Bible Studies

14-The Cleansing of the Sanctuary

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The Consecrated Way by A.T. Jones

The Cleansing of the Sanctuary

 

The cleansing of the sanctuary and the finishing of the mystery of God are identical as to time and are also so closely related as to be practically identical in character and event.

In the "figure of the true" in the sanctuary service made visible, the round of service was completed annually, and the cleansing of the sanctuary was the finishing of that figurative and annual service. And this cleansing of the sanctuary was the taking out of and away from the sanctuary all "the uncleanness of the children of Israel" "because of their transgressions in all their sins," which, by the ministry of the priesthood in the sanctuary, had been brought into the sanctuary during the service of the year.

The finishing of this work of the sanctuary and for the sanctuary was, likewise, the finishing of the work for the people. For in that day of the cleansing of the sanctuary, which was the Day of Atonement, whosoever of the people did not by searching of heart, confession, and putting away of sin take part in the service of the cleansing of the sanctuary was cut off forever. Thus the cleansing of the sanctuary extended to the people and included the people as truly as it did the sanctuary itself. And whosoever of the people was not included in the cleansing of the sanctuary and was not himself cleansed, equally with the sanctuary, from all iniquity and transgression and sin was cut off forever. Lev. 16:15-19, 29-34; 23:27-32.

And this was all "a figure for the time then present." That sanctuary, sacrifice, priesthood, and ministry was a figure of the true, which is the sanctuary, sacrifice, priesthood, and ministry of Christ. And that cleansing of the sanctuary was a figure of the true, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man, from all the uncleanness of the believers in Jesus because of all their transgressions in all their sins. And the time of this cleansing of the true is declared in the words of the Wonderful Numberer to be "unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," which is the sanctuary of Christ in A.D. 1844.

And, indeed, the sanctuary of which Christ is the High Priest is the only one that could possibly be cleansed in 1844, because it is the only one that there is. The sanctuary that was a figure for the time then present was destroyed by the army of the Romans who came and destroyed that city (Dan. 9:26) and that sanctuary and even its place was to be desolate "even until the consummation." Therefore the only sanctuary that could possibly be cleansed at the time referred to by the Wonderful Numberer, at the end of the two thousand and three hundred days, was alone the sanctuary of Christ--the sanctuary of which Christ is High Priest and Minister; the sanctuary and the true tabernacle of which Christ, at the right hand of God, is true Priest and Minister; the sanctuary and true tabernacle "which the Lord pitched and not man."

What this cleansing means is plainly declared in the very scripture which we are now studying--Daniel 9:24-28. For the angel of God, in telling to Daniel the truth concerning the two thousand and three hundred days, tells also the great object of the Lord in this time as it relates to both the Jews and the Gentiles. The seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years of the limitation upon the Jews and Jerusalem is definitely declared to be "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Daniel 9:24.

That is the true purpose of God in the sanctuary and its service in all time: whether in the figure or in the true, whether for Jews or for Gentiles, whether on earth or in heaven. Seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years, was the limitation set for the Jews to have this accomplished for and in themselves. To accomplish this, to that people, of all people, Christ Himself came in person to show to them the Way and to lead them in this Way. But they would not have it. Instead of seeing in Him the gracious One who would finish transgression and make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness to every soul, they saw in Him only "Beelzebub the prince of the devils"; only One instead of whom they would readily choose a murderer; only One who as King they would openly repudiate and choose a Roman Caesar as their only king; only One whom they counted as fit only to be crucified out of the world. For such a people as that and in such a people as that, could He finish transgression and make an end of sins and make reconciliation for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness?--Impossible. Impossible by their own persistent rebellion. Instead of His being allowed by them to do such a gracious and wonderful work for them, from the depths of divine pity and sorrow He was compelled to say to them: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Matt. 23:37, 38; 21:43.

The nation to whom the kingdom of God was given, upon its rejection by the Jews, was the Gentiles. And that which was to be done for the Jews in the four hundred and ninety years which were limited to them, but which they would not at all allow to be done for them--that is the identical thing to be done for the Gentiles, to whom the kingdom of God is given, in the eighteen hundred and ten years allotted to them. And that work is "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." This can be done alone in the finishing of the mystery of God in the cleansing of the true Christian sanctuary. And this is done in the cleansing of the true sanctuary, only in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the perfecting of the believers in Jesus, on the one hand, and on the other hand in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the destruction of the wicked and the cleansing of the universe from all taint of sin that has ever been upon it.

The finishing of the mystery of God is the ending of the work of the gospel. And the ending of the work of the gospel is, first, the taking away of all vestige of sin and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness--Christ fully formed--within each believer, God alone manifest in the flesh of each believer in Jesus, and, secondly, on the other hand, the work of the gospel being finished means only the destruction of all who then shall not have received the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-10), for it is not the way of the Lord to continue men in life when the only possible use they will make of life is to heap up more misery for themselves.

Again, in the service of the earthly sanctuary, we have seen that when the work of the gospel in the annual course was finished in behalf of those who had taken part in it, then all those who had taken no part in it were cut off. "Which was a figure for the time then present" and which plainly teaches that in the service of the true sanctuary when the work of the gospel shall have been finished for all those who have a part in it, then all those who do not have a part in it will be cut off. Thus, in both respects, the finishing of the mystery of God is the final ending of sin.

The service in the earthly sanctuary shows also that in order for the sanctuary to be cleansed and the course of the gospel service there to be finished, it must first be finished in the people who have a part in the service. That is to say: In the sanctuary itself, transgression could not be finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for iniquity could not be made, and everlasting righteousness could not be brought it, until all this had been accomplished in each person who had a part in the service of the sanctuary. The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed until each of the worshipers had been cleansed. The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed so long as, by the confessions of the people and the intercessions of the priests, there was pouring into the sanctuary a stream of iniquities, transgressions, and sins. The cleansing of the sanctuary, as to the sanctuary itself, was the taking out of and away from the sanctuary all the transgressions of the people which, by the service of the priests, had been taken into the sanctuary during the service of the year. And this stream must be stopped at its fountain in the hearts and lives of the worshipers, before the sanctuary itself could possibly be cleansed.

Therefore the very first work in the cleansing of the sanctuary was the cleansing of the people. That which was preliminary and essential to the cleansing of the sanctuary itself, to the finishing of the transgression and bringing in everlasting righteousness, there, was the finishing of transgression, and the making an end of sins, and making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness in the heart and life of each one of the people themselves. When the stream that flowed into the sanctuary was thus stopped at its source, then, and then alone, could the sanctuary itself be cleansed from the sins and transgressions which, from the people, by the intercession of the priests, had flowed into the sanctuary.

And all that "was a figure for the time then present"--a "figure of the true." Therefore by this we are plainly taught that the service of our great High Priest in the cleansing of the true sanctuary must be preceded by the cleansing of each one of the believers, the cleansing of each one who has a part in that service of the true High Priest in the true sanctuary. It is plain that transgression must be finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for all iniquity must be made, and everlasting righteousness must be brought in, in the heart's experience of every believer in Jesus, before the cleansing of the true sanctuary can be accomplished.

And this is the very object of the true priesthood in the true sanctuary. The sacrifices, the priesthood, and the ministry in the sanctuary which was but a figure for the time then present, could not really take away sin, could not make the comers thereunto perfect, whereas the sacrifice, the priesthood, and the ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary does take away sins forever, does make the comers thereunto perfect, does perfect "forever them that are sanctified." 

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