IV. A Clean Universe
IN THE previous three articles we have considered the Hebrew word tsadaq, and the reasons why it was rendered "cleansed" in the LXX and in several of the English translations.
That the Hebrew word has a much wider connotation, we readily admit, and in this article it will be our purpose to suggest why the sacred penman, writing under inspiration, used the word tsadaq rather than taher or zakah, words that without question mean "cleanse" or "purify."
Anyone who recognizes the Bible as the word of God, and who accepts its counsel as of divine authority, will readily admit that before Satan's defection the universe was clean, not tainted with iniquity. That which came from the creative hand of the Most High was of necessity without contamination by evil. It could not have been otherwise: we recognize the only true God as a God of righteousness and truth.
It would naturally follow, then, that even though sin did enter God's fair domain, it could not possibly be eternal nor leave an indelible, everlasting taint upon the handiwork of the Lord Jehovah. This is where the redemptive work of Christ our Lord enters the picture. Because of this, we are assured that not only can sinners be redeemed but the earth itself will be redeemed, since it also came under the curse of sin. Hence we note in the Scriptures:
"Christ hath redeemed us" (Gal. 3:13), "a purchased people" (1 Peter 2:9, margin). The earth also is redeemed. It too has been purchased. This is emphasized in the following excerpt:
Not only man but the earth had by sin come under the power of the wicked one, and was to be restored by the plan of redemption... Christ by His sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited.—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67.
All this is envisioned in Daniel 8:14 in the Hebrew word tsadaq. This we shall see in the following:
1. The Time Factor Involved in the Cleansing of the Sanctuary
Most Bible expositors apply Daniel 8: 14 to the Antiochus-Maccabean period (175-164 B.c). In order to do this, they discount the day-for-a-year principle, as it applies to the 2300 days, and quite generally make out that this refers to 2300 evening and morning sacrifices, which would mean 1150 days. But this calculation doesn't fit, as we all know; no one has ever been able to work out any scheme where this fits exactly.
Now, let us look at the prophecy itself, and see if there is any real basis for such an application. Here is a line of prophecy beginning with the symbol of a "ram." This is followed by a "he goat," and then comes the "little horn." It is evident in chapter 8 that these are symbols, for the angel Gabriel tells what they represent.
The "ram" represents Medo-Persia (verse 20). The "he goat," Grecia (verse 21). The "little horn" is not interpreted in Daniel 8, evidently because it had been previously interpreted.
The visions of Daniel 2 and 7 are parallel. They represent the same powers. This indicates that the third symbol in Daniel 8 represents Rome. After all, it was Rome that stood up against "the Prince of princes" (verse 25), and it is under this power that mention is made of the cleansing of the sanctuary. If we place the events of this prophecy in their chronological setting, it is evident that this expression "cleansing of the sanctuary" cannot be fulfilled until after the work of the Messiah, as detailed in Daniel 9:24-27. The "Prince of princes" is the "prince of the host" of Daniel 8:11. It is after this that the work of the sanctuary cleansing is located.
At the close of the vision of Daniel 8 the prophet is assured by the angel Gabriel that "the vision . . . of the mornings and evenings is true; but keep the vision a secret, for it relates to the distant future" (verse 26, Goodspeed).* This expression means "the time of the end" (verse 17). Consequently, it seems futile to look for any fulfillment of verse 14 during the Maccabean period or any other period until we reach the "time of the end." As far as we know, even Daniel did not understand this part of the prophecy. What he and his people understood at that time was the 490-year part of it. We read:
As Daniel's prayer is going forth, the angel Gabriel comes sweeping down from the heavenly courts. . . . This mighty angel had been commissioned . . . to open before him the mysteries of future ages. . . Daniel received not only the light and truth which he and his people most needed, but a view of the great events of the future, even to the advent of the world's Redeemer.—The Sanctified Life, p. 48. (Italics supplied.)
If, then, this timing be correct we need not look for a fulfillment of the expression "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" until we travel through the ages to what the Lord calls "the time of the end." In accepting this, we must recognize that at that time (A.D. 1798) there was no sanctuary on earth; hence the reference must obviously be to the sanctuary in heaven.
2. There Is a Real Sanctuary in the Heaven of Heavens
The Word of God points clearly to a "sanctuary," or a "temple," in heaven. Notice:
a. The Testimony of the New Testament. In Hebrews 8:2 we read that Jesus is "a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."
In Hebrews 9:23, 24: "The patterns of things in the heavens should be purified . . . with better sacrifices. . . . For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself."
In confirmation of this, the prophet John describes what he saw in his view of the heavenly land. He beheld:
The temple' (Rev. 11:19); the altar' (chap. 8:3); the ark of the testament (chap. 11:19); the candlestick (chap. 4:5); the censer (chap. 8:3); and the horns of the altar (chap. 9:13).
b. The Testimony of the Old Testament. The tabernacle in the wilderness, and later the Temple, were made "after the pattern" (Ex. 25:8; 1 Chron. 28:11, 12). This has been thought by some to be just like a blueprint, something like a building plan. It was evidently more than this, however, for some translations call it "a copy" (Heb. 8:5, N.E.B.); "the model" (Ex. 25:40, Goodspeed). 1Ve read also that David understood that God's real sanctuary was in heaven, even though Israel had a glorious Temple at Jerusalem.
For he [God] hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth (Ps. 102:19).
From the pen of Ellen G. White we quote the following:
Moses . . . [was given] a view of the heavenly sanctuary.—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 343.
A most splendid sanctuary had been made, according to the pattern showed to Moses in the mount. . . . The earthly sanctuary was made like the heavenly.—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, p. 113.
The sanctuary in heaven . . . is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy.—The Story of Redemption, p. 377.
c. The Heavenly Sanctuary Is a Real Sanctuary. In Hebrews 8:1, 2 we read that Jesus ministers on our behalf in the heavenly temple. Why should one question whether the sanctuary is real? Is not our blessed Lord, who is High Priest there, the same Jesus who lived here on earth? Even in His resurrected body He was real; He could be touched (Luke 24:39). Would not the sanctuary then be real also? Many modern translations emphasize this. The Interpreter's Bible on Hebrews 8:2 gives, "the real"; the Wycliff, Tyndale, and Geneva Bibles refer to "the very tabernacle" (Heb. 8:2).
The Hebrew word used most often referring to the earthly sanctuary is miqdash, but the word used of the heavenly sanctuary in the Old Testament is qodesh (Ps. 102:19). This is also used to describe the earthly. But qodesh is rendered "holy" more than 200 times, and "sanctuary" about 70 times, and qodesh is the word used for "sanctuary" in Daniel 8:14.
3. What Did the Earthly Sanctuary Foreshadow of the Ministry of Jesus?
The entire ritual of the sanctuary on earth foreshadowed the work of Christ the Lord, as both priest and victim. Jesus shed His precious blood on Calvary; He ministers the efficacy of that blood in the temple on high. In the typical service we behold Him as the antitype of the morning and evening sacrifices. We see Him also in the sacrificial offering brought by the sinner, who humbly confessed his sins and sought forgiveness from the Lord. All this round of services went on day after day, but the whole ritual reached it climax on the Day of Atonement. This service is outlined in detail in Leviticus 16, and it is in connection with the work of this day of days that the cleansing of the sanctuary takes place. Be it remembered that this particular service is vital to a proper understanding of the range and significance of God's redeeming act. It indicates much more than the actual sacrificial act of Christ on Calvary's cross; it looks forward to the time when all forgiven sins will be blotted out, when the author of evil and all who have chosen to cast in their lot with him in rebellion will go down in perdition, and when sin and sorrow will be no more.
Let us look at this day's service and observe the order of events. We read in Leviticus 16 that after the high priest had accomplished what was necessary for his own purification and also that of his house—a. He was to take two kids of the goats for a sin offering (verse 5).
b. He was to cast lots, one for the Lord; the other for Azazel (verse 8, R.S.V.).
c. He was to "bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering" (verse 9).
d. He was to take the goat on which the lot for Azazel fell, confess over him the sins of the people of Israel and send him to the wilderness (verses 21, 22).
Now, these specific acts convey vital and important truths in connection with the final events. before the divine fiat calling the new heaven and new earth into being.
Let us notice:a. That the word "scapegoat" in the K.J.V. is hardly an accurate translation of the Hebrew word Azazel. The rendering should be in English "Azazel" (see R.S.V.,
Leeser's footnote gives: "A.V.—scapeooat; Eng.. Ver; but there is no reason for so doing." Some of the early Church Fathers taught the same thing. Many Christian writers, and others, as well as most Bible dictionaries and cyclopedias, refer to Azazel as Satan.b. That Azazel should be regarded as a personal being, in opposition to Jehovah. One Jewish commentator writes:
c. That Azazel was not a sin offering, as implied in Leviticus 16:5, must be understood in the light of verse 10. It is the "Lord's goat" which is offered as a "sin offering." The goat for Azazel was not a sin offering; his part in the act was after the work of purification of both people and sanctuary was all accomplished. Then, the high priest deals with him. We quote again from M. Kalisch:
"One shall be for the Lord, and one shall be for Azazel." We have here a clear antithesis; and as the Lord is a personal Being, so is Azazel.—M. KALISCH, Commentary on Leviticus, p. 328.4
d. That the goat for the "sin offering" represented Christ, who "died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3); the other represented Satan, who will perish for his own sins, and also for his part in all the sins he caused the children of God to commit (Rev. 20: 10, 12).
This does not exactly signify "for a sin offering" as one was not sacrificed . . . he [Azazell did not work atonement for the people.—Ibid., p. 326.
e. That the atonement made with Azazel (verse 10) is to be understood as made "upon" or "over" him as in verse 21. He is beyond the benefits of any atonement made in the sacrificial ritual of the sanctuary, and this act with Azazel is totally unrelated to the actual work of redemption.
It is used in the sense of "cover." Noah in making the ark was to "pitch Ekaphar] it within and without with pitch" (Gen. 6:14). This is the first use of kaphar, which elsewhere is rendered "atonement." It is used in the sense also of expulsion or banishment of the offender. See Numbers 25:12, 13 where Phineas "was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel." He slew the parties responsible for the apostasy, and thereby removed or eliminated the evildoers. This is just what was done at the close of the Day of Atonement services, when the "atonement" was effected with, over, or upon Azazel. In this, Azazel represents Satan, the author of iniquity and his final banishment first to the wilderness (the earth in its chaotic state during the 1,000 years, Rev. 20:2), and after that, into the lake of fire, where he is consumed (verses 10 and 14).f. That in dealing thus with Satan, as typified in Leviticus 16, it should be borne in mind that:
No atonement was made for Azazel. His blood was not shed as a sin offering. His part in the events came after the work of redemption for the people and sanctuary was over. The prophets in Israel foresaw all this. Note how they expressed it.
"His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate" (Ps. 7:16). "Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit" (Prov. 28:10). This means, then, that when Satan perishes in the lake of fire he pays the penalty not only for his own rebellion against the Most High but also for his part in all the sins committed, but now forgiven, of the children of God. Ellen G. White has written:
As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. . . . Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit, .. . will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the wicked.—The Great Controversy, pp. 485, 486.
And let it be known that we are not alone in this concept. We quote from one author:
Sin, though pardoned, is yet hateful to God, and it cannot dwell in His sight; it is removed away to a "land not inhabited" . . . sent away to man's first seducer. The sins of a believing world are taken off them, and rolled back on Satan, their prime author and instigator.—JOHN EADIE, in Biblical Cyclopaedia, p. 577.'
Satan was not only sent to the wilderness (Rev. 20) but, like the goat for Azazel, he will perish. The Jewish writers agree that this is what happened to the goat for Azazel.6
"The goat which is to be hurled from the precipice."—Talmud Yoma 64', p. 299; see also footnote on 67', p. 312.
He shall "die in a place rough and hard in the rocky desert.' —Targurn of Onkelos on Lev. 16:21, 22.
4. A Clean Universe
a. Biblical Data. We list but a few of the passages of Scripture which envisage this concept.
"Iniquity shall have an end" (Eze. 21: 25).
"There shall be .. . no more pain" (Rev. 21:4).
"There shall be no more curse" (Rev. 22:3).
There shall be a "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21).
There will be a "new heavens and a new earth" (Isa. 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1).b. The Universe Will Be Cleansed.
Christ's work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary.—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 358.
Their minds [the children of Israel] were carried forward to the closing events in the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners.—Prophets and Kings, pp. 684, 685.
God's entire universe was clean, and the great controversy was forever ended.—Early Writings, p. 295.c. The Character of God Stands Vindicated.
In the judgment of the universe, God will stand clear of blame for the existence or continuance of evil.... [All] will unite in declaring, "Just and true are Thy ways."—The Desire of Ages, p. 58. (See also The Great Controversy, p. 503; Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 339.)
d. We Are Not Alone in This Expectation. Some Christian scholars join with us in looking forward to a time when the universe will be free from iniquity, and when there will be a restoration of Edenic conditions. We read from one author:
Is the old earth to be cursed forever? No. Christ's work as Redeemer would not be complete. After He has saved man, He will . . . effect the restitution of things as well.—The Biblical Illustrator, on 2 Peter 3:13, p. 179.
Then follows a beautiful description of the new earth.
The old universe was spoiled by the Fall. Sin permeated it with its effects. That includes all of nature, animals, and inanimate, the heavenly bodies, and the heavens also. All shall become new. On that day fire shall make them new so that in them "dwelleth righteousness." Even every trace of unrighteousness being removed.'
Hence, in Daniel 8:14, while tsadaq in its context of the cleansing of the sanctuary has the emphasis of purification, there is no doubt this word was chosen on account of its much wider meaning, that of the "cleansing of the universe," where everything will be put right, God will stand justified, and in the earth made new it will be a place "wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Smith and Goodspeed, The Complete Bible: An American Translation. Used by permission of University of Chicago Press
The temple is mentioned 4 times, the altar 9.
See also Goodspeed, Moffatt, Lamsa, Moulton, Rotherham, Amplified, Jerusalem Bible, etc.