Daniel Chapter VIII
The World Arraigned Before the Court of Heaven
We now come once more," says Adam Clarke,
"to the Hebrew, the Chaldee part of the book being finished. As the
Chaldeans had a particular interest both in the history and prophecies
from chapter 2: 4 to the end of chapter 7, the whole is written in
Chaldee; but as the prophecies which remain concern times posterior to
the Chaldean monarchy, and principally relate to the church and people
of God generally, they are written in the Hebrew language, this being
the tongue in which God chose to reveal all His counsels given under the
Old Testament relative to the New." 
Verse 1 In the third year of the reign of king
Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that
which appeared unto me at the first.
One prominent characteristic of the sacred writings
which should forever shield them from the charge of being works of
fiction, is the frankness and freedom with which the writers state all
the circumstances connected with events which they record. Here verse 1
states the time when this vision was given to Daniel. The first year of
Belshazzar was 540 B.C. His third year, in which this vision was given,
would consequently be 538. Since Daniel was about twenty years of age
when he was carried to Babylon in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar in
606 B.C., he was at this time about eighty-eight years of age. The
vision he refers to as the one which appeared unto him at the first, is
doubtless the vision of the seventh chapter, which he had in the first
year of Belshazzar's reign.
Verse 2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to
pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the
province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
As verse states the time when the vision was given,
this verse gives the place where the prophet received the revelation.
Shushan was the metropolis of the province of Elam, which was then in
the hands of the Babylonians, and the king of Babylon had a royal palace
there. Daniel as minister of the state employed in the king's business,
was in that place. Abradates, viceroy of Shushan gave his allegiance to
Cyrus, and the province was joined to the Medes and Persians; so that,
according to the prophecy of Isaiah 21: 2, Elam went up with the Medes
to besiege Babylon. Under the Medes and Persians, Elam regained its
liberties, of which it had been deprived by the Babylonians, according
to the prophecy of Jeremiah 49: 39.
Verse 3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and,
behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the
two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher
came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and
southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there
any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his
will, and became great.
Kingdoms of Media and Persia.--In verse 20 an
interpretation of this symbol is given in plain language: "The ram
which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and
Persia." We have only therefore to consider how well the power
answers to the symbol in question. The two horns represented the two
nationalities of which the empire was composed. The higher came up last.
This symbolized Persia, which at first was simply an ally of the Medes,
but later came to be the leading division of the empire. The directions
in which the ram pushed denote the directions in which the Medes and
Persians carried their conquests. No earthly powers could stand before
them as they marched toward the exalted position to which the providence
of God had summoned them. So successful were their conquests that in the
days of Ahasuerus (Esther 1: 1) the Medo-Persian
kingdom, consisting of one hundred twenty-seven provinces, extended from
India to Ethiopia, the boundaries of the then-known world.
Verse 5 And as I was considering, behold, an he
goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not
the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 And he
came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the
river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7 And I saw him come
close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote
the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to
stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon
him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
Kingdom of Grecia.--"As I was
considering," said the prophet. Here is an example for every lover
of truth and all how have any regard for spiritual things. when Moses
saw the burning bush, he said, "I will now turn aside, and see this
great sight." How few are willing at the present time to turn aside
from their pursuit of business or pleasure to consider the important
themes which god seeks to bring to their attention. The symbol here
introduced is explained to Daniel by the angel. "The rough goat is
the king [or kingdom] of Grecia." Verse 21. Concerning the fitness
of this symbol to represent the Grecian, or Macedonian, people, Thomas
Newton observes that the Macedonians, "About two hundred years
before Daniel, were denominated AEgeadae, or the goat's people." He
explains the origin of the name as recounted by heathen authors: "Caranus,
their first king, going with a great multitude of Greeks to seek new
habitations in Macedonia, was commanded by the oracle to take the goats
for his guides to empire: and afterwards seeing a herd of goats flying
from a violent storm, he followed them to Edessa, and there fixed the
seat of his empire, made the goats his ensigns or standards and called
the city AEgeae, or the goat's town, and the people AEgeadae, or the
goat's people. . . . The city of AEgeae, or AEgeae, was the usual
burying place of the Macedonian kings.
It is also very remarkable that Alexander's son by
Roxana was named Alexander AEgus, of the son of the goat; and some of
Alexander's successors are represented in their coins with goat's
The "goat came from the west on the face of the
whole earth." That is, Greece lay west of Persia and attacked from
that direction. The Greek army swept everything on the face of the earth
The goat "touched not the ground." Such was
the marvelous celerity of this movements that he seemed to fly from
point to point with the swiftness of the wind. The same characteristic
of speed is indicated by the four wings of the leopard in the vision of
Daniel 7, representing the same nation.
Alexander the "Notable Horn."--The
notable horn between his eyes is explained in verse 21 to be the first
king of the Macedonian Empire. This king was Alexander the Great.
A concise account of the overthrow of the Persian
Empire by Alexander is given in verses 6 and 7. The battles between the
Greeks and the Persians are said to have been exceedingly fierce. Some
of the scenes recorded in history vividly bring to mind the figure used
in the prophecy--a ram standing before the river, and the goat running
toward him "the fury of his power." Alexander first vanquished
the generals of Darius at the River Granicus in Phrygia. He next
attacked and routed Darius at the passes of Issus in Cilicia, and
afterward defeated him on the plains of Arbela in Syria. This latter
battle occurred in 331 B.C., and marked the fall of the Persian Empire.
By this event Alexander became master of the whole country. Concerning
verse 6--"He [the goat] came to the ram that had two horns, which I
had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his
power"--Thomas Newton says: "One can hardly read these words
without having some image of Darius's army standing and guarding the
River Granicus, and of Alexander on the other side with his forces
swimming across the stream, and rushing on the enemy
with all the fire and fury that can be imagined." 
Ptolemy begins the reign of Alexander in 332 B.C. but
it was not until the battle of Arbela the year following that Alexander
became "absolute lord of that empire in the utmost extent in which
it was ever possessed by any of the Persian kings." 
On the eve of this battle, Darius sent ten of his
chief relatives to sue for peace. When they had presented their
conditions to Alexanders, he is said to have replied, "Heaven
cannot support two suns, not the earth two masters." 
The language of verse 7 sets forth the completeness
of the subjection of Medo-Persia to Alexander. The two horns were
broken, and the ram was cast to the ground and stamped upon. Persia was
subdued, the country ravaged, its armies cut to pieces and scattered,
and its cities plundered. The royal city of Persepolis, the capital of
the Persian Empire--even its ruins one of the wonders of the world to
the present day--was sacked and burned. Thus the ram had no power to
stand before the goat, and there was none that could deliver him out of
Verse 8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great:
and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up
four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
Great Horn Broken.--The conqueror is greater
than the conquered. The ram, Medo-Persia, became "great;" the
goat, Greece, became "very great." "When he was strong,
the great horn was broken." Human foresight and speculation would
have said, When he becomes weak, his kingdom torn by rebellion, or
weakened by luxury, then the horn will be broken, and the kingdom
shattered. But Daniel saw it broken in the prime of its strength, at the
height of tis power, when
every beholder would have exclaimed, Surely, the
kingdom is established, and nothing can overthrow it. Thus it is often
with the wicked. The horn of their strength is broken when they think
they stand most firm. The Scripture says, "Let him that thinketh he
standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Corinthians 10: 12.
Four Notable Horns Come Up.--After Alexander's
death there arose much contention among his followers respecting the
succession. After a seven days' contest it was agreed that his natural
brother, Philip Aridaeus, should be declared king. By him, and by
Alexander's infant sons, Alexander AEgus and Hercules, the name and show
of the Macedonian Empire were for a time sustained. But the boys were
soon murdered, and the family of Alexander became extinct. Then the
chief commanders of the army, who had gone into different parts of the
empire as governors of the provinces, assumed the title of king. They at
once began warring against one another to such a degree that within a
few years after Alexander's death, the number was reduced to four--the
exact number specified in prophecy.
Four notable horns were to come up toward the four
winds of heaven in place of the great horn that was broken. These were
Cassander, who had Greece and the neighboring countries; Lysimachus, who
had Asia Minor; Selecus, who had Syria and Babylon, and from whom came
the line of kings known as the "Seleucidae," so famous in
history; and Ptolemy, son of Lagus, who had Egypt, and from whom sprang
the "Lagidae." These held dominion toward the four winds of
heaven. Cassander had the western parts, Lysimachus the northern
regions, Seleucus the eastern countries, and Ptolemy the southern
portion of the empire. These four horns may therefore be named
Macedonia, Thrace (which then included Asia Minor, and those parts lying
on the Hellespont and the Bosphorus), Syria, and Egypt.
Verse 9 And out of one of them came forth a little
horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the
east, and toward the
pleasant land. 10 And it waxed great, even to the
host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to
the ground, and stamped upon them. 11 Yea, he magnified himself even to
the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away,
and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. 12 And an host was given
him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast
down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.
A Little Horn Comes Forth.-- A third power is
here introduced into the prophecy. In the explanation given to Daniel by
the angel this symbol is not described as definitely as are Medo-Persia
There are two common interpretations of the symbol
which need be noticed in these brief comments. The first is that the
"little horn" denotes the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes.
The second is that it denotes the Roman power. It is an easy matter to
test these two positions.
Does the Little Horn Denote Antiochus?--If
Antiochus Epiphanes does not fulfill the specifications of the prophecy,
the application cannot be made to him. The little horn came out of one
of the four horns of the goat. It was therefore a power existing
distinct from any of the other horns of the goat. Was Antiochus such a
Who was Antiochus? From the time that Seleucus made
himself king over the Syrian portion of Alexander's empire, thus
constituting the Syrian horn of the goat, until that country was
conquered by the Romans, twenty-six kings ruled in succession over that
territory. The eighth of these was Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus, then,
was simply one of the twenty-six kings who constituted the Syrian horn
of the goat. He was, therefore, for the time being, that horn. Hence he
could not at the same time be a separate and independent power, or
another and remarkable horn, as was the little horn.
If it were proper to apply the little horn to any one
of these twenty-six Syrian kings, it should certainly be applied to the
most powerful and illustrious of them all; but Antiochus Epiphanes was
not by any means the most powerful king of the Syrian line. Although he
took the name Epiphanes, that is,
"The Illustrious," he was illustrious only
in name. Nothing, says Prideaux, on the authority of Polybius, Livy, and
Diodorus Siculus, could be more alien to his true character; because of
his vile and extravagant folly, some thought him a fool and changed his
name from Epiphanes, "The Illustrious," to Epimanes, "The
Antiochus the Great, the father of Epiphanes, being
defeated in a war with the Romans, was able to procure peace only by the
payment of a prodigious sum of money and the surrender of a part of his
territory. As a pledge that he would faithfully adhere to the terms of
the treaty, he was obliged to give hostages, among whom was Epiphanes,
his son, who was carried to Rome. The Romans ever afterward maintained
The little horn of the goat was to wax exceeding
great; but Antiochus Epiphanes did not become exceeding great. On the
contrary, he did not enlarge his dominion, except by some temporary
conquests in Egypt. These he immediately relinquished when the Romans
took the part of Ptolemy and commanded him to desist from his designs on
that territory. The rage of his disappointed ambition he vented upon the
The little horn, in comparison with the powers that
preceded it, was exceeding great. Persia is simply called great, though
it consisted of a hundred twenty-seven provinces. (Esther 1: 1.) Grecia,
being more extensive still, is called very great. Now the little horn,
which waxed exceeding great, must surpass them both. How absurd, then,
to apply this Antiochus, who was obliged to abandon Egypt at the
dictation of the Romans. It cannot take long for anyone to decide the
question which was the greater power--the one which evacuated Egypt, or
the one which commanded that evacuation.
The little horn was to stand up against the Prince of
princes, which expression refers, beyond controversy, to Jesus
Christ. (Daniel 9: 25; Acts 3: 15; Revelation 1: 5.)
But Antiochus died one hundred sixty-four years before our Lord was
born. The prophecy cannot therefore apply to him, for he does not
fulfill the specifications in a single particular. The question may then
be asked, Why has anyone ever tried to apply it to him? We answer, Roman
Catholics take that view to avoid the application of the prophecy to
themselves; and many Protestants follow them, apparently in order to
oppose the doctrine that the second advent of Christ is now at hand.
The Little Horn Denotes Rome.--It has been an
easy matter to show that the little horn does not denote Antiochus
Epiphanes. It will be as easy to show that it does denote Rome.
The field of vision here is substantially the same as
that covered by Nebuchadnezzar's image of Daniel 2, and the vision of
Daniel 7. In both these prophetic delineations we have found that the
power which succeeded Grecia as the fourth great power was Rome. The
only natural inference would be that the little horn, the power which in
this vision succeeds Grecia as an "exceeding great" kingdom,
is also Rome.
The little horn comes froth from one of the horns of
the goat. How, it may be asked, can that be true of Rome? Earthly
governments are not introduced into prophecy until they become in some
way connected with the people of God. Rome became connected with the
Jews, the people of God at that time, by the famous Jewish League in 161
B.C.  But seven years before this, that is, 168 B.C., Rome had
conquered Macedonia, and made that country a part of its empire. Rome is
therefore introduced into prophecy just as, from the overthrow of the
Macedonian horn of the goat, it is going forth to new conquests in other
directions. It appeared to the prophet as coming forth from of the horns
of the goat.
The little horn waxed great toward the south. This
was true of Rome. Egypt was made a province of the Roman Empire in 30
B.C., and continued such for some centuries.
The little horn waxed great toward the east. This
also was true of Rome. She conquered Syria in 65 B.C., and made it a
The little horn waxed great toward the pleasant land.
So did Rome. Judea is called "the pleasant land" in many
scriptures. The Romans made it a province of their empire in 63 B.C.,
and eventually destroyed the city and the temple, and scattered the Jews
throughout the earth.
The little horn "waxed great, even to
["against," margin] the host of heaven; and it cast down some
of the host and of the stars to the ground." Rome did this also. In
this expressions two figures are introduced, "the host" and
"the stars." When used in a symbolic sense concerning events
taking place on earth, these figures refer almost always to the people
of God and their leaders. In verse 13 of this chapter we read that both
the sanctuary and the host will be trodden under foot. Here undoubtedly
reference is made to God's people and the place of their worship. The
stars would naturally represent the leaders of the work of God. This
thought is further indicated in one of the applications of Revelation
12: 4 where we read that the great red dragon, a symbol of Rome, cast
down a third part of the stars to the ground.
The little horn "magnified himself even to the
Prince of the host." Rome alone did this. In the interpretation
(verse 25) the little horn is said to "stand up against the Prince
of princes." This is clearly an allusion to the crucifixion of our
Lord under the jurisdiction of the Romans.
Rome in Two Aspects.--By the little horn
"the daily sacrifice was taken away." This little horn
symbolized Rome in its entire history, including its two phases, pagan
and papal. These two phases are elsewhere spoken of as the
"daily" (sacrifice is a supplied word) and the
"transgression of desolation;" the daily (desolation)
evidently signifying the pagan
form, and the transgression of desolation, the papal.
(See comments on verse 13.) In the actions ascribed to this power,
sometimes one form is spoken of, sometimes the other. "by him [the
papal form] the daily [the pagan form] was taken away." Pagan Rome
was remodeled into papal Rome. "The place of his sanctuary,"
or worship, the city of Rome, was cast down. The seat of government was
removed by Constantine to Constantinople, A.D. 330. This same
transaction is brought to view in Revelation 13: 2, where it is said
that the dragon, pagan Rome, gave to the beast, papal Rome, his seat,
the city of Rome.
A "host was given him [the little horn] against
the daily." The barbarians that subverted the Roman Empire in the
changes, attritions, and transformations of those times, became converts
to the Catholic faith, and the instruments of the dethronement of their
former religion. Though conquering Rome politically, they were
themselves vanquished religiously by the theology of Rome, and became
the perpetuators of the same empire in another phase. This was brought
about by reason of "transgression;" that is, by the working of
the mystery of iniquity. The papacy may be called a system of iniquity
because it has done its evil work under the pretense of the pure and
undefiled religion. Of this false religious system, Paul wrote in the
first century to the Thessalonians, "The mystery of iniquity doth
already work." 2 Thessalonians 2: 7.
The little horn "cast down the truth to the
ground, and practiced and prospered." This describes in few words
the work and career of the papacy. The truth is by it hideously
caricatured, loaded with traditions, turned into mummery and
superstition, cast down and obscured.
Of this ecclesiastical power it is declared that it
"practiced"--practiced its deceptions on
the people, practiced in schemes of cunning to carry out its own ends
and aggrandize its own power.
Likewise it has "prospered." It has made
war upon the saints, and prevailed against them. It has well-nigh run
allotted career, and is soon to be broken without
hand, to be given to the burning flame, and to perish in the consuming
glories of the second appearing of our Lord.
Rome meets all the specifications of the prophecy. No
other power does meet them. Hence Rome, and on other, is the power in
question. The inspired descriptions given in the word of God of the
character of this system are fully met, and the prophecies concerning it
have been most strikingly and accurately fulfilled in history.
Verse 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and
another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall
be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of
desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under
foot? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days;
then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
The Time in the Prophecy.--These two verses of
Daniel 8 close the vision proper. They introduce the one remaining point
which of all others would naturally be of most absorbing interest to the
prophet and to the church, namely, the length of time the desolating
powers previously brought to view were to continue. How long shall they
continue their course of oppression against God's people? If time had
been given, Daniel might have asked this question himself, but God ever
anticipates out desires, and sometimes answers them before we ask.
Two celestial beings converse upon this subject. This
is an important matter which the church should understand well. Daniel
heard one saint speaking. What this saint said, we are not informed. But
another saint asked an important question: "How long shall be the
vision?" Both the question and the answer are placed upon the
record, which is prima facie evidence that this is a matter the church
should understand. This view is further confirmed by the fact that the
answer was addressed to Daniel, as the one whom it chiefly concerned,
and for whose information it was given.
The 2300 Days.--The angel declared, "Unto
two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be
The question may be raised, Why does the Vatican
edition of the Septuagint (LXX) render this number "twenty-four
hundred days"? On this point S. P. Tregelles writes:
"Some writers on prophecy have, in their
explanations or interpretations of this vision, adopted the reading 'two
thousand and four hundred days;' and in vindication of it, they have
referred to the common printed copies of the LXX version. In this book,
however, the translation of Theodotion has been long substituted for the
real LXX: and further, although 'two thousand four hundred' is found in
the common printed Greek copies, that is merely an erratum made in
printing the Vatican edition of 1586, which has been habitually
perpetuated. I looked (in 1845) at the passage in the Vatican MS., which
the Roman editions professedly followed, and it read exactly the same as
the Hebrew text ["twenty-three hundred days"]; so also does
the real LXX of Daniel. (So too Cardinal Mai's edition from the Vatican
MS. which appeared in 1857)." 
Further substantiating the veracity of the twenty-three-hundred-day
period, we quote the following:
"The edition of the Greek Bible which is
commonly used, is printed, as you will find it stated in Prideaux and
Horne, not after that of the 70, but after that of Theodotion, made
about the end of the second century. There are three principal standard
editions of the Septuagint bible, all containing the version of Daniel
by Theodotion; viz., the Complutensian, published in 1514; the Aldine,
1518; and the Vatican, 1587, from which the last English editions of the
70 have been chiefly taken; to these three we may add a fourth, being
that of the Alexandrian text, published between 1707 and 1720. Besides
these, there is one called the Chisian, 1772, which contains the Greek
text both of Theodotion and of the 70. Of all these six copies the
Vatican alone reads 2400, all the rest agreeing with the Hebrew and our
English Bibles. Moreover, the manuscript itself, in the Vatican, from
which the edition
was printed, has 2300, and not 2400, and therefore it
is indisputable that the number 2400 is nothing but a misprint."
These quotations show clearly that no confidence
whatever can be placed in this rendering of the Vatican edition of the
What is the Daily?--We have proof in verse 13
that "sacrifice" is the wrong word to be supplied in
connection with the word "daily." If the taking away of the
daily sacrifice of the Jewish service is here meant, as some suppose
(which sacrifice was at a certain point of time taken away), there would
be no propriety in the question, How long shall be the vision concerning
it? This question evidently implies that those agents or events to which
the vision relates occupy a series of years. Continuance of time is the
central idea. The whole time of the vision is filled by what is here
called the "daily" and the "transgression of
desolation." Hence the daily cannot be the daily sacrifice of the
Jews, for when the time came for it to be taken away, that action
occupied but an instant of time, when the veil of the temple was rent in
twain at the crucifixion of Christ. It must denote something which
extends over a period of years.
The word here rendered "daily" occurs in
the Old Testament one hundred and two times, according to the Hebrew
concordance. In the great majority of instances it is rendered
"continual" or "continually". The idea of sacrifice
is not attached to the word at all. Nor is there any word in the text
which signifies sacrifice. That is a supplied word, the translators
putting in that word which their understanding of the text seemed to
demand. They evidently entertained an erroneous view, the sacrifices of
the Jews not being referred to at all. But it appears to be more in
accordance with both construction and the context to suppose that the
word "daily" refers to a desolating power, like the
"transgression of desolation," with which it is connected.
Then we have two
desolating powers, which for a long period oppress,
or desolate, the church. Literally, the text may be rendered, "How
long shall be the vision [concerning] the continuance and the
transgression of desolation?"--the word "desolation"
being related to both "continuance" and
"transgression," as though it were expressed in full thus:
"The continuance of desolation and the transgression of
Two Desolating Powers.--By the
"continuance of desolation," or the perpetual desolation, we
understand that paganism, through all its history, is meant. When we
consider the long ages through which paganism had been the chief agency
of Satan's opposition to the work of God in the earth, the propriety of
the term "continuance" or "perpetual," as applied to
it, becomes apparent. We likewise understand that "the
transgression of desolation" means the papacy. The phrase
describing this latter power is stronger than that used to describe
paganism. It is the transgression (or rebellion, as the word also means)
of desolation; as if under this period of the history of the church the
desolating power had rebelled against all restraint all restraint
previously imposed upon it.
From a religious point of vies, the world has
presented these two strong phases of opposition against the Lord's work
in the earth. Hence, although three earthly governments are introduced
in the prophecy as oppressors of the church, they are here ranged under
two heads: "the daily" and the "transgression of
desolation." Medo-Persia was pagan; Grecia was pagan; Rome in its
first phase was pagan. These were all embraced in the "daily."
Then comes the papal form, the "transgression of desolation,"
a marvel of craft and cunning, an incarnation of cruelty. No wonder the
cry has gone up from suffering martyrs from age to age, "How long,
O Lord, how long?" No wonder the Lord, in order that hope might no
wholly die out of the hearts of His downtrodden, waiting people, has
shown them the future events of the world's history. All these
persecuting powers shall meet an utter and everlasting destruction. For
the redeemed there are unfading
glories beyond the suffering and sorrow of this
The Lord's eye is upon His people. The furnace will
be heated no hotter than is necessary to consume the dross. It is
through much tribulation that we are to enter the kingdom. The word
"tribulation" is from tribulum, a threshing sledge. Blow after
blow must be laid upon us, until all the wheat is beaten free from the
chaff, and we are made fit for the heavenly garner. But not a kernel of
wheat will be lost.
Says the Lord to His people, "Ye are the light
of the world," "the salt of the earth." In His eyes there
is nothing else on the earth of consequence or importance. Hence the
peculiar question here asked, "How long . . . the vision concerning
the daily and transgression of desolation?" Concerning what?--the
glory of earthly kingdoms? the skill of renowned warriors? the fame of
mighty conquerors? the greatness of human empire?--No, but concerning
the sanctuary and the host, the people and the worship of the Most High.
how long shall they be trodden underfoot? Here is where all heaven's
interest and sympathy are enlisted.
He who touches the people of God, touches not mere
mortals, weak and helpless, but Omnipotence. He opens an account which
must be settled in the judgment of heaven. Soon all these accounts will
be adjusted and the iron heel of oppression will be crushed. A people
will be brought out of the furnace of affliction prepared to shine as
the stars forever and ever. Every child of God is an object of interest
to heavenly beings, one whom God loves and for whom He is preparing a
crown with immortality hereafter. Reader, are you one of the number?
There is no information in this chapter concerning
the 2300 days, introduced for the first time in verse 14. It is
necessary, therefore, to pass this period of time for the present. Let
the reader be assured, however, that we are not left in any uncertainty
concerning those day. The declaration respecting them is part of a
revelation which is given for the instruction of the people of God, and
is to be understood. The 2300
days are mentioned in the midst of a prophecy which
the angel Gabriel was commanded to make Daniel understand. Gabriel
carried out this instruction, as will be found in the study of the next
What is the Sanctuary?--Connect with the 2300
days is another subject of equal importance which now presents itself
for consideration, namely, the sanctuary. With this is connected the
subject of its cleansing. An examination of this matter will reveal the
importance of having an understanding of the beginning and the end of
the 2300 days, that we may know when the great event called "the
cleansing of the sanctuary" is to take place. all the inhabitants
of the earth, as will appear in due time, have a personal interest in
that solemn work.
Several views have been held as to what the sanctuary
is, such as the earth, the land of Canaan, the church, and the sanctuary
in heaven, the "true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not
man," which is "in the heavens," and of which the Jewish
tabernacle was a type, pattern, or figure. (Hebrews 8: 1, 2; 9: 23, 24.)
Which of these conflicting views is correct, must be decided by the
Scriptures. Fortunately the testimony is neither meager nor ambiguous.
It Cannot Be the Earth.--the word
"sanctuary" occurs in the Old and New Testament on hundred
forty-four times. From the definitions of lexicographers, and its use in
the Bible, we learn that it is used to signify a holy or sacred place, a
dwelling place for the Most High. If the earth is the sanctuary, it must
answer to this definition. But what single characteristic pertaining to
this earth will satisfy the meaning of the term? The earth is neither a
holy nor a sacred place, or is it a dwelling place for the Most High. It
has no mark of distinction from other worlds, except as being a revolted
planet, marred by sin, scarred an withered by the curse of
transgression. Moreover, it is nowhere in all the Scriptures called the
sanctuary. Only one text can be produced in favor of this view, and that
by an unreasonable application: "The glory of
Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine
tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I
will make the place of My feet glorious." Isaiah 60: 13. This
language undoubtedly refers to the new earth; but even that is not
called the sanctuary, but only the "place" of the sanctuary,
even as it is called "the place" of the Lord's feet. This is
an expression which probably denotes the continual presence of God with
His people, as it was revealed to John when it was said, "Behold,
the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they
shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their
God." Revelation 21: 3. All that can be said of the earth,
therefore, is that when renewed it will be the place where the sanctuary
of God will be located. It cannot present any claim to being the
sanctuary at the present time, or the sanctuary of Daniel's prophecy.
It Cannot Be the Land of Canaan.--So far as we
may be governed by the definition of the word "Canaan," it can
present no better claim than the earth to that distinction. If we
inquire where in the Bible it is called the sanctuary, a few texts are
brought forward which are supposed by some to furnish the requisite
testimony. The first of these is Exodus 15: 17. Moses, in his song of
triumph and praise to God after the passage of the Red Sea, exclaimed:
"Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine
inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for Thee to
dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have
established." Moses here speaks in anticipation. His language is a
prediction of what God would do for His people. Let us see how it was
We turn to David, who records as a matter of history
what Moses uttered as a matter of prophecy. (Psalm 78: 53, 54.) The
subject of the psalmist is the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian
servitude, and their establishment in the Promised Land. He says:
"He [God] led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea
overwhelmed their enemies. And He brought them to the border of His
sanctuary, even to this
mountain, which His right hand had purchased."
The "mountain" here mentioned by David is the same as the
"mountain of Thine inheritance" spoken of by Moses, in which
the people were to be planted. This mountain David calls, not the
sanctuary, but only the border of the sanctuary. What, then, was the
sanctuary? Verse 69 of the same psalm informs us: "He built His
sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which He hath established
forever." The same distinction between the sanctuary and the land
is pointed out in the prayer of the good king Jehoshaphat: "Art not
Thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before
Thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham Thy friend
forever? And they dwelt therein, and have built Thee a sanctuary therein
for Thy name." 2 Chronicles 20: 7, 8.
Taken alone, Exodus 15: 17 is used by some as an
inference that the mountain was the sanctuary; but when we take in
connection with it the language of David, which is a record of the
fulfillment of Moses' prediction, and an inspired commentary upon his
language, such an idea cannot be entertained. David plainly says that
the mountain was simply the "border" of the sanctuary, and
that in that border, or land, the sanctuary was "built" like
high palaces, reference being made to the beautiful temple of the Jews,
the center and symbol of all their worship. But whoever will read
carefully Exodus 15: 17 will see that not even an inference is necessary
that Moses by the word "sanctuary" means the mountain of
inheritance, much less the whole land of Palestine. In the freedom of
poetic license, he employs elliptical expressions, and passes rapidly
from one idea or object to another. First, the inheritance engages his
attention, and he speaks of it; then the fact that the Lord was to dwell
there, then the place He was to provide for His dwelling there, namely,
the sanctuary which He would cause to be built. David thus associates
Mount Zion and Judah together in Psalm 78: 68, because Zion was in
The three texts, Exodus 15: 17; Psalm 78: 54, 69, are
the ones chiefly relied on to prove that the land of Canaan is the
sanctuary. But, singularly enough, the two latter, in
plain language, clear away the ambiguity of the first, and thereby
disprove the claim that is based on it.
Respecting the earth or the land of Canaan as being
the sanctuary, we offer one thought more. If either constitutes the
sanctuary, it should not only be somewhere described as such, but the
same idea should be carried through to the end, and the purification of
the earth or of Palestine should be called the cleansing of the
sanctuary. The earth is indeed defiled, and it is to be purified by
fire; but fire, as we shall see, is not the agent which is used in the
cleansing of the sanctuary. This purification of the earth, or any part
of it, is nowhere in the Bible called the cleansing of the sanctuary.
It Cannot Be the Church.--The solitary text
adduced to support the idea that the church is the sanctuary is Psalm
114: 1,2: "When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a
people of strange language; Judah was His sanctuary, and Israel His
dominion." If we take this text in its most literal sense, it would
prove that the sanctuary was confined to one of the twelve tribes. This
would mean that a part of the church only, not the whole, constitutes
the sanctuary. Why Judah is called the sanctuary in the text quoted,
need not be a matter of perplexity when we remember that God chose
Judah, as the place of His sanctuary. "But chose," says David,
"the tribe of Judah, the Mountain Zion which He loved. And He built
His sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which He hath
established forever." Psalm 78: 68, 69. This clearly shows the
connection which existed between Judah and the sanctuary. That tribe
itself was not the sanctuary, but it is once spoken of as such when
Israel came froth from Egypt, because God purposed that in the midst of
the territory of that tribe His sanctuary should be located.
If it could be shown that the church is anywhere
called the sanctuary, it would be of no consequence to our present
purpose, which is to determine what constitutes the sanctuary of Daniel
8: 13, 14; for the church is there spoken of as something
distinct: "To give both the sanctuary and the
host to be trodden underfoot." That by the term "host"
the people of God is here meant, none will dispute; the sanctuary is
therefore something different from the church.
The Sanctuary Is the Temple in Heaven.--There
now remains but one claim to be examined, namely, that the sanctuary
mentioned in the text is identical with the one in Hebrews 8: 1, 2,
which is called "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and
not man," to which is expressly given the name of "the
sanctuary," and which is located in "the heavens." Of
this sanctuary there existed in ancient times a pattern, type, or
figure, first in the tabernacle built by Moses, and afterward in the
temple at Jerusalem.
Let us put ourselves in the place of Daniel, and view
the subject from his standpoint. What would he understand by the term
"sanctuary"? At the mention of that word, his mind would
inevitably turn to the sanctuary of his people; and certainly he knew
well where that was. His mind did turn to Jerusalem, the city of his
fathers, which was then in ruins, and to their "beautiful
house," which, as Isaiah laments, was burned with fire. (Isaiah 64:
11.) Accordingly, with his face turned toward the place of their once-venerated
temple, as was his custom, Daniel prayed God to cause His face to shine
upon His sanctuary, which was at that time desolate. By the word
"sanctuary" he evidently understood the temple at Jerusalem.
On this point, the Scripture bears testimony which is
most explicit: "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances
of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary." Hebrews 9: 1. What was
the sanctuary of the first covenant? The answer follows: "For there
was a tabernacle made; the first [or first apartment], wherein was the
candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the
sanctuary ["holy place," A. R .V.]. And after the second veil,
the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden
censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold,
wherein was the
golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that
budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of
glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak
particularly." Hebrews 9: 2-5.
There is no mistaking what is described here. It is
the tabernacle erected by Moses according to the direction of the Lord
(which was afterward merged into the temple at Jerusalem), with a holy
and a most holy place, and various articles of service. A full
description of this building, as well as the sacred articles of
furniture and their uses, will be found in Exodus 25 and onward. If the
reader is not familiar with this subject, he is urged to turn and read
the description of this building. Plainly, this was the sanctuary of the
first covenant, and we wish the reader carefully to mark the logical
value of this declaration. By telling us what constituted the sanctuary,
the book of Hebrews sets us on the right track of inquiry. It gives us a
basis on which to work. We have before us a distinct and plainly defined
object, minutely described by Moses, and declared in Hebrews to be the
sanctuary during the time of the first covenant, which reached to the
days of Christ.
But the language in Hebrews has greater significance
even than this. It annihilates the claims put forth that the earth, the
land of Canaan, or the church, is the sanctuary. The arguments which
would prove any of these to be the sanctuary at any time, would prove it
to be such under ancient Israel. If Canaan was at any time the
sanctuary, it was such when Israel was planted in it. If the church was
ever the sanctuary, it was such when Israel was led forth from Egypt. If
the earth was ever the sanctuary, it was such during the same period.
But was any of these the sanctuary during that time? The answer must be
negative, for the writers of the books of Exodus and Hebrews tell us in
detail that not the earth, not Canaan, not the church, but the
tabernacle built by Moses, replaced by the temple later, constituted the
sanctuary of Old Testament times.
The Earthly Sanctuary.--This building answers
in every respect to the definition of the term, and to the use for which
sanctuary was designed. It was the earthly dwelling
place of God. "Let them make Me a sanctuary," said He to
Moses, "that I may dwell among them." Exodus 25: 8. In this
tabernacle, which they erected according to His instructions, He
manifested His presence. It was a holy, or sacred, place-- "the
holy sanctuary." Leviticus 16: 33. In the word of God it is
repeatedly called the sanctuary. Of the more than one hundred thirty
instances in which the word is used in the Old Testament, it refers in
almost every case to this building.
The tabernacle was at first constructed in such a
manner as to be adapted to the conditions under which the children of
Israel lived at that time. They were entering upon their forty years'
wandering in the wilderness when this building was set up in their midst
as the habitation of God and the center of their religious worship.
Journeying was a necessity, and the tabernacle had to be moved from
place to place This was made possible because the sides were composed of
upright boards, and the covering consisted of curtains of linen and dyed
skins. Therefore, it could be readily taken down, conveniently
transported, and easily erected at each successive stage of their
journey. After Israel entered the Promised Land, this temporary
structure gave place in time to the magnificent temple of Solomon. In
this more permanent form the sanctuary existed, except during the time
it lay in ruins in Daniel's day, until its final destruction by the
Romans, A.D. 70.
This is the only sanctuary connected with the earth
concerning which the Bible gives us any instruction or history any
record. But is there nowhere any other? This one was the sanctuary of
the first covenant, and with that covenant it came to an end. Is there
no sanctuary which pertains to the second, or new, covenant? There must
be; otherwise the analogy would be lacking between these covenants. In
such a case the first covenant would have a system of worship, which,
though minutely described, would be unintelligible, and the second
covenant would have a system of worship which would be indefinite and
obscure. The writer of Hebrews virtually as-
serts that the new covenant, in force since the death
of Christ, the testator, has a sanctuary; for when, in contrasting the
two covenants, as he does in Hebrews 9: 1, he says that the first
covenant "had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly
sanctuary." This is the same as saying that the new covenant has
likewise its services and its sanctuary. Furthermore, verse 8 of this
chapter speaks of the worldly sanctuary as the first tabernacle. If that
was the first, there must be a second; and as the first tabernacle
existed as long as the first covenant was in force, when that covenant
came to an end, the second tabernacle must have taken the place of the
first, and must be the sanctuary of the new covenant. There can be no
evading this conclusion.
The Heavenly Sanctuary.--Where, then, shall we
look for the sanctuary of the new covenant? The use of the word
"also" in Hebrews 9: 1 intimates that this sanctuary had been
spoken of before. We turn back to the beginning of the previous chapter,
and find a summing up of the foregoing arguments as follows: "Now
of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high
priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the
heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which
the Lord pitched, and not man." Can there be any doubt that we have
in this text the sanctuary of the new covenant? A plain allusion is here
made to the sanctuary of the first covenant. That was pitched by man,
erected by Moses; but this was pitched by the Lord, not by man. That was
the place where the earthly priests performed their ministry; but this
is the place where Christ, the High Priest of the new covenant, performs
His ministry. That was on earth; this is in heaven. That was therefore
very properly called a "worldly sanctuary;" this is a
This view is further sustained by the fact that the
sanctuary built by Moses was not an original structure, but was built
after a pattern. The great original existed somewhere else, and what
Moses constructed was but a type, or model.
Note the directions the Lord gave him on this point:
"According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the
tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so
shall ye make it." Exodus 25: 9. "Look that thou make them
after their pattern which was showed thee in the mount." Verse 40.
(For further clarification of this point, see Exodus 26: 30; 27: 8; Acts
Now of what was the earthly sanctuary a type, or
figure?--Of the sanctuary of the new covenant, the "true
tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man." The relation which
the first covenant sustains to the second is that of type to antitype.
Its sacrifices were types of the greater sacrifice of the new covenant.
Its priests were types of our Lord in His more perfect priesthood. Their
ministry was performed unto the example and shadow of the ministry of
our High Priest above. The sanctuary where they ministered was a type,
or figure, of the true sanctuary in heave, where our Lord performs His
All these facts are plainly stated in Hebrews.
"If He [Christ] were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing
that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: who serve
unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished
of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He,
that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the
mount." Hebrews 8: 4, 5. This testimony shows that the ministry of
the earthly priests was a shadow of Christ's priesthood. The evidence is
the direction which God gave to Moses to make the tabernacle according
to the pattern showed him in the mount. This clearly identifies the
pattern showed to Moses with the sanctuary, or true tabernacle, in
heaven, where our Lord ministers, as mentioned in Hebrews 8: 2.
The Scripture further says: "The Holy Ghost this
signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made
manifest, while as the first was yet standing;
which was a figure for the time then present."
[*] Hebrews 9: 8, 9. While the first tabernacle stood, and the first
covenant was in force, the ministration of the more perfect tabernacle
was not, of course, carried forward. But when Christ came, a high priest
of good things to come, when the first tabernacle had served its purpose
and the first covenant had ceased, then Christ, raised to the throne of
the Majesty in the heavens as a minister of the true sanctuary, entered
by His own blood (verse 12) "into the holy place," that is,
the heavenly sanctuary.
Therefore, the first tabernacle was a figure for the
time then present. If any further testimony is needed, the writer of
Hebrews speaks in verse 23 of the earthly tabernacle, with its
apartments and instruments, as "patterns" of things in the
heavens; and in verse 24, he calls the holy places made with hands, that
is, the earthly tabernacles and temples of ancient Israel,
"figures" of the true, that is, of the tabernacle in heaven.
This view is still further corroborated by the
testimony of John. Among the things which he was permitted to behold in
heaven were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne (Revelation 4:
5), an alter of incense, and a golden censer (Revelation 8: 3), and the
ark of God's testament (Revelation 11: 19). All of this was seen in
a "temple" in heaven. (Revelation 1: 19;
15: 8.) These objects every Bible reader must at once recognize as the
furniture of the sanctuary. They owed their existence to the sanctuary,
and were confined to it, to be employed in the ministration connected
therewith. Even as they would not have existed without the sanctuary, so
wherever we find them, we may know that there is the sanctuary. Hence
the fact that John saw these things in heaven after the ascension of
Christ, is proof that there is a sanctuary in heaven, and that he was
permitted to behold it.
However reluctant a person may have been to
acknowledge that there is a sanctuary in heaven, the testimony that has
been presented is certainly sufficient to prove this fact. The Bible
says that the tabernacle of Moses was the sanctuary of the first
covenant. Moses says that God showed him in the mount a pattern,
according to which he as to make this tabernacle. The book of Hebrews
testifies again that Moses did make it according to the pattern, and
that the pattern was the true tabernacle in heaven, which the Lord
pitched, and not man; and that of this heavenly sanctuary the tabernacle
erected with hands was a true figure, or representation. Finally, to
corroborate the statement of the Scriptures that this sanctuary is in
heaven, John bears testimony as an eyewitness that he beheld it there.
What further testimony could be required?
As far as the question of what constitutes the
sanctuary is concerned, we now have the sanctuary before us in one
harmonious whole. The sanctuary of the Bible--mark it well--consists,
first, of the typical tabernacle established by the Hebrews in the
exodus from Egypt, which was the sanctuary of the first covenant.
Secondly, it consists of the true tabernacle in heaven, of which the
former was a type, or figure, which is the sanctuary of the new
covenant. These are inseparably related as type and antitype. From the
antitype we go back to the type, and from the type we are carried
forward naturally and inevitably to the antitype. Thus we see how
a sanctuary service has been provided from the Exodus
to the end of probation.
We have said that Daniel would at once understand by
the word "sanctuary" the sanctuary of his people at Jerusalem;
so would anyone at the time of its existence. But does the declaration
of Daniel 8: 14 have reference to that sanctuary? That depends upon the
time to which it applies. All the declarations respecting the sanctuary
which apply during the time of ancient Israel, have respect of course to
the sanctuary of that time. All those declarations which apply under the
Christian Era must have reference to the sanctuary of that era. If the
2300 days, at the termination of which the sanctuary to be cleansed,
ended before Christ, the sanctuary to be cleansed was the sanctuary of
that time. If they reach over into the Christian Era, the sanctuary to
which reference is made is the sanctuary of this era--the new-covenant
sanctuary in heaven. This is a point which can be determined only by a
further argument on the 2300 days. This will be found in remarks on
Daniel 9: 24, where the subject of time is resumed and explained.
The Cleansing of the Sanctuary.--What we have
thus far said respecting the sanctuary has been only incidental to the
main question in the prophecy. That question has respect to its
cleansing. "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall
the sanctuary be cleansed." But is was necessary first to determine
what constituted the sanctuary, before we could understandingly examine
the question of its cleansing. For this we are now prepared.
After learning what constitutes the sanctuary, the
question of its cleansing and how it is accomplished, is soon decided.
It has been noticed that whatever constitutes the sanctuary of the Bible
must have some service connected with it which is called its cleansing.
There is such a service connected with the institution which we have
shown to be the sanctuary, and which, in reference to both the earthly
building and the heavenly temple, is called its cleansing.
Does the reader object to the idea of there being
anything in heave which needs to be cleansed? The book of Hebrews
plainly affirms the cleansing of both the earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary: "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and
without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary
that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified [Greek, ,
katharizesthai, cleansed] with these; but the heavenly things themselves
[cleansed] with better sacrifices than these." Hebrews 9: 22, 23.
In the light of foregoing arguments, this may be paraphrased thus:
"It was therefore necessary that the tabernacle erected by Moses,
with its sacred vessels, which were patterns of the true sanctuary in
heaven, should be cleansed with the blood of calves and goats; but the
heavenly things themselves, the sanctuary of the Christian Era, the true
tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man, must be cleansed with
better sacrifices, even with the blood of Christ."
We now inquire, what is the nature of this cleansing,
and how is it to be done? According to the language just quoted, it is
accomplished by means of blood. The cleansing is not, therefore, a
cleansing from physical uncleanness or impurity, for blood is not the
agent used in such a work. This consideration should satisfy the
objector's mind in regard to the cleansing of the heavenly things. The
fact that heavenly things are to be cleansed, does not prove that there
is any physical impurity in heaven, for that is not the kind of
cleansing referred to in the Scriptures. The reason assigned why this
cleansing is performed with blood, is that without the shedding of blood
there is no remission, no forgiveness of sin.
The Cleansing Is From Sin.--Remission of sin,
then, and the putting away of sin, is the work to be done. The
cleansing, therefore, is not physical cleansing, but a cleansing from
sin. But how did sin come to be connected with the sanctuary, either the
earthly or the heavenly, that it should need to be cleansed? This
question is answered by the ministration connected with the type, to
which we now turn.
The closing chapters of Exodus give us an account of
the construction of the earthly sanctuary, and the arrangement of the
service connected therewith. Leviticus opens with an account of the
ministration which was there to be performed. all that it is our purpose
to notice here is one particular branch of the service. The person who
had committed sin brought his offering, a live animal, to the door of
the tabernacle. Upon the head of this victim he placed his hand for a
moment, and, as we may reasonably infer, confessed over it his sin. By
this expressive act he signified that he had sinned, and was worthy of
death, but that in his stead he consecrated his victim, and transferred
his guilt to it. With his own hand (and what must have been his
emotions!) he then took the life of the animal. The law demanded the
life of the transgressor for his disobedience. The life is in the blood.
(Leviticus 17: 11, 14.) Hence without the shedding of blood, there is no
remission; but with the shedding of blood remission is possible, for the
demand of life by the law is thus satisfied. The blood of the victim,
representative of a forfeited life, and the vehicle of its guilt, was
then taken by the priest and ministered before the Lord.
By his confession, by the slaying of the victim, and
by the ministry of the priest, the sin of the individual was transferred
from himself to the sanctuary. Victim after victim was thus offered by
the people. Day by day the work went forward, and thus the sanctuary
became the receptacle of the sins of the congregation. But this was not
the final disposition of these sins. The accumulated guilt was removed
by a special service for the cleansing of the sanctuary. this service,
in the type, occupied one day in the year, the tenth day of the seventh
month, which was called the Day of Atonement. On this day, while all
Israel refrained from work and afflicted their souls, the priest brought
two goats, and presented them before the Lord at the door of the
tabernacle. On these goats he cast lots, one lot of the Lord, and the
other lot for the scapegoat. The one upon which the Lord's lot fell was
then slain, and his blood
carried by the priest into the most holy place of the
sanctuary, and sprinkled upon the mercy seat. This was the only day on
which he was permitted to enter that apartment. Coming forth, he was
then to "lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and
confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all
their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of
the goat." Leviticus 16: 21. He was then to send the goat away by
the hand of a fit man into a land not inhabited, a land of separation,
or forgetfulness, the goat never again to appear in the camp of Israel,
and the sins of the people to be remembered against them no more.
This service was for the purpose of cleansing the
people from their sins, and also for cleansing the sanctuary, its
furniture, and its sacred vessels from the sins of the people.
(Leviticus 16: 16, 30, 33.) By this process, sin was entirely removed.
Of course this was only in figure, for all that work was typical.
The reader to whom these views are new will perhaps
be ready here to inquire with some astonishment, What could this strange
work possibly be designed to typify, and what was it designed to to
prefigure in our day? We answer, A similar work in the ministration of
Christ, as the Scriptures clearly teach. After the statement in Hebrews
8: 2 that Christ is the minister of the true tabernacle, the sanctuary
in heaven, it is declared in verse 5 that the priests on earth served
"unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." In other
words, the work of the earthly priests was a shadow, a type of the
ministration of Christ above.
Ministration in Figure and in Fact.--These
typical priests ministered in both apartments of the earthly tabernacle,
and Christ ministers in both apartments of the heavenly temple. That
temple in heaven has two apartments, or it was not correctly represented
by the earthly sanctuary. Our Lord officiates in both apartments, or the
service of the priest on earth was not a correct shadow of His work. It
is stated plainly in Hebrews 9: 21-24 that both the tabernacle and all
the vessels in the ministry were "patterns of things in the
fore the service performed by Christ in the heavenly
temple corresponds to that performed by the priests in both apartments
of the earthly building. But the work in the second apartment, or most
holy place, was a special work to close the yearly round of service and
cleanse the sanctuary. Hence Christ's ministration in the second
apartment of the heavenly sanctuary must be a work of like nature, and
constitutes the close of His work as our great High Priest, and the
cleansing of that sanctuary.
As through the typical sacrifices of old the sins of
the people were transferred in figure by the priests to the earthly
sanctuary, where those priests ministered; so ever since Christ ascended
to be our intercessor in the presence of His Father, the sins of all
those who sincerely seek pardon through Him are transferred in fact to
the heavenly sanctuary, where He ministers. Whether Christ ministers for
us in the heavenly holy places with His blood literally, or only by
virtue of its merits, we need not stop to inquire. Suffice it to say
that His blood has been shed, and through that blood remission of sins
is obtained in fact, which was obtained only in figure through the blood
of the calves and goats of the former ministration. But those typical
sacrifices had real sacrifice to come. Thus those who employed them have
an equal interest in the work of Christ with those who in our era come
to Him by faith through the ordinances of the gospel.
The continual transfer of sins to the heavenly
sanctuary makes its cleansing necessary on the same ground that a like
work was required in the earthly sanctuary. An important distinction
between the two ministrations must here be noticed. In the earthly
tabernacle, a complete round of service was accomplished every year. On
every day of the year except one, the ministration went forward in the
first apartment. One day's work in the most holy completed the yearly
round. The work then began again in the holy place, and went forward
until another Day of Atonement completed the year's
work. And so on, year by year. A succession of
priests performed this round of service in the earthly sanctuary. But
our divine Lord "ever liveth to make intercession" for us.
Hebrews 7: 25. Hence the work of the heavenly sanctuary, instead of
being a yearly work, is performed once for all. Instead of being
repeated year by year, one grand cycle is allotted to it, in which it is
carried forward and finished forever.
One year's round of service in the earthly sanctuary
represented the entire work of the sanctuary above. In the type, the
cleansing of the sanctuary was the brief closing work of he year's
service. In the antitype, the cleansing of the sanctuary must be the
closing work of Christ, our great High Priest, in the tabernacle in
heaven. In the type, to cleanse the sanctuary, the high priest entered
into the most holy place to minister in the presence of God before the
ark of His testament. In the antitype, when the time comes for the
cleansing of the true sanctuary, our High Priest, in like manner, enters
into the most holy place once for all to make a final end of His
intercessory work in behalf of mankind.
Reader, do you now see the importance of this
subject? Do you begin to perceive what an object of interest for all the
world is the sanctuary of God? Do you see that the whole plan of
salvation centers here, and that when it is done, probation is ended,
and the cases of the saved and lost are eternally decided? Do you see
that the cleansing of the sanctuary is a brief and special work by which
the great plan of salvation is forever finished? Do you see that if it
can be ascertained when the work of cleansing begins we shall know when
salvation's's last mighty hour has come, when that most solemn
announcement of the prophetic word is due to the world--"Fear God,
and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come"?
Revelation 14: 7. This is exactly what the prophecy is designed to show;
it is known the commencement of this momentous work. "Unto two
thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be
cleansed." The heavenly sanctuary is the one in which the decision
of all cases is to be
rendered. The progress of the work there should be
the special concern of mankind. If people understood the bearing of
these subjects on their eternal interests, they would give them their
most careful and prayerful study.
Verse 15 And it came to pass, when I, even I
Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold,
there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man's
voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make
this man to understand the vision.
We now enter upon the interpretation of the vision.
We have already mentioned Daniel's longing to understand these things.
He sought for the meaning. Immediately there stood before the prophet
one who had the appearance of a man. Daniel heard a man's voice, that
is, the voice of an angel as of a man speaking. The commandment was
given to make this man Daniel understand the vision. It was addressed to
Gabriel, a name that signifies "the strength of God," or
"man of God." He continues his instruction to Daniel in
chapter 9. Centuries later this same angel was commissioned to announce
the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias, and that of the
Messiah to the virgin Mary. (Luke 1: 26.) To Zacharias, he introduced
himself with these words: "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence
of God." Luke 1: 19. From this is appears that Gabriel was here
addressed by one still higher in rank, who had power to command and
control his work. This one was probably no other than the Archangel,
Michael, or Christ.
Verse 17 So he came near where I stood: and when
he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me,
Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the
vision. 18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my
face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. 19 And he
said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the
indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
It was not for the purpose of worship that Daniel
fell before the angel, for it is forbidden to worship angels. (See
Revelation 19: 10, 22: 8, 9.) Daniel seems to have been completely
overcome by the majesty of the heavenly messenger.
He prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
The angel laid his hand upon him to give him assurance (how many times
have mortals been told by heavenly beings to "fear not"!), and
from this helpless and prostrate condition set him upright.
With a general statement that at the time appointed
the end shall be, and that he will make him to know "what shall be
in the last end of the indignation," the angel enters upon an
interpretation of the vision. "The indignation" must be
understood to cover a period of time. What period of time? God told His
people Israel that He would pour upon them His indignation for their
wickedness; and thus He gave directions concerning the "profane
wicked prince of Israel:" "Remove the diadem, and take off the
crown. . . . I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be
not more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him."
Ezekiel 21: 25-27, 31.
Here is the period of God's indignation against His
covenant people, the period during which the sanctuary and host are to
trodden underfoot. The diadem was removed, and the crown taken off, when
Israel was subjected to the kingdom of Babylon. It was overturned by the
Medes and Persians, again by the Grecians, again by the Romans,
corresponding to the three times the word is repeated by the prophet.
The Jews, having rejected Christ, were soon scattered abroad over the
face of the earth. Spiritual Israel has taken the place of the literal
seed; but they are in subjection to earthly powers, and will be until
the throne of David is again set up--until He who is its rightful heir,
the Messiah, the Prince of peace, shall come. Then the indignation will
have ceased. The events that shall take place in the end of the period
are now to be made known to Daniel by the angel.
Verse 20 The ram which thou sawest having two
horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the rough goat is the
king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first
king. 22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four
kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
The Vision Interpreted.--As the disciples said
to the Lord, so may we here say of the angel who spoke to Daniel,
"Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb." This
explanation of the vision is in language plain to be understood. (See
comments on verses 3-8.) The distinguishing feature of the Persian
Empire, the union of the two nationalities which composed it, is
represented by the two horns of the ram. Grecia attained its greatest
glory as a unit under the leadership of Alexander the Great, a general
as famous as the world has ever seen. This part of her history is
represented by the first phase of the goat, during which time the one
notable horn symbolized Alexander the Great. Upon his death, the kingdom
fell into fragments, but soon consolidated into four grand division.
These were represented by the second phase of the goat, when it had four
horns which came up in the place of the first, which had been broken.
These divisions did not stand in his power. None of them possessed the
strength of the original kingdom. These great waymarks of history on
which the historian has written volumes, the inspired penman here gives
us in sharp outline, with a few strokes of the pen.
Verse 23 And in the latter time of their kingdom,
when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce
countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24 And
his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall
destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy
the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall
cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his
heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against
the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
This power succeeds to the four divisions of the goat
kingdom in the latter time of their kingdom, that is, toward the
termination of their career. It is of course the same as the little horn
of verse 9 and onward. Apply it to Rome, as set forth in remarks on
verse 9, and all is harmonious and clear.
"A King of Fierce Countenance."--In
predicting punishment to come upon the Jews from this same power, Moses
calls it "a nation of fierce countenance." Deuteronomy 28: 49,
No people made a more formidable appearance in
warlike array than Romans.
As to "understanding dark sentences," Moses
says in the scripture before mentioned, "Whose tongue thou [the
Jews] shalt not understand." This could not be said of the
Babylonians, Persians, or Greeks, in reference to the Jews; for the
Chaldean and Greek languages were used to some extent in Palestine. This
was not the case, however, with the Latin.
When do the transgressors "come to the
full"? All along, the connection between God's people and their
oppressors is kept in view. It was on account of the transgressions of
His people that they were sold into captivity. Their continuance in sin
brought more and more severe punishment. At not time were the Jews as a
nation more corrupt morally than at the time they came under the
jurisdiction of the Romans.
Papal Rome "Mighty, but Not by His Own
Power."--The success of the Romans was owing largely to the aid
of their allies, and divisions among their enemies, of which they were
ever ready to take advantage. Papal Rome also was mighty by means of the
secular powers over which she exercised spiritual control.
"He shall destroy wonderfully." The Lord
told the Jews by the prophet Ezekiel that He would deliver them to men
who were "skillful to destroy" (Ezekiel 21: 31); and the
slaughter of eleven hundred thousand Jews at the destruction of
Jerusalem by the Roman army, was a terrible confirmation of the
prophet's words. Rome in its second, or papal, phase was responsible for
the death of millions of martyrs.
"Through his policy also he shall cause craft to
prosper in his hand." Rome has been distinguished above all other
powers for a policy of craft, by means of which it brought the nations
under its control. This is true of both pagan and papal Rome. Thus by
peace it destroyed many.
Finally, in the person of one of its governors, Rome
stood up against the Prince of princes, by giving sentence of death
against Jesus Christ. "But he shall be broken without hands."
This parallels the prophecy of Daniel 2: 34, where
the stone "cut out without hands" destroys all earthly powers.
Verse 26 And the vision of the evening and the
morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for
it shall be for many days. 27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain
days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was
astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
"The vision of the evening and the morning"
refers to the period of 2300 days. In view of the long period of
oppression, and the calamities which were to come upon his people,
Daniel fainted and was sick certain days. He was astonished at the
vision, but did not understand it. Why did not Gabriel at this time
fully carry out his instructions, and cause Daniel to understand the
vision? Undoubtedly because Daniel had received all that he could then
bear. Further instruction is therefore deferred to a future time.
 Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Old Testament,
Vol. IV, p. 598, note on Daniel 8: 1.
 Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies,
Vol. I, pp. 303, 304.
 Ibid., p. 306.
 Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament
Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. I, p. 378.
 Walter Fogg, One Thousand Sayings of History, p.
 See Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament
Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. II, pp. 106, 107.
 See 1 Maccabees 8; Flavius Josephus,
"Antiquities of the Jews," book 12, chap. 10, sec. 6, The
Works of Flavius Josephus, p. 374; Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New
Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. II, p. 166.
 S. P. Tregelles, Remarks on the Prophetic Visions
in the Book of Daniel, p. 89, footnote.
 Dialogues on Prophecy, Vol. I, pp. 326, 327.
[*] The Greek original of what is here translated
"holiest of all" is the same as that rendered
"sanctuary" in Hebrews 8: 2; 9: 1. It should therefore be
translated "sanctuary" in Hebrews 9: 8 also. The same original
phrase is used, too, in verses 12, 24, 25, and is more fittingly
translated "sanctuary" than "holy place," so as to
convey its true meaning more clearly. In Hebrews 10: 19 the original of
"holiest" is the same as that in all the verses cited above,
and should therefore be also translated "sanctuary." This
gives a simple, accurate, uniform, and easily understood rendering of
the same original phrase in all these passages. Moreover, the reference
of the phrase is obviously and uniformly to the heavenly sanctuary in
all these citations, with the exception of Hebrews 9: 1, 25, which refer
to the earthly. The original phrases cited above have of course the
usual variations for number and case common to all languages. The
nominative form is , ta hagia, plural in all instances here cited except
in 9: 1, where it is , to hagion, singular. In Hebrews 9: 2 the word
"sanctuary" plainly applies to the first apartment only, and
would be better translated "holy place" as suggested in the
margin of the Authorized Version, while the phrase "holiest of
all" in verse 3, naming the second apartment, is a true translation
of a different original regularly used to designate that apartment in
distinction from the first and from the entire sanctuary. "Holiest
of all" or "holiest" is not therefore a true translation
in either Hebrews 9: 8 or 10: 19.--Editors.