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THE SANCTUARY SET-UP

Israel Organised Whenever Israel would settle down, an ordered pattern had to be followed. But when they went into Canaan, the pattern was all the more evident.

To the east was the standard of Judah represented as a lion.


Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, And as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

To the south was the ensign of Reuben, that of a man.


Deut 33:6 Let Reuben live, and not die; Nor let his men be few.

To the west was the flag of Ephraim with an ox (Deut.33:17) as its ensign.

Deut 33:17 The firstling of his herd, majesty is his; And his horns are the horns of the wild-ox: With them he shall push the peoples all of them, even the ends of the earth: And they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, And they are the thousands of Manasseh.

To the north was the sign of Dan represented by an eagle. We previously talked of Dan being declared by Jacob to be a serpent (Gen. 49:17). The Jews tell us that the men of Dan altered that emblem into an eagle. Thus around the camp were the lion, man, ox, and eagle. Now lets go a bit deeper. The prophet Ezekiel was shown a vision of the throne of God. We read that he beheld four living creatures in the midst thereof. These four faces are seen in the cherubim (Ezek. 1 and 10).
Ezek 1:5 And out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Ezek 1:6 And every one had four faces, and every one of them had four wings. Ezek 1:10 As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and they four had the face of a lion on the right side; and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four had also the face of an eagle.

Each creature he sees has those same four faces that were the ensigns (flags, logos) of the tribes that occupied the N-E-S-W directions. The arrangement of Israel around the campsite was not done by accident. God arranged them in such a way as to even reflect the encompassment around His throne. But what are these four living creatures in reality? Fortunately, the Bible does not leave us in doubt.
Ezek 10:20 This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubims. Ezek 10:21 Every one had four faces, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.

The creatures are cherubims but not only that. If we re-read verse 20, we learn that each creature represented many cherubims. The living creatureI knew that they were cherubims. In fact Ezekiel solves a mystery for us for we further read concerning these creatures:
Ezek 10:12 And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. Rev 4:6 And before the throne, as it were a sea of glass like a crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.

We read further that


Ezek 1:9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.

We meet face to face with a powerful truth here. Here is presented how beautiful, how ordered, organized and purposeful is the throne of heaven. We learn that each creature has four faces but that each creature represents cherubims. Can we make heads and tails of this? Yes, we now understand why their bodies are full of eyes before and behind. It is because each creature is a group of angels. These angels have their wings joined together such that they can only go in one direction. If only one angel changes direction of movement it would disrupt the whole system, wouldnt it? They have to press forward in concert. And they are so organized that when you would look at their arrangement, you see a full picture of an ox, the other side a lion, other side man and finally an eagle. Heaven has to be beautiful, well-ordered and even wellorganised. But when you look at the whole body, you see the picture of a man, even the Man, Jesus Christ.
Ezek 1:5 And out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.

Such orderly organization has both spiritual and social implications. God demands order in everything we do for Him. He will not simply accept what we offer Him but also how this is done. Even the use of spiritual gifts, as is portrayed in 1 Cor 14, has to be exercised in an orderly manner. If there are prophets, for instance, the chapter demands that they speak not together; but they should speak one after the other. If there be tongues, continues the apostle (and I know this is contentious), they should not be done all at once as to create a barbaric confusion in the words of the apostle but rather, we should speak one after the other too. Order is a heavenly principle Christ has bestowed upon the church. Surely even politicians recognize this principle by speaking one after the other. First the district governor; then the MP; the regional governor; and then the President. If all, or even two, speak at once, no communication can be made, which ultimately is the purpose of the gifts of prophecy and tongues.

Spiritually, we also see that each one among us today is doing what is right in his eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25). There is no uniformity in Christian beliefs, Christian entertainment, food, worship or Christian dress. Each one is doing whats right in their eyes. If you have two divergent views at cross-purposes with each other, one of them has to be wrong. It is important to find out what God has said on a given subject. It is only on points of truth that true unity can be regained. It is sad that as Christians today, we are united on points of error. But again we ask the question: why a lion, man, ox and eagle? Why not the face of a cat or a woman or a dove? Well, it is because these ones closely represent the character of Christ. As a lion, the king of beasts, Christ is represented as King; the ox as Servant; the man representing His humanity, the Son of man; and the flying eagle His divinity, the Son of God. Christ came of His own accord to save man. He was not forced. He was like a young bull (ox) that has not known any burden but is willing to bear the yoke of sin for man.
Numbers 19:2 This is the statute of the law which Jehovah hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke. Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Such humility did not divest Him of His Kingship, rather He is the Lion of Judah who is coming as a conquering King to redeem His own. He accepted humanity so that He might succor them that are tempted and be the right and faithful High Priest for us. But His humanity did not rob Him of His divinity. He is the only true God worthy of our most reverent worship and obedience. The fact that He gives freely and is not ashamed to call us brethren, that fact does not make Him our buddy whom we can abuse. He deserves the respect due a King for He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let the earth tremble. The Sanctuary answers another question. At the Second Coming, from which direction will Christ come to redeem His people? We first will consider the manner in which He will appear. Yes, He will at that time not appear as a little, helpless baby in a manger. Neither will He appear as a crucified Saviour. Christ will come as King as He had promised Caiphas. He will

therefore appear from the direction of the lion representation, Judah the East. We quote other supporting verses on that:
Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Rev 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

The kings of the east include Christ and the entire host of heaven at the Second Coming. 12 Tribes of Israel There is an important point we make from Israels arrangement. It will be noted that Joseph is missing. Thats not so, rather Joseph is honored by being represented by his two children, the half-tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Since Jacob had 12 sons, then Ephraim and Manasseh minus Joseph would make a total of 13 tribes! But there are 12 because Levi is missing. Now the Levites were apportioned to work at and in the temple and to be priests. No Israelite was allowed to do so except he were a Levite. They were scattered among each of the 12 tribes. The Levites and Cities of Refuge Gods choice of the Levites was not arbitrary, but was a reward for their stand with Moses against the golden calf idolatry of Exodus 32 (Num 1:4754; 3:6-13, 45-51; 8:6-26; 18:1--32). From Gen 34, we learn that Levi and Simeon were involved in a treacherous genocide that forced the father to curse both and to predict that they would eventually scatter in Israel (Gen 49:5-7). But God reverses the curse of Levi and scatters them for the good of Israel around the camp. The Levites, as workers in the temple of God, were solemnly called to consecrate their lives before the Lord. Their work included teaching the people in their respective dwellings Gods law. They had 48 cities. Out of these, 6 were called cities of refuge. Why were they called so? If one committed murder, the manslayer deserved to be killed by the brother of the deceased, an avenger.
Num 35:19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death: when he meeteth him, he shall put him to death.

It is, nonetheless, possible to kill somebody by accident or in defense. But anticipating that the avenger would not have the time to listen to circumstances surrounding the death, there was provision that the murderer could escape to the city of refuge and await trial by the High Priest.
Num 35:12 And the cities shall be unto you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation for judgment.

And these were open to anybody including the stranger and sojourner
Num 35:15 For the children of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, shall these six cities be for refuge; that every one that killeth any person unwittingly may flee thither.

At the trial, if the manslayer was found guilty, he would still be killed by the avenger. But if found not guilty, he would be protected by the High Priest and be allowed to remain in the city of refuge. His protection would remain as long as he continued to abide in the city of refuge.
Num 35:26 But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the border of his city of refuge, whither he flees, Num 35:27 And the avenger of blood find him without the border of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood slay the manslayer; he shall not be guilty of blood, Num 35:28 Because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return into the land of his possession.

I believe you can see the precious jewels of the gospel in this arrangement as I am seeing them today. Here we are, sinners, who deserve to die and if we remain in the world and of the world we will have to meet the punishment that the law demands, even death. But if the sinner runs to Christ (the city of refuge), he gets protection. And as long as the person continues to abide in Christ (the city of refuge), he will never be let down. The Lord gave a similar promise to His people before Babylonian captivity
Jer 42:10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up. Jer 42:13 But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God, Jer 42:14 saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell: Jer 42:16 then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye fear, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine, whereof ye are afraid, shall follow hard after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.

Many are the Christians who believe that they can do a little of godliness mixed with a pinch of worldliness. They are not different from the murderer who wants to sneak out of the city of refuge because he wants to go home and collect some clothes! He may not be met by the avenger at first but its because he is lucky, God has given him some second chance. But when he becomes emboldened to be sneaking out (of Christ) and back, out and back, there will come a time that he will sneak out and never return.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

We are never safe unless we continually abide in Christ. Once saved, always saved is a lie. A man who first experiences salvation can be lost again by the subsequent choices he makes. The protection that God offers can only be sustained if, and only if, we abide in Him then once saved will be always saved.
Gal 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ a minister of sin? God forbid. Gal 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor.

A Royal Priesthood We do not have the space or time to go through the experience of Nadab and Abihu the sons of Aaron who serviced in the temple. I will only call us to read the entire story from Numbers 10. These two were consumed by fire from the Lord because they deliberately brought into the temple strange fire to replace the fire that God himself had kindled. It is, however, in verse 9 that we learn of the reason they did this grievous transgression. It was because they had taken an intoxicating drink. Then Moses gives the two remaining sons of Aaron the injunction:
Num 10:9 Drink no wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tent of meeting, that ye die not: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: Num 10:10 And that ye may make a distinction between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean;

You may be wondering as to why the study has extensively looked at the Levites and priests. We are the antitype of Israel of old for it is written that he who comes to Christ by faith is the child of Abraham. But Peter and John say that we are not simply Israelites, but we are the Levites; and not merely Levites, but the priests.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

As a royal priesthood, we are called upon to teach the world Gods holy Law. We are to reflect Christ in our characters. We are not to take into our minds anything that may make us fail to discern good from evil, clean from unclean and holy from unholy. Anything that deviates the mind from godliness is a spiritually intoxicating drink! Not only that but we must bring to God as led by His Spirit. Whatever does not meet Gods approval is strange fire before the Lord despite its popularity. Do we brethren see why we ought to be diligent Bible students? Distance The 4000 cubit hollow square covered quite an area! The tabernacle would be two thirds of a mile (about 1km) from the nearest tents. Any sinner had to make a lonesome journey across this area. His walk was indeed an illustration of public repentance before a watching world. And it was humiliating.

And again, this arrangement looked forward to the time after the 1000 years when the New Jerusalem shall descend and we shall form a hollow square with Christ in the center after our redemption. The Sanctuary: an Overview The wall of the courtyard was totally white (remember the white goats wool?) with only one door to the East. This door had a curtain (veil) of the colours scarlet, blue and purple. There was no wooden door a person only needed to push the veil to enter therein.

Having stepped inside the courtyard we come face to face with the altar of burnt sacrifice. This was made of bronze, hence was sometimes called the brazen altar. This was where the sacrifice was made and thus far could the penitent sinner go. Beyond the altar, the priest would make his way into the first apartment of the tabernacle (this was called the Holy Place). But before entering it, he was supposed to wash his feet at the laver. This was a roundish basin that had a foot on which feet could be rested for pouring water thereon. The holy place had the same kind of door as the door of the courtyard. Scarlet, blue, purple. The holy place was essentially made of wood but plastered with gold within and without (a person could believe it was made totally of gold by looking at it both from the inside and the outside). Inside the holy place were three items. There was the candlestick, the table of showbread and the altar of incense. Although the totally golden altar of incense (on which no sacrifice was burnt, but incense) was in the Holy Place, its function was for the second apartment. This is why the verse below excludes it from the items of the Holy Place:

Heb 9:2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the first, wherein were the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the Holy place.

The Holy Place was divided from the second apartment, called the Most Holy Place or the Holiest of all, by another similar curtain of scarlet, blue and purple. Inside the Most Holy was the Ark of the Covenant atop of which was the mercy seat on which the Shekinah glory of God rested. Inside the ark were the two tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments, called the tables of the covenant. Covering the mercy seat were engravings of two golden angels.
Heb 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Heb 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; Heb 9:5 And over it cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which things we cannot now speak particularly.

All this will become eventually significant as this was simply an overview.

Just a touch on the roof. This was formed of four coverings. The inner covering was "of fine-twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; with cherubims of cunning work." Over this was a white covering of woven goats' hair. Next was a covering of rams' skins dyed red; and outside of all a covering of badgers' skins. Ex. 36:8-19.

Thus if you are an observer, you would from the outside see that the roof was made of badgers skins (not very attractive); but from the inside you would see a masterpiece of cunning work of purple, blue and scarlet interwoven with golden cherubim (very attractive). As we shall see later, these coverings represent the four phases of the life and work of Christ in the plan of salvation. They also illustrate a deepening experience in the Christian life. Now here is how it was working. All Israelites, including kings such as David, could only enter the outer court of the Sanctuary up to the altar and never beyond that; only Levites could minister in it; only Levites from the family of Aaron could become priests and only they could enter the holy place; and only the High Priest could enter the most holy place, and that could be done only once in a year. Thus, only the consecrated and holy person could come into the presence of God. Quite significant! John gives its antitype below as applying to the New Jerusalem
Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Let us stop here for the moment.