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Sabbath Bible Lessons

The Plan of Redemption and the Sanctuary Service

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Lesson 12 Sabbath, March 19, 2011

The Gospel in the Sanctuary Service

“[The tribe of Levi] shall keep . . . the charge of the whole congregation . . . to do the service of the tabernacle” (Numbers 3:7).

“Not only the sanctuary itself, but the ministration of the priests, was to ‘serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things’ (Hebrews 8:5).”—The Faith I Live By, p. 195.

Suggested Reading:   Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 352–358. 

Sunday March 13

1. THE DEDICATION

a. Describe the dedication of the sanctuary and of the priests. Leviticus 8:10–12, 30, 33. What should we learn from this solemn procedure?

“The God of heaven, whose arm moves the world, who sustains us and gives us life and health, has given us evidence that He may be honored or dishonored by the apparel of those who officiate before Him. He gave special directions to Moses in regard to everything connected with His service. He gave instruction even in regard to the arrangement of their houses and specified the dress which those should wear who were to minister in His service. They were to maintain order in everything and especially to preserve cleanliness.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 610, 611.

b. Explain the ministry in the sanctuary.

“The ministration of the sanctuary consisted of two divisions, a daily and a yearly service. The daily service was performed at the altar of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle and in the holy place; while the yearly service was in the most holy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 352.

“Once a year the high priest performed a special work of atonement in the most holy, for the cleansing of the sanctuary.”—The Great Controversy, p. 418.


Monday March 14

2. THE DAILY SERVICE

a. Describe the regular daily services in behalf of the nation. Exodus 29:38–42; Numbers 28:3–6.

“The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and the special offerings for individual sins. . . .

“Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar . . . [symbolizing] their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 352.

b. How did the priests choose the animals to be sacrificed? Exodus 12:5. Who was symbolized by the offering “without blemish”? 1 Peter 1:19.

“The priests were to examine all animals brought as a sacrifice and were to reject everyone in which a defect was discovered. Only an offering ‘without blemish’ could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as ‘a lamb without blemish and without spot’ (1 Peter 1:19).”—Ibid.

c. What else should the perfect offering cause us to consider? Romans 12:1.

“We are to give ourselves to the service of God, and we should seek to make the offering as nearly perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer. Those who love Him with all the heart will desire to give Him the best service of the life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will.”—Ibid., pp. 352, 353.

“The realization of the sacrifice made in our behalf is ever to be fresh in our minds and is ever to exert an influence on our thoughts and plans. Christ is to be indeed as one crucified among us. . . .

“What a price has been paid for us! Behold the cross, and the Victim uplifted upon it. Look at those hands, pierced with the cruel nails. Look at His feet, fastened with spikes to the tree. Christ bore our sins in His own body. That suffering, that agony, is the price of your redemption.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 479.


Tuesday March 15

3. INDIVIDUAL OFFERINGS

a. In the ancient Hebrew system, when an individual sinned, what was he or she required to do? Leviticus 4:2, 3, 22, 23, 27–30.

“The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and, placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 354.

b. Specify the five classes of offerings. What should these cause us to ponder?

• Burnt offerings (Leviticus 1:2, 3).

• Grain offerings (Leviticus 2:1–3).

• Peace offerings (Leviticus 3:1, 2).

• Sin offerings (Leviticus 4:2).

• Trespass offerings (Leviticus 5:1–6).

“Day by day the repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle and, placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. The animal was then slain. ‘Without shedding of blood’ (Hebrews 9:22), says the apostle, there is no remission of sin. ‘The life of the flesh is in the blood’ (Leviticus 17:11). The broken law of God demanded the life of the transgressor. The blood, representing the forfeited life of the sinner, whose guilt the victim bore, was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed.”—The Great Controversy, p. 418.

“Will you not hate sin, and pray most earnestly that you may have a sense of its exceeding sinfulness? Will you not hate that which caused the death of the Majesty of heaven, the Son of God? Always bear in mind the fact that there is one thing which God hates with a perfect hatred, and that is sin.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, p. 73.


Wednesday March 16

4. THE OFFERING OF INCENSE

a. Describe the offering of incense. Exodus 30:1, 6–8; 40:5.

“In the offering of incense the priest was brought more directly into the presence of God than in any other act of the daily ministration. As the inner veil of the sanctuary did not extend to the top of the building, the glory of God, which was manifested above the mercy seat, was partially visible from the first apartment. When the priest offered incense before the Lord, he looked toward the ark; and as the cloud of incense arose, the divine glory descended upon the mercy seat and filled the most holy place, and often so filled both apartments that the priest was obliged to retire to the door of the tabernacle.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 353.

b. What did the offering of incense represent? Revelation 8:3, 4. How does this bless our religious experience in a practical way?

“The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. Before the veil of the most holy place was an altar of perpetual intercession, before the holy, an altar of continual atonement. By blood and by incense God was to be approached—symbols pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may approach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul.”—Ibid.

“As we acknowledge before God our appreciation of Christ’s merits, fragrance is given to our intercessions. As we approach God through the virtue of the Redeemer’s merits, Christ places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He puts His merits, as sweet incense, in the censer in our hands, in order to encourage our petitions. He promises to hear and answer our supplications.

“Yes, Christ has become the medium of prayer between man and God. He has also become the medium of blessing between God and man. He has united divinity with humanity. Men are to cooperate with Him for the salvation of their own souls, and then make earnest, persevering efforts to save those who are ready to die.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 178.


Thursday March 17

5. A TIME OF HEART-SEARCHING

a. What did the assembled worshippers do, morning and evening, at the time of daily sacrifice and offering of incense? Luke 1:10.

“As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 353, 354.

b. How should we imitate the worship of the pious Jews—especially before partaking of the Lord’s Supper? 2 Corinthians 13:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 11:28.

“In this custom [of the Jewish hour of sacrifice] Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins committed and to present their requests for needed blessings.”—Ibid., p. 354.

c. What should be our main concern today? Romans 13:11–14.


Friday March 18

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. Describe the ministration of the sanctuary.

2. What was the significance of the offering “without blemish”?

3. Explain the key part of the daily ministration in the sanctuary.

4. What did the offering of incense represent?

5. What lessons should we learn from the morning and evening incense?

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