Introduction: Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I know Jesus was
God?” “Why would God die on the cross?” Is there a link between
Jesus and the God of the Old Testament?

I have a dear Jewish friend who tells me (with a smile) that
Christians have “hijacked” his religion and we should leave the
Jewish religion alone. I respond by telling him his religion is
incomplete, he needs our Messiah to complete his theology. To prove
my point, I ask him what he thinks all those animal sacrifices were

At the core of the answer to all of these questions and the debate
with my friend is the sanctuary of the Old Testament. Let’s dive into
this study and find out why this is a “pillar” of our faith!

  1. The Pattern

    1. Read Exodus 25:1-7. On what basis did God ask His people
      for an offering? (If their heart told them to give.)

      1. God had some very specific gifts in mind. This
        reminds me of an engaged couple registering with a
        store for wedding gifts! What would you think if you
        heard this “wish list” from God? (That this was no
        ordinary offering, He had something particular in

    2. Read Exodus 25:8-9. What does God have in mind? (He wants
      them to build sanctuary (tabernacle) out of this stuff.)

      1. Why does He want them to build this? (So God can
        dwell with them.)

      2. Now that you know God’s reason for the requested
        offering, would you be anxious to give?

        1. Why would God want to dwell among His people?
          (This is another example of God’s love for us.)

      3. When we built our new church we started with a
        general idea and hired an architect to draw up the
        plans. Who designed this sanctuary? (Verse 9 tells us
        that God was the designer — He had a pattern.)

    3. Read Hebrews 8:5. Where have you seen this “pattern”
      language before? (The writer of Hebrews is paraphrasing
      the text we just read – Exodus 25:9)

      1. Where did God get His design? (God gave Moses a
        pattern for the sanctuary in the desert that was “a
        copy and shadow of what is in heaven!”)

        1. When Hebrews says the sanctuary on earth was “a
          shadow” of the one in heaven, what do you think
          it means? (The heavenly sanctuary is much

  2. The Point

    1. I suggest that you take a few moments and skim over
      Leviticus chapters 1 and 2 which describe the animal and
      grain offerings given (sacrificed) at the sanctuary. What
      was the purpose of these animal sacrifices? (Read
      Leviticus 1:2-4. These sacrifices would “atone” for the
      sin of the person.)

      1. If there is no sin in heaven, why do they need a
        sanctuary in heaven?

      2. Are animal sacrifices going on up there?

    2. Read Hebrews 9:11-14. What do these verses reveal is going
      on in the heavenly sanctuary? (Jesus takes the part of the
      high priest and the part of the sacrifice. It is His blood
      that saves us from sin instead of the blood of animals.)

      1. Why do you think God set up the animal sacrifice
        system here on earth? (This system was a living
        parable (the lesson calls it a “type”) for the death
        of Jesus. The entire system pointed towards the day
        when the Messiah (the “antitype) would come and make
        an atonement for sin. This leaves us with two
        conclusions. First, it is clear that Jesus is the
        Messiah. He did exactly what was symbolized by the
        sacrificial system. Second, modern Judaism has lost
        its vision of what it was about.)

        1. Why do you think that modern Judaism has lost
          “the point” of the sacrificial system? (When the
          temple was destroyed by the Romans (70 A.D.),
          that whole part of their worship system

        2. Why do you think the Romans destroyed the
          temple? (This is yet further proof that Jesus is
          the Messiah. After Jesus died and was raised to
          life, thus fulfilling the entire sacrificial
          system, the Romans destroyed the temple. God
          allowed this to happen because earthly sanctuary
          was no longer needed. Its purpose had been

  3. Lessons From the Copy

    1. Next week we are going to go into more detail about the
      sanctuary in heaven. Let’s turn our attention to what
      other lessons we can learn from the earthly sanctuary.

    2. Read Exodus 29:38-41. What do you think about the timing
      of the sacrifices? Is there a spiritual lesson in this
      for us today? (God wants us to turn our attention to Him
      first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening.)

      1. What about the time in between? ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17
        tells us to “pray continually.” I think the lesson of
        the sanctuary is have a formal resolve to start with
        God each morning and end each day with Him.)

      2. Notice in Exodus 29:41 God mentions the “aroma” of
        the sacrifice. Why, of all things, should the smell
        of this be mentioned? (Have you ever passed by a
        restaurant and been attracted by the smell? I used to
        think that restaurants would deliberately vent the
        smell of the cooking to lure you in! People not
        seeing the sacrifice would be reminded by the smell
        in the area what was going on. Another “smell” part
        of the service was burning incense. See Exodus 30:8-9.)

        1. Is there a spiritual lesson in this for us? (To
          make the worship of God as attractive as

    1. Read Leviticus 17:11. Why was spilling the blood of the
      animal required for sacrifices at the earthly
      sanctuary?(Life is in the blood. Spilling the blood meant
      that the animal’s life was ending. Last week we discussed
      that Satan’s first lie was to deny that sin causes death.
      ( Genesis 3:4) The sacrificial system not only reminded
      people that sin does, indeed, cause death. It also taught
      them that their sin could be removed by a substitute. This
      substitute requires cleansing with blood.)

      1. Could the blood of these animals cleanse the people
        of their sins? If it could, why would Jesus have to
        come and die? (Read Hebrews 9:13-15. The blood of
        these animals made the Israelites superficially
        clean. It took the sacrifice of Jesus to make us
        completely clean ie., to pay the penalty God set at
        the beginning of the world: sin = death.)

    2. During the year the animal sacrifices for sin were
      continually made. Then once a year, on the Day of
      Atonement, a sacrifice was made for the sanctuary itself
      and the High Priest. This is described in Leviticus 16. A
      summary of this is found in Leviticus 16:32-34. Read. What
      was the reason for this? (To cleanse all of these
      “things”(the sanctuary, the tent of meeting, the alter,
      the priests and the people) from the sins that had been
      collecting in the sanctuary during the year.)

      1. Is there a spiritual lesson in this for us today?
        (Our lesson points out (Monday) that the sanctuary
        ritual on earth did not end with the death of the
        animal. Thus, there is a time when the heavenly
        sanctuary will also be cleansed.)

      2. Read Hebrews 9:24-28. How many days of atonement are
        there in heaven? (One. Jesus entered on our behalf

        1. Does Jesus stay there in the heavenly sanctuary
          as our priest? (Verse 24 says that Jesus is
          “now” going to appear for us in God’s presence.
          This seems to indicate an ongoing work on behalf
          of us.)

      3. When is the heavenly sanctuary cleansed? When does
        this “Day of Atonement” end? (Our lesson indicates
        (based on other prophetic texts that are not
        discussed) that this began in 1844. However, Verses
        26 and 28 suggest the end is at the Second Coming.
        While this beginning date suggested by the lesson is
        not without considerable controversy, I doubt that
        the beginning date has considerable significance to
        us today. Instead, the significance is when the
        Atonement is over and Jesus comes a second time to
        close the door on our sin and take us home with Him!)

    3. Friend, the entire sacrificial system points to Jesus as
      the sacrificed Lamb of God. He not only died for us, but
      in the heavenly sanctuary He acts as our High Priest who
      intercedes for us. At some point soon this intercession
      will end and He will return. Will you accept Him today as
      your sacrifice and as your Intercessor to free you from
      your sins?

  1. Next Week: The Heavenly Sanctuary