This study consists of 2-parts!
Introduction to understanding the prophecy timeline and cleansing regarding the earthly and heavenly Sanctuary. Some may find that much reviewing is needed to fully comprehend the treasure-house of truths, herein! Let us discover the sanctuary truth! (part 1)
The Lord directed the Israelites to build a sanctuary, or tabernacle, which was a type of the heavenly ministration. Exodus 25:8; Psalm 77:13. It was composed of a court with an altar of burnt offerings and a laver for the priests to wash themselves before entering the sanctuary. The tabernacle itself contained two apartments, the holy place and the most holy place. The service of the priests connected with the sanctuary was a representation of the work of Christ, our great High Priest, in the true tabernacle "which the Lord pitched and not man." Hebrews 8:1-5; 9:19-28.
At His ascension to heaven, Christ began His intercessory ministry in the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, where, for over 1900 years, He offered the merits of His blood as an atonement for all confessed sins. John 1:29; Romans 5:8-11; 8:34. In 1844, according to the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, Christ entered upon the second and final phase of His ministry in the most holy place to cleanse it from the sins of the repentant sinners. This work IS ALSO CALLED the INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT. Revelation 11:18, 19; 20:12; 22:12. Although the lives of all who have their names written in the book of life, both from among the dead and the living, are to be examined, only the ones who have confessed and forsaken their sins will have their names retained in the book of life and their sins blotted out from the books of record. Daniel 7:9-14; 1 Peter 4:17, 18.
When Christ, through the merits of His own blood, removes the record of the sins of His faithful children from the sanctuary at the close of human probation (Revelation 22:11, 12), He will place those sins upon Satan, the scapegoat, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final responsibility for all the sins that he has caused the saints to commit. Leviticus 16:8-10, 21, 22.
"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. This subject sheds great light on our present position and work, and gives us unmistakable proof that God has led us in our past experience. It explains our disappointment in 1844, showing us that the sanctuary to be cleansed was not the earth, as we had supposed, but that Christ then entered into the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and is there performing the closing work of His priestly office, in fulfillment of the words of the angel to the prophet Daniel, 'Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.'"—Evangelism, pp. 222-223.
(For a clearer understanding of Daniel 8 & 9 regarding the 2300 yr. prophecy), see:
"The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise, it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time, or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God."—The Great Controversy, p. 488.
"The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith."—Evangelism, p. 221.
"We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance [yearly, the Israelites experienced a probationary period unto the Day of Atonement]. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."—The Great Controversy, pp. 489-490.
[bracket emphasis for explanation]
"Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour's admonition: 'Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.' Mark 13:33. 'If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.' Revelation 3:3.
"When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. Christ in the Revelation, looking forward to that time, declares: '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.' Revelation 22:11, 12."—The Great Controversy, pp. 490-491.
The Great Work To Be Done & the Cleansing of the Sanctuary is Connected (part 2)
KJV Daniel 8
14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred (2300) days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. When The people of God understand what this is about thenTRUTH shall make you FREE (John 8:32).
KJV John 16
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. (This is powerfully indicating that the Father and the Son is always together and have the closest bond in the whole universe)
2 Corinthians 5:19 God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.
And in the ministration in the sanctuary above, “the counsel of peace shall be between Them (Father and Son) both.” For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
The question, What is the sanctuary? is clearly answered in the Scriptures. The term “sanctuary,” as used in the Bible, refers, first, to the tabernacle built by Moses (for God to dwell with/in his people Exodus 25:8), as a pattern of heavenly things; and, secondly, to the “TRUE tabernacle” in heaven , to which the earthly sanctuary pointed to (a greater reality). At the death of Christ the typical service (in the ancient Israel sanctuary/temple) officially ended. The “TRUE tabernacle” in heaven is the sanctuary of the NEW COVENANT . And as the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 is fulfilled in this dispensation, the sanctuary to which it refers must be the sanctuary of the new covenant (there was a earthly and always a heavenly TEMPLE). At the termination of the 2300 days, in the year 1844 (a marker for the Last days), there had been no physical sanctuary on earth for many centuries. Thus the prophecy, “Unto two thousand and three hundred (2300) days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” unquestionably points to the sanctuary in heaven in connection with a spiritual earthly sanctuary of the new covenant.
BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION REMAINS TO BE ANSWERED: WHAT IS THE CLEANSING OF THE SANCTUARY? That there was such a service in connection with the earthly sanctuary is stated in the Old Testament Scriptures. BUT CAN THERE BE ANYTHING IN HEAVEN TO BE CLEANSED? 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. (BLOOD SYMBOLIZES LIFE - HENCE THE BLOOD OF CHRIST SYMBOLIZES THE LIFE OF CHRIST - THE LIFE OF CHRIST IS UNDERIVED and UNBORROWED LIFE - IT IS DIVINE LIFE - THIS WAS GIVEN TO HIM BY HIS FATHER). It's the type of life that He possessed. The cleansing, both in the typical and in the real service, must be accomplished. It is accomplished with blood - the life of Christ- in the heavenly. The earthly with the blood of animals; and finally, with the blood of Christ when he died. Paul states, as the reason why this cleansing must be performed with blood, that without shedding of blood is no remission. REMISSION, or PUTTING AWAY OF SIN, IS THE WORK TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. (ONLY CHRIST'S LIFE SYMBOLISED BY HIS BLOOD CAN ACCOMPLISH THIS). But how could there be SIN connected with the sanctuary, either in heaven or upon the earth - wherein God has dwelt? This may be learned (answered) by reference to the symbolic service; for the priests who officiated on earth, served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:5. (GC88 417). The SIN of the sinner was transferred to the sacrificial innocent victim and through its blood the SIN was taken into the HOLY PLACE of the sanctuary by an officiating PRIEST, to be dealt with every day, twice daily. And once a year on the day of atonement, blood that represents the blood of Jesus the lamb of God was taken into the MOST HOLY PLACE by the HIGH PRIEST to cleanse the entire sanctuary of all record of SIN. In this way blood was always associated with the removal of SIN from the sinner and the sanctuary. This one ministry happened every day and the other happened once every year. THE BLOOD - THE LIFE OF GOD IN CHRIST IS THE CLEANSING AGENT.
[Explanation Note]The whole process, as we read in Leviticus 4, begins with a sacrifice. When a sacrifice was offered for the sins of the entire congregation, the blood was taken DAILY by the priest, who represented Jesus (Hebrews 3:1), into the sanctuary and sprinkled before the veil which separated the Holy and the Most Holy place. The presence of God dwelt on the other side of the veil in the Holy of Holies. Thus, the sins of the people were removed and symbolically transferred to the sanctuary.
Each year, on the day of atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of holies and sprinkled blood on the mercy-seat.(Lev.16)
The point conveyed by this imagery is this: It is only through the offering of blood that the condemnation of the law can be abated, and violations thereof covered.
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 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 (innocent animal's) head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. The animal was then slain (symbolized that SIN kills). “Without shedding of blood,” says the apostle, there is no remission of sin. “The LIFE of the flesh IS IN THE BLOOD.” Leviticus 17:11. The broken law of God demanded the LIFE of the transgressor - but an innocent life can substitute, if there is no substitute the sinner will die. The act of providing a substitute is due to firstly the sinners genuine need of at-one-ment with his/her maker and secondly the sinner's request for forgiveness. The blood, representing the forfeited life of the sinner, whose guilt the victim bore, was carried by the priest into a container into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the ministering priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying: “God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.” Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary (truly this is the process of DIVINE substitution). The broken LAW actually requires a righteous life/character which man has not to give, hence Jesus, the only human being with a perfect life/character - he kept the law perfectly, only his life can stand in the sinners place. When the Law of God is broken by any of God's creation, it is the law of life of the universe of God that is broken. It is a potential disaster/DEATH when any part of God's creation is out of harmony with the law by which, that creation's life operates. Everyone of God's creation functions and operates by His laws by which He designed all life to operate. When one of these laws are broken, God desires to, and operates with one's cooperation to harmonize the broken law with the creation that breaks the law. For the life of any of God's creation to continue to function/operate sinfully and perpetually without ceasing would lead to death, that creation must continue to live/operate it's life in harmony with the law of life of the universe of God.
Such was the WORK that went on, day by day, throughout the year. The SINS of Israel were thus transferred to the sanctuary, and a SPECIAL WORK became necessary for their removal. God commanded that an atonement be made for each of the two sacred apartments (GC88 418)
The cherubim (made out of gold) of the earthly sanctuary, looking reverently down upon the mercy-seat of the ARK of the COVENANT (which contains the law of God), represents 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. GC88 415.2 [emphasis in brackets]
The WORK of Christ as man’s intercessor is presented in that beautiful prophecy of Zechariah concerning him “whose name is The Branch.” Says the prophet: “He shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his [the Father’s] throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” [Zechariah 6:13.] GC88 415.3
“He shall build the temple of the Lord.” By his sacrifice and mediation, Christ is both the foundation and the builder of the church of God.(the new covenant TEMPLE on earth). The apostle Paul points to him as “the chief corner-stone; (the best and most important building material in the TEMPLE) in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also,” he says, “are builded together for a habitation (TEMPLE) of God through the Spirit.” [Ephesians 2:20-22.] GC88 416.1
“And he shall bear the glory.” To Christ belongs the glory of redemption for the fallen race. Through the eternal ages, the song of the ransomed ones will be, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, ... to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” [Revelation 1:5, 6.] GC88 416.2 [emphasis in brackets]
He “shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne.” Not now “upon the throne of his eternal glory;” that kingdom of eternal glory has not yet been ushered in. Not until his work as a mediator shall be ended, will God “give unto him the throne of his father David,” a kingdom of which “there shall be no end.” [Luke 1:32,33]. As a priest, Christ is now set down with the Father in his throne. [Revelation 3:21.] Upon the throne with the ETERNAL, SELF-EXISTENT ONE (the FATHER), is he who “hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” that he might be “able to succor them that are tempted.” “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.” [Isaiah 53:4; Hebrews 4:15; 2:18; 1 John 2:1]. His intercession is that of a pierced and broken body, of a spotless life. The wounded hands, the pierced His side, the marred feet, plead for fallen man, whose redemption was purchased at such infinite cost. GC88 416.3 [emphasis in brackets]
“And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” The love of the Father, no less than of the Son, is the fountain of salvation for the lost race. Said Jesus to his disciples, before he went away, “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you.” [John 16:26, 27.] *God was “in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” [2 Corinthians 5:19.] And in the ministration in the sanctuary above, “the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] GC88 416.4
The great WORK to be done is similar to the cleansing of the sanctuary (both new covenant sanctuaries)--the removal of SIN from the HUMAN SPECIES. God has incorporated man- (you and me) into this great WORK. In this WORK God's PLAN to redeem fallen humanity becomes even more apparent with the COVENANT that God makes with Abraham to be accomplished through his seed (Jesus Christ) which involves His promise to establish through him a great nation to be made up of “ ‘descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore’ ” (Gen. 22:17, NKJV)." The plan is executed by the EVERLASTING COVENANT which spans throughout time from the OLD COVENANT to the NEW COVENANT. The old covenant relates to the ancient earthly sanctuary/temple and the new covenant is about the NEW EARTHLY SANCTUARY/TEMPLE which is connected to the heavenly - it is THE CHURCH, which is the children/people of God in Christ, and is comprised of ALL NATIONS. Hence this is the sanctuary inseparably connected with the heavenly sanctuary that must be cleansed of SIN both on the individual believer's level and the corporate level. SIN will and must be separated from God's TEMPLE - also, His TEMPLE we are (1 Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19).
Satan is determined that men shall not see the love of God, which led Him to give His only - begotten Son to save the lost race; for it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. Oh, how shall we succeed in setting forth before the world the deep, precious love of God? In no other way can we encompass it than by exclaiming, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1)! Let us say to sinners, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the SIN of the world" (John 1:29)! By presenting Jesus (the Son of God) as the representative of the Father, we shall be able to dispel the shadow that Satan has cast upon our pathway, in order that we shall not see the mercy and love of God's inexpressible love as manifested in Jesus Christ to save us. EACH ONE OF US (you and me) BECOME A TEMPLE FOR GOD TO DWELL IN because we are cleansed of all SIN. 1SM 384.2 [emphasis in brackets]