THE book of Revelation is a revelation of Christ's work in the heavenly sanctuary. The first chapter presents Him walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks, guarding and directing His people. In the fourth chapter, we have a view of the throne of God in the heavenly sanctuary, with the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne. The eighth chapter reveals our great High Priest adding much incense with the prayers of His people, as He presents them before the throne. The eleventh chapter opens the most holy place and reveals the ark of God's testament containing His law. With these facts before us, a study of the book of Revelation is not complete without a chapter on the sanctuary and its service.
The earthly sanctuary was a type of the heavenly one. In it, men divinely appointed by the Lord served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." The sanctuary was surrounded by a court. In this court the people assembled and the offerings were slain. No blood was ever shed within either the holy or the most holy place. This was the type, and plainly revealed the antitype. Christ came and offered His life in the antitypical court, -- this earth, -- where His people, dwell. He then entered the heavenly sanctuary with His own blood, to present it before the Father in man's behalf. The people could enter only the court of the earthly sanctuary; none but the priests entered the holy places.
The people of God to-day are in the outer court, -- the earth, and by faith follow their High Priest who officiates for them in the holy places.
There was virtue in every service of the ancient sanctuary to the one who by faith cooperated with the priest in the service. Those priests served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things," and our High Priest is now performing the real work, of which that was a shadow, and every individual, who will by faith follow Him in that service, will be blessed. Every morning and evening the high priest in the ancient sanctuary entered the holy place and placed fresh incense upon the fire which was constantly burning upon the golden altar. Sufficient incense was placed there each morning to last all day, and at evening the supply was sufficient to keep the fragrant smoke ascending through all the dreary hours of the night. As Israel encamped about the tabernacle, each sleepless one could detect the fragrance of the incense of the sanctuary as it was borne upon the breezes of the night.
While the priest was placing the incense on the sacred fire, and the dense volume of fragrance smoke ascended, the prayers of the whole multitude ascended with the smoke. What could more fitly represent the real incense, -- Christ's righteousness, -which He adds to the prayers of His people from the golden altar before the Father's throne in heaven? The earthly priests served 'unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." Those who believe this may know that every morning there is an abundant supply of Christ's righteousness offered, and as they pour out their soul before God, their prayers will not ascend alone; for the great High Priest will add "much incense" with them, and the Father, looking upon the righteousness of His Son, will accept the feeble petitions of His child. All day and all night the incense ascended; it represented a never failing supply, and testified that whenever a sinner cries out for help there is righteousness for him.
Upon the north side of the holy place stood the golden table, bearing its twelve loaves of bread. This bread was called "bread of the presence." Ex. 25:30. (Young's Trans.) Christ is the "living bread," who ever liveth to make intercession for His people. As the bread was ever before the Lord, so Christ ever liveth in the presence of the Father, as the representative of fallen man. The twelve loaves into which the bread was divided, represented the twelve tribes of ancient Israel, and also the twelve thousand of each of the twelve tribes which form the one hundred and forty-four thousand, who follow the Lamb wheresoever He goeth. God gave a strict command that bread used on the Sabbath should be baked on the sixth day, that there be no baking done on the Sabbath; but this "bread of the presence" was made on the Sabbath, placed upon the tables on the Sabbath, and the old bread that was removed was eaten on the Sabbath day.
Everything connected with the service of the table of shew bread was Sabbath service. It must surely teach that Christ has special blessings for His people on the Sabbath, and that fresh supplies of His Word, the "bread of life," should be placed upon His table; and as the priests ate the same bread the following week which they had placed fresh on the table, and it was assimilated and became a part of themselves, so Christ would have every one of His followers who sets forth afresh the bread of life each Sabbath day, eat the same bread themselves and let it become a part of their own lives. The people of God are "an holy priesthood," embassadors for Christ, representing Him upon the earth.
The golden candlestick represented the church of God. It was of beaten work, many heavy strokes of the hammer were necessary to blend the pieces of gold into one complete whole and form the perfect candlestick. In like manner, it takes many trials and chastisements to eradicate pride, envy and covetousness from the people of God, and blend them into one complete church, "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." The candlestick upheld seven lamps; these lamps in the earthly sanctuary, were a type of the "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne in heaven, which are the seven spirits of God."
Christ says of the church, "Ye are the light of the world." The Spirit of God shines forth upon the earth through the church. The church, the candlestick, upholds the light, guiding souls to the Lord.
The candlestick was one whole piece. An individual that is out of harmony with the body, the church, is not a part of the candlestick. The work of dressing the lamps every morning and evening was not given to the Levites; but Aaron, the high priest, the one who represented Christ in the fullest sense, cleaned and refilled the lamps. He served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." In the heavenly sanctuary, every day Christ performs the work of which this was a type. It is the privilege of every child of God to believe, as each morning he pleads for strength and wisdom for the day, that Christ in heaven is pouring out an abundant supply of His Holy Spirit to meet every need. At the close of the day, as he reviews his failures and mistakes, he may know that as on earth the high priest lighted the lamps every evening, so Christ, the great High Priest, is giving of His Holy Spirit to cover all the work of the day.
Throughout the year the service was conducted in the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary. Provision was made for high and low, rich and poor, to bring an offering for sin, and by so doing show their faith in the "Lamb of God" that would take away the sins of the world.
The sinner brought his innocent offering to the door of the tabernacle, and laying his hands upon its head, confessed his sins, thus in type and shadow, transferring them to the offering. What could more fitly represent the one who, realizing that he is a sinner, confesses his sins, laying them all on Jesus, the only One who can save His people from their sins?
In some offerings, a portion of the blood was taken by the priest into the holy place and presented before the Lord. In every sin offering where the blood was not taken into the holy place, a portion of the flesh was eaten by the priest in the holy place. The flesh was assimilated and became a part of the priest, thus typifying Christ, who "bare our sins in His own body on the tree." Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary with the same body that hung upon the cross; He also entered with His own blood. It was necessary in the type to carry both the flesh and the blood into the sanctuary to fully represent the work of Christ. It took all the offerings to represent the complete work of Christ. Each offering typified some special portion of His work.
After either the blood or the flesh was presented before the Lord in the holy place, the fat was separated from the offering by the sinner, and the priest burned it upon the brazen altar, thus typifying the final burning of sin. It was a sweet savor unto the Lord; for it represented the burning of sin without the sinner. The remainder of the blood was poured out upon the ground at the base of the brazen altar, thus typifying that the earth would be freed from the curse of sin by the blood of Christ. Day by day throughout the year, this service was carried on in the first apartment. The blessing of the Lord attended it, and at times the bright glory, representing the visible presence of God, would fill the first apartment, and the Lord would commune with them at the door.
The tenth day of the seventh month was the crowning day in the tabernacle service. This was the only day when the service was carried past the second veil into the most holy place.
Before the priest offered the sin offerings for the day, he offered a bullock for his own sins and for those of his household. Two goats were chosen and lots cast upon them, one lot for the Lord, the other for Azazel, the evil one. The goat upon which the Lord's lot fell was offered for a sin offering; the high priest entered the most holy place with this blood, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat eastward, seven times. He then came out to the golden altar that had been touched so many times during the year with the blood of the sin offerings and with the blood of the Lord's goat, cleansed it from all the uncleanness of the children of Israel. When he had made an end of cleansing the sanctuary, when every confessed sin had been removed from the sacred place, the high priest came forth, bearing the sins of the people, and laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, confessing over it all the sins of the children of Israel. Then the goat, bearing the sins, was led away into the wilderness, and the people were free from the sins forever.
The type was a beautiful service, but the antitype is far more beautiful. Christ our High Priest officiated in the first apartment from His ascension into heaven until the end of the two thousand three hundred days of Dan. 8:14, when the heavenly sanctuary was to be cleansed.
This period ended in the autumn of 1844; at which time Christ entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. In the type all trace of sin was removed upon the tenth day of the seventh month. This day was called the day of atonement, or at-one-ment, because the sins that separated God and His people were then removed.
In the antitype, Christ forever removes the sins of His people, and in order for this to be done, there must be an examination of each case. Daniel saw the books of heaven open, and John says the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books. Removal of the sins necessitates an examination of every individual case. Since 1844, Christ and the heavenly beings associated with Him, have been examining the records of heaven. The name of every one who has ever confessed his sins, will come up in review before the Father. The words come back to earth, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name before My Father, and before His angels." When every case is decided, Christ closes His work and leaves the sanctuary. He then lays all the sins of His people upon Satan, the antitypical scapegoat, and he is left upon the desolate earth during the thousand years.
In the type, after the sins were laid upon the scapegoat, the priest cleansed the court; the bodies of the offerings were burned in a clean place. When the sun set on the eve of the day of atonement, the ashes in the clean place were all there was left of that which represented sin and defiled the sanctuary.
In like manner, when the great antitypical day of atonement closes, all there will be left of sin, sinners, and Satan, will be the ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous on the new earth. After Satan's long conflict with God and His people, he will be destroyed, and his ashes, fertilizing the new earth, will only add to its beauty.
Thus ends the long conflict. Never again will the harmony of the universe be marred by sin. Sorrow and pain will no longer be felt by the beloved of the Lord; but throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity songs of praise and rejoicing will come from lips touched with eternal youth. "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord."
Page 363; Rev. 1;12, 13; Rev. 2:1; Rev. 4:5; Rev. 8:3, 4.
Page 364; Heb. 8:5; Ex. 40:8; Heb. 9:7; Heb. 9:12; Num. 18:3; Heb. 9:13, 14; Ex. 30:7, 8; Num. 1:53.
Page 365; Rev. 11:19; Heb. 12:2; Luke 1:9, 10; Rev. 8:3, 4; Rev. 5:6, 8; Psa. 141:2; Rom. 1:17; Ex. 30:8.
Page 366; Ex. 40:22; John 6:51; Heb. 7:25; Lev. 24:5, 6; Ex. 25:30; Ex. 16:23.
Page 367; 1Chron. 9:32; Lev. 24:5-9; 1Sam. 21:6; Isa. 56:2, 3; Isa. 58:12-14; 1Tim. 4:12; Isa. 52:11; 1Pet; 2:5; 2Cor. 5:20; Rev. 1:20; Ex. 25:31; 1Pet. 4:12; 1Cor. 12:13, 14, 20.
Page 368; Ex. 30:7, 8; Luke 11:10, 13; 1John 1:9; Lev. 5:11; Lev. 1:3, 4; Matt. 1:21.
Page 369; Lev. 4:5, 6; Lev. 10:17, 18; Lev. 6:30; 1Pet. 2:24; Heb. 9:12; Lev. 4:8-10; Lev. 4:31; Psa. 37:20; Isa. 43:24; Lev. 4:30; Num. 35:33; Ex. 29:42.
Page 370; Ex. 29:44; Lev. 16:29, 30; Lev. 9:7; Lev. 16:11-14; Lev. 16:7, 8; Lev. 16:15-22.
Page 371; Heb. 4:14; Heb. 9:24; Acts 3:19; Dan. 7:9, 10; Rev. 20:12; Rev. 3:5; Psa. 7:16; Heb. 13:11.
Page 372; Lev. 4:12; Mal. 4:3; Eze. 28:18, 19; Psa. 150:11.