26. God’s Way of Unity in the Sanctuary

By John Thiel, The Sanctuary Series, study 26, mp3

The whole subject of the sanctuary has been a doctrine that communicates unity from heaven to earth. The sanctuary that was built by the Hebrews was a copy of the sanctuary in heaven; there was a unifying concept. Jesus’ body also was a sanctuary. The body of Jesus was also an exercise of unity as the church being the body of Christ, and this was connected with the sanctuary because the church is also a sanctuary. All the sanctuary applications are communicating the concept of unity just from that perspective.

In the union of these four sanctuaries, the Hebrew, the heavenly, Christ’s physical body, and the church, we see that there is a comprehension of God’s idea of unity revealed in the sanctuary revelations. God has a yearning to have unity with humanity. God’s way of unity is the very center point of the study of the sanctuary.

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

Let them make me a sanctuary,” I want union with them. I want to dwell among them. We read this and we think, Well, that’s nice, God is wanting to have unity and dwell with the Hebrews; but who is He wanting to dwell with? Who are they really? In the history of the Hebrew wanderings, we see that they were murmuring, sinful people. And God wants to be united with them? That is a very strange, awesome sort of a concept, God, the perfect God, wants to have union with sinners. We see a similar expression of this in Psalm 68. “That I may dwell among them,” among whom? Here is a reference to Jesus taking with Him humanity after He had been resurrected, and notice that He left gifts behind:

Psalm 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].

He gives gifts even to the rebellious. Why? That He may dwell among them. That is profound. God wants to dwell among even the rebellious. Therefore He gave them gifts; He gave them the Hebrew sanctuary to dwell among the rebellious Hebrews. He wants to dwell among them.

Leviticus 26:11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.

Isn’t that a phenomenal statement? I will not abhor you. It is very relevant to the fact that He could be abhorring them because they were such sinners. But He said, “I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people.” Here is the expression of His desire of unity. God is making a proposal of unity, and as we sinners, knowing who we are, draw near to God, we say, What would you do something like that for? I’ve had people actually say to me when I enlarged some of this material, Why would He want to do that?? It’s overwhelming. To every thinking human being, this touches the hearts. God, He who is so pure and holy, is prepared to come close to sinners. This is why it is so important to think when you study God’s word. It’s one thing to just read it, but when you stop to think at what it’s actually saying, it absolutely overwhelms and causes a response. It’s even more incomprehensible when you come to John 2:18-21, and notice that Jesus was prepared to come so close to us as a person, not just in the sanctuary. He connects the sanctuary with His body:

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

Jesus came and dwelt in a temple. The Word, the second Person of the Godhead, came and dwelt in a temple. The Hebrew temple was where God came in the Shekinah glory, but God also came in the temple of human life, and He referred to His body temple in this scripture. This is something which causes an amazement of thought. God would actually come and dwell so close with us? Consider the material that comprised the body temple that Jesus the Word came to dwell in.

The Material of this Body Temple

Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” This is the body temple of Jesus:

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

The material that was supplied for the body temple of Jesus was the same flesh and blood that humanity has. This is amplified in Romans 7. The apostle talks about his body temple, his human flesh:

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

The apostle Paul is talking about his human body. In his human body, there is a law of sin. He says, I am so wretched I can’t change because of the law of sin in my members. See the material that Jesus’ body was of:

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

The very body that apostle Paul talked about, his members that had the law of sin in them, was the exact same position that Jesus was in. He had the likeness of sinful flesh. That makes it even more profound than merely a temple that the Hebrews built. That God would come and dwell among them was already profound, but now we are looking at a body temple that has sinful flesh. We can understand what is meant by, “Let them make me a sanctuary” because the body temple that Jesus received was brought into existence from humanity.

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life. {DA 48.5}

Think on this. This is amazing. We today, in the knowledge of genetic chromosomal makeup, can understand that a person’s fleshly nature is built up from the chromosome that is passed onto him from his parents. The parents have placed the building material for the next person that is born. According to this statement, the great law of hereditary was gathered over 4,000 years to produce a body temple for Jesus. “Let them make me a sanctuary,” a body temple with 4,000 years of heredity accumulated by the great law of heredity. Today they do genetic engineering since they’ve found the complete pattern of a chromosome, all the genetic weldings that have been established over the years. Nowadays they can actually manipulate that. What a parent does welds another little gene into that chromosome. For instance, they have discovered that a person who has been an alcoholic has brought an alcoholic gene into that spiral. It has been welded onto there. That is what Ellen White writes, what parents do is they bequeath to their children a particular characteristic. Jesus received four thousand years of gene structure. You can understand it so much better today than ever before.

What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors.” You go back to Rahab, the harlot, you go towards David, the king with so many wives, and Solomon, etc., etc. All that heredity, together with all the other things that are not mentioned about these people, the physiology that Jesus inherited, is exactly what apostle Paul talked about, I see another law in my members, which is the law of sin, sinful flesh. This is the amazing wonderment that reaches the heart as we study it. Unity with sinful man, that is what God was looking for. It is so intimate a unity.

Ephesians 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Because He partook with us of our flesh, we are partaking with Him. We are altogether one with Him in very close intimacy.

In his relation to Christ [the Christian] will be bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, one with Christ in a peculiar relationship, because Christ took the humanity of man. He became subject to temptation, endangering as it were, His divine attributes. {7BC 926.5}

There is so much to think about here. He partook with us in our sinful flesh, became bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, so that we could be bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, endangering as it were, His divine attributes. That’s how close God came.

Satan sought, by the constant and curious devices of his cunning, to make Christ yield to temptation. Man must pass over the ground over which Christ has passed. As Christ overcame every temptation which Satan brought against Him, so man is to overcome. And those who strive earnestly to overcome are brought into a oneness with Christ that the angels in heaven can never know. {7BC 926.5}

Because for the Word to come into an intimacy with our sinful flesh, and to experience the excruciation of such a relationship of the divine connected with the human sinful flesh, angels could never understand that experience. We are privileged that God would come so close to us that we could enjoy a relationship of our sinful flesh in touch with the divine nature, that is an experience that nobody else can understand apart from those who have got that problem. He is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.

The question is, Why would God do something like that? Is it just a wonderful story of His love? What is the objective behind such a unity? The answer to that question is found is in the following scripture:

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Here is the purpose of God in becoming one with us. “Let them make Me a sanctuary,” a body sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them, for what purpose? That they may be made perfect in one. These are points that God has given us to cause us to think and pursue His plan and learn of all this. God comes to every individual into intimacy with that one person. He is prepared to have unity with us individually, and to dwell with each one individually.

Here is the divine nature that was in Jesus Christ. The fact that He had sinful flesh like you and me endangered His divinity, and the same thing will be with us.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

There are given unto us precious promises so that we can become partakers of the divine nature as Jesus was. Does that change our flesh? We still have the same flesh, the flesh Jesus had, hereditary, weak, sinful flesh, a flesh that endangered His divine nature. God wants to come just as close to us as He was in Jesus Christ. Jesus was one among us, but He says, I in them and thou in me. We are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, because He became a human like us, so that, as God is in Jesus and Jesus is in us through His flesh, we may have a union that the angels don’t even know about.

Man has the assurance that he can become a partaker of the divine nature, even as Christ became a partaker of human nature. {RH, August 28, 1900, par. 3}

There is the exchange, there is the unity. “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” This is God’s way of unity. By this unity, He facilitates the source of true unity among those who believe in that, so that they may be made perfect in one. The thinking person who takes this into himself is overwhelmed and realizes that, “Me a sinner, God comes so close to me?” and as he is repentant about his sinfulness because he sees this, as he is overwhelmed with the sense of his unworthiness and God’s wonderful mercy and love to him, what is that person occupied with? Being so sensitive to his condition and aware of God’s closeness with him, what mind occupation is predominant in that person?

Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things. {SC 58.2}

That is what happens if you stop to think about this amazing unity. You see yourself as you really are, sinful, tempted with sinful flesh, and you see God’s intimacy with you and this overwhelms you and you cannot think or talk of anything else. “Our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him.” When this is occupying our mind we are prepared to sacrifice all for Him. In our interactions with one another, we long to bear His image, and breathe His spirit, and do His will, and please Him in all things. In all our activities it’s all not my will, but thine, be done because we are captivated by this enormous privilege of God the Majesty of the universe being so close in unity with us.

As we meet with others who also have the same experience of this, can you see the unity?

God’s Way of Unity

There is no other way of unity possible but this: where one person has an intimate relationship with Jesus and the battles of life that he has to fight and is amazed at the wonderful closeness of God; and as that mind experiences this and the other person experiences exactly the same, can you see the unity? We become bonded by the intimacy that we have with Jesus into an intimacy with one another, because nobody else, not even the angels, can have that kind of unity. It is something to really ponder about. Those who have the same experience, who are so deeply in thought with Jesus, when they meet together they consider this. This is the all-important source of unity.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Here is the expression of unity. It’s a body. The body feels the same thing. If there is pain in one part of the body, the whole body suffers with it. As we experience our temptations, Jesus experiences them with us and we experience His comfort. This is all bound together by the one Spirit.

The intimacy of a human body is the intimacy of Christ and His followers. It is one body. This cannot happen apart from those people who are so occupied with Jesus. Anything short of that is what we see in the churches today. They talk about unity, but there’s no real unity. The only source of unity that can be is this. If we want unity, this is where our focus needs to be. Then we can be one body.

Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We all speak the truth as it is in Jesus. We are captivated and are amazed at the enormity of all the different dimensions of this relationship, and speaking the truth in love, we grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. We are part of the body, and Christ is the head. “From whom,” in our focus upon Jesus becoming one with us and us becoming one with Him, from that focus, “the whole body” is “fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth.” Every human being who is wrapped up with Jesus supplies their particular joy of communion with that. As each one supplies that “according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,” it “maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” There is perfect unity, God’s way of unity.

Perfect Unity

Having read it in terms of a body, we read it now in another way. There was the body temple, the physical temple. This is now a building:

Christ, the true foundation, is a living stone; His life is imparted to all that are built upon Him. Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house. Each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord. 1 Peter 2:5, R.V.; Ephesians 2:21, R.V. {MB 150.2}

The church is a temple, a sanctuary.

The stones became one with the foundation; for a common life dwells in all. That building no tempest can overthrow; for, That which shares the life of God, With Him surviveth all. {MB 150.2}

If we want to survive, if we want to be able to stand and be part of that beautiful temple that is described as the great rock that covers the whole earth, then we are actually part of that rock, that kingdom of heaven that comes and smashes the image of Daniel chapter 2. Every stone, every rock of each individual, is melded together with the rock Christ Jesus. We are told that we must fall on the Rock and be broken, and that’s what happens when you really give over to Jesus, you become broken and melded together with that Rock. The stones become one with the foundation. Each stone, as it is built on top of the next stone, joins together with the foundation so that there is no joint. It becomes one continuous precious stone with Jesus running throughout the whole lot. This is the imagery that is portrayed. It is not like building a temple with bricks and with joints in between; that can fall apart. But when it is a solid mass, it cannot fall apart. It is a solid rock. That is the unity that is conveyed.

You are building on God’s word, and your character will be builded after the similitude of the character of Christ. {MB 150.1}

There is a chemistry, a communication, that actually melts together, and it is dependent upon the union that is gained by God drawing near to us in Jesus Christ. Such a fellowship is the unity of which the Bible is speaking, “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” This statement of God that He will walk among them, that He is going to be put His tabernacle among them, that He will not abhor them, is echoed in application here:

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This is the quote from Leviticus 6. Notice that we are built up as a corporate body, as the temple of God among whom God wants to dwell. While God is wanting to draw near to every human being, it is only those people who actually let Him in that can constitute such a temple. We can’t amalgamate as these stones do with anyone else. We can only amalgamate with Jesus. Those who will amalgamate with Jesus will amalgamate together. Those who are not amalgamated with Jesus cannot amalgamate together with the others. That is the hard reality. It is so important that we all become powerfully overwhelmed as thinking people and unite with God and let it do its amalgamation. Let it do its fusing, but do not do the fusing with those who do not want this message.

The Sanctuary, the Church

The church is another sanctuary. It is a oneness among believers that is never possible without the atonement, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, thoroughly absorbed and appreciated. Because only as you absorb and appreciate that does it absolutely overwhelm the soul and cause the soul to fall on the Rock Christ Jesus. Without that it is impossible, it’s just a lovely story and it never actually achieves its end because people don’t stop to partake of it. Unless we understand this beautiful union of the nature of Christ with sinful flesh, then we cannot understand the unity.

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary, and in connection with the wondrous, central truth of the Saviour’s atonement. {5BC 1137.7}

What must we do to be able to rightly understand unity? The subject of unity must be understood by the great central truth of the Saviour’s atonement.

Those who study the Redeemer’s wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge.  {5BC 1137.7}

When my mind is focused upon the atonement of Jesus, the incarnation, which is how the divine unites with sinful flesh, and as we become absorbed and overwhelmed in that, we will rightly understand every other doctrine, and the one we are looking now at is the doctrine of unity. It is the only way by which you can get the correct appreciation. It is this Jesus who came with such an appreciation of unity with us that speaks in John 17:20-23 and communicates this previous comfort of unity. He is speaking here for the sake of all His believers:

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Here is the truth of the unity that is gained through the truth of Jesus being one with us in sinful flesh. We are all one through the Spirit. We want to hone in on how it was in the sanctuary. In the sanctuary there were the priest and the candlestick, and what was common with the priest and the candlestick?

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

The Anointing

The anointing has to do with the truth.

Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!

This is a unity that God loves to behold.

Psalms 133:2 [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, [and as the dew] that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore.

What is this talking about? Aaron. What was happening to him? He was being ordained. He was receiving the anointing for the work of the priesthood in the sanctuary. This is a beautiful comprehension as it is conveyed in Psalms. The unity that God yearns for His church is the unity of the sanctuary that is revealed in the anointing in the sanctuary services of Aaron. The unity that God wants so badly will come to existence. “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” That beautiful sanctuary truth must be the source of our unity.

God’s Way

Jesus was praying for me in His high priestly prayer:

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Can you see the yearning of unity? We are anointed with the Holy Spirit, of whom Jesus said, He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. Jesus actually identifies that the Holy Spirit is the one who takes the whole issues of Jesus to us. This is written in the time of the latter rain, a teacher of righteousness according to righteousness. He is the true source of unity as He pours into us.

God’s people have the oil running through them. Will you have this anointing? This is the unity that comes through the Holy Spirit showing it to us, and producing a righteousness that is gained only through the intimacy of the divine nature in sinful flesh.

As we look forward to the unity that is to exist later on, we can already appreciate what that will be through what we are experiencing now. Here on earth we may be one through this beautiful anointing in the revelation of Jesus. He says, I want this union to continue in eternity. I want them to be where I am. To gather to worship in the heavenly sanctuary, an unchangeable unity will exist.

The New Jerusalem

Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

That is what we look forward to. But we can never enjoy that while we do not enjoy it here. The atonement unity is to be our mind occupation. We are to talk, think and live the realities of Jesus Christ. An eternal unity is to take place here on earth through the desire of God wanting to dwell among us in a sanctuary. We were to establish a sanctuary for Him so that we would be able to dwell with Him forever in the New Jerusalem, where His sanctuary is.

Can you see the unity? Unity on earth so we can have unity for eternity in heaven. This is the essential ingredient that we need to occupy ourselves with, because there is no other way of unity. We can try as much as we like. We know we can’t harmonize on anything else unless we are totally harmonized on Jesus. When each individual is harmonized with Jesus, then everything else falls into a harmony that can only happen through a mindset gained through the anointing.

In the sanctuary above which was revealed to the pioneers of Adventism at the time of the great disappointment, when they saw the sanctuary in heaven, there was an appreciation that made all the difference to them. We see what took place in their experience and if we pursue the same exercise, we will have the same experience:

After the great disappointment there were few who set themselves to seek the Word with all their heart. But some souls would not settle down in discouragement and deny that the Lord had led them. To these the truth was opened point by point, and entwined with their most hallowed recollections and sympathies. The searchers after truth felt that the identification of Christ with their nature and interest was complete. Truth was made to shine forth, beautiful in its simplicity, dignified with a power and invested with an assurance unknown before the disappointment. We could then proclaim the message in unity. {2SM 109.4}

When you study the truth as it is in Jesus, it starts to entwine itself with your hallowed recollections, with your deep inward self. Do we have a problem with unity in the churches of today? Why? It is because they are not on that beautiful unity that the pioneers embraced. Only we who will unite with that understanding can enjoy the unity with them and with one another. Every source of disunity will be diffused as we do exactly as we have been studying. Jesus, in His intimacy with us in our sinful flesh, becomes all to us in every respect, and no one can enjoy such a unity but those who do that. May we indeed enter into that union.

We have studied together, and all who hear this message can make it their choice that they will open their hearts to such a unity with Christ that it becomes the all-absorbing mind activity, that they can be in tune with Jesus, because they will then be fit to enter into the heavenly unity at length, and so we can have a unity that even the angels do not have. Being a step ahead of the angels comes as a consequence of not trying to be in heaven, but focusing on Christ.


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Posted on 03/09/2009, in The Sanctuary (Series). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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