1. THE HOLY AND THE MOST HOLY
a. Describe the first apartment or holy place of the sanctuary. Hebrews 9:2.
“In the holy place was the candlestick, on the south, with its seven lamps giving light to the sanctuary both by day and by night; on the north stood the table of shewbread; and before the veil separating the holy from the most holy was the golden altar of incense, from which the cloud of fragrance, with the prayers of Israel, was daily ascending before God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 412.
b. Describe the second apartment or most holy place of the sanctuary. Hebrews 9:3–5.
“In the most holy place stood the ark, a chest of precious wood overlaid with gold, the depository of the two tables of stone upon which God had inscribed the law of Ten Commandments. Above the ark, and forming the cover to the sacred chest, was the mercy seat, a magnificent piece of workmanship, surmounted by two cherubim, one at each end, and all wrought of solid gold. In this apartment the divine presence was manifested in the cloud of glory between the cherubim.”—Ibid.
2. THE CANDLESTICK AND THE SHOWBREAD
a. Whom did the candlestick represent? Exodus 25:31, 32; John 8:12; Revelation 1:20.
“No candlestick, no church, shines of itself. From Christ emanates all its light. The church in heaven today is only the complement of the church on earth; but it is higher, grander—perfect. The same divine illumination is to continue through eternal ages. The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the light thereof. No church can have light if it fails to diffuse the glory it receives from the throne of God.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 95.
b. Why is it that many prefer to close their eyes to the true Light and walk in their own sparks? Isaiah 50:11; John 3:19–21.
“Bible truth, the religion of Christ, struggles against a strong current of moral impurity. Prejudice is even stronger in the hearts of men now than in Christ’s day. Christ did not fulfill men’s expectations; His life was a rebuke to their sins, and they rejected Him. So now the truth of God’s word does not harmonize with men’s practices and their natural inclination, and thousands reject its light.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 587.
c. To whom did the showbread point? Exodus 25:30; John 6:48–51.
“Both the manna and the showbread pointed to Christ, the living Bread, who is ever in the presence of God for us.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 354.
d. In what sense do all popular churches (represented by seven women) prefer to “eat [their] own bread”? Isaiah 4:1. What is the only thing they want to accept from Christ?
“It is absence of religion that makes the path of so many professors of religion shadowy. There are those who may pass for Christians but who are unworthy the name. They have not Christian characters. When their Christianity is put to the test, its falsity is too evident. True religion is seen in the daily deportment. The life of the Christian is characterized by earnest, unselfish working to do others good and to glorify God.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 377.
3. THE ALTAR OF INCENSE AND THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
a. What was before the veil of the most holy place? Exodus 30:1, 7, 8; 40:5; Revelation 8:3, 4.
“All who come to Christ today are to remember that His merit is the incense that mingles with the prayers of those who repent of their sins and receive pardon and mercy and grace. . . . The humble heart needs to offer up prayers to which will be returned answers of grace and peace and joy.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1078.
b. What spiritual attitude is not a sweet smell but rather a noisome smoke to the Lord? Isaiah 65:5; Luke 18:9–11.
c. Name the most important object in the holy of holies. Exodus 31:18; 40:20.
“In this [holy of holies] was the ark, a chest of acacia wood, overlaid within and without with gold, and having a crown of gold about the top. It was made as a depository for the tables of stone, upon which God Himself had inscribed the Ten Commandments. Hence it was called the ark of God’s testament, or the ark of the covenant, since the Ten Commandments were the basis of the covenant made between God and Israel.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 348.
d. Where do all true worshippers carry the law of God? Jeremiah 31:33.
e. What else did the ark of the covenant contain besides the law of God (the Testimony)? Numbers 17:10; Exodus 16:33–35; Hebrews 9:4.
“The manna, falling from heaven for the sustenance of Israel, was a type of Him who came from God to give life to the world.”—Ibid., p. 297.
“ ‘The rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded’. . . .
“This miracle effectually settled the question of the priesthood. It was . . . fully established that Moses and Aaron had spoken by divine authority.”—Ibid., p. 403.
4. THE MERCY SEAT WITH THE CHERUBIM
a. Give a description of the mercy seat. Exodus 25:17–21.
“The cover of the sacred chest [of the ark of the covenant] was called the mercy seat. This was wrought of one solid piece of gold, and was surmounted by golden cherubim, one standing on each end. One wing of each angel was stretched forth on high, while the other was folded over the body (see Ezekiel 1:11) in token of reverence and humility.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 348.
b. What was represented by the two cherubim looking reverently toward the law of God? Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:14.
“The position of the cherubim, with their faces turned toward each other, and looking reverently downward toward the ark, represented the reverence with which the heavenly host regard the law of God and their interest in the plan of redemption.”—Ibid., pp. 348, 349.
“One wing of each angel was stretched forth on high, while the other wing of each angel covered his form. The ark of the earthly sanctuary was the pattern of the true ark in heaven. There, beside the heavenly ark, stand living angels, at either end of the ark, each with one wing overshadowing the mercy seat.”—The Story of Redemption, pp. 153, 154.
c. How was God’s character revealed in the ark? Psalm 85:10.
“The law of God, enshrined within the ark, was the great rule of righteousness and judgment. That law pronounced death upon the transgressor; but above the law was the mercy seat, upon which the presence of God was revealed, and from which, by virtue of the atonement, pardon was granted to the repentant sinner.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 349.
5. GOD’S PRESENCE MANIFESTED
a. What was the Shekinah? Exodus 25:22. How can we describe the entire sanctuary scene?
“Above the ark [in the holiest of the Holy City], where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory.”—Early Writings, p. 32.
“The Shekinah [was] the manifestation of the divine Presence; and from between the cherubim, God made known His will. Divine messages were sometimes communicated to the high priest by a voice from the cloud. Sometimes a light fell upon the angel at the right, to signify approval or acceptance, or a shadow or cloud rested upon the one at the left to reveal disapproval or rejection. . . .
“No language can describe the glory of the scene presented within the sanctuary—the gold-plated walls reflecting the light from the golden candlestick, the brilliant hues of the richly embroidered curtains with their shining angels, the table, and the altar of incense, glittering with gold; beyond the second veil the sacred ark, with its mystic cherubim, and above it the holy Shekinah, the visible manifestation of Jehovah’s presence; all but a dim reflection of the glories of the temple of God in heaven, the great center of the work for man’s redemption.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 349.
“The glory often so filled both apartments that the priest was unable to officiate and was obliged to stand at the door of the tabernacle. The priest in the holy place, directing his prayer by faith to the mercy seat, which he could not see, represents the people of God directing their prayers to Christ before the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary. They cannot behold their Mediator with the natural eye, but with the eye of faith they see Christ before the mercy seat and direct their prayers to Him, and with assurance claim the benefits of His mediation.”—The Story of Redemption, p. 155.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Describe the two apartments of the sanctuary.
2. Explain the significance of the candlestick and the showbread.
3. What was the spiritual meaning of the golden altar of incense?
4. How does the true Christian’s heart reflect the ark of the covenant?
5. How did God sometimes manifest His divine will in the most holy place?