9. Was the Atonement Completed at the Cross?

By John Thiel, The Sanctuary Series, study 9

The sanctuary relates to our salvation. We have studied the meaning of the different furniture. The courtyard of the sanctuary had the altar of sacrifice which was where the animal was slain and represented the sacrifice of Jesus when He died on the cross as our sins slew Him. He was the lamb that was sacrificed.

If the sinner comes to the cross of Jesus they can release themselves by confessing all to Him. The priest ate part of that sacrifice and took the blood and sprinkled it in the holy place at altar of incense. That is the way that the sins of every sinner were through Christ was recorded and transferred in the sanctuary with pardon written against their sins. The seven golden sticks represented the light in the life of the Christian.

Jesus was the light of the world and the table of shewbread which represents the bread of life which gives us understanding of salvation. The prayers of the saints in the altar of incense rise before God. Once a year the high priest went with the blood of a goat into the most holy place and sprinkled the blood of that goat on the mercy seat and then went out and sprinkled it on the altar of incense which represented the work of cleansing all the sin’s that the people had been committed out of the sanctuary. It represented a day of judgment. Many partook of the work of Jesus through history but there came a point in time where they were being examined where they will have to measure up to the character of Christ.

Not Complete

The atonement or the sacrifice made for the sinner was not completed at the cross. What happened at the cross was only a portion of the whole plan of salvation. Today we are under the doctrines of the churches that say it was all completed at the cross – everything to do with our salvation. Both Sunday keeping and some Sabbath keeping Christianity are ignorant of the rest. They do not understand the salvation activities in the rest of the story of the atonement. There are two errors being taught today. There is no two apartment sanctuary in heaven and that the atonement was completed at the cross, there needs to be no more. We want to study the total atonement that was done and is being done for us by Jesus Christ  and His work in the heavenly sanctuary.

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

There comes a prompting from God to Ezekiel that they should study the sanctuary as that is where He would dwell among them.

Ezekiel 43:7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, [neither] they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

The children of Israel by their sins kept on defiling the sanctuary by the blood being sprinkled there. God said He is going to make an end of that defilement, “I’m going to dwell with them so they no longer defile it.”

Ezekiel 43:10 Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.

Show the people the house, the sanctuary so it will make them ashamed of their sins.

Ezekiel 43:11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write [it] in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

By understanding all the detail not only of the furniture and the structure, but all the forms and activities, they will learn to become ashamed of their sins and will learn to become one with me.

The scenes connected with the sanctuary above should make such an impression upon the minds and hearts of all that they may be able to impress others. All need to become more intelligent in regard to the work of the atonement, which is going on in the sanctuary above. When this grand truth is seen and understood, those who hold it will work in harmony with Christ to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God, and their efforts will be successful. They will see their own defects; they will also see that they must have the aid of the Spirit of God if they would become qualified for the great and solemn work for this time which is laid upon God’s ambassadors. {5T 575.1}

We need to contemplate what we are learning and by prayer we will appreciate it. This is still an important subject of not only what Jesus did two thousand years ago but what he is doing now. This has been present truth since 1844 that Gods people are to be occupied with.

Was Christ’s Atonement Complete at the Cross?

Did Jesus become one completely with us at the cross? He did. Jesus was made to be sin for us. When Jesus explained to the disciples their terrible disappointment when He was nailed to the cross, they thought He was going to redeem them from Roman captivity and they would live happy ever after but their hopes were shot down. Jesus was walking with two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and said;

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

Don’t you know what your whole activity of the altar of sacrifice in the Hebrew sanctuary meant I had to go through this?

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

When He came to them in the upper room He said;

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, 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. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Jesus said to them you were disappointed but let me tell you something, everything in the Law of Moses must be fulfilled concerning me. As you look at the sanctuary and all the things connected with it, all had to be fulfilled concerning me. What part of the Law of Moses was fulfilled at the cross? Was it not only the altar of sacrifice and the sin offering? But all things had to be fulfilled. There was a vast field of activity which needed to be fulfilled which the disciples needed understanding in. Jesus illuminated to them that yes the cross of Jesus was your sacrifice here on earth in the outer court.

Leviticus 6:24 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 26 The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.

What was meant to take place with the sin offering? The priest was to eat of the sin offering. As he ate of the sin offering he also took of the sin offering and sprinkled it in the holy place. In the outer court at the altar of sacrifice, what did he do? He ate of the sin offering. That is what happened here on earth.

Hebrews 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

What did Jesus do here on earth? He offered one sacrifice for sins forever. Jesus was both the sacrifice and the priest at the time when He died and then rose again. He became the sin offering. It was a sin offering once for all.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Priest and sacrifice were both working together on earth. That was in the outer court, the rest hasn’t come into play yet. If the whole congregation committed sin what did the priest have to do?

Leviticus 4:15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD. 16 And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the congregation:

The bullock was slain and the priest caught the blood with the bowl and went with the blood into the sanctuary. He moves from the outer court to the second apartment.

Leviticus 4:17 And the priest shall dip his finger [in some] of the blood, and sprinkle [it] seven times before the LORD, [even] before the veil. 18 And he shall put [some] of the blood upon the horns of the altar which [is] before the LORD, that [is] in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which [is at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

The priest went into the holy place. What is this in terms of what Jesus did? He died and He ingested our sins in the atonement and now the priest left the courtyard and went into the temple. In Hebrews 4 Christ was not the priest on earth as the priests did that work, but Jesus went where?

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].

What He did at the cross was now as the priest went into the sanctuary. Where did He go? Which sanctuary? Not into the earthly one as that is where the Levitical priests were. He went into a more perfect temple, the one that was not made with hands with the blood of animals but by His own blood. As the earthly priest took the blood into the sanctuary now Jesus went into the heavenly sanctuary to continue the work that He had to do after He died.

Hebrews 9:24 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:

The priest went into the presence of God and that is where Jesus went in the sanctuary in heaven. We want to appreciate the atonement. The atonement was done for us by Jesus becoming at one with us at the cross but now what was He doing? What He did at the cross was only part of it.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

This is the all embracing atonement that had to be fulfilled in the Law of Moses. Can you see another dimension of atonement? He Jesus became at one with us so that we might become at one with Him. I’m all sinful so Jesus became at one with me so that I who knows no righteous can become righteous with Him.

Most people only accept that Jesus became at one with them but they don’t go on in the rest of the ministry of the sanctuary. The atonement must continue to affect the human being so that the human being who Jesus was one with in sacrifice can become at one with Jesus in purity.

He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself. {DA 755.1}

This is when He became one with us and sin itself. He made Him to be sin for us but then He moved on. The atonement extends so that we who are sinful can become righteous. The atonement is not just one sided. Most people say “thank you Jesus, you have done this for me and now I’m free” and they don’t know that something else must happen. It is not just good enough to believe that Jesus died for us. We must do something in connection with that.

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Jesus became at one with us so that our old man might die with Him. The atonement extends to us so that we will not serve sin anymore. Jesus returns to heaven after He had ingested the sin offering. He went to heaven with us inside of him. In heaven He brings us before God to continue the work so that we might put away our sin.

1 Timothy 2:3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

What is the work of Jesus in heaven? He is the mediator between us and God for what purpose? So we can be saved by the knowledge of the truth. It is the knowledge of what we are studying in the sanctuary which is designed to save us by watching Jesus presenting our case before the Father as our mediator and the priest doing His work. What He did at the cross was only the beginning. He had to come and do the rest of His work with me. He had to work to change me later on. In this work of continuing effort by the high priest in heaven, something is committed to us;

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Jesus reconciles. That is the word atonement. To reconcile means there are two people at odds with each other and to reconcile is to bring them back again.  What is given to us; the ministry of atonement. The atonement is an ongoing ministry. It is a portfolio. In government the minister of education has a portfolio as he has work to do. The atonement isn’t finished yet, it’s still a ministry to engage in.

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Regarding what Jesus did at the cross, God now says to us, cooperate with Jesus as you have a ministry, something to do. Two thousand years ago Jesus enacted God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself and now having done that, He wants us to enter into that work with Him.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

It is not finished.

All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. {DA 668.3}

Is that atonement? Is this in your experience yet? Are you so absolutely totally at one with Jesus that obedience to you is carrying out your own impulses? Can you see the work of atonement? The Lord has to work for us in the heavenly sanctuary so that obedience takes place in my heart. The atonement is not finished yet. Was it finished at the cross? Only half. It has to continue so that the day will come that I will be carrying out his law as my own impulses. Two thousand years ago was only the beginning of that. In the heavenly sanctuary the ministry of Christ is attended to for a people who are responding if we consent. Only the people who had consented and who had gone with Jesus in to the most holy place are the people being dealt with. The gentiles that don’t are left in the outer court. Jesus is working hard for us to go into total obedience.

As He works, there comes a point in time where His mediation must be finished in my heart. That is what the heavenly sanctuary is also occupied with – to finish obedience in my heart. When obedience is in my heart, do I sin anymore? The cleansing of the body sanctuary must coincide with the heavenly sanctuary cleansing.

When it is finally completed, when the total cleansing of my body sanctuary and the heavenly has taken place, then the atonement is finished. That is when atonement is complete when God sits on the throne of my heart and all my sins have been cleansed. That final completion was symbolised in the Day of Atonement in the Hebrew sanctuary when the symbolic activity was cleansed. On the Day of Atonement two goats were taken, one for the sin offering and the other as the scapegoat. Did the priest confess sins on the sin offering goat? No. He just killed it.

Leviticus 16:15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that [is] for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy [place], because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 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. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar that [is] before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar round about. 19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

What is he doing? He is doing something different to the sin offering before. The sin offering was where the person confessed their sins and the priest took it into the sanctuary but note there was no confession of on the goat. What does he do as he finishes cleansing the sanctuary?

Leviticus 16:20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy [place], and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: 21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send [him] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:

That is the only goat on the Day of Atonement that the sins were confessed on. He killed the goat and confessed the sins of the people and takes them on himself and takes them out and puts them on the scapegoat in the wilderness. There is no more sin left in the sanctuary. No more sin in the human heart, it has been totally cleansed out. This is what Jesus is doing in the heavenly sanctuary to cleanse even that.

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 [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.

Even heaven needs to be cleansed because the sins of Gods people are recorded there as they are recorded here in us. On the Day of Atonement they had to be cleansed form the heavenly sanctuary. There are records in heaven that are very dirty. God has a perfect photograph of everyman’s sins up there or a video of us all. All my sins, everything is up there. He can play the video and all the sin’s are recorded. That is to be cleansed. The atonement is not finished until this work in the most holy place is achieved.

As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation–a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when He comes, His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works. Revelation 22:12. {GC 421.3}

Before He can come with a reward, the atonement must be finished. God has a perfect photograph of all our sinfulness and compares that with His law and He says you are not clean yet, you are not one yet. He reveals to us the things that mar our life and calls upon us to repent and turn from sin. That is the work as He wants to cleanse it all. This is the way of God. His way is in the sanctuary. This is the Biblical evidence that what the doctrines of the churches say today is not the truth.

We need to equip ourselves now so that we can witness and help Christians to realise what their work is so they can stand when Jesus comes as He wants to bring His reward with him.


Further reading:


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Posted on 20/09/2009, in The Sanctuary (Series) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Jason williams

    There could be more detail of the sanctuary connected with our time and our role. However I see you have spent much time on the much needed introduction. Our fathers prayer in one part says thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. As it was in heaven when Christ ascended and sat on the right hand of power so His disciples decieved power. The same with the move from one apparent to the next He was carried to the father so also on earth He in the for of his word carried to the people. So too in our time the final preparation of the the high priest to leave the heavenly sanctuary should we prepare to receive hom in our earthly sanctuary. 1 Peter 1:19.

  2. It was good

  3. loved it, you can send me more like this every day

  4. The focus of the comment is on the great omission in Christianity today, viz.: the ONE-STOP MINISTRY from Christ’s cross (the “tree of life”), which makes the co-resurrection of Christ and ours, including our sanctification, predictable, personally experiential and certain as climax in a long and traceable trend!

  5. Nothing can ever be more holy, more justifying and more sanctifying than the given VISION and firsthand/personal knowledge of Jesus Christ as the “I Am Who I Am” or self-sufficient life in his perfect and transfigurative death on the cross “according to the Scriptures” even if theologically incorrect!

    Isn’t this exactly what the writer of Hebrews describes as our present experience of “complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus”? (10: 19-39)

  6. Even if we have been caught unaware (Matt. 24: 36-44), nothing at all could be more complete atonement than the climax of God’s self-revelation in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (the “tree of life”) according to the patterns set, and promises made in the Scriptures of Moses (Gen. 2: 7-17; Ex. 3: 1-15; Num. 21: 4-9); the writings of the prophets (Isa. 52, 53; Jer. 31: 31-34; Zech. 14) and the Psalms (16: 8-11); and complete with being made “gods” (John 10: 34-35) with the enabling wisdom and power of God (2 Cor. 10: 4-6). AMEN!!!!!!!

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