Great Controversy Project – What Is the Sanctuary?

Chapter: What Is The Sanctuary

Favorite Quotation: “It was seen, also, that while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed.  The scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, never to come again into the congregation of Israel.  So will Satan be forever banished from the presence of God and His people, and he will be blotted from existence in the final destruction of sin and sinners.”

Lessons I’ve Learned: 

  • It’s vitally important to study the scriptures to verify any teaching taught by man.  No one, including William Miller, questioned the idea that the earth was the sanctuary. And had this one point been addressed by searching the scriptures, then perhaps the Great Disappointment would not have been as great and painful as it was.
  • God continues to lead His people even when they make a misstep.  He does not abandon them but guides them through the power of the Holy Spirit as demonstrated in the believers discovering the truth of the sanctuary.  Discovering this truth was as the author puts it “the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844.”
  • Not to lose hope when things don’t go as planned.  The Adventists looked forward to the Lord’s coming with much anticipation.  But when he did not appear and their disappointment was very bitter, many pressed on in faith looking for answers from their Lord.  We, as God’s people, today can use this as our object lesson and not give up on our Lord when things don’t go as we had hoped.


The study of the sanctuary not only provides an understanding of what went wrong during the Great Disappointment but it also sheds light on how the world will truly end.  It gives insight on Christ’s role as Mediator and High Priest and of His great love for all of humanity. Understanding the sanctuary also lets us know that there really is a sanctuary in heaven after which the earthly sanctuary was fashioned.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Were Miller and his associated alone responsible for the misunderstanding regarding the meaning of the “sanctuary” as used in Daniel 8:14, which led to its cleansing being regarded associated with the second advent?
  2. How were the Advent believers, after the disappointment, divided into two schools of thought regarding their experience and the prophetic periods?  Into what study were those led who still believed that God had guided them?
  3. Through the study of the sanctuary, how were the Bible students led to new conceptions of the sacredness of God’s law?

Family Worship Activity:

Review discussion questions regarding the sanctuary and its significance.  Obtain a model of the sanctuary for construction and memorization of each piece, where it would be placed, and its purpose. Sing hymns or anthems relevant to the sanctuary or Christ’s second advent.


Euree Estell was born and raised in the small East Texas of Hooks.  In 1981 at the age of 19, she became a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church after attending a Revelation Seminar.  She enjoys writing, music, drawing, and spreading God’s end-time message by distributing literature.

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