Question No. 48:
Does the word “cleansing” spoken of in Daniel 8:14 refer to a cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary? If so, what polluted it?
Though the sanctuary in heaven and the one on earth are in two different locations, yet the one necessarily involves the other, for both deal with the same sins and sinners. Hence, for one sanctuary to become polluted will as a consequence affect the other. For instance, if some of the members of the church on earth should backslide after once being converted (as did Achan, King Saul, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira, and many others whose names were once written in the Book of Life but who though failing to continue in the faith became unworthy of life eternal), they would of course at the same time pollute both sanctuaries. The earthly they pollute by their actual deeds and influence; the heavenly, by having their unworthy names in its books; for while the earthly sanctuary harbors the people, the heavenly houses their records.
So while there is need of cleansing the earthly sanctuary from backsliders and hypocrites, there is need of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary from the sinners’ names in its books. And the proper term for such a work is Investigative Judgment–the work portrayed in Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 7:9, 10) and in Christ’s parables of the harvest, net, talents, wedding garment, and the goats and the sheep.
However, as the Bible plainly teaches that this special work takes place only once during probationary time (Heb. 9:26), it follows that the records of those who have died throughout the centuries will be the first to pass in review before God, the Great Judge (Dan. 7:9, 10). After these have been examined, then the examination of the records of the living will begin. And as we are told that there are two classes of people in the church (“wheat” and “tares”–Matt. 13:30), it is evident that the Investigative Judgment (“harvest”) of the dead affects only the heavenly sanctuary. This is doubly evident when it is remembered that “the dead know not anything” (Eccles. 9:5) but are lying unconscious while waiting in their graves for the resurrection day. But when the Judgment (“harvest”) of the living shall begin, then of necessity the sanctuary on earth will be cleansed from the hypocrites, and the sanctuary in heaven from their names in its records. Both sanctuaries are therefore affected. The cleansing of the earthly is further borne out by Malachi’s prophecy:
“Behold I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s sope: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Mal. 3 :1-3.
Furthermore, the treading under foot of both the sanctuary and the host, and the casting “down the truth to the ground,” projected in Daniel 8:12, must also be considered. By substituting a pagan priesthood for the priesthood of Christ, and unconverted pagans for the host of God, also by introducing a pagan festal day in place of God’s Sabbath, not only both the heavenly and the earthly sanctuaries but also the doctrines were polluted. So while the two sanctuaries are being cleansed from sinners, Bible Truth is being winnowed from man’s theories and ideas.