Visualizing the Sanctuary

The ancient sanctuary and the entire cere­monial system were given to Israel to enrich their understanding of the fundamental principles of the plan of salvation from sin.

A.C. Fearing, Evangelist, Camden, New Jersey.

The ancient sanctuary and the entire cere­monial system were given to Israel to enrich their understanding of the fundamental principles of the plan of salvation from sin. How God deals with iniquity, the blood atone­ment, the ministration of mediation through our heavenly High Priest, our hope in the day of judg­ment—in short, all the mysteries of redemption are made clear and realis­tic in the sanctuary serv­ice. The sanctuary graph­ically demonstrated the everlasting gospel to be given to the world through all times, and especially in the days of the giv­ing of the threefold message of Revelation 14.

If the children of Israel needed an object les­son to make clear the plan of salvation from sin, how much more are we in need of visual aids in our proclamation of the glorious truths concerning the ministration of Christ in the sanctuary above, where our High Priest and Mediator is closing His work for the redemp­tion of mankind? We should give a very clear exposition of the sacred judgment-hour mes­sage, for "the correct understanding of the min­istration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foun­dation of our faith,"—Evangelism, p. 221.

DEMONSTRATION: After a short introduction I emphasize that without an understanding of the sanctuary we cannot fully comprehend the plan of salvation. Everything in and about its sacred precincts, its rituals, and every animal that was slain—all pointed to the Lamb of God and forgiveness of sin. I invite the audience to come with me on a trip to the old encampment of Israel. Several pictures are then flashed upon the screen showing the tabernacle in the midst of the camp, giving a general idea of the situa­tion, and a view of the court and the tent itself. Brief, interesting facts, as to dimensions of the court and tabernacle, the four coverings, how the tabernacle was transported, et cetera, are presented.

Then, with the lights on, I suggest we come a little closer and enter the court and go into the tabernacle itself. We now come to the actual visual aids upon the platform. Using painted backdrop and veil we see an exposed sideview of the court and sanctuary. The only visible aids at the beginning are the altar of burnt offering, a laver, a lamb, and two priests. One is Aaron, the high priest, the other a reg­ular priest. The latter is about to offer a sacri­fice, his hands outstretched.

Aaron is on a small rubber-wheeled dolly, easily moved about. I take his arm and walk around with him as he goes from place to place in the sanctuary. (For this type of presentation the speaker will need to be skillful in handling conversational dialogue, for he speaks for Aaron as well as himself.)

Aaron has a golden censer in his hands, and upon his beautiful garment a breastplate repre­senting the twelve tribes of Israel. We stand there a little bewildered, but Aaron graciously offers to show us around, describe the articles of furniture, and explain their meaning. We carry along with us the New Testament, espe­cially the books of Hebrews and the Revelation. As Aaron talks and tells us the story, we occa­sionally look into the New Testament to see how the earthly pattern actually does shadow the sanctuary in heaven. Aaron shows how each piece of furniture represents some characteris­tic of Christ and His ministry. We discover that the Christian Messiah was in the Jewish sanctuary.

No furniture is set up as yet in the taber­nacle. For example, we wait until Aaron comes to the golden candlestick before it is lifted from the floor into position in the groove of a two by six. Some might want to have all the furni­ture in place on the platform before the begin­ning of the presentation; however, I prefer to keep all attention focused upon the specific ar­ticle under consideration, and not have the eyes wandering to the other furniture. Details as to size and description of the furniture are given in the accompanying article by Richard Harris.

After we have been shown through the en­tire tabernacle I inquire of Aaron, "What hap­pens to that little lamb we saw outside, and how does a sinner receive forgiveness?" Back we go to the court as Aaron grippingly tells the story of a sinner. Our hearts are touched as we hear how the repentant one comes to the court with a spotless lamb, which is slain. Our guide shows us what is done with the blood and explains its significance. Then he outlines the solemn ceremony which takes place on the tenth day of the seventh month—the Day of Atone­ment, the cleansing of the sanctuary.

(In the lecture preceding this one, the 2300-year prophecy has been presented. The climax was reached with the date 1844. The impor­tance and deep significance of "the cleansing of the sanctuary" that should begin in 1844 was emphasized. The audience was urged to return to hear the next lecture for an understanding of what happened in 5844.)

With this presentation of the pattern and shadow of heavenly things (Heb. 8:5) we learn what Christ, our High Priest, is doing now in the heavenly sanctuary. From this point on we leave Aaron and step to the front of the plat­form to read portions of Hebrews 8 and 9, link­ing the whole precious truth with Revelation 14:6, 7—the judgment-hour message.

It is vital that we present the subject of the sanctuary attractively, realistically, vividly, for we read in The Great Controversy:

"The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ's work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of re­demption, bringing us down to the very close of time, and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest be­tween righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost impor­tance that all should thoroughly investigate these sub­jects, and be able to give an answer to every one that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them."—Pages 488, 489.

Sanctuary Device


The sanctuary system was in the period of the Old Testament, the pivot around which all so­cial, educational, and civil, as well as religious, life revolved. It was a divinely instituted visual aid to teach the Israelites the plan of salvation and the plan of life-sustaining love. Its heavenly counterpart forms the basis of our re­ligious faith today.

Evangelists are now ask­ing: How can I make this vital truth become an in­tegral part of the philosophy of those I am teaching? A forward step in helping to answer this question was the life-size sanctuary model made for Elder Fearing by Washington Mis­sionary College when it had a visual aids de­partment. This set has now been tested in the. field, and its effectiveness has been proved.

Composed of six articles of furniture, twi priests, and a backdrop, it is portable and can be set up in fifteen or twenty minutes. The fur­niture and priests are life size, except in a few-minor details.

One of the most impressive parts is the large. ark with its ornate trimming, hovering angels, and golden mercy seat. It stands about six feet-high and is four feet wide. It, as well as the. otherfurniture, is painted with a dimensional effect on three-eighths-inch plywood. A slotted two-by-four on the floor holds the articles up­right in their respective places about the taber­nacle.

The side of the ark, when removed, shows the pot of manna, Aaron's rod, and the Ten Com­mandments on the inside. A place is provided in the side of the ark to hold a scroll containing-the law of Moses.

The candlesticks, having been cut out in de­tail, add to the third-dimensional effect. As, specified in the Bible, but usually omitted by-most artists in their conceptions of it, the table. of shewbread has a second shelf. The laver, also, is designed differently from the usual drawings, but more in harmony with the blue­print. Besides an upper pool, it also has the-lower wherein the priests washed their feet be­fore entering the sanctuary.

The large altar in the courtyard is, in per­spective, proportionate to the other articles ; but because of the immense size of the original article, it has had to be made somewhat smaller. Its reduced size, however, makes it not only-more portable, but more easily and attractively-displayed.

A cross-section view of the tabernacle is ob­tained by the backdrop. This part, six feet high and sixteen feet long, is painted golden yellow with simulated partitions of the boards. Three pillars stand out thirty inches from the wall, and a scarlet-purple velvet drape forms the first veil, the second veil, and the rear of the sanc­tuary, thus partitioning off the courtyard from the tabernacle and the holy from the most holy place.

The drop is constructed of four-by-six-foot beaverboard, reinforced with one-by-three-inch strips of wood. Three-cornered braces hold it upright. One may insert additional sections for use on the larger stages. The pillars are of three-eighths-inch plywood ornately painted with a contemporary Egyptian design on the capital and base.

Two life-sized one-quarter-inch plywood priests minister in the sanctuary. These figures are movable cutouts and can be placed any­where desired. The low priest, who stands with hands outstretched in blessing, can be placed by he altar in the courtyard. A little cutout lamb is made to be used with this altar, and he can ibe shown officiating over it. The high priest, robed in the splendor of his sacred office, car­ries in his hand a censer suspended by golden ,chains. Some evangelists have placed him on a ,dolly and moved him about the tabernacle, ask­ing him questions and thus explaining the vari­ous pieces of furniture and the rites.

This tabernacle set is adaptable to varying sizes of halls and auditoriums. By drawing the curtains of the larger auditoriums and theaters to about thirty feet, and then displaying the set slightly back from the drawn curtain, a cen­tralized, focal point is obtained. For smaller halls and tents a section of the four-piece back­ground may be omitted, so that only about twenty feet are necessary for a good display of the set. It may thus be seen plainly by thou­sands, yet displayed equally well in auditoriums with fewer than a hundred.

The simple construction and easy portability of a set of this type on the sanctuary make it a practical asset to the evangelist in any locality. Its usefulness is realized many times when it is displayed with other visual aids. The twenty-three hundred days and the investigative judg­ment, the law, the two covenants, the two laws, and other illustrated subjects may be used con­jointly.

Other new ideas can be developed with this set as a basis. One could indicate by tabs the specific features in Christian teaching, of which the particular articles of furniture were types. Parallels may be drawn on a blackboard, and additional realities regarding the tabernacle may be added for effect.

If the evangelist wishes to, he may install small lights on the candlesticks, the altars, and the mercy seat. By subduing the house lights and adding a few colored footlights, a very real, impressive, and awe-inspiring scene is pre­sented. Smoking incense may be burned in a receptacle behind the small altar to add to the realism. A small piece of yellow blotter may be pasted to the mercy seat and the horns of the altars. By using red ink or colored water in a basin, the minister can demonstrate the different rites performed.

As the sacred service of the atonement is performed in heaven, how fitting that our min­isters should "make it plain upon tables" by visually illustrating with a device of this type the judgment-hour message!

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A.C. Fearing, Evangelist, Camden, New Jersey.

June 1948

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