There is an attack on the heart of Adventism. Seventh-day Adventists know that Jesus went into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844, shutting the door to the holy and opening the door into the most holy. This is present truth.
By faith, believers join Jesus in the most holy place. The work of our High Priest is not only a judicial act, but a living experience and a great blessing for His people.
Satan is trying to open the shut door and shut the open door, (Early Writings, 56) to get our minds off Jesus' work in the most holy. He would have us forget the third angel’s message and receive his disguised, false versions of it.
Satan is laboring tirelessly to keep God's people from thoroughly understanding the final atonement. He wants us to see it as something not directly involving us. He hopes to get us to believe it is far away in the distant heavens instead of within the hearts of His chosen, within the soul-temple.
We have been warned, “The enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the holy place, that Jesus has shut, and to close the door of the most holy place, which He opened in 1844, where the ark is, containing the two tables of stone on which are written the ten commandments by the finger of Jehovah.
“Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. . .” (Early Writings, 43, emphasis supplied).
Understanding the Two Apartments
To say that Jesus is not in the most holy is to deny the very foundational teaching of Adventism, but Satan’s scheme of getting people in the wrong apartment is more subtle yet. He would shift our thinking and practice so as to unknowingly return Jesus to the holy place. When this happens, we will not find Jesus there but the evil one himself (Early Writings, 56). I believe this has already happened. Ellen White wrote about this deception because it is real; we must not rest until we can explain this vision to ourselves and others.
How to Close the Door
Satan has two false teachings; both can return us to the holy place experientially, while making us believe we are understanding and cooperating with Jesus in the most holy.
Before we can know in which apartment of the heavenly sanctuary our minds truly reside, we must clearly see the difference between the two experiences. In the holy place we have the shewbread, Jesus, the Bread of Life. We study our Bibles to feed on Jesus and His truth.
The candlestick represents Jesus, the Light of the World and the Holy Spirit who lives in us to transform us into the image of God. The table of incense represents our prayers intermingled with the righteousness of Christ, which presents a sweet savor to the Father.
This holy place experience takes place daily so it’s called the daily. It’s the daily experience of the sinner as he is brought closer and closer to God’s hope for him. Daily the suppliant reads the Word; daily he is enlightened by the Holy Spirit and daily has his prayers presented to the Father, that he may be accepted, justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ. This is the daily sanctification process, the first apartment experience.
Since 1844, a new blessing has been added to the daily. On the yearly Day of Atonement, the cleansing of the sanctuary, the judgment was held. Moses tells us what was to happen on that day.
“For on that day shall [the priest] make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, [that] ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. . .. And he shall make an atonement . . .for all the people of the congregation” (Leviticus 16:30, 33, emphasis supplied).
Just as the daily was an act of living the Christian experience, growing daily, to be re-created more and more after the image of God, the yearly was a time for moral growth as well.
In Great Controversy chapter “Facing Life’s Record,” we see what the judgment will bring. Notice how many events are brought together with the final judgment: the latter rain, the blotting out of sins and the complete fulfillment of the new covenant promise. At this time, the law will be written on our hearts, and God’s people will be called “holy.” The prophet writes,
“Thus will be realized the complete fulfillment of the new-covenant promise: ‘I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.’ ‘In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found.’ Jeremiah 31:34; 50:20. ‘In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem.’ Isaiah 4:2, 3.
“The work of the investigative judgment and the blotting out of sins is to be accomplished before the second advent of the Lord. Since the dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books, it is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out until after the judgment at which their cases are to be investigated. But the apostle Peter distinctly states that the sins of believers will be blotted out ‘when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ.’ Acts 3:19, 20. When the investigative judgment closes, Christ will come, and His reward will be with Him to give to every man as his work shall be.” (The Great Controversy, 485, emphasis supplied).
With this cleansing, sin ends in the lives of believers. Sins are blotted out, not just from the record books in heaven, but from the heart, where God's law is now written. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) This is done by the perfecting, sealing work of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain, (Testimonies to Ministers, 506-509) which completes the sanctification process.
This work is done for God’s people in the most holy place, to finish the work that was started in the first apartment. However, in the holy of holies, God’s grace comes in a much greater degree. Ellen White calls it the “richest abundance of grace,” (Testimonies to Ministers, 508).
One way to shut the open door is to deny that perfection of character occurs during the blotting out of sins before the close of probation. We often hear that perfection does not come until the second coming. This denies that the final atonement comes during the Investigative Judgment, while Jesus is still in the most holy place. So, we are put back into the holy place, effectively shutting the open door that was opened in 1844.
How to be in the Wrong Place
We can be in the wrong apartment in two ways. We can either think we must become perfect under the first apartment experience before our names come up in judgment, or we can put off sinlessness until the second coming. Either way, we are not in the most holy place awaiting the “perfecting latter rain,” ( Testimonies to Ministers, 509).
I asked one pastor if there is any character change under the latter rain. “No,” he said, “all character development must take place, and we must become perfect under the former rain in the holy place.” This is a clear example of worshiping in the holy, not the most holy.
How can Historic Adventists believe we must be perfect before we can enter with Jesus by faith into the most holy to receive the judgment and the “perfecting latter rain?” (Testimonies to Ministers, 506). They are still in the holy place. They are apprehensive, almost scared to death and discouraged, having no confidence to enter the judgment, no sweet love, joy and peace (Early Writings, 56). Believing God will finish the work in us while we remain in the holy place is one way we aid Satan's attempt to shut the door to the most holy.
The Other Way to Close the Open Door
The above teaching was most prevalent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, continuing through the 1960’s and 70’s. As believers found it seemingly impossible to become perfect under the former rain and strained under the great burden of sin, a much-needed new emphasis on justification by faith alone came onto the scene in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Unfortunately, the “new theology” also came into our beloved church, de-emphasizing the Law and the final judgment. This smacks of the evangelical belief in “once saved, always saved.”
Along with this liberal thought came another deadly heresy: we won’t be perfect until Jesus comes; the cleansing of the sanctuary has nothing to do with the cleansing of the soul temple; it’s only a judicial act, restricted to heaven and its record books.
New theology advocates leave us with the idea that any cleansing of God’s people occurs under the former rain in the holy place, the first apartment experience. They deny that complete Christian perfection, sanctified trust in the Lord, occurs before the Second Coming.
This is another of Satan’s attempts to close the shut door to the most holy. This teaches that we won’t become perfectly sinless until Jesus appears in the clouds. If true, then we aren’t perfected in the most holy by the latter rain before the close of probation. Sadly, this is denying the “complete fulfillment of the new covenant promise,” the latter rain and the blotting out of sins (Acts 3:19, The Great Controversy, 485).
Two Wrong Choices
Satan presents us with two ways to get us out of the most holy. First, he tells us we must either be perfect, totally sanctified, before we can enter the final atonement. Or, he puts off any idea of perfection or sinlessness until the Second Coming. Satan is a super salesman. He gives us two wrong choices, and is “. . . now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth and to cause them to waver” (Early Writings, 43, emphasis supplied).
Present truth is more than Sabbath or Sunday; it is the sealing of the 144,000, our great privilege of glorifying God by perfectly reflecting His image (Early Writings, 71). The message for today is the cleansing of the sanctuary, the finishing of the mystery of God, (Colossians 1:26-28; Rev. 10:7.) the complete fulfillment of the new covenant promise (Great Controversy, 485). It is the restoration of the image of God in His people, the perfecting latter rain, the blotting out of sins.
Before Israel can fulfill her duty, she must receive the latter rain. We read,
“The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God’s grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ” (Testimonies to Ministers, 506, emphasis supplied). “The latter rain, ripening earth's harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man,” (Ibid, 507).
Let us enter the most holy by faith (1888 127; 20MR, 1454). Let us remain there. Let us seek to be like Christ. Let us receive the final atonement. Let us plead the imputed, justifying righteousness of Christ and nothing else. Let us receive the sanctifying, imparted righteous through the latter rain.
Finally, let us rejoice always.
David Arthur Miller