Sabbath: The Picture of Salvation

Quarter 4, 2013, Introduction:

The Picture of Salvation

by: Martin Pröbstle

13dcoverUnquestionably, the greatest revelation of the love and character of God was at the cross, where the Lord offered Himself in the person of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the sins of a world that never had to sin to begin with. To help us to understand better what this great sacrifice meant, God devised the earthly sanctuary, a pictorial representation of the plan of salvation. This earthly sanctuary, however, only modeled the heavenly one, which is the true center of God’s presence and of His activity in the universe.

When God established the sanctuary on earth, He used it as a teaching tool. The Israelite sanctuary and its services displayed important truths about redemption, about the character of God, and about the final disposition of sin.

The sanctuary formed the template to help us to understand Jesus as our Sacrifice and High Priest. When John the Baptist told his disciples that Jesus was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36, NKJV), they understood what John meant because they understood something of the sanctuary. The book of Hebrews presupposed a knowledge about the ancient Israelite priesthood so that the original recipients of the letter could grasp what Jesus was doing for them in heaven. Sanctuary terminology was also used to teach truths about Christian living. In short, knowledge of the sanctuary system became a foundation for the new message of salvation in Christ.

However, throughout much of the Christian era, the sanctuary message was largely forgotten. Not until the middle of the nineteenth century, when Seventh-day Adventists began to appreciate God’s paradigm of salvation anew including the message of the pre-Advent judgment, was a fresh emphasis placed on the sanctuary.

“The subject of the sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great advent movement and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people.”—Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 423.

As the key for a complete system of truth, the sanctuary and Christ’s priestly ministry became the basis for the Seventh-day Adventist faith—and still remains so. In fact, the sanctuary message is the Adventists’ unique doctrine. At the same time, no other doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (with the possible exception of the Sabbath) has faced so many challenges. Fortunately, throughout the years, these challenges have not only been withstood, they have increased our understanding of this crucial teaching and have made us, as a people, stronger in our understanding of salvation.

Ellen G. White recommended focusing our highest attention on the sanctuary because “the sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects.”— The Great Controversy, p. 488. Thus, we can “exercise the faith which is essential at this time” and “occupy the position which God designs [us] to fill.”— The Great Controversy, p. 488.

The sanctuary discloses the heart of God. Studying the sanctuary will bring us close to the presence of the Supreme and to the personality of our Savior, and draw us into a deeper personal relationship with Him.

Hence, our study for this quarter: God’s sanctuary, both His earthly model and the heavenly original.

Martin Pröbstle lives with his wife, Marianne, and their two sons, Max and Jonathan, in Austria. He is a professor of Hebrew Bible at Seminar Schloss Bogenhofen, Austria.

The Heavenly Sanctuary


Read for This Week’s StudyJer. 23:23-24; Ps. 89:14; Revelation 4 and 5; Ps. 11:4–7; Deut. 25:1; Heb. 8:1-2.

gless01Memory Text: “ ‘Then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause’ ” (1 Kings 8:49, NKJV).

Where does God live?”

The innocent question of a six-year-old could be quite perplexing. This question could easily lead to more difficult ones, such as, “If God lives in one place, how is it possible that He is everywhere?” Or, “Does God need a dwelling place?” Or, “If He doesn’t need one, why does He have one?” Or, “If He does need one, why does He need it?”

Good questions, and, given the little we know (and the lot we don’t), they are not so easy to answer. Nevertheless, we can answer with what we do know. As Seventh-day Adventists, we know from the Bible that God dwells in heaven, that He is actively working in our behalf “up there,” and that the center of His work is in the heavenly sanctuary.

Scripture is clear: the heavenly sanctuary is a real place, and from it we can learn truths about the character and work of our God. Thus the focus of this week’s lesson is the heavenly sanctuary and what God is doing there for us, because what He is doing in the sanctuary is, indeed, for us.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 5.



Sabbath: The Picture of Salvation — 12 Comments

  1. The sanctuary is so very, very important to us today. God indeed dwells in heaven, (the Most Holy place) the location of the mercy seat (God's throne). The rest of the sanctuary is here and now for us.

  2. God doe not need any house to dwell in,not even a mountain. Therfore this shows us that our God is great so we must serious praise him.

  3. I can't believe we are finally studying the sanctuary message, it was long overdue. This year I am being revived, there's no turning back for me. I pray for a complete revival for Seventh Day Adventists and all honest Christians the world over. Lets spread the love

  4. I was asking myself this question, once openned the fourth quarterly I find that God watch us from the heaven sanctuary. We should remember that God is Spirit we are required to pray in spiritual way to aware His wisdom.

  5. The message is meant 4 us to have a glimple of God and 2 understand and appreciate how the plan of salvation was achieved and how the requirements of justice were met at the cross!

  6. If anyone has not yet read the book "The Cross and its Shadow" by
    Stephen N Haskell. this would be a good opportunity to do so. I guarantee it will open your eyes to stuff you will study this quarter.

    [Editor's Note. The book is available to read online. Click this link: The Cross and Its Shadow.]

  7. I pray that as we study the subject of sanctuary, we all will come and know that God is great and loves us more than we can imagine. That is the sanctuary story so powerful, so important.

  8. The Sanctuary; what a wonderful study. A complete system that taught all the major events of Earth's history from; Creation, through Jesus' advent, teachings, death, resurrection, and second advent, and our need to constantly turn to God for forgiveness and strength. Wow!

  9. This is just what I need at this time of my life. Being a 17 year old is not easy,considering the challenges I face regarding my beliefs as an Adventist. I pray this weeks lesson revives me as that is what I need,constant revival. It is vital for all Adventists and I pray that the Lord my continue to strengthen our faith in Him because that is all we need,Christ,and "all things will be added unto us"

  10. About the heavenly sanctuary lesson which has just come in time it is very essential that this wonderful revelation has to be fully discussed
    because it is the only hope that we are really assured of our total salvation as it really offers us the last chance to repent of our sins

  11. Hi my dearest friends in Christ I have found that this quartery is very significant for us to scrutinise well.
    Others they do not aware it. My appeal is lets find time to read the words of God in spifitual way not like anovel, atmost an hour everyday.

    God will make anew way of life to follow.

  12. Hello saints of God, Happy Sabbath , and God's Blessings to every one. God is so awsome and wonderful he gives us nothing before it's time. There was a time when I was very very much in a hurry for these end times lessions dident feel to go to church on sabbath because I was not hearing much of the preperations for God's comming, dident know much about the santuary, but know that we have reached to such good lessons on the heavenly and earthly santuary, and learning so much on God's plans for his children, it make me want to praise him even more. thank God that his time ise'nt ours. I'm going every Sabbath and learning God's will for us, Amen. Have blesserd Sabbath-day to every one.


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