April 6-12, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Hebrews 8:6.
SUGGESTED READING: Evangelism, 597–599.
INTRODUCTION: “The condition of the unbelieving Jews illustrates the condition of the careless and unbelieving among professed Christians, who are willingly ignorant of the work of our merciful High Priest. In the typical service, when the high priest entered the most holy place, all Israel were required to gather about the sanctuary and in the most solemn manner humble their souls before God, that they might receive the pardon of their sins and not be cut off from the congregation. How much more essential in this antitypical Day of Atonement that we understand the work of our High Priest and know what duties are required of us.” The Great Controversy, 430.
1 Why did God direct Moses to build a sanctuary? Exodus 25:8.
NOTE: “He [God] abode in the sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them. So Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us and make us familiar with His divine character and life. . . .
“Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. . . .
” ‘God with us’ is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven.” My Life Today, 290.
2 Who were permitted to go into the sanctuary? Numbers 18:1–7.
NOTE: “By divine direction the tribe of Levi was set apart for the service of the sanctuary. In the earliest times every man was the priest of his own household. In the days of Abraham the priesthood was regarded as the birthright of the eldest son. Now, instead of the first-born of all Israel, the Lord accepted the tribe of Levi for the work of the sanctuary. By this signal honor He manifested His approval of their fidelity, both in adhering to His service and in executing His judgments when Israel apostatized in the worship of the golden calf. The priesthood, however, was restricted to the family of Aaron. Aaron and his sons alone were permitted to minister before the Lord; the rest of the tribe were entrusted with the charge of the tabernacle and its furniture, and they were to attend upon the priests in their ministration, but they were not to sacrifice, to burn incense, or to see the holy things till they were covered.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 350.
3 How often did the priests go into the holy place? Hebrews 7:27.
NOTE: “The ministration of the sanctuary consisted of two divisions, a daily and a yearly service. The daily service was performed at the altar of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle and in the holy place; while the yearly service was in the most holy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 352.
4 Who was permitted to go into the most holy place? Hebrews 9:7. Compare Leviticus 16:2–20.
NOTE: “Once a year the high priest performed a special work of atonement in the most holy, for the cleansing of the sanctuary.” The Great Controversy, 418.
“On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims. Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people.” Ibid., 420.
5 In what does our High Priest minister? Hebrews 8:2.
NOTE: “The Jewish tabernacle was a type of the Christian church. It was a wonderful structure, made in two parts, the outer and the inner, one open to the ministration of all the priests, the other to the high priest alone, who represented Christ.
“The church on earth, composed of those who are faithful and loyal to God, is the ‘true tabernacle,’ whereof the Redeemer is the minister. God, and not man, pitched this tabernacle on a high, elevated platform. This tabernacle is Christ’s body, 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: and His office no other can take. He is the High Priest of the church, and He has a work to do which no other can perform.” The Signs of the Times, February 14, 1900.
6 Where was the blood of the sin offerings presented before the Lord in the earthly sanctuary? Leviticus 4:7; 16:14, 15.
NOTE: “Christ, in counsel with His Father, instituted the system of sacrificial offerings; that death, instead of being immediately visited upon the transgressor [of God’s law], should be transferred to a victim which should prefigure the great and perfect offering of the Son of God.
“The sins of the people were transferred in figure to the officiating priest, who was a mediator for the people. The priest could not himself become an offering for sin, and make an atonement with his life, for he was also a sinner. Therefore, instead of suffering death himself, he killed a lamb without blemish; the penalty of sin was transferred to the innocent beast, which thus became his immediate substitute, and typified the perfect offering of Jesus Christ. Through the blood of this victim, man looked forward by faith to the blood of Christ which would atone for the sins of the world.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 230.
7 Why could Christ not have held a priesthood on earth? Hebrews 8:4. Compare Numbers 16:39, 40.
NOTE: “The apostle [Paul preaching at Corinth] showed that according to the prophecies and the universal expectation of the Jews, the Messiah would be of the lineage of Abraham and David. He then traced his descent from the great patriarch Abraham, through the royal psalmist. He proved from Scripture what were to have been the character and works of the promised Messiah, and also his reception and treatment on earth, as testified by the holy prophets. He then showed that these predictions also had been fulfilled in the life, ministry, and death of Jesus, and hence that he was indeed the world’s Redeemer.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 103, 104.
8 Who were the priests that served according to the law, and what was the nature of their service? Exodus 28:1; Numbers 18:1, 7; Hebrews 8:5, first part.
NOTE: “Later, when the tabernacle was to be built in the wilderness, chosen men were specially endowed by God with skill and wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. And when it was completed, certain men were appointed to perform certain parts of the holy service. Moses, and Aaron and his sons, were to minister before the tabernacle of witness. . . .
“So particular was the Lord that this sacred work should be performed only by those whom he had appointed, that he declared: ‘The stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.’ [Numbers 18:7.] Every worker was to know his place, and to perform faithfully the special duties committed to him; and he was to let alone that which another worker had been appointed to do.” Review and Herald, October 5, 1905.
9 What is meant by “the example and shadow”? Hebrews 8:5; Exodus 25:40.
NOTE: “In the building of the sanctuary as a dwelling place for God, Moses was directed to make all things according to the pattern of things in the heavens. God called him into the mount, and revealed to him the heavenly things, and in their similitude the tabernacle, with all that pertained to it, was fashioned.” The Faith I Live By, 192.
“The people were taught each day, by means of types and shadows, the great truths relative to the advent of Christ as Redeemer, Priest, and King; and once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners. The sacrifices and offerings of the Mosaic ritual were ever pointing toward a better service, even a heavenly.” Ibid., 195.
“What was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary.” The Great Controversy, 420.
10 Of what is Christ the mediator? Hebrews 8:6.
NOTE: “Those who today teach unpopular truths need not be discouraged if at times they meet with no more favorable reception, even from those who claim to be Christians, than did Paul and his fellow workers from the people among whom they labored. The messengers of the cross must arm themselves with watchfulness and prayer, and move forward with faith and courage, working always in the name of Jesus. They must exalt Christ as man’s mediator in the heavenly sanctuary, the One in whom all the sacrifices of the Old Testament dispensation centered, and through whose atoning sacrifice the transgressors of God’s law may find peace and pardon.” The Acts of the Apostles, 230.
“The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 344.
11 What was the old covenant? Exodus 19:5–8; 24:3–8.
NOTE: “Another compact [other than the Abrahamic covenant]—called in Scripture the ‘old’ covenant—was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified by the blood of a sacrifice. The Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the ‘second’, or ‘new’ covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant.” God’s Amazing Grace, 135.
“God . . . gave them [Israel] His law, with the promise of great blessings on condition of obedience: ‘If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then . . . ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.’ Exodus 19:5, 6. The people did not realize the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God’s law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, ‘All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.’ Exodus 24:7. They had witnessed the proclamation of the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the mount; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant which they had broken; and now, seeing their sinfulness and their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic covenant, and shadowed forth in the sacrificial offerings. . . .
“The terms of the ‘old covenant’ were, Obey and live: ‘If a man do, he shall even live in them;’ but ‘cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.’ Ezekiel 20:11; Leviticus 18:5; Deuteronomy 27:26.” The Faith I Live By, 78.
12 Upon what was the better covenant established? Hebrews 8:6.
NOTE: “The ‘new covenant’ was established upon ‘better promises’—the promise of forgiveness of sins, and of the grace of God to renew the heart, and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law.
“The only means of salvation is provided under the Abrahamic covenant.” The Faith I Live By, 78.