Sunday: Place of the Presence

According to Exodus 25:8, what was the purpose of the earthly sanctuary in the wilderness? amazing truth does this teach us about God’s love for us?

In the Garden of Eden, sin had broken the face-to-face relationship between God and humanity. Sin forfeited our first parents’ unhindered communion with God. However, the Creator still desired to draw us to Himself and to enjoy a deep covenant relationship with fallen humanity, and He began this process right there in Eden. Centuries later, in saving Israel out of Egypt and establishing the sanctuary and the sacrificial system, God again took the initiative in bringing humanity back into His presence.

The sanctuary thus testifies of God’s unceasing desire to dwell among His people. This is God’s idea (Ps. 132:13-14). His ultimate goal is relationship, and the sanctuary was His chosen means to do it. The sanctuary is the tangible evidence of God’s presence with His people on earth.

From the description in Numbers 2, it is evident that the tabernacle was located in the center of the square encampment where, ordinarily in the ancient Near East, the king would place his tent. So, the tabernacle symbolizes that God is the King over Israel.

The Levites, meanwhile, placed their tents around the tabernacle (Num. 1:53), and the other tribes put theirs further around at a “distance” in groups of three (Num. 2:2). This illustrates in a tangible way both the nearness and the distance of God.

Another purpose of the sanctuary was to provide a location for a centralized, divinely ordained system of worship. Because God’s presence in the midst of the people was jeopardized by their impurities and moral failings, He provided a system of sacrifices and offerings through which unholy people could live and remain in the presence of a holy God.

So, in this context, the sanctuary revealed details regarding the plan of redemption, which included not only the sacrifices but the ministry of the priesthood, an integral part of the plan of redemption, as well.

With the sanctuary, the Creator of the universe, the One who made all that was made (see John 1:1–3), lowered Himself to dwell among homeless wanderers in the desert. How should this fact alone help us avoid harboring ethnic, class, or cultural prejudices against anyone?



Sunday: Place of the Presence — 27 Comments

  1. Actually we a ought to learning more so that we understand why sin should be removed by blood shed not only blood shed but the blood of the Son of God

  2. It is so beautiful to read about the permanent desire of our Lord to dwell in the middle of His people, and how important is for us to know that He lived in His Sanctuary made by humans in ancient Israel, and finally it was not enough so He decided to come as human being, be mixed with the sinner people only with the desire to teach us what is love and how to be holy and pure by His example of His unequal way of life full love and patience , and mercy till He died on the tree only because He loved us and accomplish His great purpose to redeem our race. On the other hand His amazing love is not finished on the cross it continues to perform His work in all His followers through His Holy Spirit in our hearts to transform us into living sacrifices for Him, oh how great love is it!

  3. I think that this lesson typifies Christ's dwelling by faith in the hearts of believers, and thus giving them the highest and surest proof of their reconciliation to God, and of his love and favor to them; see Ephesians 3:17.

  4. The system of sacrifices and offerings provided by God in addition to revealing the ultimate sacrifice who takes away the sins of the world, would turn the mind of the sinner to God as he seeks forgiveness, as he gives thanks, thus his thoughts are elevated and his purposes are changed, he is empowered to live Christlike lives,to separate sin from his life.Praise the Lord thank you Jesus for your intercessory work on my behalf in the courts above

  5. Relationship means so much to our Creator. When looking at the sanctuary, it helps me understand that God is interested in connecting with me. With symbols, furnishings and services God shares His deep desire to be known as He really is. Even with my limitations, ignorance and inability to grasp all I see, through His Spirit I can be corrected of some of my misinterpretations and misunderstandings of His personality and character. I believe God really wants to be known and understood as best as we feeble humans can understand Him. I believe when I'm open to accepting Him as He is, it's like salve to His great heart of love.

  6. I am full of joy at the picture which this quarters lessons is creating in my mind. Even though we have rebelled against God he has given us a plan for our salvation and provided for our needs - Genesis 3:15+21 in last weeks lesson - and today I read in Exodus 25:8 that God chose to dwell among us in the sanctuary. I just find this an amazing thought - God wants to dwell with us.

    • After Adam and Eve sinned, they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Gen. 3:8). Sin separated Adam and Eve from their Creator. Since that time, the Lord’s desire has been to reunite Himself with those whom He created and loves so dearly. The earthly sanctuary was established so that God could dwell among His people. But sinful humanity could not survive in the presence God. Sin had to be removed. Sacrifices were made, and the blood of innocent animals was shed, pointing to Jesus, whose blood cleanses from us. And through the Saviour we are reunited with the Father in heaven.

      • Yes, God has even gone so far as to give up his only Son to die for us in order to break down the separation that exists between us and him.

  7. Lesson 1: THE LOCATION OF THE TABERNACLE - " is evident that the tabernacle was located in the center of the square encampment...symbolizes that God is the king over Israel." In our lives let God takes the center stage. Let Him be king of our lives. And when God is first and king, we will avoid harboring ethnic, class or cultural prejudices against anyone.

  8. What an amazing truth of God's love for his people, God loves his people so much that He wants to live among them and be their ruler. He shows this very truth in the birth and life of Jesus Christ. What God desires is a relationship with his people, as the trinity are united and live in relationship and community, so God desires this with us. What an amazing thought that the king of the universe would lower himself to live among human beings.

  9. Good morning, or good evening, to everyone, wherever you are, in the name of our Mighty Savour Jesus Christ. Mr. Mrarshall mention how great it is to know that God, wants to dwell amongst us, dosent that shows us what a mighty God we serves, that it dosent matter how sinful we are that he still love us, and want us to be saved. Jesus died for us for a reason, not to show that he could die on the cross and raise on the third day, he died to save us all. And it is so good that we could reconize hislove, so that we as sinners could go to him for forgiveness, and try to dwell among each other on this earth in peace and love among each other, especially in our churches, where people of all colour creed and race should dwell in worship. God loves a blend of colours, just look at rainbow. O! How Great Thou Art. In heaven their would be a rainbow of colours. Amen. Lets keep on prasing him.

  10. I would like to make a couple of observations concerning what is said in this lesson.

    1) “The sanctuary thus testifies of God’s unceasing desire to dwell among His people” I think the idea of God wanting to dwell among His people is stated in the Bible so many times that there shouldn’t be any argument over it or a need to restate it repeatedly. On the other hand I realize that the lessons generalize the issue by simply saying that God’s dwelling place including His throne is in Heaven and therefore it also generalizes where He dwelt in reference to the sanctuary on earth. Scripture is more specific, He was to dwell in the Holy of Holies where the shekinah glory was, “between the cherubim” that were placed on the mercy seat (Ex 25:22; Num 7:89; 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chron 13:6; Ps 80:1;99:1; Isa 37:16). According to Old Testament understanding that is where God’s throne is. While that may not seem at all important on the surface it does have very important theological implications concerning the ministry in Heaven especially when it comes to Christ’s ascension.

    2) “Because God’s presence in the midst of the people was jeopardized by their impurities and moral failings, He provided a system of sacrifices and offerings through which unholy people could live and remain in the presence of a holy God.” I think everyone knows by now that the offerings themselves did not save those people (Heb 10:4). The only thing that did was what the offerings prefigured, the sacrifice on Calvary which Israel looked forward to by faith. A minor point to be sure but an important one. The earthy sanctuary and its services were only a teaching tool not the reality of things.

    • That is true Tyler. I am reminded of a lesson I heard some time ago which has remained with me. The sacrifice was but the first step in coming into the presence of God. As we live in the outer court, after the sacrifice we must, with our High Priest, enter into the sanctuary through the various articles of furniture, taking to ourselves the meaning and appropriating each to our lives as we progress toward the Holy of Holies. The little horn trampled upon the truths of the sanctuary, and it was the work of God through the reformation (which has yet to be completed)that each item of furniture, and the truths which they conveyed, were replaced in their rightful position.
      Today we are at the culmination of human history, and the final item of furniture is now being restored. The ark of the covenant and the tables of the law. It is so interesting that today, the issues that attach themselves to grace, works, obedience, and their relationship to commandment keeping are at the forefront of Christian discussion throughout all denominations. The law/grace issue will continue to be a hot topic for study and debate until we all finally come fully into God's presence when He comes.

    • God is so good, He is always finding ways to reach His ignorant children. We will never understand all of this. In eternity there will always be a schoolhouse where we'll sit at God's feet and continue learning of His grace and mercy towards us.

  11. A casual surface glance at Exodus 25:8 might present an image of an absentee father who promises to return home if the family will prepare a special room for him. Further there would only be limited access to parts of the sanctuary.

    God was actually abiding with Israel before the sanctuary was built. It was the only way God's people could be sheltered from the plagues and have the death angel fly over (Passover)their dwelling places in Egypt. Jehovah also manifested His presence in a pillar of cloud and fire in the passage through the Red Sea and wilderness.

    The sanctuary presence would represent a special revelation, involve a more meaningful communion and draw the people closer to their God. It would allow Israel to better understand the ways of the One who was already abiding with them, a kind of getting to know you better experience.

    A closer look at the passage presents the image of a Father seated with a child on His lap sharing sentiments from His heart.

  12. It is always a source of amazement to me that with the presence of God so obvious in the camp of Israel, they were often a mob of whingers and complainers. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and seeing the presence of the Lord in the form of the cloud hovering above the tabernacle, and then complaining about the lack of onions and garlic in their food supply?

    Numbers 11: 5. We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.

    No wonder God was a bit cranky with them. Humans are basically pretty self-centred, and getting us to gain an appropriate perspective of life is a difficult task - even for God.

    • There is a saying, "familiarity breeds contempt" which to me means that things can become so mundane that we begin to think of them as normal and eventually we begin to seek for what we think is better. I think we would be astonished how many miracles are happening all around us on a daily basis yet we don't recognize them as such.

      I wish I was in a position where I couldn't say that about myself but to be quite honest if all I had to eat is the same thing for months on end I probably would be a whiner too. And I think that would happen no matter how nutritious the food was, even if it was God giving me the best as it was with them. I think we tend to complain no matter how good things are, kind of like the parable Jesus told:
      And the Lord said, "To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying:`We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not weep.' For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say,`He has a demon.' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say,`Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' (Lk. 7:31-34 NKJV)

      Many years ago I had a very nice sports car, highly praised in write-ups in auto magazines. At that time I also got a junker that just happened to have the same engine that I could use if something went wrong with the one in the sports car. What I found is that I was using the junker more than I was using the sports car. So, what I discovered in my life is that I don't have to have the best to be happy, in fact, having all I could want is just downright boring and piles on the stress. Simplicity and humble living has its virtue - big time!

      • Great points Tyler. It is so easy to take God for granted. We see Him all around us just like the Israelites did. And, we easily forget Him just like the Israelites did. Every heart beat, every breath is from Him. Yet we rarely think of these things as His gifts to us. Ever think about what would happen if God took a vacation from His work (John 5:17)? For one thing, every heart on the planet would stop, the orbits of all the moons, stars and galaxies would suddenly stop. Life would cease to exist. We can’t even breath without God "... for without Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

      • I agree so much with your comment Tyler! Because we are so sinful, and have a tendency to either forget or misinterpret God's desires over time, even simple concepts like, God desires to dwell among His people have to be repeated and retaught in their proper place. We attach duty, performance, goodness and so many things with God that we often forget, God created us with the ability to see Him face to face and learn from Him in person. We chose to lose that intimate relationship with Him in the garden of Eden. Ever since then we have lost our understanding of who God is and what His desires and intentions are for us. To some He's a monster stalking us for good works, to some He's absent or unapproachable. I could go on and on with our misinterpretations of God's desire to be with us and just why He wants to be with us. Why God is with us and what He says His intensions are towards us, no matter how simple always bear repeating to constantly remind us of who God really is.

  13. Adam and Eve lost the previledge of been in the presence of God but God desire that they are always around Him, hence the need for the sanctuary where the broken relationship was restored by God. Today He want to dwell in your heart(home) according to Rev. 3:20 the Lord is saying prepare your heart for me so that i can be with you forever.

  14. Revelation 3:20 read ' Listen! I stand at the door and; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, i will come in and eat with them and they will eat with me'. The Lord is asking you and i to make our heart His place of abode so that we can fill His presence.

  15. Question: With the sanctuary, the Creator of the universe, the One who made all that was made (see John 1:1–3), lowered Himself to dwell among homeless wanderers in the desert. How should this fact alone help us avoid harboring ethnic, class, or cultural prejudices against anyone?
    Well, The fact is Jesus wants to unite with us closely, more intimately, to come near to us as One who desire their good. The right response from us should be to come near to Christ. If we don't then....division!
    "The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret of true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties—though there will be much of this to do—but union with Christ".

    Ellen G. White - The Adventist Home 179
    The sanctuary is the secret of true unity, that is union with Christ. Isn't this powerful?

  16. Even though God had to chase Adam and eve from the garden of eden. He didn't treated them as how we sometimes treat one another when our relationship is broken. He didn't "delete their contact numbers,delete. Them from fb ect" He said come we can't have face-to-face relationship anymore but build me a sacntuary that I may dwell among you. God's love is so amazing He is about never ending relationships.another example of what marriages should be like. I love where he desire the sanctuary to be built also in the desert a sign of humbleness.maybe if He had said build it in the heights and terraces only the rich and certain class would be able to go there.

  17. [Moderators note: please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    we need to follow Jesus' suit when He was on this earth!
    we need not to be choosing who to preach to, race, nationality, tribe and skin color! for that was what He was doing, getting closer to the poor, sick even prostitutes.

  18. I find myself praying often for the Holy Spirit to come into my life .For me ,the spirit departs at times through the life I live. Tears come to my eye when I realize ,God want to dwell constantly in my life.....Oh how i want him to dwell in my life and be the voice of reasoning in many of the situations I face daily.
    God's ultimate intention, has been to make His abode within the heart of every believer...Why not let him...Come in today ,come in to stay

  19. The presence of the Glory of God in the center of the Israelite encampment was a prominent symbol that God is and always should be the center of our community, our church and our families. This means that He needs to be the center of my life. The cross of Calvary has to be front and center in all that I think and do if I am to be an influence for the Master.

    "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:6-10, NKJV

    The closer we come to Jesus, the more faulty we will appear in our own eyes; for our vision will be clearer, and our imperfections will be seen in distinctly and more prominently in contrast to Christ’s perfect nature. This is evidence that Satan's delusions have lost their power; that the life-giving power of the Spirit of God is arousing us. (Paraphrased from Steps to Christ p. 64)

    “The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another.”
    “The closer we draw to Jesus, and the more clearly we see his life and character, the less we shall think of ourselves.”

    “Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus.”

    “The closer we are to God, the safer we are, for Satan hates and fears the presence of God.”

    “The closer we live to Jesus, the more we shall reflect in words and character his image. And the farther we separate from God, the farther we live away from the light of life, and, as the sure result, become perverse, dictatorial, hard-hearted. We should make it a life work to gather up the divine rays of light that come from the throne of God, and scatter them upon the pathway of others.”

    What a blessing our heavenly Father has given us in the lessons of His love from the sanctuary.


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