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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    The Heavenly Sanctuary

    It is of interest to note that in this connection Ellen White not only deals firmly with the personality of God in contrast to any “spiritualistic” views but also mentions the heavenly sanctuary and the ark and so forth and the reality of heaven as a place. The three seem closely linked together, and indeed it is in the latter two areas that questions sometimes arise in discussions today.EGWW 161.4

    The apostle John and Ellen White describe what they saw in vision. There is every evidence that Ellen White considered the sanctuary in heaven real.EGWW 161.5

    While the pantheistic crisis was still raging Ellen White wrote:EGWW 161.6

    They [the children of God] will not, by their works and acts, lead any one to doubt in regard to the distinct personality of God, or in regard to the sanctuary and its ministry.EGWW 161.7

    We all need to keep the subject of the sanctuary in mind. God forbid that the clatter of words coming from human lips should lessen the belief of our people in the truth that there is a sanctuary in heaven, and that a pattern of this sanctuary was once built on this earth. God desires His people to become familiar with this pattern, keeping ever before their minds the heavenly sanctuary, where God is all and in all. We must keep our minds braced by prayer and a study of God’s word, that we may grasp these truths.—Letter 233, 1904.EGWW 161.8

    The next year at the General Conference session she warned:EGWW 162.1

    In the future, deception of every kind is to arise.... The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith.—The Review and Herald, May 25, 1905. (Quoted in Evangelism, 224.)EGWW 162.2

    Ellen White was ever clear concerning the reality of the heavenly sanctuary and its furnishings. Note the following quotation, published in 1884:EGWW 162.3

    In their investigation they [our spiritual forefathers] learned, that the earthly sanctuary, built by Moses at the command of God, according to the pattern shown him in the mount, was “a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices;” that its two holy places were “patterns of things in the heavens;” that Christ, our great High Priest, is “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”...EGWW 162.4

    The sanctuary in Heaven, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy....EGWW 162.5

    The matchless splendor of the earthly tabernacle reflected to human vision the glories of that heavenly temple where Christ our forerunner ministers for us before the throne of God.EGWW 162.6

    As the sanctuary on earth had two apartments, the holy and the most holy, so there are two holy places in the sanctuary in Heaven. And the ark containing the law of God, the altar of incense, and other instruments of service found in the sanctuary below, have also their counterpart in the sanctuary above. In holy vision the apostle John was permitted to enter Heaven, and he there beheld the candlestick and the altar of incense, and as “the temple of God was opened,” he beheld also “the ark of his testament.” (Revelation 4:5; 8:3; 11:19.)EGWW 162.7

    Those who were seeking for the truth found indisputable proof of the existence of a sanctuary in Heaven. Moses made the earthly sanctuary after a pattern which was shown him. Paul declares that that pattern was the true sanctuary which is in Heaven. John testifies that he saw it in Heaven.—The Spirit of Prophecy 4:260, 261.EGWW 163.1

    And Ellen White might have added that she too saw this sanctuary and its furnishings. In the vision confirming the Sabbath truth given in Topsham, Maine, April 3, 1847, she seemed to be carried by an angel “from the earth to the Holy City.” Then she describes what she saw:EGWW 163.2

    In the city I saw a temple.... I passed into the holy place. Here I saw the altar of incense, the candlestick with seven lamps, and the table on which was the shewbread.... I passed into the holy of holies. In the holiest I saw an ark.... Jesus stood by the ark.—Early Writings, 32.EGWW 163.3

    In 1858 Ellen White wrote on this point:EGWW 163.4

    I was shown a Sanctuary upon earth containing two apartments. It resembled the one in heaven. I was told that it was the earthly Sanctuary, a figure of the heavenly. The furniture of the first apartment of the earthly Sanctuary was like that in the first apartment of the heavenly. The veil was lifted, and I looked into the Holy of Holies, and saw that the furniture was the same as in the Most Holy place of the heavenly Sanctuary.—Spiritual Gifts 1:160, 161.EGWW 163.5

    Speaking in Sweden in 1886 concerning the sanctity of the Sabbath she said:EGWW 163.6

    I warn you, Do not place your influence against God’s commandments. That law is just as Jehovah wrote it in the temple of heaven. Man may trample upon its copy here below, but the original is kept in the ark of God in heaven; and on the cover of this ark, right above that law, is the mercy seat. Jesus stands right there before that ark to mediate for man.—The SDA Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White Comments, on Exodus 31:18, p. 1109.EGWW 163.7

    Although this matter was opened up to Ellen White in vision many times and she wrote of it for the church and for the world, she never indicated that what was revealed on these points merely conveyed certain truths and thus was without reality. She ever contends for the reality of the heavenly sanctuary, its furnishing and its services. If what she saw was but a figure, would she not have made this known? She firmly held that God makes clear the truths He intends to convey:EGWW 163.8

    God speaks to the human family in language they can comprehend. He does not leave the matter so indefinite that human beings can handle it according to their theories.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 136.EGWW 164.1

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