The purpose of this site is to examine objections to the Seventh-day Adventist sanctuary doctrine. The official Fundamental Beliefs statement adopted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church states:
From this statement we can see several important aspects of the Adventist sanctuary teaching:
1. The focus is on activity in the true sanctuary, in heaven, where Christ went to minister on our behalf at His ascension, making available the benefits of his atoning sacrifice.
2. The sacrifice of Christ is seen as a "once-for-all" sacrifice on the cross. All of the sacrifices of the earthly system, such as sin offerings, fellowship offerings, burnt offerings, etc. were fulfilled by Jesus' one perfect sacrifice.
3. At His ascension Christ began His ministry as our High Priest.
6. The investigative judgment that Jesus performs in the heavenly sanctuary is seen to be the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement cleansing of the earthly sanctuary in the Old Testament type. The heavenly sanctuary is cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
This concept of the cleansing of the sanctuary comes from the Day of Atonement service which is spelled out in Leviticus chapter 16. Additional regulations are given in Leviticus 23, along with regulations for the other important appointed times in the Israelite calendar.
While the Adventist Fundamental Beliefs statement provides an official basis for spelling out the basics of the teaching, there are some additional details that it would be good to review. As there are some differences in how individual members of the church have presented the doctrine I will quote from the writings of Ellen White. These writings are considered a "continuing and authoritative source of truth" (Fundamental Belief #18) for the Adventist church. For this reason they represent a baseline doctrine that most Adventists can agree to.
Chapter 28 of the book The Great Controversy provides a good description of the teaching. I will look at a few highlights from that chapter in order to list additional aspects of the Sanctuary teaching.
1. The judgment happens in the heavenly equivalent of the Holy of Holies, or second compartment of ministry in the sanctuary.
2. The judgment is in the presence of God, and is attended by heavenly angels.
3. The work done is to perform investigative judgment and make atonement for those shown to be entitled by that investigation.
4. Ellen White sees the sin offering as transferring sins to the earthly sanctuary in the type.
5. The only people involved in the service in the earthly type were those who were part of the camp of Israel, the professed people of God. In the same way the investigative judgment in the heavenly sanctuary is seen to deal only with the professed people of God. Or to put it another way, it does not deal with the cases of those who have made no profession of God or made any semblance of seeking pardon through Him. Their judgment is distinct.
The following aspects are seen:
1. The books of heaven are reviewed as evidence in the investigative judgment.
2. The lives of all professed believers in God are reviewed individually.
3. Those who have sins remaining upon the books of record that are not repented of and forgiven will be blotted out of the book of life. The record of their good deeds is removed.
With this summary of the Adventist Sanctuary teaching we may now begin to examine whether this doctrine is supported by Scripture.
Does the New Testament book of Hebrews discuss the cleansing of the sanctuary?
The Adventist Sanctuary doctrine asserts that the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven started in 1844. Does this match up with Scripture? The Day of Atonement type, spelled out in Leviticus, pictures a corporate presentation of blood to make atonement for the sins of the people throughout the year. On this day the high priest would enter the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary to appear before the Lord. He would sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat, above the ark. The following highlights from Leviticus 16 spell out some of the details:
This passage tells us that the Lord would appear in the cloud over the mercy seat, which is on the ark. Aaron was not to come just whenever he wanted into that Most Holy Place.
The high priest brought the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkle it over the mercy seat. He would also cleanse the rest of the sanctuary.. By doing so he was making atonement for the Holy Place, which was unclean, due to the sins of the people.
The Day of Atonement, therefore, was a picture of corporate cleansing. All of the sins of the people throughout the year were atoned for on this day. It involved cleansing both the people, and the sanctuary.
The book of Hebrews refers to the corporate cleansing of sin. Is this related to the Day of Atonement? The first reference to corporate cleansing occurs in Chapter 1.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus made purification for sins. Having done so He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. This shows both kingly and priestly roles for Christ. He made purification for sins, as High Priest. He sat at God's right hand, as King.
What is clear from the text is that the priestly task of making purification of sins, the corporate provision for all sins, has already occurred before He sits down. This corporate purification certainly recalls the Day of Atonement service with its provision for the whole camp. This verse summarizes Christs activity in completing all of the blood work spelled out in the old testament type. It is described as in the past from the perspective of the author of Hebrews.
This does not mean that Jesus' ministry as High Priest is over. Hebrews 4:16 states "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." We come to Jesus in real time to receive the benefits of His completed sacrifice.
Two other passages in Hebrews 9 use language related to the Day of Atonement.
Jesus' entry here is described. We can see a number of aspects:
1. Jesus entered as High Priest into the sanctuary.
2. He entered by means of blood. Blood was not necessary to enter the first compartment of the sanctuary. Blood was required, however, to enter the second compartment. So this entry of Jesus included ministration in the heavenly equivalent of the second compartment.
3. Jesus blood is said to be superior to that of goats and calves. While there are various sacrifices spelled out in the Old Testament, few involved entry into the sanctuary with blood. The reference to goats and calves reduces further the possibilities for the old testament service being referenced. Specifically, goats blood was only brought into the sanctuary on two occasions, both involving the Most Holy Place. The first service involving goat blood and entry into the sanctuary is the service to inaugurate the sanctuary (described in Leviticus chapters 7 and 8). The second is the Day of Atonement.
4. The entry of Jesus with blood secured eternal redemption. This shows the finality of the blood work Jesus performed.
With these points in mind, some have said that what is being described here is not the Day of Atonement cleansing, but the inauguration. However, the nature of the events described suggest it is both. Jesus is said in vs. 12 to enter "once for all." Just as His sacrifice for sins was once-for-all, and did not require repetition,so his entry was also once-for-all. Just as all the sacrifices in the Old Testament were fulfilled by Jesus' sacrifice, so all the entries with blood were fulfilled by this one entry and presentation.
Jesus died once, at one point in time. He does not need to die again. However, in the type it was not just the death of the sacrifice that was required. Blood had to be ministered by the priest. And we see here Jesus going before God and ministering His completed sacrifice in the presence of His Father. The once-for-all sacrifice is ministered once-for-all. The summary of it bringing in eternal redemption shows its finality. No more ministering of blood is needed. Jesus' one sacrifice has been completed, and presented.
A second passage in Hebrews 9 is even more clear in spelling out the the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement type:
In this passage we see the following:
1. It was necessary for the earthly sanctuary to be purified. It is necessary for the heavenly realities, of which the earthly were a copy, to be purified with better sacrifices.
2. The fulfillment of this cleansing is then spelled out. Christ has entered into heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
3. This presentation of Christ before God, where He presents Himself the completed sacrifice for sin, is contrasted with the entry of the high priest on the day of atonement. The high priest had to enter in many times, year after year. However, Jesus entered once and presented Himself before God. He only had to do so once.
Just as the earthly high priest would minister blood from the sacrificial animal in God's presence while cleansing the earthly sanctuary, so Jesus ascended to God and ministered His own shed blood, presenting Himself, the completed sacrifice.
This is all described after asserting the necessity of the cleansing of the heavenly things. So we see that Jesus' death and ministration of His blood
- made purification for sin
- secured eternal redemption
- cleansed the heavenly things with better sacrifices
All of this was all done in the first century, in the past from the perspective of the author of the book of Hebrews.
Books or Blood?
In the teaching of the investigative judgment the cleansing of the heavenly record books involves investigation of the individual cases of all professed believers in God. But does Leviticus 16 describe the investigation of the cases of individuals?
Lev 16:12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil
Lev 16:13 and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die.
Lev 16:14 And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
Lev 16:15 "Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.
Lev 16:16 Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses.
Lev 16:17 No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel.
Lev 16:18 Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around.
Lev 16:19 And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.
Did the text describe the high priest pouring over books in judgment, and scrutinizing the cases of individuals? No. What is described is a sacrifice. The blood of the sacrifice is taken into the presence of God, in the Most Holy Place. In Leviticus 16 the high priest did not open books. No scrutiny of individual cases was made by the high priest in the Most Holy Place at all. Rather, what is seen is a corporate cleansing provision with blood presented for the sins of the whole camp.
And this is what we see Jesus accomplished in the first century. He died on the cross as a once-for-all sacrifice. He then entered once-for-all into the heavenly sanctuary to make purification for sins. Having completed this purification He sat down to reign:
Heb 1:3b After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
How does a first century cleansing fit the type?
In describing the heavenly sanctuary, the author of Hebrews says that the earthly serves as a shadow and copy of the heavenly things.
The argument of Hebrews chapter 9 begins by outlining the arrangement of the earthly sanctuary. The rest of the chapter shows how various aspects of the earthly were fulfilled in Christ. In addition to this general correspondence the author will at times argue directly from the earthly type to draw conclusions regarding the heavenly. An example is Hebrews 9:22-23:
The author argues for the necessity of the cleansing of the heavenly by referring to the services of the earthly. From the above it is clear that the ministry of Christ is seen as a fulfillment of the earthly services, and we should be able to trace these services in the heavenly fulfillment.
Having said that, Jesus' ministry not only fulfills the earthly but surpasses it. It is superior in many ways. In some instances this superior fulfillment reveals things we might not expect from reading the type. Below I list some of these unexpected fulfillments in which Jesus' better ministry results in some surprises:
Jesus made a once-for-all sacrifice
The most familiar of these instances in which Jesus not only fulfilled, but far surpassed, the type is the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. By Jesus' death He fulfilled all the sacrifices in the earthly. Jesus' one act provided the fulfillment of the sin offerings, peace offerings, the offerings presented in the various appointed times, the offerings made for the inauguration of the sanctuary, those for the ratification of the covenant, etc. He fulfilled all the deaths of all the sacrifices in the whole sanctuary system.
This is not what we would expect based on a reading of the type. Yet it is far better! From the type we would expect many sacrifices, repeated over and over. Moreover, we would expect that the sacrifice for a specific rite would occur at the time that rite was conducted. In other words, the blood for the Passover was shed at the time of the Passover in the type. The blood for the Day of Atonement was shed on the Day of Atonement in the type. But in the fulfillment in Christ we have one death in the first century. And none other is needed.
Here are other instances where the fulfillment is better:
Jesus is not a priest after Levi but after the order of Melchizedek
Jesus does not have to offer sacrifices for His own sin as He is sinless
The earthly priest died, but Jesus always lives to make intercession for us
The inauguration was done by Moses, but Jesus as High Priest and King fulfilled the inauguration
The word here translated opened is the word for inauguration.
Jesus made a once-for-all entry by means of blood.
Just as the sacrifice of Jesus was once for all, Jesus' entry with His own blood is also stated to be once for all:
From the earthly type we would expect one entry for the inauguration, other entries with blood into the holy place for the sin offering of the whole camp, another entry each year for the Day of Atonement, etc. But Jesus made a once-for-all entry in the first century, fulfilling all the various entries.
So from the above it is obvious that while there is a relationship between the earthly sanctuary and the heavenly such that the heavenly corresponds to the earthly type, we see that there are some instances in which the heavenly far surpasses the earthly. In these instances we may see something different from what we would expect simply from reading the type. But they are nonetheless important fulfillments.
Richard Davidson, an Adventist scholar who has written on the typology of Hebrews, points out that the author is not just changing things with no warrant. He notes that the author makes careful arguments from the Old Testament to show that modifications to the type were anticipated by the Scriptures themselves.
For instance, in regard to Jesus being Priest after the order of Melchizedek rather than Levi, Davidson notes the author quotes from Psalm 110, where this new priesthood is anticipated:
So there are instances where departures from the type are spelled out in other old testament Scriptures.
And in other instances the New Testament gives a clear description of the fulfillment, explaining Jesus' superior provision. It may not fall into line with what I would picture from my reading of the old testament type. However, it is an inspired description of the true fulfillment. The fulfillment brought about by Jesus is the true, and it is better. The earthly was a shadow based on the heavenly reality, not the reality itself.
My method of approaching the typological relationship then is this: I assume that the earthly will show correlation with the heavenly. In the absence of specific statements in the New Testament regarding the fulfillment, I can make some reasonable conjecture regarding the fulfillment based on the type. However, in doing so I recognize the limitations of this method. My conjectures from the type are not without basis, but neither are they inspired counsel as are the New Testament texts. In specific cases when the New Testament indicates a fulfillment of some aspect of the type, I believe it. I do not object to it based on my perception of the type.
When the New Testament interprets we need look no further. When the New Testament does not explain, we can draw inferences from the type, while keeping in mind our limitations. Being dogmatic in assertions drawn from the type is not advisable. We need to recognize that while Jesus does fulfill, He also surpasses. We need to leave room for that better ministry in our theories based on the type.
The earthly is a copy and shadow of the heavenly, but the heavenly is the true. The shadow will not always perfectly represent the heavenly, though there is a basic correlation.
So when I apply this typology to the texts in Hebrews regarding the Day of Atonement I try to accept what the New Testament texts are saying, even if they challenge what I would initially expect from the type.
There are elements of the Day of Atonement that I see as already fulfilled in the first century. And I contend that Adventists are compelled to agree. The once for all sacrifice of Christ in the first century is the only sacrifice in the new covenant fulfillment. It happened at one point of time, in the first century. It will not be repeated and therefore this essential aspect of the Day of Atonement type happened long before 1844. The death of the sacrifice is a necessary component of the Day of Atonement. You cannot have the Day of Atonement without the sacrifice. It is evident that Adventists see this part of the Day of Atonement fulfilled in the first century, even though it does not match what would be expected from a reading of the type. Why do Adventists accept it? Because the New Testament text says it is true! So should we not apply the same principle to other statements? Not only was the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement service fulfilled, but so was the entry with blood. Jesus ascended into the heavenly sanctuary in the first century, described in the past tense by the author of Hebrews. The entry was once for all:
So are we not compelled again to see that a portion of the fulfillment happened in the first century? The Day of Atonement entry was an entry through the whole sanctuary. This already happened, once for all.
If Adventists can accept that the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement was fulfilled in the first century based on plain statements by the New Testament text then why would Adventists think it strange if another element, the once-for-all entry also happened then? These are historical activities that will not be repeated.
And the author of Hebrews also points to a completed purification.
The better ministry of Christ is the fulfillment. It goes beyond the earthly. Jesus did not need to repeat the sacrifices again and again, or the entry again and again, and He made purification for sins in the first century.
Part of the difficulty for an Adventist to accept these plain statements is that they have understood the Day of Atonement to be a day of judgment. However, the part that relates mostly clearly to judgment, those being cut off who did not afflict themselves, is yet to be fulfilled. And the parts that happened already, the death, entry and purification deal not with judgment but with cleansing. They are the provision for the sin of the whole world.
The portion that relates to judgment is future. The judgment is based on what people do with the provision already made. The future judgment hinges on whether people even now respond to the work that Christ has done for them. Now is the time to afflict ourselves. But if we do not do so now, coming to Jesus to receive help in time of need, then we will be cut off later. The judgment is ultimately played out when Jesus comes out of the sanctuary.
Certain elements of the type were fulfilled in historical, non-repeated events. Jesus' death, entry and presentation of blood in the presence of God are completed. Therefore I cannot apply them, in the way that the Seventh-day Adventist investigative judgment doctrine does, to 1844.
Jesus entered the Most Holy Place at His ascension in the first century
One of the key thoughts that gave hope to those Millerites who would eventually form the Seventh-day Adventist church was that in 1844 something happened in fulfillment of Daniel 8:14. Initially they expected this to be the second coming of Jesus. Miller had thought that the sanctuary that was going to be cleansed in Daniel 8:14 was the earth, and that this referenced the cleansing of the earth with fire at the second advent. However, following the great disappointment, when Jesus did not come as they expected, their thoughts took a different turn. They still saw meaning in Daniel 8:14, but saw a different fulfillment.
This is illustrated in the well-known story of Hiram Edson. His "fondest hopes" had been dashed when Jesus failed to appear. However, while he and a fellow Millerite had gone to talk to other believers, walking through fields to avoid scoffers so soon after their disappointment, he had an epiphany that would be the focus of the new sanctuary doctrine.
Ellen White likewise spoke of the tremendous significance of Jesus entering the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary in 1844.
Most Adventist scholars do not see this having reference simply to Jesus' physical location in the heavenly sanctuary. Rather they see this as indicating that in 1844 Jesus began to perform Most Holy Place functions.
However, the book of Hebrews indicates that Jesus began to do Most Holy Place work at the time of His ascension, rather than in 1844. There are several evidences that Jesus' ministry in the first century extended to the heavenly equivalent of the second compartment in the earthly sanctuary.
Hebrews chapter 9 begins with a description of the earthly sanctuary. As part of this description of the earthly sanctuary the author points out the limited access of the earthly high priest who could only go into God's presence once per year, on the Day of Atonement:
He entered alone, once per year, not without blood. He did not stay. He had to withdraw again until the next year.
This description of the earthly sanctuary, including the Day of Atonement, sets the stage for the argument in the rest of the chapter. The author demonstrates that Jesus' sanctuary ministry surpasses the old covenant sanctuary service. The author's description of the Day of Atonement at the beginning of the chapter clues us in to where his argument will eventually lead. He is building up to the argument that Jesus fulfilled this entry of the high priest once per year.
Beginning in verse 11 we see clear references to the day of atonement.
From these verses we learn:
1. Jesus entered as the High Priest. This is significant because one of the chief roles of the high priest, as opposed to other priests, is the entry on the Day of Atonement into God's presence.
2. Jesus entered by means of blood. Blood was not necessary to enter the first compartment. The priest would minister there without blood. However, for the Day of Atonement entry the high priest never entered without blood:
3. Jesus' entry is contrasted with the high priest's entry using blood of goats and calves. While blood of calves would at times go into the holy place, (the sin offering of the whole camp or the anointed priest) we do not see an entry with goats blood except into the most holy place. Entry by means of blood of goats is found in the inauguration and the day of atonement, both of which extend to the Most Holy Place.
4. Jesus' entry by blood secured eternal redemption.
Now that we have reviewed the elements of these verses let's step back and notice the close parallel of this description of the entry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary with the description of the earthly high priest's Day of Atonement entry earlier in the chapter:
The author clearly intended Hebrews 9:11-12 to describe the heavenly fulfillment of the earthly type.
Jesus entered once-for-all as the High Priest. He did not have to enter once every year. He entered with His own precious blood, not the blood of animals.
The author is showing how Jesus' ministry surpassed that of even the earthly high priest on the day of atonement.
Now, let's examine the timing. This entrance into the whole sanctuary is clearly seen to be past tense from the perspective of the author of Hebrews. Therefore it happened in the first century, long before 1844.
In Hebrews 9:23-25 we again see clear references to the Day of Atonement. This time we see a specific reference to the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.
After pointing out that it is necessary for the heavenly things to be cleansed, just as in the earthly sanctuary, the author explains how it happened:
1. Jesus entered, past tense.
2. This entry was into the true heavenly sanctuary, not the earthly.
3. Jesus entered into God's presence on our behalf.
Verse 25 continues the description of Jesus' entry:
2. He offered Himself, not blood of animals.
3. Jesus' entry is compared (favorably) to the entry yearly with blood by the high priest, which is the Day of Atonement.
This is a straight-forward fulfilling of the type of the Day of Atonement cleansing. And it was anticipated by the description of the Day of Atonement in the type earlier in the chapter.
Another evidence that Jesus entered the equivalent of the Most Holy Place in the heavenly is seen in the fact that Jesus inaugurated the heavenly sanctuary. The inauguration included all the sanctuary and all its vessels. Speaking of that service in the earthly, in the context of Jesus' blood being better, the author of Hebrews says:
In fact, so great was the ministry of Jesus, and so superior to that of the earthly, that we now have access directly to the throne of grace as well!
Hebrews speaks of this radical difference in access to God in the new covenant. The limited access to God in the old covenant is completely changed with Christ. In the earthly only the high priest could come into God's presence, and then only once per year.
But Jesus sets that on its head. Jesus went into God's presence. However, He did not go in and then immediately go back out, like the earthly high priest. He stayed. In fact He sat down. The sitting of Christ is significant.
The sitting of Christ at the right hand of God in Hebrews indicates His status as King.
But more than that Hebrews uses it to show contrasts with the old covenant system. The priest never sat down in the sanctuary, because his work was not finished. He had to continually offer the same sacrifices, which never really removed sin. But Christ completed the one Sacrifice of Himself, and the one entry, and then sat down, having made purification.
Notice how Hebrews contrasts the standing of the priest daily with Jesus' sitting down:
Jesus completed all of the blood ministration for the purification of sins, then sat down in God's presence.
He also made it possible for us to come before God as well. We can go right into God's presence. We can come boldly to Him to find help in time of need:
Truly Christ is better!
The throne of grace is parallel to the mercy seat above which God manifested His presence in the Old Testament. Christ already sat down there, and we can come to Him for grace.
Does blood transfer or does blood cleanse?
The Seventh-day Adventist Sanctuary teaching states that in the old covenant sins were transferred to the sanctuary through sin offerings. The doctrine holds that people confessed sins when presenting the sin offering, but that sins were not at that time forgiven. Rather, they were transferred to the sanctuary. Then on the Day of Atonement sins were finally cleansed once and for all.
Therefore, the goal of sin offerings are to remove sins from the people and transfer them to the sanctuary. Ellen White spells this out in The Great Controversy.
Ellen White here indicates that the purpose of the sin offering was to remove the sin from the penitent sinner and transfer it to the sanctuary.
Generally, Adventists argue that there must be transfer of sin to the sanctuary because on the Day of Atonement the sanctuary is cleansed from all the sins of the people. Therefore they infer that these sins were transferred there through confession.
Is it true however, that the sin offering transfers sin to the sanctuary?
Throughout the old and new testament it is clear the blood makes atonement, and brings forgiveness.
The life of the sacrificial victim is given, its blood shed to make atonement. It does not say anything about transfer, or the blood bringing atonement by moving the sin to the sanctuary. It does not say the blood contaminates the sanctuary.
In fact, the regulations of the sin offering spell out something quite different:
The sin offering is said to be most holy. It is to be eaten in a holy place. If the blood is splashed on a garment you have to wash the garment in a holy place. And anything which touches its flesh shall be holy. In other words, the sin offering is not seen to transfer sin, but to transfer holiness.
And why not? It is a picture of Jesus who died for us. He dies to pay the price of sin, not merely to move sin around. Our sin was transferred to Him, but then He paid for it with His very life. This is what is pictured in the sin offering.
The result of the sin offering for the individual is not said to be temporary relocation of sin, which does not forgive, as Ellen White indicates. Rather it results in forgiveness.
The sin offering was an illustration for the individual who had sinned. It reminded the sinner that sin leads to death. The animal died in his place. He had to lay his hand on the sin offering, showing the transfer of sins to the animal. He then had to personally kill the sin offering. This was meant to drive home the price of sin, and the cost of forgiveness. The priest would then minister the offering and the result was that the priest made atonement for him and the person was forgiven.
Blood throughout the levitical rites represented the blood of Christ, and the cleansing it would bring. It did not defile, but cleanse. Hebrews reiterates this point as well:
Without a direct text that indicates the sin offerings transfer sins to the sanctuary the passage that Adventists lean on to try to show this is Leviticus 10.
Adventists argue that sin is transferred to the priest, and then somehow from there to the sanctuary. However, even in this passage the sin offering is used to make atonement. Nowhere does the text say that the priest's ministration of the sin offering transfers sin to the sanctuary. This is assumed by Adventists. They assume transfer to the priest, which then transfers to the sanctuary.
The sin offering is given to the priests as a thing most holy, to bear the iniquity of the congregation. But the end result of that is atonement and forgiveness. The offering takes on the sin and then becomes a holy thing, the symbol of Jesus, the substitute for the sinner. And as we recall the flesh of the sin offering did not transfer sin, but in fact transferred holiness. So even in this text the result is not transfer of sin to the sanctuary, which is never stated, but atonement is made before the Lord by the sin offering's ministration. The sin offering is called a thing most holy, and is not seen to contaminate anything.
In fact, the reason the priest had not eaten it is that he himself was not clean, and could not then be worthy to partake!
Moreover, it is not clear in the Adventist system how sins would be transferred to the Most Holy Place by sin offerings when no sin offering ever went into the Most Holy Place throughout the year. It was only on the Day of Atonement that this happened. So if sin offerings are the vehicle of sin transfer, how did sins get to the Most Holy Place, so that it required cleansing?
Now let's step back and take a look at the overall assertion of the Adventist view. In the Adventist view of the sanctuary system God instructs sinners to come to the sanctuary to transfer their sins to the sanctuary. The sanctuary, in this view, is a giant holding tank for sins. But this is surely all backwards. When we look at the Scriptures we see that the sanctuary was the place where a Holy God was to dwell among the Israelites. Uncleanness was to be kept from it, not invited in! And sins and impurities were to be atoned for and cleansed, not stored.
In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve had direct fellowship with God. However, after they sinned they were driven from the garden, and could not longer meet with God in the same way.
Later, in the time of Moses, God expressed His desire to dwell among the people. However, this would no longer be face-to-face communion as in the garden. Rather, God chose to dwell among them in the sanctuary.
The sanctuary was a means for a holy God to live among an unholy people. Its services were put in place to remove sin and uncleanness from the people. So we constantly see warnings to keep uncleanness away, not to bring it into the sanctuary.
An example of this is the rule regarding lepers:
Uncleanness was to be kept outside the camp, not close to where God dwelt in the midst of the people.
Failing to be cleansed at the appointed time was a sever offense because it was an affront to the sanctuary. The person was rejecting the provision for cleansing, and their impurity remained.
Even the names of the different compartments of the sanctuary emphasize that holiness increases as one comes closer into the immediate presence of God. While God in fact fills the whole heavens, and manifested His presence throughout the Israelite camp and sanctuary, His immediate presence was above the ark, over the mercy seat.
And it was into this area that only the high priest would normally go, once per year. The sanctuary was a place for the Holy God to dwell, not a landfill for stored up sins!
At the sanctuary sins were forgiven so that the impurity could be removed, and the people restored. Hence when the person brought the sin offering they were forgiven, and atonement was made:
The blood of the animal represented the blood of Christ. He took on our sins, dying in our place.
Once the animal bore the sins and died, shedding its blood for atonement, there was no more contamination. Otherwise the blood was for nothing. However, we see in the text the blood was not futile. It brought forgiveness.
Which brings us to a key question, often asked by Adventists: Why did the sanctuary need to be cleansed on the Day of Atonement if individual sins had already been forgiven?
This misses the point somewhat. Each of the various sacrifices showed different aspects of Jesus' one Sacrifice.
The individual sin offering was meant to teach confession, and atonement, for one specific action of transgression, by the one person who committed the sin.
The Day of Atonement sacrifices, on the other hand, were meant to illustrate corporate provision through one sacrifice for all the sins, of all the people. They illustrate different aspects of Jesus' one sacrifice.
Adventists often refer to two "phases" of the sanctuary, with the notion that in the first phase sin is built up, and in the second it is forgiven. They note the first phrase goes on throughout the year, then on the Day of Atonement the second "phase" takes place.
However, the text for the sin offering says the person is forgiven. It doesn't say they have temporary reprieve through transfer. There is no transfer seen. The sin offering is not part of one "phase". It is its own picture of one work of the aspect of Christ. It was a means for the individual Israelite to learn repentance of a sinful act. There were other sacrifices as well, burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, etc. which teach aspects of the sacrifice of Christ.
And in the same way the sacrifice of the lamb on Passover would teach that the angel of death passed over him only because of the blood of the lamb. It pointed back to the experience in Egypt, and forward to the work of Christ. It also revealed something of the timing of Jesus' once-for-all sacrifice.
Just as these various sacrifices taught some aspect about the plan of salvation, so the Day of Atonement was not a "phase" but rather a specific ceremony meant to teach lessons about Jesus' one sacrifice.
The Day of Atonement sacrifice, more than any other, showed one death and ministration of blood for the sins of all the people in the camp, for all their sins throughout the year. It cleansed the people and the sanctuary.
This is a fitting picture of what Christ's death would do. It was one sacrifice that paid for all the sins of all believers, throughout time. Jesus died once. Then He presented Himself in God's presence as High Priest to make purification.
When we try to figure out how the sin which was already forgiven in the individual sacrifice wound up back in the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement, we miss that they are just illustrations of the same truth--the blood cleansed. One was an individual lesson, repeated every time an Israelite sinned, throughout the year. The other was a repeated, yearly, lesson about corporate forgiveness. All of the various sacrifices pointed to different aspects of Jesus' one sacrifice.
Adventists also argue at times that Jesus had to have a protracted "daily" phase of ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, just as they see a daily and yearly phase in the earthly. Such a view ignores what the book of Hebrews, through inspiration, says about these daily ministrations.
The repeated round of various sacrifices performed by the priests in the earthly showed the weakness of their ministry. Jesus did not need to minister daily, over and over again various sacrifices. He made and ministered one sacrifice, once-for-all.
Hebrews plainly tells us that these various sacrifices had to be performed every year, but their very repetition points out their inability to really remove sins:
The author of Hebrews notes that there was a reminder of sins every year, and these various rites never really took away sins. Ultimately these sacrifices pointed to the one sacrifice of Christ.
Jesus had no need of a prolonged "daily" ministry, with various sacrifices.
The Day of Atonement was just another illustration of Jesus' dealing with sin. It showed that He takes on all the sins of God's people, through one corporate provision.
What about the scapegoat?
If Jesus performed the cleansing of the sanctuary in the first century, what about the scapegoat ritual?
The book of Hebrews shows that Jesus did in fact make purification for sins in the first century, and did fulfill the type of the entry of the high priest with blood. Jesus fulfilled all the blood ministration at His ascension.
However, there is another portion of the Day of Atonement that is not spelled out in Hebrews--the portion of the service dealing with the scapegoat.
Since the scapegoat is not spelled out in any text of the New Testament that I am aware of, I am hesitant to be dogmatic on the question. When the New Testament relates something we can confidently accept it. When it does not then we can certainly make some inference from the type. However, as we have already seen when looking at the fulfillment Hebrews did spell out we may not always get the full picture just by looking at the earthly type. The type is a shadow, and not the true reality. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts:
The scapegoat portion of the service happened after the high priest left the sanctuary, having offered the blood of the Lord's goat for cleansing. Therefore it may well be that the scapegoat is not spelled out in Hebrews because it had not yet happened, and will not until Jesus leaves the heavenly sanctuary for His second coming. The burden of the author was to point out the superiority of Jesus to the Old Testament rites. He showed this through what Jesus had already accomplished at that time.
If the scapegoat does not occur until Jesus leaves the heavenly sanctuary, it will likely take place at the end (just as the Day of Atonement is near the end of the calendar year for the Israelites), and may involve the final removal of sin.
The cleansing portion of the Day of Atonement happened at Jesus' ascension because of the once-for-all nature of Jesus' sacrifice, entry, and blood presentation. It was never to be repeated. However, the rest of the Day of Atonement may well wind up corresponding to its relative time in the Hebrew calendar, just as the other holy times appear to show correspondence.
Beyond the timing of the fulfillment, it should also be noted that the Lord's goat and the scapegoat are both animals that are without blemish, and suitable to be used as a sin offering. In fact the two together are called a sin offering, and the only distinguishing factor is the where the lot falls.
This makes it likely that it represents another aspect of Jesus' ministry, as did the rest of the sanctuary service. This is especially true when we realize that the scapegoat was used to make atonement:
Lev 16:10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.
For this reason I tend to think that the scapegoat ritual prefigures in some way Jesus' final removal of sin from the world and His people in the future. However, since the New Testament does not spell out the details, we must wait to see if our conjecture is accurate.
The context problem of Daniel chapter 8
At the center of the Seventh-day Adventist sanctuary teaching is the reference to the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14.
In this text Adventists see a clear reference to the Day of Atonement cleansing of the sins of professed people of God. And it is from this prophecy that they derive the year 1844 as the beginning of this Day of Atonement ministry.
However, throughout the history of the Adventist church many of those who preached this sanctuary teaching have come to question the Adventist interpretation of Daniel 8:14. Or more to the point, they have found that, when looked at in context, Daniel 8:14 is not speaking about a Day of Atonement cleansing at all! When the context of the passage is examined one realizes that the focus is not on a judgment of individuals in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement type.
Here is the context leading up to Daniel 8:14:
This part of the vision is explained later by Gabriel. He indicates that the ram represents the Medes and Persians, and the he goat represents the Macedonian-Greecian empire. From history we recognize the great horn as Alexander the great, the Macedonian conqueror. After his fall his kingdom was split up. Here is the explanation:
After Daniel 8:8 the theme turns from the Medes and Persians and Greecian empires to the activities of a different power--the little horn.
The identity of the little horn is debated among various scholars. For now it doesn't even matter who that little horn power is. For the sake of argument we can even say it represents Rome, in its pagan and papal phases, as a number of Adventists believe.
Here is what the chapter says about that little horn power:
Again, the particulars of this passage have been debated. What is clear however, is that this little horn power is acting against God's sanctuary, causing the continual, or daily, ministration to be taken away. With that background in mind Daniel 8:13 asks an important question. And Daniel 8:14, our key text, is the answer to that question.
In other words, how long until the activities of the little horn power against God's sanctuary are stopped? How long will it go on?
Now note that Daniel 14 is not speaking at all about the sins of God's people stored in the sanctuary. It is answering the question regarding the activities of the little horn power.
The sanctuary will be cleansed from what? From the activities of the little horn power! The whole chapter is about the little horn, not about the sins of God's people.
This fact was essentially admitted in the October 1980 special edition of Ministry magazine. (For those not aware Ministry magazine is a publication of the Seventh-day Adventist church written for Adventist and non-Adventist clergy).
This special edition included the documents from the Glacier View trial of the ideas of Desmond Ford. Ford was an Adventist minister and teacher who had questioned aspects of the Seventh-day Adventist sanctuary teaching.
The denominational scholars and administrative leaders gathered together to re-examine the sanctuary doctrine and Ford's objections to it. You can read the entire issue online in Ministry magazine's archives.
Part of this issue is the official report entitled "Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary."
It contains the following fascinating statement:
Some, however, argue that there are allusions to the Day of Atonement in the elements of the vision itself. In other words, they contend that the animals referenced--the ram and the goat--point to the Day of Atonement service.
It is true that goats certainly play a key role in the service:
And it is likewise true that a Ram plays a part in the service:
However, reference to similar animals are not enough to show the Day of Atonement is indicated when the rest of the passage is speaking of something totally different. And while there are references to a ram and to goats in the Day of Atonement service, there is another scriptural parallel involving rams and goats that is even closer.
In the time of Hezekiah the sanctuary had to be cleansed from defiling influences. This was not a Day of Atonement cleansing, but cleansing from outside defilement.
Further description of this cleansing is given later in the chapter:
As part of this cleansing there was a sin offering presented. It included seven rams and seven goats.
This passage describes the restoration of the temple after a time where it had been abandoned, and foreign items had been placed in it to pollute it. These were likely idols.
This cleansing from outside influences is a much closer parallel to the context of Daniel 8, and the animals involved--rams and goats--play a larger role in this service. So we cannot conclude merely from the animals used in the vision that Daniel 8 is speaking of the Day of Atonement cleansing.
In summary, there is no direct connection to the Day of Atonement in Daniel 8, whether by context, symbols, or terminology. Rather, the passage spells out what is being discussed--the restoration of the sanctuary from the defilement of the little horn power.
An in-depth look at Hebrews 9:23-25
The clearest passage describing the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement cleansing is Hebrews 9:23-25. This is the one New Testament passage that overtly discusses the cleansing of the heavenly things.
This verse asserts that cleansing of the heavenly things is necessary. Some translations of the verse, such as the English Standard Version above, give a past-tense timing to this verse, but verse 23 has no timing of its own. It merely states the necessity of cleansing based on the earthly type.
Richard Davidson, Adventist scholar and chair of the Old Testament Department, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, spells out the lack of specified timing in 9:23:
Because of the fact that the verse itself has no timing, some Adventists have suggested that the author is merely hinting at a future Day of Atonement cleansing without spelling out any details. This cleansing would begin in 1844, in the Adventist view.
While the verse itself has no timing, it is directly linked to verses, logically and grammatically, that do have a stated timing. Those verses we can place squarely in the past from the perspective of the author of the book of Hebrews.
In examining the argument of the author in this section, we need to pay careful attention to the connecting words used. They indicate the relation of one section to the next. We see, for instance, that in Hebrews 9:23 the verse is tied to the preceding verse by the term translated in English thus. The word in Greek is ouv.
This term shows that the statement of the necessity of the cleansing of the heavenly things in verse 23 flows from the thought of verse 22. What was the argument of verse 22?
Verse 22 is the culmination of the argument of chapter 9 to this point. It states a principle which links together all the various cleansing rites with blood. Blood was necessary for forgiveness, and everything is purified with blood.
In the Daniel and Revelation Committee Series volume on Hebrews, Adventist scholar William Johnsson describes the importance of verse 22 in this way:
It is with this in mind that verse 23 says that the cleansing of the sanctuary is thus necessary. The cleansing of verse 23 is a cleansing to deal with sin and to provide for forgiveness.
Verse 23 is related not only to the discussion before it but also to the arguments after it. Again we see another important connecting word showing that the fulfillment of the cleansing is now being spoken of:
The word rendered for here in verse 24 is γαρ and connects verse 23 to the argument of 24-25, which deals with Christ's entry into God's presence. It is a term used when drawing a conclusion from a preceding argument. Therefore, the necessity of the cleansing of the heavenly things is directly tied to, and explained through, the statements in verse 24. Verse 24 shows Jesus' past-tense entry directly into God's presence.
Verse 24 spells out a couple of things about Jesus' entry:
1. Christ has entered not into the holy places made with hands. (The earthly tabernacle).
2. Christ has entered into the true--heaven itself--to appear in God's presence in our behalf.
Verse 25 continues speaking about this entry, which is part of the argument for the cleansing of the heavenly things.
Again we see an important connecting word, ουδε, which has the idea nor, or, nor yet.
Verse 24 started with a negative statement: Christ entered not. . . .
Verse 25 continues with another negative statement regarding Christ's entry:
Nor yet . . .
In verse 25 we have not only the connecting word ουδε but also a clause that indicates purpose. It uses the word ινα, which means in order that. So we can translate the first part of verse 25 something like this:
Nor yet was it in order that. . . .
Nor yet refers to the entry into God's presence spoken of in verse 24. Jesus did not enter in the the earthly sanctuary made with hands. Nor yet did He enter in order that He might offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own.
The words for nor yet and in order that, which begin the verse, can refer only back to the event of entry and presentation in God's presence of verse 24. So we see that verse 25 still describes aspects of Jesus' entry.
The following Bible versions recognize this connection to the entry in verse v. 24 and add the word enter to vs. 25 to clarify that it has reference to the entry of Christ in verse 24:
The following commentaries, which look particularly at the Greek text, recognize the significance of this combination of ουδε and ινα:
The New International Greek Testament Commentary recognizes that the author's phrase nor yet in order that is tied to the main clause in verse 24, for He has not entered:
The Interpretation: The Epistle to the Hebrews
Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, by Franz Delitsch
Expositor’s Bible Commentary
The Expositor’s Greek Testament
Vincet's Word Studies
The entry then of verse 24 is still being spoken of in verse 25, and the argument, in regard to the necessity of the cleansing of the heavenly things, is still being explained.
From examining the argument of the author in vss. 23-25 we realize that the statement in vs. 23, regarding the necessity of the cleansing of the heavenly things, is not just an isolated, timeless, statement that is mentioned but not elaborated upon. Rather, verse 23 introduces the author’s description of the fulfillment of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. This fulfillment involves Jesus’ entry into God’s presence, on our behalf. This entry is compared to the yearly entry of the high priest, every year, with blood not his own. This description is a clear reference to the Day of Atonement entry of the high priest to cleanse the earthly sanctuary.
A number of Adventist scholars have recognized that verse 25 refers to the Day of Atonement service. Below are some quotations from Adventist sources that recognize day of atonement references in Hebrews, and especially Hebrews 9:25.
Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary on Hebrews 10:1:
M.L. Andreasen in The Book of Hebrews:
William Johnsson in his essay "Day of Atonement Allusions," which can be found in the DARCOM volume on Hebrews, lists 9:25 as clearly alluding to the Day of Atonement.
Alwyn Salom in his appendix article in the Daniel and Revelation committee series on Hebrews, speaking of verse 24, 25:
Richard Davidson, notes that vs. 25 is an unmistakable reference to the Day of Atonement:
Felix Cortez states in his article "From the Holy to the Most Holy Place: The Period of Hebrews 9:6-10 and the Day of Atonement as a Metaphor of Transition" in the Journal of Biblical Literature, 125.3, Fall 2006, 527 (footnote):
Despite recognizing these allusions to the Day of Atonement, the above authors largely find ways to avoid the conclusion that Jesus completed the sacrifice, entry and purification that Hebrews speaks of in the past tense. Their means for doing so do not always agree. But they in general agree that Jesus did not complete that part of the service. Yet the very texts that they admit are Day of Atonement references are set in the past, and seen as fulfilled.
Vss. 24-25, describing Jesus’ entry into God’s presence, is clearly in the past tense, which indicates that the cleansing of the sanctuary happened prior to the writing of the book of Hebrews. To get around this implication, Adventist scholars say that verse 25 is referring not to the work of Christ at His entry into God’s presence but to Jesus’ death on earth. If Adventist scholars admit that Jesus’ past-tense activity in vss. 24-25 is the fulfillment of the entry and work of the high priest on the Day of Atonement, then the entire 1844 doctrine collapses. To admit such would be to admit that Jesus cleansed the heavenly sanctuary in the first century.
Notice how Richard Davidson attempts to deal with this problem of a clear Day of Atonement reference when discussing verse 25:
By making Jesus’ activity in verse 25 refer back to His death, rather than to His entry into heaven, Davidson can avoid the implication that the Day of Atonement cleansing was fulfilled.
The key to determining whether verse 25 refers only to Jesus' death is the meaning of the phrase offer Himself.
Some interpreters, such as Davidson above, have understood the phrase offer Himself in verse 25 to refer to Jesus' death. It is true that the sacrificial death is often called an offering to God, and the term is used this way in Hebrews to speak of Jesus' death as an offering.
However, in verse 25 Jesus' offering of Himself happens as part of His entrance into God's presence. The offering then is not speaking of the death but of the presentation before the Father. The death did not happen in the sanctuary as part of the entrance, but on the earth, on the cross. The word translated offer here means present or offer or bring.
Verse 25 is speaking about Jesus' presentation of Himself in God's presence. In the earthly type of the Day of Atonement, as part of the cleansing of the heavenly things, the earthly high priest would kill the sacrificial animals. He would enter the sanctuary and go directly into God's presence. He would bring blood with him and would sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat of the ark. We see this described in Hebrews 9:7:
What we see in Hebrews 9:24-25 is the fulfillment of this entry with blood into God's presence. Jesus' offering of Himself here is the author's way of of showing the presentation of the blood on the Day of Atonement.
The evidence for this view is described below:
Evidence 1: The term that is used for offer in Hebrews 9:25 is the term that is used in 9:7 when describing the sprinkling of blood in the earthly Day of Atonement:
This was noted by Adventist scholar Felix Cortez in a footnote on page 25 of his recent dissertation The Anchor of the Soul that Enters 'Within the Veil': The Ascension of the 'Son' in the Letter to the Hebrews:
The author in 9:7 uses an unusual term to describe the Day of Atonement ministration of blood in the earthly sanctuary. The blood in the Day of Atonement type was sprinkled. Instead of sprinkling, the author of Hebrews describes it as presentation of blood. This anticipates the fulfillment, in which Christ enters God's presence (9:24) and offers Himself (9:25), just as the earthly high priest offered the blood on the Day of Atonement in God's presence, according to the author in vs. 7.
Jesus did not sprinkle Himself in heaven, but He presented Himself. His shed blood had long since dried after the cross. But He rose again and presented His blood in the form of a living, completed sacrifice. He presents Himself in God's presence.
Evidence 2: Jesus' offering of Himself is compared to the entry of the earthly high priest, not the killing of the animal by the high priest.
The blood is already shed and the priest is entering in verse 25. This is not a reference to the death of the animal.
As we already saw, the phrase nor yet in order that indicates that verse 25 is about the entry into God's presence, continuing the thought of verse 24. It makes no sense to say, Nor yet did He enter in order that He might offer Himself in death repeatedly. The death did not happen at the entry but on earth. The term offer here indicates the offering of Himself in God's presence. And that did happen at the time of the entry.
This offering in heaven fits the type under discussion, the cleansing of the heavenly things, which was accomplished by blood presentation in God's presence on the Day of Atonement.
Evidence 3: If we take Jesus' offering of Himself in verse 25 to be death, then it does not make sense of the whole argument in verses 25 and 26.
The argument the author is making in verse 26 is that if Jesus were to offer Himself in heaven before God often, He would also have to suffer (death) often. The ministration of the blood followed the death of the victim.
But this argument, that for Jesus to present Himself often in heaven would require Him to suffer often, is lost if both offer and suffer mean death. If both offer and suffer refer to death, then the argument of the two verses would be:
The statement would be redundant.
Instead, what we see in vs. 24 and 25, in direct answer to the necessity of the cleansing of the heavenly things, is an entrance into God's presence. There Jesus fulfilled the offering of the blood by the earthly high priest on the Day of Atonement. Jesus died once for all, entered once for all, and then presented Himself in God's presence not often, but once for all. Jesus is living. He did not present His blood in a bowl but in His person.
So the argument of verse 23, that it is necessary for the heavenly things to be cleansed by better sacrifices, has now been spelled out. It is through Jesus' past-tense, once-for-all death, once-for-all entry, and offering of Himself in God's presence, not often, but once, that the heavenly things are cleansed. Jesus made purification for sins. He provided the corporate means of forgiveness. He fulfilled the Day of Atonement type of cleansing in the sanctuary. And this was described in the past tense in the first century.
Here are a number of commentaries which discuss this presentation of Jesus in God's presence:
Commentary on the New Testament by D. D. Whedon
Vincet's Word Studies
New International Commentary on the New Testament
Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews by Franz Delitsch
On verse 26:
The Epistle to the Hebrews: The First Apology for Christianity, An Exegetical Study, by Alexander Balmain Bruce
The Greek Testament, on vs. 26, in reference to 25 and 26 and the argument therein:
Jamieson Faussett Brown
Beacon Bible Commentary
So we see that offer here is referring to Jesus' entry into heaven, and the presentation of His completed sacrifice.
Where does this leave the Adventist sanctuary doctrine? Jesus already fulfilled the cleansing that Adventists apply to 1844. Jesus' death, entry, and purification already happened in the first century, past tense to the writing of Hebrews.
A technical note on the translation of Ta Hagia
A Greek term that is often debated when discussing Jesus' entry into the heavenly sanctuary is ta hagia. The term is actually the adjective holy and is used in various forms in Hebrews, primarily as a substantive, or noun, describing the holy place.
The term has been translated a number of ways in the different verses of Hebrews. Some Bible versions are more consistent than others in their translation of the word.
The debate is whether the term refers to
a. the holy place
b. the most holy place
c. the whole sanctuary.
I have taken the same position as the Adventist scholars on the Daniel and Revelation Committee who studied the Hebrews material. Their summary is given below:
For more information on evidence for the term most often referring to the whole sanctuary, the reader is directed to the article of Alwyn P. Salom, "Ta Hagia in the Epistle to the Hebrews." This article originally appeared in Andrews University Seminary Studies and was reprinted in Issues in the Book of Hebrews as an appendix.
You can read it online, hosted in the archives of Andrews University Seminary Studies.
NOTE: This site is not affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in any way. The purpose of this site is to generate discussion on the Seventh-day Adventist sanctuary teaching.