The Truth about the Biblical Sanctuary

This chapter completely destroys the investigative judgment premise and is the most important chapter in this book. Newly improved July 2008. 

Chapter Eleven



Edited: 8-2007

ONE: Only General and Accidental Sins Were Daily Confessed in the Sanctuary

Sin Offering: Atonement for specific unintentional sin; included confession, forgiveness and cleansing from defilement; Lev. 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22; per The NIV Study Bible

Lev. 4:2 If a person shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD…

Lev 4:3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people….

Lev 4:12 When a ruler has sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD ….

Lev. 4:13 And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty;

Lev. 4:14 When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation.


Lev. 5:1Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt. NASU

Lev. 5:2 Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcass of an unclean beast, or a carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.

Lev. 5:3 Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knows of it, then he shall be guilty.

Lev. 5:4 Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knows of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.

Lev. 5:5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he as sinned in that thing.

Lev. 5:15-16; 22:14-16 [unintentionally eats a gift which had been promised to God]

Guilt Offering: Atonement for Unintentional Sin Requiring Restitution; Lev. 5:14-16:7:1-6; per The NIV Study Bible. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary adds “The sin offering (chap. 4) stressed the sins of which one became conscious. The trespass or guilt offering emphasized that situation in which one felt guilt but was unable to specify it exactly.”

Lev. 6:2 [deception regarding a deposit]

Lev. 6:3 [lie about finding something which was lost]

Lev. 6:4, 5 [restitution plus one fifth]

With very limited exceptions, only specific accidental sins (sins of ignorance) and non-high-handed sins were atoned by individual sin and trespass offerings in the normal sanctuary routine. Another exception was a goat for a general sin offering which was offered every Sabbath and on seasonal sabbaths (Numb. 28:15).

These biblical facts destroy the entire SDA doctrine of sin transfer because (at least in the Old Testament) deliberate. high-handed and willful sins were never confessed over sacrificial animals and, therefore, were never brought into the sanctuary (as SDAs claim) to “defile” it. Our practice of confessing and receiving forgiveness of all sins (high-handed, deliberate, willful, general  and accidental) does not follow the Old Covenant sanctuary pattern at all. Yet the book of Leviticus makes it clear that (normally) only unintentional non-high-handed sins committed accidentally or in ignorance could be atoned through individual confession and sacrifice. Where another’s property was involved, confession required restitution plus an offering (Lev. 5:16; 6:4-5).

Therefore, when Seventh-day Adventists include confessed and forgiven deliberate sins among those which (they say) defile the most holy place during the daily ministration of the sanctuary service (Old and New Covenant) they blatantly misunderstand the nature of the sins involved.

TWO: Pre-meditated, High-handed, Intentional, Deliberate, Willful Sins Could Not be Atoned by Daily Personal Sacrifices.

Numb. 15:30 But the person that does anything presumptuously [defiantly], whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproaches the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. [Note that no sacrifice was prescribed.]

Numb. 15:31 Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken his commandment, that person shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

Numbers 15:30-31 makes it clear that there was no sacrifice permitted for deliberate pre-meditated willful sin under the Old Covenant pattern. This even applied to people, like lepers, who continued to be unclean beyond their own control.

When a person committed most pre-meditated sins, there was no prescribed sacrifice to bring. No appeasement could be made to God. That person must suffer the disciplinary consequences and responsibility of his/her sin. He/she was totally at the mercy of God, the judges, their accusers and those whom they had sinned against.

Ex. 21:23 And if any mischief follow, then you shalt give life for life,

Ex. 21:24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Ex. 21:25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

When a serious high-handed deliberate sin had been committed, death, or cutting off, was often the penalty, or consequence. The judges declared a “life for life, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” No sacrifice was acceptable! Death Bnot a sacrificeB was the punishment for idolatry (Ex. 22:20), blaspheme of God’s name (Lev. 24:16); adultery (Lev. 20:10), incest (Lev. 20:11), homosexuality (Lev. 20:13), working on the Sabbath Day (Ex. 31:14); cursing parents (Lev. 20:9), child sacrifice (Lev. 20:2), sex with animals (Lev. 20:15) and witchcraft (Ex. 22:18). This also explains why God did not command a sacrifice when Moses struck the rock (Numb. 20), when Achan became a thief (Josh. 7), when David was declared guilty of murder (2 Sam. 12), when Herod accepted praise as a god (Acts 12), and when Ananias and Sapphira lied to God (Acts 5). God did not provide a sacrifice; instead, he judged and punished the sin. The guilty persons “bore their own iniquity.” See Numb. 5:31; 30:15 ; Eze. 18:20.

THREE: Pre-meditated Sins of Believers Bring God’s Discipline

1 Cor. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Cor. 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1 Cor. 11:29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1 Cor. 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Heb. 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;

Heb. 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.

Heb. 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more [NKJ, NAS, RSV: no longer remains] sacrifice for sins,

Heb. 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

The Hebrew sacrificial system was not designed to convert non-Israelites into Israelites. Those who brought sacrifices were already Israelites through birth, circumcision, genealogy and/or the Passover event. In other words, they were already in a special covenant relationship with Yahweh. God gave them His law, holiness code and sacrificial system in order to keep them in fellowship with Him and to restore fellowship with Him. As His children, if they committed accidental sins, there was a means to receive forgiveness and escape discipline. However, when they committed willful and deliberate sins against his known will, then they could expect often severe discipline as his children.

The correct explanation of the controversial verse, Hebrews 10:26, may possibly be found in the discussion of willful sin and the sanctuary. The point is that, even if the SDA doctrine that confessed sins defiled the sanctuary was correct (and it is not), a great many sins committed by Old Covenant Hebrews and New Covenant Christians do not qualify as “accidental sins” and the entire doctrine again becomes unnecessary and irrelevant.

Heb. 10:30 For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, says the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

Heb. 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Heb. 12:8 But if you are without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then you are bastards, and not sons.

Jesus can only die once for the sins of believers. Comparable to Old Testament Israelites, once one becomes a Christian, he/she is a member of God’s family and has a relationship with Him. Punishment for sins committed after becoming a member of God’s household fall under the category of discipline to restore fellowship (Prov. 23:14; Heb. 10:30, 31; 12:8). Such discipline might even include death (1 Cor. 11:30). The child of God cannot re-sacrifice Christ to cover willful sin. He/she can confess sin, ask for mercy and pray for reconciliation into God’s fellowship without subsequent discipline, or he/she can expect judgment and strict discipline. Discipline is God’s prerogative!

FOUR: Un-Atoned Sins Defile the Sanctuary

Lev. 15:31 Thus shall you separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness that they do not die in their uncleanness when they defile my tabernacle that is among them. (See 15:25-31; women’s issue of blood.)

Lev. 18:28 That the land does not spit you out also when you defile it, as it spat out the nations that were before you. (See 18:1-28.)

Numb. 5:2 Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that has an issue [of blood] and whosoever is defiled by the dead.

Numb. 5:3 Put out both male and female. Put them outside the camp that they do not defile their camps in the MIDST whereof I dwell.

Numb. 19:13 Whosoever touches the dead body of any man that is dead and does not purify himself defiles the tabernacle of the LORD and that person shall be cut off from Israel … (See also 19:20.)

Numb. 35:34 Do not defile the land which you shall inhabit wherein I dwell. For I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.

Ezra 2:62 (also Neh.7:64): These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy but they were not found. Therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.

While SDAs emphatically stress that the sanctuary was defiled by the confessed, forgiven and atoned sins of God’s people, exactly the opposite is true! The sanctuary was defiled by un-atoned sins. In fact the atoned sins were the only ones that did not defile the sanctuary!

First, Leviticus 15:25-31 teaches that Israelite women who do not ritually purify themselves from their “issue of blood” “defile the sanctuary” B thus the sanctuary was defiled by not being cleansed through its use. Second, in its context, Leviticus 18:28 and Numbers 35:34 teach that the land itself was defiled by deliberate willful sin (which could not be brought into the sanctuary as unintentional sins). Third, like unclean women, Numbers 5:2-3 also teaches that lepers defile the camp. Yet, as long as they remained leprous, there was no sacrificial offering for them in the sanctuary. Fourth, in Numbers 19:13, 20 a person who touched dead animals or persons “and does not purify himself defiles the tabernacle.” Fifth, Ezra 2:62 teaches that “polluted” priests could not minister in the sanctuary — which proves that they could not carry sin into it.

Therefore, contrary to what SDAs teach, there is no Bible text which says that atoned sins defile the sanctuary!!! The land, the camp and the tabernacle were all defiled by either deliberate sin or other sins which could not be atoned by sacrifice! Thus exactly the opposite of what SDAs teach is true.

The atoned sins were washed away by the sinless blood of the sacrificial animal, a type of Christ. This death occurred at the “doorway” of the inner court which was reserved for the Levites and priests (Lev. 1:3; 3:2; 4:4; etc). Neither the penitent nor the live animal entered into the sanctuary proper.

FIVE: The Day of Atonement Ritual Only Removed General Sinfulness Which Remained

Lev. 16:16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place [MHP], because of the uncleanness [NAS: impurities] of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in ALL their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation [NAS: tent of meeting; HP], that remains [NAS: abides] among them in the MIDST of their uncleanness.

Lev 16:17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation [HP] when he goes in to make an atonement in the holy place [MHP], until he comes out, and has made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.

Lev 16:18 And he shall go out unto the ALTAR that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the ALTAR round about. [Note: This is the altar of burnt offerings inside the entrance of the open courtyard.]

Lev. 16:19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it [altar of burnt offerings] with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

Lev. 16:20 And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, AND the tabernacle of the congregation, AND the altar, he shall bring the live goat.

Lev. 16:30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.

In their 1844 pattern-fulfillment scheme, SDAs teach that only the Most Holy Place required cleansing from the defilement of sacrificial blood which had carried confessed and atoned sins into it.

However, the preceding verses (16-20, 30) from the Day of Atonement’s most important chapter, Leviticus 16, prove that exactly the opposite is true. First, this was a general, all-inclusive, cleansing of ALL of the remaining un-atoned sins of Israel. It was a new beginning for the new year immediately prior to entrance into God’s rest (symbolized by the fall harvest and the entrance into Canaan).

“And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remains [abides] in the midst of their uncleanness (16:16). “And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel” (16:19). “All the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sin” (16:21). “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (16:30). Since only non-high-handed sins were allowed to be atoned through individual blood sacrifices, then these texts must not be referring to those specific sins which had already been forgiven and atoned. Besides, God does not require two different atonements for the same sins.

Second (and this is very important), unlike the heavenly sanctuary, the earthly sanctuary required this cleansing because it was located in the “midst of,” in the middle of, a wicked and perverse nation. Comparable to being located in the middle of a sandstorm of sinfulness, the earthly sanctuary was surrounded by several million Israelites who habitually sinned in every conceivable way, both deliberately and accidentally. Although it was the most un-defiled place in the nation, the earthly sanctuary still became defiled merely because of its very location in the middle of sinners.

“Uncleanness” is Hebrew tumot, also meaning “filthiness.” “Transgressions” is peeshah, also meaning “rebellion.” “Sins” is khataah, also meaning “offense.” However, the key phrase for this point is “that remains [abides] in the midst of their uncleanness” (16:16; also 15:3; Numb. 5:3). The pre-meditated un-confessed sins included in these four texts had not been daily confessed and had not been specifically atoned. This cleansing went far beyond merely cleansing accidental sins. Therefore, the sanctuary required a yearly cleaning, not because of confessed non-high-handed sins and not because (as SDAs teach) the priests had been transferring sin into the most holy place, but simply because of its location on earth in the middle of a sinful people.

Unger’s Bible Dictionary says “The day appointed for a yearly, general, and perfect expiation for all the sins and uncleanness that might remain, despite the regular sacrifices. The Levitical ritual was a constant reminder that ‘the Law . . . can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near’ (Heb. 10:1). Even with the most scrupulous observance of the prescribed ordinances many sins and defilements would still remain unacknowledged and therefore without expiation. This want was met by the appointment of a yearly, general, and perfect expiation of all the sins and uncleanness that had remained un-atoned for and un-cleaned in the course of the year (Lev. 16:33)” Nelson’s Bible Dictionary adds “The only fasting period required by the Law (Lev. 16:29; 23:31), the Day of Atonement was a recognition of man’s inability to make any atonement for his sins.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia adds “The atonement takes place for the sanctuary which has been defiled by the contamination of the Israelites.”

Heb. 10:1 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Heb. 10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Heb. 10: But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.”

These verses best explain the reason for the failure of the earthly Day of Atonement. Sins were still “remembered,” not because they were still on the books, but because the entire sequence of rituals must be repeated year by year until a perfect sacrifice was made.

SIX: The Entire Sanctuary Was Cleansed on the Day of Atonement

In their application of pattern-fulfillment beginning on October 22, 1844, SDAs teach that only the Most Holy Place required cleansing on the Day of Atonement.

However, Leviticus 16:16-20 (see above) clearly point out how much cleansing was required on the single Day of Atonement.

16:16, 17, 20, 33 the Most Holy Place (SDAs agree); called the “holy place” in KJV

16:16, 17, 20, 33 the Holy Place, called the tabernacle (tent) of the congregation (meeting)

16:18, 19, 20, 33 the Altar of burnt offerings (inside the entrance)

SDAs pattern-fulfillment theology must ignore the Bible fact that the Holy Place (the first tent) and the altar of burnt offering also required the cleansing ritual. They must ignore this in their explanation because Christ had already been ministering inside the Holy Place since his ascension. See discussion on pattern-fulfillment.

SEVEN: Sin/sinners Cannot Survive in the Presence of God

Ex. 33:22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock and will cover you with my hand while I pass by.

Ex. 33:23 And I will take away my hand and you shalt see my back parts, but my face shall not be seen.

Lev. 16:13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony — that he die not.

Isa. 6:3 Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.

Isa. 6:4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried and the house was filled with smoke.

Isa. 6:5 Then I said, Woe is me! for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips — for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

2 Chron. 26:19 Then Uzziah was angry, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was angry with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.

The Hebrew sanctuary and Temple were designed to reveal the holiness and purity of their God who cannot tolerate sin in His presence. The sinner and sin stopped at the doorway, or entrance, to the holy ground. And only after the innocent sacrificial animal had died could its (now most holy) blood and flesh be brought beyond the doorway. The SDA doctrine that the sin itself was deliberately brought inside the dwelling place of God by either the sacrificial blood or sacrificial flesh eaten by the priests violates everything we know about the holiness of God.

When Moses asked to see God’s glory (Ex. 33:18), he was only allowed to see the distant recession as God passed (33:22-23). In Leviticus 16:13 the High Priest could not enter the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement unless the room was first filled with dense smoke of incense. In Isaiah 63:3-5 the prophet became aware of his horrible sinfulness when confronted with the throne of God. In Second Chronicles 26:19, when King Uzziah dared to enter the Holy Place and offer incense, God struck him with leprosy. In Ezekiel 1:1-23 and Revelation 1:12-18 the prophets are equally struck with the holiness of God and His throne. Yet SDAs make God’s throne room into the storage room for all confessed and atoned sins since Adam.

2 Thess. 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Rev. 22:3 And there shall be no more curse [of sin]: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. And his servants shall serve him.

During the Passover ritual, no leaven (or sin) was allowed inside the houses of believers. “Put away leaven out of your houses” (Ex. 12:15) because “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9). In Second Thessalonians 2:8 it is the very presence of God’s glory and holiness that will destroy the wicked when Jesus returns. Although the earthly sanctuary was located in the middle of a wicked and sinful people, that cannot be said of the sanctuary in heaven. It is inconceivable to think that God would allow the Most Holy Place of the entire universe to be corrupted by sin for any length of time B much less since Adam! Yet this is exactly what SDAs teach.

EIGHT: Clean-to-Unclean Defilement Laws

Lev. 5:2 Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcass of an unclean beast, or a carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean and guilty.

Under the normal day-to-day circumstances of Old Testament life, the “unclean” defiled anything “clean” which it touched (Lev. 5:2).  Most of us realize that this is the normal way in which infection spreads. When something dirty touches something which is not antiseptically clean, then usually both items/persons become dirty. Sin and sin-laden blood normally defile!

NINE: Unclean-to-Clean Sacrificial Laws

Ex. 29:37 [The great altar] it shall be an altar most holy. Whatsoever touches the altar shall be holy [RSV: become holy; already qualified to touch it].

Lev. 6:17 It [the grain offering] shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering

Lev. 6:18 All the males [priests] among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that touches them shall be holy.

Lev. 6:25 This is the law of the sin offering. In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD. It is most holy.

Lev. 6:26 The priest that offers it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Lev. 6:27 Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy [NAS: become consecrated; NIV become holy]: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, you shall wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place.

Numb. 18:9 This shall be yours of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every grain offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render to me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons.


clean plus defiled = defiled                      

touch dead animal = defiled                    


efiled plus sacrifice = most holy 

touch dead sacrificial animal = most holy

It is extremely important to realize that the “clean to unclean” law (Lev. 5:2) was reversed when offerings were involved at the sanctuary or TempleAnd this reversal destroys the SDA logic about the priests carrying and transferring sin into the sanctuary!

Depending on the translation, according to Exodus 29:37, any person (priest) who even touched the (most holy)  altar of burnt offerings must either first “be” holy [KJV, NKJ, NAS, NIV] or will “then become holy” [RSV] or even more holy merely by touching it.

According to Leviticus 6:17, 25, all offerings which touched the sacrificial fire, including the grain offerings, were “most holy.” Leviticus 6:18, 27 both say that “every one that touches them shall be holy.” Especially after the sacrificial animal had died, everything about it was “holy” B the altar, the priest, the blood and the garment on which blood was spilled. If the blood were indeed sin-laden (which it was not),then the garment could have been washed anywhere.

Numbers 18:9 is even more clear! “Every offering” given to the priests became most holy, and, only as most holy, could it then be brought into the sanctuary! This includes both sin and trespass offerings. Therefore, far from transferring sin, sacrificial blood was most holy. The sin-offering itself became “most holy.” The “sin” and “trespass” offerings became such, not because their blood could carry sin into the sanctuary, but because they were innocent and holy and could bear the guilt of sin by destroying it through their death. Compare also Lev. 16:19 and Ezekiel 43:20.

Ezra 2:62 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted [NAS, RSV, NIV: unclean; NKJ: defiled) unclean, put from the priesthood.

Why would God command priests (as SDAs teach) to actually carry SIN into the sanctuary and defile it when He would not even allow defiled, unclean or polluted priests to minister inside it?

TEN: Sacrificial Blood Washed Away Sin When Shed at the Doorway

Lev. 4:20 …and the priest shall make an atonement for them and it shall be forgiven them.

Lev. 5:6 …and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.

Lev. 6:7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he has done in trespassing therein.

See also Lev  4:26, 31, 35; 5: 10, 13, 16, 18.

When the sacrifice died as a sin offering at the entrance of the sanctuary, the payment for the confessed sin was complete. The ministering priest collected its blood which had become most holy (Lev. 4:20; 5:6; 6:7, 25-27; Numb. 18:9). The fat portions of the animal were placed on the altar of burnt offering, thus again confirming its holiness (Ex. 29:37). Depending on the circumstances, either the blood or portions of its flesh (eaten by the priest) were also brought into the sanctuary — again making them most holy (Numb. 18:9).

The blood was brought inside the sanctuary, not to defile it, but as a proof (receipt of payment rendered) that the redemption price had already been fully paid. The priest announced to the penitent that “an atonement for him before the LORD” had been made and that he was “forgiven” of his “trespass” (Lev. 4:20; 5:6 and 6:7).

The blood was not brought into the sanctuary, as Ellen White wrote, “to make satisfaction for its claims” (GC420).The satisfaction had already been made and announced when the sacrificial animal’s blood was shed! Even at Calvary the atonement was made when Jesus shed his blood, pronounced forgiveness, announced “it is finished” and died.

SDAs seriously err here in two ways. First, they teach that “sin-transfer” blood literally carries the actual confessed sins into the sanctuary to defile it. Second, they teach that this same blood then makes atonement, or satisfaction. However, the life-blood was accepted, not because it was carrying sin, but (like Christ) because it had already washed away sin and was “most holy.”

Lev. 14:19 And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him [the leper] that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering.

Heb. 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:

Heb. 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Sacrificial blood “purifies”; it does not defile! As discussed in the previous section on pattern-fulfillment, in the context of verses 16-23, Hebrews 9:13 is a description of the inauguration of the Old Covenant from Exodus 24:3-8. In Exodus 24 Moses began the Old Covenant with a purification ritual. Next, turning to the New Covenant inauguration, the blood of Christ’s new covenant ministry purges, or purifies, the conscience of the believer (9:14).

Contrary to SDA theology, sacrificial blood always “cleansed” or “washed away” sin. Sacrificial blood did not transfer sin to another place (to be dealt with later) only to defile that other place — the Most Holy Place in heaven!

Sacrificial blood is the redemption price for sin (Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12). The sinner does not “give” his/her sins to God B the sinner asks God to wash them away and forget them. Why would God want or need sins? Redemption blood brings the sinner “near” to God by reconciliation — not by defiling His dwelling place (Eph. 2:13). God would not declare “peace through the blood” if that same blood had defiled His throne (Col. 1:20).

Why would believers want to boldly “enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” if that “holiest” contained the accumulated sins of every believer since Adam B thus making it the most unholy and most sinful place in the entire universe (Heb. 10:19 cf GC418-421)?

ELEVEN: O. T. Priests Did Not Carry Sins into the Sanctuary


“bear sins” = suffer consequences


“bear sins” = bear away via atonement

Ex. 28:38 And it [the mitre] shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear [NAS: bear away] the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead that they may be accepted before the LORD.

[RSV: take upon himself any guilt incurred in the holy offering]

Ex 28:43 And they [consecrated priests’ garments] shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place that they bear not iniquity, and die.  It shall be a statute for ever to him and his seed after him.

Lev. 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.

Numb. 18:1 And the LORD said to Aaron, You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear the iniquity [guilt; responsibility] of the sanctuary: and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

Numb. 18:7 I have given your priest’s office to you as a service of gift: and the stranger that comes near shall be put to death.

Numb 18:22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come near the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin [inside the sanctuary], and die.

Isa. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isa. 53:12 …he bare the sin of many [until death], and made intercession for the transgressors.

As soon as the O. T. priest received the sin offering, that sin offering became most holy (Numb. 18:9). And merely touching the dead flesh of the sin offering also transferred more holiness to the priest (Lev. 6:27). Therefore, instead of transferring sin into the sanctuary via the priests (as SDAs teach), the most holy sacrifice actually transferred more HOLINESS to the priests and into the sanctuary! The holy priest was only allowed to touch, handle and work with holy things and most holy things! Exodus 28:38 explains that the priest’s ministry bore away the sin from the offering, thus making the sacrifice most holy. In fact, the death penalty awaited any priest who dared to bring anything defiled into the sanctuary (Exod. 28:43).

For the priest, “bearing sin” as part of his service meant “bearing sin away.” Since no thing (nor person) unclean or defiled was allowed to enter the sanctuary, then the sanctuary was not defiled through the normal daily ministry itself. Both the penitent and the animal being offered were first ritually purified through washing before even approaching the entrance of the inner court to present the sacrificial animal to the priest at the gate. Again, neither the live animal nor the penitent Israelite were allowed past the gate to enter inside the holy inner court and its nearby most holy altar. The priest met the penitent at the entrance where confession was made over the animal, where the slaying of the innocent victim occurred, and where atonement was proclaimed.

The vicarious death of the innocent sacrificial animal allowed the priest to grant forgiveness (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:15). The sin had disappeared! The sin itself had been washed away! The sin itself never entered beyond the entrance of the inner court into that sanctuary itself. This is a very important detail to remember.

The priest then “bore,” or carried his portion of the flesh and the fatty parts of the carcass and its blood into the inner sanctuary itself to the altar of burnt offering. There the now-“most holy” sacrifice was either burned or partially eaten and the now-most holy blood was either poured out at the base of the altar or else brought into the Holy Place to be sprinkled before the veil of the Most Holy Place as a testimony that the redemption price had been paid.

Contrary to what SDAs teach, the priest did not “bear SIN” nor did he “transfer sin” into the sanctuary. Like Christ, he typically bore the GUILT (or punishment) of sin for the sinner. The blood was “proof of payment” which was presented to God. Just as Adam was punished by thorns and sweat for his sin, even so the priest’s ministry of the sacrifices, his necessary job, his service, was also a type of punishment! The Aaronic priest was performing a ritual which had formerly been a required punishment by every male head-of-household. The priest was performing a sanctified and necessary act of reconciliation B not defilement.

Since any stranger, or non-priest Levite, or impure priest who entered the sanctuary was to be put to death, it is extremely illogical to teach (as SDAs do) that the pure priests routinely transferred sin into it through (of all things) the most holy sacrificial blood. Compare Numbers 18:3, 4, 7 and 22.

TWELVE: Jesus Did Not Carry Sin into the Heavenly Sanctuary

Isa. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hash laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Matt. 8:16‑17 When the evening was come, they brought to him many that were possessed with devils. And he cast out the spirits with his word and healed all that were sick that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

John 1:29 Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

Heb. 9:26 … but now once in the end of the world he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Heb. 9:28 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.

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.

[compare with]

GC421: [Ellen G. White] As anciently the SINS of the people were placed by faith upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the SINS of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, IN FACT, to the heavenly sanctuary.

As a priest C as our High Priest — as the sinless God-man Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to pay the redemption price of sin (Heb. 9:28). Jesus carried (or bore) our sins to Calvary (and not beyond). There he died. Next he arose from the dead!  Why? Because he had already “put away sin” (9:26). Because sin could not hold him in the grave! Why? Because he was still “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). Jesus did not carry sins beyond the cross (1 Pet. 2:24).

All sacrificial animals were types of Jesus Christ. SDAs are wrong when they teach that the daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal blood sacrifices defiled the temple while the yearly Day of Atonement blood cleaned it. Shockingly, SDA theology teaches that Jesus Himself was, and still is, the greatest polluter of the heavenly sanctuary because he bore, and is still transferring sins into it (GC421).

Again, all sacrificial animals represented our perfect, pure, sinless, substitute B Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. John the Baptist understood this when he saw Jesus and proclaimed in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” Therefore, whatever sins had been “taken away” by the “lamb” (and other animals) prior to the Day of Atonement remained “taken away” and did not require “taking away” a second time on the Day of Atonement! Sacrificial blood of the sin and trespass offerings was most holy and washed away sin B it did not transfer sin into the sanctuary.

Concluding Remarks

The great Bible promises associated with forgiveness apply to the moment the blood is shed and not to a so-called Investigative Judgment which would not begin until 1844. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Ex. 12:13). “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps.51:7). As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Ps. 103:12). God did not store up our sins in His personal closet to bring them out again in 1844.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the real judgment message. Those who believe in Christ already have received the verdict of the final judgment which is “eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). The Greek word for condemned relates to judgment. When John 5:24 says “He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” — it means in the Greek “already has everlasting life,” “shall not come into judgment (krisin)” and “has already passed from death to life.” When Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” it means in the Greek “no contrary judgment sentence” (kata-krima). Hebrews 9:27-28 relates to the judgment, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 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.” The believer’s appointment to meet God at a judgment to determine guilt or innocence has already been met by Jesus Christ at Calvary. That verdict of “righteous in Christ” is placed on the believer, not after 1844, but at the moment of conversion. These great New Covenant texts applied over 1800 years before 1844. Yet SDAs teach that all believers must wait until the end of an Investigative Judgment which began in 1844 before they can be assured of their salvation.

Seventh-day Adventists do not explain why God waited so long to begin cleansing the heavenly sanctuary. They spend most of their efforts trying to explain when. This is not a trivial matter! If your favorite room were found to be incredibly defiled, how long would you wait before cleaning it? Common sense would dictate that any defilement of God’s personal dwelling place would result in an immediate cleansing. Therefore, in any situation in which the sanctuary would be defiled, the priests would make every effort to clean it as soon as possible. For example, after Babylon had defiled the temple in 586 B. C. it was the very highest (to the point of being fanatical) priority of Ezra to rebuild and rededicate the Temple. And also the time of the Maccabees — even while the war was still raging around them, the Temple was restored to its rightful state in 164 B. C.


Why did not God take the very first opportunity He had to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary? And our Omniscient God must still be cleaning it today because (SDAs teach) sin is still entering! This questions brings us to the books.