Faculty Publications


How Our Pioneers Discovered the Sanctuary Doctrine

Document Type


Publication Date

January 1992


Today many Christians believe that Christ upon His ascension went into the most holy place (often equated with heaven itself) to begin His work as Intercessor. This view is not new; Christians through the centuries have advocated it. Most of those connected with the Second Advent Movement of the 1830s and 1840s held such a view. Those who would become Seventh-day Adventists, however, deliberately departed from this understanding after 1844. Bible study convinced them that this view was not accurate and led them to new insights regarding Christ's heavenly ministry. Controversies over this topic burgeon among Seventh-day Adventists today because many have lost sight of the pioneers' insights into the sanctuary doctrine. Often without realizing it, Seventh-day Adventist members accept views of Christ's ministry held by non-Adventist Christians, in some cases as a result of using interpretive Bible translations which promote these views. Ellen G. White reminded us that "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history."1 "How did the Lord lead us in the unfolding of the sanctuary truth? To what conclusions did He lead our pioneers, and on what scriptural basis? What did they find about Christ's heavenly ministry which led them to forsake the popular views and proclaim a unique message? As we near the coming of Jesus, we need to be clear on these important, distinctive teachings which give us identity and define our message and mission.