Lessons From the Sanctuary

J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Nov. 19, 1984

Transcribed  Feb. 10, 2014

Note: This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr. Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their comments or questions.

(Wilfred) ...that God intended to teach through the sanctuary. The sanctuary was a teaching devise it points out. God is a great teacher He teaches us as we might teach children. We put up a little sand-table and we put various little objects in it and we explain to the children how that this object means this and it's doing this and this one is doing this and then we put a little tractor with a little plow and we show them how the tractor pulls the plow and the plow turns the soil and we explain what happens to the soil when it is turned over and how the air and the moisture and the sun light gets in there and breaks the soil down so that it has some nutrients that can nourish the plants and so on. God uses this method of symbolism. The Bible says that He will speak in similitudes; a similitude is something that is similar. We cannot carry the symbolism completely through at times, that is the pattern the little model has certain lessons that we may gather but the comparison may not hold true in every single respect.

Now what is God endeavoring to teach in this sanctuary service? Did you ever wonder whether God was thinking straight when He put this thing into operation? Did it ever bother you a little bit when you think about those thousands of animals that were slain and the gruesomeness of it all and the blood sprinkled all over? I used to wonder about that, what's God trying to tell us?

(A woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) That He is going to shed his blood. Ahhhh, that's true but is that such a gruesome thing? What did it involve for him to shed his blood?

(Same woman) I think He was trying to impress on the people the great sacrifice...

(Wilfred) That's true. He was trying to impress the great sacrifice that He was giving. To me it means that this sacrifice that Christ made is something far beyond what I am able to imagine, to really conceive. It's a horrible thing even God the Father hesitated when the Son volunteered to do this. Is that right? So that is one thing that...

(Larry) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Yes, he hesitated too. What was it that drove the Father and the Son to make this great sacrifice?

(Larry) Love.

(Wilfred) Love, that's right. That is the very essence of God's nature, is love. I wonder if we really understand that. God has again made a model in the family situation to help us get a glimpse of what that means. And the Devil has gotten in there with all four barrels and besmirched that thing to the point where sometimes I wonder how much the world is really gaining in the way of a revelation of God's love through the family situation today? Oh what a responsibility you and I have as members of God's remnant church to unmask the deception that Satan has brought into these symbolisms that God has endeavored to use to bring across a message of love to the world.

We have an important part to play in setting things straight and our study of the sanctuary can have an important part in doing that. What else was God trying to show us through the sanctuary, tabernacle, the services, the ordinances and rituals? But let me be frank with you, I do not understand the symbolisms and the symbols that are involved in the sanctuary service. I do not understand them, I have listened to various interpretations of parts of them, I have to be honest and say that there are things in that sanctuary, questions that I have, that if the Lord doesn't reveal them to someone in this world who manages to connect with my mental faculties I'm going to ask when I get up there just what was it all about. I am suspicious that there are people in the world who understand various aspects of this; it's just a matter of our communicating and getting these things put together. But there are some things that we can see here because they are definitely spelled out. Sin is removed in a sense from the sinner. Now, in what sense? The sin is transferred to the sanctuary. Well, what does that mean? What about the sin is transferred? Well, in the first place; the guilt, you are relieved of the guilt of the sin and the sin is forgiven. Is that sin erased, is it totally eradicated, is it gone for good? No it's not. It is recorded in the sanctuary, and I stumbled over that one for a long time. Where is it recorded does He have some books in there? I didn't see anything about books in the sanctuary when I read it in the Old Testament. There is a table of showbread and candlesticks, and the altar, and the veil, and in the interior where the priest didn't go when he made the transfer he stayed in the first apartment. The books are in heaven; the record is kept in heaven. I wondered how to approach this and I have done a lot of thinking about it this week because last week I intended to attempt to do a certain thing and the time element made it impossible for me and I lost my sequence because what do you leave out and what do you get, it was rather a catastrophe and there are certain things I would really love to get across today. And I hope that the Lord will help us to have clear thinking so that we will be able to show these things in a logical manner that will make sense to us.

Let me try. The four things that are outlined here in the lesson that are to be taught through the sanctuary is that it is a symbolic dwelling place of God. It is the place where God meets with his people back there and if we carry it through to the New Testament we will get the total picture, It's a place where God intends to come to dwell, his living place. And it also mentions someplace in the lesson that in heaven there is a sanctuary, there is a temple, it may not be, how will I put this now without being misunderstood, not the same dimension, maybe not the same essence, but there is a temple in heaven that is patterned more or less, I'm putting it backwards, after the one on earth because the one on the earth was patterned after the one in heaven and that this is the dwelling place of God. Now that's what it says in the lesson and I believe that.

The second thing is that the sin in it is to be removed.

Third thing is the morning and evening sacrifices indicate the continual provision, the continual mediation of the Savior.

The fourth one is that the believers, God's people, constitute a temple into which God is coming to dwell.

I would like to say at this point that that is the essence of what God wants us to understand about that temple today. I think we are at the climax of Biblical truth, we are right at the end of time and all things focus on this particular generation. And the lesson that concerns us today primarily is the fact that God is now in the process of functioning through the symbols and ceremonies of the Day of Atonement. That it began in 1844, that it involves the investigative judgment and the cleansing of the sanctuary and the Spirit of Prophesy is very clear in applying that to the soul temple of God's people.

So I'm going to spend some time on that particular aspect and would you permit me to do a little reading on it? If you want to jot these statements down I'll warn you that I am going to give you some references. You may not wish to do that but I am just warning you in case you want to do it.

I Corinthians 12:27 says; "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." The body of Christ. Well that's a group of people, right? Ahh, but it goes deeper than that. So let me read on further. That was verse 27 now verses 12 thru 14 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" We become united through the infusion of the Spirit into one group. 14 "For the body is not one member, but many."

Colossians 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." Verse 21 "And you, ... now hath he reconciled. 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight." Now what is He aiming to do with this body? To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. Do you realize that we can gain a condition of unblameableness, if that is a word. We are free from blame. We are released from the guilt. 23 "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,"

Ephesians 2:19-22 19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone 21 In whom". That's Jesus Christ. "All the building". Now he's talking about a building here, see? Not a body in the sense of a group of people. A building. "Fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple". Here's our tabernacle again, see? The dwelling place of God. "In the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together" What for? "For an habitation of God through the Spirit." Right back on the same railway again. That Spirit brings us all together into one body which becomes a temple in which God wants to come and dwell. Got that?

7th volume of the SDA Bible Commentary page 931; "The Jewish tabernacle was a type of the Christian church" All right, now here's the lesson we need to gather from that Jewish tabernacle, it was a type of God's church, it is a type of his body we just have been reading about. "The church on earth, composed of those who are faithful and loyal to God, is the "true tabernacle," Now there is the lesson that God wants you and me to learn from this sanctuary service. He wants us to understand that we are members of his body and that this body is being built up to be a temple into which He may come to dwell by his Spirit. It is the true tabernacle. "Whereof the Redeemer is the minister. God, and not man, pitched this tabernacle on a high, elevated platform." Listen. "This tabernacle is Christ's body," Now make sure you note that one. "And from north, south, east, and west He gathers those who shall help to compose it. ... A holy tabernacle is built up of those who receive Christ as their personal Saviour. ... Christ is the minister of the true tabernacle, the high priest of all who believe in Him as a personal Saviour." Have I got across the point now that if we are going to get something out of this sanctuary service if we are going to learn some lessons from it there are not going to mean much to us unless we apply those lessons to our personal relationship with God and the new temple which He's building up. Do you understand what I am saying? There is something in there for you and me, do you understand? What is in there? Well you know, the sins are transferred to the sanctuary when they are confessed and the sacrifice is brought and the animal is slain, the blood is sprinkled and I could go through the details of that and there is some problems in there but I won't take time to go into those.

Essentially, the sins are transferred and recorded in the tabernacle, the temple. But if the temple, the true tabernacle is those who compose God's church body then where are those sins recorded? Well, it's very easy, listen now, this is a vital point, when Adam sinned where was the record of that sin recorded? In his body and because he had been eating of the fruit of the tree of life it etched it's way right down in tight and it carried right on through the genetic process clear on down to you and me. We inherited a good dose of sinfulness as a result of Adams choice. Adam is part of God's temple so where was it recorded.

(Larry) In Christ's body.

(Wilfred) In Christ's body, it got there. Now listen, on the cross Christ suffered once for the sins of the world and He was released, He had made the eternal sacrifice. Now the new body is to be built up, the new temple of which Jesus the Man/God is the head and you and I have become members in particular. But did you notice what I read? You don't become a member in the new temple of God, his new body, so to speak, until you accept him, until you are born again. You get born again into his new family, don't you understand? Listen, where is my sin recorded before I become a member of his new body? Where is it recorded? Why in here isn't it? But when I become a member of his new body then where is it recorded? It's transferred, where to? To the true tabernacle, I didn't get that statement, I meant to look it up and I forgot. Now where does the sin become recorded when we linkup with the new body of Christ? Well, it becomes recorded in that body temple. The sanctuary is defiled by sin and what is the medium of transference? What is it back there in the Old Testament? How did the priest move it in? By the blood. What is that blood? Well, do I need to read statements on this? What does the blood represent according to the Bible?

(Larry) Life.

(Wilfred) Life.

Desire of Ages page 805, "The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ." If the Spirit is the life of Christ or equates with it and there is another statement that says that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the life of Christ, if the Spirit is the medium through which the sin becomes a part of the body of Christ, we've got it haven't we? Listen, until we receive that Spirit we don't become a member of the body do we? When you are born again what are you born again of? Of the Spirit. So when you become born again of the Spirit you hook-in with the life of Christ. The blood represents the life and his life is the eternal life, don't forget. So your sin becomes recorded in the new body temple of Christ through the agency of the union with God through the Spirit. That's how it happens and it is now recorded in the new temple of God. Oh, I wish I had an hour more that I could go into the details of this, but listen, can you see now the importance of our Seventh-day Adventist doctrine on the final Atonement, the cleansing of the temple of the sanctuary during the Day of Atonement, can you see that or shall I read a little more?

(A woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) By the blood, we are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Did that ever make sense to you? Ok, I'll try to do the best I can Sheryl.

(Larry) Does the body of Christ need cleaning?

(Wilfred) All right, I'll answer that this way. I wish I had brought the statement but it's in there, take my word for it I can find it for you. Christ is the true tabernacle and if the sin is transferred to the true tabernacle doesn't it say that He bore in his own body and only through death can that be cleansed and that's why He relinquished his Spirit of eternal life and He died in humanity on the cross the eternal death of the sinner to destroy sin. There is more to it, I know there is more to it, our time is so limited.

Listen now, this comes from Desire of Ages page 466. We are now members of that body of Christ, members of his church, right? And that is the true tabernacle and we still have sin recorded in our temples, in our soul temples, don't we? Now what's going to have to be done before the final Atonement can occur and be completed and Jesus can come and say here is my church, blameless. What going to have to be done? Oh, it's easy. You’re going to have to get rid of that sin, that sanctuary is going to have to be cleansed by the sprinkling of Blood. Listen now, "The expulsion of sin is an act of the soul itself." Who's going to have to get rid of it? Ahhh, but listen to this one.

Review and Herald May 19, 1904 and it was quoted in the Sabbath School Quarterly in 1973 the first quarter page 51. "It is the Spirit that convinces of sin and with the consent of the human being, expels sin from the heart." What is it that cleans the sanctuary? The sprinkling of blood. What does the blood represent? The life. What is the life? I just read it a few minutes ago. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life. What cleanses the soul temple from sin? Oh come on, the Spirit of God, the creative power of God.

Let me read some more here. Desire of Ages page 311. "The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan." Listen to how it is done though. "Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted" And if it's imparted what's it imparting? The life of Christ. "Shall be imparted to every repentant soul," What for? "To keep him from sinning." Now I don't think she could have made it any planner than that.

Incidentally back there in Desire of Ages 805 It tells us; "The more abundant impartation of the Spirit did not take place till after Christ's ascension." Something happened at the cross that made a more abundant impartation of the Spirit possible and Jesus went to heaven to be the intercessor, the mediator to pray his Father to send that more abundant impartation of the Spirit. What for? Because it was needed to cleanse the sanctuary, the temple.

My Life Today page 43; "It is through the mighty agency of the Holy Spirit that the government of Satan is to be subdued and subjected. It is the Holy Spirit that convinces of sin and expels it from the soul by the consent of the human agent." So you've got to do something, you've got to consent. Now how do you consent? Well, listen here; "Through the merits of Christ man may be able to exercise the noblest powers of his being and expel sin from his soul." Do you see how that she makes that a couplet? The Spirit does it but it doesn't do it without the cooperation of the man. God does nothing, she says, for us without our cooperation. I wonder if I'm getting this through? Are you getting a glimpse of what the sanctuary is all about?

The sin is transferred to the tabernacle of God, the dwelling place of God, his body temple; He bears in his own body, the suffering, the stain, and the pollution of your sin. Parents, parents do you get a little share of that with your youngsters or do you understand what I'm saying? But this is a communion type of thing. Then here is the significance of the final Day of Atonement. Sin which pollutes the temple or dwelling place of God made up of the members of his church with Jesus as the head which becomes a unit that becomes one flesh so to speak and I'll read that in the marriage of the Lamb through the New Jerusalem, his saints, when that marriage is consummated, which it is just before the close of probation, you can find that in Early Writings I don't have the exact page, it's near the end of the book. Here is the key to this business of the final Atonement, the final At-one-ment, it is the expulsion of sin from the life, the expulsion of sin from soul, the transformation of the heart into the image of God, and the restoration of the righteousness of God in the human heart. The marriage union is consummated with the head, they become one flesh so to speak, that's the essence of the final Atonement that God had those people back there celebrate once every year. But now in our time since 1844 this process has been going forward and we are about at the end of it.

Can I read a little more? Ephesians 5:30-32 and I'll just pick parts of it. 30 "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." That's pretty heavy, that's pretty heavy. 31 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife," Now that's the little pattern, see? "And they two shall be one flesh." So he says, 32 "This is a great mystery:" He knows that it is pretty hard to swallow that one. "But I speak concerning Christ and the church." That's Paul talking.

7th volume of the SDA Bible Commentary page 985; "The church is the bride, the Lamb's wife." Now do you remember how it says that He is to be married to the New Jerusalem, the marriage of the Lamb to the New Jerusalem? She says here that, "The church is the bride, the Lamb's wife. Every true believer is a part of the body of Christ." I'm reading. "The church is the bride, the Lamb's wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy. She is the bride of a King. The church is the bride of Christ, and her members are to yoke up with their Leader. God warns us not to defile our garments. We are to remember that we are members of Christ's body." Now those are extracts, all taken from 985.

And here is one about the marriage Early Writings 251; "I saw that while Jesus was in the most holy" This is on the Day of Atonement, because only the high priest went into the most holy on the Day of Atonement. And that's where Christ has been since 1844. And please don't give up that doctrine. There are quite a few of our folks who have given it up they don't believe it anymore. Don't do it. The controversy over this doctrine must be becoming pretty severe because I checked through the lessons of this quarter and I can't find any place where the final Atonement is related to the experience of God's people today. The very thing that God raised up this church to do and we go through all these lessons for a whole quarter and don't do it. Why, because there are people who don't believe it. We are in the final conflict Brother and Sister we are facing the last delusions of Satan and one of them is this question of the final Atonement and the work of Jesus in the most holy apartment since 1844. Don't give it up. There is more coming, God is not going to leave us stranded. He is going to explain all this to us. Listen, "I saw that while Jesus was in the most holy place He would be married to the New Jerusalem;" Now when is He going to be married to the New Jerusalem? Since 1844 because that's when He was in the most holy place. "I was shown what did take place in heaven at the close of the prophetic periods in 1844." I'm reading. "As Jesus ended His ministration in the holy place and closed the door of that apartment, Jesus then clothed Himself with precious garments. When fully attired, He was surrounded by angels, and in a flaming chariot He passed within the second veil." Where did He go? Into the most holy because what time had come? Why, the anti-typical Day of Atonement had come. What's to happen on the anti-typical Day of Atonement? Why the investigated judgment is to take place and I have talked to you folks about that before. How that it is a literal thing taking place in your life day by day, He is showing it to the universe and you are not even aware of what's happening, you are in absentia, see? Your record is being put out before the universe but you don't realize it, you're just living day by day. You never know when the thing that you do which you recognize as a sin was done because it was the Devil that inspired that movement and God left you alone to do it. You never know when you don't sin that it's the protection of the angels shielding you against the Devil so he couldn't get near you and so you live without sin. You are not aware of that but God is revealing it. He is revealing to the universe that when you are not tempted of the Devil you don't sin but when you are tempted of the Devil that's the time when you flunk out. He's revealing that. If He didn't do that then he would be criticized for taking you to heaven but if He can show that you don't sin when you're not tempted you are safe to take to heaven because the Devil isn't going to be there. Do you get that? It's going on, the investigated judgment of God's people is taking place, literally, not just the records in the books. You see, the record is where? Come on now, right in there and it's being scrutinized and you're asleep so far as what's going on. You don't know it, see? You don't understand it

(Larry) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) I'm glad you brought it up. You see, sometimes I don't give the whole picture when I'm talking because it takes so much time I don't get through and I assume that you understand what I have explained before that, there are people among the saints today who are going to be able to live in spite of temptation without sin. You understand that don't you? And they are the ones going through to translation. But there are many, many of God's people who are not going through to translation but they are not going to be lost and those are the people who don't sin when they are not tempted of the Devil and they are going to be put in there graves laid to sleep from the evil to come and I have gone over that with you before and I should have reminded you of it.

Now where did I leave off? My mind sometimes plays tricks on me, I'm getting older you know. Let me read this statement.

Thoughts form the Mount of Blessing page 114; "God's forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin." I've read that before. This is the part I want you to get. "It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart." Now you know what that is don't you? The Spirit is the life. I have another statement; I don't know where it is right now. But it equates the life and the love. In fact it puts it right in parenthesis, she puts life and love in the same statement and equates them. And furthermore what is it that is spread abroad in the heart when the Holy Spirit is given. What is shed abroad in the heart? The love of God. So when the Spirit comes to expel that sin from your life what is the power that it uses to do it with? The love of God. I had another one here that says that when the soul resolves to act, when you decide that you want to get rid of that sin the power is made available for you to do it. What power? The Spirit. What is the Spirit? What is it that the Spirit gives you? Love. It is the motivating force of Love that causes you to act. That's what caused Adam to sin, believe it or not His love for his wife over-ruled his love for God he hadn't yet learned to trust God 100%. He was afraid that what the Devil was saying might be true. Don't you see that? And he made a deliberate decision. He had a conflict. Now you have a love for sin yet because you are not totally cleansed and that's part of the work in the Day of Atonement, the cleansing of that sanctuary, getting rid of that pollution. So you are going to have a conflict as long as you have a love for sin in your bones. But as God gives you the outflow of redeeming love in a far more abundant out-pouring in the latter rain, what's going to happen to that love for sin? Why it's going to get swallowed up, it's going to get swallowed up. But you have to decide, if you continue to decide in favor of sin you are going to rebuild your sinful nature, like Adam did in the first place especially when that power is made available to you, you are going to use it in the wrong way. Now I know it says you can't use the Spirit and I won't get to that subject but there is a point in there, what is it that we must do?

What is the thing that we need to learn from this lesson? The thing we need to learn is don't sin. Don't sin. Because as long as you keep on sinning your priest is going to have to stay there with his robes on and He can't lay them down and until He lays them down He can't come and claim you as a perfect bride, can He? Then what's holding him up from coming? Our decisions to hang on to sin that's what is holding him up. I hope that you never forget that. I don't care who argues what, no matter what texts or passages they throw at you don't let it go. This is God's message for this hour. She says that God has a new unfolding of truth for his people for every generation, this is the message for this generation. This is it. It does not destroy the old truth it builds on it. That's what she says. Do you recognize it? Now what is your decision? Unless you make a decision it's a waste of time. Go home and think about it, go home and talk to the Lord about it.

Don't you think it's about time that we all get together and collectively make a total commitment to God, that we all do it and if we all do it what's going to happen? Why, that latter rain is going to come. That's what is going to happen and the thing is going to be finished. Maybe we don't want it to be finished, we're scared about the time of trouble coming on, Oh, don't be afraid of that God has a way of handling all those things.

May the Lord bless you.  

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