Then Shall the Sanctuary Be Cleansed


It makes no difference whether you have been a Seventh-day Adventist for a few months, a few years, or many decades, the truth which came to your heart at the first hearing and brought conviction, remains truth. But the special teachings that distinguish this church from Evangelical Christianity are increasingly coming under attack. The dialogues of some thirty years ago when we tried to accommodate Adventist beliefs to the popular evangelical concepts by various shades of compromise have come back to haunt us.

No matter how many points of agreement may be worked out, there are basics which are beyond compromise. Indeed, if the "little horn" of Daniel and the definition of Babylon as given in Revelation are to be understood and accepted, there will be two distinct teachings in the end-time, one from God and one from Satan.

Specific truths that make Seventh-day Adventists a corporate body can be recognized as those which were studied out in the 1848 Sabbath conferences. The believers, who gathered in more than a dozen meetings over a period of two years, came with all shades of theological understanding as they left the popular churches. Growing out of this spectrum of thought, before a Seventh-day Adventist existed, came the teachings that make us a people today. On the "pillars" and "landmarks" there established the church stands or falls in the final crisis.

The three outstanding truths that are distinct and beyond negotiation are: (1) The binding claims of the law, which include the seventh-day Sabbath; (2) the nonimmortality of the soul (if the soul is immortal Christ could not have died, hence His offering in the plan of salvation cannot be fully appreciated in the light of the Old Testament sacrificial system); and (3) the work of the High Priest in the cleansing of the sanctuary, which has a decided relation to God's people on earth.
While some Evangelicals will allow for numbers one and two as slightly less than heresy, number three, the sanctuary/investigative judgment teaching, is looked upon as "nothing more than a face-saving device" that was created to bail out the Millerite error.1 It is this third point which is the basis of this study which was written largely in 1958 but has since remained unpublished. Intended for Seventh-day Adventists, it is presented not as polemics to defend this truth but rather as an insight into the glorious end result of the gospel, the cleansing and eradication of sin, and the vindication of the Creator before the universe.

Donald Karr Short

January 1990


  1. Christian Research Journal summer 1988, p. 11.
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