Daniel Seven-Nine: Does it Support Seventh Day Adventism
In attempting to express an understanding of Daniel 7-9, I confess that I cannot read the original Hebrew. Therefore, I must rely on the English translations of Daniel. I am also aware that prophetic passages can sometimes be difficult to understand. For example, in Matthew 24, Christ foretells both the destruction of Jerusalem and His second coming. I can certainly understand how a believer living through the destruction of Jerusalem would have been convinced that Christ would come shortly after Jerusalem was destroyed. Therefore, what I offer is not meant to be dogmatic or the last word but rather what I see the text saying.
Jesus Christ is the center of the New Covenant. Jesus Christ said "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out death into life (John 5:24). "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life: and it is these that bear witness of Me: and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life (John 5:39-40). "For this is the will of My Father, that every one who beholds the Son, and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I myself will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40). "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (1 John 5:11-12).
The teaching of Christ and the His apostles clearly and repeatedly affirm, in the New Covenant, that how one responds to Jesus Christ is central to his salvation. If one believes that Christ has died on the cross for his sins, believes that Christ has risen from dead for his justification, and accepts Christ as his Savior and Lord then he can know with certainty that he has eternal life (Romans 4:25, 1 John 5:13). Therefore, one's correct understanding of every detail in Daniel 7-9 does not add to or take away from the eternal life that he has in Christ Jesus. Christ declares "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hands." (John 10:27-28)
Adventist divided the wise virgins from the foolish based on whether they had the correct understanding of Daniel 8:14. My greatest problem historically with the Adventist in 1844-1851 was their certainty that one was accepted or rejected by God based on whether one accepted or rejected the Adventist interpretation of Daniel and Revelation. Before the Adventist ever believed in the seventh-day Sabbath they had already made the belief that Christ was coming on October 22, 1844 a salvation test. All who refused to accept this Adventist belief and come out and join with the Adventist was viewed as having became part of the fallen harlot church of Revelation 16.
Some thoughts on Daniel Seven: It seems that Daniel 7:13-14 speaks of Christ's ascension to the right hand of His Father spoken by Peter in Act 2:32-33 "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear." Paul affirms that Christ after His resurrection will "... reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25). Daniel 7:26-27 speaks of the Second Coming of Christ in which time His Kingdom will be establish on the earth and in which the saints will rule and reign with Christ.
Does Daniel Seven speak of a investigative judgment of the Saints?1 Daniel Seven speaks of God judging three different times. Dan. 7:9-10 depicts God preparing to judge and verse 11 speaks of the boastful horn being slain and its body being destroyed in burning fire. This same judgment is repeated in 7:20-21 where this horn waged war against the saints until God passed judgment in favor of the saints. For a third time 7:25-26 speaks of this same horn speaking against the Most High and waging war against the saints. Again, God judges this horn, whose dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever 7:25-26. This judgment seems to be the same as that which is against the beast that was seized and killed in Revelation 19:20-21. There is not a hint in Daniel seven that the saints are coming under any type of investigative judgment, but rather that God is judging the boastful little horn.
Why is there a need for an investigative judgment? Christ declares in John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me," In 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul states, "Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord know those who are His," and, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness." Revelation 20:12, affirms that the judgment will occur after Christ's coming when we shall stand before the great white throne. "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10). "For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. For it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall give praise to God.' So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14:10-12). The New Testament knows nothing of a secret investigative judgment in heaven in which no one on earth has personal knowledge.
Thoughts on Daniel eight: The angel Gabriel in Daniel 8:32 identifies the little horn as a king who will arise in the latter period of the four kingdoms that arise from the Greek kingdom founded by its first king. This vision states that the time element of 2300 days will begin when this little horn-king attacks and removes the regular sacrifice from Him and throws down the place of His sanctuary (Daniel 8:9-12). Daniel 8:13 asks an important question "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled? Daniel 8:14 answers the question by stating, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings then the holy place will be properly restored." Therefore, the end of the 2,300 days will see the restoring of the sanctuary from the attack and desecration of the little horn. The fact that the little horn is a king and not a kingdom means that the length of the 2300 days must fall within the time span of this single king. Thus 2,300 days or some would say 2,300 evening morning sacrifices of 1150 actual day makes much better sense than attempting to say that this means 2300 years.
Two thousand three hundred years? By asserting that the 2300 days are 2300 years in prophetic time, the traditional Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Daniel 8:14 removes this verse from the rest of the context of the chapter. They have the prophecy beginning in the time of the Medio-Persian empire in 457 BC hundreds of years before the Grecian empire was divided into four kingdoms in which time Daniel 8:23 says this king will arise. Daniel 8:13 asks how long will this little horn cause horror and trample both the hosts and the holy place while Seventh Day Adventists have the 2,300 days beginning with the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. Seventh Day Adventists understand the sanctuary in Daniel 9:26 and 11:31 to refer to the destruction of the earthly sanctuary in Jerusalem but they insist that the sanctuary in Daniel 8 must be the heavenly.
One might well ask how an earthly king could attack and stop the proper functioning of the heavenly sanctuary so that it needs to be cleansed or properly restored. Seventh Day Adventists answer is to ignore the context and to say that the heavenly sanctuary is trampled down and in need of cleansing not because of the work of the wicked little horn but because of the confessed sins of the saints that need to be blotted out. However, if the heavenly sanctuary was in need of cleansing from the confessed sins of the saints, why did this need for cleansing begin only in 457 BC? Why did it not begin with Adam's first sin? If the confessed sins of the saints did not cause the heavenly sanctuary to need to be cleansed prior to 457 BC, why did the continued confession of sin by the saints after 457 BC cause the sanctuary to need cleansing? Why is it proper to ignore the action of the little horn?
While it is true that on the day of atonement the sanctuary was cleansed by the blood sacrifice being taken into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled on the ark of the covenant before God, this cleansing was the result of the proper functioning of the sanctuary in the way that God had ordained. Daniel 8:13-14 does not focus on the proper functioning of the sanctuary, but rather in the question of how long the wicked little horn will the attack and trample the sanctuary so as to prevent it's proper functioning. This question has nothing to do with the need for God's saints to have their sins forgiven. Therefore, the NASV translates, "the holy place will be properly restored" seems to be a better translation than the KJV's "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." I understand that the Hebrew word translated as cleansed by the KJV is never used to refer to the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement, but rather to it being restored after a pagan act of defilement.
Thoughts on Daniel Nine: The Seventy Weeks of years in Daniel nine starts with the command to rebuild Jerusalem and stretches 490 years until the coming of Christ. The restoring and rebuilding of Jerusalem is not the same event as the trampling down of the sanctuary during which time the little horn cause horror. How can the rebuilding of Jerusalem, in which the sanctuary is restored, be the point of beginning in which the little horn attacks the sanctuary and tramples the sanctuary under foot? I believe the little horn of Daniel 8, while similar in many of it actions to the horn in Daniel 7, is a different king because it arises during the latter time of the Greek kingdom, while the horn in Daniel 7 arises during the latter time of the Roman kingdom. Seventh Day Adventists believe both horns to be the same and to refer to pagan and papal Rome. But in what way did pagan Rome attack and trod under foot or desecrate the sanctuary beginning in 457 BC? According to history, Rome did not conquer Israel until about 63 BC. This is almost four hundred years after the 2300 day prophecy is believed by Seventh Day Adventists to have already begun.
The Seventh Day Adventists traditional understanding of Daniel 7-9 resulted in picking a selected number of verses in Daniel Seven on judgment and Daniel 8:14, and ignoring the rest of the context of Daniel 7-9. Seventh Day Adventists use these selected interpretation of Daniel 7-9 to force fit their two apartment ministry of Christ into the Book of Hebrews. If the Adventist are right, the heavenly sanctuary was in desperate need of cleansing after Christ death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God. To support their view that the heavenly sanctuary was in need of cleansing in 1844, they quoted Hebrews 9:23 "Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these."
Does Hebrews 9:23 refer to a future cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary in 1844? Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high only after He had made purification of sins. Hebrews 9-10 compares and contrasts the work of the earthly high priest with the work of Christ as our High Priest. Since the earthly high priest had only one distinctive work yearly in the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement, his work on that day is being compared and contrasted with Christ's fulfillment antitypical Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:7,25). Hebrews 10:1-2 makes the point that the very fact that the high priest had to year by year offer new sacrifices to God clearly taught that animal sacrifices could never make the worshipers clean. Because Christ blood is better "... now once at the consummation He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Hebrews 9:26). Hebrews speaks of believers having been sanctified once for all by the offering of Christ's body (Hebrews 10:10). Hebrews contrasts the priest having to stand daily offering sacrifice after sacrifice that cannot take away sin with Christ's one sacrifice that has totally taken away sins. Therefore, He sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12). His one offering has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, and God declares "And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17). The heavenly sanctuary was cleansed when Christ having already made purification for sins sat down at the right hand of God, which resulted in the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Why the Veil? I find it interesting that the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers who sought to explore every aspect of the earthly sanctuary in order to see how Christ modeled this in a two part ministry in heaven failed to ask why did the veil separate the Holy from the Most Holy Place? The veil clearly separated and protected the sinful priests from Holy God. Even on the Day of Atonement, the high priest was instructed on pain of death to erect a temporary veil of incense to shield himself from God's glory (Leviticus 16:12-13). This illustrated the fact that the blood of goats and bulls were never good enough to really cleanse the high priest or the people from their sins. However, Hebrews declares that we who trust in Christ can do what the earthly high priest could never do, "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,...." (Hebrews 10:19-20). We can have this confidence only because the heavenly sanctuary was cleansed from our sins when Christ "... entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:12).
Christ fulfilled all that the Day of Atonement pointed to by His death on the cross. Daniel 9:24 speaks of the cleansing of the sanctuary at Christ's death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father when is states, "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to made atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place." God supernaturally tore the veil, in the sanctuary in Jerusalem, at Christ death on Calvary to confirm that all that the sanctuary and its services had pointed forward to had now been accomplished in Christ. Daniel then goes on to correctly foretell of the destruction of the sanctuary and the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans under Titus. The book of Acts records that Jewish believers in Christ continued to go to the sanctuary and make animal sacrifices. As long as the sanctuary stood and its sacrifices continued to be performed, Jewish Christians were in danger to losing sight that Christ had already made purification of sins once and for all by his death on the cross.
- Matthew 5:17-19; Too Slender of a Reed to Support Seventh-Day Sabbatarianism
- Should Christians Worship on Saturday or Sunday? "The Lord's Day": An Analysis of the Meaning of the Phrase in Revelation 1:10
- Is the Sabbath a Creation Ordinance?
- A Review of Judging the Sabbath by Ron du Preez
- The Shut-door and the Sanctuary: Historical and Theological Problems
- Fundamental Beliefs (from the official Seventh-Day Adventist Church site). See belief #23
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Last updated January 1, 2005