What the author had done in the previous chapters in Hebrews was explain the work of the priests in the earthly sanctuary service, which we have already studied. He then explains that they were symbols of the work that Jesus, our High Priest, is doing for us now in the heavenly sanctuary, the one that is clearly depicted in the book of Hebrews.
There’s much to get into on this fascinating topic, including the timing.* What’s crucial for us now, however, is that the sanctuary element adds the most important component of all, and that is grace.
Yes, there is this pre-Advent judgment that will lead directly to God’s eternal kingdom. That’s so clear from Daniel 7. And that judgment is also given, we are told, to the saints of the Most High. Or, as the New English Version translates it, judgment was rendered in favour of the holy ones of the Most High. Daniel 7:22
Is that favourable judgment because these people are sinless, flawless, and perfect?
No; it is because of the righteousness of Jesus, which covers them in the judgment, a theme that is taught in the sanctuary service.
That’s why the introduction of the sanctuary theme in Daniel 8, and its cleansing, is good news. It shows us that, yes, though judgment is coming, we have Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for us as our substitute.
And we also have Jesus, our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, and according to the Bible that’s good news too. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
Thus, because of what the sanctuary reveals to us about Jesus, and what He has done and is doing for us, we can know that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) – not now and not in the pre-Advent judgment.
We will wait long and in vain for justice and fair judgment here in this world. That’s why our great hope is in the justice and judgment of God – the pre-Advent judgment that culminates in His Second Coming.
Events in the world are signalling that the epic story is building to a dramatic showdown. The preaching of the gospel, with God’s final appeal, includes this urgency: … having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth … saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come. Revelation 14:6-7 Meanwhile, in the courts of heaven too, the pre-advent judgment is in process, and will soon end. When that judgment ends, every person’s destiny is forever sealed. It’s too late to change your mind then.
God has revealed this to us so that we have the assurance that He who promised He would come, will come. God’s time frame knows no haste and no delay. As a consequence of God’s openness and fairness, another outcome of the judgment is that ultimately all will see that God is what He has always claimed to be.
For it is written: As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Romans 14:11
* For a detailed explanation of the timing for the start of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and the pre-advent judgment, see supplementary material.