Passion Play in the Desert
By Brian Pepper
Daniel 8:14 says, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." I tell you, this is a thrilling prophecy.
The Apostle Paul says, "When the fullness of the time was come. God sent forth His Son, born of a woman." (Galatians 4:4)
When? When the time was come! What time? Why the prophetic clock of heaven.
One of these nights I am going to tell you quite a bit about this clock of Heaven. Up in the courts of Glory the great clock of time is ticking out the hours of history. Moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, year by year.
"When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman." Christ came on time. Christ was baptized on time. Christ died on time.
Now you will remember that last week when we dealt with the 70 weeks, the Bible prediction was that in the midst of that last probationary week for the Jews the Messiah should be cut off; all the rites and ceremonies should end, and that Friday afternoon as Jesus hung upon the cross, He cried out as He expired, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? It is finished." And He fell back in death; His head bowed. The earth began to reel to and fro and shake. Nature seemed to shudder at the death of her Maker. The Roman Centurion that stood guard by the cross with his hundred men, looked around and trembled and cried, "Surely this was the Son of God!”
What a pity the Pharisees’ could not see it. What a pity that in their pride they fought against the very message of Truth. Why? Because it went contrary to their tradition.
They lived in mortal terror of the message of the Son of God. They eventually drove Him up Calvary's hillside, determined to crush His message. Yet even a neutral observer standing there, a pagan, perhaps, as he stood there and saw that awful scene, cried out, “Surely this must be the Son of God." Yes friends, it was the Son of God. There can be none other. He died exactly on time, 31 A.D.; the only date in history that the Messiah could give His life for His people.
Three and a half more years were measured off for the people of God
(34 A.D.) At that time the Jews were cut off forever as a people.
Christ died on time
A very interesting scene happened at that time. Stephen, the martyr, one of the earliest of the Christian martyrs, was stoned to death. And do you know who was watching that death? Why none other than Saul of Tarsus, a highly educated man; a man who was very high in the scale of the Jewish society of that day. But he did not accept Jesus Christ. He was wrongly trained. He felt that he had the truth; he felt that he had a clear conscience. But he was fighting Jesus Christ. God smote that man with a ball of fiery lightning. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”
Martyrdom of Stephen
The Apostle Paul repented of that great sin and of giving his consent to the death of Stephen. He became the great light to the Gentiles. He went everywhere preaching the Word.
Acts 13:46 he made this shattering statement to the Jews. "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoke to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
He said, "God's people were given the light of truth, the Holy Scriptures, but they refused to follow that light, they stoned the prophets, killed the Son of God, so now we turn to the Gentiles. When? In the year 34 A.D. Yes from that time on the gospel went to the Gentiles.
Gospel went to the Gentiles in 34 AD
Now in the prophecy this leaves a balance of 1810 years. After the year 34 A.D. the prophecy projects itself down to the year 1844.
Daniel 8:14 says, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
Starting with the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem in 457 B. C. the next event brings us to Messiah the Prince.
Exactly on time, 27 A.D. the Messiah did come. Three and one-half years more of the ministry of Jesus Christ then His death on the cross. Exactly on time Jesus died in 31 A.D. the only time the Redeemer could die, according to the prophecies.
Three and one-half years later in the year 34 A.D., the Jews were cut off as a people. Then the 1810 years brings us down to that memorable date of 1844.A.D.
Now, friends, five of these other dates have already been determined and are found to be absolutely accurate, so I cannot doubt the year 1844. It says that at that date the sanctuary shall be cleansed. I can imagine someone saying, "but I thought you said that the sanctuary service was abolished at the cross
- the meat offerings, the drink offerings, the priesthood and all the rest." Absolutely; that is right. They did come to an end. Christ Himself announced that: "It is finished.” But there is one thing to remember and that is that while the earthly sanctuary was done away with, the heavenly was not. The heavenly still stood.
Sanctuary Cleansed in 1844
Remember that when God took Moses up into the mountain, He gave him a pattern of how the sanctuary was to be built, and that pattern was a vision of the sanctuary in heaven.
It says in Hebrew 8 and
9 that he was given a vision, "See that thou make all things according to the pattern that was shown thee in the mount."
You will find it in Hebrews 8 and
9 a picture of the various articles of furniture, patterned after the heavenly.
Moses given a Vision of the Heavenly Sanctuary
After the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, about 50 years or more later, John the Revelator in the book of Revelation, was given a vision of heaven. Do you remember that? He saw a temple opened in heaven. He saw the furniture of heaven, and it was like that that had been upon the earth.
This prophecy of the cleansing could only apply to the heavenly sanctuary for the earthly had already come to its end in 31 A.D. when Jesus died upon the cross.
John saw Vision
of the Temple in Heaven
But what does the cleansing of the sanctuary involve? Well let us spend just a little time on the sanctuary service.
In Leviticus the 16th chapter we find a very important portrayal of the cleansing of the sanctuary, showing how extremely vital it was. The cleansing of the sanctuary was the Day of Atonement; it was the highest day of all Jewish services. That was the high and solemn day of all days. It was called the Day of Atonement.
What does Cleansing of Sanctuary involve?
In fact, so terribly solemn was this day when all the people of Israel were to be judged that that day was to be preceded by ten days with the blowing of the trumpets. Ten days before the beginning of that judgment work, the atonement work, the cleansing of the sanctuary; Ten days before, people were awakened all over the land in the morning with the blowing of the trumpets. Some might have forgotten and would cry out, "What is this?" "Is this a battle warning?" Friends it would bring to their minds that there remained but ten days until the Day of Atonement, only ten days till the great work of judgment would begin, only ten days till the cleansing of the Sanctuary.
Everything must be made right during that ten-day period.
Ten days preceding Day of Atonement
They must bring everything up to date; they must make things right with their fellow men.
If they had cheated men in business, it must be made right. And I will tell you, some of the business deals that men are making today, though they call themselves Christians, will look pretty bad in the day of reckoning. Unkind things said to the neighbours - that also must all be made right. Individuals behind with their offerings must bring them up-to-date. Why? Tis the day of judgment coming. Every year they brought everything up-to-date. They paid their pledges, they paid off their debts; everything must be brought up-to-date every year.
They had ten days, a last period of probation and preparation before the judgment should come to its close on the day of Atonement when the sanctuary was cleansed.
Making things right before Day of Atonement
Day by day through the year they had their regular sacrifices and services.
In fact, we should take just a short trip through the Sanctuary, it is very interesting. As you come up to the sanctuary, you find the great altar outside in the courtyard. That is called the altar of burnt offerings. Next you come to the laver. That is where the priests washed before they went into the temple. As you pass that and go inside, you will pass various articles one by one, right on in to the Most Holy Place.
Taking a Trip through the Sanctuary
Remember this that every one of those articles had to do with Jesus Christ. Please bear that in mind. That is what the Jews failed to realize.
Articles of Sanctuary were Symbolic of Jesus Christ
Here is the great altar, Christ Himself became our sacrifice. Jesus Christ the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, gave His life as a willing sacrifice. He should have died upon an altar. But they wouldn't even allow Him that honor. Instead, they crucified Him upon the old rugged cross.
The Great Altar
Next we come, to the laver. There we are to be washed and made clean before we can enter the temple, which is a type of heaven. We are to bathe and be cleansed in the fount of Jesus’ blood. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) No one can enter heaven until he has been bathed and washed in the blood.
Now we enter into the temple proper. Off to the right is the table of shewbread
- two platters of bread, six portions on each plate. This was a symbol of the twelve tribes of Israel.
But it involved a good deal more than that. Jesus later explained the meaning of this.
He said, "I am the bread of life which came down from heaven." (John 6:51) And every Sabbath day they changed the bread. They wanted to educate the people that every Sabbath they should come to the place of God and pray and worship and have their souls fed again. Jesus is the bread of life. Even in heaven each Sabbath day all will come up to the Bread of Life. (Isaiah 66:22, 23)
Table of Shewbread
If you turn to the left there you find seven candlesticks, those beautiful seven candlesticks shedding a soft light inside the Holy Place. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." The Holy Spirit was the oil that kept that light burning throughout the world.
As we go forward, we come to the altar of incense - I think this was one of the loveliest objects of all the temple, made of pure and beaten gold. But there is something else about it. Remember, the sacrifice that was offered there was also beaten; all kinds of spices, beaten, pounded, hammered and mixed with the oil. They were placed there, burnt there, as a sweet incense ascending before the curtain.
Altar of Incense
The incense arose and went over into the Most Holy place, for the ark in the Most Holy place was a symbol of the throne of God Himself. Christ gave His life as a sweet smelling sacrifice for us. His life was crushed on Calvary for you and for me.
And now we move into the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place. And what an awesome place that must have been. Even the high priest could enter only once a year.
The Most Holy Place
There is the ark, the holiest of all objects in the temple.
Ark of the Covenant
Inside the ark were the Ten Commandments, written on the tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (Exodus 32:16)
The tables were not out in the courtyard where everyone could see them. No, they were safe in the Holy of Holies, right under the Shekinah - the visible presence of God. It was death penalty to enter in there. There the law was to be preserved right underneath the very throne of God, under the Mercy Seat.
Above the Ten Commandments was the Mercy Seat. I am glad that above the law, there is mercy.
The Mercy Seat
The covering cherubs were standing guard to the throne of God. Between the two guardian angels was the Shekinah - a ball of fire. a symbol of the presence of God Himself. Yes every part of that service had to do with Jesus Christ; for one day, after He had been tested, after He had given His life, He was to be seated with His Father on that throne as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Covering Cherubs
Now, out here by the great altar, beside the daily sacrifices, every morning and every evening they brought their regular sacrifices from day to day. All of these services were carried on because of sin.
Leviticus 4:27, 28 says, “And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done and be guilty:
Or if his sin, which he hath sinned come to his knowledge; then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering."
The first step for the sinner was C-O-N-F-E-S-S-I-O-N (or repentance). The sinner placed his hands upon the head of the lamb while he confessed his sin. Then with his own hand he took the life of the lamb. The priest then took the blood and placed some of it on the horns of the brasen Altar.
The S-U-B-S-T-I-T-U-T-E was thus slain.
You see when the sinner made his offering he was made to realize that it was his sin that caused the death of an innocent victim. Over and over again Paul's statement, "The wages of sin is death," was impressed on the mind of the sinner.
But more important than that was the wonderful goodness of God in providing a substitute.
"Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world." The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The sinner bows his head before God, confesses his sin, and is forgiven. God demands more than an offering; He demands a repentant heart, full confession, and then one’s sins are no more.
Sinners brought their individual sacrifices day by day and so the sins were transferred to the Sanctuary.
But there was one offering that affected every individual in the camp of Israel. That was every year, the one that I have spoken of just now - the Day of Atonement, the day of the cleansing of the Sanctuary. They were all involved in this it was the Day of Judgment. No man could just say, "Oh I’m too busy. I just haven’t the time. Oh no! Their whole destiny was wrapped up in the preparation which each had made for this solemn occasion. It was a day of great searching of hearts. It was preceded by a few days in which they did no work of any type – the ten days of the blowing of the trumpets. They examined their hearts to be sure that every sin was confessed, to be sure that nothing stood in the way; that everything had been made right. And upon that day the people gathered in awe and solemnity and with great searching of heart. This was the Final Atonement.
Solemnity of the Day of Atonement
Two goats were brought there before the Lord. One was chosen by lot as the LORD's goat. There in the presence of the people as they bowed in solemn prayer, the high priest took a knife and slit the throat of that sacrifice, catching its blood in a basin. Then he entered in through the Holy Place, passing the bread of life, passing the light of the world, passing the crushed incense altar, he goes now within the veil, inside the Most Holy Place, to minister there before God the Father. There he ministered for sins that had accumulated through the year.
All through the year they had been confessing their sins outside by the great altar. They had been offering their sacrifices from day to day, from week to week, from month to month. They had been coming regularly to worship and to sacrifice. All through the year the sins had been accumulating inside the Most Holy Place.
The Two Goats
But now, once a year and once a year only, the priest entered in and sprinkled that blood in the Most Holy Place before the Mercy Seat.
Now, in type, all those accumulated sins that have been confessed are collected by the priest bearing them on his own body, as a type of Jesus Christ.
Priestly work on the Day of Atonement
He carries those sins out and now confesses them on the head of the other goat, scapegoat, and he is taken away out into the wilderness, never to be seen again. And, friends, when you lay your sins on Jesus, don’t ever go back to them again, to the old vices, the old habits, the old iniquities. You are through with them forever and they have been taken away and are gone, gone forever and the camp has been cleansed.
Can’t you see how important this service is? This was the Day of Atonement, the Day of Cleansing the Sanctuary.
Now the prophecy says that down here after 2,300 days or years, then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed. It could not possibly be the earthly Sanctuary for all that ended at the cross of Jesus Christ.
The Prophetic Day of Atonement
But St Paul tells us that Christ would do that very work of cleansing in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
In Hebrews 9:12 He says, "Neither by the blood of goats or calves, but by His own blood He hath entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
Again in Hebrews 9:23 "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these."
Back there in the earthly Sanctuary a beast for a sacrifice might suffice, but not in cleansing sin from all the universe.
In Hebrews 9:24, "For 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."
To appear where? "In the presence of God for us: (verse 25) nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with blood of others; (verse 26) for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (verse 27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
The Apostle Paul draws back the curtain of time and eternity, and he shows us the priestly work that Christ was to do.
Now in the end of the world, down here in the very last stage of earth's history, he says, "Jesus Christ, by the bringing in of His own precious blood, was to appear before the Father and there present His own precious blood to atone for the sins, the confessed sins, of the world.
There He was to appear before the Father once down here – not at the end of the world, that is when He comes in glory the second time; but in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
And it says that He goes right in and appears before the Father for us.
Christ the Heavenly Priest
Jesus Christ in the beginning of that investigative judgment, which began in 1844, appeared there before the Father in that solemn work of atoning for the confessed sins of God's people down through the ages.
How solemn an hour in which we live! Eternity is in the balance. Remember this, it is only the confessed sins that are blotted out.
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
A confession has to be made. Then comes forgiveness. All unconfessed sin is borne by the one who committed the sin, and naturally enough he suffers the penalty: “the wages of sin is death."
How terrible it would be if we failed to make things right with God. To lose out eternity because we failed to do what St John tells us to do.
1 John 2:1 says, “…and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Friends I plead with you not to let any thing stand in the way. If there is any unconfessed sin in your life then make it right.
Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.
Day of Atonement Happening Now