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The Cross and The Sanctuary- Part 1

David Shin

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David Shin

Pastor, Hillside O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Anchorage, AK

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  • October 11, 2014
    11:30 AM
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The Cross and The Sanctuary- Part 1

David Shin 

 

Well, I want to welcome you again to our worship service this morning. We begin a brand new 5-part series of messages that we've entitled: The Cross and the Sanctuary. And I'm really personally excited about this and I'll be in the pulpit, the next 5 weeks straight which is kind of unusual. I'm usually in the pulpit, but this time its 5 weeks straight. And we'll be going through this topic of the Cross and the Sanctuary week in and week out. So want to encourage you to come out each Sabbath as we go through this presentation. Let's bow our heads at this time as we ask the LORD to be with us.

 

FATHER in heaven, we thank YOU so much for this opportunity that we have to be in YOUR presence. We thank YOU for YOUR love for us. We thank YOU for the Sabbath, that we have the opportunity to come apart from the cares of this life to worship YOU in spirit and in truth. And we pray that as we study this important and relevant topic that YOU would bless us. Hide me behind the Cross. May JESUS be seen.  We ask these things in JESUS’ name. Amen. 

 

You should see in your bulletin, if you have not pulled it out already, there is a study guide which is a brief outline of today's presentation. And I want to invite you to pull that out this time. It will make following along a lot easier as it gives an outline of today's study and presentation. And if you don't have one, raise your hand, we'll have our ushers in the back that will assist you. Daniel, we have a few hands that are coming up at this time. And I'm gonna read the top part of this study guide as we look into this topic of the Cross and the Sanctuary. Keep your hands up as our ushers deliver those study guides to you. It makes following along so much easier and they say that if you see it and you write it down, you're more inclined to remember the things that you've been presented with. 

 

At the top of the study guide, it says, “There are various versions in Christendom over the significance of what happened at the Cross. Whether it is Protestant or Catholic - the discrepancies of understanding regarding the theology of the Cross are prevalent. How can the gospel be good news if there is so much confusion? Is there a biblical key that will unlock the mystery of the Cross?” And I had the privilege of studying Christian theology from my graduate studies and it was amazing as I studied contemporary theology to come to the recognition and the realization that something as basic and fundamental and foundational as the Cross and the Gospel is a point of controversy today in the scope of Christianity. Whether you study Roman Catholic theology or the study Catholic or Protestant theology, there is a cacophony of differences when it comes to this basic fundamental teaching along the lines of the cross. And so I want to invite you to follow along in your study guides. 

 

I have all of the text on the study guide and on the screen. And the first one is found in John 1:36 and this is the testimony of John regarding JESUS CHRIST. And it says, “And looking at JESUS as HE walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God.” This is the testimony of John in regards to JESUS CHRIST. And this is an unusual statement. This is in the introductory part of John chapter 1. Notice that JESUS did not say Behold the Messiah. He did not say, “Behold the CHRIST.” “Behold the Son of GOD” but he refers to JESUS as a lamb. A lamb is an adolescent sheep and this is an unusual statement, he says, Behold the Lamb. Now, this is not the only time that JESUS is referred to as the Lamb by John the Baptist. This is actually the 2nd time. You can see it again in John 1:29, It says, “The next day John saw JESUS coming toward him, and said, “Behold, (what does it say) the Lamb of GOD…” Here he gets a little bit more specific, “Who takes away the sin of the world.” “Behold the Lamb of GOD who takes away the sin of the world.” 

 

Now for any red blooded Jew, this would have rung a bell in their minds. I would argue this morning that if the Jewish nation just would have looked at this text and done exegesis on it or done a meditation on this passage alone, they would have recognized that JESUS is not coming as a king but HE's coming as a sacrifice; but they missed it. They missed this opportunity and this is the introduction of the ministry of JESUS by John the Baptist. 

 

“Behold the Lamb of GOD who takes away the sin of the world.” Here is the function of the Lamb. The function of the Lamb is to take away sin. JESUS’ function is to take away, not the sin of an individual, but the sins of the entire world. Implied in this statement is the concept of substitution and the transference of sin. Now, the Jewish mind would have recognized because for the last 1500 years, prior to the coming of CHRIST, they had been offering sacrifices in Moses’ sanctuary and then Solomon’s sanctuary and then later on Herod's temple during the time of CHRIST. And this is found in Leviticus 4: 32- 35 and this has been carried on for hundreds of years. You can build this out in your study guide. 

 

By the way, if you're watching online, there will be a link made available on our website where you can download the study guide and follow along. 

 

Leviticus 4:32 – 35 – If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish. Then he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill it as a sin offering at the place where they kill the burnt offering. The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. 

 

Now, this is a fascinating progression. You can see that the individual that had sinned would bring this animal into the sanctuary. He would place his hands on top of the head of this animal. I'm so glad that we don't have to do this today. And there was something that happened. The concept of what we call the atonement or the forgiveness of sins is predicated on the notion that sin can be transferred. Sin is transferred from the person to the animal and then the animal is slain. You had to slit the animal's throat from ear to ear; after that happened, the priest would take the blood and then place it upon the horns of the altar in the sanctuary. So follow the progression, the sin would be transferred from the person to the animal, to the blood, and the record of that transgression was left upon the horns of the altar of the sanctuary. So the sin was transferred from the person to the animal to the blood to the sanctuary. We will be discussing a little bit more about that in our study as we go on in our successive weeks. 

 

Now, this is an important principle for us to follow because it's amazing when you look at lenses. All right, I'm into photography and this is a fish eye lens. As you can see that this horizon is bowed and this lens has the incredible ability to see 180 degree; but the problem is that everything gets distorted. As you change lenses, the perspective changes in what you see. The data changes in our reality. And many of us in this room have glasses. This concept of different lenses as we approach Scripture is what theologians call hermeneutics or principles of biblical interpretation. 

 

Many people have asked, “You know, why is it that we have one Bible and so many different denominations?” Well, one of the reasons is because even though we have one Bible, there are many different lenses that are used to interpret Scripture; hence, we come to different conclusions.

 

As you can read in your study guide, I'm going to read the statement right after Leviticus 4: 32-35. JESUS being referred to as the Lamb which takes away the sins of the world implied that sin was to be transferred from the world to JESUS. JESUS was to become our Sin bearer and die as our substitute. Had the Jews understood the connection between CHRIST and the sanctuary, they would have understood the purpose of CHRIST in coming to Earth. The sanctuary provided the key that unlocked the significance of CHRIST earthly mission. In other words, the sanctuary became a necessary interpretive framework for the Jews to understand what happened on the Cross. This is what theologians would call in hermeneutical key. Hermeneutics refers to the principles of how we interpret Scripture. The sanctuary gives us the key for interpreting the cross correctly, which means if the Jews had understood the mission of CHRIST through the lens of the sanctuary, they would not have rejected CHRIST as the Messiah. But because they had different glasses on, they had the glasses that CHRIST was to come as a coming King and deliver them from the Romans, it didn't matter what they heard, they had different glasses on, and so they came to different conclusions. We are living at a time of Christianity and even Adventism today where people are coming to different conclusions because they have different glasses which bring them to a different theological trajectory. 

 

In our study today, we want to ask the question: Is the sanctuary still relevant today? Now, many people, sincerely in the Christian world, have come to the conclusion that the sanctuary is an archaic Old Testament relic that we don't need any more today, and hence, they stopped using the glasses of the sanctuary at the cross. They say, “JESUS is the Lamb of GOD” and then they put the sanctuary back on the shelf. And they no longer use it as their lens to interpret Scripture. 

 

Now the question is: Is the sanctuary still relevant or did the sanctuary die away when JESUS died on the cross? Now, this is important for us to understand, and in our study, I want to invite you to look in your study guide. I have this on your study guide as well as on the screen. And I want to point out very quickly that the sanctuary is not just found in the Old Testament, pointing to this concept of an earthly sanctuary; but there's something more implied and you can find it there in Exodus 25:8-9. It says, “And let them make me a (what?) sanctuary that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the (what?) pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” 

 

Now, when Moses was given the concept of the sanctuary, GOD Himself told him that this was to be after a pattern. In other words, the implication was that the earthly sanctuary was a miniature of something else. This was not just something that came up and was created by Moses. It was after a pattern. It was a type.

 

Now, Dr. Richard Davison who has been here on numerous occasions was one of my major professors when I was going through the seminary. And he pointed out, he did a whole doctoral dissertation on this concept and he can elaborate a lot more than I can, but he points out that many scholars have come to the conclusion that this Hebrew word “the pattern” denotes and implies that this was a copy of something greater i.e. in heaven. Now, the foundation for this doesn't come just from the scholars alone, it comes from someone known as the Apostle Paul. OK, so Paul elaborates on this in Hebrews 8: 1 -5. This is found in your study guide as well. 

 

It says, Hebrews 8:1 – 5, it says, “Now this is the main point of the things that we have been saying: we have a High Priest (listen to this) who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in (where?) heaven.” Ok, so this is JESUS. HE's not a Minister in the earthly sanctuary; but HE's a minister (where?) in heaven - A minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. So here Paul points out that there is a heavenly sanctuary, that JESUS is ministering within and it goes on, “For if HE were on earth, HE would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law, who serve (there’s the word) the copy and the shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For he said (and this is a quote of Exodus 25:8 – 9) He said: See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” So here Paul is establishing that JESUS is our High Priest not in the earthly sanctuary, but in the heavenly sanctuary. 

 

Going on very quickly, Hebrews 9: 23 – 24 – “Therefore it was necessary that the (there is the operative word, that the) copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves would better sacrifices than these. For CHRIST has not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of GOD for us;” 

 

Now, this is the concept - that the sanctuary is not just a framework, a pre-supposition, a lens just for interpreting the Lamb of GOD who takes away the sins of the world; but, here Paul is establishing that in order for us to understand the ministry of JESUS CHRIST, past, present and future, we need to understand it in the context of the sanctuary. Now, I'm going to be so bold here this morning to say that it's impossible for us to fully understand what JESUS did on the cross, what JESUS did upon HIS ascension, and what JESUS is doing right now apart from this framework of the sanctuary. 

 

Now, this is quite elementary, if you study the Bible; but, in the school of Christian theology today, this is a revolutionary thought. Now, I do not have all the time to go into the details of that, but, this concept of the sanctuary being the lens for interpreting Scripture is a remarkable concept. Going on Hebrews 9: 11 – 12, “But when CHRIST came as High Priest the good things that have come to be passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, HE entered once and for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with HIS own blood thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

 

Now, when the lamb was slain, that was not the end. When you placed your hands upon that animal and confessed all your sins, the sins were transferred from you to the animal to the blood. Now, you needed someone to mediate that blood for you. It was not you; it was the priest. The priest would take the blood of the Lamb and minister and mediate on your behalf for the benefits of that sacrifice to be applied. That is what CHRIST is doing right now in heaven. 

 

Some people have asked the question: “Look if JESUS did everything on the cross, why are we still here 2000 years later after the cross?” That's an important question for us to recognize. Now, some people may say, “You know, we're waiting for the Gospel to go to the entire world” and that may be true in a sense; but, you remember that Paul said himself, he wrote the words, that in his lifetime, that the Gospel had been preached to every creature under heaven (Colossians 1:23). Why didn't CHRIST come then? Why are we still here hundreds of years after the cross? What is CHRIST waiting for if JESUS died and it was done? The answer really lies in the sanctuary and that's what we hope to answer as we go through this series. 

 

But my point this morning is simply this: in order to understand CHRIST, we need to understand the sanctuary. If you take away the sanctuary, we are in danger just like the Jews do misinterpret the mission and the ministry of JESUS CHRIST. And as a result, we are in danger of deception. But with the lens of the sanctuary, it gives us a context for understanding what CHRIST has done, is doing, and will do. JESUS offers the merits of the blood in heaven on our behalf. The Bible is very clear, that HE's our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. 

 

And so here's our thesis here this morning: the sanctuary is the key to understanding CHRIST. This sanctuary is the key to understanding CHRIST. Reading that portion right underneath - The sanctuary is still relevant. Matter of fact, it's vital to our understanding of CHRIST today. The sanctuary gives us the key for understanding what JESUS did and what JESUS is doing. The failure to use the sanctuary as the interpretive reference point for understanding CHRIST will leave to a similar misunderstanding as the Jews in CHRIST's day. 

 

Now, it's amazing what a key will do. You know this is a picture of my wife and I when we went to Japan last year. Matter of fact, was the last time, I went to the, first time I went to Asia and the last time I guess you would say I mean as of now. But this was our trip; I had a speaking appointment over there. And we tacked on some vacation time, so we went very bravely, not knowing the language, to southern Japan on one of their bullet trains and it was a very cultural wonderful experience, but we landed in Kyoto. And this is actually a bird's eye view of the station in Kyoto. For the lack of a better word, it was massive. I've never seen escalators that seem to go in to heaven. I mean, it just went on forever. And we landed there, we dropped off our luggage and then we started to try to figure out the local subway system and we were lost in the subway station for hours, you know, just walking around and we were hungry, we're tired. We got on one subway and then we recognize and we thought we were on the wrong subway. And then we got off, we came back, wandered around it, was terrible. I mean, just it was not a fun time in our vacation experience, and we're wasting time, we're upset and frustrated, wandering around and we couldn't find anything to eat. And every time we tried to speak English, people would go like this, they don't speak English. And we’re wandering around and then we came across a hermeneutical lens that made all the difference - it was a map in English. And let me tell you, when we put on that perspective, and had a map. Wooh, I mean, it just opened up a whole different reality. We understood what was taking place. And we went all around Kyoto on their bus system, on their subway, had a great grand wonderful time because we had the hermeneutical lens to understand what was taking place around us.

 

I contend this morning that the hermeneutical lens for us to understand CHRIST given to us by GOD Himself is the sanctuary. You can find the sanctuary implications from Genesis to Revelation - all the way through Scripture. It is broad and encompassing any scope and many people have wondered how do I interpret Scripture? We need to interpret Scripture from the context of the sanctuary. And the theological errors that are prevalent today are a result of not using the right lens in interpreting Scripture. 

 

And here we have a cross section of the sanctuary. We're going to be going through this in more detail through our series; but here you have 3 compartments. You have the court the largest portion which encompasses the entire sanctuary. You have the holy place. You have the most holy place. In the courtyard, you have 2 articles of furniture -the altar of burnt offering and the laver. In the holy place, you have the table of showbread, the lampstand, and the altar of incense. In the most holy place, you have the Ark with the Mercy Seat. And so in these 3 compartments, you can come to a fundamental understanding of what JESUS did at the cross, did upon HIS ascension, and HE's doing right now. You can see them in the 3 compartments of the sanctuary. What JESUS did at the cross? - the courtyard. What JESUS did upon HIS ascension? - the holy place. What JESUS is doing right now? - most holy place. 

 

You know, in the Christian community today, we focus so much on what JESUS did and I praise GOD for that; but what about what JESUS is doing right now? That's an important question too, isn't it? And the sanctuary answers that perspective. 

 

And if we are to divide Christianity today into the 3 compartments, I can summarize it in this way. The evangelical community, you know where they camped out? And I praise the LORD for the cross, but you know, where they are at?  At the court. Everything is centered around that. I studied Lutheran theology, I did a paper on it, majored in historical theology, Luther had wonderful concept regarding justification by faith; but the whole evangelical theology is based at the cross, it's centered around the cross and when you do that, there are other things that come out of sync. Catholic theology, when you study it, it is based in the holy place - meritorious works that is the center of Catholic theology. Now, when you study Wesleyan theology, Wesley came along, “Ah, we need both - we need the court and the holy place - justification and sanctification. That is Wesleyan theology. Then along comes an understanding within a movement called the Seventh Day Adventist Church that said, “Ah we need the courtyard, praise GOD for that. We need the holy place, praise GOD for that - Wesleyan theology. But we need the most holy place. We need the whole sanctuary.” And that is the unique contribution of this movement. And that perspective gives us a broad framework of understanding what JESUS did, what JESUS did upon HIS ascension and what JESUS is doing now in the most holy place of heavenly sanctuary.

 

The sanctuary is all about JESUS, friends, that is the center of this theological process. And one of my major professors, took many classes from this man - Fernando Canale, professor emeritus of theology at Andrews Theological Seminary. And he said, “Leaders, administrators, pastors, and scholars, and I would add laypeople, should be going back to Scripture and using the sanctuary doctrine (notice the language here) as the hermeneutical key (which means the lens, the framework) to understand and complete the harmonious system of biblical truth. The concept that is emerging as the Adventist movement is not antithetical to the Reformation principles.” He argues later on that Adventism is simply a continuation of the Reformation principle of the Bible and the Bible alone taken to its logical conclusion. And that's where we find the concept of the sanctuary. 

 

Great Controversy, 423 – “The subject of the sanctuary was the key which unlock the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete (notice the language here) system of truth connected and harmonious, showing that GOD’s hand had directed the great Advent movement and revealing present duty as brought to light the position and work of HIS people.” 

 

So this is a question, Bible students, as you approach Scripture, as you grapple with different concepts, ask yourself the question: how does this fit in the context of the sanctuary? And as you do that, you'll find yourself in a balanced CHRIST-centered theology. Psalm 77:13 – the Psalmist writes – “Your way, Oh GOD is in the sanctuary.” “Your way, Oh GOD is in the sanctuary.” 

 

I like to close with this thought, JESUS, became our sin bearer, not only on the cross; but it actually started in Gethsemane. The weight of the sins of the whole world were being placed upon CHRIST and it was crushing HIS very soul and HE said multiple times, “Let this cup pass from me;” but the thing that held HIM back was the thought of you and me. JESUS, the Lamb of GOD who takes away the sins of the world. 

 

And I want to invite you to stand with me as we prepare to close this morning, every head bowed, and eyes closed. We want to give the opportunity, every single Sabbath for someone to accept JESUS as their Savior. And if there is someone here today who cannot assuredly answer the question, if you were to die tonight, you were not to wake up tomorrow morning, would you have the assurance of salvation, and the answer is you're not sure, you can have that assurance today. And you want to say, “By the grace of JESUS CHRIST, I want to accept JESUS as my personal Savior.” You can walk out of this room, this sanctuary, with the assurance that you are saved and that your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Is there someone today that wants to say, “LORD, I want to be saved?” GOD bless you in the back. GOD bless you all bless you. Someone else you want to say, “LORD JESUS...” GOD bless you. GOD bless you. Eternal decisions are being made here today, friends. The raising of your hand with your heart saying, “LORD JESUS, come into my heart.” Heaven is rejoicing and your name is being written down in the Lamb's book of life. Don't let this moment pass friends. This is between you and JESUS alone. Is there someone else that want to say, “Come into my heart, I want to be saved by the grace of JESUS CHRIST.” GOD bless you. GOD bless you.

 

My 2nd appeal is this: You have walked with JESUS. You've had a relationship with HIM, but there's an area of your life that is difficult to surrender. You have an area of your life that you're struggling with and perhaps you're the only one that knows it. Perhaps, it’s just between you and JESUS. But you hear the SPIRIT of GOD speaking to your heart this morning saying, “It's time to surrender. Nothing in my hands I bring simply to YOUR cross I cling.” Is there's someone here today that you want to lay that area before JESUS and you want to say, “LORD, help me because I can't help myself. I want to invite YOU to come forward at this time.” GOD bless you. You want to say, “LORD, there's an area of me of my life, I need special prayer this morning. I'm struggling with this area and I need help.” We can't do this alone, friends. We need the blood of JESUS to cover us and it’s that recognition of our need this morning that CHRIST needs most. You want to come forward at this time. GOD bless you. “There is an area of my life that I need special prayer for this morning.” GOD bless you. JESUS saves, friends. HE came and died so that we can have the victory. And there is no area of our life that is too difficult for CHRIST to grant us the victory. Amen. 

 

Let’s bow our heads together as we pray. 

 

Our FATHER in heaven, we thank YOU for JESUS. We thank YOU that YOU did indeed take away the sins of the world. YOU've already paid the price. We just need to ask that it be applied to our account. I pray for every person that's come forward this morning. YOU know the area of our lives that we are struggling with. YOU know the area of our lives that we are having difficulty with. And this morning, we ask that YOU would cover us with YOUR robe of righteousness, that YOU would take our hearts because we cannot give it. Save us from ourselves, our weak un-Christ-like selves. Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Take our hearts today because we cannot give it. Work in us both to will and to do of YOUR good pleasure. And LORD, today we ask that YOU would give us the gift of surrender, the gift of repentance because we cannot do this in our own strength. I pray for the blood of JESUS to cover every person here today. And YOU would grant us the victory to walk by faith, not by feeling. Help us by YOUR SPIRIT to have the love of CHRIST be reproduced in our hearts. For we ask these things in JESUS’ name. Amen.

 

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