James White's Writings on the Shut Door
Edited by Brother Anderson
Below is undeniable proof that James White taught the door of Salvation for sinners was shut from 1844 to 1850. Elder White's severest statements are in the last article in the section entitled Shut Door. Articles are presented in their entirety with critical passages highlighted in yellow.
A Word to the Little Flock by James White, 1847 (pages 1 and 2)
Jesus is clearly represented in the bible, in his different characters, offices, and works. At the crucifixion he was the meek, slain lamb. From the ascension, to the shutting of the door, Oct. 1844, Jesus stood with wide-spread arms of love, and mercy; ready to receive, and plead the cause of every sinner, who would come to God by him. On the 10th day of the 7th month, 1844, he passed into the Holy of Holies, where he has since been a merciful "high priest over the house of God."
THE PRESENT TRUTH published, semi-monthly, by James White, vol. I. - Oswego, N.Y. December, 1849. - NO. 6.
"The secret of the Lord is
with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant."
THE SHUT DOOR EXPLAINED. BY DAVID ARNOLD
"And while they went to buy,
the bridegroom came; and they that were ready, went in with him
to the marriage; and the door was shut." - Matt.xxv.,10.
This text is the concluding part
of one of the most important parables ever given by the Messiah,
while acting in the capacity of a prophet. Its importance will
be evident, when we consider the circumstances under which it
was given, and the time of the fulfillment of those events it
is designed to represent. The time of their fulfillment may be
clearly known by the events which precede, and those that immediately
This parable is a part of that memorable
and last conversation that Christ had with his disciples, before
the night of his betrayal, in which he portrayed to them the destruction
of Jerusalem, and the signs and events which should immediately
precede his coming, and the end of the world. Let us, therefore,
waive every other consideration of minor importance, and candidly,
and thoroughly investigate this all-important subject.
The text, according to its natural division, contains five parts:
1. The buying of oil is designed
to represent a fruitless effort, on the part of the foolish virgins,
to obtain that which would produce light upon the subject of the
coming of the bridegroom. It also appears that they had previously
a stinted share of oil, which for a short time produced a little
light, barely enough to lead them to go forth at the first cry
to meet the bridegroom. But while they were in the tarrying time,
their light became darkness; and when the second cry was made
at midnight, "BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH, GO YE OUT TO
MEET HIM," they (excited more by fear than love) made an
effort to obtain light; but not being ready, could not go in,
and "THE DOOR WAS SHUT."
2. Coming of the bridegroom.
The definition of bridegroom is
one newly married, or about to be united in marriage to a bride.
Now if the term bridegroom, in this parable, applies to Christ,
(which all will admit,) then all the scenes represented by this
parable are to have their fulfillment in close connection with
the marriage, or the giving of the bride to Christ. Here, two
questions arise; first, what is represented by the bride, and
second, where is she to be given to Christ, or where is the marriage
to be solemnized?
First, what does the bride represent?
The angel said to St. John, while in holy vision, "Come
hither, I WILL SHEW THEE THE BRIDE, THE LAMB'S WIFE."
Here John was shown "that Great
City, the Holy JERUSALEM." See Rev.xxi,9,10. St. Paul, in
his letter to the Galatians, says, "But Jerusalem which is
above is free, which is the mother of us all." Gal.iv,26.
From these quotations we learn that the Holy City, the New Jerusalem,
which John saw "coming down from God out of heaven, prepared
AS A BRIDE ADORNED FOR HER HUSBAND," is what is represented
as the bride; and its being given to Christ is compared to a marriage.
Second, where is the marriage to take place? Said Jesus, "Let
your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves
like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he shall RETURN FROM
THE WEDDING." - Luke xii,35,36.
"He said therefore, A certain
nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom,
and to return." Luke xix,12. Daniel also, in the night
visions, saw one like unto the Son of man come to the Ancient
of days, and he was brought "NEAR BEFORE HIM; and there was
given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." See Dan.vii,13,14.
From these passages, it is plain that the receiving of the kingdom
(which includes capital, territory and subjects) is what is compared
to a marriage, or receiving a bride; and that it takes place near
before him, (the Ancient of days,) a little previous to his "RETURN
FROM THE WEDDING," in the "far country." If the
above is the correct position in reference to the bridegroom,
the bride, and the marriage, then it follows of necessity that
the coming of the bridegroom is not to the earth; but "near
before" the Ancient of days, to receive the bride, or New
Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, in connection with the
territory and subjects, previous to his second advent; and also,
that the coming of the bridegroom, and Christ's second appearing,
are two distinct and separate events.
3. The going in with him.
There is, evidently at this point
in the parable, a change in the position of the bridegroom, and
also in the relation he sustains to the church and world. Now,
in order that we may arrive at a correct understanding of this
important CHANGE, let us examine what inspiration has taught us
of the priesthood of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, which plainly
shows this change. St. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, written
A. D. 64, says, "Now of the things which we have spoken this
is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right
hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of
the SANCTUARY, and of the TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED,
and not man." - Heb.viii,1,2. By reading the eighth and
ninth chapters of Hebrews, you will readily discover that Paul,
in order to lead us to a correct understanding of all things pertaining
to Christ, while occupying the position and relation of priest,
points us back to the Aaronic priesthood, the worldly sanctuary,
with its apartments, furniture and services as figures, or true
representations of the heavenly priesthood, sanctuary, furniture
and services. O! how little is known of Christ and his work
in the heavenly sanctuary, through a neglect to compare type with
antitype, and shadow with substance; and how ready are such neglectors
to brand any one with fanaticism, who presumes to follow inspiration
in this matter.
I would here state, that we have
the best authority for referring to Moses and the prophets. Christ,
after his resurrection, said to his disciples - "These are
the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that
ALL THINGS MUST BE FULFILLED WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF
MOSES, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, CONCERNING ME."
- Luke xxiv,44. Also, Paul, while a prisoner at Rome, when they
had appointed him a day, and many came to him, into his lodging,
expounded and testified to them "the kingdom of God, persuading
them CONCERNING JESUS, both out of the LAW OF MOSES, and out of
the prophets, from morning till evening." - See Acts xxviii,23.
"Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto
this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other
things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should
come." - Acts xxvi,22.
The prophet Malachi, while describing
the burning day, and addressing those to whom the prophet Elijah
should be sent, before the coming of the great and dreadful day
of the Lord, says, "Remember ye the LAW OF MOSES my servant,
which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel," &c.
- See Mal.iv,1-4. From these Scriptures we see that we are not
only directed to the law of Moses, but a positive injunction is
laid upon us to remember it. Not to keep it; for its ordinances
were nailed to the cross; but its types and shadows, as St. Paul
has taught, were figures of the true. They were a true representation
of the "good things to come" connected with the ministration
of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore, they are our
positive, and only sure guide, contained in the oracles of truth,
to lead us to a correct understanding of the work of Christ in
"THE TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED, and not man."
The Apostle Paul clearly shows that
Christ, while fulfilling his priesthood, occupies a sanctuary
containing two apartments; the Holy, or first tabernacle, and
the Holiest of all, or second tabernacle, within the second vail.
In the Holy is the candlestick, the table of shew bread, and
the golden altar. - See Heb.ix,2; Ex.xl,24-26. In the Holiest
of all, is the ark of the covenant, the mercy-seat, and the two
cherubims overshadowing the mercy-seat, above which is seen the
most excellent glory, or Ancient of days. - See Heb.ix,3-5: Ex.xxvi,33,34.
I am now prepared to explain the
third division of the text, viz. "they that were ready went
in with him to the marriage." In order to make the matter
perfectly plain to your understanding, let us go back, and see
in what way they went in, under the typical services.
Under the Mosaic economy, a cycle
of one year embraced all the ordinances, and services of the tabernacle,
and typified all the services of Christ, while acting in the capacity
of a priest. Under the type there was a daily ministration for
the sins of the people, for three hundred and sixty-four days,
then that ministration ceased. Then on the last day of this cycle
of three hundred and sixty-five days, or the tenth day of the
seventh month, the high priest, having washed himself in pure
water, puts on the holy garments, made expressly for the services
of this day. Thus prepared, he passes from the Holy, into the
Holiest of all, bearing on the breast-plate of judgement the names
of all the tribes of Israel. In this manner, all the true Israel
went in with him.
Thus Christ, in the antitype, in
the true tabernacle in heaven, closes the antitypical daily ministration
in the Holy Place, clothes himself in the holy garments, having
on the breast-plate of judgement, on which is inscribed the names
of the true Israel of God, who are described by the following
words in the text, "they that were ready." Thus arrayed,
he is prepared to perform all the services of the antitypical
tenth day, and passes into the Holiest of all before the mercy-seat,
and is brought near before the Ancient of days. Thus, they that
were ready went in with him to the marriage as he went in to receive
his bride, "and the DOOR WAS SHUT."
The cleansing of the sanctuary,
blotting out the sins of all Israel, and sending them away upon
the head of the scape-goat, &c. in the type, were performed
by the high priest on the memorable tenth day of the seventh month,
all of which were shadows of the services of Christ in the heavenly
tabernacle, after his ministration in the Holy Place closes; some
of which I may notice hereafter.
4. The marriage.
I think there are but three portions
of Scripture in the New Testament that speak of marriage, which
refer to Christ. The parable of the king's son, Matt.xxii,2-14;
the parable of the ten virgins, Matt.xxv,1-12, and Rev.xix,7-9;
in all these it is used as a figure, to represent something that
is not real marriage; but that which bears a close resemblance
to it. Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion that I can arrive
at is, that marriage, when used in reference to Christ, represents
the receiving into close connexion, and perpetual union, the Kingdom,
or some component part of the Kingdom.
When the prophet says, "thy
land shall be married," - see Isa.lxii,4 - he means that
the territory or locality of the Kingdom is to be brought into
close connection with the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. When
the New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride for her husband, and is
given to Christ, and the saints or virgins go in with him, as
guests to the marriage, then it is that he receives the capital
of his promised and long looked for Kingdom.
And when, as described to John in
vision - see Rev.xix,1-9 - God shall have judged her that did
corrupt the earth with her fornication, and shall have "avenged
the blood of his servants at her hand;" and when the voice
as "of a great multitude," and "as the voice of
mighty thunderings" shall proclaim "Alleluia, for the
Lord God omnipotent reigneth, let us be glad and rejoice, and
give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his
wife hath made herself ready;" and when to her is "granted
that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,"
which "is the righteousness of saints," then the subjects
of the Kingdom become the bride; and in joint-heirship with the
bridegroom possess "the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness
of the Kingdom under the whole heaven."
5. THE SHUT DOOR.
A door supposes a change of scenery,
or a change from one apartment to another. There are several
things to which the term door is applied, such as "door of
utterance," and "door of faith." "I am the
door," said Jesus. But the door mentioned in the text represents
not only a change in the position of the bridegroom, (Christ,)
but it also shows a change in his relation to the world, from
that which he previously held. Here, again, let us examine the
services of the typical priesthood, that we may understand the
services of Christ in the antitype. After the priests had performed
the daily services, ordained especially for the Holy Place, or
first apartment, and the memorable tenth day of the seventh month
had arrived, then there was an entire change in the services of
the sanctuary to be performed on that day.
By reading the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus, you will find that the high priest here washes his flesh in water, puts on the holy garments, and enters upon an entire new work. The offering up of the daily sin-offerings has ceased, and the high priest, on this day, atones for or blots out the sins of Israel, and removes them from the altar, where they have been imputed or laid during the year, through the blood of the victims daily offered. On this day of atonement, or of cleansing the sanctuary, the high priest (as above stated) passes into the Most Holy Place, bearing on the breast-plate of judgement the names of all such as, through obedience to the typical ordinances, have applied for a remission of sins, through the blood of their victims there offered; and THE DOOR of the first apartment IS SHUT. "And there shall be NO MAN in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. - Lev.xvi,17. On this day of atonement, he is a high priest for those only whose names are inscribed on the breast-plate of judgement. Now just so sure as the Aaronic priesthood was a type of the priesthood of Christ, then the sanctuary, with its apartments and appendages, were figures of the true sanctuary in heaven; and the services and ordinances of the earthly tabernacle were shadows of Christ's ministration, which is the substance. With this view of the subject, it is plain that a time in Christ's ministration must come, (before he puts on the kingly robes, and girds his sword upon his thigh, and comes to execute judgement,) that he will cease to be a priest in the first apartment of the true tabernacle for the sins of the whole world, and put on the holy garments, and, with the true Israel of God inscribed on HIS breast-plate of judgement, go in with them before the mercy-seat, where John saw one having a golden censor offering the prayers of all saints (wise virgins) before the throne; and be a merciful high priest over the household of faith, cleanse the sanctuary and place all the sins of the true Israel upon the scape-goat, which is the devil. Then, he will lay off the priestly garments, and clothe himself with the garments of wrath, and come to gather his elect from the four winds, under heaven, and destroy the wicked, and burn up their city.
Having thus explained the text, I will now examine some ideas suggested in the foregoing exposition. And first, the time of the fulfillment of the events, contained in the text, may be known by those which precede, and those that follow. Christ, after giving the signs of his coming, and a description of what should take place at his coming, proceeds to give a history of some of the scenes which should be transacted previous to that event. It appears that just before his coming, his wise and faithful servants, seeing the signs fulfilling, and some of the events which were to precede his coming actually transpiring, would raise the soul-thrilling cry - "THE LORD IS COMING," and thus wake up others to an examination of this all-important subject by this "meat in due season." Then this cry would excite those professed servants, who were unfaithful in their Master's cause, and who loved the things of this present world, to raise an opposite cry - "My Lord delayeth his coming." While these opposite cries are being given, THEN commences the fulfillment of the parable of the ten virgins. Here some, by examining the arguments of the faithful servants, and seeing good evidence that the signs were fulfilling, were led thereby to go forth to meet the bridegroom. We here plainly see that the cry of the faithful servants is the cause of their going forth, and that their going forth is the effect produced by this cause; therefore, the fulfillment of the parable could never commence without the cry, "The Lord is coming," being first raised by the faithful servants.
Having shown how this important parable must commence, let us examine the different steps of its progression. First, the virgins go forth to meet the bridegroom; second, they meet with a disappointment; third, they wait or tarry, still believing that his coming is near, yet, by waiting, they become drowsy, and slumber and sleep; fourth, a cry is heard, "BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH, GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM;" fifth, a trimming of lamps, and an effort, on the part of the foolish virgins, to procure oil; and sixth, the scenes described in the text take place. Now has there been a succession of events, within our second advent experience, which bears an exact resemblance to the above named events in the parable? If there has, then we have, at least, some good reasons for believing that the door is shut.
When Bro. Miller, and those who
became acquainted with him, and adhered to his expositions of
the prophecies, went forth faithfully showing to the world that
according to the best light they could obtain from the prophecies,
the prophetic periods and the signs, that Christ would come by
the end of the Jewish year 1843, then the faithful servants gave
"meat in due season." And while giving this cry, the
hireling priest, the infidel, and the drunkard, united in raising
the cry, "My Lord delayeth his coming" - "These
are fanatics who say he is coming;" and thus they smote their
fellow-servants. Here were two events, perfectly fulfilling in
all their features, the acts of the faithful and wise servants,
giving "meat in due season," and the evil servants,
uniting with the drunkard in opposing the truth, who will reap
their reward with hypocrites in bitter weeping, and gnashing of
While these two cries were going
throughout the width and breadth of the land, the specified time
came, and the virgins, with the word of God, (their lamps,) went
forth fully expecting to meet the bridegroom at that point of
time. Now for a disappointment, and tarrying time. Were these
the next events that actually transpired in our experience after
we went forth in the spring of 1844 to meet the bridegroom? Thousands,
thousands can answer this question in the affirmative; and the
evil servants have not yet forgotten to reproach and taunt us
with this disappointment. Next in this series of events is a
cry at midnight, or about the middle of the slumbering and sleeping
time, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him."
This also, was fulfilled in exact order as to time and event.
It was calculated that the Jewish year, 1843, would end the twenty-first
of March, 1844; and this was the time of the first going forth.
The second going forth was on the tenth day of the seventh month,
1844. The tarrying time, or time of slumbering and sleeping,
was the space between these two points; and at the centre point,
or midnight, the second cry began to be heard, which increased
in power and effect as it went throughout the land, waxing louder
and louder, until the virgins were fully awake.
Thus we had in our experience, previous
to the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844, a perfect fulfillment
of all the events in the parable, as stepping stones to the SHUT
DOOR; and since that time, the event, (knocking at the shut door,)
that was to take place after the shutting of the door, has not
failed to fill up the concluding scene in the drama. We are thus
brought to a clear and perfect fulfillment of every feature of
this important parable, and also to a clear fulfillment of those
Scriptures connected with, and relating to the shut door; such
as the parable of the great supper, Luke xiv,16-24; the proclamation
of the "mighty angel," "that there should be TIME
NO LONGER," Rev.x,1-8; the flying angel, proclaiming the
hour of judgement come, Rev.xiv,6,7; and the cleansing of the
sanctuary, &c. Therefore, we are brought, by the force
of circumstances, and the fulfillment of events, to the irresistible
conclusion that, on the tenth day of the seventh month, (Jewish
time,) in the autumn of 1844, Christ did close his daily, or continual
ministration or mediation in the first apartment of the heavenly
sanctuary, and SHUT THE DOOR, which no man can open; and opened
a door, in the second apartment, or Holiest of all, which no man
can shut, (see Rev.iii,7,8,) and passed within the second vail,
bearing before the Father, on the breast-plate of judgement, all
for whom he is now acting as intercessor. If this is the
position that Christ now occupies, then there is no intercessor
in the first apartment; and in vain do misguided souls knock at
that door, saying "Lord, Lord, open unto us." The words
of the prophet apply to the fulfillment of this point in the parable.
"They shall go with their flocks
and with their herds to seek the Lord; but THEY SHALL NOT FIND
HIM - HE HATH WITHDRAWN HIMSELF FROM THEM.
"They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten STRANGE CHILDREN; now shall a month devour them with their portion." - Hosea v,6,7.
But, says the objector, does not this leave the present generation, who have passed the line of accountability, since that time without an intercessor or mediator, and leave them destitute of the means of salvation? In reply to this objection, I would remark, that as they were then in a state of INNOCENCY, they were entitled to a record upon the breast-plate of judgement as much as those who had sinned and received pardon; and are therefore subjects of the present intercession of our great high priest.
[Editor's Note: In the above paragraph you can see that the Adventists were in a dilemma by the end of 1849 because some of their children had grown to the age of accountability. Thus, they opened the "shut door" a crack to let their own children be saved.]
The professed conversions, through the instrumentality of the different sects, are also urged as positive proof that the door is not shut. I cannot give up the clear fulfillment of prophecy, in our experience, which shows the shut door in the past, for the opinions, fancies and feelings of men, based upon human sympathy and a superstitious reverence for early imbibed views. God's word is true, though it prove all men liars. As a stream is of the same character as the fountain that sends it forth, (see James iii,11,) and does not rise higher than the fountain, so these professed converts will not rise to a better state than the low standard of the fallen sects; therefore, they are converted to the religion of the various sects, but not to God, and the high and holy standard of the Bible. The Prophet Hosea saw this time; and for "our learning" and guide has written - "They have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children."
THE PRESENT TRUTH. vol. I. Oswego, N.Y. March, 1850. - [NO. 8.]
[One paragraph written by James White:]
Then the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled, the 2300 days ended, and Christ our great high priest has finished his daily ministration in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, for the Gentile world, clothed himself in the holy garments, and shut the door of the holy place, opened the door of the most holy place, and has passed in before the "Ancient of days," bearing on the breast-plate of judgement, all the true Israel, and is now a merciful high priest over the household of faith.
Present Truth, Oswego, May, 1850.
THE SANCTUARY, THE 2300 DAYS AND THE SHUT DOOR by James White
"Then I heard one saint speaking,
and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How
long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the
transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the
host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two
thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
I. THE SANCTUARY.
The definition of the word Sanctuary is "a sacred place," "a dwelling place of the Most High." It cannot be applied to the earth, or any part of it, for it cannot be shown that the earth, or any part of the earth, is "a sacred place," therefore the Sanctuary is not the earth, neither is it the land of Canaan. The word Sanctuary occurs more than one hundred times in the Bible, and in most cases it applies to the tabernacle and temple of the Jews, or first covenant, sometimes to a part, and sometimes to the whole. It is mentioned four times in the New Testament, all in the epistle to the Hebrews. In chapters ix,1,2; xiii,11, it refers to the Sanctuary of the first covenant, and in chapter viii,2, it applies to the Sanctuary of the second covenant, which the "Lord pitched" in heaven. In two texts [Ex.xv,17, Ps.lxxviii,54] it is supposed by some that the word Sanctuary applies to the land of Canaan; but by a close examination of these texts we may see that they alone, condemn such a supposition.
"Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established." Ex.xv,17. This is a part of the prophetic song of Moses, sung upon the banks of the Red Sea, in praise to God for their deliverance, and in prospect of their settlement in Canaan. Its fulfilment is declared in Ps.lxxviii,54. "And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased." Cruden says - "By Sanctuary here [Ex.xv.17,] may be understood the temple on Mount Moriah, which God would certainly cause to be built and established." This view is shown to be correct from the context of Ps.lxxviii,54. After declaring in verse 54 that God brought his people to the border of his Sanctuary, the Psalmist in verses 68,69, tells us what his Sanctuary was which his hands established. "But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. And he BUILT HIS SANCTUARY LIKE HIGH PLACES." The "border" or "place" of the Sanctuary where God planted his people was one thing, and the Sanctuary itself was entirely another thing. The people were planted, and dwelt in the former, but God dwelt in the latter, among his people. Then as these two texts do not prove that the earth, or the land of Canaan is the Sanctuary, but to the contrary, certainly such a view is unscriptural, and should be abandoned at once.
"The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel." "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." That Sanctuary was "a sacred place." There the Lord placed his name, and manifested his glory during the typical dispensation of the law of Moses. But when Christ came and was crucified, that dispensation closed, and all the services of the worldly sanctuary were nailed to the cross, and that Sanctuary was no longer "a sacred place." Since that time the Sanctuary has been in heaven.
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum; we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the SANCTUARY, and of the TRUE TABERNACLE, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Heb.viii,1,2.
This one text is sufficient to show, that when Christ ascended to heaven he entered the "true Tabernacle" or "Sanctuary;" and this Sanctuary which the "Lord pitched" in heaven is the Sanctuary that was to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days.
The Divine comment upon the law of Moses, contained in the epistle to the Hebrews clearly shows that the worldly Sanctuary, its furniture and services, were a "shadow," "patterns," "figures" of the Heavenly Sanctuary, &c. &c.
"Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
"For there was a tabernacle made; the first wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shew-bread: which is called the sanctuary.
"And after the second vail, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all;
"Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
"And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
"Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God:
"But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people." Heb.ix,1-7.
"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.
"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." Heb.ix,23,24.
A shadow must resemble its body, and a figure or pattern must be in fashion at least, like the thing itself, therefore the Heavenly Sanctuary must be a literal Temple containing two Holies, the Holy Place, represented by the tabernacle of the congregation, and the Most Holy Place, represented by the "tabernacle of the testimony." Macknight's translation makes this point still clearer.
"There was a necessity, therefore, that the representations indeed of the HOLY PLACES IN THE HEAVENS, should be CLEANSED by these sacrifices; but the HEAVENLY HOLY PLACES THEMSELVES, by sacrifices better than these. Therefore Christ hath not entered into the holy places made with hands, the IMAGES of the TRUE HOLY PLACES; but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God, on our account." Heb.ix,23,24.
"The Holy Ghost signifying this, that the way of the HOLY PLACES was not yet laid open, while the first tabernacle still standeth." Verse 8.
"Hath entered once into the HOLY PLACES, not indeed by the blood of goats and of calves, but BY HIS OWN BLOOD." Verse 12.
No point of Bible truth is more clearly revealed than that there is a literal Temple in heaven, containing two Holies, as distinct as the two Holies of the worldly Sanctuary.
In the worldly Sanctuary the priests ministered 364 days of the year in the Holy Place, and then that door was shut, [see Lev.xvi,17,] and the high priest alone, on the tenth day of the seventh month, entered the Most Holy Place, and on that day cleansed the Sanctuary. This was "a shadow," "patterns," "figures" of the heavenly, therefore Christ ministered in the Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary until the end of the 2300 days, then he rose up and shut that door, and entered the Most Holy Place to receive the kingdom, and to cleanse the Sanctuary. I will here notice a few objections to this view.
1. The question is sometimes sneeringly asked - "Can there be anything in heaven unclean, and that needs cleansing"? We will let the Divine testimony settle this question. "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of THINGS IN HEAVEN should be purified [cleansed, Macknight] with these; [blood of beasts;] but the HEAVENLY THINGS THEMSELVES, [Heavenly Sanctuary] with better sacrifices, [blood of Christ] than these." Heb.ix,23. No one will contend that the worldly Sanctuary was of itself impure, yet it was cleansed once a year, "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel." On the day of atonement the sins of Israel were borne away from the Sanctuary on the head of the scape-goat, then it was cleansed. This will give us the correct view of the cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary, at the end of the 2300 days.
While conversing with an advent preacher on this subject not long since, he stated that the Sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days could not be in heaven, for this reason, that there was nothing in heaven that was unclean. I then read to him Heb.ix,23,24, and he replied - "I admit that there are things in heaven to be cleansed; but it is not the Sanctuary"!! A very poor get off indeed, for a professed teacher in Israel.
2. It is thought by some that there is no literal Temple or Sanctuary in heaven, because St. John says - "And I saw no temple therein, &c." Rev.xxi,22. Read the whole chapter and you will see that John saw the New Jerusalem, not as it is now, but as it will be when it comes down from God out of heaven, at the close of the 1000 years. Then there will be no Temple in the Holy City. The Sanctuary of Old Jerusalem was made purposely for the old covenant worship, and when that typical system of religion closed, God had no more use for that Temple. The New Jerusalem Temple, "the Lord pitched" in heaven, purposely for the new covenant worship, and when the ministry of Christ is finished, and the saints are all redeemed, there will be no more use for the Heavenly Sanctuary than there was for the earthly after the crucifixion.
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament." Rev.xi,19. See also Rev.xv,5,6. Here is a positive declaration from the beloved John that he saw a Temple in heaven, and that the ark of the ten commandments was seen in it. This testimony should for ever settle it, that there is a literal Temple containing two Holies in the City of the living God.
Now let me ask the candid reader - Does the testimony of John in chap.xxi,22, contradict his testimony in chaps.xi,19; xv,6,7? This you will not contend. Then the only way you can harmonize these texts is to credit the testimony of Paul and John where they testify that the "Sanctuary," "the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man," [Heb.viii,1,2,] the "Temple of God," [Rev.xi.19,] the "greater and more perfect Tabernacle," [Heb.ix,11,] is in the Holy City. But when the whole Israel of God are redeemed by the blood of Christ, the Sanctuary will be removed from the City, and it will be as John saw it coming down from heaven. "And I saw no temple therein." Why did John say that he saw no Temple in the City then if there never had been a Temple there? This is certainly strong evidence that he had previously seen the Temple in the Holy City.
3. Some take the ground that Jesus entered the Most Holy Place when he ascended to heaven, because he is represented to be at God's right hand. Now I think that no one will contend that Jesus has been perfectly stationary, at the Father's right hand literally, for more than 1800 years. In fact many who urge this objection, do not themselves believe that the Father has hands; but deny his personality.
In the typical Sanctuary, God manifested his glory in the Holy, as well as in the Most Holy. So in the Heavenly Sanctuary, Jesus can "appear in the presence of God for us" in the Holy Place, as well as in the Most Holy. God's throne is above the cherubims, and his glory can be seen from either side of the second vail.
The candid Bible reader will see that such expressions of Scripture, as "right hand of the throne," "right hand of God," "right hand of power," mean that Christ, who was humbled to the cross, rose from the dead in triumph, and ascended in glory, is the next in power to the Eternal God.
II. THE 2300 DAYS.
"Unto two thousand and three hundred days; [years] then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Not a word is said about the "host" [God's true worshippers] being delivered at the end of the 2300 days; only that the Sanctuary should then be cleansed. To Daniel is given two measuring rods, one 2300 years long, the other, a short rod, which is the time of cleansing the Sanctuary. The short rod is the waiting time, since the termination of the 2300 days, in which time the saints must patiently wait the return of their "Lord from the wedding." Paul calls this short rod "a little while," during which we "have need of patience."
Advent believers agree that the seventy weeks [490 years] were cut off from the 2300, therefore, if we can find out where the seventy weeks begin, we can show where the 2300 days terminate. Here I will give a very important extract from a "Lecture on Chronology," "Advent Herald" for March 2, 1850.
"The Bible gives the data for a complete system of chronology, extending from the creation to the birth of CYRUS, a clearly ascertained date. From this period downwards we have the undisputed Canon of PTOLEMY and the undoubted era of NABONASSAR, extending below our vulgar era. At the point where inspired chronology leaves us, this canon of undoubted accuracy commences. And thus the whole arch is spanned. It is by the Canon of PTOLEMY that the great prophetical period of seventy weeks is fixed. This Canon places the seventh year of ARTAXERXES in the year B. C. 457; and the accuracy of the Canon is demonstrated by the concurrent agreement of more than twenty eclipses. The seventy weeks date from the going forth of a decree respecting the restoration of Jerusalem. There were no decrees between the seventh and twentieth years of ARTAXERXES. Four hundred and ninety years, beginning with the 7th, must commence in B. C. 457, and end in A. D. 34. Commencing in the 20th, they must commence in B. C. 444, and end in A. D. 47. As no event occurred in A. D. 47 to mark their termination, we cannot reckon from the 20th; we must, therefore, look to the 7th of ARTAXERXES. This date we cannot change from B. C. 457 without first demonstrating the inaccuracy of PTOLEMY'S Canon. To do this, it would be necessary to show that the large number of eclipses by which its accuracy has been repeatedly demonstrated, have not been correctly computed; and such a result would unsettle every chronological date, and leave the settlement of epochs and the adjustment of eras entirely at the mercy of every dreamer, so that chronology would be of no more value than mere guess-work. - As the seventy weeks must terminate in A. D. 34, unless the 7th of ARTAXERXES is wrongly fixed, and as that cannot be changed without some evidence to that effect, we inquire, What evidence marked that termination? The time when the apostles turned to the Gentiles harmonizes with that date better than any other which has been named. And the crucifixion, in A. D. 31, in the midst of the last week, is sustained by a mass of testimony which cannot be easily invalidated."
I am glad that the "Herald" has given this testimony on time. A school boy, that can add and subtract, can see that if the seventy weeks commenced B. C. 457, as shown by the "Herald," the 2300 days certainly terminated in 1844. It was oft repeated in 1843, "FIGURES WON'T LIE." This is as true in 1850, as it was in 1843.
Jesus caused the "sacrifice and oblation to cease" in the "midst" [middle] of the seventieth week by "nailing it to his cross" in the spring of A. D. 31. To this add three years and a half, the last half of the seventieth week, and it brings us to the autumn of A. D. 34 for the termination of the seventy weeks, [490 years.] Then add 1810 years, the last part of the 2300, which reach to the cleansing of the Sanctuary, and it brings us to the Autumn of 1844. Amen.
At that point of time the Midnight Cry was given, the work for the world was closed up, and Jesus passed into the Most Holy Place to receive the kingdom, and to cleanse the Sanctuary.
With these facts before us, it seems strange that any one should contend that the 2300 days are not ended. A singular period indeed that has extended already five and a half years beyond its real length, and has not ended yet!
The "Watchman," (a paper which advocated the termination of the 2300 days in the Spring of 1850,) says - "There is manifestly a great lack of faith on time." It seems perfectly unreasonable to expect much faith on any time that might be set for the ending of the 2300 days, as we are more than five years this side of where the true calculation that aroused the world, run out. Since 1844, so many times have been published, with little or no evidence to sustain them, and have had so little effect upon the people, and have passed by, that we may naturally expect the people to be disgusted with any set time for the 2300 days to end in the future, and we may reasonably expect that those who have published these false times will be ashamed of their past course in removing the "landmarks."
III. THE SHUT DOOR.
That there is to be a shut door prior to the second advent, many will admit; yet but few seem willing to have it where it actually took place. Let us take a brief view of our past history, as marked out by the parable of the ten virgins, [Matt.xxv,1-11,] and I think we shall clearly see that there can be no other place for the shut door but at the Autumn of 1844.
Here Jesus gives us the history of an eastern marriage, and declares that the kingdom of heaven [the history of the living subjects of the looked for kingdom, for nothing else could go forth to meet the bridegroom, &c. &c.] should be likened [compared] unto it. Now in order to compare advent history with that of an eastern marriage, every event in our history, corresponding with each point in the history of an eastern marriage, must be complete, and we must stand down this side of the shut door, then we can look back and compare both histories. This we will now do.
"Then shall the kingdom of
heaven be likened [compared] unto ten virgins," &c.
When? At this very time, when the faithful servant is giving
meat to the "HOUSEHOLD," (not to the unbelieving world,)
and is opposed by the evil servant, and when the advent history,
marked out by the parable, is fulfilled, and the shut door in
the past. Now we may see that the only place for the shut door
was in 1844. Amen.
But says the objector - "The
door of mercy will not be closed until Jesus comes." We
do not read of such a door as "the door of mercy" in
the Bible; neither do we teach that such a door was shut in 1844.
God's "mercy endureth for ever." See Ps.cxxxvi; cvi,1;
cxviii,1. He is still merciful to his saints, and ever will be;
and Jesus is still their advocate and priest. But the sinner,
to whom Jesus had stretched out his arms all the day long, and
who had rejected the offers of salvation, was left without an
advocate, when Jesus passed from the Holy Place, and shut that
door in 1844. The professed church, who rejected the truth, was
also rejected, and smitten with blindness, and now, "with
their flocks and with their herds" they go "to seek
the Lord" as still an advocate for sinners; but, says the
prophet, [Hosea v,6,7,] "they shall not find him; he hath
WITHDRAWN HIMSELF from them. They have dealt treacherously against
the Lord; for they have begotten strange children."
The reason why they do not find
the Lord is simply this, they seek him where he is not; "he
hath withdrawn himself" to the Most Holy Place. The prophet
of God calls their man-made converts, "STRANGE CHILDREN;"
"now shall a month devour them, and their portions."
But says the objector - "The door of mercy will not be closed until Jesus comes." We do not read of such a door as "the door of mercy" in the Bible; neither do we teach that such a door was shut in 1844. God's "mercy endureth for ever." See Ps.cxxxvi; cvi,1; cxviii,1. He is still merciful to his saints, and ever will be; and Jesus is still their advocate and priest. But the sinner, to whom Jesus had stretched out his arms all the day long, and who had rejected the offers of salvation, was left without an advocate, when Jesus passed from the Holy Place, and shut that door in 1844. The professed church, who rejected the truth, was also rejected, and smitten with blindness, and now, "with their flocks and with their herds" they go "to seek the Lord" as still an advocate for sinners; but, says the prophet, [Hosea v,6,7,] "they shall not find him; he hath WITHDRAWN HIMSELF from them. They have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children."
The reason why they do not find the Lord is simply this, they seek him where he is not; "he hath withdrawn himself" to the Most Holy Place. The prophet of God calls their man-made converts, "STRANGE CHILDREN;" "now shall a month devour them, and their portions."
Says the objector - "I believe that Jesus is still on the mercy-seat." In answer to this oft repeated assertion, let me say; Jesus never was on the mercy-seat, and never will be. The mercy-seat is in the Most Holy Place, where Jesus entered at the end of the 2300 days. Its position is upon the ark of the ten commandments; and over it are the cherubims of glory. Before the mercy-seat stands our Great High Priest pleading his blood for Israel.
If the door (represented by the door in the parable) is not to be shut until Jesus descends from heaven in flames of fire, then where will be the knocking, and saying "Lord, Lord, open unto us"? It is evident that the door is shut prior to the second advent, and that unbelievers are ignorant of the fact of its being shut; therefore they knock at the shut door, and say, "Lord, Lord, open unto us." When the great day of God's wrath is come, and unbelievers are apprised of their lost situation, they will not knock, with a hope of being admitted, no, no; but they will flee to rocks and mountains for shelter. See Is.ii,19-21; Rev.vi,15-17. Now their prayer is, "Lord, Lord, OPEN UNTO US;" but then their prayer will be to "rocks and mountains," "FALL ON US, and HIDE us FROM the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb."
It is impossible to harmonize such portions of the Word as Is.ii,19-21; Rev.vi,15-17, with the idea of the shut door, and knocking being at, and after the advent. The 2300 days and cleansing the Sanctuary of Dan.viii,13,14, the parable of the ten virgins, and other parallel portions of Scripture clearly fix the shut door in 1844. This view establishes our holy advent experience in the past, gives certainty to the "blessed hope" of very soon seeing Jesus, and causes our path to shine "more and more unto the perfect day." Amen.
Herman Churchill Letter
Editor's Note: In the following letter, in August, 1850, we find the first recorded incidence of a person who was unconverted during the 1844 movement being accepted into the Adventist church. It was a shock to everyone. In February of the same year, that the door was opened to those who were Christians in 1844, but had not heard the message. Now, in August, we find the door opening further. After this, James White scrapped the Present Truth magazine, and by the end of 1851 the Advent believers had generally discarded the "shut door." Within a few years this doctrine had vanished entirely from Adventism. Adventism had separated themselves from the "shut door" doctrine. It just so happened that this separation was in direct opposition to Ellen White's vision showing that the testimony of Jesus relating to the "shut door" could not be separated from the Ten Commandments: "I was shown that the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, relating to the shut door, could not be separated..." (Present Truth, Aug. 1, 1849).
"One brother [Herman Churchill], who had not been in the Advent, and had made no public profession of religion until 1845, came out clear and strong on the whole truth. He had never opposed the Advent, and it is evident that the Lord had been leading him, though his experience had not been just like ours. Such, who come into the truth at the eleventh hour, may expect great trials." --James White, AR, August, 1850. (Early Years, p. 191)
[Here is what General Conference president George Butler wrote in the April 7, 1885, Reveiw and Herald]:
"His was one of the very first cases of conversion from the world to the present truth, which occurred after 1844. . . . I remember him well as he came to Waterbury, Vermont, and attended meeting in my father's house, where a few met from time to time. They were quite surprised at first that one who had been an unbeliever should manifest an interest in the Advent doctrine. He was not repulsed but welcomed. He was earnest and zealous, and as they discerned in him sincerity, they accepted him as a true convert."
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Category: Shut Door
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