..To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"

 

"Some thoughts on

 The Furniture

of the Sanctuary"

by

Stewart Crafts


 

The Candlestick.

The Candlestick in the Sanctuary was a Light-bearer.  It stood in the holy place (the first apartment of the Sanctuary), so that the priesthood could serve in the light of the Candlestick.  (There was no other light source in the first apartment.)

That light was not a single lamp, but rather, seven lamps burning together.  In one sense it was a single light, but in another sense it was “accumulated light” -- combined, or accrued light.

And is it not true that today, as “the children of light”, we stand in “the accumulated light of centuries”?

If the saints of the Old Testament bore so bright a testimony of loyalty, should not those upon whom is shining the accumulated light of centuries, bear a still more signal witness to the power of truth?  (PK 626)

 If the saints in the Old Testament bore such a decided testimony of loyalty, how should God's people today, having the accumulated light of centuries, shine forth, when the prophecies of the Old Testament shed their veiled glory into the future! (4BC 1169.4)

And what manner of persons ought we to be, seeing that all this rich light of inheritance has been given to us?  Concentrating all the influence of the past with new and increased light of the present, accrued power is given to all who will follow the light.  (See 3SM 339.1)

Now in another place we have the thought that we have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.--LS 196 (1902).  {LDE 72.1}

But should the Lord’s past leading and past teaching be thought of as confined to the light given us since the 1800’s.  No.  The Spirit’s teachings include earlier (and also latter) light expressed through many people.

Remember that in the Book of Revelation, seven light-bearing candlesticks are represented.  (This is effectively the same symbolism as used in the Old Testament Sanctuary.)  Each candlestick represented a church (that is to say, a historical segment of the entire New Testament church), stretching from the days of the apostles to the time of Christ’s Second Coming.

Each of those candlesticks (or churches) had a “star” associated with it.  And Jesus explains that “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches”.  Each light emitting “star” represented an “angel”.  And what or who are those angels?  Those angels (literally  “messengers” appointed by God) represent those bodies (groups) of human instrumentalities employed by God to teach the light of “present truth”.  (See AA 586)

The church (or church-age) in which Luther worked was symbolized by the central candlestick (the fourth) of the seven candlesticks (Rev 1:20).  And that central candlestick symbolised God’s church during the 1260 years from 538AD to 1798AD.

The truths manifested by our forefathers are part of our inheritance -- a part of the accumulated light available to us today.

Oh yes, Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12).  But Jesus says His people are the light of the world (Matt 5:14).  Both these statements harmonise perfectly well.  How so?  Because with Christ dwelling in them, the day-to-day conduct of His people shows, expresses, manifests the glory (the light) of God.  (That which truly makes “manifest is light.”  Eph 5:13)

The Material.

Gold is malleable, which is to say it submits to the work of the Craftsman. It yielded itself to the Lord and His purpose, and thus it was able to enter into the house of God.

Scripture exhorts us:

“Now do not be stiff-necked [stubborn/immalleable], as your fathers [were, but] yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary….”  (2 Chron 30:8)

And in another place it is said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God” (Jas 4:7)

The Fuel.

A constant supply of fuel was to be furnished to the lamps.

The people of Israel were to bring “pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always [i.e. continually].”  (Ex 27:20) This symbolism teaches us that God has never been left without a witness upon the earth.  God has had faithful souls in every age of this world’s history.  The light of truth has “always” burned in the hearts of people somewhere in this world.

But to sceptical eyes it may appear that this thought is contradicted in Exodus 30:7-8. 

Because there the lamps are mentioned in connection with the two occasions (in the daily course of events) when the High Priest was to burn incense on the altar in the first apartment.  It is said,

“And Aaron shall burn sweet incense [on the altar of incense] every morning: when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.

 “And when Aaron lights the lamps at even [between the two evenings (margin); that is to say, at 3 p.m.], [then] he shall burn incense upon” the altar of incense again.

The lamps were put out and their wicks were trimmed regularly, which is to say, “every morning”.  Associated with the Candlestick were “snuffers” and “snuff dishes”, all of pure gold.  (Ex 37:23)  And of course the “snuffers” were used to put the lamps out.  But were they all extinguished at one time?  No they were not.  Did the priest have any warrant to carry a light into the holy place to do his work?  Let us not assume any such thing.  Then were the eyes of the priests to be illumined by leaving the door of the first apartment open to the “common” earthly light?  Certainly not!  It was “holy” light, and holy light alone, which was to illumine the eyes of God’s workmen in the holy place. (There is an important lesson to be drawn from this, is there not?)

Yet God did not ordain that a certain number of lamps were to be kept burning at any one time.  Yet some (at least one) of the lamps was to be kept burning “always”.

And of course no fire can be kept alive without fuel.  The fuel for the lamps was oil, representative of the Holy Spirit. The pure oil of the God’s Spirit has fuelled every truth that has ever burned in the hearts and minds of God’s people.

Love cannot continue to exist without revealing or expressing itself.

The Altar of Incense.

It was while the common Priest was here, at this altar, that he was brought nearest to the direct presence of God.

The Courtyard ‘fence’.

This fence separated the people that were making a conscious claim upon God’s grace (favour), from those that were not.

The ‘fence’ was five cubits high, (which is higher than the average man), but people on the outside were still able to see the top part of the building that stood behind the ‘fence’. The walls of the Sanctuary were ten cubits high. (Note that the altar of burnt offerings stood only 3 cubits high. Yet the results of its work were easily seen, inasmuch as smoke rose continually from it. (Ex 27:1))

An outsider could see a part (a very limited part) of the work that was going on.  Can we learn a lesson from this?  Those that make a claim upon God’s grace are able to see more of the realities of God’s work than those who do not avail themselves. (Anyone inside the courtyard could see the Altar of burnt-offerings, the Laver, the outer coverings of the Tabernacle, but nothing more.  Only the ministers could see the inward adornings of the holy place, and only the High Priest could see the complete picture.)

And of course unless a person is born again “he can not see the kingdom of God."    (John 3:7, 3, margin)

oooOooo


To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"

 

This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page