What is the sanctuary doctrine? – Adventist Prophetic Mission – West Houston SDA Forum
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What is the sanctuary doctrine?  


Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1
21/08/2019 2:41 pm  

What is the sanctuary message, does it have relevance to us today?

New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1
15/12/2019 5:44 pm  

Great question. 

In order to understand the sanctuary doctrine, we need to step back and understand a little about the history of the literal sanctuary.

God instructed ancient Israel to build a portable sanctuary during the exodus from Egypt.

Its purpose was twofold:

  1. A place of meeting between God and man
  2. Provide a system to forgive and cleanse his people from their sins by faith in the coming Messiah

Its services were types, i.e. representations/foreshadowing of Christ’s mission and service in the redemptive work of man and final destruction of sin.

The Sanctuary's physical design was simple but full of symbolic meanings. It was a 55ft long x 18ft wide x 18ft high structure. This sanctuary was divided into two apartments separated by a most beautiful and ornately decorated veil. One apartment was called the Holy Place and the other was known as the Most Holy Place where the sacred Ark of the Covenant was kept, and the presence of God would physically manifest between two golden statues of Cherubim angels. It must have been an amazing sight to behold!!!

The sanctuary was surrounded by a courtyard which was fenced in by linen supported by pillars of brass approximately 9ft in height. The courtyard contained the altar of sacrifice for the burnt offering and laver for washing.

Each day a priest was to make a sacrifice for the people and then take in the blood of the sacrifice into the sanctuary’s 1st apartment, the Holy place where the table of shewbread, a multi branched candlestick and the altar of incense were located. The action of the priest’s carrying the blood into the Holy place represented the transference of sin from the sinner to sanctuary. Once per year on what is known as the day of atonement, the priest would go into the Most Holy Place. This was part of the sanctuary cleansing process which represented an ultimate and final elimination of sin from existence (Leviticus chapter 16).

For more details on the sanctuary and what the services and elements represent check out the library on the Adventist website.  I highly recommend further reading of the Cross and Its Shadow and Unit 9. Jesus in the Sanctuary in Principles of Life from the word of God-1952. 

With the background thus far provided on what the Sanctuary is, let’s now focus on answering why this doctrine is important. David the psalmist, put it best “thy way, oh God, is in the sanctuary” Psalm 77:13. The method of salvation is explained amply and completely through the sanctuary services. The sanctuary service was given to the Nation of Israel for the sole purpose of sharing the system and the way of salvation with the world. Unfortunately, the service became more of a business and the nation of Israel became isolated up until the time that the gospel was given to the gentiles in 34 AD (Acts 7:54-60) when Paul and the apostles began to spread the Good news directly to Gentile groups (Acts 8:1,4). The sanctuary message provides the method for justification, sanctification and glorification of sinner. As an example, let us consider Christ’s death at the Cross and its relationship to salvation through the lens of the sanctuary. His sacrifice was foreshadowed in the sanctuary services by the death of a lamb without blemish. In some religious groups it is believed and taught today that the sinner was forgiven once and for all at the cross. If they continue to sin in their life, they are covered by the blood of the lamb now and forever. In other words, “I’ve been saved once and for all and I cannot in anyway lose my salvation”.  Unfortunately, this is not what was taught through the sanctuary system. The sanctuary system teaches that a sinner cannot continue to sin and be saved. The sinner must confess their sins and follow the sinless life example of Christ (1 Peter 2:21). This is clear and scripturally based on the day of atonement where the sins of the sinner are transferred from the sanctuary to the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:20-22). This annual cleansing of the sanctuary by removing sin and placing it on the scapegoat foreshadowed the final punishment of Satan described in revelation chapter 20. At that time during the day of atonement, anyone who had unconfessed sin in their life would also be cast out of the camp of the people.  The scapegoat bore the sins of the forgiven while those who continued in sin to that time would bare their own sin and be cast out.

The sanctuary message is the distinguishing doctrine of the Seventh-Day Adventist Movement and very relevant today because it is prophetic, in other words it has practical application for our lives TODAY. In Daniel chapter 8 the longest time prophecy is recorded. The prophecy spans 2,300 years beginning in 457BC and ends in October 1844 when the sanctuary was to be “cleansed” (Daniel 8:14). This cleansing mentioned in Daniel means that the anti-typical day of Atonement has begun in 1844 signaling Christ’s movement from conducting his high priestly work (Hebrews 9) work in the 1st apartment of the heavenly sanctuary to the Most Holy place in the heavenly sanctuary to perform the Atonement through a cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary of sin. This teaches us that today is the day we must do like the people of ancient Israel on the day of atonement. Afflict our souls. This doesn’t mean hit yourself. It means ask the Lord to “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).  We need to be asking the Lord each day to help us to overcome sin even the ones we don’t realize (Psalm 19:12). The awesome news is that he is waiting for us to ask for help. Once we ask, we will give us the power to have a victorious life here on earth (Jude 1:24). Would you like to have that life? Would you like to be free of sin and to stop falling for the temptations of the adversary, the devil?

Take a moment right now and bow your head. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. He’s been knocking on the outside for some time now. I’ll close with this from a devotional I have been reading this year in 2019.

How precious is the promise, “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Oh, the love, the wondrous love of God! After all our Luke warmness and sins He says, Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings. – {OHC 352.5}

Our work is to open the door of the heart and let Jesus come in. He is knocking for entrance.... Will you open the door? Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. Let Him in, the heavenly Guest.

I pray he comes into my heart today. I pray he comes into yours as well.