THE CLEANSING OF THE SANCTUARY
The cleansing of the sanctuary and the finishing of the mystery of God are identical as to time and are also so closely related as to be practically identical in character and event.
In the "figure of the true" in the sanctuary service made visible, the round of service was completed annually, and the cleansing of the sanctuary was the finishing of that figurative and annual service. And this cleansing of the sanctuary was the taking out of and away from the sanctuary all "the uncleanness of the children of Israel" "because of their transgressions in all their sins," which, by the ministry of the priesthood in the sanctuary, had been brought into the sanctuary during the service of the year.
The finishing of this work of the sanctuary and for the sanctuary was, likewise, the finishing of the work for the people. For in that day of the cleansing of the sanctuary, which was the Day of Atonement, whosoever of the people did not by searching of heart, confession, and putting away of sin take part in the service of the cleansing of the sanctuary was cut off forever. Thus the cleansing of the sanctuary extended to the people and included the people as truly as it did the sanctuary itself. And whosoever of the people was not included in the cleansing of the sanctuary and was not himself cleansed, equally with the sanctuary, from all iniquity and transgression and sin was cut off forever. Lev. 16:15-19, 29-34; 23:27-32.
And this was all "a figure for the time then present." That sanctuary, sacrifice, priesthood, and ministry was a figure of the true, which is the sanctuary, sacrifice, priesthood, and ministry of Christ. And that cleansing of the sanctuary was a figure of the true, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man, from all the uncleanness of the believers in Jesus because of all their transgressions in all their sins. And the time of this cleansing of the true is declared in the words of the Wonderful Numberer to be "unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," which is the sanctuary of Christ in A.D. 1844.
And, indeed, the sanctuary of which Christ is the High Priest is the only one that could possibly be cleansed in 1844, because it is the only one that there is. The sanctuary that was a figure for the time then present was destroyed by the army of the Romans who came and destroyed that city (Dan. 9:26) and that sanctuary and even its place was to be desolate "even until the consummation." Therefore the only sanctuary that could possibly be cleansed at the time referred to by the Wonderful Numberer, at the end of the two thousand and three hundred days, was alone the sanctuary of Christ--the sanctuary of which Christ is High Priest and Minister; the sanctuary and the true tabernacle of which Christ, at the right hand of God, is true Priest and Minister; the sanctuary and true tabernacle "which the Lord pitched and not man."
What this cleansing means is plainly declared in the very scripture which we are now studying--Daniel 9:24-28. For the angel of God, in telling to Daniel the truth concerning the two thousand and three hundred days, tells also the great object of the Lord in this time as it relates to both the Jews and the Gentiles. The seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years of the limitation upon the Jews and Jerusalem is definitely declared to be "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Daniel 9:24.
That is the true purpose of God in the sanctuary and its service in all time: whether in the figure or in the true, whether for Jews or for Gentiles, whether on earth or in heaven. Seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years, was the limitation set for the Jews to have this accomplished for and in themselves. To accomplish this, to that people, of all people, Christ Himself came in person to show to them the Way and to lead them in this Way. But they would not have it. Instead of seeing in Him the gracious One who would finish transgression and make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness to every soul, they saw in Him only "Beelzebub the prince of the devils"; only One instead of whom they would readily choose a murderer; only One who as King they would openly repudiate and choose a Roman Caesar as their only king; only One whom they counted as fit only to be crucified out of the world.
For such a people as that and in such a people as that, could He finish transgression and make an end of sins and make reconciliation for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness?--Impossible. Impossible by their own persistent rebellion. Instead of His being allowed by them to do such a gracious and wonderful work for them, from the depths of divine pity and sorrow He was compelled to say to them: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Matt. 23:37, 38; 21:43.
The nation to whom the kingdom of God was given, upon its rejection by the Jews, was the Gentiles. And that which was to be done for the Jews in the four hundred and ninety years which were limited to them, but which they would not at all allow to be done for them--that is the identical thing to be done for the Gentiles, to whom the kingdom of God is given, in the eighteen hundred and ten years allotted to them. And that work is "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."
This can be done alone in the finishing of the mystery of God in the cleansing of the true Christian sanctuary. And this is done in the cleansing of the true sanctuary, only in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the perfecting of the believers in Jesus, on the one hand, and on the other hand in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the destruction of the wicked and the cleansing of the universe from all taint of sin that has ever been upon it.
The finishing of the mystery of God is the ending of the work of the gospel. And the ending of the work of the gospel is, first, the taking away of all vestige of sin and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness--Christ fully formed--within each believer, God alone manifest in the flesh of each believer in Jesus, and, secondly, on the other hand, the work of the gospel being finished means only the destruction of all who then shall not have received the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-10), for it is not the way of the Lord to continue men in life when the only possible use they will make of life is to heap up more misery for themselves.
Again, in the service of the earthly sanctuary, we have seen that when the work of the gospel in the annual course was finished in behalf of those who had taken part in it, then all those who had taken no part in it were cut off. "Which was a figure for the time then present" and which plainly teaches that in the service of the true sanctuary when the work of the gospel shall have been finished for all those who have a part in it, then all those who do not have a part in it will be cut off. Thus, in both respects, the finishing of the mystery of God is the final ending of sin.
The service in the earthly sanctuary shows also that in order for the sanctuary to be cleansed and the course of the gospel service there to be finished, it must first be finished in the people who have a part in the service. That is to say: In the sanctuary itself, transgression could not be finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for iniquity could not be made, and everlasting righteousness could not be brought it, until all this had been accomplished in each person who had a part in the service of the sanctuary.
The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed until each of the worshipers had been cleansed. The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed so long as, by the confessions of the people and the intercessions of the priests, there was pouring into the sanctuary a stream of iniquities, transgressions, and sins. The cleansing of the sanctuary, as to the sanctuary itself, was the taking out of and away from the sanctuary all the transgressions of the people which, by the service of the priests, had been taken into the sanctuary during the service of the year. And this stream must be stopped at its fountain in the hearts and lives of the worshipers, before the sanctuary itself could possibly be cleansed.
Therefore the very first work in the cleansing of the sanctuary was the cleansing of the people. That which was preliminary and essential to the cleansing of the sanctuary itself, to the finishing of the transgression and bringing in everlasting righteousness, there, was the finishing of transgression, and the making an end of sins, and making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness in the heart and life of each one of the people themselves. When the stream that flowed into the sanctuary was thus stopped at its source, then, and then alone, could the sanctuary itself be cleansed from the sins and transgressions which, from the people, by the intercession of the priests, had flowed into the sanctuary.
And all that "was a figure for the time then present"--a "figure of the true." Therefore by this we are plainly taught that the service of our great High Priest in the cleansing of the true sanctuary must be preceded by the cleansing of each one of the believers, the cleansing of each one who has a part in that service of the true High Priest in the true sanctuary. It is plain that transgression must be finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for all iniquity must be made, and everlasting righteousness must be brought in, in the heart's experience of every believer in Jesus, before the cleansing of the true sanctuary can be accomplished.
And this is the very object of the true priesthood in the true sanctuary. The sacrifices, the priesthood, and the ministry in the sanctuary which was but a figure for the time then present, could not really take away sin, could not make the comers there unto perfect, whereas the sacrifice, the priesthood, and the ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary does take away sins forever, does make the comers there unto perfect, does perfect "forever them that are sanctified."
THE TIMES OF REFRESHING And now, in this time of the consummation of the hope of all the ages, in this time when the true sanctuary is truly to be cleansed, in this time when the work of the gospel is to be completed and the mystery of God indeed finished--now is the time of all the times that ever were in the world, when the believers in Jesus--the blessed objects of His glorious priesthood and wondrous intercessions in the true sanctuary--shall be partakers of the full measure of His heavenly grace and shall have in their lives transgression finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for iniquity made forevermore, and, in the perfection of truth, everlasting righteousness brought in.
This is precisely and alone the purpose of the priesthood and ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary. Is not that priesthood sufficient? Is not His ministry effectual to accomplish its purpose?--Most assuredly. Only by that means can it be possible for this thing ever to be accomplished. No soul can ever himself finish transgression or make an end of sins or make reconciliation for iniquity or bring in everlasting righteousness in his own life. For that ever to be done, it must be done alone by the priesthood and ministry of Him who gave Himself and who was given that He might accomplish this very thing for every soul and present every soul "holy and unblameable and unreprovable" in the sight of God.
Every one whose heart is inclined to truth and right desires that this thing shall be done. Only the priesthood and ministry of Christ can do it. Now is the time of the complete and effectual doing of it for evermore. Then let us believe in Him who is doing this, and trust Him in the doing of it, that He does it completely and forevermore.
This is the time and this is the work of which it is written, that "there should be delay no longer." And why should there be delay any longer? When the priesthood of our great High Priest is efficient, and when His sacrifice and ministry are all sufficient in that which is promised and in that for which every believer hopes, then why should there be delay any longer in the finishing of transgression, the making an end of sin, the making of reconciliation for iniquity and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness to each believing soul? Then let us trust Him to do that which He has given Himself to do and which He alone can possibly do. Let us trust Him in this and receive in its fullness all that belongs to every soul who believes in and implicitly trusts the Apostle and High Priest of our profession--Christ Jesus.
We have seen that the little horn--the man of sin, the mystery of iniquity--has put his own earthly, human, and sinful priesthood, ministry, and sanctuary in the place of the heavenly and holy priesthood, ministry, and sanctuary. In this priesthood and service of the mystery of iniquity, the sinner confesses his sins to the priest and goes on sinning. Indeed, in that priesthood and ministry there is no power to do anything else than to go on sinning, even after they have confessed their sins. But, sad as the question may be, is it not too true that those who are not of the mystery of iniquity but who really believe in Jesus and in His priesthood and ministry--is it not too true that even these also confess their sins and then go on sinning?
But is this fair to our great High Priest, to His sacrifice, and to His blessed ministry? Is it fair that we should thus put Him, His sacrifice, and His ministry practically upon a level with that of the "abomination of desolation" and to say that in Him and in His ministry there is no more power or virtue than there is in that of the "mystery of iniquity"? May the Lord forever save His church and people this day with no more delay from thus bringing down so low our great High Priest, His awful sacrifice, and His glorious ministry.
Let our trust in our great High Priest be true, and let it be truly implicit. By protestants there is often remark made of the blind unwisdom of Catholics in their so fully trusting to the priest. And, with respect to any earthly priesthood, the thought is correct. And yet implicit trust of the priest is eternally right, but it must be trust of the right Priest. Such trust in a false priesthood is most ruinous, but the principle of implicit trust in the Priest is eternally right. And Jesus Christ is the right Priest. Therefore every one who believes in Jesus Christ, in the sacrifice which He has made, in the priesthood and ministry which He exercises in the true sanctuary must not only confess his sins, but he must then forever implicitly trust that true High Priest in His ministry in the sanctuary to finish transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness in his heart and life.
Everlasting righteousness, remember. Not a righteousness for today and sin tomorrow and righteousness again and sin again. That is not everlasting righteousness. Everlasting righteousness is righteousness that is brought in and stays everlastingly in the life of him who has believed and confessed and who still further believes and receives this everlasting righteousness in the place of all sin and all sinning. This alone is everlasting righteousness; this alone is eternal redemption from sin. And this unspeakable blessing is the gracious gift of God by the heavenly ministry which He has established in our behalf in the priesthood and ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.
Accordingly, today, just now, "while it is called today," as never before, the word of God to all people is "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come ["that there may come seasons of refreshing," R.V.] from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things." Acts 3:19-21.
The time of the coming of the Lord and the restitution of all things is indeed at the very doors. And when Jesus comes, it is to take His people unto Himself. It is to present to Himself His glorious church, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing," but that is "holy and without blemish." It is to see Himself perfectly reflected in all His saints.
And before He comes thus, His people must be in that condition. Before He comes we must have been brought to that state of perfection in the complete image of Jesus. Eph. 4:7, 8, 11-13. And this state of perfection, this developing in each believer the complete image of Jesus--this is the finishing of the mystery of God, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. This consummation is accomplished in the cleansing of the sanctuary, which is the finishing of the mystery of God, which is the final finishing of transgression, the making of a complete end of sins, the making of reconciliation for iniquity, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, the sealing up of the vision and prophecy and the anointing of the most Holy.
The present time being the time when the coming of Jesus and the restitution of all things is at the very doors and this final perfecting of the saints having necessarily to precede the coming of the Lord and the restitution of all things, we know by every evidence that now we are in the times of refreshing--the time of the latter rain. And as certainly as that is so, we are also in the time of the utter blotting out of all sins that have ever been against us. And the blotting out of sins is exactly this thing of the cleansing of the sanctuary; it is the finishing of all transgression in our lives; it is the making an end of all sins in our character; it is the bringing in of the very righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, to abide alone everlastingly.
This blotting out of sins must precede the receiving of the refreshing of the latter rain. For it is only upon those who have the blessing of Abraham that the promise of the Spirit comes, and it is only those who are redeemed from sin upon whom the blessing of Abraham comes. Gal. 3:13, 14. Therefore now as never before we are to repent and be converted that our sins may be blotted out, that an utter end shall be made of them forever in our lives and everlasting righteousness brought in. And this, in order that the fulness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit shall be ours in this time of the refreshing of the latter rain. And all this must be done in order that the harvest-ripening message of the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world with that power from on high by which the earth shall be lightened with its glory.
CONCLUSION Christ the Lord, the Son of God, came down from heaven and was made flesh and dwelt among men as the Son of man. This is an eternal fixture in the Christian faith.
He died on the cross of Calvary for our offenses. This is an eternal fixture in the Christian faith.
He arose from the dead for our justification. This is an eternal fixture in the Christian faith.
He ascended to heaven as our Advocate and as such sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. This is an eternal fixture in the Christian faith.
He is a priest upon His Father's throne--a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. This is an eternal fixture in the Christian faith.
At the right hand of God, upon the throne of God, as priest upon His throne, Christ is a "minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man." This is an eternal fixture in the Christian faith.
And he will come again in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory to take His people unto Himself, to present to Himself His glorious church, and to judge the world. This is an eternal fixture in the Christian faith.
That Christ lived in the flesh, died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and sits on the right hand of the throne of God in heaven must be an eternal fixture in the faith of every Christian, in order for that faith to be true and full.
That this same Jesus is a priest at the right hand of God on that throne must be an eternal fixture in the faith of every Christian in order for that faith to be true and full.
That Christ the Son of God, as priest at the right hand of God upon His throne, is there a "minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man" must be an eternal fixture in the faith of every Christian, in order for that faith to be true and full.
And this true faith in Christ the Son of God as that true priest, in that true ministry, of that true sanctuary, at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; that His priesthood and ministry finishes transgression and makes an end of sins and makes reconciliation for iniquity and brings in everlasting righteousness--this true faith will make every comer thereunto perfect. It will prepare him for the seal of God and for the final anointing of the Most Holy.
By this true faith every soul who is of this true faith can certainly know that in him and in his life transgression is finished and an end of sins made, that reconciliation is made for all the iniquity of his life, and that everlasting righteousness is brought in to reign in his life for evermore. This he can know with perfect certainty, for the Word of God says so, and true faith cometh by hearing the Word of God.
All who are of this true faith can know all this just as truly as they can know that Christ is at the right hand of the throne of God. They can know it just as truly as they can know that He is Priest upon that throne. They can know it just as truly as they can know that He is there a "minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man." and all this can be known just as truly as any statement of the Word of God can be known, for the Word of God plainly states it all.
Therefore in this time let every believer in Jesus rise up in the strength of this true faith, implicitly trusting the merit of our great High Priest in His holy ministry and intercession for us.
In the confidence of this true faith, let every believer in Jesus take a long breath of restfulness forever, in thankfulness to God that this thing is accomplished, that transgression is finished in your life, that you are done with the wicked thing forever, that an end of sins is made in your life and that you are free from it forever, that reconciliation for iniquity is made, and that you are cleansed from it forever by the precious blood of sprinkling, and that everlasting righteousness is brought into your life to reign forevermore, to uphold you, to guide you, to save you in the fulness of that eternal redemption which, through the blood of Christ, is brought to every believer in Jesus our great High Priest and true Intercessor.
And then in the righteousness, the peace, and the power of this true faith, let every soul who knows it spread abroad to all people and to the end of the world the glorious news of the priesthood of Christ, of the cleansing of the sanctuary, of the finishing of the mystery of God, of the times of refreshing come, and of the soon coming of the Lord "to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe...in that day" and to "present to Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing" but "holy and without blemish."
"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; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." And "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised."
Index Page for "Pioneers' Writings
Return to Home Page