The Bible tells us about a Sanctuary that was built at the command of God. This was a marvelous structure. And every detail of it has special meaning for us today.
But the way in which its services foretold future events in God's great plan for mankind is especially striking. You will want to learn the purpose of the great Heavenly Sanctuary, and what it means in your life right now.
Come view the Sanctuary of Prophecy - the most magnificent structure in all the universe - and the ministry of Christ on your behalf within it. A door has been opened for you. It leads into the throne room of God.
The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and central pillar of the advent faith was the declaration, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Daniel 8:14. These had been familiar words to all believers in the Lord's soon coming. By the lips of thousands was this prophecy joyfully repeated as the watchword of their faith. All felt that upon the events therein brought to view depended their brightest expectations and most cherished hopes. These prophetic days had been shown to terminate in the autumn of 1844. In common with the rest of the Christian world, Adventists then held that the earth, or some portion of it, was the sanctuary, and that the cleansing of the sanctuary was the purification of the earth by the fires of the last great day. This they understood would take place at the second coming of Christ. Hence the conclusion that Christ would return to the earth in 1844.
But the appointed time came, and the Lord did not appear. The believers knew that God's word could not fail; their interpretation of the prophecy must be at fault; but where was the mistake? Many rashly cut the knot of difficulty by denying that the 2300 days ended in 1844. No reason could be given for this position, except that Christ had not come at the time of expectation. They argued that if the prophetic days had ended in 1844, Christ would then have come to cleanse the sanctuary by the purification of the earth by fire; and that since He had not come, the days could not have ended.
To accept this conclusion was to renounce the former reckoning of the prophetic periods, and involve the whole question in confusion. It was a deliberate surrender of positions which had been reached through earnest, prayerful study of the Scriptures, by minds enlightened by the Spirit of God, and hearts burning with its living power; positions which had withstood the most searching criticism and the most bitter opposition of popular religionists and worldly-wise men, and which had stood firm against the combined forces of learning and eloquence, and the taunts and revilings alike of the honorable and the base. And all this sacrifice was made in order to maintain the theory that the earth is the sanctuary.
God had led His people in the great Advent movement, His power and glory had attended the work, and He would not permit it to end in darkness and disappointment, to be reproached as a false and fanatical excitement. He would not leave His word involved in doubt and uncertainty. Though the majority of Adventists abandoned their former reckoning of the prophetic periods, and consequently denied the correctness of the movement based thereon, a few were unwilling to renounce points of faith and experience that were sustained by the Scriptures and by the special witness of the Spirit of God. They believed that they had adopted sound principles of interpretation in their study of the Scriptures, and that it was their duty to hold fast the truths already gained, and to still pursue the same course of Biblical research. With earnest prayer they reviewed their position, and studied the Scriptures to discover their mistake. As they could see no error in their explanation of the prophetic periods, they were led to examine more closely the subject of the sanctuary.
In their investigation they learned, that the earthly sanctuary, built by Moses at the command of God, according to the pattern shown him in the mount, was "a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices;" that its two holy places were "patterns of things in the heavens;" that Christ, our great High Priest, is "a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man;" that "Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Hebrews 9:9,23; 8:2; 9:24.
The sanctuary in Heaven in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy. God placed His Spirit upon the builders of the earthly sanctuary. The artistic skill displayed in its construction was a manifestation of divine wisdom. The walls had the appearance of massive gold, reflecting in every direction the light of the seven lamps of the golden candlesticks. The table of shewbread and the altar of incense glittered like burnished gold. The gorgeous curtain which formed the ceiling, in-wrought with figures of angels in blue and purple and scarlet, added to the beauty of the scene. And beyond the second veil was the holy shekinah, the visible manifestation of God's glory, before which none but the high priest could enter and live. The matchless splendor of the earthly tabernacle reflected to human vision the glories of that heavenly temple where Christ our forerunner ministers for us before the throne of God.
As the sanctuary on earth had two apartments, the holy and the most holy, so there are two holy places in the sanctuary in heaven. And the ark containing the law of God, the altar of incense, and other instruments of service found in the sanctuary below, have also their counterpart in the sanctuary above. In holy vision the apostle John was permitted to enter Heaven, and he there beheld the candlestick and the altar of incense, and as "the temple of God was opened," he beheld also "the ark of His testament." Revelation 4:5; 8:3;11:19. (continued further down)
CHAPTER SUPPLEMENT - DANIEL'S AMAZING PROPHECIES
The master prophecy of the Bible is given in Daniel 8. This chapter closely connects with Daniel 7 and 9, and should be studied with them.
DANIEL 7 (written in 553-552 B.C.) reveals world history from Daniel's time down to the second advent of Christ. In vision, Daniel sees four world empires symbolized as beasts, followed by a little horn power (Dan 7:1-8, 15-21, 23-25). The Investigative Judgment then convenes in heaven (Dan 7:9-10,13, 22, 26). And, after that, history ends with the second advent of Christ (Dan 7:14, 27-28).
The animals in Daniel 7 parallel the parts of the metal image of Daniel 2. The lion in chapter 7 is Babylon (605-538 B.C.). The bear is Medo-Persia (538-331 B.C.). The leopard beast is Grecia (331-301 B.C., at which time it becomes divided into tour kingdoms which continue on until around 168 B.C.). The terrible beast is Pagan Rome (168 B.C. to the 5th Century A.D., when it becomes broken into ten kingdoms). The little horn is Papal Rome, which gained full power by A.D., 538, after uprooting three kingdoms (the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths).
DANIEL 8 is composed of two major parts. The first is an EVENT prophecy that closely parallels the prophecy of Daniel 7. This prophecy is about two beasts and a little horn that follows them (Dan 8:1-12, 20-25). The first beast, a ram, is Medo-Persia (538-334 B.C.), and the he-goat which struck it down was Grecia (334-168 B.C.). The "notable horn" was Alexander the Great who, before his death in 323, carved out the largest empire in history up to that time - in only ten years. When he was broken off in the prime of life, the empire divided into four sections. The little horn is Pagan Rome which, historians tell us, was taken over by Papal Rome. Much of Daniel 7 and 8 (7:8,19-26 and 8:9-12, 23-25) is given to a concern over this power which would speak blasphemies (7:8,20; 8:11), seek to kill God's people (7:21,25; 8:10, 24-25), cast down the truth to the ground (8:12, 25), tear God's Sanctuary down from heaven (8:11), and even try to change the law of God (7:25). Revelation 13 (read verses 6-7, for example) deals with the same little horn power - the Papacy.
But there is a second part to Daniel 8: This is a TIME prophecy (Dan 8:13-14, 26). The prophecy itself is given in Daniel 8:14. "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed". Careful reading of this chapter reveals that, while the angel Gabriel was told to explain the vision of Daniel 8 to the prophet (8:16), only the event prophecy was explained (8:17-25) while the time prophecy was only referred to (8:26). Daniel nearly fainted under the burden (8:27), and the prayer of Daniel 9 is the result.
DANIEL 9 begins with the prophet's prayer for guidance and help for his people (Dan 9:1-19). Gabriel, the one whom he had seen in his earlier vision (9:21), is then sent in answer to his prayer (9:20), in order to complete the explanation (9:22-23).
THE LONGEST PROPHECY BEGINS. The 70 week prophecy (Dan 9:24-27) is the first part of the 2300 day prophecy. Seventy weeks are "determined" ("cut off" in Hebrew - cut off from the larger 2300 day [year] prophecy) for the Jews. Therefore, the first part of the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8:14 is time allocated to the Jews, to conclude their probation as God's specially favored nation.
In Bible prophecy, a day equals a year (Num 14:34; Ezek 4:6). The decree of Artaxerxes, given in his seventh year as king, in 457 B.C. (Dan 9:25; Ezra 6:14; 7:6-8), restoring the Jewish government, begins this vast time prophecy of 2300 years. The first 70 weeks (Dan 9:24-27) of this prophecy, cut off or allotted to the Jews, equals 490 years. The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt in 7 weeks, or 49 years (408 B.C.). Another 62 weeks brings us to the anointing of Christ for His mission in AD.27. Now 423 years are past, only 1 week remains of the 70. In the midst of this week (Dan 9:26-27), AD.31, the Messiah is cut off, crucified. A second half-week of 3½ years brings us to AD.34, when at the stoning of Stephen the gospel is taken to the Gentiles.
THE LONGEST PROPHECY ENDS. In AD.34 the 70 weeks, or 490 years, are completed. There remains 410 years of this longest Bible prophecy, of Daniel 8:14, to be fulfilled. At its termination, in AD.1844, began the "cleansing of the sanctuary" predicted in this important passage of Daniel 8:14.
Jesus is our High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary (the pattern of the earthly). In 1844, He began His final work in it, prior to His second advent to the earth for His people.
CHAPTER SUPPLEMENT - THE EARTHLY TABERNACLE
The sanctuary in the wilderness was constructed under the direction of Moses, in accordance with the pattern shown him in the mount (Ex25:7-8, 40; Heb 8:5).
Enclosing this wilderness tabernacle was an OUTER COURT which was made of white curtains attached to poles (Ex 27:9-18), and was about 75 feet wide by 150 feet long (based on an 18-inch cubit). Within the Court was the ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING, the Laver, and the Tabernacle. This altar was also called the Brazen Altar since there was a second altar (the Golden Altar) inside the Tabernacle. This outside (Ex 27:1-9) altar was hollow inside, overlaid with brass, and was 5 feet high and 7.1/2 feet square. Upon this altar were placed the animals that were offered as burnt sacrifice. Just beyond, stood the brass LAVER (Ex 30:18-21), where the priests washed before entering the Tabernacle.
The TABERNACLE (the sanctuary) (Ex 26:1-37) was a tent with wooden walls, four layers as a roof covering, with gold and beautiful curtains inside. About 15 by 45 feet in size, this Tabernacle was portable, so it could be taken apart and moved from place to place during the journeys of Israel through the wilderness. Divided by an inner veil into two rooms (compartments), it was the holiest place on earth.
The priest entered the FIRST COMPARTMENT everyday with the blood, and went past the seven-branched Golden Candlestick, with its seven lamps of fire (Ex 25:31 -40); past the Table of Shewbread, containing the dedicated bread, that stood before the Presence of the Lord (Ex 25:23-30); and on to the Altar of Incense, or Golden Altar (Ex 30:1-10), from whence the smoke of a specially prepared incense wafted up, over the top of the dividing veil (which did not reach to the ceillng) and into the Holy of Holies beyond. Upon the Golden Altar and dividing veil, the priest sprinkled some of the sacrificial blood (Lev 4-5). A partial description of this may be found in Hebrews 9:1-7. All of the furniture within the First and Second Compartments was of solid gold, or covered with gold.
The SECOND COMPARTMENT, or Most Holy Place (Ex 26:33), contained the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 26:17-22). Between two CHERUBIM was the glory of the SHEKINAH - the Presence of God (Ex 26:22; 40:34). Beneath it was the MERCY SEAT, a solid gold slab that covered the top of the ARK, wherein lay the foundation of God's government: the MORAL LAW OF TEN COMMANDMENTS (Ex 20:3-1 7) which was written by the finger of God on stone (Ex 24:12) and then placed in the Ark (Ex 40:20). All of mankind is to be governed by those holy precepts, even down to the end of time (Rev 12:17; 14:12) and beyond (Rev 22:14; Isa 66:22-23). The DAILY SERVICE continued all year; but, once a year on the DAY OF ATONEMENT, the high priest entered the Second Compartment - to cleanse the sanctuary and the people of sin (Lev 16:30, 33-34 and all of the chapter; Dan 8:14).
Those who were seeking for the truth found indisputable proof of the existence of a sanctuary in Heaven. Moses made the earthly sanctuary after a pattern which was shown him. Paul declares that that pattern was the true sanctuary which is in Heaven. John testifies that he saw it in Heaven.
In the temple in Heaven, the dwelling-place of God, His throne is established in righteousness and judgment. In the most holy place is His law, the great rule of right by which all mankind are tested. The ark that enshrines the tables of the law is covered with the mercy-seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner's behalf. Thus is represented the union of justice and mercy in the plan of human redemption. This union infinite wisdom alone could devise, and infinite power accomplish; it is a union that fills all Heaven with wonder and adoration. The cherubim of the earthly sanctuary looking reverently down upon the mercy-seat, represent the interest with which the heavenly host contemplate the work of redemption. This is the mystery of mercy into which angels desire to look, - that God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinner, and renews His intercourse with the fallen race; that Christ could stoop to raise unnumbered multitudes from the abyss of ruin, and clothe them with the spotless garments of His own righteousness, to unite with angels who have never fallen, and to dwell forever in the presence of God.
At the termination of the 2300 days, in 1844, no sanctuary had existed on earth for many centuries; therefore the sanctuary in Heaven must be the one brought to view in the declaration, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." But how could a sanctuary in Heaven need cleansing? Turning again to the Scriptures, the students of prophecy learned that the cleansing was not a removal of physical impurities, for it was to be accomplished with blood, and therefore must be a cleansing from sin. Thus says the apostle: "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the Heavens should be purified with these [the blood of animals]; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these [even the precious blood of Christ]." Hebrews 9:23. To obtain a further knowledge of the cleansing to which the prophecy points, it was necessary to understand the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary. This could be learned only from the ministration of the earthly sanctuary; for Paul declares that the priests who officiated there served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." Hebrews 8:5.
The ministration of the earthly sanctuary consisted of two divisions: the priests ministered daily in the holy place, while once a year the high priest performed a special work of atonement in the most holy for the cleansing of the sanctuary. Day by day the repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle and, placing his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them to the innocent sacrifice. The animal was then slain, and the blood or the flesh was carried by the priest into the holy place. Thus the sin was, in figure, transferred to the sanctuary. Such was the work that went forward throughout the year. The continual transfer of sins to the sanctuary, rendered a further work of ministration necessary in order for their removal. On the tenth day of the seventh month the high priest entered the inner apartment, or most holy place, which he was forbidden, on pain of death, to enter at any other time. The cleansing of the sanctuary then performed completed the yearly round of service.
On the great day of atonement, two kids of the goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them, "one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat." The goat upon which fell the lot for the Lord was to be slain as a sin-offering for the people. And the priest was to bring the blood before the mercy-seat. "And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness" Lev. 16:8.16.
"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness, and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited." Leviticus 16:21, 22. The scapegoat came no more into the camp of Israel, and the man who led him away was required to wash himself and his clothing with water before returning to the camp.
The whole ceremony was designed to impress the Israelites with the holiness of God and His abhorrence of sin, and, further, to show them that they could not come in contact with sin without becoming polluted. Every man was required to afflict his soul while this work of atonement was going forward. All business was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel spent the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart.
Important truths concerning the atonement may be learned from the typical service. A substitute was accepted in the sinner's stead; but the sin was not canceled by the blood of the victim. A means was thus provided by which it was transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood, the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed his guilt in transgression, and expressed his desire for pardon through faith in a Redeemer to come; but he was not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law. On the day of atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this general offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims. Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself, and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people.
Such was the service performed "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." And what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly, is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly. After His ascension, our Savior began His work as our high priest. Says Paul, "Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Hebrews 9:24. In harmony with the typical service, He began His ministration in the holy place, and at the termination of the prophetic days in 1844, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, He entered the most holy to perform the last division of His solemn work, - to cleanse the sanctuary.
As the sins of the people were anciently transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary by the blood of the sin-offering so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is, to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. This necessitates an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigative Judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when He comes, His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works. Revelation 22:12.
Thus those who followed in the advancing light of the prophetic word saw that instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary into the presence of God, to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to His coming.
It was seen also, that while the sin-offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed. When the high priest, by virtue of the blood of the sin-offering, removed the sins from the sanctuary, he placed them upon the scapegoat. When Christ, by virtue of His own blood, removes the sins of His people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place them upon Satan, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty. The scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, never to come again into the congregation of Israel. So will Satan be forever banished from the presence of God and His people, and he will be blotted from existence in the final destruction of sin and sinners.
CHAPTER SUPPLEMENT - CHRIST OUR MEDIATOR
"And let them make me a sanctuary; that I might dwell among them". Exodus 25:8.
"And the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place [first compartment] and the most holy [second compartment]". Exodus 26:33.
"For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread". Hebrews 9:2. "And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was... the tables of the covenant [the Ten Commandments]". Hebrews 9:3-4 (Exodus 40:20-21).
"And thou shalt put the mercy seat above the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I give thee". Exodus 25:21 (Deuteronomy 10:4-5).
"And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony". Exodus 25:22.
"Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services". Hebrews 9:6. R.V.
"But into the second [compartment] went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people". Hebrews 9:7.
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