Come Claim the Gift-Part 2
shall the sanctuary be cleansed”. Daniel 8:14
How Does this Apply to Me in My Life Today?
By Vance Ferrell
THE CALL IS TO COME
Soon the newspapers, television, and the endless details of life will pass away, but this story here before you is eternal; and you will live forever with it, if it is in your mind and in your daily experience. All around you are the artificials of man. But here is revealed the reality of God. Come, give everything you have to it. Follow along in the path of the Atonement, for it is the path of the Blood, shed and applied for your soul.
The call is to come, but the cry of the soul is How do I come? It is in the vivid lesson of the Sanctuary that we learn how to come. Read the story on your knees with crying and repentance. See what your sins have done to Jesus, and what He is doing for you. As you do so, the Spirit will begin the work to mold and remake you into the image of God.
TO THE ALTAR
Outside of the gate that opens into the court of the Sanctuary is spiritual death. Those who choose to remain there have no hope of eternal life. They are bound by their lusts in a prison house of sin. Millions are there.
From where we stand, we cannot see inside of the court. The white linen fence and gate are slightly higher than the large Altar of Burnt Offering on the other side. Yet, as we look, we see a man appear above and beyond the fence and gate. He has climbed the ramp and is standing on the outer walkway of the altar. Before our eyes we see a “Lamb as it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6)-freshly slain-lifted up above the high altar. As we look we sense that it is because of us that it is there, and feeling deeply our sinfulness and filthiness, we are drawn to enter (John 3:14-15; 12:32; Jeremiah 31:3). In brokenness of heart at the sight, we run to the Lamb, through the gate which has been provided (John 10:17; 14:6)-the gate of repentance.
We come before the large altar, representing the immense sacrifice it took to bring us there. We behold Him-oppressed, afflicted, smitten of men, led to the slaughter for us (Isaiah 53:7, 4). As we look, we see not the ramp before us, leading up to the altar, but rather, a high hill-the high hill Golgotha-and the Man taken to its summit by the surging, shouting crowd. Without resistance He is nailed to the wood. We behold Him-lifted up with the cross as it is heavily thrust into the hole prepared for it, and there suffering the price of sin in our behalf.
The truth dawns: It is not His cross. He is dying on another man’s cross-a murderer’s cross-my cross. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). The vastness, the depth of that love, like a great panorama lies before us, and our self-righteousness, our pride of opinion, our strife for the supremacy crumbles within us. We behold Him-“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and we choke up at the sight. He died for me (1 Peter 2:24)-and we fall down and worship Him. We fall down and accept Him as our personal Saviour from sin (1 John 3:16). We lay down and die to self, with Him (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 5:24).
Near the Altar is the Laver of water representing the washing of regeneration-of justification from sin-done at the cross (Romans 6:4; Galatians 2:20; Luke 9:24; 2 Timothy 2:11; Christ Object Lessons 2:20; Romans 6:6).
This washing is represented initially by baptism (Matthew 28:19; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-5) and, thereafter, in the ordinance of foot washing (John 13:4-12, 13-17) which precedes the communion service (1 Corinthians 11:27-28; John 13:12-18)-three ordinances expressly commanded to us by Jesus Himself. We can thank God for them-each one is given to enrich and deepen our experience.
INTO THE SANCTUARY
Here in the Outer Court of the Sanctuary, we have experienced the new birth. We have been justified by faith. Now walking in newness of life we must continue to follow Jesus (Romans 6:2; 1 Peter 2:21; John 10:27; 12:26) or we will return to the outer darkness of Satan’s dominion (Matthew 12:43-45). We must daily follow Him to the special place where He has gone (Colossians 3:1). Having risen from the dead, Jesus has ascended to the Sanctuary in heaven. Within it is the holy Presence of the Father. How can we, how dare we, enter? Thank God, it is done for us by virtue of the blood (Ephesians 2:6).
Jesus our High Priest, ministers on our behalf before the Father in the Sanctuary that we who have been born anew in Christ might daily walk with Him, and grow up more and more into His fullness (Hebrews 2:17-18; 8:1-2). He ministers before the Father in order to impart His Holy Spirit to us (John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:5-16). Our need of this intercession is constant. The work of Christ to apply the atoning blood in heaven is as important as His work to provide it on the cross.
WITHIN THE HOLY PLACE
Having passed the first veil of the Sanctuary, we stand within the first apartment. On our right is the golden Table of Shewbread, containing twelve loaves of bread. Jesus takes us by the hand and leads us before it. The food of the world perishes with the using (John 6:27). Deceitful (Proverbs 23:2-3) and unsatisfying (Isaiah 52:2), it is like empty husks (Luke 15:16) and dry ashes (Isaiah 44:20). But the bread that God gives is nourishing-eternally nourishing.
Our great danger, now that we are within the Sanctuary, is to forget the miserable existence outside the gate and, through lust or neglect, return to our former sins. The daily trials are given as continual reminders to flee to God through His Word for refuge-for living bread (Deuteronomy 8:3). He alone can give us the “Bread of heaven” (Psalm 105:40).
The Word of God-the Bible-is this bread of heaven (Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 119:103). It is through the Bible that we read and partake of the Living Word- Jesus Christ (John 6:35, 56-58; 6:63; 14:15, 23; Revelation 3:8).
Each Sabbath this shewbread was renewed. Each Sabbath we are, above every other time, to partake of a special communion with God.
Each day those ministering in the Sanctuary ate of the shewbread. Morning by morning we are to open our Bible, in sincerity and humility of heart, and to pray for “our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11), and morning by morning God will give it. Each meal will vary, but all will be feasts-filled with new lessons regarding our duties for that day, new glimpses of God’s insights into the loveliness of Christ our Righteousness.
From the shewbread, Jesus leads us to the golden Altar of Incense that stands before the second veil. The golden bowl of incense, resting on top of it, is continually sending up smoke. This smoking incense represents our prayers (Psalm 141:1-2; Revelation 5:8), and it also represents the righteous merits of Jesus that must mingle with them that they may be acceptable before the Father (Revelation 8:3-4). The above text shows that the incense of Jesus’ intercession goes up with the prayers of the saints, not in place of them. Prayer is the breath of every believer’s soul. We must have it continually. The incense was placed on the altar every morning and evening (Exodus 30:7-8), and the flame from it burned continually. We are, in a special sense, to come alone, and with our families, to God in prayer every morning and evening, that throughout the day our hearts may be continually ascending to God in a spirit of prayer as we go about our duties.
From the Golden Altar, Jesus leads us to the Golden Candlestick. This is a lampstand with seven branches, each branch having a flame of fire at the top. Jesus is the vine; we are the branches (John 15:5). From Him, the golden oil, representing the Holy Spirit, flows to each individual believer. Having passed through us, it burns with a bright flame, giving light to all around us (John 5:35). We are not made to be bottles for the Holy Spirit to merely enter and burn unseen within. We are made and dedicated, by Jesus, to be channels for the Spirit to flow through. Only as we witness to our faith before others are we burning lights. Jesus is the light of the world (John 18:12; 1:9). In His face shines “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:6). As we look unto Him, He imparts that knowledge to us through His Spirit, and we shine (Psalm 34:5; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We must daily beware of allowing our faces to become “veiled”-failing to witness to our faith-through “embarrassment” of Jesus, our neglect, or preoccupation with other matters. To do so turns the light into darkness (Matthew 6:23; John 1:15; 3:19; Deuteronomy 28:29; 1 John 1:6).
A CONTINUAL EXPERIENCE
The Outer Court and First Apartment represent the daily Service-our daily experience in Christ. Each day this experience must be renewed. The walk carried on through the day, by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7; Jeremiah 10:23), must begin anew each morning. And where do we begin? Where we first found Him-at the gate of humiliation, heart sorrow for our part in Calvary’s agony and deep repentance of soul,-at the altar of death to self (Colossians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 4:11). Speaking of his own experience, Paul said. “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). Paul’s experience is to be our experience. The old song well describes it: “The way of the cross leads home”-there is no other way.
Each morning, in abject humiliation and sorrow for what our sins have cost Jesus, self is to die, and God’s plans and His glory are to be made supreme.-And the walk begins anew-not because we “feel” so, but because God’s Word says so. The condition of surrender, death, and obedience has been met. Now we are to Ask, Believe and Claim whatever Bible promise is needed to meet the day’s necessities-three steps, as simple as “ABC.” Ask specifically for what you really need and for that which He has promised, in the Word, to provide; Believe that the gift is in the promise, and that you have already received it; then Claim it-go about your work, believing the request is already yours, and use it. The promise already imparted will be realized when it is most needed.
Not one promise of God has ever failed (1 Kings 8:56), and none ever will. We are to be fully persuaded that what He has promised, in Scripture, He is fully able to perform (Romans 4:21). The conditions met (repentance, surrender, acceptance, faith, obedience) means the promises can never fail; for upon them are staked His very honor and the fulfillment of His plan to remove sin from our lives (2 Peter 1:4).
Each day we are to follow Jesus in the Sanctuary, as we partake of the Bread in Bible study, the Incense in earnest prayer, and the Oil in witnessing to our faith in Jesus, our High Priest. Day by day God will speak to us through His Word; we will speak to Him in prayer, and He will speak through us to others through our daily witness. Day by day Jesus will go before us (John 10:3-4), and His Spirit will be imparted to guide our every step (Isaiah 30:21). Day by day the walk will grow closer; the experience will deepen.
Within the Outer Court and the First Apartment, or Holy Place, occurs the daily service. But, as we have seen in the first tract in this Inexpressible Gift Series, according to Daniel 8 and 9, Jesus entered the Second Apartment, or Most Holy Place, in 1844 to make the final cleansing of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). We are now, in a very special sense, to enter this apartment and the experience of that Day.
Beyond the second veil is the Most Holy Place. Within it is a small chest covered with solid gold. This is called the Ark of the Covenant, for within it is the basis of God’s covenant with mankind (Deuteronomy 4:13)-the stone tables of the moral law. The golden Mercy Seat covers it, and above the Mercy Seat are the covering Cherubim, one on either side of the Shekinah Presence of God (Hebrews 9:1-5). Within the ark is the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the two tables of stone-the Ten Commandments-written with the finger of God. Before the ark, Jesus stands clothed in the white mediatorial robe worn on the Day of Atonement, with the golden censer in His hand. Until the atonement is completed, Jesus continues His intercession on behalf of His people previously carried on in the first apartment. But, now, in addition, He has begun the special final examination and cleansing in the second apartment. We are today, by faith and earnest prayer, to follow Jesus in His work in this apartment.
The experience of the first apartment is also to be found within the Holy of Holies. The manna is the “bread of heaven” (Psalm 105:40); and, like the shewbread, it represents Jesus, “the bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:49-51) and His Word, the Bible. We are, at this time, to seek to live by “the hidden manna” of the Sanctuary (Revelation 2:17).
The prayers and Jesus’ continual intercession is represented by the Altar of Incense in the first apartment and the golden censer with its smoking incense in Jesus’ hand in the second.
The lamps that shone in the first apartment and Aaron’s rod which budded and bore fruit (Numbers 17), now within the second apartment, both represent the power of God’s Spirit working in and through us to fulfill our purpose of existence-to shine, to bear fruit, to glorify God by our every word and action.
Thus the experience of the Holy Place is to be continued today in the Most Holy; but, in addition, a special experience is to be sought for and found within it.-the Judgment-Hour experience.
The Covering Cherubim above and on either side of the ark are looking downward toward the golden mercy seat (Exodus 25:20). Soon, upon it, the atonement is to be completed, as the blood of Jesus is sprinkled. By this final second apartment application of the blood shed at Calvary, the Sanctuary and the lives of God’s people will be forever cleansed from sin. That act will symbolize the fact that, through the enabling grace of Christ, God’s people on earth have put away sin from their lives. These are the “things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). They, together with the entire universe, are giving their deepest interest to this concluding work of grace. We also are to give it our deepest attention and our most earnest prayers (Leviticus 16:29-30).
But we must do more than pray-we must confess. Jesus, as our priest, is now standing before the Father and before all angels, confessing the names of His faithful people and making intercession for them. But who receives this confession? Those only who confess Him before others (Matthew 10:32-33; 12:37; Romans 10:9; 1 John 2:23; 4:15; Luke 12:8. Our acknowledgment-our confession of our sinfulness to Jesus and our grateful acceptance of His righteousness must be continual. Our witness-confession of our faith before others and our joyful telling of that righteousness-must also be continual.
THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS
Within the Ark of the Covenant is to be found the basis of the everlasting covenant between God and man-the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 4:13; 5:2-3; Exodus 34:28; Hebrews 8). There is only one “Everlasting Covenant” between God and mankind-it is God’s agreement to take sin out of our lives. Israel broke this covenant by trying to obey the law by themselves rather than through the imputed righteousness of Christ. They thus made a worthless “old covenant” experience of it. The fault was with them (Hebrews 8:8). On God’s side, there is only one covenant-the everlasting covenant of redemption. But men have tried to meet it wrongly-through their own efforts-righteousness by works-the Old Covenant experience. But the covenant is still open for fulfillment in our lives through the New Covenant relationship to God-righteousness (right doing, obedient doing) by faith in the blood of Christ. Jesus is the Mediator of this better covenant, based upon better promises-God’s promises, not the people’s (Exodus 19:5-8; 24:3, 7; Hebrews 8:1, 5-10).
Beneath the throne of God is His moral law-the measure of all right doing (Romans 13:19-20; 7:7; James 1:22-25), the basis of His covenant with man (Deuteronomy 4:13; Hebrews 8:6-10) and the standard of the Judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; James 2:10-12). Of ourselves we cannot obey this law. But that which we cannot do for ourselves, God can do for us “through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20). He will write this law upon the heart of everyone willing to be drawn to a full surrender at the foot of the cross and obedience to His every word. Day by day, as we come to our Mediator, He will write it upon our hearts and, through His grace, empower us to resist lust, theft, idolatry, vice, covetousness, and Sabbath breaking.
Why did Jesus have to die on Calvary? He died to meet the demands of the law and to destroy sin. Some think that He died to meet the demands of sin and to destroy the law, but not so. It is sin in the sinner that seeks to destroy the law, for sin is the attempt to the destroy law (1 John 3:4). If the law could have been changed in the slightest, to meet man in his fallen condition, then Christ would not have had to die. We can understand this from the very nature of sin. Consider the following texts carefully: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). Sin is lawbreaking; sin brings death. Christ came, not to be a lawbreaker, but to destroy sin by dying in our place, and by His merits imparting, to us, enabling grace to obey the law as He did while on earth.
Above all who have ever lived on this earth, it is Jesus who seeks to uphold the law. Jesus died not to abolish the law, but because it could not be abolished. It was made by a God whose moral nature does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Numbers 23:19-20; Psalm 33:11), and the moral law that He made will never change-it is eternal (Psalm 119:152; 89:34; 111:7-8; Matthew 5:17-19; Ecclesiastes 3:14).
The fact that Jesus can do that which the sacrifice of animals could never do is strikingly portrayed in the cessation of the “ordinances” at Calvary. Ephesians 2:15 speaks of these ordinances that were abolished at the cross. Some think that this was the moral law! If this were so, then vice, theft, perjury, murder, and idolatry would all be wholesome Christian activities today. The ordinances that came to their end were the sacrificial laws that prefigured the death of Christ (Hebrews 10:1-5). The seventy-week prophecy, mentioned earlier, predicted that the “sacrifices” would cease at the death of the Messiah (Daniel 9:27). The principles of Atonement by blood and the way in which Christ would carry it out are given by God and changeless. But the actual animal sacrifices themselves and the work in the earthly Sanctuary no longer had any meaning in God’s eyes following the death of His Son-and so they were made obsolete-done away with-at the cross (Hebrews 7:24-27; Matthew 27:50-51). The entire book of Hebrews was written to prove that Christ’s death ended the Jewish sacrifices.
We have seen that the law is the great standard of the Judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; James 2:10-12; Psalm 96:13; 119:142-146). This is so because it is the only means by which we can identify sin (1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7). The law reveals sin and brings guilt and condemnation (Romans 3:19), and thus acts as a spiritual mirror to show us our sinful nature (James 1:22:25) and lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24), who alone can take the sin out of our lives.
God uses the law to identify and convict of sin. But it is only the mirror (James 1:22-25), not the soap. It can not forgive or justify us (Romans 3:20). It can not keep us from sin or sanctify us (Galatians 3:21).
The law can only point out sin-it can not take it away. Only Jesus can forgive our sins (Acts 13:38-39; Matthew 1:21). Only He can cleanse us, write the law upon our hearts, and give us power to obey it (Hebrews 8:10). It is written upon our hearts because, by constantly relying upon Him, Jesus is in our hearts, and it is thus kept perfectly (Psalm 119:9-11). Through the atonement, the law becomes the way we naturally live-no longer law breakers, but obedient-like Jesus.
Looking upon the moral code and its ten holy rules, we see our sin-hardened hearts. Looking upon Jesus, hanging upon Calvary’s cross in our stead, our sinful hearts are broken. Looking upon the law, we see our carnal natures and the standard that must be reached. Looking upon Jesus, we want to reach it. This is the story of redemption.
It is the blood of Jesus alone that can bring us to God. This blood must finally be placed on the mercy seat because beneath it are the Ten Commandments which we have transgressed. The Atonement cannot be completed until the blood, representing the poured-out life of Jesus, is brought before the moral code of the Ten Commandments which men have broken (Leviticus 16).
The moral law, resting beneath the Presence of God (Exodus 25:16; 31:18; 25:17-22), is the foundation of the blood covenant (Exodus 24; Hebrews 8). Resting beneath His throne, it is also the foundation of His moral government. It represents God, His boldness, His sinlessness. Rather than seeking to lower the standard by destroying the law, the Plan of Redemption preserves it by granting to us, through the merits of Christ’s sacrifice, the indwelling of His own righteousness-His loving obedience to His Father’s commandments (John 15:10).
The mercy of grace meets the justice of the law at the mercy seat as the seven drops of Jesus’ blood are sprinkled upon it. This is the Atonement-the plan to redeem us from sin, by bringing together mercy and justice-without destroying either mercy or justice (Psalm 85:10; 89:14).
THE FINAL EXPERIENCE
On the Day of Atonement, the people were to gather at the Sanctuary and afflict their souls as the priest went in before the mercy seat on their behalf (Leviticus 16:29-31). As we, today, gather, by faith, at the entrance to the Sanctuary and seek, by faith, to follow Him in His work, Jesus, our High Priest, stands for us before the golden mercy seat. The records of God’s people are being examined, to see who, by sincere repentance and entire acceptance of God’s provision for their salvation, are preparing themselves for its sentence. Soon, by this final sprinkling of the blood, both the people (the faithful ones), who are responsible for the sin, and the Sanctuary, which contains the records of sin, will be cleansed (Leviticus 16:29-34; Daniel 8:14; Malachi 3:1-3). That will occur because God’s people, who are responsible for the sins blotted out of the records in heaven, have on earth already put them away! (Leviticus 16:29-34; Daniel 8:14; Malachi 3:13).
Every Jew well knew that the yearly Day of Atonement represented the great final Day of Judgment. For them, it was the most solemn day in the year.
Jesus is now examining the books of record in the Sanctuary, to determine who will receive the final cleansing and compose the subjects of His Kingdom of Glory. Then, following this cleansing, He will take off His priestly robes, announce the solemn decree that human probation is closed, and then return for His people (Revelation 22:11-12).
The Bible clearly shows that the Investigative Judgment (Daniel 7:9-11, 26) must precede His Second Coming to earth for His people (Daniel 7:13-14, 27) and the Executive Judgment upon the wicked (Jude 14-15). The investigative examination must, of necessity, precede His Second Coming, when He shall reward every man according to his works (Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12), and “execute upon them the judgment written” (Psalm 149:9).
“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). We are now to come, and to send our sins before hand to judgment-before it passes to our names. Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men follow after.” (1 Timothy 5:24). We are not to wait until later to begin this work. “Later" may never come. The only time given us in which to act is now-today (Hebrews 3:7-8; Deuteronomy 30:15, 19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Kings 18:21). We must now put away our sins; we must now send them “beforehand” to judgment,-or standing unconfessed, unforsaken, upon the records in that great day, they will condemn us.
The following passages strikingly illustrate the experience we are to be seeking at this time. You may wish to carefully read them:
We are to come boldly to the throne (1 John 4:17; Hebrews 10:19-25; 6:18-20; 4:14-16). We are to come-trusting not in our own goodness but in His mercies. We are to come-not because of any worthiness, but because of our great need. We must come-now.
Nothing is hidden-for indeed, nothing can be (Psalm 90:8; Luke 12;2). All is to be laid open before Jesus. Tell Him everything; lay it all before Him (Psalm 54:1-4). Tell Him that you give sin up. Ask Him to take it away (Psalm 51:7:17). Jacob earnestly pleaded. “I will not let thee go except Thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Let this be your prayer. Cling to Him as did Jacob-as your only hope. Plead for forgiveness of sin. Plead for the final cleansing from sin.
“Every man’s judgment cometh from the Lord” (Proverbs 29:26)-but we decide what it shall be! The decisions of heaven will be determined by the decisions of our hearts. The decisions of our hearts will be determined by that which our interests are the most earnestly fastened. Minds centered upon the world will be condemned with the world. Minds centered on the Atonement will be cleansed by the Atonement. This is the hour to watch and pray.
This is the hour to plead with God (Jeremiah 12:1). We are to plead that, in the Judgment, we may be covered by His righteousness (Psalm 35:24). Pray and wait for the promised blessing (Isaiah 30:18; Psalm 94:12-15; Isaiah 1:16-19; 25-28; Hebrews 10:19-39), remembering that it is by faith that we enter into this experience (Hebrews 10:35-12:4; Hebrews 3-4).
God is holy-”dwelling in light unapproachable”-and of ourselves, we dare not come near Him, lest we be destroyed by the glory of His Presence (2 Thessalonians 2:8). But, through Jesus, we can overcome (John 10:9; Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18; 3:12; Revelation 3:8). He is our “Forerunner”-He has gone before us; and, on the basis of our hope in Him, we are to follow after (Hebrews 6:18-20). He was Man-tempted in all points like as we; He understands and sympathizes with all of our needs. He is God-given all power in heaven and earth, He can forgive and give us power to overcome (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:14-16).
“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 an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:25-26).
“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne…These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men” (Revelation 14:3-4).
Come now to your God, come now to your Priest, come now to your Judge,-come now to your Lamb. Come-now-to the blood of the Covenant, the blood of sprinkling.