Bible Study Guides – The Sanctuary and Its Cleansing—in Type

October 30, 2004 – November 5, 2004

Memory Verse:

“And he shall make an atonement for the holy [place], because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” Leviticus 16:16.

Suggested Reading: Patriarchs and Prophets, 357, 358; The Great Controversy, 409–422.


“I [Ellen White] was shown the grievous disappointment of the people of God that they did not see Jesus at the expected time [1844]. They knew not why their Saviour did not come; for they could see no evidence that prophetic time had not ended. Said the angel, ‘Has God’s word failed? Has God failed to fulfill His promises? No; He has fulfilled all that He promised. Jesus has risen up and shut the door of the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary and has opened a door into the most holy place and entered in to cleanse the sanctuary. All who wait patiently shall understand the mystery. Man has erred; but there has been no failure on the part of God. All was accomplished that God promised; but man erroneously believed the earth to be the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the prophetic periods. It is man’s expectation, not the promise of God, that has failed.’ ” Early Writings, 250, 251.

1 What line of reasoning upon Daniel 8:14 led to the conclusion that the Second Coming of Christ would take place in the autumn of a.d. 1844?

note: “Shortly after the fulfilment of some of the signs that the Saviour foretold would be seen before his second coming, there took place throughout the Christian world a great religious awakening. Students of prophecy came to the conclusion that the time of the end was at hand. In the book of Daniel they read: ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Thinking that the earth was the sanctuary, they understood that the cleansing foretold in Daniel 8:14 represented the purification of the earth by fire at the Second Coming of Christ. Searching the Scriptures for further light, and comparing this prophetic period with the records of historians, they learned that the twenty-three hundred days extended to the year 1844.” The Southern Watchman, January 24, 1905.

2 What does Daniel 8:14 say would take place at the end of the 2300 days?

note: “Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard ‘one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?’ Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed’ (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision.” Prophets and Kings, 554.

“The 2300 days had been found to begin when the commandment of Artaxerxes for the restoration and building of Jerusalem went into effect, in the autumn of b.c. 457. Taking this as the starting point, there was perfect harmony in the application of all the events foretold in the explanation of that period in Daniel 9:25–27. . . . The seventy weeks, or 490 years, were to pertain especially to the Jews. At the expiration of this period, the nation sealed its rejection of Christ by the persecution of His disciples, and the apostles turned to the Gentiles, a.d. 34. The first 490 years of the 2300 having then ended, 1810 years would remain. From a.d. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. ‘Then,’ said the angel, ‘shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ [Daniel 8:14.]” The Faith I Live By, 208.

3 What literal sanctuary was in existence in a.d. 1844? Hebrews 8:1, 2; 9:24.

note: “[The believers] overlooked the fact that nowhere in the Bible is the earth spoken of, or referred to, as the sanctuary. They overlooked the fact, also, that the only sanctuary in existence in a.d. 1844 was the one in heaven, where our Great High Priest ministers.” International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, California, January 1, 1904, 18.

4 Could a sanctuary in heaven need cleansing? Hebrews 9:23. Compare Acts 3:19, 20.

note: “What is the cleansing of the sanctuary? That there was such a service in connection with the earthly sanctuary, is stated in the Old Testament Scriptures. But can there be anything in heaven to be cleansed? In Hebrews 9 the cleansing of both the earthly and the heavenly sanctuary is plainly taught. . . .

“The cleansing, both in the typical and in the real service, must be accomplished with blood: in the former, with the blood of animals; in the latter, with the blood of Christ.

“The cleansing was not a removal of physical impurities, for it was to be accomplished with blood, and therefore must be a cleansing from sin.

“But how could there be sin connected with the sanctuary, either in heaven or upon the earth?

“As the sins of the people were anciently transferred, in figure, 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 of Christ. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. This necessitates 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.

“Then [in the great day of final award] by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven.” The Faith I Live By, 206.

5 What instruction was given to Aaron concerning his entering the most holy place of the typical sanctuary? Leviticus 16:2.

note: “In the sanctuary of the wilderness tabernacle and of the temple that were the earthly symbols of God’s dwelling place, one apartment was sacred to His presence. The veil inwrought with cherubim at its entrance was not to be lifted by any hand save one. To lift that veil, and intrude unbidden into the sacred mystery of the most holy place, was death. For above the mercy seat dwelt the glory of the Holiest—glory upon which no man might look and live. On the one day of the year appointed for ministry in the most holy place, the high priest with trembling entered God’s presence, while clouds of incense veiled the glory from his sight. Throughout the courts of the temple every sound was hushed. No priests ministered at the altars. The host of worshipers, bowed in silent awe, offered their petitions for God’s mercy.” The Ministry of Healing, 437, 438.

6 By whom alone, and how often, was the most holy place to be entered? Hebrews 9:6, 7.

note: “Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 355.

“Only once a year could the high priest enter into the most holy place, after the most careful and solemn preparation. No mortal eye but that of the high priest could look upon the sacred grandeur of that apartment, because it was the especial dwelling-place of God’s visible glory. The high priest always entered it with trembling, while the people waited his return with solemn silence. Their earnest desires were to God for his blessing. Before the mercy-seat, God conversed with the high priest. If he remained an unusual time in the most holy, the people were often terrified, fearing that because of their sins, or some sin of the priest, the glory of the Lord had slain him. But when the sound of the tinkling of the bells upon his garments was heard, they were greatly relieved. He then came forth and blessed the people.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 274, 275.

7 What was to be taken from the congregation of the children of Israel? Where, and before whom, were these two goats presented? How was a selection made between these two goats? For whom were these goats thus severally set apart? What was done with the goat upon which the lot fell to be the Lord’s? For what purpose was the scapegoat reserved? Leviticus 16:5, 7–10, 21.

note: “On the Day of Atonement two kids of the goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them, ‘one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.’ [Leviticus 16:8.] The goat upon which the first lot fell was to be slain as a sin offering for the people. And the priest was to bring his blood within the veil, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat. [Verse 16 quoted.]

“[Verse 21 quoted.] Not until the goat had been thus sent away did the people regard themselves as freed from the burden of their sins. Every man was to afflict his soul while the work of atonement was going forward. All business was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel spent the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 355.

8 What was done with the Lord’s goat? Where was the blood brought? Upon what was the blood sprinkled? What was thus made on behalf of Israel? Leviticus 16:15, 16.

note: “Aaron bore the names of Israel upon his breast. He communicated to the people the will of God. He entered the most holy place on the Day of Atonement, ‘not without blood,’ as a mediator for all Israel. He came forth from that work to bless the congregation, as Christ will come forth to bless His waiting people when His work of atonement in their behalf shall be ended.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 426.

9 What was done to the sanctuary? From what was it cleansed? Was this cleansing of the sanctuary, then, from physical or from moral uncleanness? How had the sins of Israel been transferred to the sanctuary, and how were they removed once every year by this ceremony? Leviticus 16:19.

note: “The sins of Israel being thus transferred to the sanctuary, the holy places were defiled, and a special work became necessary for the removal of the sins. God commanded that an atonement be made for each of the sacred apartments, as for the altar, to ‘cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.’ Leviticus 16:19.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 355.

10 After the sins of Israel had been borne from the sanctuary, in the person of the high priest, what did he do with them? What was then done with the live goat? What was the principal difference between the deaths of these two goats? Leviticus 16:15, 16, 21, 22.

note: “The slaying of the Lord’s goat represented a voluntary death to sin. The goat for Azazel, that was sent away to ‘bear upon him all the iniquity’ of the children of Israel [Leviticus 16:22], represented an involuntary death in sin.” Quarterly, 19.

11 What is the difference between the death of Christ and the death that Satan will experience? Hebrews 9:12, 22–24; 10:12; Revelation 20:1–3, 10, first part.

note: “Type has met antitype in the death of God’s Son. The great sacrifice has been made. The way into the holiest is laid open. A new and living way is prepared for all. . . . Henceforth the Saviour was to officiate as priest and advocate in the heaven of heavens. It was as if a living voice had spoken to the worshipers: There is now an end to all sacrifices and offerings for sin. The Son of God is come according to His word, . . . ‘By His own blood’ He entereth ‘in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.’ Hebrews 9:12.” The Desire of Ages, 757.

“Now the event takes place foreshadowed in the last solemn service of the Day of Atonement. . . . When the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, then in the presence of God and heavenly angels and the hosts of the redeemed the sins of God’s people will be placed upon Satan; he will be declared guilty of all the evil which he has caused them to commit. And as the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness.” The Great Controversy, 657, 658.

“In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch—Satan the root, his followers the branches.” Ibid., 673.

12 What did the apostle desire to be made ‘conformable’ unto? What choice is left for you and me to make? Philippians 3:10.

note: “The same choice that was left to Christ, after He had taken man’s place, with all of its risks and liabilities, to die a voluntary death to sin, or suffer an involuntary death in sin, is also left for us to make. ‘The wages of sin is death.’ [Romans 6:23.] The old man must die. Either he will be ‘crucified with Christ,’ or perish in the lake of fire with Azazel.” Quarterly, 18.

These lessons are adapted from International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, California, January 1, 1904.