Transfer of Sin
"Then have them make a sanctuary for Me, and I will dwell among them." Exodus 25:8.
God is always seeking a dwelling place. If you are traveling away from home, how nice it is to have a dwelling place to rest. In fact, the dictionary defines a "sanctuary" as a "safe place", a "resting place". How true that is. When traveling, we want to find a safe, resting-place for the night.
We live in a world of darkness. The night of sin has settled down around us. It is not safe out there. Sin is lurking around like a lion, seeking whom he may destroy.
Jesus wants us to have sanctuaries for Him to dwell in. He wants us to have places where people can come to feel safe and secure. A place where travelers in this dark world can find rest for their weary souls. We need to make our homes, and our body temples, a place of sanctuary for those around us.
Moses was in the desert with over two million men, women and children. God wanted to dwell among them and give them rest. He asked them to make a sanctuary for Him. They did. This sanctuary was not for the people. It was not a “church” for them to congregate “in”. In fact, if they were to go inside, they would be struck dead. They were to commune with God in their homes and out in nature. However, this “sanctuary” for God to dwell in would then give the Israelites safety as long as they were obedient to the laws of God. Same in our lives. Our bodies are to be “sanctuaries” for God to dwell in if we are obedient to His Ten Commandments.
An interesting point is that they were not to make this sanctuary as they wanted it, but only as they were directed. They were to make it exactly as they were told. "Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you." Exodus 25:9.
God is very particular. You see, sin and death come from disobedience. Eternal life and joy come from obedience. But this is not what you hear from the pulpit in most churches today. What you hear is that you can live the best you want to, and Jesus makes up the difference. That is not what the Bible teaches. We are to live exactly as the Bible teaches. Our homes, our bodies and all that we have are to be exact patterns of the divine model.
Jesus is our example of perfection. He said that we are to follow Him. He came to set us an example of what our lives should be. He said, "but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me." John 14:31.
The temple in the wilderness was an example of the perfection that we are to have in our body temples. We are to make our body temples "exactly like the pattern I will show you." What pattern did He show us? A perfect, righteous, sinless pattern is what He showed us. He commands us to "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." That is the command. That is the pattern. That is the only way we can get to heaven. Matthew 5:48.
To understand Daniel 8:14 and what the "sanctuary be cleansed" means, we must understand the earthly sanctuary that God instructed Moses to build. Since it is the pattern of the heavenly sanctuary, it shows us what is taking place in the heavenly sanctuary.
As you can see from the illustration of the temple below, the sanctuary was divided into three main parts:
2.) Holy Place and
3.) Most Holy Place.
Earlier we learned what part these sections played in the symbolic plan of salvation. They did not save you; they only represented the plan of salvation. Only Jesus saves us. This temple was only a pointer that helped the worshiper understand the plan of salvation. Since we covered the plan of salvation earlier, we will not repeat it. What we are interested in is the “cleansing of the sanctuary” and its relevance to our lives.
Just as significant as the burning of the sacrifice, was the placing of the blood. It wasn’t just the sacrifice that symbolically cleansed; it was the giving of the blood. That blood was very significant. The priest took a portion of the blood and sprinkled it at the altar of incense in the Holy Place. That is very important. “Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull’s blood and carry it into the Tent of Meeting. He is to dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord, in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. The priest shall then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense that is before the Lord in the Tent of Meeting.” Leviticus 4:5-7.
In essence, the sin of the sinner is being transferred from the sinner to the sanctuary. You might say that his sin is being "recorded" in the temple. Our recording angels who are writing everything we say and do in our record books, physically accomplish this symbolic act. "The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." Revelation 20:12. Repeatedly the Bible talks about our acts being recorded in a book that is kept in the temple sanctuary.
Day after day, the blood of sinners is being accumulated in the heavenly Most Holy Place. That is where God dwells. Sinners who have confessed their sins have now been set free from that sin. But the sin must still be dealt with. The sinner is now free of the sin, but the sin is still in need of a final resting place. Even though Jesus can forgive the sinner, the sin must be atoned for. It cannot remain in the sanctuary forever. It must be destroyed. It must be blotted out. Paying the penalt for your sin does not blot out the sin itself.
When Jesus died on the cross, His blood was then provided to pay the penalty for our past sins. However, the sin was transferred from the sinner who confessed, turned away from and stopped sinning, to the temple sanctuary in heaven. As the type on earth symbolized, so the reality is taking place in Heaven.
Jesus stands in the heavenly temple as our great High Priest. "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God." Hebrews 4:14. "We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man." Hebrews 8:1, 2.
Jesus is removing all confessed, turned-away-from sins and taking responsibility for them. However, the sin is still hanging around in the books in heaven. "How much more then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God. Hebrews 9:14. Notice, it did not cleanse the sin, it cleansed our consciences. We are clean of the sin, but the sin is still to be dealt with. Jesus is bearing our sins in heaven, at this time. But eventually, they must be completely done away with. "So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." Hebrews 9:28.
That is where Yom Kippur comes in. That was the day that all the sins for the past year were done away with. That was the "cleansing of the sanctuary." In the Bible it is called, the "Day of Atonement". Leviticus 23:27.
"Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is celebrated in early fall on Tishri 10 of the Jewish calendar, 10 days after ROSH HASHANAH, the New Year. Regarded as the Sabbath of Sabbaths, Yom Kippur is marked by fasting, confession to God of sins committed during the last year, and prayers of forgiveness. Observance begins on Yom Kippur eve with the kol nidre service of repentance. Originally, Yom Kippur was the only day of the year when the high priest entered the inner sanctuary of the Temple (the Holy of Holies) to offer sacrifice. A goat--the so-called scapegoat--symbolically carrying the sins of the Jewish people, was then driven into the desert." Grolier
All year long the sins of the people have been transferred from them to the sanctuary. The sins are now waiting for the Day of Atonement to be cleansed from the temple. Once a year all the people who have had their sins confessed, turned away from and transferred to the temple, gathered around the sanctuary. They were to “hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.” Leviticus 23:27-30.
Every day throughout the year, one lamb, or equivalent, was to be used as a substitute for the sin of the sinner. On the Day of Atonement, two goats were to be taken. The priest was to present them "before the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats – one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat." Leviticus 16:7, 8.
This is interesting; two goats are taken, not just one. One for the Lord, representing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins, and one as a scapegoat. What was the scapegoat? We shall soon see.
Taking the goat for the Lord, the priest was to "slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been." Leviticus 16:15, 16.
You see, all year long the people were cleansed of their sins by their sins being transferred to the Sanctuary. Now the Most Holy Place had to be cleansed of the sins that were transferred to it throughout the year. Atonement had to be made for it. The people were symbolically clean, but now the people, the camp and the temple were symbolically clean. "Because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins." Leviticus 16:30.
So where did the sins go?
That is what the scapegoat is all about. Jesus has paid the penalty for sin, but the sin must be destroyed. The scapegoat represented, symbolically portrayed, the destruction of sin. The priest was to "lay both hands on the head of the live goat (scapegoat) and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place." Leviticus 16:21, 22. It's as if the priest went into the temple and gathered up all the sins that had been placed there throughout the year, and placed them on the head of the scapegoat.
Jesus has paid the price for our sins. He bore them away from us to the heavenly temple to be in storage until they are to be dealt with eternally. Jesus is not going to carry them on Himself for all eternity. That would be the same as having sin for all eternity. The Bible tells us that sin and sinner will be destroyed for all eternity; not hanging around.
Before we get to that part, though, we must back up a little bit. The Day of Atonement was a judgment day. It was a day that decided who would live and who would die, or be "cut off" from the community. If a person had confessed all his sins and had transferred them throughout the year to the temple, then on the Day of Atonement, he would be judged clean and free from sin and would be allowed to live.
If on the other hand a person who had not confessed or turned away from his sins he would have been found guilty and would have been destroyed, cut off, from the community. In order to enter into the judgment, you wanted to have all your sins blotted out from your record and transferred to the record of the temple. "Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites." Leviticus 16:34.
The significant aspect of that last statement is the fact that they were not atoned for during the year. The sins were only laid up in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement. Then they were atoned for.
The same is true now.
It is not "once saved always saved", but a continuously being saved. Waiting until "He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." Hebrews 9:28.
If a person turned away from his sin and stopped sinning, then his sin was atoned for on the Day of Atonement. However, if he had confessed his sin and brought a lamb, but did not turn away from it and continued in it, he would be destroyed on the Day of Atonement.
"Therefore, son of man, say to your countrymen, ‘The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, and the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness. If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done. And if I say to the wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ but he then turns away from his sin and does what is just and right … none of the sins he has committed will be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he will surely live.’" Ezekiel 33:12-16.
The New Testament says the very same thing. "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." Hebrews 10:26, 27.
Since the earthly temple was a symbolic play of the real life temple in heaven, it demonstrated what was taking place in heaven. All day long for as long as a person lived on this earth, he must be confessing and turning away from his sins. He cannot have any un-confessed sins hanging around him at the investigative judgment. If he does, he will be cut off from the community of those who will be found in heaven.
Those who have been confessing their sins and turning away from them so that they are living the perfect, righteous, sinless life of Jesus, will be declared righteous before God at the investigative judgment. "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14.
As the sanctuary cleansing began on the Day of Atonement, so in real life, the heavenly sanctuary began to be cleansed on October 22, 1844. Why does it need to be cleansed? Because, as shown by the symbolic sanctuary, all the confessed, turned away from sins from Adam to us have been transferred from the sinner to the temple by the blood of Jesus. Just as the sin was transferred symbolically by the blood of the lamb to the temple. You might say, "Spring Cleaning" began in the Heavenly Sanctuary on October 22, 1844.