1. THE SANCTUARY ONE OF GOD’S LESSON BOOKS
God's Three Books
. From the creation of the world to the present time, the one outstanding purpose of Heaven has been to make known to man the character and work of our Creator and Redeemer. To accomplish this, God has given three books to the human family:
, the book of creation, His word in nature;
, the sanctuary, His word visualized in an object lesson; and
, the Bib1e the written Word. The grand central theme of each of these books is the plan of salvation. To study any one of them with any other object in view than to understand God's character and His plan for us is to miss His purpose entirely.
God's First Book, the Book of Creation.
The book of nature was given to man while he lived in the Garden of Eden. Through the things that God had made, he was to learn of His omnipotent power, His infinite wisdom, His boundless love and goodness. Before sin marred God's plan, these lessons on His character were perfectly revealed in the beauty and fragrance of the flowers, the singing of the birds, the gorgeous butterflies, the fruitful trees, the beautiful landscape, the clear, healthful air, the life-giving water, the happy contented beasts of the field, and above all in man, made in God's own perfect image. In earth and sea and sky God's character was manifest. 'On every leaf of the forest or stone of the mountains, in every shining star, ... God's name was written." "God's glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, 'the balancings of the clouds,' the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night, - all were open to the study of our first parents." PP 51. And all revealed the divine character of man's adorable Creator and his marvelous Teacher. The book of nature is still a parable to teach us of heavenly realities, for "as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isa. 61:11. After sin marred this fair world, nature everywhere revealed the presence and character of the evil one. "The atmosphere, once so mild and uniform in temperature, was now subject to marked changes." PP 61. Satan had become "the prince of the power of the air" Eph. 2:2, and the terrible conflict between good and evil, between Christ and Satan, was on, This conflict is still on, and this book of nature plainly reveals in death and decay on every hand. To understand this conflict so that we shall line up on God's side is the real objective of true nature study. Unless in our study and teaching of nature, the work of Christ not only as Creator but as Redeemer, is made plain, it cannot truthfully be called
education, even though it be so labelled. When Adam and Eve witnessed signs of decay in drooping flower and falling leaf, we are told that they “mourned more deeply than men now mourn over their dead." PP 62. But they were not left without hope. The book of nature still revealed the love and character of God. In His mercy He has left many of nature's beauties. While nature reveals the presence of the enemy, it also teaches the lesson of redemption. Although death and decay are everywhere manifest, the trees shed their leaves only to put forth new ones in the freshness of the springtime. The plants die only to rise again in fresh verdure at the appointed time. Even man himself as he lays down his life, looks forward to the resurrection, when he shall come forth in immortal youth and glory. Each yearly round demonstrates the spring, summer, autumn, and winter of life, and the resurrection morning. And all show God's gracious care and imperishable love toward all the works of His hand. "The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Rom. 1:19, 20; 2:13-16; Ps. 19:1-3. In fact, so fully is the plan of redemption made known in the book of nature, that some will be saved who have never known any other book of God. "Among the