Helps For Understanding the Sanctuary
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As we continue studying this quarter’s Sabbath School lessons, on the sanctuary, people are telling me that there is so much they don’t understand or even know yet about the sanctuary. I say, do not be discouraged. Remember the sanctuary is a model of the plan of salvation. This is something we will be studying and looking into for all eternity.

 You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it. Yet as we study the Bible and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption, these great themes will open to our understanding more and more. -Ellen White, The Faith I Live By, Page 43.

I have to admit, I grew up Adventistand never really understanding a lot of the themes of the sanctuary or cleansing of the sanctuary. Instead of my teachers teaching it to me, they just told me I knew it. Interesting teaching method there! So, in my early twenties I still had lots of questions but did not dare ask because I was already supposed to know it all. Well, I realized I was not going to learn any younger, so I started asking questions anyway and reading and studying the sanctuary and the plan of redemption. I would like to share some books that have really helped me. Just click on the title for a PDF format of the book online, or info on how to purchase the book.

1844 Made Simple

1844madesimple

Click on image to buy at Amazon.com

Clifford Goldstein, a converted Jew and current editor of the Adult Bible Study Guide, once came close to leaving the Seventh-day Adventist Church because of the Investigative Judgment teaching. However, he spent the time to study it out for himself. In his book 1844 Made Simple, he does a remarkable job of making the judgement and cleansing of the sanctuary so….well…simple! He also makes it very clear how biblical this teaching is, though it is unique to Seventh-day Adventists.

The Cross and Its Shadow

Click on image to buy at Amazon.com

Click on image to buy at Amazon.com

Stephen N. Haskell, an early Seventh-day Adventist pioneer and a contemporary of Ellen White, brings alive all of the imagery of the sanctuary and brings understanding to their applications. His approach is devotional.

He clearly explains the feast days as well. While some wonder why many Seventh-day Adventists do not celebrate the feast days, Elder Haskell helps us see that we are observing the literal feast days. For example, ever since 1844 we have been in the literal day of atonement.

The Sanctuary Service

Click on image to buy book on Amazon.com

Click on image to buy book on Amazon.com

In this book, M.L. Andreasen, who was a young man in Ellen White’s old age, illustrates how the sanctuary service illuminates Christ as our High Priest, Sacrifice and Intercessor.

This is probably the best source for a detailed summary of all the sanctuary offerings and various services.

Then Shall the Sanctuary be Cleansed 

short-sanctuary

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When I was in my early 20′s and began studying the sanctuary, this book, by Donald Short, brought many things to life for me. It also helped me understand the work our High Priest is doing in the sanctuary of my heart.

 

Happy studying!

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Helps For Understanding the Sanctuary — 11 Comments

  1. Hi William,

    Thanks for the references. My favorite that you have posted is Elder Short's book. H e reaches the heart and gets at the meaning of the sanctuary as no one else does.

    My personal favorite resources are Pastor Jack Sequeira's books: The Sanctuary and The Sanctuary: God's Show and Tell. Some of the studies are online: http://www.jacksequeira.org/jacklist.htm
    or they are available in book, CD, DVD or MP3 format: http://www.jacksequeira.org/tapeordr.htm.

    Pastor Sequeira's studies are Bible based, practical, easy to understand and most of all give meaning the various aspects of a topic. He explains our doctrine but goes further.

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  2. Hi William,
    Today's lesson is like renewed life to me.Every time I read the sanctuary truth I wonder at the overwhelming love of God. I gasp with astonishment as God took upon himself our entire blame and gave us in its place his own blamelessness even to the point of dying our death and giving us a second chance...I am speechless! O!, what a perfect example for true love! The sanctuary truth is a vivid illustration on how a wretched mortal like me can be made to access and enjoy the unmerited favor of a truely Loving GOD

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  3. Thanks for the references.

    To be perfectly honest, while I understand and appreciate the intent of the symbolism-- I am always puzzled when others express earth-shattering joy over it.

    Maybe it's my personality.

    I also think that this doctrine must (in a way) be still in its infancy in the sense that I don't yet see its impact in the church beyond being a fancy way to describe what Jesus is doing to save us. That's an improvement, by the way, over the fear it induced in the past. That fear was very real for me. Also, I think sometimes it is easy to get lost in the symbols. But--and I speak for myself-- I think we have to take up the meaning of the symbols and run so to speak.

    It is not yet integrated. It's sort of still standalone. My question is: Do you long to tell your friends and neighbors about the sanctuary?

    All this is my opinion and experience. God bless.

    Like(4)
    • I kind of agree with you Andrew. I was frustrated with it for a while (I did read the 1st book mentioned) as to me it was not 'simple'. It still isn't. I put it aside for a long time, because like you say, this same truth of salvation can be understood through the gospels and NT in general as well. What I take from it is the fact that God has had a plan for a long time and it is both simple and intricate -because He is God. It is fascinating, though we have to let go if/when we don't fully understand. I'm glad there is a quarterly devoted to it, but no earth-shattering joy here either :-) Just a sense of peace maybe?

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      • Andrew and Caroline, the Sanctuary and it's services was an expanded "view" of the sacrifice brought by Abel and the ram that took the place of Isaac on Abraham's altar. The details were given to help a forgetful (result of unbelief) people to remember the grace of God "given in Christ Jesus before the world began". I too have never felt "earth-shattering" joy, but it does bring perfect peace. Peace seems to be the ultimate goal in scripture, and the remnant will have this perfect peace, while it eludes the wicked, and as described by Zephaniah, the remnant "shall eat and lie down, and none shall make them afraid". When all our guilt is removed, what is left to bring fear upon the soul? This is the essence of the sanctuary. Complete forgiveness with the promise that we will be presented "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Perhaps that is when all will experience the earth-shattering joy as we stand face to face with our Heavenly Father at last, and witness HIS exceeding joy over us.

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        • I don't believe the Sanctuary study is for your neighbors. They may only be ready for you to share with them John 3: 16 and the love of Jesus for them and the sacrifice He made for them on the cross and that they are forgiven. That's the gospel that we are called to carry. The Sanctuary can only become clear to us as we depend upon the Holy Spirit to "leads us into all righteousness" and a love for the deeper understanding of the process of our salvation. The Holy Spirit must help us to understand Daniel, Revelation and Hebrews as we grow in grace. He will help us to understand the Sanctuary system and claim a deeper understanding and appreciation of what our Saviour did for us on Calvary. I appreciate my Lord's love for me the more I study this quarter's lessons.

          Like(1)
        • That might depend on your neighbor Kathryn. I think the basic understanding would be needed to comprehend the meaning of the prophecies in Daniel, and it can be made very simple. We should trust that God will lead in each case and give understanding to those who need it. It's really not that complicated, though rather "ornate". We simply need to tailor our teaching to the level of the learner involved. It can be taught to children on a basic level.

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    • Andrew, if you had had the privilege to listen to some of W.D. Frazee's presentations on the subject, I believe you would understand. Unfortunately he was already an old man when we heard him 35 years ago, and he is now resting in the grave, awaiting the call of his Redeemer. Since it was so long ago, there are no Youtube videos of him, and that's a shame. The next best thing I can do is to point you to his book, Ransom and Re-union: Through the Sanctuary. (The last I checked, there were a few copies still available at Amazon.com.)
      short-sanctuary
      The book is, admittedly, not nearly as riveting as his personal presentations. His whole manner made us feel like we were in the presence of one of God's great saints, and my appreciation of the sanctuary was very much impacted by him.

      Somehow the more modern presentations seem to miss the mark ... Frazee made it real. I remember his illustration of why sins are recorded in the sanctuary and not permanently erased until the final cleansing (Day of Atonement). It was all about freedom of choice. He told the story of a man addicted to his tobacco pipe, but convicted that it was unclean and he should give it up. One morning he resolved never to smoke that pipe again, and he threw it out into the corn field.

      By late afternoon, the man could be seen searching in the corn field for his pipe. "If you were God," Frazee asked, "would you prevent that man from finding his pipe?"

      Just like the man was re-claiming his pipe by searching for it, so the sinner who goes back to his old habits reclaims his sinful habits and the sins that go with it. Ezekiel makes the point clearly in Eze 33:12-13.

      And then there was the illustration of the washing machine: The church is like a washing machine. "A dirty shirt looks in and sees lots of other dirty shirts in the washing machine, and it says, 'I'm not going in there! There are too many dirty shirts in there.' And he just missed his one chance of becoming clean.'"

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      • I've been thinking about the "dirty shirts in the washing machine" analogy since seeing it last evening, and admit it troubles me for a number of reasons. Imagine one of those detergent commercials trying to sell you their new soap by showing you shirts still stained.

        I guess we need to first understand how does Jesus save? What does it mean to say "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world."?

        How does the Bible describe the experience of those with faith? What is the purpose of God's Word towards the believer and the church?

        If the shirts are still dirty when another dirty shirt comes along looking to get clean, how is that shirt supposed to be attracted to the claims of the washing machine when there are only dirty shirts to show for it? In reality, what hope is offered by this?

        We don't have to look far to realize that many will "see and fear and trust in the Lord" because of the transformed life. What would have happened had the 2 demoniacs of Decopolis NOT been changed? How many would have been induced to accept Jesus as their Savior too?

        Do we see the importance of having a true, living experience in our lives? Can we understand the great harm we bring against the Gospel if it's power is not evident in our still "dirty" lives? Will someone who is still morbidly obese be able to convince others to try their new healthy diet to lose weight that they have been on for years now?

        We must pray to be truly "washed" by the Word of Life so others will "see, and fear, and trust in the Lord." (Ps 40:3) The only reason there would be dirty shirts in my machine is if the water and soap were not added during the wash cycle.

        Speaking of the sanctuary, WHO was benefited by the work on the Day of Atonement? Still dirty shirts? Isn't this day here and now? Do our words/actions reveal that 1844 was real or false?

        Back to the analogy for one more look...are we trying to say that the church cleans up sinners? Will anyone looking to the church(people, pastors, committees) be "cleansed from all unrighteousness"?

        Just a few questions to provoke some thought.

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        • Robert, you can't make an analogy "walk on all fours." But this one is pretty good. If the washing machine represents the work of the heavenly sanctuary, then the work is not finished until the work of the sanctuary is finished. And while the washing machine/sanctuary is still working on the cleaning, those in the machine will not be perfectly clean.

          But, that aside, the judgment of who is clean and who is not belongs to God, not another human being.

          As for how Jesus saves, Jesus and Paul said clearly said that we are saved on the basis of our faith in Christ. John 11:25, Acts 15:11, Acts 16:31, Acts 8:37, Ro 3:26, 27, Ro 10:9, Gal 2:16 and I could go on ...

          It's not complicated, until ancient and modern Judaizers come along and say, "Yes, but ... "and add more conditions to salvation.

          Like(1)
  4. Thank you William for sharing these references. Truly, these are very helpful to me in further understanding the lessons re Sanctuary and aid me in teaching my Sabbath School class.

    May God always bless you and use you for the furtherance of His work.

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