The Sanctuary
By E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

9 – The Sanctuary Polluted

Daniel 8:9-12:

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.  It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.  It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down.  Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.  It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

The ground of our salvation is the love of God.  This is the clear teaching of the New Testament.  This means that it is impossible to clearly and fully understand the gospel unless we have clearly understood the love of God.  Satan knows this and that is why the first thing that he attacked in the Christian Church was not the Sunday issue or the state of the dead but it was the concept of God’s love.

In the last two studies, which were laying the foundation for this very important chapter, we saw that God’s love is in complete contradiction to human love.  We saw that human love was expressed by the Greeks — and especially by Plato — by the concept of eros, whereas God’s love described in the New Testament was agape.  Then Augustine came along and married these two and produced a synthesis called caritas.  So we have now three concepts of love.

Our understanding of the gospel will be in direct relationship to our understanding of God’s love. In other words, if we project eros onto God, then we will believe and teach an eros gospel.  Likewise, if we hold onto a caritas type of love, we will do the same thing with the gospel.

Agape is a self-emptying, spontaneous, unconditional love that God has for us.  Eros has a self-seeking, ascending kind of love.  Man is climbing up to reach God.  Of course, caritas is a mixture of agape and eros:  partly God and partly us.

Look at the diagram above.  Taking each concept of love we see how each concept produces its own kind of gospel.  In other words, there are today three concepts of love in the world, and, therefore, there are three concepts of the gospel in the world, but only one true one.  We will look at each of them in order to see the differences between them and why we should reject two of them.

First, remember that eros is man’s love for God.  It is man seeking after God in order that he might be saved.  Aristotle’s definition of salvation was:  “Salvation is the movement of the creature towards God.”  Plato put it this way:  “God saves only those who are loveable.”  That means that God saves only the good people.  This is the foundation of every pagan, non-Christian, legalistic religion.

In fact, the eros gospel is “legalism”:  you have to be good before God can save you.  So the eros gospel is man seeking after God that he might be saved.  The Roman Catholic wants to go to Rome that he might find blessing in Rome.  The Protestant goes to the Holy Land as if there is some special blessing in the Holy Land.  The Muslim goes to Mecca that he may become holy.  Always running after God, trying to get a blessing from Him:  that is at the foundation of the eros religion.

The mistake that the Jews made was that they understood God’s love in terms of eros.  Therefore, Judaism became a legalistic religion, not a true religion which God intended that it should be.  In John 9:31, we see some evidence of what the Pharisees say about God and the individual:

We know that God does not listen to sinners.  He listens to the godly person who does his will.

That is an eros gospel:  You have to be good first before God can answer your prayers or save you.

See also Matthew 19:16:

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Notice the question this young Jew asked Jesus Christ.  The question immediately tells me that this is an eros gospel young man who is a victim to Judaism.  That is an eros gospel:  “What must I do to be saved?”  And Jesus said (verse 17):

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied.  “There is only One who is good.”

“There is nobody good except God.”  In other words, your foundation is wrong.  This man thought that he was good and, therefore, he could do something good, but Jesus went on to say, “If you want to go to heaven by doing good, the measuring stick of goodness is the law.”  Did the young man keep the law?  He thought that he had kept the law until Christ tested him.  We know he failed.

In Acts 15:1, there is another good illustration.  The Apostle Paul was bringing the gospel to the Gentile world in Antioch.  These are Judaizers — Jewish Christians — but still victims of Judaism speaking.  It was this issue that brought about the first “General Conference” in the Christian Church when the brethren took sides with Paul:

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers:  “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

In other words, you must be circumcised first, then God will save you.  We see in verse 2 that Paul and Barnabas did not agree:

This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.  So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

This is the first big controversy and they had a strong debate over it because Paul would not accept their teaching.

Now one of the favorite texts that was used by Paul was Habakkuk 2:4:

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright [That is, if he is depending on himself it is not right] — but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness....”

That’s how the text reads, but the Hebrew can also mean something else and the Jews did not interpret this text the way Paul did.  They said, “If you are faithful, God will save you.”  The New Testament reverses it and says, “You are saved by God’s faithfulness.”

We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:24:

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

The faithfulness is given to God.  In 2 Thessalonians 3:3:

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

Notice it is God who is faithful.  See also 2 Timothy 2:13:

...If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

In other words, we may fail, but God never fails.  God is faithful because His love is never-failing.  In Hebrews 10:23:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Notice again the faithfulness is given to God.  One more text in Revelation 19:11:

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and wages war.

The New Testament is clear that it is God’s faithfulness that we depend upon.

In summing up the eros religion it is simply what we call ”legalism.”  This is the basis of every pagan religion — man must save himself.  This is something that began right there in the garden of Eden at the beginning of the fall.  What did Adam do when he discovered that he was a sinner and naked?  He and Eve made fig leaves to cover themselves.  If you use fig leaves and they get dried up, they pretty soon fall and you can’t hide.

Then we have the time after the flood when they built a tower that could reach into the sky.  The name of the tower was “Babel.”  Genesis 11:1-9:

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.  As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.  Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.  The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.  That is why it was called Babel — because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.  From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Now we normally interpret the word “babel” to mean “confusion” and it does mean that, but the Middle Easterners do not interpret “babel” as confusion.  The word comes from two words;  “bab,” which is “gate,” and “El” which is “God.”  “Babel” simply means “the gate of God.”  The tower of Babel is man trying to rise up to the gate to heaven.  That is the eros gospel.

This message for today is “Come out of her my people” because “Babylon” comes from the word “Babel.”  The eros religion is man seeking after God in order that he may be saved or that he may receive a blessing.  It is the foundation of every pagan religion.

Caritas is where the problem lies.  It is a synthesis of agape and eros, therefore its gospel is a synthesis of God and man.  In other words, man must do his part and God will do His part.  The Roman Catholics say that man must make himself disposable or available to God before God can save him.  The Galatians put it this way, “We are saved by faith plus works.”  It is not enough simply to believe.  You have to be circumcised and keep the law in order to be saved.  Read in Galatians 3:3:

Are you so foolish?  After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

In other words, they thought that what God did in Jesus Christ is incomplete.  “It was not perfect so you must make up for it.  God will do some; you must do some.”  It’s a mixture of “I” plus “Christ.”  I have heard it very often.  We must not condemn the Roman Catholics and the Galatians.  I have heard it within our own church:  “We must do our best.  God will make up the difference.”

Of course, to back this doctrine many will quote Ellen G. White. We’ll deal with that later, but Ellen G. White understood the gospel.  It’s our twisting of her that is the problem, not her.  At the heart of the controversy in 1888 was the caritas gospel.  The issue was the caritas gospel which Butler and Uriah Smith were holding on to and the agape gospel which Waggoner and Jones were preaching.  The superficial issue was the law in Galatians but the real issue was that man is still under the law:  “He has to do his part.”

So the caritas gospel is partly of God and partly of man.  Are we saved by faith alone or are we saved by faith plus works?  Neither.  We are saved by faith that works.  Salvation is in the agape gospel, because God’s love is unconditional; God’s love is unending; God’s love is seeking after man not to punish him but to save him.  Therefore salvation, according to the agape gospel, is God’s gift, not to good people, or people who are trying to be good, but to sinners.  That is how the New Testament presents it.  John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In Romans 5:6-10, Paul is describing to us the love of God in relationship to our salvation:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

In this passage, we discover that God saves us in spite of four things:

  1. while we were powerless, helpless
  2. while we were ungodly
  3. while we were sinners
  4. while we were enemies
God reconciled us through the death of His Son.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  That’s the agape gospel.  Ephesians 2:4-6:

But because of his great love [agape] for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus....

Please notice:  while we were still dead in sins, He saved us.  While we were still sinners, He saved us.

Another text that is a very good tool to use against the Devil when he tries to discourage you is 1 Timothy 1:15:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.

The devil will come to you many times and say, “You are not good enough to be saved.”  And he is right, no one good enough to be saved:  “Here is a trustworthy [true] saying that deserves full acceptance [It is not only true but it needs to be accepted] that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”  Then Paul adds — not in the past tense, but in the present continuous tense — “of whom I am the worst.”  Paul placed his hope of salvation not in his accomplishments as an apostle but in the love of God and in His saving activity in Jesus Christ.

One more text:  Titus three.  When we read the New Testament, it is clear all the way through.  In Titus 3:1-6, the apostle Paul gives us some admonition:

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one [No gossiping!], to be peaceable and considerate [to be no visitor of the Icabod tavern], and always to be gentle toward everyone.  At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. [This is how we were.]  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior....

Have you got it?  We were wretched, miserable sinners, but God’s love appeared, the kindness and love of God our Savior toward men appeared.  God did not come to us because we did something good, but — because of His mercy — He saved us.

That is the agape gospel.  In other words, the eros gospel is salvation by works.  It is good advice.  The caritas gospel is salvation by faith plus works.  The caritas gospel is conditional good news.  The agape gospel is unconditional good news.

There is confusion that we are facing between caritas and agape.  What comes first, forgiveness or repentance?  If you say repentance comes before forgiveness you are preaching a caritas gospel.  You are saying, “Repent first, before God forgives you.”  The Bible teaches that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.  I repent because God has already given me Jesus Christ, not because I want to be forgiven.  What comes first, justification or faith?  Paul tells us in Romans 5:18:

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

By one man’s obedience, justification to life came to all.

Legally, all men and women today have been justified in Christ.  Faith only makes it effective.  God doesn’t justify me because I believe.  I believe because God has already justified me.  My faith doesn’t bring justification.  My faith only makes effective something that is already there.  We need to be clear what gospel we are preaching.  As long as we make the gospel conditional good news, we will always be giving advice.

An issue of the Adventist Review carried an article on “sidetracking by the leadership.”  The author said, “I have been traveling quite a bit in North America and everywhere I go, one request is always made:  ‘Please tell your pastors to preach from the Bible; we are tired of exhortation.  We want to be fed from the Word of God.’”  People are tired of exhortation; they want good news.  The good news is the agape gospel.

You might be wondering, “What does all this have to do with ‘The Sanctuary Polluted,’ our theme for this study?”  Please turn to Daniel chapter eight.  I have to remind you that the text that brought about the birth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is verse fourteen.  We as a people have come under fire because of our interpretation of Daniel 8:14:

He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”

We have come under fire from non-Adventist scholars and in more recent years from some of our own Adventist scholars, including the man who wrote the the Daniel commentary for the Seventh-day Adventist Commentary.

One of the principal arguments against our interpretation is that it is out of context.  I will be dealing with this point in the near future.  At that time we will look at the context of the book and the chapter.  Daniel 8:9-12 is the context of the unit, which is also extremely important:

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.  It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.  It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down.  Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.  It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

What is the context telling us?  Simply this:  the “little horn” has polluted the sanctuary of God and has cast the truth of the sanctuary to the ground and is prospering.  We have already discovered that the sanctuary of God is His model plan of salvation.  In other words, the sanctuary of God is the gospel in type.  Since the little horn belongs to the New Testament dispensation, this passage is simply saying the little horn has cast the gospel to the ground and has prospered.

The question in verse thirteen is, “How long are you going to allow the truth of the sanctuary to be cast to the ground and trampled under foot?”  Daniel 8:13:

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled — the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”

And the answer is in verse fourteen:

He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”

In other words, the caritas gospel, which was established by the papacy, thanks to Augustine’s teaching on caritas, a mixture of I plus Christ:  man must make himself disposable to God before God can save him.  This is what has crept into the Christian Church, not only into the Catholic Church but even among the evangelicals who boast about preaching the gospel.  They are preaching the conditional good news.  For example, most of them use the “in Christ motif” only for the believer — you have to believe first before God puts you in Christ.

The Bible doesn’t teach that!  God puts all people into Christ, before they believe.  Faith only makes it effective.  Faith doesn’t justify a person.  We are already justified in Christ, but faith makes it effective.  The caritas gospel has dominated the Christian Church but the question is:  “How is God going to cleanse the sanctuary?”  I believe that God is using the Advent Movement to do it.

Beginning in Revelation 10:9-10, we have a description of the great disappointment that was the result of Daniel 8:14.  Revelation 10:7-10:

“But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more:  “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll.  He said to me, “Take it and eat it.  It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’”  I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it.  It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.

The book was sweet in the mouth but bitter in the belly.  After the disappointment, God gave a command to these flocks who were disappointed (Revelation 10:11): 

Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

The word “prophesy” means “proclaim.”  We must proclaim again the three angels’ message, which is the everlasting gospel.  That is why the Devil has done his very best to try to prevent this movement from fulfilling its mission.  So far, he has had much success.  We are still wrestling with the issue, “What is the true gospel?”

This brings me to Ellen G. White.  Remember what we have covered in the In Christ Motif and in the doctrine of righteousness by faith.  In the New Testament, salvation is spoken of in two phases:  “You in Christ,” which is all of God and which is meritorious and which has no human contribution, and “Christ in you” which involves human cooperation.  Now Sister White does the same thing.  The fact is that we need to ask ourselves when we read her, “Is she talking about salvation or is she talking about Christian living?”  In Christian living, there is cooperation.  In salvation, it is a gift.

Now this was the issue in 1888.  Sister white did not back up Smith and Butler.  She backed up Waggoner and Jones and thus backed up the agape gospel.  A couple of years later, she spoke to the ministers trying to explain the issue of justification by faith.  That first sermon in Battle Creek is now for us recorded for us in Faith and Works, not “faith plus works” but “faith and works.”  Ellen White clarifies the issue.  It is justification by faith.  There are two things in this book she condemns:  “cheap grace” and the caritas gospel.

Here are three statements, the first one is on page eighteen:

“The danger has been presented to me again and again of entertaining as a people false ideas of justification by faith.  I have been shown for years that Satan would work in a special manner to confuse the mind on this point.  The law of God has been largely dwelt upon and has been presented to the congregation almost destitute of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his relation to the law as was the offering of Cain.  I have been shown that many have been kept from the faith because of the mixed, confused ideas of salvation....”

This is the caritas gospel.  She didn’t use the term because she was not a theologian but she is condemning the concept, which is more important.

Here is the second quotation [page nineteen]:

“There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works.  Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone.”

That’s Ellen G. White.

The third quotation is from pages nineteen and twenty:

“Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit.  Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature.  Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth.”

For the caritas gospel to be accepted as the agape gospel is what she is saying here.  She continues:

“If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins.  Salvation, then, is partly of debt [that is what God owes us], that may be earned as wages.  If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly [one hundred percent] of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus.  It is wholly a free gift.  Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy.  And all this controversy [which was going on at that time] is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.”

That is Ellen G. White’s definition of the gospel.  [My comments in brackets.]

There are two problems:

  1. The great majority of Ellen White’s writings is dealing with Christian living and so people who read what she says about Christian living put their caritas spectacles on and make her sound as if we have to do something to be saved.  Please be careful and ask yourself, “What is she talking about:  salvation or Christian living?”  Christian living is also sometimes spoken of as salvation.  But what kind of salvation?  In terms of what God is doing in me which has no merit, but is effective witness, or is she talking about what takes me to heaven?  There, there is no merit at all.  She describes the righteousness of Christ as a “heavenly loom in which there is not a single thread of human devising.”  That’s her definition of salvation.

  2. The second problem is compilation.  When you read compilations, you have no way of knowing the context, and you can make Ellen G. White say anything you want through compilation.  Someone got a book to me the other day that is trying, through compilation, to prove that Ellen G. White contradicts the Bible.  Either the statements of the Bible or from Ellen G. White are all taken out of context.  You can make Ellen G. White say anything you want.  There are two extremes that we must avoid:
    1. Throwing her out of the window because, if we do, this church will collapse.
    2. Misusing her.

I want to set the record straight.  When I said I do not use her in the pulpit, I did not mean I do not believe in her or in her authority or in her inspiration.  I think we need to use her correctly.  I must explain what I mean by misusing her.

  1. When we use the Spirit of Prophecy to prove or defend our truth instead of using the Bible, we make the Spirit of Prophecy the yardstick of truth and that is misusing her.

  2. When a truth is presented from the Bible and you come to me and say, “I will not accept it unless you can prove it to me from Ellen G. White,” that makes Ellen G. White the ultimate authority and this is misusing her.  She would be against you for doing that.

  3. When the main thrust of our message and our witnessing is from Ellen G. White instead of from the Word of God, we are unconsciously or consciously substituting Ellen G. White for the Bible, and that is misusing her.

Ellen White has made this statement:  “My writings are the lesser light to lead us to the greater light” that is the Bible.  When we fail in this objective, we are doing a tremendous injustice both to the church and to Ellen G. White and we rightly deserve to be called a cult.  We must defend our message from the Word of God alone.  It is the measuring stick; but we must use her to understand the Word of God.  Ellen G. White teaches that we are not saved by faith plus works but we are saved by faith that works.  That’s her teaching and that’s exactly what the agape gospel is.

Study well two texts.  First, Ephesians 2:8-10:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Verses 8-9 say we are saved by grace, it is a gift without works.  But verse 10 says God created us in Christ to do good works.  As believers, we must now walk in it.  Look also at Titus 3:5:

...He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit....

Verse 8 goes on to say:

This is a trustworthy saying.  And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.  These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

We who believe must devote ourselves to good works.

We must present a true gospel.  Salvation is a gift of God to sinners.  The fruit is holiness of living.  We must never add our works toward our salvation.  The moment we do that we are making the gospel no longer unconditional good news but conditional good news.  Because we cannot meet those conditions, we become discouraged and lose the way.  I thank God that He did not wait for me to become good before He saved me, but while I am yet a miserable sinner He comes to me and says, “Jack, I have already reconciled you through the death of my Son.  Will you please accept this gift?”  May that be the same for you.  May God bless us that we will preach a true gospel as we restore it and witness it to a perishing world.

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