“THY WAY, O GOD, IS IN THE SANCTUARY: WHO IS SO GREAT A GOD AS OUR GOD?” PSALMS 77:13, KJV.
“AND LET THEM MAKE ME A SANCTUARY; THAT I DWELL AMONG THEM.” EXODUS 25:8, KJV.
God’s Dwelling Place
“Precious were the lessons taught to Israel during their sojourn at Sinai.” Education pg. 34. Yet, Israel was slow to learn the lessons. They had been so accustomed to the material representations of Deity in Egypt that they could not understand the existence or character of the Unseen One. In His loving kindness, God commanded that a dwelling place should be made so His character would more fully be revealed to the children of men. The lesson of pardon for sin and living a life of obedience through the power of the Saviour was to be vividly demonstrated in the daily services of the sanctuary, in the building and its furnishings. His people were to read His purpose for the human soul. This purpose was again reiterated to His people by the apostle Paul, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, KJV (Education pg. 34-36).
God’s purpose to dwell in the midst of His people continues to our day, for He does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 6:8; Revelation 21:3; Zechariah 2:10). How does He dwell in the midst of His people today? “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love...” Ephesians 3:17, KJV. He dwells in the hearts of those who surrender daily and entirely to Him, who choose to be of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15), easily entreated and without partiality (James 3:17), and filled with supreme love for God and one another (1 John 4:12-17).
The dwelling place of God is found within those who have cast out the idols (2 Corinthians 6:16), all defiling lusts and corrupt imaginations (Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:18; 2 Corinthians 10:5), who are repenting and being cleansed from sin and all that God has pronounced an abomination (Leviticus 16:30; 2 Chronicles 29:15,16; Psalms 51:2; Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30-32; 37:33; Acts 3:19; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Timothy 2:19-22; Revelation 3:19; Revelation 21:27), feeding daily on the bread of heaven (Exodus 25:30; Leviticus 24:5; Matthew 6:11; John 6:33-51), praying continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18; Jude 1:20), and manifesting the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
Since God’s purpose is to establish His dwelling place within the heart, what is the heart according to God’s Word and where is it? The heart is where decisions, imaginations, thoughts and intentions originate (Genesis 6:5; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 29:18; Psalms 33:11; 139:23; Matthew 15:19; Hebrews 4:12), and is located in the frontal lobe of our brain.
It is most interesting to note that there is a second brain that has been discovered; it is within our enteric nervous system. Scientists are still studying this remarkable system. They have found that it operates completely independent from the brain in our head. Information sent to our frontal lobe regarding our emotional well-being originates from our enteric nervous system (ENS). There are some one-hundred million neurons in this system, more than in our spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. Our ENS produces some 30 different neurotransmitters. There is found ninety-five percent of the body’s serotonin – a neurotransmitter derived from tryptophan which is derived from foods containing that nutrient. Serotonin is necessary for feelings of well-being and happiness as well as many other functions of the body such as heart strength, bone mass and skin tone.
The Word of God has some interesting things that allude to the “second brain.” Is it any wonder? God knows every secret about His creation and His Word informs science yet again! “My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.” Jeremiah 4:19, KJV. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”. Colossians 3:12, KJV. (Genesis 43:29-30, KJV; Song of Solomon 5:4, KJV).
Because God’s purpose has been made clearly known in establishing his throne in the heart of His crowning act of creation, don’t you think Satan will try his utmost to counteract God’s purpose? Oh, yes. Satan and his angels have made it their studied purpose to strike a blow against God’s throne with the hope of overthrowing Him. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:13, KJV. What does it mean to “gird up the loins of your mind”? “The mind must be firmly controlled to dwell upon subjects that will strengthen the moral powers... The thoughts must be bound about, restricted, withdrawn from branching out and contemplating things that will only weaken and defile the soul. The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean, if the words of the mouth are to be words acceptable to Heaven and helpful to your associates.” The Renewing of the Mind, Review and Herald, June 12, 1888, EGW.
What are the ways to gird up the loins of our minds against the attacks of Satan? Obey the truth (1 Peter 1:22), memorize scripture and “eat” and “drink” of it daily (Isaiah 55:2; 2 Peter 1:4; John 6:51), avoid looking at wicked or unprofitable objects or acts (Job 31:1; Psalms 101:3; 119:37; Proverbs 23:26-33; Isaiah 33:14-16; 2 Peter 2:14; 1 John 2:15-17), keep our thoughts on holy things (Philippians 4:8; 1 Peter 1:14,15), guard against idleness and overeating (Proverbs 23:20,21; Ecclesiastes 10:17,18; Ezekiel 16:49), keep your conversation only upon meaningful subjects (Psalms 29:9; 145:10; Proverbs 8:6,7; Matthew 12:35, 36; 1 Peter 3:10). There is yet one other most necessary way we must employ to gird up the loins of our minds. We may understand more fully what this way is within the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.
In The Most Holy Place
Since 1844, we believe, as Seventh-Day Adventists, that we have been living in the time of the antitypical day of atonement. In 1844 the door to the most holy place opened and Jesus entered upon His last work - the work of cleansing the sanctuary, a time of judgment, soul searching and total consecration to God (Leviticus 16:29). All who accept the message of salvation must enter the Most Holy Place by faith (Hebrews 9).
Within the most holy place the ark of the testament/covenant stands with cherubim covering the mercy seat of God. Inside the ark is God’s law, written on two tables of stone with His own finger, the golden pot of manna and the rod of Aaron that budded (Hebrews 9:3-5). Jesus is standing before the mercy seat of God, His throne, making an atonement for all, from the time of Adam to the present. He is reviewing the records of all who have claimed to be His followers; their reward is being determined (2 Chronicles 6:30; Job 34:11; Romans 2:6). How does their character compare with His? What is the daily trend of their choices? How do they represent Jesus in their daily life?
Let us examine the pot of manna. What is the significance of the pot of manna inside the ark? The manna was placed inside the ark next to the law of God. The Holy Scriptures say the purpose was to remind the children of Israel, throughout their generations that God fed them with the bread of heaven in the wilderness when they hungered (Exodus 16:32-36; Nehemiah 9:20; Psalms 78:24, 25). They were to remember that they lived by every Word that came forth from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3). It was also a reminder that He placed them on a simple plant-based diet for forty years. Unfortunately they complained bitterly against it, accusing God that He had led them to die of hunger and thirst (Numbers 21:5). “This food does not provide enough protein for us. We feel weak and like we are missing something. We want food made of flesh meat and all kinds of herbs, leeks and onions like when we were in Egypt. The food we are provided is too plain and we are getting so tired of it.” In answer to their complaints, God sent them quail to eat and thousands died while the flesh was still between their teeth. On another occasion, fiery serpents were sent among them because of their continual complaints of the food and many more died (Numbers 21:6).
“God has spoken in the history of the children of Israel, from whom for their good He sought to withhold a flesh diet. He fed them with bread from heaven; “man did eat angels’ food.” But they encouraged their earthly appetite; and the more they centered their thoughts upon the fleshpots of Egypt, the more they hated the food which God gave them to keep them in health physically, mentally, and morally. They longed for the fleshpots, and in this they did just as many in our own time have done.”
“Many are suffering, and many are going into the grave, because of the indulgence of appetite. They eat what suits their perverted taste, thus weakening the digestive organs and injuring their power to assimilate the food that is to sustain life. This brings on acute disease, and too often death follows. The delicate organism of the body is worn out by the suicidal practices of those who ought to know better.”
“The churches should be stanch and true to the light which God has given. Each member should work intelligently to put away from his life practice every perverted appetite.” Testimonies for the Church 6:372, 373, 1900.
This pot of manna sitting next to the law of God continues to testify of God’s purpose for His people. Those who will enter the heavenly sanctuary with Jesus, must leave behind the idol of appetite and satisfy themselves with what He has made for them to eat: a whole food, plant-based diet. This is possible in nearly every corner of the earth. A plant-based, whole foods diet has become imperative if we expect God to bless us with good health, clear minds and moral courage to stand in defense of truth and righteousness that we may deliver the message of the 3rd angel of Revelation 14 with power.
“We are now in the antitypical day of atonement. We are the congregation of which the ancient typical work was a type…Those who fasted during this day of atonement had complete control of their appetite. This teaches the lesson that those who live in the antitypical day should also have a complete control of their appetite. It does not necessarily follow that there must be a total abstinence from food in order to fast. Daniel fasted for three full weeks, and he says, “I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth.” Daniel 10:2, 3. Instead of totally abstaining from food, the appetite should be controlled; and if it is under proper restraint, no flesh will enter the mouth, neither will there be any desire to gratify a depraved appetite in any respect.” GCB July-September 1900-NO., 7, p. 183.3
It is a plant based diet that God has revealed that we must have in these last days to gird up the loins of our mind. It is the same for our second brain as well. The appetite must be strictly controlled. As the servant of the Lord has written, what is placed in our stomach’s affects our health and our spirituality. The biochemical make up of the food we eat makes up the biochemical processes of our bodies. If the food we eat is not of the best quality, the right quantity, or delivered into our stomachs at irregular times we shall suffer disease of the mind and body; this is not glorifying to God. Thus we see that the act of eating and drinking is a spiritual experience. We are eating and drinking in the most holy place by faith.
The Mercy Seat
Those who may be feeling overwhelmed or thinking a whole foods, plant-based diet is too high or impossible for your situation, remember that sitting above the commandments of God, the pot of manna and the rod that budded is the mercy seat. The mercy seat represents a fountain of unboundless love. The inexhaustible resources of Omnipotence are there, to bestow upon those who approach His throne by faith. There is where we will find courage, boldness and strength to be faithful, obedient sons and daughters. Before the mercy seat is where our characters may be fashioned after the similitude of Jesus our Saviour. Standing there we must be committed to continuous prayer and unceasing watchfulness so the whispered temptations to indulge in a sinful practice, worldly pleasure or appetite shall not have dominion over us. All heaven stands ready to assist those who realize their helplessness and utter dependence upon their Redeemer.
“The Lord knows, and the Devil knows, that we cannot resist the temptations of Satan without power from on high. For this reason the evil one seeks to hinder us from laying hold upon Him who is mighty to save. Our Lord made it our duty, as well as our privilege, to connect our weakness, our ignorance, our need, with His strength, His wisdom, His righteousness. He unites His infinite power with the effort of finite beings, that they may be more than victors in the battle with the enemy of their souls.” Prayer pg. 268.1
“Let no one be discouraged, for Jesus lives to make intercession for us. There is a heaven to gain, and a hell to escape, and Christ is interested in our welfare. He will help all those who call upon Him. We must mingle faith with all our prayers. We cannot bring Christ down, but, through faith, we can lift ourselves up into unity and harmony with the perfect standard of righteousness. We have a wily foe to meet and to conquer, but we can do it in the name of the Mighty One. (The Review and Herald, October 30, 1888.)” Prayer pg. 268.2
Carol is a mother of two precious children, and a spouse of 24 years to a Gospel Minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in the United States Army. She is also a Registered Nurse and Lifestyle Educator.