Because of their erroneous belief that God’s throne has always been in the sanctuary and that Christ after ascending on high sat there at the right hand of His Father, men have put forth every effort possible to prove that Christ entered “within the veil” immediately after He left His disciples. But as all such efforts, albeit ever so well-meaning in the interest of truth, are put forth by minds inspired, not by the Spirit of Truth, but rather by preconception, we must therefore diligently entreat the Lord for the promised Comforter to lead us into all truth, and to save us from being presumptuous and from blindly taking things for granted and forming conclusions without digging beneath the surface.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy,” says the apostle Peter; “where-unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Pet. 1:19-21.
The wise reader, therefore, will hence-forth cease giving place to human theories and speculations which tempt him to the uttermost to make flesh his arm. He will instead attend diligently to Bible prophecy and to inspired interpretations, and will learn therefrom that the sanctuary is
God’s Temporary Throne Room.
Since earthly beings, themselves having never been in heaven, are naturally strangers to heaven’s realities (1 Cor. 2:9), then in order for God to make heavenly truth known unto them, He must reveal it by means of earthly realities with which they are familiar. Hence through the sanctuary work on earth is seen the sanctuary work in heaven (Heb. 9:1-9). Indeed, the sanctuary above being the pattern of the one below, the services of the former are therefore definitely revealed in the services of the latter. And the fact that the earthly sanctuary was appointed as a place for confession and for forgiveness of sins, shows that the throne-room in the heavenly sanctuary is only temporary. From it, while sin exists, the Lord carries on the work of removing from the universe sin and sinners. And this light in turn clearly shows that not until after sin came into the universe could the sanctuary congruously have existed in heaven.
“I looked,” exclaimed the Revelator about 96 A. D., upon being shown the throne in the sanctuary, “and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
“And immediately I was in the Spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.”
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth . . . . And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Rev. 4:1-6; 5:6, 11.
Here is brought to view a twofold scene. On the one hand, before the throne are the “seven lamps burning” and the “Lamb as it had been slain,” showing that the throne was “set” there to serve in time of probation. The light from the candlestick represents the light of truth in the church while the blood of the Lamb is atoning for sinful beings. On the other hand, upon the throne sits the Ancient of days, the Judge, surrounded by the jury of twenty-four elders plus the angelic witnesses, “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” of them, plus the four beasts (who, being “redeemed” “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation”—verses 8, 9,—are therefore symbolical of the saints,—all those whose sins will be blotted from the books of records,—just as the beasts of Daniel 7 are symbolical of all the kingdoms which will perish in their sins), with the Lamb, our Advocate, in the midst. All this shows a combined mediatorial-judicial work.
Now so far, we see that when John in vision beheld the door—the veil—as it opened to the Most Holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, he was permitted to look within, and that the things which he saw, were to take place “hereafter” from his time; showing thereby that at the time of his vision (about 96 A. D.) the Most Holy apartment was closed. In addition to this, we shall now see from Daniel’s prophecy that the judgment throne was set up in the Most Holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary after the “little horn” of Daniel 7 came up.
“I considered the horns,” says the seer, “and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Dan. 7:8-10.
These verses reveal that after “the judgment was set, and the books were opened,” “the Son of man,” Christ, was then “brought” to a position, not at “the right hand of God,” “the Ancient of days,” but “near before” Him (Dan. 7:8-10, 13).
Both John’s and Daniel’s visions reveal that the throne in the sanctuary was not there from the beginning of the creation of God; or from the days of Moses; or yet from the hour that Christ ascended on high; or even from the days of pagan Rome; that, indeed, it was not “set up” until after the fall of pagan Rome, when the “little horn” of the non-descript beast came up—in the days of Ecclesiastical Rome (Dan. 7:7-12, 21, 22). Elsewhere than in the sanctuary, therefore, is
God’s Eternal Throne Room.
Because the sanctuary throne was not in existence in the days of the early Christian church, therefore the throne upon which Stephen saw Christ at the “right hand of God” (Acts 7:56) could not have been in the sanctuary, wherein is the “sea of glass,” but rather in Paradise, whence flows the “river of water of life,” and on either side of which is “the tree of life.” Rev. 22:1, 2. Very obviously, therefore, the throne which Stephen saw is “the throne of God and of the Lamb,” the throne permanent and eternal. Round about this glory-seat are no beasts, no witnesses, no jury, and before it is “no candle,” and no blood to be offered. In short, it stands, not in the sin-laden sanctuary, but in Paradise. It is the sovereign administrative throne, from which the Infinite eternally governs His immortal sinless beings!
To this throne, then, which is from everlasting to everlasting, Christ ascended and thereat sat down at the right hand of His Father until the time came when, in fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy and of John’s revelation, sometime after the little-horn power came into existence, both He and His Father moved to the sanctuary throne. Upon the latter He does not sit as a king at the right hand of God; but rather before it does He stand both as a sacrificial lamb (Rev. 5:6), and as an intercessor (Dan. 7:13) pleading for sinful human beings. Hence, His mediatorial work began
First in the Holy, Then in the Most Holy.
In the earthly sanctuary the high priest (typifying Christ) officiated first in the holy apartment throughout the year, then upon the day of Atonement, the day of cleansing the sanctuary and judging the people, he officiated in the Most Holy for one day only. This twofold service signifies that in the heavenly sanctuary, the High priest, Christ, must necessarily first officiate in the holy apartment up to the antitypical day of Atonement, then during that day, He must officiate in the Most Holy apartment, before the throne. Thus the earthly services, too, repudiate the idea that Christ entered the Most Holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary immediately after His ascension.
Very plainly, then, the ceremonial system reveals that from the time Christ “sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19), where the “river of water of life” is, to the time that He and the Father moved to the throne in the sanctuary, where “the sea of glass” is (Dan. 7:9, 10; Rev. 4:6), He officiated in our behalf as a high priest in “the holy place” (Heb. 9:12); and that at the same time, conjointly with the Father, on the eternal sovereign throne (“the throne of God and of the Lamb”), He ruled the sinless universe.
From the foregoing facts, clear and distinct, the only tenable conclusion to be drawn is that Christ, immediately after His ascension, rather that entering within the veil in the sanctuary, sat down at the right hand of His Father, in Paradise, and from there carried on His work in the holy apartment of the sanctuary.
How clear, already, the light of truth at last shining forth on this all-important subject of salvation so long shrouded in the dense fog of human theories and speculations! And how solid the resultant vindication of the Spirit of Prophecy’s reaffirmation of its position on the subject: “that the sanctuary question stands in righteousness and truth, just as we have held it for so many years.”—Gospel Workers, p. 303.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence,which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Heb. 10:35-37.
“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.” Heb. 8:1, 2.
Excerpt from Tract No. 3, The Judgment and the Harvest, pp. 12-20