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The Cleansing of the Sanctuary in Light of the Cross — 37 Comments

  1. William, Acts 3:19 is correctly translated, “Therefor repent and turn again, so that your sins may be blotted out, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

  2. Each to his own Ken, I prefer this translation, it spells it out clearly for me.

    “So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord;”
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭3:19‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

    Mainly the KJV I agree leaves you hanging with, “when the times”. I would even enhance the AMPC by inserting the word so. So “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” I know that the rain is given to the upright as well as the godless. At the same time there is refreshing for us if we repent, turn around and chose life rather than death. Ask for repentance and it shall be given unto you, me too.

    • John, I think it is that KJ translation, at least partly, that led to the concept that God may forgive one their sin or sins, but He retains them stored, in the books of record, to be blotted out in a judgment later. Is that really the way God forgives sins?

      • Hi Kenny, I guess one question we should ask is, in the Old Testament did they still have the Day of Atonement when David wrote that our sins are separated as far as the East is from the west? I believe there is a lot more to the atonement than we will ever understand in this life, and we will be studying it for all eternity.

  3. May I ask some questions?
    Does God need to investigate? What does He not know? Did something change God so that He needed to investigate...it? The 3 angels message “released” in 1844 and the response of the leaders of the advent movement seems to indicate an “Investigative Judgement”, but who is being investigated, and by whom? Who needs transformation and how does it happen? Who needs to “come out of Babylon” “by cleansing the mind”, of wrong ideas about God? And who is being “judged”/(investigated) and how may I interpret “judge/judged”? How does John 3:16-21 fit into this equation? How can we truly worship someone/ something that we do not know or that we’re afraid of? See John 17:3, 1John 4:7-21; Rev 14:6-12. And doesn’t the Ancient of Days “give” judgement to the saints of The Most High? Daniel 8:26, 27, so why should I fear “judgement”...in all its forms?
    I’m not suggesting that a traditional interpretation misses the mark, perhaps our vision has not encompassed the whole mark/truth...

    • Our movement started on a misinterpretation of the 2,300 day prophecy in Daniel. God's people then truly thought that Jesus would return at the end of those 2,300 years in 1844. Well, Jesus did not come. So now we had to go back to try to figure out where we went wrong with the first conclusion. So now we are trying to say that there is a "Heavenly Day of Atonement" and that was where we went wrong the first time. But why would the Apostle Paul say in Romans 5:11, "...,but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement"? If in Jesus, God's people of Paul's day had the atonement. It is clear to me that Jesus fulfilled all that the once a year Day of atonement symbolized.

      • Pete If Paul was implying what you are implying in Romans 5:11 why is Jesus still interceding? The purpose of Jesus' atonement was not to appease an angry God. God already accepts us. The atonement is to get an angry race to accept God. The purpose of the cleansing of the sanctuary is not to convince God to accept the atonement. He made the atonement. Jesus is interceding on God's behalf to convince humanity to accept the atonement.

        • WIlliam, The Book of Hebrews is very clear about Jesus still interceding then as well as now. Read it in Hebrews 4:14,15 and 16; and also 10:19,20. Paul was even then telling believers of his day that Jesus was interceding then at THE HOLIEST (Heaven itself.) Jesus started interceding for us in heaven when He ascended after His 40 days of ministry with His desciples after His resurrection.

        • William,

          I believe you are right on point. The sacrifice of the cross (“propitiation” per the KJV) was not to appease an angry God – it was to break through to the deceptive picture that the Adversary has successfully presented of God through the work of the little horn. The propitiation of the Son of God was to us, not to the Father.

          Richard Ferguson

          • Thanks Richard, I have heard several Adventist say that the great controversy is over whether or not God‘s law can be obeyed. While I believe through the power of the Holy Spirit God‘s law can be obeyed that is not what I have found the great controversy to be about. As a matter fact the very first sentence in the very first book of the conflict of the ages is God is love. The very last sentence in The last book of the conflict of the ages is God is love. The goal of the cleansing of the sanctuary is to cleanse our minds from all of Satan‘s lies about God so that doubt fear and rebellion can be removed from our hearts as we see that God is love.

        • William,

          It occurs to me that the sanctuary vindication/restoration of Daniel 8 has more dimensions than I previously considered. Each believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17;6:19-20) and the church is a temple of the HS (1 Peter 2:4-7). So this symbolic work is all about the restoration of God's image in his people in spite of the deceptive work of the little horn power. It is amazing to miss the obvious.


  4. Whatever may be the exact meaning of Acts 3:19, the immediate context (the next two verses) makes an unmistakable reference to the Second Coming of Christ. So I don't find it too much of a stretch to associate the blotting out of sins, in verse 19, with the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

    Daniel 7 places this investigation, or judgment, in its context, in terms of its stated purpose. The Little Horn (representing a class of professing Christians) has been pursuing -- blaming and seeking to punish -- another group claiming to be Christians, called "the saints" in the prophecy. The stated purpose of the investigation is to determine which "Christians" are for real, and which are hypocrites, so as to rescue the true believers from the false who accuse them. In my book, that makes this phase of the judgment very good news! By God's grace, may I be found on the right side of this equation.

  5. "Since the Old Testament Day of Atonement was a shadow or illustration of what would occur during the literal Day of Atonement when Jesus entered the Most Holy Place for us, let’s review what happened in that service"

    if Jesus "entered" the MHP at the end of the 2300 days/years (1844) where was He before that?

    Heb 9:11,12 says: "But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

    at the time Hebrews was written Jesus had already entered the MHP, as the text says.

    • Hi Dan, thank you for bringing that up. I was looking at that a while back, which caused me to write this post on Bible translations. Here it is again.

      When I preach a sermon in English, which is the only language I can preach in, and I had three people translating it into Spanish, each one would translate it differently.

      To get the big picture you would not choose one translation and throw the rest away. You would put all three together to get the big picture. Likewise I do not think it is wise to try to find one perfect Bible translation. I think it is wise to examine several to get the big picture. for example, in my personal Bible study time this morning I ran across this passage in the New Living Translation.

      With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Hebrews 9:12 NLT

      I thought that makes it sound like Jesus was already in the Most Holy Place before 1844. I remembered hearing someone before reference this verse trying to destroy the Adventist understanding of the sanctuary. So I thought, in the spirit of the Bereans, I need to check this out. I quickly found that the KJV does not say “Most Holy Place” in this verse. It only says “Holy Place.”

      Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12 KJV

      Now I must remember the KJV is also a “version.” The KJV is not the original manuscripts. The KJV is an extremely reliable version, but it does not automatically trump all other versions on every text. Having translated messages in ASL and having had studies translated for me from English to Spanish, I understand what all translators understand, that no translation is 100% accurate. This includes the KJV. So I did a little more research and found that even the NKJV, which is a highly esteemed version did indeed use the phrase” Most Holy Place,” not “Holy Place.” This caused me to research even further. I found that The Message translates it this way.

      But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. Hebrews 9:11-12 MSG

      This was an aha! moment for me. The word being translated “most” in other translations except for the KJV actually meant “true” or real. This makes perfect sense and is understandable why so many would translate it ‘most.” The context of Hebrews 8- 9 is not about when Jesus went into the most holy place, but rather that Jesus went into a real and literal sanctuary

      There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. Hebrews 8:2 NLT

      See! There is the word “true” in the NLT. Hebrews 9:12 is saying that Jesus went into a real and true sanctuary. The word “most” in the other translations is not an unfortunate translation, when you understand by “most” it is comparing the heavenly sanctuary to the earthy sanctuary, instead of comparing the most holy and holy compartments.

      There are conspiracy theorists who see modern translations as a plot to destroy Adventist theology. I say if the KJV is the only version that supports our theology then we better re-examine our theology! I believe sound theology will be supported by various versions, and I believe the sanctuary message can be supported by various translations.

      “I saw that God had especially guarded the Bible, yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that they were making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governed by tradition. But I saw that the Word of God, as a whole, is a perfect chain, one portion linking into and explaining another. True seekers for truth need not err; for not only is the Word of God plain and simple in declaring the way of life, but the Holy Spirit is given as a guide in understanding the way to life therein revealed.” -Ellen White, Early Writings, Pages 220,-221

      The first point I appreciate about this passage is that Ellen White understood errors were made with the best of intentions instead of a conspiracy plot. I am sure when the comma was misplaced in the KJV in Luke 23:43, it was with the best of intentions. The second point I appreciate is that the Holy Spirit has protected the Word of God so that the way to life will not be lost, and the Holy Spirit can help us find truth in the different translations we read.

      When I preach a sermon in English, if three people translated it into Spanish, each one would translate it differently. To get the big picture of what I was saying, you would not choose one translation and throw the rest away. You would put all three together to get the best picture. Likewise I do not think it is wise to try to find one perfect Bible translation. I think it is wise to examine several to get the big picture.

      • Thank you for this reply. It was very helpful to me.I have had great difficulty understanding the Sanctuary doctrine.

      • thank you for explaining the intricacies of bible translations. perhaps a better understanding of the word "enter the MHP" would be that Jesus "entered into (or began) the last phase of His Priestly ministry". our human concept of "enter" is moving from one place to another. but Jesus is divine and as such He is omnipresent. elsewhere He is "sitting at the throne of God" too. my understanding of what happened in 1844 is that Jesus began that phase of salvation process called pre-advent judgment. correct me if i'm wrong.

  6. William the comments between you and others that contribute to this discussion, make an interesting pro and con article point and counter point.

  7. Thank-you William for you enlightenment of versions. I was traveling several weeks ago and visited the local SDA church. The visiting Pastor so happened to comment on translations. I very much liked what he had to say. He said, “I was giving the sermon some time ago, much like I am doing today. Someone in the back row yelled you are using the New International Version, that is wrong. Now I don’t always use the NIV, at home I like to pull up 6 versions on my wide screen monitor with the King James Version as one of the 6, and l let the Holy Spirit guide me into understanding. I was preaching to the Inuit Indians a while back in Alaska of the Gospel. Of course I talked about the Lamb of God. The interpreter whispered to me, they don’t understand the Lamb of God, there are no lambs here, just seal pups. So the rest of my Gospel sermon I spoke of the Baby Seal of God.”

    Good day all,

  8. Acts 3:19 does not refer to some "blotting out" of sins to occur in 1844, some 1800 years into the future. The context makes it clear that any cleansing was to occur in AD 31, as Christ was entering the heavenly sanctuary, "to appear in the presence of God for us".

    • Hi Jordan, we are all free to our own interpretation of Scripture, but Peter said this after the cross in A.D. 31. Plus the context is clear that things were still to be made right.

      • The scene described in Acts 3 occurred shortly after Jesus's ascension. Peter's sermon appeals to those who lived through the recent events in Jerusalem, especially the death and resurrection of Jesus. You cant make his comments fit any other future event.

          • Not sure what you mean by “after the cross”? Th Ed Book of Hebrews is in line with Luke-Acts: Christ sat down at the right hand of the Father AFTER he had made purification. (Heb 1:1-3) There is no further purification or blotting out needed than that done by Christ 2000 years ago.

            • Your earlier comment says that Christ entered the sanctuary in A.D.31 right after the cross, but after the cross in A.D. 31 Peter still referred to the times of refreshing as a future event. And the whole book of Hebrews is explaining what Christ is accomplishing in the sanctuary before He returns.

  9. The LORD uses many different ways to explain who He is and how He planned to restore His relationship with His people.

    Heb 1:1-3  God, who at many times and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,  2  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds,  3  who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the word of His power, through Himself cleansing of our sins, He sat down on the right of the Majesty on high.

    One of the ways He revealed His plan was at it simplest the Tabernacle that He instructed Moses to erect in the Wilderness, which included Courtyard, Holy Place, Most Holy and the various Feasts and/or Rituals which were phases in the process.
    Accordingly it is logical that the visions given to Daniel would use those systems with which he was familiar to describe the steps to be taken to restore the LORD's relationship with His people.

    I don't believe that Hebrews 7-10 were negating those phases, rather what Paul was explaining was that in fact the system given to them in the Wilderness to come close to the LORD was now no longer necessary. They didn't have to bring an animal sacrifice to be slain, it's blood didn't have to be sprinkled around the altar of be taken into the Holy Place by a priest, and then into the Most Holy once a year. Paul was explaining that the temple, the sacrifices, the priests were no longer needed but that through prayer and the Holy Spirit we could communicate with the LORD directly. We have direct access to the Mercy Seat and the Father because Jesus had fulfilled all the functions set out.

    I don't believe that the phase of the Plan of Salvation that was demonstrate by the Day of Atonement means that Jesus had not been into all parts of the true heavenly tabernacle physically, rather that the time had come for the next step of the Plan of Salvation.

    • I believe the Old Testament sanctuary was a picture of Jesus totally saving us from the penalty of sin and the power of sin. I believe it is a replica of the entire plan of salvation. That is is Paul says in Hebrews 8 that Moses was to make the sanctuary on earth exactly like the one in heaven. I believe just as every other feast day has its literal fulfillment the Day have Atonement has its literal fulfillment too.

      I also believe Jesus is the true and living sanctuary.

      Christ is the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world [John 1:29].
      Christ is the light of the world that lightens every man [John 1:9-12; 8:12].
      Christ is the living bread who came down from heaven to give us eternal life [John 6:32-51].
      Christ is the mercy seat (propitiation), through whose redemption we have salvation full and complete [Romans 3:24, 25].
      Christ is our intercessor against the accusations of Satan [Hebrews 7:25].
      Christ is the veil that bore our sins in His flesh [Hebrews 10:19,20].
      The Sanctuary Revealed the Fall and Restoration of Man

      In Adam, humanity sinned, was defiled, and condemned to death.
      In Christ, the same humanity was reconciled to God, cleansed from all defilement, and justified to life [read Romans 5:18].
      Through faith in Christ, sinners experience salvation.
      This is the good news of the gospel and the truth of righteousness by faith. All this was revealed in the Sanctuary model given to Moses:

      The Sanctuary was where God met sinners [read Ex. 25:22; 29:42, 43].
      Today He meets us in Christ [read 2 Cor. 5:19].
      The Sanctuary was where God revealed Himself to sinners [read Ex. 29:46].
      Today He reveals Himself to us in Christ [read John 14:7-9].
      The Sanctuary was where God dwelt with sinners [read Ex. 25:8; 29:45, 46].
      Today He dwells with us in Christ [read Matthew 1:23; John 14:23].
      The Sanctuary was where God spoke to sinners [read Ex. 29:42; Lev. 1:1].
      Today He speaks to us in Christ [read Hebrews 1:2; John 8:43, 47].
      The Sanctuary was where God accepted sinners [read Lev. 1:4].
      Today He accepts us in Christ [read Ephesians 1:6].
      The Sanctuary was where God forgave sinners [read Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35].
      Today He forgives us in Christ [read Ephesians 1:7].

      I also believe that we fall way short of understanding the plan of salvation if our theology stops at a sanctuary building on earth or in heaven. I believe the real sanctuary being cleansed is the mind and heart. I believe Jesus eludes to this in John 14:1-3. He is preparing a place where He can be we can be also, which was the intended purpose of the sanctuary in Exodus 25:8. Jesus is not working with bricks and mortar but with stony human hearts preparing a dwelling place where we an all be together. Still of course we will have literal dwelling places to live in too which Jesus will prepare. That is partly why I also believe in a literal sanctuary, but the most important thing of course is Jesus.

      • Yes, I agree, both the sanctuary and Hebrews are different aspects of the same Plan of Salvation but the fact that Jesus sat down at the right hand of the throne of God which in terms of the furniture of the sanctuary is in the Most Holy place does not mean He didn't begin the function of the Day of Atonement cleansing of the Sanctuary and His People after 2300 years.

        • Thanks Shirley, I agree with you but still believe in the 2300 year prophecy in Daniel 8:14. Of course I do not believe that no one could benefit until 1844. Revelation 13:8 places the cross at the foundation of the world even though historically it occurred in 31 A.D. Of course people were benefiting from the cross from the foundation of the world even though it literally happened in 31 A.D. So even though I believe in the significance of the date 1844 like I believe the significance of the date of 31 A.D. in the 70 week prophecy I believe people have been benefiting from the foundation of the world. Otherwise Moses, Elijah and Enoch would not already be in heaven.

          • Yes, William, I agree, sorry if it sounded like I didn't, I was saying I believe that something happened after Jesus ascended to heaven and something happened in 1844.
            The one does not cancel the other one out.

            Just like during the year the Israelite brought a sacrifice and atonement was made there and then, but a record was kept in the sanctuary - via the sprinkled blood - until it was cleaned/removed once a year.

            Since the Fall people's sins have been forgiven (in advance based on the promise of the Cross and since then on the reality of the Cross) however it is clear that there is a record kept and there will come a time when there will be names blotted out of the Book of Life, and I believe that process started in 1844.

            It is clear there is a record kept in heaven in 'books', the main one being the Book of Life - with names written in and names being blotted out. Where would these books be kept? In the heavenly sanctuary - the throne room of the Lord Almighty.

            Rev 3:5  The one who overcomes, this one will be clothed in white clothing. And I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
            Dan 7:10 ... The judgment was set, and the books were opened. 
            Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

            There will come a time when there will no more changes to the record:
            Rev 22:11-12  He acting unjustly, let him still act unjustly. And the filthy, let him be filthy still. And the righteous, let him be righteous still. And the holy, let him be holy still.  12  And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each according as his work is.

            Psa_69:28  Let them be blotted out of the Book of Life, and not be written with the righteous.
            Php_4:3  And I also beg you, true yoke-fellow, help those women who labored in the gospel with me and with Clement, and others of my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
            Rev_13:8  And all dwelling on the earth will worship it, those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world.
            Rev_17:8  ... And those dwelling on the earth will marvel, those whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
            Rev_20:15  And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.
            Rev_21:27  And there shall in no way enter into it anything that defiles, or any making an abomination or a lie; but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
            Rev_22:19  And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which have been written in this Book.

  10. Hi, William Thank you for being consistent! Over the years you posted a lot of information and even tho people had not even responded with a like you continued to still post your work thank you' I am enjoying the Spirited discussion! I would implore you as a Moderator to implement a live discussion like a conference call line so that people can talk! think about it. Here are my Questions on the Subject of the Sanctuary.
    1) What Temple is Jesus working to Cleanse?
    2) What materials does the Temple of Heaven is Made of that that Temple needs to be Cleanse?
    3) Does one part of heaven is more Holy than the other?
    4) Do Christ in His Intersessions for us have to Convince God the Father His (Christ) blood covers me? Await you response!

    • Thanks Ronald!
      1. Our heart.
      2. Not sure the earthly or heavenly sanctuary materials were cleansed.
      3. Not that I know of.
      4. Christ is convincing us to accept the Father. The Father already loves and accepts us. Ephesians 1:1-6 John 3:16


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