Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? KJV Psalm 77:13
An understanding of the sanctuary gave birth to Seventh-day Adventism, yet much of its instruction remains undisclosed. So we have to go elsewhere in the Bible to support such teachings as the specific time when Christ begins His ministry in the Most Holy Place (Daniel 8 and 9), or to Revelation 10:9 as a gracious warning of the great disappointment relating to the 1844 experience. All this is good, for many witnesses help establish a point (Deut, 19:15). But what about Psalm 77:13? Is the sanctuary impotent in regard to such important events? Does it not have a voice too?
No, it’s not impotent. It’s IMPORTANT. And yes, it does have a voice, a strong voice. It’s all in there! Two things I learned in my study of the Sanctuary:
 When God gives details there is a reason.
 When God leaves out details, there is a reason.
We will content ourselves tonight mostly with the Sanctuary version of the little book warning of Revelation 10, as an example of the detail inherent in the pattern shown us in the mount. It’s a short study but well illustrates the gems of truth available if we but pause for a few moments to consider what we read.
Exodus 26 deals with the tabernacle itself, its coverings, walls, pillars, hangings and furniture, which we understand is a pattern of the one in heaven (Exodus 25:40, Hebrews 8:5). We begin immediately with details on two inner curtains—one made from goat hair and a second from linen and royal-type materials. We read about their panels, sections, loops and taches. And it is here, at the loops and taches, we shall tarry for a few moments.
We notice God directed that both types of curtains be divided into multiple panels sewn together, yet making two sections that must be attached in a particular way—using loops and taches. What makes this particularly interesting is that the taches (connecting clasps) determine where the vail will be positioned to separate the Holy from the Most Holy Place (verse 33). And to Adventists that vail has a time stamped on it, 1844, as an understanding of the 2300 day prophecy Daniel talks about. So between these two sections of curtains, in both goat hair and linen, we find the taches. It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize 1844 standing between both sections.
There is something we know about our Creator. He is efficient. If there is a simple way to do something, He does it… unless He has a reason for doing otherwise. It would have been an easy thing to have the craftsmen working on those curtains to just make reinforced holes in the edges of the two sections to be joined by the taches. That would work well and save time and material for the craftsmen. But God didn’t do it. Instead He ordered that loops be made for both the goat hair and linen fabrics.
What are the loops for? What purpose do they fulfill in teaching us something about the time period of 1844? Moses was faithful in recording the Creator’s answer.
Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; that the loops may take hold one of another. Exodus 26:5
We can better understand the last part of the verse as saying, “that they might answer to one another in both curtains.” In other words, they were to be directly opposite each other. In today’s vernacular we use “answering to one another” or “holding each other accountable to an agreement.” This is exactly the purpose of the loops. But there is something else God tells us about them.
Though the upper goat hair curtain was to have loops also, no detail was given. There was a divine reason for that omission, which we will touch on shortly. But in the beautiful innermost curtain, the one with royal colors and cherubim and the fine twined linen representing the righteousness of Christ, God added a detail about the loops. They were to be BLUE (verse 4). The blue points us to God’s Word, and holds us to it.
… that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them. See Numbers 15:38-39
To put all this in today’s language, the blue loops say,
When you come to 1844 you will think you have it all together on what’s supposed to happen. But it won’t happen the way you think. Some things will be different. But don’t give up! Search the scriptures as diligently AFTER the event as you did BEFORE it. And when you line those texts up—those true-blue loops, so to speak— you will be able to continue to follow your High Priest in His ministries in the Most Holy. Those loops will line up perfectly! God’s Word will not controvert itself.
God could have the artisans attach the two sections using reinforced holes, but that would not accomplish His purposes. The difference between reinforced holes in the edges of the curtains and loops where the holes would be is that the loops REACH OUT from some place, whereas holes don’t. And, as Ex 26:5 says, these loops on the east side of the taches “take hold” of their counterparts on the west side. Actually they “take hold” only by use of the taches. What are they reaching out for and why must they “take hold” of one another?
We get a clue from the linen loops. They were specified to be made of “blue”. Since the material wasn’t mentioned we must look up the meaning of the color, as we have done in Numbers 15 above. It points us to two things:  to remember ALL the commandments of the LORD, and  to do them. How does this relate to the loops and 1844?
- We notice first of all that the loops on BOTH sides were to be the same color. (Obedience to God’s Word will characterize whatever the loops represent BEORE the event as well as AFTER it.)
- Each set of loops—those on one side of the tache and their counterpart on the other side—unite. (This describes a SINGULAR event. God’s Word must be involved on BOTH sides of the 1844 experience.)
- Each set of blue loops is connected by a golden tache. (Since the Bible often associates gold with faith, and the golden taches are only in the linen curtain, this describes a function of the Messiah that involves not only His obedience to the divine plan determined before the foundations of the world were laid, but also His faithfulness in doing it to the letter—Rev 14:12.)
- The taches (gold and brass) determine the date when Christ changes His ministry. (So everything relating to the loops and taches is describing an event in 1844, relating to something happening in heaven that will affect Christ’s followers on the earth.)
- However, the text in Revelation is not attributing this action just to Christ but more specifically to His faithful followers. (Alongside each blue set of loops is a goat hair set, which by itself has no redemptive value. And close to the golden taches are brazened ones. As the saints choose to duplicate Christ’s Example, and put their confidence in His works in heaven, they assure a successful outcome. The Plan of Salvation involves God’s empowerment and grace and man’s cooperation.)
- So we see two things happening on this date: one in heaven and its counterpart on earth. (What Christ is doing in the heavenly sanctuary His disciples will be doing on earth.)
The idea of blue loops directly across from each other suggests a reaching out, a searching in God’s Word, before the Great Disappointment as well as after it. The golden taches add that only faith will be able to connect the two periods in God’s Word. And only those who are thus united will be able to follow their LORD in His new ministry.
The blue loops are effective only in relation to the 1844 event. As we have noted in other studies, all sanctuary elements deal only with the education and redemption and nurturing of His followers, never with the punishment of the unrighteous. So it is with the 1844 experience. Though no great disappointment is foretold, the elements of WHY there might be one are outlined.
- If serious Bible study (blue loops) occurs only before the event there will be a disappointment.
- If faith in what is happening in heaven (what the Messiah is doing at that time) is not mixed with serious Bible study there will be a disappointment.
- If continued study on the specific events relating to Christ’s new appointment in the heavenly sanctuary is not continued AFTER the event (to harmonize earlier studies BEFORE the event) there will be a disappointment.
I am not sure if this next point is just coincidental or prophetic, but I find it certainly interesting. I have read that there were about 50,000 Millerites looking forward to and expecting Christ’s imminent return to earth on that day in October. But there were only around 50 that did not give up their faith in the Word of God. They CONTINUED their study on the very events portrayed in the Bible AFTER the event, and were rewarded by the truth, harmonizing their former studies with their new discoveries. And a new church was born. You remember how many golden taches there were? 50. From God’s perspective, though there may have been 50,000 PROFESSED followers before the event, God read their hearts and counted only 50–only 1 in a 1000! He saw that those 50 would be faithful in their studies and make it through the disappointment.
One other point. This one is not coincidental.
THE COLOR RED & THE LOOPS
We usually associate red in the sanctuary with the blood of Christ. And rightfully so. But red has a broader meaning too. In the total scheme of colors, red is an ATTENTION -GETTING and an ACTION color that requires a quick and definitive execution of thought, an action that can mean life or death. Let me give a couple illustrations.
 Traffic is heavy and cars are crammed together (no more than 3 or 4 car-lengths apart), yet the group of vehicles you are in are traveling at 60 mph. You are having a relaxed conversation with your traveling companion when all of a sudden you notice the red brake lights come on in the car in front of you. You quickly slam on your brakes, and hope the person behind you does the same. If everyone takes the red lights seriously there would be no mishaps.
 A family needs to make a quick trip into town, but a decision is made to take only the two oldest girls. Their two younger brothers would remain at home. When the family returns one of the girls opens the door and sees a pool of red (bloodlike) liquid right near the entrance. Would she calmly return to the car and suggest her parents might want to come check out this interesting phenomena? Or would she scream, and DEMAND her parents come quickly? (I dare say that any other color would not elicit this reaction.)
When red shows up in the sanctuary (and other places in the Bible, like Rev. 6:4 and 12:3), we should pay attention because a quick and life-changing decision must be made. Where does the red come from in the sanctuary?The second covering of the tabernacle was to be of rams’s skins dyed red (Ex.25:5).
For years this had puzzled me because I could see no purpose for it (because it was not seen). Everything else in the sanctuary was visible at one time or another, and one way or another. Why would this covering not be visible?
Someone thought it might be because the blood of Christ had not yet been spilled. But then what was the lamb’s blood signifying, and wasn’t that just as much a part of the sanctuary?
Well, I found that I was wrong! The rams’s skins dyed red ARE visible, but only in one very special place. And that tells a lot! But where?
Right here, where the taches and loops are, the color red shows up in striking contrast!
THE TIME FACTOR
As you will see (or have seen) in the article 1844 In The Design Of The Sanctuary, that there is a timing element built into the two bottom curtains as we approach the inner vail. If the two sections of curtains, the ones over the Holy Place and the sections over the Most Holy Place, were attached by the taches without loops, we would expect the transition of Christ’s ministry in the first apartment to the second apartment to be quick and without incident. But that is not the case.
Both sections are separated by the loops, which cause an open space. This suggests the 1844 experience will allow a limited amount of time for the observer to study and prepare, and a period of time after the event for further study. But the loops do something else. When we stand right next to the inner vail and look up toward the taches that define its position in time we notice that the two halves of the linen curtain are spread apart. And so are the two sections of the goat hair curtain right above it. This gives us a view of… guess what? That’s right! The rams’s skins dyed RED! So right above the inner vail, which portends the 1844 timing of Christ’s change of ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, we see a blood-red stripe the whole length of the vail, as a BACKGROUND for the linen and goathair loops and taches. What is this telling us?
That something of great importance is going to happen around this date, something that will require a life-changing decision. It will not be immediate, but take a short period of time to prepare for the event as well as study AFTER the time before the student would fully understand the event. Those who do not follow Christ into the Most Holy Place by faith will essentially be turning their backs on Him and directing their worship to another spirit, the enemy of Christ, the antichrist. In other words, they will be giving up eternal life! Is that something that should get our attention?
God doesn’t miss a beat!
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED
The Millerite Movement, as it was called, actually began twenty-one years prior to 1844, though not publically announced for several years. After October 22nd, when Jesus didn’t come to this earth, most professed Christians turned away from the vail (and the blood-red warning sign) and just considered 1844 as a great hoax. But, praise God, not everyone did! There were a few who tarried on the other side and went back to their Bibles and studied diligently. Soon they began to line the loops (Bible texts) AFTER the event up with correct ones BEFORE it. The mistakes were made clear: the earth was not the sanctuary; that was still in heaven, according to Revelation. And they saw the purpose and work of the Messiah in the Holy Place was of an entirely different (and solemn) nature than that required in the Most Holy Place. And they saw it spelled out a new level and emphasis in the Christian’s experience, Thus the foundation for a new church was laid. Praise God for those faithful pioneers!
The sanctuary says, “Yes, there would be an 1844 event, and yes there would be a great disappointment, and yes, only a few would make it through,” but the sanctuary also tells us WHY they did! They persevered and didn’t let go of God’s Word and did their due diligence to line up the loops. It’s a lesson for us today.
But what about those curtains that the loops were attached to? There are two kinds. What are they portraying? Click on the title of the next study to read it: GOATS AND FLAX: A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN?