Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SST #5 | "Atonement: Purification Offering" | Pastor Paul Penno

"Atonement: Purification Offering"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Sanctuary
Lesson 5: "Atonement: Purification Offering"
Our purpose is not to pass over the same ground that the lesson study has adequately covered regarding the daily sacrifices performed in the ancient tabernacle. Rather, our objective is to bring to bear the practical application of the sin offering as it is focused in the 1888 message.
Christ is the Sin-bearer. He takes the sin and guilt of the race as the Lamb of God. He cancels our debt. Ellen G. White writes: "His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race. ... He has qualified Himself to be not only man's representative, but his advocate, so that every soul, if he will, may say, I have a Friend at court." [1] "The guilt of every descendant of Adam of every age was pressing upon His [Christ's] heart ... He, the sin-bearer, endures judicial punishment for iniquity and becomes sin itself for man." [2]
Justice is certain. God cannot abrogate that law. Sin brings its own penalty--death. Not the cessation of life which we now call "death" (the Bible calls that "sleep"). The real thing is the "second death," the total conscious end of all hope, the total realization of ultimate condemnation. Christ has met that claim of justice: He has paid the penalty for that common sin of humanity in His death on His cross. He has borne the total guilt for the world. Therefore there can be no further penalty of eternal death for any sinner unless he chooses to reject the forgiveness given him by the great Sin-bearer.
Romans 3:19-25 tells us clearly that our guilt is, in reality, that of murdering the Son of God. "All the world may become guilty before God." "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." And Jesus reminds us how this is true: whatsoever "ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40). And Isaiah 53:6 tells us that the Lord (the Father!) has laid all this iniquity upon Christ our sin-bearer. You and I are convicted sinners (and all that that implies) pardoned, set free, acquitted--yes!
Christ indeed redeemed the entire human race by His sacrifice, "abolished [the second] death," uprooted the fear that haunts mankind, has "drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us," chained Satan and his evil "principalities" to His triumphal chariot in His victory procession, cancelled the "handwritten" record of our trespasses which we ourselves had signed as our indebtedness to be paid for by our own second death, and reversed the "condemnation" that came on "all men" in Adam, pronouncing on "all men" a glorious "verdict of acquittal."
The love (agape) of God in Christ our Substitute convicts of sin. This work of the Holy Spirit draws us to confess and forsake our sin. "Laying our hands" on the Sacrifice we confess responsibility for the murder of the Son of God.
The real problem is not particularized "sins," but the sin of sins--taking part at Calvary. You begin to realize that the sin of somebody else (bad as it may be!) would be your sin, but for the grace of a Saviour. And before heaven's sensitive x-ray vision of your heart-baggage, you see at last that the sin of Calvary is in your heart. The sin of the world is your sin (that's the case of all of us). By nature you are innately no better than anyone else; you share the world's guilt. You are a part of a lost human family that desperately needs to be saved. But the Good News gets on stage now--you have a Saviour, and you can begin to share with Him a repentance for the sins of the world.
Sin can never be truly forgiven in an experiential way until "we confess our sins" (1 John 1:9). But if we have never learned what our sin really is, how can we truly "confess" it? Multitudes stumble along never knowing true forgiveness. They have to rack their brains to think of something bad enough to "confess." So, ugly realities keep popping up and they find besetting sin continually transmuted into cherished sin. [3] A thousand temptations do not equal even one sin unless we cherish them. Having a sinful nature is not sin; yielding to it is.
We cannot cherish one sin if the heart appreciates the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the love that led the Son of God to go to hell to find us there. That is what "believing" is defined to be in John 3:16. Say "No!" to temptation, a thousand times a day if necessary. Let the Good News set you free in glorious liberty. Christ "was in all points tempted like as [you] are, yet without sin" (Heb.4:15), and even though you are tempted you too may overcome "even as [He] also overcame" (Rev. 3:21). And that's today; you don't need to wait until your deathbed. Like Christ, you will learn instantaneously to tell the devil, "Get thee behind me!"
Faith appreciates what it the cost the Son to purchase forgiveness.Agape constrains the sinner's heart to let the blood of Christ cleanse and purify it from sin.
Our favorite text for forgiveness is 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." That text is often misunderstood as a virtual license to go on sinning. Just keep on sinning, confessing your sins, and you'll keep on being forgiven. But what is Bible forgiveness? Is it merely pardon that justifies sin? No, the Greek word in this verse for "forgive" means to take away sin, here and now, to do the "washing" with the "blood of Christ" (Rev. 1:5). Is anything more precious than such cleansing?
We read in 1 John 4:8 that "God is agape." And what is agape? Verse 9 tells us it is the motivation that led the Father to give His only begotten Son to die for us "that we might live through Him." It is a special kind of love that is willing to die the second death so that we might live eternal life. It is a love that is willing to go to hell so that we might go to heaven. It is a love that chooses to die on a cross rather than indulge self. If "God is agape," and if Jesus is the Son of God, then in His incarnation Jesus is agape in human flesh. When He came to earth He laid aside all the prerogatives of divinity, but He could not empty Himself of agape. And that's why He chose not to sin--He chose a cross instead.
But there are counterfeits! How can we tell the difference? Why are so many preaching "love, love, love," yet the listeners sense no need to overcome sin itself? There's nothing wrong with love itself if we know the right idea of it when the Bible says "God is love." We assume our natural egocentric human idea. It's impossible for an honest heart to hear, to understand, to contemplate, to "survey" thatagape displayed in the "wondrous cross," and then go on in captivity to sin.
Sin is recorded in the heavenly sanctuary. God takes responsibility for the removal of sin in the hour of His judgment. The sinner's concern is for the honor of God in His need for vindication. We are His witnesses before the universe of the saving and delivering power of the blood. The Good News is, when God wins His case, we are included in it.
--Paul E. Penno
[1] "Caiaphas," The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 12, 1900.
[2] The Story of Redemption, p. 225.
[3] A "besetting sin" is one that dogs our footsteps even after we think we're converted. It tries to drag us back into the abyss of guilt. The dictionary defines "beset" as "to attack from all sides; harass or besiege; to surround or hem in." It's not the sin you cherish; it's the one outside your will that tries to hang on like a leech. It's the clamor of our sinful flesh banging on the heart's door again. If you open the door even a crack, you invite it to enter and become a "cherished sin." So, ugly realities keep popping up and they find besetting sin continually transmuted into cherished sin. A thousand temptations do not equal even one sin unless we cherish them. Having a sinful nature is not sin; yielding to it is.
Note: “Sabbath School Today” and Pastor Paul Penno’s video of this lesson are on the Internet at: http://1888mpm.org
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

SST #4 | "Lesson from the Sanctuary" | Paul Penno (+playlist)

"Lessons From the Sanctuary"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
The Sanctuary
Lesson 4: "Lessons From the Sanctuary"
For what purpose did God give Israel the sanctuary? What special light does the 1888 message cast on the meaning of the sanctuary for us today?
The sanctuary teaches the lesson that God temporarily takes responsibility for all sin. This rescues mankind from death. It gives him a second probationary period and lifetime. In exchange for our death God gives us His life in the Son.
As our High Priest the Son gives us the atonement with God. The sanctuary in heaven is cleansed of sin when God's people on earth by faith appreciate Christ's atonement. When their hearts and lives are cleansed, then the gospel of Jesus has achieved the victory.
Thus God is victorious over sin. "The hour of His judgment is come" (Rev. 14:7). Satan has accused God of being the author of sin and aiding and abetting sinners. Now God is vindicated in the great controversy with Satan. "The power of God unto salvation" is demonstrated in him that overcomes "even as I [Christ] also overcame" (Rom. 1:16; Rev. 3:21). God no longer takes the blame for sin. Satan, sin's rightful author, is clearly revealed to all.
The earthly sanctuary is an object lesson. It teaches the practical truth that God the Father is the sanctuary in heaven (John 14:10). When God created man, He said, "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness" (Gen. 1:26).
The correspondence of the heavenly sanctuary on this earth is the soul temple. God's purpose is to dwell within our hearts by faith. "Ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you" (1 Cor.3:16). We may be "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).
God gave Moses a blueprint of the sanctuary in the mount. The Holy Spirit imparted wisdom to men in order to know how the sanctuary was to be built. The earthly sanctuary was a carbon copy of the original.
God sent His own Son from heaven, that we might see the dwelling place that He wants on this earth. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt [tabernacled] among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
God the Father is the true heavenly Sanctuary. Jesus said, "I can of Mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (John 14:10). "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing: for what things soever He doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner" (John 5:19).
Man through sin lost the beautiful image in which he was first made. Then Jesus, who is "the image of the invisible God," (Col. 1:15) came down to earth to show us again the pattern which God would have each of His human temples grow. All that the Father is, and all that He does, Jesus showed to men, that we might know what we may be and do, when God dwells in us. Jesus could do this only because He was the Son of God, and the Spirit of His Father dwelt in Him.
So God has shown us the Pattern. He has shown us His own glory and beauty in the life of Jesus Christ His Son. He left us an example--a pattern--"that we should follow His steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1 Peter 2:22).
In the tabernacle which God taught the Israelites to build in the wilderness, there were two apartments. The larger was called the Holy Place, and the inner was the Most Holy. The space for a certain distance around the tabernacle was curtained off, and this was also holy.
What was it that made the tabernacle and its surroundings such a holy place? It was the presence of God. He did not dwell in it because it was a holy place, but His dwelling there made it holy.
"The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Cor. 3:17). So we do not to make ourselves holy for God to dwell in us. His dwelling in us by faith, is what makes us holy. Our body is to be a holy place, because God makes it for His own dwelling place, and He fills it with His own Spirit of life?
The Most Holy Place is the innermost apartment, the secret chamber. It is here that none but God and the high priest ever met together. The Most Holy Place teaches us that the heart should be the center of God's dwelling place in the human body. It is where He is to be enthroned.
But this inner apartment was not the only place that was holy. The first apartment and the outer court were made holy by God's sacred Presence in the Most Holy Place. So God dwelling in our hearts by faith, makes the whole being holy. The mind, all the thoughts, the motives, are activated by God's love, to be His; and every member of the body is to be set apart for His service.
When Jesus came to the Temple, He found in the sacred court, merchants, and money-changers, making confusion. And He sent them all out, saying, "My house shall be called an house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Matt. 21:13).
Do we have an idol in the Lord's holy temple? Is self allowed to take God's place upon the throne of our heart? If so, we are defiling the temple of God. Are thoughts and things of this world allowed to fill our minds, and take up our time and use the powers of mind and body that He has given us for His service? Is the thought of God shut out by other things? If so, we are making God's temple a den of thieves that are robbing God, and profaning His holy place.
Ellen White was overjoyed when she heard the message of justification by faith from the lips of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. To her this clear teaching was consonant with the message of the three angels: "The hour of His judgment is come" and our Priest is cleansing the heavenly sanctuary. What connection was there between justification by faith and the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary by Jesus our High Priest?
The answer is that since 1844 Jesus has been performing the Day of Atonement ministry--the final blotting out of sins. But before the sanctuary could be cleansed in heaven, the temple of His people on earth must be cleansed. The source of sin pollution must be ended in His people. The honor of God and the integrity of His covenant were at stake. God has the solution to the problem of sin. The gospel of Jesus Christ can forgive sins and His righteousness has the power by virtue of the Holy Spirit to cleanse the soul temple. This God has promised in His everlasting covenant (Jer. 31:33).
So when she heard this message she recognized in it the power and force of the gospel which would prepare God's people to stand with a pure character in the day of Christ's second coming. They would be a living testimony for God through the crisis hour. They would be part of the 144,000 who would be translated without seeing death at His return. They would be a living testament to the power of God unto salvation from sin. Living in sinful flesh, tempted, tried and afflicted, the mystery of godliness would be revealed in them--"Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. 1:20).
--Paul E. Penno
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Sanctuary
Lesson 3: "Sacrifices"
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
Notice that our memory text does not say that we are to sacrifice ourselves--we cannot do that, but we are crucified with Christ. He alone is the Sacrifice for the whole world. It does say that we are to "present our bodies." The word "present" means placing the offering beside the altar facing God in the Most Holy Place and leaving it at the disposal of God. This is not an act of doing, but it is an evidence of faith.
Throughout Romans chapters 1-8, the "mercies of God" by which we are beseeched "to present our bodies" are all the deeds of God. Here we are shown the doctrines of justification, sanctification, faith, and the removal of sin from man through the one-time Sacrifice for the world.
There is only one Sacrifice, and that is the One which God has provided--Jesus Christ. God does not require a sacrifice from men, but makes One for him. The idea that man can make a sacrifice that will atone for any sin is the very essence of heathenism. It comes from the assumption that man is capable of saving himself; for if man could make a sacrifice that would atone for his sin, he would be his own savior; and if man were capable of saving himself he would be a god himself, owing no allegiance to any other.
It is evident that a sacrifice offered by a sinner that is not "acceptable to God" is only mockery. It is an insult to God, since it is an assumption that the sinner is independent of God, and able to save himself. Only the sacrifices of righteousness can be acceptable. "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord" (Psalm 4:5). "For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; ... The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart--these, O God, You will not despise. ... You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness" (Psalm 5l:16-19).
Amos 5:21-24 shows that sacrifices without righteousness were an abomination to God, while righteousness was always acceptable, even if there were no sacrifice. Addressing us today, God says, "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
The Jews would not accept nor learn that the sacrificial system was to point them to the crucified Savior that wanted to live in them--thus making them righteous. They somehow derived self-gratification and merit in continuing their useless sacrifices.
A living sacrifice begins with a death to self. We cannot die to self, but we can accept the death to self already given to us in the gospel. There has only been one Sacrifice.
Presenting our bodies a living sacrifice is complete surrender: "For I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me" (Gal. 2:20). This verse teaches us that we no longer live, but that it is Christ who lives in us by faith. Therefore it is His faith within; His life within; His righteousness within. "A knowledge of this mystery furnishes a key to every other. It opens to the soul the treasures of the universe, the possibilities of infinite development." [1] Being crucified with Christ is a sacrifice of righteousness.
Ours is a living sacrifice--our own body yielded to Christ as His own rightful body. But what does it mean that we are to offer our bodies a living sacrifice? (Read Hebrews 10:5-10 and note that it was to establish God's will in man, verse 9.) It means that He who has accepted us in the Beloved, and who provides the one perfect sacrifice, invests us with the life of that Sacrifice when we accept Him. ... Slain from "the foundation of the world," He yet lived; always a sacrifice, "He ever lives." Continually giving, it pleases the Father that in Him all fullness shall dwell--always on the altar, yet never consumed; His life-stream flows constantly, yet is never diminished.
Now when we know that our body was prepared for Christ, in which He should do the Father's will, and offer an acceptable sacrifice, and give ourselves to Him, so that we can say, "I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me," it is evident that we are offering to God the sacrifice which He Himself provided; and this being so, all the life of that incorruptible sacrifice is ours.
The fact that His Spirit exhorts us to offer our bodies a living sacrifice, proves that He has provided us the life wherewith to do it. The exhortation is itself the promise of life.
"Christ came in the flesh eighteen hundred years ago, just for the purpose of demonstrating the possibility. That which He did once, He is able to do again. He who denies the possibility of His coming in the flesh of men now, thereby denies the possibility of His having ever come in the flesh." [2]
"The Spirit of God has been present in power among His people, but it could not be bestowed upon them, because they did not open their hearts to receive it. ... The Lord designed that the messages of warning and instruction given through the Spirit to His people should go everywhere. But the influence that grew out of the resistance of light and truth at Minneapolis tended to make of no effect the light God had given to His people through the Testimonies." [3]
In confessing our sins, we are freed from sin; and continual confession means continual freedom. It is not continual sinning and continual cleansing, but continual confession and continual cleansing. As a living sacrifice, we are filled with the righteousness of Christ, and it is only by His righteousness that the cleansing of the sanctuary is accomplished. Our bodies are the temple of God and when sin stops in these bodies (because of "Christ in us, the hope of glory") it also is stopped from entering the sanctuary above (1 Cor. 3:16, 17;6:19, 20).
"Today you are to give yourself to God, that you may be emptied of self, emptied of envy, jealousy, evil-surmising, strife, everything that shall be dishonoring to God. Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord--fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit." [4]
Christ did not die like one who takes a holiday break from all the stresses of persecution and rejection to get away from it all. He made the choice to give up all future claims to the Godhead and a relationship with His Father. The cross was the most complete and utter demonstration of agape that had ever been revealed to mankind.
If we can begin to understand our own opposition and resistance to Christ as a denomination, then our history is only one heartbeat away from Calvary. Once we see our true involvement in the crucifixion of Christ, we are prepared to recognize our involvement in the sin of rejecting the latter rain and the loud cry message of 1888. No longer can we smugly brush it off, saying, "It's no concern of mine, I wasn't even born then," any more than we can brush off our involvement with the cross. As surely as the shadow of Calvary hangs over the Jews as a nation, so surely does the shadow of 1888 hang over us as a church. "Just like the Jews."
In appreciation for the world's ONLY Sacrifice, present your bodies today as a living sacrifice--for the mercies of God call for only this response from His people.
[1] Ellen G. White, My Life Today, p. 301.
[2] E. J. Waggoner, "A Present Salvation," The Present Truth, May 18, 1893, pp. 145, 146.
[3] Ellen G. White, 1893 General Conference Daily Bulletin, vol. 5, no. 19.
[4] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 959; Review and Herald, March 22, 1892.
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Monday, October 14, 2013


Dear Friends of "Sabbath School Today,"
We want to let you know about a series of meetings, "Heart Quest," that will begin this evening, Friday, October 11, at the Hayward Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Hayward, California. One of our "Sabbath School Today" authors, Pastor Paul E. Penno, will be the speaker.
The meetings will start at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time, and following the meetings videos will be immediately uploaded to YouTube. Following is the schedule of dates and topics.
Pastor Paul E. Penno, Speaker 
Hayward Seventh-day Adventist Church, Hayward, California
Oct. 11 (Friday): What Has God Done for You Lately?

Oct. 12 (Saturday): The Good News Is Better Than You Think [New Birth]

Oct. 13 (Sunday): In Search of the Treasure of Faith
[Agape, the Cross, and the Nature of Man]
Oct. 18 (Friday): The Good News About the End of the World
[The Two Covenants, Mark of the Beast]

Oct. 19 (Saturday): One Little Word that Turns the World Upside-Down
[Agape, the Law, Daniel 7]

Oct. 20 (Sunday): Easy to Be Saved, Hard to Be Lost
[The Sabbath Rest]
Oct. 25 (Friday): In Search of the Cross
[The Nature of Man]

Oct. 26 (Saturday): What’s All the Controversy About?
[The Great Controversy]

Oct. 27 (Sunday): Baptism Into Christ
Nov. 1 (Friday): What Is God Doing Now?
[The Cleansing of the Sanctuary, Atonement, Daniel 8]

Nov. 2 (Saturday): Corporate Repentance, The Bridegroom

Nov. 3 (Sunday): The Second Coming

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SST # 3 | "Sacrifices" | Pastor Paul Penno

Saturday, October 12, 2013


You are cordially invited to come aside to bask in the sunshine of God's love at the

being held at:

Oaklands Park Seventh-day Adventist Church

711 N. Maney Avenue
Murfreesboro, TN  37130
Begins: Thursday, October 31 at 7:00pm
Ends: Saturday, November 2 at 9:00pm

If you missed the Gospel Summit last year, you do not want to miss

The Message of the Third Angel
A Revolution of Righteousness

The 3 Angels of Revelation 14 have been sounding since 1844, that's nearly 170 years ago!  Is there more to the story? Have we missed a vital note in the symphony that will climax with the victorious
song of Moses and the Lamb?

The focus will be on the 3rd Angel with an emphasis on justification/righteousness by the faith of Jesus. This Gospel Summit will be a most rewarding spiritual retreat with messages, testimonies, deep Bible studying, music and prayer. Speakers will include Kymone Hinds, Nwamiko Madden, Pucky Fordham, Oliver Nelson, Fred Bischoff, Mark Duncan and others. Bring with you all who are hungering for
spiritual meat and living water.

There is NO registration fee. However, pre-registration is appreciated for the preparation of materials.

To pre-register or for more information please:

Call OR Text: 314-363-5325

Meals will be provided at a cost of $25 per person which includes a light dinner on Thursday night, 2 meals on Friday and 2 meals on Sabbath. Please make your check payable to:
 Pastor William Pergerson and mail it to:

Gospel Summit
Pastor William Pergerson
21285 County Highway Z
Cornell, WI 54732

Monday, October 7, 2013

"'Heaven' on Earth"

Lesson 2: "'Heaven' on Earth"
> The reason for the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to proclaim the sanctuary truth to the world. It is the third angel's message. If this truth is simply about some other-worldly, abstract, philosophical notion, having nothing to do with our day-to-day lives, then it loses its "presiding power" in our lives. [1] If the sanctuary truth is our Divine mandate for the church's existence, then it is imperative to establish its veracity and authenticate its reality in heaven.
> The Bible and spirit of prophecy teach that there is a real structural temple in heaven of which Christ is the vibrant, living expression of the truths taught therein. And this heavenly temple had its miniature "sandbox" model on this earth during the Old Testament dispensation as a teaching aid of God's plan of salvation.
> God's everlasting covenant given to Abraham pointed him to the heavenly sanctuary for salvation and he believed the promise. Specifically Abraham believed in the gospel of Christ as God proclaimed it to him. [2] The Sacrifice for sinners was so vividly proclaimed by God to Abraham that when asked to "sacrifice" his son Isaac on the altar, he was motivated by Divine love to give his only true son. [3] The source of agape is the heavenly sanctuary. [4] When God evangelized Abraham with the gospel it was thorough and complete [5] He revealed to Abraham what was in heaven, the sanctuary, so that he could share with God as much as a human could, the sacrificial love of God.
> Thus the everlasting covenant has ever been God's promise of restoring grace to sinners as revealed in the sanctuary. The temple in Heaven is the special dwelling-place of God. "The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him" (Hab. 2:20). "The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven" (Psalm 11:4).
> Among the antediluvians was one young man who "walked with God" (Gen. 5:24). God took Him by the hand and Enoch went for a walk with God. "By faith" Enoch bore a "testimony" to his generation "that he pleased God" (Heb. 11:5). Enoch did not resist God and permitted Him to purify his life of sin and thus God was able to reveal the deeper meaning of the sanctuary truth and cleanse him of all known and unknown sin so that "he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him." Here was one person before the Flood who comprehended the "the breadth, and length, and depth, and height" of "the love of Christ, ... filled with all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3:18, 19).
> This demonstrates that there was no necessity for an earthly sanctuary for most of earth's history. For some 2,200 years, from creation until Mt. Sinai, there was no earthly sanctuary, but there was a real Temple residence for God in heaven.
> It was not until Israel made their old covenant promise, "all that the Lord hath spoken, will we do" (Ex. 19:8) that out of necessity God initiated the construction of an earthly tabernacle. Motivated by their own self-sufficiency to obey the commandments, ancient Israel made their vain pledge to keep their part of the bargain and that was the old covenant.
> God never asked them to promise him anything. He simply proclaimed the good news promise to them as he had done with their father Abraham. The only appropriate response would have been for them to believe God's promise just as Abraham did. Then God's Divine love would have been written in their souls.
> But their self-confident pledge was the great sin of unbelief. Paul writes: "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions" (Gal. 3:19). The root cause of "transgressions" is unbelief. Evidently there was a great sin committed by Israel at Mt. Sinai which necessitated the emphasizing of the law of God in the format of the ten commandments written by God's own finger on tables of stone. Since the people would not simply believe God's promise so that He might write His laws in their hearts and minds, He was obliged to write them on rocks which were placed in a box, the ark of the covenant, which was put in the tabernacle.
> God wanted to abide in their lives, but through unbelief they sent Him to dwell in a "motel room." In his talk before the Jewish council, when he was on trial for his life, Stephen said, "our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness" (Acts 7:44). The tabernacle was a witness of their unbelief in God's everlasting covenant.
> You cherish a picture of a loved one when the loved one is absent. But when the loved one finally comes, you no longer look at the picture, for you can see your beloved face to face. So, when Jesus the great High Priest came and died for us in person, the "picture" or "types" of the Hebrew sanctuary were no longer needed. Like a shadow that comes to an end when we see the sunlight which made the shadow, so the "shadow" of the earthly sanctuary met its fulfillment at the cross. The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom and the ministry of the earthly sanctuary itself lost its significance (Matt. 27:51). That is why there is no earthly "temple" or "sanctuary" like there was in the days of Moses and Daniel. We have something better--the reality in heaven.
> When Jesus ascended after His resurrection, He began His work as High Priest in a "better" sanctuary than the old one. His followers no longer cared about the old sanctuary in Jerusalem, but they followed Christ by faith as He entered the one above. We can easily understand that if Jesus as our High Priest has "passed into the heavens," then the real, eternal sanctuary is also in heaven (Heb. 4:14). And nothing can ever "take away" His ministry there for "He ever liveth" and His ministry is "unchangeable" (Heb. 7:25, 24).
> The New Testament makes it clear: "We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb. 8:1, 2). Our minds are directed to the true one in heaven, of which the earthly was a pattern. "The first tabernacle was ... a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; ... but Christ [has] come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building" (Heb. 9:8-11).
> Our friends in the Evangelical churches would not consider the sanctuary truth "dry, stale, or profitless," if we ourselves proclaimed its practical meaning. This is what the 1888 "messengers," A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, began to see. They rightly discerned that there is no way that the record of our sins could be blotted out of the books in heaven unless first of all the sin itself is blotted out of the human heart. This simple insight was practicalizing the sanctuary.
> --Paul E. Penno
> Endnotes:
> [1] "Satan is striving continually to bring in fanciful suppositions in regard to the sanctuary, degrading the wonderful representations of God and the ministry of Christ for our salvation into something that suits the carnal mind. He removes its presiding power from the hearts of believers, and supplies its place with fantastic theories invented to make void the truths of the atonement, and destroy our confidence in the doctrines which we have held sacred since the third angel's message was first given. Thus he would rob us of our faith in the very message that has made us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work" (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, p. 17; 1905).
> [2] "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed" (Gal. 3:8).
> [3] "By faith [motivated by agape] Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called" (Heb. 11:17, 18).
> [4] "He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. There I beheld Jesus, a great High Priest, standing before the Father. ... Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, 'My Father, give us Thy Spirit.' Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace" (Early Writings, p. 55).
> [5] "The blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14). "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Rom. 5:5).
> Note: "Sabbath School Today" and Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson are on the Internet at: http://1888mpm.org
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SST #2 | "Heaven" on Earth | Pastor Paul Penno