Jamestown Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Chapter 11: The Cleansing of The Sanctuary
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Chapter 11: The Cleansing of The Sanctuary
Dan L. Kelly, Elder Emeritus

As we left Chapter 10, Jesus our Mediator and Substitute, our Sin Bearer, was in the Heavenly Tabernacle (Sanctuary) before the Throne of God serving as our High Priest.  Just as in the old Tabernacle in the Sinai wilderness, in the Daily service, Jesus carried our sin with Him into the Heavenly when He ascended to Heaven after His resurrection. This left us with a potential problem however, and we need to address that issue.  What is this sin doing polluting the pristine confines of Heaven.  There is no sin in Heaven, is there?  

Well, if we accept Jesus is our Sin Bearer, it is a forgone conclusion that he has, indeed, carried your sin and mine with Him into the very throne room as He ministers as our High Priest.  Hence, we have the potential problem.  The old Sanctuary, however gives us an illustration of what happens to the accumulated sin which had been deposited over the whole year.  It was called The Day of Atonement.  This has been referred to in preceding chapters. It was a day when the sin that was offensive to God – sin that caused separation between Him and His people – sin that was symbolically deposited in the Most Holy Place – was, symbolically, removed from the sanctuary and the Sanctuary was left clean.  It was reconciled, made right, and His people were reconciled to Him as well because all their sin was forgiven and ministered and then removed from the Sanctuary. The whole camp of Israel was clean!  Free from sin! It was the Cleansing of the Sanctuary.  But, in the old service, it would start all over again. You can read about it in Hebrews Chapter 9.  Look especially at verses 25 and 26.  But notice also this:

    “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.  But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:…But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:6,7 and 11,12)

In the reality, or the Anti-typical Day of Atonement, the procedure is similar but in actual rather than in symbol. Jesus enters only once, rather than on an annual basis at the time of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary. We can all agree that when Jesus died on the cross He literally carried our sins with Him to that cross as our substitute.  That being the case, and accepting Him as our Sin Bearer and Great High Priest, we can see how in reality He also carries our sin with Him on His ascension to the Heavenly Sanctuary and, as our Mediator, He still receives our confessed sins of which we have repented, while serving us today.

Nevertheless, this sin will not be in the Heavenly Sanctuary permanently carried about by Jesus. Because this world, the universe and Heaven itself will be cleansed of the sin that He has carried.

There is a prophecy in Daniel that links the old sanctuary services and their Day of Atonement to an Antitypical Day of Atonement, a Cleansing of the Sanctuary, in our time.  Daniel had a vision in which he saw the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place being abused and then he heard an angelic bystander ask another one who stood by, ‘How long is this going to continue?’ It reads:

“Unto two thousand three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:14)

Nearly all Bible scholars agree that there is a day/year principle involved where each day equals a year when dealing with time prophecies and such is the case here. (See Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 in context).  This translates to 2,300 years.  This spread of time began in 457 BC at the execution of the decree of King Artexerxes Longimanus to re-instate Jerusalem as the essential political Capitol of Israel in the post-Babylonian period, when he allowed the Jews to return to Israel, and extends 2,300 years forward. (See Daniel 9:24,25 and Ezra 7:12-26. This decree is historically dated to 457 BCE) So, according to this prophecy of Daniel, in the year 1844 the ministry of Jesus in the Sanctuary in Heaven would change from that of the Daily nature to the Cleansing nature or the Antitypical Day of Atonement – a time of judgment for God’s people; a time for them to examine themselves and, indeed, to be examined in a judgment prior to the second advent of Jesus. A judgment that is preparatory to His return. Just as in old Israel on the typical Day of Atonement each one examined himself and was examined prior to the closing of the Day of Atonement, before the High Priest completed his ministry in the Most Holy Place and left its confines exiting out through the veil.  Theirs lasted for a day. Our process of Pre-Advent Judgment, upon which Jesus enters only once, lasts until His work is finished and he can say, unequivocally:

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:11 – 14)

It is at this time that Jesus sets aside His priestly work and garments because His work of intercession and mediation is finished.  Every person has made irrevocable decisions. The Day of Atonement is ending.  He passes from this ministry to the final phase of His work of service and moves on to that position in which most of us recognize Him as today; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

But, as He proceeds, there’s still more to do!  Do you remember that, in the desert Sanctuary, the High Priest, on the Day of Atonement, came out of the Most Holy Place when his work was done and traveled through the Holy place into the courtyard where the live goat, Azazel’s goat, remained?  Well, Jesus still has the sin that He has been carrying to dispose of just as the High Priest did in the old days.
In our next chapter, we shall watch the travel of the sin and see its final disposition.  It would be good to remember, in the meantime, who it was that originated sin. How is it that he gets away Scott Free? Or, does he?

We’ll see in the next chapter.

Dan L. Kelly
Elder Emeritus