Preface: We know from the Bible that God dwells in heaven where He is actively working on our behalf. The Bible also teaches that the center of His work is in the heavenly sanctuary. The heavenly sanctuary is a real place, and from it we can learn about the character and work of God.
“The hope of Christ’s return has been a dynamic conviction throughout the history of the Christian church. The fact that He has not come yet, has not destroyed faith.”1 God’s people are still waiting for Jesus to come. We haven’t lost faith. For over 155 years the Seventh-day Adventist Church has powerfully announced to the world the imminence of our Lord’s return. Nevertheless, He has not come. Why hasn’t He come? How long are we supposed to live in this sick and confused world? These are some of the questions that we as God’s people often ask.
In 1844 more than one hundred thousand Millerites were expecting that Jesus would come on October 22, but He did not come. Confused, disheartened, and sad, they didn’t know what to do. But a small group among them, assiduous Bible students from different religious backgrounds, found in their Bibles precious answers to their questions. The doctrine of the sanctuary was the key to the mystery of why Jesus had not come. Ellen White wrote that light from the sanctuary illuminated the past, the present, and the future.2
Ellen White adds, “The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. . . . The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross.”3
Jesus is still doing a special work on behalf of His people. It is described in Malachi 3:2, 3. The prophet says that the Lord is purifying the sons of Levi. What does the word “purifying” mean? “While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.”4 This work needs to be done before He appears in glory and majesty. “When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.”5
Yes, we are still waiting, but we are not in despair. We have confidence that Jesus is accomplishing a special task on our behalf in heaven above. We have confidence also that when He shall come, His church will be ready to meet Him in glory. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all that you have done and for all you are doing for us now.
1. Ralph E. Neall, How Long O Lord (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald® Pub. Assn., 1988), p. 79.
2. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 423.
3. Ibid., pp. 488, 489.
4. Ibid., p. 425.