WHAT IS THE SANCTUARY?
THE GREAT CONTROVERSY
Pages 418-422 all inclusive
Rebuttal By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
June 9, 2017
OPENING COMMENT: EGW and SDAs give the impression that all manner of sin was confessed and atoned at the sanctuary. However, normally only accidental sins and sins of ignorance were allowed to be atoned (Lev 4:2, 3, 12, 14; 5 1-5); Willful sins were punished by judges. There was no sacrifice prescribed for willful sins (Ex 21: 17, 23-25; 31 14; Lev 20 2; 24:16).
GC418: The ministration of the earthly sanctuary consisted of two divisions; the priests ministered daily in the holy place, while once a year the high priest performed a special work of atonement in the most holy, for the cleansing of the sanctuary.
COMMENT: Atonement and cleansing were performed every day of the year. Atonement was pronounced after every sacrifice. The entire sanctuary was cleansed before service (Ex 29:36; 2 Chron 29:15), lepers' houses (Lev 14:49), Levites (Numb 8:6) and, especially, individual sins (Ps 51:2). Since there was such a great importance placed upon clean and unclean, it is wrong to limit cleansing to the Day of Atonement (Lev 10:10). Also, "the special work of atonement in the most holy" is really "the special work of atonement which began in the most holy and spread to include the entire sanctuary.
GC418 Day by day the repentant sinner brought his offerings to the door of the tabernacle, placing his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sin, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice.
COMMENT: Ellen G. White often uses the unbiblical word "transfer" in error. No sin was "transferred" to the sacrifice! The blood of the perfect sinless substitute sacrifice (Jesus Christ) atoned for and washed away the sin at the instant He died. Christ "did not know sin" before or at Calvary. "God" the Father (not the sinner) "made Him to be sin for us" (2 Cor 5:21) --- He legally imputed sin to Christ. Christ did not become a sinner; He was affected by sin but not infected by it. Ellen G. White errs by teaching that sins were transferred to the innocent sacrifice.
GC418: The animal was then slain. "Without shedding of blood," says the apostle, there no remission of sin. "The life of the flesh is in the blood." Leviticus 17:11.
COMMENT: Again, the instant the Substitute died, its blood atoned for and washed away the sin. The sin itself did not enter into and defile the sacrifice, the priest or the sanctuary. Everything and every person in the sanctuary must maintain holiness at all times in order for the sanctuary to function properly. Words such as "And the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them" occur over 40 times in Leviticus alone.
GC418: The broken law of God demanded the life of the transgressor.
COMMENT: Wrong. The broken law of God demanded either restitution equal to itself or death would result from an imperfect sinner. If it only demanded the life of the transgressor, then no substitute and no sacrifice would be allowed in any religion. If it only demanded death, then of the sinner would result in the sinner's salvation because the price had been paid. The broken law of God demanded that payment be made which was equal to the level of the broken law. No sinner could do this.
GC418: I, whose guilt the victim bore, was carried by the priest into the holy place, and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed.
COMMENT: "No! No! No!" A thousand times "No!" The blood, representing the holy, perfect, sinless, life of the Substitute sacrifice, was evidence (the receipt) that the perfect redemption price had been paid. The blood recorded the finished atonement and redemption. Jer 17:1 "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars."
GC418: By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary.
COMMENT: Although EGW once softens the language to "record of sins," her declaration that "sin [itself] was transferred through the blood" is predominant. Records do not defile.
GC418 In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place, but the flesh was to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron saying “God has given it unto you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.” Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary.
COMMENT: This is the greatest error of the SDA view of the sanctuary. Sacrificial blood "atones," "cleans” and “washes away” sin! (Ex 29:36; Lev 12:8; 14:20, 53; 16:30; Numb 8:21). No sin entered the sanctuary through the atonement ritual! Sacrificial blood never “defiles” anything! Everything about the priest, his physical body, his clothing, his anointing, and his deportment within the sanctuary, must be holy and without blemish! Everything about the sacrificial animal must also be “most holy” or it would be rejected! The SDA doctrine insults the holiness of God and turns the Most Holy Place of the entire universe into the most defiled place with the accumulated atoned sins of every believer since Adam! (See Ex 33:22, 23; Lev 16:13; Isa 6:3-5; Lev 6:25-27; Numb 18: 9; Lev 4:20; 5:6; 6:7; 7:6; Heb 9:13, 14).
It is contradictory to teach that everything about the sanctuary was either holy or most holy while teaching that the priests routinely defiled it through their daily ministry of blood.
GC418: Such was the work that went on day by day throughout the year. The sins of Israel were thus transferred to the sanctuary, and a special work became necessary for their removal.
COMMENT: This is EGW and SDA cultic doctrine at its contradictory worst. It forces them to teach that the daily sacrifices (representing Jesus as priest, sacrifice and His blood) defiled the sanctuary while the (same) yearly Day of Atonement sacrifice cleansed it. The Bible does not teach that the purpose of the Day of Atonement was to remove forgiven sins which had been placed there via sacrificial atonement blood!
GC418-419: God commanded that an atonement be made for each of the sacred apartments. "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.' An atonement was also to be made for the altar "to cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel." Leviticus 16:16, 19.
COMMENT: There is a serious problem here for SDAs. While completely ignoring the necessary cleansing of the holy place, altar and the remainder of the sanctuary, SDAs teach that the cleansing of the Most Holy Place has lasted over 170 years already. This questions the Omniscience of Christ. Also, since (they teach) Christ immediately began ministering inside the holy place at His ascension, no cleansing was made for the remainder of the sanctuary.
GC419: Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the [high] priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration. On the Day of Atonement two kids of the goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them, "one for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat." Verse 8.
COMMENT: No mention is made of the high priest's personal sin offering because such is not pattern fulfillment (16:3, 6). Neither is mention made that both goats from the congregation were for one sin-offering (16:5) as this disagrees with the SDA interpretation of the scapegoat at Satan.
GC419: The goat upon which fell the lot for the Lord was to be slain as a sin offering for the people.
COMMENT: When both goats were presented before the LORD for one sin offerings (Lev 16:5, 7), both goats became most holy (Nu 18:9). Both goats were equal because the lot could have fallen on either (16:8). The first goat would immediately die for the LORD (16:8, 9); the second goat became a living sacrifice to carry the memory of sins away (16:10; Heb 8:12). Compare Leviticus 14:54.
GC419: And the priest was to bring his blood within the veil and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. The blood was also to be sprinkled upon the altar of incense which was before the veil.
COMMENT: EGW has no problem interpreting "within the veil" correctly here compared to pages 420-421. Also she stops at the altar of incense instead of proceeding to the remainder of the sanctuary per 16:16.
Gc419: "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: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited. Verses 21, 22. The scapegoat came no more into the camp of Israel, and the man who led him away was required to wash himself and his clothing with water before returning to the camp.
COMMENT: Instead of being a reference to Satan, being "presented alive before the LORD" insures that the scapegoat is a holy living sacrifice "to make an atonement with him" (16:10; Nu 18:9). The fact that neither the high priest nor the man who led the goat out were required to offer sin offerings after their tasks proves that they were not handling sin (16:24, 26). Both only had to wash.
Gc419-420: The whole ceremony was designed to impress the Israelites with the holiness of God and His abhorrence of sin; and, further to show them that they could not come in contact with sin without becoming polluted. Every man was required to afflict his soul while the work of atonement was going forward. All business was to be laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel were to spend the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting and deep searching of heart.
COMMENT: The Day of Atonement was symbolic of one final Judgment Day in which God would once-for-all time deal with sin (Heb 10:1-14). Israelites afflicted their souls to reveal any residual un-confessed and un-atoned sins from the previous year. Since SDAs cannot cease doing business every day for over 170 years, the prophetic symbolism is lost.
GC420: Important truths concerning the atonement are taught by the typical service. A substitute was accepted in the sinner's behalf,
COMMENT: Ellen G. White has changed from saying "the blood represents the forfeited life of the victim" to the correct saying "a substitute was accepted in the sinner's behalf."
GC420: … but the sin was not canceled by the blood of the victim.
COMMENT: In other words, "The perfect sinless blood of Jesus Christ was unable to completely atone for and wash away sin when first confessed." None dare ask Ellen G. White "Why not?" The phraseology “and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven” occurs in Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 19:22). Indeed, the sin was canceled because the debt had been fully paid. The responsibility for the atonement sin was transferred --- not the sin itself. There is no mention of the transfer of sin into the sanctuary in the Bible.
GC420: A means was thus provided by which it was transferred to the sanctuary
COMMENT: Thus is born the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the Investigative Judgment to remove atoned sins which have defiled the heavenly sanctuary.
GC420: By the offering of blood the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed his guilt in transgression, and expressed his desire for pardon through faith in a Redeemer to come; but he was not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law.
COMMENT: This is another example of SDA theology at its worst. Ellen G. White failed to grasp that the sinner was offering the perfect sinless blood of Jesus Christ which certainly released the sinner from the condemnation of the law. The perfect sacrifice had been brought and accepted; its life-blood had been shed; the atonement-redemption price had been fully paid, and the priest had announced “it shall be forgiven” (Lev 4:26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 19:22). Yet EGW erroneously says that the sinner was “not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law.” Thus none can be in heaven and none can have assurance of salvation until their records had been scrutinized sometime after 1844.
GC420: On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, directly over the law to make satisfaction for its claims.
COMMENT: This was a most holy spotless sin offering which had been presented before the LORD (Lev 16:5, 7; Nu 18:9) and the sins of the congregation confessed over it. Satisfaction was made the instant the sin offering died (Ex 12:13). Its blood was brought into the Most Holy Place as proof, or evidence, that the payment had already been made (Jer 17:1). Since God does not require double atonement for the same sins, the Day of Atonement ritual was not a second redemption for sins covered by the daily ministration. This was a final residual cleansing of all remaining “un-atoned” sinfulness of Israel. Again it was not a cleansing of previously-atoned sins. Atoned sins are the only ones which do not defile! (See Lev 15:31; 18:28; Numb 5:2, 3; 19:13; 35:34; compare Lev 16:16-20, 30).
GC420: Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself and bore them from the sanctuary.
COMMENT: Notice no validating texts. The Bible does not state that the high priest on the Day of Atonement removed sins from the Most Holy Place. The residual sins of all Israel had been atoned and washed away the instant the LORD's goat died at the doorway (Ex 12:13). The record of all atoned sins was removed from the entire sanctuary --- beginning with the Most Holy Place. Read Leviticus 16:16. Compare with the last phrase of 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
GC420: Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people.
COMMENT: The Bible does not say “thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat.” EGW said that! Atoned sins never made it past the doorway where the sacrifice died! And the high priest certainly did not carry “sins” inside the sanctuary because he would have been defiled and unclean! The scapegoat, the equal second half of the most holy sin offering from the people (16:7), presented a visual demonstration to Israel that their sins were forever removed. “All these sins” refers, not to previously confessed and atoned sin, but to the residual general sinfulness of Israel. See Lev 16:16-20, 30. Again, neither the high priest nor person who handled the second goat was considered defiled afterwards. Since the New Covenant sanctuary in heaven is not located “in the midst of a sinful people,” then it does not require a later corresponding Day of Atonement ritual. The cleansing described in Hebrews 9 is comparable, not to the Day of Atonement, but to the inauguration to begin the new ministry. Compare Exodus 24:4-8 and 29 with Hebrews 9:17-22.
GC420: Such was the service performed "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things."
And what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary.
COMMENT: The "real" heavenly sanctuary already existed during Old Testament times. Did Christ mediate sins since Adam and Eve in it? Was there a yearly Day of Atonement every year in the heavenly sanctuary? How far do we go with this "reality" from earthly "examples"?
Since Jesus is both priest and sacrifice, SDAs inadvertently make Jesus the guilty defiler of the sanctuary! Their theology has Jesus bearing His own sin-laden blood into the sanctuary and defiling it.
The vast majority of items, persons, and activities associated with the physical sanctuary have no relevance to the heavenly sanctuary because Hebrews, chapter 8, stresses contrasts, not similarities.
GC420 After His ascension our Saviour began His work as our high priest. Says Paul: "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." Hebrews 9:24.
COMMENT: How were sins mediated before Calvary? Did Christ forgive on the premise that He would eventually endure Calvary? (Rom 3:25; Heb 9:15). What did Christ do in heaven prior to becoming the God-Man?
GC420: [new paragraph] The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, “within the veil” which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court, represents the work of ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension.
COMMENT: Only Seventh-day Adventists teach that "within the veil" describes Christ ministering only in the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. Their theology determines their interpretation of Scripture.
GC420-421: It was the work of the priest in the daily ministration to present before God the blood of the sin offering, also the incense which ascended with the prayers of Israel.
GC421: So did Christ plead His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners, and present before Him also with the precious fragrance of His own righteousness the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven.
COMMENT: This is the first time Ellen G. White has referred to the priest as Christ and to the blood has His blood. It has previously been "the blood represented the forfeited life of the sinner" (GC418).
GC421: [new paragraph] Thither [only into the holy place] the faith of Christ's disciples followed Him as He ascended from their sight. Here their hopes centered, "which hope we have," said Paul, "as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest forever.”
COMMENT: This is using one's understanding of the Bible to interpret it. No other church has dared offer such a different explanation of where Jesus ascended.
GC421: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 6:19, 20; 9:12.
COMMENT: Compare GC414-415. SDAs are the only group who teach that Christ only ministered in the Holy Place (instead of the Most Holy Place) from his ascension until 1844. EGW takes the reference to “within the veil” from Hebrews 6:19 and changes it into the outer veil instead of the inner veil. However, with one exception (Heb. 9:3), five of six references to “veil” in the New Testament refer to the veil between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place --- not to the curtain separating the Holy Place from the courtyard (Mt 27:51; Mk 15:38; Lk 23:45). Also, the phrase, “within the veil (vail)” occurs six (6) times in the Old Testament and always refers to the Most Holy Place, particularly on the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16. See Ex 26:33; Lev 16:2, 12, 15; Nu 18:7. The phrase, “without the veil (vail)” occurs four (4) times in the Old Testament and always refers to the Most Holy Place. See Ex 26:35; 27:21; 40:22; Lev 24:3.
The “holy place” from Hebrews 9:12 (except for SDAs) is universally understood by Greek scholars and Bible translators as referring to the Most Holy Place (NKJV and NIV) of “heaven itself” (9:24). Again, the context of Hebrews 9:12 is that of inauguration of the New Covenant and not that of the Day of Atonement. Compare 9:18-21 with Moses’ inauguration in Exodus 24:3-8.
GC421: [new paragraph] For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued [only] in the first apartment of the sanctuary [the holy place]. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their SINS still remained upon the books of record.
COMMENT: This is an SDA oddity. While the Father and the Law are located inside the Most Holy Place, Christ was not there until 1844.
If Christ’s blood “secured their pardon and acceptance” before their cases were reviewed in the Investigative Judgment, then why are they in jeopardy again when their cases are reviewed?
GC421: As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year …
COMMENT: Again, since this was "example of heavenly things" and "pattern fulfillment," was there (or is there) a yearly Day of Atonement in the heavenly sanctuary?
GC421: … so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of SIN from the sanctuary.
COMMENT: SDAs teach that Christ's atoning blood must be administered twice before a person is fully saved.
GC 421: This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet [GC479; Dan. 7:9, 10], our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work --- to cleanse the sanctuary.
COMMENT: It has taken Ellen G. White 421 pages to justify the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church following the great fiasco of 1844. Yet it has already taken their Omniscient God over 170 years to research the books of heaven to determine who shall be saved. However, the "one-day" Day of Atonement prophesied Christ's "one-day" act of once-for-all-time redemption at Calvary (Heb 9:24-26). The First and Second Angels’ Messages (“from God” EGW earlier wrote) preached by Miller have now been completely rejected by SDAs and replaced by the much worse false doctrine of the Investigative Judgment. Daniel 8:14 is now the cornerstone of Seventh-day Adventism.
GC421: [new paragraph] As anciently the SINS of the people were placed by faith 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.
COMMENT: Forget how bad the SDAs depict the littler horn of pagan and papal Rome. Forget the change of the Sabbath and the Mark of the Beast. The worst culprit of Seventh-day Adventism is Jesus Christ Himself who, as priest, in fact takes His own blood containing atoned sins of the saints and defiles both the sanctuary on earth and the heavenly sanctuary.
However, atoned sins were not transferred into either the earthly or heavenly sanctuary. Notice that no text is ever given for this so-called "transference" of sins! The priests bore the responsibility for carrying out the atonement ritual but the sins had already been were atoned and washed by the blood where the sacrifice was made (Ex 12:13). It is absolutely incredible that SDAs make Jesus Christ the sinless Substitute and Sacrifice into the culprit responsible for carrying sins into the heavenly sanctuary and defiling the Most Holy Place in heaven! “Yes,” they say, the very same atoning and purifying blood of Jesus Christ is also defiling blood which carries SIN into the holiest place in the Universe and pollutes it! Therefore the worst offender is not the "little horn" but Jesus Christ Himself.
GC421-422: And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the SINS by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the SINS which are there recorded.
COMMENT: At this point EGW does say “sins which are there recorded.” However, all of her other quotations plainly say “sins” which have “defiled” heaven. Mere “records” of sins would not defile, yet, according to EGW, heaven is defiled by atoned sins of believers which were carried there by Jesus through His blood.
GC422: But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of his atonement.
COMMENT: Notice “to determine.” This cancels the previous statement that “pardon and acceptance” is already secured (GC421). Otherwise, there would be no reason to examine the lives of the faithful. And, by extension, it also means that nobody is in heaven yet because nobody can claim to have been fully saved before 1844.
GC422: The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation B a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when He comes, His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works. Revelation 22:12.
COMMENT: This means that nobody has ever been finally saved before they died. The Investigative Judgment is a fictional doctrine invented by SDAs to justify their disgrace when Jesus did not return in 1844.
COMMENT: This error also forced the doctrine of soul-annihilation into existence.
GC422: [new paragraph] Thus those who followed in the light of prophetic word saw that, instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to his coming.
COMMENT: Only SDAs call this “the light of prophetic word” instead of their own pathetic interpretation.
GC422: [new paragraph] It was seen also that, while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the SINS of the truly penitent will finally be placed. When the high priest, by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, removed the SINS from the sanctuary, he placed THEM upon the scapegoat.
COMMENT: EGW does not say (as SDA leaders want to say) that only “Satan’s part” of the sins were placed on Satan. She clearly says “the sins” and “them.” Again, atonement blood cleans; it is most holy and does not defile.
GC422: When Christ, by virtue of His own blood, removes the SINS of His people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place THEM upon Satan, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty.
COMMENT: Among Christians, only SDAs teach that the scapegoat was Satan.
GC422: The scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, never to come again into the congregation of Israel. So will Satan be forever banished from the presence of God and His people, and he will be blotted from existence in the final destruction of sin and sinners.
COMMENT: As a final review: (1) Both goats were chosen by the congregation as ONE sin offering (Lev 16:5). (2) When sacrificial animals were "presented before the LORD" they became "most holy" (Lev 16:7; Nu 18:9). (3) The scapegoat was presented as a living sin offering similar to Leviticus 14:53. And (4) if the high priest and goat-handler had contacted sin, they would have been required to bring a sin offering.
CONCLUSION: Chapter 23, What is the Sanctuary?, The Great Controversy, replaces all of the wickedness of the little horn, the papacy and the Sabbath-changers with the greatest culprit of all --- the one responsible for defiling the Most Holy Place of the Universe. That culprit is Jesus Christ Himself. And Seventh-day Adventists wonder why they are called a false cult.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD