Spring 2016: Solemn Preparation
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Daniel 8:14: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

Psalms 96:6 “Honour and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”

As presented in the Word of God, the plan of redemption is most beautiful. John 3:16 tells us how God was willing to give up everything for our salvation. Heaven is all about giving! “The greatness of the plan cannot be fully comprehended, nor could infinite Wisdom devise a plan that would surpass it.”1 This is because God gave His own life. What more or greater thing could He do? He has devised the greatest plan to save humanity. Oh, how much He loves us though sinful and undeserving we are! In this study it is the earnest prayer of the author that we find courage and strength to enter into an experience that is most needed for these last days.

The prophet Isaiah declares that with our sins we cannot see or approach God. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear.” Sin can never exist in the presence of God or where God reigns. And the glory of God, like a consuming fire that destroys sin, also destroys anything attached to it. Proverbs 6:27, 28 says, “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” We are preserved alive because Christ was made sin for us! (See 2 Corinthians 5:21.) To help us escape God’s wrath, separate from sin, and get ready to stand at the second coming of Jesus, the sanctuary message is given. It reveals God’s love and desire to save the sinner without saving sin; to destroy sin without destroying the sinner. How can a sinner become a righteous person, or gain victory over sin? This is the hardest work! But, God took this task upon Himself, having loved us with an everlasting love.

The first time we are introduced to the sanctuary is in Exodus 25:8, 9: “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Here God commanded Moses to make it exactly like the one He was going to show him. So, where is this original one? Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the earthly tabernacle serves as an “example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: "for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” So, the original one is the heavenly. It existed before the earthly one and is in active service, for Hebrews 8:1, 2 and 9:24 say: “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” “For 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.” At the death of Jesus the veil of the earthly temple “was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51). Then the service of the earthly sanctuary came to an end. People no longer need to make animal sacrifices “for even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The heavenly sanctuary is the true and active one, but the earthly was a shadow, figure, or a pattern and was given to help God’s people receive practical lessons of their redemption story. In fact, an Israelite could learn the plan of redemption within one year: The whole service of the earthly sanctuary was completed yearly by the day of atonement.

The earthly sanctuary had three parts: the outer court, the holy place, and the most holy place. And the heavenly has the two: the holy place and the most holy place. As we shall see, this earth is the court of the heavenly sanctuary. Every Israelite had the privilege to come to the sanctuary and be made clean, freed from sin. “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.”2 The two divisions are 1) the daily, and 2) the yearly. Now, let’s discuss the daily ministration and see if there is anything in heaven, in the perfect place, that needs to be cleansed.

In the court the repentant sinner’s sacrifice was offered. This was done as often as the sinner needed to confess and repent of his sins. “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” “The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 17:11. No one could be cleansed from sin unless he had a surety or substitute; someone who could make an atonement for his sins. So, the sinner brought an innocent lamb, without blemish or any defilement. The sinner was to “lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering” (Leviticus 4:33). Here the sinner is figuratively transferring his own sins upon the lamb to be slain. And he is the one to kill it, signifying that his own sins killed an innocent life. Then all the sins of the penitent were, through the blood, transferred to the sanctuary. The service resulted in the blessing of forgiveness. “The priest shall make an atonement” for the sinner “for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him” (Leviticus 4:35).

John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Isaiah foretold about Jesus as the Lamb of God. (See Isaiah 53:5, 7.) The Lamb signified Jesus Who was sacrificed for the sins of the whole world. Paul declares: “. . . For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). It is not only the lamb but also the priest (and the high priest) that represent Jesus. Our Passover, Christ, was sacrificed on the cross of Calvary here on earth. So, the outer court represents the earth. There never was a court in heaven (see Rev. 11:2). This earth, where the true sacrifice was offered on Calvary, is the court of the heavenly sanctuary. All of us are sinners who caused the death of Christ on Calvary. And the blood of the Lamb is life for us. Jesus said, “I am the life” (John 14:6).

In the earthly service all the sins of the penitent ones were, through the blood of the lamb, transferred to the sanctuary. The sins polluted the sanctuary, thus making it necessary for its cleansing. Similarly, the heavenly sanctuary has become polluted: the sins of every penitent person, through the blood of Jesus, the true Lamb of God, are continually transferred to it.

“In Hebrews 9 the cleansing of both the earthly and the heavenly sanctuary is plainly taught: ‘Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 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,’ [Hebrews 9:22, 23.] even the precious blood of Christ.”3 The cleansing of both the earthly and the heavenly must be accomplished with blood. The former, with blood of animals, the latter with the blood of Jesus. The reason why it must be performed with blood is because “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The cleansing day is also called the day of atonement. It is done by the high priest in the most holy place of the sanctuary.

On the day of atonement of the earthly sanctuary, before the high priest enters the most holy, two goats were brought before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them, “one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scape-goat” (Leviticus 16:8, 21, 22). The goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell was offered as a sin offering for the people. The priest would take his blood into the most holy and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. The blood was also sprinkled upon the altar of incense. On this day the people searched their hearts, investigated themselves and prepared their lives for the blotting out of their sins, figuratively. (See Leviticus 16:29-31.) “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). It was done once a year, but brought the sinner to make the final decision (see Leviticus 23:29). In that day the people were judged according to the things they had done. That means it was a day of judgment, investigative judgment. Those who didn’t confess and repent were cut off from Israel, signifying that one day, when Jesus comes, those who will not be separate from sin will be cut off from the congregation of God’s people.

The goat that was sacrificed on the day of atonement, represents Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The live goat represents the devil, who will take the responsibility of all the sins of the penitent ones and will bear them into the wilderness for 1,000 years till he is thrown into the lake of fire. (Study Revelation 20.) “In like manner, when the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, then in the presence of God and heavenly angels, and the host of the redeemed, the sins of God’s people will be placed upon Satan; he will be declared guilty of all the evil which he has caused them to commit. And as the scape-goat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness.”4 This is the way the sanctuary is cleansed. All the sins are removed from it.

This yearly ministration carries our mind forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners.5

And how can we tell when Christ’s final ministration or the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary began?

Daniel 8:14 says: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” In Daniel 8:26, 27 it says: “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days… and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” The vision is true as the heavenly sanctuary is true and not figurative. In chapter 9:21-27, the angel Gabriel was sent to make him understand the vision. The only thing that Daniel did not understand from the previous chapters was Daniel 8:14, the cleansing of the sanctuary. The angel told him that the beginning of the 2300 days would be “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25). Also, the 70 weeks of probation for the nation of Israel was an additional revelation to Daniel. Seventy weeks equals 490 days. History tells us in autumn 457 BC the decree was made to restore and to build Jerusalem. Many events were to be fulfilled in this 70 weeks. And, all the events of Daniel 9:24-27 were fulfilled in 490 years. The Bible teaches that a day in prophecy stands for a year (see Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6).6 The 70 weeks were cut off from the vision of the 2300 days. That means, the 2300 days began with the 70 weeks and must end in AD 1844. “Thus those who followed in the 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, to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to his coming.”7 The 2300 days, which is 2300 years in reality, brings us to autumn AD 1844. At that very time, the throne of God moved from the holy place to the most holy place. (For how the throne moves, study Daniel 7:9, 10; Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10; Psalm 68:24.) In AD 1844, Christ’s work in the holy place was completed, and His final ministry, as our high priest in the most holy place, began. This is the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, the removal and blotting out of sins from the sanctuary. Daniel 7:9, 10 tells us that “… the judgment was set, and the books were opened,” right before God’s throne. This investigative judgment occurs with the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, prior to Christ’s second coming and His final executive judgment pronounced upon sin and sinners. The Bible tells us that the throne of God is in the sanctuary and that God’s judgment occurs there. (See Jeremiah 17:12, Isaiah 6:1, Psalms 9:4, 7.)

The work being performed in the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary is to complete the ministration of Jesus as our high priest. So, as in that day when the children of Israel humbled their hearts and examined themselves, in our day of atonement we are called to humble our hearts before God, examine ourselves, confess our sins and repent. When Christ leaves the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, the door of mercy will be closed forever. No prayers offered, no tears shed, or anything else can bring salvation. At that time, the seven last plagues will fall on those who have not humbled themselves before the Almighty God (study Revelation 15).

Dear reader, Jesus says: “Come unto Me” (Matthew 11:28). “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). This is the highest experience-to be before the merciful throne of God! Psalm 20:2 says, “Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion.” Our help comes from the sanctuary above. The Bible says: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). A great time of trouble is coming soon! Jesus, Who is the second person of the Godhead, is told to be our Helper and Defender in the time of trouble. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Psalm 77:13 says: “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” Isaiah declares, “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.” May the Lord help us to find Jesus, Who is our Way, Truth, and Life, so we can enter the gates of heaven. At last, made free from sin, we can see God! (Remember Isaiah 59:1, 2?)

Finally, “In place of wrapping about us the garments of self-righteousness, we should be found daily humbling ourselves before God, confessing our own individual sins, seeking the pardon of our transgressions, and cooperating with Christ in the work of preparing our souls to reflect the divine image. Unless we enter the sanctuary above, and unite with Christ in working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, we shall be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and shall be pronounced wanting.”8

1. Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald, 1957), 7-A: {5BC 1133.4}

2. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan During the Christian Dispensation (Oakland, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1888), p. 417.

3. Ibid., p. 417.

4. Ibid., p. 657.

5. See Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1917), p. 684.

6. Ibid., p.698.

7. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (1888), p. 422.

8. Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, 7-A: 933.

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