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
(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
(Same woman) I think He was trying to impress on the people the great
(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...
(Wilfred) Yes, he hesitated too. What was it that drove the Father and
the Son to make this great sacrifice?
(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
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
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
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
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
(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?
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
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
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
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
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
(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
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.