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CLEANSING THE SANCTUARY
“And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat; and Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat,” &c. Lev. 16:20,21
It seems that “reconciling the holy place,” &c., is the same as “cleansing the sanctuary,” and the above text clearly locates that work after the blood of the goat had been sprinkled on the mercy seat, as the blood of the bullock had been before it, and immediately preceding the laying of hands on the head of the scapegoat. If our view be correct, this locates the cleansing of the sanctuary after the ascension of the saints—the “little flock”—as represented by Aaron, who went up into the mount of God to meet Moses, and received power with him to execute judgment and deliver Israel.
And we would here urge the point, that, if the sprinkling of the bullock’s blood on the mercy seat was fulfilled after the ascension of Christ, and if, as now seems clear, the slain goat represents those who follow the Lord in sacrifice, then we ought not to expect the fulfillment of the sprinkling of the goat’s blood until after the ascension of the saints whom the goat represents. The acceptance of Christ’s complete sacrifice secured to him the power requisite to the performance of His work from Pentecost forward; so the acceptance of the complete sacrifice of the saints will secure to them the power to execute the judgments which are to follow their exaltation, for the deliverance of the “great multitude” that fear, or reverence, God’s name. And it seems that just as certain as the slain goat represents the little flock, the cleansing that takes place after their ascension cannot have any reference to the saints, but to a work for others, in which, after their exaltation, the saints are to be the assistants of Christ.
What can that work be? From facts already mentioned in other articles, we are led to the conclusion that the cleansing of the sanctuary will find its fulfillment in the separation of the great multitude of the church from Babylon, under whom they have been in bondage, and by contact with whom they had been defiled. This cleansing, or coming out of Babylon, we understand to be the washing their robes and making them white, and that it was foreshadowed by the separation of Israel from Egypt, and their consequent exemption from the seven last plagues, which came on Egypt. This exemption in Goshen we understand to be the foreshadowing of the state of the washed ones, or who have gained the victory over the corruptions of Babylon, as they stand on “as it were, a sea of glass, mingled with fire.” Then a thousand shall fall at their side, and ten thousand at their right hand, but it shall not come nigh them.
If, as seems clear to us, the scapegoat represents Babylon, or those on whom the seven last plagues are to come, then this separation, or washing of the great multitude, stands in the right place to fulfill the type of cleansing the sanctuary; i.e., after the exaltation of the little flock, and just before the seven last plagues.
Our position, briefly stated, is, first, that the sacrifice of the bullock represented the sacrifice of the body prepared for Christ, and that the sprinkling of its blood on the mercy seat represented the presentation of Christ’s complete sacrifice before the Father when He ascended on high.
Second: That the sacrifice of the Lord’s goat represented the sacrifice of our bodies, as we, by the power of the Spirit, which is Christ in us, are made conformable unto His death; and that the sprinkling of the goat’s blood on the mercy seat represented the presentation of the complete sacrifice of the saints before the Father, when they ascend on high.
Third: That the “reconciling of the holy place,” or “cleansing of the sanctuary,” which took place after the sprinkling of the goat’s blood on the mercy seat, represented the separation of the “great multitude” of the household of faith from Babylon, by washing their robes from the defilements of Babylon, in both doctrine and practice, and that the separate, or cleansed state, is, “as it were, a sea of glass, mingled with fire.”
Fourth: That laying hands on the head of the scapegoat represented the pouring of the seven vials of wrath upon Babylon, after the great multitude are separated or cleansed.
Fifth: It is further evident that this scapegoat work must be accomplished before the complete ending of the gospel age, or antitypical atonement day, the closing work of which brings not only the reward of prophets and saints, but also of them that fear God’s name, small and great, and the destruction of them (Babylon) that destroy, or corrupt, the earth. Rev. 11:18.
Sixth: The fact that no man of these, on, “as it were, a sea of glass,” is permitted to enter into the temple in heaven until after the plagues are fulfilled (Rev. 15:8), seems clearly represented by the statement in Lev. 16:17. “And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.” This necessitates the scapegoat work as well as the things that precede it. Vs. 10.
The reason we present these things is the apparent harmony, to our minds, between the facts of the gospel dispensation elsewhere revealed and the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. We have endeavored to find in the picture an illustration of the landscape, so to speak. We do not present these thoughts in the spirit of dogmatism or concision. We are sure that the Lord will do all things after the counsel of His own will, whether we understand that will or not, but we believe it is our duty and privilege to search and learn all we can about His ways. Even the effort to learn is beneficial, if we do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think; and if we have been, or may be, able to discern truth, all credit is due, not to us, but to the Spirit of truth.
One thing we wish to emphasize: not so much those who understand the philosophy of the sacrifice are to be sharers with Christ, as those who make the sacrifice; as not those who understand the process of digestion are benefited by the food, but those who digest it. If our view of this work of sacrifice be right, we are sure it has not been commonly known, but we are as sure that many, during the age, have been conformed to the will and death of Christ. It is not supposable that the woman who cast two mites into the treasury understood this view of the sacrifice and things associated, yet Jesus assures us she did more than the many others, because she gave her all. All that we have—our life, time, talents and property—are the Lord’s, and we are stewards for Him. “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are His.” J. H. P.
— November, 1880 —