The following lesson is intended as a means by which the reader may gain a perspective of God’s plan of salvation that gives him an understanding of the ‘bigger picture’. The intent is to form a picture of history, of God’s purpose for mankind, and relate it all to the gospel using the Old Testament sanctuary as the model. The following is not an’ optional extra’ to the Christian faith, it is an essential understanding by which all may know that they are on the right path, for God Himself drew the plans. In order to gain this better appreciation of our way to life, we must start at the beginning. At the very beginning of the conflict between good and evil, to the place where sin and rebellion had its woeful genesis.
Ezekiel 28:11 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
The above passage from the book of Ezekiel describes the fall of Lucifer. It tells us of his exalted position in heaven, the reason for his downfall, and his future fate. It tells us that he was the “cherub that covereth”. What is that? To find out we will go first to ……
Hebrews 8:5 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.
We see here that the sanctuary or tabernacle in the wilderness was a copy or a small scale model of things in heaven. In that sanctuary in the wilderness that Moses built there were a number of items of furniture each one representative of a spiritual reality in heaven. I will go further into this as we progress, but in the case of the ‘cherub that covers’ we will go to
Exodus 25:18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
Note that the cherubs on either side of the ark of the covenant had their wings spread out over the ark, ‘covering’ the mercy seat. It was upon the mercy seat between the cherubim that God rested and communed with Moses. And it was under the mercy seat within the ark that resided the two tables of the ten commandments. The ark itself represented the throne of God, and His law, the ten commandments, the foundation of His government in heaven. The heavenly law of course was a law of love, which the earthly Ten Commandments were a detailed exposition.The two cherubs were comissioned to guard the throne, to protect God’s laws. This was Lucifer’s exalted position, “until iniquity was found in thee”. Iniquity is sin…sin is transgression against God’s law. (1 John 3:4). Therefore Lucifer rebelled against the very law he was created to protect. In ….
Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
.,.,.it is revealed that there was a war in heaven, and that Lucifer succeeded in deceiving 1/3 of the angels of heaven to join with him in this sin. Thus the first war was fought over the law of God. I would suggest that the last war will be fought over the same thing. The parallel passage to Ezekiel in Isaiah 14 says
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
God’s law is love. Love is the foundation to everything that is undertaken in heaven…the scriptures say that God is love. Love is essentially unselfish. Lucifer, in declaring “I will”, was directly transgressing God’s law of love. Let us not think that the angels, or even Lucifer, suddenly decided to become evil. All sides in political disputes believe they are the best for the people that they wish to serve. Each side believes they can do better than the opposition, and that the country will actually be better off if they were in power.
Isaiah tells us that Lucifer wanted to be like God. So what is God like? We know that He is Holy, righteous, He is love, He is just, and He is kind. Now of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be holy, righteous, loving, just, and kind. The problem with Lucifer’s aims however were the means by which he wanted to obtain these attributes. I can imagine how he spoke to and deceived his fellow angels…”We don’t need a law to be holy like God”…”We are already holy. We don’t need God to tell us how to be righteous. We are already righteous without the law…we don’t need any law to tell us how to behave”.
Have you ever heard this argument before? “We don’t need God’s laws in order to be like God”? “We are being changed into the image of Christ but no longer need God’s laws any more to be righteous”….”we can be holy and righteous without God telling us how to do it”? So what was the result of Lucifer’s sin? He and his angels were cast out of heaven and Lucifer is now known as Satan. But why was he just thrown out? Why didn’t God destroy him right there and then; wouldn’t that have solved the sin problem for earth?
God’s laws and recommendations are mirrors of His own righteousness. In Deuteronomy 19 we find that in cases of dispute there is away by which justice can be not only done, but be “seen to be done”…
16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;
18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
And we see also that ….
Heb 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
So let me ask, where were the witnesses between the conflict between Lucifer and God? The angels were on either one side or the other, so who was left to be an unbiased witness? There was no-one. Now God is just. So before passing any final judgement, God is going to ensure that the great conflict of the ages has witnesses. Note that He infers this in Ezekiel….
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
Who are these kings that will ‘behold’ Satan?
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
In Genesis we are told that God gave Adam dominion….
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Who has ‘dominion’ other than kings? Note also the following…
1 Cor. 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
As kings we are called to judge angels. You can well believe that Satan understood all this when God created man to be His jury in the conflict of the ages. Interestingly, the requirements of jury service are very pertinent to our discussion. The criteria are:
- Little or no first-hand knowledge of the crime.
- Must be law-abiding citizens.
- Must have sound discernment between good and evil.
- Must not be swayed by public opinion.
Now imagine if you will that you are a criminal about to be tried for grand treason against your country, and the inevitable sentence if found guilty was death. And what if you were suddenly in a position which gave you immediate and intimate access to the jury. What would you do? Bribe the jury? Very likely, in fact, we find that Satan did precisely that.
Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
In other words, ‘you can be a real great judge (elohim/gods/judges) while disobeying God’s law! ‘ Thus Satan in deceiving Eve and implicating Adam, successfully tampered with the jury, making them entirely incapable of serving as God’s intended witnesses. They lost their status as law-abiding citizens, they were no longer fit for jury service. God however had a plan. That plan was to restore mankind as law-abiding citizens that once again they may be fit for the role He intended for them, kings and judges and witnesses in the conflict. That my friends is the purpose of the gospel. To be subjects of the kingdom of heaven, one must be subject to heaven’s laws.
So in keeping with God’s first purpose in desiring a relationship with man and making man His witnesses, God sought Adam in the garden, and subsequently promised to make things right. After the calling of Abraham, and fast forwarding to the time of Moses, God took the next step in His implementation of His grand plan.
Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
To bring mankind back to God, God made a “Way”.
Psalm 77:13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
The sanctuary is God’s plan or blueprint or model by which man may be brought back into the presence of God. Man was lost. The sanctuary was a map for man that he may find his way home. It is God’s Plan of Salvation, His GPS if you like to re-establish man as God’s law-abiding jurists.
Compare the following scriptures, and we can see how very important the sanctuary is.
Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
Matt. 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
The sanctuary contained the very real presence of God.
When Jesus spoke of Himself as being the Door, the Light, the Bread of Life, what do you think He was referring to? Where was He getting these expressions from?
John 1:1 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
What door is Jesus speaking of? It is the door to the sanctuary. Jesus walked through that door as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world to present Himself a sacrifice, holy and without blemish. We are to follow Him into the sanctuary, after His pattern. “I am the Way” He declared. “Thy Way is in the sanctuary” David said….Jesus is in the sanctuary…if we are to find our way to the Father, we must follow Jesus into the sanctuary where He is now, interceding on our behalf.
I am sure most reading this recognize Jesus in the sanctuary, however, just as a refresher, I will go over again where Jesus is. beginning from the outer court, we know that Jesus came from heaven, was born into the tribe of Judah, who were camped immediately outside the door to the outer court, and thus….
- As mentioned, He is the Door. John 10:1,2
- Jesus is the sacrifice. Matt. 5:17
- It is in Him we are to be baptized. John 4:10
- Jesus is the Bread of Life. John 6:35
- He is the Light of the world.John 8:12
- He is our Mediator. Eph. 5:2
- And He is the law personified. Matt. 5:17
Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage (a type of the Christian deliverance from sin) in the very same pattern.
- Passover Lamb……..sacrifice……..1 Cor.5:7…..Exodus 12:1-6
- Red Sea……..baptism…….1 Cor.10:2……Exod.14:16
- Manna….Bread…..John 6:58…..Exodus 16:4
- Israel chosen as a special nation to be a light to the Gentiles….Exodus 9:5,6.
- Moses made an intermediary (a type of Christ)….Exodus 19:9-11
- Israel given the law. ….Exodus 20
Do you recognize the pattern? Are you following the Way through the sanctuary?
- The life of Christ was in similar vein and pattern…..
- Born in a stable among animals…born a living sacrifice…born to die..Luke2:7
- Baptized at age 30…Matt.3:16
- Led into the wilderness to be tempted which consisted of three elements
1. Change the stone to bread
2. presumptuous prayer
3. Bow in exchange for glory Matt.4:1-11
- Goes on to preach and teach the law of God coupled with the grace and the mercy of God. John 14:15. Matt.9:13
Christ’s life follows the pattern even in reverse….
- Descended from heaven….John 6:38
- Lived by the word….John 4:34
- Let His light shine….John 1:9
- Lived a life of prayer….Luke 6:12
- Was baptized…Matt.3:16
- Was crucified….Matt.27:35
And from His sacrifice and ascension into the heavenly sanctuary….
- Was sacrificed
- Was resurrected and purified
- Gave manna…. John 6:58
- Ascended in order to intercede….Hebrews 7:25
- Ministers among the candlesticks….Revel. 1:11-13
- Judgement to begin in Most Holy Place….Revel. 11,18,19.
The New Testament follows the same pattern….
- The Gospels are the story of our redemption through the shed blood of Christ
- Acts give us the baptism of the Holy Spirit
- From Romans to Jude we are taught the essentials of the Christian faith
1. The word of God
- Revelation gives us insight into the throne room of God.
I do hope you get the picture, and are beginning to appreciate how important it is to understand how the sanctuary is our blueprint for salvation.,for now we get to our pathway to the Father. Remember, “Thy way O God is in the sanctuary”. So what is the way to salvation? What is the full gospel? What does the sanctuary teach us as being the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life to our ultimate salvation?
- We are to accept Christ’s sacrifice …..Romans 10:9
- We are to be baptized….John 3:3-5
- We are to eat the word….Matt. 4:4
- We are to Pray….Luke 18:1
- We are to let our light shine….Matt. 5:16
- We are to keep God’s commandments….John 14:15
Note that our salvation does not begin and end at the cross as many today teach. Step one is not enough in order to reach the Father.The cross is only the beginning, the first step on a pathway to eternal life.
The OT prophet Daniel tells of a power that would cast the sanctuary and the truths that it taught to the ground.
Daniel 8:11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.
13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Most are familiar with the parable of the wicked husbandmen found in Matthew 21. Jesus Himself declared that the responsibilities of the kingdom, that is to be a light and witness to the world, or God’s jurors, would be taken away from Israel because they rejected Him, and given to another nation who would bear the fruits. That new nation was the church.
Matt.21:38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
1Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
The responsibilities of being a light and witness were taken up by the apostolic church. After his success in destroying Israel, Satan then focused his attention upon the church. Persecution didn’t work, but deception did. The nation of Israel, for so long Satan’s prime focus because it was the nation, or more specifically the tribe of Judah and even more specifically the family of David, that was to be the vehicle for the birth of the Messiah. Throughout the OT we see Satan’s attempts to wipe out the root, that the fruit could not result. Particularly we see this in his targeting of the family of David, and his constant temptations to false worship, knowing that God’s wrath and discipline would result in their destruction. The story of Solomon’s idolatry, the dividing of the nation, and the ensuing war between Rehoboam and Jereboam, are a glowing example. Yet God in His mercy preserved a remnant. There has always been a remnant that has been the recipients and keepers of the truth. Israel though, after rejecting Christ, were themselves rejected as God’s “chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15) Paul, among others, were now the chosen vessel. God’s people were no longer recognized as a nation, but as a church.
So take a look at history. Was Satan aware of this change in paradigm? Absolutely! He knew very well who his most dangerous foe now was. It was those who now knew the truth of God’s love as revealed in the gospels. His attacks were directed against first, God’s people, and second, against God’s word. The former religious elite of the nation of Israel were Satan’s first agents in his attacks against the church. Then pagan Rome became his chief weapon, and after the failure of violence to quell the growth of the church, raised up a false Christian edifice, began to attack the scriptures and the peoples’ access to them, and introduced a raft of false doctrines, creeds, and superstitions that had a huge effect upon the church, and literally tens of thousands were seduced and beguiled by the sophistries of the Roman clergy that inherited the thrones of the Caesars.
Among the lies and falsehoods were some that specifically replaced the very truths that marked the Way through the sanctuary…the Roman church set up another sanctuary (their own) in place of the true, and re-erected the veil which effectively cut off access to God.
That veil was Rome’s man-made theories and superstitions which removed Christ as the sole Mediator between God and man and replaced Him with a system of semi-pagan lies and false doctrines.
- Indulgences replaced Christ’s sacrifice.
- Sprinkling was introduced without confession or repentance.
- The word of God was replaced by traditions.
- Prayer and Christ’s mediation were replaced by the confessional. Did you know that the confessional is a box divided by a curtain?
- Persecution, the use of force and state legislation replaced the light of the gospel.
- The law of God was cast down. The 2nd commandment was removed, the 10th commandment divided to make up the ten, the 4th commandment of the Sabbath changed to Sunday.
However, there is good news. The gospel was to be restored. Daniel 8:14 says…
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
The sanctuary was to be restored. God would not allow his arch-enemy to have his way in his endeavour to tamper with the jury without a fight. So God raised up loyal men of God who would declare the truth with courage and conviction, despite great opposition. The truths were to be restored, the Way opened up once again, the full gospel to be restored to the world.
One by one, the truths were re-established in God’s church, and those truths broadcast and taught throughout the world.
- In the 1300s John Wycliffe, ‘The Morning Star of the Reformation’, translated the scriptures into the common tongue. His followers and supporters were called the Lollards. In their day, they were considered a cult, and were persecuted relentlessly by the established church.
- In the 1400s Martin Luther restored the truth of salvation by faith only. He restores the sacrifice of grace. Luther and his followers, the Lutherans, were considered a cult by those of his day, and were persecuted.
- In the 1500s John Calvin, the founder of the Presbyterians, has a great burden for prayer. He railed against the rote prayers of the established church… In the day,Presbyterians were considered a cult; they were also persecuted, by the Lutherans.
- In the 1600s God raised up a man by the name of John Smith. Smith restored the truth of baptism by immersion. His followers were known as Baptists…in their day they were considered a cult, and were persecuted by the Lutherans and the Presbyterians.
- In the 1700s John Wesley founded the Methodists. John Wesley had a great burden for evangelism: for letting the light of the gospel to shine…he preached from one end of the country to another, and even to the United States. The Methodists were considered a cult and were persecuted by the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, and the Baptists.
So all the articles of furniture were restored by the beginning of the 19th century, except for one. The law of God. Daniel 8:14 said that at the end of the 2300 days and the sanctuary was to be cleansed. There are two other major time prophecies in scripture. The 70 weeks of Daniel 9, and the 1260 days/42 months/times,time, and half a time of Daniel 7:25;12:7; Revel. 11:2,3; 12:6,14; 13:5.
The time for Israel’s probation closed after the 70 weeks, or 490 years. From 457 till the stoning of Stephen in 34ad was exactly 490 years. The papal apostacy in its first phase ran from 538 till 1798 when the French revolutionary army under Napoleon’s general Berthier entered Rome and took the pope captive. The papal states were confiscated and the cardinals disbanded. Rome had raised up the veil in the sanctuary cutting off access to God. The reformation, by the close of the 2300 days, had torn it down again. The law of God however remained trodden underfoot.
- The Seventh Day Adventists arrived in the early to mid 1800s. Their burden was the law of God, and they were made up of Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and even Catholics. Today, they are considered by many to be a cult.
The sanctuary has been cleansed. All the truths have been restored, the full gospel is now being preached and taught throughout the world. (Revelation 14:6-12). The Way of the sanctuary is now being laid before the people to follow.
Matthew 24:4 ¶ And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Perhaps now you are gaining a better appreciation for the meaning of the promised new covenant as described in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews.
8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
God is now preparing a people to serve Him as law-abiding citizens in His kingdom. Witnesses in the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan, who, in agreement with all the angels in heaven, will….
Re 15:3 ……sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.