Sanctuary Alive

Christ in the Sanctuary (sermon) John Thiel



We are commencing a new series of studies on the sanctuary and we are studying the sanctuary in heaven which the Hebrew sanctuary was a copy of. This subject is distinctive of the Seventh Day Adventist faith. The early Adventists brought this out of the scriptures in all its beauty. The three angles messages are depicted in the studying of the sanctuary. It is sad that one hundred and fifty years on this subject seems to have lost its glamour in the eyes of Adventists in general. It is looked upon as a doctrinal argument and to many people the study of the sanctuary is not a necessity. This is a sad observation. It is the purpose of this series to revive the pristine appreciation that struck Adventism when they went through their disappointment of 1844 when they understood what the three angel’s messages were. A great system of truth was established with the sanctuary and its various facets of application. As God calls the Israelites to erect the sanctuary in the Hebrew experience in the wilderness, this particular study is to explore in the introduction of the whole series and the real purpose of the sanctuary and its dimensions. What is the real purpose of the study in the first place?


Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

That statement carries a huge appreciation of the purpose of the sanctuary. What did he want them to build the sanctuary for? That he may dwell among the Israelites. What does that reveal to you in reference to God? What is he preoccupied with in his whole purpose in the sanctuary subject? That he the God of the universe whose ways are totally above our ways may dwell among us.

Isaiah 55:9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

This majestic being that has space and the cosmos under his control has a vision of things that we cannot even comprehend. His ways are so totally elevated above our ways and thoughts. It is beyond our comprehension. God wants to make his ways known to us but not just telling us but by actually coming to dwell among humanity. He chose the Israelites to be the people on earth that he wanted to commence this with. Here is the very heart throb of the sanctuary message. It is not just a doctrine, it is something which God is bound up with, a desire to dwell among humanity. The desire of God wanting to dwell with humanity was illustrated in the time when Adam and Eve sinned against God. Beforehand God loved to communicate with them. When they sinned they ran but he wanted to dwell with them. The unity God has is an absorbing theme in his heart yet to us human beings, it is an impossibility on our part as Adam and Eve demonstrated. It is not in us to be in unity with him. He wants to be in unity with us but it’s not in us.

Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 

God’s desire is to be in unity with us. There is none on earth that understands it or even seeks after God the way he would like it to be.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 

As a mind that is absorbed with normal carnal fleshly ways, it is impossible to be in unity with God. The initiative of being in communion with God being is not from us and must come from God. He must be the one who can make it happen because we can’t. Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. God came to relate with sinners. He the pure sinless being made an effort to commune and be close with sinners. That contravenes all human understanding as we think we have to make ourselves right before we come to God.

Psalms 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them]. 

The Lord God to dwell among whom? The rebellious also. God is preoccupied with the desire of dwelling among us. He has an intense desire to dwell among us in this situation by giving gifts to men, his gifts. His outpouring of his spirit to the rebellious so he can dwell among them just like he wanted them to build him a sanctuary that he might dwell among them. Is this really true that God would dwell among sinners? Isn’t that abhorrent to him? Doesn’t he turn away from sinners and sin? There are is a scripture that says he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. He resists the rebellious yet wants to dwell among them even though they are abhorrent in contrast to his purity.

Leviticus 26:11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.  26:12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 

What a precious overture of Gods loving care. I will not abhor you. You are very abhorrent but I will not abhor you. You don’t even have the capacity to reach out for me but I will not abhor you. If you study the history of the Hebrews, they were very abhorrent. The almighty holy pure God seeks unity with sinful, polluted and unholy man. Let it sink in. What does this do to your mind when you are overwhelmed with the frailty of your own condition? God is prepared to come so close and not abhor us even though we are sinners.

Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 
 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

He was not ashamed to call them brethren. I will come close to you. Gods intimate relationship with a believing sinner is what the sanctuary is all about. It is revealed in a prophetic description and it goes beyond the prophetic symbolism and is a relationship he wants to enter into with us in reference to Jesus Christ. Those in the Old Testament who understood the sanctuary discovered Gods purpose in the sanctuary. If my ways are not Gods ways, how am I going to learn of his ways?

Psalms 77:13 Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a God as [our] God? 

We cannot understand his ways. They are higher than our ways so he said let them make me a sanctuary so my ways can be displayed before them by me dwelling among them. The true searcher of the sanctuary will discover Gods ways in the sanctuary. God’s way when dealing with sinners is found in the sanctuary. All Gods ways of emotional and spiritual content you will find in the sanctuary. This series is to explore that. We must not forget this initial study all the way through. We are studying it so we can become familiar with Gods way and thereby let him walk with us and we can appreciate it much closely.

Thy Way O God Is In the Sanctuary

What does Jesus say? Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Gather but by me. The way of God is in the sanctuary. If God wants to dwell with humanity through the sanctuary, Jesus says I am the way in the sanctuary. Jesus is the way to the Father in the sanctuary. Let us look at the sanctuary as the description is given. The sanctuary had two apartments surrounded by a linen fence and that created a courtyard. There was a veil that separated the outside into the courtyard. It was blue, purple and scarlet. After the veil was the altar of sacrifice and then the laver. Then you went through another veil and you went into the first apartment. On the left was the candlestick, on the right the table of shew bread, in front another veil and the altar of incense. Through the last veil was the Shekinah glory where the Father had his throne and dwelt among his people. The ark of the testament was there also. The way to the Father was depicted in the sanctuary. The sinner came with his sacrifice the lamb. The lamb represented Christ. He confessed his sins upon the lamb, which was sacrificed and the blood was taken by the priest and sprinkled on the altar of the incense. He kept the candles burning and the bread was replaced each Sabbath. A step by step process as the sinner was benefited as he came closer and closer to God. The bread was Jesus the bread of life. The veils were the flesh of Christ. As you travel through in this process, your prayers were offered up before the throne and you go right in and there is the Father. At each aspect it is Jesus. As you look through from the veil of the court as if it was all open, you would see the path to the Father with the furniture in the shape of a cross. Jesus is the way in the sanctuary. We can get directly to the mercy seat through the avenues. In this enactment of the Hebrew sanctuary if it is intelligently engaged in, we observe that in the sanctuary lies the very glory of God.

Psalms 63:1 O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so [as] I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

63:3 Because thy loving kindness [is] better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 

To see Gods power and glory as it is seen in the sanctuary. When we studied the first angel’s message we read fear God and give glory to him which is an integral part of the sanctuary. To give him the glory means to embrace the glory in the sanctuary and to engage in it. Jesus is the sanctuary process of Gods way. The glory in the sanctuary is what Jesus came to display in reality.

John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.


The Intensity of God for Us

Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. There is Jesus. He is the way and the glory which is in the sanctuary and Jesus says I have given them that glory. What is that glory? That they may be one as we are one. I want to come to them in the sanctuary. That is the glory to finally arrive at the throne of God in the sanctuary services. That is what God is preoccupied with in great intensity. I want to be one with them and them with me. This is the context of the sanctuary. It cannot be understood unless we research this subject. As the Hebrew’s were instructed that they make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them, those who choose to let him do it, is none other than Jesus coming to this planet. The glory of God in the prophetic sanctuary departed. It was destroyed when the Romans destroyed the earthly temple. Observe how Jesus combines what was meant in the earthly sanctuary with himself in this transaction of the earthly sanctuary being destroyed. It is interesting when you study the present Jewish behaviour, they no longer have the sanctuary and they worship at the Wailing Wall. There is no glory in that. They have missed out on the glory. Jesus described it and this is why they crucified him.

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 

This is directly under the experience of Jesus cleansing the temple. Why do you make my Father’s house a house of merchandise?

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 

They asked him, you have just cleansed the temple, what authority do you have? What does he do in what we have been studying? He is saying, this temple is going to be destroyed. This physical temple is going to be destroyed, but as this body temple is destroyed it will be raised up. My body will be raised up and a complete true understanding is going to be brought into living reality. They were blind to what he was meaning because Gods way is in the sanctuary. The body of Jesus Christ is the sanctuary. We see that everything in the prophetic sanctuary was Jesus in all reality. The earthly temple was the type of the real. The typical was turned into anti-typical. The type was a symbol. Jesus made the connection of the earthly sanctuary with himself as he equated this with his own body. The important connection of the building of the Old Testament to the building of the New Testament temple, Jesus body is now brought into focus. Let them make me a sanctuary that I dwell among them. The earthly sanctuary in type was a place where God dwelt with them but when it came to the destruction, it is Jesus who continues as the true sanctuary in this body. Is it true that his body sanctuary is also part of what God says? Let them make me a sanctuary. Is the body of Jesus Christ the sanctuary that was to be made for him so he could dwell among men?

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 

When Jesus was born on this planet the words let them make me a sanctuary was relevant to him so the divine God could dwell among men. This is amplified. The body of Jesus was made like humanities. It was contributed as God makes humanity. The human body like the earthly sanctuary was contributed to be built by man. The Hebrews brought all their goods to build the Hebrew sanctuary and now for the earthly body of Jesus to be built, how was it built?

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life. {DA 48.5}

His body temple was contributed by whom? By his earthly ancestors and by the law of hereditary. We all know that when we are born to our parents we have been put together by the genetic chromosomes of mother and father. They have contributed my physical structure. Theirs was contributed by their parents. When Jesus was born he received the genotype, the genetic helix of everything that had been contributed into that DNA by those who had been before him. The DNA is the blue print from which a human body is built and Jesus human body was built from that helix of that gene of those chromosomes and contributions of personality character in the flesh. Jesus was built from hereditary human flesh and blood. Through Jesus God can be in intimate unity with us. That is the sanctuary study. He can dwell among us and show that our sinfulness is not so abhorrent to him to prevent him to do so. Both he that sanctifieth is one with his brethren. He became intimate with us, so intimate that he shared our hereditary. He desires us to be one with them. He took the initiative. He was the one who dwelt among us, one with us in Jesus Christ.

Divine culture brings perfection. If in connection with God the work is carried forward, the human agent, through Christ, will day by day gain victory and honor in the battle. Through the grace given he will overcome, and will be placed on vantage ground. In his relation to Christ he will be bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, one with Christ in a peculiar relationship, because Christ took the humanity of man. He became subject to temptation, endangering as it were, His divine attributes. {7BC 926.5}

How close did he come? Let them make me a body that is sinful flesh so that I can endanger by own divinity to come close to them so they can be bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, that we can learn through the sanctuary process to become truly part of him in purity.

Satan sought, by the constant and curious devices of his cunning, to make Christ yield to temptation. {7BC 926.5}

Here was this amazing story. I will not abhor them. I will become intimate with them. I will come into their experience and walk among them.

God commanded Moses for Israel, "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them," 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. . . . {ML 290.3}

Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials and sympathizes with our grief’s. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. . . . {ML 290.4}

I don’t abhor you I’m a friend of sinners. Oh that we may never forget this as every time you feel depraved and sinful, gone and lost, no, God is a friend of sinners. That is what the sanctuary message is all about. To help me believe he is my friend and he is not there to punish and destroy me.

"God with us" is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven. {ML 290.5} 

Christ sought to teach the grand truth so needful for us to learn, that God is always with us, an inmate of every dwelling, that He is acquainted with every action performed on earth. He knows the thoughts that are framed in the mind and endorsed by the soul. He hears every word that falls from the lips of human beings. He is walking and working in the midst of all our transactions in life. He knows every plan, and He measures every method. {ML 290.6}

That I May Dwell Among Them

Jesus is the sanctuary and the reality and when he died he destroyed the temple and in three days he rose again. All those who believe in him can be raised together with him. While here on earth he is with us, he dwelt among us and while he was here he said to the disciples follow me. He knows exactly where we are and what we are doing because of all the intimacies of Jesus with us.

When those disciples heard the words of Jesus, they felt their need of Him. They sought, they found, they followed Him. They were with Him in the house, at the table, in the closet, in the field. They were with Him as pupils with a teacher, daily receiving from His lips lessons of holy truth. {SC 72.2}

Jesus said follow me and they were with him. They literally followed him. Jesus extends the invitation to every other human being and wants to be as close with them as he has close to us.

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour. 

Follow me so that where I am so also shall my servant be. That was the purpose of the sanctuary so that people would engage in the sanctuary and be where the Father is. As Jesus said follow me, the disciples were with him everywhere and when he raised the temple again after some more days, which temple did he raise our attention to? There was a third one. So far we have seen two sanctuaries.
·        The Hebrew sanctuary
·        The body sanctuary
Where did Jesus rise to? Let us see where he went. He says where I am there shall my servant be also.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 

He who became one with us says follow me. As he left the earth he says where I am there will my servant be also. He went not to the earthly sanctuary but to the heavenly one.

Hebrews 8:1 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;

 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 

That is where Jesus went, the temple that God pitched and not man. By going there, the desire of God was to be fulfilled.

Psalms 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them]. 

He led captivity captive. He took the captivity of humanity with him as he ascended on high. Where did he go? Where I am there will my servant be. The people who are in Jesus which he absorbed, he takes them with him to the heavenly sanctuary. He takes captivity captive. His followers who were drawn to dwell with him on earth that where he was they can now be drawn there with him by faith. Here is where this is laid out that the disciples followed Jesus into the heavenly sanctuary.

So did Christ plead His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners, and present before Him also, with the precious fragrance of His own righteousness, the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven. {GC 420.3} Thither the faith of Christ's disciples followed Him as He ascended from their sight. Here their hopes centered, "which hope we have," said Paul, "as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever." {GC 421.1}

Where did he enter? He was our forerunner and those who had faith went with him. Every believer who follows Jesus does exactly that.

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Hebrews 6:19, 20; 9:12. {GC 421.1} For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father {GC 421.2}

That is what they were occupied in being with Jesus. We come to the year 1844 and in that year the followers of Jesus who were truly understanding his work of being with him and what he was doing ended up with a disappointment. They lost sight of him as they were disappointed.

 ...clearer light came with the investigation of the sanctuary question. They now saw that they were correct in believing that the end of the 2300 days in 1844 marked an important crisis. But while it was true that that door of hope and mercy by which men had for eighteen hundred years found access to God, was closed, another door was opened, and forgiveness of sins was offered to men through the intercession of Christ in the most holy. One part of His ministration had closed, only to give place to another. There was still an "open door" to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ was ministering in the sinner's behalf. {GC 429.2}

The sanctuary in heaven was still operating but in another place.

It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement who receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf, while those who reject the light which brings to view this work of ministration are not benefited thereby. The Jews who rejected the light given at Christ's first advent, and refused to believe on Him as the Savior of the world, could not receive pardon through Him. When Jesus at His ascension entered by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary to shed upon His disciples the blessings of His mediation, the Jews were left in total darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings. The ministration of types and shadows had ceased. That door by which men had formerly found access to God was no longer open. The Jews had refused to seek Him in the only way whereby He could then be found, through the ministration in the sanctuary in heaven. Therefore they found no communion with God. To them the door was shut. They had no knowledge of Christ as the true sacrifice and the only mediator before God; hence they could not receive the benefits of His mediation. {GC 430.2} 

No man can shut this door. There is the work of Jesus as he opens the door into the holy place. As the disciples came through their experience of disappointment, there is a beautiful declaration of those who also were disappointed.

After Jesus opened the door of the most holy, I saw the third angel pointing upward, showing the disappointed ones the way to the holiest of the heavenly sanctuary. {EW 254.2}

I saw the third angel pointing upward, showing the disappointed ones the way to the holiest of the heavenly sanctuary. As they by faith enter the most holy, they find Jesus, and hope and joy spring up anew. {EW 254.2}

In 1844 the true followers of Jesus found him again after their disappointment. Whenever you become disappointed you must find him again and you will find him in the sanctuary. The intimate unity of God with the believing sinner is depicted in Christ becoming one with us as it was with the Hebrew sanctuary in symbol. This is still to do with Christ in the sanctuary today. As with the pioneers of Adventism, this understanding was very dear to the pioneers after their disappointment. The subject of the sanctuary of intimacy with Jesus which they partially lost because of their disappointment, they find it and this subject thrilled these people and they lived it with great enthusiasm.

After the great disappointment there were few who set themselves to seek the Word with all their heart. But some souls would not settle down in discouragement and deny that the Lord had led them. To these the truth was opened point by point, and entwined with their most hallowed recollections and sympathies. The searchers after truth felt that the identification of Christ with their nature and interest was complete. {2SM 110.1}


What did they see? The sanctuary message of Jesus intimately with them.


Truth was made to shine forth, beautiful in its simplicity, dignified with a power and invested with an assurance unknown before the disappointment. We could then proclaim the message in unity. {2SM 109.4} 

The prayer of Christ in John 17 is answered through the understanding of the sanctuary message. We need to be as animated about the sanctuary as they were after the disappointment. This subject has been lost sight of. As people study this subject they don’t know why they are studying it. As we launch out in the next 29 studies may we become animated and share it with everyone around us. May we join with the Psalmist in seeking for God in the sanctuary and finding his glory there and the glory that Jesus came into unity with us. May we gain this for ourselves and share it with others so that which was lost may be gained again.  Amen.