Lesson 14 - The Disappointment Explained
Lesson 14 - (downloadable pdf file)
The disappointment of those who had expected Jesus to return in 1844 was great. Signs, clear and unmistakable, had pointed to the coming of Christ as an event soon to take place. For a time the believers were involved in darkness and uncertainty. While many were willing to deny their experience, others, refusing to be overthrown in their faith, turned to the Scriptures for an explanation of the prophecies. The text which above all others had been the central pillar and foundation of the advent faith was that found in Daniel 8:14: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” The prophetic time pointed out in the prophecy had been conclusively shown to have ended in 1844. Adventists, along with the Christian world in general, had held that the earth, or some portion of it, was the sanctuary, and that the cleansing was the purification by fire at Christ’s return.
1. In order to reach fallen man, what had God instructed Moses to build? Exodus 25:8
NOTE: This sanctuary was later replaced by a more permanent structure built during the reign of Solomon. Though a larger structure, the same proportions were followed and the furniture was similar. Except for the time it lay in ruins during the Babylonian captivity, when Jeremiah and other priests hid the Ark and other sacred furniture before the Babylonians came, the temple remained until its destruction in A.D. 70 by the Romans. This sanctuary is the only sanctuary that ever existed on earth and about which the Bible gives any information.
2. Before making this sanctuary what was Moses shown? Exodus 25:9
3. To what covenant does the writer of Hebrews state this sanctuary belonged? Hebrews 9:1
NOTE: The words first and also imply that there was another sanctuary.
4. Where are we told that Christ ministers? Hebrews 8:1, 2
NOTE: Just as the old, or first covenant had a sanctuary, here is revealed the sanctuary of the new covenant.
5. Of what was the earthly sanctuary a figure? Hebrews 9:24
NOTE: To instruct men more fully, that they might become acquainted with the nature of the work of salvation, God directed that an earthly sanctuary be built – a copy of the heavenly sanctuary where Christ our High Priest officiates now in our behalf.
6. What took place in the earthly sanctuary at the death of Christ? Matthew 27:50, 51
NOTE: No one but the high priest ever lifted the veil that separated the two compartment of the sanctuary. He entered in once a year to make an atonement for the sins of the people. With the rending of the veil, at the death of Christ, the Most Holy Place of the earthly sanctuary was no more sacred. The term “sanctuary,” as used in the bible, refer, first, to the tabernacle built by Moses after the pattern of heavenly things; and secondly, to the “true tabernacle” in heaven, to which the earthly sanctuary pointed. As the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel was not to take place for many centuries following the destruction of the earthly sanctuary, it follows that the prophecy must point to a work to be accomplished in the heavenly sanctuary. It was not the return of Christ that had been pointed out in the prophecy, but a change in His priestly ministry.
7. Is there anything about the heavenly sanctuary to be cleansed? Hebrews 9:22, 23
NOTE: As the sins of Israel were transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant, the sins of the repentant sinner are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary where a record is kept of all that takes place upon the earth. Just as there was a cleansing of the earthly sanctuary for the removal of those sins that had been symbolically transferred there (see Leviticus 16:16), so the heavenly sanctuary was to be cleansed of the record of confessed and forgiven sins. As in the earthly sanctuary, the cleansing involved more than the sanctuary itself.
8. For what, besides the sanctuary, was this cleansing done? Leviticus 16:30
9. What were the worshipers to be doing while this work was going forward in the sanctuary?
NOTE: While the work of cleansing from sin was going on in the sanctuary, there was a special work of cleansing from sin to be taking place in the life of the individual believer.
10. Looking forward to this time, what admonition did the apostle give to the believers of his time?
NOTE: While a prompt and ready forgiveness has always been available to the repentant sinner, the blotting out of the record was yet a future event.
11. Besides forgiving our sins, what does Christ desire to do for us? 1 John 1:9
12. In view of the ongoing judgment in the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, what are men called to do? Revelation 14:6, 7
While work of the high priest in the Most Holy Place of the earthly sanctuary was going forward, the people were required to afflict their souls before God, and confess their sins, that they might be atoned for and blotted out. In the short time before Jesus returns, the people of God on earth are to cooperate in a special work of cleansing the soul temple from the defilement of sin. This is the work that is presented in the messages of Revelation 14.