by Lawrence M. Nelson
Chapter Six – Christ The Advocate
In chapter four as we studied Daniel 8:14, we discovered some amazing facts concerning a prophecy that covered some 2,300 years of this world’s history: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” This great time prophecy was divided into two sections. The first section covered 490 years; the second a remaining 1,810 years of this prophecy, which brings us to the fall of 1844 A.D. Now, the prophet wrote of this exact date, read it again in Daniel 8:14: “And the angel said unto me, unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
Before we can understand what is meant by the words, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” we must understand which sanctuary is being referred to, for you will recall that there are two sanctuaries mentioned in the Bible; one during the time of Moses which continued until Christ, and the other that was, and is, in heaven. The author of the book of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 9:1: “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine services, and a worldly sanctuary.” The time period covered by this first covenant extended from Moses to the cross. Paul is telling us of the sanctuary that was here on this earth. He describes it in the next four verses: “For there was a tabernacle made: the first, wherein is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all (Holy): which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the Cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat,” Now, no one can mistake what Paul is talking about: He is describing the earthly sanctuary, (or tabernacle that was erected in the wilderness), and referring to such articles that were found therein, such as the golden pot containing manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded.
The earthly tabernacle services were performed until the day when Solomon’s temple was built; then continued in the temple until the building was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Later, in the days of Zechariah the prophet, the temple was rebuilt. This was the sanctuary of the first covenant that was standing in the days when Christ was here on earth.
Now you recall that the priest went into the first apartment of the sanctuary every day of the year to perform the work of separating sin from the sinners. There was only one day of the year in which the high priest could go beyond the veil that separated the first and the second apartments and enter the holy of holies. This was on the Day of Atonement when he entered into the second apartment for the purpose of cleansing it. The sanctuary pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ as our redeemer. The entire sanctuary service was symbolic of Christ’s priestly ministry, and Christ was represented in every sacrifice.
But, remember that every article connected with the sanctuary pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ as our redeemer: The golden candlestick was symbolic of Jesus–the light of the world, as He said, “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12. The shewbread represented Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger.” He was the true bread that came down from heaven, on Whom we can feed and live forever. The altar of incense revealed Christ as our Intercessor and Redeemer, pleading our case before God. The mercy seat, symbolizing God’s throne, depicts our atonement, He who gives us pardon through the merits of His blood. The altar of burnt offering or sacrifice, served to present Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, Who offered Himself to die for us. And there was the layer, which pointed to Christ as the One Who cleanses us and makes us acceptable before the very presence of our great God.
It is a marvelous revelation that the entire sanctuary service was symbolic of Christ’s priestly ministry. He was represented in every sacrifice, and fulfilled both phases of the priesthood–the first by dying for fallen man, and the second by pleading before the Father for every repentant sinner. But all of these things–the articles and furnishings of the earthly sanctuary, as well as the system of animal sacrifices and all of the offerings and services performed by the priests–came to an end when Christ, the Lamb of God, hung on the cross, dying,–when He cried, “It is finished!”; and the inner veil of the temple was ripped from the top to the bottom. This represented Christ’s body being torn in death.
When Christ ascended to heaven, He entered not “into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us:” So, the earthly sanctuary came to an end. Remember, it was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Roman army.
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1, 2. This sanctuary that is to be cleansed, is the sanctuary that is in heaven, where Jesus is now mediating. The worldly sanctuary was for the first covenant. The heavenly sanctuary is concerned with the new, or everlasting covenant. In other words, the new covenant took the place of the old covenant, when it was established by the blood of Christ on Calvary’s cross. This heavenly sanctuary, then, took the place of the earthly sanctuary. The earthly priest had ministered in the earthly sanctuary until Christ was crucified but, when the Lamb of God offered His life once and for all, Jesus entered into heaven to administer His blood for us in the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest.
The priests, under the old covenant, performed their ministry in relationship to the Ten Commandments. So, Jesus Christ our high priest, now in heaven, under the new covenant performs His ministry in relation to these same Ten Commandments; the original law of God. We read in Hebrews 8:8-10: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” Now notice this– “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” What is God saying? He says that under the new covenant, He is going to take away sin out of our hearts, and He says, “I will give you a new heart, and write my law in your heart.” You notice God did not say, “I will abolish my covenant, and give you a new law.” and neither did He say, “I will give grace to supersede the Ten Commandments.” What God is really trying to tell us is that because of His grace, He will write His law in our hearts, and bring our lives into conformity to His precepts. Isn’t that simple? Perhaps I should say isn’t that beautiful? To think that God would do this for us?
Now you can easily see that during a year’s time, there would be a multitude of sins that had gathered in the earthly sanctuary. This is what made it necessary to cleanse the sanctuary, or blot out the record of those sins, and take them out of the sanctuary as described in Leviticus 16. And so it was, that there was a day known as “The Day of Atonement”, in which the sanctuary was cleansed. Two goats of the same age were brought before the high priest. He would cast lots; one was chosen to be sacrificed and would be killed, and its blood would be taken within the sanctuary and sprinkled on the mercy seat to satisfy the claims of the law. In order to do this, the priest must go within the veil, into the most holy place, which could only be done once a year. In performing this act he would, figuratively, gather up all the sins that had been forgiven and take them with him out of the sanctuary and place his hands upon the scapegoat, transferring all of these sins to the scapegoat (Satan), which would then be taken out into the wilderness to die. In this manner, all sins were removed from the sanctuary, thus it could be said, the sanctuary was now cleansed.
All that transpired in the earthly sanctuary was a type, a pattern, or a shadow of the work that Christ is now performing in the heavenly sanctuary. So Christ, with his own blood, pleads for us before the Father in heaven. I John 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
What we need to fully understand is the work that Jesus our personal advocate is now doing in the heavenly sanctuary during the final atonement. So few Christians have any concept of the sanctuary, in which the Lord is not only our intercessor, and our mediator, but our advocate. Think of it. If we will accept Christ and fully surrender our hearts to Him, He will personally plead His blood for us. It’s almost too good to be true! Our Elder Brother in heaven pleading before God for you and for me. This is what happens when we confess our sins to the Lord. He rises up before the Father in heaven, holding up those nail-pierced hands, saying, “Father, My blood, My blood, I have shed My blood for these dear ones. By the merits of My sacrifice on Calvary, I now plead that you accept My sinless life for these sinful lives.”
I think a poet has given this picture in beautiful words: “Father, I bring this repentant child to Thee, to claim Thy pardon yet once again. Receive him at My hands, for he is Mine. Look not on him. He cannot bear Thy glance. Look thou on Me; his vileness, I will hide. I am his Advocate. By that unchanged, unchanging oath of Mine, by each pure drop of blood I lost for him, by all the sorrows graven on My soul, by every wound I bear, I claim it due. Father, Father divine, I cannot have him lost. He is a precious soul, for whom I died. Sin hath nearly destroyed him, but sin hath died in Me. Death hath pursued him, but I have conquered death. Satan hath bound him, but Satan is My slave. Father, hear not him, not him, but Me. I would not have him lost for all the world. Thou for My glory hath ordained and made.” What a beautiful picture the poet has described. How thankful we should be for such an advocate as we have in Jesus Christ, who is before the throne of God now, pleading our case. This is why it tells us in Hebrews 7:25, “Wherefore he (Christ) is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
From 34 A.D. until 1844 Christ ministered within the first apartment of the sanctuary, according to the terms of the new covenant. But, in 1844, Christ entered within the veil, just as the priest in the earthly sanctuary did on the Day of Atonement to cleanse the sanctuary. This is what we read in Daniel 8:14, “Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” So Christ our high priest left the first apartment, of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 and entered the second apartment to finish His mediatorial work, to become our Advocate.
Soon, very soon, Jesus is going to finish the cleansing work. And He will throw down His censer as the great High Priest, and He will say as we read in Revelation 22:11, “He That is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” After that decree is issued, there will be no more appeal by our Advocate. For Christ has now been in the second apartment of the sanctuary since 1844. For over 150 years Christ has been officiating in the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. First, for the righteous dead and He will end with the judgment of the living. Soon, oh so soon, He is going to return, as it says in the scripture, “without sin unto salvation.” (“Without sin” means that He is dealing, not with the sin problem but to take His people home to heaven.)
Please permit me to illustrate the importance of having an advocate. There was an accountant employed in the capital city of Russia many years ago. He knew that the auditors were coming, and that they would discover that he was bankrupt. He had embezzled the money for his own purpose. This could mean only one thing; his life would be taken. As he brooded over his fatal mistake, he drew up a list of all the debts that he owed, and he wrote at the bottom of that list the question: Who is going to pay for all of these debts? In the turmoil of his mind, he fell asleep at his desk.
Now it so happened that Alexander I, the Czar of Russia, was making a tour of that very building in which this man slept at his desk. As he entered this accountant’s office, he saw that the man was sleeping. He went over to the desk and saw the paper lying on the desk. He picked it up and read the list of this man’s debts. And when he read the question, “Who is going to pay all of this debt? He was suddenly seized with a good impulse. He took out his golden pen, and he wrote these words, “I Alexander.” Can you imagine the thrill of this man when he awoke? He knew his master’s signature and knew that his master would pay. He had been saved from death!
This is exactly what Christ is doing for us today. What a terrible list of sins are on the record books of heaven. If you and I were to look at our own sins on our records, we would feel hopeless. But, thank God, Jesus Christ will say to all who have confessed and repented, “I will blot out your sins.” Thank God, our Advocate is sufficient. Just now, He stands ready to wash away your sins, and when the times of refreshing shall come, to blot them out forever.
We dare not presume on Christ’s mercies. Sinners who have not repented of their sins, will not have the privilege of having Christ as their Advocate. Verily, Christ will say to them, “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity;” these will bear their own guilt and punishment, and after the 1,000 years will suffer in the lake of fire.
Friend, we need to put ourselves in the hands of Jesus Christ this very moment; in the hands of our great Advocate, for He alone can save us.