Jamestown Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Chapter 5: A Sandbox Illustration
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Chapter 5: A Sandbox Illustration
When I was just a child I had a Sabbath-School teacher who used a large wooden box filled with sand in her room as a teaching tool. She would place paper cutouts in strategic places in the sand depicting a city or town, a few people walking along a road which she had made with her finger, and then tell the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus or some other interesting tale from the Bible. It was a great thing to use for little kid to learn the stories. Now we have Power Point and other glitzy programs for our computers. We also have garden vegetables hopping around our television screens portraying biblical characters while acting out the ancient stories of scripture. How times have changed!

In the days of the Old Testament, God was dealing with a whole nation, some 600,000 men besides women and children, who were spiritual kids. He needed some sort of teaching aid to get his points across to them in a way they could understand them. He chose to use the Sanctuary. He had told Moses, “Let them build Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them!” That’s what he had always wanted – to live among His people. But their sin had precluded that possibility and there was now a separation between them. The plan of salvation was put in place, but it wasn’t going to be easy to explain to these people the idea of sin, it’s heinousness and how the solution to it would be worked out. This was His reasoning when He put the plan of the Sanctuary in motion.

In this chapter we want to do an overview of the way old Israel was to deal with sin. In later chapters we will go into more detail and hopefully see some of the intricacies of the actual plan of salvation at work. In the first case, in is important that we learn that what we are dealing with is a system that was a typical of a real or antitypical system. God told Moses:

“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:8,9

Then He goes through about 30 more verses describing various utensils and pieces of furniture that was to go into the building of the Sanctuary. Then in verse 40 He again uses the interesting language referring to the “Pattern” that was shown. Notice:

“And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” Verse 40.

It is important to note that God has given Moses a specific blueprint to go by. Not necessarily to duplicate another Sanctuary, but to build it for the functionality of another. This one was to be portable for their traveling in the wilderness. Well, where would God get the idea for the pattern for this portable Tabernacle or Sanctuary? We get a clue from the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. This passage is not a one liner, but it’s very important, so bear with me.

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:1-5

Now, there are several things to note here. First the author is referring to a High Priest that we have who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens, obviously referring to Jesus, risen and ascended.

Secondly he calls Him a minister of the Sanctuary and the “true Tabernacle” which the Lord pitched and not man.

He discusses further the whereabouts and function of the two tabernacles and then makes direct reference to the scripture we have quoted above in Exodus 25:40, quoting that verse for us again.

The author, whom I believe to be Paul, also helps us out by telling us that these other priests “serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle…” A sandbox Illustration! – Type and Antitype! All I can say is, “Thank you, Paul, for helping us out with this great explanation!”

Now, by way of a quick overview of the way the Sanctuary dealt with sin we need to know that there were three sections of the tent or tabernacle, or sanctuary. The first part was the Courtyard that surrounded the entire complex. There was one entrance. Beyond the entrance was an altar where Sacrifices were offered. The second part was the Holy Place which was the first “apartment” of the Tent. The third part was a smaller “apartment” called the Most Holy Place or the Holiest. In this part was placed the Ark of the Covenant, representing God’s Throne. This was where His “Presence” in the form of the Shekinah rested when He was in attendance with the people of Israel.

All through the year, when people had committed sin they would bring a sacrifice and the Priest would “Minister” some of the blood from the sacrifice by carrying it into the Holy Place and sprinkling a small amount of it before a veil separating the Holy from the Most Holy. The Priest would then place a small amount of incense on another altar that stood before the veil and the smoke of the incense would rise up over the veil symbolically taking with it the sin into the Most Holy Place before the “Throne Of Grace” where forgiveness was received.

What happened then? Well, it’s a long story and there are other steps that we have to talk about before we get there. Suffice to say, the sin didn’t stay there forever, for God Himself says that he will “cast them in the depths of the sea!” We shall see that even that isn’t far enough away! For sin will be forever destroyed.

And we shall see how.

But first, we want to see more about “The Tent Of Meeting.”