1. A PRACTICAL REVELATION OF GOD
a. How close is God to us? Acts 17:24–27; Jeremiah 23:24.
b. After the Exodus, how did God dwell among humanity in a way that people could see His glory and character? Exodus 25:8; Psalm 63:2. What was the name of the mountain where God’s sanctuary stood? Psalms 9:11; 76:2.
c. What did the sanctuary service teach about God and the plan of redemption? Psalms 77:13; 68:24.
“The solemn service of sacrifice and worship at the sanctuary and the utterances of the prophets were a revelation of God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 592.
“The great truths set forth by the types in the service of the sanctuary were brought to view, and faith grasped the central object of all that system—the Lamb of God, that was to take away the sin of the world.”—Education, p. 47.
d. What comfort did King David receive when he looked up to the place of the sanctuary in Jerusalem? Psalms 122:1; 134:3.
2. THE SANCTUARY’S PURPOSE
a. In giving Israel the sanctuary, whom and what was God hoping they would find? Psalms 27:4, 5; 84:1–5, 10.
“From a race of slaves the Israelites had been exalted above all peoples to be the peculiar treasure of the King of kings. God had separated them from the world, that He might commit to them a sacred trust. He had made them the depositaries of His law, and He purposed, through them, to preserve among men the knowledge of Himself. Thus the light of heaven was to shine out to a world enshrouded in darkness, and a voice was to be heard appealing to all peoples to turn from their idolatry to serve the living God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 314.
“God commanded Moses for Israel, ‘Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them’ (Exodus 25:8), and He abode in the sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 23.
b. On what condition could God’s people dwell, by faith, in His sanctuary? Psalm 15:1–5. What assurance was theirs? Psalm 91:1–9. What assurance do we have as a steadfast anchor for the soul? Hebrews 6:19, 20; 10:19, 20.
“To Israel, whom [God] desired to make His dwelling place, He revealed His glorious ideal of character. The pattern was shown them in the mount when the law was given from Sinai. . . .
“But this ideal they were, in themselves, powerless to attain. The revelation at Sinai could only impress them with their need and helplessness. Another lesson the tabernacle, through its service of sacrifice, was to teach—the lesson of pardon of sin, and power through the Saviour for obedience unto life.”—Education, pp. 35, 36.
“God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul. . . . The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world’s buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin—from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 161.
3. GOD’S OMNIPRESENCE
a. Through whom does God dwell with each one of His servants? Isaiah 57:15; 66:1, 2; John 14:16, 17, 23. What is His condition for dwelling in us?
“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 669.
“If we know God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, unspeakable gladness will come to the soul. Oh, how we need the divine presence! For the baptism of the Holy Spirit every worker should be breathing out his prayer to God. Companies should be gathered together to call upon God for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that the people of God may know how to plan and devise and execute the work.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 170.
b. How do the apostles Paul and John present the condition on which we may have the presence of God with us? 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 1 John 3:24.
“In the human heart cleansed from all moral impurity dwells the precious Saviour, ennobling, sanctifying the whole nature, and making the man a temple for the Holy Spirit.”—Ibid., pp. 387, 388.
“This is the test; the proof of our love is that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. ‘He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings.’ John 14:24. ‘He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.’ John 14:21. Here is a promise on condition. Shall we not rationally conclude that why the church has so little of the realizing sense of the presence of God, is their indifference to do the things He has specified, and they are giving to the world a misrepresentation of the character of Christ.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1037.
4. GOD’S MANIFESTATIONS
a. Since no human being has ever seen God the Father, what are we to realize about our need of Christ’s revelation? John 1:18.
“What speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible Father. He is the manifestation of the Father, and is called the Word of God. God sent His Son into the world, His divinity clothed with humanity, that man might bear the image of the invisible God. He made known in His words, His character, His power and majesty, the nature and attributes of God. Divinity flashed through humanity in softening, subduing light. He was the embodiment of the law of God, which is the transcript of His character.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1131.
b. What did Christ mean when He said that the pure in heart shall see God? Matthew 5:8. How should this affect our life in a practical way?
“The pure in heart discern the Creator in the works of His mighty hand, in the things of beauty that comprise the universe. In His written word they read in clearer lines the revelation of His mercy, His goodness, and His grace. The truths that are hidden from the wise and prudent are revealed to babes. The beauty and preciousness of truth, which are undiscerned by the worldly-wise, are constantly unfolding to those who have a trusting, childlike desire to know and to do the will of God. We discern the truth by becoming, ourselves, partakers of the divine nature.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 26, 27.
“The pure in heart shall see God. His presence can be revealed; comprehended it cannot be. This knowledge is too wonderful for us. There are feelings that cannot be communicated. Some things one cannot say. Words are tame, and our thoughts come far short of taking all in; for there is an infinity beyond our thoughts.
“If we are to be colaborers with God, we must hold direct communion with Him: we must ask His guidance in everything we undertake.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, p. 381.
5. WHAT IS GOD LIKE?
a. What is the character of God like? Deuteronomy 32:4; 1 Peter 1:16.
b. What other qualities belong to God’s character? Exodus 34:6; 1 John 4:8.
c. Upon what principles is the throne of God established? Psalm 89:14. What is round about God’s throne? Revelation 4:3. Explain how justice and mercy go together in the plan of God. Psalm 85:10.
“It is not justice alone that is to be maintained; for this would eclipse the glory of the rainbow of promise above the throne; men could see only the penalty of the law. Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God. It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world’s Redeemer and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, ‘Thy greatness hath made me great’ (2 Samuel 22:36).”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 70.
d. What is the evidence that God created not only angels but also humans with free will? Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15.
“[God] takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Where does God want to dwell right now?
2. What condition does God require in His “temple” before He will dwell there?
3. Do we reflect the characteristics of God revealed in the sanctuary?
4. How can we see God?
5. Describe the character of God. How can you prove from the Bible that men and women were created free moral agents?