Tuesday: Instruments of the Sanctuary
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Read Exodus 31:2–11.GoodSalt.com-jcgas0049 What do these verses teach us about the making of the objects in the earthly sanctuary? What link is there with Genesis 1:2? (See also Exod. 25:9.)

Of all the objects in the sanctuary, the ark of the testimony was the supreme symbol of God’s presence and holiness. The name derives from the two stone tablets of the law, called the “testimony” (Exod. 32:15-16), that were placed inside the ark (Exod. 25:16, 21).

On top of the ark was placed the “mercy seat,” with two cherubim overshadowing the cover with their wings (Exod. 25:17–21). It is appropriately called the “atonement cover” (NIV), for it conveys the idea that our compassionate and gracious God has reconciled the people with Himself and made every provision for them to maintain a covenant relationship with Him.

This is the place where, once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur in the Hebrew), atonement for the people and the sanctuary took place (Lev. 16:14–16). In Romans 3:25, Paul refers to Jesus as “atonement cover” (usually translated as “propitiation” or “sacrifice of atonement”), for Jesus Himself is the place of redemption, the One through whom God has made atonement for our sins.

In the Holy Place, the first compartment, the lampstand continually provided light (Lev. 24:1–4), and the altar of incense produced the protective smoke that concealed the presence of God from the priest (Lev. 16:12-13). On the table for the bread of the presence were placed twelve loaves of bread, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Dishes, pans, jars, and bowls (Exod. 25:29-30) also were placed on the table. Although little information is given about the significance of these items, it seems that they represented the elements of a covenant meal (recalling Exod. 24:11) and served as a constant reminder of God’s covenant with the people.

Read Romans 3:25–28. What great hope can we take from the promise of salvation “by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (NKJV)?

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Tuesday: Instruments of the Sanctuary — 19 Comments

  1. “On the table for the bread of the presence were placed twelve loaves of bread, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.” But I thought Jesus was the bread of life (Jn 6:35,48) and yet I think the lesson author is right! The fact that there were twelve loaves on the table very obviously has something to do with the twelve tribes of Israel. Besides that, in both the feeding of the five thousand (Lk 9:12-17) and the feeding of the four thousand (Mat 15:32-37) Jesus gave the bread to the disciples who then gave to the multitude, we are therefore part of His ministry.

    To me the core of Jesus’ ministry is that of reconciliation but it is also that of the church for God, “has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18,19 NKJV). Both the bread of the presence as a meal offering and the daily burnt offering was continually set before God symbolizing consecration of the entire body of Christ – not just the head which is Christ (Eph 4:15-16) but also the members which is the church (1 Cor 12:12).

    Therefore, the sanctuary and all the things in it is as much a symbol of the church as it is of Christ. The church and Jesus is one body just as in marriage the two become one flesh (Eph 5:31-32; Gen 2:24; Mat 19:5). So, the bread is about both Jesus and His church.

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    • [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

      And I have to wonder... How am I sharing the bread of life to others. I find myself always looking for someone to feed me; someone to teach me; I never share what I know because I always feel I do not know enough. Thank you brother for your comment. God bless you!

      Like(9)
    • "Therefore, the sanctuary and all the things in it is as much a symbol of the church as it is of Christ"...

      I'm having a hard time trying to put this statement into application.

      "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 PP 354.1...

      Scripture and Spirit Of Prophesy alike testifies to the fact that the shewbread point to CHRIST. Maybe i'm confused

      Like(4)
      • Jerry,
        I think the idea is salvation involves God's people. However your point is well taken. Overgeneralizations, even with noble intent, can cause the message of the sanctuary and the deep significance of the articles to be weakened or underappreciated (unintentionally).

        It would be kind of a stretch to make certain articles and manifestations in the sanctuary represent the church. We have to consider the shekinah glory, cherubims, ark of the testament, mercy seat, ten commandments, Aaron's rod, just to name a few, and these only in the Most Holy Place. Remember too the sanctuary was not just for us. It was instructional to the unfallen worlds.

        EGW said, "The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith." —Letter 208, 1906 (Evangelism P. 221).

        So we want to get it correct, as far as possible, notwithstanding our limitations of understanding.

        Like(2)
      • Hi Jerry,

        I don't think you are confused at all. :)

        Both the offerings of the sanctuary, the building and all the rites associated with it are all about Jesus. They are about the work of Christ for our salvation.

        When the incarnate Christ went back to heaven, His mission on this planet continued through the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. And it continues through the church as members of the body of Christ allow the Holy Spirit to work through them. It is still the work of Christ. The Holy Place of the Sanctuary typifies Jesus in His incarnation and Jesus in the body of the church.

        "The church" as an entity apart from Christ is not typified in the sanctuary. It is all about Christ and only about Christ. I believe that any focus on the human agency frustrates the purpose of Christ. Christ is to be revealed in the church. The hymn "Not I but Christ" is "right on."

        Like(1)
  2. The lesson states, “the lampstand continually provided light (Lev. 24:1–4).” The Bible testifies, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’" (Jn 8:12 NKJV). But Jesus also said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mat 5:14-16 NKJV). Which is also what Jesus did (Jn 17:1; Jn 21:19). It is also what the apostles said we are to do (Rom 15:6; 1 Pet 2:11-12; 1 Pet 4:15-16). Therefore, the lampstand is a symbol of both Jesus and His church doing the same things together.

    Like(13)
  3. Again the lesson says, “the altar of incense produced the protective smoke that concealed the presence of God from the priest (Lev. 16:12-13).” We generally think of the incense smoke as the ministry of the Holy Spirit but is it only that? In Rev 5:8; 8:4 both the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the saints ascend together as a covering for, “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8 NKJV; see also James 5:20). The incense is put on hot coals, fire which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Jer 20:9; Act 2:3-4), the refiner of gold that comes from the altar of burnt offering. It is the same fire that totally consumes the burnt offering and is also the source of fire that lights the lamps on the lampstand that give light (Jn 16:13,8). It is that fire that refines the prayers of the saints (Rom 8:26) and together then make the incense smoke. So, once again God and His church are combined in the symbolism of the sanctuary. They are in this mess together, both God and His people, and together they will go into judgment and be justified.

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  4. Tyler, I appreciate your application of the sanctuary symbolism to the church.

    Just to clarify: Only Christ is the antitype/fulfillment of the sanctuary services. The body of Christ is supposed to be equivalent to the church. In that way, the ministries of the first apartment of the sanctuary services are fulfilled by Christ through the church.

    Christ, the Light of the world wants to be reflected in the body of the church. (See John 17:20-23)

    Christ, the Bread of Life, as typified by the "show bread" in the sanctuary, wants His church to share His Truth with the world.

    As Christ intercedes for us and the world (typified by the altar of incense), He wants us to intercede for the world and introduce people to Him.

    Are we allowing Him to shine through us, feed people through us and intercede for people through us? It might mean getting dirty, as Maurice suggested in yesterday's lesson.

    Like(11)
  5. This wonderful description of how made all the instruments in the earthly Sanctuary give me the idea that our Lord also wanted to show us that only by the Holy Spirit we can be illuminate to perform an spiritual life according to His willing.
    On the other hand I think that all the instrumental was made perfect to be put in the Sanctuary, thus our life only could be perfect if we request His Spirit be spread upon us . Having His Spirit any act will be done good before His eyes .

    Like(6)
    • You have really summed up today's lesson for me. The role of the Holy Spirit is clear in Exodus 31 and it makes sense to me that this applies to our lives. The Holy Spirit wants to draw us back towards the perfection he originally created.

      Like(0)
  6. God and His Spirit were deeply involved with all parts of the making of the earthly sanctuary. Hearing about how the Holy Spirit was an the fine artisans that did the detail work on the Most Holy arc and the other significant pieces of furniture in the sanctuary shows me that artists today can likewise be used by God's Spirit today to create significant objects that point to God and give Him glory.

    Like(2)
  7. As I was studying today's topic(Instruments of the Sanctuary), a certain imagery came to my mind... Reading Ex. 25:17–21 and reading what Paul says in Romans 3:25...
    Wow, nothing that God does happens by accident. Everything that happens in reference to God's relationship with His people is planed. This is what I mean... 1st lets set up the circumstances.

    Moses spent a long time up on the mountain Sinai where (unbeknownst to the people) the Lord was giving Moses instructions for building the Sanctuary and its service and giving Moses the rules and regulations on how the nation is to be governed. And it was the people that asked Moses to go up to the mountain because they could not bear to listen to God talking to them. Basically, they asked Moses to represent God to them. He is up there from chapter 20 to 32 in the book of Exodus. It took many days (maybe 40? Just a thought from Exodus 32:1) for Moses to absorb all those instructions from the Lord.
    Finally, Moses comes down and sees the people breaking one of the commandments and in anger at his people he throws down the tablets containing the commandments and they shatter into pieces Ex 32:19.

    in conclusion...
    The Lord commands him to prepare a 2nd set of tablets that are eventually placed in the Ark. It was the "broken/shattered" commandments replaced by the "whole" ones that were covered by the "mercy seat/Jesus", Rom. 3:25.

    In the eyes of the Father (the Shekina glory above the mercy seat) our obedience is "whole/not broken" through Jesus the Mercy Seat, the Cover over the whole/unbroken 10 Commandments.

    Now I recognize how Paul saw Jesus's functionality in reference to us and the Father.

    Like(4)
  8. The love of God can not be compared to any, and when you Look at all things found in the earthly sanctuary to me they indicate the part each one involved should play for our salvation as Tyler has put it Christ and the church are one body and doing the some thing He needs our input as a church for our salvation and for the salvation of others.We should know that the earthly sanctuary pointed to the heavenly sanctuary.The heavenly sanctuary is above mere symbolism and metaphors,there is real salvation work taking place there as we talk right now this is what makes Satan not to relax he has no time. Equally we should have no time for jokes it,s serious business (SPREADING THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE AS PAUL PUTS IT)

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  9. In today's lesson,Tue.Oct 22. The statement is made "On the table for the bread of the presence were placed twelve loaves of bread representing the twelve tribes of Israel" I think this statement is erroneous. I believe the twelve loaves represent God's continual sustenance of His people with both their literal bread(food and other temporal supplies) and their spiritual bread(that spiritual food necessary for their spiritual journey)Twelve because they were twelve tribes but God's people in any age.
    I quote from PP page 354: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
    Grateful for your comments lease

    Like(10)
    • Paul,
      Thanks for your input. You make a very significant observation. Maybe the author has in mind a very limited application as he interprets the meaning of the bread. The people were/are not the bread in the same way Christ is the bread of life. We feed on the bread and share the bread as we receive, that is we share Christ. We do not become the bread. We derive life, but we do not become life givers. It is important we retain a right perspective on this and not lose sight of our own limitations and role.

      While we should share and offer every support we can, none should be led to depend on us, but constantly directed to Christ, the real meal. As we retain a consciousness of our poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3) the Lord will feed us and place in our hands what we need to serve, as he did with His disciples in the feeding of the multitudes (Luke 9:12-17). Notice too Jesus first asked the twelve to provide the food, and only after they conceded their inability He provided. The disciples were waiters who were not allowed to collect tips. Christ was/is the feeder.

      Like(3)
      • Hugh you should be an editor, I also agree with Paul that we can have the wrong focus. Whenever the focus is on mere humans and not on Christ we are subject to be led astray.

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  10. THE ALTER: It speaks of Christ and His work of atonement on the cross. This is the focus of all God's thoughts and the only ground of salvation for sinner. The alter and the thousands of offerings brought throughout the ages give an impressive picture of the perfect sacrifice of christ and His work of redemption on the cross. From eternity to eternity the cross of the Redeemer is the central point between heaven and earth.

    Like(2)
  11. Thanks for the lesson of today am happy to know that Jesus represents everything in the sanctuary .have a blessed sabbath day.

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