Light From the Sanctuary

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(Hebrews 8-10)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 8

Light From the Sanctuary

(Hebrews 8-10)

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Last week, we discussed the 2,300 day prophecy. Part of that prophecy has been proven to be extremely accurate, but the end of it, as understood by William Miller, turned out to be absolutely wrong. Miller and friends believed it predicted the end of the world in 1844. Had I been alive then, I would have agreed with Miller’s Bible calculations. What if he had his calculations right, but was wrong about the event? What if Daniel 8:14 should be read precisely as it is written, so that when it says “the sanctuary shall be cleansed [or restored to its rightful state],” it means the sanctuary and not the earth? An obvious problem for that conclusion is that the Second Temple sanctuary was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Surely it cannot be cleansed after it is destroyed. Another mystery!  Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. The Sanctuary
    1.            Read Exodus 25:8-9. This chapter starts with God giving directions to Moses about how to build God’s sanctuary in the wilderness during the exodus from Egypt.  What has God given Moses to help him make the sanctuary/tabernacle? (A pattern.)
      1.            “Pattern” is an unusual word to use here. When we talk about building plans we refer to them as drawings or plans. Would you call an architectural plan a pattern? (No. We use the term pattern when we see or seek repetition. A pattern repeats a design. When you make a copy of something you use a pattern.)
    2.            Read Hebrews 8:5. What have we just learned about the pattern and the instructions to Moses? (There is a tabernacle in heaven! What Moses was directed to make was patterned after the tabernacle that is in heaven.)
    3.            Read Hebrews 9:1-4. What is the basic design of the tabernacle on earth? (It had two rooms, the “Holy Place” and the “Most Holy Place.”)
    4.           Read Hebrews 8:1-2. Where are the “holy places” referred to here? (The texts make it clear. This is in heaven. This is “the true tent that the Lord set up,” and it is not the one made by Moses and his helpers.)
  2. The Most Holy Place
    1.            Read Hebrews 9:7 and Leviticus 16:32-34. These are references to the Day of Atonement, the procedures for which are described in more detail in the rest of Leviticus 16. What is the purpose of the Day of Atonement? (Leviticus 16:30 tells us that it made them clean. During the year, the people would present sacrifices at the temple for the forgiveness of their sins.  Then once a year all that sin that had accumulated in the temple was cleansed on the Day of Atonement.)
    2.            Why would Daniel 8:14 refer to the temple being cleansed (in 1844), when in fact the Day of Atonement happened every year? (Because he was not writing of the yearly Day of Atonement on earth.)
    3.            Read Hebrews 9:11-12. Where is this action happening? (The temple in heaven. We know that because the text says it was “not made with hands.”)
      1.            How often does Jesus enter into the sanctuary? (Once, not every year.)
  3. Our High Priest
    1.            Let’s explore what Jesus is doing in the sanctuary in heaven. Read Hebrews 9:13-14. What is Jesus doing? (He is removing our sins by the offering of His own blood. He is cleansing us.)
    2.            Read Hebrews 9:15, and Hebrews 9:22-24. Did the priests in the earthly sanctuary follow a pattern for what was to take place later in heaven?
    3.            Read Hebrews 9:25. What specific event on earth is referred to in this verse? (The Day of Atonement! It took place “every year.”)
    4.           Read Hebrews 9:26. When does the heavenly Day of Atonement take place? (“At the end of the ages.” This is not an exact date, but it is interesting that it refers to the “end” of the ages.)
      1.            If the Day of Atonement was a day for the cleansing of sins of the people, priests, and sanctuary, does it make logical sense to you that Daniel 8:14 refers to the precise timing of the Day of Atonement in heaven? (It fits.)
      2.            Do you think fixing the 1844 date is important to your salvation or your belief in the Bible? (The event, and not the specific date, is the critical issue. The relative importance of 1844 arises because of the question of our confidence in the Bible. The world did not end in 1844. So what did happen, if not the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary?)
  4. Mediating for How Long?
    1.            Read Hebrews 10:1-4. What point of comparison is the writer of Hebrews making? (He is comparing the law and the sanctuary on earth with what he discusses next.)
    2.            Read Hebrews 10:5-9. What is done away with and what is established? (The old sacrificial system is done away with and replaced with what Jesus is going to do.)
    3.            Read Hebrews 10:10-14. How many times did Jesus have to be sacrificed to perfect us? (Once.)
      1.            If Jesus saved us by being sacrificed once, and the Day of Atonement on earth was a day, what is Jesus doing since 1844?  After all, He created the world in a week. What could possibly take that long?
    4.           Read Revelation 20:12-13 and Revelation 20:15. I’ve heard many times that Jesus is spending His time since 1844 in heaven acting like a lawyer arguing for the salvation of the righteous. He argues for each one of us. That takes time. Is that consistent with these verses in Revelation? (No. The only time-consuming work is judging all of the lost by reviewing “what they had done” during their lives. For the righteous it is much different. The only check is to see if their name is written in the book of life.)
      1.            Is Jesus acting as a High Priest in heaven for the lost? (That is not what took place in the earthly sanctuary on the Day of Atonement.)
      2.            A related criticism of the 1844 date is that it makes no logical sense. What could Jesus be doing as our High Priest if the judgment issue is only whether our name is written in the Book of Life?
    5.            Read Hebrews 4:14-16. What does that say Jesus is doing in Heaven on our behalf? (He is encouraging us.)
    6.            Read Hebrews 3:1-2. Notice that Jesus is compared to Moses, who was not a priest much less the High Priest.  What is this telling us about Jesus?
    7.           Read Hebrews 3:3-6. What did Moses do for God’s people when they traversed the wilderness? (Moses was the mediator between God and the people. Moses led the people and encouraged them to do what was right.)
    8.           When we read in Hebrews 4:15-16 about Jesus sympathizing with our weakness and giving us confidence in grace, how would you fit that into the comparison with Moses? (Moses was the human who led the people to the promised land. He was the representative of God to the people. Jesus, because of His sacrifice on our behalf, opens the promised land in heaven to us. We are constantly encouraged by grace, what He has done for us.)
    9.             Read Hebrews 1:3. When does this say that Jesus sat at the right hand of God? (“After making purification for sins.”)
      1.            Is that when He rose to heaven on Sunday after the crucifixion, or 1844? (I think there is a strong argument for 1844. Much of Hebrews is devoted to talking about Jesus as our High Priest in heaven. While sacrifices took place daily in the earthly sanctuary, total purification took place only on the Day of Atonement.)
      2.            Why wait until 1844? Isn’t that just an arbitrary date? (Not if you accept the 2,300 day prophecy and the statement in Daniel 8:14 that on a specific date the sanctuary will be cleansed. Note that the 2,300 prophecy does NOT place the date for cleansing at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.)
      3.            Let’s go back to the comparison between the work of Jesus and the work of Moses. Why did God wait hundreds of years to rescue His people from Egypt?  Does that timing make any sense to you? (We need to accept what God has revealed to us and not reject it based on our sense of logic.)
    10.             Friend, don’t get lost in the debate over timing. Rejoice in the fact that Jesus triumphed over sin and death and He is acting on your behalf in heaven right now. Will you accept Him as your Savior? Why not right now?
  1. Next week: The Foundation of God’s Government.