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The Downtrodden Sanctuary


Who trod it down?

This article came into being because someone did not understand the modern SDA teaching on the prophecy of the 2,300 day/years and asked a few questions about it. As a people we have concentrated on the cleansing and not the downtrodden aspect of the sanctuary. This page is an effort to rectify that failure.

Daniel 8:13-14

Then I heard one Saint speaking, and another saint said to that certain Saint which spoke, "How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?"

And He said to me, "To two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed [but not the people!]."


Dear Truth Seeker,

You do ask some good questions!

This will be a long answer because you have asked about the heart of modern Christian doctrine, but I hope it helps.

1844 was the year that God was able to get some of His people to take their eyes off the earth and its religious systems (especially sanctuaries with altars on earth) and point them to the sanctuary in heaven and the heavenly High Priest who operates in it. This truth was understood by the first Christian leaders who came mostly from the Jewish system, but it was neglected and forgotten as more and more Gentiles joined the church.

We have this record:

Hebrews 8:1-2

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

This sanctuary is the centre of Christianity as far as the Bible is concerned and all the others here on earth during the time of the 2,300 day prophecy were counterfeits, and were treading the real one "underfoot" (and some still are). You might like to read Jeremiah 12:10 in this connection.

In particular the prophecy says that the heavenly sanctuary would be downtrodden for 2,300 years, but, praise God, from 1844 the blindness has been cleared and Christ and His work lifted up by some Christians. See John 14:1-3 where Jesus says, "I go to prepare a place for you" for some idea of His work.

There was a temple/sanctuary in existence in 457BC. Cyrus had given the original command in 537BC to God’s people to leave Babylon and rebuild the temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in July of 586BC.

Ezra 1:1-3

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

Who is there among you of all His people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem."

They first built an altar and commenced the ceremonies, but delayed the actual building for some time.

Ezra 3:1-6

And when the seventh month [our October] was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.

And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon to the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening. They kept also the feast of tabernacles [in our October], as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required. And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering to the LORD.

From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings to the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.

So another decree was made by another king of Persia, Darius, 17 years later in 520BC. This authorisation was completed by yet another king named Artaxerxes in 457BC (63 years after Darius) when he gave Nehemiah permission to build the walls of Jerusalem. Remember the words of Daniel? "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment TO RESTORE and to build Jerusalem..." (9:25).

Ezra 4:4-5

Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 6:1-8

Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:

"In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be built....

"And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored, and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God."

Now therefore [Darius continued], Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be you far from there: let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. Moreover I make a decree what you shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given to these men, that they be not hindered.

Ezra 6:14

And the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT OF THE GOD OF ISRAEL, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

You will have noticed that the furniture, the "golden and silver vessels" also went back with Ezra. But the ark of God, the box in which the Ten Commandments was kept, and which doubled as a picture of the throne of God, was missing. It had been hidden by Jeremiah just before the temple was sacked and burnt, and it was not in Babylon. So the temple they built did not have the picture of God’s presence in it! The hiding place of that "mercy seat" (as it is also called), has never been revealed since that day. Without it the temple was meaningless for it was supposed to picture God living amongst His people.

Exodus 29:42-46

This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there to you. AND THERE I WILL MEET WITH THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, AND THE TABERNACLE SHALL BE SANCTIFIED BY MY GLORY [PRESENCE].

And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to Me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.

And, what is even worse, the people of God in Babylon had been given a plan for a new temple through the prophet/priest Ezekiel but they ignored it and rebuilt according to the old one which God had allowed to go. [The replacement was smaller and less glorious. Ezra 3:12-13.] So they disobeyed Him, and therefore right from that time the sanctuary was "trodden under foot".

To make matters even worse than that (Yes!!), from about 425BC after the prophet Malachi gave his message to the people, God was not able to communicate with His people at all until the time of John the Baptist. For 425 years there is no message from God in the Bible, and what the Jews did during that time had no meaning in God’s plan. So anything that might have happened in Jerusalem in 353BC would have been against God and not for Him. There was no light or guidance for the church for all that time because they would not listen!

Then Jesus came following John and the whole ceremonial system was removed from the minds of the Christians soon after the crucifixion, and "Christianity" began. But there were no priests on earth then with any authority from God, nor sanctuaries with altars (the last temple was burnt by the Romans in 70AD). The sanctuary which was "cleansed" in 1844 had nothing to do with the earthly Jerusalem, but is in the heavenly city and is therefore the one in which the Son of God works.

There is only one Person we can follow so we should look to Him.

Acts 4:10-12

[Peter said] Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him does this man stand here before you whole. This is the "Stone" which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the Head of the corner [the Cornerstone]. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus has always worked in the heavenly sanctuary doing heavenly things on our behalf. What happened was that He tried to show this to His people just after they left the garden of Eden, and because of their lack of comprehension due to their sin He had to give them a picture to use to remember it by. That was the sacrifice of a lamb, a whole burnt offering, which Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, illustrated for us. Genesis 4:1-7. The whole animal was burnt (except the skin) to represent the completeness of the sacrifice of Jesus.

This is mentioned in The Revelation.

Revelation 13:8-9

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship [follow] him [a manifestation of Satan’s system], whose names are NOT written in the book of life of the Lamb SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.

If any man have an ear, let him hear.

That verse, stuck in the middle of an end-time prophecy, tells us that Jesus was actually "slain" right there in the garden of Eden. That was when He exchanged lives with Adam and Eve, and they took the animal skins and replaced their fig leaves with them. Genesis 3:7, 21. Thus they were "clothed" with His "righteousness" or "life" in place of their own attempts at self-righteousness. And this is what happens to every person when they become Christian. The Son of God shares His life with us. Because He is the Son of God He has more than enough to do that.

In the garden it was a spiritual exchange as well as a physical one. It’s also what happened to the prodigal son in the story Jesus told about his return home. His father ran to him and then they gave him a new robe.

Luke 15:20-24

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight, and am no more worthy to be called your son."

But the father said to his servants, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."

And they began to be merry.

Others in the Bible writings have used the same illustration.

Job 29:14

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem [crown].

Isaiah 61:10

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Then, as time went on and humans became more and more disconnected from the Son of God, He had to add more ceremonies to show the spiritual happenings in Christianity.

He introduced circumcision to show that the old life is "cut off" from the sinner, and that the old ways are finished with.

Genesis 17:9-11

And [the Son of] God said to Abraham, "You shall keep My covenant [agreement] therefore, you, and your seed [children] after you in their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after you; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between Me and you.

Abraham had sinned against God’s promise by trying to get a son for himself with Hagar the Egyptian servant woman, and so Jesus used that so personal a ritual to remind him and his descendants that they should not mix worldly ways with God’s ways. Genesis 16:3-4. The new life is a gift of God, and is not received by ANY effort on our part. Romans 6:23.

In the ancient world circumcision ALWAYS separated the Jews from the rest of the religions and in this modern world the spiritual circumcision does the same. So "division" is a God-given thing and not man-made. Of course, there are many spiritually "circumcised" in all the religions of the world, but they are actually following God and not their outward church.

The outward division is really a good thing for it stimulates many to search out the whole truth as you are doing. It is written:-

Romans 2:28-29

For he is not a Jew [a Old Testament follower of God], which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew [a New Testament follower of God], which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The New Testament explanation of the circumcision experience is below.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Ephesians 4:17-24

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles [non-Christians] walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness [sexual immorality], to work all uncleanness with greediness.

But you have not so learned Christ; if so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off concerning the former conversation [conduct] the "old man", which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the "new man", which after [by] God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Colossians 3:7-11

In the which [the ways of the world] you also walked some time, when you lived in them. But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the "old man" with his deeds; and have put on the "new man", which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Then later still, in the time of Moses, He gave them a full earthly sanctuary service complete with priests and offerings of all sorts, doing different things at different times dressed in different uniforms, all of which were designed to help men and women on earth to understand what He was doing in heaven. Exodus 25:8.

Of course, while all this was going on, the devil was interfering and blinding people to the truth and setting up false systems. That’s why there is so much misunderstanding of the old ceremonial system even today. When Jesus came to this earth He fulfilled all those things in one sacrifice on the cross and since then we do not need them to remind us of His background work for we can look to that example. It was the most complete picture of unselfish love that we can ever have.

Hebrews 10:11-14

And every [earthly] priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.

For by one offering He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified [set aside in a special way].

We have Calvary to give us the picture of that.

Jesus told us that the old ways would go and we would have a new system, which we call "Christianity ".

Matthew 5:17-18

Think not that I am come to destroy the law [of ceremonies], or the prophets [the prophecies of old]: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say to you, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled [but then it will]."

If this interests you then I can answer more of your questions later. Especially the one about the mark of the beast! And about how soon the second coming will be.

Bye for now,



To Ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?" ............ To "Let's get it Right"