“I was told that men will employ every policy to make less prominent the difference between the faith of Seventh-day Adventists and those who observe the first day of the week. In this controversy the whole world will be engaged” (Selected Message, Vol. 2, p. 385).
There is no Biblical truth held by Seventh-day Adventists that is more attacked by modern adversaries than our two-apartment heavenly sanctuary message. The long-standing, historic beliefs held by Seventh-day Adventists are solidly based on the overwhelming evidence of the Bible. There is nothing wrong with our historic beliefs or even with the Bible. The problem lies with our people who can’t seem to detect the errors of the Evangelicals when they are staring us in the face.
Desmond Ford’s views that there is no two-apartment sanctuary, there is no investigative judgment, there is no cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and everything was finished at the cross – did not originate with Dr. Ford. He borrowed these long-standing errors from the Evangelicals. Desmond Ford is praised for supposedly trying to bring us back to the Bible. But Ford doesn’t bring us to the Bible, his view bring us into harmony with the errors of modern, evangelical theology.
Desmond Ford repackaged the old Evangelical arguments and brought them into the church. The mainstream Evangelical views on the heavenly sanctuary, the mediation of Jesus, the 2,300 day prophecy and the judgment all come out of Babylon and not from the Bible. These errors have been accepted and are now being taught in Seventh-day Adventist churches and educational institutions across the world.
But we praise God that many faithful people still stand by our historic beliefs which were given to us by the word of God. And unlike the modern fables of man’s reasoning and the flowery speculations of the New Theology – our Seventh-day Adventist historic beliefs on the two-apartment heavenly Sanctuary, the investigative judgment and the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary all come from the Holy Scriptures, “line upon line,” and confirmed by the Spirit of Prophecy.
Without further ado let us open the sacred scriptures. Let’s allow its truth to speak to us. Let’s embrace the glorious light of the Seventh-day Adventist faith, and let us reject the gross darkness of the Evangelical error.
Strong Biblical Evidence of the Heavenly Sanctuary
While banished on the Isle of Patmos, John heard the voice of Jesus (Revelation 1:10, 11), a voice he knew very well. As John turned towards the voice of his best Friend, notice what John saw:
“And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks.” Revelation 1:12.
At the time when John wrote the book of Revelation, around 95 AD, the temple at Jerusalem, with all of its furnishing, had already been sacked or destroyed in 70 AD. There was no Jewish temple or sanctuary on earth at this time. So this golden candlestick was not here on earth. Notice what else John saw:
“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” Revelation 1:13.
John sees Jesus, many, many years after the cross, and he sees Christ dressed with the same priestly garments worn by Aaron when officiating in the earthly, Hebraic sanctuary (Exodus 39:1, 5). But there was no Hebraic or Jewish sanctuary/temple on this earth when John saw Jesus dressed as a great High Priest. Notice what else John saw:
“And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” Revelation 8:2, 3.
Here we see more articles or furnishings – a golden censer, incense and a golden altar all being used “before God.” What were these furnishings and where are they? They certainly were not on the earth. But there’s more evidence. Notice what else John sees:
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Revelation 11:19.
This is a verse that the entire Catholic/Evangelical world would love to abolish, but it’s still in the Bible. God has a temple in heaven, and within this temple is found another article of furniture called the ark of his testament. This is the golden box that contains God’s 10 Commandment law. This is the original one. It’s authentic and it hasn’t gone anywhere! No pope, priest, evangelical or modern Adventist scholar can go into heaven and change the original law which is found inside of this ark (Exodus 25:16, Exodus 40:20, Hebrews 9:4).
So the golden candlestick, the golden censer, the golden alter and the ark of the testament were articles of furniture found inside of the sanctuary constructed by Moses and the Hebrews. But these articles seen by John were not on earth, they’re in heaven. What does this mean?
The Earthly Sanctuary was an Exact Copy of the Heavenly
The scriptures tell us that “we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14). He is “a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Hebrews 8:2).
According to the Bible there are two sanctuaries. One that was made by “man” and one which the “Lord pitched” and is also called the “true tabernacle.” The original sanctuary is in heaven and the earthly sanctuary was an exact copy of the original (heavenly). This is what the scriptures teach us. Look at what Paul says about the earthly tabernacle:
“Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5.
The earthly sanctuary was a “pattern” or an exact copy of the heavenly one. Now you and I have never been to heaven, but Moses, Paul and Ellen White were shown the original, heavenly sanctuary. We don’t need evangelical theology telling us what is or what isn’t in heaven. We only need to look at the inspired writings to get these answers first hand.
A pattern or copy is like a picture of something real. If you were asked to go to an airport and pick someone up you’ve never met before, how would you identify the person? You can’t. But if you are given a picture of the person, you would be able to instantly recognize the individual without ever having met them. The same is truth with the heavenly sanctuary.
Pictures are important, but they will never take the place of a loved one. We can value pictures, but we cannot have a conversation with them. They only represent someone or something real. Now the earthly sanctuary is not the plan of salvation, it only illustrates the real work which Christ has done and is doing in behalf of mankind. But as we observe the copy we can understand the original, heavenly plan of salvation.
The Daily Service: Sacrifice + Atonement = Forgiveness
We are told in the book of Leviticus that when any of the common people sinned (Leviticus 4:27) they were commanded to bring an offering (verse 28). The sinner was to lay their hand on the sin offering and slay it (verse 29).
So was that it? Was forgiveness for sin granted in verse 29? No. According the God’s word, forgiveness does not come until after the priest made atonement in behalf of the sinner. Notice when forgiveness is proclaimed upon the sinner in the subsequent verses:
“And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall (priest) pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. And he (priest) shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.” Leviticus 4:30, 31.
When does the Bible say forgiveness comes? Only after the priest pleads the blood in behalf of the sinner before God. Many poor, deceived and misguided souls have embraced error. Many believe that when Jesus died for us on the cross in 31 AD that the work of Christ was forever ended. Some are so bold as to say that Jesus doesn’t need to do anything for us in the sanctuary because everything, including Christ’s atonement, was fulfilled on the cross. That’s blasphemy.
The Bible teaches that we have a “merciful and faithful high priest” who “makes reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). We have a high priest who is able to “save” us to the “uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25).
The error is being taught by some that in 31 AD Christ completed both His sacrifice and His atonement. Some even say that Christ fulfilled His priestly work while one the cross. However, the Bible clearly rejects this idea: “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest.” Hebrews 8:4.
God’s word clearly teaches that we need both a sacrifice and the services of a heavenly priest in order to receive forgiveness. The Bible doesn’t teach that sinners are to atone and plead their own cases before God. We are to lay our sins and burdens upon Jesus who has promised to intercede in our behalf before the Father (1 John 2:1).
The Events Surrounding the Yearly Service
Atonement – The most solemn day of the Jewish years took place of the 10th day of the 7th month. This was called the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27). On this day the high priest entered the most holy place “once a year” (Leviticus 16:34). This was the only day the high priest was allowed to enter the most holy place (Leviticus 16:2).
Cleansing of the Sanctuary – On this day the sanctuary was “cleansed” because of the “uncleanness” of the nation. (Leviticus 16:16). The sanctuary was sprinkled with blood 7 times and “cleansed.” (Leviticus 16:19). On this solemn day an atonement was made in behalf of the “sanctuary” the “altar” the “priests, and the entire “congregation” (Leviticus 16:33).
Day of Judgment – The 10th day of the 7th month was also a day of judgment. All were commanded to “afflict” their “souls” on this day (Leviticus 23:27). This was a time to make things right personally – with God, friends, family and neighbors. Those who didn’t “afflict” their souls on this day were “cut off from among the people” (Leviticus 23:29). Anyone caught doing any work on the Day of Atonement day was “destroyed” (Leviticus 23:30).
On this solemn day 3 events took place: (1) The high priest entered the most holy place to make atonement for the entire congregation, (2) the sanctuary was cleansed and (3) a judgment took place. All these events are synonymous. This is significant to understanding the work in the heavenly sanctuary. Repentance, peace and reconciliation were achieved as the entire nation was completely cleansed from sin. Those who were indifferent or who disregarded the solemn events of this day were “cut off.”
The New Testament Day of Atonement, Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment
Now we are getting into theological deep waters. We are going to show the clear, Biblical cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, the heavenly Day of Atonement and the judgment. Dr. Desmond Ford said in his 1,000 page thesis which he presented during his trial at Glacier View that you can’t find any of these teachings in the Bible. Dr. Ford either didn’t want to see them or he was being intellectually dishonest because they are in the Bible. Let’s look at them.
In Hebrews chapters 8 and 9 Paul is contrasting the differences between the earthly sanctuary and its services with the heavenly realities. Remember, we already saw in Hebrews 8:5 how the earthly sanctuary was a pattern of the heavenly sanctuary. We also saw in Leviticus 16:16, 19 how the earthly sanctuary was cleansed (purified) with blood. With this in mind let’s allow God’s own word to debunk all the lies of the New Theology.
“Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.” Hebrews 9:21.
On what day was the tabernacle and its vessels sprinkled with blood? On the Day of Atonement, which is synonymous with the cleansing of the sanctuary and the judgment. This is all clear. There is no ambiguity as to what day this is. We already saw the three events that take place on the same day.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22.
It was the blood of animal sacrifices that purified the earthly sanctuary in Leviticus 16. Read the entire chapter. Now that we have established the context, let’s look at the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. This next verse is one of many Bible verses that invalidates Ford’s theories:
“It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:23.
Let’s look at this verse very closely. There are two sanctuaries, one earthly and one heavenly. Which one was a “pattern of the things in heaven” – the earthly sanctuary or the heavenly one? Obviously the earthly. What was the earthly sanctuary purified with? The blood of animal sacrifices. The first part of this verse is basically saying:
“It was necessary that the earthy sanctuary be purified with animal sacrifices”
Now let’s look at the next part of verse 23. It says “But the heavenly things,” which sanctuary is the “heavenly things?” That’s the heavenly sanctuary! What is the heavenly sanctuary purified with? The verse continues saying “with better sacrifices than these.” What is the better sacrifice? Obviously the blood of Jesus. What does the word “these” represent which are less superior than the blood of Jesus? The blood of animal sacrifices. The second part of Hebrews 9:23 is basically saying:
“But the heavenly sanctuary is purified with the blood of Jesus”
Read Hebrews 9:23 again and again. This is talking about the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary through the blood of Jesus. This is a verse which Desmond Ford and the Evangelicals have missed. The Day of Atonement, the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, the judgment and even the timing of when this will occur is all in here.
The Timing for the Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary in the New Testament
So when will this happen? Ford and the Evangelicals say this all took place in 31 AD, if at all. Let’s allow the scriptures to speak for itself. In verse 26 we are given the timing of this event.
“For 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: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world. But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:24-26.
At what time of earth’s history will the cleaning of the heavenly sanctuary take place and the anti-typical Day of Atonement? In 31 AD? No. Paul says this will all take place “in the end of the world.” Jesus is going to put away sin by his own sacrifice at the “end of the world.” That’s how the sequence concludes as you follow this important theme of the cleaning of the heavenly sanctuary in Hebrews 9:21-26.
This text corroborates what we are told in Daniel 8:14. Daniel’s 2,300 day prophecy takes us into the time of the end. Hebrew 9:26 is a text that Desmond Ford and the Evangelicals can’t explain because the end of the world is not in 31 AD. These texts describe Christ’s final atonement that will take place in the heavenly sanctuary during the “end of the world.” However, if you want to know specifically when this work will begin you have to turn to Daniel 8:14. Daniel 8:14 tells you what year the work of cleansing begins – 1844 – and this coincides with being “in the end of the world” (Hebrews 9:26) or at the time of the end.
What about the judgment? Well, notice what the very next verse says, 27:
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.
Here Paul links together the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, the Day of Atonement and the judgment and puts them at the time of the end. It’s not a coincidence because these three events are synonymous. All these events will take place “in the end of the world” (Hebrews 9:27). Daniel 8:14 tell us exactly when it all begins. It’s a prophetic day that pinpoints the cleaning of the heavenly sanctuary during the last days and the final work of atonement while the investigative judgment is taking place. And when this work is finished, then the final blow to the Evangelicals will take place. The very next verse says:
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28.
How can we miss this? Paul sets again the timing for this event – the period just before the second coming of Jesus. Paul also links the second coming of Christ to these themes. This was nowhere near 31 AD, and this is not talking about a third coming of Christ, as the Evangelicals believe. Evangelical theology believes in a secret rapture first and then the third coming of Christ to the world. Paul makes it clear that when human probationary period ends for everyone, Christ will come again the second time, not a third time. At Christ’s coming He will have a glorious church, without spot and wrinkle.
“Within the Veil” Hebrew 6:19
We will conclude by discrediting Ford’s proof text that he so famously used throughout his life to attempt to defame the Seventh-day Adventist teaching on the two-apartment sanctuary. This is so simple to understand that no one needs to err. Basically, Ford argues that the term “behind the veil” used by Paul in Hebrews 6:19 is proof that Jesus entered the most holy place when He ascended into heaven. Ford taught that there was only one veil in the sanctuary. He claims that this veil divided the holy place from the most holy place. This is the entire theme of Ford’s book entitled: “Daniel 8:14, The Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgment.”
And since Christ entered “behind the veil” Ford reasons that He must surely have entered into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 31 AD.
The fact of the matter is that there are two veils or curtains in the sanctuary. There is a first “veil” that covered the entrance into the holy place (Numbers 18:7). Then there was a second “veil” that led into the most holy place (Exodus 26:33). There are two “veils” and two coverings. Yet Desmond Ford says there is only one. Read the above Bible verses and see the two “veils” for yourself.
Again we clearly see the two views in the book of Hebrews 9, even though some erroneously believe there is only one.
“For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.” Hebrews 9:2.
The word “first” in Hebrews 9:2 refers to the first veil. How do we know this? The next verse tells us so.
“And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.” Hebrews 9:3, 4.
Two separate veils covering two separate, unique rooms. You also see the different articles of furniture which corresponds to each room in their respective place. It’s clear.
Which veil is Paul referring to when he said that Jesus went “behind the veil?” The fact is that Paul doesn’t elaborate in Hebrews 6:19 which veil Christ entered. Also, the fact that Desmond Ford will only acknowledge one veil is suspect when the truth is that there are two. Modern theologians try to prove something based upon things that are not written.
But we don’t have to guess. Paul does tell us clearly, without a shadow of a doubt, which apartment Jesus entered when He ascended into heaven.
Desmond Ford Loved the English Mistranslations but not the Original Greek
Just as Desmond Ford rejects the fact that there are two veils, and he also rejects the notion that there are two apartments in the heavenly sanctuary. Dr. Ford explains this at length in his book “Daniel 8:14, The Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgment.”
Desmond Ford quotes several English mistranslations, such as Hebrews 9:8 and Hebrew 9:12, to show that Jesus entered into the most holy place in 31 AD. Most English Bible translations get these verses wrong. But the New Testament Greek gets it right each time. The original Greek in both these verses is something that Desmond Ford ignored because it completely destroys his theories.
There are three words that we need to learn from New Testament Greek.
- Sanctuary – “hagion” which means the holy
- First apartment – “hagia” which means holy
- Second apartment – “hagia haion” which means holy of holies
These definition terms are found in Hebrews 9:1-3. They are the key to pinpointing exactly where Christ entered when He ascended into heaven in Hebrews 9:8 and Hebrews 9:12. Let’s examine the definitions given in verses 1-3 before we look at verses 8 and 12. Paul walks us through a sequence. When you understand the clear Greek translations in verses 1-3, you will see clearly what versus 8 and 12 are really saying and what apartment Jesus entered when he ascended into heaven.
“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9:1.
This word “sanctuary” in Hebrews 9:1 is the Greek word “hagion” and is referring clearly to the entire sanctuary because there were unique ordinances and divine services in both apartments.
“For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.” Hebrews 9:2.
Behind the “first” veil we see the furniture that corresponds to the first apartment. The Greek word used here in Hebrew 9:2 for sanctuary is “hagia.” The term “hagia” is used to describe the room that has the candlestick and the table of shewbread. “Hagia” describes the first apartment of the sanctuary.
“And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all. Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat.” Hebrews 9:3-5.
The second veil describes the Holiest of all or the “hagia hagion.” Hagia hagion” is the Greek word used in Hebrews 9:3 to describe the most holy place. This room is where you find the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat.
God allowed these definitions to exist in His word so that we can know where Jesus entered when he ascended into heaven in versus 8 and 12.
- Hagion – the entire Sanctuary
- Hagia – the first apartment
- Hagia Hagion – the second apartment
Now we can look at Hebrews 9:8, 12. These have been misused by the proponents of the New Theology to no end. We will see what these verses say in the original Greek text and see how God’s word is being twisted to make it say something God never intended. The first one is Hebrews 9:8. Almost every English Bible mistranslates this verse in the English language. But it is very clear in the Greek.
“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” Hebrews 9:8.
This is one of Ford’s proof texts to show Jesus entered the most holy place in 31 AD. It’s a bad translation. Translations were not inspired. There have been a few instances where the original meaning gets lost in translation. This is one of them. Let’s look at the original Greek word for “holiest of all” in Hebrews 9:8. The Greek word used in this verse is “hagion.” This is the exact same Greek word that Paul used when describing the entire Sanctuary in Hebrew 9:1.
Hebrews 9:8 is basically saying the heavenly “hagion” or “the entire sanctuary” was not accessible until the time when the earthly sanctuary had come to its end. That makes perfect sense when you read this in the Greek text. The Greek word “hagia hagion” (most holy place) is not found in verse 8 so it’s a mistranslation. This verse should say “sanctuary” and not “holiest of all. This verse in not teaching that Jesus entered the most holy place in AD 31.
Now for our final verse that reveals unequivocally where Jesus ascended to and where Jesus was when Paul wrote the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 9:12 is a decisive text that answers “where” Jesus entered when he ascended into heaven:
“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 9:12.
What is the Greek word being used here in Hebrews 9:12 when Paul described Jesus entering the “holy place?” The English mistranslations of the NIV and the NKJV translate it as “the most holy place.” But what does the original Greek text say? Paul uses the word “hagia.” Hagia is the very same word used in Hebrews 9:2 that describes the “first” apartment which contained the candlestick and the table of showbread.
Don’t let anyone fool you. Hebrews 9:12 is indisputable, clear-cut, decisive and undeniable. Jesus entered into the “hagia” or into the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. Compare this to Hebrews 9:2 and you will see the same word “hagia” used in relation to the candlestick and table of shewbread.
Our pioneers were not uneducated, simple-minded people. They knew what the scriptures taught. Desmond Ford’s views may bring you into the mainstream, but they will not prepare you to obtain the necessary experience needed during the investigative judgment when names are accepted and others are rejected. Soon probationary time will end and the final atonement will finish. When the censer is cast down by Christ in the most holy place then will be heard the fateful words:
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:11, 12.
Pro-Ford theology, Fordites and Ford-sympathizers are everywhere. They are not friends of the Three Angels’ Messages because they reject the 1st Angel’s Message and the timing of when the hour of God’s judgment began – 1844. Many of our churches and schools have no intention of removing the deadly heresies of the New Theology from their midst. They are taking over. Those who believe the New Theology are becoming the future leaders. More and more of them are being sent out into the field. The Omega of Apostasy in here and the takeover is inevitable. Our only hope is to fulfill the following counsel:
“The church must and will fight against seen and unseen foes. Satan’s agencies in human form are on the ground. Men have confederated to oppose the Lord of hosts. These confederacies will continue until Christ shall leave His place of intercession before the mercy seat and shall put on the garments of vengeance. Satanic agencies are in every city, busily organizing into parties those opposed to the law of God. Professed saints and avowed unbelievers take their stand with these parties. This is no time for the people of God to be weaklings. We cannot afford to be off our guard for one moment” (Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 42).