ROOMS IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY
GC414-415: [Ellen G. White] “The holy places of the sanctuary in heaven are represented by the two apartments of the sanctuary on earth. As in vision, the apostle John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven, he behold there ‘seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.’ Revelation 4:5. He saw an angel ‘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 8:3. Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there the ‘seven lamps of fire’ and ‘the golden altar’ represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary on earth.”
GC421: “For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued [only] in the first apartment of the sanctuary [the holy place]. … 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 1844]. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet [GC479; Dan. 7:9, 10], our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work B to cleanse the sanctuary.”
SDAs are forced by their Investigative Judgment doctrine to offer an extremely unusual interpretation of where Jesus went at his ascension and what he has been doing since his ascension. First, they teach that the heavenly sanctuary must be an exact representation of the Old Covenant sanctuary and Temple. Second, that means it must have rooms, or compartments, which correspond to the Holy Place and Most Holy Place of the earthly. Third, when Jesus ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father and began his priestly ministry, he was only inside the corresponding Holy Place and was not in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. Fourth, Jesus did not enter into the corresponding Most Holy Place until October 22, 1844 when he began investigating the books there to determine who is qualified to be re-created when he returns. Therefore, the rooms become an important part of SDA theology.
Heb. 9:3 “And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
Heb. 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant …”
Rev. 4:2 “I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
Rev. 5:6 “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Rev. 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne….”
AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND:
For all except SDAs, the fifteen (15) “right hand” texts make it absolutely clear that Jesus was in His Father’s presence inside the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary since His ascension. The texts are self-explanatory and unambiguous in their destruction of SDA theology. Acts 2:33, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted.” Acts 2:34, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit on my right hand.” Acts 5:31, “Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior.” Acts 7:55, “But [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Romans 8:34, “[Christ] is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Ephesians 1:20, “[God] set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” Colossians 3:1, “Christ sits on the right hand of God.” Hebrews 1:3, “[Christ] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:13, “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand.” Hebrews 8:1, “We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” Hebrews 10:12, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” Hebrews 12:2, “[Christ] is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” First Peter 3:22, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God.” Revelation 5:7, “And [Christ] came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
Wherever God is –there His throne is also– and there the Most Holy Place is also! It is God’s Presence, His glory, that makes the Most Holy Place into the Most Holy Place! What a simple concept! When Revelation 5:7 says, “And [Christ] came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne,” it is clearly telling the reader that Jesus Christ was already at the right hand of the Father inside the throne room after His ascension.
BETWEEN THE CHERUBIM:
Likewise, the eleven (11) “between the cherubim” texts are also self-explanatory in their destruction of SDA theology. Exodus 25:22, “I will commune with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony.” Numbers 7:89, “[Moses] heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim: and he spoke unto him.” “The LORD of hosts, which dwells between the cherubim,” First Samuel 4:4; Second Samuel 6:2; Second Kings 19:15; First Chronicles 13:6; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 37:16. “[God] sits between the cherubim,” Psalm 99:1. [God’s throne is] “between the cherubim,” Ezekiel 10:1-7.
Seventh-day Adventists, especially Ellen G. White, have taught that Christ did not enter into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary at His ascension, but entered there for the first time in 1844. However, it is obvious from reading changes in their various statements of faith, baptismal certificates, apologetics and current theological statements that the discussion of “rooms” in heaven is embarrassing and should be replaced with “phases” of Christ’s ministry.
Doctrine of the Sanctuary [SDA], Editor Frank Holbrook, 1989, 218. “There is basic agreement that Christ at His ascension entered into the very presence of God, as symbolized by the earthly high priest’s entrance on the Day of Atonement. There is also general acceptance that neither Daniel nor a two-phased ministry are referred to in the Epistle to the Hebrews. But we do deny that His entrance into the presence of God precludes (1) a first-apartment phase of ministry or (2) marks the beginning of the second phase of his ministry.” [Author=s note: Parts of this SDA leadership statement will be considered as heresy among many Adventists.]
However, the statements from pages 414-421 in The Great Controversy are unambiguous about their teaching of “apartments” in the heavenly sanctuary. Ellen White’s statements clearly contradict those of the Biblical Research Committee in the 1989 statement just quoted.
When Ellen White wrote that the “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne” are only in the “first apartment” of the heavenly sanctuary, she ignored the context of Revelation 4 and 5. In 4:2 John was caught up in the spirit to the very throne of God the Father, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” From 4:1 to 5:5 there is absolutely no doubt that the throne of heaven is being described. And from 5:6 to 5:14 Jesus Christ is very clearly at the throne in the presence of the Father.
“The golden altar which was before the throne” has also been located at the throne and is not merely in an outer apartment (compare Heb. 9:3-4). The previous discussion of Hebrews 8 and 9 revealed that God’s place in heaven is not a building, or room, as we know it. Since Christ began opening the seals at the throne in chapter five of Revelation, then He must still be at the throne as the seventh seal is opened in chapter eight. (“At the throne” is more appropriate than “inside the throne room.”)
In the first century the Apostle John witnessed this vision of Christ un-sealing the scroll of final judgment. The historical school of interpretation allegedly followed by Seventh-day Adventists places the fulfillment of many of the seals and trumpet judgments of Revelation prior to 1844 as proof of the soon second coming. SDAs even place the end of their 1260 prophetic years at 1798. However, by doing this, they are admitting that much of the final judgment of the wicked has already taken place prior to 1844. If Christ’s presence inside the Most Holy Place in Revelation 4 and 5 are indicative of the fulfillment of the anti-typical Day of Atonement, then these sequences of judgments would make sense. However, since SDAs deny this, then they are not following their own historical school of prophetic interpretation.
Some very orthodox-sounding SDA statements mean something very different when read in the light of their 1844 Investigative Judgment doctrine. For example, GC415, “In the temple in heaven, the dwelling place of God, his throne is established in righteousness and judgment. In the Most Holy Place is His Law, the great rule of light by which are mankind all tested. The ark that enshrines the tables of the Law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner’s behalf.”
First, this statement is subtle deception. For SDAs it really means “before which Christ NOW, ONLY SINCE 1844, pleads His blood in the sinner’s behalf.” If God’s throne and dwelling place are inside the Most Holy Place, then how could Christ have been ministering before the Law from Calvary until 1844 when he was supposedly only inside the Holy Place? Second, some SDA theologians want to say that God=s throne is moveable and was only inside the Holy Place until 1844. However, this argument destroys the entire SDA argument distinguishing between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place before 1844. If Christ has been ministering before the Law and mercy seat since His ascension, then he has also been ministering as high priest (the Day of Atonement being fulfilled) since His ascension. No matter how loudly SDAs deny it, wherever God is, His throne is, and the Most Holy Place is. The SDA distinction between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place apartments of the heavenly sanctuary are wrong.