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1. What is the Bible’s longest time prophecy to reach closest to our day? Daniel 8:14 NKJV
“For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be .”
In our last lesson, we saw the angel Gabriel explain the meaning of the first 490 days of this 2,300 days prophecy. Using the Bible rule of one prophesied day equals a literal year, we found the 490 years began in 457 B.C. and concluded in A.D. 34. With remarkable precision Gabriel predicted Jesus’ anointing at His baptism, the year of His crucifixion, and the time when the gospel went to the Gentiles. In A.D. 34 there still remained 1,810 unfulfilled years in the Bible’s longest time prophecy. To find the end of the 2,300 years, simply add 1,810 to A.D. 34 and you come to A.D. 1844—the closest date in prophecy to our day! But understanding time is only half the equation. We still need to know what event happened. The prophecy says the “sanctuary shall be cleansed.” What does this mean and how was it fulfilled? Let’s begin by studying the sanctuary and how it was cleansed.
2. What was the first Jewish sanctuary? Exodus 25:8 NKJV
“Let them make Me a , that I may dwell among them.”
After Israel left Egypt, Moses climbed Mount Sinai and received directions to make a sanctuary for God’s visible presence to dwell with His people. God instructed Moses to follow the pattern he was shown. “According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (verse 9). It was important that every detail be copied, because God designed this sanctuary to represent the plan of salvation (Psalm 77:13).
3. What pattern did Moses use to build the Jewish sanctuary? Hebrews 8:1-5 NKJV
“We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.”
Moses’ scaled version of the true heavenly sanctuary is called by Scripture the “earthly sanctuary” (Hebrews 9:1). This earthly sanctuary consisted of three parts: courtyard, Holy Place, and Most Holy Place. Each area symbolized a phase of the plan of salvation and taught how God removes sin and restores us to His presence.
For example, the courtyard represents our world where Jesus became the sacrificial lamb whose blood pays the sinners’ penalty (1 Peter 1:18, 19). The laver of water, where the priests washed before entering the Holy Place, symbolizes the Spirit
cleansing us of sin before we enter heaven (Titus 3:5-8). Every service was “a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:17, NIV).
4. What two rooms were in the sanctuary building? Hebrews 9:2-5 NKJV
“For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the [margin: “Holy Place”]; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All [or, Most Holy Place].”
The two rooms of the sanctuary, called the Holy Place and Most Holy Place, were separated by a thick curtain. The Holy Place had a lamp stand, table of showbread, and altar of incense. The Most Holy Place had a golden censer for incense and the ark of the covenant, which held the Ten Commandments.
The priests’ services in these two rooms teach how’ Jesus ministers in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:24, 12). In the “daily service,” the priests went into the Holy Place every day to present prayers and sacrifices. Since A.D. 31, when Jesus ascended to the Holy Place in heaven, He has daily ministered His shed blood and prayers for us.
The Most Holy Place was entered only once a year on the very special Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, in Hebrew). This solemn “yearly service” is when the sanctuary is cleansed. This is the “cleansing” referred to in the 2,300 year prophecy (Daniel 8:14).
We’ve already seen that the time part of this prophecy is fulfilled in A.D. 1844, but which sanctuary was cleansed? It obviously can’t refer to the earthly sanctuary since that was destroyed in A.D. 70. Thus, it must point to the heavenly sanctuary in the same way the other sanctuary symbols do. In a moment we will see how this prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus entered a very special phase of ministry for the last days. But in order to understand the cleansing, we first need to find out what made the sanctuary “dirty.”
5. How did the daily service “dirty” the sanctuary and teach the plan of salvation?
a. “And he shall lay his on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering.” Leviticus 4:29 NKJV
Sinners in ancient Israel laid their hands on the head of an innocent animal, confessed their sins, and then killed it. This ritual represented the fact that our sins caused Jesus’ death (Romans 5:8, 9).
b. “Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the of the altar of burnt offering.” Leviticus 4:30 NKJV
The blood of the slain animal was poured into the ground and sprinkled on the four corners of the altar of burnt offering to symbolize how sin impacts the earth. Our sins hurt not only us, but they send a ripple effect of sorrow from one person and generation to another.
c. “And the priest shall put some of the blood on the of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord.” Leviticus 4:7 NKJV
Some sins required blood to be sprinkled in the Holy Place on the horns of the altar of incense. Our sin not only spoils earth’s peace, but it also affects heaven. Think about it—Jesus left heaven because of sin; angels work full time for sinners; heaven rejoices when we give our lives to God; and more! We can’t fully comprehend how sin alters life in heaven!
d. “The sin of Judah is with a pen of iron; with the point of a diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on ‘the horns of your altars.” Jeremiah 17:1 NKJV
The blood sprinkled on the horns symbolized a written record of our sin—and our confession—kept in heaven. It is this accumulation of blood and its record of sins that required the annual cleansing ceremony on the Day of Atonement.
6. How was the earthly sanctuary cleansed on the Day of Atonement? Leviticus 16:15-19 NKJV
“So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins… Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.”
The Day of Atonement was a solemn judgment day in ancient Israel (Leviticus 23:26-32). No one worked or ate. The day was spent in prayerful self-examination, considering the sins of the previous year, repenting and forsaking sin. The high priest took the blood of a sacrificed goat into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled it on the mercy seat and then on the altar of incense to “cleanse it” from the record of “all their sins” committed that year.
The cleansing of the earthly sanctuary wasn’t a “spring cleaning” with soap and water. Rather it was a ceremonial erasing of the sin record written on the horns of the altar and from the hearts of God’s people (Leviticus 16:30).
7. How did this symbolize what would happen in the heavenly sanctuary at the end of the 2,300 years in A.D. 1844?
See Hint for the answer!
In ancient Israel the Day of Atonement was the judgment day when everyone accounted for their sins. Jews still call this the “day of judgment.” Notice how Herman Wouk, noted Jewish author, describes it.
“It is Rosh Hashana, the day of judgment. The scrolls of fate roll open before the Lord. In these scrolls every man’s hand has written his deeds of the year past. God reads the entries and pronounces judgment… Yom Kippur, the last of these days of grace, is a crisis of confession and repentance… The destinies of all men for the coming year are sealed. The annual judgment ends at sundown with a blast of the horn” (This Is My God, pp. 85, 86).
The 2,300 days point to when God’s prophetic Hope Clock strikes A.D. 1844 and we officially enter the last days—the judgment hour.
8. Did other Bible prophets foresee this judgment hour? Revelation 11:18, 19 NKJV
“The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the of the dead, that they should be .Then the of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.”
John saw that the time of the judgment began when the temple in heaven opened into the Most Holy Place where the ark is located. Just as the high priest only went into the Most Holy Place of the earthly sanctuary at the end of the year, so Jesus goes into the heavenly Most Holy Place at the end of earth’s history.
9. Did people in A.D. 1844 understand this prophecy and where they lived on the prophetic timeline? Revelation 14:6, 7 NKJV
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ “
Revelation predicted the gospel in the last days would declare to the world “the hour of His judgment has come.” Here we see a time when people still live on the earth and the church is preaching the gospel. God’s prophetic Hope Clock has moved minutes to midnight as the church tells lost people, “We are in the judgment hour-the prophetic Day of Atonement—the old world is getting ready to end and the new will soon begin.”
In the early 1800s, believers of many faiths (Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Jewish Christian, etc.) studied prophecy and independently discovered that the 2,300-year prophecy would soon be fulfilled. This conviction started a revival that swept the world with the text, “The hour of his judgment has come” (Revelation 14:7). Ever since A.D. 1844, God’s prophetic clock has been ticking down to Jesus’ return.
If you are tempted to think A.D. 1844 was too long ago to be in the last days, please consider that Noah preached to the people who lived in the last days of the pre flood world for 120 years. Every day of those 120 years was their last days. God had judged the world to be ripe for destruction and He had set the time when the rain would fall. If people were to be saved, they must heed Noah’s judgment hour message and enter the ark. In like manner, we don’t know the date God has set for Jesus’ return, but we do know that since A.D. 1844 we are very literally in the last days and on borrowed time (Matthew 24:36-44).
If You’ve given your heart to Jesus, you don’t need to fear living in the last days. Jesus’ return is the blessed hope! (Titus 2:13). How can you have this hope? Accept the truths we learn from the sanctuary—that Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Confess your sins to Him, accept His shed blood in your behalf, and ask His Spirit to cleanse you of sin while He cleanses the sanctuary. Peace, joy, and hope will be yours as you invite Him to lead your life.
10. Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and do you look forward to His soon return with joy?
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