The Cleansing of the Heavenly Temple
Jesus said, that the heavenly temple needs to be cleansed for “the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified” (Hebrews 9:23). But the question is: cleansed from what? The only impure thing in heaven is the record of people’s sins. We learn about the records from Daniel 7:9-10, where the prophet describes the heavenly court and the “books of record were opened” (verse 10) for judgement. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14 also Matthew 12:36-37).
We know that the record of our sins will eventually be cleansed out of the heavenly sanctuary by studying the earthly sanctuary which was a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary (Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:1,5; Hebrews 9:11,23-24). The Bible confirms that Jesus is currently serving as our High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary (Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 9:14, 24). And He encourages us to study the sanctuary service for He declares, “Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary” (Psalm 77:13). The earthly sanctuary ceremonies were divided to two services:
- For the sinner – the sinner would place his hands on the head of the animal and confess his sins. His sins would symbolically transfer to the animal. Thus, the animal became guilty and had to pay the death penalty. This represented Jesus bearing our sins (Leviticus 1:4, 5).
- For the congregation- a sacrificial animal was offered for the entire congregation, the priest sprinkled some of the blood before the veil inside the sanctuary, thus symbolically transferring the sin from the people to the sanctuary (Leviticus 4:17).
The Day of Atonement service
At this solemn day, which occurred once each year (Leviticus 23:27), every sin had to be confessed and forsaken. Those who refused were on that very day cut off from the camp of Israel (verse 29). On that day, two goats were selected. One was the Lord’s goat and the other was the scapegoat, which represented Satan (Leviticus 16:7, 8). The Lord’s goat was slain and offered for the sins of the people (verse 9). Its blood was taken into the most holy place and sprinkled upon and before the mercy seat (verse 14).
Only on the Day of Atonement did the high priest enter the most holy place. The sprinkled blood (representing Jesus’ sacrifice) was accepted by God, and the confessed sins of the people were transferred from the sanctuary to the high priest. He then transferred these confessed sins to the scapegoat, which was led into the wilderness to perish (verses 16, 20, 22). This is how the sanctuary was symbolically cleansed from the sins of the people, which had been transferred there by the sprinkled blood all throughout the previous year.
In like manner, Christ will cleanse the heavenly sanctuary by removing the sins of the people before His second coming. When Christ our High Priest comes out of the Heavenly sanctuary, He will have His reward with Him (Revelation 22:12) for the case of all will have been decided. Christ will then vindicate His children in front of the whole Universe. And Satan, the originator of all sin, will be recognized as the scapegoat. And Satan will be destroyed with all his followers (Revelation 20:7-9). Then, the earth will be purified from sin and made new, so that sin will never rise again (Nahum 1:9).
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In His service,