FREDERICKTOWN —After 400 years of slavery in Egypt, the children of Israel were set free. As Moses led them across the desert, he was directed by God to build a sanctuary. The purpose was to “re-educate” them on salvation and redemption. The portable temple was a life-size lesson, full of symbols and meaning designed to teach the path to salvation.
Starting Saturday, The Messiah’s Mansion, a full-scale replica of the Mosaic Sanctuary, will be on display, bringing believers, and even nonbelievers, together for the same education.
“This is one of those things churches of all denominations study,” said Pastor Ron Vozar of the Fredericktown Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is hosting the free 16-day event. “We were just excited because we know our church is studying the service and what it meant and what it means for Christians today. We also know that other churches are, too. We just wanted to bring it to give folks the idea of the scale that this thing really was.”
The scene, located just south of Kokosing Construction just off Ohio 13, is constructed in a 75-by-150-foot courtyard, which surrounds a 45-by-15-foot temple.
“It’s set up in such a way that it is simple to understand,” said Clayton Leinneweber, director. “We really complicate religion, but it’s the visual here that really works. It tells you step by step. If you are moving in this direction, and there is only one entrance, you are going all the way back to God’s presence.”
Along the way, guests will learn of the symbolism and spiritual applications of the courtyard, the Holy Place, the Most Holy Place and the high priest.
“The whole symbol here is an object lesson that every person owes it to themselves to come see it. I don’t care what faith they have because once they’ve seen it, it will actually strengthen their faith,” Leinneweber said.
“Most people think the lamb was just killed. The lamb was just standing in for Christ when they were killing it all those years. But the reality is, there came a time when that lamb was Christ,” Leinneweber said.
Because of that reality, Leinneweber believes the tour is a perfect way to bridge all facets of today’s society.
“When we see that, I think it’s where we jump the bounds of all the denominations because it’s something we all have in common — that Christ was the one that died for us,” he said.
For those who don’t have such a tight grip on faith, Messiah’s Mansion is a good opportunity to explore some of the building blocks of religion.
“All of the sudden you have the basics of what Christianity is about, but even beyond that, what God has always meant for salvation to be about. There has always been one plan for salvation and that has never changed,” Vozar said.
Those lessons are important and fundamental to understanding more than just the biblical book of Exodus.
“The scenario of the sanctuary is all the way through the book of Psalms, all the way through the New Testament, the book of Hebrews, the book of Revelations. You find the sanctuary is the background for many of these books and many of the teachings we have,” Vozar said.
Messiah’s Mansion travels with Leinneweber and 12 high school and college students, who not only construct the temple but serve as tour guides. Tours start every 15 minutes and last approximately 75 minutes.
Local volunteers have been on hand since Wednesday to help with setup. They will also direct traffic, and work security and the prayer tent.
“This is the first time this has ever been in Ohio. It’s pretty exciting that it’s coming to Fredericktown — Knox County — for the first time in Ohio,” said Vozar.
While in Knox County, Leinneweber and his group will stay in one of the dorms at the Mount Vernon Academy.
The event runs from Saturday until Aug. 2, from 1 to 7 p.m. daily, rain or shine. Admission and parking are free.
To schedule a large group tour call 694-0530.