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Why have the Old Testament Sanctuary?
In this article the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding. Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
All the ideas expressed in here, right or wrong, are my own.
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And let [allow] them [to] make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make it.
Why did God “allow” the Hebrews to build Him a sanctuary to dwell in?
And why don’t we have animal sacrifices today?
After having spent something like two hundred and fifty years living in Egypt (from Jacob’s late years [Genesis 47:8-11] through to Moses and the exodus; c.1709BC – 1483BC), with the last part as unwilling slaves, the Hebrew people were well conversant with the Egyptian way of religion, in which a temple was the dwelling place of a god, and those who wished to communicate with it went there to make an offering in order to get a blessing from it. (See endnotes 1 and also 2 where we are told that their gods were based on their necessities and desires.)
The four hundred year period mentioned in Abraham’s vision of Genesis 15:13 was dated from his time, as was the 430 years spoken of in Exodus 12:40-41, for that was the total time the family had to wait to set out for the Promised Land. (See note 3 for more on this.)
The Egyptian religious method, set up at Satan’s instigation, was a clever and misleading counterfeit of the heavenly system of God’s sanctuary. (See Hebrews 8:1-2.) However, when they left Egypt in the exodus the Hebrews took the idea of a special place for their God with them, and before they even reached Mt. Sinai they had set aside a unique tent for this purpose (rather like many professed Christians today do with a church. “You must visit the church every week”, they say.) For the Hebrews it served the double purpose (in their minds) of keeping God away from their everyday lives, and gave them a place to congregate within the community.
The existence of this man-made meeting place was disclosed to us after the disgraceful worship of the god of force (the golden bull) while Moses was away on the Mount. (Exodus 32:1-8.) In doing this they had rejected the God of peace, and so He gave them some time to reflect on that.
5 For the LORD had said to Moses, Say to the children of Israel, You are a stiffnecked [unteachable] people: I will come up into the midst of you in a moment [soon], and consume you [but you would be consumed by My presence because of your action]: therefore now put off your [religious] ornaments from you, that I may know what to do to you [how to get you to accept protection].
6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their [pagan religious] ornaments by the mount Horeb [Sinai]. 7 And Moses took the tabernacle [the special tent], and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the “Tabernacle of the Congregation” [the peoples’ tent].
And it came to pass [for some time after that], that every one which sought the LORD [still] went out to the Tabernacle of the Congregation, which was [now] without the camp.
8 And it came to pass [one day], when Moses went out to the tabernacle [which he didn’t normally do] that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar [containing the presence of the Son of God, Exodus 13:21-22] descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. [But they wouldn’t go near the Cloud!]
By the divine direction the tent that had served as a temporary place of worship was removed “afar off from the camp”. (The ornate and costly one was not constructed until they had been at Mount Sinai for a while, and it was set up on the 1st day of the 1st month in the 2nd year. Exodus 36:1-3; 40:1-2; 16-17.)
After it was built, the two most important rituals in the earthly sanctuary in God’s sight were the offering of incense (the renewing of prayer) twice each day (Exodus 30:7-8), and the eating of the flesh of a sin offering when necessary (Leviticus 6:24-26), but these have been largely over-shadowed by the shedding of the blood. “And Samuel said, Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams”. 1 Samuel 5:22.
But the removal of their short-term tent was further evidence that God had had to withdraw His presence from them and their system. They believed that He would reveal Himself to Moses, but not to them, as many still do today when they look for a human mediator between them and God. The rebuke was keenly felt, and to the conscience-smitten multitudes it seemed a foreboding of greater calamity. “Had not the LORD separated Moses from the camp that He might utterly destroy them?” they thought, although he was still living in it. But they were not left without hope. True, the tent was pitched outside the encampment, but Moses had called it “The Tabernacle of the Congregation” at the LORD’s direction.
(That name was also sometimes used for the first apartment of the two-roomed tabernacle which was later established in the centre of the camp, even though it was only used by the priests. Leviticus 1:3.)
In the meantime, while the pattern of the heavenly one was being built, all who were truly penitent in the exodus, and desired to return to the LORD, were directed to go to the outside one to confess their sins and seek His mercy, for the majority still wanted that method of ritual ways and times, and it was to be used as a means to lead them back to the correct path.
It was one day after all the people had returned to their tents that Moses entered the tabernacle. With agonizing interest the majority watched for some token that his intercessions in their behalf were accepted, for they really thought that they needed a man (pastor or priest) to stand between them and their Saviour. If God should condescend to meet with him, they might hope that they were not to be utterly consumed. When the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the entrance of the tabernacle, the people wept for joy, and they “rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door”. They completely overlooked the fact that the “Cloud” had been easily seen and “approached” (by faith) by anyone at any time from any place in the camp before this, like the scattered earth altars their forefathers had raised in their travels, even though they were doing that very thing at that moment! (e.g. Genesis 12:7-8; Exodus 20:24.)
That’s what their sojourn in Egypt had done to them!
Many centuries later, the LORD told the people through a prophet that He had NEVER wanted so many animal sacrifices in the first place! “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings [of dedication] to your sacrifices [for sins], and eat [the] flesh [yourselves]. For I spoke not to your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices [they asked for them]: but this thing commanded I them, saying, ‘Obey My voice [every day], and I will be your God, and you shall be My people: and walk you in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you’. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward”. Jeremiah 7:21-24.
It was because of the demand of the Hebrew people that millions of animals were sacrificed and the most bloody rituals were carried out over a period of about 1,500 years, when ONE animal, at ONE time in ONE individual’s life should have been sufficient to teach them that an Innocent One had died ONCE for them! After all, they reasoned, if ONE sacrifice did some good, then MANY should do even more!
They should have used the Passover lamb as their one offering for it showed the gospel in miniature. It is written, “Purge out therefore the old leaven [representing the “old man” of sin], that you may be a new lump, as you are [now] unleavened [justified]. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us . . .” 1 Corinthians 5:7.
Thus we are told that the LAMB of God was to be chosen on a spiritual 10th day (Exodus 12:3, [i.e. we make our choice]). “Come, and let us return to the LORD: for He has torn [us with the “pricks” of conviction], and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight”. Hosea 6:1-2.
Then we may confirm our choice by killing and eating a portion of the LAMB on the 14th day of the 1st month (Exodus 12:6, [so that He is inside of us]).
This can only be done by those from whom a portion of life has been removed (Exodus 12:43-49, [which shows that the “old man” must go first]) to make room for a new “Husband”. “Know you not, brothers [and sisters], (for I speak to them that know the law [of God],) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? [e.g.] For the woman which has a husband is bound by the law [of marriage] to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband [but not from God’s law]. So then if, while her [old] husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress [a law-breaker]: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another [new] man”. Romans 7:1-3.
Paul repeated this thought in another letter; “If so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off concerning the former conversation [conduct] the “old man”, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the “new man”, which after [by] God is created in righteousness and true holiness”. Ephesians 4:21-24.
And then the “blood” of protection [a suffering God hovering (passing) over them] is placed on their homes for the “destroyer” [Satan and his angels] to see (vv7; 13; 23), not for just one night but for a lifetime. As Joshua proclaimed; “And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood [i.e. the river Euphrates in Babylon], or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”. Joshua 24:15.
After their first experience of this ritual they would have a daily and a yearly reminder of His great sacrifice for them in the sanctuary system, and this symbolism could be carried on into the Christian era.
But EVERY ritual, EVERY sacrifice, EVERY part of the sanctuary (and later, the temple), was given to illustrate the Son of God Himself, and/or the work that was GOING ON INSIDE HIM! There was nothing miraculous about the building or its services – it was merely a picture of the picture of Him as a human. “And the Word was made flesh [of the earth], and dwelt [tabernacled, margin] among us, (and we beheld His glory [the character within], the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. John 1:14. That is what the change from tabernacle to church was all about!
Nor is there anything special about the building in heaven! It too is a reminder to created beings of what is going on INSIDE the mind and heart of God.
To try and educate the exodus people to the futility of it all, the LORD multiplied rituals and ceremonies under Moses until the faithful understood that they must “LIVE by faith” in God’s power and not by their own attempts at righteousness. Habakkuk 2:4. God told them, “Hearken to Me, you that know [experience] righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law [there were those who were in the new covenant experience even then]; fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like [it eats] a garment, and the worm shall eat them like [it eats] wool [eventually]: but My righteousness shall be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation [not just at Calvary]”. Isaiah 51:7-8.
Satan was soon able to pervert this understanding in the majority of the people and the situation went from bad to hopeless. “For finding fault with them [not the agreement], He says, Behold, the days come, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people . . .” Hebrews 8:8-10.
So what could God do about it? Of course, in the background He has always been working through the Holy Spirit to get the truth to individuals no matter where or when they lived, but He did want to use His representative people to reach a wider audience in a more public way.
So what He did after the fifteen hundred years of futility and four thousand years of history, was show them how justification really works, by using another example – the example of the Son of man dying on the cross at Calvary – for regardless of what so many so-called preachers of the gospel proclaim – there is absolutely no power IN THE DEATH OF A MAN hanging on a tree for six hours! (Many other crucified victims lasted much longer.) That so many can make so far-fetched claims regarding this is astounding, and in the realm of magic and delusion, but multitudes seem to fall for it! Today it has become an enormous money-grabbing industry!
A symbol is still being taken for the reality!
In The Letter to the Hebrew Christians, the apostle calls our attention from ourselves to the Author of our salvation. In chapters one and two he presents before us His two natures, divine and human, for the Son of God had voluntarily assumed human nature. (For the substance of the other chapters, see note 4.)
It was His own act, and by His own consent that He did this. He clothed His divinity with humanity. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name [reputation] which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father”. Philippians 2:5-11.
He was all the while as God, but He did not appear or behave as God. “Then answered Jesus and said to them, ‘Verily, verily, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for what things soever He does [or tells Me], these also does the Son likewise’.” John 5:19. And He never did anything that had not already been done by some other prophet!
He veiled the demonstrations of Deity which had commanded the worship of the universe, and in its place called forth the admiration of God’s character instead. He proclaimed a “Father” instead of a “Potentate”. He was God while upon earth, but He divested Himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of a man. He walked the earth as a Christian man should. For our sakes “He became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich”. 2 Corinthians 8:9. He laid aside His glory and His majesty. He was God, but the power and glories of the form of God He for awhile relinquished. But it was as difficult for Him to stay down at that level of being guided and protected by Someone else (or even more so), as it is for a Christian to stay up at it!
He also said, “As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd. Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. NO MAN TAKES IT FROM ME, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, AND I HAVE POWER TO TAKE IT AGAIN. This commandment [permission] have I received of My Father”. John 10:15-18.
And this was confirmed when the great missionary wrote; “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God, (which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning His Son Jesus Christ our LORD . . . AND DECLARED [shown] TO BE THE SON OF GOD WITH POWER, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead [which He did in His own strength] . . .” Romans 1:1-4.
It was in this way that He draws ALL to Him. In this way He convinced the people of the universe that God was NOT as Satan claimed. They believed; the angels believed; only humanity remains undecided.
Here’s a thought: Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person – the man Christ Jesus.
In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, as it is written, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy [human reasoning] and vain deceit [deliberate lies], after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [basic ways] of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him [in His divinity], which is the Head of all principality and power . . .” Colossians 2:8-10.
When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died and was buried and resurrected.
Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible.
It was for this reason that The Letter to the Hebrew Christians was written. In that epistle the apostle Paul tried to set the matter straight for those Christians who had come out of the Jewish ceremonial system. The Spirit wanted them to lift their eyes up from all earthly examples and see behind them the spiritual value of the “death” of the Son of God for each of them AT THE TIME THEY NEEDED IT. But it is exceeding difficult for humans to do this and especially so when the explanation has to be couched in human terms. As Jesus said, “If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” John 3:12. It requires a diligent listening to the voice of the Spirit, and an experience in it, for it is written; “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brothers [and sisters]. He that loves not his brother abides in death”. 1 John 3:14.
As each one approached God (in their lifetime) with the knowledge that in and of themselves they could never be saved and that their case was hopeless, so He offered them an exchange of life, in which He would give them a portion of His life in a swap for a portion of theirs.
Peter wrote to the believers: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our LORD, according as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge [experience] of Him that has called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these YOU MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust [i.e. sin – separation from God]”. 2 Peter 1:2-4.
This is what He said (using physical things to explain the spiritual):
“And I will sanctify My great name [character], which was profaned among the heathen, which you have profaned [spoilt] in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD [of life], says the LORD GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you [separated from the other gods] before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water [containing the ashes of a red heifer, Numbers 19:18-19] upon you, and you shall be clean [from the pollution of death]: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A NEW HEART ALSO WILL I GIVE YOU, AND A NEW SPIRIT WILL I PUT WITHIN YOU: AND I WILL TAKE AWAY THE STONY HEART OUT OF YOUR FLESH, AND I WILL GIVE YOU A HEART OF FLESH. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My [daily] judgments, and do them [thereby walking righteously]. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God”. Ezekiel 36:23-28.
Thus it was prophesied of the followers of the LORD. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel:) even by the God of your father, who shall help you; and by the Almighty, who shall bless you with blessings of heaven above . . . they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of HIM THAT WAS SEPARATE FROM HIS BROTHERS”. Genesis 49:22-26.
Even the enemies of Christians knew the truth: “And he [Balaam] took up his parable [story], and said, ‘Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, “Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel”. How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed? Or how shall I defy, whom the LORD has not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: LO, THE PEOPLE SHALL DWELL ALONE, AND SHALL NOT BE RECKONED AMONG THE NATIONS. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!’” Numbers 23:7-10.
Moses wrote: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before you; and shall say, “Destroy them” [His way]. ISRAEL THEN SHALL DWELL IN SAFETY ALONE: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy are you, O Israel: who is like to you, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and who is the sword of your excellency! And your enemies shall be found liars to you; and you shall tread upon their high places”. Deuteronomy 33:27-29.
This is how Christ “dies” – by exchange – separated from His Father.
This is how Christians “live” – by exchange – separated from the world.
What is the result? Paul tells us; “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me [when I needed Him]”. Galatians 2:20.
The Spirit also described to the Old Testament people, the changeover of lives in the act of salvation in this way:
“And He showed me Joshua the high priest [representing the penitent ones of all time] standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist [accuse] him”. Zechariah 3:1. “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD [My Father] rebuke you, O Satan; even the LORD that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?’ Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments [representing the past lives of the sinners he was standing for, their “old man”, Romans 6:6], and stood before the Angel. And He answered and spoke to those that stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him’. And to him He said, ‘Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment [My robe of righteousness]’.” Zechariah 3:2-4.
In another place it is written by a participant, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels [for the wedding]”. Isaiah 61:10.
This happens ONCE in a lifetime, and is also represented by baptism. “Know you not [don’t you know], that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” Romans 6:3. It is the time when we give our life, our WHOLE past life, into His hands. That’s why it is written; “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted [buried] together in the [spiritual] likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our “old man” is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin [in our bodies]. For he that is “dead” is freed from sin”. Romans 6:4-7.
While talking to a teacher in Israel, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a man [or woman] be born of water and of the Spirit, he/she cannot enter into the kingdom of God”. John 3:5.
Then He went on to say: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness [Numbers 21:8-9], even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him [and His gift] should not perish, but have everlasting life”. John 3:14-16.
In connection with that snake on a pole, we have these words; “Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign [about 800 years after the exodus] . . . And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for [from and] to those days the children of Israel did burn incense [prayed] to it: and he called it ‘Nehushtan’ [just a piece of brass, margin]”. 2 Kings 18:1-4.
In the Old Testament they also just had to “look and live”. Numbers 21:9.
But all during His time on earth Christ, as God, still bore the sinful natures of those whom He had justified, even as other sinners were repenting and exchanging with Him. And He also endured the penalty due to any of the reborn in their subsequent acts of sin when they confessed them. However, this rolled continuously like a mountain upon His divine soul, for His true “crucifixion” had started in the Garden of Eden and is not yet finished. (Crucifixion is a slow, agonising way to die, with waves of pain as the weight of the body is shifted from hands to feet and vice versa. Although divinity cannot die as humans do, He suffers as only a God can do, as that picture illustrates!)
The “guilt and death” (the result) of the subsequent sins of Christians, (the parts of our lives we confess and transfer on a daily basis) will be lifted from Him when “the Sanctuary” is “restored to its rightful place” or “cleansed” on the real Day of Atonement, but the old natures (the whole of our past lives) which He has accepted since the foundation of the world will remain with Him forever, for the sacrifice of God is eternal.
Then He yielded up His human life as a sacrifice at Calvary that all men should see that lesson and not die eternally.
He died, not through being compelled to die, but by His own free will.
A lateral thought:
In the Bible the work of Satan is plainly defined as that of challenging the work of Christ. Therefore, when the Son of God steps in between tempted Christians and Satan on a daily basis to save them FROM the temptation to sin, the adversary is angry and opens up with a tirade of abuse and accusation, declaring that Christ is unfair in protecting these souls, and at the same time in lifting up a standard against him. So this vision has an on-going application as well as the initial experience of justification.
That was ONCE, this is continuous, as needed.
Then this revelation also shows us Satan’s last chance for accusation, for it not only illustrates the beginning and continuation of the Christian life, but what's more, it shows us the culmination in the final judgment!
In the presence of the representatives of the unfallen worlds, in the presence of the angels of heaven, in the presence of the angry adversary who has painted them in robes of blackness and moral defilement, urging that they be given into his hands, Jesus will answer Satan’s malignant charge whereby he had accused them before God day and night. Revelation 12:10. To those who stand with Him, earnestly watching the controversy and marking the determination of Satan to destroy the righteous, Jesus speaks, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him [this time it is the record of his sins as a Christian]. And to him [Joshua] He said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with [a permanent] change of raiment”. Verse 4. That’s when the people of the universe will accept the Christians as members of their family.
“And he [the erring son] arose, and came to his Father. But when he was yet a great way off, his Father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him [and clothed him with His own robe]. And the son said to Him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in Your sight, and am no more worthy to be called Your son’. But the father said to His servants, ‘Bring forth THE BEST robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found’. And they began to be merry”. Luke 15:20-24.
In another place it’s described in a similar, but different, scene to the one at the beginning of the Christian life. “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say to them on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ . . .” Matthew 25:31-34.
He says this because His sacrifice was begun at “the foundation of the world” in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, as it is written in another prophecy, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the adversary], whose names are not written in The Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
If any man have a [spiritual] ear, let him hear”. Revelation 13:8-9.
And the sacrifice is not finished until probation closes. (Revelation 11:15.)
Thus it is written, “Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible [earthly] things, as silver and gold [or the body of a man], from your vain conversation [conduct and rituals] received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood [death] of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot [of sin]: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest [made visible] in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God”. 1 Peter 1:18-21.
So what is this “second death”? It is separation from life, from the God of Life. For Christians there is to be a resurrection from the first death and a glorious entry into the realms of light. For our Saviour there is no such thing, for He has died our “second” death, which is eternal separation from His Father. He who has been with Him from eternity, voluntarily accepted, and was allowed to take on human nature and be separated from total divinity forever! That’s the price They have paid for our salvation. Of course, They can still see each other, and touch each other, and think the same thoughts, but because He is now encumbered with humanity there is not the closeness They used to have. There is a “veil” between Them, for the Son has “married” a “wife” and started a new “family”. Hebrews 10:20. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh” which is the foundation truth of marriage. Genesis 2:24.
“Jesus said to her [Mary at the tomb], ‘Touch [detain] Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father [to get public approval]: but go to My brothers [and sisters], and say to them, I ascend to My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God’.” John 20:17.
“For God so loved the world, that He [permanently] GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [and this is an everlasting sacrifice]. John 3:16.
However, so engrossed was he with the three-fold sight before him, that the prophet Zechariah cried out, “‘Let them [also] set a fair mitre [a golden crown] upon his head” [as the final seal]. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the Angel of the LORD stood by”. Zechariah 3:5.
This symbol had been described earlier: “And you shall make a plate of pure gold, and engrave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”. And you shall put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre [the crown, the diadem]; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron [as the high priest of the time] may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead [as they are in the Son of God’s mind], that they may be accepted before the LORD”. Exodus 28:36-38.
Job tells us; “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem [a crown]”. Job 29:14.
Paul mentions the same experience. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness [with the “best” robe], which the LORD, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing”. 2 Timothy 4:7-8. “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness, by faith”. Galatians 5:5. (Note the placing of the comma.)
So, in answer to the second part of the question . . . we don’t NEED the symbols once we have seen the reality. But they are useful in explaining the truth to others.
So why do the writers of the Bible consistently use the cross and the blood etc. of Christ as a basis for their understanding of Christianity? As one of my correspondents put it recently, “I think it may be just a convenient shorthand that the apostles used for Christ's sacrifice, but it certainly confuses us.” That’s why we NEED the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to understand the Bible. As Jesus said; “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you”. John 16:13-14.
The symbols, the death of one lamb in the Garden of Eden for each individual (shown by the skin, Genesis 3:21); the burnt offerings of the patriarchs over the centuries; the Passover lamb each year; the multitude of animal sacrifices added from the exodus through to Calvary; AND the “serpent on the pole” at Calvary (John 3:14), are ALL figures of the true – the “death” of the Son of God since the foundation of the world. It is a continuing sacrifice which will not be finished until the “sons of God” come into their own in the eyes of the universe.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature [the created universe] waits for the manifestation of the sons of God . . . For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit [the “first” robe], even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption [resurrection] of our body”. Romans 8:18-23.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when He comes into the world, He said, ‘Sacrifice and offering You would not, but a body have You prepared Me: 6 in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have had no pleasure’ . . .
9 Then said He, ‘Lo, I come to do Your will, O God’. He takes away the first, that He may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Just what position does the sacrifice of “the body of Jesus Christ” have in the overall plan of salvation?
The Egyptian pantheon comprised the many gods worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians.
A number of major deities are addressed as the creators of the cosmos. These include Atum, Ra, Amun (Amen) and Ptah amongst others, as well as composite forms of these gods such as Amun-Ra. This was not seen as contradictory by the Egyptians. The development of Egyptian religion in the New Kingdom lead some early Egyptologists such as E. A. Wallis Budge to speculate that the Egyptians were in reality monotheistic [had one god]. Others such as Sir Flinders Petrie considered the Egyptians to be polytheists [had many gods]. Erik Hornung argues that the best term to apply to their religion is ‘henotheism’ which describes ‘worship of one god at a time but not a single god.’
The Egyptian term for goddess was neṯeret (nṯrt; netjeret, nečeret) and the term for god was neṯer (nṯr; also transliterated netjer, nečer). The hieroglyph represents a pole or staff wrapped in cloth with the free end of the cloth shown at the top. The use of this sign has been connected to the flag poles at the entrance towers of Egyptian temples. Alternative glyphs [pictures] for gods include a star, a squatting human figure or a hawk on a perch. . . .
The Egyptian religion has a long history. Earliest images include the symbols for the goddess Neith, many fertility figurines and versions of the vulture (Nekhbet) and cobra (Wadjet) goddesses which were borne on Egyptian crowns from predynastic and protodynastic periods through to the Roman period.
The many types of animals native to Northern Africa were immensely influential in nearly every significant aspect of the Ancient Egyptian way of life. The people were highly dependent on, and sometimes equally highly cautious of, different animals in many differing ways. The presence of certain animals (or lack thereof) factored with their behavior and sheer numbers, could easily mean the difference between life and death to an individual Egyptian person in one common type of situation; just as easily as they could mean the difference between prosperity and poverty to a person in another type of situation. Perhaps most importantly, however, certain animals could also mean the difference between peace and war for the entire nation.
With regard to religion, there was a vast amount of varying forms of symbolism relating to animals embraced by the Ancient Egyptians—the symbols connoted by various animals were consistently recurring themes in their religious system. For instance, there were many cow goddesses, such as Hathor, reflecting the fact that cattle were domesticated in Egypt by 8,000 B.C.. By 5,500 B.C., stone-roofed subterranean chambers and other subterranean complexes in Nabta Playa were constructed for the express purpose of housing the tombs of ritually sacrificed cattle. Wild, as well as domesticated animals, inspired a truly enormous amount of religious symbolism, take for instance the fierce lioness, personified by Sekhmet as the warrior goddess in the south.
By 4,000 B.C. Gerzean tomb-building was seen to include underground rooms and burial of furniture and amulets, a prelude to the funerary cult of Osiris which appears in the 5th Dynasty.
The pharaoh was deified after death, and bore the title of nṯr nfr “the good god”. The title, “servant of god” was used for the priesthood, ḥmt-nṯr ‘priestesses’ and ḥm-nṯr ‘priests’. Over the great period of time covered by Ancient Egyptian culture the importance of certain deities would rise and fall, often because of the religious allegiance of the king. However the worship of some deities was more or less continuous. BACK
This web page was created March 1999 – amended summer 2005 BACK
First, we must note that Genesis 15:13 isn't referring to the Egyptian captivity. Genesis 15:13 reads, “Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.’” This indicated that from the time when Isaac was first afflicted (which began at the time of his weaning in Genesis 21), to the time when the Israelites left Egypt, there would be four hundred years. This was fulfilled and can be verified.
In Exodus 12:40,
it reads “Now the sojourn for the children of Israel, who lived in Egypt, was
four hundred and thirty years”. This began when Abraham left Haran. He left
Haran 25 years before Isaac was born (see Genesis 16:16).
The entire sojourn was four hundred and thirty years and their affliction lasted four hundred years. Incidentally, Galatians 3:17 correlates with Exodus 12:40.
The phrase “in a land not theirs” is described in the books of Hebrews and Romans as a type of “the earth” (Hebrews 11:13-16; Romans 4:13), so it covers both Canaan and Egypt. BACK
Note 4: The book of Hebrews
One Jesus is God
Two Jesus is also a Christian human
Three Jesus is in charge of the church
Four Jesus gives “rest” from our own works
Five Jesus is our High Priest
Six Jesus is within the heavenly veil
Seven Jesus is the High Priest of the Melchisedec order
Eight Jesus offers a spiritual sacrifice
Nine Jesus is the only Mediator
Ten Jesus has made one sacrifice
Eleven Jesus is the Author of our faith
Twelve Jesus is our “Father”
Thirteen Jesus never changes
To Ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"