The Sanctuary of the Bible

The Sanctuary of the Bible

THE eighth chapter of Daniel is a prophecy of wonderful interest; for it gives the prophetic history of the world from the rise of the Persian Empire till the final destruction of all earthly kingdoms by the God of Heaven. The succession of earthly empires was presented to the prophet under the symbols of a ram, a goat, and a little horn that became exceeding great. And when these had been shown to him, he was told by the angel Gabriel that the ram represented the kingdom of Media and Persia; and that the goat was the kingdom of Grecia; and the horn which became exceeding great, though not called by name, was identified by several decisive facts, among which are these: That it should be the great destroyer of the people of God, and that it should put to death the Prince of princes. These facts show that the Roman power is intended. SOTB 1.1

In connection with these symbols which represent the great empires that have since arisen, the prophet learned the duration of his vision. For he heard Gabriel ask Michael, “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And Michael, who answered the question to Daniel, said: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Verses 13, 14. SOTB 1.2

Now, it is plain that the period of twenty-three hundred days cannot be understood to mean so many literal days; for this would not make quite seven years, and would cover only a very small part of the duration of one of the three great empires of this vision. But we should remember that in this vision the great empires of the world are represented by symbols, and thus are given on a scale which brings them distinctly before the eye of the observer. It is necessary that the time should be given on a scale that corresponds with this in order not to involve an absurdity. For the Persian, Grecian, and Roman Empires have in all continued between 2000 and 3000 years. Now when these empires were represented by beasts, if the time that the empires were to continue was given without a corresponding abatement, then we should have these beasts living a thousand years apiece! This would be absurd. But it would not be absurd to represent them as living and acting that number of days. SOTB 1.3

The days must therefore represent longer periods of time. If we compare spiritual things with spiritual, we shall find the key to the interpretation of these days. For the different inspired writers were all led by the same Spirit of truth. They were like so many workmen engaged in building a temple. If we can find the rule which governed one of them, we shall find that same rule governing all the rest in like circumstances. Now God gave this rule to Ezekiel in the interpretation of the symbols of his own vision: “I have appointed thee each day for a year.” Ezekiel 4:6. We shall find in Gabriel’s explanation of this vision of Daniel given in the ninth chapter, that the days in Daniel’s prophecy are so many years. SOTB 2.1

This period of two thousand and three hundred days was certainly given for the benefit of the people of God. But it cannot benefit them unless they are able to understand it. We have indeed ascertained that it must be two thousand and three hundred years. But if we do not know when this period commences, we shall be none the wiser for having the period given in Daniel’s prophecy. But there is a certain great event to take place when this period expires, and God designed to give his people knowledge of the time. The event is called the cleansing of the sanctuary. We shall find the subject one of very deep interest when we come to examine the Bible to learn what it teaches respecting the sanctuary and its cleansing. SOTB 2.2

But the date of this great period is not given in the eighth chapter of Daniel. In that chapter, however, the commandment is given by Michael thus: “Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.” Verse 16. And yet, in verse 27, he tells us that he “was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” The angel in explaining to him this vision set before him the destruction of the mighty and the holy people, and the cruel death of the Son of God. The prophet could bear no more, for he “fainted, and was sick certain days;” so Gabriel reserved the remainder of the explanation till another time. SOTB 3.1

But in the ninth chapter we find Daniel earnestly seeking God with reference to his sanctuary. Verses 3, 17. He seems to have connected his own vision of the sanctuary with that of Jeremiah respecting the desolation of the temple of Jerusalem. Verse 2. His mind was upon the subject of time. He knew that the seventy years of Jeremiah’s prophecy were just expiring, and he was intently studying that period, doubtless in connection with the period which Michael told him marked the cleansing of the sanctuary. It was necessary that he should now be made to understand the reckoning of the great period revealed to him in his vision of the eighth chapter. SOTB 3.2

And so while he was engaged in importunate prayer for the people of God and for his sanctuary, the angel Gabriel touches him, saying, “I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. Verse 22. And calling attention to the vision which he had been commanded to explain to him, he says: “Therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Verse 23, compared with chapter 8:16. SOTB 3.3

Thereupon he gives to Daniel the key to the reckoning of his great period. “Seventy weeks,” says he, “are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,” etc. Verse 24. The word determined does not express the full sense of the Hebrew word used by the angel. The word spoken by the angel was “cut off.” The translators, not seeing the propriety of such a word in this place, for they did not note the fact that the ninth chapter is the key to the eighth, and so thought nothing of the long period in that chapter, could not understand how the seventy weeks could be said to be cut off, and so they departed from the literal meaning, and said that seventy weeks, were “determined,” that is appointed, upon they people and thy city. But with the prophet, the case was different. The angel had bidden him “consider the vision.” And nothing was more natural when told that seventy weeks were cut off than that he should recur to the long period revealed to him without a date in that vision. SOTB 3.4

This shorter period being cut off from that long period gives us the key to the reckoning of that period from which it is cut off. When we ascertain the date of the seventy weeks, we have also ascertained the point from which the twenty-three hundred days are to be reckoned. And this date the angel next gives us. SOTB 4.1

“Know therefore,” said Gabriel, “and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks.” Verse 25. The commandment for the restoration of Jerusalem, which city then lay in ruins, is the event which marks the commencement of this period. Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return and build the temple, but did not say anything respecting the city itself. Ezra 1. This decree Darius renewed when the Jews were hindered by their enemies, and he provided means for the expense of finishing the temple., Ezra 6. But Artaxerxes added to the work of Cyrus and Darius the full restoration of the city to its ancient privileges, and the re-establishment of the law of God as the law of the city; and he authorized the rebuilding of its walls. Ezra 7:11-26; 9:9. The commandment is the prophetic commandment of the God of Heaven (Isaiah 44:26-28; 45:13), and was carried into effect by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, whose successive action is recognized as the legal establishment of that commandment by the authority of the Persian Empire. Ezra 6:14. SOTB 4.2

The decree of Artaxerxes, which marks the going forth of the commandment, was in the year B.C. 457 (see margin of Ezra 7), a date which has been established by the infallible testimony of many eclipses. Sixty-nine weeks, or 483 prophetic days, extend from this date to the Messiah, that is, to Christ. This period was fulfilled in exactly 483 years, which proves that we have made no mistake in reckoning Daniel’s days as years, nor in fixing their date at B.C. 457. SOTB 5.1

It was in the fall of A.D. 27, just 483 full years from the going forth of the commandment in B.C. 457, that our Lord began his ministry. And this was the announcement which he made: “the time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:15. He did in these words refer to the sixty-nine weeks which marked the commencement of his ministry, and he announced the fulfillment of that period. For the period extends not simply to the birth of the Saviour, but to his annointing, which took place at his baptism, the word Messiah signifying the anointed one. See John 1:41; Acts 10:40, 41; Luke 3:21, 22; 4:14, 21. SOTB 5.2

The sixty-nine weeks did, therefore end with the beginning of our Lord’s ministry in the fall of A.D. 27. One week of the seventy remained in which the covenant was to be confirmed with many. Verse 27. In the midst of this week, the sacrifice and oblation were to cease. This must signify that he should take these away by becoming himself the great sacrifice for sin which these typified. Hebrews 10:1-13; Colossians 2:14-17. And so it was that our Lord preached during three years and a half, until the spring of A.D. 31, when he was crucified for the sins of men. This date, Dr. Hales, one of the moist distinguished of chronologists, establishes by conclusive evidence. See his “Analysis of Chronology,” second edition, vol. 1. pp. 94-100. There remained of the period which was specially assigned to the Jews three and a half prophetic days to complete the seventy weeks. The termination of this period in A.D. 31 marked the close of the exclusive work for the Jews, and the commencement of the work for the Gentiles in the conversion of Saul, who was at once commissioned to them. Acts 26:15-17. Here ended the seventy weeks which were cut off from the 2300 days. When these 490 days were finished, there remained 1810 days before the time should come for the cleansing of the sanctuary. As the 490 ended in the fall of A.D. 34, the remaining 1810 days ended in the fall of 1844. SOTB 5.3

In the great Advent movement under the preaching of William Miller and his fellow laborers, the evidence was brought out with great clearness that the 2300 days would end in 1844. He believed that the sanctuary to be cleansed is our earth. He found no testimony in the Bible that the earth is the sanctuary, but he did find that the earth is to be purified, by fire (2 Peter 3:7-13), and so he inferred that this was the sanctuary which Michael said should be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days. He therefore concluded that this period was given to mark the time of Christ’s coming. And as it was sufficiently evident from the several great lines of prophecy in Daniel and Revelation, and from the signs of the times, that the advent of Christ was at the doors, the time was preached in connection with the signs with very great solemnity and power. SOTB 6.1

But though it could be clearly shown that the 2300 days actually ended in 1844, the Advent people were doomed to a great disappointment. The ending of the 2300 days was not the time appointed of God for the coming of Christ, nor for the burning of the earth. But the great Advent disappointment made it necessary that two important questions should be carefully studied. SOTB 6.2

1. What is the sanctuary of the Bible? SOTB 6.3

2. What is meant by the cleansing of the sanctuary? SOTB 7.1

The fact that the cleansing of the sanctuary is an event located in prophecy in the very conclusion of one of Daniel’s great prophetic chains, shows that it is an event of deep interest to mankind. And as we live at a time when the 2300 days are in the past, we are most deeply concerned to understand the nature of the work called the cleansing of the sanctuary. SOTB 7.2

The Bible is full of the subject of the sanctuary, and we shall find it a theme of intense interest if we give it careful study. The Bible doctrine of the sanctuary is this: That the sanctuary is the place where the High Priest stands to offer blood before God for the sins of those who come to God through him. The central subject in the sanctuary is the ark which contains the law of God that man has broken. The cover of this ark was called the mercy-seat, because mercy came to those who had broken the law beneath it, when the high priest sprinkled the blood of sin-offering upon it, provided they accompanied his work by repentance and faith. Last of all was the work of cleansing the sanctuary when the high priest by blood removed the sins of the people from the sanctuary into which they had been borne by the ministration of the priests before God. We now invite attention to the testimony of the Bible respecting the sanctuary. SOTB 7.3

1. There are two covenants; the first, or old covenant, extends from the time of Moses to the death of Christ; the second, or new covenant, begins at the death of Christ and extends forward to the consummation. Galatians 4:24-26; Hebrews 8:7-13; Luke 22:20. SOTB 7.4

2. The first covenant had a sanctuary, which was the tabernacle erected by Moses. Hebrews 9:1-7. SOTB 7.5

3. The new covenant has a sanctuary which is the temple of God in Heaven, into which our High Priest entered when he ascended up on high. Hebrews 8:1-5. SOTB 7.6

4. When Moses erected the tabernacle, he was commanded by God to make it according to the pattern which he showed to him; and this pattern must have been a representation of the temple of God in Heaven; for the earthly sanctuary is declared to be a pattern of the heavenly. Exodus 25:9, 40; Hebrews 8:5; 9:23. SOTB 7.7

5. The earthly sanctuary consisted of two holy places; the first of which contained the table of shew-bread, the candlestick with seven lamps, and the golden altar of incense; and the second contained the ark of God’s testament with the tables on which the ten commandments were written by the finger of God, and over which was the mercy-seat with the cherubim of glory overshadowing it. Exodus 40:18-28; Hebrews 9:1-5. SOTB 8.1

6. The temple of God in Heaven is not only spoken of as the original from which the earthly sanctuary was copied (Hebrews 9:23, 24; 1 Chronicles 28:11, 12, 19), but it is also spoken of as consisting of holy places, in the plural. See Hebrews 8:2; 9:8, 12, 24; 10:19, in each of which verses the original is holy places, in the plural, and they are so rendered in various translations. SOTB 8.2

The word sanctuary in the Bible, except in the few cases where it is used figuratively, refers always to the place where the high priest ministers before God for the sins of the people. It was first the tabernacle erected by Moses; then it was the temple built by Solomon, which was a more glorious structure than the tabernacle, but with the same two holy places; and when the typical sacrifices ended in the death of Christ, who is the true sin-offering, the earthly sanctuary, or holy places, ceased to be the center of God’s worship, and Christ entered the temple in Heaven as a great High Priest-the minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. The temple of God in Heaven is the sanctuary from which the psalmist says the Lord beheld the earth (Psalm 102:19), and which Jeremiah speaks of as being where the throne of God is found. Jeremiah 17:12; Revelation 16:17. SOTB 8.3

The ministration in the earthly sanctuary could not actually take away sins; for it had only the blood of bulls and goats to offer. Hebrews 10:4. It was ordained for the purpose of instructing men with reference to the work of Christ, and of encouraging them to look forward to his work. It is a shadow or representation of the service of Christ in the sanctuary of God in Heaven. Hebrews 8:5; 10:1; Colossians 2:17. It took one year to complete the round of service in the earthly sanctuary, at the end of which the cleansing of the sanctuary took place. The round of service was repeated each year, even as a shadow is renewed each day. But the ministration of Christ which casts this shadow fills out each part of the work once for all, and is not repeated. We shall therefore find the study of the service in the earthly sanctuary full of instruction as to the work of Christ in the sanctuary above. SOTB 8.4

The ministration in the first apartment occupied the entire year, with the exception of one day, which was devoted to work in the second apartment, or most holy place, to close up the work which had been wrought in the first apartment. The work in the first apartment was on this wise: When a man repented of his sin, he brought a sin-offering to the priest to the door of the sanctuary. Then he confessed his sin to the priest and put his hand upon the head of his offering to indicate the transfer of the guilt from himself to his offering. Then, the victim was slain because of that guilt thus transferred to it, and the blood, representing the life of the victim, was taken by the priest and carried into the sanctuary, and sprinkled there before God. This act was the offering of the life of an innocent victim in the place of the life of him who had broken the law of God, and it was the transference of that man’s guilt from himself to the sanctuary of God. See Leviticus 4 and the parallel scriptures. This was the most important feature of the work in the first apartment, and by it the guilt of the penitents was transferred from themselves to the tabernacle. SOTB 9.1

On the tenth day of the seventh month, which was called the day of atonement, the ministration was transferred to the second apartment, or most holy place. Leviticus 16. By God’s direction, the high priest on this day caused two goats to be brought to the door of the sanctuary. On these he was to cast lots. One was for the Lord, the other was for Azazel. The he slew the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and took his blood to present it before God as a sin-offering in the most holy place, sprinkling it upon the mercy-seat. He did this for two purposes: 1. To make atonement for the people. 2. To cleanse the sanctuary by removing from it the sins of the people of God. Leviticus 16:15-19. SOTB 9.2

The sanctuary being cleansed, the high priest comes out of the building, and having caused the other goat to be brought which was for Azazel, he lays both his hands upon his head, and confesses over him all the transgressions of the children of Israel in all their sins. These he puts upon the head of the goat and sends him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. And it is said that “the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited.” Verses 20-22. SOTB 10.1

The work of the high priest on this great day of atonement was for the purpose of completing the work which had been partially accomplished in the first apartment. By the work in that apartment, the sins had been transferred to the sanctuary through the blood of sin-offering. By the work in the second apartment, the sanctuary is cleansed and the sins of the people of God blotted out. Such was the work in the earthly sanctuary, and such was the cleansing of the sanctuary as set forth in the example and shadow of heavenly things. SOTB 10.2

The earthly sanctuary was only made as the pattern of the sanctuary in Heaven. Hebrews 8 and 9. Itself and its services pertained only to the first covenant. Hebrews 9:1. With the introduction of the new covenant came the real sanctuary of God, the tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man. Hebrews 8:1, 2. While the first tabernacle stood, it signified that the way into the holy places of the heavenly temple was not opened. Hebrews 9:8. But when our Lord ascended on high, he became a great High Priest, and by his own blood he entered the temple of God. Verses 11, 12. The order of his ministration is clearly indicated by the service in the two apartments of the earthly sanctuary. Hebrews 8:5; 9:8-12; 10:1. And we are able to trace the ministration of Christ in these two apartments of the temple above in the New Testament. SOTB 10.3

Thus, when John looked into the temple of God in Heaven, he saw the Father sitting upon the throne, and before the throne were seven lamps burning. Revelation 4. In this place also he saw the Son of God. Revelation 5. Before the throne also stood the golden altar of incense. Revelation 8:3. These things do clearly mark the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and show that this was the place where our Lord began his ministration as our High Priest. SOTB 11.1

But there is a time when his ministration is to be within the second apartment. This is marked in John’s statement of the events under the seventh trumpet: “And the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” Revelation 11:19. The ark marks the second apartment as the seven lamps and the golden altar of incense mark the first. The second apartment is therefore opened under the seventh angel, and the days (or years) at the beginning of his voice constitute the period in which the mystery of God or work of the gospel for fallen man is finished. Revelation 10:7; Ephesians 3:4-6. It is certain therefore, that as there was a time each year devoted to the finishing up of the round of service in “the example and shadow of heavenly things” so is there such a period in the conclusion of Christ’s ministration, when once for all our High Priest finishes his work of priesthood; and as this work in the former dispensation took place in the second apartment, so also under the new covenant does this work find its accomplishment within the second vail by the ark of the ten commandments. The work in the second apartment of the earthly sanctuary does not therefore represent the work of the whole gospel dispensation, but only of that part of it devoted to the finishing of the mystery of God. SOTB 11.2

The work within the second apartment was for the cleansing of the sanctuary, and this was performed by the high priest with blood, and when it was accomplished the sins of the people were blotted out. It was, therefore, an event of the greatest importance to the people of God. The heavenly sanctuary is to be cleansed, and for the same reason that the earthly sanctuary was cleansed. So Paul testifies in Hebrews 9:23. The same word which Paul uses to express the purification in this text is used in the Septuagint version of Daniel 8:14, for cleansing. The prophecy of Daniel shows us that the sanctuary of God is cleansed in the last days of the new covenant dispensation. The sanctuary of the new covenant is in Heaven. Hebrews 8:1, 2. This heavenly sanctuary is to be cleansed; for Paul affirms it. Hebrews 9:23. The time marked for its cleansing is that fixed by John for the opening of the temple in Heaven and for the finishing of the mystery of God. Revelation 11:19; 10:7. The cleansing of the sanctuary is the removal from it of the sins of the people of God that had been borne into it by the High Priest, and their blotting out from the record that stands against the saints, preparatory to their being placed upon the head of the scape-goat, or Azazel. SOTB 12.1

Now this Azazel, as the word is in the original, or scape-goat, as some translations render it, can be no other than Satan. For the being that receives the sins of the righteous after the High Priest has finished his work in the sanctuary, can be no other than Satan, the author of sin. The word Azazel was understood by the ancient people of God to mean Satan. When, therefore, the goat was sent into a land not inhabited, it represents the fact that Satan at the conclusion of Christ’s work as priest shall be cast into the bottomless pit. Revelation 20. SOTB 12.2

The treading under foot of the sanctuary is not performed by literally trampling it in the dust. It is trodden under foot in the same manner that men are represented as treading under foot the Son of God who ministers in that sanctuary. Hebrews 10:29. SOTB 12.3

But does Daniel’s vision really take in the heavenly sanctuary? We know that the earthly sanctuary as understood by him was the temple of God. Daniel 9:17, 26. His view was in exact harmony with that of Paul in Hebrews 9:1-5. And ought we not to understand that the entire 2300 days belong to the temple in old Jerusalem? Such is the view taken by some, and yet it is not at all in harmony with the statement of Gabriel. The entire period of 2300 days does not belong to old Jerusalem; for Gabriel said, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city.” The words literally translated from the Hebrew are, “Seventy weeks are CUT OFF upon thy people, and upon thy holy city.” Daniel 9:24. So we have the highest authority for saying that only 190 of the 2300 days pertain to the earthly sanctuary. And it is worthy of notice that the actual transition from the earthly sanctuary to that of the new covenant, which is the heavenly, is in close proximity to the end of the 490 days. SOTB 13.1

And this is not all. Gabriel introduces the heavenly sanctuary itself, for the last event mentioned under the seventy weeks in the anointing of the most holy. In the Hebrew, this is the anointing of the body of holies. This cannot mean Christ, but must mean the sanctuary of God. It cannot mean the earthly sanctuary, for that was left of God at this very time (Matthew 23:38), and was, with all the typical system, here set aside. The anointing of the sanctuary was that which prepared the way for the ministration therein. Leviticus 8:10. The ministration in the earthly sanctuary was now finished, and that in the heavenly was about to commence. The sanctuary, therefore, which at this time was anointed was that which at this very point took the place of the earthly sanctuary. It was the temple of God in Heaven which Gabriel thus brings to Daniel’s view. The 2300 days do, therefore, embrace the closing period of the earthly sanctuary and the entire history of the ministration in the sanctuary of the new covenant. They end in the last days of the new covenant dispensation, and the cleansing of the sanctuary is the consummation of the work of our great High Priest therein. SOTB 13.2

The nature of that work we will now briefly indicate. The work of the Judgment is divided into two parts. The first part is the investigative judgment, which takes place in the heavenly sanctuary, God the Father sitting in judgment. The second part is the execution of the judgment, and is committed wholly to Christ, who comes to our earth to accomplish this work. John 5:22-27; Jude 14, 15. It is while the investigative judgment is in session that the cleansing of the sanctuary takes place. Or, to speak more accurately, the cleansing of the sanctuary is identical with the work of the investigative judgment. SOTB 14.1

This part of the judgment is described in Daniel 7:9-14. God the Father sits upon the throne of judgment. Those who stand before the Father are the angels. Compare Revelation 5:11. It is not upon earth, for the Father does not come to our earth. It is before the second advent of Christ, for Christ comes to our earth as a king sitting upon his own throne (Matthew 25:31, 34; Luke 19:12, 15; 2 Timothy 4:1), but this tribunal of the Father is the very place where he is crowned king. Daniel 7:13, 14. It is the time and place where our Lord concludes his priestly office, and must, therefore, be in the second apartment of the sanctuary above. Revelation 10:7; 11:15, 18, 19. SOTB 14.2

When the Saviour comes, he gives immortality to the righteous dead. 1 Corinthians 15:23, 51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. The rest of the dead are left until the resurrection of the unjust. Revelation 20. But those who are thus made immortal were previously accounted worthy of that great salvation. Luke 20:35. There can be no examination afterward to ascertain whether they shall be saved or lost, for they are put in possession of eternal life at the moment when the trumpet sounds. And such, also, is the case with the living righteous. They are changed to immortality in the same moment with the dead in Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. These are previously judged worthy of this great salvation (Luke 21:36), and can never afterward be subjected to trial for the determination of this point. The decision who shall have eternal life has, therefore, been made before Christ descends to execute the judgment. SOTB 14.3

The books are examined before the deliverance of the saints. Daniel 12:1. The opening of the books is described in Daniel 7:9, 10. The book of life shows who have ever set out in the service of God. Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3. The book of God’s remembrance shows the record of their faithfulness in his cause, and whether they have made clean work in overcoming. Malachi 3:16. Other books contain the record of men’s evil deeds. Revelation 20:12, 13. SOTB 15.1

As the object of this final work in the sanctuary is to determine who are worthy of everlasting life, no cases will come before this tribunal except those who have had their names entered in the book of life. All others are left out of this investigation as having never become partakers in Christ’s atoning work. The investigation will determine who have overcome their sins; and these will have their sins blotted from the record, and their names retained in the book of life. It will also determine who have not overcome; and these will have their names blotted from the book of life. Revelation 3:5, and their sins will be retained in the record, to be visited with retribution in the resurrection to damnation. SOTB 15.2

The righteous need a high priest until their sins are blotted out. They cannot be blotted out till the Judgment; for God has decreed to bring every work into judgment whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; 3:17. He certainly cannot bring any record into judgment, after he has blotted it out. The blotting out is therefore the last act of our High Priest, and is done when the Father has accounted each person worthy of this; which will only be when the High Priest has shown from the record in the book of God’s remembrance that he has actually overcome. The blotting out of sins (Acts 3:19) is therefore the great work which brings our Lord’s priesthood to a conclusion. As this is an individual work, it evidently begins with the first generation of the righteous, and so comes down to the last, that is, to those who are alive at the coming of Christ. It is the time of the dead that they should be judged. Revelation 11:18, 19. The first angel gives notice to the inhabitants of the earth that the hour of God’s judgment has come. Revelation 14:6, 7. The living are still on probation when this solemn announcement is made to mankind. SOTB 15.3

The proclamation of the third angel, which is made while Christ is closing up his work in the sanctuary, is designed to prepare the living for the decision of the Judgment. When the cases of the living are reached, probation closes up forever. The decree goes forth from the throne of God, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; ... and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11. The sins of the overcomers being blotted out, and the sanctuary cleansed, the Son of God is no longer needed as a great High Priest. He therefore ceases from the office forever and becomes a king for the deliverance and glorification of his people, and for the destruction of all transgressors. Daniel 7:13, 14. Satan, the author of sin, receives its dreadful burden when the work in the sanctuary is closed, and will bear it with him to the lake of fire. SOTB 16.1

It is of infinite consequence to us who live in the time when Christ is closing up his priesthood, that we understand the work which he is performing, and that we so walk in the light as to share in his great salvation.
J.N.A.
SOTB 16.2