Seventh-Day Adventists/The IJ: a Different Look
You have missed some other ways to look at the evidence from the Bible on the IJ. In your recent answer about Jesus being in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary you failed to see that the Bible verses you quoted could be showing Jesus to be in the Holy Place at God's right hand and not in the Most Holy Place. In fact the Spirit of Prophecy saw that very thing! So you make the mistake of assuming that when Scripture says Jesus was at the right hand of God that means in the Most Holy Place which is not necessarily true. Other SDAs have believed that Jesus did go to the Most Holy Place at his ascension. But he did this only to dedicate the Most Holy Place then he went into the Holy Place until Oct. 22, 1844. This too would satisfy your view of the Bible but I'm sure you won't even consider that you may be wrong. FYI I would go with God being in the Holy Place because that is what the Spirit of Prophecy saw. I hope you will consider these other views of the same Scripture that you use against SDAs.
Dear Sister Paulette:
I appreciate your honesty in acknowledging that according to the Bible Jesus upon his ascension did indeed go to the right hand of God. I say this because I have dealt with SDAs who deny this obvious Bible fact. It's refreshing to read of you acceptance of the Bible.
Let's test your belief that upon his ascension Jesus went to the Holy Place in the sanctuary in heaven where the Father had His throne. Then on October 22, 1844 both Father & Son moved into the Most Holy Place to begin the Investigative Judgment. I agree with you that Ellen White a.k.a. "the Spirit of Prophecy" did see this in vision.
"I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil, and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and the most of those who were bowed down arose with Him. I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after He arose, and they were left in perfect darkness. Those who arose when Jesus did, kept their eyes fixed on Him as He left the throne and led them out a little way. Then He raised His right arm, and we heard His lovely voice saying, 'Wait here; I am going to My Father to receive the kingdom; keep your garments spotless, and in a little while I will return from the wedding and receive you to Myself.' Then a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat" (Early Writings, p. 55).
I believe that SDAs, like you, who take this position are being honest with the Bible fact that upon his ascension Jesus went to the right hand of God. They want the Church to be special and right, therefore, the attempt to justify this unique SDA doctrine. Sadly, this attempt has no biblical support. Nothing in the Bible says that this occurred in heaven. The throne of God in the earthly sanctuary was always in the Most Holy Place. When was the ark of the covenant brought into the Holy Place along side the priest? I suggest that in the sanctuary in heaven it is the same. The throne of God is always in the Most Holy Place never in the Holy Place. Consequently, this attempt to justify the IJ fails.
The other SDA proposal you mentioned I likewise see to be an honest attempt to deal with the biblical evidence while maintaining the IJ. They have offered that Jesus did enter the Most Holy Place at his ascension, but only to dedicate it. Then he went into the Holy Place and ministered there until October 22, 1844. While this proposal does answer how Jesus could be at the right hand of God in the first century, as the New Testament clearly states, and yet be ministering in the Holy Place, as the IJ doctrine requires, it has a fatal flaw. According to the man who received the IJ vision, Hiram Edson, he saw Jesus enter the Most Holy Place on October 22, 1844 "for the first time".
"We started, and while passing through a large field I was stopped about midway of the field. Heaven seemed opened to my view, and 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 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 Place before coming to the earth" (Hiram Edson Manuscript Fragment).
Therefore, those SDAs who propose Jesus going to the Most Holy Place immediately after his ascension then to the Holy Place then back to the Most Holy Place on October 22, 1844 are in direct contradiction with the man who actually had the vision. Hiram Edson said that he "saw distinctly and clearly" that Jesus on October 22, 1844 "for the first time" entered the Most Holy Place. Consequently, this attempt to justify the IJ also fails.
It saddens me to see good Christian people try so hard to make the IJ fit with the biblical evidence. It is an impossible task that they have chosen. They should reject the false teaching of the IJ and accept the Bible. Instead they try to defend the IJ in the face of the clear evidence against it. Perhaps they have equated membership in the SDA Church with truth and love for God; therefore, they simply cannot accept that the SDA Church teaches a false doctrine. Whatever the reason may be, it is sad to see these good Christian people ensnared by this false teaching.
I am sorry to have to say this, but the SDA doctrine of the IJ reminds me of the JW doctrine of the 1914 return of Jesus. The JW organization predicted that the return of Jesus would occur in 1914 when this failed to happen they were embarrassed and distraught. These feelings caused the JW organization to announce that they were not wrong after all. Jesus had indeed returned, but invisibly. Thus the JW organization tried to save face. This despite the fact that the Bible clearly states that Jesus' return will be very visible and loud. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV). "Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen" (Revelation 1:7 NASBRE). Hardly an invisible return. In a like manner, when William Miller predicted the return of Jesus on October 22, 1844 his followers including those who would later begin the SDA Church believed and rejoiced. When the date passed without the return of Jesus, Miller's followers were embarrassed and distraught. No doubt these feelings led one member, Hiram Edson, to have a vision which showed him that the date set was correct, but what occurred was not the return of Jesus, but his moving from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary in heaven in order to begin, the never before heard of, Investigative Judgement. Thus some Millerites tried to save face. This despite the fact that the Bible clearly states that Jesus was already at the right hand of God in the Most Holy Place in the first century. "So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19 NASB). "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12 ESV). The New Testament nowhere gives support to the belief that Jesus waited until 1844 to enter the Most Holy Place.
Let me add that I realize that the JWs are not Christians and the SDAs are Christians, but the parallels between the JWs failed 1914 date and the SDAs failed 1844 date are too strong to ignore. Perhaps the JWs borrowed the SDAs way of dealing with the embarrassment of a failed date, I don't know. I do know that it is a sad chapter in Christian history. These two churches filled with people who love God and earnestly desire to see the return of the Lord Jesus. Yet they are unable to accept that they have followed false prophets. Instead of humbling themselves and admitting their error they invent further falsehoods to put a band-aid on their original error. Thus their errors persist and continue to ensnare many even today.
God Bless You,