Lessons From the Sanctuary
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #4
"Lessons From the Sanctuary"
October 26, 2013
This week's lesson focuses on the Lord's instruction to Moses when He said "to let them build a sanctuary for Me that I might dwell among them" Exodus 25:8.
Do you know what it's like when you're trying to take a picture of, say, a house, and you can't get the whole picture in your view finder until you back up?
In our Insights discussion today, we're going to take a few steps back to get some perspective on the sanctuary.
The teacher’s quarterly states that after studying this lesson, “the student will comprehend God’s beauty, truth, and goodness in the sanctuary and will “choose to experience not only ‘sanctuary prayer’ but ‘sanctuary life.’ “
The sanctuary message not only conveys beauty, truth, and goodness, it is the reason for the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. The sanctuary doctrine reveals that sin will be eradicated from the universe once and for all. Throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, Christ will tabernacle with us. Where we now see in a mirror, then we will see face to face.
The sanctuary message explains how this re-uniting will take place.
Ever since the Adam and Eve forfeited their right to live in Eden, the first sanctuary on earth, Christ has been seeking to re-gain fellowship with His bride. It isn't complicated. Christ wants to live with us. He desires our companionship and fellowship. We were created in His image. We are His family. The sanctuary gives hope that someday -- hopefully soon -- Christ will again dwell with His people, His bride, enjoying the open, face to face communication that freedom from sin brings.
For a broader perspective on this topic, I’ve selected the Postlogue to his book, And Then Shall the Sanctuary Be Cleansed, by Donald K. Short, which I believe succinctly embraces this larger view of the sanctuary and the relevance of its message for the church today:
“The travail and the distress, the heartbreak and anguish that this generation has caused the Divine Bridegroom, must be understood by the bride before the divine Suitor can be sure she really wants Him and is sincere about getting married. She will have to sense that her insult to the Heavenly Lover is the supreme sin of all time. This will bring to her consciousness the terrible truth that her last sin is greater than her first sin at the cross.
“For centuries vivid verbal portraits of the agony at the cross have been painted. Artists have added their graphic talents, producing pictures to impress the eye. But all these scenes have been only a feeble concept to portray Christ’s suffering and death, scarcely piercing our conscience so that our repentance remains but the shadow of the real. The repentance of the ages is yet future, awaiting the bride’s understanding and conviction. It is this repentance that will make the atonement effective to the sin-plagued heart of humanity.
“God can free us from our hidden moral deformities only in proportion to our internal conviction of them. Our escape from sin can be no greater than our seeing sin for what it is and hating it enough to cease sinning. Repentance can only be as deep and sincere as the conviction which grips us.
“We sin because we are tempted and drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). These sinful desires disguise themselves as thoroughly as the serpent hid his motives in the garden of Eden. The lustful inward whisper of pleasure and happiness leads us to follow the road to destruction. Only conviction can save us from the subtle lies of these egocentric desires. Conviction becomes the reality. Our petty, selfish, disgusting aspirations are unveiled in the light from the cross. In that light the things which once appeared sweet and full of promise become loathsome and repulsive.
“The depth of this conviction is the depth of our repentance and this depth measures our conversion and freedom from sin. This conviction overcomes the temptation to continually measure what is wrong with certain desires and ambitions, and instead truth and love become the criterion and driving force. It is not enough to flagellate ourselves with the sentiment that it was our personal sins that crucified Jesus. Sorrow emanating from such emotion is at best only typical, only a shadow. Sympathy for His suffering can hide an unconscious inward glee that He was the one to suffer and we escaped.
“The unveiled message of Calvary is that Christ’s death is a death to sin. We will fully understand how our sin caused our Lord’s death when we have tasted from the same cup and been baptized with the same baptism. When we die that death our appreciation will be the measure of our repentance and our conviction and our total life experience.
“The resurrection of the Saviour is a pledge that the terrible darkness and anguish that beat upon the consciousness of all humanity are not irreversible. Those who understand the promise, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” will understand its implementation, and forsaking all others accept the Bridegroom for eternity. The despair and anguish of their convictions provide the heat that purifies the gold and seals the betrothal.
“It is then that we overcome even as He also overcame. The cross will have done its work for all eternity.”