The peculiar sanctuary doctrine as historically taught by Seventh-day Adventists has always come under attack from forces both without and within. The vastly important work that Christ commenced in the heavenly sanctuary in the autumn of 1844, also known as the investigative judgment or the “antitypical day of atonement”, is critical to understanding the exact manner in which God will cleanse not only the record books of heaven of sin from all those who died calling upon the name of Christ, but also the sanctuary on earth in the soon coming judgment of the living. In particular, the 2,300 day prophecy as found in Daniel 8:14 bringing to a close the longest prophetic period found in the Bible to the date of October 22, 1844, has been the special focus of the enemy’s efforts to destroy this essential doctrine for our salvation. Thus, at the present time it is of paramount importance for believers in this most sacred truth to be able to offer a thoroughly sound and irrefutable defense of its validity using the Bible alone.
The primary thrust of the contradictors to the Adventist view of the work Christ began in 1844 has to do with their insistence that He entered into the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary following His ascension after the first Pentecost. The following scriptures are given as the proof texts, thus it is here that we need to provide a more clear reasoned answer based on the Bible testimony and the facts of history.
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” —Acts 7:55, 56
“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”—Mark 16:19
“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
How do we Explain Daniel 8:14?
The opponents of the historical Adventist view of Daniel 8:14 attempt to explain that Antiochus Epiphanes, a 2nd Century Greek Emperor, trampled down the daily and the sanctuary when he sacrificed a pig on the altar of the Jewish temple. However, they, in turn, have no clear explanation for the 2,300 day prophecy.
The assumption that Stephen and others saw Christ on the sanctuary throne in the most holy place is fundamentally flawed. Upon examination of Daniel 7:9, 10, and 13 we see in the sanctuary Christ sits before the throne, whereas in the scriptures above He sits on the right hand of the Father, beside the throne.
“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. . . . I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. ”—Dan. 7:9, 10, 13
Thus, there must be two different thrones to explain these facts.
- Heavenly sanctuary wherein sits only the Father (Ancient of Days)
- Eternal throne where both the Father and the Son sit.
The permanent eternal throne (Rev. 22:1) is in Paradise. Here there is no judgment scene having 24 elders, 4 beasts, etc, as is the case with the sanctuary throne.
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”—Revelation 22:1
So How do We Explain Hebrews 8:1, 2?
As Christ sits on the right hand of the Father’s throne it represents his position of authority while ministering in the heavenly sanctuary. By way of comparison, the president of a nation has his seat of authority at the capitol building or presidential palace, yet he is able to travel about in official business as President even though he does not reside at his seat of authority at all times.
Christ’s work in the Most Holy apartment of the sanctuary did not begin after His ascension. This can be proven in Daniel 7. First consider the rise of the papacy
“I considered the horns, 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. . . . And the ten horns out of this kingdom [are] ten kings [that] shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”—Dan. 7:8, 28, 29
The judgment throne is set up after the fall of pagan Rome and the rise of the papacy.
The New Theology View Fails the Bible Test
The New Theology view brought into Adventist circles in the mid 1970’s by Desmond Ford runs ashore on four major points.
1. The power that trampled down the daily (Sabbath) and the sanctuary is the exceeding great horn, the papacy, as described in Daniel 8 verses 10 to 12. Antiochus Ephiphanes (175-163 b.c.) was a descendant of the Seleucian dynasty which ruled before pagan Rome rose to power. Thus the identification of this minor kingdom as an “exceeding great horn” does not logically apply.
“And it waxed great, [even] to the host of heaven; and it cast down [some] of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given [him] against the daily [sacrifice] by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.”—Dan. 8:10-12
2. Christ Himself spoke of the desolation of abomination mentioned in Daniel 8:11, 12 and 11:31 as an event yet future (see: Matt. 24:15-16).
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:”—Matt. 24:15, 16
3. Daniel was told that the vision of the 2,300 days would be fulfilled in the latter days. Daniel 8:17, 26: 10:14; 12:4.
“So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end [shall be] the vision. . . . And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told [is] true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it [shall be] for many days. . . . Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision [is] for [many] days. . . . But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”—Dan 8:17, 26; 10:14; 12:4
4. The word “sacrifice” was added by the translators and does not belong to the text (EW 74). Thus it cannot logically refer to the killing of a pig on the temple altar.
“Then I saw in relation to the “daily” (Daniel 8:12) that the word “sacrifice” was supplied by man’s wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the “daily”; but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion have followed. Time has not been a test since 1844, and it will never again be a test.”—Early Writings, p. 74.2
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