1. THE EARTHLY TABERNACLE
a. God delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 12:51). Then He organized them (Exodus 18:21–26). After that He gave them His law (Exodus 20:3–17). What was the next important event that took place in Israel? Exodus 25:8.
b. What building plan did the Lord present to Moses? Exodus 25:9, 40; Hebrews 8:5.
“The holy places made with hands were to be ‘figures of the true,’ ‘patterns of things in the heavens’ (Hebrews 9:24, 23)—a miniature representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great High Priest, after offering His life as a sacrifice, was to minister in the sinner’s behalf. God presented before Moses in the mount a view of the heavenly sanctuary and commanded him to make all things according to the pattern shown him.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 343.
c. Where, on earth, did God promise to meet with the children of Israel? Exodus 29:42–46.
“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.”—My Life Today, p. 290.
2. GOD’S HABITATION
a. Where, in heaven, is God’s throne? Isaiah 6:1; Psalm 11:4.
b. Where, in heaven, does Christ share the Father’s throne? Hebrews 8:1, 2.
c. Why is it especially significant that Christ stands in the courts of heaven as our Advocate? Hebrews 4:14–16.
“Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of [God’s] presence was with [Israel]. So Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life. ‘The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14, RV, margin).
“Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction presented in the Saviour’s life on earth, we see ‘God with us.’”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 23, 24.
d. What additional description unveils more about the glorious scene of God’s throne? Revelation 4:4; 7:13–15; 8:3.
e. In view of the awesome celestial picture presented, what should be our continual aim? Revelation 3:21; Colossians 3:1, 2.
“How much better it is to seek those things which are above, than to seek the things of this world and to form our characters after a worldly similitude!”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 228.
“The One who has stood as our intercessor; who hears all penitential prayers and confessions; who is represented with a rainbow, the symbol of grace and love, encircling His head, is soon to cease His work in the heavenly sanctuary. Grace and mercy will then descend from the throne, and justice will take their place. He for whom His people have looked will assume His right—the office of Supreme Judge.”—The Review and Herald, January 1, 1889.
3. THE CENTER OF THE WORK OF REDEMPTION
a. Where is the center of the work of Christ in our behalf? Hebrews 9:11, 12. Why is a knowledge of the sanctuary service a must? Psalm 77:13.
“The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects and be able to give an answer to everyone that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 488, 489.
b. When did the Holy Spirit make manifest the way into the heavenly sanctuary? Hebrews 9:8; 6:18–20.
“Though the ministration was to be removed from the earthly to the heavenly temple; though the sanctuary and our great high priest would be invisible to human sight, yet the disciples were to suffer no loss thereby. They would realize no break in their communion, and no diminution of power because of the Saviour’s absence. While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 166.
c. If Christ entered “into heaven itself” to minister in the true tabernacle not in the “figures of the true” (Hebrews 9:2, 24), how can we have access to Him? Hebrews 4:14–16.
“In the Father’s acceptance of Christ in man’s behalf, we are assured that through the merits of His Son, we may find access to God. We may be accepted in the Beloved. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, has opened the way so that the most sinful, the most needy, the most oppressed and despised, may find access to God, may have a home in the mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love Him.”—The Bible Echo, February 1, 1893.
4. EXACTNESS AND PERFECTION
a. What lesson can we deduct from the fact that, in the building of the earthly tabernacle, God insisted, again and again, that everything be done “after their pattern”? Exodus 25:9, 40; Acts 7:44.
“In all our work, even in mechanical lines, God desires that the perfection of His character shall appear. The exactness, skill, tact, wisdom, and perfection which He required in the building of the earthly tabernacle, He desires to have brought into everything that shall be done in His service. Every transaction entered into by His servants is to be as pure and as precious in His sight as were the gold and frankincense and myrrh which in sincere, uncorrupted faith the Wise Men from the East brought to the infant Saviour.”—Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 142, 143.
b. How does this lesson apply to the candidates for a place in the kingdom of glory? Matthew 5:48; Colossians 1:28; 4:12.
“Paul describes the work of God’s ambassadors as that by which every man shall be presented perfect in Christ Jesus. Those who embrace the truth of heavenly origin should be refined, ennobled, sanctified through it. It will require much painstaking effort to reach God’s standard of true manhood. The irregular stones hewed from the quarry must be chiseled, their rough sides must be polished. This is an age famous for surface work, for easy methods, for boasted holiness aside from the standard of character that God has erected. All short routes, all cutoff tracks, all teaching which fails to exalt the law of God as the standard of religious character, is spurious. Perfection of character is a lifelong work, unattainable by those who are not willing to strive for it in God’s appointed way, by slow and toilsome steps. We cannot afford to make any mistake in this matter, but we want day by day to be growing up into Christ, our living Head.”—Ibid., vol. 5, p. 500.
“Every day that you live, you can be perfecting the blessed attributes fully revealed in the character of Christ; and when you do this, you will bring light, love, peace, and joy into your homes.”—The Review and Herald, July 29, 1890.
5. MATERIALS PROVIDED
a. The Lord could have provided, miraculously, all the materials needed for the building of the sanctuary. Why did He require the people to bring only freewill offerings? Exodus 25:1–8.
“Great and expensive preparations were necessary. Precious and costly materials must be collected. But the Lord accepted only the freewill offerings. Devotion to the work of God and sacrifice from the heart were first required in preparing a place for God.”—The Story of Redemption, p. 152.
“God will accept only willing service.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 977.
b. As architects of our own character, how careful should we be in choosing the spiritual materials with which to build? 1 Corinthians 3:10–15.
“In our character building we must build on Christ. He is the sure foundation—a foundation which can never be moved. The tempest of temptation and trial cannot move the building which is riveted to the Eternal Rock.
“He who would grow into a beautiful building for the Lord must cultivate every power of the being. It is only by the right use of the talents that the character can develop harmoniously.”—Child Guidance, p. 166.
“The Word of God warns us to take heed how we build, to see that our building is founded upon the Eternal Rock.”—Ibid., p. 164.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why did God entrust Moses with setting up a copy of the heavenly sanctuary in the midst of Israel?
2. Where in heaven do the Father and Son have their throne?
3. How can Christ, while ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, be present with His people here on earth?
4. What is symbolized by the exactness and perfection that God demanded in the building of the sanctuary?
5. What does the careful selection of materials for the tabernacle typify?