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


Tabernacle Teachings

To obtain a free programme to translate this book
into another language  click here



(The Earthly Sanctuary Service in a Nutshell)

Based on Exodus 12 and Leviticus chapters 4, 7, 16, 23


A “sinner” cannot enter the sanctuary courtyard.

   Lamb’s blood is NOT used inside the sanctuary building.

       Only a Christian’s sins can ever enter the sanctuary,

for only a child of God’s can be forgiven.   

A “sinner” (a child of Satan, John 8:44) becomes a “Christian” (a child of God, Galatians 3:26), through a process which is pictured by being “circumcised” and eating the Passover “lamb” IN HIS/HER TENT. Thus he/she is reborn at home, not in the sanctuary.  Exodus 12:1-10 AND VERSES 43-49.  

By this ritual we are shown the EXCHANGE of natures.  Christ’s sinless one is imparted to the sinner, and that of the sinner is given to our Saviour, thus reversing their roles.  2 Corinthians 5:21.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual experience dealing with our INTERNAL inherited sinfulness, and is pictured by baptism in the New Testament. Romans 6:9-12.  Although the ceremonial round was repeated every year for each new group of twelve-year olds (See note 4), it was still a “remembrance” for older Christians, similar to feet-washing and the Lord’s supper. Luke 2:42; John 13:9-10. Now the newborn Christian can pass through the entrance into the sanctuary grounds to praise God and promise obedience with his or her “burnt” offering of consecration, the “meat/meal” offering of their possessions, and the “peace” offering of thanksgiving.  Leviticus chapters 1, 2 and 3.

The “old life” (the sinner) is dead and buried (cut off), and a new one begun (Christ within).  None of the Christian’s former actions as a sinner will ever be mentioned again.  They are paid for by the “death” of the Passover Lamb who will carry their cause (our old nature) forever in His eternal sacrifice. Ephesians 5:2. They are NOT passed on to the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement for they are never pictured as being in the sanctuary building.

The separation from sinfulness is in death. That’s because death is in sin.  "Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death," we are told.  James 1:15.

Therefore nothing less than death will effect a separation from sin.

“Sinners” cannot separate themselves from sin, because sin is their very life. If it was possible for sinners to destroy the sin in themselves, it could only be by the giving up of their lives, and that would be the end of them. But Christ has the power to lay down His life, and to take it again; and therefore when we lay down our lives in Him, we are raised again by His endless life.  Romans 6:1-7.

 Remember that He does not give us our own life back again at rebirth, but that He gives us His own life. In that life there never was a sin; and so it is that our crucifixion and resurrection with Him is the separation of our sinful life from us.  

However, if a Christian (male or female) commits an action of sin AFTER THAT experience and becomes aware of it, he/she may come to the tabernacle courtyard (a sanctified place on earth shunned by sinners), and by the laying on of hands (in a prayer) confess that action of sin onto the head of a YOUNG FEMALE GOAT, being very specific about the action committed. 

In similar circumstances a leader in the church brought a male goat to confess over, while a congregation (a corporate entity) was asked to confess onto a bullock, to show the difference God sees in their actions of sin.  Sometimes, because of the enormity of the sin, a ram was required for an ordinary Christian. 

That BOTH males and females should come to the sanctuary is specified in the Bible, but this was gradually turned into a prohibition by men acting under Satan’s direction.

 Numbers 5

5 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Speak to the children of Israel, When A MAN OR WOMAN shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty; 7 then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he [or she] shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add to it the fifth part thereof [a 20% fine], and give it to him against whom he has trespassed.

8 But if the man [being dead or missing] have no kinsman to recompense the trespass to, let the trespass be recompensed to the LORD, even to the priest; beside [as well as] the ram of the atonement [Leviticus 6:6-7], whereby an atonement shall be made for him [or her].    

It was mostly men who were mentioned in the Old Testament times as performing these ceremonies because female Christians often did this at home “by faith”.  They were too busy bringing up the children and endeavouring to run their homes in God’s way to waste time on rituals which were only pictures of the truth.  Their “sanctuary” was in their hearts and minds.  John 4:23-24. 

However, whenever he/she makes a “sin offering” (a prayer of confession) then or now, it is AS A SINFUL CHRISTIAN, not a sinner or child of Satan.   In those days he or she killed the animal while it bore the sin in their stead, for by sinning as Christians we are responsible for the continuing death of Christ.   The officiating priest then sprinkled some of its blood onto the horns of the brass altar (of Calvary) which stands in the courtyard, and poured the rest down the drain.    

By this action, (the recognition that his/her Saviour is now suffering for that action of sin (repentance), and the remembrance that he/she has died with Him in the Passover), the “sinful” Christian is restored to purity and forgiven.  Colossians 2:12-13; 1 John 1:9. 

The priest who helped in the ceremony then eats that goat’s body
(a portion of it) and the sin becomes his by transfer.   See Leviticus 4:27-35; 7:6-8.  

The FORGIVEN and CLEANSED Christian goes back home feeling happy and enjoying the Sabbath “rest”.      Matthew 11:27-28; Hebrews 4:1-5. 

The “SINFUL” PRIEST is not so happy.    

He now bears the burden and guilt of the sin and he wants to go home too.   So he looks for the high priest.  If he is not available another “clean” priest newly come on duty will do. The SINFUL priest then confesses HIS sin onto the head of a bullock and kills it (the sin became his by eating the goat of the erring Christian).    

The CLEAN priest who is helping him takes a bowl of the blood of the bullock into the first apartment of the sanctuary building (which represents heaven).  He sprinkles some of it seven times on the floor in front of the second veil which symbolises Christ’s protective power.  Hebrews 10:19-20.  This is as close to God as he can get without dying even though he is “clean”, because he is still in his earthly body.  

Some drops are also put on the horns of the golden altar of incense
(the prayer altar) which is standing next to him in the first room.  


 The remainder of the blood is then taken back out of the building and poured down the drain around the brass altar out in the courtyard. The body of the animal is not eaten, but is taken outside the sanctuary area, outside the camp, to a “clean” (sanctified) place and totally burnt there.  See Leviticus 4:1-12.  



However, he is now free from it and can leave the sanctuary area.  

The process is repeated all day and every day, 24 hours 7 days a week as required.   It does not stop for Sabbath.   In fact, it increases on that day as many more convicted Christians come for cleansing.  Therefore the earth before the second veil and the horns of the golden altar become heavily polluted.

Then comes the annual day of cleansing.   Leviticus 23:26-28.  

The DAILY routine continues as usual at the beginning of the Day of Atonement (the dark part of the day after sunset), but the queue decreases as many anxious Christians are cleansed in the daily ritual, and eventually it comes to an end sometime in the early daylight hours.  All know that this is their last chance.  Eventually a time is reached when there is not a single sinful Christian wishing to be forgiven and cleansed.  That hour depends on the Christians and their desire to stop sinning to ease Christ’s suffering (See 1 John 2:1).  But it can be sooner rather than later if there are more ordinary priests available to assist the confessors in understanding what they are doing. 2 Peter 3:11-12.            

The number of “sinful” priests needing to be cleansed of their burdens also diminishes until just one is left and he turns to the high priest who has been patiently waiting for this moment.   When the “sinful” priest confesses that sin onto the head of his bullock, the high priest takes its blood into the tabernacle of the congregation (the first apartment) and sprinkles it on the earth floor, and the golden altar.  



What the ordinary priests have done all year is on behalf of the high priest who could not be there 24/7 because of his humanity, so in God’s eyes all this has been done by the high priest, who represents Jesus our Saviour. Hebrews 3:1.   

It is He who has “transferred” all the forgiven Christian sins into Himself, for the building also represents Him.  Isaiah 8:14.


The high priest is then presented with two young male goats to be used for the congregation, and a bull and a grown ram for himself.  Leviticus 16:3, 5. (There is another ram to be used later for the people’s consecration which we need not notice in this article.)  

He first offers the bullock as a sin offering for himself and his family (Christ and the Christians), but this time he personally takes the blood into the second apartment and sprinkles it on the top of the ark of God, on the flat part of the mercy seat where the Shekinah glory sits.[1] (See also Note 1).  To accomplish this safely he has previously gone into the second room with much incense in a portable censer, creating a great smoke screen of prayers.  

He also sprinkles the blood seven times onto the earth in front of the mercy seat (there is no floor in the sanctuary).   Then he moves out into the first room and sprinkles some on the horns of the golden altar.    



See Leviticus 16:11-14.  


Those placed by the daily priests and those placed by him are all treated as his.  The difference this time is that they are now recorded in the SECOND apartment in the presence of God the Father which could not be done by the ordinary priests for they could not enter near the bright light which symbolised His presence.   

The high priest then changes out of his coloured and embroidered clothes into a set of white ones to symbolise his pure state (these have been stored in the first apartment since the year before).  

In this plain uniform he comes into the courtyard and supervises the casting of the lot for the LORD’s goat, for only God knows which is which.[2]  By this ceremony the two young goats are distinguished and separated.  (See note 3).  The LORD’s goat is killed as an offering for sin (without any sins being confessed on its head for they were all transferred by the bullock’s blood), and the other, the scapegoat, is held captive in the courtyard by a “fit” man.  

The high priest re-enters the sanctuary building with the blood of the sanctified goat and uses this blood (death) to “pick up” the sins (deaths) placed in the building by the bullock’s blood.  In this way, he “cleans” the building, the floor, and the golden altar of their pollution. This clean, sinless, blood does not pollute, it cleanses by absorbing the sins/deaths into him.   

When he has finished this ritual, he comes to the door of the first apartment (the entrance to heaven), puts his hands out through the curtain and waits for the “fit” man to bring him the other goat.   

Then he places his hands on its head and transfers his sins/deaths, which are the results of ALL the sins of ALL his people for ALL the time, onto it.  

Now he has given the “deaths” of the confessed sins to their original author - Satan, the scapegoat.  Hebrews 2:14.  The “fit” man leads the sinful goat away into the wilderness of the earth, AND LETS HIM GO TO DO WHAT HE WILL.  Revelation 20:1-3.  It is no part of God’s plan to kill any of His creatures.   Sin will do that from within despite His efforts to stop it.  Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 28:18.    

We should notice that the Passover lamb’s death (blood) is NOT part of this ceremony.  It was sprinkled on the door posts of the houses.  Exodus 12:7.  The “death” of the “old man” (in the Passover) by which we become Christian is NOT PASSED ON TO Satan, it is exchanged with Christ.  Christ is our Saviour, and only He can bear this, and He will continue to do so forever.  He still has the wounds of that sacrifice on His hands and sides. John 20:27.  (See Note 2). 

Satan is given only that which he is responsible for, the “death” associated with the confessed sins of Christians.  Those sins (known and unknown) which Christians fail to confess will cause their own deaths and this will require a resurrection from the grave. In some cases failure to confess and forsake a sin because it is cherished will result in eternal death. 

It is because the last generation of Christians have confessed ALL their sins (known, and unknown as they sought for them) that they can be translated without seeing death, for they are "clean" at the time of the second coming. Psalm 24:1-6. 

While the “fit” man is leading the scapegoat away, there is still time left in the day, so now the high priest removes his white clothes, leaves them in the first apartment, and comes forth in all his glory to the waiting people (the 2nd advent).   Leviticus 16:23-25.

There is no ceremony to cleanse the courtyard or its altar.  This will be done in the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:14-15.   

As the final ceremony for the day, the high priest’s ram is now offered as a burnt offering of consecration for eternity (it is not a sin offering). It is completely burnt and its blood poured out at the foot of the brass altar.  Leviticus 1:10-13. 



There are three types of “blood = death” used in the ceremonies.

the lamb’s when we become Christians

the goat’s when Christians need forgiveness

the bullock’s for transfer into the sanctuary 

There are many other ceremonies which are the “small print” of this agreement, but they do not alter the basics of this “nutshell”. They illuminate many other significant details.   Some of these are:- 

The red cow sacrifice.

The “wave” and “heave” offerings.

The “burnt” offering of consecration.

The “meal” offering of our possessions.

The offering and restitution for a wilful sin.

The burning of the fat and the kidneys on the altar.

The “peace” offering of understanding with its “cakes”. 

The “trespass” offering for unwittingly breaking the law.

The five cleansings to illustrate the total cleansing of the Christian.  

And many more.


e. g.            Some of them told Jesus what to do and when.

          Some of them tell the story of the pilgrim’s progress.

          Some of them describe the history and future of the church.  

This is why the LORD said as His last words to us in the Old Testament,

 Malachi 4  

4 Remember you the law [the sanctuary services] of Moses My servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb [Sinai] for all Israel, with the statutes [various principles] and judgments [His daily advices on how to keep those principles in our earthly lives].


 Note 1.  Shekinah glory

 Exodus 13

21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

 Exodus 40

38 For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. Back to text

 Note 2.  The wounds on His body

 John 20

25 The other disciples therefore said to him [Thomas], "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." 

26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace be to you."  

27 Then says He to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing."  28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God." 29 Jesus says to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me [physically], you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." 

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 but these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name. Back to text

 Note 3.  The two goats

These two goats represent the Son of God and Lucifer as they were BEFORE the rebellion began. Christ manifested Himself in that time as an angel looking just like all the other inhabitants of heaven. 

They are pictured as standing on either side of the throne of God with their wings over His head. The controversy began when Lucifer realised that the other "angel" could do something he couldn't, that is, enter into the bright light which surrounded the Father and commune with Him, and he became jealous. The two covering cherubs in the most holy place were identical except that one stood at the right hand and one at the left of God.

 Exodus 25

18 And you shall make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shall you make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.

 Ezekiel 28

14 You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so:
you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. Back to text

 Note 4: The Dividing Line

 {Desire of Ages 75.1}

Among the Jews the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. On completing this year a Hebrew boy was called a son of the law, and also a son of God. He was given special opportunities for religious instruction, and was expected to participate in the sacred feasts and observances. It was in accordance with this custom that Jesus in His boyhood made the Passover visit to Jerusalem. Like all devout Israelites, Joseph and Mary went up every year to attend the Passover; and when Jesus had reached the required age, they took Him with them.   Back to text



 Ezekiel 43

10 You son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern [Jesus Christ]. 11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof,

and do them.


[1] This was the bright light by which God identified Himself.  Exodus 13:21-22.  Back to text

[2] The two covering cherubs in the most holy place were identical.  Exodus 25:18-20; Ezekiel 28:14. Back to text





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


This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page



1 John 2:

1 My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Back to text