XXXVI - 6(03)


what of the night?”

"The hour has come, the hour is striking and striking at you,
the hour and the end!"            Eze. 7:6 (Moffatt)

The Roots of the
Sanctuary Teaching

Editor's Preface

This issue of WWN will deal primarily with tracing the roots of a key doctrine of historic Seventh-day Adventism from the "seventh-month movement" led by Samuel Snow and George Storrs through the Great Disappointment with the perceptions gained by Hiram Edson, and a published study by 0. R. L. Crosier. It will be noted that the original question involved what constituted the "sanctuary." In those basic original studies there was no suggestion made of an "investigative judgment." In a series of articles, written by the late Don F. Neufeld, a highly respected associate editor of the Adventist Review, he stated that this concept came thirteen years after the passing of the time in 1844, and suggested that one should not equate "the cleansing of the sanctuary" with the "investigative judgment." However, there is a "judgment" (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 14:7).

Beyond the "roots" observed in this issue, there are other factors which will need to be considered. Since Christ will come "the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28), it means that the issue which initiated the sin problem will have been resolved prior to that time, and that resolution will have been made at the Throne of God where sin began.

The New Testament book of Hebrews introduces the vertical typology hermeneutic. This is a basic interpretive tool for understanding the meaning of the ministry of those priests of the wilderness tabernacle, who served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." There are, however, questions which need to be considered involving a word usage found in the book itself. All of this must await future issues of WWN.

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On September 5, 1822, William Miller signed a statement of 20 beliefs which constituted his faith. Article XV read - "I believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ is near, even at the door, even within twenty-one years, - on or before 1843." In so concluding, Miller had studied carefully various prophecies of the Bible. He found seven line prophecies which by applying the Biblical rule - a prophetic day equals one literal year - terminated in 1843 according to his calculations. (Arasola, The End of Historicism, Appendix III, p. 220). One of these seven was Daniel 8:14. Connecting this prophecy with the explanation given by Gabriel (9:24-27) he began the prophetic reckoning from 457 B.C. with the terminus date, 1843.

As the year commenced, Miller detailed the time more specifically. In the Millerite movement's flagship publication, Signs of the Times (Jan. 25, 1843), he wrote:

I believe that time can be known by all who desire to understand and to be ready for his coming. And I am fully convinced that some time between March 21st, 1843, and March 21st, 1844, according to the Jewish mode of computation of time, Christ will come.

When the date March 21, 1844 passed and Christ did not come, Miller wished to keep the return of Christ imminent, with no specific date set. Not so, many of his supporters. Dr. Kai Arasola, in his doctoral dissertation submitted to the Theological Faculty of the University of Uppsala notes the results which followed:

In February 1844 two men, Samuel Snow and George Storrs began promoting a typological solution to the problem of time. By the summer of 1844 they had concluded that October 22, 1844 was the exact date of the end and in an August camp meeting they attained massive support for their calculations against feeble polemic by Miller and his associates. They thus launched the final fervent phase of the revival, called the "seventh-month movement" or the "midnight cry." In its exegesis as well as in its emphasis this stage of Millerism has to be distinguished from the earlier revival. Snow and Storrs boosted the revival off to its Waterloo.

Literature on Millerism shows a general confusion in interpreting this stage of the revival. Miller is unfairly blamed for the failure of the October calculation in spite of his remaining unsympathetic to it, except for a fortnight before the disappointment. A comparison between Miller's exegesis and that of the seventh-month movement compels one to make a clear separation between original Millerism and this last stage of the revival. The seventh-month movement singled out one of Miller's many arguments and exegeted it with a method different from Miller's. Traditional historicist expositions developed and advocated by Miller, became secondary to sanctuary typology. The Levitical festal calendar was promoted by implication as the most important prophecy in all of the Bible.

The basic method remained unchanged while emphasis changed. Because the former leaders of the movement were no longer in control, as the arguments of Snow and Storrs swayed the faith and the emotions of the group, this interval in Millerism has been called a sectarian turn. The adoption of an exact date was a built-in explosive for the revival. During the late summer and early autumn the commitment, zeal, sacrifices, and number of supporters exceeded everything that had been seen so far in the history of this revival. The gravity of disappointment was to match the enthusiasm of expectation. As the morning of October 23 dawned it was again true that "the hour knoweth no man." Millerism had come to an end. As it died it gave birth to Adventism. (op cit., pp. 16-17).

Arasola in his research presses this point. In a footnote he states - "The birth of Seventh-day Adventism was dependent on the Seventh-month movement" (p. 90). This movement was not led by William Miller but rather by Samuel Snow and George Storrs. The first thing that Snow did was to straighten up Miller's error in his calculation of the time prophecies such as the 2300 days. Miller had overlooked the nonexistence of a year zero. Arasola comments that this "Indicates that no Millerite before 1844 did his home work thoroughly" (p. 144). Secondly, Miller himself had introduced a year earlier, in May 1843, the idea borrowed from Joshua Spalding that -

All the ceremonies of the typical law that were observed in the first month, or vernal equinox, had their fulfilment in Christ's first advent . . . The feasts and ceremonies in the seventh month or autumnal equinox can only have their fulfilment at his second advent -- (p. 154).

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Applying this to the year, 1844, Snow was able to establish the 10th day of the 7th month, October 22, 1844, as the time of the Second Advent. Thus the typology of the Old Testament and the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 were fused. To this horizontal typology, Adventism would add the vertical typology as found in the book of Hebrews.

In his research, Arasola devoted a brief section to New Testament typology bringing both, the horizontal and vertical together. He wrote:

The typology of the New Testament is both horizontal, referring to historical fulfilments, and vertical, illustrating things considered as heavenly realities. . . . (I Corinthians 10 is cited.) It was this horizontal typology that Snow employed in his calculation of the day of the end. Some of the clearest examples of vertical typology are found in the book of Hebrews. Modern scholarship usually disassociates itself from this form of typology. There is no reason to discuss the vertical typology any further as it is not important for the prophetic calculations in question until the birth of Seventh-day Adventism.

The New Testament thus sowed the seeds for both historical and heavenly antitypes. It is not necessary here to cover the background of typological hermeneutic through the centuries. The views vary from the illustrious allegories of Origen through the medieval quadrica to the more sober exegesis of the Reformers. During the period of Protestant orthodoxy Types were regarded as OT facts which were ordained by God to adumbrate or foreshadow aspects of Christ or the Gospel in the NT. This view has in succeeding centuries been accepted as the traditional understanding of biblical typology. It is still regarded as the true concept on the subject by many with a Biblicist view of the Scriptures. (op. cit., pp. 162-163).


October 22, 1844 passed, and Jesus did not come as expected; however, when the day arrived, groups had gathered in different homes to await His coming. One such group was at Port Gibson, New York, at the farm home of Hiram Edson, a mile south of the community. Closely associated with Edson, was Dr. Franklin B. Hahn who lived some fifteen miles southwest of Port Gibson. These two men had between them provided a home for an orphan boy named Owen R. L. Crosier. He was now in his early twenties and showed talent in research and writing. During 1844, Edson and Hahn published irregularly a paper, The Day Dawn, for which they invited Crosier to write.

When midnight passed, and Jesus did not come, not only was keen disappointment felt but doubts were expressed by some of the group: "Was the Bible false? Could it be there is no God? " To this Edson responded:

Not so brethren. There is a God in heaven, He has made Himself known to us in blessing, in forgiving, in redeeming; and He will not fail us now. Sometime soon this mystery will be solved. We shall know what God's purpose is, and this dark secret shall be made as plain as day. (A. W. Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, Vol. 1, p. 99)

We do well to let Spalding give the unfolding of the events as he has researched them, weighing variations of detail in the various sources available to him and choosing what he concludes to be the more accurate. [Spalding notes the variations in Appendix notes] He wrote:

As the dawn came most of the believers slipped away to their now desolate homes. To those who remained, Hiram Edson said, "Let us go out to the barn and pray." They went out and entered an almost empty granary, for the corn had not been husked, and stood in shocks in the fields. They entered and shut the door behind them. There in the crisp air of that late October morning they poured out their souls in anguished supplication that God, would not desert them and their fellows in this hour of trial, nor hide from them His face and His design. They prayed until they felt the witness of the Spirit that their disappointment would be explained.

After breakfast Edson said to one who remained (some say it was Crosier), "Let us go out to comfort the brethren with this assurance." Perhaps because it was a short cut to their destination, perhaps because they shunned the road, where they might meet mocking enemies, they struck back through the farm, crossing the field where Edson's corn still stood in the shocks. About midway across the field Hiram Edson stopped as if a hand had been placed on his shoulder. As he lifted his face to the skies, there flashed upon his understanding the meaning of the sanctuary in heaven. Recalling the arrangement of the Mosaic sanctuary, he saw it as a type of the sanctuary in heaven, and realized that as Christ was the minister of the heavenly sanctuary; His ministration would change in due course of time from the holy place to the most holy. He wrote of this occasion: "I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth

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day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary; and that He had a work to perform in the most holy before coming to this earth."

His companion, not noticing his pause, had reached the other side of the field. At the fence he turned, and seeing Edson far behind, he called, "Brother Edson, what are you stopping for?" And Edson replied, "The Lord was answering our morning prayer." Then rejoining his friend, he told him of his conviction. They went on their way, discussing the subject, recalling what little study they had made of the sanctuary, and shaping up the Bible evidence of the revelation.

Without doubt Edson and his company had received the new view of the sanctuary, as being in heaven, which came with the seventh-month movement. (ibid, pp. 99-102).

Spalding cites various publications available to the Port Gibson group which advocated "the seventh-month movement" and comments:

Edson and his friends were doubtless in great debt to Fitch, Snow, and others who had begun to study the sanctuary question and who had led in the great step forward of correctly identifying the sanctuary. With the background of this advanced position, the gap between the early Adventists' understanding of the sanctuary and that revealed in Edson's vision, which became the Seventh-day Adventist position, was lessened. (p. 102).

This harmonizes with the research of Dr. Arasola as to the roots of Seventh-day Adventism being in the seventh-month movement, rather than in the original Millerite movement. In fact, Arasola states that "in Miller's view the sabbatarian Adventists who kept hold of the seventh-month movement exegesis were illegitimate children of Millerism" (op. cit., p. 19). Actually, all that Seventh-day Adventism has taken from Millerism is the time prophecy of Daniel 8 & 9, and that as corrected by Samuel Snow. The basic sanctuary teaching came out of the seventh month movement which was led by others than Miller. To this was now added the vertical typology set forth in the book of Hebrews, that the "priests" of the earthly "serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things."

Spalding in his historical research of the Great Disappointment observes a parallel between it and the disappointment which the disciples of Christ experienced at the time of the crucifixion. Calling Edson's perception "a revolutionary" concept, "the germ of a doctrine so radical as to bear a chief part in differentiating between the old and new Adventist bodies," he wrote:

It is indeed comparable in its revolutionary character to the change in concept of the nature of the Messiah's mission, which came to Christ's disciples after their disappointment at the crucifixion. Consider the astounding impact of the new idea upon those disciples, and the alienation which came between those who accepted it and those who clung to the old concept of Christ as King of Israel. The patriots of Jewry had fixed their ideology upon the regal nature of the Messiah and His mission. How great a wrench it was to subjugate that boastful hope to the concept of a Messiah who was immediately merely a savior from sin, is evident in the experience of Saul of Tarsus. Doubtless tens of thousands of Jews who initially had hailed Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah the King, turned scornfully from the doctrine that He fulfilled the prophecies by dying on the cross. Thereafter they hailed successive pretenders to the Messiahship, with cumulative disappointments and final ruin. On the other hand, they who received the new doctrine were at first few and without influence. With painful sincerity and conviction they broke with their national leaders, and gradually drew further apart; yet in the end they became the great Christian church. . . .

In 1844-46 the old body of Adventists, holding to the King-of-glory-Advent idea, became split into factions, most of whom, without sound reasoning, suspected the accuracy of the date set, and some of whom went on, by devious reasoning, to set successive dates, in all of which they were again disappointed. The new party, accepting the High-Priest-in-the-sanctuary concept, and maintaining the reliability of the reckoning which came out at October 22, 1844, held that the last time prophecy had been fulfilled, and time should be no longer a tenet or a test. This party, accepting also the fourth-commandment Sabbath, finally took the name of Seventh-day Adventists. (pp. 102-103)

Recognition of this basic split which came the "morning after" is critical if we would understand our spiritual heritage. The Bulletin, published by the Adventist Heritage Ministry, announced in its Jan/Feb Issue 2003 that the ministry "went on line with a new, multimedia web site aimed at bringing the 'past with a future' into the digital age." The article stated, "Each month a pioneer will be featured beginning with William Miller." Is this being an honest portrayal in the light of the fact that the origins of the Adventist church were rooted in

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the "seventh-month movement" rather than in Millerism? Further it might be asked, did the Heritage Ministry in featuring William Miller as a pioneer tell the viewers that he considered those who founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church, "Illegitimate children"? Isn't there a one word synonym for this designation as given by Miller? When will we with strict honesty report our past history telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

The days following the "morning after" found Hiram Edson, Dr. Hahn, and Crosier in some serious study of the typical sanctuary and how it related to the reality of Christ's ministry. Finally, in 1846, an article by Crosier appeared in the Day Star Extra summarizing their study. In 1850, a Publishing Committee headed by Hiram Edson and including James White published a 48-page special of The Advent Review. The final article was Crosier's study taken from the Day Star Extra. In 1853 a leaf was tipped into all unsold copies of this 1850 48-page pamphlet. It was written by James White. The last paragraph read:

The article on the sanctuary, by 0. R. L. Crosier, is excellent. The subject of the sanctuary should be carefully examined, as it lies at the foundation of our faith and hope.

Why, this noting of the various dates bringing us up to 1853? This was the ninth year of "the morning after" the great disappointment, and there had not been a suggestion of an investigative judgment in connection with 1844. That was still four years away. Don F. Neufeld, associate editor, wrote in The Adventist Review (Feb. 14, 1980), "it required some 13 years after the passing of time in the autumn of 1844 before the subject of the investigative judgment was fully developed" (p. 14). He counseled -"One should not, therefore, equate the cleansing of the sanctuary with the investigative judgment" (p. 15). Into this picture must also be introduced a paragraph from a letter written by Ellen G. White to Eli Curtis, April 21, 1847. It read:

I believe the Sanctuary, to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days, is the New Jerusalem Temple, of which Christ is a minister. The Lord shew (sic) me in vision, more than a year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light, on the cleansing of the Sanctuary, &c; and that it was His will, that Brother C. should write out the view which he gave in the Day-Star, Extra, February 7, 1846. I feel fully authorized by the Lord, to recommend the Extra, to every saint. (A Word to the "Little Flock, " p. 12)

The first obvious fact is that the "true light" Crosier presented focused on "the cleansing of the sanctuary" and made no reference to an "Investigative judgment." But how much is to be included in the words "the Sanctuary, &c," especially the "&c."? There can be no question that the identification of the sanctuary was the differing point between Miller and those who enlarged on the "seventh -month" views both before and after October 22, 1844. To this issue, - to what is the word, "sanctuary" applied in the Bible - Crosier devoted the first part of his article.


Crosier began his analysis by declaring, "The Sanctuary was the heart of the typical system," and then observes that while in the Old Testament the term, "Sanctuary" is applied to "several different things," the New Testament applies the term "only" to the typical tabernacle built by Moses, and the tabernacle "which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb. 8:2).

There is in the New Testament a concept which Crosier overlooked. While not called "the sanctuary," the concept is projected. John, in the prelude to his Gospel, presents the incarnate Word as becoming a "tabernacle." The Greek text reads literally - "The Logos flesh came to be and tabernacled (eskhnwsen) in us (en 'hmin). Paul, speaks of the true Christian as "the temple of the living God" and recipient of the promise, "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Cor. 6:16; see also I Cor. 3:16). The wilderness sanctuary not only prefigured the Word becoming flesh; but also the revelation through which "God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul" (Education, p. 36). Is not this, that which is in need of the most cleansing? Have we, as well as Crosier, overlooked the point that –

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To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized, -- this was to be the work of redemption (ibid., pp. 15-16; emphasis supplied)?

And that - the services of the sanctuary were an "example" and "pattern" (upodeigma - Heb. 8:5; 9:23), as well as a "figure" (parabolh Heb. 9:9) of that redemption?

The second section of the article considers "The Priesthood of Christ." He introduced the section by stating -

The priesthood of the worldly Sanctuary of the first covenant belonged to the sons of Levi; but that of the heavenly, of the better covenant, to the Son of God. He fulfills (sic) both the Priesthood of Melchisedec and Aaron. (Emphasis his).

Crosier's emphasis dare not be overlooked. Christ was of the first - the Melchisedecian while the second - the Aaronic - was the "example and shadow" of that priestly ministry. Citing the admonition given to Moses - "See that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the Mount, He emphasized:

None can deny that, in obedience to this admonition, Moses made or instituted the Levitical priesthood; it was then "according to the pattern" which the Lord showed him, and that pattern was of heavenly things, Heb. 9:23. If there was not another text to prove that the Levitical priesthood was typical of the Divine, this would abundantly do it. Yet some are even denying this obvious import of the priesthood; but if this is not its import, I can see no meaning to it. It is [then] an idle round of ceremonies without sense or use; but looked upon as typical of the heavenly, it is replete with the most important instruction. As this is the application made of it in the New Testament, so we must regard it, while we examine the atonement made under the Levitical priesthood.

(In the first of this series of studies on the Sanctuary XXXVI - 4(03), we used the text in Heb. 8:5 to conclude the same as Crosier did above in citing Heb. 9:23. In both texts the same Greek word, 'upodeigma, is used, translated "example" in 8:5, and "patterns" in 9:23.)

Following the New Testament application, Crosier examined the atonement, dividing it by the terms, "daily" and "yearly," or "Individual" and "national." He began his discussion of the daily atonement with the morning and evening sacrifice as defined in Ex. 29:38-42. There is a linguistic connection between this text and Daniel 8:14. The latter - "Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" - is an answer to a question with three parts - "How long the vision, the daily, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" (ver. 13). The word, "daily" (Heb. Tamid) is first used in the Bible in Ex. 29:38-42, and translated either as an adjective, "continual," or as an adverb, "continually," in Exodus.

Here is where the problems begin. In passing from the morning and evening sacrifice to the individual sin offering, Crosier failed to differentiate between the high priest who ministered the blood of the sin offering of confession for the congregation, and the common priest who ministered the atonement of forgiveness for the individual. In so doing he has the blood taken into the Holy Place in all instances. He entirely overlooks the placing of the blood on the horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering in the Court, and concludes that come the Day of Atonement "the entire work of cleansing the Sanctuary was performed within the tabernacle," which was not the case in the type.

Further, Crosier believed that by this blood "the iniquity was communicated to the sanctuary." He did not perceive that the sin was already on record, and having been brought to the consciousness of the sinner, he responds by confession and seeking forgiveness. Instead of defilement resulting, Jesus said there was "joy . . . in heaven over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:7). The repenting sinner remained defiled by his uncleanness, but the type indicated that the Day of Atonement was for removal of the uncleanness of the Children of Israel. Crosier's misinterpretation of the type was carried forward into Adventist theology, and gives us the problem as footnoted in Patriarch and Prophets, p. 354.

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Further, while recognizing that an atonement was involved in the daily ritual on behalf of the individual, Crosier contrasts between the "forgiveness of sins" and the "blotting out" of sin:

The atonement is the great idea of the Law, as well as the Gospel; and as the design of that Law was to teach us that of the Gospel, it is very important to be understood. [To this we can say, "Amen"] The atonement which the priest made for the people in connection with the daily ministration was different from that made on the tenth day of the seventh month. In making the former, they went no further than in the Holy; but to make the latter they entered the Holy of Holies - the former was made for individual cases, the latter for the whole nation of Israel collectively - the former was made for the forgiveness of sins, the latter for blotting them out - the former could be made at any time, the latter only on the tenth day of the seventh month. (Emphasis his).

In this conclusion, Crosier fails to recognize that in the typical provision for forgiveness, there was for Israel collectively a ministration by the High Priest in which the blood was taken into the Holy Place; and also a ministration for individuals by the common priests in which the blood was marked on the Altar in the Court. See again Leviticus 4. In the reality, the same blood that provided forgiveness by the Cross, is the same blood that Jesus as High Priest ministers in the heavenly (Heb. 9:23-24).

Using his contrasting picture between the "daily" and the "yearly," Crosier challenges the teaching that "the atonement was made and finished on the Cross." Here we come to the core of the current problem involving the doctrine of the Sanctuary. If the atonement was "made and finished" at the Cross, the final atonement is meaningless. If, as the type presents two atonements, one resulting in forgiveness, the other in cleansing, there is a dual atonement flowing from the death of Jesus on Calvary.

In testing "the foundation" on which the doctrine of a completed atonement at Calvary rests, Crosier lists six propositions. We shall note two of these. Number 2 reads:

The slaying of the victim was not making the atonement: the sinner slew the victim, Lev. 4:1-4, 13-15 etc., after that the Priest took the blood and made the atonement. Lev. 4:5-12, 16-21.

Here he cites from Leviticus 4, only the corporate transgression in which the blood was taken in, but which resulted in "forgiveness" for the congregation, not a "blotting out." He ignores the other two categories involving the individual which were ministered by the common priest.

Proposition Number 4 reads:

The atonement was made in the sanctuary, but Calvary was not such a place.

Here again, Crosier failed to recognize the ministry of the common priest, and the clear statement that in the Court at the Altar of Burnt Offering, the ministering priest made an "atonement" for the individual and it was "forgiven him" (Lev. 4:26, 31, 35).

It should be obvious, even to a casual observer that we have some things to learn as well as things to unlearn in order to bring our concepts of the heavenly in line with the type which God gave to Moses as an "example and shadow" of those heavenly things. But in so doing, there is neither the need to ignore nor to discard the doctrine of the sanctuary which was basic to original Seventh-day Adventism. It should also be recognized that not once during the time of "the basic roots" is there even suggested the concept of "an investigative judgment." The original emphasis was "the cleansing of the sanctuary" as it related to the atonement.

"Watchman, What of the Night?" is published monthly by the Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Mississippi, Inc., P. O. Box 69, Ozone,
AR 72854, USA

Editor, Publications & Research     Elder Wm. H. Grotheer