Seventh-Day Adventism Renounced

by D. M. Canright


(Editor's note: This is taken from the 14th edition (1914) of Elder Canright's work, embodying his renunciation of Adventism.  Canright was for 28 years a leading light of the Adventist church before he renounced the church's false teaching and published his book.  Canright's arguments against Adventist doctrine have never been answered and it stands as the single greatest obstacle and refutation of Adventism to date.  Page numbers are inserted in brackets in the text to reflect the 14th edition, and should be cited accordingly.)

Chapter VII - The Sanctuary

Seventh-Day Adventists make everything turn upon their view of the sanctuary.  It is vital with them.  If they are wrong on this, their whole theory breaks down.  The reader should, therefore, study this subject carefully.  They dwell upon it constantly, and affirm that they are the only ones in all Christendom who have the light on the subject.  I will devote only a few pages to it, just enough to show the fallacy of their system.

They based their time of 1844 upon Dan. 8:14.  "Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."  The sanctuary was the earth.  It was to be cleansed by fire at the second advent.  The 2300 days ended in 1844.  Hence, Christ must come that year.  They proved it all by the Bible; so there could be no mistake, they said.  But Christ didn't come.  Now what?  Fanaticism dies hard, positive men don't like to yield.  So they now find that the sanctuary does not mean the earth at all, as they had said, but a real building in heaven, just like the tabernacle which Moses built.  That was a tent with two rooms, the holy place, containing the table, candlestick, and golden altar; the Most holy, containing the ark, in which were the tables of stone, and over which was the mercy seat and cherubim.  See Heb. 9:1-7.  The priests ministered in the first place every day in the year, but only the high priest went into the Most Holy, and he only on the last day of the year.  Lev. 16.  On that day he cleansed the sanctuary of the sins confessed there during the year.  All this [pg. 118] was a type of just such a building in heaven, where Christ ministers.  Heb. 8 1-5; 9: 1-9, 24.  In 1844 he left the first place and entered the Most Holy to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary, which, really, is the judgment.  This explains their disappointment.  Jesus went into the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to begin the judgment in 1844, in stead of coming to the earth, as they first expected and preached!  To prove all this they make long, inferential argument, which are open to objections from all sides.

1.  Do the Adventists know that they are right about this question?  No.

2.  If this subject is as plain and as important as they say it is, it is strange that nobody ever found it out before.

3. After being perfectly familiar with their view of it, and knowing all their arguments, I feel sure they are mistaken about it.

1.  God sent Adventists with a last solemn message to earth upon which the destiny of the church and the world depended.  The very thing they did was to get the wrong year, '43 instead of '44.  Then, when they got that fixed up, instead of announcing the real event to take place, the change in Christ's work in the sanctuary in heaven, they said he was to come to earth, raise the dead, and burn the world, when nothing of the kind was to occur!

2.  Not one in fifty of the original Adventists ever found out the real mistake they had made.  Not even one of the leading Adventists, like Miller, Himes, Litch, etc., ever accepted the sanctuary explanation.  only a mere handful out of the great mass of 1844 Adventists found out the truth about the sanctuary, and these were men of no note in Miller's work.

3.  Miller himself opposed the Seventh-Day Adventists' move, rejecting the idea of the sanctuary, the Sabbath , and the third angel's message.  What a hopeless tangle that [pg. 119] Advent work was!  No wonder people rejected it.  What if Moses had opposed Joshua, and John the Baptist had opposed Christ?  Miller was sent to do a work, go it wrong, and then opposed those who did finally get it right! 

4.  Instead of receiving the "light" on the sanctuary question from Mrs. White's vision, or from heaven, they got it from O. R. L. Crosier.  But he soon gave it all up as an error, and has opposed the Seventh -Day Adventists for many years.  It looks badly for a theory when its very authors renounce it.

5.  Seventh-Day Adventists at first adopted the sanctuary theory to prove that the door of mercy was shut in 1844, a theory which Mrs. White and all of them held at that time.  Her is my proof on this point:

                                                                                Ann Arbor, Mich., Dec. 1, 1887.

Elder D. M. Canright: - "I kept the seventh day nearly a year, about  1848.  IN 1846, I explained the idea of the sanctuary in an article in an extra double number of the Day Star, Cincinnati, O.  The object of that article was to support the theory that the door of mercy was shut, a theory which I and nearly all Adventist who had adopted William Miller's views, held from 1844 to 1848.  Yes, I know that Ellen G. Harmon - now Mrs. What - held the shut door theory at that time."

                                                                                Truly yours,  O. R. L. Crosier.

Now listen to Mrs. White:  "Topsham, Me., April 21 1847...The Lord showed me more than one year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light on the cleansing of the sanctuary, etc., and that it was his will that Bro. C. should write out the view which he gave us in the day star (extra), Feb. 7, 1846.  I feel fully authorized by the Lord to recommend that extra to every saint..."  E.G. White, in "A Word to the Little Flock," pages 11, [pg. 120] 12.  Here you have the origin and object of that sanctuary theory.  Before me lies "The Present Truth," Vol. I, No. 6, December, 1849, by James White.  "The Shut Door Explained," is the leading article, in which it is argued from the type Lev. 16:17, that when the high priest entered the Most Holy there could be no more pardon for sin.  "On this day of atonement he is a high priest for those only whose names are inscribed on the bread-plate of judgment," page 44.  No more salvation for sinners, is what their sanctuary theory was then used to prove.  The whole volume is full of his idea.

6.  Their argument from the type on this point was right; in the type no sin could be confessed and conveyed into the sanctuary after the high priest entered the Most Holy.  Lev. 4:1-7; 16:17, 23, 24.  So if this was a type of the entrance of Christ into the Most Holy in heaven in 1844, then truly the door of mercy did close then, and all sinners since are lost.

7.  No work whatever was to be done on the day of atonement, or day when the sanctuary was cleansed.  Lev. 23:27-32.  The law was very strict.  If the Advent argument on the sanctuary is correct and the day of atonement began in 1844, then they ought not to have worked a day since.  Hence, many Adventists after 1844 held that it was a sin to work; but time starved them out, and they had to go at it again.

8.  Finally, being compelled to abandon the position that the door of mercy was entirely shut against sinners in 1844, they next taught that only those could be saved who knew of the change which Christ made in the sanctuary in Heaven in 1844.  Thus Elder smith, in "Objections to the Visions Answered," pages 24-26, says: "A knowledge of Christ's position and work is necessary to the enjoyment of the benefits of this mediation...A general idea of his work was then (previous to 1844) sufficient to enable men [pg. 121] to approach unto God by him...But when he changed his position (in 1844) to the most Holy place...that knowledge of his work which had up to that point been sufficient, was no longer sufficient...Who can find salvation now?  Those who go to the Saviour where he is and view him by faith in the most Holy place...This is the door now open for salvation.  But no man can understand this change without definite knowledge of the subject of the sanctuary and the relation of type and anti-type.  Now they may seek the Saviour as they have before sought him, with no other ideas of his position and ministry than those which they entertained while he was in the first apartment; but will it avail them?  They cannot find him there.  That door is shut!"  So Mrs. White:  "They have no knowledge of the move made in Heaven, or the way into the most Holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there...They offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left."  Spiritual Gifts, Vol. I, page 171, 172.  What abominable doctrine!  No one can be saved unless they know of the change which Christ made in Heaven in 1844.  But no one except Seventh-Day Adventists has the slightest idea of that change.  Reader, think of this.

9.  But now they have abandoned this view of the sanctuary and hold that all who honestly seek God may be saved without any of this "light" on the sanctuary.  Thus they have already held four different positions upon the sanctuary question: 1. It was the earth.  2. The door of mercy was shut to all sinners in 1844.  3.  It was open only to those who learned about Christ's change in 1844.  4.  It is now open to all.  What will they hold next?

After thoroughly investigating the whole subject of the sanctuary, I feel sure that they are in a great error on that point.

[pg. 122]

1.  God's throne was always in the most Holy place of the sanctuary, between the cherubim, over the ark, never once in the Holy place.  For proof on this point see Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89; I Sam. 4:4 II Kings 19:15.  Smith argues that God's throne was sometimes in the holy place, and refers to Ex. 33;9.  But here the Lord appeared outside the tabernacle, and not in the Holy place at all.  So his text fails him.

2.  When Jesus ascended to Heaven, eighteen hundred years ago, he went directly to the right hand of God and sat down on his throne.  Heb. 8:1.  Hence, he must have entered the most Holy then, instead of 1844.

3.  "Within the vail" is in the most Holy place.  'And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy pace and the most Holy."  Ex. 26:33.  Also see Lev. 16:2, 12, 13.

None can fail to see that "within the vail" is in the most Holy place where the ark was.  This is just where Jesus went eighteen hundred years ago.  Proof: "Which hope we have as an anchor, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus made  high priest for ever."  Heb. 6:19, 20.  As the high priest went  "within the vail," so Jesus , our high priest, went "with the vail," into the most Holy place, to the right hand of God and sat down on his throne.  Nothing could be more plainly stated.  This upsets the whole Advent theory of 1844.   For further proof see Ex. 27:21; 30:6; 40: 22-26; Lev. 4:6, 17; 16: 15; 24: 3; Num. 18:7; Matt. 27:51.

4.  "Before the throne," Rev. 8:3.  Elder Smith asserts that "the throne of God was the first apartment of the sanctuary," because it is said that the seven lamps and the [pg. 123] golden altar were "before the throne," Rev. 4:5; 8:3.  It  is a desperate cause which seizes upon such proof.  The same argument would prove that the ark of God's throne were always in the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary, which we know to be false.  As there was only a vail which divided the holy from the most holy, where God's throne was, things in the holy place were said to be "before the Lord," as they were no near to the throne, which was just behind the curtain.  Proof:  Ex. 27:20, 21; 30: 6-8; 40:23-25; Lev. 4:6, 15-18.  Even outside of the tabernacle entirely, where the beasts were killed, was "before the Lord," Gen. 24:40, yet he was on earth, and the Lord was in heaven.

5.  Not a single text can be found in all the Bible where the ark and cherubim and throne were in the holy place of the earthly sanctuary, the type; yet in the antitype they have the throne of God in the holy place, not on some special occasion, but all the time for 1800 years, just contrary to the type!

6.  Adventists always assume and say that "the temple of God is the most Holy place."  Sanctuary, page 234, by U. Smith.  But this is false.  The most Holy place, or the oracle, was a room in the temple, but it was not the temple itself.  In fact the Scriptures carefully distinguish between the temple and the oracle or most Holy.  See I. Kings 6:5, 16, 17, 19, 23; 7:50.  The temple was the house, the whole building.  I. Kings 7:50; II. Kings 11:13; I. Sam. 3:3; Matt. 21:12; Luke 1:9; Rev. 11:19.

7.  When was the temple in heaven opened, Rev. 11:19?  Adventists use this text to prove that the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary was not opened till 1844.  But it fails them: 1.  Because , as we have proved above, the temple is not the most holy place, but the whole building.  2.  [pg. 124] Because the heavenly temple was opened when Christ began his ministry there, 1800 years ago.  Heb. 8:1, 2; 9: 8-12.  3.  Because verse 19 of Rev. 11 properly belongs with Rev. 12, and begins that new line of prophecy, instead of closing the line in Chapter 11.  They Syriac thus divides it.  Clarke, Barnes, Scott, and every commentator I have consulted, connects this verse with Chapter 12 as the introduction.  Says Scott: "V. 19. - This verse introduces a new subject, and should have been placed at the beginning of the next chapter."  Certainly; for when was the temple in heaven opened?  When Jesus went there to begin his ministry, of course, Heb. 9:8-12. Thus fails the main pillar of the Adventists' sanctuary theory.

Thus far I have argued on their own grounds that there is a real building up in heaven, just like the sanctuary on earth.  But that whole thing is extremely questionable.

1.  As children are taught moral truths by object lessons, so God taught the Jews spiritual truths by the object lessons of the types of their worship.  Hence, it does not follow that in Christian worship there must be just such material things used up in heaven.  Rather the presumption is against it.

2.  The whole temple service was for the Aaronic priesthood; but Christ is not a priest after the order of Aaron, but is after that of Melchisedec, Heb. 7:11.  Melchisedec had no temple nor temple service, so Christ should have none.  From Adam till Moses there was no temple nor priestly service in heaven.  Smith admits this.  "There were no holy places laid open, and no priestly work was established in heaven."  Sanctuary, page 238.  Exactly; for that was under the Mechisedec priesthood, just as now.  If  no temple was needed there for 4000 years, none is needed there now. 

3.  Paul directly states that the types of the law were [pg. 125] "NOT the very image of the things" they represent, Heb. 10:1.  But Adventists make their argument on the assumption that they were exact timages of things in heaven, thus ignoring Paul's statement.

4.  Paul says that Christ is a minister of a greater and more perfect tabernacle, Heb. 9:11.  Then it must differ from the earthly one.

5.  Paul says it is not "not made with hands," Heb. 9:11.  This shows that it is not a material building.

6.  Pauls says that Jesus' flesh is the vail, Heb. 10:20.  This shows that the temple was only figurative.

7.  Scarcely one of the types had an antitype just like it.  Thus lambs and oxen were the type of which Jesus was the antitype.  But he was a man and they were beasts. The bodies of those beasts were burned, Heb 13:11, 12, but Christ, the antitype was not burned.  They were slain at the door of the sanctuary, Lev. 17:3, 4, but Jesus was not slain at the door of any sanctuary.  Their blood was carried into the temple and put on the altar, Lev. 4:6, 7, but the blood of Christ was spilt on the ground.  The Levitical priests made offerings daily, but Christ only once for all, Heb. 9:25, 26, 28; 10:10, 12, 14.  "Elder Smith says: 'The fact that Moses made two apartments in his likeness of the heavenly temple is a  demonstration that the latter has two apartments also.'  Again: 'The Priests here on earth, in both apartments, served unto the example of a like service in heaven.  Now Jesus is the only priest in heaven, and he must perform this 'like service.'  The earthly priests offered, every day, the morning and evening sacrifice, sprinkling the blood of fresh-slain victims in the outer sanctuary.  So for more than eighteen hundred years, Jesus, according to Mr. Smith, must have offered his own fresh-shed blood in the outer apartment of the heavenly sanctuary twice every day; that is more than thirteen hundred thousand times from his [pg. 126] ascension to 1844.  This is the logical result of Mr. Smith's 'demonstration.'  The apostle says, Heb. 7:27: 'This he did once for all, when he offered up himself.'  Thus the 'demonstration' flatly contradicts the scriptures."  G. W. Morton.  The law regulating the service of the priests and the temple was changed, Heb. 7:12.  Then certainly it is not carried out in heaven now.  Adventists would have the whole Levitical law of the sanctuary service transferred to heaven and carried out there!  This is the absurdity of their system.  IN Heb. 7:11-28 Paul marks many points of difference between the types and the antitypes.  The table of the Lord was in the temple in the Jewish age, Mal. 1:7, but now the Lord's table in is the church, I. Cor. 10:21; 11:20.  The seven lamps in the temple of heaven "are the seven spirits of god," Rev. 4:5.  Then they are not literal lamps.  So it is more probable that none of the things mentioned as being there are literal.  IN one place it is said that the saints in heaven are "clothed in white robes," Rev. 7:9, but in another place this is explained to be the righteousness of the saints, Rev. 10:8.

In Rev. 8:3 it is said that the prayers of all saints are offered upon the golden altar.  Most evidently this is not to be taken literally, but only as a reference to the Jewish mode of worship.   Col. 2:16, 17, says that the meats, drinks, feats days, new moons and Sabbath days were a shadow of Christ.  Reasoning as the Adventists do about the earthly sanctuary, Heb. 8:5, we would expect to find something in the gospel exactly like them, meats, drinks, yearly feast days, monthly holy days, etc.  But where are they?  In the gospel there in nothing at all just like these type.

Paul says directly that the place into which Jesus went was "heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us," Heb. 9:24.  The simple truth of the whole matter is that the age of types, object lessons, exact forms, set ceremonies, [pg. 127] consecrated place and holy vessels - all this ended at the cross, Col. 2:17.  The answer of Jesus to the woman at the well is exactly to the point.  She said:  "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus said unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the father...But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship  the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  John 4:20-24.  Under the gospel one place is no more holy than another.  With the holy place went all the holy vessels, sacrifices, incense, tables of stone, and all.  Peter states it all in a word: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."  I. Pet. 2:5.  To the same effect, Eph. 2:20-22; I. Cor. 6:19.  Now we are under a new covenant; Heb. 8:6-18, an high priest of a new order, Heb. 7:11, we come to god by a new way, Heb. 10:20, by new ordinances, Mark 16:15,16; I Cor. 11:23-26, by a different temple, and a better sacrifice.  Hence, there is no need of temple in heaven just like the old Jewish one.

The Adventists idea of the sanctuary in heaven is an absurdity.  In Early Writings, pages 114, 115, Mrs. White was taken to heaven and shown all about it.  She saw the building exactly like the one on earth.  In it was the candlestick, the table of show-bread, the altar, the curtains, the ark; and "in the ark were tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments."  Think, now; what use for a literal candle in the immediate presence of God whose glory is above the light of the sun.  "They need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light."  [pg. 128]  Rev. 22:5.  And what use for a literal table of show-bread there?  Do the angels or the Lord eat the bread?  then real tables of stone in Heaven! and the Lording sitting on the ark over them!  What puerile ideas.  Hear Paul veto that idea: "not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."  II. Cor. 3:3.  Then think of the absurdity of having the Almighty God and all the "ten thousand times ten thousand" (one hundred million) angels around his throne, dwelling in a literal building with curtains, lamps, tables, walls, etc.  It would need to be larger than a whole State.  Let Adventists read this:  "Howbeit, the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands."  Acts 7:48.

"But does not Paul say that the Jewish temple was a shadow, figure, a pattern of heavenly things, Heb. 8 and 9?"  Yes; and so he says the offerings and holy days of the old covenant were shadows of Christ , Col. 2:16, 17.  But where are our feast days, new moons, meats, etc., under the gospel?  Nowhere, only in a spiritual sense.  So Paul says the earthly temple was only a "figure" of a "tabernacle not made with hands."  Heb. 9:9, 11.  How could he  say more plainly that the heavenly are not literal?  Did Christ minister in a literal temple in heaven from Adam till the cross, four thousand years? No.  Did Melchisedec have a temple?  No.  Gen. 14:18-20.  As Christ is a priest after his order, he needs no literal temple.  According to the Adventists, the most Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary depends upon proving that the seventy weeks of Dan. 9 are a part of the twenty-three hundred days of Dan. 8:14.  But does the Bible say they are?  No; nor can they prove it.  The very best they can claim is to make it plausible that they are. 

To receive Kurt Simmons’ e-mail newsletter, The Sword & The Plow, click the Subscribe link:


All rights reserved.

Top of page