Society's sharp descent into moral relativism became more acute throughout the 1960s with even the secular psychiatrist, Karl Menninger expressing his alarm in a 1973 book, Whatever Became of Sin? That question brings into focus the moral compass of some Adventist Christians heralding the extremity of our need to re-examine the great Truths of the Heavenly Sanctuary of which the Old Testament Sanctuary was but a type. Is there only forgiveness of sin found in the Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary or is there also a cure for the disease found in its Holy of Holies? A study of Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary provides a most enlightening and encouraging answer and outcome!
Virtually all Christians will agree with the fact that Christ is our High Priest and is the Lamb slain and risen, the efficacious Savior of the World and the Example of the believer! The stumbling block for many, however, is whether any action or event beyond the AD 31 Ascension has relevance for Christians today. Within the environs of the two-apartment Sanctuary is where the critical distinction and difficulty emerges.
In the Old Testament type, the Daily Sacrifice offered in the Courtyard symbolizing Christ's earthly ministry of Atonement, is the acknowledgement of our sin(s) and need of a Savior. Christians of all stripes agree; but overwhelmingly the majority of Christians, including a growing number of Seventh-day Adventists, stop with an application of the blood shed on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins only. What about the blotting out of sin(s) in the Most Holy Place as clearly taught in the Day of Atonement Type? This leaves me asking: Upon His ascension, as many believe, did Jesus go directly into the Holy of Holies thereby whitewashing the critical antitypical Day of Atonement ministry in which sins were not only forgiven, but blotted out?
This segues us to the stumbling block of 1844 and whether Daniel 8:14 is still the major distinguishing feature of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. "… then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed."
Ellen White framed these salient words: "As a people, we should be earnest students of prophecy; we should not rest until we become intelligent in regard to the subject of the Sanctuary, which is brought out in the visions of Daniel and John." Evangelism p. 222. Quite a vital topic indeed! "… then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed." In the typical Day of Atonement as outlined in Leviticus 16 and 23, we very clearly note that the cleansing of the Sanctuary was symbiotic to the cleansing of the individual believer within the Body of believers. Daniel 8:14 does more than imply that something special in the extreme was to commence at the end of the 2300 day (years) prophecy. Its context communicates an urgency of understanding! Daniel 8:9-13 outlines two entities that are in a death struggle with God.
The early pioneers of Adventism saw these two usurpers as Paganism (the "Daily") and the Papacy ("transgression of desolation"). It is noteworthy to see that the apostate Church, the Papacy, was not the result of Christianity absorbing Paganism, but the other way around. God was displaced by an imposter.
Since then, the enemy has been working overtime to undermine this truth that the Sanctuary would be cleansed of the defilement that sin through apostasy has wrought. History and the ongoing delay of Jesus' return demonstrate that Satan's frantic efforts to defile and destroy have yielded him a bountiful harvest of error. Too often we have been silent as he has "stolen a march" on the understanding of many resulting in the cacophony of confusion swirling around the return of Jesus. Let us never forget that the original "light bearer" was transformed into a "bearer of darkness" who ingenuously masquerades as a bearer of light.
So, why the 1844 prophecy that the Sanctuary would be cleansed, and what could possibly be its connection to 1888? If indeed the 2300 Day prophecy reached its conclusion in 1844, we must carefully look at ramifications of the message of Daniel 8:14.
A study of the typical Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 and 23 provides insight for living in today's antitypical Day of Atonement since 1844. We could say that the forgiveness of sin in the Holy Place was individualistic only, and that the blotting out of sin in the Most Holy Place pertained not only to the individual but to the Body—that is, antitypical Laodicea. In summary, the individual and, by extension, the congregation—today's Laodicea—was called to do four things that were symbiotic actions corresponding to the work of the High Priest as He not only forgave sins but blotted them out! That is, provided a permanent cure! These four acts of worship were/are:
As the 1888 Message was brought into focus by Ellen White, A.T. Jones, E.J. Waggoner, W.W. Prescott, S.N. Haskell, and others, one overarching theme began to emerge. The whole focus of the beginning of the Latter Rain (teacher of Righteousness, Joel 2:23) with the attendant Loud Cry (Revelation 18) was inherent in the cleansing of the Sanctuary! The 1888 Message was, and still is, the call of God for His people to stop their rebellious resistance to His grace, justice, and mercy and embrace Him fully!
The rhetorical question that is its own answer is this: Is the delay His doing or ours? Many times, over many years, God's servant made it clear it's ourdoing— which clearly evidences our lack of cooperation with Christ's "Daniel 8:14" work. 1888 was another major intervention by Christ to underscore His commitment to cleanse and blot out our sin! Sadly, Ellen White applied Zechariah 13:6 to our corporate rejection. Christ "was wounded in the house of His friends:
At this point, I think it is vital to refer to a must-read book by one of the 20 century servants God used to illuminate the Cleansing of the Sanctuary aspect of the 1888 Message. "And Then Shall the Sanctuary Be Cleansed", by Donald Karr Short clearly develops the distinction between the forgiveness of sin and the blotting out of sin. The former a Holy Place process and the latter a Most Holy Place process.
As already noted, knowledge of the forgiveness of sin is widespread, but there exists a very low level of familiarity with the blotting out of sin, especially unknown sins, in the Most Holy Place. The key difference is illustrated in the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers in Matthew 21, Mark 12 and Luke 20. Here Jesus vividly illuminates the core issue of the Fall—The SIN-- that afflicts us all. The desire to kill the SON of the Owner of the vineyard shouts that our real issue with a holy God far transcends such everyday thoughts and actions as pride, anger, lust, intemperance, etc. The stunning revelation of man's true nature as revealed in the parable couples quite naturally with the words of Jesus when He spoke to the Jews: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, …" John 8:44.
Now connect those texts with Isaiah 14's five "I" statements related to Satan and there we have it— This is the unconscious sin of the ages which the Cleansing of the Sanctuary is designed to expose, cleanse, and cure! And, as modern Laodicea, we continue in our state of blissful denial …
Listen to A.T. Jones in the 1893 GC Bulletin pp225-6:
"Now some of the brethren…they came here free; but the Spirit of God brought up something they never saw before. The Spirit of God went deeper than it ever went before, and revealed things they never saw before, then instead of thanking the Lord that it was so, and letting the whole wicked business go, and thanking the Lord they had ever so much more of Him than they ever had before, they began to get discouraged… Isn't it too bad that a person whom the Lord has loved so much as to give Himself for him, should act that way with the Lord, when the Lord wants to reveal more of Himself? Brethren, if any of you have got into discouragement, let us quit. It the Lord has brought up sins to us that we never thought of before, that only shows that He is going down to the depths, and He will reach the bottom at last; and when He finds the last thing that is unclean or impure, and that is out of harmony with His will, and brings that up, and shows that to us and we say, 'I would rather have the Lord than that'—then the work is complete and the seal of the living God can be fixed upon that character."
Doesn't that sound like the cure for sin is found in the cleansing of the soul sanctuary and the corresponding blotting out of sins is in the Heavenly Sanctuary? The Investigative Judgment is then over! As His wayward Bride has finally made herself ready (Revelation 19:7), our merciful and just High Priest will rise in the Holy of Holies (Daniel 12:1) and pronounce the words recorded by the aged apostle John in the Revelation of Jesus Christ: "He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still" (Revelation 22:11). Praise the Lord, cleansed Laodicea will cease to seek cheap relief as she repents down to her core! Our God is thereby vindicated, or justified, as the One who has not only revealed His Righteousness through Jesus Christ but has demonstrated to the on-looking Universe that He can reproduce His righteousness even in the fallen flesh of His Bride! Little wonder then, that the cleansed ones give all glory to him and we declare with the Psalmist! "Your way, O God, is in the Sanctuary: Who is so great a God as our God?" (Psalms 77:11).
~Kenneth Dale Martin