The Mercy Seat. "And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof." "And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy scat." "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. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark." Ex. 25:17-21; 37:7-9.
The mercy seat was so called because it symbolized the place where mercy was dispensed to man over the law that he had transgressed. It also represented Christ, for Paul says that God hath set Him forth to be a "propitiation," Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2, or "mercy seat," as the same word is translated in Hebrews 9:5. Through Him only do we have "remission of sins" - He is our propitiation or atonement, our mercy seat.
The Mercy Seat A Symbol of God's Throne. Unlike the ark which was made of wood covered with gold, the mercy seat was made "of pure gold." John locates God's throne in the most holy place when he says: "The golden altar . . . was before the throne." Rev. 8:3. The golden altar was in the holy place directly before the mercy seat, which was in the most holy place. Between the cherubim was the Shekinah, representing the visible presence of God. David says, "He (God) sitteth between the cherubim;" "Thou. . . dwelleth between the cherubim." Ps. 99:1; 80:1; 11 Kings 19:15. Here, "between the cherubim" which were upon the mercy seat covering the ark of the testimony, "God gave commandment unto the children of Israel." Ex. 25.22.
God's throne is a seat, or throne, of mercy - a mercy seat. "Mercy is compassionate treatment of an enemy, with a disposition to forgive," says Webster. Whose seat then did the mercy seat represent? The only answer is that it represented the seat, or throne, of Him who is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." Ps. 103:8. "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering . . . keeping mercy for thousands, (to a thousand generations, Deut. 7:9) forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Ex. 34:6J; 20:5,6.
The ark was made expressly to be the innermost shrine of the tables of stone on which were engraved God's ten-commandment law. The transgression of this fundamental law of the universe is sin, I John 3:4, and all have sinned; Rom. 3:23; all are enemies by wicked works. Col. 1:21. But on God's throne or seat, a seat of mercy, sits our Father, who treats an emeny with compassion and a disposition to forgive.
"God's love for the fallen race is a peculiar manifestation of love - a love born of mercy . . . Mercy implies imperfection of the object toward which it is shown. It is because of sin that mercy was brought into active exercise." 7T 264. When all the enemies of righteousness are no more forever, when there are no more sinners, there will be no more opportunity for the "active exercise" of mercy. When sin is done away, God's eternal love still lives, though it is manifest not in mercy, for this quality of love can be exercised only toward enemies and sinners. The disposition to forgive and the disposition to show mercy, being qualities of the eternal One, are eternal. These qualities of God belong to the eternal "throne of God and the Lamb." Were God's throne anything but a mercy seat, we would be utterly without hope. "His throne is upholden by mercy." Prov. 20:28. Were this not true, what would be the result to the throne itself?
The Cherubim of Beaten Gold. On each end of the mercy seat was a magnificent angel form made of solid gold. The two wings stretched forth on high "touched each other." EW 252. The angels faced each other, and, expressive of reverence, bowed their heads toward the holy law of God within the ark below.
These cherubim, were not only of solid gold but of beaten gold. As already noted, the candlestick, representing Christ the light of the world, was also of beaten gold, the oil used for the lights, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, was beaten, and the gold thread with which the angel forms were embroidered was cut from beaten gold. Ex. 39:3. That the gold was beaten represented the sorrow and suffering that Heaven has endured because of sin. "Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All Heaven suffered in Christ's agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God." Ed. 263. Not only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but all the angels of heaven were involved in the infinite Sacrifice required to redeem man. At the news of man's transgression. every angel harp was hushed. In disappointment and sorrow, the angels cast their crowns from their heads. How could they give up their beloved Commander to a life of humiliation and suffering? And from that time, all through the working out of the plan of salvation, for every temptation suffered. for every trial and persecution endured for Christ's sake, there has been a responsive suffering in heaven. Isa. 63:9.
Who Are Represented by These Cherubim? These two cherubim of matchless splendor, one standing at the right, the other at the left of the Shekinah glory, represent two special angels who are the "shining guardians" of the law of God and of His "eternal throne," "the abiding place of the King of kings." PP 357; GC 414. They represent the "most exalted of the angel throng." These were with Christ throughout His life on earth, and they came to the tomb at His resurrection. John 20:12; DA 780, 830. They are the two who at His ascension waited in sympathy and love to comfort the disciples with the assurance: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11; DA 780,831,832.
What are the names of these two angels? The Bible tells us the name of only one of them. Before sin entered the universe, Lucifer, the light bearer, was "the anointed cherub that covereth." It was he who was "upon the holy mountain of God;" Eze. 28:14; he stood next in honor to the Son of God. When Lucifer was cast out of heaven, Gabriel was appointed to take his place. DA 693,780. This same Gabriel, who is called "an angel of the Lord," foretelling the birth of John as the forerunner of Christ, declared, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God." Luke 1:11,16,19; DA 98. It was Gabriel who was sent by God to Mary to tell her of the birth of Christ. Luke 1:26-28; DA 780. It was Gabriel who was honored in that "awful crisis, when everything was at stake, when the mysterious cup trembled in the hand of the Sufferer," who came to the side of Christ in Gethsemane to strengthen Him and speak words of encouragement. DA 693.
Not only in behalf of Christ, but on other occasions, Gabriel has been sent on special errands of honor and trust. It was Gabriel, âHis angel,â whom Christ sent to John on the Isle of Patmos to signify (that is, to show by signs, or symbols) "things which must shortly come to pass." Rev. 1:1; DA 99,234. It was Gabriel who gave Daniel understanding regarding the 2300 days and the cleansing of the sanctuary, Dan. 8:14,16; 9:21, and who said, "There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael (Christ) your Prince." Dan. 10:21. Wonderful thought - that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men! DA 99.
How utterly incomprehensible that the evil ambitions of Lucifer, whose place at the throne of God was taken by Gabriel could blind his eyes to his marvelous privileges and opportunities! And equally incomprehensible is it that human beings can throw away their prospects of the future immortal life in the glorious and sinless home of eternal peace and joy for a few paltry and fleeting pleasures of sin!
The Angel of the Covenant. The ark is called "the ark of the covenant," Num. 10:33; Heb. 9:4, because in it was placed the covenant, the "tables of stone" that God gave to Moses. Ex. 25:16; 31:18. Christ is called "the Messenger of the covenant," Mal. 3:1, or "the Angel of the covenant" PP 252, because when He gave the law at Sinai, He was God's messenger, doing the will of the Father.
From the fact that Christ is called "the Angel of the covenant," some have concluded that Christ was one of the covering cherubim. But this cannot be, for Christ occupies the position of King on the throne with the Father. "The Angel of the covenant, even our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Mediator who secures the acceptance of the prayers of His believing ones." 8T 179. He is not an angel in the ordinary acceptation of that word. When He is called "Angel" the term is used in the sense of messenger.
The Shekinah a Symbol of Jehovah. Between the mystic cherubim on the mercy seat was the Shekinah glory. The brilliancy of this dazzling light, reflected from the overshadowing cherubim, was too bright for human eyes to look upon. The word shekinah is not found in the Bible. It is used by both Jews and Christians to express the visible majesty of Jehovah, especially when dwelling between the cherubim on the mercy seat in the first sanctuary and in the temple of Solomon, but not in the second temple, because in that temple there was no ark and no mercy seat. The idea that the different accounts in the Scriptures convey is that of a most brilliant and glorious light, enveloped in a cloud, so that for the most part the cloud alone was visible; but on particular occasions the glory appeared. There are frequent allusions to it in the Bible, such as, "Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth;" Ps. 80:1; "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory;" Rom. 9:4; "To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary." Ps. 63:2.
Literally, the word shekinah means dwelling place. Its root is also found in the word tabernacled. Light is thrown on this thought in the literal rendering of Genesis 3:24: "So He drove out the man, and He tabernacled (He shekinahed) at the east of the garden with cherubims; and a glittering, flickering flame turned every way to keep the way about the tree of life."
God's Will Revealed from the Shekinah. Through the inquiring priest, the will of Jehovah was made known not only by Urim and Thummim, but above the mercy seat from the Shekinah, the manifestation of the Divine presence. "There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." Ex. 25:22; Num. 7:89. How was this done? "Divine messages were sometimes communicated to the high priest by a voice from the cloud. Sometimes a light fell upon the angel at the right, to signify approval or acceptance, or a shadow or cloud rested upon the one at the left to reveal disapproval or rejection." PP 349.
Thus it seems plain that while the mercy seat was a symbol of the seat or throne of God in heaven, the Shekinah represented the glorious presence of Jehovah Himself. As the angel forms represented on the walls, the veil, and the ceiling, filled the most holy place, so, in a vision of the heavenly sanctuary, Isaiah saw "the Lord sitting upon a throne . . . and His train (of angels) filled the temple." Isa. 6:1. As a shadow portrays but a mere outline of an object or person, not revealing the life and character, so the mercy seat with the Shekinah, unspeakably magnificent though their glory, can be but a dim reflection of that of which it was a mere shadow.
God's Law the Foundation of His Throne. As the ark upheld the mercy seat, so the law within the ark represents the foundation of God's throne or government. "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne." Ps. 97:2; ARV. Here again it is illustrated that âMercy and truth (love and law) are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.â Ps. 85:10. To destroy the fundamental law of God's government would be to undermine His throne and overthrow His government. The tables of the law embosomed in the ark, together with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood for those who have transgressed the law, represent "the union of justice and mercy in the plan of human redemption. This union infinite wisdom alone could devise, and infinite power accomplish; it is a union that fills all Heaven with wonder and adoration . . . This is the mystery of mercy into which the angels desire to look - that God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinner." GC 415; 1 Peter 1:12.
27. ISRAEL'S DAY OF ATONEMENT AND ITS ANTITYPE
The Silver Trumpets. God said to Moses, "Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them, that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camp. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginning of your months; . . . that they may be to you for a memorial before your God "for a memorial, or reminder, of His leadership and of their deliverance. Num. 10:2, 8-10. When in the wilderness all the people were together in one large camp, two trumpets were sufficient to make any necessary proclamation, but when settled throughout the land of Canaam, it would seem that more would be needed, especially when the proclamation was to be given all over the land of Israel in one day.
Why did God instruct that these trumpets be made of silver? And why was the silver to be "of a whole piece"? Silver was a symbol of redemption, especially prefigured on the day of atonement. As the priests' garments woven in one piece represented that his life was to be riveted to one great purpose, so these trumpets "of a whole piece" were to remind the people that especially at this solemn time, their thoughts were to be centered on preparation for the day of atonement. Therefore the day when the trumpets were blown was to be "a sabbath . . . an holy convocation," when every family was to "offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord" - an offering of consecration and thanksgiving. Lev. 23:23-25.
The most solemn of the "solemn days" when the trumpets were blown was to proclaim the approach of the day of atonement. "In the seventh month, in the first day of the month," there was to be "a memorial of blowing of trumpets." Lev. 23:24. This was ten days before the day of atonement, which came on the tenth day of the seventh month. Lev. 23:27.
This blowing of the trumpets by the priests notified the people that the day of atonement was near, and that they must hasten to confess every sin and make every wrong right. It gave everyone time to make the necessary preparation and present himself in Jerusalem at the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, for "in that same day," Lev. 23:28-30, every case in Israel was decided. This was in type the final separation of the sinner from his sin, if that sin had been confessed; or if not, it was in type the final separation of the sinner from the house of Israel.
Antitype of the Blowing of Trumpets. The day of God's Judgment for the human race, when every individual will ether be separated from his sins or cut off from the heavenly family, is the antitype of the day of atonement. According to the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, this real day of Judgment began at the end of the 2300 days, in 1844.
As in the type, ten days before "the tenth day of the seventh month," the priests blew the silver trumpets, warning everyone to get ready, so in the antitype, the judgment message began to be proclaimed about ten years, "each day for a year? Num. 14:34, preceding 1844. (See Our Firm Foundation, Vol. I p. 345). During this period of time, every Christian nation on earth heard in trumpet tones the announcement of the message of Revelation 14:6,7: "The hour of His Judgment is come!" This was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel: "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain. . . for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is night at hand." Joel 2:1.
The Cleansing of the Earthly Sanctuary. In the earthly sanctuary, one year's round of service symbolized the entire plan of salvation. On the last day of this yearly service, the day of atonement, the high priest first offered a bullock, the largest and most costly of the sacrifices, as a sin offering to make atonement "for himself and for his house." Lev. 16:11-14. Dressed in his plain white linen garments which were worn only in the most holy place on the day of atonement, he went alone into the sanctuary. Lev. 16:4,7; Heb. 9:7. Here he sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat in the most holy place, then in the holy place, and finally on the altar in the court. This atonement for his own sins and for his house, qualified him to act as mediator for the people.
Following this, Aaron cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord, and the other for the scapegoat. Lev. 16:5-8. He then killed the Lord's goat, "the sin offering for the people" v. 15, which symbolized Christ who died for their sins, and brought the blood into the sanctuary. By this act, as Christ's representative, he in type took upon himself the sins of repentant Israel. He then sprinkled the blood "seven times," (complete reconciliation) upon the mercy seat over the law that had been transgressed, also in the holy place, and "on the altar that is before the Lord" in the court, thus making atonement for "all the congregation." This was "an end of reconciling." vs. 14-20. The services of the day were now about to close, and while the sun was sinking in the western sky, anyone who still had unconfessed sin was cut off from Israel. The destiny of every Israelite had been decided.
The last event of the day now took place. The goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, was presented alive before the Lord. Vs. 7-10. The high priest, laying both his hands on the head of the goat, confessed over him all the sins of repentant Israel, thus in figure transferring the sins from himself to the goat. The goat was then sent away "into the wilderness; . . . unto a land not inhabited," vs. 21,22, where he finally perished, never to return to the camp of Israel. Thus in type every true Israelite had been cleansed from all sin, and the sanctuary where his sins had been recorded in blood was cleansed. Because the events of this day determined the future of every Israelite, the day of atonement was the most seriously solemn day of their lives. (See GC 420).
The Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary. As in the earthly, so in the heavenly sanctuary, the work of Christ, our heavenly High Priest, on the great day of final judgment for the true Israel, the household of God, is the antitype of the work of the earthly high priest on the day of atonement for Israel of old. When this final work of Judgment began, at the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, in 1844, Jesus passed from the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary into "the Holiest of all," Heb. 9:3 - the most holy place, to begin the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. Since "Judgment must begin at the house of God," I Peter 4:17, the cases of those only who at some time in their lives have become members of the family of God on earth, and whose names have been written in the Book of Life, are considered, or investigated, at this time. This investigation is to determine who have endured to the end, and it is therefore called the âInvestigative Judgment.â Matt. 10:22. Those who have never accepted Christ as their personal Saviour, who have never become members of the true Israel, Ga. 3:20, are not considered at this time. Their cases need no such investigation - their Judgments will be executive.
In the earthly sanctuary, "while the sin offering (the Lord's goat) pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan." GC
422. As the high priest, by virtue of slaying the sin offering, the Lord's goat, and receiving this blood, took the sins of Israel upon himself, and coming out of the sanctuary placed them
upon the scapegoat, so Christ, at the close of His ministration for sinners, by virtue of His own blood, removes the sins of the truly repentant from the record books in the heavenly sanctuary, and places them upon Satan the originator and instigator of sin, who will bear their punishment. See GC 673; EW 178, 281. As the scapegoat, bearing the sins of repentant and forgiven Israel, was sent away "into a land not inhabited" where he finally perished, never again to return to the camp of Israel, so Satan who is responsible for all sin, will during a thousand years spend his last days in this earth which will then be desolate and without inhabitant. Here, when the earth is burned up, he will be eternally destroyed, never again to afflict God's people. Nahum 1:9.
When the Investigative Judgment closes, all the sins of redeemed Israel will have been forever blotted out, not in type but in reality, and all the names of unrepentant Israel will be forever blotted out from God's family record book - "cut off" from Israel. At this time the eternal destiny not only of the "house of God" the true Israel, but of the entire human family, is forever decided. This blotting out of the sins of repentant Israel recorded in the books above, constitutes the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. Thus, "the holy of holies (in the earthly sanctuary). . . forms the connecting link between heaven and earth." PP 348.
Christ Our Great Sin Bearer. Because the high priest transferred the sins of repentant Israel to the scapegoat which represented Satan, some have concluded that this makes Satan, instead of Christ, the sin bearer. These apparently overlook the fact that the scapegoat had no part in the atonement of Israel; his blood was not taken into the sanctuary at all. On the contrary, the atonement for sin was effected by the blood of the Lord's goat, which represented Christ the true Sin-offering, the great Sin-bearer whose blood cleanses from all sin. I John 1:7. Unlike Christ though Satan will finally perish, he dies, not to redeem man, but because of the sins he has caused to be committed.
It is important that we be not confused on this point. Christ, the heavenly High Priest, voluntarily gave His life for the sins of the whole world. John 3: 16. Those who accept His sacrifice
- those who have placed their sins on the great Sin-bearer - are thus freed from the penalty of their sins. But, since the inevitable consequence of sin is death, someone must pay the final penalty. Who? In justice, he who is responsible for these sins. Therefore, when the real Judgment closes, Christ, the antitypical High Priest, places them on Satan, the antitypical scapegoat, who in Justice âmust suffer for all the evil that he has done, and be punished for the sins that he has caused to be committed.â GC 660. Again, in justice, those whose names have not been retained in the Book of Life as well as all whose names have never been written there will, with Satan, be cast into the lake of fire where they will be punished for their share of their own sins, and finally be eternally destroyed. Rev. 20;10,15. Thus, from first to last, God's justice is fully vindicated.
The Time of the Day of Atonement. The day of atonement, the typical day of Judgment, began exactly on time: "In the ninth day of the month at even," and continued "from even unto even." Lev. 23:32. The "even" is God's appointed time for the beginning and close of every day; therefore, the ninth day at even at the setting of the sun, marked the beginning of the tenth day. At that time every Israelite was to be in his place in Jerusalem, having been forewarned by the blowing of trumpets ten days previously. Likewise, the time of the beginning of the real day of Judgment, when the heavenly sanctuary is to be cleansed, is divinely appointed; "Unto 2300 days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Dan. 8:14. According to reliable information, the tenth day of the seventh month in 1844 fell on October 22. At that time the Investigative Judgment began in the heavenly sanctuary. Dan. 8:14. It will close when probation ends. As on the day of atonement when Israel, in type, had been cleansed from all sin, the high priest pronounced his blessing on the people so when the real Judgment day closes and the sins of redeemed Israel have been blotted out, then Christ the heavenly High Priest will pronounce His blessing, saying, "He that is righteous, let him be righteous still. and he that is holy let him be holy still." Rev. 22:11; also GC 613. Thus like all the other ordinances of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement will be fulfilled "not only as to the event but as to the time." GC 399-400.
The Services. The services on the day of atonement were as definite as was the time. These also were divinely appointed. Aside from the duties of the high priest, there were four definite assignments for the people: "It shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work - no service work - in that same day; for it is a day of atonement." Lev. 23:27,28. These are the words that the Lord spoke unto Moses to deliver unto Israel. Every requirement must be met on penalty of separation from Israel.
"An Holy Convocation." The day of atonement connected with the earthly sanctuary was an all-day service - an holy convocation at Jerusalem from which no Israelite was to absent himself. Nor was it a time for idle, careless, trifling associations. It was a day of deep heart searching and earnest prayer, that as the high priest officiated at the mercy seat, every confessed sin might be put away. No one could afford to let the day close with one known sin resting upon his heart. If this was neglected, the sinner was no longer counted among Israel.
Since the day of atonement was of such importance to ancient Israel, how infinitely more important to us is its antitype, the real and final day of Judgment! How much more should we who have entered "into the holiest by the blood of Jesus . . . through the veil, . . draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith!" How much more should we "hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering!" How much more should we "consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, . . but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching!" Heb. 10:19-25.
"Ye shall Afflict Your Souls." What is it to "afflict" the soul? Moffatt translates it "abstain and fast." During the antitype of the day of atonement, unbelievers are "eating and drinking," feasting and making merry, "as it was in the days of Noah." Matt. 24:37-39. They express their merriment in boisterous laughter and trifling song, disregarding the Scripture, "Is any merry? let him sing psalms." James 5:13. They are restless and unhappy unless they are being entertained by amusements that drown the conscience and unfit the mind for sober study of God's Word. They do not realize the seriousness of the times. Like the rich man in the parable, they "pull down their barns, and build greater;" and to their souls they say "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink. and be merry." Poor souls! Their riches cannot save them, for they are "not rich toward God." Luke 12:18,19,21.
Satan exerts every conceivable effort to sway them away from the path of right. Their only safety is to be of those of whom Paul wrote: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. . . Therefore, let us watch and be sober . . . putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation." I Thess. 5:4-8. "For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people." Lev. 23:29.
"An Offering Made by Fire." The regular morning and evening burnt offerings, which symbolized "the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ" PP 352, formed a part of the service on the day of atonement. Burnt offerings were called âsweet savorâ offerings because, being expressive of complete consecration of body, soul, and spirit, they were to God as sweet smelling incense. They were also expressive of thanksgiving and gratitude to Him who gave Himself as a whole burnt offering. They were burned on the brazen altar type of the place where first we gave our hearts to God, and where every idol of the heart and every evil thing was placed to be completely consumed. Now, in the evening of the Judgment day, at the time of the evening sacrifice, the time when "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" 1 Cor. 3:13-15, shall we not return to our first love, once more dedicating to God all that we have and are for the finishing of His work?
"A Sabbath of Rest." Another requirement for the observance of the day of atonement was: "Ye shall do no work ('no servile work,' Lev. 23:25) in that same day," whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you." Lev. 16:29. "Ye shall do no manner of work. . . it shall be unto you a sabbath of rest." Lev. 23:28-32. This requirement was as important as it was emphatic, for âWhatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.â The entire thought and time of every true Israelite was to be centered on the services of the day. There was to be no divided heart, - the day of atonement demanded complete and whole-hearted consecration of every power.
During this, our antitypical day of atonement, the actual day of Judgment, are we then to be idle? By no means. Nevertheless, we are told that "those who do not cleanse the soul temple, but who engage in some enterprise not in harmony with His work, those who engage in side issues to satisfy their own selfish purposes, are joining with the enemy of God and man." R&H January 21, 1890. Again, âWhen the professed people of God engage in side issues to gratify their own selfish purposes, they do so at the risk of losing eternal life.â (Manuscript EGW). Is not this the "servile work" which at this time God forbids? If while Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary is examining the
cases of those who have identified themselves as His children, we are indifferent to, or half-hearted in, the task of carrying the judgment message to those who have never heard, can we expect a less serious pronouncement than that given to Israel in the type? Is God less concerned and less particular in this, the real day of Judgment, than He was in its type or "shadow"? To do "no servile work" Lev. 23:25, but to observe the day as "a sabbath of rest" - does this not mean that in this antitypical day of atonement, all our time, all our income, all our energy of body, mind, and soul, all our labors of whatsoever nature, should be devoted to the sole purpose of advancing and finishing the work of God on earth? With such a complete consecration to God, with our all on the altar, our offering will indeed be as a sweet savor to God.
Paul, the tent maker, who gave his life so unreservedly to the service of God, labored with his hands, not to gain earthly wealth, but that he might be âchargeable to no man.â II Cor. 11:9. Another noble example is found in the life of William Carey, the cobbler, who said that his business was to serve the Lord: he cobbled shoes to pay expenses. Is not such labor in perfect harmony with the "sabbath of rest" of the antitypical day of atonement? We catch glimpses of the fruitage of such a consecrated life in the fact that when Carey went to India, his first convert from high class Brahmanism was a man by the name of Mockergee. This was in the year 1800. His great grandson,
N.G. Mockergee, accepted God's last message in 1897, and is now a missionary to his own people in India. Also, a young man, Brian Carey, great, great, great grandson of William Carey,
later a theological major at Pacific Union College, Angwin, California, has his heart set on carrying the gospel of Christ's soon coming to the native people of Kenya Colony, East Africa, where he was born and reared.
Our Part in the Cleansing of the Sanctuary. "Now, while Christ is cleansing the temple in heaven from the sins of the people, shall we not work in harmony with Him upon the earth, cleansing the soul temple from every moral defilement?" R&H February 11, 1890. Not only must the soul temple be cleansed, but our bodies must be cleansed from everything that weakens physical power and unfits us to do our part in finishing the work of God on the earth. That we may be prepared to "stand before Him a perfect people," "God demands that the appetites be cleansed." 9T 153,154. "The indulgence of appetite" brings "physical debility, and so deadens the perceptive organs that sacred and eternal things (may) not be discerned . . . The struggle of the temptation to indulge perverted appetite can be measured only by the inexpressible anguish of Christ in that long fast in the wilderness. Adam fell in the indulgence of appetite (and) Christ began the work of redeeming man just where the ruin began. . . The declension of virtue and degeneracy of the race are chiefly attributable to the indulgence of perverted appetite." 3T 486. "Those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character." 3T 492.
"God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions" Eccl. 7:29- inventions that please but often pervert and deprave the appetite. For their owi well-being, God appointed our first parents simple, unprocessed food. Gen. 1:29. Anyone who is "given to appetite" says the wise man, is putting a knife to his throat, Prov. 23:2. In this, our day of atonement, God's instruction is âWhether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.â I Cor. 10:31. If we persistently refuse to obey this instruction, continuing to practice those habits which tend to weaken the system or to create disease, how can we claim God's protection from the plagues which are soon to spread over the earth? As we place our offerings on the "foursquare" golden altar, shall we not be foursquare with our Creator and Redeemer? In this age of degenerate physical power, and especially with the abundance of reliable and instructive literature on healthful living now available, is it not the duty of every true Christian to become informed and to give conscientious obedience to all God's laws of health as well as to His moral law? Is not the transgression of the laws that God has established for our physical well being, as verily sin as is the transgression of His moral law? If we cannot give up all "fleshly lusts, which war against the soul," I Peter 2:11, what will God say of us, when our names come up for judgment? What did He say to Ephraim who did not give up his idols? Hosea 4:17.
The High Priest's Blessing at the Close of the Day. As "in the typical service the high priest, having made the atonement for Israel, came forth and blessed the congregation, so Christ at the close of His work as Mediator, will appear . . . to bless His waiting people with eternal life." GC
485. Then will be fulfilled the promise: "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the City." Rev. 22:14.
"Some one will enter the pearly gate, By and by, by and by,
Taste of the glories that there await;
Shall you? Shall 1? Shall you? Shall I? Some one will travel the streets of gold,
Beautiful visions will there behold, Feast on the pleasures so long foretold;
Shall you? Shall I? Shall you? Shall I?
The Feast of Tabernacles, a Time of Rejoicing. The day of atonement had ended; the sins of repentant Israel had, in type, been blotted out. It had been a solemn day, but now with glad hearts, the people returned at the setting of the sun to their homes. The next five days were spent "ingathering" the "fruit of the land." On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, corresponding to our October, when the harvest was past, they assembled again to keep "a feast unto the Lord," this feast was called the feast of tabernacles, a word meaning "tents" because the Israelites kept it under booths of branches in memory of their dwelling in tents in their passage through the wilderness. It was one of the three great yearly feasts, the others being Passover and Pentecost. Because it came at the time of the final ingathering of the harvest, it is sometimes called the "Feast of Ingathering." Ex. 23:16. This was a time of great rejoicing and freedom - freedom from sin and from daily toil. For seven days they lived, or tabernacled, in booths made of the branches of "goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook." Olive branches and pine branches, and myrtle branches." Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:14,15. For this reason this feast is also called the "Feast of Tabernacles."
The Feast of Tabernacles was not only commemorative of their "dwelling in booths when the Lord brought them out of Egypt," Lev. 23:43, but it was also typical. It pointed forward to the time when redeemed Israel, with all sin forever blotted out at the close of the real Judgment, their labors ended, and their "ingathering" of souls completed, shall "come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads," bringing their "Sheaves with them" Isa. 35:10; Ps. 126:6 as a thank offering, to keep a feast unto the Lord. See. PP 540-542.
As Israel, after the short interval of five days following the day of atonement, built booths in which they lived for seven days - seven, indicating a complete number - so redeemed Israel, after the short interval of one thousand years - short in comparison with eternity - shall in the new earth build houses of all kinds of goodly trees, patterned after the garden of Eden, Gen. 2:9. These they inhabit, Isa. 65:21, not for seven days only, but "forever and ever." Rev. 22:3. What a time of rejoicing will be this, our Feast of Tabernacles!
This was the last typical feast of the Jewish year, two of which, Passover with its concluding Pentecost, came in the spring: the other two, Day of Atonement with its conclusion, Feast of Tabernacles, in the fall. All of these feasts have been or will be fulfilled "not only as to the event, but as to the time." GC 399-400. The Feast of Tabernacles is the only one yet to be fulfilled but in God's own appointed time, it also will be fulfilled.
Am I ready, at the close of my earthly career with all my sins blotted out, to do my final work before the Lord comes?