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The Sanctuary Continued...

The Sanctuary (part II)

Introduction to understanding the prophecy timeline and cleansing regarding the earthly and heavenly Sanctuary. Let us discover the sanctuary truth!

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.

A brief Concluding Study on the Sanctuary:

Hebrews 9:12-"holy place" true translation:

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining [a] eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12 New International Version (NIV)

The meaning and therefore the translation of this verse are in several languages controversial and therefore important for debunking, or upholding, the sanctuary doctrine such as taught by Seventh-day Adventists. τα άγια

We begin by contrasting the following texts, in both of which we supply the emphasis. Because this issue was recently raised by somebody from Mexico, the second one is in Spanish.

“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” (The Holy Bible, Authorized/King James Version, 1611).

“y no por sangre de machos cabríos ni de becerros, sino por su propia sangre, entró una vez para siempre en el Lugar Santísimo [the most Holy Place], habiendo obtenido eterna redención” ( La Santa Biblia, Antigua versión de Casiodoro de Reina [1569], revisata por Cipriano de Valera [1602], otras revisiónes: 1862, 1909 y 1960).

So did Jesus, after ascending to heaven, go into the Holy Place or into the Most Holy Place?

Translations, even the best ones, are all imperfect. The New Testament was not written in English or Spanish. Let us therefore go to the original, using the 2012 Nestle-Aland, 28th Revised Edition, accompanied by the English Standard Version.

ούδε δι’ αίματος τραγων και μοσχων δια δε του ίδιου αίματος είσηλθεν εφαπαξ είς τα άγια αιωνιαν λυτρωσιν εύραμενος (oude di’ haimatos tragōn kaj moschōn dia de tou idiou haimatos eisēlthein efapax eis ta hagia aiōnian lutrōsin euramenos). “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (English Standard Version).

The Greek may feasibly be translated as “the holy place” (KJV), but la Lugar Santísimo (“the most holy place”) (Reina/Valera, 1960 revision) is incorrect; for it is the same phrase that this Spanish Bible uses for the Holy of Holies in Heb. 9:3. In that verse, however, the Greek has, not τα άγια (ta hagia), but άγια άγιων (hagia hagiōn). Because in the latter case the word τα (ta, “the”) does not occur, some have argued that this άγια (hagia) is a different word: not a neuter plural but a feminine adjective referring to σκηνη (skēnē, “tent/tabernacle”). Τα (ta) is therefore important. In Heb. 9, τα άγια (ta hagia) occurs only in vs. 12.

The singular form, τα άγια (to hagion), appears in vs. 1 of the same chapter, joined to the word κοσμετικον (kosmetikon, “earthly”). To άγιον κοσμετικον means “the earthly place of holiness,” i.e. the earthly sanctuary.” This singular may be derived from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that the early Christians often used: και διοριει το καταπετασμα ύμιν άναμεσον του άγιου και άναμεσον του άγιου των άγιων (kaj dioriei to katapetasma humin anameson tou hagiou kaj anameson tou hagiou tōn hagiōn) “And the veil shall make a separation for you between the holy and the holy of holies.” (Ex. 26:33) But το άγιον (to hagion) is not used in Heb. 9:12.

There it is τα άγια (ta hagia), which can be legitimately Englished as “the sanctuary,” instead of either “the holy place” or “the most holy place.” Such was the preference of the seventeenth-century scholars to whom the world owes a celebrated translation into the Dutch language, the Staten Bijbel. First published in 1618, a mere seven years after the Authorized/King James version of 1611, it has for those who read that language played a similar role and maintained a comparable authority. For both Heb. 9:8 and Heb. 9:12, it uses the word heiligdom (sanctuary). The same holds true for the Afrikaans translation of 1933. This language, spoken in South Africa, is descended from seventeenth-century Dutch. Therefore, its Bible owes a good deal to the tradition of the Staten Bijbel.

Let us test the feasibility of this other rendering with a translation of these verses from Dutch into English: “ which the Holy Spirit made it clear that the way to the sanctuary was not yet open as long as the first tabernacle endured” (Heb. 9:8). “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered once into the sanctuary and brought about an eternal salvation” (vs. 12).

How well does this hold up in the light of the Greek original? Very well, we think. Heb. 9:1-15, within which the cited texts occur, contrasts the Saviour’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary with that of the priests in the earthly sanctuary with its two apartments. Τα άγια (ta hagia, “the holy places”) are their heavenly equivalent, into which Jesus our High Priest entered after His ascension. Did He go into both of them simultaneously? Obviously not. That would be very strange if not impossible. Instead, there would first be His general intercession. Later, at the right time, the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) of the world would come, from 22 October 1844 till just before the Second Coming.

Let us also note that we do not build our entire sanctuary doctrine, and especially the investigative judgment, on a part of Hebrews. It is not the only New Testament book that deals with this topic. The Revelation likewise has significant things to say about it.

Especially enlightening is Rev. 11:18-19: “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of the testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thundering, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Emphases added)

Here it is unnecessary to trouble the longsuffering reader with much Greek, except for the translation of a few words. The first of these is temple. In Rev. 11, it is ναος (naos, “inmost part of a temple”). Elsewhere in the New Testament, the more general word for temple is ίερον (hieron), which describes the whole complex of buildings we read about, for instance in the Gospels and the book of Acts. The naos is the inner shrine within the hieron, i.e. the Holy of Holies. Also note that the Greek word διαθηκη (diathēkē), translated as testament also means covenant. In Rev. 11:19, it is really the ark of the covenant, which is how the NKJV translates it.

Further observe how this Scripture ties up with Rev. 14:7, where the first angel loudly proclaims: “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.” This echoes Rev. 11:18, which speaks of “the time of the dead, that they should be judged” (emphases added). Another link between these two chapters is “the ark of the covenant” and “the commandments of God”—the standard of judgment—inside it.

Taken together, the book of Hebrews and Revelation provide a good basis for the sanctuary doctrine.

Here's a true translation from the 1560 Geneva Bible

9:12 [8]Neither by the blood of [i] goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].

[8] Another comparison of the blood of the sacrifices with Christ, the Levitical high priests entering by their holy places into the sanctuary, offered corruptible blood for one year only: but Christ entering into that holy body of his, entered by it into heaven itself, offering his own most pure blood for an everlasting redemption: for Christ is both the High Priest, Tabernacle, Sacrifices and Offerings themselves, indeed all those both truly and for ever.

[i] For in this yearly sacrifice of reconciliation, there were two kinds of sacrifices, the one a goat, the other a heifer, or calf.

{Heb.9:12-translation into English, follows}

οὐδὲ δι’ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων, διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος, εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια, αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος

{Original translated into English}

And not by blood of goats and calves, for the sake of blood, He came to the holy place, eternal redemption having obtained.

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