Is The Sanctuary Christ Centered

In the book The Andreasen File Compiled by LMN Publishing, M. L. Andreasen talks about a Sabbath School Quarter that promised to be one that presented “Christ-centered doctrines.” This is found on pages 100-103. Andreasen was surprised to find that the sanctuary doctrine, the mark of the beast, the 3 angels message, health reform, and other related doctrines were not discussed that quarter. Andreasen wonders if this was done because these are the very doctrines that cause our evangelical brothers and sisters to question our orthodoxy as Christians.

Christ or Adventism?

Over the last few years I have heard some clergy and laypeople calling for a movement away from an emphasis on such things as the Sanctuary or Prophecy to a more “Christ-centered emphasis.” While I certainly would have no problem with a Christ-centered approach, in that what else can we as Christians have at our center, I would strongly state that this idea places a false dichotomy. Is there necessarily a distinction between “Christ-centered” and “Adventist fundamental?” The reason why I am writing this is because I had another conversation with a preacher who is finding the present day relevance of the Sanctuary message. He is surprised to find that it is not irrelevant or boring, but a very relevant object lesson of how Salvation and the Great Controversy works. This is in stark contrast to the multiple preachers who think that their goal of preaching the gospel requires minimizing the teachings that make us who we are.

Sanctuary is Christ-Centered

For certainly it is difficult to argue that the sanctuary is not Christ centered. With Chirst being representing as at least the sacrifice, common and high priest, and even the various pieces of the tabernacle. Certainly with Salvation being illustrated in the services of the Sanctuary, it is difficult to make the argument that it is not Christ centered. One could argue that over time some have turned it into a mathematical calculation only, but as sister white reminds us “the sanctuary having a decided relation to the people of God.” is one of the landmarks of the movement.

The Real Problem

I think that it is not that these doctrines are less “christ-centered” but that they are more “precise and end-time focused.” The Sanctuary reminds us that Christ is doing a work to take care of sin. The Sanctuary reminds us what Christ is doing now. The Sanctuary reminds us that there is a judgment going on. The Sanctuary fits into our “Great Controversy” idea. And all of this is Christ-centered, but what Christ is it?

And here is the issue, you may not agree with the picture it paints of Christ, you may not believe that this picture of Christ is true, but please stop arguing that this doctrine does no have Christ at its center. Take Christ away from the Sanctuary and you have nothing but a shell. However, put Christ back into that heavenly sanctuary and you begin to catch a glimpse of the message that God has ordained that we preach in these final days.

Was Public Worship a Part of Sabbath Observance?

I heard a Sabbathkeeper argue for a “deeper” understanding of the Sabbath. This is fine and I have argued for the same thing, however a growing number of people are saying that public worship was not a part of Sabbath observance. They argue that the Sabbath was primarily meant to be a one on one “date” between the individual and God and that there was no worship or communal component to the Sabbath.

The idea is that the Sabbath was a day for “individual rest” and not one of “corporate worship.” One individual told me in an email, “Adventists took the Sabbath which was meant for individual communion with God and rest and made it a day of corporate worship.” Then the person sought to defend this assertion by saying that “the fourth commandment says nothing about worship.”

Independent Celebration

While it is true that the fourth commandment does not say anything about worship, one must recognize first of all that the commandment does not imply that it is a totally independent endeavor. The Sabbath commandment speaks of a rest that includes ones workers and others. It includes a manservent, maidservent, and even cattle. All of these are to be participants in the benefits of the Sabbath rest. In addition, the commandment was meant to “do good” to others rather than in an independent “me and God” experience.

Sabbath Include Worship?

Just as the Sabbath was not meant as an individualistic endeavor, it also includes a worship. The Bible says, in Leviticus 23:3, that the Sabbath was meant to be a Holy Convocation. A convocation is a gathering. The Sabbath was to include a holy religious gathering.

Thus the Sabbath was not meant to be a individualistic “rest” from others, but a corporate “rest” with others as we do good to others and we worship the Creator God.