Story of Hope


Chapter 12 - The Sanctuary

The Protestant Reformation arose to address many of the errors of Rome. The reformers also took up other matters, long neglected\ that they found in Scripture. By the nineteenth century; interest in the second coming of Jesus was growing among Bible students of various denominations and countries. Many expected the event to happen in the first half of that century. The movement was especially strong in America, where its followers became known as “adventists. ” Based on a time prophecy in Daniel 8:14 about the cleansing of the sanctuary they expected Jesus to come and cleanse the earth in 1844. When this did not happen, some of them searched the Bible to understand why. SH 101.1

The Earthly and Heavenly Sanctuaries—In their investigation these earnest Bible students learned that the earthly sanctuary, which Moses built at the command of God according to the pattern shown him on Mount Sinai, was “a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices.” Hebrews 9:9, KJV. They learned that its two holy places were “copies of the things in the heavens”; that Christ, our great High Priest, is “a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man”; and that “Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:23; 8:2; Hebrews 9:24. SH 101.2

The sanctuary in heaven, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary that Moses built was a copy. As the sanctuary on earth had two apartments or rooms, the holy and the most holy, so there are two holy places in the sanctuary in heaven. And the ark containing the law of God, the altar of incense, and other instruments of service found in the sanctuary below also have their counterpart in the sanctuary above. In holy vision the apostle John was permitted to enter heaven, and there he saw the candlestick or lampstand, and the altar of incense, and as “the temple of God was opened,” he also saw “the ark of His covenant.” Revelation 4:5; 8:3; Revelation 11:19. SH 101.3

Those who were seeking for the truth found indisputable proof that a sanctuary exists in heaven. Moses made the earthly sanctuary after a pattern shown to him. Paul declared that that pattern was the true sanctuary, which is in heaven (Hebrews 8:2, 5). John testified that he saw it in heaven. SH 102.1

At the end of the 2300 days, in 1844, no sanctuary had existed on earth for many centuries. Therefore, the sanctuary in heaven must be the one brought to view in the declaration, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14. But how could the sanctuary in heaven need cleansing? Turning again to the Scriptures, the students of prophecy learned that the cleansing was not a removal of physical impurities, for it was to be accomplished with blood, and therefore it must be a cleansing from sin. The apostle says: “Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these [the blood of animals], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these [even the precious blood of Christ].” Hebrews 9:23. SH 102.2

To obtain further knowledge of the cleansing to which the prophecy points, they needed to understand the services of the heavenly sanctuary. They could only learn this from the services of the earthly sanctuary, for Paul declares that the priests who officiated there served “the copy and shadow of the heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:5. SH 102.3

The Cleansing of the Sanctuary—Anciently, as the sins of the people were transferred, in symbol, to the earthly sanctuary by the blood of the sin offering, so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood SH 102.4

of Christ. And as the symbolic cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins that had polluted it, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins that are recorded there. This requires an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigative judgment. This work must be performed before the coming of Christ to redeem His people, because when He comes, His reward is with Him to give to every one according to his works. (Revelation 22:12.) SH 103.1

Thus those who followed in the advancing light of the prophetic word saw that instead of coming to the earth at the end of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, into the presence of God, to perform the closing work of atonement, in preparation for His coming. SH 103.2

A Solemn Message—When Christ entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of the atonement, He entrusted His servants with the last message of mercy to be given to the world. This is the warning of the third angel of Revelation 14. The prophet sees that immediately following its proclamation, the Son of man is coming in glory to reap the harvest of the earth. SH 103.3

The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angels message (Revelation 14:9-12). It must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. People are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter. The warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the arrival of Gods judgments, that all may know why these judgments are to be inflicted and may have opportunity to escape them. SH 103.4

In the issue of the great contest, two distinct, opposite classes are developed. In one class is everyone who “worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,” and thus who bring upon themselves the awful judgments threatened by the third angel. The other class, in marked contrast to the world, are those who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation SH 103.5

14:9, 12. SH 104.1