Those who by faith follow Jesus in His closing work of atonement will receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf.
What does the Antitypical Day of Atonement signify?
Why this time is so important for the professed people of God living in the end of time?
Jesus entered by His own blood into the Heavenly Sanctuary and shed upon His disciples the blessings of His mediation. The Jews who rejected the light given at Christ’s first advent, and refused to believe on Him as the Savior of the world, could not receive pardon through Him.
The state of the unbelieving at Christ’s first advent illustrates the condition of the careless and unbelieving among professed Christians. Those who reject the light which brings to view the final work of ministration are not benefited thereby.
Christ’s closing work of atonement began at the end of the 2300 days prophecy in 1844. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy of the Heavenly Sanctuary to complete His work of mankind redemption.
The ministration of types and shadows had ceased
That door by which men had formerly found access to God, was no longer open. The Jews had refused to seek Christ in the only way whereby He could then be found, through the ministration in the Sanctuary in Heaven.
Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God. Hebrews 10:7
By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12
Now was seen the application of those words of Christ in the revelation, addressed to the church at this very time: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth: I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. Revelation 3:7, 8.
Therefore they found no communion with God. To them the door was shut. They had no knowledge of Christ as the true sacrifice and the only mediator before God.
In the typical service, when the high priest entered the most holy place, all Israel were required to gather about the sanctuary. Moreover, in the most solemn manner they were required to humble their souls before God. Thus they might receive the pardon of their sins and not be cut off from the congregation. How much more essential in this antitypical day of atonement that we understand the work of our High Priest, and know what duties are required of us.
The priesthood of Christ in the typical system
In the typical system, which was a shadow of the sacrifice and priesthood of Christ, the cleansing of the sanctuary was the last service performed by the high priest in the yearly round of ministration. It was the closing work of the atonement – a removal or putting away of sin from Israel. God commanded:
There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out. Leviticus 16:17
Moreover, all at that time were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people.
As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed 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. 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.
Christ’s work in the first compartment
For eighteen centuries His work of ministration continued in the first compartment of the sanctuary. 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. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, 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. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended.
In the service of the earthly sanctuary, which, as we have seen, is a figure of the service in the heavenly, when the high priest on the day of atonement entered the most holy place, the ministration in the first apartment ceased.
Christ entered the holy of holies
When Christ entered the holy of holies for the closing work of atonement, He ceased His ministration in the first compartment. Thus the ministration in the second compartment began. When in the typical service the high priest left the holy on the day of atonement, he went in before God to present the blood of the sin-offering in behalf of all Israel who truly repented of their sins. So Christ had only completed one part of his work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded his blood before the Father in behalf of sinners. This is described by the following verses:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. Daniel 7:13
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Daniel 8:14
And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:1
The work of investigation and judgment
It prefigured the closing work in the ministration of our High Priest in Heaven, in the removal or blotting out of the sins of his people, which are registered in the heavenly records. This service involves a work of investigation, a work of judgment; and it immediately precedes the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; for when he comes, every case has been decided.
My reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12
It is this work of judgment, immediately preceding the second advent, that is announced in the first angel’s message of Revelation 14:7:
But, before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin, and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of his atonement.
Cleansing of the sanctuary regarded as the time of the Lord’s coming
The types which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service. The cleansing of the sanctuary, or the great day of atonement, occurred on the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month, Leviticus 16:29-34. Then the high priest, having made an atonement for all Israel, and thus removed their sins from the sanctuary, came forth and blessed the people. So it was believed that Christ, our great High Priest, would appear to purify the earth by the destruction of sin and sinners, and to bless his waiting people with immortality.
The tenth day of the seventh month, which in the year 1844 fell upon the 22 day of October, was regarded as the time of the Lord’s coming. This was in harmony with the proofs already presented that the 2300 days would terminate in the autumn, and the conclusion seemed irresistible.
Thus those who followed in the light of the prophetic word saw, that, instead of coming to the earth Christ then entered the most holy place of the Heavenly Sanctuary, to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to His coming.
Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
Christ is cleansing the sanctuary from the sins of the people. What is our work? It is our work to be in harmony with the work of Christ. By faith we are to work with Him, to be in union with Him. We should draw from Christ the very help we need, cleansing the soul temple from its moral defilement. It must be done while we are in this world of temptation. Just as Christ finds us in character when He comes, so we shall remain.
It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
And as a result, our mental and spiritual powers increase. As we learn of Christ, we will:
- understand how to keep our spiritual strength
- feed on the word of God
- have the blessed experience described by the apostle: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8
We should make daily advancement in the work of character-building. This is the very work that we must do if we would grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus, and become fit temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Christ will not force an entrance
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. Revelation 3:20
He comes to dwell in you and walk with you. He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 2 Corinthians 6:16; Micah 7:19. His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:21, 22.
If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This, spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive. John 7:37-39
The refreshing and welling up water is a metaphor of the divine grace which Christ alone can bestow. It is the living water – purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul. He or she in whom Christ is abiding has within them a never-failing fountain of grace and strength. The love of Christ, received into the heart, will spring up in good works unto eternal life. It does bless the souls in which it springs. Furthermore, the living stream will flow out in words and deeds of righteousness to refresh the thirsting around them.
Follow Jesus in the great work of atonement
While the investigative Judgment is going forward in Heaven, 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. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort, they must be conquerors in the battle with evil.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.
When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. Malachi 3:4
Then the church which our Lord at his coming will receive to himself will be a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Ephesians 5:27. She will look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. Song of Solomon 6:10
Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement
The Judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. It will pass soon to the cases of the living. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Savior’s admonition:
Watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. Mark 13:33
If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Revelation 3:3
When the third angel’s message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished their work. They have received the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and they are prepared for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro in Heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done. The final test has been brought upon the world. All who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received the seal of the living God.
Jesus ceases His intercession in the Heavenly Sanctuary
He lifts His hands, and with a loud voice says: It is done; and all the angelic host lay off their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement:
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; He that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still. Revelation 22:11
Every case has been decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His people, and blotted out their sins. The number of his subjects is made up. The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, Daniel 7:27, is about to be given to the heirs of salvation, and Jesus is to reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Christ will appear “without sin unto salvation”
In the typical service the high priest, having made the atonement for Israel, came forth and blessed the congregation. So Christ, at the close of His work as mediator, will appear, without sin unto salvation, Hebrews 9:28, to bless His waiting people with eternal life. As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin.
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character Satan works to gain control of the whole mind. He knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands and His bruised body. Moreover, He declares to all who would follow Him:
My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.
The temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament. Revelation 11:19
This announcement points to the opening of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844. At that time Christ entered there to perform the closing work of atonement.
Those who by faith followed their great High Priest, as He entered upon His ministry in the most holy place, beheld the ark of His testament. They had studied the subject of the Sanctuary. Moreover, they had come to understand the Savior’s change of ministration. They saw that He was now officiating before the ark of God, pleading His blood in behalf of sinners.
In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life, should now:
- afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance
- must have deep and faithful searching of heart
- put away light and superficial spirit
- subdue the evil tendencies.
The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Everyone must be tested, and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
- GC88 352, 399, 421-433, 490, 613; RH, Feb, 1890; DA 161, 757; PP 412; RH, Jan, 1890; ST, Sep, 1887; – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Version (KJV) Bible – BibleGateway
- Image courtesy – Pixabay
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