Sanctuary Relationships

manna“He wakens me morning by morning.” Isa. 50:4.

Isn’t God good? We have just been reminded of that this Thanksgiving season, with relatives and friends gathered ‘round the amply loaded dining room table, filled with special goodies, some of which you only see at holiday time. Our extended family received a special blessing this year.

We had set the time for the meal at 2:00 p.m. Everyone worked together as the hour drew near, and sure enough, everything was ready at the appointed time. We had been noticing the flickering of our electric lights for about half an hour, but the electricity came back on each time. I kept sending up little prayers – especially when the lights went out briefly during my shower!

At last the special moment arrived, and we all were all seated around the table, savoring the delicious aromas and anticipating that first bite, when – you guessed it – the lights went out. But it really didn’t matter any more. It is the first time I remember a holiday meal being right on time, and especially that early in the day. But this time, it was.

With the afternoon sun streaming in the windows and sliding glass doors, we didn’t need lights. And the electric stoves had already done their work. As the prayer was said and the meal joyfully began, each person around the table took their turn in sharing aloud their blessings, and you can be sure we all counted our special Thanksgiving day blessing of being finished before the lights went out.

Of course, the lights came back on several hours later. But I cannot help thinking that there is some kind of special lesson involved in this experience. How many homes were NOT ready when the lights went out? No one anticipated this happening – not on Thanksgiving day right at mealtime! God knew the exact moment when the lights would go out, and I believe He impressed our crew to be ready on time. He cares about even the “little” things in our lives! He is such a loving Father.

But what about those who were not ready? Does He love them less? Is He playing favorites? I cannot speak for everyone, but I do know that He strongly impressed me to have the sweet potatoes boiling before I hopped in the shower. And I noticed that each person was scurrying to have their part of the meal prepared on time.

So it seems to me, that there is a combination here of heavenly guidance and human cooperation. It would be so easy to put off the still small voice of impressions, and reason that I can do it later, just like in former holiday meals where being half an hour late didn’t make that much difference. It’s kind of like that with other quiet impressions as well.

God is no respecter of persons, and He promises to lead and guide His earthly children if they will respond to His ways of communicating with us. First of all, He communicates through His Word. It is the unerring standard of rule and practice, and contains all the wisdom needed for our life’s journey. But in cooperation with His written Word, we also need the promised guidance of His Holy Spirit making impressions upon our hearts which lead us to truth, whether that truth is simple or profound. Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13.

So Jesus wants to guide us by His Spirit, whether it is in the smallest details of our lives, or in the big decisions we must make concerning our salvation and the pathway to eternal life. David said, “Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.” Ps. 25:12.

Personally, I want that constant guidance, don’t you? I’ve made enough mistakes in my life, and although I regret each one, I look confidently into the future for the footsteps of my Lord, guiding, leading me into the pathway marked out for me. With David I cry out, “Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul…. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Ps. 143:8, 10.

In my studies, I am finding more and more light shining on my pathway from the subject of the Sanctuary. The profound depths of this subject cannot be exhausted, but continues to shine brighter as we approach that final moment of earth’s history when we look into the beautiful face of our Lord and Savior. So I would like to share some of these insights with you in the hope that they will inspire you with courage and spur you to emulate Jesus even more, especially in our relationships with one another. Join me now as we take a walk through the Sanctuary to discover the gems that are hidden there for the careful observer and student of God’s Word.

THE SANCTUARY PATTERN OF PERFECT RELATIONSHIPS

When Adam and Eve sinned, two areas of relationship broke apart – our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. We immediately began to blame something or someone for the problems sin had caused. It was the snake, or the woman, and even God who was to blame. Shame and guilt became a burden too heavy to bear. so someone had to bear it for us, and that Someone was Christ.

But even then, human relationships have suffered, to put it mildly. We have never regained the beautiful freedom of unselfish love that existed before sin entered. To rectify this terrible damage to the human race, God introduced the Sanctuary system by which He could reveal His way of coming back into harmony and oneness again.

At first, this system was rudimentary – an altar at the gate of the garden, and a lamb to be offered for the sin of each individual worshiper. This simple service reestablished connection between man and his Maker. Forgiveness and mercy were now available for the asking. But unfortunately this divine gift did not always translate out into human relationships. More often than not, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Matt. 5:38) became the rule for man’s treatment of his brother.

“What you do to me I will do back to you” seems to be the normal reaction to the pain of our human condition. And nowhere is there greater damage done by this pattern of thinking than in the family, where our need for love, understanding, grace and forgiveness is greatest, and our vulnerability and need for safety is foundational to our happiness.

As mankind increased, God revealed to His chosen people a more complex structure of worship in the earthly Sanctuary, first the tent in the desert, and finally the magnificent temples constructed in Jerusalem by Solomon and others. Understood in its proper light, this pattern of worship was to be the healing of man’s separation from God, and the prescription for mental, emotional and spiritual health in his relationships with people, as well. “Thy way, O God, is in the Sanctuary,” David says in Psalms 77:13. And indeed, it is His way back to wholeness and health. So let’s take a look at this Sanctuary pattern.

Step #1 - Praise
sacrificeText: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.” Ps. 100:4.

Step #2 - The Altar of Sacrifice
sacrificeText: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jno. 1:9.

Step #3 - The Laver
laverText: “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her with water through His Word.” Eph. 5:25, 26.

Step #4 - The Seven-branched Candlestick
menorahText: “Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.” Rev. 4:5.

Step #5 - The Table of Shewbread
shewbreadText: “I am the bread of life…. that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” John 6:48, 50.

Step # 6 - The Altar of Incense
incenseText: “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.” Rev. 8:3.

Step # 7 - The Ark of the Covenant
arkText: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” Ps. 91:1, 4.

Now that we have outlined these seven steps, let us examine them one by one to discover and establish the principles of healing that they represent.

#1- Praise
Here is the antidote for all the darkness, sadness and despair that the devil has heaped upon the human race from the beginning of sin. It is upbeat, positive and healing to the mind and emotions. It gives hope and an outward focus. It lifts our minds from the circumstances in which we may find ourselves and places them upon God, our strength and eternal salvation. Without the practice of praise, healing cannot take place.

#2 - Confession / Humility
This attitude corrects the innate selfishness in the carnal heart, and brings a spirit of gratitude for the gifts God has given us, however small they may be. Instead of grasping for more, the humble, repentant heart is overflowing with joy and peace from a sense of forgiveness and love that comes from being released from guilt and the fear of reprisal or punishment. It prepares our hearts for even greater blessings from the Lord.

#3 - Being Washed in the Principles of the Word
Our minds and hearts have been damaged by the ravages of living in a sinful environment all our lives, and we have accessed the principles of the society around us, whether family, friends, acquaintances, the media, etc. We need to come back into harmony with the mind of God and His principles as expressed in the Scriptures, and especially in the life of Christ.

Jesus came here to specifically show us the truth about His Father, and to demonstrate what it is like to live as He would have us do in every area of life. Fortunately, He has provided the power necessary to live that life as He did when we are in connection with Him.

#4 - Being Filled with the Holy Spirit
Once we are washed with the Word of God from our sinful attitudes and thoughts, we are ready for the infilling of the Holy Spirit to empower us to live a new way, the way of the Spirit and not the cravings of the carnal flesh. A living connection with the Spirit of God is revitalizing and healing to every cell in our bodies and minds.

It brings all the gifts and benefits of the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in the Scriptures – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. To the extent that we allow the Spirit to have sway in our minds, to that extent we can heal from the trauma of broken relationships with God and others.

#5 - Becoming One with Jesus
What a precious Friend Jesus is! He walks beside us, sympathizes with us, counsels and guides us, and showers us with His love. The wings of His protection are over us as we go about our day communing with Him. He knows our frame, He understands our feelings and our struggles, for He has become one with us so that we can now become one with Him. Like Enoch, our every waking moment can be a walk with Him, and as a result, a reflection of His life to others. In this way, the people around us will feel His love through us, and will be blessed.

#6 - Interceding for Others in Prayer
As we become more like Jesus by associating with Him, we will long for others to receive the same blessings we are enjoying, and the result will be a growing life of prayer. We will find ourselves getting up earlier, just as He did, so we can spend more time with Him and receive the strength and wisdom to represent Him rightly to others. This will include time to intercede for loved ones and friends, and to hold them up to Him for His blessing.

As the Holy Spirit prays through us, we will find ourselves groaning in our own spirit for those around us who need His help, just as Jesus did when He was here, and the Holy Spirit does for us even now. Thus we will enter in to that sacred place where our hearts join and blend with His for the salvation of souls, and we will receive fullness of joy when we see the results of our travail.

#7 - Dwelling in the Shadow of His Wings
The Most Holy Place in the Sanctuary represents the place of total commitment that comes when we are dead to self and alive to God and fully filled with His Spirit. It is a place of emotional safety and protection. It represents the deepest intimacy with God that human beings can have. Like Jesus, who came from the bosom of the heavenly Father, so will we be emotionally surrounded by the sense of His love and presence with us.

Like Moses and Abraham who were called friends of God, so we can talk freely with Him and understand His mysteries and the things that He chooses to reveal to us. And how He delights in this experience with His earthly children! It is the reward He seeks for all the agony that sin has caused Him! Let us avail ourselves of this tender privilege to become the friends of God!

Now, having gone through the steps of the Sanctuary and seen the way of healing between us and God, let’s take the same journey through the steps and apply them to healing between us and others.

#1 - Praise: Affirmation / Appreciation
Since we ate at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we have been giving to others around us a mixture of good and evil. Sometimes we say nice things and sometimes we say hurtful or critical things. Along with James, I want to say, “My brothers, this should not be.” Js 3:10 (see the whole chapter). And what makes matters worse, we think we are doing the right thing to speak this way.

We are used to this way of living, and even though we don’t like it done to us, we feel all right about doing it to others if we feel the situation calls for it. If it is critical, it doesn’t belong in the Sanctuary. The word “sanctuary” tells us that it is to be a place of safety. We CAN LEARN to speak in positive ways that build others up and encourages them. We must do this if we want to keep ourselves and others in the pathway of healing relationships.

#2 - Confession / Humility / Putting others first
This does not mean that we become doormats to become used and abused by the careless and insensitivity of others. It means learning to become servants of mankind as Jesus did, not in any way losing His individuality and godhead. If we have done wrong, confess and make it right. If we see a need, fulfill it if we can.

Choose to serve rather than expect and demand that others serve us. Be the first to apologize. Be sensitive to those around us instead of ruminating about our own feelings. In short, live a life controlled by the principles of love outlined in 2 Cor. 13, and displayed in the life of Jesus for us!

#3 - Being Willing to Share our Thoughts with Others
The laver represents cleansing with words. If I have thoughts that I do not share with others, I cannot expect them to know who I am. Our lives will always be surface, and without depth. HOWEVER!! We cannot expect to share all of our thoughts with all of our friends whenever we may feel like it. Water is good when it is applied in the right place at the right time and in the right amount. But it can also be a tsunami, a flood or a hurricane.

What we share should be positive, appropriate for the time, place, and person, and uplifting. God once explained to me that I should not share with others something about myself that has no grace. In other words, I don’t tell a story about myself that is going to leave the other person depressed. It should leave them encouraged and praising God!

Remember: the water in the laver contained blood and dirt. This is where the priest washed himself before going into the holy places of the inner Sanctuary. So, if you are going by your words into the inner sanctuary of another person’s heart, you may share your pain and your troubles IF you also share with them the solution that the Lord has given you and/or that you are presently seeking from Him in faith. Otherwise you will be downloading on that person your woes that only God can cleanse and heal.

There is one exception to this rule, and that is when we need help from those who are experienced or gifted in counseling or pastoring and we are seeking their abilities to place our feet on the solid ground of truth and a firmer connection with Jesus. Some of us are fortunate enough to have friends or family members who can serve in that capacity when we need it. But I do my MAJOR sharing for healing at the feet of Jesus.

#4 - Sharing Together in the Unity of the Spirit
There is nothing more thrilling than sharing with others the outpouring of the Spirit in a group. Like Pentecost, when all differences are put away, and the love of Jesus is flowing through and from us to others, the Spirit of God can be poured out. Have you ever experienced a meeting where it was evident to all that the Spirit of God was especially present and moving among His people?

It can be in a group meeting, such as prayer meeting, Sabbath School class, a church service or other convocation, or just two people sharing together. But it is characterized by a unity of spirit, an openness to learning and sharing with each other, and the sense that you are receiving blessings from God that are vivifying and refreshing to the whole group. May we have more of these collective experiences in the unity that the the Holy Spirit brings!

#5 - Getting to Know Jesus Together
Remember the story of the householder who had a friend come unexpectedly to him in the middle of the night, and thus was obliged to borrow bread from his neighbor? (Lu. 11:5-13). In our walk of service for Jesus, we will find that others come to us hungering for the bread of life, and hoping that we can share a few crumbs with them from our storehouse of experience with Jesus.

Hopefully our sharing will be more than a few crumbs, but that their laps will be filled with the treasures of knowledge about Him that will not only satisfy their own needs, but that they will have enough to share with other hungry travelers. Getting to know us should be for our friends and neighbors an experience in getting to know Jesus – not because we are perfect, but because we know how to point them to the One who is!

#6 - Praying together for ourselves and others
Our little congregation has established the tradition of a time of sharing and prayer during the Sabbath services that has proved to be a blessing. At times we have struggled to keep it from getting too long and thus ineffective, but all in all it has been a time for our church family to get to know each other and our particular needs, and to take these to our heavenly Father together.

We have noticed that often the prayers that we thus take to God publicly are answered more specifically and quickly than others that we voice only to God in our private devotions. This does not mean that we should voice everything we need in a public setting. But it does mean that God is glorified when we selectively take things to Him that will publicly honor Him as they are answered. Of course, we should avail ourselves of the opportunity to pray with and for others in both private and public settings. God delights in hearing and answering the prayers and petitions of His earthly children!

#7 - Home at Last
When we are a finished product in the hands of God, we will be not only safe to save, but also a safe place for our friends and loved ones to trust us with their hearts. We have all had the experience of being hurt by the insensitivity of others. By experiencing the effect of inappropriate words, misunderstandings, rejection, neglect, and a host of other human woes, we have learned to by wary of intimacy and letting our guard down with others.

We eat together, play games, work, travel, talk, worship and associate with others – but we can do all these things and never really know the heart of the other person because we do it all on a surface level. But we were created to know and be known – to be safe in the love of those around us, just as we anticipate being able to do in the society of the redeemed in heaven. But we can begin here to have that blessed and holy experience as we learn the way of the Sanctuary, the positive way that God has given us for our health and healing!

To all our friends who receive this paper, we hope you find it to be of value in helping you to connect with others who are hoping for the soon coming of our Lord, and who are looking forward with anticipation to that event. Please feel free to send us your prayer requests. We have had many answers to prayer, and would love to add yours to our list! Email Me

“I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” Ps. 34:1.

“Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” Ps. 86:11, 12.

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matt. 23:12.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Pr. 25:11.

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” Pr. 17:27.

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:3.

“Prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:12, 13.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Gal. 6:9, 10.