BY ELDER DR MASIMBA MAVAZA
Memory Text: “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15, RSV).
A Moonless evening, the sky, black like spilled ink, covered Frank in shadow as he walked the empty urban streets. After a while, he heard footsteps behind him, someone following in the darkness. Then the person caught up with him and said, “Frank, the printer?”Yes, I am he. But how did you know?”“Well,” answered the stranger, “I don’t know you. But I know your brother very well, and even in the darkness, your mannerisms, your way of walking, your figure, all reminded me so much of him I just assumed that you were his brother, because he told me that he had one.”
This story reveals a powerful truth regarding the Israelite sanctuary service. It was, the Bible says, a shadow of the real. Nevertheless, there was enough in the shadows and images of the earthly sanctuary to clearly foreshadow and reveal the truths they were supposed to represent: the death and high-priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.
SABBATH: A miniature depiction of the heavenly sanctuary was the earthy sanctuary. Moses was given the view of the sanctuary in heaven & was bid to erect one on earth. This typifies the story of Frank who was spotted by a stranger even in the dark. The stranger could see traces of the nature of his friend (Frank’s brother) in Frank. Thus, the earthly sanctuary was a shadow of the real—the heavenly sanctuary.
SUNDAY: The sanctuary service as an element of both the old & new covenant is to forge a deep-loving relationship between God & man (Lev. 26:11, 12). This is because relationship is key in both the old & new covenant. God took the first step to save & bless fallen men. God desired to dwell with Israel, not hate them, & to teach Israel His ways (Exod. 25:8). The sanctuary service gives room for repentance.
MONDAY: The sinner had to raise his hand to take life, through animal sacrifice before He was accepted by God (Heb. 9:22). The blood of the slain animal was sprinkled on the sanctuary to signify that the sin was transferred to the sanctuary. The scene gave the sinner the thought that his sin must shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. Christ though sinless came to die for us (Isa. 53:4-12, Heb. 10:4).
TUESDAY: A spotless animal was slain as a substitute for the sinner for “the wages of sin is death”. In the NT, we find the atoning death of Christ as key to our salvation (Gal. 1:4). “A bloodless cross can save no one.” Christ had to die for our sins with His precious blood. Out of love, He became our substitute—a truth key to our faith (Matt. 26:28, Eph. 2:13, Heb. 9:14, 1 Pet. 1:19). God wants to save (FLB, p. 100).
WEDNESDAY: The sanctuary work on earth did not end with the death of the animals. It required the priest to perform some rites on behalf of the sinner. The whole sanctuary ritual pointed to what Christ would do for us. His work did not end after His death on the cross either. He ministers in heaven on our behalf. He is the new covenant high priest (Heb. 8:1-6). Instead of an animal, we have sinless Jesus (Heb. 2:3).
THURSDAY: Christ is the mediator between God & man (Heb. 9:24). As sinners, we’re unfit to go before God for we would be consumed by the brightness of His glory. Christ & His holiness makes it possible for sinners to go to God. Christ paid the penalty of our sins & now intercedes for us (1 Pet. 2:24). He is God & also a Man. He knows our trials (Heb. 4:14, 15, 1 Tim. 2:5, 6). In Him, we’re forgiven (Heb. 2:10).
FRIDAY: No patriarch, no prophet, no disciple or apostle, not even the highest angel in heaven had the power to pay the ransom for one lost soul. Reconciliation could be wrought out only by Christ—one who is equal with God & represent God to the fallen world. We’re to cling to Christ & reflect His nature. When we confess Him to the world, He confesses us to God & holy angels. We’re to witness God!
—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 257 & The Desire of Ages, p. 357.
NT- New Testament
FLB- The Faith I Live By
MONDAY- Sin, Sacrifice, And Acceptance (Heb. 9:22)
TUESDAY- The Substitution
WEDNESDAY- The New Covenant High Priest
THURSDAY- Heavenly Ministry (Heb. 9:24)
📌 Read Romans 5:2, Ephesians 2:18, and Ephesians 3:12. What are they saying that helps us understand our access to the Father through Jesus?
📌 Look at the second Ellen G. White statement given above. Notice how she explains the role of mediator. When the Father looks at us, He does not see our faulty character but Christ’s perfection instead. Dwell on what that means, and discuss it with the class.
📌 Looking at what we have studied this week, ask yourself how you would answer this question: “OK, so Christ is in the sanctuary in heaven. So what? What does that mean on a daily, practical level?”
Entire Lesson Summary
The old covenant sacrificial system was replaced by the new; instead of animals being sacrificed by sinful priests in an earthly sanctuary, we now have Jesus, our perfect Sacrifice. He represents us before the Father in the sanctuary in heaven, which forms the basis of the new covenant and its promises. ■