Read for This Week’s Study
Memory Text“Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15, RSV).
A moonless evening, the sky black like spilled ink, all covered Frank in shadow as he walked the empty urban streets. After a while he heard footsteps behind him; someone following in the darkness. Then the person caught up with him and said, “Frank, the printer?”
“Yes, I am he. But how did you know?”
“Well,” answered the stranger, “I don’t know you. But I know your brother very well, and even in the darkness your mannerisms, your way of walking, your figure all reminded me so much of him I just assumed that you were his brother, because he told me that he had one.”
This story reveals a powerful truth regarding the Israelite sanctuary service. It was, the Bible says, a shadow, a figure, an image of the real. Nevertheless, there was enough in the shadows and images to clearly foreshadow and reveal the truths they were supposed to represent: the death, and high-priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.
This Week at a Glance: Why did God want the Israelites to build a sanctuary? What does the sanctuary teach us about Christ as our Substitute? What does Jesus do in heaven as our Representative?
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, June 12.
Additional Reading: Selected Quotes from Ellen G. White
The question, What is the sanctuary? is clearly answered in the Scriptures. The term “sanctuary,” as used in the Bible, refers, first, to the tabernacle built by Moses, as a pattern of heavenly things; and, secondly, to the “true tabernacle” in heaven, to which the earthly sanctuary pointed. At the death of Christ the typical service ended. The “true tabernacle” in heaven is the sanctuary of the new covenant. And as the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 is fulfilled in this dispensation, the sanctuary to which it refers must be the sanctuary of the new covenant. At the termination of the 2300 days, in 1844, there had been no sanctuary on earth for many centuries. Thus the prophecy, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” unquestionably points to the sanctuary in heaven.—The Great Controversy, p. 417.
Directly before the ark, but separated by the curtain, was the golden altar of incense. The fire upon this altar was kindled by the Lord Himself, and was sacredly cherished by feeding it with holy incense, which filled the sanctuary with its fragrant cloud day and night. Its fragrance extended for miles around the tabernacle. When the priest offered the incense before the Lord he looked to the mercy seat. Although he could not see it he knew it was there, and as the incense arose like a cloud, the glory of the Lord descended upon the mercy seat and filled the most holy place and was visible in the holy place, and 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, pp. 154, 155.
Taking humanity upon Him, Christ came to be one with humanity and at the same time to reveal our heavenly Father to sinful human beings. He was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of men, and yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was a stranger and sojourner on the earth—in the world, but not of the world; tempted and tried as men and women today are tempted and tried, yet living a life free from sin.
Tender, compassionate, sympathetic, ever considerate of others, He represented the character of God, and was constantly engaged in service for God and man.
“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 286.