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From Eternity Past

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    Two Apartments Symbolize Two Phases of Ministry

    The building was divided into two apartments by a beautiful veil, and a similar veil closed the entrance of the first apartment. These were of gorgeous colors—blue, purple, and scarlet—while inwrought with threads of gold and silver were cherubim to represent the angelic host.EP 240.2

    The sacred tent was enclosed in an open space called the court. The entrance was at the eastern end, closed by curtains of beautiful workmanship, though inferior to those of the sanctuary. The building could be plainly seen by the people without. In the court stood the brazen altar of burnt offering. On this altar were consumed all the sacrifices made by fire unto the Lord, and its horns were sprinkled with the atoning blood. Between the altar and the door of the tabernacle was the brass laver made from the mirrors that had been the freewill offering of the women of Israel. At the laver the priests were to wash their hands and feet whenever they went into the sacred apartments or approached the altar to offer a burnt offering unto the Lord.EP 240.3

    In the first apartment, or holy place, were the table of showbread, the candlestick, and the altar of incense. The table of showbread stood on the north; it was overlaid with pure gold. On this table the priests were each Sabbath to place twelve cakes, arranged in two piles. On the south was the seven-branched candlestick, its branches ornamented with exquisitely wrought flowers, the whole made from one solid piece of gold. The lamps were never all extinguished at one time, but shed their light by day and night.EP 241.1

    Just before the veil separating the holy place from the most holy and the immediate presence of God stood the golden altar of incense. Upon this altar the priest was to burn incense every morning and evening; its horns were touched with the blood of the sin offering and sprinkled with blood upon the great Day of Atonement. The fire on this altar was kindled by God Himself. Day and night the holy incense diffused its fragrance throughout the sacred apartments and far around the tabernacle.EP 241.2

    Beyond the inner veil was the holy of holies, where centered the symbolic service of atonement and intercession, the connecting link between heaven and earth. In this apartment was the ark, overlaid within and without with gold, a depository for the tables of stone, the Ten Commandments. It was called the ark of God's testament, the ark of the covenant, since the Ten Commandments were the basis of the covenant made between God and Israel.EP 241.3

    The cover of the chest was called the mercy seat. This was wrought of one solid piece of gold, surmounted by golden cherubim on each end. The position of the cherubim, with their faces turned toward each other and looking reverently downward toward the ark, represented the reverence with which the heavenly host regard the law of God and their interest in the plan of redemption.EP 241.4

    Above the mercy seat was the Shekinah, the manifestation of the divine Presence. Divine messages were sometimes communicated to the high priest by a voice from the cloud.EP 242.1

    The law of God within the ark was the great rule of righteousness and judgment. That law pronounced death upon the transgressor; but above the law was the mercy seat. By virtue of the atonement, pardon was granted to the repentant sinner. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10.EP 242.2

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