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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary


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A sanctuary was a sanctified place, a place set apart for God and therefore considered to be holy (see SANCTIFICATION). Heaven, being God’s dwelling place, could be called God’s sanctuary (Psalms 102:19; Psalms 150:1). Usually, however, the sanctuary referred to God’s earthly dwelling place, the tabernacle, and later the temple (Exodus 25:8; 1 Chronicles 28:10; Psalms 68:24-26; see TABERNACLE; TEMPLE). The inner shrine, or Most Holy Place, was in particular known as the sanctuary; for there, over the ark of the covenant, God symbolically dwelt (Leviticus 4:6; Psalms 96:6; Hebrews 13:11).

Since Israel trusted in God and God dwelt in the sanctuary, to trust in God was to trust in the sanctuary. A sanctuary therefore came to have a secondary meaning as a place of refuge (Isaiah 8:14; Ezekiel 11:16; cf. Exodus 21:12-14; 1 Kings 2:29; Numbers 35:6; see CITY OF REFUGE).

Other gods had their sanctuaries also. These were usually places where altars had been set up for the worship of false gods. The Baal sanctuaries, which Israelites often took over and used in their own form of false worship, were known as high places (Amos 7:9; see BAAL).

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Sanctuary'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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