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Looking Unto Jesus

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    14 MINISTRATION OF THE SANCTUARY IN HEAVEN

    AS it has now been clearly ascertained that there is a literal sanctuary in heaven, the temple of God, where men have a real and literal mediator, Jesus Christ the righteous, ready to intercede for them, an interest at once arises concerning the service of that heavenly temple, couched in the inquiry. That is the ministry connected with that place, and how is it performed? In entering upon this, the most important branch of the subject before us, we are not left to explore our way alone. Guides, appointed of Heaven to lead the inquiring mind into the right way, are present to direct us. Paul, in his divine commentary on the typical system, addressed to the Hebrews, draws out in plainest terms the parallel between the priestly work of that system and the ministry of our Lord, who is a priest after the order of Melchisedec. Arm in arm with the apostle, we walk forward to the following conclusions:-LUJ 118.1

    1. The earthly sanctuary meets its antitype in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man, of which, with its two holy places, it constituted a correct pattern or shadow. Hebrews 8:2, 5; 9:8, 9, 12, 23, 24.LUJ 118.2

    2. The typical offerings meet their antitype in the great offering on Calvary. Hebrews 7:27; 9:11-14, 26; 10:10, 12, 14.LUJ 118.3

    3. The typical priesthood meets its antitype in the priesthood of our Lord. Hebrews 4:14; 7:23, 24; 8:1, 2; 9:11, 24, 25.LUJ 118.4

    4. As the priests on earth had offerings to make, it is necessary that Christ also have somewhat to offer. This is plainly stated in Hebrews 8:3.LUJ 119.1

    5. The work of the priest in the earthly tabernacle meets its antitype in the ministry of our Lord in the sanctuary above. Hebrews 8:5, 6.LUJ 119.2

    That Christ is our High Priest, and that he has ascended to heaven, there to minister for us, will not be disputed by any of that class of people for whom these pages are written.LUJ 119.3

    When did he commence his ministry in the sanctuary on high? - When he ascended up to appear in the presence of God for us. Hebrews 9:8, 11, 12, 24; 10:12. On this there can be no diversity of opinion; because these scriptures plainly state the fact.LUJ 119.4

    Where did he commence his ministry? Was it in a place corresponding to the first apartment, or holy place, of the earthly sanctuary, or in some place which corresponds to the most holy place? In other words, does Christ minister in two apartments in the sanctuary above, so that somewhere in his ministry he changes his work from one to the other as the high priest did in his ministry in the sanctuary here on earth? or does he minister in only one apartment, and that corresponding to the most holy place? While all the evidence points to the fact that Christ commenced his work in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, issue is taken on this point by some, and the claim is set up that he ministers only in the most holy place. This view in reality is that there is in the antitype only a “most holy place,” and that is all heaven; consequently, Christ has but one place in which to minister, and his work goes on without change of character or locality from beginning to end. Let us see what this view involves:-LUJ 119.5

    1. The ministration in the most holy place, according to the type, is the “cleansing of the sanctuary,” let it take place when it will, and continue as long as it may. So, according to this view, the cleansing of the sanctuary commenced when Christ ascended to heaven, and he has been doing no other work for these eighteen hundred years past, and it is not completed yet. Why, then, may it not just as appropriately continue eighteen hundred years more, and indefinitely longer? This reduces the idea of the cleansing of the sanctuary to an absurdity; for in the type it was a special work to occupy only a portion of one day in the whole year, and to bring to a conclusion a round of service almost all of which was performed in the first apartment.LUJ 120.1

    2. The earthly sanctuary was the shadow cast here by the heavenly, and the earthly had two apartments certainly; but if the heavenly has but one apartment, the most holy alone, how could it cast upon earth a shadow with two? When people will show us a monument with a single shaft casting in the light of the same sun a shadow with two shafts, then they may talk about a heavenly sanctuary with one apartment casting a shadow here upon the earth with two. Till then, let those who have any regard for their reputation as men of common observation or philosophy, never hint at such an idea. But if there are two apartments in the heavenly sanctuary, that settles the question of the ministration; there must be a ministration performed in each apartment; for surely an apartment would not be provided in which no ministration was to be performed.LUJ 120.2

    3. But the service of the priests was a shadow of heavenly things, just as much as the place in which they ministered. And by far the greater portion of their ministry was performed in the first apartment, or holy place.LUJ 120.3

    Now, a ministry performed by the earthly priests, in the holy place could not shadow forth a ministry to be performed by Christ only in the most holy place. Therefore, on the view under examination, all this service in the holy place for three hundred and sixty-four days out of the year was performed unto the example and shadow of - nothing! and this, too, right in the face of the apostle’s declaration that they served - of course, in all their service - unto the shadow and example of the ministration of Christ in heaven.LUJ 121.1

    4. If heaven is the most holy place simply, what is the vail, as in the type, dividing between it and the holy place? Hebrews 10:19, 20, is sometimes quoted, with the claim that the vail represented Christ’s flesh. This will be noticed hereafter. It is sufficient here simply to remark, that if this be so, then when Christ entered within the vail, as they say he did when he ascended, and as Paul says that he has (Hebrews 6:19, 20), he entered within his flesh, an expression which would be absurd. These texts assert simply that his flesh is the new and living way consecrated for us, not that it is the vail. His flesh, or, which is the same thing, his sacrifice, is the offering with which we, by faith, enter into the true holy places, as these verses assert.LUJ 121.2

    5. The text, “This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12), has been urged as forbidding the idea of his ministering in two holy places. The answer to this is, that, so far as the idea of sitting is concerned, it would be equally proper to represent him as standing on the Father’s right hand. Acts 7:55, 56. And then it might be replied further, that even when he is seen coming in the clouds of heaven, he is said to be “sitting on the right hand of power.” Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62.LUJ 121.3

    Then he can certainly be at the Father’s right hand in both the holy places. But Paul bears direct testimony on this point. He says that Christ is a minister of the sanctuary; and the word here rendered “sanctuary” (Hebrews 8:2) is in the plural number, and signifies the “holy places.” This none can deny. It is by the Douay Bible rendered, “the holies;” and by Macknight, “holy places.” It may therefore be justly concluded (1) that our Lord can be a minister of the two holy places, and yet be at the Father’s right hand; and (2) that he must minister in both the holy places, or Paul’s testimony that he is a minister of the holies (plural) is not true; for a priest that should minister simply in the holiest of all, would not be a minister of the holy places.LUJ 122.1

    6. Again: Hebrews 9:8, 24 and also 10:19, are by some brought forward to prove that Christ ministers only in the most holy place. The first and last of these texts both speak of the “holiest” as though it were in the singular number; but it is to be observed that the words thus rendered are not in the singular, but plural; not “hagia hagion,” holy of holies, as in chapter 9:3, but simply “hagion,” holies, plural, the same as is rendered sanctuary in chapter 8:2. Also the phrase in chapter 9:12, 25, rendered “unto the holy place,” is the same as in verse 24, and should be literally rendered, “into the holy places” (plural). And the expression, “heaven itself,” in verse 24, is nothing against the idea that there are two apartments in the heavenly sanctuary; for they are both, taken together, the center of Christ’s mediatorial work; one is as much “heaven itself” as the other. These texts, therefore, instead of sustaining what they are often quoted to prove; viz., that Christ has but one apartment in which to minister, furnish positive testimony to the reverse, by showing that there are holy places in the heavenly sanctuary, and that Jesus ministers in them both.LUJ 122.2

    A thought as to how the sinner is enabled to appropriate the sacrifice of Christ in his behalf. Under the type, the sinner laid his hand upon his offering and confessed over him his sin for which he desired pardon, and the offering was then slain and its blood ministered, as has already been set forth. In this dispensation, Christ is the great offering, the antitype of all those presented under the law. He has already shed his blood, being slain by the hands of wicked men. The sinner comes to Christ and virtually lays his hand upon him by confessing his sins and seeking pardon through his blood. His plea is accepted; for Christ says that he will in nowise cast out any that come unto him. By this act the sinner is pardoned; his sin is transferred to his offering and through that by the ministration of the priest who is also Christ, to the sanctuary itself - now in reality just as it was in the type in figure.LUJ 123.1

    If the idea should arise in any mind, that because Paul says that we enter in by faith into the heavenly holy places, the word should be in the singular number, because we could not enter into two holy places at one and the same time, it will be sufficient to remember that the texts do not confine our entering these places to one and the same time. It was doubtless this perplexity in the minds of the translators, which led them deliberately to render a word by the singular number, which is in the original in the plural. Christ performs his ministry in both the holy places respectively, according to whatever branch of his work he is performing - in the holy place till the work there is concluded, then in the most holy, when the time comes for the work which is to be accomplished there. And Paul, speaking for the church since Christ ascended, says, We enter into the holy places by faith. That is, the church through all its history finds Christ by faith, wherever he is. Those who live while Christ is in the first apartment, find him there; and those who live when he ministers in the second apartment, find him there. Both the holy places, each apartment of the “true tabernacle” above, but each in its appropriate time, are open to the church by faith, so that they can approach their great High Priest, and present their petitions to him.LUJ 123.2

    If, then, there are two apartments in the sanctuary on high where Christ ministers, as it has been shown that there must be, and if Christ ministers in both, as the type proves and Paul declares, it follows that at some time in the course of his ministry, Christ must change the location of his work, and enter from the holy place into the most holy, to perform a special ministry there, as did the high priest, under the type, on the day of atonement. But in the type, the ministry in the most holy place was the last work of the complete yearly round of service in the sanctuary, when as we have seen, the work again began for another year. So in the antitype, the work of Christ in the most holy place must be the last part of his ministry as priest, and the finishing of his work of mediation for the world. For Christ does not complete a round of service once every year as was done in the type, but comprehends all his work in one great round of service, once for all. It was necessary in the type to make the periods of ministry short, so that the same high priest could go through the entire service, and thus be a consistent type of Christ. Making these periods one year each in length, would accomplish this. But each of these yearly rounds of service shadowed forth Christ’s one great round of PICTURE AND TEXT
    service once for all, which will be forever completed by the service he performs at last in the most holy place.
    LUJ 124.1

    There are conclusions to be drawn, by and by, from the premises here laid down, so momentous and startling that we pause a moment to fortify the position that Christ ministers in two apartments of the heavenly sanctuary, by answering here two special objections which are often urged against it.LUJ 125.1

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