The Priesthood of Christ in Luther and Adventism


The Priesthood of Christ in Luther and Adventism


One of the most meaningful themes of Scripture is the sanctuary and its services.

Alberto R. Timm

God’s salvation plan was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and realized in the New Testament (Heb. 8:1–5).1 The plan centers on Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross and His priestly ministry in heaven. Jesus stressed the centrality of the Cross by His statement, “‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself’” (John 12:32, NRSV). Paul affirmed that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).

After His sacrifice on the Cross, His resurrection and His ascension, Christ became the High Priest of the heav­enly sanctuary, where He intercedes “in the presence of God on our behalf” (Heb. 9:24, NRSV). Hebrews 4:14 to 16 assures us that we have a High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses and invites us to come boldly to the throne of grace.

Martin Luther’s emphasis was on Christ’s atoning sacrifice for the forgive­ness of sins, which is also known as the theology of the Cross. But Seventh-day Adventists have focused on Christ’s priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. These two approaches raise some questions: Did Luther’s emphasis on the Cross undermine Christ’s heavenly priesthood? Does Adventists’ stress on priesthood overshadow the meaning of the Cross? Are these approaches mutually exclusive, or can they be harmonized?


Martin Luther

Martin Luther challenged medieval Roman Catholic philosophical the­ology. This process involved a substantial rupture with Aristotelian theologi­cal reasoning and a hermeneutical pilgrimage from the medieval allegorical method to the grammatical-historical method of biblical interpretation. By September 1517, Luther recognized that “virtually the entire Ethics of Aristotle is the worst enemy of grace” and that “the whole Aristotle is to theology as darkness is to light.”But this does not mean that he eliminated all philosophical traces from his thinking.

Luther viewed the Cross as a historical event with deep spiritual meaning. Yet his notion of heavenly realms continued to be portrayed mainly in terms with a strong emphasis upon a theocentric heaven with almost nothing else added to it. Even so, Luther made a significant contribution to a better understanding of Christ’s sacrifice and heavenly priesthood.


Old Testament Types

Luther saw Christ as a true High Priest in whom the Mosaic tabernacle, the Levitical priesthood, and the priesthood of Melchizedek all converged and in whom all were fulfilled. As “shadows or pictures of the Christ who was to come, and of His sacrifice,”3 they were considered by Luther to be of great significance for the understanding of Christ’s priesthood.

In his reflections upon Hebrews 9:1 to 5 from 1517, Luther interpreted the Mosaic tabernacle and its furniture from a Christ-centered perspective. Al­though the Mosaic tabernacle itself was typologically related to the priesthood of Christ, it was in the service of the tabernacle that Christ’s priesthood was more foreshadowed. Luther explained that the reason the Levitical priests were called priests was “to show by means of such dramatic symbols and shadows that the true Priest, the promised Christ, would come, reconcile all men by His sacrifice, and preach and publish this fact in all the world through the Gospel.”That priesthood, with Aaron as its high priest, was instituted by God (Ex. 28:1), had the “books of Moses” as its laws, and “irrational animals and physical things” as its sacrifices.After distinguishing between the moral law and the ceremonial law, Luther recognized that everything contained in the latter was “promised and prefigured with reference to Christ and in Christ.”6

Foundational for the Levitical priesthood was the concept of transference of sin. Luther argued that the expressions “the iniquity of the sanctuary” and “the iniquity of your priesthood” (Num.18:1) were used “not because the sanctuary or the priesthood have committed them, but because it is the nature and the duty of the priesthood to be the bearer and the carrier of sins.”By carrying the sins of the people, the Levitical priests typified Christ as the One who would vicariously bear “our griefs” and carry “our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4).

Luther noted that the typological relationship between the Levitical priest­hood and Christ’s priesthood was inadequate for two reasons. First, God chose the tribe of Levi, particularly the house of Aaron, for the priesthood (Num. 8:5–26). “Since Christ was to be born of the tribe of Judah, He could not logically be a priest.”Second, “God clearly wanted the two offices, king and priest, separately maintained. This is something which secular insight has also discerned as necessary.”Christ would unite in Himself both priestly and kingly offices (Zech. 6:13) in a new “spiritual” and “not temporal” dimension.10

Therefore, Melchizedek, a king and a priest in the time of Abraham (Gen. 14:17–20), was a more appropriate type of Christ as our Priest than was Aaron. In the expression “‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’” (Ps. 110:4, NRSV), Luther saw an element that transcends the human level of existence, pointing toward the eter­nity of Christ.


The Nature of Christ

Johannes Zachhuber argues, “Luther’s theology is strongly Christocentric, but Christology is rarely the central focus of his writings.” This means that his Christology must be “reconstructed from . . . various strands in his thought.”11 Some of Luther’s most significant insights about Christ as a High Priest are found in his remarks on Psalm 110:4, in which Christ is portrayed as the everlast­ing King and Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. For the Reformer, “this is an extraordinary statement. It is marvelous.”12

While dealing with the divine and human natures of Christ, Luther was able to distinguish “between the duality of natures and the singularity of the per­son.”13 In his book The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, he argued that “in order for the divine nature to dwell in him bodily, it is not necessary for the human nature to be transubstantiated and the divine nature contained under the accidents of the human nature. Both natures are simply there in their entirety.”14 In the book The Freedom of a Christian, he added in clear terms, “Christ is God and man in one person.”15 He stated elsewhere that Christ is “a man who is supernaturally one person with God, and apart from this man there is no God.”16

This mysterious union also accounted for the fact that Christ remained un­corrupted and incorruptible by sin (John 8:46; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19). In his “Disputation on the Divinity and Humanity of Christ,” Luther argued, “Every man is corrupted by original sin, with the exception of Christ. Every man who is not a divine Person, as is Christ, has con­cupiscence, but the man Christ has none, because he is a divine Person, and in conception the flesh and blood of Mary were entirely purged, so that nothing of sin remained.”17 Because Christ was “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19), He was able to offer Himself as “‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’” (John 1:29).


Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice

According to Luther, the events of the Cross were not merely preparatory in allowing Christ to become a true High Priest but the beginning of His priestly office. The Reformer stated that Jesus “has been a Priest since the day He be­came the Christ and began to sacrifice His body.”18 Luther referred to the Cross as “the altar on which He [Christ], consumed by the fire of the boundless love which burned in His heart, pre­sented the living and holy sacrifice of His body and blood to the Father with fervent intercession, loud cries, and hot, anxious tears (Heb. 5:7).”19

Ulrich Asendorf concluded that “at the cross Christ comes to his right priestly office.”20 Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was a real sacrifice, consisting of the shedding of His blood “for the remission of sins,” through which Christ Himself became “the end of sins and the beginning of righteousness, as Gabriel said in Dan. 9:24, ‘to put an end to sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness.’”21 While “the blood of Abel cries out for wrath and vengeance, . . . the blood of Christ cries out for forgiveness and mercy.”22

While recognizing that God, as the Source of life, cannot suffer and die, Luther suggested that Christ’s divine nature was so blended with His human nature that it also suffered and died. Luther argues, “If it cannot be said that God died for us, but only a man, we are lost; but if God’s death and a dead God lie in the balance, his side goes down and ours goes up like a light and empty scale. Yet he can also readily go up again, or leap out of the scale! But he could not sit on the scale unless he had become a man like us, so that it could be called God’s dying, God’s mar­tyrdom, God’s blood, and God’s death. For God in his own nature cannot die; but now that God and man are united in one person, it is called God’s death when the man dies who is one substance or one person with God.”23

In his “The Misuse of the Mass,” Luther criticized Roman Catholic priests for teaching that at the Eucharist they were repeating Christ’s sacrifice, whereas Hebrews 9:26 states that the sacrifice was “once for all” (NRSV). He affirmed that “Christ has sacrificed himself once [Heb. 7:27; 9:25-26]; henceforth he will not be sacrificed by anyone else.” Since His “sacrifice is a living sacrifice,” it is powerful and effective forever, and there is no need for any other atoning sacrifice.24


Christ’s Heavenly Priesthood

Luther was indebted to the Greek perspective of the earthly and heavenly realities. Consequently, he could not conceive of the existence of a real and concrete sanctuary or temple in a spiritual heaven. “In the new order, the tabernacle or house is spiritual; for it is heaven, or the presence of God.”25 He saw Christ Himself as that sanctuary.

But if this is the case, how do we understand passages that affirm that Christ, after His ascension, “entered once for all into the holy places” (Heb. 9:12, ESV) and became “a minister in the holy places” (Heb. 8:2, ESV)?

We must recognize that Luther did not limit the priesthood of Christ to His atoning sacrifice on the Cross, as some are inclined to do. Luther regarded Christ’s priestly ministry in heaven as absolutely crucial for our salvation. He confessed that “nothing in Scripture is more comforting than what is said about the priestly office of our dear Christ.”26

As a High Priest, Christ represents God’s people “before God and speaks in their interests.”27 But even more, He is also “the true King of Righteous­ness, who rules us through His priestly office. Through Him we are redeemed from sin and the power of the devil and come to eternal righteousness.”28 In reality, Christ “intercede[s] for us that such weakness and sin may not be reckoned to our account.” In doing so, Christ does not only “pray for us” but also applies the merits of His sacrifice to us. He “continues to present His sacrifice to the Father, to plead for us without ceasing, until the end of the world.”29 According to the Reformer, after “Christ, by his own sacrifice and blood, has taken away the true sin,” “He has gone in once for all through the curtain to God to make atonement for us (Heb. 9:12).”30 In this statement, Luther suggests that Christ’s priestly work in heaven is still an atoning work on our behalf.

For Luther, Christ’s heavenly priesthood had an incredibly meaningful exis­tential dimension. He encourages us to do the following: “Do not despair after sin, but lift your eyes on high to where Christ inter­cedes for us. He is our Advocate. He intercedes for us and says: ‘Father, I have suffered for this person; I am looking after him.’ This prayer cannot be in vain. In Hebrews 4:14 we read: ‘We have a great High Priest.’ But even though we have had Christ as our High Priest, Advocate, Mediator, Rec­onciler, and Comforter, yet we have fled for refuge to the saints and have regarded Christ as Judge. Accordingly, this text should be written with golden letters and should be painted in the heart. Therefore you should get understanding and say: ‘Christ, I know Thee alone as the Advocate, the Comforter, and the Mediator; and I do not doubt that Thou art such a Person for me but cling firmly to this with my heart and believe.’ Christ is born for us, suffers, ascends into heaven for our sakes, sits at the right hand of the Father, and intercedes for us.”31

By contrast, Luther regretted that Catholic priests taught “the people abso­lutely nothing concerning this priestly office of Christ.”32 He saw the Catholic priesthood as intended to cast away the truth about Christ’s priesthood. He stated that “into this holy, glorious, happy, gracious priesthood [of Christ] the devil’s swine, the pope, has fallen snout and all; not only defiling it, but completely destroying and suppressing it, and setting up another priest­hood, one of his own, stirred together out of all the heathen priesthoods like a stew of abominations.”33

Luther declared, “Every promise of God includes Christ; for if it is separated from this Mediator, God is not dealing with us at all.”34


Seventh-day Adventism

While there are many similarities between Luther’s and Seventh-day Advent­ism’s understanding of Christ’s priesthood, some basic differences exist. The traditional Roman Catholic and Protestant worldviews were largely shaped by the Greek concept of the immortality of the soul or spirit that survives the death of the body. This view became the basis of their anthropologies and distinctions be­tween the present tangible world and the heavenly spiritual reality.

By contrast, Seventh-day Adventists have a more Hebrew, wholistic perspec­tive of reality. According to H. Wheeler Robinson, in Hebrew psychology there is no trichotomy, dividing “human personality into body, soul, and spirit” and “not even a dichotomy in any strict sense.” “The Hebrew idea of personality is an animated body, and not an incarnated soul.”35

For Roman Catholics and many Protestants, the idea of a real sanctuary in heaven sounds too literal. At the same time, Adventists find this notion in harmony with the Bible. While Luther provided insightful glimpses into the ongoing conflict between Christ and Satan, Adventist theology is shaped by the great cosmic-historical controversy between good and evil.


Old Testament Types

Luther viewed the Mosaic tabernacle, Levitical priesthood, and priesthood of Melchizedek as pointing to Christ’s atoning sacrifice and His heavenly priest­hood. But at times he tended to overemphasize the distinction between the Old and the New Testaments, between the law and the gospel. Ellen G. White, for example, softened that distinction by speaking of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith as already available in the Old Testament (Gen. 15:6; Isa. 55:1‒3; Eph. 2:8‒10).

Ellen White argued that “there is no such contrast as is often claimed to exist be­tween the Old and the New Testament, the law of God and the gospel of Christ, the requirements of the Jewish and those of the Christian dispensation.”36 “The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption.”37 “The Old Testament is the gospel in figures and symbols. The New Testament is the substance. One is as essential as the other.”38

The most significant difference between Luther’s and Adventists’ view of Christ’s priesthood concerns their understandings about the typological re­lationship between the earthly and the heavenly sanctuaries. Both hold to a Christ-centered interpretation of the former. Luther reduced the latter to the person of Christ, enthroned on the right side of God the Father (John 2:21; Heb. 10:19, 20). Adventists expand upon this notion to encompass also Christ’s priestly ministry within His heavenly sanctuary or temple (Heb. 8:2; Rev. 11:19).

Ellen White explained that God not only presented to Moses “a view of the heavenly sanctuary” itself but also gave him “the plan of that structure”—“a miniature representation of the heavenly temple”—as a model for the earthly sanctuary (Ex. 25:9, 40).39 Richard M. Davidson argues that Exodus 25:9, 40 “has in view the pattern for the earthly sanctuary that is simultaneously a miniature of the heavenly sanctuary and ultimately encom­passes a vision of the heavenly sanctuary itself.”40

Ellen White, like Luther, defined the Old Testament sanctuary services as foreshadowing Christ’s atoning sacrifice and His heavenly priestly ministry. She explained, “Christ was the foundation and life of the temple. Its services were typical of the sacrifice of the Son of God. The priesthood was established to represent the mediatorial character and work of Christ. The entire plan of sacrificial worship was a foreshadowing of the Saviour’s death to redeem the world.”41 She also stated, “In the sacrificial offering on every altar was seen a Redeemer. With the cloud of incense arose from every contrite heart the prayer that God would accept their offerings as showing faith in the coming Saviour.”42

While Luther spoke of the sanctuary services in more general terms, Adventists draw a clearer distinction between the daily and the annual services. By 1843, William Miller suggested that as the spring feasts of Israel were ful­filled at Christ’s first coming (Lev. 23:4–22), so the autumn ones pointed toward events related to His second coming (vss. 23–43).43 In an article from 1846, “The Law of Moses,” O. R. L. Crosier argued that the two chambers of the earthly tabernacle—the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place—reflected the two compartments of the heavenly sanctuary or temple (Heb. 9:1–3) and that they foreshadowed two distinct phases of Christ’s heavenly priesthood.44


The Nature of Christ

Over the years, several discussions and tensions have emerged within Seventh-day Adventism about the nature of Christ. In agreement with Luther, Ellen White declared, “In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined. Divinity was not degraded to humanity; divinity held its place, but humanity by being united to divinity, withstood the fiercest test of temptation in the wilderness.”45 For her, Christ’s claim of being “‘the resurrection and the life’” (John 11:25) implied that “in Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.”46 In reality, “the Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father.”47

She acknowledged, “Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin” and that He “took upon Himself the infirmities of degenerate humanity,” “with the possibility of yielding to temp­tation.”48 But she also warned, “Be careful, exceedingly careful, as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. . . . He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity.”49


Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice

Ellen White stated that Christ’s “whole life was a preface to His death on the cross.”50 Like Luther, she also emphasized the value of Christ’s atoning sacrifice for the salvation of sinners. She explained that “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’”51

Ellen White saw the Cross as having a broader and far-enduring cosmic influence. She declared, “But the work of human redemption is not all that is accom­plished by the cross. The love of God is manifested to the universe.”52 Indeed, “all the blessings of this life and of the life to come are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary.”53

She even recognized the Cross as the only means to prevent any future re­bellion after sin and sinners are finally destroyed (Mal. 4:1). In her words, “The death of Christ upon the cross made sure the destruction of him who has the power of death, who was the originator of sin. When Satan is de­stroyed, there will be none to tempt to [do] evil; the atonement will never need to be repeated; and there will be no danger of another rebellion in the universe of God. That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. . . . The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. . . . The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come.”54

Luther recognized that only by becoming human could Christ die on the Cross. But Ellen White stated this more explicitly: “When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible.”55 In a magazine article, after quoting John 11:25 (“‘I am the resurrection and the life’”), she added, “He who had said, ‘I lay down my life, that I might take it again’ (John 10:17), came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself. Humanity died; divinity did not die. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. He declares that He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will.”56

The apostle Paul wrote that at the Cross “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,” and now, through Christ’s mediation in the heavenly sanc­tuary, we can be individually “reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:19, 20). No wonder Ellen White acknowledged that “the intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross.”57


Christ’s Heavenly Priesthood

Both Luther and early Adventists saw Christ’s heavenly priesthood as crucial for salvation. Agreeing with the Reformer, Ellen White stated, “By the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and his work of mediation in our behalf, we may become reconciled to God.”58

But Adventists differ from Luther in two major aspects regarding this. The first is with the place of Christ’s mediatory work in heaven. While Luther’s view of the heavenly sanctuary was focused on the biblical image of God’s throne (Acts 7:55, 56; Heb. 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22), Adventists have expanded that view to include the many biblical allusions to a real sanctuary or temple in heaven (Ps. 11:4; Heb. 8:1, 2; 9:11, 12; Rev. 11:19; 14:17; 15:5; 16:17).

The notion that the heavenly sanctuary or temple comprises two compartments—a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place—are derived from: (1) the concept that both the Mosaic tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple were built with two holy places that at the same time resembled [Ex. 25:8, 9, 40; 1 Chron. 28:10–19] and foreshadowed [Heb. 9:1–9] the heavenly sanc­tuary; (2) the use of the plural “holy places” in reference to the heavenly sanctuary [Heb. 8:2; 9:8, 12; 10:19]; and (3) those descriptions of God’s heavenly temple in which allusions are made to such Holy Place furniture as the candlestick with seven lamps [Rev. 4:5; Zech. 4:2], the golden altar of incense [Rev. 8:3; 9:13], and the golden censer [8:3] and to the ark of God’s testament in the Most Holy Place [Rev. 11:19; Ps. 99:l].

The second area in which Adventists diverge from Luther is the actual nature of Christ’s priesthood in heaven. While Luther limited it to a single media­tory work of atonement for the forgiveness of sin, Adventists describe it as a two-phase priesthood carried on in the two-apartment heavenly sanctuary or temple. The first phase is seen by Adventists as corresponding to a mediatory work in the Holy Place (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:14–16; 1 John 2:1, 2); this is very much in agreement with what Luther described. But the second phase was seen as occurring in the Most Holy Place and added to the mediatory work of the cleansing of that sanctuary (Dan. 8:14; Heb. 9:23) by means of a pre-Advent investigative judgment (Dan. 7:9–14; Rev. 11:19; 14:6, 7). The transition between the two phases was marked in 1844 by the end of the 2,300 symbolic evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14.

When describing the installment of that judgment, Daniel 7 mentions that “thrones were put in place” (vs. 9), the movable throne of God had wheels like “a burning fire” (vs. 9), and the “Son of Man” [Christ] went to the “Ancient of Days” [God the Father] (vs. 13). Daniel 7 explains that the judgment is at the same time against the “horn” that persecuted the saints and “in favor of the saints of the Most High” (vss. 21, 22).

When Christ finishes His mediatory and judicial work in the heavenly sanc­tuary or temple, He will take His faithful children to heaven, where they will serve Him in His temple. As foreseen by the apostle John, “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them” (Rev. 7:15).

In line with Luther, Adventists view the Roman Catholic papacy and its priestly system—including the sacrifice of the Mass and the claim that Catholic priests can forgive sins—as a counterfeit to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His heavenly priesthood (Dan. 7:20–25; 8:9–13; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:1–12). Ellen White declared that the “compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development” of a “gigantic system of false religion” that can be considered “a masterpiece of Satan’s power.”59

In part, the Catholic priesthood challenged Luther to start the Reformation of the 16th century. More than three centuries later, early Adventists felt the burden to continue that restoration process. As Luther restored the central­ity of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross and, to some extent, His heavenly priesthood, so Adventists viewed themselves as restoring both dimensions.



One of the most meaningful themes of Scripture is the sanctuary and its ser­vices. This theme flows from the early patriarchal altars through the Mosaic tabernacle and the temple of Jerusalem. It reaches its climax at Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and His priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. The sanctuary is the abiding place of God (Ex. 25:8; Isa. 6:1; Rev. 11:19), the depository of His law (Ex. 25:16; 31:18; Rev. 11:19), and the place where salvation is available to all (Heb. 4:14-16; 1 John 2:1, 2). Luther confessed, “Nothing in Scripture is more comforting than what is said about the priestly office of our dear Christ.”60 And Ellen White added, “The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith.”61

According to Luther, Christ offered Himself as a single, self-sufficient, and unrepeatable atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. At the right hand of God, Christ now “make[s] atonement for us [Heb. 9:12],”62 and He “contin­ues to present His sacrifice to the Father, to plead for us without ceasing, until the end of the world.”63 Luther claimed that the Catholic papacy and priest­hood attempted to overthrow Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and His heavenly priesthood.

Adventists resonate with Luther’s view of the atoning nature of both Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and His priesthood in heaven. Luther limited the heav­enly priesthood exclusively to the biblical image of God’s throne. Adventists see Christ’s priesthood as taking place within a real heavenly sanctuary or temple, which is comprised of two compartments—a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place—or at least of two distinct phases. In 1844, at the end of the 2,300 symbolic evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14, Christ began a special work of pre-advent investigative judgment (Dan. 7:9–14; Rev. 11:19; 14:6, 7).

 “The everlasting gospel flows through the sanctuary motif, integrating the plan of salvation into an unfolding whole.”64 We can better understand what Christ already did, what He is now doing, and what He will still do for our salvation. We can, by faith, accept His atoning sacrifice on the cross, behold His priesthood in the heavenly sanctuary or temple, and look for that glorious day when we will worship Him “in His temple” (Rev. 7:15).



Alberto R. Timm, PhD, is an Associate Director of the Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.




1. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references in this article are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.

2. Martin Luther, in Harold J. Grimm, ed., Luther’s Works, Career of the Reformer 1 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1957), 31:12.

3. Martin Luther, in Jaroslav Pelikan, ed., Luther’s Works, Selected Psalms 2 (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1956), 13:317.

4. Martin Luther, in Hilton C. Oswald, ed., Luther’s Works, Lectures on Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1968), 13:317.

5. Ibid., 36:200.

6. Ibid., 29:213.

7. Ibid., 168.

8. Ibid., 13:305.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid., 13:306.

11. Johannes Zachhuber, “Jesus Christ in Martin Luther”:

12. Martin Luther, in Pelikan, Luther’s Works, 13:304.

13. Zachhuber, “Jesus Christ in Martin Luther,” 15 (italics in the original).

14. Martin Luther, in Grimm, Luther’s Works, 36:35.

15. Ibid., 31:351.

16. Martin Luther, in Robert H. Fischer, ed., Luther’s Works (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1970), 37:218.

17. Martin Luther, “Disputation on the Divinity and Humanity of Christ,” Internet Christian Library:

18. Martin Luther, in Grimm, Luther’s Works, 13:326.

19. Ibid., 13:319.

20. Ulrich Asendorf, Die Theologie Martin Luthers nach seinen Predigten (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1988), 103.

21. Martin Luther, in Grimm, Luther’s Works, 29:210, 212.

22. Ibid., 29:169.

23. Martin Luther, in Eric W. Gritsch, ed., Luther’s Works, Church, and Ministry (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1966), 41:103, 104.

24. Ibid., 36:147, 201.

25. Ibid., 13:326.

26. Martin Luther, in Gritsch, Luther’s Works, 13:306.

27. Ibid., 13:308.

28. Martin Luther, in Jaroslav Pelikan, ed., Luther’s Works, Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 15‒20 (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1961), 3:26.

29. Ibid., 13:320, 326.

30. Martin Luther, in E. Theodore Bachmann, ed., Luther’s Works, Word, and Sacrament 1 (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1960), 35:247.

31. Martin Luther, in Pelikan, Luther’s Works, 30:236.

32. Ibid., 13:326.

33. Ibid., 36:201.

34. Martin Luther, in Pelikan, Luther’s Works, Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 15‒20, 3:26.

35. H. Wheeler Robinson, “Hebrew Psychology,” in The People and the Book, Arthur S. Peake, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925), 362

36. Ellen G. White, “Obedience Better Than Sacrifice,” Signs of the Times 8:35 (September 14, 1882): 409.

37. The Acts of the Apostles, 14.

38. Selected Messages, 2:104.

39. Patriarchs and Prophets, 343.

40. Richard M. Davidson, Typology in Scripture: A Study of Hermeneutical tutto^ Structures, Andrews University Seminary Doctoral Dissertation Series (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University Press, 1981), 388.

41. The Desire of Ages, 165.

42. __________, “The Two Dispensations,” Review and Herald 63:9 (March 2, 1886): 129.

43. William Miller, “Letter From Wm. Miller,” Signs of the Times (May 17, 1843): 85.

44. O. R. L. Crosier, “The Law of Moses,” Day-Star Extra (February 7, 1846): 37–44.

45. Ellen G. White, “How to Meet a Controverted Point of Doctrine,” Review and Herald 67:7 (February 18, 1890): 97.

46. The Desire of Ages, 530.

47. Ellen G. White, “The Word Made Flesh,” Signs of the Times 25:17 (April 26, 1899); reprinted in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 83:14 (April 5, 1906): 8. 

48. The Desire of Ages, 48, 117.

49. Ellen G. White to W. L. H. Baker, February 9, 1896, Ltr. 8, 1895.

50. Ellen G. White to W. W. Prescott, Granville, New South Wales, Australia (June 12, 1895), Ltr. 67, 1895.

51. The Desire of Ages, 25.

52. Ibid., 626.

53. Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1900), 362.

54. __________, “What Was Secured by the Death of Christ,” Signs of the Times 15:50 (December 30, 1889): 786.

55. Ellen G. White to Ministers, Physicians, and Teachers, Middletown, Connecticut (September 3, 1904), Lt. 280.

56. Selected Messages, 1:301.

57. The Great Controversy, 489.

58. __________, “The Cities of Refuge,” Signs of the Times 7:3 (January 20, 1881): 26.

59. The Great Controversy, 50.

60. Martin Luther, in Pelikan, Luther’s Works, 13:306.

61. Ellen G. White to George C. Tenney, St. Helena, California (June 29, 1906), Ltr. 208, 1906.

62. Martin Luther, in Bachmann, Luther’s Works, Word, and Sacrament 1, 35:247.

63. Ibid., 13:320, 326.

64. Alberto R. Timm, “Recognizing Heavenly Realities: Ellen White’s Insights Into the Heavenly Sanctuary,” Adventist World (February 2013): 25.