From Eternity Past


The Daily Service

Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. Only an offering “without blemish” could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as “a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19. The apostle Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. Those who love Him with all the heart will desire to give Him the best service of the life, constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with His will. EP 244.4

In the offering of incense the priest was brought more directly into the presence of God than any other act of the daily ministration. The glory of God manifested above the mercy seat was partially visible from the first apartment. When the priest offered incense before the Lord, he looked toward the ark; and as the divine glory descended upon the mercy seat and filled the most holy place, often the priest was obliged to retire to the door of the tabernacle. As the priest looked by faith to the mercy seat which he could not see, so the people of God are now to direct their prayers to Christ, their great High Priest, who is pleading in their behalf in the sanctuary above. EP 245.1

The incense represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. By blood and by incense God was to be approached—symbols pointing to the great Mediator through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant soul. EP 245.2

As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court. This was a time of intense interest; the worshipers at the tabernacle were to engage in searching of the heart and confession of sin. Their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. In later times the Jews, scattered as captives in distant lands, still at the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem and offered their petitions to the God of Israel. In this custom Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. God looks with great pleasure upon those who bow morning and evening to seek pardon and present their requests for blessings. EP 245.3

The showbread was a perpetual offering, part of the daily sacrifice. It was ever before the face of the Lord (Exodus 25:30), an acknowledgment of man's dependence upon God for both temporal and spiritual food, received only through the mediation of Christ. God had fed Israel with bread from heaven, and they were still dependent upon His bounty, both for temporal food and spiritual blessings. Both the manna and the showbread pointed to Christ, the living Bread. He Himself said, “I am the living Bread which came down from heaven.” John 6:48-51. The bread was removed every Sabbath, to be replaced by fresh loaves. EP 246.1

The most important part of the daily ministration was the service in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and, placing his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place. (See Appendix, Note 5.) But the flesh was eaten by the priest, as Moses directed, saying, “God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.” Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies symbolized the transfer of sin from the penitent to the sanctuary. EP 246.2

Such was the work that went on day by day throughout the year. The sins of Israel being thus transferred to the sanctuary, the holy places were defiled, and a special work became necessary for the removal of the sins. God commanded that an atonement be made for each of the sacred apartments, as for the altar, to “cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” Leviticus 16:19. EP 246.3

Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. Two kids of the goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle and lots were cast upon them, “one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” The goat upon which the first lot fell was slain as a sin offering for the people. The priest was to bring his blood within the veil and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat. “And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation.” EP 246.4

“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited.” Not until the goat had thus been led away did the people regard themselves as freed from the burden of their sins. Every man was to afflict his soul while the work of atonement was going forward. All business was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel spent the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart. EP 247.1