Hebrews 8 and 9
THE CONTROVERSY OVER PATTERN-FULFILLMENT
Edited Jun 14, 2017
Seventh-day Adventists use pattern-fulfillment to explain why the Day of Atonement did not occur at Calvary, but, instead, began in 1844. Rater than agreeing with Miller's final admission and most early Adventists that nothing happened in 1844, a very small group re-defined the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14 from their first guess of earth itself to the “heavenly” sanctuary. Not knowing Hebrew, they equated the KJV word, “cleansed” (tsa-daq), in Daniel 8:14 with the “cleanse” (ta-heer) in Leviticus 16:19, 30. Instead of Christ coming to judge the wicked by destroying the earth with fire, they decided that He only moved from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary to begin judging the lives of professed believers in order to determine whom to recreate from annihilation.
Since, until 1844, Christians everywhere (including themselves) had believed that Jesus had entered the Most Holy Place as High Priest at his ascension, then justification was needed for this completely different explanation. The new explanation depended on their use of pattern-fulfillment.
GC417: [Ellen G. White] But the most important question remains to be answered: What is the cleansing of the sanctuary? That there was such a service in connection with the earthly sanctuary is seated in the Old Testament scriptures. In Hebrews 9 the cleansing of both the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries is plainly taught. “Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 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” (Hebrews 9:22-23), even the precious blood of Christ.
GC418: But how could there be sin connected with the sanctuary, either in heaven or upon earth? This may be learned by reference to the symbolic service; for the priests who offered on earth, served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:5.
GC420: And what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary.
Applying SDA Pattern-Fulfillment: Having established the existence of (at least some) pattern-fulfillment, The Great Controversy then “proves” that Christ only ascended into the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary by quoting Revelation 4:5 and 8:3 (GC414-415). Next, a brief statement about Daniel 8:14 says that it “unquestionably refers to a sanctuary in heaven.” Moving back to Hebrews 9:23-24, the reality of the “patterns” requires that the heavenly things be purified with the blood of Christ (GC417). The new “light from God” was in their “discovery” that the cleansing is necessary because of sacrificial blood which defiled the heavenly sanctuary with the forgiven sins of God's people (GC418-419). This was because the sin had not been canceled by the blood of the sacrifice (GC420). Their pattern-fulfillment then moved from Calvary to 1844 to the second coming because the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary must still be accomplished “in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary” (GC420). Since the sins of the saints still remain on the books of record in heaven, they must be removed before Christ can return. This removal began in 1844 (GC421).
The Truth about Pattern-Fulfillment
In context, the book of Hebrews does not teach that the Old Covenant sanctuary service provided a must-follow “pattern,” “example,” “copy” or “shadow” for New Covenant Christians. In fact, in context, almost every text In Hebrews 8 and 9 teach pattern contrast. Hebrews teaches that the Old Covenant sanctuary patterns ended at Calvary! It proves its point by contrasting Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary with that of the Old Covenant sanctuary.
The following list contains 48 descriptions of Christ from Hebrews 1:1 to 7:28. With one exception (4:15 to 5:4), all are contrasts to the Old Covenant priest -- not pattern-fulfillment. There are seven (7) separate references to Christ's High Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek who was not even an Israelite. Contrast, not pattern-fulfillment, is clearly taught. 1:3 Sitting at the right hand of the Majesty; 1:4 So much better than angels; better name; 1:5 Father-Son relationship; 1:6 Worshiped by angels; 1:8 Called “God” by the Father; 1:9 Personally anointed by God; 1:10 Called Creator by the Father; 1:12 Called Eternal by the Father; 2:8 All things are subject to him; 2:9 Dies for all men (greater love); 2:17 As High Priest his person made reconciliation for the sins of the people; 3:1 Both an Apostle and High Priest; 3:3, 5, 6 Greater than Moses; Christ a son; Moses a servant; 3:3, 4 The house-builder; 4:3 Provides rest (Moses and Aaron did not); 4:14 Great High Priest in the heavens; the Son of God; [4:15; 5:1-4 As High Priest sympathizes with our weaknesses]; 4:16 Commands believers to approach the throne of grace with confidence; 5:5 Appointed High Priest by God=s oath; 5:6 High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (1st time); 5:9 As High Priest is the author of eternal salvation; 5:10 High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (2nd time); 6:19 Sure, steadfast, anchor of the soul within the veil; 6:20 High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (3rd time); 7:1 Blessed Abraham; 7:2 Received tithes from Abraham; 7:2 Called King of Righteousness; 7:2 Called King of Peace; 7:3 An eternal priest; 7:6 Not related to the Levitical priests; 7:9-10 Received tithes from Levi (thus Aaron); 7:11 High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (4th time); 7:12 His High Priesthood demands the Law be changed; 7:13-14 From Judah, not Levi; 7:15 High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (5th time); 7:16 Priesthood based on eternal principles; 7:17 High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (6th time); 7:18 Necessitated the annulment of laws governing the Levitical priesthood; 7:19 Proved that laws concerning the Levitical priesthood could not perfect anything; 7:19 A better hope providing all direct access to God; 7:20 Became a priest through God=s oath; 7:21 High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (7th time); 7:22 Guarantor of a better covenant; 7:23-24 One unchangeable eternal priesthood with no death; 7:25 Eternal intercessor; 7:26 High priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 7:27 As High Priest offered one sacrifice; 7:28 Perfected rather than weak. Again, contrast, not pattern-fulfillment is the theme.
Seventh-day Adventists are really not seriously interested in teaching pattern-fulfillment except when it involves their own view of the Day of Atonement. Even then they fail to follow a once-a-year Day of Atonement and make it over 170 years already. In order for all pattern-fulfillment requirements to be true for New Covenant believers, the heavenly sanctuary would have (1) many Aaronic priests and Levites, (2) daily evening and morning sweet savor offerings, (3) weekly Sabbath-day offerings, (4) monthly new moon offerings, (5) yearly Passover, Pentecost and the Day of Atonement offerings, (6) regular replacement of the 12 loaves of bread, (7) daily refilling of the candlestick oil, (8) daily burning of incense, (9) a laver for washing and many other comparable pattern-fulfillments. Thus the following statement in GC420 actually causes more problems that it solves – “What was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary.”
When Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:5; and 9:24 (from GC417-418) are studied in order and in context, Hebrews 8 and 9 also clearly teach that the patterns only lasted as long as the Old Covenant sanctuary and have no continuing relevance to New Covenant believers.
Heb 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;
Contrast: Chapters 1 through 7 are summed up in 8:1. The high priest pattern-functions which cycled from one year to another have ended with the Melchizedek ministry of Jesus who has sat down in heaven. This is pattern ending.
Heb 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Heb 8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
Contrast: When SDAs teach that Christ's ministry from His ascension to 1844 was that of an ordinary priests (GC421), they miss the point. He had already fulfilled His once-for-all-sins-for-all time High Priestly Day of Atonement pattern and was already in the very Presence of the Father. That is why he is seated.
Heb. 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.
Contrast: This verse teaches “pattern-dissolution,” not “pattern-fulfillment.” (1) Christ was “out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood” (7:14). (2) Since Christ was after the order of Melchizedek, it was “far more evident” that he was not following the law-pattern (7:15). (3) Christ's priesthood came into existence specifically “not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (7:16) --- meaning that it was not patterned “according to the law.” As long as the Law was in place, Christ (from Judah) and Melchizedek (not even a Hebrew) could not be in place.
Heb. 8:5 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, he said, that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the mount.
Contrast: It is wrong to quote 8:5 and act as if 8:4 and 8:6 did not exist. SDAs quote 8:5 to prove that the heavenly New Covenant sanctuary must also follow the same pattern given to Moses for the Old Covenant sanctuary. The priests were still serving even while the words were being written. Heavenly things refers to “according to the Law” [8:4]. The example and pattern was only while the Law lasted. Galatians 3:19 says that the “law” was “added” “til the seed should come.”
Heb. 8:6 But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Contrast: Four strong inspired pattern contrasts must mean something important: “but now,” “more excellent ministry,” better covenant” and “better promises.”
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Contrast: Again, the pattern was only for the “first covenant.” God would not allow a faulty covenant to be repeated in heaven. As early as David's Psalm 110:4 prophecy stated that the Aaronic Law-pattern would end with a high priesthood after the order of a non-Hebrew, Melchizedek.
Heb. 8:8 For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Jer 31:31).
Contrast: The quotation in Hebrews 8:8-13 is from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Perhaps the only constant it that, like the old covenant, the “new” covenant was also primarily with the “house of Israel” and the “house of Jacob --- yet SDAs reject this as replace national Israel with their own remnant SDA church. The true Church exists because it thrives off the “crumbs” which Israel has temporarily rejected (Mt 15:26; 21:42; Mk 7:28; 12:10). Also Matthew 23:39. The new covenant does not follow the pattern of “faulty” Israelites failing to obey it (Heb 10:1-10).
Heb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made cwith their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord (Jer 31:32).
Contrast: The new covenant was explicitly “not according to” the [old] covenant (8:9). How much clearer can God teach pattern-dissolution!
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people (Jer 31:33).
Contrast: God moved the focus of His Law from the Most Holy Place of the Old Covenant and placed it inside every believer. Jesus came as Second-Israel and fulfilled the Law by living a sinless life (Heb 1:4-10).
Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest (Jer 31:34).
Contrast: The teaching ministry of the Old Covenant priests and Levites has been replaced by the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:26 ;;16:13).
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Contrast: This is probably the strongest text that the O.T. patterns ended at Calvary. While the one-day Day of Atonement pointed to the one-day of Calvary in which God would “remember sins no more,” Ellen G. White says this will not occur until the close of probation before Christ returns (GC485, 1st para).
When Hebrews 10:3 says “in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year,” it is referring to its context, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come” (10:1). Specifically, the Day of Atonement was the time that Israel “remembered” their sins once a year. The “shadow” of the Day of Atonement met its “reality,” not in 1844, but at Calvary! Even Arminians teach that [at the very least] previously confessed, forgiven and atoned sins of believers have already been forever washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ, never to be remembered again. Yet SDAs apply the final fulfillment of this promise to the end of the Investigative Judgment.
Heb. 8:13 In that he says, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which is decaying and waxing old is ready to vanish away.
Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Contrast: Though the new covenant began at Calvary, the Jews continued its pattern until the Temple was destroyed in A. D. 70 (Mt 26:28). Therefore, the SDA argument for exact pattern-fulfillment ignores the context of 8:1-13 and only partially quotes 8:5 out of context.
Heb. 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service and a worldly sanctuary [to hagion].
Heb. 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all [hagia hagioon].
Heb. 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
Notice that all of the verbs are past tense. Hebrews, chapter 9, continues pattern-dissolution, as contrasted to SDA pattern-fulfillment. It continues contrasting Christ's New Covenant ministry in heaven with the Old Covenant ministry in the entire earthly sanctuary. While verses 2 and 6 describe the daily ministry in the outer holy place, verses 3, 4, 5 and 7 are limited to the inner Most Holy Place of the Old Covenant.
Heb. 9:8 The Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all [toon hagioon] was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
Contrast: Hebrews 9:1-7 describing the services of the Old Covenant was “signifying” that the way into the “holiest of all,” the entire heavenly sanctuary, was not yet ready until Law and Old Covenant ended (8:4; Gal 3:19). It was not yet time for Christ's’ High Priestly ministry in the New Covenant's (“holiest”) sanctuary to begin.” Most Christians believe that, when the veil of the Temple was ripped open at Christ’s death on Calvary, the Old Covenant sanctuary lost its significance (Mt 27:51). Even some SDA scholars have agreed to this interpretation of verse 8. See Questions on Doctrine, 1957, p385, footnote.
Heb. 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience.
CONTRAST: The entire Old Covenant sanctuary service (9:1-7) “was a firgure for the time then present.” This single text should be enough to disprove the SDA claim that the O. T. sanctuary depicts reality in heaven (GC418-422).
Heb. 9:10 Which stood only in food and drink, and various washing, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
Contrast: “Until the time of reformation” must refer to the first coming of Christ (Gal 3:19). SDAs part with the majority of Christendom at Hebrews 9:9-10. The truth is that all of the patterns, examples and shadows given to Moses in the Law were only patterns of Old Covenant pre-Calvary reality!
SDAs try to say that the “patterns” were for the Old Covenant, but that the “reality” is for the New Covenant. However, the New Covenant sanctuary where Christ ministers as High Priest does not have “reality counterparts” for many priests, twice-daily burnt offerings, daily animal sacrifices, grain offerings, drink offerings and ritual washings because all of those patterns were only for the Old Covenant which ended “in the time of reformation” (9:10).
It is not difficult to see that the discussion of the earthly sanctuary built by Moses according to God's pattern ends at Hebrews 9:10.
Heb. 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building.
Contrast: Christ came as a High Priest. He did not come as an Old Covenant High but solelly as a New Covenan High Priest.
Heb. 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place [ta hagia], having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Contrast: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves” could refer to either Leviticus 16:5-6, but most likely refers to Exodus 24:3-8 as indicated by 9:19. “The holy place” refers to the entire New Covenant tabernacle from 9:11. Neither possible alternate interpretation supports the SDA claim: (1) If “ta hagia” only refers to the outer Holy Place (as SDAs claim), then “goats and calves” is meaningless because the high priest entered there daily without those two Day of Atonement offerings. And (2) if “ta hagia” and “goats and calves” only refer to the Most Holy Place then the SDA argument fails because Christ entered into the Most Holy Place at His ascension.
Heb. 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:
Heb. 9:14 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?
Contrast: The contrast is not between daily and Day of Atonement cleansing (purification). Rather it is between O. T. animal blood (shadow) purifying the flesh and N. T. Christ's blood (reality) purifying the conscience. Hebrews 9:19-21 clearly places 9:13 in the context of Exodus 24:3-8 and not the Day of Atonement.
The Old Covenant inauguration “purified [cleansed] the flesh” through animal sacrifices (9:13). The New Covenant inauguration with the blood of Christ is much more effective. Not only did it purify the flesh, but it also “purges your conscience from dead works” (9:14). In Exodus 24:7-8 half of the blood was sprinkled on the congregation. This is obviously not a law-pattern fulfillment from the Day of Atonement!
Heb. 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (also Rom. 3:25)
Contrast: Again, this is a comparison to Exodus 24:3-8 and not the Day of Atonement. Christ has already redeemed every daily sin and every Day of Atonement sin confessed in the Old Testament (and also the New Testament). This makes Ellen White's often-repeated “but he was not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law” nonsense. Every sin mediated in the Old Covenant was unconditionally forgiven because of the future perfect sacrifice of the sinless Lamb of God. SDAs teach that the first application of Christ's blood conditionally atones and a second application finally atones after one life record has been reviewed and approved (GC423-432, 479-491).
When this sacrifice was made by one whose human lineage was from the tribe of Judah and whose Priesthood was patterned after the Gentile Priest-King Melchizedek, the law-pattern definitely ended (Heb 7:13-18). Whereas the Old Covenant High Priest could promised atonement and forgiveness (Lev 4:20), the New Covenant Priest-King cleansed the conscience (Heb 9:4, 14).
Heb. 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Heb. 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God has commanded you.
Heb. 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Contrast: Without a doubt, Hebrews 9:19-21 refers to the Old Covenant inauguration in Exodus 24:3-8 and not to the Day of Atonement ritual.
Ex. 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD has said will we do.
Ex. 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Ex. 24:5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.
Ex. 24:6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
Ex. 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said will we do, and be obedient.
Ex. 24:8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.
Israel had agreed to enter into the Old Covenant stipulations with God (Ex. 24:3). Since this was before the first sanctuary had been built, it had no connection with the Day of Atonement. Moses erected a temporary altar (24:4) and made burnt offerings and peace offerings (24:5). Those who were ritually clean within the camp were sprinkled with the blood (24:6). Those who had been ritually unclean outside the camp were sprinkled with the ashes of the red heifer (Heb. 9:13, 22).
Hebrews 9:19-21 is clearly imagery of the Old Covenant inauguration! The tabernacle is the one used by Moses and the elders before God' tabernacle was built from instructions which began in Exodus 30.
Heb. 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged [NAS, NIV: cleansed] with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
This text brings the discussion from 8:1 to 9:22 to its goal. The Law required almost every ritual to begin with cleansing blood. This is not the Day of Atonement cleansing; it is every-day cleansing. The “almost” refers to rituals such as that of the red heifer and lesser grain offerings for the poor which were not performed on the Day of Atonement.
Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified [cleansed] with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Contrast: “These” refers to the inauguration of the Old Covenant from 9:19-22 and Exodus 24:3-8. Before the New Covenant “better” reality could go into effect, it was “necessary” for the Old Covenant “pattern”: to be “purified, or cleansed, or washed away by the blood of the true sacrifice --- that is what sacrificial blood does!
SDAs greatly err when they force 9:23 to refer to the Day of Atonement. That which happens on Earth is only a “pattern” of heavenly reality. The heavenly reality (the new pattern) required better true New Covenant sacrifices, or rather the true sacrifice of Christ. In order to initiate both the Old and New Covenants, blood was required. In 9:19 that blood was used to sprinkle both the book of the covenant and also the people. Therefore, the “patterns” referred o in 9:23 are primarily patterns to be followed in ending the Old Covenant and inaugurating the New Covenant!!! The "purification" of 9:23 refers to the “purification” of 9:12-14, the "sprinkling" of 9:19, and the “purification” of Exodus 24:3-8. Therefore it refers to the purification which Christ made when He began his New Covenant High Priestly ministry (9:12) --- not the Day of Atonement.
Heb. 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places [hagia] made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
Contrast: “Christ is not” entered into holy places comparable to those which man built, but “into heaven itself.” Think spiritual, not physical. Since Christ is the veil (Heb 10:20), there are no separate “rooms” in God's dwelling place and “now” means first century, not 1844. The “presence of God” means exactly what it literally says. The 7 golden candlesticks are 7 churches, not the Holy Spirit (Rev 1:13-20). Also contrary to the Old Covenant pattern, God's throne room contained 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 O. T. patterns (Rev 4:2-8). The 1844 theology of two rooms is pure nonsense (Heb 9:24).
Again, “nw” meant first century A. D. he 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). The every day 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.
Heb. 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entering into the holy place every year with blood of others.
Pattern: Finally, an exact pattern-fulfillment --- but only if SDAs admit that “holy place” in 9:25 refers to the Most Holy Place (and they do not admit it). Therefore the SDA view that Christ only entered the holy place at his ascension is in contrast to the pattern they demand.
“Not yet” --- even the yearly Day of Atonement has been replaced by the contrasting “once for all” perfect “entering into” heaven itself. In contrast to Aaron, Christ became a High Priest-King after the order of Melchizedek of which the Law and the Old Covenant pattern said absolutely nothing (7:12-19)! The “sum” from 8:1 is that Christ is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven itself because He had finished His atonement. What did it take to place him there? It took completely replacing the law-patterned priesthood with a Melchizedek priesthood patterned after eternal principles (7:16, 19-22). It was “necessary to change” the law-pattern and to bring in a newer better covenant (7:12; 8:7).
1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have built?
Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in:
SDAs want to place God into a literal room in heaven in order to justify their pattern-fulfillment eschatology. However, the old sanctuary pattern of God's dwelling place was always merely symbolic. The Most Holy Place of the tabernacle was fifteen foot square (15' x 15') and the Most Holy Place of Solomon' Temple was thirty foot square (30' x 30') (1 Kg. 6:16). The God of the Universe does not live in a house smaller than our own.
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.” He is already in the “presence of God for us” –- in the Most Holy since his ascension to the right hand of God.
Heb. 9:26a For then he must have often suffered since the foundation of the world ...
Contrast: “For then he must” --- if Christ had not ended the patterns, then he must repeat them! Is not that what the text says? 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.
Heb. 9:26b ... but now once in the end [consummation] of the world [ages] he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Contrast: “Now” refers to the first century, not 1844 --- as does “he has appeared.” On the one hand the Old Covenant inauguration law-pattern needed to be fulfilled in order to bring in a New Covenant. On the other hand Christ did exactly that and now ministers using "new" covenant principles. The one important pattern-fulfillment carried over from the Old to the New Covenant is that remission is only obtained through the shedding of blood (9:16-22).
“But now -- once -- in the end of the ages” --- contrast, not pattern fulfillment. In a one-time event which occurred about 2000 years ago, all sacrificial ends (sun-teleo) of all the ages were brought together and fulfilled by Jesus Christ. This includes the daily, monthly, seasonal and yearly Day of Atonement sacrifices! As far as believers are concerned, the patterns of blood-sacrificial time from Adam's first sin until the last daily morning sacrifice before Calvary have all ended in the “now.” Christ’s sacrifice of Himself at Calvary reached from the “foundation of the world [kosmos]” to the “end of the world.” “The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool” (Ps. 110:1).
“The LORD has sworn, and will not repent, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4). These are Calvary events which forever ended the Old Covenant patterns.
Hebrews 9:25-26 clearly tell everybody (except SDAs) "now” Christ “cleansed” all of the heavenly things (not in 1844), but at His death, ascension and enthronement. When 9:25 says “as the high priest entered into the holy place every year,” there can be absolutely no doubt that it is referring to the “every year” Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement. Ta hagia, translated “holy place” in the KJV can also be translated “the holies” and is translated “Most Holy Place” in both the New KJV and the NIV.
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; First Corinthians 10:11; Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; Hebrews 1:2 and First Peter 1:20 --- and none of these refer to 1844.
Heb. 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment [krisis].
Heb. 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin [not to deal with sin: RSV] unto salvation.
Contrast: On the one hand, when believers are not involved, the normal sequence is for all men to die and face God in an after-death judgment of Revelation 20:11-13. Without Christ, all men will eventually be judged by the works they did while they were living (9:27).
On the other hand, for believers, Jesus Christ, the Melchizedek High Priest-King, broke the law-pattern and died “once.” This is still all-inclusive terminology which began in verse 25. The “end of the age” “judgment” appointment for un-believers in verse 27 is missing in verse 28 because the believers’ sins were judged in Christ at Calvary. The “judgment” for believers was brought forward from the end of literal time to the “end” of salvation-time at Calvary. Since only the sins of believers were involved in the sanctuary ministry, then Christ's death at Calvary fulfilled the one-day Day of Atonement for believers. Unbelievers still face the “great white throne” judgment of Revelation 20.
This is also the meaning of John 3:16. The judgment decree of “eternal life” brings the decree from the end of literal time forward to the moment one "believes. In John 4:14 Jesus promised that believers would never thirst again for salvation. In John 5:24 Jesus said “He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, [already] has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [krisis: judging process] but has passed [already] from death unto life.” Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation [kata-krima: contrary judgment sentence] to them which are in Christ Jesus.” SDAs attempt to change the meaning of krisis in John 5:24 from “judgment” into “condemnation..” However, kata-krisis and kata-krima are the terms for “condemnation” or “judgment against.” See [the original] 1957, SDA Questions on Doctrine, 418-419.
Believers were looking for Christ to return even in the first century, not because of an Investigative Judgment which did not begin until 1844, but because Jesus had already completely dealt with their sins at Calvary, had applied His atonement at the moment they accepted Him as Lord and Savior and, under the New Covenant terms, had claimed the promise that “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” --- forgotten even in the first century.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD