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May 19, 2014

 (Part 1/2) – A SANCTUARY is a sacred place, a place set apart for a holy purpose, a place to commune with God in intimate fellowship, a place to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24), a place to “find rest for our souls” (Mt 11:28-29note), a “place of refuge from the raging wind and tempest” (Ps 55:6note), and “a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.” (Isa 25:4) In the New Covenant, our Lord Jesus is our Sanctuary and place of refuge. To use a modern expression, Christ is our “Safe House” now and forever.

“How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, to DWELL IN THY COURTS. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, Thy holy temple.” (Ps 65:4note) “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Ps 16:11note) “How blessed are those who DWELL IN THY HOUSE! They are ever praising Thee. Selah (Pause and Ponder)” (Ps 84:4note) Indeed, “one day in Thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere (Play song)” (Ps 84:10note) for “the nearness of God is our good. We have made the Lord God our Refuge, that we may tell of all His works.” (Ps 73:28note) David prayed “ONE THING I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple.” (Ps 27:4note; cp Ps 23:6note) May God grant us such a single minded passion for His presence! (cp Mary chose the “One Thing“,  Lk 10:3942note; Play Rich Mullins’ “One Thing”!)

And so Jesus depicted Himself as the true SANCTUARY where men could meet with God when He declared “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up….He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (Jn 2:1921) And Paul declared that in Christ “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Col 2:9note) And even as the Shekinah glory of old inhabited the Tabernacle and later the Temple, Jesus the divine Word (Jn 1:1-2) “became flesh, and dwelt (pitched His tabernacle) among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14) And when “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,” (Mt 27:50-51) giving all His beloved children “confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.” (Heb 10:19-20note) And so now we can “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22note), a promise which is an answer to our Great High Priest’s earthly prayer that we “may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE IN US; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.” (Jn 17:21) And because Christ is our Sanctuary we can be assured that “The LORD IS NEAR TO the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed (bruised, broken, oppressed) in spirit.” (Ps 34:18note) “For thus says the One Who is high and lifted up, Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: “I DWELL (tabernacle) in the high and holy place, and ALSO WITH HIM who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite (crushed, discouraged, broken – do any of these descriptions apply to your life beloved?).” (Isa 57:15) And when all has been said and done, John describes a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1note) which has “no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.” (Rev 21:22noteO happy day, for in that glorious future day “In His temple everything says ‘Glory!'” (Ps 29:9note)

Among the Israelites, the Sanctuary was the most retired part of the Temple, the Holy of holies (Latin = Sanctum sanctorum), the place where under the Old Covenant God had promised He would dwell in their midst (Ex 25:8) declaring “and there I will meet with you; and from above the Mercy Seat (Gk translation of Heb = hilasterion [study]), from between the two cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony (covenant), I will speak to you.” (Ex 25:22). Under the New Covenant, Jesus became the fulfillment of the OT animal’s blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, by becoming “a propitiation (Hilasterion = satisfactory payment) in His blood” (Lev 16:14note fulfilled in Ro 3:25note,1Jn 2:2). And because of Christ’s finished work on the Cross (Jn 19:30note), God through His Son’s fully atoning work now invites us to make Him our SANCTUARY, our SANCTUM SANCTORUM, our Place, or better our Person, of refuge to which we can flee in times of discouragement, danger or distress. Indeed, we as believers can say of Christ our Sanctuary “You have been our DWELLING PLACE (Heb = “Temple”) in all generations (Play song).” (Ps 90:1note) for we were “in Him before the foundation of the world.” (Eph 1:4note) By faith we “have made Jehovah (= Jesus – compare Jn 12:41NLT with Isa 6:1-5note), our Refuge, even the Most High, our DWELLING PLACE.” (Ps 91:9note) As Spurgeon said “My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord Jesus. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in Christ. He is “my strong Habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in Christ (my Sanctuary) I dwell in a quiet Habitation.” Amen!

Herbert Lockyer adds “How good of God it is to promise Himself as a SANCTUARY! In the OT He provided a temple for His people; in the NT He has a redeemed people as His temple (1Cor 3:16Eph 2:20-22note)! But the wonder of wonders is that He also is our Temple. How consoling it is to know that amid all the turmoil of the street, busy cares of the home, hurry and confusion of our modern life, we have a “little sanctuary” (Ezek 11:16KJVnote) “closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet.” No sanctuary ever surpassed the Temple Solomon built. For its marvel and magnificence it was incomparable, yet where is it today? But, blessed be Christ our Sanctuary, He abides forever (Ps 102:12noteHeb 7:25note). While it is fitting to gather in a house of worship, whether it be a simple or cathedral-like structure, the sphere makes little difference. Many dear shut-in ones cannot journey to a sanctuary of stone, yet hidden from earth’s eyes they can take advantage of Christ Who offers Himself as their Sanctuary. Blessed, is it not, to have a Person as well as a place we can draw nigh to?”

“Let us therefore draw near (thru Christ our Sanctuary) with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16note)

Praise Christ our Sanctuary as you listen to Kari Jobe’s spiritual song

DWELLING PLACE (click to play)
For in you I find my Dwelling Place
In You I find amazing grace
In You I find security
Jesus, You are all I need.

I am standing and not falling
Cause You’re ending what You’re starting
You won’t leave me or deceive me
Always hide, Lord, You guide me

From → The Names of God

  1. Martha O Jimenez permalink

    thank you

  2. I stumbled upon your site today and am amazed at the depth of wisdom and knowledge you share. I am researching the word Tetelestai for a novel I have written and would like to share your post on my website. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss. Thank you and may God continue to bless your work.

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