Furniture of the Sanctuary
by Stephen Haskell
The Cross and It's Shadow

The golden Candlestick
The Table of Showbread
The Altar of Incense

The Furniture Of The Sanctuary

The Cross and the Crown
NO blood, no altar now,
The sacrifice is o'er;
No flame, no smoke, ascends on high;
The Lamb is slain no more!
But richer blood has flow'd from nobler veins,
To purge the soul from guilt, and cleanse the reddest stains.
We thank Thee for the blood,
The blood of Christ, Thy Son;
The blood by which our peace is made,
Our victory is won:
Great victory o'er hell, and sin, and woe
That needs no second fight, and leaves no second foe.
–H. Bonar.

The Ark

Page 45

THE ark was the central figure of the entire sanctuary. The broken law contained in the ark was the only reason for all the sacrificial services, both typical and antitypical. When the Lord gave directions for making the sanctuary, His first instruction was, "They shall make an ark of shittim (acacia) wood:two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof." (Ex. 25:10) It was overlaid within and without with pure gold, with a crown of gold around the top.

The cover of the ark was called the mercy-seat, and was of pure gold. On either end of the mercy-seat were cherubim of beaten gold, with their wings stretched forth covering the ark, and their faces looking reverently toward the law of God contained therein.

Page 46
There is great consolation in the fact that the Lord Himself covered the broken law with a mercy-seat; and then He, the merciful God, took His position upon that seat, so that every sinner who comes confessing his sins, may receive mercy and pardon. That mercy-seat, with the cloud of glory, the visible representation of God's presence, and its covering cherubim, is a figure, or "shadow," of the throne of the great God, who proclaims His name as "merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." (Ex. 34:5-7)

Within the ark was the Lord's own copy of that holy law given to mankind in the beginning. "Where no law is, there is no transgression.'' (Romans 4:15) "Sin is not imputed when there is no law;" (Romans 5:13) therefore the Lord could never have driven our first parents from the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:23) on account of their sin, if they had been ignorant of His holy law. How God proclaimed His law to our first parents He never revealed in His Holy Book; but when it was necessary again to make His law known to His people, after their long servitude in Egypt, He had the account of that awe-inspiring event recorded, so that the generations to come might know that God came from heaven and spoke the ten commandments with an audible voice in the hearing of all Israel. (Deut. 4:10-14)

After God had declared the ten commandments from the top of Mount Sinai, He wrote them upon two tables of stone, and gave them to Moses, with the instruction, "Thou shalt put them in the ark."(Ex. 31:18) The ark was placed in the most holy apartment of the sanctuary, where no mortal eye, except that of the high priest, could gaze upon it, and he on only one day in the year, when he went in to sprinkle the blood of the Lord's goat before and upon the mercy-seat to atone for the broken law within the ark.

Page 47
"The wages of sin is death," (Romans 6:23) and the broken law demands the death of every sinner. In the typical service the blood was sprinkled above the law (Lev. 16:15) to show faith in the blood of Christ, which would free the righteous from the demands, or curse, of the law. (Gal. 3:13)

God communed with His people from the cloud of glory which rested above the mercy seat, between the cherubim. (Ex. 25:21,22) These golden cherubim with outstretched wings were a representation of the covering cherubim that surround the throne of God in heaven. (Ez. 28:14)

Page 48
There can be no government without law. The very suggestion of a kingdom is always connected with law. There could be no judgment without a law as a standard of judgment. God declares that "as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law." (Romans 2:12) All God's commandments are righteousness. (Ps. 119:172) The establishment, or foundation, of His throne is righteousness and judgment. (Ps. 97:2 margin)

"There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone," (1 Kings 8:9) is the divine record. The pot of manna was laid up "before the Lord," (Ex. 16:33) and Aaron's rod that budded was laid up "before the testimony." Num. 17:10)

Paul, enumerating all the contents of the most holy place in the order that he has, leads some to suppose that at some time the pot of manna and Aaron's rod were placed in the ark; but the ark was made for the one purpose of containing God's holy law. (Duet. 10:1,2)

No profane hands were allowed to touch the ark. Uzzah was smitten for reaching forth his hand to steady it when the oxen which were drawing it stumbled; (2 Sam. 6:6) and thousands of "the men of Bethshemesh" were smitten for looking into it. (1 Sam. 6:19) None but the Levites were allowed to carry the sacred chest. (Duet. 10:8)

On the occasion of a battle with the Philistines, the wicked sons of Eli, the high priest, carried the ark on to the battlefield, and it was captured by the Philistines; but God impressed their hearts to return it to Israel with a golden trespass-offering. (1 Sam. 4:3-10) When Solomon's temple was built, the ark was placed in the holy of holies, where it remained until taken by the prophet Jeremiah and hid in a cave in the mountains before the Babylonian captivity, lest it should fall into the hands of the Gentiles. (2 Maccabees 2:1-8)

Page 49
The writer of the Apocrypha states that the ark will again be brought forth in the last times. Whether that copy of the law which God gave at Sinai will be brought out again or not, there will be a copy of that same law, traced as with a pen of fire in the heavens, before the wondering gaze of the inhabitants of earth, in connection with the second coming of Christ to the earth. (Ps. 97:6, 98:2)

That holy law is the standard by which all will be judged. That law will condemn the guilty; for "sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) The same law that condemns the sinner will witness to the righteousness of those who, through faith in Christ, have tried to walk in harmony with its holy precepts, humbly seeking forgiveness for every transgression. (Romans 3:21)


Ex. 26:33. The ark was placed in the most holy place.


Ex. 25:21, 22. God's visible presence was manifested above the mercy seat.


Rev. 11:19. The ark was seen in the heavenly sanctuary.


Ex. 34:57. The Lord gives His name as Merciful and Gracious and Longsuffering.

The Golden Candlestick

Page 50
THE golden candlestick with its seven golden lamps was on the south side of the first apartment of the sanctuary. It was made of gold beaten into shape by the workman's hammer. (Ex. 25:31-37) It took many a hard and skilful blow to form those delicate flowers and bowls; but the candlestick was to be made after the heavenly model to teach heavenly lessons to mankind. (Ex. 25:40 margin)

John, the beloved disciple, was permitted to look into the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven, and there he beheld seven golden candlesticks. He also beheld the Saviour in the midst of the glorious candlesticks, of which the earthly one was a shadow.

Christ, in explaining to John the meaning of what he had seen, said, "The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." (Rev. 1:12-20) The number seven in the Bible denotes a complete number. The candlestick of beaten gold with its seven bowls for the lamps was an "example and shadow of heavenly things. (Heb. 8:5) Its seven branches, each holding aloft a lamp, represented the church of God.

Page 51
The individual that forms a part of the "church of the firstborn, which are enrolled in heaven," (Heb. 12:23) will often feel the workman's hammer; "for we are His (God's) workmanship, created n Christ Jesus unto good works." (Eph. 2:10) Then, "beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you." (1 Peter 4:12) It is only the Master-workman fashioning you to become a part of the great church enrolled in heaven.

The candlestick in the type held seven lamps. The beloved disciple also had a view of the heavenly lamps, of which the earthly ones were models. Before the throne of God in heaven he saw the seven lamps of fire, "which are the seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 4:2,5) The church of Christ is the candlestick to hold up the light in the midst of moral darkness. The Saviour says, "Ye are the light of the world." The Spirit of the Lord is said to be the eyes of the Lord which "run to and fro throughout the whole earth, strongly to hold with them whose heart is perfect toward Him." (2 Chron 16:9 margin)

Then the brightness of our light depends upon the condition of our heart. The Spirit is searching throughout the earth for those whose hearts are perfect toward God, and it will "strongly hold" with such ones:their light will not burn dim.

Page 52
The lamps in the earthly sanctuary were to burn continually. (Lev. 24:2) So the Christian is ever to let the Spirit of God rule in his life, and thus shed its light abroad.

None but the high priest could perform the sacred work of lighting the lamps in the earthly sanctuary; he trimmed and lighted them each morning and evening. (Ex. 30:7,8) So none, but our High Priest, who was "tempted in all points like as we are," Heb. 4:15 can give us the help we need.

In the morning we need His Spirit to direct us during the day; and at evening we need it to enlighten our minds as we review the work of the day, that we may detect the flaws and dropped threads in the warp of our lives. The trimming and lighting of the lamps was a beautiful type with a daily lesson for us at the present time. It was a link in that marvelous threefold typical chain of service celebrated each morning and evening, while "the whole multitude of the people were praying without" the sanctuary. (Luke 1:10) The whole burnt-offering in the court, the incense, and the burning lamps within the sanctuary,– all were a wonderful type which will never lose its beauty.

Whenever an individual will fulfil in his very soul the antitype of the typical "whole" burnt-offering, that is, wholly surrender himself to God, place himself and all he has upon the altar, to be consumed in God's service as He directs, that individual, whether he be rich or poor, learned or ignorant, will be covered with the fragrant incense of Christ's righteousness, and his name will be enrolled with the church of the first-born in heaven; and here in this sin-cursed earth, as he goes to and fro, he will be a part of the great candlestick, and from his life will shine out the bright rays of the Spirit of God.

Page 53
The question may arise in many hearts, How may I become a light-bearer in the earth? When Zerubbabel was trying under very adverse circumstances to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, he came to a time when the difficulties appeared like mountains before him. Then the Lord sent His prophet with a message to help and encourage him. Zechariah was given a view of the golden candlesticks, and was also shown whence the oil came that supplied the lamps. He saw two olive-trees, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on the left side, which through golden pipes kept the lamps supplied with oil, that they might burn brightly. (Zech. 4:1-4)

The prophet asked the angel the meaning of what he saw. In reply the angel said:"This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zech. 4:6) Then he gave a message to Zerubbabel to go forward, and said that the mountain of difficulties would become a plain before him, and that as surely as his hands had laid the foundations of the house of the Lord, so surely would he finish it.

Zerubbabel was walking by faith in the words of the prophets who had foretold how and when Jerusalem would be rebuilt; (2 Chron. 36:20-23; Jer 25:12; Hosea 1:7) but those prophets were dead, and he now faced difficulties that he might be tempted to think the prophets never expected would arise. Then God sent a living prophet with a message of encouragement, to keep the light burning, and enable Zerubbabel to press forward and complete the work prophesied of by the dead prophets.

Page 53
We cannot comprehend the word of the Lord without the Spirit to enlighten our minds. The light shines to the degree in which we take the word and risk our all upon it:and as we come into difficulties in following out the instruction given through the dead prophets, the Lord sends messages of strength and encouragement through the living prophet, to enable us to press forward to victory.

"These are the two sons of oil (light-givers), that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." It is the Spirit of God accompanying the word which has been committed to the people, that will give light. Whatever the prophets of God have revealed to man in the past, is light; and those who have adhered strictly to the testimony of God by His prophets, although it may be hundreds of years after the testimony was given, are spoken of favorably by the living prophet, as Zechariah spoke to Zerubbabel.

Ex. 40:24. Golden candlestick in the first apartment of earthly sanctuary.
Ex.25:37; 40:25. There were seven lamps upon the candlestick.
Ex. 3o:7, 8. The high priest trimmed and lighted the lamps in the earthly sanctuary.
Lev. 24:2. The lamps were burned continually, always shedding forth light.

Rev. 1:12. John saw the seven golden candlesticks in heaven.
Rev. 4:2, 5. John saw seven lamps of fire before the throne of God in heaven.
Rev. 1:12-18. John saw Christ,our High Priest, in the midst of the candlesticks in heaven.
John 1:9. The Holy Spirit lightens every soul that comes into the world, whether he accepts or rejects it.

The Table of Showbread

Page 55
The table of showbread was placed on the north side of the first apartment of the sanctuary. The table was two cubits long, a cubit and a half in width, and a cubit and a half in height. It was overlaid with pure gold, and like the altar of incense was ornamented with a crown of gold around the top. (Ex.25:23-30; 40:22)

On the Sabbath day the Levites made twelve loaves, or cakes, of unleavened bread. (1 Chr. 9:32, Lev. 24:5) These cakes were placed on the table hot, each Sabbath day, (Lev. 24:8; 1 Sam 21:3-6; Matt. 12:3,4) arranged in two rows, or piles, six in a row, with pure frankincense on each row. (Lev. 24:6,7)

During the entire week the bread lay on the table. By some translators it is called "the bread of the presence." At the end of the week it was removed and eaten by the priests, (Lev. 24:9)

Page 56
This explains why Ahimelech the priest had no common bread on the Sabbath to give to David, as the priests were accustomed to eat the "hallowed bread" on that day. (1 Sam. 21:4) It was not lawful to bake common bread upon the Sabbath; the command is very plain that all bread for Sabbath use in the homes should be baked upon the sixth day. "This is that which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord:bake that which ye will bake to-day, and seethe (or boil) that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning." (Ex. 16:22) But the Lord directed that the Levites should prepare the showbread every Sabbath. (1 Chr. 9:32)

All the service connected with the table of showbread was done upon the Sabbath. The bread was prepared on the Sabbath, and while hot was placed upon the table. The following Sabbath it was removed, and eaten by the priests on that day.

The priests served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things;" (Heb. 8:5) therefore there is a heavenly lesson for us in the antitype of the showbread. It was a continual offering, ever before the Lord. It taught that man was wholly dependent upon God for both temporal and spiritual food, and that both alike come to us through the One who "ever liveth to make intercession" for us before the Father. (Heb. 7:25)

This, like all other types of the sanctuary service, met its fulfillment in Christ. He is the true-bread. He said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever:and the bread that I will give is My flesh." Then He added, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, . . ye have no life in you." (John 6:51-53) Even the disciples could not comprehend Christ's words, and they murmured.

Page 57
Jesus read their thoughts, and said unto them, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63) His word is the true bread, of which we are to eat.

As the bread in the presence of God was taken out from the sanctuary and eaten, so Jesus said, "The word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me." (John 14:24) The Bible came direct from God. God gave it to Christ, Christ signified it by His angel unto the prophets, and the prophets gave it to the people, (Rev. 1:1)

We often read the Bible as a mere form of godliness, or to get something to give to others; but if we would receive its life-giving power into our own souls, we must have it "hot," warm from heaven.

There is no more appropriate time to let God speak to our own souls through His word than on the Sabbath day, when we lay aside our worldly cares and business, and take time to study the Holy Word and let it come into our inmost heart until we hear God speak to us, not to another.

The priests were not only to set the hot bread upon the table on the Sabbath day, but later that same bread was to be eaten and become a part of their very being. God designed that His people should each Sabbath day gain a fresh experience in divine things, which would make them better fitted to meet the temptations of the week. The soul that never gains a deeper experience on the Sabbath than on any other day, fails to keep the Sabbath as God would have him. {Eze. 20:12)

Page 58
We may have a few minutes of quiet study of the word on the Sabbath day, when we hear the Lord speaking to us individually; but if the words are not incorporated into our lives, they give us no abiding strength. As the priests ate the bread prepared the Sabbath before, they assimilated it, and thus received strength for daily duties.

Peter evidently understood this truth when he admonished the church to desire the sincere milk of the word that they might grow thereby, and he said if they did this they would be "a holy priesthood." (1 Peter 2:2-5) Here is the secret of true Christian living. Eternal life does not come to the soul through forms and ceremonies. They are all right in their place; but eternal life results from feeding upon the true bread which comes from the presence of God,– God's Holy Word, the blessed Bible.


Ex. 25:30. Showbread always before the Lord.
Lev. 24:5. There were twelve cakes of the showbread the number of the tribes of Israel.

John 6:48. Christ said, "I am that bread of life."
1 Cor. l0:17. In speaking of the church, Paul says, "We being many are one bread and one body."

The Altar of Incense"

Page 59
THE golden altar, or altar of incense, was before the veil in the first apartment of the sanctuary. It was a cubit square and two cubits high, with a horn upon each corner. The altar was made of the shittim, or acacia wood, and all overlaid with pure gold. Around the top was a beautiful crown of gold, and beneath the crown were rings, in which were staves for carrying the altar, all overlaid with pure gold. ( Ex. 30:1-6)

Within the crown of gold encircling the top of the altar, holy fire was kept constantly burning, (Ex. 30:8) from which ascended the fragrant smoke of the incense placed upon it every morning and evening. The perfume pervaded the entire sanctuary, and was carried by the breeze far beyond the precincts of the court.

The incense, composed of an equal weight of four fragrant gums and resins, was prepared by divine direction. It was very sacred, and the person making any like it, even for a perfume, was to be cut off from among the people. ( Ex. 30:34,38)

The high priest alone was to perform the sacred duty of placing incense before the Lord on the golden altar. (Ex 30:7,8)

The altar and the fragrant incense in the earthly sanctuary were an example of the work our great High Priest is performing for us. (Heb. 8:5) Our minds should often dwell upon the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. (Heb. 3:1) Moses, when directed to build the sanctuary, was "caused to see" the heavenly model of which he was to make a "shadow.'' (Ex. 25:40 margin)

John, the beloved disciple, was permitted several times in vision to behold the Saviour officiating in the heavenly sanctuary. He saw a heavenly being standing at the glorious golden altar. He beheld the incense offered upon that holy altar. How it must have thrilled his soul when he saw that precious incense added to the poor, faltering prayers of the struggling saints here on the earth:He saw those prayers, after the incense was added, ascend up before God, and they were accepted because they were made fragrant with the incense. (Rev. 8:3,4 margin) "We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Rom. 8:26,27) But even the Spirit could not present the prayers of sinful mortals before a pure and holy God without adding the fragrant incense.

Page 61
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His separation in person from them, He assured them, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you." (John 16:23) The power in a name is the character of the individual that bears the name. The name of the precious Redeemer is honored, and every petition presented in that name is granted in the courts of heaven because Jesus lived a sinless life. He "knew no sin." The prince of this world had nothing in Jesus, (John 14:30) for He was pure and holy, without one stain of sin. It is Christ's righteousness that makes our prayers accepted before the Father.

John saw the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints ascend up before God. Our prayers, made fragrant by the righteousness of Christ our Saviour, are presented by the Holy Spirit before the Father. To John in vision it appeared like a cloud of smoke bearing the prayers and fragrant incense up before the throne of the Infinite One. The weakest saint who knows how to press his petitions to the throne of grace in the name of Jesus, the sinless One, has all the treasures of heaven at his command. Having the richest millionaire of earth sign his checks at earthly banks would in no way compare with the privilege of the Christian.

The name of Jesus is often added to prayers in a meaningless way. Many prayers are spoken for a mere form of worship, and rise no higher that the head of the one who offers them; but every prayer of faith reaches the ear of the God of the universe. David understood what was typified by the incense, and prayed, "Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." (Ps. 141:2)

Page 62
As there was no other part of the daily ministration that brought the priest so directly into the presence of God as the offering of incense; so there is no part of our religious service that brings us so close to the Master as the pouring out of our souls in earnest prayer. Anciently, as in the antitype, the prayer of faith entered the "holy dwelling-place" of God in heaven. (2 Chr. 30:27)

A lamb was burned upon the brazen altar in the court each morning and evening at the time the incense was renewed upon the altar. (Ex. 29: 38-40)The golden altar was an "altar of continual intercession," representing the prayers of God's people coming up before Him continually; while the brazen altar was an "altar of continual atonement," representing the putting away and destruction of sin, the only thing that separates us from God and prevents our prayers from being answered.

The morning and evening lamb was offered as a whole burnt-offering for the entire congregation, showing their desire to put away sin and consecrate themselves to the Lord, so that their prayers could ascend from off the altar with the fragrant incense.

In ancient Israel the people living near the temple gathered at the hour of sacrifice, and often "the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.'' (Luke 1:10) The habit of morning and evening prayer in the home came from this typical worship. The faithful Israelite who was far from the temple would pray with his face toward the temple where the incense was ascending each morning and evening. Josephus says the incense was offered as the sun was setting in the evening, and in the morning as it was rising.

Page 63
The type was beautiful, but the antitype far surpasses the type. In the heavenly sanctuary there is an inexhaustible supply of Christ's righteousness. In the type the incense was always ascending, typifying that at any time, day or night, when a struggling soul cries out for help, or gives thanks and praise for help received, his prayer is heard. In the morning, as the duties of the day seem more than human strength can bear, the burdened soul can remember that in the type a fresh supply of incense was placed on the altar each morning, and from out the antitypical heavenly sanctuary help will come for the day to the one that claims divine help in the name of Jesus. (Duet. 33:25)

In the evening, as we review the work of the day and find it marred by sin, there is blessed comfort, as we kneel confessing o u r sins, to know that if heaven the fragrant incense of Christ's righteousness will be added to our prayers; as in the type the cloud of incense shielded the priest, (Lev. 16:13) so Christ's righteousness will cover the mistakes of the day; and the Father, looking upon us, will behold only the spotless robe of Christ's righteousness. If we realized more fully the privilege of prayer, we would often say "I will greatly with the prophet, rejoice in the Lord, . . . for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." Is. 61:10)(P)Page 64
Not all prayers that are accepted before God are answered immediately, as it would not always be best for us; but every prayer to which the fragrance of Christ's righteousness has been added, is lodged on heaven's altar, and in God's good time will be answered. John saw those who officiated before the throne of God holding in their hands "vials full of incense," which, he said, were "prayers of saints." (Rev. 5:8 margin) These prayers had been accepted, for the added incense was so fragrant that John said the vials were full of incense.

In the typical work the one who attempted to use the fragrant perfume of the incense for his own use was cut off from among the people of God; there was to be no imitation of the incense. (Ex. 30:37,38) No fire was to be used for burning the incense except that taken from the altar before the Lord. Nadab and Abihu, while under the influence of strong drink, offered "strange fire" before the Lord, and were slain, (Lev. 10:1-10) Their fate is an object-lesson of all who fail to appreciate the perfect righteousness of Christ, and appear before the Lord clothed in the "filthy rags" of their own righteousness. (Is. 64:6)

When the plague was smiting the hosts of Israel, Aaron the high priest, put incense on the censer and ran among the people, "and the plague was stayed." (Num. 16:46-48)

Page 65
The sacred incense was burned only on the golden altar and in the censers of the priests. The other Levites were not allowed to burn it. (Num. 16:3:35) The priests who performed the work which typified Christ's work in a special sense, were the only ones who could burn incense before the Lord.

The horns of the golden altar were often touched with the blood of the sin-offering, thus typifying that it was Christ's death that made it possible for our prayers to be answered and for us to be clothed in His righteousness. As the fragrance of the incense was not confined to the sanctuary, but was carried in the air to the surrounding neighborhood; so in like manner, when one is clothed with Christ's righteousness, an influence will go out from him which those that come in contact with him will recognize by its fragrance as of heavenly origin.


Ex. 30:1-3;40:26. The golden altar was before the veil.
Ex. 30:7, 8. Incense was burned on the golden altar by the high priest every morning and evening.
Ex. 30:9; Lev. 10:1-9. The one who should burn incense with strange fire was to be destroyed.


Rev. 8:3. There is a golden altar in heaven before the throne of God.
Rev. 8:3,4. Much incense is added to the prayers of all saints, and they then ascend before God.
Isa. 64:6. One clothed with his own righteousness will be destroyed.

Table of Contents page for Stephen Haskell's book "Cross and Its Shadow"

Index Page for "Pioneers' Writings

Return to Home page