When the Israelites set aside the tithe of their grain, produce, and so forth, it was considered sanctified, and could be used for no other purpose. (Lev. 27:30, 32) Accordingly no one can misuse a sanctified thing, or harm or speak evil against any of God’s sanctified persons, including the anointed brothers of Christ, and be guiltless before God. Jesus showed the Jews this when they accused him of blasphemy. (John 10:36) The apostle Peter warned of destruction that is to come upon wicked men whom he describes as “daring, self-willed, they do not tremble at glorious ones [whom Jehovah has sanctified] but speak abusively.”—2 Pet. 2:9-12; compare Jude 8.
PERIODS OF TIME OR OCCASIONS
The Bible record tells us that when God completed his creative work toward the earth: “By the seventh day God came to the completion of his work . . . and he proceeded to rest . . . And God proceeded to bless the seventh day and make it sacred.” (Gen. 2:2, 3) This “day” was therefore to be employed by men as a “day” of sacred service and obedience to Jehovah. It was not to be defiled by self-works on the part of man. Adam and Eve therefore violated that “day” when they set out on a program of self-determination, to do as they pleased in the earth, independent of their Sovereign Jehovah. God’s ‘rest day’ still continues, according to the record at Hebrews 3:11, 13; 4:1-11. Since God sanctified the “day,” setting it aside to his purpose, this “day” will see that purpose toward the earth fully accomplished in righteousness.—Compare Isaiah 55:10, 11.
SANCTIFYING OF LAND
In Israel, a man might sanctify a part of his inheritance to God. This he would do by setting it aside so that the produce of the land would go to the sanctuary, or pay over to the sanctuary the value of the land (that is, its crops) according to the estimation of the priest. If he decided to buy it back he was required to add one-fifth to the valuation of the field (governed by the number of crops until the Jubilee year) as estimated by the priest. The field returned to its owner at the Jubilee.—Lev. 27:16-19.
The next verses speak of the owner who does not repurchase the field, but sells it to another man, and the law is that the field then becomes the permanent possession of the sanctuary at the time of the Jubilee. Concerning this law, at Leviticus 27:20, 21, F. C. Cook in his Commentary says: “[The words] may refer to a case in which a man might have fraudulently sold his interest in a field and appropriated the price after having vowed it to the Sanctuary.” Or they may refer to one in which a man retained the use of the field, fulfilled his vow by paying as a yearly rent a due proportion of the redemption money and then parted with his interest to another for the sake of acquiring some ready money. Such a field was considered “devoted,” because he treated that which was sanctified to the sanctuary as his own, disrespecting its sanctity by making merchandise of it.
The principle may have been similar to the law at Deuteronomy 22:9: “You must not sow your vineyard with two sorts of seed, for fear that the full produce of the seed that you might sow and the product of the vineyard may be forfeited to the sanctuary.” Such forfeit would result from the violation of the law stated earlier at Leviticus 19:19.
The distinction between things “sanctified” and things “devoted” was that the “devoted” thing could not be redeemed. (See BAN.) Houses were handled in the same manner. (Lev. 27:14, 15) However, if a man sanctified the field of another which he had bought, the field returned at Jubilee to the original owner.—Lev. 27:22-24; see HOLINESS.
The apostle Paul tells the married Christian: “The unbelieving husband is sanctified in relation to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in relation to the brother; otherwise, your children would really be unclean, but now they are holy.” Through Jehovah’s regard for the Christian, his (or her) marriage relationship with his unbelieving mate is not considered as defiling. The cleanness of the sanctified one does not sanctify the mate as one of God’s holy ones, but the relationship is clean, honorable. The unbelieving mate has a fine opportunity to receive benefits from observing the Christian course of the believer, and may himself be saved. (1 Cor. 7:14-17) The young children of the union are considered holy, under divine care and protection, and not unclean as children of entirely worldly parents, due to the ‘merit’ of the believer.
A place set apart for the worship of God or of gods, a holy place. (1 Chron. 22:19; Isa. 16:12; Ezek. 28:18; Amos 7:9, 13) The Hebrew noun rendered “sanctuary” is drawn from a verb meaning, in a physical sense, “to be bright, to be new or fresh, untarnished or clean.” The Bible often uses the term in a moral sense to designate that which is holy or sacred.—See HOLINESS.
A “sanctuary” need not necessarily be a special building, for the one at Shechem referred to at Joshua 24:25, 26 may simply have been the site where Abraham had centuries earlier erected an altar. (Gen. 12:6, 7) However, frequently the expression “sanctuary” designates either the tabernacle (Ex. 25:8, 9) or the temple at Jerusalem. (1 Chron. 28:10; 2 Chron. 36:17; Ezek. 24:21) As applied to the tabernacle, “sanctuary” could mean the entire tent and its courtyard (Ex. 25:8, 9; Lev. 21:12, 23), the furniture and utensils of the sanctuary (Num. 10:21; compare Numbers 3:30, 31) or the Most Holy.—Lev. 16:16, 17, 20, 33.
As a holy place, God’s sanctuary was to be kept undefiled. (Num. 19:20; Ezek. 5:11) The Israelites should, therefore, “stand in awe” of that special place where God dwelt representatively. (Lev. 19:30; 26:2) When they were removed from the Promised Land into exile, they no longer had a material sanctuary. But Jehovah promised that he himself would, as it were, become “a sanctuary” for them.—Ezek. 11:16.
The Greek term na·osʹ is used in a broad sense to stand for the entire temple complex (John 2:20) or to the central edifice, with its Holy and Most Holy compartments separated by the curtain. (Matt. 27:51) When Zechariah, for instance, went “into the sanctuary” to offer incense, he entered the Holy, for it was there that the altar of incense was located.—Luke 1:9-11.
THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY
The place where God dwells in the heavens is a sanctuary or a holy place. It is in this heavenly sanctuary that the apostle John, in vision, saw the ark of the covenant after the blowing of the “seventh trumpet.” (Rev. 11:15, 19) Thereafter he observed angels emerging from this sanctuary and, in connection with the outpouring of the “seven bowls” of God’s anger, heard a “loud voice” issuing forth from it.—Rev. 14:15, 17; 15:5, 6, 8; 16:1, 17.
THE SPIRITUAL TEMPLE, CHRIST’S BODY
The members of the Christian congregation, Christ’s body’ constitute a temple or sanctuary. (1 Cor. 3:17; Eph. 2:21, 22; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9) This provides a basis for understanding the words directed to the apostle John: “Get up and measure the temple sanctuary of God and the altar and those worshiping in it. But as for the courtyard that is outside the temple sanctuary, cast it clear out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” (Rev. 11:1, 2) The temple here referred to could not be the one at Jerusalem, for that structure had been