FOR more than a millennium God's presence on earth was associated with the sanctuary in Israel. It was soon after the exodus that God commanded Moses, “Make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8. This sanctuary, also called the tabernacle, and later superseded by the temple, was God's dwelling place among men. “The tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory,” said God. “And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to Me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.” Exodus 29:43-45.
From the time of Moses until the time of Christ, God revealed Himself in the sanctuary, and there communicated with His people. Said God, “I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy scat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:22. Besides this, God also talked with Moses “at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.” Exodus 29:42.
As God's dwelling place, among men, the sanctuary must ever be of deep and abiding interest to the believing child of God. When, in addition, we understand that the tabernacle and its services were symbolic of “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man,” the “greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands,” and that Christ is “a minister of the sanctuary” in heaven. When we also understand that the services of the tabernacle on earth were symbolic of the higher service above, that the entire ritual and all the sacrifices on the earthly altars pointed to the true Lamb of God, the sanctuary becomes of still more importance. In it the gospel is foreshadowed and some of the deep things of God revealed.
Christians would do well to study more diligently the sanctuary and its services. They contain precious lessons for the devout student. Too many have failed to give study to Christ's high priestly ministry and His session at the right hand of God. They are not acquainted with Him as High Priest, though this work is the very essence of Christianity, the heart of the atonement.
It is the hope and prayer of the author that this little volume may lead some, perhaps many, to a deeper appreciation of Christ as High Priest, Savior, and Redeemer, and that they may, through the new and living way which He has consecrated for them, enter with Him into the holy places of the sanctuary above.