The people of God were required to refrain from work (have a Sabbath) while the priest was performing his duties in the Sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. This command is found at Leviticus 16:29, 31, Leviticus 23:28, 30, 31. Just like on the 7th day Sabbath, the people of God were to set aside all work. They were to be involved in a total disengagement from the present world. Here the people of God had a special Sabbath to keep. They must set aside their daily regular work. It is a time to place God and the interests of spiritual things in the forefront. To do this, one must totally set aside all other things.
Anti-Type Sanctuary Sabbath
Now in the anti-typical Day of Atonement, we cannot totally and fully rest from all work, but there is something in this command that is of interest. First, at this time, we note that there is a predicted revival of the Sabbath in Isaiah 58. This predicted revival of the Sabbath is also alluded to in Revelation 14:7 as the fourth commandment (Sabbath) is quoted. During the Day of Atonement, we have a revival of Sabbath interest and we as Sabbatarians have the job of preaching and teaching this important truth in these last days.
But more than that, Hebrews 4 reminds us that the Sabbath rest must be totally and completely internalized in the Christian. We are to have a life of Rest. A life where we rest in the work of Christ on our behalf.
Finally, we live all of our days placing God and eternal interests at the top of all that we do. As our heavenly High Priest does His important work in the Sanctuary above, let us live so that we will not be overtaken by the cares of this life, but place God above all things (Luke 21:34-36). Let us have a Sabbath Reform that is informed by the Sanctuary service.
What difference does the sanctuary make for our daily living? Often the question is asked, “Is it True?” However, this question of relevance is often the unasked (and sometimes asked) question. In the next series of posts, I want to look at the question from the standpoint of what the Day of Atonement meant to those who lived during the typical Sanctuary service.
There were a number of things that the members of the congregation had to do on the ancient Day of Atonement. The first of these responsibilities that we will discuss is the call for a holy convocation. This is found in Leviticus 23:27.
Come For Holy Gathering in Sanctuary
Here the people of God had to come to the Sanctuary for a holy gathering (convocation). Here the people of God came to be in tune with the priest who was doing this great work.
The people did not just come without thinking of the importance of the day. They knew that this was a solemn service where their eternal interests were vitally at stake.
Likewise, those of us who find ourselves in this anti-typical “Day of Atonement Period” should seek to do the same thing. While it is not possible for us to go to the heavenlies to actually participate in a group meeting up there, we can do a few things on this earth to show our solidarity with the heavenly high priest and his great work on our behalf.
Come to The Heavenly Sanctuary
First, we can go by faith into the heavenly sanctuary. The Bible says to “Boldly come to the throne of Grace.” (Hebrews 4:16) We come to the heavenly sanctuary as we think about and identify with the great work that our high priest is doing up there. We come to the gathering as we make the work that is being done there the center of our thoughts. Just as the cross should be at the center of our thoughts, so should the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary occupy our thoughts and minds.
Meet With Other Believers
Second, we can have this holy gathering as we meet with other believers who have this heavenly view in mind. The Bible says to not neglect the gathering of ourselves together, Hebrews 10:25). We must come together in our holy gatherings down here as we look to the great work up there.
To do this, we are to learn of Christ as our High Priest. We are to learn of what Christ is accomplishing now. We are to cooperate with that great work that Christ is doing. And finally, we are to gather with one another as we all look to that great work that Jesus is bringing to culmination in the Sanctuary in heaven.
Dr. Calvin Rock wrote about the content and purpose of Adventist Preaching in his influential Ministry Article of September 2000 entitled “Black SDA Preaching Betwixt and Between.” We have looked at that article periodically on the website and will look at it again. This time we look at it for his definition of Adventist preaching.
Adventist preaching…essence is clearly one of reform—Sabbath reform, health reform, family reform, stewardship reform, etc. Preaching that does not ring with the certainties of Daniel and Revelation; that is not flavored with the symbols of the sanctuary; that does not uphold the law of God; that does not honor the prophetic gift of Ellen white; that does not extol justification by faith is not Adventist preaching. It may be truth, but it is not Present Truth; it may constitute an engaging performance, but it does not constitute the remnant proclamation.
There are a few things that are interesting about this quote. First it makes “reform” that upon which our preaching rests. It is not simply about preaching truth. Certainly it includes preaching truth, but it is a certain kind of truth. It seeks to preach an end time message. It seeks to preach getting better. It seeks to prepare a world. All of these things require change. And it is to us as Adventist preachers to proclaim these truths.
So we preach “present” truth. This is a truth that is needed right now. We teach truth that reforms and calls the hearer to a better way of living. Finally it has at its base that which we agree with others as well as that which has been given to us to teach for we preach the gospel through the symbols of the Sanctuary as we uphold the Law of God while keeping ahold of the prophetic gift. But we must never forget the truth of justification by faith.