Sanctuary Truth Is Key Adventist Doctrine

Sanctuary Truth Is Key Adventist Doctrine (Part 3)

Part III of Elder LeRoy Froom's thoughts on the Sanctuary

VII. Hebrews—Priestly Provision in Plan of Redemption


While in its Sanctuary aspect the Apocalypse is primarily the book of the throne room of the heavenly Temple, with its all-sufficient Sacrifice of the 'Lamb of God" the book of Hebrews is primarily the book of the same heavenly Tabernacle, but with emphasis on Jesus Christ as our allefficient "Great High Priest" now ministering therein.

And uniquely, in the great heavenly reality the Sacrifice and the Priest are one and the same—Christ Jesus, both Offering and Priest. There is consequently complete harmony and unity, converging in Christ.

So it is the very same Temple and the same redemptive provisions, bringing the two indispensables together, with John's inspired presentation complemented by Paul's Spirit-indicted letter to the Hebrews. In this, Paul sets forth the profound heavenly meaning of the Mosaic earthly Tabernacle —with its services and appurtenances presented in the light of the heavenly reality. And this was an objective actuality, not merely an abstraction in the mind of God. And Christ is the activating heart of it all in both books.


Follow Paul's terse outline in swift strides. Hebrews is the book of God's Eternal Son becoming man through the Incarnation, in order that He might first live triumphantly on earth, then die vicariously for us (Heb. 2:9)—made possible through receiving a human body "prepared" of God for His earthly sojourn (10:5). Only thus could He carry out the first great objective of the Atonement—providing a vicarious, propitiatory sacrifice.

But Atonement involves both Sacrifice and Priest. And the Son—maker and up holder of all things (Heb. 1:2, 3)—was "begotten" into human form and nature through the Incarnation (vs. 5, 6; 5:5), for the accomplishment of this tremendous redemptive and restorative goal.

Thrice called "God," and "Lord" (Heb. 1:8-10), He became one with His human "brethren" on earth (Heb. 2:11-17). Dying in behalf of "every man" (v. 9), His death included an even broader objective —that of destroying the devil himself (v. 14), malign originator of sin and cause of catastrophe and death to man. Christ thus came to eliminate both the cause and effect of the sin virus.


But Christ passed through death that He might not only become our vicarious atoning Sacrifice, but likewise be our "faithful high priest," thus to make effective "reconciliation" for our "sins" (v. 17).

Paul presents Jesus not only as our appointed "High Priest" (3:1), who was "faithful to His appointment (vs. 1, 2), but as our incomparably "great high priest" (4:14), "touched" with the "feeling of our infirmities," because "tempted" and triumphantly overcoming during His incarnate life on earth (v. 15). The plan and provision is complete.


And now He is "priest forever" (5:6; 6: 20; 7:21), just as He is "Lamb of God" for ever. Once having assumed them, He never withdraws from either relationship. They were taken on "forever." So this dual relationship is not something that He later casts off, for His is not only the "power of an endless life" (7:16) but of an endless love. He had been made perfect through earthly suffering (5:8, 9). He never changes. He is our eternal surety.

Jesus, with His "unchangeable priest hood" (v. 24)—"holy, harmless, undefiled," and "separate from sinners"—and in offering up "sacrifice," as stated, "offered up himself" (v. 27). Only He could do this. Only His life could suffice. In this great transaction He was—mark it again—both Offering and Offerer, Sacrifice and Priest. Everything focuses in Him in this complete dual relationship. He is the great, all-en compassing, living Reality of Redemption in its every phase. For this cause He is "consecrated for evermore" (v. 28).

VIII. "Priesthood"—Primary Contribution of "Hebrews" Epistle


This brings us to the heart of Paul's presentation, set forth in chapters 8 and 9. Jesus, as "such an high priest," is seated on the "right hand" of the "throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (8:1). There He is "minister of the sanctuary/' the "true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" (v. 2)—this one pitched in heaven. And if Christ is real, the Heavenly Sanctuary is real where He ministers.

[Stephen had seen Christ standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55, 56). And Paul in Colossians 3:1 and Romans 8:34 declares Jesus was seated at the right hand (Col. 3:1; Rom. 8:34). And thrice in Hebrews Paul positions Him there (1:3; 10:12; 12:2).]


The earthly, Mosaic, typical tabernacle was an earthly passing "shadow" of the abiding "heavenly" reality (Heb. 8:5), which remains in active operation as long as the sin problem continues. This earthly symbol was fashioned by Moses "according to the pattern" ["design," Basic Eng.] shown him "in the mount" (v. 5).

The original concept of the structure did not have its origin on earth. It was of heavenly inception. That of Moses was but a crude replica—an earthly copy, an adapted facsimile, an accommodated counterpart, a modified reproduction, a representation produced by and for man.

Christ's ministry in heaven above is consequently a "more excellent ministry," for it was based on a "better covenant," established on "better promises" (v. 6). There is no comparison. It is infinitely better. It is perfect, heavenly—a glorious reality.


So there was a "worldly sanctuary" —and a type of the heavenly—with "ordinances of divine service" (9:1). And the type had two divisions or sections of the "tabernacle" as a whole. The first was the "holy place"—with its candlestick, table, and "shewbread"—called the "sanctuary," or "holy" (v. 2, marg.).

Then beyond, was the tabernacle called the "Holiest of all" (v. 3). This was the place of the manifested presence of God. This inviolable section contained the "ark of the covenant" with the majestic Law of God—the "tables of the covenant" (v. 4). Also the "golden censer, the pot of manna, and "Aarons's rod" (v. 4). And especially the mercy seat covering the ark (v. 5), blending justice and mercy, law and grace. The provisions were complete.


As to the priestly service, the earthly priests ministered daily in the "first tabernacle," or holy place (v. 6), per forming their appointed services. But only once a year did the earthly high priest enter the "second," or "holiest of all" (9:7, 8), on the "day of atonement."

A preliminary phase of the priestly service of the Great Reality was already in operation at the time of Christ's death and resurrection on earth—when He "offered Himself on the Cross. But it was upon His resurrection and ascension that He entered upon His heavenly priesthood-ministry, applying the benefits of the atoning Act of the Cross. The earthly was simply a "figure for the time then present" (v. 9). It served its stated but limited purpose.


Christ, our "High Priest," now ministers in that "greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with [human] hands" (v. 11)—expressly positioned in heaven. Having been slain for our redemption, Christ enters the heavenly holy place, "having obtained eternal redemption for us" (v. 12).

And as the earthly "patterns" ("copies," A.S.V.; "reproductions," Phillips) of "things in the heavens" (v. 23) could only be purified by "blood," so the "heavenly things" themselves could be purified only by the infinite sacrifice of the "blood of Christ" Himself.


Speaking with explicitness, Paul states that Christ entered not into an earthly replica but into "heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (v. 24). Christ had, on Calvary, "once" for all "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (v. 26).

But Paul affirms that, after the death of Christ and His stipulated Mediation that followed in heaven, would come "the judgment" (v. 27). And after the Judgment will come Christ's cataclysmic Second Ad vent, as He appears "the second time with out sin unto salvation" (v. 28). That is the sequence. What a tremendous, impelling picture! What an imposing, all-encompassing, consummating sweep! It embraces the whole of redemptive activity provided in and through Christ.


Noting again that the earthly "shadow" was not the exact "image"—or representation—of the heavenly reality (10:1), the typical earthly animal sacrifices obviously could not actually "take away sins" (v. 4). But Christ's perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice of Himself—accomplished in the "body" prepared for Him (v. 5)—does take away sin. It sanctifies "once for all" (v. 10). That is the great goal.

After the "one sacrifice," Christ took His place at the "right hand of God," His "one offering" perfect, and perfecting for ever (vs. 12, 14). Thus it is that Christ is "high priest over the house of God" (v. 21). So it was that Christ, "author and finisher of our faith" in all aspects took His destined place at the "right hand of the throne of God" (12:2)—in the Sanctuary in heaven.

IX. Tremendous Portrayal of Heavenly Sanctuary Realities


Paul and John thus speak the same language. They talk of the same things, stressing the one and only plan of redemption, executed from the one Command Center in the Sanctuary in heaven. And pre-eminently in it all, and in every phase of it, is "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (13:8)—our great High Priest—having effected our salvation "through the blood [shed and applied] of the everlasting covenant" (v. 20).

The conclusion is inescapable: Truly we have a real Christ, who made a real sacrifice, through a real death. And after a real resurrection and ascension He became our real High Priest, ministering in a real Sanctuary (tabernacle, or temple) in a real heaven, effectuating a real redemption. And He is coming to gather us unto Himself in a real Second Advent. There is nothing more real in the universe than this inexorable sequence—every phase of it, including the Sanctuary.


Summarizing Paul's message: The entire range of redemption is enfolded. The eternal Deity of Christ, as the Second Person of the Triune Godhead—"all the fulness of the Godhead." His vicarious death on the Cross as Lamb of God, when Christ as Priest offered Himself on Calvary. Then truly rose and ascended, and now ministers as Priest, and applies the unspeakable benefits of the atoning Acts of Golgotha.

At last He enters upon His climactic responsibility as Judge in the great "hour of God's judgment," now in solemn session. At its close He will come again as King of kings to gather the trophies of His complete redemption. Such is the mighty portrayal presented by the apostle Paul. And all this tremendous redemptive activity, in sequence in heaven above, centers in and radiates from the heavenly Sanctuary— focal point and origin of every redemptive procedure.

Only God could devise such a wondrous plan. Only Christ could effectuate it. Only Inspiration could reveal it. And this was done succinctly and completely through the two most conspicuous New Testament apostle-prophets—John the revelator and Paul the theologian.

X. Spirit of Prophecy Attestations on "Sanctuary Truth"


We close with declaration of the Spirit of Prophecy concerning the Sanctuary truth. They are impressive and amazingly comprehensive. They may well be our guide as we contemplate the ground covered in our survey. Note the expressions emphasized in italics—such as "foundation of our faith," "complete system of truth," "great substance," "central truth," "Spirit approved."

The subject of the sanctuary was the key that unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system o} truth, connected and harmonious.

"The sanctuary in Heaven is the very center of Christ's work in behalf of men." (GC 488, 1888 ed.)

"The ministration [of Christ our Mediator] in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith." (Letter 208, 1906; Ev 221.)

"The atonement of Christ should be the great substance, the central truth." (Ms. 156, 1898; Ev 223.)

"These pillars of truth stand firm as the eternal hills, unmoved by all the efforts of men combined with those of Satan and his host." (R Sc H, Nov. 27, 1883; Ev 223.)

"The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven." (GC 489, 1888 ed.)

"As the great pillars of our faith have been presented, the Holy Spirit has borne witness to them, and especially is this so regarding the truths of the sanctuary question. Over and over again the Holy Spirit has in a marked manner endorsed the preaching of this doctrine. But today, as in the past, some will be led to form new theories and to deny the truths upon which the Spirit of God has placed His approval." (Ms. 125, 1907; Ev. 224.)


Specific denials and specious theories, we are told, will appear:

"The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a depart ing from the faith." (R & H, May 25, 1905; Ev 224.)

"Even some of those who in times past, the Lord has honored, will depart so far from the truth as to advocate misleading theories regarding many phases of truth, including the sanctuary question." (Ms. 11, 1906; Ev 360.)

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November 1970

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