"The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. ... By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 354).
Apart from the annual Day of Atonement, the priest only sprinkled blood "before the veil" in the Holy Place on two occasions: (1) when a priest sinned (Leviticus 4:3-12); (2) when the whole Israelite community sinned (Leviticus 4:13-21). Blood was never taken into the Holy Place on a daily basis when a leader sinned (Leviticus 4:22-26), nor when an individual sinned (Leviticus 4:27-35).
There are indeed four different classes of sinners mentioned in Leviticus 4:
- Congregation in general
Ellen White chose only to mention the part of the daily ministration that referred to the first two groups. However, the word “individuals” may appear to fit better to citizens than priests or the entire congregation, thus creating a conflict for some. Three things are to be noted:
- Priests as well as the congregation are/consist of individuals. Her statement is accurate.
- Her previous two pages show that she wrote of service for “individuals” here in contrast to more general tasks such as the ongoing morning and evening sacrifice, the incense burning, etc. Here it’s about tasks performed for certain designated people.
- Her very next sentence reads: “In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying 'God hath given it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.' Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 354,55).
In other words, Ellen White certainly was not confused about the different ways of enacting forgiveness for sin.
1, 2 and 3: We gathered more information by studying the sources. This revealed a context which looked decisively different than the one presented originally.
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