Sanctuary, part 3

As this legal system, which we have been considering, was only a “shadow,” a “figure” and “patterns” of no value in itself only to teach us the nature of that perfect system of redemption which is its “body,” the “things themselves,” which was devised in the councils of heaven, and is being wrought out by “the only Begotten of the Father;” let us, guided by the Spirit of truth, learn the solemn realities thus shadowed forth. By these patterns, finite as we are, we may, like Paul, extend our research beyond the limits of our natural vision to the “heavenly things themselves.” Here we find the entire ministry of the law fulfilled in Christ, Who was anointed with the Holy Ghost and by His own blood entered His Sanctuary , heaven itself, when He ascended to the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, as “A minister of the Holies,” etc., Hebrews 8:6, 2. Paul, after speaking of the daily services in the Holy and the yearly in the Holy of Holies, says, “The Holy Ghost this signifying that the way of the Holies was not yet made manifest; while as the first tabernacle was yet standing, which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered” etc., “until the time of reformation. But Christ being an High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands,” “by His own blood He entered (on or into) the holy things.” Hebrews 9:8–12

The “things” are “good in themselves,” “holy,” or “heavenly,” and in “heaven itself,” where Christ has entered as our High Priest to “minister” for us; and those “holy things” “in heaven” are connected with the “greater and more perfect tabernacle,” “which the Lord pitched and not man”; the same as the holy things of the first covenant were connected with their tabernacle, Hebrews 9:1–5; and all those holy things together make the Sanctuary. The Holies (two) verse 8, the way of which was not made manifest till the time of reformation when Christ shed His own blood, belong to His “greater and more perfect tabernacle,” spoken of in the next verse. I translate the names literally because they are not literal in our common version. The Douay Bible has them as here given. The blood of Christ is the way or means by which He, as our High Priest was to enter both apartments of the heavenly tabernacle. Now if there be but one place in the heavens, as many say, why were there two in the figure? And why, in applying the figure, does Paul speak of two? Perhaps those who “despise the law” and “corrupt the covenant of Levi” can explain this; if not, we advise them to abide by Paul’s exposition of the matter. [See Hebrews 9:6–15.]

Christ Enters The First Compartment

Hebrews 6:19, 20 is supposed to prove that Christ entered the Holy of Holies at His ascension, because Paul said that He had entered within the veil. But the veil which divides between the Holy and the Holy of Holies is “the second veil,” Hebrews 9:3; hence there are two veils, and that in Hebrews 6, being the first of which he speaks, must be the first veil, which hung before the Holy and in Exodus was called a curtain. When He entered within the veil, He entered His tabernacle, of course the Holy, as that was the first apartment; and our hope, as an anchor of the soul, enters within the veil, i.e., the atonement of both apartments, including both the forgiveness and the blotting out of sins.

Those who hold that Christ entered the Holy of Holies at, and has been ministering therein ever since, His ascension, also believe, as of course they must, that the atonement of the Gospel Dispensation is the antitype of the atonement made on the tenth day of the seventh month under the law. If this is so, the events of the legal tenth day have had their antitypes during the Gospel Dispensation. The first event in the atonement service of that day was the cleansing of the Sanctuary, as we have seen from Leviticus 16. Then, upon their theory, the Sanctuary of the new covenant was cleansed in the early part of the Gospel Dispensation.

Evidence is not wanting that neither the earth nor Palestine, their Sanctuaries, was then cleansed. I call them their Sanctuaries, for they are not the Lord’s. But if the Lord’s new covenant Sanctuary was then cleansed, the 2300 days ended then; but if they are years, which we all believe, they extend 1810 years beyond the 70 weeks, and the last of those weeks was the first of the new covenant or Gospel Dispensation. The fact that those days reach 1810 years beyond the 70 weeks and that the Sanctuary could not be cleansed till the end of those days is demonstration that the antitype of the legal tenth day is not the Gospel Dispensation. Again, if the atonement of that day is typical of the atonement of the Gospel Dispensation, then the atonement made in the Holy, Hebrews 9:6, previous to that day, was finished before the Gospel Dispensation began. It has been shown that that atonement was made for the forgiveness of sins, and I have found no evidence that such an atonement was made on the tenth day of the seventh month. The Gospel Dispensation began with the preaching of Christ; and if it is the antitype of the legal tenth day, one of these two things is true: either the Saviour, instead of fulfilling, has destroyed the greater part of the law, the daily service of the Holy which occupied the whole year except one day, the tenth of the seventh month; or else He fulfilled the whole law except one three hundred and sixtieth part of it before the Gospel Dispensation began and before He was anointed as the Messiah to fulfil the law and the prophets. One of these two conclusions is inevitable on the hypotheses that the Gospel Dispensation and the atonement made in it, is the antitype of the legal tenth day and the atonement made in it. Upon which of these horns will they hang? If on the former, the declaration, “I came not to destroy the law,” pierces them; but if they choose the latter, it then becomes them to prove that the law, which had a shadow of good things to come, was fulfilled within itself, that the shadow and substance filled the same place and time; also they will need to prove that the entire atonement for the forgiveness of sins was made before the Lamb was slain with whose blood the atonement was to be made. Now it must be clear to every one that if the antitype of the yearly service (Hebrews 9:7) began at the first Advent, the antitype of the daily [sacrificial service] (Hebrews 9:6) had been previously fulfilled; and, as the atonement for forgiveness was a part of that daily [sacrificial] service, they are involved in the conclusion that there has been no forgiveness of sins under the Gospel Dispensation. Such a theory is wholly at war with the entire genius of the Gospel Dispensation and stands rebuked, not only by Moses and Paul, but by the teaching and works of our Saviour and His commission to His apostles, by their subsequent teaching, and the history of the Christian church. But again, they say the atonement was made and finished on Calvary when the Lamb of God expired. So men have taught us, and so the churches and world believe; but it is none the more true or sacred on that account if unsupported by Divine authority. Perhaps few or none who hold that opinion have ever tested the foundation on which it rests.

The Foundation Of A False Theory

  1. If the atonement was made on Calvary, by whom was it made? The making of the atonement is the work of a Priest, but who officiated on Calvary? – Roman soldiers and wicked Jews.
  2. The slaying of the victim was not making the atonement: the sinner slew the victim, Leviticus 4:1–4, 13–15, etc.; after that the priest took the blood and made the atonement. (See Leviticus 4:5–12, 16–21.)
  3. Christ was the appointed High Priest to make the atonement, and He certainly could not have acted in that capacity till after His resurrection. We have no record of His doing any thing on earth after His resurrection, which could be called the atonement.
  4. The atonement was made in the Sanctuary, but Calvary was not such a place.
  5. He could not, according to Hebrews 8:4, make the atonement while on earth. “If He were on earth, He should not be a Priest.” The Levitical was the earthly priesthood, the Divine, the heavenly.
  6. Therefore, He did not begin the work of making the atonement, whatever the nature of that work may be, till after His ascension, when by His own blood He entered His heavenly Sanctuary for us.

Let us now examine a few texts that appear to speak of the atonement as passed. Romans 5:11: “By Whom we have now received the atonement,” (margin, reconciliation). This passage clearly shows a present possession of the atonement at that time the apostle wrote, but it by no means proves that the entire atonement was then in the past.

When the Saviour was about to be taken up from His apostles, He “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,” which came on the day of Pentecost when they were all “baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Christ had entered His Father’s house, the Sanctuary, as High Priest, and began His intercession for His people by “praying the Father” for “another Comforter,” John 14:15. “And having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost,” Acts 2:33, He shed it down upon His waiting apostles. Then, in compliance with their commission, Peter, at the third hour of the day began to preach, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins,” Acts 2:38. This word remission, signifies forgiveness, pardon or more literally, sending away of sins.

Now put by the side of this text another on this point from his discourse at the ninth hour of the same day, Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore; and be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Here he exhorts to repentance and conversion (turning away from sins); for what purpose? “That your sins may be (future) blotted out.” Every one can see that the blotting out of sins does not take place at repentance and conversion, but follows, and must of necessity be preceded by them. Repentance, conversion, and baptism had then become imperative duties in the present tense; and when performed, those doing them “washed away,” Acts 22:16, remitted, or sent away from them their sins, (see Acts 2:28); and of course are forgiven and have “received the atonement”; but they had not received it entire at that time because their sins were not yet blotted out.

The Process Of The Atonement

How far then had they advanced in the reconciling process? Just so far as the individual under the law had when he had confessed his sin, brought his victim to the door of the tabernacle, laid his hand upon it, slew it, and the priest had with its blood entered the Holy and sprinkled it before the veil and upon the altar and thus made an atonement for him, and he was forgiven. Only that was the type, and this the reality. That prepared for the cleansing of the great day of atonement, this for the blotting out of sins “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus.” Acts 3:19. Hence, “by Whom we have now received the atonement” is the same as “by whom we have received forgiveness of sin.” At this point the man is “made free from sin.” The Lamb on Calvary’s cross is our victim slain; “Jesus the Mediator of the new Covenant” “in the heavens” is our interceding High Priest, making atonement with His own blood, by and with which He entered there. The essence of the process is the same as in the “shadow.” First, convinced of sin; second, repentance and confession; third, present the divine sacrifice bleeding. This done in faith and sincerity, we can do no more; no more is required.

Then in the heavenly Sanctuary, our High Priest with his own blood makes the atonement and we are forgiven. 1 Peter 2:24: “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” (See also Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:4–12.) His body is the “one sacrifice” for repenting mortals to which their sins are imputed and through whose blood in the hands of an active Priest they are conveyed to the heavenly Sanctuary. That was offered “once for all,” “on the tree;” and all who would avail themselves of its merits must through faith, there receive it as theirs, bleeding at the hands of sinful mortals like themselves. After thus obtaining the atonement of forgiveness we must “maintain good works,” not the “deeds of the law;” but “being dead to sin should live unto righteousness.” This work we all understand to be peculiar to the Gospel Dispensation.

An inferential objection arises, which in many minds overwhelms any amount of Bible argument on this point. It is, New Jerusalem cannot be defiled, hence needs no cleansing; therefore, New Jerusalem is not the Sanctuary. A very summary process of inferential deduction truly, especially for those who have said so much on the insufficiency of mere inferential testimony. We would advise them to review the grounds of their faith and see how many and strong arguments they have for the earth or Palestine being the Sanctuary and how many objections to the Sanctuary of the new covenant being where its Priest is, that are not entirely inferential; and then in place of their inferences, take the plain testimony of the Word and teach it. But how was the Sanctuary defiled?

The Earthly Sanctuary Had To Be Cleansed

The Sanctuary of the Old Testament, being on earth, could be, and was, defiled in various ways—by an unclean person entering it. “She shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the Sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.” Leviticus 12:4. It could be profaned by the high priest going out of it while the anointing oil was upon him for the dead (see Leviticus 21:12) and by a man’s negotiating to purify himself. (See Numbers 17:20; 19:20.) All of the chief of the priests and of the people polluted it by transgressing very much after all the abominations of the heathen. (See 2 Chronicles 36:14.) “Surely, because thou hast defiled My Sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations (idolatry), therefore will I diminish thee.” Ezekiel 5:11

“Moreover this they have done unto Me; they have defiled My Sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned My Sabbaths: for when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into My Sanctuary to profane it.” Ezekiel 23:38, 39. “Her priests have polluted the Sanctuary; they have done violence to the law.” Zephaniah 3:4. Antiochus polluted it by offering swine flesh upon its altar. (See 1 Maccabees 1:20–24.) From these texts we can clearly see that it was moral rather than physical uncleanness that defiled the Sanctuary in the sight of the Lord. True, it did become physically unclean, but that uncleanness had to be removed before the atonement was made by which it was reconciled or cleansed. (See 2 Chronicles 29.) And that, we have seen, was the law of cleansing, Leviticus, chapters 12 to 15; the object must be made visibly clean, so to speak, so that we would call it clean, to prepare it for its real cleansing with blood. Now no one supposes that New Jerusalem is unclean or ever has been, as its type was when overrun, desecrated, and desolated by Syrian, Chaldean, or Roman soldiery, or trode by wicked priests. Even if it were, the removing of such defilement would not be the cleansing it was to undergo at the end of the 2300 days. The Sanctuary was unclean in some sense, or else it would not need to be cleansed; and it must in some way have received its uncleanness from man. Removed, as the heavenly Sanctuary is from the midst of mortals and entered only by our Forerunner, Jesus, made an High Priest, it can only be defiled by mortals through His agency, and for them cleansed by the same agency. The legal typical process of defiling and cleansing the Sanctuary through the agency of the priest has been examined. With that in our minds, let us go to the New Testament. Paul says, Colossians 1:19, 20: “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and having made (margin, making) peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him I say, whether they be things on earth or things in heaven.” When “things on earth” are spoken of in connection or contrast with “things in heaven,” no one can understand them all to be in the same place. “Things in heaven” are to be reconciled as well as “things on earth.”

The Heavenly Sanctuary Cleansed

If they needed reconciling, they were unreconciled; if unreconciled, then unclean in some sense in His sight. The blood of Christ is the means, and Christ Himself the agent of reconciling to the Father both the things in heaven and the things on earth. People have an idea that in heaven, where our Saviour has gone, everything is and always was perfect beyond change or improvement. But He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2. He went into heaven, and Paul says that the “building of God, an house not made with hands” is in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

For what did He go to His Father’s house? “To prepare a place for you.” Then it was unprepared; and when He has prepared it, He will come again and take us to Himself. Again, Hebrews 9:23: “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” What were the patterns? “The tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry,” verse 21, which constituted the worldly Sanctuary, verse 1. What were the heavenly things themselves? The greater and more perfect tabernacle (see verse 11), and the good things and the holy things (see verses 11, 12). These are all in heaven itself. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself.” Verse 24. Paul here shows that it was as necessary to purify the heavenly things as it was to purify their patterns, the worldly.

The End