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.
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
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. 

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