Bible Study – The Sanctuary

July 10 – 16, 2022

Key Text

“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated 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 erected, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1, 2

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 343–358


“The sanctuary in heaven, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy.” The Great Controversy, 414



1.a. Where, on earth, did God promise to dwell among His people? Exodus 25:8; 2 Chronicles 6:1, 2; Isaiah 66:1

Note: “When Moses was about to build the sanctuary as a dwelling place for God, he was directed to make all things according to the pattern shown him in the mount. … So to Israel, whom He desired to make His dwelling place, He had revealed His glorious ideal of character. The pattern was shown them in the mount when the law was given from Sinai.” The Desire of Ages, 208, 209

“All who love the worship of God and prize the blessing of His sacred presence will manifest the same spirit of sacrifice in preparing a house where He may meet with them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 344

“The house where Jesus is to meet with His people should be neat and attractive. If there are but few believers in a place, put up a neat but humble house, and by dedicating it to God invite Jesus to come as your guest.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, 269

1.b. What has always been God’s purpose in relation to His people? Exodus 29:45; Isaiah 57:15

Note: “From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator.” The Desire of Ages, 161



2.a. When Moses received the charge to build the sanctuary, what plan was shown him? Exodus 25:9, 40; Hebrews 8:5. Of what was it all a pattern? Hebrews 8:1, 2

Note: “The question, What is the sanctuary? is clearly answered in the Scriptures. The term ‘sanctuary,’ as used in the Bible, refers, first, to the tabernacle built by Moses, as a pattern of heavenly things; and, secondly, to the ‘true tabernacle’ in heaven, to which the earthly sanctuary pointed. At the death of Christ the typical service ended. The ‘true tabernacle’ in heaven is the sanctuary of the new covenant.” The Faith I Live By, 202

2.b. How was the tabernacle divided, and what service was carried on in it daily? Ezekiel 45:4; Hebrews 9:2–5

Note: “The building was divided into two apartments by a rich and beautiful curtain, or veil, suspended from gold-plated pillars; and a similar veil closed the entrance of the first apartment. …

“Beyond the inner veil was the holy of holies, where centered the symbolic service of atonement and intercession, and which formed the connecting link between heaven and earth. In this apartment was the ark, a chest of acacia wood, overlaid within and without with gold, and having a crown of gold about the top. It was made as a depository for the tables of stone, upon which God Himself had inscribed the ten commandments. Hence it was called the ark of God’s testament, or the ark of the covenant, since the ten commandments were the basis of the covenant made between God and Israel.

“The cover of the sacred chest was called the mercy seat. …

“Above the mercy seat was the Shekinah, the manifestation of the divine Presence; and from between the cherubim, God made known His will.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 347–349



3.a. What provision was made for sinners who had transgressed the law ignorantly? The priest: Leviticus 4:2–6; the congregation: Leviticus 4:13–15; a ruler: Leviticus 4:22–24; the common people: Leviticus 4:27–29

Note: “Day by day the repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle and, placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. The animal was then slain. ‘Without shedding of blood,’ says the apostle, there is no remission of sin. ‘The life of the flesh is in the blood.’ Leviticus 17:11. The broken law of God demanded the life of the transgressor. The blood, representing the forfeited life of the sinner, whose guilt the victim bore, was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying: ‘God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.’ Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary.

“Such was the work that went on, day by day, throughout the year. The sins of Israel were thus transferred to the sanctuary, and a special work became necessary for their removal. God commanded that an atonement be made for each of the sacred apartments.” The Great Controversy, 418, 419

3.b. When was the sacrificial system established, and why? Genesis 4:3–5; Galatians 3:19

Note: “When man fell by transgression the law was not changed, but a remedial system was established to bring him back to obedience. The promise of a Saviour was given, and sacrificial offerings pointing forward to the death of Christ as the great sin offering were established. But had the law of God never been transgressed, there would have been no death, and no need of a Saviour; consequently there would have been no need of sacrifices.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 363



4.a. Who were called by God to serve as priests of the sanctuary? Exodus 28:1; 29:4. What clear command was given to them? Leviticus 10:9–11

Note: “The priests who burned incense before the Lord were required to use the fire of God’s kindling, which burned day and night, and was never extinguished. God gave explicit directions how every part of His service should be conducted, that all connected with His sacred worship might be in accordance with His holy character. And any deviation from the express directions of God in connection with his holy service was punishable with death.” Temperance, 43

“Assisted by his sons, Aaron offered the sacrifices that God required, and he lifted up his hands and blessed the people. All had been done as God commanded, and He accepted the sacrifice, and revealed His glory in a remarkable manner; fire came from the Lord and consumed the offering upon the altar.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 359

4.b. How often was the priest to offer the sacrifice? Exodus 29:39. What would this represent in our days? Psalm 55:17

Note: “As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation. And when in later times the Jews were scattered as captives in distant lands, they still at the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem and offered up their petitions to the God of Israel. In this custom Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins committed and to present their requests for needed blessings.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 353, 354



5.a. Who was chosen by God to be the high priest in the wilderness sanctuary? Exodus 29:5–7. What was the high priest’s duty? Hebrews 9:25

Note: “Only once a year could the high priest enter into the most holy place, after the most careful and solemn preparation. No mortal eye but that of the high priest could look upon the sacred grandeur of that apartment, because it was the especial dwelling place of God’s visible glory. The high priest always entered it with trembling, while the people waited his return with solemn silence.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 1, 274, 275

5.b. While the high priest was ministering in the most holy place on the Day of Atonement, what were the people to do? Leviticus 23:27–32. When did the Day of Atonement begin in heaven? Daniel 8:14; Isaiah 22:12–14, 20–22 (cf. Revelation 3:7, 8)

Note: “In 1844 our great High Priest entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, to begin the work of the investigative judgment. … [W]hen the work of atonement was performed by the high priest in the most holy place of the earthly sanctuary, the people were required to afflict their souls before God, and confess their sins, that they might be atoned for and blotted out. Will any less be required of us in this antitypical Day of Atonement, when Christ in the sanctuary above is pleading in behalf of His people, and the final, irrevocable decision is to be pronounced upon every case?” Selected Messages, Book 1, 125



1    Moses saw a pattern of God’s character (the ten commandments) and pattern of His dwelling. How are the two connected?

2    How did the sacrificial system operate in ancient Israel, and how does it operate today?

3    What happens when we neglect to have morning and evening worship?

4    Why is it important to understand the Day of Atonement?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.