Jamestown Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Chapter 1: An Overview
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Chapter 1: An Overview

by Dan L. Kelly, Elder Emeritus


Probably one of the least studied subjects in the Bible today is the Sanctuary. Many Christians are totally unaware of the existence of anything call the ‘Sanctuary.’ While they may be aware of the Wilderness Tabernacle where Moses and the Children of Israel met from time to time in the Sinai desert to Worship and Sacrifice to God they find themselves in a disconnect with anything called “the Sanctuary” in either the Old or the New Testaments.


So, over the next few weeks and months, we would like to share 13 segments of informative, but brief, discussions regarding the Sanctuary and its function without getting bogged down in the minutia of the number of nails in the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, or the lambskins that were dyed red, or the blood placed on the large toe.


These things, while they undoubtedly have their place in the importance of the Sanctuary, will be left to another day and another place. We will look, primarily at the way God deals with Sin.


What is His interest in having a people who are clean from the stain of sin and how is it that they become free from its burden and, moreover, its curse? In short, what is the function of the Atonement? Perhaps, even, we will discover a meaning of the Atonement that goes deeper than we have realized before.


It began in Eden with a perfect pair created and released into the Garden direct from God’s hand. Unfortunately, they succumbed to the temptation of the fallen angel, the former Lucifer, now known as Satan who had taken the form of a Serpent. When they fell under his spell, they forfeited the dominion that had been given to them by God Himself and their “Dominion” and indeed, they themselves, came under the dominion of the arch-deceiver.


In order that the entirety of the Creation not be lost, and so that God's love and integrity to be fully shown, something that we call “The Plan of Salvation” which was laid “from the foundation of the world,” was immediately initiated. Without it, mankind would no longer have had the choice to serve the Living God. That choice, however was so important to the Creator, that the “Plan” has taken, and is taking years, centuries and millennia to come to a full, satisfactory and complete conclusion.


How will it end? Only God knows all the minute details. We can get from the Bible, however, prophetic pictures that we can put together. But this we all can know for a certainty: God Wins! And that is included in the story of the Sanctuary. Because the story of the Sanctuary is the story of Judgment; the story of adjudication; the story of Theodicy, which is A Defense of God. And we all are involved!


That’s what’s so exciting about Sanctuary! Even a brief look at it! For it shows us just what Jesus, The Messiah, The Christ, has done, and is doing. And the best thing is what He has planned for us! – For Eternity!


Now, that gives us a little idea of what we get out of this great plan. But the greater question is, just what does He get out of it?


Let’s see if we can get a little closer to an answer to that question.



Ellen G. White comments below have been selected by Kathy Haller:

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.

Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol: that glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains inwrought with cherubim --- In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul. ED. 36


It was in the mount with God that Moses beheld the pattern of that wonderful building which was to be the abiding place of His glory. It is in the mount with God --- in the secret place of communion --- that we are to contemplate His glorious ideal for humanity. ED 258 (last paragraph)


The sanctuary in heaven, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses is a copy. (1st Para. Pg 414)

The matchless splendor of the earthly tabernacle reflected to human vision the glories of that heavenly temple where Christ our forerunner ministers for us before the throne of God. GC 414


Wonderful --- almost too wonderful for man to comprehend --- is the Saviour’s sacrifice in our behalf, shadowed forth in all the sacrifices of the past, in all the services the typical sanctuary. SM 1 309


The heavenly temple, the abiding place of the King of kings, where thousand thousands minister unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before Him, that temple filled with the glory of the eternal throne, where seraphim, its shining guardians veil their faces in adoration --- no earthly structure could represent its vastness and its glory. Yet important truths concerning the heavenly sanctuary and the great work there carried forward for man’s redemption were to be taught by the earthly sanctuary and its services. PP 370 (356-357 ref. Edition)