Christian Customs and Rituals
When man first sinned, Adam should have died instantly, but Christ took our place by dying on the cross. In 31 AD, with the death on the cross, everyone had a chance for life. Jesus was foreordained to die on the cross, therefore giving the reason why man didn't die instantly. With this plan, the sanctuary service was created so God could dwell with his people and eventually reveal the plan of salvation he had for mankind. The sanctuary itself was a tent with wooden walls, a roof with 4 layers and was 15 by 45 feet. The court surrounding it was 75 by 150 feet. It was constructed so everything could be moved easy. All of the parts of the sanctuary were not nailed together so it could be easily moved. All of the furniture and the articles of the sanctuary could be easily moved also. This tabernacle was temporary, although, until a more permanent one could be erected in the Promised land. (Andreasan, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 9-11) The Priests of the sanctuary had to be from the line of Aaron with no flaw in succession. They could only marry widows, virgins or a person who was not divorced or a woman who had never been violated. They were appointed for life, but eventually when there were too many, they would only serve two times a year for one week. (Andreasan, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 39-43) The Priests had 6 main roles. They were to teach and guard the law, teach morals, lead in worship, had civil and personal duties such as determining who was ceremoniously unclean and who would be banished from camp, judicial duties and could restore a banished person. They were in those days very powerful people. The people would listen to what they said and the priests were in part the law. The priests, besides taking care of the sanctuary, had 3 main roles. They were mediation, reconciliation and sanctification. (Andreasen, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 39-43) Mediation by the priest was necessary for the people to be able to approach God. God is so holy that no man can see God and live. Since humans are sinners, God's appointed people, the priests, must do it for them. They intervene and minister the blood, eat the shewbread, offer incense and trim the lamps. A mediator is necessary for a persons sins to be forgiven, so reconciliation can be effected. (Andreasen, M.L.,The Sanctuary Service, pgs 45-49) Reconciliation by the priest was necessary because sin separates us from God, and through sacrificial offerings and prayers God can be approached, communion can be restored and then reconciliation effected. Reconciliation restores relations between man and God. The death of Jesus gives eveyone reconciliation. All the sacrifices and the blood makes reconciliation and atonement for all the people. The priests had to do this because only the priest could spray blood from the sacrifice. (Andraesen, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 47-48) Sanctification was to sin no more and be holy. A person goes to the altar, the mediating priests will enter the holy place and then once a year, the high priest will ask God to blot out their sins. Sanctification could only occur in the most holy place, so only the high priest could perform this function. The eventual goal of salvation is to sin no more, but forgiveness is there if they sin. Faith will get everyone who believes to the second apartment if we follow God. (Andreasan, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pg. 49) The priests had no means of self-support, so God had a way for their needs to be provided for. They would get to keep the shoulders, two cheeks and the inner parts from animal sacrifices. They could also keep the first fruits of grain, wine, wool and oil. They could also eat the flour and meat offerings that were baked or fried, and they could also keep the skin of the burnt offerings. Also they would receive tithe from the people and keep the unredeemed fields during the Jubilee.(Andreasan, M.L, The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 43-45) The High Priest occupied the most exalted place in Israel. He only could officiate The Day of Atonement and he offered everyday in the tabernacle. He cared for the lamps, burned the incense and the other priests were only his helpers. His garments were harmonious in color and material with the sanctuary, which included gold, blue, red and purple. He wore a breastplate with 12 stones and two other mysterious stones in the breastplate itself which were said to glow. He wore a crown that had an inscription, "Holiness To The Lord". (Andreasen, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 50-55) The sanctuary was 15 by 45 feet, with one division. The holy place and the most holy place, and the most holy place being 15 by 15 feet. The most holy place contained the 7-branch candlestick, which provided the only light in the sanctuary, the table of shewbread which had 12 loaves in altar of incense was probably the most important article in the sanctuary. It acted as a veil when the high priest entered the most holy place. The high priest even with this veil to help protect him from God's holiness could still die. The most holy place contained only one article, the ark of the covenant. There were two angels and a mercy seat, the throne of God, the ten commandments, a pot of manna and Aaron's rod. (Andreasan, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 24-27) In the sanctuary service, there were 5 different types of offerings that were offered. There were the burnt, peace, sin, trespass and meal offerings. Some of the offerings were voluntary and some were required in cases of uncleanness and sin. These offerings could be offered daily, or on special occasion. The burnt offering was a voluntary offering if it was given individually, but on certain occasions, the whole congregation had to give one. This offering would make atonement with God, as long as the individual was to become free of sin and dedicate his life to God. The animals that could be used were bullocks, rams, lambs, or pigeons or turtledoves. The whole offering would be burned on the altar, except for the skin which was given to the priest. In the case of a bird, the crop and the feathers would be thrown into ash heap and the whole bird would be burned. (Andreasen, The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 88-101) The peace offerings were usually voluntary, and included vows, thank offerings and freewill offerings. Any clean animals could be used, male or female, and it didn't have to be perfect. Peace offering meant to make up or to pay a recompence. The offering were divided among the giver, the priests and God. The priest would get the breast and shoulders, God's part was burnt on the altar, which were the fat, blood and the kidneys, and the offer got the rest. The offerer had to eat it all by the second day. A unclean person was allowed to eat with him. (Andreasen, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 116-129) Sin offerings were required when a person sinned through ignorance, or on special occasions to cover sins for the whole congregation. This sacrifice was either to be a male or female goat for common people. Poor people could give a turtledove or a pigeon and a very poor person could give flour without oil or frankincense. A interesting part of this sacrifice was the one of the Red Heifer. This was one form of a sin offering for cleansing. A blemish free red heifer would be sacrificed outside of the camp and the blood would be sprinkled seven times in the direction of the sanctuary. All of the bull was burned and the ashes were saved and water was mixed with it to form holy water. This water could be used on unclean things. ( Andreasen, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 130-159) The Trespass offering was given in certain cases of sin, almost like sins in a sin offering, but also included offenses against God and man. It is given the same as a sin offering, except the blood was put on the horn of the altar. A ram or a lamb would be used so that atonement for the sin could be made. ( Andreasen, M.L, The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 160-169) The Meal offering was a gift made to another. Meat or blood was not used in this offering. It was made up of flour, oil, salt and frankincense. Wine was given also. No leaven or honey was to be used, but could be brought to the altar individually. This was an accompaniment of other blood offerings. These were given with all peace offerings. (Andreasan, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 102-115) The Day of Atonement was the most important element of the sacrificial system. It occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month. It was so important that anyone who did not afflict his soul would be cut off from Israel. The Day of Atonement was the day of judgment in Israel's eyes. They were not only forgiven, but cleansed because all of the sins were put before God. (Andreasen, M.L., The Sanctuary Service, pgs.170-187) All of the services of the sanctuary helped to foreshadow one thing, Christ's mission on earth. Satan wanted everyone to view God as a severe judge and very unforgiving, a stern creditor. Jesus' main missions were to reveal God's true character, love, and to die on the cross so he could carry the burden of sin. The sanctuary sacrifices helped to show that forgiveness costs a life. Only through blood could we be saved and forgiven. All of the blood sacrifices pointed to Christ, who would have to die on the cross so that mankind could be saved.(White, Ellen, Steps To Christ, pgs 6-13) The sacrificial system showed that God would accept a substitute in the sinners place. In a sacrifice, an innocent lamb is slain for our sinfulness. Jesus to is a "innocent lamb" that was slain for the world. Since he is the only one that can bring us salvation, he is like the high priest. Only the high priest could atone for the sins of the people so Jesus is our high priest today. Our sin today is the cause of the death of Christ, our sinfulness and our need for forgiveness. (Frazee, W.D., Ransom and Reunion, pgs 21-27) "The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ's work in behalf of men". The interseccion of Jesus was essential to the plan of salvation just as his death was on Clavary. His mediation for us has been to much expence to heaven, and our sincere desire for heaven can get us there through the love of Christ. Just as th high priest made atonment for the people of Israel, Jesus has already made atonement for all in 31 A.D. (White, Ellen, The Great Controversy, pgs. 429-431) Christ had come down to die on the cross to atone for our sins. The sin offering helps show that. The putting of the blood on the horns is like a record of our sins which are recorded in heaven. When we are judged, as long as we look to Christ, we can be saved. His death took away our sins.(Andreasen, The Sanctuary Service, pgs. 130-140) The different offerings that were not voluntary had to be perfect, without blemish, which shows Christ's character. Physically he had no imperfections and while on earth, he lived a healthy life. This part of the sacrifice showed this.(White, Ellen, The Desire of Ages, pg. 50) In the ritual of the Sanctuary service, salt was always added to the sacrifice. This symbolized that only the righteousness of Christ could make it acceptable unto God. Jesus said that all sacrifices should have salt and for us to become acceptable unto God, and we must have the "saving salt", the righteousness of Jesus.(White, Ellen, The Desire of Ages, pg. 439) The death of Jesus was the main plan for the plan of salvation. His death allowed the curse of the law to be fully drained. When God allowed his own son to die on the cross, it showed the love God had for us. This love made Jesus carry the burden of sin on his shoulders, which in turn saves the people who look toward him.(Douglas, Herbert, Why Jesus Waits, pgs. 16-17) The Day of Atonement shows that like the tabernacle high priest, Jesus appears in the temple in heaven and abolishes sin. Our sins are covered up provisionally when we ask him for forgiveness and our sins are not blotted out until the final day, where we make the choice to follow God. This day of cleansing for the Israelites is like Christ cleansing us. He teaches us to be clean and how to stay that way.(Frazee, W.D., Ransom and Reunion, pgs. 30-38) The sanctuary service was to help reveal the mission of Christ. All of it's functions and sacrifices pointed to Christ, who had to die for us on the cross. Christ had to die as an innocent bystander, just as all of the lambs did in the tabernacle. Blood was necessary to sustain life, for sin equaled nothing but death. The choice is ours if we choose to accept Christ, for God's love for us is what caused Jesus to die on the cross.