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Sabbath School Lessons on The Sanctuary
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 4: Lessons From the Sanctuary *
Introduction: What does it mean to be holy? What probably comes to
mind is a cleric of some sort. Someone who is devoted exclusively to
religious work. If I told you that you needed to be holy in all that
you do, would that mean that you would have to change your
profession? The sanctuary teaches us something about being holy, so
let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!
- Read Exodus 25:8 and Leviticus 19:2. When a police car is
following you, do you drive more carefully? When your boss
is watching you, do you work better? When your parents are
around, are you better behaved?
- If the answer to these questions is "yes," do you
think that is why God wants to be around us - to
improve our behavior, to help us to be holy?
- Is that why parents want to be around their children
- to be sure they behave? (No. Parents want to be
around their children because they love them.)
- Let's assume what I believe is true, God wants to be
around us because He loves us. Why does He tell us to
be holy because He is holy?
- Is God hoping that we will not embarrass Him?
(If you review Job 1:6-11, the text suggests
that God does take pleasure in our obedience.
Thus, the opposite should also be true.)
- Read Genesis 2:3. What does it mean for the Sabbath to be
- When God tells us to be holy, does that make you feel
good, or make you feel discouraged?
- If I asked you "Which day of the week do you think is
most like you," what would you say? (Who wants to be
Monday? Why not be Saturday, the day God set aside as
- Is that a fair way to look at God's command for us to
be holy, that He wants us to be something special?
- Consider again the Sabbath. Is it being set
apart that makes it holy? Or, is something else
involved? (Consider that the Sabbath is
intended to turn our minds to God. This
suggests that being holy is to be set apart,
and to draw attention to God.)
- Holy Work
- Read Exodus 31:1-5. Would you like to be Bezalel?
- Is he a "blue collar" or "white collar" worker? (He
is blue collar, he works with his hands.)
- What is the first thing that God did to equip Bezalel
(I'll call him "Bez" for short)for working with his
hands? ("Filled him with the Spirit of God.")
- Does that make any sense?
- Does that have anything to do with being holy?
(If being holy is being set apart, being
special, then the answer is clearly, "yes!" The
first step to Bez being a great craftsman is to
determine to be special, to be set apart from
the rest of the workers.)
- Re-read Exodus 31:3-5. What skills does Bez have? (He
works with metal, gems and wood.)
- Who gave him those skills? (God says that He gave Bez
"skill, ability and knowledge.)
- We think about God giving gifts to leaders. What
about gifts to the people who do not lead? (God gives
them gifts to be special. To be holy workers -
meaning skilled above others.)
- Is it okay to desire to be better than others? To be
the Sabbath among a bunch of Tuesday, Wednesday and
Thursday workers? (This is part of being holy. God
gives you the gift to be a better worker. God gives
you the desire to be excellent!)
- The text we will read next tells us Bez is
using his skills to create items for the
sanctuary. When we think about the nature of
Bez's work, is his desire to be better bringing
glory to himself? (He is making things for the
sanctuary. Thus, his excellent craftsmanship
causes others to think about God. He turns
their minds to God. However, Bez is also in
line for praise.)
- Read Exodus 31:6-11. Is it terrible to be Oholiab? Bez is
excellent, but Oholiab is a helper. (You can be an
excellent helper. Perhaps one day Oholiab will become a
skilled craftsman like Bez. But, whatever the work put
before us, we need to be excellent.)
- As a helper, does the work of Oholiab turn the mind
to God? (Yes, because he is working with Bez who in
turn is making things that turn the mind to God. It
is a joint effort.)
- Look again at Exodus 31:7-11. How many craft skills do you
- How important is the task of the workers who are
making these items? (They are making items to be used
in the presence of God, and they are making items
that cause humans to reflect upon the things in
- Is the priest who makes the sacrifice on the
altar more important than the person who
crafted the altar?
- Holy Life
- Read 1 Kings 8:31-32. Assume that you left your car at the
home of a friend for safekeeping. Your friend calls you
later and tells you that your car is gone. What might have
happened to your car? (The car might have been stolen. Or,
it might have been sold by your friend.)
- This is the kind of situation described in 1 Kings
8:31-32. (Compare Exodus 22:10-11.) The car owner
does not know what happened, so the friend would come
to the altar in the sanctuary and swear that he did
not sell the car - he has no idea what happened to
it. What does this have to do with living a holy
life? (Living in the presence of God causes us to be
honest. Our friends know of our honesty and rely upon
- Read 1 Kings 8:33-34. What does this teach us about holy
living? (That if we sin against God, our enemies can
- What hope is held out for those who aspire to holy
living? (That even when we fail, God stands ready to
forgive us and restore us.)
- Read 1 Kings 8:35-36. Isn't this something referred to as
an "Act of God?" What does this suggest about seemingly
random problems? (They can have a connection to our sins.)
- What hope is held out to us? (Again, we turn to God
and He cures the problem.)
- Read 1 Kings 8:41-43. If we live a life in accord with
God's will, is it likely that others will see and want to
know more about God? (This is the essence of being holy.
Working with excellence in a way that draws attention to
- What will God do in such a situation? (Solomon prays
that God will confirm in the life of the "foreigner"
that God is the great God of Heaven.)
- Read Psalms 73:1-3. What is being described here that
seems to conflict with the discussion that we just had
about 1 Kings 8? (The theory underlying 1 Kings 8 was that
if we obeyed then good things would happen to us and if we
disobeyed, bad things would happen. Here, the wicked are
- Read Psalms 73:4-6 and Psalms 73:12-14. Is life going for
this good person the way life is supposed to go when you
are holy? (No!)
- Read Psalms 73:15-17. How does keeping your doubts to
yourself and entering the sanctuary answer the problem
that life is not going as it should for a holy person?
(Sin brings death. God died for us because He loves us so
much. The wicked will die in the end, even if they seem to
be prospering now. Those who seek to live a holy life, a
life led by the Holy Spirit, will live forever with a God
who loves them supremely!)
- Friend, will you commit to asking the Holy Spirit to help
you live a holy life? A life in which you seek excellence
in all you do for the purpose of drawing others to God?
- Next week: Atonement: Purification Offering.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.