Christ in His Sanctuary


A Truth Established by the Witness of the Holy Spirit

The visions given to Ellen White, while not running ahead of Bible study, confirmed the soundness of the position that an important phase of Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary was entered upon on October 22, 1844. Gradually the breadth and depth of the subject opened before the Advent believers. Looking back on the experience in later years, she recalled their study and the manifest evidences of God's guiding hand: CIHS 9.4

“Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce,* Elder [Hiram] Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the City of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me. CIHS 10.1

“During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given .”—Selected Messages, 1:206, 207. CIHS 11.1

The realization that Christ had entered the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary to begin His closing ministry in our behalf, typified in the sanctuary service observed by Israel of old, solemnized the hearts of our pioneer Adventists. The truths were so clear, so grand, so vital, that it was difficult to sense that upon them rested the responsibility of imparting this light to others. Ellen White wrote of the certainty of their position: CIHS 11.2

“We are to be established in the faith, in the light of the truth given us in our early experience. At that time one error after another pressed in upon us; ministers and doctors brought in new doctrines. We would search the Scriptures with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our minds. Sometimes whole nights would be devoted to searching the Scriptures, and earnestly asking God for guidance. Companies of devoted men and women assembled for this purpose. The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error. CIHS 11.3

“As the points of our faith were thus established, our feet were placed upon a solid foundation. We accepted the truth point by point, under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. I would be taken off in vision, and explanations would be given me. I was given illustrations of heavenly things, and of the sanctuary, so that we were placed where light was shining on us in clear, distinct rays. CIHS 12.1

“I know that the sanctuary question stands in righteousness and truth, just as we have held it for so many years.”—Gospel Workers, 302, 303. CIHS 12.2

The pioneers of the movement saw the sanctuary truth as basic to the whole structure of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. James White, in 1850, republished the essential portions of the first presentation of the subject by O. R. L. Crosier, and commented: CIHS 12.3

“The subject of the sanctuary should be carefully examined, as it lies at the foundation of our faith and hope.”—The Advent Review (special combined number). CIHS 12.4