THE ESCHATOLOGICAL DAY OF ATONEMENT.
For a better understanding of the sanctuary
message, study this chart, which shows how the great judgment scene of
Daniel 7 (studied last week) is the same event as the
cleansing of the sanctuary in
||Cleansing of the sanctuary
||Eschatological Day of Atonement
|Transfer of Kingdom to Saints (Second Coming)
||Second Coming and beyond
This week we will study
Daniel 8. We will discover the real issue of the conflict
between the horn power and God, and we will see why the cleansing of
the sanctuary, beginning in A.D. 1844, is God’s perfect answer to
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for
Sabbath, December 7.
Sunday December 1
The Little Horn’s Attack
Daniel 8, focusing especially on
verses 9-14 and
8:23-25. What does the little horn power attack?
The horn power interferes with the worship of the divine “Prince
of the host” (vs.
11, compare with
Josh. 5:13–15). It removes from Him (Dan.
8:11-12) “the daily” (in Hebrew tamid)—a word that
refers over and over to the daily sacrificial service in the earthly
sanctuary service. Because the agent of tamid activities at
the sanctuary is a priest, often the high priest, the horn sought to
usurp the role of the (high) priest, command its own counterfeit
“host,” and take away “the daily.” In this case, given the prophetic
context (during the time of papal Rome), it’s obviously Christ’s
high priestly ministry that is attacked.
The horn power thus usurps the responsibilities of the heavenly
Priest and interrupts the continual worship of God on earth. It acts
like another “captain of the host,” waging a religious war against
the divine Heavenly Prince, His sanctuary, and His people. It
becomes an earthly instrument of Satan; it is said to be “mighty,
but not by his own power” (Dan.
8:24, NKJV), and its activities reflect a cosmic war that
is fought on two levels, the earthly and the heavenly.
The little horn follows right after the ram (Media-Persia) and
the he-goat (Greece); therefore, it must be identified historically
as Rome, which came after the kingdoms of Media-Persia
8:20) and Greece (Dan.
8:21). Though the little horn started out as imperial
Rome, the greater emphasis is on papal Rome, the primary focus of
As said before, the “daily” (tamid) refers to Christ’s
continual priestly mediation in the heavenly sanctuary
8:1- 2). The “taking away of the daily” by the horn power
represents the introduction of such papal innovations as a mediating
priesthood, the sacrifice of the mass, the confessional, and the
worship of Mary, by which it has successfully taken away knowledge
of, and reliance upon, the continual ministry of Christ in the
None of us is immune to the danger of
trying to play God. How might you, however subtly, be doing the same
Monday December 2
The presumption of the little horn leads to the cry for judgment.
As the ram and the he-goat became great and then were broken
7-8), so the horn power exalts itself
8:9–11). Thus, the question comes, How long will the
issues are prompting the question in
Although the question singles out a few activities of the horn,
perhaps the most horrible ones, it still asks for the length of the
entire vision; that is, it is asking about the events shown in the
In the Scriptures, the question “How long?” always asks for the
present situation to be changed. It is found directed to people by
God and by His prophets (Exod.
Num. 14:27, and
1 Kings 18:21). It is also directed to God by His people
Rev. 6:10) and by the angel of Yahweh (Zech.
1:12). The angelic cry “How long?” (Dan.
12:6) is a lament over continuous distress, a plea for
change, and a call for divine judgment. Such a question expresses
the expectation that God will finally triumph.
Zechariah 1:13, where Yahweh replied with “gracious words,
comforting words” (NASB), the answer to the question in
Daniel 8:13 comes right away: Restoration will be underway
beginning with a period of “2,300 evenings and mornings”
Once we understand the human condition and the prophetic time in
which we live, we cannot remain silent. The cry “How long?” needs to
go forth. As we look around at our world, how can we not plead for
the Lord to come and usher in a new world “in which righteousness
Pet. 3:13, NKJV)? Although God is now at work, as
Daniel 8:14, we want Him to end the reign of evil here and
return in the glory that He has promised time and again.
In which situations have you asked God the
question, “How long?” How do you maintain the assurance that God is
indeed in control, however dismal your immediate prospects might
seem, and no matter “how long” it is taking to resolve the things
you want changed?
Tuesday December 3
Restoration of the Holy
Daniel 8:14. What happens at the end of the 2,300 “evenings and
The phrase “evenings and mornings” reflects language from the
Creation account that signifies a day (Gen.
8, et cetera). It implies that God, using His own
creative force, will counter the destructive activities of the horn
and its host. The Creator causes a change of situation, which is
actually called for by the question in
The answer in
Daniel 8:14 can be read as: “Until 2,300 evenings-mornings, then
will the holy [sanctuary] be restored [cleansed].” A study of the
terms that are parallel to “restore” (from the Hebrew word zdq)
shows that it has three major meanings: in a relational context, it
denotes restoration (Isa.
10:22); in the context of the sanctuary, it denotes
cleansing or purification (Job
25:4); and in a legal context, it denotes vindication
34:5). The same verb is used for God’s intervention in
judgment, when the righteous are vindicated, or declared to be
Isa. 50:8). The word holy, used in
Daniel 8:14 (often translated as “sanctuary”), is also used in
association with holy people (Dan.
12:7). In fact,
Daniel 8:24 makes it clear that the little horn power, like the
little horn power in
Daniel 7, attacks God’s “holy” people.
Thus, the restoration of the “holy” (or “sanctuary”) in
Daniel 8:14 encompasses the solution to all the problems
mentioned previously in the question. Not only will judgment be
rendered against the little horn power, but the sanctuary will be
cleansed, and God’s people and God’s sanctuary will be given their
rightful state. This finds a parallel in what happened on the
Levitical Day of Atonement (Lev.
The work of restoration in
Daniel 8 equals the divine judgment in
Daniel 7, where judgment was given in favor of the saints
and against the evil little horn power.
The world needs to know that justice and judgment, as predicted
Daniel 8:14, will come and that now is the time to accept the
salvation offered us in Jesus.
Revelation 14:6-7. How do these verses tie in directly with the
Daniel 7 and the cleansing of the sanctuary in
Day of Atonement in Daniel 8
The target of the horn’s assault is God’s heavenly sanctuary and
His people. What does the future hold for them? That is what the
Daniel 8:13 asks. However, only the Day of Atonement can bring
the sanctuary and the people of God back to their rightful state and
thus justify God in His dealings. So, the answer in
Daniel 8:14 must be a Day of Atonement activity. In fact, the
Day of Atonement is the only ritual day that shows the same
combination of prominent themes as shown in the climax of the vision
Daniel 8: sanctuary imagery, purification of sanctuary
and people, judgment, and creation.
There are also several terms in
Daniel 8 that allude to the Day of Atonement. The horn
acts in “rebellion” (Dan.
8:12-13, NIV), a term that occurs specifically in
21 (NIV). It describes a defiant sin, and only on the Day of
Atonement can the sanctuary be cleansed from it. The word holy
(qodesh) explicitly links
Daniel 8:14 with
Leviticus 16, where it occurs to designate the Most Holy
33). That the “holy” is restored to its rightful place is
reminiscent of the Day of Atonement, when the “holy” is purified
from “rebellion” (Lev.
16:16, NIV). The specific use of the animal imagery of
the ram and he-goat also alludes to the Day of Atonement
16:5), as does the further designation of the goat as the
“shaggy” one (Dan.
8:21, NASB), a description used for the two goats at the
Day of Atonement.
The horn’s war in the realm of religion is countered and cut
short by divine intervention carried out in the context of an
eschatological Day of Atonement. At last, terror finds its end, and
God’s people, the true worship, and the sanctuary are restored to
their rightful position and, in the final analysis, God Himself is
vindicated. As God demonstrated on the Day of Atonement that He is
just in His dealings and judgments, forgiving the loyal and to
judging the disloyal and rebellious, so the eschatological Day of
Atonement will verify that God is just when He saves and when He
Whatever else we can learn from
Daniel 8:14, it should tell us that even after all these long
centuries, the Lord has not forgotten His promises to us and that He
will punish evil and reward His saints. How can you learn to hold on
to those promises, especially during times of trial? After all,
without these promises, what hope do you have?
Thursday December 5
Daniel 8 and 9
The term for vision (in Hebrew chazon) in the
Daniel 8:13 refers to the entire vision in
Daniel 8:3–11 (see
15) and encompasses the time of Media-Persia (ram),
Greece (he-goat), and papal Rome (little horn). When the length of
the vision is given as “2,300 evenings and mornings,” we should
therefore understand it as covering the span from Media-Persia to
the End Time. The text repeatedly emphasizes that the vision
pertains to the “time of the end” (Dan.
19) and “many days in the future”
8:26, NASB). Because of its length, a literal 2,300 days
is nowhere near long enough to cover the time span of the vision.
Therefore, we need to interpret it by the day-year principle as
2,300 years, following the example of
Ezekiel 4:5-6 and
The question remains: When do the 2,300 years begin?
Bible scholars, both Jewish and Christian, have seen a strong
Daniel 8:14 and
Daniel 9:24–27, long viewed as a powerful prophecy pointing to
the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.
Daniel 9:24–27. What is happening in these verses? How is this
While the word “vision” (chazon) refers to the entire
Daniel 8, another word mareh, translated as “vision,”
points specifically to the “vision [mareh] of the evenings
and mornings” (Dan.
8:26, NASB). It is this mareh, that of the 2,300
days, that Daniel did not understand (Dan.
8:27). The angel explained everything else.
Several years later, the same angel,
Gabriel, appeared to Daniel to give him a message so that he would
“understand the vision [mareh]” of the 2,300 days (Dan.
9:23, NKJV). The seventy-week prophecy in those verses helps us
to understand the prophetic time element of
Daniel 8:14. It is the verb “decreed” at the beginning of
Daniel 9:24, which is best translated as “apportioned” or “cut
off,” that specifically suggests that the seventy weeks compose a
part of the longer period of 2,300 days. Thus, the seventy-week
prophecy is “cut off” from the larger 2,300 day prophecy of
Daniel 8:14. This gives us the starting point for the prophetic
time period depicted in
Daniel 8:14 (See tomorrow’s study for more details).
Friday December 6
Ellen G. White,
“What Is the Sanctuary?” pp. 409–422;
“In the Holy of
Holies,” pp. 423–432, in The Great Controversy.
Daniel 9:24–27, the beginning of the seventy weeks is marked by
“the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem”
9:25, NASB). The book of Ezra reports on three decrees
that concern Jerusalem and the temple, but only the third, reported
Ezra 7:12–26, is the most effective one. The Persian King
Artaxerxes I issued the decree in 457 B.C. It involves both the
reconstruction of the temple and the rebuilding of Jerusalem as a
political and administrative center (Ezra
7:25-26). In the Bible, only this decree is followed by
thanksgiving that praises God for influencing the king
7:27-28). Furthermore, only with 457 BC as a starting
point do the seventy weeks (that is, 490 years) reach the time of
Christ, the “Messiah, the Prince” of
Daniel 9:25–27. Thus, the prophecy of the seventy weeks provides
the precise event to date the beginning of the 2,300 evenings and
mornings. They start in 457 B.C. and end after 2,300 years in A.D.
- If possible, get a more detailed explanation of the link
Daniel 8:14 and
Daniel 9:24–27 and study the close connection between
them. What should it tell us about the importance of the
Daniel 8:14 that it is so closely linked to such a major
- Ellen G. White wrote: “The subject of the sanctuary and
the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by
the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of
the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise
it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which
is essential at this time or to occupy the position which
God designs them to fill.”— The Great Controversy, p.
488. What do you think she meant by this? Why are these
things so important for us to understand?
- When talking about the little horn, the prophecies of
Daniel 7 and 8 are dealing solely with Rome, and
nothing else—not communism (as some have said in the past)
or Islam (as some now say). How, though, do we remain
faithful to our beliefs without causing undue hurt to
others? Why must we show that our concern is with a system,
not with the people caught up in it?