Model for Visualizing the Sanctuary

A model for representing the wonderful truths of the sanctuary.

William Wallace Ellis, District Superintendent, Michigan Conference

The accompanying picture shows a portion of my present model of the Moasic taber­nacle. I have constructed this for use in presenting the wonderful truths of the sanctuary, the priestly ministry of Christ, and kindred topics. The model I now use is eighteen feet long and makes a display nearly seven feet high. At the beginning of the introductory lecture the auditorium is darkened and the pillar of fire comes ablaze, followed in order by illuminated smoke ascending from the brazen altar, the golden altar, the Shekinah of the golden ark, and the seven-branched candlestick. The model tabernacle becomes a thing of beauty, which holds the attention of the audience through to the close of the presentation. God has instructed us to make the vision plain. (See Hab. 2:2.) Also we read:

"The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest."—The Great Controversy, p. 488.

"By the use of charts, symbols, and representa­tions of various kinds, the minister can make the truth to stand out clearly and distinctly. This is a help, and in harmony with the Word of God."—Gos­pel Workers, p. 355.

"If the truth presented could be made a little plainer, they [the people] would see it and take hold of it, and it would be like a nail fastened in a sure--p. 407.

In view of these instructions, and also of the fact that our particular message for today is definitely contained in the message of the sanc­tuary, I began years ago to construct this model. I also have a model of the most holy place, which I can use on occasions when the larger outfit is not needed. I had found by observation and experience that many of our people do not clearly understand the sanctuary subject, and also that practically all apostasies and their movements seem to begin by first attacking the sanctuary topic and its kindred truths. I wanted my ministry to make the subject so plain to my hearers that they would be firmly grounded and would love the beautiful lessons of the tabernacle and its ministry.

This replica is set up on a special table 4' x 18', with the painting of Sinai and the camp of Israel rising behind the model. The court cur­tains are omitted from the side toward the audi­ence, so that the view may not be obstructed. Before the service the curtains of the tabernacle are down in position, covering the structure, and as the discourse unfolds, each curtain and covering is explained and folded back in its turn, as shown in the picture. Then the auditorium grows dark as the tabernacle lights come on in their order. To the extreme right of the .picture there is an interesting feature which does not show very plainly in the photograph. It con­sists of a large, framed, ground-glass mirror, on which the ground plan of the court, taber­nacle, and furniture are shown in outline. This is illuminated from behind. After the setting is clearly registered„ the white lights dim out, and the form of a crimson cross comes on, which shows in a beautiful manner that the furniture of the tabernacle was so placed that it formed a shadow of the cross, with its base starting at the altar of sacrifice.

I dress in the pontifical robes of the high priest, while my assistant is dressed as a com­mon priest. Thus we do not have a person in civilian clothes to detract from the service as he assists in opening the curtains. I also allude to the white garments as being similar to the ones worn by the high priest while carrying on the work of atonement in the most holy place on Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. As far as possible the entire reproduction is in accord­ance with the specifications laid down in the Scriptures. The furniture is scaled to one fifth of the dimensions recorded in Exodus, while the building and court are scaled to one eighth. The model faces the left of the audience, so that a chart of the 2300 days may be suspended beneath it, with the date 31 A. D. coming below the altar of burnt offerings, and 1844 coming beneath the veil which separates the two apart­ments. This helps in a wonderful manner to set these dates in the minds of the hearers so that they will never confuse them thereafter.

The introductory lecture is entitled "The Passion Play of Ancient Israel,"* and it always draws an overflow audience. In this presenta­tion the sanctuary and furniture, its priesthood and oblations, its sacrifices and ceremonies are briefly described; and their counterpart in the greater tabernacle, priesthood, and sacrifice of the cross are explained. In presenting the sub­ject, which always comes one week prior to the Sabbath subjects, I show clearly the difference between the two covenants, the two laws, law and grace, etc. so that a good groundwork is prepared for the topics which are to follow.

A good foundation always makes for a safer structure. A brief review is made regarding-the seventy-week prophecy which determined the time when Christ would begin His services as priest by His sacrifice and also the time when He would enter His final work as high priest—just enough to arouse curiosity regarding the subjects to follow.

I have been called on to present this particular subject in churches of many denominations, before Masonic organizations, and in one in­stance to an organization of Jewish merchants of a large city. I delight in giving it before such groups, especially ministerial groups, be­cause it affords a beautiful opportunity to clarify many of our positions without arousing preju­dice or giving offense. One Baptist minister, who was pastor of a large congregation, pur­chased my former model, had a dressmaker copy my robes, purchased all our books on the sanctuary subjects, as well as Daniel and the Revelation, and as an evangelist is now preach­ing our sanctuary message across the country. He has also purchased nearly eight hundred dollars' worth of prophetic slides and is preach­ing the lines of prophecy as we believe them. The model has been instrumental in winning several ministers to the message, and others are still studying. I have made and presented sev­eral smaller models to the Bible departments of our larger schools.

With David, I feel that "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary." Ps. 77:13. We must never forget the main point of the sanctuary service and bury the throbbing heart of it all under a mass of detail. This is a tendency in exhibiting a model, against which we must be on guard.

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William Wallace Ellis, District Superintendent, Michigan Conference

April 1944

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