Sabbath, August 24, 2019
Lesson 8 – Rejoicing in God’s Presence
“Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol–that glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains inwrought with cherubim, the fragrance of ever-burning incense pervading all, the priests robed in spotless white, and in the deep mystery of the inner place, above the mercy seat, between the figures of the bowed, worshiping angels, the glory of the Holiest. In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul.” –Education, p. 36.
A special revelation of God
1. What great event did the Israelites personally witness at the foot of Mount Sinai? Whose voice did they hear?
Exodus 19:11, 16, 20 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai…. 16And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that … 20the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
Deuteronomy 4:12 And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
“The Lord then gave Moses express directions in regard to preparing the people for Him to approach nigh to them, that they might hear His law spoken, not by angels, but by Himself…. The people were required to refrain from worldly labor and care, and to possess devotional thoughts. God required them also to wash their clothes. He is no less particular now than He was then.” –The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 233.
“The sound of a trumpet summoned Israel to meet with God…. The Father and the Son, attended by a multitude of angels, were present upon the mount…. When the divine Presence was manifested upon Sinai, the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire in the sight of all Israel.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 339.
2. After His powerful declaration of His law and government on Sinai, what did the Lord instruct the people to build? What was His purpose for this?
Exodus 25:8, 22; 29:42-46 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them…. 22And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, 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…. 29:42This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. 43And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. 44And 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. 45And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.
“‘I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God,’ ‘and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory’ (Exodus 29:45, 43), was the assurance given to Moses….
“So to Israel, whom He desired to make His dwelling place, He revealed His glorious ideal of character. The pattern was shown them in the mount when the law was given from Sinai….” –The Faith I Live by, p. 192.
3. What other manifestation of God’s glory occurred during the dedication of the sanctuary? After that, what continual manifestation of the divine presence was above the tabernacle?
Exodus 40:34-38 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: 37But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. 38For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
“After the work of the tabernacle was finished, ‘a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.’…
“The Lord directed the Israelites in all their travels through the wilderness. When it was for the good of the people, and the glory of God, that they should pitch their tents in a certain place, and there abide, God signified His will to them by the pillar of cloud resting low directly over the tabernacle. And there it remained until God would have them journey again. Then the cloud of glory was lifted up high above the tabernacle, and then they journeyed again.” –Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, p. 10.
“Moses called their attention…. And he challenged the Hebrew host: ‘What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?’” –Signs of the Times, May 13, 1886.
God’s presence still with His people
4. Even if some of the people were away from their land, what promise did the Lord give through His prophet? As a father with his children, what deep desire do the messages from the Lord show?
Zechariah 2:10; 8:3 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord…. 8:3Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.
“This promise of blessing should have met fulfillment in large measure during the centuries following the return of the Israelites from the lands of their captivity. It was God’s design that the whole earth be prepared for the first advent of Christ, even as today the way is preparing for His second coming. At the end of the years of humiliating exile, God graciously gave to His people Israel, through Zechariah, the assurance: ‘I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.’ And of His people He said, ‘Behold,… I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.’ Zechariah 8:3, 7, 8.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 703, 704.
5. When the fullness of time came, how did the Lord manifest Himself among men? How did John and Jesus Himself speak of His human body that the people observed every day during His sojourn on earth?
John 1:14; 2:19-21; 4:23, 24 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth…. 2:19Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21But he spake of the temple of his body…. 4:23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
“God commanded Moses for Israel, ‘Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them’ (Exodus 25:8), and He 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. ‘The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.’ John 1:14, R.V., margin.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 23, 24.
6. Whom did those who had the privilege of seeing Jesus during His ministry really see?
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
John 12:44, 45 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
“Who is Christ? He is the only begotten Son of the living God. He is to the Father as a word that expresses the thought–as a thought made audible. Christ is the word of God. Christ said to Philip, ‘He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.’ His words were the echo of God’s words. Christ was the likeness of God, the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person.
“As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, ‘and the express image of his person’ (Hebrews 1:3), was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Saviour He came to the world. As a personal Saviour He ascended on high. As a personal Saviour He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers ‘One like unto the Son of man.’ Revelation 1:13.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 21.
Ministering in heaven
7. When the earthly temple services were finished, where did our Redeemer continue His mediatorial work? When will God’s desire to be among His people be completely fulfilled, and His people rejoice in His presence forever?
Hebrews 8:1, 2; 7:25 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man…. 7:25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
1 John 2:1, 2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
“By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race. And now not as a mere petitioner does the Captain of our salvation intercede for us, but as a conqueror claiming His victory. His offering is complete, and as our Intercessor He executes His self-appointed work, holding before God the censer containing His own spotless merits and the prayers, confessions, and thanksgiving of His people. Perfumed with the fragrance of His righteousness, the incense ascends to God as a sweet savor. The offering is wholly acceptable, and pardon covers all transgression. To the true believer Christ is indeed the minister of the sanctuary, officiating for him in the sanctuary, and speaking through God’s appointed agencies.” –(Manuscript 142, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 930, 931.
For additional study
“In the temple in heaven, the dwelling place of God, His throne is established in righteousness and judgment. In the most holy place is His law, the great rule of right by which all mankind are tested. The ark that enshrines the tables of the law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner’s behalf. Thus is represented the union of justice and mercy in the plan of human redemption. This union infinite wisdom alone could devise and infinite power accomplish; it is a union that fills all heaven with wonder and adoration. The cherubim of the earthly sanctuary, looking reverently down upon the mercy seat, represent the interest with which the heavenly host contemplate the work of redemption. This is the mystery of mercy into which angels desire to look–that God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinner and renews His intercourse with the fallen race; that Christ could stoop to raise unnumbered multitudes from the abyss of ruin and clothe them with the spotless garments of His own righteousness to unite with angels who have never fallen and to dwell forever in the presence of God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 415.
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Please read the Missionary Report from the General Conference
Canvassing Department on page 45.