Tuesday: The Holy Spirit and the Sanctuary

“And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exod. 25:8).

After the act of Creation, God’s plan of salvation is of prime importance in the Bible. In a fallen world, what good would Creation be without the plan of Redemption? As sinners, we need not just a Creator but a Redeemer.

Holy Spirit in the Sanctuary

Image © Howard Roberts Goodsalt.com

How thankful we should be that we have that Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Without Him, we would be without hope in a world that, in and of itself, offers us none.

In the Old Testament it was the sanctuary and its service that illustrated God’s forgiveness of sin and foreshadowed the work of Jesus, our Redeemer. It was here that the plan of salvation was revealed to the ancient Israelites (see Exod. 25:8). While much of the sanctuary service pointed to Jesus and His death for the forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit is depicted as being actively involved by enabling specific people to build the sanctuary according to the pattern God had revealed to Moses.

Read Exodus 31:1-5. How was the Holy Spirit involved in the building of the sanctuary? How did the Holy Spirit assist those who constructed God’s dwelling place?

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit was also present at the building of the sanctuary, the central place where reconciliation between God and human beings took place and a holy God met sinners. It was God who communicated to Moses His plan to build the earthly sanctuary according to the heavenly original (Exod. 25:9, Exod. 25:40).

The sanctuary was God’s model to illustrate His plan of salvation. God was going to dwell amid His people in a special way, and He was going to do it in the sanctuary, which He told them to build. And it was the work of the Holy Spirit to enable human beings to accomplish with artistic skill and with beauty what God told them to do. Without His help, Israel would not have been able to accomplish this artistic craftsmanship.

Considering the power of the Holy Spirit, He certainly didn’t need human help in building the sanctuary. Instead He enabled other people to do it with skill and beauty. How and where can you encourage and assist other people to use their talents to further the kingdom of God to God’s glory?


Tuesday: The Holy Spirit and the Sanctuary — 36 Comments

  1. Ignoring the lessons suggestion that the Holy Spirit was necessary and that humans themselves need not have been used, the question comes to mind, when skilled artisans have always been, and still are today, a dime a dozen, why would the Spirit of God be necessary to build a physical structure?

    The Spirit of Prophecy account tells that the work would not be accomplished by skilled Egyptians who were available.

    When God called out Bezalel, Aholiab and the other artisans they may not have been first pick from the pool Israel could have put forward.

    Departing from the written account, it may be that God saw in these men hearts that were true, that the work that would be achieved would be after the pattern that God had designed & that glory would be brought to Him and not men. Regarding the pattern there is a lesson there that despite our “better” judgment it is better for us to subject ourselves for God’s plan for our lives.

    Did not Pharaoh recognise this same Spirit in a slave that inhabited his dungeon? Gen 41:37:So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you...

    An application text that also comes to mind is from Zechariah 4:6 Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord God almighty.

    • As a further step in your argument Robbie, I think we need to recognize that today the work of the Holy Spirit is often through human agents. Ordinary people like us are used by the Holy Spirit to comfort, encourage, and provide direction for others. That is an enormous privilege and responsibility, and one that we should accept with humility. By the same token we need to responsive to the work of the Holy Spirit through others towards us. In my work with young people, I have all-to-often heard them say that they were waiting on the leading of the Holy Spirit for some decision or other when in fact Spirit-led people have been giving them good advice all along.

      God has used human agencies all along - we do not have to wait for an epiphany to start doing God's work.

    • The message of tis text is not that the Spirit was involved in the building, but that people could be individually "filled" with the Spirit. What does that mean? The lesson does not discuss.

      • It seems to me that to be "filled with the Spirit" we cannot also be "filled with self." Thus we must be willing to die to self so that the Holy Spirit can fill us.

        What do you think?

        (See Paul's testimony on this in Gal 2:20)

  2. Thanks Robbie,
    I like it when others do the spade work and present an idea or two, to me to ponder. Especially when I have not considered a topic as deeply as it could be. That's why I like a forum such as we have here, because we can share.
    Godbless today. Mrs A Stolz

  3. With the aid of the Holy Spirit man is to participate in his own redemption. Just as they were given a divine similitude to copy from we too have Jesus as our example and the same Holy Spirit is with us today to help us build our bodies a living temple for the indwelling of God within us. When we use our skills and apply all we are taught of God to our lives, all our surroundings will be adorned by beauty and peaceful tranquility. Let us aim for perfection for our God is perfect and will only dwell in a perfect place.

    • Respectfully Jackson,
      Could you expand on your meaning of ".... man is to participate in his own redemption...?"
      How is it the same as ... " nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.." (Hymn)

      • Man must participate in "working out his salvation with fear and trembling." His participation is his WILLINGNESS to work with the Holy Spirit. God does not force Himself on us or bribe us to do His commandments, because we are given FREE WILL to chose and act out our desires. "behold I stand at the door and knock," Jesus said.

  4. Scripture says that the Sanctuary was built according to "The Pattern," that was shown to Moses. not according to "The Heavenly Original," as indicated in the Lesson for Tuesday. All that was built according to that pattern was not only symbolic of heavenly things but it also represented Jesus Himself. Jesus said, just before He went to the cross, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." Scripture is clear that Jesus was referring to Himself when He spoke these words regarding The Temple Then.

    • And to add to this: The very last book of the Bible says that there is no need of a temple in the earth made new because Almighty God and The Lamb are the Temple of it. That is the way it has always been. The first temple was a symbol of The lamb and Almighty God and Heaven Itself and after The Cross, Now, and the earth made new Almighty God and The Lamb are the Temple of it.

      • Pete and Inge. I caught that part of the lesson too and enjoyed your comments on it. I believe that God walked with Adam, God was present with man in the earthly sanctuary, Jesus (Immanuel = God with us) was present with us afterwards and the Holy Spirit is present with us now.

        God has always wanted to be near His creation and desires to be in their presence forever. We were adopted into His family and are his children after all.

        I think we have to be careful about some literal interpretations (especially of Revelations). For example, God is Spirit so He probably doesn't actually sit on a throne as we know it.

        • The Bible is rather clear that "heaven," is His Temple. That to me means simply that "The Universe," is God's Temple. God is everywhere. He dwells in the universe and in men's hearts and minds via His Holy Spirit and because of His Son's Sacrifice in Jesus and His Son's Life too.

    • I understand that the temple was symbolic of the plan of salvation, and most things in the temple and the temple itself were symbolic of Christ Himself.

      What do you make of the mentions of a temple or sanctuary in heaven in the NT:

      Hebrews 8:2 refers to the "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Where do you suppose that would be?

      Revelation 11:19 refers to a temple being opened in heaven. Granted, Revelation is a symbolic book, but it is full of sanctuary imagery, and the reference in Hebrews suggests that perhaps there is a real sanctuary in heaven.

      • That opens a whole different discussion, but basically in Hebrews the two apartments of the sanctuary represents Judaism and Christianity. The whole book is about the superiority of Christ over the Torah and its services, and that Christians should not turn back to what has been superseded by the Gospel.

        • There is a whole huge aspect of the Sanctuary that is missed with an understanding like this.

          I see the first compartment as reflective of the work of the HS on individuals who choose to become God's messengers, the light and food encourage us in our struggles. The prayer table is for our intercession. The second chamber is for judgment, which ultimately is in our favor. We seek, pursue, eagerly await that judgment for the resolution of the presence of sin. The power of sin having been controlled in the first compartment, the legal requirements in the courtyard.

      • Heaven to me equals "Universe." That is where God dwells and that is what He made without the help of any human hands. And He is also everywhere too including our very hearts and minds with His Holy Spirit.

        The Apsotle Paul in the book of Hebrews uses the symbolism of the last compartment of the Earthly Sanctuary (which was the part of that Sanctuary that was used for The Day of Atonement,) to show how God via His Son Jesus completed the work of Salvation at Calvary's Cross 2,000 plus or minus years ago "Once for all," (of course then it had only occurred during Paul's own lifetime.)

      • In the book of Revelation, during the description of the time periods of most of the seven churches, it reveals items from the holy place. But the prophetic time period of the future events it reveals items of the most holy place. This show us accuracy of the envolvement of our high priest.

    • We're getting a bit far off the lesson topic, and a discussion of the sanctuary services and their meanings could easily take up a book. But I want to address some suggestions that were made.

      To understand what each apartment of biblical sanctuary represents requires studying the services that actually went on in the sandbox model of the Hebrew sanctuary. There may be multiple applications, but I see little evidence pointing to a Judaism/Christianity division or a division

      Every day, animals were sacrificed in the courtyard of the sanctuary, and when sacrifices were offered involving the forgiveness of sin (for which only Christ's self-sacrifice suffices) some of the blood was carried into the sanctuary, or the flesh was eaten by the priests, with either act symbolically transferring these sins to the sanctuary. While the sinners were forgiven, God made Himself responsible for these sins.

      Once a year, there was a Day of Atonement which involved several things. It was a day of covenant renewal or at-one-ment of the sanctuary community with their Lord. It was a day of judgment for those who were out of harmony with the laws of God's community. It was also a day of cleansing of the sanctuary. This was done by the sacrifice of a lamb, symbolic of Christ, and its blood was used to "cleanse" the sanctuary from the accumulated sins of the year. After this cleansing was done, sins were confessed over a goat which was released into the wilderness, never to be seen again.

      This was an enactment of the plan of salvation in sandbox format. The courtyard would be symbolic of this earth, where Christ was slain, bearing the sins of humanity. While victorious over sin Himself, He bore the burden of our sins into the very heavens, or the heavenly "sanctuary" where He is ministering in our behalf, as Paul tells us in Hebrews.

      As the sanctuary was "cleansed" once in the sanctuary year, so the heavenly sanctuary is to be cleansed once in the plan of salvation, by disposing of sin once and for all. After that the sanctuary work is done.

      I see the "sanctuary" as the heavenly command center for dealing with the sin problem on this planet. So the suggestion that there will be no need of a sanctuary when the sin problem is finished fits the picture.

      This is but a bird's eye view of Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the biblical sanctuary. Since the church has not paid a lot of attention to this subject for more than 50 years, there now seems to be some confusion on this subject. But we did have lessons on the subject just three years ago: 2013 Q4: The Sanctuary You can click on the link to see the weekly lesson titles, and you can visit all the blog posts on the subject here: http://ssnet.org/blog/category/sslessons/2013d-sanctuary/ They are in reverse chronological order, so you will have to page back to get to the beginning of the lessons, or you can start here: Quarter 4, 2013, Introduction:The Picture of Salvation
      Please note that this is not an invitation to an extended discussion of the sanctuary services. It is only an explanatory note and responses will not likely be published. (Visit the links given for more information.)

      • I understand that the sanctuary was a representatation of the plan of salvation , that includes the Father in the holy of holies, and the many symbols that represented Jesus and his sacrifice, his work 9f intercession after he ascended to the Father. I wonder how is the Holy Spirit represented, if He is a separate entity of the Godhead. Thank you

        • I suggest you make a study of the symbolism of oil in the Bible. I suggest that the oil in the lamp stands represents the Holy Spirit. The oil produced the flames, and to follow the symbolism, we see that on the day of Pentecost 7 weeks after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit came down and rested on the believers as flames of fire. (Acts 2:2-3) Just as the light produced by the flames of the light stand lighted up the sanctuary, so the light from the Holy-Spirit-led testimony of the believers lighted up the world.
          Throughout humanity's history, Christ has been the One to communicate with humanity, and the Holy Spirit has worked in the background. Jesus Himself indicated that the Holy Spirit "shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak." John 16:13 Thus we do not have a lot of emphasis on the Person of the Holy Spirit, but emphasis on the effect of His activity.

  5. Robbie, what I read from the Spirit of Prophecy was that there weren't men skilled in the arts among the Israelites. These people had been slaves for several hundred years and their skill lay in brick building. The Holy Spirit instructed Bezaleel and Aholiab in how to work in the various metal crafts and they in turn instructed those working with them. Maybe they were "the cream of the crop", maybe not, but they were men who would listen to the Holy Spirit.

  6. Matt 10:20
    Silently in the heart the Holy Spirit with its Gifts meets human talents making a complete plan of salvation.

  7. It is well known that the Hebrew Sanctuary was partly modeled on Egyptian temples. Apparently God trusted pagans to help design and build the sacred building. What does this suggest about the Holy Spirit's use of those outside our camp--their books, videos, churches, artistic ideas etc.?

    • I don't think "It is well known that the Hebrew Sanctuary was partly modeled on Egyptian temples." We do know there is are similarities in structure and there are differences. That's it.

      The books of Moses, when compared with the book of Hebrews, indicate that the Hebrew sanctuary, was built after a heavenly model, not an Egyptian model. The similarities can be explained in various ways. One of them might be that the most glorious angel cast out of heaven very well knew the design of the heavenly sanctuary and inspired similar models for human worship that did not focus on God. Of course, another another interpretation is that these are mere coincidences or even that the Bible was the product of human imagination rather than by God who inspired godly persons. But I don't think we want to go there.

      I also see no evidence that "Apparently God trusted pagans to help design and build the sacred building." Instead I read that God especially endowed select God-fearing men with special talents to translate the instructions given to Moses into a physical reality.

      You ask

      What does this suggest about the Holy Spirit's use of those outside our camp--their books, videos, churches, artistic ideas etc.?

      Based on what I suggested above, I would be hard-pressed to find any suggestion at all on this subject in the building of the temple.

      I believe we may be guided by several principles:

      James 1:17 tells us that all good things come from God. And the genuine wisdom that is expressed by persons who do not fully understand God's truth still comes from Him.

      We also need to consider Christ's warning that Satan will do his utmost to deceive God's people, and before we search for what others have to say, we need to be well grounded in what God has to say, praying for enlightenment by the Holy Spirit all the while. (See Matt 24:24) Jesus also told us that we could know people by their fruits Matt 7:16-20) and that words come from the heart (Luke 6:34), which may be good or bad (check fruits).

    • There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Hebrew sanctuary and other middle-east religions have a number of similarities. I have seen photographs of altars and temples and it is true that some of the artifacts are similar. Rather than saying one has derived from the other, I believe that they had a common origin. They began with God's original instruction about worship and diverged. We know that the Israelites, on leaving Egypt needed to be re-educated and reminded about their origins and purpose. While the nations around them had taken the worship forms and perverted them towards fertility and sexuality, God reminded the Israelites of his purpose and who should be the object of worship. Knowing that helps explain the similarity and provides an opportunity to see the difference between the two cultures and forms of worship.

      Here we see a clear distinction developing between Israelite and other Mediteranian religion. The difference was not lost on the Israelites who battled for a long time with worshiping a God they could not see, or worshiping a God that was strongly associated with fertility. Obviously in an agrarian society the appeal of a fertility God could not be ignored and explains some of the Israelite's ambivalence towards Baal, Astaroth, and the like.

      • I have had the privilege of seeing the Egyptian temples for my self and heard the story of the role of pharaoh and was blown away by the similarity.
        There was an inner sanctuary and an outer court. The pharaoh( God King) was the only one who could enter the holy place and that he did once per year.
        ( travelling around the various temples in his empire; was a big and continuous job!)

        There were many other extremely interesting parallels. I had never heard or read this until confronted by it. No other Christian or Adventist on the tour, when I became exited they thought I was nuts!
        God works with us in our culture. Look at the classic church architecture. A Catholic Church congregation could purchase a classic Adventist western building, put a rail across the front , and alter at the pulpit area, move the pulpit to the side, place icons around the walls, holy water in the entrance and boom, boom. Vice versa could occur.
        God uses what is familiar and puts his stamp on it. Protestants have gone for simplicity (apparently)and made the preaching of the word , not the taking of the mass, as central to its reason for existence.

    • Well I think that probably, the influence of Joseph might of been the reason for Egypt's influence. I also think that possibly the peramids were first designed and built to be the store houses of grain that Joseph used for the time period of the seven year drought.

  8. Oh what a wonderful God we have who can give us His Holy Spirit to teach us things we do not know and understand also empowers us with skills we do not have so that we are able to do His work. Let it be our prayer that we be filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

  9. Just as the Israelites had no wisdom or skill to build the sanctuary because they had been in bondage for such a long time and only recently been freed, so also are we without wisdom and skill to build lives fit for an habitation of God, and thus likewise are in a similar position of needing divine assistance (sanctification). It is as we are filled with the Holy Spirit of Christ that we are changed, partaking of the divine nature and being formed into the image of our Savior.
    “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children keep yourselves from idols.”

    The Lord is soon to come. We want that complete and perfect understanding which the Lord alone can give. It is not safe to catch the spirit from another. We want the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus Christ. If we commune with God, we shall have strength and grace and efficiency. {Lt66-1894 (April 10, 1894) par. 18}

  10. How was the Holy Spirit involved in the building of the Sanctuary and assisting those who constructed God's dwelling place? Could it be wrong if I am to say that the Holy Spirit revealed and inspired all the people who were involved. Firstly revealed to Moses then inspired the minds of Bizalel and group?
    Thank you.

  11. God called a special bunch of people to build the sanctuary, he called those not only for their artistic talent and knowledge in building but those who were humble enough to listen listen to voice of the Holy Spirit to direct them through the building process.

  12. What is interesting about the Sanctuary is that it was one that was not a permanent structure. God wanted to be wherever the people went so that He could 'dwell among them'. Just so God wants His people to be 'mobile' sanctuaries where He can live. The book, "Sanctuary Secrets for Personal Prayer" led me to a closer walk with God many years ago. As the sanctuary was used daily, so God expects us to use God's Word daily, and what better way than to enter God's presence with praise and in our mind's eye move from altar of sacrifice through to the Holy of Holies every day. The Holy Spirit hears our prayer and 'tops up'our spiritual lamps.The Lord's prayer is a summary, which when analyzed, follows the same pattern from praise to throne room. Thank you Carrol Shewmaker for your life changing book. I recommend it to anyone who needs to 'breathe life'into their prayer life and carry the Sanctuary in their heart.
    Maureen is referring to Sanctuary Secrets for Personal Prayer by Carrol Shewmaker. (Some copies are still available on Amazon.com)

  13. Why didn’t the Holy Ghost just build the sanctuary for us humans? Let’s focus on this question.

    I think this stems back to free will. God wanting to be with us back then, and God wanting to be with us today. In comparing the type of Sanctuary back then, what is the Sanctuary today that God is living in? Does He live in this Sanctuary by free will? Ever heard the song, “Lord please make me to be a living Sanctuary

    Re-read Exodus 25:8 and really give consideration to the two types of Sanctuary and tell me if there if there really is any difference (spiritually speaking) The Sanctuary was pattern from the one in Heaven. I think I’m safe in assuming that the Sanctuary in Heaven is both physical as well as living. But I think we have the idea as to why the Holy Ghost did not build the Sanctuary on earth for us. Simply put, He couldn’t. But we have the option of wanting to be inspired just like Bezalel. God is living in our Sanctuary, if we allow Him.

  14. Originally, God commanded His Sanctuary to be placed in the center of the camp of the 12 tribes of Israel during the years they spent in the desert. When it became clear that they just kept on going back into idolatry and rebellion against His 10 commandments, God then commanded Moses to take that temple and place it outside of the camp of the 12 tribes of Israel.

    How amazing! Inspite of how God's own people rejected His Character, His presence, and His Law, He never rejected them. So symbolically, he chose to stay outside of their camp to still try to woo them and love them to see if they would choose Him for their own personal lives.

    So, symbolically, this was also fulfilled in Jesus Himself when he was crucified outside of the City of Jerusalem---forsaken, rejected, and set aside by His own people and also the world. Yet still there, symbolically, for us to still accept Him by faith and be saved! Praise His Holy Name----Jesus!


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