Lesson 21 | Sabbath, 19 November 2022
“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” Revelation 15:5.
“Moses made the earthly sanctuary, ‘according to the fashion that he had seen.’ Paul declares that ‘the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry,’ when completed, were ‘the patterns of things in the heavens.’ Acts 7:44; Hebrews 9:21, 23. And John says that he saw the sanctuary in heaven. That sanctuary, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy.
“The heavenly temple, the abiding place of the King of kings, where ‘thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood beforeHim’ (Daniel 7:10), that temple filled with the glory of the eternal throne, where seraphim, its shining guardians, veil their faces in adoration–no earthly structure could represent its vastness and its glory.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357.
Vision of the heavenly sanctuary
- Even though it is not made of the same material as was the earthly, what can we imagine that the great original sanctuary in heaven is like?
Revelation 15:5-8 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 8And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
“In holy vision John was taken into the heavenly sanctuary. He says: ‘The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.’ ‘And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.’ The sanctuary that Moses was commanded to make was to be after the pattern of the heavenly sanctuary. In the ark were placed the ten commandments which had been written by the finger of God. The law that was placed in the ark on earth was a copy of the law that is contained in the ark of the testament in heaven, and the precepts of Jehovah are immutable. The ten commandments constitute the moral standard of character. God requires on the part of man perfect conformity to His law, and a curse is pronounced against everyone who continues not in all things written in the law to do them.” –Signs of the Times, June 11, 1894.
- What surrounded the earthly sanctuary? Where was it located in rela- tion to the sanctuary? According to the vision in Revelation, how doesthe heavenly sanctuary differ from this?
Exodus 27:9; 30:18 And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hun- dred cubits long for one side:… 30:18Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
Revelation 11:1, 2 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
“Have you, dear youth, your lamps trimmed and burning? The work is going on in the heavenly court. In vision on the Isle of Patmos John said: ‘And there was given me a reed like unto a rod, and the angel stood, saying, Arise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.’ This solemn work is to be done upon the earth. Look and see how stands your measurement of character as compared with God’s standard of righteousness, His holy law. The worshipers are to pass under the measuring line of God. Who will bear the test? Christ says, ‘I know thy works.’ Nothing is hid from Him of whom John says, ‘His head and His hair were white like wool, white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire.’ How many are purifying their souls by obeying the truth? How many are now in this time wholly on the Lord’s side? How many are seeking to be a blessing to those around them? Many need help, kind words, thoughtful attentions; and if you pray with such, you may be a blessing to them.” –The Youth’s Instructor, August 25, 1886.
- What object was seen in vision that was in the earthly sanctuary?
Exodus 27:1; 30:28 And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits…. 30:28And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.
“‘And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them [they were pronounced pure and holy]; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.’ Revelation 6:9-11. Here were scenes presented to John that were not in reality but that which would be in a period of time in the future. [Revelation 8:1-4, quoted.]” – Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, pp. 197, 198.
- What other object of the earthly sanctuary appears in a vision given to the apostle John? What is similar in the two views?
Revelation 9:13, 14 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. Exodus 30:6-8 And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. 7And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
“The work of God is to be carried on to completion by the cooperation of divine and human agencies. Those who are self-sufficient may be apparently active in the work of God; but if they are prayerless, their activity is of no avail. Could they look into the censer of the angel that stands at the golden altar before the rainbow-circled throne, they would see that the merit of Jesus must be mingled with our prayers and efforts, or they are as worthless as was the offering of Cain. Could we see all the activity of human instrumentality, as it appears before God, we would see that only the work accomplished by much prayer, which is sanctified by the merit of Christ, will stand the test of the judgment. When the grand review shall take place, then shall ye return and discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” –Review and Herald, July 4, 1893.
- What else is seen in the Revelation that was characteristic of the earthly sanctuary? What does the angel do in front of the golden altar?
Revelation 8:3, 4 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
“As has been stated, the earthly sanctuary was built by Moses according to the pattern shown him in the mount. It was ‘a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices;’ its two holy places were ‘patterns of things in the heavens;’ Christ, our great High Priest, is ‘a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.’ Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2. As in vision the apostle John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven, he beheld there ‘seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.’ He saw an angel ‘having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.’ Revelation 4:5; 8:3. Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there the ‘seven lamps of fire’ and the ‘golden altar’ represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary on earth. Again, ‘the temple of God was opened’ (Revelation 11:19), and he looked within the inner veil, upon the holy of holies. Here he beheld ‘the ark of His testament’ (Revelation 11:19), represented by the sacred chest constructed by Moses to contain the law of God.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 356.
Lost on earth but existing in heaven
- What important objects in the most holy place did not exist later in the earthly temple but were seen in vision in the heavenly temple? What meaning does this have for God’s people today?
Revelation 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
“When God’s temple in heaven is opened, what a triumphant time that will be for all who have been faithful and true! In the temple will be seen the ark of the testament in which were placed the two tables of stone, on which are written God’s law. These tables of stone will be brought forth from their hiding place, and on them will be seen the Ten Commandments engraved by the finger of God. These tables of stone now lying in the ark of the testament will be a convincing testimony to the truth and binding claims of God’s law.” –(Letter 47, 1902) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 972.
- What did the ark of the covenant in the earthly sanctuary contain that was so precious? What is inside of the heavenly ark?
Deuteronomy 10:2-5 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. 4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. 5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.
“In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely cherub, with its wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned toward each other, and they looked downward. Between the angels was a golden censer. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt. Jesus stood by the ark, and as the saints’ prayers came up to Him, the incense in the censer would smoke, and He would offer up their prayers with the smoke of the incense to His Father. In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were four, and on the other six.” –Early Writings, p. 32.
Essential parts of the plan of salvation
“The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, ‘whither the forerunner is for us entered.’ Hebrews 6:20. There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to heaven; the sacrifice made is equal to the broadest demands of the broken law of God. Jesus has opened the way to the Father’s throne, and through His mediation the sincere desire of all who come to Him in faith may be presented before God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 489.