Seventh-Day Adventists/Heb 9:23


Frank wrote at 2014-08-25 01:29:33

8 19 2014 - Heb 9 23

<<< The expert’s answer: >>>

I certainly cannot give you the most convincing interpretation of Hebrews 9:23 because what may be convincing to me may not be convincing to someone else. What I can do is ask you to pray for the Holy Spirit to open the heart of the person you are speaking to. To keep things in perspective remember that the Bible does not support the SDA doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.

<<< It doesn’t matter what texts SDA’s present to support the doctrine of a judgment before Christ returns, the expert will say it isn’t an “investigative” judgment and therefore isn’t supported by scripture. Hardly a convincing argument. >>>

The Apostles never believed or taught it, the early Church never believed or taught it, no Christian ever believed or taught it until its invention in 1844. This is quite strange if this doctrine is as important as the SDA Church believes.

<<< Since the IJ didn’t begin until Oct. 22, 1844, present truth did not demand that it be made clear to the Disciples when He was with them. To say that it was never taught until 1844 is nonsense. The entire plan of salvation is revealed in type by the story of the Exodus of the Children of Israel when freed from Egyptian bondage by God and in the Hebrew sanctuary with all of its types and shadows that revealed Christ as Savior and High Priest. >>>

With that said, let's look at the verse in question. "Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these" (Hebrews 9:23 NKJV). If read in isolation one could give this verse an IJ spin, but one should not read a verse in isolation. Let's include the verse before and the verse after our verse in our study.

    "22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. 23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (NKJV).

<<< We agree that the text presented by the questioner should not be read in isolation. To get to the true meaning, however, we must look further than one verse back and one verse ahead. >>>

Why verse 23 doesn't refer to the cleansing associated with the SDA doctrine of the IJ is that whatever verse 23 refers to occurred in the first century!

<<< We agree as to the time but not with what occurred. It was not the cleansing of the sanctuary because that happened on the “Day of Atonement” of the ancient Hebrew calendar and the anti-typical Day of Atonement according to Daniel 8:14. According to the type this did not occur until the end of Christ’s intercessory ministry, not from its beginning and the prophecy in the book of Daniel confirms this. >>>

Paul said that Jesus entered the Most Holy Place in heaven "now to appear in the presence of God for us". God's throne is in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore, Christ appearing "now" in the presence of God the Father means he is in the Most Holy Place. Paul speaks of the cleansing as having already occurred.

The SDA doctrine of the IJ posits that Jesus only entered the Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary upon his ascension.

<<< Jesus dedicated the entire heavenly sanctuary with His blood, both the Holy and Most Holy places, at His ascension. We know this this because the type reveals it. “For when Moses had spoken (at Sinai) every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.” (Hebrews 9:19-21 KJV) It was not until the end of the Jewish year on the Day of Atonement that the sanctuary was cleansed (see Leviticus chapter 16). This, in spite of the fact that it had already been cleansed with the blood of a sacrifice at its dedication. >>>

Then on October 22, 1844, Jesus entered the Most Holy Place to cleanse the sanctuary and begin the Investigative Judgment. Honestly, do verses 22-24 sound like Jesus is in the Holy Place ministering there until October 22, 1844 when he will then enter the Most Holy Place and be in the presence of the Father interceding for us? Paul taught elsewhere that Jesus was already at God's right hand interceding for us in the first century. "Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us" (Romans 8:34 ESV).

<<< Verse 24 says Christ “is not entered into the Holy Places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:” According to this verse, the High Priest was in the presence of God in both apartments of the earthly sanctuary (Holy Places) not just when He ministered in the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement. >>>

Also note that Paul used the fact that the earthly sanctuary was a type or "copy" of the one in heaven (see vs. 23 & 24 above). Paul certainly was aware that the ark of the covenant was always in the Most Holy Place in the type and so it would be in the true sanctuary above.

<<< While the presence of God was above the mercy seat in the earthly sanctuary it had to remain hidden “within the veil” that separated the Holy from the Most Holy Place or the Priests ministering in the Holy Place would have died. Jesus, as our High Priest, is under no such restriction. Unlike the earthly Priests, He was without sin and His Father’s presence would pose no threat to His well-being. >>>

The Ark of the Covenant was the throne of God on earth (cf. Leviticus 16:2). Therefore, Paul is teaching here that Jesus is in the Most Holy Place which is unlike the IJ which teaches that Jesus was in the Holy Place in the first century.

<<< Since the expert has said the type and anti-type must agree we have shown that according the type, the Day of Atonement and the cleansing of the sanctuary did not occur until the end of the Hebrew year, right before the second coming and just after the sins that were transferred into the sanctuary have been placed upon Satan who is then confined to the desolate earth for a thousand years. (In type, the sins were placed on the scapegoat and led into the wilderness, Lev 16:22) while the Saints enjoy a thousand year “feast of tabernacles” in heaven with their Savior. >>>

I pray that you can see that Hebrews 9:23 does not in any way support the SDA doctrine of the IJ. Verse 23 is simply saying that Jesus entered heaven with his cleansing blood which is a better sacrifice than those offered under the Old Covenant. He indeed purified the heavenly sanctuary in the first century.

<<< There is no way that the full glory of the heavenly sanctuary could be portrayed in the earthly. Is God’s throne really a lid on a small box covered in gold with some rocks inside that can’t be moved? Scripture hints that it is not. Consider this scene regarding the judgment. “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:9-10 KJV) Barnes’s commentary says that the thrones being cast down are, “a setting up, or a placing of thrones for the purpose of administering judgment, etc., on the beast.” And Clarke’s commentary says, “The thrones were cast down, might be translated 'erected'. . .” The Keil & Delitsch commentary says, “they were placed in order quickly, or with a noise. Seats, not merely a throne for God the Judge, but a number of seats for the assembly sitting in judgment with God.”  God’s throne is described in verse 9 as having wheels indicating that it indeed is not stationary. We see that the actual judgment in heaven involved much more than could be typified by the earthly sanctuary and its cleansing on the “Day of Atonement”.

    We could also ask the question, “where was God’s throne before the fall of man, before there was a heavenly tabernacle to deal with the sin problem here on earth? It must have been moved into the heavenly tabernacle when it was constructed. And in John's vision of the New Earth, God’s throne is in the New Jerusalem with a river proceeding out of it (Rev 22:1). Apparently it can be moved. >>>

Thanks for the question.

God Be With You,

Brother Sal

<<< In Christ’s love,

         Frank >>>  

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I am privileged to be able to offer an alternative insight into the complicated world of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) theology. I will rely heavily on the Bible, but will also consider history and use logic in exposing deficiencies in SDA teachings. I would ask anyone who is considering becoming a SDA or if you are already in the SDA church, but are searching for the truth, to please allow me to offer a different explanation for the claims of the SDA. Remember : "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). I can answer your questions pertaining to the beliefs and history of the SDA. I am not able to answer questions concerning spirituality or church discipline.


I have extensively studied the theology of the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) for a number of years. I have many books and tape sets produced by experts in this field of study. I have debated current members of the SDA church. I have a great desire to help these people see the truth.

M.S. degree in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics

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