And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them, Exodus 25,8.
After Israel received God’s ten commandments at Sinai, Moses was instructed to build a sanctuary for the Lord so that He could dwell among them, this we read in Exodus 25,8. In verse 9, God says: According to all that I shew thee, [after] the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make [it].
When God brought Israel out of Egypt, they had no land to go to because other people lived where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had lived before Jacob took his family and went to Egypt due to drought. God had promised them that they would return to Canaan after they were released from captivity, but for the time being, they were in the wilderness.
At Sinai, they are thus told to build a sanctuary according to the pattern. What kind of pattern is this? Israel had no house of worship, no sanctuary, no place where they could worship God the Creator. From the time Abraham was called by God and until the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt, they had only sacrificial altars where they came with their daily sacrifices. When they were slaves, they were not allowed by the Egyptians to sacrifice at all. So they had no models or patterns of former sanctuaries they could use as a pattern. Should Israel build a sanctuary modelled after the pagan temples they had seen in Egypt? Hardly. God wanted His people to stand out from the rest of the world, and not to follow the customs of the Gentiles. This is clearly seen in the texts of the Bible. They would not even take spoil of war as they conquered the Promised Land.
So what is this pattern? Or perhaps rather, where is this pattern? We find the answer in Hebrews 8,5: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. This verse tells us that God has a temple in heaven. Although a number of theologians have rejected the literal pattern, it is inevitable that the Bible says so. By relying on this story in Exodus and other scriptures that also refer to it, such as Hebrews 9,23-24, we can conclude that Moses saw a real sanctuary in heaven and built the earthly copy accordingly. This is the pattern that Moses was instructed to copy so that the earthly sanctuary, which he was to build, reflected the heavenly sanctuary in absolute perfection in every detail. God mentions this four times in Exodus 25: 25,9; 25,40; 26,30; 27,8 and then it must be of great importance, it must be very important.
Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a God as [our] God? Psalm 77,14.
Why should Israel build a sanctuary?
As long as Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, they had daily fellowship with God and therefore did not need a temple or sanctuary where they could worship God. But when they fell into sin, they could no longer be with God in the intimate way they were before the fall. This led to several things. They were expelled from the garden, they received the first lesson about the plan of salvation God had laid, and they learned that without blood they could not be cleansed from their sins: Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them, Genesis 3,21.
There is very little information we find in this verse. It is not explicitly stated about the sacrificial service here, but it is in this verse that the first sacrifice was made. An innocent lamb had to pay with its life so that Adam and Eve would not be “naked”. The story of Cain and Abel’s sacrifices in chapter 4 shows that Adam and Eve’s first two sons were well acquainted with the sacrificial system, and that they had a sacrificial altar. There are many who dismiss this and says that it is nonsense and speculation. But, if God had not prescribed clear rules as to what and how they should sacrifice, God could not have looked favourably on Abel’s sacrifice and with dissatisfaction on Cain’s sacrifice. Then God would prove to be erratic and unjust as Satan accused God of being. The fact that Cain does not accuse God of being biased also proof that both he and his brother were well known with what God had prescribed.
A sin offering, a lamb without blemish, had to be offered, and through the death of this innocent animal they were to be forgiven of their sins. When Noah came out of the ark after the water had retreated after the flood, the first thing he did was to sacrifice to God: And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that [is] with thee, of all flesh, [both] of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, [and] whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar, Genesis 8,15-20.
When God chose Abraham to be the ancestor of His people, the worship of God continued in the way prescribed by God ever since the Fall. The head of the family, who was also considered the priest of the family, performed the daily ritual actions that were necessary, and that God had ordained. We read in several places that Abraham set up altars to offer sacrifices to the Lord. (Genesis 12,7; 13,18; 22,9; 26,25). That Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not build a sanctuary, or a temple is due to the fact that they were nomads. They constantly moved around with their livestock.
When Israel came to Sinai after being released from captivity in Egypt, God introduced a new regime in worship. Now the people of God were to build a sanctuary as a centre of worship, and the tribe of Levi was chosen to be priests in the sanctuary. This is because when they came to the Promised Land and took possession of it, many would settle in cities, and then they needed a permanent place to travel to a minimum number of times a year to worship the Lord. But the main reason was this: And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, [after] the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make [it], Exodus 25,8-9.
The sanctuary, or tabernacle; Exodus 25,10 – 26,37.
In these two chapters, God describes how Israel will make the sanctuary and what it will contain. All the objects are closely related to Jesus’ ministry. The sanctuary itself consists of the Courtyard, the Holy place and the Most Holy place, an and is delimited by a fence of twisted linen screens around the entire sanctuary. There are also rules for which way the sanctuary should be placed. The entrance to the sanctuary shall always be placed to the east, the ark of the covenant shall be to the far west inside the Most Holy place, and the altar of incense shall be placed in the Holy place to the west in front of the veil.
Why should the entrance be to the east? The reason for this is found in Ezekiel chapter 8, which is called ‘The sight of idols and abominations’. There were many different abominations of Israel in the temple, and the prophet sees all kinds of abominable insects and animals and all the idols that Israel had eventually taken, there were even some women there who wept over one of the gods of Babylon – Tammuz. In verse 16 we read: And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, [were] about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
Why it was so bad worship to the East? From the time people began to worship God in their own way, there has been a distortion of the proper worship of God. Soon they began to worship the sun, which was thought to be the giver of life. This was not just a local phenomenon in the Middle East, and it was not limited to antiquity. Even in the recent past, many pagan cultures worshiped the sun, in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The sun has been worshiped all over the world almost since the dawn of time. Even in our day we find this in all pagan religions, and it is probably surprising to most that there are still many who worship the sun. It is also a common feature of those who worship the sun, in their sanctuaries they have always, and without exception, placed the altar to the east. This has been the case since humans began to worship the sun. God placed the entrance to his temple to the east so that those who came to the temple to worship always turned their backs to the east, thus avoiding worshiping the sun. As a curiosity, I can mention that all cathedrals and churches within the Catholic Church and the Lutheran / Reformed Church have an altar facing east. They actually worship the sun god, but do they know it themselves?
Here is a small excerpt from chapter 8, a very important chapter in Ezekiel. I encourage you as a reader to read the entire chapter: Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, [and] thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which [was] toward the north; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen [this], O son of man? turn thee yet again, [and] thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, [were] about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east, Ezekiel 8,12-16.
What did the sanctuary contain?
The sanctuary itself consists of the Court of the tabernacle, the Holy place and the Most Holy place. Inside 1) The Most Holy, there was only one object: a) The Ark of the Covenant; Exodus 25,10-22. Inside 2) The Holy, there were three objects: b) The altar to burn incense; Exodus 30,1-10, c) The table for the shewbread; Exodus 25,23-30 and d) The candlestick of pure gold; Exodus 25,31-40, Exodus 27,20-21. Outside the tabernacle itself we find 3) The court of the tabernacle; Exodus 27,9-19. Here were two objects; e) The laver of brass; Exodus 30,17-21 and f) The brass altar of burnt offering; Exodus 27,1-8. Let’s take a look at each of these nine parts / objects that make up the sanctuary.
1) The Most Holy:
The Most Holy contains only one object, the most sacred object that accompanied Israel through their wilderness journey, the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and only once during the year, on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, when the High Priest was to erase the sins of Israel.
a) The Ark of the Covenant; Exodus 25,10-22:
The Ark of the Covenant was made of wood and overlaid with pure gold, both inside and out. The lid of the Ark is called the mercy seat, it had two cherubim that had their wings outstretched and their faces facing each other. It was made of pure gold. The first thing that was laid down in the Ark was the two stone tablets with God’s ten commandments that God gave to Moses at Sinai. Later, a golden pot with manna and the rod of Aaron were placed in the Ark (Hebrews 9,4). The gold used on the furniture in the sanctuary represents the tried faith – which is much more precious than gold, 1 Peter 1,7.
2) The Holy:
In the Holy, or place of intercession, there was more furniture covered with pure gold. To the west and towards the curtain that separated the Holy from the Most Holy stood the incense altar, at the north wall was the table for the shewbread and against the south wall was the candlestick of gold. Into the Holy Place the priests went daily to bring the blood of the sacrificed animals to the altar of incense. The veil between the two sections of the tabernacle is a symbol of the body of Jesus, (see Hebrews 10,20).
b) The altar of incense; Exodus 30,1-10:
This was one cubit wide, one cubit long and two cubits high, and it had four horns. Incense was to be burned here both in the morning and in the evening when the high priest took care of the lamps. Once a year on the great Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the high priest was to make atonement with the blood of the sin offering on the horns of the altar. The incense that burns represents Jesus’ works following the prayers of the believers. (See also Revelation 8,3.)
c) The table for the shewbread; Exodus 25,23-30:
This table was two cubits long, one cubit wide, and one and a half cubit high, and clothed with pure gold. The shewbreads were baked without yeast, and when they lay on the table for the shewbread with incense sprinkled over them, they represented the 12 tribes of Israel who are nourished through Christ, the bread of life. That the shewbreads were baked without yeast refers to the fact that everything that was fermented was a picture of sin, and Christ himself was without sin. In Mark 8,15, Jesus warns us precisely against what is fermented, what He calls the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod – that is, apostasy. Herod can be understood as the Herodians, a political party in the time of Jesus who advocated opening up to the culture of the pagan religions, not so different from what happens in our time where paganism flows into the church and is dressed in a Christian robe.
d) The candlestick of gold; Exodus 25,31-40, Exodus 27,20-21:
The candlestick was made of solid pure gold and had seven lamps. The lamps were to burn all the time, night and day. The symbolism here is lamp and oil, and this is explained as the word of God and the Holy Spirit. Psalm 119,105 says: Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Zechariah chapter 4 tells of a candlestick of pure gold (verse 2) and two olive trees (verse 3), and this is explained as the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. Revelation 11 speaks of two witnesses, who are explained as the Old Testament and the New Testament. Revelation 4,5 says that there are seven lamps burning before the throne of God, which are the seven spirits of God. Seven is the number of perfection, and then this is a picture of the Holy Spirit.
3) The court of the tabernacle; Exodus 27,9-19:
The court of the tabernacle, where everyone had to go in with their sacrifices, surrounded the whole tabernacle, and was to be 100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide. Here stood two other objects, the laver of brass and the altar of burnt offering, also of brass. The individual sinner, defiled by his guilt and sin, went into the sanctuary with his sacrifice, put his hands on the animal´s head, and transferred his sins to the animal in a figurative manner. In addition to the individual sacrifice, it was sacrificed twice a day, a morning sacrifice and a evening sacrifice.
e) The laver of brass; Exodus 30,17-21:
The laver was located just in front of the entrance to the Holy. Here the priests had to wash their hands and feet to be clean every time they entered the most Holy. The laver was also a picture of the baptism of believers.
f) the altar of burnt offering; Exodus 27,1-8:
The altar of burnt offering was 5 cubits long, 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits high. It should have four horns and be clad in bronze. The altar is an image of the cross, where the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, was sacrificed for the guilty.
Other things specifically mentioned in connection with the sanctuary.
The priest’s holy garnments; Exodus 28,1-43:
In King James Version the Hebrew word mitsnepheth is translated as ´mitre´. I think this is a chosen translation as mitsnepheth is translated with turban, diadem (crown) or mitre. New International Version 1984 has translated mitsnepheth with turban. In Strong´’s dictionary of Hebrew and Aramaic words it says: H4701 mitsnepheth, mits-neh’-feth; from tsanaph (H6801); a tiara, i. e. official turban (of a king or high priest): – diadem, mitre.
The cult of Mithras or Mithraism worshiped as the supreme god and saviour Mithras, who was described as the invincible sun – sol invictus Mithras. As in the other mystery cults, the members of the Mithras cult were also subject to a so-called archaic discipline, which means that the rituals and secrets of the culture were reserved for the initiates, and it was forbidden to tell or reveal them to outsiders. We have the same thing with all types of Freemasons in our time. Only those who are highest in rank know the whole rituals and meanings of the order. Today, the pope, archbishops, abbots and a select few papal prelates wear a mitre. This can be said to be a mixture of Mithraism and Dagon worship, which was a fish god.
The fish god Dagon appeared as early as 2500 BC. Dagon was a well-known pagan god when Israel left Egypt and Moses was commissioned to make priestly garments for Aaron and his sons. Therefore, I do not think we can call the high priest’s headdress a mitre, but a turban (or hat). I doubt God would give His priests the same headdress as ancient Indian, Mesopotamian, and Persian pagan religions do to honour their idols.
On the ephod there shall be two stones with the names of the 12 sons of Israel engraved, six on each stone. The breastplate shall have four rows of three stones, each bearing the names of the 12 sons of Israel. On the turban there was to be a plate of pure gold with the inscription Holiness to the Lord.
The oil of holy ointment; Exodus 30,22-33:
The sacred anointing oil should also be made according to a carefully given recipe. It was to consist of liquid myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, fragrant sugar cane, cassia (from the bark of an evergreen tree that grows in Asia) and olive oil. The whole sanctuary was to be anointed with this oil, the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony, the altars and all the equipment of the sanctuary. Even Aaron (the high priest) and his sons (the priests) were to be anointed with this oil so that they could serve God in the sanctuary. No one other than those who were to serve in the sanctuary was to be anointed with this oil, and no one was allowed to imitate this sacred anointing oil.
The incense; Exodus 30,34-38:
The incense that was to be used in the sanctuary also had its own recipe. This incense was to be made from stacte, onycha, galbanum ad sweet spices. That it was common to make incense comes from verse 35 which says after the art of the apothecary. Nor was this particular incense allowed to be made for his own use, it was a holy mixture of incense that was to be used only in the sanctuary. For both the oil of holy ointment and the incense, it says that if anyone makes something similar, they will be cut off (exterminated) from the people.
When God has given Moses all the instructions, and Moses has appointed specially qualified people to do the work, then God repeats the fourth commandment – the Sabbath commandment in the passage in Exodus 31,12-18 called the observance of the Sabbath: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth [any] work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant. It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Why does God repeat the fourth commandment here? It is because the fourth commandment is the very sign of the covenant God made with men, and the fourth commandment is the very seal of God’s law. As is well known, a seal contains the name, position and territory of the person who owns the seal. It appears that the name of the one who owns the seal is the Lord, His position is the Creator, and His territory or domain is heaven and earth, as merism; heaven and earth and everything in between in other words the whole universe. (Merism: see Daniel chapters 10, 11 and 12 part 1, under Typology and Merism.)
The daily service in the sanctuary; Exodus 29,38-46.
Now this [is that] which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, Exodus 29,38-39.
In addition to this passage, we find the daily sacrifice also mentioned in Numbers 28,1-8 and in Hebrews 9,6-10; 10,11.
In addition to the daily sacrifice that was to be offered every morning and every evening, Numbers provides guidelines for a Sabbath offering (Numbers 28,9-10) and a new moon offering (Numbers 28,11-15) and sacrifices during the great feasts such as the feast of unleavened bread (Numbers 28,17-25), Pentecost (Numbers 28,26-31), feast on the trumpets offerings (Numbers 29,1-6), Day of Atonement offerings (Numbers 29,7-11), feast of Tabernacles offerings (Numbers 29,12-39).
On these days the various feasts were held in Old Testament times: Passover; 14th abib (1st month). The feast of unleavened bread; 15th to 21st abib. The Feast of Firstfruits; 16th abib and 6th sivan (3rd month). Pentecost; 6. sivan. The Feast of Trumpets; 1st tishri (7th month). The Great Day of Atonement; 10. tishri. The Feast of Tabernacles; 15th to 22nd tishri.
Now it must be emphasized that these were all feast days that pointed to the first coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and what He was to do. When Jesus came, he died on the cross and ascended to heaven to complete His work of salvation, and these feasts lost their significance. Jesus’ death also put an end to all the animal sacrifices in the temple. When Jesus died on the cross, the real lamb, the Lamb of God, had taken the place of the figurative lamb that had been carried into the tabernacle and the temple for more than 1470 years, from the time Israel built the tabernacle at Sinai approximate 1444 BC until Jesus died on the cross 31 AD. This means for us Christians that we do not have to offer an animal sacrifice for our sins, but we must still bring our daily sacrifices.
This is a statement that raises a question: What is our daily sacrifice, if it is not a lamb without a blemish?
The daily sacrifice:
Now this [is that] which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually, Exodus 29,38. The phrase here is translated to: day by day continually is the Hebrew yom tamid. Daniel chapter 8, verse 12 speaks of the daily sacrifice, that which is to be offered continually in the sanctuary, or as it is said here in Exodus 29, day by day continually. It is implicit in the text that there should be sacrifices to God every day, a minimum of two sacrifices daily, one in the morning and one in the evening. Yom means day and tamid means continuous.
The daily sacrifice in Daniel 8 and verses 11, 12 and 13, and in Daniel 11,31; 12,11, is translated from the Hebrew word tamid which is used both as an adverb and an adjective and is linked to many concepts such as: permanent work (Ezekiel 39,14), permanent maintenance(2 Samuel 9,7-14), persistent sorrow (Psalm 38,17), persistent hope (Psalm 71,14), persistent provocation (Isaiah 65,3). In a religious context such as in the temple: the shewbreads Hebrew læhæm hatamid which directly translated means the bread that will always lie there (Numbers 4,7), the lamp that will always or constantly burn (Exodus 27,20), A fire shall ever be burning on the altar (Leviticus 6,6), The burnt offering to be offered daily – a continual burnt offering (Numbers 28,3), The incense to be offered every morning and at even – A continual burnt offering (Exodus 30,7-8).
The word tamid in itself does not mean daily, but persistent, regular, continuous or continuity, and occurs 103 times in the Old Testament. Of the 103 occurrences of tamid, only six times have been translated daily, Numbers 4,16; Daniel 8,11.12.13; 11,31; 12,11. In Talmud, when the word tamid is used independently as here, the word always and without exception points to the daily sacrifice. It is probably because of this that the translators have added the word ‘sacrifice’ in the text to make it easier to understand what it is all about. Perhaps it is the case that the word sacrifice should not have been inserted in the text but added to a footnote.
We know that in the Old Testament ministry, animals were sacrificed every day, to atone for the sins of the people, and that we as Christians must daily pray for forgiveness of our sins. What is frightening is that the Bible says that the daily sacrifice, which in our time is our prayers, will be taken away by the power behind the transgression of desolation: Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down, Daniel 8,11.
If we go to Revelation 8,3-4, we see that our prayers are on the altar together with the incense that the angel puts there: And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. It is our daily prayers addressed to God the Father in the name of Jesus who are our daily ‘tamid’ sacrifice in New Testament times. At some point in the course of history – on what I call the timeline – the daily sacrifice will be taken away, something the Bible is very clear on. It is thus an earthly power that wants to prevent God’s people from coming to the sanctuary with their daily sacrifices (= prayers). This raises some questions, and the questions are: Who is this power? When will this power take away the daily sacrifice? In what way should it be done? What does that mean? When the daily sacrifice is taken away in Daniel 8,11.12.13; 11,31 and 12,11 then this refers to a special act performed by the same power that sets up the transgression of desolation. This power represents the Roman Empire – both the military-political as well as the religious-political Roman Empire.
We know that this power, which fulfils all signs of the Antichrist, neither wants us to daily ask God for forgiveness of our sins, nor to have Jesus Christ as our only mediator. Therefore, this power has created a system of sub-gods as we can call them, the so-called holy men and women. Even if you initially believe and say that you are praying to the only true God, you are in fact praying to dead people when you pray through (read: to) one of these mediators, or saints – be it St. Olav, St. Mark, St. Valentine or the heavenly queen and mediator of this power Mary, the mother of Jesus. It should be clear that this is the fallen Catholic Church. No matter which of these saints you pray to, the prayers do not get where they are supposed to go. It is an illusion to believe that they do, because Jesus said the following: … … no man cometh unto the Father, but by me, John 14,6.
In these five verses in Daniel 8,11.12.13; 11,31 and 12,11 refer without exception to the religious-political Rome, or the papacy, which through its paganism and idolatry causes the people to pray to or worship statues of Mary and the saints, relics and for the pope himself. It is in this way that the Catholic Church takes away the daily ‘tamid’ sacrifice, precisely because the Catholic Church causes the ordinary Catholic to pray to the saints of the Church. (See also Babylon – Babylon, Part 1; The power of seduction; the idols.)
There are many interpretations of what tamid is, but there are three interpretations that have received greater support than the others. These are 1) that tamid refers to the daily sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem, 2) that tamid does not refer to paganism neither in Daniel 11,31 nor in 12,11, but is mentioned in connection with the setting up of the transgression of desolation and 3) that tamid refers to Jesus’ high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, and that the abolition of ‘the daily (tamid) sacrifice’ corresponds to the papacy’s vicarious system imposed on church members at the expense of Jesus Christ’s intercession. It is relatively clear that this is the third alternative that harmonizes with history.
The daily sacrifice in our time, after Jesus died on the cross, is our prayers. We have nothing to offer or sacrifice that is close to the sacrifice Jesus made for us. We can do nothing but pray in Jesus’ name for forgiveness of our sins, then He will take His blood and sprinkle on the altar of sacrifice to atone for our sins. Our prayer to God, through the mediator the man Jesus Christ, is our daily sacrifice. Jesus our high priest, is the only mediator between man and God: For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2,5.
But does the Bible say that our prayers really are the daily sacrifice? Are there really any verses beyond Revelation 8,3-4 that confirm that our prayers are the constant sacrifice? We know from the Old Testament that the daily sacrifice was to be sacrificed upon the altar, (see Exodus 29,38-42). King David clearly states in Psalm 141 verse 2 the following, Let my prayer be set forth before thee [as] incense; [and] the lifting up of my hands [as] the evening sacrifice. Solomon says in Proverbs 15,8 this: The sacrifice of the wicked [is] an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright [is] his delight.
Our prayers are thus our daily sacrifice. But when our prayers are the daily sacrifice, the claim that the power behind the transgression of desolation should take from God the daily sacrifice can be problematized. How is it possible to take from God the daily sacrifice when these are our prayers? Galatians 1,6-7 tells us that there is a form of worship that does not put God and Jesus at the centre, but that it is a form of idolatry that distorts God’s Word and takes from God his rightful sacrifice: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
The Bible itself says that there is only one mediator between man and God, namely the man Jesus Christ, (1 Timothy 2,5). Is there a power or authority that says that prayers should go through channels other than the channel the Bible says we should use? If we look at Daniel 8,10-11, it mentions an authority that exalts itself all the way to the prince of the host, who is God. This is the little horn mentioned in verse 9, which waxed great. This authority or power requires that we go through other intermediaries with our prayers. Who is it then we actually pray to, do we pray to our God and creator who is our Heavenly Father, or do we pray to an idol? Jesus taught us to pray correctly, and here is a recipe that contains who will be the addressee of our prayers: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.… … Matthew 6,9.
Taking away the daily sacrifice has to do with confession. The Sacrament of Penance (also commonly called the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession) is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church in which the believer achieves atonement for sins committed against God and his neighbour… … and they are reunited with the Church after confession. The Catholic Church have a threefold development of this sacrament. 1) from the time of the apostles until the beginning of the 6th century – the early confession. 2) from early in the 6th century (specifically the year 508) to the 12th century tariff penance. 3) from the 12th century onwards – individual confession.
In this way, the daily sacrifice was abolished when the transgression of desolation was set up. From the early sixth century, it became mandatory to go to confession for church members, and it is the tariff penance that is the transgression of desolation. Those who did not regularly go and confess their sins to the priest were excommunicated / excluded from the church community, or the holy community as the Catholic Church calls it. Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given [him] against the daily [sacrifice] by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered., Daniel 8,11-12.
Our prayers will therefore be directed to God, in the name of our only mediator Jesus Christ. If we pray our prayers through anyone other than Jesus Christ, these prayers will not reach God, it is an illusion to believe that our prayers come to God if we pray through dead people. It is in this way that God is deprived of his daily sacrifice, and it is in this way that we are prevented from seeking our Saviour Jesus Christ who is in the most holy place in the heavenly temple. Daniel 8,11-12 then also confirms that a worship of God that involves intermediaries other than Jesus Christ is contrary to the daily sacrifice.
What happened in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and what is happening in the temple in our days?
When the people entered the court of the sanctuary with their sacrificial animal, the daily sacrifice, they were taught the plan of salvation, and the lesson was that there is no forgiveness without the blood of an innocent being shed. They came to a meeting with God, they repented of their sins and they brought their sacrifice. This is the daily service in the first ward – the holy. This is the first part of the plan of salvation. It also symbolizes the walk we as Christians also can do with God on a daily basis. Even though they were actually going to meet God, there was a priest the people met, and this priest and what he did was a picture of the service Jesus was to do after his death, resurrection and ascension. This priest was thus a picture of the mediator, Jesus Christ: For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;, 1 Timothy 2,5.
Hebrews chapters 7, 8 and 9.
I think we need to go through these three chapters, a few verses at a time, and look at the content and what that context means. It is necessary to have the Bible in front of us when we go through these texts.
Hebrews 7,1-10; Melchizedek, the higher, blessed Abraham:
Once in the Bible we read about Melchizedek, and it is here in Hebrews chapter 7. Usually we get some information about important people such as genealogy and the like. But Melchizedek just appears and disappears from history without letting us know anything more about him than that he was without father, mother and genealogy, and that he is a priest of the Most High God, and that the name Melchizedek means King of Salem, which also means king of peace. It simply means that Melchizedek is a picture of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 7,11-19; God ordained a new priesthood:
Verse 11 asks a question, and the answer to that question is that the first priesthood called the Levitical priesthood could never be perfected. The Levitical priesthood was a priesthood consisting of men in a straight downward line from Aaron who was of the tribe of Levi. Jesus, our High Priest, is not from the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah.
Hebrews 7,20-28; Christ the Eternal High Priest:
Because Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah, He was made a priest by oath. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek, Psalm 110,4. The Levitical priests were priests as long as they lived, but Christ will be our high priest forever, He has an incorruptible priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such a high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore, Hebrews 7,25-28.
Hebrews 8,1-6; Christ the High Priest in heaven:
The author of Hebrews states that Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father’s throne in heaven, from which He performs His function as High Priest for His people. Jesus could not perform such tasks when he was on earth the first time, because according to the law, only those in the straight downward line from Aaron who were of the tribe of Levi had the right to serve as priests. But according to Melchizedek, Jesus can serve as our high priest in the heavenly temple. Here on earth, the Levitical priests had to bring gifts, which according to the law were to be blood from the sacrificed animals. Therefore, Christ also had to bring such a gift. He did the same, not blood from goats and calves, but his own blood.
Hebrews 8,7-13; The High Priest of the New Covenant:
This is a topic that can be difficult to understand. Many believe that the Old Covenant and the New Covenant are two very different covenants. It is also written in verse 7: For if that first covenant had been faultless … and the author goes on to say in verse 8: … Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah … … So far so good. No one will be able to deny this. It is an old and a new covenant, but a large majority of Christians believe that the content of the new covenant differs significantly from the content of the old covenant. The question is whether that is the case. According to verse 9, the ancient covenant was established at Sinai, and what was the content of the ancient covenant God established with his people there? In Exodus 19,5 we read that God will make a covenant with his people: Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine. Then we read further in chapters 19 and 20 in Exodus about the way to the Ten Commandments, but these chapters do not say anything specific about the content of the covenant. It is not said here that it is God’s ten commandments that are the content of the covenant, only that God’s people have promised to keep the covenant God made with them: And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do … … (Exodus 19,8). That it really is God’s ten commandments is made clear in Deuteronomy chapter 5, which is also part of the repetition that Moses gives the people of what happened at Sinai just before they were to take possession of the promised land. Deuteronomy 4,13 says: And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, [even] ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. Then we can state that the content of the old covenant was God’s ten commandments written on two stone tablets.
But what is the content of the new covenant? Could it be Jesus’ blood? In Matthew 26,28 Jesus says: This is my blood of the covenant … … I am bold enough to say that this is not right, because God is a God of order, and that means that the content of the new covenant must be the same as in the old covenant. As usual, the Bible will give us the answer, and now we find it here in Hebrews 8,8-10, where the author of Hebrews quotes the prophet Jeremiah 31,31-33 who writes the following: The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the LORD. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the LORD. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. As we see, the content of the new covenant is the same as the content of the old covenant, it is God’s ten commandments. The difference between these two covenants is that the old one was written on two stone tablets, while the new one is written in our hearts.
When Jesus says that ‘This is my blood of the covenant’, this implies that the blood of the old covenant was the blood of the sacrificial animals. In this way, the new covenant is also better than the old covenant.
Hebrews 9,1-5; Sanctuary of the Old Covenant:
The old covenant sanctuary that was in use by Israel from the time they built it on Sinai until Jesus died on the cross, we have discussed in detail before. The sanctuary consisted of a portable tabernacle between Sinai, ca. 1444 BC until Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem approx. 960 BC.
Hebrews 9,6-10; Limitations of the earthly service:
What were these limitations of the earthly sanctuary? One of the limitations was that the way into to the Most Holy had not been opened, something the curtain between the Holy and the Most Holy symbolized. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, and in this way Jesus opened the way to the Most Holy. Another limitation was that the ministry performed by the priests in the temple was not sufficient, which is most evident on the day of the great atonement, Yom Kippur. This ritual had to be performed every year on the day called 10th tishri. And as verses 9 and 10 says, gifts, sacrifices, and regulations about food, drink, and purification were just an illustration or a picture of the proper order to come, which is Christ.
Hebrews 9,11-15; Christ’s ministry in the sanctuary is perfect:
After Jesus died on the cross and ascended to heaven, He became our high priest. We must look at what the priests did in the earthly sanctuary to find out what Jesus is doing in the heavenly sanctuary, and we must also take into account the time aspect, when the different things were done during the year.
The daily service: Every day the priests entered the sanctuary with blood from the sacrificial animals that had been sacrificed as sin offerings. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He also went into the Holy with His own blood to atone for all the sins that people through time, from Adam and Eve to the return of Jesus, have confessed. This task Jesus started with when He ascended to heaven in the year 31 AD. and this He finished when we went from prophetic time to end time in 1844.
Hebrews 9,16-22; The death of the middleman was necessary:
In ourselves we are sinners precisely because we have sinned, and according to Paul, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6,23). So we have a death sentence hanging over us, and that is the wages that our sinful ego has brought down upon ourselves. Jesus said that this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, (Matthew 26,28) and in Hebrews 9,22 it says: without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. In other words, someone must die for the sins committed. Actually, I should have paid for my sins, and you for your sins, but Jesus took our place and died for the sins we have committed so that we can be set free. That, in short, was what He did when He first came to earth. Because, when you and I stood there sentenced to death, He took our place. We are cleansed in the blood of Jesus when we come to Him and ask for forgiveness of sins. Therefore, Jesus’ death was necessary, for in ourselves we will never be able to cleanse ourselves from impurity or save ourselves.
Hebrews 9,23-28; Christ’s sacrifice atoned for all sin:
We have God on one side and man on the other and in between there is an abyss so wide and deep that no human being will be able to overcome it alone. This is where the Intermediary comes in. Christ built a bridge over the abyss in the shape of a cross. If we turn to the Mediator, Jesus Christ, He will lead us over the abyss on this bridge He built when He died on the cross. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2,5. Only Him and no one else can save us. There is no mediator but the man Christ Jesus. There is no co-mediator as some denominations claim, that is an unbiblical doctrine. Only Jesus, and no one else, has atoned for all sin.
The annual judgment and the end-time judgment:
The annual judgment: And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books., Revelation 20,12.
In the book of Daniel we can read about a scene of judgment that takes place in heaven. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. Daniel 7,9-10. This is undoubtedly God the Father described here and He is in heaven, we see it from the throne and those who worship Him. In verse 13 we see that Christ comes to the Father with the clouds of heaven: I saw in the night visions, and behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. The important thing here is that the judgement was set, and the books were opened. This is what refers to an act of judgment, and in this case it is an investigative judgment. This is also the antitype of what happened in Old Testament times in the earthly sanctuary when once a year, on the day of Yom Kippur, they cleansed the people and the sanctuary of the sins that had been confessed during the last year.
This is what happened on the great day of atonement. All the references are from Leviticus chapter 16. The high priest was to have a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering (verse 3). From the children of Israel two goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering (verse 5) the first thing the high priest was to do was to make atonement for himself and his house (verse 6) then he was to present the two goats before the Lord and cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat (verses 7 -10).
Let us take a closer look at verses 9 and 10 as there is much disagreement about which goat is for the Lord and which is the scapegoat, because most non-Adventist theologians have trouble accepting that the scapegoat represents Satan. They want the scapegoat to represent Jesus. First, it must be added that the Hebrew word for scapegoat, Azazel, is also the name of a desert god in other Semitic languages. The two verses are as follows: Verse 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell and offer him [for] a sin offering … … and verse 10 is as follows: But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, [and] to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
In the rabbinic position, Azazel is not the name of an entity but literally means ‘for the total elimination’, that is, designating the name of the goat that was sent into the desert on the Day of Atonement carrying the sins of the Israelites to thus purify the Tabernacle.
We see from the text that the two goats each represent their individual; The Lord, our God and Creator, while the other represents the desert god Azazel. We can therefore rule out that Jesus represents both. It says about the goat which the Lord´s lot fell on that this goat was to be sacrificed as a sin offering. Question: Who is our sin offering? The second goat is called the scapegoat. But what does it mean to be a scapegoat? A scapegoat is given all the blame. When the day comes, Jesus will lay all the blame for the confessed sins on Satan, because he is the originator of sin, then Satan and all evil will be thrown into the lake of fire to be destroyed, (Revelation 20,10).
What happened in Old Testament times? First, the high priest was to make atonement for his own sins. And he shall take the goats, on which the Lord´s lot fell on and sacrifice it and bring the blood thereof within the veil (verse 15) and make atonement for the sins of Israel. This was a picture of a future event, and this event was Jesus’ death on the cross. The goat on which the Lord´s lot fell represents Jesus. It is only through Him that atonement can be made for our sins. Then the high priest was to come with the second goat, the one for Azazel, and lay his hands on its head and thus transfer all the sins that had been confessed to the goat. The scapegoat now bears the iniquity and sin of all the people. After this, the scapegoat will be led out into the wilderness never to return to God’s people. The scapegoat, or Azazel, is a picture of Satan.
When Jesus went from the holy to the most holy in the heavenly temple in 1844, the final stage of the plan of salvation began. The work Christ does there is the same as that of the high priest of ancient Israel. One of the tasks was to investigate whether everybody in all the 12 tribes of Israel had confessed their sins in the past year and offered a sin offering. What Jesus is doing in the heavenly sanctuary now is going through the books of heaven (see Daniel 7,9,10.13 and Revelation 20,11.12), and distinguishing between those who are righteous in the eyes of God and the wicked. This is what is called ‘the investigative judgment’. In Old Testament times, then, this was done once a year, both to teach about the plan of salvation and to point to the coming Messiah, while now in the end times it is done once and for all because Jesus’ sacrifice atoned for all sin. When Jesus finishes this examination, He will return and deliver His faithful people. And behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be, Revelation 22,12. The reward Jesus brings with him is twofold. For the righteous, those who have been forgiven of their sins, the reward is eternal life with God, while for those who have not confessed their sins, the wicked, eternal death awaits.