Before taking up a study of the day of atonement, and the cleansing of the sanctuary at the end of the 2300 days, let us study the Scriptures and see how the sanctuary was defiled. By this study we will clear away a fundamental error and be better prepared to appreciate the truth. "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word." Isa. 66:5.
"And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Again thou shalt say unto the children of Israel; whosoever he be of the children of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed to Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people: because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name." Lev. 20:1-3.
This Scripture plainly teaches that when a man in Israel offered his children in sacrifice to the idol Molech, this sinful act defiled the sanctuary of the Lord and profaned his holy name, because his name was associated with his sanctuary. Deut. 12:5,6.
"But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. Num. 19:20.
This Scripture again plainly declares that it is the uncleanness of the sinner that defiles the sanctuary. The sanctuary is defiled before he confesses his uncleanness, and if he never confesses it and is cut off, still he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord.
Again the same truth is repeated in the following passage:
"Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness when they defile my tabernacle that Is among them." Lev. 15:31.
THE SANCTUARY DEFILED BY THE SINNING OF THE SINNER.
Now that we see that it was the sinning of the sinner that defiled the sanctuary, and not his confession of the sin, let us notice why sin defiled the sanctuary. The scripture last quoted gives the clue to the answer.
"When they defile my sanctuary which is among them."
When God ordered the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, it was built that he might dwell among them." And his choosing Israel as the place of his dwelling, identified him with the children of Israel. He was their God and they were his people. The nations therefore would look to Israel for a manifestation of the character of their God. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord." Consequently, when Israel sinned, their sinning cast dishonor upon the Lord; it defiled the sanctuary, God's dwelling-place, and profaned his name.
"Both male and female (lepers) shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them, that they defile not the camp in the midst whereof I dwell." Num. 5:3.
"Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned my holy things; neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths and I am profaned among them." Ezek. 22:26.
"Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways, and by their own doings. . . Wherefore, I poured out my fury upon them, for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it. And I scattered them among the heathen . . . according to their doings, I judged them. And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These be the people of the Lord and are gone forth out of his land. But I had pity for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went, and I will sanctify my great name." Ezek. 36:17-23.
"The daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father." Lev. 21:9.
Should my child steal something from the village merchant, that sin would reflect upon me; that sin would defile my sanctuary - it would dishonor my home and household. If a neighbor's child steals from the same merchant, that act does not defile my sanctuary - my home, for I am not responsible for the acts of that child. I am not her father; she is not my child. Again, when one member of a church sins, it casts a reproach upon the whole church and that church cannot he clean from that defilement unless the sinner repents and makes restitution or is cut off from the congregation. The family is not defiled by the child's confession of the sin; the confession belongs to the process of cleansing. The church is not defiled by the confession of the sinning member but by the sinning of that member.
When the father has punished the child for the sin which defiled the home, then that home is cleansed from that defilement; the people are able to see that the acts of the child are condemned by the father.
So when Israel sinned, God, who had taken the position of head of the family of Israel, must see to it that the sin which defiled his sanctuary was cleansed away. And this could only be done by the shedding of blood, for "without the shedding of blood is no remission." Heb. 9:22.
"Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death." "So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are, for blood it defileth the land and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein but by the blood of him that shed it."
"Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit wherein I dwell, for I, the Lord, dwell among the children of Israel." Num. 35:31,33,34.
Here the whole question is clearly stated. The sin of murder, (represented by shedding the blood of the murdered man) defiled the land. And this sin could he cleansed from the land only by the death of the murderer, whose death was represented by his blood. The blood of the sinner or the sinner's substitute instead of defiling the land or the sanctuary, cleanses the land or the sanctuary.
And now we are able to understand how the heavenly sanctuary was defiled. The scriptures describing how the earthly sanctuary was defiled were intended to teach us by way of type and antitype how the heavenly sanctuary was defiled. When God created this world, it became a part of his household. Adam is "the Son of God." Luke 3:38. "We are also his offspring." Acts 17:28. "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool." Thus closely is God and his throne connected with the earth and its people; consequently, when Adam, the son of God sinned, his sin defiled the sanctuary of God and all the universe would look to God to purge his sanctuary of that sin. And what is true of the sin of Adam is true of the sin of all of Adam's posterity. Consequently, the heavenly sanctuary was defiled as was the earthly, by the sinning of the sinner, and not by the sinner's confession of that sin. His sin defiled the sanctuary whether he ever confessed it or not.
THE BLOOD OF THE SACRIFICE NEVER DEFILES.
This Biblical position relieves us from several embarrassing conclusions, one of which is, that when the priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice upon the altar of burnt offering or the altar of incense, he sprinkled sin upon it, inasmuch as sin, it is asserted, was carried in in the blood. But the blood of the sinner or his substitute, instead of defiling, always cleansed. "Without shedding of blood is no remission." "If the blood of bulls and goats sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ," etc. Heb. 9:13,14. "And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission." Heb. 9:22, R.V.
This and many other scriptures plainly declare that blood cleanses, and nowhere in the scriptures is the blood of the sinner or the sinner's substitute ever represented as defiling the sanctuary or the land.
And again, if the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar of incense sprinkled sin upon it and thereby defiled it, how could that same altar be cleansed from that sprinkled sin on the day of atonement by the sprinkling of more sin-laden blood on that same altar?
There is another conclusive proof that the sprinkled blood did not defile the sanctuary. This proof lies in the fact that the holy of holies was defiled by sin and needed to be cleansed on the day of atonement although no blood was sprinkled upon it during the daily service.
Again, sin cannot adhere to the blood of the sinner. The blood of the sinner represents the death of the sinner and sin cannot adhere to death. "He that is dead is freed from sin." Rom. 6:7. Blood is the evidence that the sinner is dead and is freed from sin in that he has paid the penalty of sin, which is death.
DID CHRIST'S BLOOD DEFILE THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY.
But still worse, if the blood sprinkled by the priest upon the altar defiled it, then, inasmuch as the earthly sanctuary and its services were a type of the heavenly sanctuary and its services, it follows that the heavenly sanctuary was free from defilement until Christ ascended and sprinkled his blood and thereby defiled it; and again, that the holy of holies was free from sin until Christ entered that apartment in 1844 and sprinkled his blood upon the mercy seat and thereby defiled it.
Who is willing to take the responsibility of declaring that the blood of Christ, which the Holy Scriptures call "precious blood," was so defiled with sin after Christ had paid the penalty on Calvary that when he sprinkled that blood, it defiled the sanctuary? The blood of Christ is represented in the scriptures as cleansing - never defiling. "And washed us from our sins in his own blood." Rev. 1:5. "The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth (not defileth) us from all sin." I Jno. 1:7.
A tree is known by its fruits. Now let the reader note the fruit that is borne from this error that only confessed sins defiled the sanctuary.
1. It is taught that only confessed sins go into the sanctuary.
2. That only these confessed sins are placed upon the head of the scapegoat, which is Satan.
3. Therefore only confessed sins or the sins of the saved are placed upon Satan. And this is given as a reason for the great activity of the Evil One. He is working hard, it is asserted, to ruin men, because if he don't ruin them, he will have to bear the sins which they committed and from which they are saved; but, if he succeeds in ruining them, he will not have to suffer for the sins which they have committed, but they will have to suffer for them themselves. I once believed this terrible doctrine myself and based it upon the same error that only the sins of the saved went into the sanctuary. But I believed it because I had not given it personal study, but had accepted it as part of a system, which, to doubt any single point, was to be condemned already. But, when I investigated it carefully, I saw that it placed God in the position of putting a premium on deviltry. It made God say in substance to the devil: "If you are persistent in your deviltry, and succeed in holding my children under your hellish influence until they are eternally lost, I will reward you for your diligence by exempting you from the punishment due to the sins which you have led them to commit, and I will place all these sins on the victims of your Satanic cunning and they will have to bear the punishment themselves and you shall escape this punishment. But, on the other hand, if you are not diligent in your work of destruction and your victims escape from you, you will be punished, as a result of your lack of diligence, by having to suffer for all the sins of these escaped ones, none of which you would have had to hear, had you been more diligent and successful in ruining these souls forever."
INTO THE CAMP OF THE CALVINISTS.
Another baneful fruit of this error lies in the fact that it logically leads to the view that Christ died only for those sins which are confessed by the sinner. For, if it be true that the sinning of the sinner did not defile the sanctuary, but only the sins which the sinner confessed over the head of his victim, then it follows that Christ died under confessed sins only. If the sin of the sinner passed from himself to the lamb when he laid his hands on it and confessed his sins, then it follows that Christ, the antitype of the lamb, died for those sins only, which are confessed by the sinner and for no others. To state it another way; if no sins defiled the earthly sanctuary except those that were confessed on the head of the lamb before it was slain, then it follows that no sins were laid upon the "Lamb of God" except those sins which the repentant sinner placed there. This as before stated, leads directly into the camp of the Calvinists who teach that the death of Christ was on behalf of those only who will repent.
But if the sins of the sinner did not pass from the sinner to his victim when he confessed them over his head, what was the meaning of this ceremony? Let us see.
All will admit that the sanctuary service was an object lesson expressing:
1. God's plan of saving men from sin through the death of his Son and
2. Man's faith in that plan.
The blood of the Lord's goat, which the Lord chose, which was sprinkled upon the mercy seat, "within the veil," but once in the year, and which satisfied the demands of the law, illustrated God's giving his Son to die "once for all" to redeem us from the curse of the law.
On the other hand, the daily sacrifices which were brought by the people, gave opportunity for them to express their faith in Christ's death for them. The lamb was but a channel of faith, just as the bread and wine of the Lord's supper are channels of faith today; but no one but a Roman Catholic would say that our sins pass from us to the emblems at the time we partake of them. No, no! The lamb furnished the Israelite an opportunity to express his faith in the death of Christ yet to come, and the Lord's supper furnishes us with an opportunity to express our faith in the death of Christ which has come.
Yet again, the sinner has no right to place his sins on Christ. God alone exercises this prerogative. "The
Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all." And we not only have no right to do this but no opportunity to do it, because it was already done before we were born.
The foregoing errors, briefly summarized, are as follows:
1. The sanctuary was defiled by sin-polluted blood and then cleansed from that defilement by the sprinkling upon it of more sin-polluted blood.
2. The blood of Christ, called in Scripture "precious blood," was so polluted with sin that when be sprinkled it he defiled the sanctuary thereby.
3. Only confessed sins, or the sins of the saved, go into the sanctuary and out again upon the head of Satan, thus making Satan suffer under confessed sins only and thereby putting a premium on deviltry by exempting him from the penalty of those sins which are committed by those whom He eternally ruins.
4. The sufferings of Christ on Calvary were, as claimed by the Calvinist, limited to those sins only which are confessed by the sinner.
All these and many other fatal errors are escaped by the simple Scriptural truth that all the sins of men defile the sanctuary and are cleansed by the blood of the sinner or his substitute.