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Dennis Priebe


After years of campus revolutions and attacks on traditional values and authority, a curious thing happened right in New York City. In the first year of its running, a Broadway play grossed $20 million. And the name of the play? JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Overnight Jesus had made it big in the music industry. In the chorus of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, a great question was asked: “Jesus Christ, who are You?” Of course the right answer was not given. But indeed, for everyone on earth, there is nothing more important than who Jesus is, what He has done, where He is now, and what He is presently doing for the human race. Rarely has the real Jesus been given His rightful place.

So the great question remains: “Jesus Christ, who are You?” Who is He who could transform self-serving skeptics in occupied Palestine two thousand years ago into devoted followers who would live or die for Him? We can salute Him, we can use Him, but we cannot really ignore Him. He is always there, like no other person who has ever lived. But, who is He?

We must begin where the first Christians met Him and had to make their decision. They knew Him as a man who was totally involved in their common humanity. He became man without a protective spacesuit, either visible or invisible, that would separate Him from the kind of life lived by His contemporaries. He showed that men and women were not locked into a hopeless battle. He showed that sin was not inevitable. He pulled the curtain back and showed all of us how to be truly human.

Jesus Himself asked the big question one day in Caesarea Philippi, “But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:15,16) Those are spine-tingling words. Imagine eating and drinking, hiking and praying, with God.

Ellen White sums it up: “The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our soul to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study.” (1SM 244) One of the amazing aspects of God becoming man is that this gift was not temporary. God became man forever! “He (God) gave His only-begotten Son…to retain His nature in the heavenly courts, an everlasting pledge of the faithfulness of God.” (1SM 258)

Contemplate the thought. It staggers the human mind. For the Lord of creation to be forever locked within time and space—this stretches the minds of men and women across unlimited oceans of love. Jesus Christ is the way back to Eden. He alone is the ground of mankind’s hope and the only basis for man’s redemption.

Another reason for our Lord’s coming to earth and becoming truly man in every respect, was to settle once and for all one of the basic questions of the great cosmic controversy—whether fallen men and women could live lives of happy obedience.

This is the bottom line of the great controversy between God and Satan. “Satan has asserted that men could not keep the commandments of God. To prove that they could, Christ became a man, and lived a life of perfect obedience, an evidence to sinful human beings, to the worlds unfallen, and to the heavenly angels, that man could keep God’s law through the divine power that is abundantly provided for all that believe….To demonstrate as true that which Satan has denied, Christ volunteered to take humanity….Satan exulted when Christ became a human being.” (ST May 10, 1899) Why would Satan exult? Because no human being in 4,000 years had ever lived a totally obedient life. Why should Christ be any different?

Jesus demolished the accusations of Satan that sin was inevitable and obedience impossible; that fallen humanity could not expect to live victoriously over sin. Jesus demonstrated that God Himself was willing to risk the security of heaven in order to rescue men and women.

Now to Our Time

But as time went on, something very curious and sad happened to the Christian church. They lost sight of where Jesus now is and what He is now doing on our behalf. Many in the church fixed their attention on Him dying on the cross. They have exalted Jesus death for us. But that is where they last see Him—on the cross. They have no clear-cut understanding of Christ’s continuing role in the working out of the plan of salvation.

To see Him only on the cross is seeing only in part. A partial picture of Jesus leads to important misunderstandings. Seventh-day Adventists believe that there is more to our Lord’s role in the plan of salvation than to see Him only on the cross, or even to see Him as our resurrected Lord. Adventists follow Jesus into the heavenly sanctuary; they fix their eyes on Him, the great High Priest of the human family.

Paul declares much more about Jesus: “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 6: 19,20) Paul proclaimed that Christians can boldly enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus.

Something very significant to the plan of salvation is going on in heaven today because Jesus is our High Priest. What Jesus is now doing is probably the most important subject to be understood by us on planet earth. Where Jesus is now, and what He wants to do, must be understood by all who seek lasting peace in their heart, and a part in hastening the return of their Lord.

The Sanctuary Service

The one place where salvation is most clearly described is the sanctuary. The biblical doctrine of the sanctuary, as set forth by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is the center of gravity for the plan of salvation. It is the hub of the theological wheel, which explains and connects all the biblical truths that Christians hold dear. The sanctuary is God’s way of picturing the plan of salvation—both His part and ours. The sanctuary truth removes mysteries. Merely to intone the words that Jesus is our High Priest and that His sacrifice on the cross paid the price of our redemption, is not enough.

Psalm 77:13 says it perfectly: “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” The sanctuary makes clear what God has done for us and what He wants to do in us. He extends to all who accept His provisions that grace and power that kept Jesus from sinning so that He will have a people who are truly cleansed. In addition, the sanctuary anchored the Seventh-day Adventist Church in history and gave it purpose in existence, because it explained the significance of October 22, 1844.

Seventh-day Adventists saw in the sanctuary doctrine “a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great advent movement and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people.” (GC 423) Past, present, future—all became clearer because of the sanctuary doctrine.

What Satan Hates

Satan doesn’t mind if church members pay their tithe, recognize the Sabbath as God’s holy day, and build larger schools and hospitals. He is not too troubled if church members pray daily for Jesus to forgive their sins and return soon to this earth. But Satan does hate “the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful Mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth.” (GC 488) In other words, if Satan can cause confusion or boredom with two central truths in the plan of salvation, he cares not how much else we may know or do. These central truths are the atoning Sacrifice and the all-powerful Mediator.

The real intent of the plan of salvation is the eradication of sinful habits in the Christian’s life, here and now. What Satan fears most is that some generation will take God seriously and listen to Him carefully. Satan fears that Seventh-day Adventists will take God at His word and cooperate with Him in the eradication of sinful habits. Satan fears that those who sincerely desire the faith of Jesus will also develop the character of Jesus. Satan fears that those who develop the character of Jesus through faith in God’s abiding power will prove him wrong before the observing universe.

Present Truth

W. W. Prescott was one of those who understood the importance of the 1888 message, and promoted it widely. “What I want to emphasize is this, that not by going off on one side, and ignoring all the historic truth, and all the prophetic truth, and simply preaching a general message of salvation through faith in Christ, without applying God’s message of salvation through faith in Christ to this generation, is not the preaching that God wants in this generation….When those truths are preached in the light of advent history and advent prophecy, they will save people from sin and from sinning now.” (General Conference Bulletin, April 2, 1903, p. 54) Ellen White adds: “The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God.” (GC 488)

Satan fears that once-fettered men and women, each one with a past record of selfishness and spiritual failure, will demonstrate that God’s way of life is the happiest, nicest, healthiest way to live. Only then will Ellen White’s greatest appeal find fulfillment. “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” (COL 69) Satan will be satisfied if church members pour out their offerings in ever-increasing percentages, build the nicest educational and medical institutions in all lands of earth, receive the praises of men everywhere for wholesome radio and TV programs, for stop-smoking clinics, and so on. He will be satisfied as long as all this marvelous activity is not growth in grace and in that quality of life that will one day set God’s people apart as His faithful witnesses, and the only way to help solve the sin problem forever.

Pardon and Power

As Sacrifice He provided the basis for man’s salvation and made forgiveness possible; as High Priest He supplies the power to meet the conditions of salvation. Pardon and power—the double cure. “The archdeceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful mediator.” (GC 488) Misunderstanding these two vital phases has led Christians into gross errors such as universalism and cheap grace. Clearly it must be kept in mind that “the intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross.” (GC 489)

At-one-ment is an expression of the divine intention to destroy sin that ruptured the universe. Restoration to oneness was not consummated at the cross. The sin problem has not yet been finally resolved. At-one-ment is experienced only as men daily live a life of trust and dependence on Him. Both the triumph at the cross and the work of Christ as priest in heaven are the hope and pledge of final renewal and atonement.

As intercessory Mediator, Jesus fulfills two specific roles. First, He silences the accusations of Satan by His perfect life of obedience, and He earned the right to forgive us. Second, He is free to provide the power of grace to all those who choose to live overcoming lives. “By His grace He is able to keep every man from transgression.” (ST Feb. 14, 1900) I must ask the question: Do we really believe this sentence?

When Satan says that sinful men and women do not deserve forgiveness, that they are not entitled to eternal life any more than he is, that God has asked too much from His created beings and is therefore unreasonable—Jesus stands up in full view of watching worlds as the eternal answer to these questions. They see a man who conquered every temptation to serve Himself, proving that all men and women, with the same power available to them that He had, can live a victorious life. Our Lord’s thirty-three years of perfect obedience to God’s will, fighting the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, silences every one of Satan’s accusations. We have a Friend in court who has never lost a case.

Christ breaks through the power with which Satan has held them captive, developing within His faithful followers a strengthened will to resist sinful tendencies. It is the same defense by which He Himself conquered sin. Reflect thoughtfully on this promise: “Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil.” (DA 671) In addition, when Christ’s work as Intercessor ceases at the close of probation, the Holy Spirit continues His role as the believer’s closest Friend, still providing grace to help in time of need. God will never ask His followers to try to stand alone. Here, in the second role of the Mediator (that of providing sustaining grace to keep from sinning) rests the hope of every Christian. Through what He has done for us, Jesus will do His part in silencing the accusations of the accuser. But He cannot silence the accusations if we do not give Him permission to do His work in us.

Another promise says: “Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us.” (SC 63) Sufficient power is available to keep every suppliant from sin. The heart of the plan of redemption is that God’s purpose is to eradicate sin from the universe. This is not done by declaring it eradicated, or by sponging clean everyone’s record. If this were so, nothing would have been settled in the great controversy as to whether God was fair in setting up laws that no one could keep or whether He was just in irrevocably casting from heaven Satan and one-third of the angels. The only way for sin to be destroyed while preserving both the sinner and God’s justice is for the rebel to become a loyal son, willingly and habitually. Sin is a created being’s clenched fist in the face of his Creator. Sin is the creature distrusting God. Nothing is settled if church members claim the name of Christ, but not His power. The intercessory work of Jesus supplies the power through the Holy Spirit by which those sins are truly eradicated from the character of trusting, willing Christians. This astounding thought can never be repeated enough, yet it is rarely heard throughout the pages of church history. It is the truth that Satan fears most.

Ponder carefully this paragraph from Great Controversy, p. 489. “If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away….He is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome….Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.” The real reason for us to confess our sins is to end Satan’s taunting Christ with our weakness and rebellion.

“In cleansing the temple from the world’s buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin—from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul….No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple.” (DA 161) We must always keep in mind that Christ “exercised in His own behalf no power that is not offered freely to us.” (DA 24)

“Satan, claiming the world as his rightful territory, sought by every device to wrench it from the Redeemer’s grasp; but by His life and death of humiliation Christ held it fast.” (ST Feb. 14, 1900) “After the fall of man, Satan declared that human beings were proved to be incapable of keeping the law of God, and he sought to carry the universe with him in this belief. Satan’s words appeared to be true, and Christ came to unmask the deceiver….With the same facilities that man may obtain, (He) withstood the temptations of Satan as man must withstand them.” (1SM 251)

God is concerned with the eradication of sin from the universe. The living proof that sin is unnecessary, that men and women can overcome all tendencies to sin, that God has been fair in expecting obedience as the test of faith, has been demonstrated in the life of Jesus. It will be doubly vouched for in the lives of His followers, especially during that generation that hears the pronouncement “He that is righteous, let him be righteous still.” (Rev. 22:11) The successful completion of the gospel commission largely depends on Christians with whom God will not be embarrassed to identify in the day of His power.

Vindication of God

Every thoughtful Christian knows that Jesus, in His life and death, vindicated the character and judgment of God. His “death proved God’s administration and government to be without a flaw. Satan’s charge in regard to the conflicting attributes of justice and mercy was forever settled beyond question.” (ST July 12, 1899) Satan’s charges had included that God was unjust, that His law was faulty, and that the good of the universe required it to be changed. It is crucial to remember that the purpose of the plan of salvation included more than the salvation of man. Christ came to earth to “vindicate the character of God before the universe.” (PP 69,70) But when Christ died, the controversy was not yet over. Even though Jesus had proved that God’s law was fair and could be obeyed by the sons and daughters of Adam, the controversy continued. If it were over, why would God let time go on with all the human suffering and horror of the past 2,000 years? Because “the angels did not even then understand all that was involved in the great controversy….The principles at stake were to be more fully revealed.” (DA 761)

God knew that Satan would charge that Jesus did not really prove anything because he conceded that Jesus had only proven what God could do, not what created beings could do. God knew that such questions had to be settled forever. He also knew that He had to prove that even sinful human beings could find courage in the words and example of Jesus and could, by the same Spirit that kept Jesus from sinning, keep them from sinning. Such a record of faithfulness would settle all questions forever regarding His fairness, mercy, and grace to help in time of need.

“Christ was the special One who should bruise the head of the serpent; but the prophecy also includes all those who shall overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony….But those who stand to vindicate the honor of God’s law will be objects of Satan’s enmity….Whenever a soul takes a decided stand for truth, the head of the serpent is bruised by the seed of the woman.” (YI Oct. 11. 1894) Many are the counsels to the church that emphasize the direct relationship between Christ’s work in the Most Holy Place and His work in the lives of His followers on earth.

“Now Christ is in the heavenly sanctuary. And what is He doing? Making atonement for us, cleansing the sanctuary from the sins of the people…We are to cleanse ourselves from all defilement. We must ‘cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’” (sermon Oct. 20, 1888, reprinted in A.V. Olson, Through Crisis to Victory, p. 267)

Something special is required of God’s followers in terms of character development. God’s people attaining the quality of faithfulness that He waits for, and for which He will give them every needed divine power to achieve, significantly affects how soon Jesus can finish His work in the Most Holy Place. It was God’s plan to complete this work many years ago. The delay has not been due to heavenly inefficiency or a change in His plans.

“Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward….Had the whole Adventist body united upon the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, how widely different would have been our history. It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed….It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” (Ev 695,696)

God longs for His people to be so settled into the truth, so comfortable with His way of life, that He can impart His seal of approval and point to them without embarrassment in a worldwide mission appeal, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12) “Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come.” (4BC 1161)

Since 1844 Jesus has been waiting for a people over whose individual records in the heavenly sanctuary He can write “Cleansed.” “While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven,…there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth….When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.” (GC 425) Once again we repeat: “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” (COL 69) Always remember, He will do the cleansing, the empowering, the keeping from sin, if we choose to let Him work.

Early Adventists

“All need to become more intelligent in regard to the work of the atonement, which is going on in the sanctuary above. When this grand truth is seen and understood,…their efforts will be successful.” (5T 575) Basic to Adventist thought for more than a century have been these twin concepts of a cleansed sanctuary and a prepared people. Joseph Bates said that “the cleansing of the sanctuary…was to cleanse the people, all of them, from their sins.” (RH Dec. 1850) In a series of Review articles, Haskell emphasized the same theme, that a prepared people on earth corresponds to a cleansed sanctuary in heaven. (RH Aug. 13, 1901)

Early Adventist thinkers saw early and expounded forcefully that the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven was directly related to the development of a cleansed, prepared people on earth. The latter rain refreshing would be experienced only after, and as a result of, this character preparation. They taught the difference between preparing people to die and preparing people to be translated. W.W. Prescott said: “There is a difference between the gospel being preached for the forgiveness of sins and the gospel being preached for the blotting out of sin….In our generation comes the provision for the blotting out of sin. And the blotting out of sin is what will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord….And when these truths are preached in the light of advent history and advent prophecy, they will save people from sin and from sinning now. They will prepare a people to stand in the hour of temptation that faces us, and will prepare a people to meet the Lord in the air, and so to be ever with the Lord; and that is the message to be preached in this generation.” (GC Bulletin April 2, 1903, pp. 53,54)

One thing is very clear--God is not a dishonest bookkeeper. He will not write “Cleansed” across the record of anyone in the last generation if that person’s life has not been cleansed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Prescott wrote: “in this time of the blotting out of sin in the heavenly sanctuary, there must be a special experience of salvation from sin among those who wait for the coming of the Lord.” (RH Feb. 3, 1903) W. D. Frazee said that the work in the Most Holy Place will one day be finished simply for lack of business. Sinners will go on sinning; the righteous eventually, by the help of their all-powerful Mediator, no longer are sinning, so there is no more need for an offering for sin. “The close of probation brings us to this wonderful fact that as surely as the wicked have reached the point of no return, so the righteous have passed the point of no return.” (RH March 6, 1975, p.4) Those about whom it is said, “He that is holy, let him be holy still” will be truly cleansed people.

Who is Telling the Truth?

All of which brings us back to the main point: Is sin inevitable and unavoidable because we are weak human beings? This is the question that hangs suspended before the universe. This is the question Satan flings into the face of Jesus. But a clear understanding of the sanctuary will change the sad but not hopeless picture.

Satan, in one of his towering lies, says that obedience is impossible, that God’s laws and expectations are impossible to keep. In fact, one of the flaws of the universe, Satan says, is that God is unfair in condemning those of His creation who disobey Him, because He asks the impossible. Who is right? God or Satan? When one looks around at man’s greed, violence, hatred, and infidelity, it would seem that Satan is right in his charges. The issue simply focuses on whether Jesus is able or not. If He cannot cleanse the sinner from his sins, if His grace to help in time of need is not sufficient to keep His followers from falling into sin, if His heavenly intercession is flawed by an inability to “keep you from falling,” then Satan is ultimately right. The great controversy would then be settled—God would then have been exposed as unfair, in asking too much from His creation. And He would be seen as incompetent, in not being able to handle rebellion.

Thank God, that is not what is happening. Glorious is the news that human beings can cope with temptation and be overcomers. For, standing at the heart of the universe, is the Man who has proved Satan to be a liar. He is the living Witness that human beings, living this side of the fall, can resist sin. God has not asked the impossible. God allowed time to continue so that there would never be a question again regarding His fairness and His ability to empower weak, sinful humanity who did not have the advantages Jesus had. One sentence says it all: “To disprove Satan’s claim is the work of Christ and of all who bear His name.” (Ed 154) And one more: “Satan’s charges were refuted.” (DA 762) God’s end-time people honor Christ’s name. “The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of His people.” (DA 671) Job’s experience will be reproduced. “By his patient endurance he vindicated his own character, and thus the character of Him whose representative he was.” (Ed 156)

“Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil….While the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” (GC 425) Such men and women prove that God has not asked too much of His children when He asks for their obedience; they settle once and for all the great controversy regarding whether God is worthy of His creation’s love, respect, and obedience. In simple terms, you and I have an important part to play in settling forever the great controversy.

Back to the Sanctuary

God’s problem is how to save sinners without saving sin, how to destroy sin without destroying sinners, how to get rid of sin without getting rid of you and me, how to take us to heaven without taking along some infection that will spread this awful epidemic throughout the universe. To separate sin from sinners is a great problem, even to God. The question is, Will God ever be able to produce a people that are safe, free from sin, so He can close the sanctuary? In the sanctuary we find that God is able to finish what He began. It is written: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Dan. 8:14)

In the sanctuary, God solves the problem of saving sinners without saving sin. He separates sin from sinners so that He can burn up the sin without burning up the sinners. Notice the sequence. The repentant sinner brings his sacrifice to the door of the sanctuary. He lays his hand on the animal and confesses his sin. In this act, he transfers the sin from himself to the substitute. The man was guilty, but now the substitute is guilty, and it must die. Right here is one of the most vital points in the whole sanctuary service. The sinner must slay the sacrifice. Why? Because it was his sin that made the death necessary.

In Zechariah 12:10 we are told. “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” See the man as he confesses his sin on the head of the substitute and takes the knife and slays the sacrifice. He looks into the eyes of that innocent lamb. He sees a guiltless creature dying for him—dying because of his sin and slain by his own hand. Nothing that the priest can do inside the sanctuary can take the place of what has to happen to you and me with the sacrifice. When we come to Calvary, we see somebody that has been slain not by accident but by our deliberate, presumptuous sin. We see the One whom we have slain by our transgression of God’s law. When our hearts are broken over sin, when we see what our transgression has done to Jesus, we’ll say, “Oh Lord, take it away. Please take it away forever.”

When the Surgeon General announced that scientific research showed that cigarettes cause lung cancer, a very small percentage of smokers stopped; the rest kept puffing on, and thousands are starting every day. But the tobacco companies decided to carry on research. Was it their purpose to help people quit tobacco? No. It was to see if they could turn up some scientific evidence that tobacco wasn’t so bad after all. This illustrates the popular attitude toward sin. Most people want something which will assure them that it isn’t so bad after all. Or they want something which will enable them to go on sinning and still get to heaven.

The purpose of the sanctuary is to get rid of sin. Jesus came from heaven to earth to solve the sin problem. The at-one-ment is to bring man and God together, not by man changing God, but by God changing man. The blood provides forgiveness, because the sin is covered with the blood. The sin is transferred from the sinner to the sanctuary, from earth to heaven. Christ becomes our sinbearer.

We must remember one thing about confession of sin. “When he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing.” (Lev. 5:5) God wants us to be specific. Jesus will never take your sin unless you turn loose of it. If He ever puts your sin in the sanctuary, it will be because of your own free choice. You must come and give that sin to Jesus.

Is this the end of it? No, it is the beginning. But this is as far as popular religion teaches people. The purpose of taking our sin into the sanctuary is to get rid of it, to blot it out. Covering and blotting out are not the same thing. “The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none.” (Jer. 50:20) The purpose of Jesus’ dying and His ministry in the sanctuary is to make an end of sin. God wants to teach us how to get clean and keep clean from sin. It can be done; it will be done. Put your sins on the Lamb. He will take them from you. When the Day of Atonement closed there was a clean sanctuary and a clean people. Unless the people get clean, the sanctuary can never be clean.

The purpose of the sacrifice was to get sins into the sanctuary. But the purpose of blood sprinkled on the Day of Atonement is to get those sins out of the sanctuary. We need the cross, we need the mediatorial work of Jesus in the Holy Place, and we need His final atonement in the Most Holy Place. We will never see those sins again. When we stop sinning, Jesus can close the sanctuary. Remember, God can’t blot out things up there as long as we continue doing them here. The final atonement cannot be completed until God’s people are through with sin forever.

But we must remember that the experience of being done with sin is not just offered to the last generation. It has been offered from Eden to now. “Some few in every generation from Adam resisted his every artifice….Enoch and Elijah are the correct representatives of what the race might be through faith in Jesus Christ if they chose to be. Satan was greatly disturbed because these noble, holy men stood untainted amid the moral pollution surrounding them, perfected righteous characters, and were accounted worthy for translation to heaven.” (RH March 3, 1874)

The difference today is that this is the first time in the history of the world when the whole church (the 144,000) reaches this experience. This is the only generation that will stand without a Mediator after the sanctuary is closed. This demonstration vindicates God before the onlooking universe. Someone may say, “I don’t see how it is going to be done.” It is God’s word that we must trust here, not our doubts. Enoch did it by faith, and faith is believing what God says when you can’t see. That’s how Israel got through the Red Sea, and that’s how you and I will enter this experience.

Think of it this way. On Friday, mother is getting the house all cleaned up for Sabbath. She’s mopping the kitchen, but as she’s just about through, in comes one of the boys with muddy feet and walks across the floor. What will mother do now? Well, she’ll do some more mopping. Then comes Mary from school and her feet are muddy too. How long will it take mother to get the kitchen cleaned up? That depends on when people quit tracking in mud. Remember, it is the transgressions of the people of God that makes a stream of defiling sin in the temple above. When can the sanctuary be cleansed? Not until that stream stops.


“We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study.” (5T 520)

“This is the great day of preparation, and the solemn work going on in the sanctuary above should be kept constantly…before the people.” (5T 421)

“When this grand truth is seen and understood, those who hold it will work in harmony with Christ to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God, and their efforts will be successful.” (5T 575)

He cannot forgive our sins unless we confess them, and He cannot blot out our sins unless by His grace we have overcome them. He says that He is going to put away sin, eradicate it, do away with it, and blot it out. Are you with Him in this work? Do you want Him to?

Sin will be blotted out when it has been cleansed from the hearts and lives of His people. The sanctuary in heaven cannot be closed as long as we continue to have “sin emergencies” which need forgiveness in Jesus’ blood. I greatly appreciate the mercy of God in turning His temple into an emergency hospital to deal with our failures. But this must come to an end, and our daily choices will cause that to happen.

But how can this happen. “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” (Heb. 10:16) We bring Him the tables of our hearts, and God does the writing. Of course, the heart is the brain, the forebrain, and that is where the seal of God is placed.

How does God write this law in our brains? He uses the nerves that go from our eyes and ears. These are the paths to the mind. What we look at, what we hear, what we taste or smell or feel, are the pathways to the brain cells. How much time are we giving God to write His laws in our minds? The people who are going to have their sins blotted out in the final atonement are those who are giving God time to write in their minds?

When the law of God is written in the mind and heart, only then will it be safe to close the forgiving work of the sanctuary. Then He can put our sins on the scapegoat and take us home.

The reason the 144,000 pray “Come, Lord Jesus” is so that the burden of sin that has been carried by Him can be laid down as the sanctuary is cleansed forever from the pain of sin. Let us give Him time every day to write His laws in our hearts, and by faith believe in His power to keep us from sinning.


(I am greatly indebted to Herbert Douglass and his classic book, Why Jesus Waits. I want very much to renew my friendship with him soon.)