GOD'S OBJECTIVE FOR THE SANCTUARY
- I -
issue of WWN, we begin an analysis of the Sanctuary doctrine as originally
taught and believed by the
We recognize that the NIV was not in existence at the time of the Conferences in 1955-1956, but the dissatisfaction with existing versions began to manifest itself among the Evangelicals in the 1950s. We contrast the KJV translation of Hebrew 8:5 with the NIV translation which reflects their thinking, and reveals their gross mistranslation of the Greek text to justify such thinking.
We also give consideration to Hebrews 9:11-12, one sentence in the Greek text, translated differently in the RSV than in the KJV. This editor was told by one of the Adventist conferees that this verse was a factor which contributed to the Adventist compromise. Need it have been so? But, are there aspects of our sanctuary doctrine which need to be corrected? What were the daily and yearly sanctuary services typifying?
God's Objective for the
In 1981 Baker Book House released a book by Jack P. Lewis - The English Bible/ From KJV to NIV. The first sentence of the chapter on the NIV reads - "The New International Version . . . arose out of evangelicals' dissatisfaction with existing translations." While the NIV "is a completely new translation from the original languages of the Bible," it reflects evangelical concepts. This becomes evident in the translation of Hebrews 8:5, clearly a definitive text on the purpose of God for the ancient Hebrew sanctuary. In the NIV, this verse in context reads:
If he (Christ) were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.
This reduces the sanctuary teaching to a study of a structure, which merely reflected a shadowy representation of the heavenly reality. In this structure just a round of ritualistic services were conducted by priests under an inferior covenant. The relationship between type and antitype was structural rather than instructional.
The KJV reads:
If he (Christ) were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing there are priests that offer gifts according to the law who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.
There is a difference between serving in a typical structure according to a prescribed ritual, and serving as an example of what the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ was and is to be. The latter is the heart of the sanctuary truth, or as stated in Hebrews 8:1-2: - "This is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" How do we know what the High Priest is doing in that tabernacle? The earthly priests served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things."
Drs. Sakae Kubo and Walter F. Specht, in their book, So Many Versions?, commenting on the New Testament Greek text which was used for the NIV, wrote:
According to the preface (in the NIV), the Greek text is "an eclectic one" based on "accepted principles of New Testament textual criticism" in consultation with "the best current printed texts of the Greek New Testament" (p. ix). A careful examination of the NIV New Testament shows that in general its text follows modern critical Greek texts such as Nestle-Aland and the United Bible Society text but not always (p. 245; emphasis supplied).
The NIV translation of Hebrews 8:5a falls into the "not always" category. The Greek Text of the United Bible Societies' New Testament (Second Edition) is:
tineV 'upodeigmati kai skia latreuousin twn epouraniwn.
Literally translated this reads - "They unto example and shadow serve of heavenly things." The tineV is a demonstrative pronoun modifying "priests" of verse 4. Both "example" ('upodeigma) and shadow (skia) are in the dative case. By the use of the dative, the "example and shadow" are focused on persons, "they serve" - not a material object such as the tabernacle being the shadow and example as the NIV infers. See A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, p. 536.
Another Verse - Hebrews 9:12
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither bv the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (KJV).
Hebrews 9:11-12 is one sentence in the Greek text with one main verb in the aorist or past tense and two dependent aorist participial clauses. The question which confronts the translator is: Should the last participial clause read, "having obtained eternal redemption" (KJV) or "thus obtaining eternal redemption" (RSV). The basic sentence is - "He entered in" (eishlqen). If prior to His
in, Jesus obtained eternal redemption, then the atonement was completed at the
cross. If, however, by His entering in, He obtains eternal redemption, there is
a continuing ministration as the High Priest after the order of Melchizedec. If
Hebrews 8:5 is understood as the KJV translates it in accordance with the Greek
text, the meaning of Heb. 9:12 is clear. He enters in "thus obtaining
eternal redemption for us." The type indicates a priestly ministration
beyond the Altar of Burnt Offering in the Court which typified the Cross, to a
final ministry in the
Hebrews 9:11-12 is a linguistic example of the Aorist Participle of "Identical Action." Nunn in his Short Syntax of New Testament Greek comments:
The Aorist Participle sometimes denotes action identical with that of the main verb, but described from a different point of view. In this case the action is obviously not antecedent in time to that of the main verb. . . . The Aorist Participle of identical action most frequently accompanies a verb in the Aorist Indicative (Par. 264).
In Hebrews the main verb, as noted above, is in the Aorist Indicative. Further, the first participial clause, "being come an high priest" can only be understood grammatically as "identical action" since Christ did not become a high priest till after "He entered in" (Acts 2:33). Thus both participles indicate activity subsequent to Christ's ascension rather than antecedent to His entering is.
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) translates Hebrew -12 thus:
But when Christ entered as a High Priest of the good things
that have come, through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands,
that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the
the blood shed on
The controversy over the sanctuary doctrine should be a corrective one, not a denial of the basic truth and its teaching. The "example and shadow" of the priestly service must be accurately translated in its application to the heavenly reality. Wherein this has not been done, needs to be done; and if erroneously done, corrected. Two distinct services marked the type, one a daily, and the other a yearly. This was called an "individual atonement" and a "national atonement" in the first researched study on the subject by 0. R. L. Crosier in 1846. This article will be noted in detail in a future issue of WWN.
The "individual atonement," or the daily services, was both individual and corporate, and involved the common priests, as well as the High Priest, while the "national atonement," or the yearly service, though likewise corporate and individual, was ministered solely by the High Priest. The distinctions made in the type need to be carefully noted for some of the comparisons made call for correction. We shall first study the daily services as outlined in Leviticus 4 noting the four categories of "sinners," the officiating priest in each category, the disposition of the blood, and the result to the sinner whether individual or the corporate body.
(A chart with references is included as one of the pages of this issue.)
general observations should first be made. The only sins covered were sins of
ignorance. The chapter is headed - "If a soul shall sin through ignorance
against any of the commandments of the Lord." (v. 2).
Premeditated and deliberate sins were not included. Only when the sin would
"come to [the sinner's] knowledge" (vs. 23, 28) was the prescribed
sacrifice to be presented at the sanctuary. Even then "the law made
nothing perfect, but the bringing of a better hope did" (Heb. ). This "better hope"
was the thrust of the gospel. Paul in his sermon delivered in the synagogue of
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you, forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)
This inadequacy of the ceremonial law, as noted by Paul, points up the fact that the service of the priests in the earthly sanctuary was instructional in regard to the Lamb of God, and His ministry as High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec, rather than mere ritual. "They served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things."
In the four categories of "sinners," the blood of confession was recorded in two different places, as well as two different orders of priests ministering those confessions.
If the anointed priest shall sin so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock (4:3 ARV).
Then this same "anointed priest" - the high priest - was to take of the bullock's blood and "bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation" (4:5) There he was to perform the following:
1) The priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle the blood seven times before the Lord, before the vail of the sanctuary.
2) The Priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord which is in the tabernacle of the congregation.
3) The priest shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation (4:6-7).
The same three steps were performed when the whole congregation confessed their sin collectively (-18).
In the two other categories of "sinners" which involved individuals as individuals, the first two steps as outlined for corporate confession altered. They differed as to who the officiating priest was, and where the record of confession was recorded. The instruction reads:
The (common) priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. (4:25, 30, 34).
A further step involved the offering of confession for the individual. The common priest ate a part of the sacrifice. This requirement stated:
This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord; it is most holy. The (common) priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Lev. 6:25-26).
The result to each confessor whether the congregation corporately, or the individual, be he ruler or one of the common people, was the atonement of "forgiveness." This atonement was secured through the ministry of the priest by the blood of the substitute (, 26, 31, 35). There is one exception. The dictum, "the priest shall make atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him" is not stated for the High Priest when he sinned "so as to bring guilt upon the people." This should serve as more than a warning light to those in positions of religious leadership when they make decisions that affect the entire church. It should be a red light! Does this say anything about compromises of 1955-56?
Some other observations should be made in regard to the daily services.
The Hebrew word translated "ruler" is nasi'. It is used of tribal chiefs, princes and kings. It is also used of priests: "And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief (nasi') over the chief (nasi') of the Levites, and have oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary" (Numbers ).
Thus all, from the kings and princes, including the priests to the most insignificant of the common people, found their forgiveness at the Altar of Burnt Offering in the Court of the sanctuary. There their confession of sin committed was made and recorded. This atonement was in turn ministered by a common priest.
The antitype of this "example and shadow" is to be found in the earthly ministry of Jesus. The Altar of Burnt Offering symbolized the Cross. There is no status at the foot of the Cross, for we become all one in Christ Jesus. He ministered the atonement of forgiveness in His own blood, partaking of the nature of man so that He could die, "Himself the priest; Himself the victim."
question, Jesus as a priest on earth. So did the religious leadership of
That ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (He said to the sick of palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house" (v. 24).
Luke records the reaction of the forgiven man and the "multitude" gathered in the house:
Immediately (the healed man) arose . . . departed. . . glorifying God. (The rest) were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today (vs. 25-26).
Confession and Transfer
In each instance, whether for a corporate transgression, or for the individual's sin and confession, there is found the instruction, that the sinner was to "lay his hand upon the head of the" victim (vs. 4, 15, 24, 29, 33). The confession was to be specific: "He shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing" (5:5). This laying on of the hand was more than casually doing so. The same word used in Leviticus 4 is found in Amos 5:19 where a man "leaned his hand on the wall" thus supporting himself. In other words the ones bringing their sacrifices placed their full weight on the victim. In the reality, we too, must place our complete dependence on "the Lamb of God which beareth away the sin of the world" (John margin).
The question comes to the fore as to the objective of this ritual. Was it a means of the transfer of sin to the sanctuary? Or was it a confession of the sin which had come to remembrance which had been committed in ignorance, thus seeking forgiveness? This "example and shadow" pre-figured the promise as found in the New Testament: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (I John 1:9). The same three elements in the type - the sinner making confession, the blood of the sacrifice, and the ministering priest with the resulting atonement - forgiveness - are in the antitype. We must not forget that while Jesus is at the right hand of God exalted as High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedec, He ever liveth to make intercession for us. (Heb.1:3; -17, 25). In the symbolism of Revelation, He is the "Lamb as it had been slain" (5:6). Never does His intercession as common priest cease until His work as High Priest is finished. The dual ministry of Christ is prefigured in the dual atonements of the "example and shadow" of heavenly things.
Now to another aspect of the question, is sin transferred to the sanctuary via the sin offering? In the ritual of the type - "the example and shadow" - the sinner was unaware that he had sinned; he was in ignorance. But had no record been made of the sin he had committed? What then was the purpose of the books in which are recorded the deeds of those who are eternally lost? (Rev. 20:12). The blood of the sin offering is the means by which the guilt is removed for the sin previously recorded. The confession is recorded; the sin is forgiven.
We have believed that the blood of the sin offering defiled the sanctuary. The sin offering is declared to be "most holy" (Lev. ). Can that which is most holy defile? Further, the burning of the fat of the sin offering was declared to be "a sweet savour unto the Lord" (). Can such be a means of defilement? Can such be a means to confer sins already recorded to the sanctuary? The whole purpose of the plan of redemption is the removal of sin so that this present state "shall not be remembered nor come into mind" (Isa. 65:17). The only remembrance of the past will be the nail-scared hands and pierced side of Him who died, but is alive forevermore, so that sin shall never arise again a second time. (John 20:27; Rev. 1:18; Hab. 3:4 margin)
In the daily service, the blood of the confessional
sin offerings of the individual was recorded on the horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering in the Court. None was brought by the officiating common priest into the sanctuary. The recognition of this fact in the "example and shadow" of the daily services will require a corrective interpretation of the final work of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.
The High Priest and the Daily Services
While it is evident from a study of Leviticus 4, that by far most of the ministry of the sin offerings would be performed by the common priests, there were two categories in which the High Priest alone officiated:
1) When he sinned so as to bring guilt upon the people corporately (4:3 ARV).
2) When the whole congregation sinned.
In the first incident, the High Priest, not only brought a confessional sacrifice of a bullock, but he also offered it, and he himself sprinkled the blood before the vail within the sanctuary, and placed a mark on the horns of the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place. Yet there is no statement that "he shall make atonement for himself, and it shall be forgiven him." More study needs to be given to the meaning of this service if considered as an "example and shadow" of heavenly things. It could not be of Christ as High Priest.
second required service of the High Priest was for corporate confession made by
the elders of the congregation for
In the 10th Chapter of Leviticus is recorded an incident of a goat offered as a sin offering (16-18). While the gender is not indicated, it can be assumed to be a male goat, the offering required of a ruler. The Law of the Sin Offering, as given in Leviticus 6:26, required that the common priest eat of it. Because it was not done, Moses' anger was directed toward the sons of Aaron who were serving as common priests, and had not eaten of it. He questioned their failure:
Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? Behold the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded. (10:17-18).
There are two different "holy places" referred to in these verses, the first, the court of the tabernacle of the congregation as commanded in the Law of the Sin Offering (6:26), and the second, the first apartment of the sanctuary itself.
The main point made by Moses in his rebuke was the fact that the common priest was to bear the iniquity in himself in making the atonement for them. He became the sin-bearer in partaking of the sin offering. Here in "example and shadow" is the representation of the reality of which Paul wrote when he penned -
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (II Cor. 5:21).
"example and shadow" reaches still further. Even as the sin-offering
actually became a part of the priest, so Christ would partake of our flesh and
blood (Heb. ) so He could condemn sin in the flesh that the
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us (
NOTES: * "if the anointed priest sin as to bring guilt on the people" 4:3 ARV.