(Part 1 – Overview and Index of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Series)
Ray’s note: I am posting this study before the whole series is complete as there is so much good information in it and it will probably take me until spring to finish it. This page is a summary of the whole study so you can see what is coming – a completely different but Bible-based and exciting perspective on the cleansing of the sanctuary. While the content represents my best understanding at the time of writing, I recognize that understanding is growing and changes may be needed. Comments are welcome.
Daniel 8:14 says:
“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Dan 8:14)
The cleansing of the sanctuary foretold in Daniel 8:14 is an important Biblical concept. It relates to the character of God in that, correctly understood, it reveals what sanctuary God is most concerned with cleansing. That and how He achieves the cleansing very much reflects on His character and how He relates to us.
This study will closely examine the concept of the cleansing of the sanctuary including what sanctuary is really being cleansed, how that process works and how it can impact our daily lives. We will get into some genetics and psychology and very practical applications to our own lives and cleansing because we all need that – because we are all dirty.
Ray’s note: This is a lengthy study when all the supporting pages are included. As you go through this page click the links provided (open in new browser windows) for more details and documentation on important topics then come back to this page (Part 1) to continue the study. When you have gone through all parts of the study and are familiar with the various subtopics you can just read this page to review the big picture or jump to specific parts.
We will start by defining what a sanctuary is. Follow this link (opens in a new window): Sanctuary – definition (part 2) then return here to continue the study. So now you know (if you read the definition at that link which is an entry in The Character of God and the Gospel Glossary) that a sanctuary is more than a dwelling place; it includes the concept of a place of safety. We will continue looking at the meaning of a sanctuary as referred to by Daniel and how it has been understood over time.
Long before Daniel 8:14 was written, Moses described a sanctuary in the desert which had very much of a teaching role for the children of Israel and is illustrative also for us of how the plan of salvation works. We can see that the Old Testament Sanctuary (part 3) was very much like a theater and that, on its own, it could not accomplish the cleansing that was needed (could not take away sins – Heb 10:4). Clearly, it was meant to point to a greater reality. Following parts of this study will identify the true sanctuary and show, in detail, the process of cleansing the sanctuary.
There is considerable history associated with the understanding of Daniel 8:14. In the early 1800’s it came to the attention of people who assumed that the sanctuary was the Earth itself which would be cleansed at the Second Coming of Christ. When a prediction for that event did not happen, the focus shifted to the idea of a Heavenly Sanctuary (part 4). While there is some (but surprising little) direct evidence of a sanctuary in heaven, there is a scarcity of evidence that there is anything in heaven in need of cleansing.
More recently, starting in the last half of the twentieth century, attention has shifted back to the Earth, not as the sanctuary itself, but to an expected physical Earthly Sanctuary (part 5) expected to be built in Jerusalem – the third Jewish Temple. Reading that page, we can see the possibility of a third temple yet to be built on earth but also evidence that it could not be the true temple or sanctuary to be cleansed.
So the true tabernacle:
- is not the Old Testament sanctuary
- is not the Earth itself as some believed almost 200 years ago
- is not a heavenly sanctuary as we saw there is little evidence for
- is not a yet-to-be-built third temple in Israel in the near future
Then what is the true tabernacle or sanctuary? Where is it? When is it to be cleansed?
Scripture has much to say about yet another temple/sanctuary which I believe is the one heaven is really concerned about. See this detailed look at The True Sanctuary (part 6) and note the considerable Bible evidence pointing to where God most wants to abide.
So there is considerable Bible evidence that the sanctuary or tabernacle where God really wants to dwell is in us; we are the tabernacle. But how does that work? Christ living in us sounds rather mysterious. It helps make sense of this to look at how this would work physically. If in us, then where in us? Scripture often uses the term “heart” to refer to the mind as in writing laws in our minds/hearts. See the Sanctuary of the Heart (part 7) for evidence that God wants to dwell in our minds – the part of us that makes us who we are as individuals; the part of us that can actually welcome Him in.
So when Daniel 8:14 says:
“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Dan 8:14)
We can now understand that it is talking about the sanctuary that is our minds. But how is it that The Sanctuary of the Mind Needs Cleansing (part 8)? The Bible describes the state of man’s heart as being in need of cleansing right from the start – scripture calls it “the carnal mind.” Part 8 has shown that whether we completely trust God or not is greatly dependent on our perception of and knowledge of Him. It doesn’t even make sense to ask the average worldly person to trust in God. You wouldn’t necessarily expect someone to trust in a complete stranger. Trust comes with familiarity; with knowledge of character – are they, in fact, trustworthy?
As noted in that discussion of the sanctuary of the mind needing cleansing (the link above), there are three levels of sin:
- sinful attitude (distrust towards God)
- sinful flesh (fallen human nature)
- sinful acts
Next we want to consider How Does the Mind/Heart Get Dirty? (part 9) We can see and we probably all know that the contamination is largely through our senses. That, of course, is the reasoning behind the expression “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” and the need to guard our senses.
Before getting to the details of the cleansing process we should consider a couple of other factors. While cleansing of the sanctuary can be an individual process, there is a timing aspect suggested by Daniel 8:14. The question is: how can an individual process that is needed by every person who has ever lived be consistent with a start time at some point in history? Perhaps there is more than one sense in which cleansing happens. Looking at The Timing of the Cleansing (part 10) as mentioned in Daniel 8:14 in its place in history will help to make that distinction.
Now we can see that there is a special cleansing in an end-time setting that is especially significant and that this cleansing of the sanctuary is dependent, in large part, on a better understanding of the character of God – our judgment of God.
The term “end-time” suggests a time of judgment so we also need to consider how the judgment is involved and look at the question Is Cleansing the Same as Judgment? (part 11). A careful comparison of verses shows that judgment and cleansing are two different processes. Judgment could be said to be an evaluation or verification of the cleansing (or healing) process – was it successful or not? Clearly, judgment is entirely dependent on the results of the cleansing process.
Another aspect of judgment of great interest is the suggestion that God Himself, His character us to be judged as suggested in Romans 3:4 “… when thou (God) art judged.” Judgment or evaluation of God is suggested by a number of verses in Revelation such as Rev 14:7, 15:3, 16:5,7.
When the decision (judgment) of anyone is finalized it needs to be based on real evidence. The questions are where is that evidence? What form is it in? How will it be used? See the Character of God and the Gospel Glossary definition for The Books/Records of Heaven (part 12). It is very interesting to consider what is written, where it is written and for what purpose. While the omniscient God remembers everything, He only “forgets” our sins in the sense of not remembering them for the purpose of dealing out retributive punishment (which He never does). He does not remember in the sense we do if we should say to someone who has wronged us (“I’ll remember that” – in a certain, very emphatic tone of voice.) So who really needs to remember our sins and where is that record stored?
We can now see that cleansing of the sanctuary, most importantly, refers to the cleansing of human minds. What exactly is involved? How does the process work? It turns out that we are each A Being of Two Minds (part 13). Knowing the different roles of the conscious and subconscious minds will be key to our further understanding of the cleansing process. Cleansing of the one is very much dependent on the cleansing of the other.
As mentioned in Part 8, since sin exists on three levels: 1) the sinful attitude; 2) the sinful flesh; and 3) the sinful acts, the cleansing must take that into account. To understand that we need to understand Humanity’s First Infection (part 14) and the order in which those sins occurred even back in the Garden of Eden. Trying to clean up the sins in our lives will never work if we don’t attend to the root of the problem. The cleaning of the sanctuary must proceed in the right order or it will never happen.
The right attitude towards God can only happen with a correct understanding and appreciation of His character. Knowing what the problem is, with anything in life, is a good start to resolving it. What we also need is the motivation to take the steps required to fix the situation.
Fear is known to be a good motivator. For our safety, the fear response can move us to life-saving action. However, even in the face of fear, The Motivation of Love (part 15) can overcome that fear and move us to do something that, from love, we want to do even in the face of fear screaming at us not to do it. Oh to get to that point of having perfect love and no fear (1 John 4:18)!
This will be important when people are brought to the moment of having to make a decision between worshiping the beast or not. Compare:
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Rev 13:15)
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God …” (Rev 14:9-10)
Having the right motivation actuated by the right attitude towards God is crucial. That needs to be followed by a renewing of our minds that are so affected by long-held beliefs. They are wired (they have actually been rewired as a result of man’s fallen nature) for failure. Cleansing of what the Bible calls the flesh involves an actual rewiring of brain circuits. Only then can we effectively begin to clean up our act – our acts of sin.
The levels of sin in our lives must be dealt with in the right order:
- sinful attitude
- sinful flesh
- sinful acts
We will never succeed in mopping up the mess of sin in our lives if we don’t deal with the source of the problem first.
So once the attitude is adjusted, we can begin to focus on Renewing the Mind (part 16). The mind is referred to as the sinful flesh as it resides in the flesh. The flesh itself as in arms and legs etc is not sinful; it is only the mind which has the capacity to makes moral choices.
We are well-aware of our need for this change to happen by way of something called our conscience (A Clear Conscience, part 17) which, unless we have been stifling its voice, reminds us of past wrongs, tells us when we are doing wrong and, when more finely-tuned, warns when we are in danger of doing wrong.
When we are aware that we are on a sinful path we need to turn to the remedy found in the Word of God. Cleansing by the Word (part 18) is a process by which, with our permission, God writes His law in our hearts. That word, implanted in our hearts, will result in perfect love and the casting out of fear.
So many people attempt to get right with God by first cleaning up their outward behavior – the sinful acts. While it is not wrong to do that, it is tackling the problem in the wrong order and leads to little, if any, real success. Once a person corrects their sinful attitude (the source of the problem) by appreciating the true character of God and the mind (the sinful flesh) is renewed, then and only then will they be equipped to finish Mopping up the Mess (part 19) of acts of sin in the life.
It is important to recognize that “Thy way, O God is in the sanctuary …” (Psa 77:13) Not understanding what that means can lead to confusion over how God deals with sin. Does God require sacrificial offerings for sin to appease His wrath? Has He ever? Isn’t He ever merciful? “His mercy endureth for ever” is a phrase that occurs 41 times in the Bible. Thy Way is in the Sanctuary (part 20) explains the purpose of the sanctuary and how the cleansing of the sanctuary works.
Ray’s note: links to further parts (21 and on) of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Series will be activated when those parts are added.
When we understand all that is involved in the cleansing of the sanctuary of our mind we will have more motivation to engage in the process and realize the Benefits of Cleansing (part 21). Those are for not just our benefit but extend to those around us and far beyond.
As our minds are housed in our bodies and the two are so intimately connected, as God takes such an active role (if we will let Him) in the cleansing process, another question could be asked. Since He wants to make our minds a sanctuary/dwelling place/habitation for Himself does He also take some responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the flesh where this sanctuary is housed. A Fit Temple (part 22) gives us some surprising clues that, yes, He does.