Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Searching Sabbath 24: The Heavenly Sanctuary


I’m sorry this one lacks the passion, conviction and intensity of last week’s video, but I have to admit that Adventist teaching on Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is not a subject that has ever gotten me all fired up. For some Adventists and former Adventists it’s a real test of faith — either the doctrine that makes it impossible for them to stay in the church, or the doctrine which absolutely must be believed if one is to call oneself a Seventh-day Adventist — but I’ve never been able to give that kind of weight to it. Any speculation about when the judgement begins or about what might or might not be happening in heaven right now (I’m more likely to get distracted by questions like “Where exactly is heaven? Is it on a planet? Orbiting what star?”) seem pretty irrelevant to the way I attempt to live the life of faith.

So, having tried to briefly explain the doctrine as I understand it in the video above, I’m going to reproduce the statement of belief here and perhaps someone in the comments will come along to tell me why this teaching is of such vital importance to them. I was quite disappointed last week that I didn’t hear more in comments from those who support the traditional point of view, but perhaps this week will be of more interest to commenters. Engaging in dialogue is what really interests me about this process.

Seventh-day Adventists believe that …

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent.


3 thoughts on “Searching Sabbath 24: The Heavenly Sanctuary

  1. THANK YOU!!! I’m a third-generation Adventist and I don’t have a clue about the investigative judgment. While I find many of the church’s doctrines nebulous, none is more so than this.

    As someone who subsribed to the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey theory long before the Tenth Doctor explained it, I have to give you a big thumbs up for pointing out that perhaps time works a little differntly form God’s veiwpoint. 😀

  2. The thought that there is an ACTUAL SANCTUARY in heaven with Jesus standing there in priestly gear is ludicrous. The fact that God requires the blood of anything in order to forgive is even more ludicrous! The ancient religious world lived largely by ritual, and passed that concept down in their “holy writings”. We have taken their rituals, which were highly influenced and impacted by the pagan religions around them, as Gospel truth, disregarding multiple prophets who stated that God does not need blood to forgive – God merely wants us to be repentant.

    Don’t even get me started on the whole “this amount of time is taken in order to determine who will be saved and who will not.” Past believers, who did not have access to the kind of tech that we have, might have bought into that whole concept. Those of us who live in this world of super-computing have to seriously suspend our disbelief in order to even think that there is a “recording angel writing things down”, or that there is an actual “Book of Life” in which our names are carefully notated.

    Does the Creator of the Universe need these visual aids? Will the One who knows our every thought have to ponder whether or not we are eligible to go to Heaven? Does the One to whom Time means nothing really have to wait until a certain date to start the investigative computations? I don’t know about you, but the Father I know is MUCH bigger than that!

    • Hebrews 8
      1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
      2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
      3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
      4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
      5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

      Hebrews 9
      22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
      23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
      24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

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