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What is the Sanctuary?

For many, the Hebrew sanctuary described in the books of Moses is a completely new subject, or one that merits little attention. Yet it is the very foundation of the largest religion on earth, Christianity. So why is it such an obscure subject? Maybe its time we return to our roots. So, what exactly is the sanctuary?

The sanctuary was a two room structure surrounded on four sides by a fabric fence-like wall. This outermost enclosure was called the court. In the western half of the court was the sanctuary structure, which included the holy place and the most holy place. The command given Moses to build this structure came directly from God. But why? What was its purpose?

The single overarching theme of the Bible is "God is love". God has manifested his love for the world by implementing the plan of salvation, which is revealed through the sanctuary. God loves his creation and wants to dwell with His people, but sin separates. The sanctuary reveals the path back to God's original plan, where God and man dwell together. “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8. The purpose of the old covenant sanctuary was to enable God to dwell among His people Israel, but pointed forward to a much greater fulfillment in the new covenant.

Moses was shown a “pattern” of the sanctuary and how it was to be constructed. God revealed to him in detail all the components, materials and function for each of the spaces, court, holy place and most holy place. God also revealed feast days, or festivals that were to be observed each year at specific times. All of Israelite life was centered around the sanctuary, its services and festivals.

But does the sanctuary have any relevence to us today? Isn't the sanctuary ancient history? Well, the writer of Psalm 77:13 declares: "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary." If God's way is found in the sanctuary, should we not study the sanctuary to discover what God is doing?

Why Study the Sanctuary?

The book of Hebrews, in chapter nine, describes a sanctuary, or tabernacle in heaven, not built with human hands. Hebrews 8 describes the old testament sanctuary, or earthly sanctuary as a shadow of heavenly things, and refers back to when Moses was shown the “pattern” while on Mt. Sinai. This “pattern” that Moses was shown was the sanctuary in heaven. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1,2. Likewise, the book of Revelation continually makes reference to the sanctuary in heaven as well as its furnishings.

The old testament sanctuary is like a blueprint, that lays out the plan of salvation. We just need to understand the language and meanings of the symbols. By studying the old testament sanctuary structure, furnishings, materials and even colors within, as well as the sacrifices and associated annual feast days, we can accurately identify the prophetic events and times of the new testament plan of salvation. Just like the old testament sanctuary enabled God to dwell among His people, the sanctuary in heaven enables His kingdom to eventually be established and ultimately He will say: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." Revelation 21:3

If this concept sounds new or strange, it reveals just how far Christianity has drifted from its origin. Jesus Christ through his life and teaching continually referred to and literally fulfilled the symbols of the sanctuary. His apostles taught this as well. In fact, every one of the new testament writers refers to some element of the sanctuary or its services. How can we claim to correctly understand what is written in the new testament if we don't even understand the very things the writers are referring to?

The purpose of this website along the provided studies, are designed to give an introduction to this incredible teaching model that reveals the entire plan of salvation including the meaning of the symbols of the books of Daniel and Revelation. It is the key that unlocks the work of the Messiah, the prophecies of the last days, as well as the path of victory for each individual willing to travel God's true plan of salvation.


What is a Blueprint?

God is both the architect and builder.

image The architect begins with an idea. This idea is of a real physical structure and is developed into what is called a design. The architect must somehow then describe this design to a builder. He does this by meticulously creating a detailed set of construction documents or drawings sometimes called blueprints(years ago, the drawings were reproduced on special paper that would actually turn blue during the copy process). Blueprints describe every aspect of the structure and how it is to be constructed down to the smallest detail. Notice that the blueprints are not the finished structure, but rather a description of what the final structure will be.

The architect then gives a copy of the blueprints to the builder. The builder must then actually build the structure according to the information contained in the blueprints. All of the information necessary to build the structure is included in the blueprints, and it must be adhered to diligently. This is a crucial point to understand! The builder has no authority to modify the blueprint in any way, neither does he discard any of the information that it contains. The architect is the only one authorized to make any changes to the ‘blueprint’. Neither does the builder, after successfully erecting half of the structure, decide that he doesn't really need to consult the blueprints to finish the project. In fact, a good builder studies the blueprint, familiarizing himself with the details and specifications so that he is sure that he understands every aspect of the design and what part of construction happens at specific times during the building process.

Within the plan of salvation, God is both architect and builder(Hebrews 11:10), thus eliminating any possibility of error in implementing it. He has given us this “blueprint”, a symbolic representation of the plan within the sanctuary that reveals each step that He will make in saving mankind. As we understand the sanctuary, it will be much easier to recognize what God is doing, and what what He expects of us in the new covenant, as well as what is to come next within His plan. “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:4,5