The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 30: The Tabernacle and Its Services
Could the way of salvation for those living under new
covenant be illustrated by an Old-Testament place of worship?
Review and Herald Publ. Assoc.
The command was communicated to Moses while in the
mount with God, "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I
may dwell among them;" and full directions were given for the
construction of the tabernacle. By their apostasy the Israelites
forfeited the blessing of the divine Presence, and for the time
rendered impossible the erection of a sanctuary for God among
them. But after they were again taken into favor with Heaven,
the great leader proceeded to execute the divine command.
Chosen men were especially endowed by God with skill and
wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. God Himself
gave to Moses the plan of that structure, with particular directions
as to its size and form, the materials to be employed, and
every article of furniture which it was to contain. The holy
places made with hands were to be "figures of the true,"
patterns of things in the heavens" (Hebrews 9:24, 23)—a miniature
representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great
High Priest, after offering His life as a sacrifice, was to minister
in the sinner's behalf. God presented before Moses in the mount
a view of the heavenly sanctuary, and commanded him to make
all things according to the pattern shown him. All these directions
were carefully recorded by Moses, who communicated them
to the leaders of the people.
For the building of the sanctuary great and expensive
preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and
costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill
offerings. "Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart
ye shall take My offering" was the divine command repeated by
Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of
sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place
for the Most High. [p. 344]
All the people responded with one accord. "They came,
every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his
spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the
work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all His
service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men
and women, as many as were willinghearted, and brought
bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold:
and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto
"And every man with whom was found blue, and purple,
and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and rams' skins dyed
red, and sealskins, brought them. Everyone that did offer an
offering of silver and brass brought the Lord's offering: and every
man, with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the
service, brought it.
"And all the women that were wisehearted did spin with
their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue,
and the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. And all the women
whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats' hair.
"And the rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be
set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; and the spice, and the
oil; for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet
incense." Exodus 35:23-28, R.V.
While the building of the sanctuary was in progress the
people, old and young—men, women, and children—continued
to bring their offerings, until those in charge of the work found
that they had enough, and even more than could be used. And
Moses caused to be proclaimed throughout the camp, "Let neither
man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the
sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing." The
murmurings of the Israelites and the visitations of God's
judgments because of their sins are recorded as a warning to
after-generations. And their devotion, their zeal and liberality, are an
example worthy of imitation. All who love the worship of God
and prize the blessing of His sacred presence will manifest the
same spirit of sacrifice in preparing a house where He may meet
with them. They will desire to bring to the Lord an offering of
the very best that they possess. A house built for God should not
be left in debt, for He is thereby dishonored. An amount sufficient
to accomplish the work should be freely given, that the workmen [p. 347] may be able to say, as did the builders of the tabernacle, "Bring
no more offerings."
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could be taken apart
and borne with the Israelites in all their journeyings. It was
therefore small, being not more than fifty-five feet in length, and
eighteen in breadth and height. Yet it was a magnificent structure.
The wood employed for the building and its furniture was
that of the acacia tree, which was less subject to decay than
any other to be obtained at Sinai. The walls consisted of
upright boards, set in silver sockets, and held firm by pillars and
connecting bars; and all were overlaid with gold, giving to the
building the appearance of solid gold. The roof was formed of
four sets of curtains, the innermost of "fine twined linen, and
blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work;"
the other three respectively were of goats' hair, rams' skins dyed
red, and sealskins, so arranged as to afford complete protection.
The building was divided into two apartments by a rich and
beautiful curtain, or veil, suspended from gold-plated pillars; and
a similar veil closed the entrance of the first apartment. These,
like the inner covering, which formed the ceiling, were of the
most gorgeous colors, blue, purple, and scarlet, beautifully
arranged, while inwrought with threads of gold and silver were
cherubim to represent the angelic host who are connected with
the work of the heavenly sanctuary and who are ministering
spirits to the people of God on earth.
The sacred tent was enclosed in an open space called the
court, which was surrounded by hangings, or screens, of fine
linen, suspended from pillars of brass. The entrance to this
enclosure was at the eastern end. It was closed by curtains of
costly material and beautiful workmanship, though inferior to
those of the sanctuary. The hangings of the court being only
about half as high as the walls of the tabernacle, the building
could be plainly seen by the people without. In the court, and
nearest the entrance, stood the brazen altar of burnt offering.
Upon this altar were consumed all the sacrifices made by fire
unto the Lord, and its horns were sprinkled with the atoning
blood. Between the altar and the door of the tabernacle was the
laver, which was also of brass, made from the mirrors that had
been the freewill offering of the women of Israel. At the laver
the priests were to wash their hands and their feet whenever [p. 348] they went into the sacred apartments, or approached the altar
to offer a burnt offering unto the Lord.
In the first apartment, or holy place, were the table of
showbread, the candlestick, or lampstand, and the altar of incense.
The table of showbread stood on the north. With its
ornamental crown, it was overlaid with pure gold. On this table
the priests were each Sabbath to place twelve cakes, arranged in
two piles, and sprinkled with frankincense. The loaves that were
removed, being accounted holy, were to be eaten by the priests.
On the south was the seven-branched candlestick, with its seven
lamps. Its branches were ornamented with exquisitely wrought
flowers, resembling lilies, and the whole was made from one
solid piece of gold. There being no windows in the tabernacle,
the lamps were never all extinguished at one time, but shed
their light by day and by night. Just before the veil separating
the holy place from the most holy and the immediate presence
of God, stood the golden altar of incense. Upon this altar the
priest was to burn incense every morning and evening; its horns
were touched with the blood of the sin offering, and it was
sprinkled with blood upon the great Day of Atonement. The
fire upon this altar was kindled by God Himself and was sacredly
cherished. Day and night the holy incense diffused its fragrance
throughout the sacred apartments, and without, far around the
Beyond the inner veil was the holy of holies, where centered
the symbolic service of atonement and intercession, and which
formed the connecting link between heaven and earth. In this
apartment 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.
The cover of the sacred chest 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. The position of the cherubim, with their faces turned [p. 349] 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
Above the mercy seat was the Shekinah, 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.
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. Thus in the work of Christ for our redemption,
symbolized by the sanctuary service, "mercy and truth are met
together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Psalm
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.
A period of about half a year was occupied in the building of
the tabernacle. When it was completed, Moses examined all the
work of the builders, comparing it with the pattern shown him
in the mount and the directions he had received from God.
"As the Lord had commanded, even so had they done it: and
Moses blessed them." With eager interest the multitudes of Israel
crowded around to look upon the sacred structure. While they
were contemplating the scene with reverent satisfaction, the pillar
of cloud floated over the sanctuary and, descending, enveloped
it. "And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." There was
a revealing of the divine majesty, and for a time even Moses could [p. 350] not enter. With deep emotion the people beheld the token that
the work of their hands was accepted. There were no loud
demonstrations of rejoicing. A solemn awe rested upon all. But
the gladness of their hearts welled up in tears of joy, and they
murmured low, earnest words of gratitude that God had
condescended to abide with them.
By divine direction the tribe of Levi was set apart for the
service of the sanctuary. In the earliest times every man was the
priest of his own household. In the days of Abraham the priesthood
was regarded as the birthright of the eldest son. Now, instead
of the first-born of all Israel, the Lord accepted the tribe
of Levi for the work of the sanctuary. By this signal honor He
manifested His approval of their fidelity, both in adhering to
His service and in executing His judgments when Israel apostatized
in the worship of the golden calf. The priesthood, however,
was restricted to the family of Aaron. Aaron and his sons alone
were permitted to minister before the Lord; the rest of the tribe
were entrusted with the charge of the tabernacle and its furniture,
and they were to attend upon the priests in their ministration,
but they were not to sacrifice, to burn incense, or to see the holy
things till they were covered.
In accordance with their office, a special dress was appointed
for the priests. "Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy
brother, for glory and for beauty," was the divine direction to
Moses. The robe of the common priest was of white linen, and
woven in one piece. It extended nearly to the feet and was
confined about the waist by a white linen girdle embroidered in blue,
purple, and red. A linen turban, or miter, completed his outer
costume. Moses at the burning bush was directed to put off his
sandals, for the ground whereon he stood was holy. So the
priests were not to enter the sanctuary with shoes upon their feet.
Particles of dust cleaving to them would desecrate the holy place.
They were to leave their shoes in the court before entering the
sanctuary, and also to wash both their hands and their feet
before ministering in the tabernacle or at the altar of burnt offering.
Thus was constantly taught the lesson that all defilement must
be put away from those who would approach into the presence
The garments of the high priest were of costly material and
beautiful workmanship, befitting his exalted station. In addition [p. 351] to the linen dress of the common priest, he wore a robe of blue,
also woven in one piece. Around the skirt it was ornamented
with golden bells, and pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet.
Outside of this was the ephod, a shorter garment of gold, blue,
purple, scarlet, and white. It was confined by a girdle of the same
colors, beautifully wrought. The ephod was sleeveless, and on
its gold-embroidered shoulder pieces were set two onyx stones,
bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Over the ephod was the breastplate, the most sacred of the
priestly vestments. This was of the same material as the ephod.
It was in the form of a square, measuring a span, and was
suspended from the shoulders by a cord of blue from golden rings.
The border was formed of a variety of precious stones, the same
that form the twelve foundations of the City of God. Within the
border were twelve stones set in gold, arranged in rows of four,
and, like those in the shoulder pieces, engraved with the names
of the tribes. The Lord's direction was, "Aaron shall bear the
names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment
upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a
memorial before the Lord continually." Exodus 28:29. So Christ,
the great High Priest, pleading His blood before the Father in
the sinner's behalf, bears upon His heart the name of every
repentant, believing soul. Says the psalmist, "I am poor and
needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me." Psalm 40:17.
At the right and left of the breastplate were two large stones
of great brilliancy. These were known as the Urim and Thummim.
By them the will of God was made known through the
high priest. When questions were brought for decision before the
Lord, a halo of light encircling the precious stone at the right
was a token of the divine consent or approval, while a cloud
shadowing the stone at the left was an evidence of denial or
The miter of the high priest consisted of the white linen
turban, having attached to it by a lace of blue, a gold plate bearing
the inscription, "Holiness to Jehovah." Everything connected
with the apparel and deportment of the priests was to be such
as to impress the beholder with a sense of the holiness of God,
the sacredness of His worship, and the purity required of those
who came into His presence.
Not only the sanctuary itself, but the ministration of the [p. 352] priests, was to "serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly
things." Hebrews 8:5. Thus it was of great importance; and the
Lord, through Moses, gave the most definite and explicit
instruction concerning every point of this typical service. The
ministration of the sanctuary consisted of two divisions, a daily
and a yearly service. The daily service was performed at the altar
of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle and in the holy
place; while the yearly service was in the most holy.
No mortal eye but that of the high priest was to look upon
the inner apartment of the sanctuary. Only once a year could
the priest enter there, and that after the most careful and solemn
preparation. With trembling he went in before God, and the
people in reverent silence awaited his return, their hearts
uplifted in earnest prayer for the divine blessing. Before the mercy
seat the high priest made the atonement for Israel; and in the
cloud of glory, God met with him. His stay here beyond the
accustomed time filled them with fear, lest because of their sins
or his own he had been slain by the glory of the Lord.
The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt
offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and
the special offerings for individual sins. And there were also
offerings for sabbaths, new moons, and special feasts.
Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned
upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus
symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and
their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God
expressly directed that every offering presented for the service
of the sanctuary should be "without blemish." Exodus 12:5. The
priests were to examine all animals brought as a sacrifice, and
were to reject every one in which a defect was discovered. Only
an offering "without blemish" could be a symbol of His
perfect purity who was to offer Himself as "a lamb without blemish
and without spot." 1 Peter 1:19. The apostle Paul points
to these sacrifices as an illustration of what the followers of
Christ are to become. He says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable
service." Romans 12:1. We are to give ourselves to the service
of God, and we should seek to make the offering as nearly
perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything [p. 353] less than the best we can offer. Those who love Him with all
the heart, will desire to give Him the best service of the life,
and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their
being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability
to do His will.
In the offering of incense the priest was brought more directly
into the presence of God than in any other act of the daily
ministration. As the inner veil of the sanctuary did no extend to the
top of the building, the glory of God, which was manifested
above the mercy seat, was partially visible from the first apartment.
When the priest offered incense before the Lord, he looked
toward the ark; and as the cloud of incense arose, the divine glory
descended upon the mercy seat and filled the most holy place,
and often so filled both apartments that the priest was obliged
to retire to the door of the tabernacle. As in that typical service
the priest looked by faith to the mercy seat which he could not
see, so the people of God are now to direct their prayers to Christ,
their great High Priest, who, unseen by human vision, is pleading
in their behalf in the sanctuary above.
The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents
the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness,
which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can
alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God.
Before the veil of the most holy place was an altar of perpetual
intercession, before the holy, an altar of continual atonement.
By blood and by incense God was to be approached—symbols
pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may
approach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation
can be granted to the repentant, believing soul.
As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place
at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered
upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense
interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle.
Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration
of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of
heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with
their faces toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended
with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits
of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice.
The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice [p. 354] were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set
time for worship throughout the Jewish nation. And when in
later times the Jews were scattered as captives in distant lands,
they still at the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem
and offered up their petitions to the God of Israel. In this
custom Christians have an example for morning and evening
prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without
the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon
those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon
for sins committed and to present their requests for needed
The showbread was kept ever before the Lord as a perpetual
offering. Thus it was a part of the daily sacrifice. It was called
showbread, or "bread of the presence," because it was ever
before the face of the Lord. It was an acknowledgment of man's
dependence upon God for both temporal and spiritual food,
and that it is received only through the mediation of Christ. God
had fed Israel in the wilderness with bread from heaven, and
they were still dependent upon His bounty, both for temporal
food and spiritual blessings. Both the manna and the showbread
pointed to Christ, the living Bread, who is ever in the presence
of God for us. He Himself said, "I am the living Bread which
came down from heaven." John 6:48-51. Frankincense was placed
upon the loaves. When the bread was removed every Sabbath, to
be replaced by fresh loaves, the frankincense was burned upon
the altar as a memorial before God.
The most important part of the daily ministration was the
service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner
brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and, placing
his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure
transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his
own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried
by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil,
behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had
transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood,
transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood
was not taken into the holy place; [* See Appendix, Note 6.] but the
flesh was then to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons
of Aaron, saying, "God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the
congregation." [p. 355] Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer
of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary.
Such was the work that went on day by day throughout the
year. The sins of Israel being thus transferred to the sanctuary,
the holy places were defiled, and a special work became necessary
for the removal of the sins. God commanded that an atonement
be made for each of the sacred apartments, as for the altar, to
"cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children
of Israel." Leviticus 16:19.
Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest
entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The
work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration.
On the Day of Atonement two kids of the goats were brought
to the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them,
"one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat." The
goat upon which the first lot fell was to be slain as a sin offering
for the people. And the priest was to bring his blood within
the veil, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat. "And he shall
make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness
of the children of Israel, and because of their transgression
in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of
the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of
"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live
goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of
Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them
upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand
of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him
all their iniquities into a land not inhabited." Not until the goat
had been thus sent away did the people regard themselves as
freed from the burden of their sins. Every man was to afflict
his soul while the work of atonement was going forward. All
business was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel
spent the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer,
fasting, and deep searching of heart.
Important truths concerning the atonement were taught the
people by this yearly service. In the sin offerings presented during
the year, a substituted had been accepted in the sinner's stead;
but the blood of the victim had not made full atonement for
the sin. It had only provided a means by which the sin was [p. 356] transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood, the sinner
acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed the guilt of
his transgression, and expressed his faith in Him who was to
take away the sin of the world; but he was not entirely released
from the condemnation of the law. On the Day of Atonement
the high priest, having taken an offering for the congregation,
went into the most holy place with the blood and sprinkled it
upon the mercy seat, above the tables of the law. Thus the claims
of the law, which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied.
Then in his character of mediator the priest took the sins upon
himself, and, leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden
of Israel's guilt. At the door of the tabernacle he laid his hands
upon the head of the scapegoat and confessed over him "all the
iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions
in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat." And
as the goat bearing these sins was sent away, they were, with him,
regarded as forever separated from the people. Such was the
service performed "unto the example and shadow of heavenly
things." Hebrews 8:5.
As has been stated, the earthly sanctuary was built by Moses
according to the pattern shown him in the mount. It was "a
figure for the time then present, in which were offered both
gifts and sacrifices;" its two holy places were "patterns of things
in the heavens;" Christ, our great High Priest, is "a minister of
the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched,
and not man." Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2. As in vision the apostle
John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven, he
beheld there "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne."
He saw an angel "having a golden censer; and there was given
unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers
of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."
Revelation 4:5; 8:3. Here the prophet was permitted to behold
the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there
the "seven lamps of fire" and the "golden altar" represented by
the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary
on earth. Again, "the temple of God was opened" (Revelation
11:19), and he looked within the inner veil, upon the holy of
holies. Here he beheld "the ark of His testament" (Revelation
11:19), represented by the sacred chest constructed by Moses to
contain the law of God. [p. 357]
Moses made the earthly sanctuary, "according to the fashion
that he had seen." Paul declares that "the tabernacle, and all
the vessels of the ministry," when completed, were "the patterns
of things in the heavens." Acts 7:44; Hebrews 9:21, 23. And
John says that he saw the sanctuary in heaven. That sanctuary,
in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of
which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy.
The heavenly temple, the abiding place of the King of kings,
where "thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand
times ten thousand stood before Him" (Daniel 7:10), 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.
After His ascension, our Saviour was to begin His work as
our High Priest. Says Paul, "Christ is not entered into the holy
places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but
into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."
Hebrews 9:24. As Christ's ministration was to consist of two
great divisions, each occupying a period of time and having a
distinctive place in the heavenly sanctuary, so the typical
ministration consisted of two divisions, the daily and the yearly service,
and to each a department of the tabernacle was devoted.
As Christ at His ascension appeared in the presence of God
to plead His blood in behalf of penitent believers, so the priest
in the daily ministration sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice in
the holy place in the sinner's behalf.
The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant
sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the
sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final
atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed
the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the
Day of Atonement.
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In the great day of final award, the dead are to be "judged
out of those things which were written in the books, according
to their works." Revelation 20:12. Then by virtue of the atoning
blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted
from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or [p. 358] cleansed, from the record of sin. In the type, this great work of
atonement, or blotting out of sins, was represented by the services
of the Day of Atonement—the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary,
which was accomplished by the removal, by virtue of the blood
of the sin offering, of the sins by which it had been polluted.
As in the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to
be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered
or come into mind, so in the type they were borne away
into the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation.
Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all
the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands
that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. Christ's work for
the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from
sin will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly
sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear
the final penalty. So in the typical service, the yearly round of
ministration closed with the purification of the sanctuary, and
the confessing of the sins on the head of the scapegoat.
Thus in the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple
that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day
the great truths relative to Christ's death and ministration, and
once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing
events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the
final purification of the universe from sin and sinners.
Click here to read the next chapter:
"The Sin of Nadab and Abihu"