Category Archives: Futurist

Origins of ‘Preterism’ and ‘Futurism

Is it true that ‘Preterism’ and ‘Futurism’ were Jesuit interpretations of prophecy that were contrived during the counter-reformation? SDA’s and some others (even wickipedia articles) essentially promote that Jesuit scholarship rallied to the Roman cause by providing two plausible alternatives to the historical interpretation of the Protestants. Luis de Alcazar (1554–1630) of Seville, Spain, devised what became known as the “preterist” system of prophetic interpretation, pushing the antichrist as already come. In order to remove the Catholic Church from consideration as the antichrist power, Francisco Ribera (1537–1591) proposed that most of Revelation refers to the distant future just prior to the second coming, the “futurist” system.  

So, are the above statements true? No, that is a lie perpetrated by Seventh-day Adventists and others to stifle investigation through guilt by association. While Alcazar and Ribera championed and popularized those views from the 16th and 17th century, the idea of an antichrist that had already come, and also a future coming anti-Christ was not a new idea among the early church fathers before the reformation. John himself states simultaneously that the “antichrist is coming” and that “now many antichrists have come” (1 John 2:18; cf. 1 John 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 7). 

Preterism (moderate) sees most of the prophesises fulfilled in the first few centuries. Historicism teaches that much of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are to be fulfilled over long ages of church history. Futurism views much of the prophecies of Daniel, and Revelation to be yet future.

The early church fathers had differing views on end times. Here are a few samples of early Church views on anti-Christ:

Irenaeus (AD 189) believed in a single future antichrist who will sit in the temple of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 years.

“By means of the events which shall occur in the time of the Antichrist it is shown that he, being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be adored as God, and that although a mere slave, he wishes to be proclaimed as king. For he, being endued with all the power of the devil, shall not come as a righteous king nor as a legitimate king in subjection to God, but as an impious, unjust, and lawless one . . . setting aside idols to persuade [men] that he himself is God, raising himself up as the only idol. . . . Moreover [Paul] has also pointed out this which I have shown in many ways: that the temple in Jerusalem was made by the direction of the true God. For the apostle himself, speaking in his own person, distinctly called it the temple of God [2 Thess. 2:4] . . . in which the enemy shall sit, endeavoring to show himself as Christ” (Against Heresies 5:25:1-2 [A.D. 189]).

“But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months and will sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire” (ibid., 5:30:4).

Hippolytus (AD 200) saw a future Jewish antichrist and a rebuilt temple before the second coming.

“We find it written regarding Antichrist . . . ‘Dan is a lion’s whelp, and he shall leap from Bashan’ [Deut. 33:22]. But that no one may err by supposing that this is said of the Savior, let him attend carefully to the matter. Dan, he says, is a lion’s whelp. And in naming the tribe of Dan, he declared clearly the tribe from which Antichrist is destined to spring. For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan” (The Antichrist 6 [A.D. 200]). 14).

“Above all, moreover, he will love the nation of the Jews. And with all these [Jews] he will work signs and terrible wonders, false wonders and not true, in order to deceive his impious equals. . . . And after that he will build the temple in Jerusalem and will restore it again speedily and give it over to the Jews” (Discourse on the End of the World 23-25 [A.D. 217]).

Hippolytus separated Daniel’s 70th week from the 69 weeks, and placed the last 7 years before the end of the world (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist 43).

Tertullian (AD 210) believed in a present day “antichrist” and a future coming “antichrist”.

The man of sin, the son of perdition, who must first be revealed before the Lord comes, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; and who is to sit in the temple of God and boast himself as being God. . . . According indeed to our view, he is Antichrist; as it is taught us in both the ancient and the new prophecies, and by the apostle John, who says that ‘already many false prophets have gone out into the world,’ the forerunners of Antichrist, who deny that Christ is come in the flesh, and do not acknowledge Jesus, meaning in God the Creator” (Against Marcion 5:16 [A.D. 210]).

Ephraem of Nisibis (AD 306-373), a major theologian of the early Eastern (Byzantine) Church, writes:

All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.” He describes the imminent rapture, followed by 3½ years of great tribulation under the rule of Antichrist, followed by the coming of Christ, the defeat of Antichrist, and the eternal state. His view includes a parenthesis between the fulfillment of Daniel’s sixty-nine weeks and his seventieth week in Daniel 9:24-27. (source: )

Brother Dolcino (AD 1307), a leader of the Apostolic Brethren in northern Italy writes:

The Antichrist was coming into this world within the bounds of the said three and a half years; and after he had come, then he [Dolcino] and his followers would be transferred into Paradise, in which are Enoch and Elijah. And in this way they will be preserved unharmed from the persecution of Antichrist” (source: )

Peter Jurieu (1637-1713) was a prominent theologian and apologist in the French Reformed Church. In his work, Approaching Deliverance of the Church (1687), he taught that “Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to heaven before the battle of Armageddon. He spoke of a secret rapture prior to His coming in glory and judgement at Armageddon.” (source: )

Augustine (AD 354) alluded to Nero as a type of antichrist.

“Some think that the Apostle Paul referred to the Roman empire, and that he was unwilling to use language more explicit, lest he should incur the calumnious charge of wishing ill to the empire which it was hoped would be eternal; so that in saying, ‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work,‘ he alluded to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as the deeds of Antichrist” (The City of God on II Thessalonians 2:7, XX.19.3).

Commodian (AD 260), a Christian poet, writes of the Antichrist, when Nero will return from hell:

“Then, doubtless, the world shall be finished when he shall appear. He himself shall divide the globe into three ruling powers, when, moreover, Nero shall be raised up from hell, Elias shall first come to seal the beloved ones; at which things the region of Africa and the northern nation, the whole earth on all sides, for seven years shall tremble. But Elias shall occupy the half of the time, Nero shall occupy half. Then the whore Babylon, being reduced to ashes, its embers shall thence advance to Jerusalem; and the Latin conqueror shall then say, I am Christ, whom ye always pray to; and, indeed, the original ones who were deceived combine to praise him. He does many wonders, since his is the false prophet” (Instructions, XLI).

Irenaeus (AD 189), a church father comments on the number of the Beast, warned against “making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved” (Against Heresies, V.30.3).

He understood John’s vision to have occurred “almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign“, a tradition repeated by Eusebius (AD314) in his Ecclesiastical History (III.18.3) and by the church fathers (e.g., Clement of Alexandria, The Rich Man’s Salvation, XLII; Victorinus, Commentary on the Apocalypse, X.11; Jerome, Lives of Illustrious Men, IX; Sulpicius Severus, Sacred History, II.31)—which is to say, sometime before AD 96, when the emperor was assassinated and just a few years before John himself died of old age, having been banished to the island of Patmos, where Revelation was written. Source: University of Chicago/paper

Jerome (4th Century), in his Commentary on the Book of Daniel, expressed this idea:

And so there are many of our viewpoint who think that Domitius Nero was the Antichrist because of his outstanding savagery and depravity. (Source:

John Calvin did not write a commentary on Revelation, but in his Commentary on Daniel, he identifies the little horn of Daniel 7 as Roman Caesar’s:

“It is sufficiently clear, therefore, that this exhibition ought to be referred to the first advent of Christ. I have no doubt that the little horn relates to Julius Caesar and the other Caesars who succeeded him, namely, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and others” 


In Calvin’s Institutes, the little horn is Antiochus:

“In another passage, the Spirit, portraying him in the person of Antiochus, says that his reign would be with great swelling words of vanity” (Dan. 7:25). Source: (Calvin’s Institutes IV:7:25)

Calvin also accused the Pope of being the Antichrist not based on Daniel 7 or 8, but because of his “tyranny,” “destruction of the truth,” “corruption of the worship of God,” “breaking of His ordinances,” and the “dispersion of the order of His Church.”

Martin Luther, who had grave reservations about Revelation as a canonical book, subscribed to historicist ideas in his later years and found resources for an anti-Catholic message in the Bible. Martin Luther was probably unaware of the previous attacks on the papacy when, in 1517, he drafted his 95 Theses. However, for Martin Luther, the popes were not only the antichrist. For him, popes were the “spirit” of antichrist, while the “Turks” (Muslims) were the flesh. In reading Daniel 8, Luther also saw Antiochus Epiphanes as the forerunner of the great antichrist.

In the first few centuries of the Church, the Roman Caesars from Nero to Diocletian became “antichrists,” and Rome was “Babylon.” Some also saw a future literal anti-Christ, and rebuilt temple (all this before the arrival of Papacy).

Yet, centuries later, with the arrival of Muhammad, the idea of antichrist took on a distinctly Muslim flavor.

John of Damascus (6th century) wrote in his Against Heresies about the “deceptive error of the Ishmaelites, the forerunner of the antichrist.” 

As early as 634 A.D., in The Doctrine of Jacob, a Jewish merchant from Palestine who had converted to Christianity laments over the Arab invasions. He writes: “What can you tell me about the prophet who has appeared with the Saracens? He replied, groaning deeply: “He is false, for the prophets do not come armed with a sword.” Truly they are the works of anarchy being committed today and I fear the first Christ to come, whom the Christians worship, was the one sent by God and we instead are preparing to receive the Antichrist.

Another eyewitness to the initial Arab attacks was Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In 634 A.D., Bethlehem had already fallen to the Arab invaders, so he was forced to give his Nativity sermon in Jerusalem. His most detailed description of the Muslim invasion came in his Epiphany sermon, in probably 636 A.D., a dire moment, as the Arab army had surrounded Jerusalem itself. He spoke of the “God-hating Saracens, the abomination of desolation clearly foretold to us by the prophets.” Jerusalem fell in 637 A.D., and in due course they established Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, meant to forever cement the idea that Islam had supplanted Christianity and Judaism, even in the very heart of the Judeo-Christian world.

Peter the Venerable (12 the century), saw Muhammad as the precursor to the Antichrist (source: Wikipedia).

During the 13th century, works by scholars such as Peter PascualRiccoldo da Monte di Croce, and Ramon Llull, depicted Muhammad as an Antichrist while Islam was shown to be a Christian heresy (source: Wikipedia).

Kenneth Setton (an American historian) wrote that Muhammad was frequently calumniated and made a subject of legends taught by preachers as fact. For example, in order to show that Muhammad was the anti-Christ, it was asserted that Muhammad died not in the year 632 but in the year 666 – the number of the beast – in another variation on the theme the number “666” was also used to represent the period of time Muslims would hold sway of the land (source: Wikipedia).

Islam undoubtedly punctuated Martin Luther’s wholehearted belief that he was living amidst the Last Days, so Martin Luther wrote, “The pope is Antichrist, so the Turk (Muslims) is the very devil … both shall go down to hell”.

Luther was not the first to attribute antichrist characteristics to the papacy. Back in 991, Bishop Arnulf of Orleans, applies that title to papacy. 

Luther and others went on to identify the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church as the “Antichrist” and “Whore of Babylon” during the Protestant reformation. This was the central conflict of Luther and the reformers of the Protestant Reformation. Hence, Protestantism redirected and divided the views of the antichrist away from where it had been for the first centuries. After Luther, for many centuries until the middle of the 19th century, the dominant view in the church was the Historicist school of thought which was held by such people as John Knox, William Tyndale, Isaac Newton, and many others. Today, SDA’s champion the historicist view, continuing with much of the ideas held by the Protestant reformers.

Now, was John Calvin influenced by Jesuits for writing that the little horn of Daniel 7 refers to Caesars? Were the early church fathers influenced by Jesuits for holding a flavor of preterist and futurist ideas of antichrist? Far from it. As you can see, the SDAs and others who propagate that preterist and futurist ideas of antichrist (in opposition to Popes being the antichrist) were a Jesuit invention in the 16th century is utterly false. Preterist ideas were more common than futurist ideas, but they were nothing knew among several early church believers.

Preterism traces its roots back to the second century, and there have been many prominent preterists (partial or moderate) since long before the Jesuit order was born. Historicism, which also had a long history on the periphery, only gained prominence during the Reformation as Protestant leaders “discovered” the papacy on the pages of almost every evil power in Daniel and Revelation, as they believed they lived in the very last days of apostasy. Apparently contrived from an anti-Catholic mindset rather than a critical evaluation of the facts, and good exegesis, Historicism’s fortunes waned as anti-Catholic fervor died down. Its highly subjective (such arbitrarily picking of dates to pinpoint fulfillments) and controversial nature led many to question if it was not based more on wishful thinking rather than actual fact. Due to its nebulous interpretation method and the fact that John’s original readers could not have understood the book of Revelation in a historicist manner, the historicist view is not widely held today. As historicism came to be viewed as unreliable because of having so many differing variations on interpreting the same symbols, and following the very public humiliation of the October 22, 1844, Great Disappointment, there was widespread abandonment of historicist view among protestants. Futurism’s more literalist approach gained favor among Christian denominations there after. Futurism (with varying degrees) has arisen to prominence over the past two centuries, and Preterism (partial, moderate, etc.) has also been making inroads.

While we do not side with any particular camp, the bottom line is, regarding antichrists, there are many antichrist spirits that have gone out into the world (1 John 2:18), and so will there be many coming through out the church age.

Interestingly, the only place in the New Testament where the word “antichrist” appears is in the Johannine Epistles, not in Revelation. Nowhere in Revelation is the “beast” ever called “antichrist”. In his first epistle John emphatically states (1 John 2:18) that we may know this is the last hour because of the existence and activity of many antichrists. He says: “Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour” (2:18).

Note well that the entire period between the first and second comings of Jesus is called either the “last hour” as well as the “last days”. See Acts 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; 1 Pt. 1:20 (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11). Thus the “last hour” in 1 John 2:18 is not a reference to the final days preceding Christ’s return but a reference to the entire church age in which we now live.

For John, “antichrist” is anyone “who denies that Jesus is the Christ” (1 John 2:22), or anyone “who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). The term “antichrist” is a combination of anti (against or instead of) and christos (Messiah, Christ).

We would be agreeable to say that the spirit of antichrist has revealed itself in Antiochus Epiphanes, Julius Caesar, Nero Caesar, and the papacy— and many others like Islam. This is consistent with the beliefs of the Reformers such as Calvin, and Luther, and the early church fathers, who applied the antichrist figure to more than one individual unlike what SDA’s try to portray! Besides, we believe the beast and Babylon powers of Revelation goes beyond Caesars and Popes as outlined in our Revelation commentary. See:

1) Our verse-by-verse complete Daniel Commentary

2) Our verse-by-verse complete Revelation Commentary

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Truth About the Sanctuary Truth

SDAs teach that, “What was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary(GC420)”. Does Jesus’s ministry in heaven follow the pattern of the Old Covenant Sanctuary ministry? Does such a belief withstand biblical investigation and testimonies from the word of God? The purpose of this section is to review the sanctuary doctrine of the SDA church.

1. Earthly sanctuary is a “shadow” of the heavenly, not a duplicate

Nearly 2,500 years after Adam, Moses was shown “an example and shadow” (Heb 8:5) of the heavenly things to teach an object lesson to the Israelites. What Moses was shown was not an exact duplicate of the heavenly sanctuary itself. According to the blueprint given to Moses, they were to make ten curtains of “fine twined linen,” each one four by twenty-eight cubits; and eleven curtains of goat’s hair, each four by thirty cubits; and then a covering of “rams’ skins dyed red;” and another covering of badgers’ skins.  In front of the tabernacle was to be placed the altar of burnt offerings with its grate, shovel, tongs etc. What Bible student will contend for a moment that in heaven there is a structure made of wooden boards overlaid with gold, held together with bars and covered with red goats’ skins and badger pelts? If the layer and the altar of burnt offerings were not patterns of things in the heavens, then what right has any one to contend that any of the furniture or service was an exact duplicate of the heavenly?

2. Do SDAs truthfully teach that Jesus is following the Old Testament Sanctuary pattern in Heaven?

If Jesus is following the pattern of the earthly sanctuary, then it should be obvious from the New Testament Scriptures, and the teachings of the SDAs. However, Seventh-day Adventists are really not that seriously interested in teaching pattern-fulfillment except when it involves their own view of the Day of Atonement. Notice the following:

  • The earthly sanctuary, which was a shadow of the heavenly, places the ark or throne of God in the holy of holies, or second apartment, while the priest was ministering in the first apartment. Guess where SDA’s place it? SDA’s place the throne of God in the first apartment while Jesus was apparently ministering in that same apartment before 1844, in violation of the type.
  • The earthly sanctuary represents the high priest as going from the court where the Lord’s goat was slain directly into the holy of holies, on the day of atonement. SDAs teach that Christ went from his ministry in the first apartment, and not from the earth where he died, into the holy of holies on the day of atonement which they begin in 1844.
  • The earthly sanctuary sends the high priest directly through the first apartment into the holy of holies as soon as he has in his hands the blood of the Lord’s goat, or the blood that pays the penalty of sin. SDA’s view stops our great High Priest in the first apartment when he has his own blood which paid the penalty of sin.
  • In the Old Covenant sanctuary, the Bible says that the entire sanctuary was cleansed on the Day of Atonement and not merely the Most Holy Place (Leviticus 16:20). Yet in the Adventist sequence, Jesus (at least) ministered in the Holy Place until 1844. This would have required that the Holy Place be cleansed first long before 1844. SDA to fit their theology only cleanses the Most Holy Place in violation of the pattern.

The above facts are plain enough to show that SDAs do not live up to their claim that, what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary. They will only speak of pattern-fulfilment when it suits their view of atonement.

3. Jesus is not a Levitical priest who follows the earthly pattern

Now if what is done in type is done in realty, then we can expect Jesus to do things like Aaron did, like a Levitical priest. If we think of Jesus as the anti-typical high priest doing the ongoing work of the anti-typical “Day of Atonement” during the investigative judgment, we then have no trouble believing that Jesus is following the earthly pattern just like the Levitical priesthood. However, instead of following the Old Covenant pattern of Levitical priesthood, Jesus “descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests” (Hebrews 7:14). In fact, regarding Christ’s ministry in heaven, the book Hebrews teaches “pattern-dissolution,” not “pattern-fulfillment”. Christ was out of Judah “who has come, not according to a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16), meaning that His ministry is not patterned according to the Old covenant law. While the Bible is clear that Jesus is not a Levitical priest, Adventism shows us that He is. Because there was a change of priesthood, “there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrews 7:12). Christ coming from an entirely different priesthood and serving under an entirely different law, cannot be confined or limited to the Levitical law governing the priesthood. At the crucifixion of Christ, the Levitical priesthood came to an end and the law governing the priesthood ceased to operate. Then why should anyone insist on explaining the priesthood of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary be after the pattern of the Levitical priesthood which not only ceased to have authority, but even the law governing that priesthood became inoperative?

4. SDA assumptions

The whole system of SDA sanctuary doctrine rests on the false supposition and assumption that the confessed sins of God’s people were carried into the first apartment of the sanctuary in the blood and sprinkled before or on the vail, thus defiling the sanctuary, and consequently requiring a service of cleansing on the day of atonement. Essentially, the SDAs teach that the blood from “daily” sacrifices defiles the sanctuary, whilst the blood of the sacrifice, pertaining to the yearly Day of Atonement, cleanses the sanctuary. Let’s see if the Bible teaches such a teaching.

5. Only sins of ignorance when it is remembered were confessed

The book of Leviticus makes it clear that (normally) only “sins of ignorance” or unintentional non-high-handed sins committed accidentally (when remembered) could be atoned through individual confession and sacrifice. In other words, only general and accidental sins were daily confessed in the sanctuary.

  • If a person shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD…( Lev. 4:2)
  • When a ruler has sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD ….( Lev 4:12)
  • And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty (Lev. 4:13)
  • Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcass of an unclean beast, or a carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty (Lev. 5:2)

The only kinds of sins which were brought to the sanctuary for atonement were: sins of ignorance committed either inadvertently or accidentally (Lev. 4-5; Num. 15); sins of omission where one failed to do what was right (Lev. 6); theft requiring restitution (Lev. 6); sins of obligation where one was forced into defilement such as touching a dead relative (Lev. 11); leprosy (Lev. 13-15); other minor trespasses against God’s standards of holiness (Lev. 19), and jealousy over suspected marital infidelity (Num. 5). This discussion of what kinds of sins were actually brought to the sanctuary is not found in the Adventist sanctuary doctrine.

6. Not Presumptuous sins

Presumptuous, pre-meditated, intentional, willful sins could not be atoned by daily sacrifices. Premeditated (willful, deliberate, high-handed) sins were NOT brought to the sanctuary for atonement under the statutes and ordinances of the Law because pre-meditated sins could not be atoned by daily personal sacrifices, but the guilt had to be borne by the sinner.

“But the person that does anything presumptuously [defiantly], whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproaches the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. [Note that no sacrifice was prescribed.]. Numb. 15:31 Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken his commandment, that person shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him”(Numb. 15:30)

When a serious high-handed deliberate sin had been committed, death, or cutting off, was often the penalty, or consequence. The judges declared a “life for life, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” No sacrifice was acceptable! Death not a sacrifice was the punishment for idolatry (Ex. 22:20), blaspheme of God’s name (Lev. 24:16); adultery (Lev. 20:10), incest (Lev. 20:11), homosexuality (Lev. 20:13), working on the Sabbath Day (Ex. 31:14); cursing parents (Lev. 20:9), child sacrifice (Lev. 20:2), sex with animals (Lev. 20:15) and witchcraft (Ex. 22:18). The guilty persons “bore their own iniquity.” See Numb. 5:31; 30:15 ; Eze. 18:20.

Unlike the old covenant, however, the new covenant takes care of presumptuous and willful sins as explained in Acts 13:39. Our practice of confessing and receiving forgiveness of all sins (high-handed, deliberate, willful, general and accidental) does not follow the Old Covenant sanctuary pattern at all. Yet the book of Leviticus makes it clear that (normally) only unintentional non-high-handed sins committed accidentally or in ignorance could be atoned through individual confession and sacrifice. Where another’s property was involved, confession required restitution plus an offering (Lev. 5:16; 6:4-5). Therefore, when Seventh-day Adventists include confessed and forgiven deliberate sins among those which (they say) defile the most holy place during the daily ministration of the sanctuary service (Old and New Covenant) they blatantly misunderstand and misrepresents the nature of the sins involved.

Again, no presumptuous, premeditated, high-handed sin was ever brought to the sanctuary for sacrifice and atonement. Since those sins were punished instead of forgiven, they would not be entered into the books of heaven. How did they get to heaven? Why does not SDA theology explain where these sins are in their Investigative Judgment scenario?

7. Sacrificial Blood carried no sin, but was the proof of payment for sin

Here’s a verse-by-verse explanation of the daily Jewish sanctuary service from Leviticus 4:16-20

And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord: and the bullock shall be killed before the Lord (Leviticus 4:15)

And the elders of the congregation. In this situation, as the whole congregation could not lay their hands on the victim, their representatives (elders) had to perform this act. Besides this sin offering there was only one other congregational offering upon which there was this laying of hands: i.e., the scape-goat (Leviticus 16:21) ritual on the day of atonement.

Lay their hands upon the head of the bullock. Laying hands represented confession of sins, transferring guilt and identifying with the sacrifice as their substitute. The bullock shall be killed in the court near the altar of burnt offering, either by a priest, or Levite, or by a butcher.

And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the congregation (Leviticus 4:16)

The appointed priest brings the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the congregation. The blood of the sacrifice represented the substituted sinless life of Jesus which effected the atonement. Sinless blood paid the price for sin.

And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, even before the vail (Leviticus 4:17)

Dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it. The blood was not to be poured out there but sprinkled only. The cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ was sufficiently represented by sprinkling. Moses “sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry, and almost all things are by the law purged [cleansed] with blood.

The blood did not transport any sins into the sanctuary, nor did it defile the sanctuary as SDAs teach. The blood was brought inside the sanctuary not to defile it, but as a proof (receipt of payment rendered) that the redemption price had already been fully paid, and to symbolize that “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Once again, see what sprinkling of blood does. “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh” (Hebrews 9:13). Sacrificial blood is the redemption price for sin (Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12). Redemption blood brings the sinner “near” to God by reconciliation—not by defiling God’s dwelling place (Eph. 2:13). God could not declare “peace through the blood” if that same blood had separated him from God by defiling his throne (Col. 1:20).

Sprinkle it seven times before the Lord. Seven is a number of perfection, so this signified the perfect satisfaction the blood made on behalf of the sinner, and the complete cleansing of the souls of the faithful by it. By the way, there is absolutely no difference between the sin offering of the Day of Atonement and the sin offering on other days. “And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it [the whole sanctuary] with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel (Leviticus 16:19). Blood always cleanses the sinner, never defiles the sanctuary. The priest announces to the penitent that “an atonement for him before the LORD” had been made and that he was “forgiven” of his “trespass” (Lev. 4:20; 5:6; 6:7).

“And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the Lord, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation (Leviticus 4:18)

In the case of sin of the high priest (4:1-12) or of the whole nation (13-21), some blood from the sacrifice was poured out on the altar of burnt offerings, and some was taken into the Holy Place, where it was sprinkled in front of the veil and placed on the horns of the altar of incense. This was to show that approach to God, previously hindered through sin, was possible again, because atonement had been made. Once again, the blood is a “cleansing” agent. Atoned sins did not defile or transfer sin into the sanctuary.  This is an SDA assumption without support in the Bible. SDAs had to invent this idea to support their investigative judgement doctrine.

And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. (Leviticus 4:19)

The fat was the only part of the animal which was offered on the altar; for the carcass, it was carried outside the camp, into the place where the ashes were deposited, and there consumed with fire (Lev. 4:21). When people saw this being done, people knew that the ritual was over: sin had been judged,  and fellowship with God was restored.

And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them” (Leviticus 4:20)

By the way burnt offerings, cereal offerings and peace offerings were not compulsory; people made them voluntarily to express their devotion. The sin offering, however, was compulsory whenever people realized they had committed some (accidental) sin that broke their fellowship with God. In the other offerings there was an element of atonement (for sin affects everything that people do), but in the sin offering, atonement was the central issue. Continuing from verse 20:

Priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. When the sin offering is completed, it is said, atonement is made, and the sin shall be forgiven. This formula recurs with all the sin-offerings (with the exception of the one for the high priest). See: Leviticus 4:26, Leviticus 4:31, Leviticus 4:35, Leviticus 5:10, Leviticus 5:13; Numbers 15:25-26, Numbers 15:28; also, with the trespass-offerings, Leviticus 5:16, Leviticus 5:18; Leviticus 19:22.

Sin offerings in the daily sanctuary service presented for defilements “cleansed” (taher) the sinner as the effect of the atoning sacrifice (Leviticus 12:7-8; Leviticus 13:20, Leviticus 13:53; Numbers 8:21). Taher is the word used for “cleanse”, which is the same word used on the day of atonement ritual (Leviticus 16:19).

“And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed (taher) from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering (Leviticus 14:19)

SDA’s have neglected the everyday cleansing atonements in the daily sanctuary service. Forms of “cleanse”, or the Hebrew word taher (used on the day of atonement ritual), are extremely common, occurring in descriptions of the everyday sanctuary routines over 60 times in Leviticus alone.

Summary: When the sacrifice died as a sin offering at the entrance of the sanctuary, the payment for the confessed sin was complete. The priest announced to the penitent that “an atonement for him before the LORD” had been made and that he was “forgiven” of his “trespass” (Lev. 4:20; 5:6 and 6:7) and “cleansed” (Leviticus 14:19).

The blood was brought inside the sanctuary (sprinkling), not to defile it, but as a proof (receipt of payment rendered) that the redemption price had already been fully paid, and symbolize blood cleanses the repentant of all sin. Therefore, contrary to what SDAs teach, there is no Bible text which says that atoned sins were transferred into the sanctuary through blood or transferred sin through blood defiled the sanctuary!!! Contrary to SDA theology, sacrificial blood always “cleansed” or “washed away” sins of people in the daily ministry. Sacrificial blood did not transfer sin to another place (to be dealt with later). SDA assume the confessed sins were transferred through the blood into the sanctuary to support their investigative judgement doctrine, but the text says no such thing. The atoned sins were washed away by the sinless blood of the sacrificial animal, a type of Christ. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Blood of Jesus does not carry our sins into the sanctuary to defile the sanctuary and then cleanse it later! Why would believers want to boldly “enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” if that “holiest” contained the accumulated sins of every believer since Adam thus making it the most unholy and most sinful place in the entire universe (Heb. 10:19 cf GC418-421)? Now if the atoned sins did not defile the sanctuary, what defiled the earthly sanctuary?

8. The sanctuary was defiled by un-atoned sins and ceremonial uncleanliness.

While SDAs emphatically stress that the sanctuary was defiled by the confessed, forgiven and atoned sins of God’s people, exactly the opposite is true! The sanctuary was defiled by un-atoned sins. In fact, the atoned sins were the only ones that did not defile the sanctuary!

  • ‘Thus you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness when they defile My tabernacle that is among them. This is the law for one who has a discharge, and for him who emits semen and is unclean thereby (Leviticus 15:31-32)
  • Do not defile the land which you shall inhabit wherein I dwell. For I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel (Numb. 35:34)
  • That the land does not spit you out also when you defile it, as it spat out the nations that were before you. (Lev. 18:28; 18:1-28.)
  • Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that has an issue [of blood] and whosoever is defiled by the dead. Put out both male and female. Put them outside the camp that they do not defile their camps in the MIDST whereof I dwell (Numb. 5:2-3)
  • Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him (Numbers 19:13)

Leviticus 15:25-31 teaches that Israelite women who do not ritually purify themselves from their “issue of blood” “defile the sanctuary”. Leviticus 18:28 and Numbers 35:34 teach that the land itself was defiled by deliberate willful sin (which could not be brought into the sanctuary as unintentional sins). Like unclean women, Numbers 5:2-3 also teaches that lepers defile the camp. Yet, as long as they remained leprous, there was no sacrificial offering for them in the sanctuary. Fourth, in Numbers 19:13, 20, a person who touched dead animals or persons “and does not purify himself defiles the tabernacle.” 

Therefore, the sanctuary required a yearly cleaning, not because of confessed sins and not because (as SDAs teach) the priests had been transferring sin into the most holy place, but simply because of its location on earth in the middle of a sinful people. Therefore, contrary to what SDAs teach, there is no Bible text which says that atoned sins defile the sanctuary!!! The land, the camp and the tabernacle were all defiled by either deliberate sin or other sins or ceremonial uncleanliness which could not be atoned by sacrifice in the daily sanctuary service! Thus, exactly the opposite of what SDAs teach is true.

Let me repeat. There is no single Bible text (thus saith the Lord) which says that atoned or confessed sins defile the sanctuary or transfers sin into the sanctuary through the blood.On the contrary, the Bible teaches very plainly that God’s sanctuary was defiled by the sinning of the people that was not atoned.

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Again, thou shalt say unto the children of Israel. whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.” Lev. 20:1-3.

This scripture plainly teaches that when a man in Israel offered his children in sacrifice to the idol Molech, this sinful act defiled the sanctuary of the Lord and profaned his holy name, because his name was associated with his sanctuary. Such a sin was not atoned through the sanctuary service, instead was punished by death.

9. Were the blood of animals always taken into the first apartment?

There were but only three cases when the blood of an animal was carried in and sprinkled before the vail. In each case it was the blood of a bullock, and not the blood of a lamb or goat. The first was when the high priest committed a sin and repented; he brought the blood of a bullock and sprinkled it before the veil. (Lev. 4:3-6). The second was when the whole congregation sinned; a bullock was offered whose blood was sprinkled before the vail (Lev. 4:13-17). The third time the blood was taken into the first apartment was by the high priest in preparation for his entering into the most holy place on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:3-6).

Read the first nine chapters of the book of Leviticus, noting in part the burnt sacrifice (Lev. 1:3-5); the peace offering (Lev. 3:1-8); the case of the ruler committing sin (Lev 4:22-25); the common people (Lev 4: 27-34); the trespass offering (Lev 5:6-9). In every case, with the three above excepted, the blood instead of being carried into the first apartment of the tabernacle, was sprinkled on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and poured at the foot of the same altar. It never entered the holy place. Hence, when a ruler or a common Israelite took a sin-offering to the sanctuary the blood of the animal, a male goat (in the case of a ruler), or a ewe or a female goat (in the case of a common citizen), “was placed on the horns of the altar of burnt offering in the courtyard”, which means that not even one droplet of it ever entered the holy place. 

10. The Day of Atonement ritual only removed general sinfulness which remained & the entire Sanctuary needed cleansing on the day of atonement, not only the Most holy

SDAs teach that only the Most Holy Place required cleansing from the defilement of sacrificial blood which had carried confessed and atoned sins into it.However, Leviticus 16:15-20, 30, from the Day of Atonement’s most important chapter prove that exactly the opposite is true. Here’s a verse-by-verse explanation.

Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:15 KJV)

Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering: The goat that was sacrificed was also like Jesus, in that the goat was spotless, was from the people of Israel (Leviticus 16:5), was chosen by God (Leviticus 16:8), and the goat’s blood was taken to the Most Holy Place to provide atonement.

Bring his blood within the vail, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat. The blood of this sin offering had to be sprinkled on the mercy seat, which was the lid to the ark of the covenant. The idea was that God’s presence was above the mercy seat (I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat, Leviticus 16:2), and as He looked down upon the ark of the covenant, He saw the sin of man. Man’s sin was represented by the items in the ark of the covenant: Manna Israel complained about, tablets and book of law Israel broke, and a budding almond rod given as a response to Israel’s rebellion. Then, the high priest sprinkled atoning blood seven times on the mercy seat – covering over the emblems of Israel’s sin. God saw the blood cover over the sin, and atonement was made. As we saw, sprinkling of blood in the sanctuary (daily or yearly) was to “cleanse” and forgive the sinner, and not to defile the sanctuary!

And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness (Leviticus 16:16)

He shall make an atonement for the holy place. Here the place within the veil, the holy of holies is in view, and atonement is made because of?

Because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel. This is in reference to theun atoned ceremonial uncleanness of Israel during the year, which defiled the sanctuary, and needed atonement (reconciliation).

Because of their transgressions in all their sins. This is in reference to the unatoned transgressions of Israel during the year, which defiled the sanctuary, and needed atonement (reconciliation). Hence, this was a general, all-inclusive, general cleansing of ALL of the remaining un-atoned sins of Israel. Since only non-high-handed sins “sins of ignorance” were allowed to be atoned through daily blood sacrifices, these texts are not referring to those specific sins which had already been forgiven, cleansed and atoned, during the daily sanctuary service, as we saw already. God does not require two different atonements for the same sins.

So shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. Again, it’s the entire tabernacle including the courtyard, holy place that required cleansing because it was located in the “midst of,” in the middle of their uncleanliness or transgressions. The atonement was made for the entire sanctuary contrary to SDA explanation that only the Most Holy place required cleansing.

And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel (Leviticus 16:17)

This was commanded for the greater reverence to the Divine Majesty, then in a more special manner appearing, and that none of them might cast an eye into the holy of holies as the high priest went in or came out.

And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about (Leviticus 16:18)

The high priest shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord – that is, the altar of burnt sacrifice in the court, standing in front of the tabernacle, not the altar of incense.

And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel  (Leviticus 16:19)

The High priest then sprinkled with his right finger, seven times, upon the altar of burnt sacrifice that was in the courtyard.

 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat (Leviticus 16:20)

Reconciling the holy place, the tabernacle, the altar. The three things mentioned here indicate the order in which the atonement was made—for the holy place (i.e. the Holy of Holies); the tent of meeting (the outer part of it) and the altar (outside the tabernacle).SDAs pattern-fulfillment theology must ignore this Bible truth that the Holy Place (the first tent) and the altar of burnt offering also required the cleansing ritual. They must ignore this in their explanation because Christ had already been ministering inside the Holy Place since his ascension. Moreover, the Adventist doctrine fails to explain why the Bible says that the entire sanctuary was cleansed on the Day of Atonement and not merely the Most Holy Place. Yet in the Adventist sequence, Jesus (at least) ministered in the Holy Place until 1844. This would have required that the Holy Place be cleansed first long before 1844. Why did not SDA theology pick this up? The answer is obvious but you decide!

He shall bring the live goat. The ritual of the scapegoat was not preformed after the sanctuary had been cleansed, but the ritual of the scapegoat BEGAN when the congregation chose two equally qualified goats to present to God as ONE sin offering. As part of the ritual, when the tabernacle itself was cleansed, Aaron then dealt with the sin of the people through the transference of sin and release of the live goat. The choosing of the goat “for Azazel” was an essential part of the removal of sin determined BEFORE the shedding of blood.

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:21)

A few verses earlier, we were told about the two goats: “And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering” (Leviticus 16:5). Both goats were to constitute a single sin offering, and were for different aspects of one and the same atonement. Both goats had been chosen by the congregation from among the most spotless sacrificial animals which were all types of Jesus Christ. And both goats had been ritually cleansed by washing before being present “before the LORD” at the doorway of the sanctuary. This could not be said of Satan. It is blasphemy to equate Satan with a sin offering as some Christian and Jewish authors have done!

“And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” (Leviticus 16:8). Either goat could have been chosen because both were equally qualified. This is not true of Satan. It is unfortunate that the Authorized Version (KJV) guessed and translated the obscure Hebrew word rather than leaving it un-translated. The RSV leaves it as Azazel. Many linguists prefer to interpret the term as merely “complete removal.”

Back to Lev. 16:21: The high priest with his unwashed blood-stained hands still fresh from the sacrificed goat, now puts his hands upon the live goat, and through the confession, transferred the sins of the nation to the goat as their substitute. As both goats were intended for a single sin-offering, the sins of the nation were confessed upon both.

Shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. The guilt-laden animal was then entrusted to a man previously appointed. As both goats were intended for a sin-offering, the sins of the nation were confessed upon both. Sacrifice came first; then the removal of sin was symbolised by the sending away of the second goat. There is an evident reference to this sequence in the words ‘without shedding of blood there is no remission.’ The two goats represent Christ’s work; the one in its essence, the other in its effect. The complete removal of sin by the living goat was the proto-type of the New Covenant promise of Jeremiah 31:34 and Hebrews 8:12; 10:17. There are two precedents for allowing sin-offerings to live after they have participated in atonement.

In Leviticus 14:1-7 two clean birds were used to cleanse a leper and one of the birds was released alive.

Lev 14:49 “And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop.”

Here again, two birds used for ONE offering of sin cleansing. Also in 14:49-53 two birds were taken to “cleanse” a house from mold or mildew.

Like the second goat, the second bird of Leviticus 14:49 was not sacrificed, yet they constituted one sin offering in spite of one being not killed. Its purpose was to point out that God does not remember sins after Calvary per Hebrews 8:12. None of these sin offerings represented Satan.

Adventists try to point that the type of atonement for the scapegoat is similar to when a blasphemer was stoned, the congregation first laid hands on him Lev. 24:14. There is no goat or sacrificial animal involved here. Adventist simply cannot see the precedent where two birds are used for one sin offering and one is released alive.


  • Two kids of the goats for a sin offering” (Leviticus 16:5).
  • The scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him” (Lev. 16:10)

The rite involving the scapegoat BEGAN when the congregation chose two equally qualified goats to present to God as ONE sin offering and not when the sanctuary was cleansed!

The Jews write, that this [live] goat was carried to the mountain called Azazel, whence the goat is so called, Leviticus 16:10; and that there he was cast down headlong; and that the red string by which he was led turned white when God was pleased with the Israelites, otherwise it remained red; and then they mourned all that year. And the ancient Hebrews write, that forty years before the destruction of the temple, which was about the time of Christ’s death, this red string turned no more white” (Mathew Poole)

Summary: The day of atonement ritual was a general, all-inclusive, general cleansing of ALL of the remaining un-atoned sins of Israel. It provided a new beginning for the new year. Unlike the heavenly sanctuary, the one on earth was surrounded by millions of sinners who regularly committed both presumptuous and ignorant sins. These sins un-atoned defiled the sanctuary. In Numbers 5:3, those who had been defiled by unavoidable and un-atonable uncleanness were forced to leave the camp “that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.” In Leviticus 15:31 God said, “Separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.” And Deuteronomy 23:44 adds “For the LORD thy God walks in the midst of thy camp.” Since only “sins of ignorance” were allowed to be atoned through daily blood sacrifices, these texts are not referring to those specific sins which had already been forgiven, cleansed and atoned. God does not require two different atonements for the same sins. Unlike the heavenly sanctuary, the earthly sanctuary required this cleansing because it was located in the “midst of,” in the middle of, a wicked and perverse nation. The presumptuous, pre-meditated un-confessed sins had not been daily confessed and had not been specifically atoned. The Day of Atonement was preceded by the “affliction of soul” (Lev. 23:27-34). The days leading up to it were final opportunities to recall non-presumptuous sins which had prevented full fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:9). They were residual sins which had not been previously cleansed by sacrificial blood. 

Therefore, the sanctuary required cleansing not because (as SDAs teach) the priests had been transferring sin into the holy place, but simply because of its location on earth in the middle of a sinful people, and defilement caused by unatoned sin of the people. This end-of-the-year final cleansing is not a new idea. Barnes Notes; the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary; Keil and Delitzsch CommentaryMatthew Henry Commentary, and the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary all agree that the cleansing was for residual sins rather than a second cleansing of sins which had already been atoned by the daily sacrifices.

Unger’s Bible Dictionary says “..Many sins and defilements would still remain unacknowledged and therefore without expiation. This want was met by the appointment of a yearly, general, and perfect expiation of all the sins and uncleanness that had remained un-atoned for and un-cleaned in the course of the year (Lev. 16:33)” 

Nelson’s Bible Dictionary adds “The only fasting period required by the Law (Lev. 16:29; 23:31), the Day of Atonement was a recognition of man’s inability to make any atonement for his sins.”

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia adds “The atonement takes place for the sanctuary which has been defiled by the contamination of the Israelites.”

For honest and simple minded Adventist, we ask, where does Leviticus 16 intimate that the rituals of the Day of Atonement were related to sins that had already been forgiven and atoned for throughout the year? If sins of ignorance was confessed, was it forgiven and atoned for through the offering of a sin-sacrifice during the year, or was it not? Leviticus 4 says repeatedly it was forgiven and atoned for. If it was atoned for, as Leviticus 4 says it was, is there any evidence in Leviticus 16 that says otherwise? If it doesn’t say it, is it possible that the Day of Atonement had something to do, at least, with sins that couldn’t legally be ritually atoned for by means of the daily ritual?  If all these possibilities exist, and they most certainly do, what necessity is there of inventing the notion that the Day of Atonement took care of something that had already been taken care of, sort of sin revisited? Is that not heresy?

11. SDA’s blend sin with the blood of the Sacrifice

Ellen White says, “As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin-offering, and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ, and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary”.

Ellen White further says, “The sins of Israel being thus transferred to the sanctuary, the holy places were defiled{FLB 198.2}

Note that Ellen White clearly states that it is through the blood sins are transferred, and that blood defiles the sanctuary. However, there is no theological basis to blend sin (Leaven) with the blood of (His) the sacrifice.

“Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning” (Ex 34:25)

The priest was given specific instruction to not defile the sanctuary in any way:

And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name” (Leviticus 20:3)

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are’. (1 Cor 3:17)

Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity” (Ezekiel 5:11)

“Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them” (Lev. 21:23)

Scriptures confirms that it was unconfessed sins that defiled the holy temple. However, if the SDA sanctuary doctrine is accurate, then consequently Aaron and the penitent sinner should or will be destroyed by God, because collectively they have defiled the sanctuary.

On the contrary, the Sanctuary is Holy and Sin and Holiness cannot co-exist in God’s Presence. The perception that sin and defilement has procured a place in the presence and divine glory of God, by any means, is alien to scripture and contrary to the gospel of our salvation. “NOTHING UNCLEAN” will enter heaven (Revelation 21:27) Instead, through the blood the sacrifice removed the iniquity by payment of death and was never transferred to the sanctuary.  By all reasoning if the second apartment of the sanctuary were to be defiled by sin how could it be called the “most holy place”?

Only the high priest was allowed access to the Holy and Most Holy Place in the temple, after he had meticulously followed the purification process of offering up sacrifices for his own sins and that of the people. The penitent sinner was left standing near the door of the tabernacle, which is, in itself, a witness to the fact that sin has no place in the presence of God. The process of purification found in the Lord Jesus Christ’s blood allows all sinners to come into the presence of God, free from guilt and shame, having their robes washed in his blood. For the Christian, their hope is anchored to Jesus Christ’s cleansing, purifying, holy and sinless blood which is the receipt of his atoning death, having paid in full our transgression of God’s holy law, as our divine saviour when He took our place on Calvary.

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:14)

12. The Priests eating flesh did not defile the Tabernacle

SDAs also teach that the sins of those who made confession, were taken into the tabernacle by the priest eating the flesh of the sacrifice in the first apartment. This also is contrary to scripture. The expression “holy place” very frequently refers to the court of the tabernacle. The priests were instructed to boil the flesh of certain offerings in the holy place (Ex. 29:31), and to wash their garments in the holy place (Lev. 6:27); also, to take a bath in the holy place (Lev. 6:26) and to pour out wine in the holy place (Num. 28:7). No Bible student will contend that the first apartment of the tabernacle or temple was used as a kitchen to boil meat, or as a laundry to wash clothes, or a bathroom in which to take a bath or to dump a flagon of wine; neither was it used as a dining room. The scriptures define plainly where they were to eat the flesh of the offering. Lev. 6:26, “The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

EGW concluded by quoting only the last half of Leviticus 10:17: “‘God hath given it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.’ Both ceremonies alike [eating and/or sprinkling the sin offering] symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary (Great Controversy p. 418).

The entire verse of Leviticus 10:17 is, “Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?” In the context of the entire verse, the sin offering was “most holy.” EGW took words out of context and described bearing sin as bearing sin into the sanctuary to defile it, which the text does not say!

As soon as the Old Testament priest received the sin offering, that sin offering became most holy (Numb. 18:9). And merely touching the dead flesh of the sin offering also transferred more holiness to the priest (Lev. 6:27). Therefore, instead of transferring sin into the sanctuary via the priests (as SDAs teach), the most holy sacrifice actually transferred more HOLINESS to the priests and into the sanctuary! The holy priest was only allowed to touch, handle and work with holy things and most holy things! Contrary to what SDAs teach, the priest did not “transfer sin” into the sanctuary. Like Christ, he typically bore the GUILT (or punishment) of sin for the sinner. The priest was performing a sanctified and necessary act of reconciliation–not defilement. Shockingly, SDA theology teaches that Jesus Himself was, and still is, the greatest polluter of the heavenly sanctuary because he bore, and is still transferring sins into it.

Besides, SDAs are ignorant of the fact that the flesh had been fully bled. If atonement is in the blood (Lev. 17:11), what cultic import does the consumption of flesh carry? SDAs also skipped over the other passages (Lev. 6:29; 7:6; 10:12-15; 21:16-23; 22:11) that indicate that the flesh was not just consumed by the priest himself, but by his whole family, including women, children, males ineligible for the priesthood because of mutilation or castration, and even slaves. If a private citizen’s sin was somehow transferred to the sin-offering, how did it manage to defile the sanctuary if not one drop of its blood entered the holy place? And how could the consumption of its flesh by someone in the priest’s household, or by the priest himself, effect the transfer of sin to the sanctuary if the flesh didn’t carry the sin that, supposedly, was in the blood? In any case, which Bible passage teaches that someone’s sin can be transferred to a sin-offering? Which Bible passage teaches that sin-offerings, even those of a priest or the whole congregation, defile the sanctuary?

13. The New Testament does not teach that the Old Covenant sanctuary service provided a must-follow “pattern,” “example,” “copy” or “shadow” for Jesus’s ministration in heaven. In fact, in context, it teaches exactly the opposite! The book of Hebrews teaches that the Old Covenant sanctuary patterns ended at Calvary! It proves its point by contrasting Christ’s ministry which is much “better” in the heavenly sanctuary with that of the Old Covenant sanctuary. See the evidence given below.

14. A verse-by-verse study of Hebrews 8:13-9:28

When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is about to disappear (Hebrews 8:13)

When He said, “A new covenant” He has made the first obsolete. The use of the word “new” implies that the one which it was to supersede was “old.” The first covenant is now obsolete. The “Mosaic Covenant”, the “first covenant”, the “old covenant” has lost its authority and binding force; and so, by God’s instituting another, He has abrogated the “first covenant”.

But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is about to disappear. The very fact that it is obsolete and growing “old” is an indication that it will soon be gone. What did the first covenant contain? We should expect an answer from the following verses starting from chapter 9.

Now even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship and the earthly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:1)

Now even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship. The meaning here is the first covenant or old covenant, or former arrangement had religious laws, rites and services regulating the worship of God.

And the earthly sanctuary. The term “worldly,” applied to “sanctuary,” here means that it pertained to this world rather than to heaven. This earthly sanctuary was the blueprint God gave the Israelites because it pictured a greater reality in the heavenlies.

For a tabernacle was equipped, the outer sanctuary, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the sacred bread; this is called the Holy Place (Hebrews 9:2)

The outer sanctuary.  The first room on entering the sacred edifice is called the “outer sanctuary”. The apostle then proceeds to enumerate the various articles of furniture which were in this room. 

The lampstand. There was this lamp stand with seven branches out of it. It was lit. There were little cups of oil, and they would put the wicks in the oil and it was the light in this portion of the tent.

Table and the sacred bread. On the table were twelve loaves of bread.

This is called the Holy Place. The first room is called the Holy Place.  The author of Hebrews does not say that the candlestick, and the table of showbread, and the other furniture that follows were designed to adumbrate some particular truth or had a designed spiritual meaning. There are other passages in Scriptures that allude to their meaning which will not be elaborated here.

Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:2)

This is the second room. This second veil divided the holy place from the most holy, as the first veil did the holy place from the courts. This represented the visible symbol of His presence.

Having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s staff which budded, and the tablets of the covenant (Hebrews 9:3)

Having a golden altar of incense. The Greek must not be translated as “altar of incense,” for it was not in “Most Holy” place “after the second veil,” but in “the holy place”; but as in 2 Chronicle 26:19, and Ezekiel 8:11, “censer”. This GOLDEN censer was only used on the day of atonement. Alternatively, the writer of Hebrews probably meant that at the veil, not the Most Holy place, had the altar of incense and the ark of the covenant connected with it (Hebrews 9:3; cf. 1 Kings 6:22).

The ark of the covenant. This is often called “the ark of the testimony,” i.e., the ark containing the tables of the Ten Commandments, which were the symbol of the covenant of God with Israel. (See Exodus 25:10-16.)

In which was a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s staff which budded. The golden pot holding the manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were not said in the Pentateuch to have been placed in the ark of the covenant; but no objection can be lodged against the statement in Hebrews to that effect, because such a keeping place would have been perfectly in line with God’s instructions that they were to be “laid up before the Lord” (Exodus 16:33), and “before the testimony” (Numbers 17:10). 

And the tablets of the covenant.  The stones on which the decalogue or ten commandments were written are called “the tables of the covenant” (Deut. 9:9), which were a handful of ten laws from the law of Moses, which outlined a handful of duties towards man and God, and this was placed inside the ark of the covenant. The author of Hebrews does not appear to go into all the details (Hebrews 9:4), but there was also the book in which the law was expanded and applied for the Jews (613 commandments including the ten) called “the book of the covenant” (Ex. 24:7), and this was placed by the side of the ark (Deut. 31:26) in the Most Holy place. The first or “Old Covenant” (now obsolete) included an earthly sanctuary, ceremonial aspects, and also the “tablets of the covenant”. It cannot be any clearer. Efforts to dissociate the tablets of that covenant from the annulment (obsolescence) that fell upon it fail in the light of such clear identification as this.

And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover; but about these things we cannot now speak in detail (Hebrews 9:4)

And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover. Above the ark of the covenant were glorious cherubim (plural). The atoning cover is translated elsewhere as the mercy seat. This was the ornate “lid” for the ark of the covenant, made with the designs of cherubim upon it. The blood of sacrifice was sprinkled upon it for the forgiveness of Israel’s sin on the Day of Atonement (Exodus 25:17-22). As God looked down into the ark, He saw the symbols of Israel’s sin, rebellion and failure. But when the blood of sacrifice was applied to the mercy seat, the blood of sacrifice had provided atonement for Israel’s sin.

About these things we cannot now speak in detail. The writer declined to speak of the tabernacle furnishings in more detail as we saw earlier (Hebrews 9:3) because his main purpose is not to give details of the first covenant and the earthly sanctuary but to contrast the two rituals and the two covenants.

Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship (Hebrews 9:6)

Now when these things have been so prepared. The earthly sanctuary was prepared and set up exactly as how God wanted.

The priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship. So, the priests could go into the holy place (outer tabernacle), and they had various functions on a daily basis (continually). 

But into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance (Hebrews 9:7)

But into the second, only the high priest enters once a year. But only the high priest and only once a year was he allowed to go behind the veil (Most Holy place) and only with blood in order to make payment for sin.  This was a day of utter terror for the people of Israel as they stood and waited, wondering if the high priest would come out alive.  If he came out alive, it indicated that God had accepted the offering for another year.  

Not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people. The atoning blood was first for his own sins and then for the sins of his people.

Committed in ignorance.Sins of ignorance were the specific aim of the Day of Atonement. It is known that known sin would be taken care of (atoned, cleansed, forgiven) through regular sin offerings and the daily sacrifices. Sins of ignorance (unatoned) were the specific aim of the Day of Atonement.

The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time (Hebrews 9:8-9a)

The Holy Spirit is signifying this. The Holy Spirit is unveiling this.

The way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed. The way into the heavenly sanctuary or heaven itself was not revealed. 

While the outer tabernacle is still standing. When the earthly sanctuary is still standing and functioning according to God’s design in a way that’s pleasing to God, it indicates that the Messiah has not yet come. If the Messiah had come, then the purpose of the earthly tabernacle, the covenant and the temple would be fulfilled and completed. Then the way into the heavenly sanctuary would be unveiled. In other words, the continuing activities at the first (old) covenant tabernacle were “signifying” that the way into the entire heavenly sanctuary, was not yet ready until the Old Covenant ended. From God’s perspective these activities ended at Calvary (Mt 27:51; Mk 15:38; Lk 23:45). At His ascension Christ’s New Covenant ministry in the heavenly sanctuary began (Ps 110:1; Acts 2:33-34).

Which is a symbol for the present time. The things of the earthly sanctuary were a shadow, a picture, a temporary figure, it was for that present time only till the earthly sanctuary stood. Once the heavenly sanctuary is unveiled, the earthly pattern is abolished, and ought not to be revived. Again, the patterns given from heaven concerning the (old) covenant sanctuary were only “a figure for the time then present.” They were NOT “a figure for the future” as SDAs argue. They do not depict reality in heaven.

Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food, drink, and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. (Hebrews 9:9b-10)

Gifts and sacrifices. Thank-offerings and bloody offerings. All kinds of offerings to God were made there in the earthly sanctuary.

Cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience. That could not take away sin, and remove the stains of guilt. Since gifts and sacrifices were outward and ceremonial rites, and even when offerings were made for sin, the conscience was not relieved. And the fact that they had to do it every year made us constantly conscious of our guilt.

Since they relate only to food, drink, and various washings, regulations for thebody. Since under this old covenant system, food, drink, various washings, and regulations were limited to the outwardand external cleanliness,they could not change the consciences of the ones who participated in them.

Imposed until a time of reformation. The idea here is that those rites and ceremonies (old covenant) were only temporary in their nature and were designed to endure until a more perfect system should be introduced. That is until the new covenant.  “Until the time of reformation” refer to the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ (Gal 3:19). The Old Testament pattern of sanctuary service ended when the “time of reformation” arrived. SDAs part with the majority of Christians at Hebrews 9:9-10. The truth is that all of the patterns, examples and shadows given to Moses in the Law were only temporary blueprints of Old Covenant pre-Calvary reality!

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things having come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands, that is, not of this creation (Hebrews 9:11)

But. But here stands for contrast with what happened in type. 

When Christ appeared as a high priest. Now that the Messiah has come as a High Priest. We cannot doubt that these words are contrasting between the true High Priest and the High priest on earth. Christ came as a High Priest from Judah after the king-priest rank of Melchizedek (Heb 7:11-18). He did not come as an Old Covenant Aaronic High priest from Levi who was required to follow the Law-patterns.

Of the good things having come. A more perfect system has been already introduced by which the conscience may be made free from guilt. Good things are now already here when Christ appeared as a High Priest.

He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle. He’s not entering the earthly tabernacle; He is entering the true tabernacle in the heavenlies.

Not made by hands, that is, not of this creation. The meaning is, that the place where he officiates is not made by human power but it is the ultimate presence of God. It’s the heaven itself.

And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)

And not through the blood of goats and calves. Christ did not offer the blood of bulls and goats, that is bulls and goats offered on the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:3,11) which had no real power to make anyone clean—but would actually offer Himself.

But through His own blood. Christ would offer His own blood as payment for sin.

He entered the holy place [ta hagia] once for all time. The Greek word here is literally “holies.” The Septuagint uses it repeatedly in Leviticus 16 for the most holy place. The word itself can mean the sanctuary as a whole, or it can mean the first apartment, or it can mean the second apartment. You can prove nothing from the Greek, because it has these possibilities, but from the context it is obvious. It is speaking about a place that the high priest alone went once every year with the blood of bulls and goats. Here, Jesus entered the most holy place (heaven itself) once for all time. Having died “once for all” (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 10:10) He was able to enter God’s presence “once for all.”

Since our high priest entered into heaven once for all, and has obtained not a yearly respite, but eternal redemption, he need not make an yearly entrance into the presence of God, or every 100 year entrance into the presence of God or an 1844 entrance into the presence of God. He entered once for all time into the heavenly sanctuary, heaven itself, the presence of God, in opposition to the annual entering of the high priest into the holiest of all, with the blood of the yearly victim. Note again. In the earthly type, daily and yearly sacrifices were made. Instead of following the type pattern by dying many times, Christ fulfills the type by having died “once for all”. In the earthly type, the priest entered the sanctuary many times (daily and yearly). Instead of following the type pattern by entering the sanctuary many times (daily and yearly), Christ fulfils the type by entering the heavenly sanctuary, heaven itself “once for all”.

Having obtained eternal redemption. As long as the ultimate High Priest lives, His payment for sin is valid, and because He is eternal, then His payment for sin is eternal—so the redemption that He provides is an eternal redemption.

Andre Reis, current SDA theologian writes: “The book of Hebrews explicitly negates the notion that Jesus has engaged in a two-phase ministry since his ascension, with the final phase to be commenced sometime in the future. Hebrews 6:19-20; 9:12, 25; 10:19 are full of verbal parallels drawn from the sanctuary ritual culminating with the yearly Day of Atonement to explain Jesus’s sacrifice and subsequent activities as the Heavenly high Priest” (source: ).

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh (Hebrews 9:13)

For if the blood of goats and bulls. Referring to blood of sacrificial victims.

And the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled. The heifer was sacrificed, and the ashes were used to make people clean when they had become unclean.

Sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh. If these things are adequate to restore a man to ceremonial cleanness which was a type of moral purity.

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)

How much more will the blood of Christ. If the blood of an animal had any efficacy at all, even in removing ceremonial pollutions, how much more virtue must there be in the blood of Christ, to cleanse us from all sin?

Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God. Through his own eternal God-head, offered “himself” without blemish, meaning the great sacrifice was “perfect”.

Cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. The weakness of the sacrifices, “akin to dead works” made by earthly priests is that they could not really give us a clear conscience to serve the living God. They were a reminder of our sins that God had not completely dealt with our sin. And the fact that they had to do it every year made us constantly conscious of our guilt. But Jesus Christ has now purified our consciences for having to not offer “dead works”, instead we have peace that our sins have been cleansed (forgiven, blotted out, cancelled) to serve the Living God under the new covenant.

 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the violations that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).

For this reason. Because all this is true that was said before this verse about Jesus and His once and for all sacrifice, and once and for all entrance into the Most Holy place, heaven itself.

He is the mediator of a new covenant.  It does not carry the idea that Jesus is somehow negotiating terms between a holy God and sinful people.  It rather carries the idea of this layer between a holy God and sinful people.There was this clear understanding that the presence of God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, and that could only be accessed by the high priest, and only once a year.  So, the people were very clear that there was this layer, this mediation layer (sanctuary, sacrifices, High priest system) between them and a holy God in the Old Covenant. So, Christ is now the mediator of a new constitution between God and the whole human race, distinguished here from the old covenant between God and the Israelites.

Since a death has taken place for the redemption of the violations that were committed under the first covenant. Because of Jesus, this long-awaited redemption and atonement for transgression has already taken place for those under the old covenant or first covenant, as those sins could not be really atoned from the blood of bulls and goats.

Because of its repetition, the old covenant ministry could not convince the worshipper that his/her confessed sin had actually been cancelled and “cleansed” (Heb 10:1-11).  Their conscience was not clean. However, that blemish is not carried over into the New Covenant. Christ has already redeemed every daily sin and every Day of Atonement residual sin confessed in the Old Testament (and also the New Testament). This makes Ellen White’s often repeated “The blood of Christ..was not to cancel sin” nonsense.

Those who have been called. All people under the old and New covenant who are called to be his children.

May receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. This knowledge of receiving the promise of eternal inheritance is a present reality for the believer and not a fact that needs to be determined based on a future investigation (1844) as SDAs teach.

For where there is a covenant, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when people are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.  (Hebrews 9:16-17)

Covenant used here is like what we would say a last “will” or a testament. When somebody creates a will, that will may be full of promises, but those promises do not have legal force. They are not fulfilled or acted upon until that person dies.

Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood (Hebrews 9:18)

The first covenant had to be initiated, inaugurated, dedicated, sanctioned, consecrated, with the blood of animal. We should expect to hear how the new covenant is inaugurated as well very soon as the author is contrasting the old and new.

For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” (Hebrews 9:19-20)

For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law. That included all the law including the ten commandments.

He took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop. Blood of “the sacrificial victims”, and “water and scarlet wool and hyssop” used for purification is what is meant here.

Sprinkled both the book itself and all the people. In Exodus 24:8 no mention is made of the sprinkling of the book, only of the people. Sprinkling upon the altar, upon which the book of the covenant might lie is probably meant.      

This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you. This is the blood by which the covenant is ratified. 

And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood (Hebrews 9:21)

He sprinkled both the tabernacle. Probably not at the same time that he sprinkled the book and the people, for then there was no tabernacle; but afterwards, at the time that it was set up.

All the vessels of the ministry with the blood. All the furniture employed in the service of God. The altar, the laver, the censers, dishes, bowls, etc (Exodus 40:10-11).

And almost all things are cleansed with blood, according to the Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22)

And almost all things are cleansed with blood. For some things were purified by fire and water (Numbers 31:22-23), but almost all things are cleansed with blood. Cleansed (katharizō) implies not only purification from sin, but also dedication or consecration like when Moses sprinkled with blood both the “book”, and “tabernacle” and “all the vessels” to consecrate them, and to inaugurate them, to initiate the earthly sanctuary service. After all, there was no sin in the “book” or “vessels” to purify from blood. 

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. The bottom line is there is no salvation but through the sacrificial death of Christ, and to prefigure this, the law itself would not grant any remission of sin without the blood of a victim.

Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these things, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (Hebrews 9:23) 

Therefore. “Therefore,” is given based on everything mentioned in the previous seven verses concerning the shedding of the blood of the covenant-victim and the purification or dedication of the things associated with the tabernacle, people, its implements, and its rites. If the earthly tabernacle was dedicated in type by blood, we can expect something to be said about the heavenly things themselves in the following words.

It was necessary. According to the appointment of God, it was necessary. There was no other way.

For the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these things. It is the heavenly which is the pattern, and it is the earthly which is a copy.  These “copies of the things in the heavens,” meaning the earthly tabernacle, people and associated implements, “should be cleansed (katharizō) with these things.” The word “these” is speaking of the blood of dedication obtained from the covenant-victims. It was necessary for the earthly sanctuary to be initiated, inaugurated, cleansed, consecrated with blood of sacrificial victims.

But the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. However, to inaugurate and initiate the heavenly things themselves, where the ultimate presence of God is, it required better sacrifices than the blood of animals.In the actual presence of God, to actually make payment for sin, what would be required would be more than that! It would take something more than merely the blood of bulls and goats.  It would take the long-awaited death of the Messiah. Therefore, this verse is teaching that the Old Covenant inauguration needed to be fulfilled by a better inauguration sacrifice in order to bring in a New Covenant.

Moreover, under the Old Covenant, the author has already said that all things were sprinkled with blood in order to purify them, including “both the book itself and all the people” (Hebrews 9:19). As we are the purpose of Christ’s coming, meaning the redemption of man, then it is necessary that the people be purified by Christ’s shed blood. Hence, the heavenly things required not only the perfect sacrifice to inaugurate the new covenant, but also Christ presented Himself before the Father to purify or cleanse those things which will be accepted into His eternal realm. That is all His people, who are being built into “a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). When did this happen? From the resurrection of Christ, not in 1844.

Hence, the “cleansing of the sanctuary” is not about removing sin from the sanctuary per the old covenant pattern. Because “Nothing unclean” can enter heaven (Revelation 21:27). Hence, this verse is not speaking of cleansing heaven from defilement of sin or anything unclean that entered heaven. Rather it is about a new pattern which cleanses the believer [the temple of the living God] with the sinless blood of Christ (which happened when Christ inaugurated the heavenly sanctuary, not in 1844).

There is not a single Bible verse anywhere in the Old or New Testament that says that confessed sins are transferred into the heavenly sanctuary and then defile the sanctuary in any way.

For Christ did not enter a holy place made by hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9:24)

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands. So Jesus did not come to be assimilated into the old covenant tabernacle or the temple like a Jewish high priest.  Jesus would not simply go into the tabernacle and go through the routine of the Levitical Priestly system. That’s what a high priest would do who entered into a sanctuary made by hands.

A mere copy of the true one.The earthly sanctuary was just a picture of the true one, not the exact thing, and was so formed as in some sense to correspond to it.

But into heaven itself. For the sanctuary into which Christ entered is not a copy or a token of the things in the heavens, but heaven itself. Since Christ is the veil (Heb 10:20), there are no separate “rooms” in God’s dwelling place. No sane person would quote this text to prove that God lives in a 2-room house in heaven.

Now to appear in the presence of God for us. We cannot doubt that these words continue the contrast between the true High Priest and the high priest on earth. As the Jewish high priest appeared before the shekinah, the symbol of the divine presence in the most holy, so Christ appears before God himself in our behalf in heaven itself at the ascension. The “presence of God” means exactly what it literally says. Contrary to the Old Covenant pattern, God’s throne room in Revelation contains a rainbow, 24 elders, 7 Spirit-lamps of fire before the throne, a sea of glass and 4 creatures surrounding the throne — all in contrast with the Old covenant patterns (Rev 4:2-8). The 1844 theology of two rooms or two phases is pure nonsense and cultic (Heb 9:24).

Nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year by year with blood that is not his own (Hebrews 9:25) 

As the high priest enters the Holy Place year by year with blood that is not his own. Again, this is talking about the once-a-year entrance of the Jewish High Priest into the most holy place. The earthly high priest had to offer sacrifices often to enter the Most holy place, but Jesus does not have to offer himself often to enter (not the holy place but into) the most holy place. That is the whole point this verse and the next verse is showing.The sacrifice of Christ is not like that of the Jewish high priest, which must be offered every year to enter the Most holy place. If Christ sacrifice is like bulls and goats, then he would have to suffer often.

Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26) 

Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often. But Jesus wasn’t going to offer Himself year after year after year (he offered once and for all). Otherwise, He would have to die every year since the foundation of the world. If Christ had not ended the patterns, then he must repeat them! If Christ did not end the daily sacrifices, then he must still die daily. If Christ did not end the yearly sacrifices (Day of Atonement), then he must still die yearly. Because he offered once and for all, He entered the most Holy place. Notice again..

But now. “Now” refers to the first century, it is a reality when the apostle is writing these words. “Now” the Old Covenant sanctuary had already been replaced by “heaven itself.” The Aaronic priesthood had already been replaced with the non-Hebrew Melchizedek priesthood (Heb. 7:11-18). The everyday shadow rituals of the literal altar of burnt offering, the water laver, the loaves, the candlestick, and the altar of incense had all ended in the reality of Christ. Christ does not have to offer often as the High priest. Therefore.

Once. Once for all; once in the sense that it is not to be repeated again.

At the consummation of the ages. This is referring to the days of Christ’s ministry on earth called the last days (Hebrews 1:2), the end of the ages (1 Corinthians 10:11), the fulness of the time (Galatians 4:4), when Christ appeared at His first coming.  This is saying it was time for the old covenant to be fulfilled, to usher in a new age, a new covenant through Christ our High Priest. 

While SDAs proclaim 1844 as the heavenly Day of Atonement and as a last day event warning about the nearness of the end of the age, they ignore 9:26b which clearly places the event at the “now” of Calvary. This same “end of the age,” “fullness of time” and “these last days” application of Calvary is also found in Acts 2:17; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; Hebrews 1:2 and First Peter 1:20 — and none of these refer to 1844.

New Covenant believers need to stop thinking about the New Covenant using Old Covenant terminology. “Christ is not” in a tiny building in heaven that has compartments like that of the Old Covenant. “Christ is not.” Again, He “is not.” He is “in heaven itself.” Since the first century He is “now” already in the “presence of God for us” –- in the Most Holy since his ascension to the right hand of God.

He has been revealed. He revealed himself as God in flesh at His first coming.

To put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. That’s a legal term. It means to render sin void.  Literally for the “the annulment of sin”. How? By the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:25-26 clearly tells everybody (except SDAs) that “now” Christ “cleansed” all of the heavenly things, not in 1844, but at His death, ascension and enthronement, and is now in the very presence of God. No body can have a clear conscience under the SDA doctrine of investigative judgement, or pre-advent judgement, because like the Old Covenant sanctuary pattern, sins have not been completely dealt with. On the contrary, Jesus has appeared to put away sin “now”, not in 1844. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John `:9). “The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:18)

And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27)

Destined for people to die once. Just as certainly as we die once.

After this comes judgment. Every single person will die, and you will stand face to face with a holy God and give an account whether we accepted Christ’s perfect sacrifice or not (this is the final judgement or white throne judgement (Rev. 20:12). If there was an investigative judgement going on now to determine who will receive the eternal inheritance, the author would have said “Just as it is destined for people to die once, and before this comes judgement”. No! Those who disobey the gospel are judged already (John 5:24). According to the Scriptures, God doesn’t require any further judgement to decide who are his children before we die. After we die, we will face the final judgement. In that moment, do you really think it will be adequate to say, “I was very religious; I did some rituals; I did some activities; I did some good works?”  Do you really think that’s going to cut it in that moment?  What the writer of Hebrews is saying is that has never been the basis of salvation. From Genesis three on, there has always been a message that someone will have to die. The consequence of sin is death.  Someone had to die our death for God to grant us forgiveness.  

So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him (Hebrews 9:28)

So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many. Just as certainly as we die once and then face judgment, so Jesus only had to die once (not repeatedly, not continually) to bear our sins.

Will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.That is, when be comes again he will not make himself a sin-offering; or will not come in order to make atonement for sin.Rather to usher them to the salvation of the new heaven and the new earth.

All the Biblical evidence points to Christ fulfilling the symbology of the Day of Atonement when He died on the cross and then ascended into heaven:

  1. Christ came as a High Priest to His temple (Heb. 9:11).
  2. He entered by His own blood (Heb. 9:12).
  3. He purified the heavenly copies with His blood (Heb. 9:23).
  4. He appeared in the Most Holy Place before the presence of God (Heb. 9:24).
  5. His blood cleansed His people from their sin (Heb. 9:14).
  6. The atonement is a finished work and Christ “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12)

By His sacrificial death and ascension into the heavenly sanctuary Christ fulfilled every one of the aspects of the Day of Atonement as described in Leviticus 16! His work of atonement is complete and finished “for ever”, and to symbolize the completeness of His task, Hebrews says that Christ “sat down on the right hand of God.” It is finished!

The idea that confessed sins are transferred to the heavenly sanctuary and are defiling it is not found anywhere in the Bible or the passage of Daniel 8. Look at what various Seventh-day Adventist scholars have written regarding this problem:

C.L. Price: “What has defiled the sanctuary and made necessary its ‘cleansing’ is its defilement by the little horn. Confessed sins are not referred to at all; that is an alien thought, wholly brought in by the Adventist writers themselves.”  Source: C. L. Price, “Should a Question be Answered? A Study of Daniel 8:14 in New Light on Old Problems (1973).

Dr. Raymond Cottrell: “Coming again to the Book of Daniel I determined to try once more to find a way to be absolutely faithful to both Daniel and the traditional Adventist interpretation of 8:14, but again found it impossible. I then formulated six questions regarding the Hebrew text of the passage and its context, which I submitted to every college teacher versed in Hebrew and every head of the religion department in all of our North American colleges—all personal friends of mine. Without exception they replied that there is no linguistic or contextual basis for the traditional Adventist interpretation of Daniel 8:14.” (Raymond F. Cottrell, The “Sanctuary Doctrine” ? Asset or Liability?)

Andre Reis, another SDA theologian writes: “The book of Hebrews explicitly negates the notion that Jesus has engaged in a two-phase ministry since his ascension, with the final phase to be commenced sometime in the future. Hebrews 6:19-20; 9:12, 25; 10:19 are full of verbal parallels drawn from the sanctuary ritual culminating with the yearly Day of Atonement to explain Jesus’s sacrifice and subsequent activities as the Heavenly high Priest. For the author, Jesus went “within the veil” in the same manner that the High Priest used to go “within the veil” on Yom Kippur. The expression in Greek is the same used in Lev 16. Jesus went “within the veil,” “with his blood,” “once and for all.” This occurred when he ascended to the Father

“The bias for interpretative tradition in regards to 1844 is illustrated by an interesting episode I witnessed not long ago. I recently visited a certain Adventist seminary and stumbled upon a class on Hebrews. The teacher was a prominent author of DARCOM and the subject was the “inauguration” of the heavenly sanctuary which the teacher used to justify the fact that, although Hebrews 6 undeniably places Jesus inside the Most Holy Place at his ascension, this entering in the Most Holy Place was merely to “inaugurate” it. In other words, Jesus entered the Most Holy Place at the ascension, inaugurated it, left it and then went in again 1844.

I was disturbed to see that he was presenting views that had been debunked by another Adventist scholar in an exchange they had in one of our printed magazines. Never did he mention his dialogue with the other scholar. I raised my hand and asked him where in the OT do we see blood going into the Most Holy Place in any of the OT inauguration passages. By his reaction, I suspected he knew that there is no such OT passage. He hesitated for a second and then appealed to the book of Hebrews. In other words, the book of Hebrews proves that in the same book Hebrews Jesus inaugurated the sanctuary with blood, even though none of the OT passages mention blood within the sanctuary, let alone the Most Holy Place. I didn’t press the issue and I doubt his students understood the implications of my question. The fallacy of the argument is disappointing, if not dishonest.

This encounter shows me that, at the end of the day, the viability of 1844 as a prophetic marker continues to depend heavily on isolated proof-texts. It seems Adventist scholars who defend 1844 as an unmovable rock are satisfied with finding tiny hooks in a few chosen verses that appear to (albeit remotely) support our position. That is no longer an acceptable way to construct theology”. (Source: )

15. Does Acts 3:19-21 teach a future blotting out?

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Repent ye therefore.  As he did in his first sermon (Acts 2:38), Peter called upon the crowd to repent. He told them to turn around in their thinking and actions.

Be converted.  Peter knew the necessity of conversion, of God’s work of bringing new life to us. Being a Christian is not “turning over a new leaf,” it is being a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Be converted is better translated, “turn to God”. The turning to God is the consequence of the change of mind (repentance).

That your sins may be blotted out.This was the first benefit of repentance Peter presented to them. The one who repents and is converted is forgiven their sins, and the record itself is erased. Blotted out has the idea of wiping ink off of a document.  Peter said that God would wipe away our record of sin just like that. The blotting out of the sins of penitents, immediately follow repentance and conversion.

When the times of refreshing shall come. The word hopōs incorrectly and unfortunately rendered “when,” in the KJV only in this instance, but it is always rendered “that” elsewhere in the KJV in every other instance (see here). The Greek conjunction never has the force of “when.”It is rendered “that” in NKJV, NASB, ESV, YLT etc.  Hence, it should be read, not when but “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”. This was the second benefit of repenting and turning to God. The word for “refreshing” is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but the cognate verb meets us in 2 Timothy 1:16: “The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain”. The word rendered “refreshing,” anapsuxis, denotes “any kind of refreshment, as rest, or deliverance from evils of any kind.” It is the times of refreshing grace, rest, peace that results from repenting and turning to God. Both the blotting out of the sins of penitents, and divine refreshment immediately follow the acts of repentance.

From the presence of the Lord. The Greek can be translated literally as “From the face of the Lord.” The expression means that God was “its author.”Refreshing grace comes from the Lord Himself for those that repent and turn to God because their sins were blotted out.  SDA’s use acts 3:19 to teach a future blotting out of sins at the investigative judgement. The Greek of Acts 3:19 however does not substantiate their teaching that the blotting out of sins will take place as a separate, future event. Both the Old and the New Testament presents blotting out as a past event upon repentance: “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isaiah 44:22). “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). The seasons of refreshing from the Holy Spirit’s presence is an immediate and frequent blessing to every Christian, and not a future event associated only with the coming of the Lord. One who has never experienced a “season of refreshing from the Lord” and is putting it off till the Master comes, knows little of the joy of the Christian life.

And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you (Acts 3:20)

And he shall send Jesus Christ.The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [of Jesus’ coming], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This, therefore, was an argument why people should repent and turn to God, so that they might be ready when Christ comes and escape the day of judgment.

Which before was preached unto you.The arrival of the Messiah was proclaimed to you. 

Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21)

Whom the heaven must receive. The meaning of the expression “whom the heavens must receive,” is that it was fit or proper that Jesus Christ should ascend to heaven and will remain in heaven until…

Until the times of restitution of all things. Better translated as restoration of all things, i.e. at Christ’s second coming. Times of restoration of all things will happen when Christ comes the second time. Until then, until the times of restoration, Christ will remain in heaven.

Which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Restoring all things, the consummation of God’s literal kingdom have been revealed, and are recorded in the Old Testament.

See our Revelation Commentary here

Commentary on Genesis 1-11

Check out our verse-by-verse commentary on the Book of Genesis 1-11.

This is a compilation, a personal research and study commentary on Genesis 1-11 intended to make sense of the Genesis text. It is not to be distributed for profit but to be shared freely to encourage anyone to study the Bible deeply.

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