sin (Genesis 3:17; Isaiah 24:5, 6). The earthen dish containing the blood held over the running eater typified the time when earth, air, and water would be freed from the curse of sin by the blood of Christ. The cedar wood and hyssop represented the two extremes in vegetation, from the giant forest to the hyssop on the wall (I Kings 4:33). They were dipped in the blood, thus teaching Israel that Christ's blood would free the entire vegetable world from the curse, and again clothe the earth in Eden beauty (Isaiah 35:1, 2). (SNH 167)
  • It might seem to man that the curse was so deeply marked upon the earth, air, and sea that it could never be removed; but the little piece of scarlet wool, dipped in the blood with the live bird, the cedar, and the hyssop, was a pledge that the blood of Christ would remove the deepest marks from the sin-cursed earth (Revelation 22:3; Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 21:1). (SNH 167)
  • We have the real sacrifice to study as well as the shadow. Type met antitype. The blood of Christ has been shed; the price has been paid (Acts 20:28 Ephesians 1:14) that will restore the purity of the earth, air, and sea (John 1:29). The sin-cursed earth received the blood of Christ as He prayed in the garden (Luke 22:44). "From His hands and feet the blood fell drop by drop upon the rock drilled for the foot of the cross." Thus through the air passed the precious blood. From the wound in His side (John 19:34) "there flowed two copious and distinct streams, one of blood and the other of water." The blood of Christ was brought in contact with the earth, air, and water. The two extremes in vegetation also met at Calvary. The cross was made of wood taken from the trees of the forest; "and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth" (John 19:29). (SNH 167-168)
  • Was there an antitype of the scarlet while His blood was trickling from those cruel wounds? - Yes. In Jesus as He hung upon the cross, bruised, mocked, and bleeding, the thief beheld the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world (I Peter 2:24; Luke 24:26, 27; John 1:29). Hope kindled in his soul, and he cast himself upon a dying Saviour. With full faith that Christ would possess the kingdom, he cried, "Lord, remember me, when Thou comest into Thy kingdom" (Luke 23:36-43). In a soft, melodious tone, full of love, the answer was quickly given: "Verily I say unto thee to-day, Shalt thou be with me in paradise." As these words were spoken, the darkness around the cross was pierced with living light. The thief felt the peace and joy of sins forgiven. Christ was glorified. While all thought they beheld Him conquered, He was the conqueror. They could not rob Him of His power to forgive sins. (SNH 168)
  • Type has fully met antitype; the price has been paid (Luke 24:41); the blood of the world's Redeemer has been poured upon the ground. I has dropped through the air from the cruel cross. It has flowed with water from the wound of the cruel spear. The extremes of vegetation also came in contact with it, and he whose sins were as scarlet, experienced the peace of having them made while as snow by the precious blood (Revelation 7:14), even while it was flowing from the open wounds. (SNH 168)
  • The various feasts throughout the year typified different phases of the gospel. The passover was a type of Christ in an especial sense. Christ is our Passover. The first fruits offered the third day after the passover lamb was slain, taught the resurrection of Christ. Type met antitype, and was fulfilled when Christ, the first fruits of them that slept, came forth on the third day, and presented Himself before the Father. (SNH 169)