It is a wonderful privilege on the Sabbath, that God’s people can gather together and study the Bible. I hope that what we are going to study meets your needs and that it means as much to you as it means to me.
We are going to study about the foundation of the Adventist faith. The foundation of the Adventist faith is under attack. Have you noticed? I need to ask you a question: Do you believe that the Adventist faith can be defended? If it can be defended, do you think that you and I should defend it? And if we should defend it, do we know how to defend it? We are going to look at some of those things in a few moments. If you cannot defend what you believe, then in a time of theological crises and theological controversies, your faith will be destroyed.
During our lifetime, during the last few decades, there have been many, many Adventists whose faith has been destroyed. This happened because they got into a situation of theological controversy, and when that happened, they didn’t know enough about what they believed to defend it. Those who believed a different way flipped their minds. That has even happened to Adventist ministers. You don’t want that to happen to you. You want to know why you believe what you believe.
In The Great Controversy, page 409, Ellen White wrote about the great disappointment that occurred in 1844—and it was a great disappointment. Probably we cannot comprehend the magnitude of what happened to the people that went through that experience. She states, at the beginning of the chapter, “The scripture [Daniel 8:14] which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith . . . .” Now, that’s quite a statement! It’s the foundation and it’s the central pillar.
You’ve all read the story of Samson in Judges 16:21–31. After the Philistines had captured and blinded him, they wanted to make sport of him one day, so they called for him out of the prison and placed him between the pillars of the building where they were partying. Samson asked the boy guiding him to help him feel the pillars so he could support himself. And then Samson prayed to God for strength and pulled down those two central pillars. What happened to the Philistines? Verse 30 says that they died—even the ones who had been on the roof. (Verse 27.) The whole building came down, and he killed more Philistines with his death than he had with his life. (Verse 30.)
So, when you are talking about something that is the foundation and the central pillar, you are talking about something that, if it can be knocked out, the whole building will collapse. That, of course, is exactly what the devil has been trying to do—knock out the foundation and the central pillar of the Adventist faith. If he can do that in your mind, your faith will be destroyed. You may still go to an Adventist church, but you won’t be an Adventist in your mind.
There are a lot of people like that today, friends. Many of them are still going to an Adventist church, but their faith has been knocked out. Ellen White said, “The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith,” and then she quotes Daniel 8:14, which says, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
If you were the devil and you knew that this was the foundation and the central pillar of the Adventist faith, you would figure that if you could knock it out, you could destroy the Adventist faith. There has been an attempt ever since 1844 to knock that pillar out, because that pillar holds up the whole building. It’s the foundation and the central pillar of the Adventist faith.
One of the places where this attack almost always begins is when people say, “Well, those Millerites, they were just using the key text method. They weren’t using the historical, grammatical method as scholars do today.” I have a sermon on that subject, and I don’t want to get into that now, but let me just run a few things by you about that briefly, because you are going to meet this attack.
The historical, grammatical method developed as a result, probably, of the development of higher criticism. People who were theologians developed it, but they weren’t actually believers in the Bible the way that you and I believe the Bible. Now, how do you and I believe the Bible?
II Timothy 3:16, 17 says, “Every Scripture is . . . ,” Paul literally wrote “is God-breathed” or, we say, “inspired of God.” “Every Scripture is inspired of God.” Let us stop right there for a moment. Who is behind every Scripture? God is. Now, God did not write down the words. Men wrote down the words. In II Peter 1:21, Peter says “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Men wrote down the words. God didn’t write down the words, except for the Ten Commandments. That was so important that He wrote down the words on that one, but the rest of the Bible—except for MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN—men wrote down the words. But who was behind those men? God. So when you understand that, you understand that the Bible has only one Author.
People who don’t believe in the inspiration of the Bible, the way you and I do, say that the Bible has about forty authors, and you have to look at the way this author uses this word, and you have to look at his linguistic style, and you have to look at the history of the time in which he lived, and you need to look at the society in which he lived, and you have to look at the context from that view point. There is nothing wrong with looking at some of those things. The problem comes when you don’t want to use any other Scripture to explain that one, because you just want to use whatever that person wrote or talked about. But if you understand that the Holy Spirit is the Author of the Bible—even though He didn’t write down the words—then it’s perfectly all right to look at the Bible as one book and not sixty books, because it has one Author. When you do that, that justifies the use of the key text method, because there is nothing wrong with looking at what Paul said about something, and then looking at what Isaiah said about the same thing, because the whole Book was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
But, you see, people that believe in the historical, grammatical method just want to look at the context of that one book. They get critical of the people that use the key text method, because apparently they don’t understand that the Bible actually only has one Author. Where did Adventists get the idea of using the key text method? We didn’t come up with it ourselves. We were told to use this method of studying the Scriptures in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Isaiah 28:9 says, “Whom is he going to teach? Whom is He going to cause to understand the message?” Who is it? He continues, “It’s those that are weaned from the milk from the breasts.” What does that indicate? That’s someone who has some maturity. And then a very interesting statement is made in verse 10. It says that there has to be line upon line and precept upon precept, and then it says there has to be a little bit here and a little bit over here. What does that mean? Well, you have to look at precept upon precept, and you look at what it says over here about the subject, and you look over here at what it says about the subject, and you put that all together. That’s what scholars call the key text method. Some people get very upset about it, but that’s the way we’re told to study the Bible, by a prophet. I don’t think that we should be embarrassed about using the method of Bible study that’s endorsed by a prophet. Don’t let anybody put you in a corner and say, “Oh, you’re just using the key text method.” That is the way the Bible says to study the Bible.
Incidentally, that is the way that Jesus Christ Himself taught. Look at that in the New Testament in the Book of Luke. Luke 24, starting with verse 13, tells the story of two disciples that are going for a walk of about 60 stadiums [furlongs]. A stadium [furlong] is a little over 600 feet, so that is approximately 7 miles. They were going on this walk to Emmaus and this is when Jesus joined them. It was Sunday afternoon—the day of the resurrection—and they didn’t know who He was. Jesus purposely didn’t reveal Himself to them, because He wanted to give them a Bible study. He knew that if He revealed to them who He was, they would get so excited that they wouldn’t be able to concentrate on what He wanted to teach them.
So, He has been talking with them, and now He’s going to give them a Bible study. Notice how He gives them the study, beginning in verse 27: “And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, He explained to them, in all the scriptures, concerning Himself [that is the Messiah].” He’s going to give them a Bible study about the Messiah. Does He follow the historical, grammatical method and say, “We’ll just look at what Isaiah says about the Messiah, and just look at it from that point”? No, He starts at Moses, and He goes through all the prophets. He has a subject, and His subject is “What does the prophecy say about the Messiah?” He starts at Moses and He goes all the way through the Old Testament. That’s the key text method, friends. You have a subject, and you go through the whole Bible to see what it says on that subject. That’s what Jesus did, so don’t let anybody make you embarrassed for using the key text method. There is nothing wrong with it.
They say, “Oh, you are not paying attention to the context.” Yes, we do pay attention to the context in the sense of the whole Bible. The whole Bible is the context of any verse. It has the context related to the rest of the Bible. Then it has a historical context into that time, and it has a historical context having to do with that author and with that passage. Adventists do pay attention to the context. We love the context of the Scriptures, and we want to know exactly what the context of the Scriptures is.
So, let’s go back to Daniel 8 and look at the context of this Scripture. We’ll look first at the immediate context, then we’ll expand the context out a little bit more over the whole book. Remember context has to do not just with a paragraph, but if you are reading any book, it could be in the context of the paragraph or the context of the chapter or the context of the whole book. Right? So we’ll start with the most immediate context, but then we will go out a little bit and look at the context of Daniel 8:14.
This was very troubling to me some years ago. I was around when the so-called Ford controversy erupted at Pacific Union College, in the state of California, in August 1979. At that time, I was a teacher of foods and nutrition at Southwestern Adventist College, in Keene, Texas, and I heard about people who were saying, “Well, the Greek says this, and the Hebrew says this, and we just haven’t understood what we have been teaching.” I wondered what in the world these people were talking about.
I thought, I studied a little Hebrew when I was at Andrews University while I was at the seminary. I decided I’d better check this out and figure out what they were talking about, and I found some very interesting things. Let me just say this: most of the Bible translations that we have—the King James, the New King James, the New American Standard—are very literal. They are translated almost word for word, whatever the Hebrew or Greek text is.
Unfortunately, there are a few troubles in the Book of Daniel. Let me explain a little bit about why these troubles occur. The first time you ever read through the Book of Daniel yourself, even if you were an Adventist, did you understand everything you were reading—especially when you got into Daniel 8, 9, or 11? Well, guess what! The people that translated the Bible didn’t understand it either.
Now a translator’s job is very interesting. I just finished a few days ago reading the Book of Job from the Hebrew text in the Old Testament. The Book of Job, by the way, is considered by many scholars to be the hardest book in the Old Testament to translate. You have to use lots of lexical aids to translate that book. I was telling my mother that there are sentences in the Book of Job that I can tell you the definition of each word in the sentence, but when I get through put the definitions together, it doesn’t make any sense. It is something else! In other words, words can be used in different ways, and when something is not your native language and a common word is being used in an uncommon way, it is difficult sometimes for the translator to get things figured out. If you have ever translated from one language to another you can see how that can be.
In the New Testament, we find a similar problem in the Book of II Corinthians. The apostle Paul was in a very exuberant frame of mind as he wrote II Corinthians, because the Corinthian church had been saved from going off the deep end into apostasy. When you are in an exuberant fame of mind, you do some interesting things with language. So, in II Corinthians, the apostle Paul uses some common words in some uncommon ways, and you have to look at it three or four times before you figure out what he is saying. That makes your life a little interesting!
But in the Book of Daniel, because the translators did not understand what it meant, and they looked at it and puzzled over what was saying. When you are translating something, you are never going to translate it so it seems like nonsense to you. You’re going to change something to make it make sense, so the translators tried to do this.
I’m saying this not because I want to criticize any translator. I’m not criticizing the men that translated the King James Version. I’m not criticizing the men that translated the New King James Version. I am not criticizing the men and women that translated the New American Standard. I’m not criticizing any translators. I’m just trying to explain to you why we have a little bit of a problem with a few verses in Daniel. Unfortunately, we have a bit of a problem in Daniel 8 with some translation.
I’m going to read to you a very literal translation of some verses in Daniel 8 to give some immediate context for Daniel 8:14. You can follow along in your Bible. I’ll explain some words as we go along. We are not going to take time to read 20 verses or so, so let’s just begin by reviewing a little bit of the story.
You already know the story, but I think that I will go all the way back to Daniel 2 to put some context on what we are going to do. I want you to see that there is a progression in the Book of Daniel. The same thing is said over and over again, but a little bit more detail is added each time.
For instance, in Daniel 2, we have Babylon. Remember Babylon was the head of the image. Then we have the Medes and the Persians; then we have Greece. Then we have Rome, and then we have Rome divided. It started in the sixth century b.c., and there were no breaks, no gaps.
There was Babylon, then the Medes and the Persians, and immediately, when that was over, Greece. When Greece ended, there was Rome, and then Rome divided. What happened after Rome was divided? Verse 44 says, “In the days of these kings.” What is going to happen? God is going to set up His eternal kingdom. This kingdom is not going to be given to other people, and it is going to last forever. That is what it says, in Daniel 2:44, 45. You have Babylon, the Medes and the Persians, Greece, Rome, Rome divided, and then you have an eternal kingdom.
This eternal kingdom is not going to be established by any human power, because remember it says that there is going to be a big rock cut out of a mountain. (Verse 45.) How is it going to be cut out of a mountain? Without hands. That means that this stone, this rock, that comes and smashes the image on the feet is not something that human beings are going to do, because that rock is cut out without hands.
Now let’s go to Daniel 7, where this is going to be expanded. In Daniel 7, do we have Babylon? Yes, Babylon is represented in Daniel 7 by a lion. In Daniel 7, do we have the Medes and Persians? Yes, a bear represents it. In Daniel 7, do we have Greece? What is it represented by? A leopard. In Daniel 7, do we have Rome? What is it represented by? A nondescript beast, an awful, terrible beast. Do you have Rome divided in Daniel 7? Not only do you have it divided but it tells you how many divisions there is going to be—ten.
In Daniel 7, there are a lot of additional details added that are not in Daniel 2. After Rome is divided, there are ten horns. (Verse 7.) But then what happens? Plus one little horn (verse 8), and then when you have one little horn, how many of the original ten horns are taken away? It’s going to do away with three. So now you have more detail, and as you get toward the end, you have more detail. Does Daniel 7 go all the way to the end? Yes, it does, because verses 26 and 27 say that God is going to come and judge this little horn. God is going to take away the dominion of this little horn, and He is going to give the dominion to His people, the saints. By the way, the divided Roman Empire is going to go until the end.
Has this eternal kingdom been set up yet? No, because when this kingdom is set up, in Daniel 2, all the earthly kingdoms are smashed and done away with. Has that happened yet? No, it hasn’t. So we are looking at some things here that are still future.
In Daniel 7:26, 27, it says that God is going to come in judgment, and He’s going to give the dominion to the saints of the Most High. Has that happened yet? Are the saints of the Most High ruling in this world yet? No, they are not. So this goes to the future, and we have some part of it that hasn’t yet happened. Daniel 7:26, 27 is still future.
Now, let’s go to Daniel 8. In Daniel 8, we don’t even talk about Babylon any more. This vision was given some years later. In fact, some Bible commentators believe that this vision was given enough later that there was no need to talk about Babylon; it was fading out of the picture. Daniel 8 begins with the ram. Who is the ram? The angel tells us in verse 20; we are not guessing about this.
We are not going to worry about Babylon any more. After the Medes and Persians, is Greece in chapter 8? Yes, it is. The symbol for Greece is a he goat. (Verse 21.) More details are added in chapter 8 that we didn’t have before. In Daniel 7, there was a leopard with four heads, but now, in Daniel 8, it says that this he goat has one giant horn—or one conspicuous horn—at the beginning, but then this giant horn is broken, representing the first king that is broken. And in place of that four horns come up. So again more detail is added in Daniel 8 than was given in Daniel 7.
Then, in Daniel 8, we have a little horn again. It was called a little horn in Daniel 7 also. This is where the controversy arises. Who is this little horn in Daniel 8? Is the little horn in Daniel 8 the same as the little horn in Daniel 7? Now, let me tell you, the people—the former Adventist ministers and other ministers—who are trying to destroy the Adventist faith, will attempt to prove to you that this little horn in Daniel 8 is a person by the of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Antiochus Epiphanes lived in the second century. He lived between 150 and 180 years before Jesus came. If Antiochus Epiphanes was the little horn and if I believed that, I would be honest. I would say, “I’m not going to be an Adventist any more.” It is that critical. If you get mixed up, and you don’t know who this little horn power is in Daniel 8—and our opponents say that we don’t know who it is—you can’t be an Adventist any more.
We will see that, because we are going to look at the context of the immediate context of Daniel 8:14. We will read the scripture about what is going to happen with the little horn.
I mentioned to you already that the translators who translated this did not understand what they were translating, and it is always more difficult to translate something that you don’t understand what it means.
When the controversy arose in Adventism in 1979, the Glacier View conference was held. As I mentioned previously, I was teaching at Southwestern Adventist College, and I wanted so badly to understand this issue. I just went over and over again this chapter in my Hebrew Bible until, at one time, I could read this chapter in Hebrew just about as fast as I could read it in English!
I have a Hebrew Bible here, and I want to look at the context—the immediate context—of Daniel 8:14. Let’s start in verse 9. It has just been talking about the division of the Greek Empire into four parts, and it says, “And from one of them there went out a horn, a little one, and it became great above measure.”
Now, I’d better stop right there to explain something. When it is talking in Daniel 8 about the Medes and the Persians—that is the ram, the male sheep—it says that this kingdom became great. That is what the Bible says. But then, when it talks about the he goat that attacks the ram and tramples it, it says it a little bit differently. It says that this billy goat became great exceedingly. Is exceedingly more than great? If you say, “This is great,” and you say, “This is great exceedingly,” is the latter more than the former? By the way, if you get some ancient maps—and they are readily available—you can look at the boundaries of the Medo Persian Empire and at the boundaries of the ancient Greek Empire, established by Alexander the Great, and you will see that the Greek Empire was a bigger boundary than the Medo Persian Empire. Not only that, it was greater than the Medo Persian Empire in many other ways. In fact, the Greek Empire influenced the ancients so much that Greek became the lingua franqua of the whole world in the time of Christ.
It changed the world so much that the New Testament was written in Greek. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. That is very handy for us, because most of us are of European descent. We might be German or Spanish or Italian, but we are European. And whether you are German or Spanish or Italian or whether you speak German or Italian or Spanish or English, all of those languages are European languages. And Greek is a European language. It is very interesting that the New Testament was written in a European language. It is much easier for a European to translate Greek than it is to translate so many other languages, and it is very convenient for us. You can read about this in The Desire of Ages. Ellen White says this was providential. (See page 33.)
It was through God’s providence that, when Jesus was born, one language was spoken throughout the whole world. All the educated people throughout the whole world could speak one language—very similar as to what English has become in the modern world. Even in countries where the people don’t speak English, the government personnel often speak English. For example, if you go to India, the people have numerous languages, but in the government, they all speak English. That way they can communicate with each other, and a person doesn’t have to know 14 different languages to talk to other government officials. It was that way when Jesus was born, and that was divine providence.
There were people that spoke Aramaic. That is what Jesus probably spoke at home. There were people that spoke Hebrew; there were people that spoke Latin. The Romans spoke Latin. But the lingua franqua, the language that everyone spoke, was Greek. The Greek Empire influenced the world much more than the Medo Persians ever did.
In Daniel 8, it says the Greek Empire became exceedingly great—that would be a lot greater than Medo Persia. But, in regard to this little horn, it says that it became great, and then it uses a Hebrew word, yether, that means “above and beyond.” Some lexicons would say “beyond measure.” In other words, it is a superlative word that you are trying to say something that is even more than exceedingly great—this is great, and this is exceedingly great. This is Alexander the Great, but this is great above and beyond—beyond measure.
Have you ever studied who Antiochus Epiphanes was? Remember Greece was divided up into four parts: the western part in Macedonia, that was Cassander; the eastern part of Syria and Babylon, which was gained by Seleucus; the northern [Asia Minor] part, which was Lysimachus; and the southern part [Egypt] that was Ptolemy. Eventually, when you study Daniel 11, it says the king of the north became greater than the king of the south. What happened was that eventually the three sections—western, eastern, and northern—were all controlled by the king of the north. If you look on the map, it actually was the northern part of Alexander’s empire, and then the other part eventually was just Ptolemy. So there was the king of the north and the king of the south. This was Alexander’s empire divided.
Now, there were many kings. We are talking about a 200-year period, so there were many kings both in the north and in the south. You can get whole history books about these different kings. One of these northern [Syrian] kings was Antiochus Epiphanes. Let’s think that through for a minute. If the Medo Persian Empire was great and if the Grecian Empire was exceedingly great, and this kingdom is great above and beyond, or beyond measure, could it refer to Antiochus Epiphanes, to just one of the divisions of Alexander’s empire? That would be equivalent to saying that the Governor of the State of Oregon is greater than is the President of the United States.
That is the first point that you need to understand. If this little horn were Antiochus Epiphanes, how in the world could it be great and above and beyond measure and even greater than Alexander the Great? It doesn’t make any sense.
Let’s go back to Daniel 8:9: “And from one of them there went out a horn, a little one, and it became great above and beyond [or beyond measure] toward the south, toward the east, toward the beautiful land [or the pleasant land].” Or “It became great or it magnified itself unto the host, and it caused to fall down to the ground from the host”—that is from the host of heaven—“and from the star, and trampled them. Even unto the prince of the host he magnified himself.” Verses 10, 11.
If you are Christian, who is the Host of heaven? Jesus Christ. This little horn power is going to exalt himself to such a pinnacle that he is actually going to cast down some of the stars of heaven and trample them, and he is actually going to magnify himself even to the “prince of the host.” He is going to magnify himself against Jesus Christ Himself. The same progression is in Daniel 11 and 12. This is something interesting that you need to know, too. There are a lot of Bible students and scholars that are very confused about Daniel 11and 12, and they think that all Daniel 11and 12 are talking about is the king of the north and the king of the south—the Seleucus kings and Ptolemy kings. They don’t comprehend or realize that Daniel 11 is talking about an exceedingly long period of time that will extend all the way to the time of the end.
Now, in Daniel 2, you have a progression, and it goes all the way to the end with no gaps. Do you see that? In Daniel 7 you have the same progression that goes all the way to the end, when God establishes His kingdom, and there are no gaps. In Daniel 8, we haven’t actually proved this yet, but Daniel 8 also has the same progression, and it goes all the way to the time of the end with no gaps, too. And in Daniel 11 and 12, we have the same progression, too; except, in Daniel 11 and 12, only about two verses are spent on Babylon and Medo Persia and then the rest of the is spent with what happens down towards the end. A lot more details are added in Daniel 11 and 12, but the same progression occurs, and it is going to go all the way to the end.
In fact, let’s read something from Daniel 12 so that you will see for sure that there are some things in Daniel 12 that haven’t yet happened. Daniel 12 goes beyond what has happened yet. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground shall wake up, some to life everlasting and some to reproach and to abhorrence everlasting.” Has that happened yet? No, it hasn’t. This is talking about a time when many people are going to come out of the grave. That hasn’t happened yet. So Daniel 11 and 12 are just the same as these first chapters, giving us a progression.
Daniel 11 starts with the Medes and Persians and tells how many more Persian kings there are going to be before the Grecian king comes. And then it gives a lot of details about Greece, and it gives more details about Rome. Incidentally, in Daniel 11, when it is talking about Rome—down in about verse 21 or 22—it tells which person would be the Roman Caesar at the time that the Prince of the covenant would be broken. When was the Prince of the covenant broken? That was when Jesus died on the cross.
When I studied this out, I thought how fascinating that 600 years before it happened God pointed out with precision that during the reign of Tiberius Caesar the Prince of the covenant is broken. We are not studying Daniel 11, so we are not going to try to prove it. I have written a book about it, which goes into all the proof, so you can see exactly. It goes into all the detail in Daniel 11 about Julius Caesar and then the details about Augustus Caesar and then Tiberius Caesar—one detail after another.
We are now going to get to some hard parts that the translators didn’t understand. I’m going to point out a few words to you. In Daniel 8:11, middle of the verse, it says, “and by him.” “And by him,” is often translated “taken away,” and there’s nothing wrong with that translation either. But the word used is a word that means, “to exalt” something. Let me explain how that works. This is a common word used when you offer a sacrifice—either a heathen sacrifice or a sacrifice to God. When you offer a sacrifice, you take the sacrifice and you exalt it; that is, you put it up on the altar. But when you exalt it, when you put it up on the altar, what have you done? You’ve destroyed it. So, it’s all right to translate this word as “taken away.” Or it could also be translated as “exalted.” If I had time, I could show that either way you translate it, it would be true.
But then, it says, “by him shall be exalted [or taken away] the tamiyd.” Now, tamiyd  is a very common Hebrew word that is used hundreds of times in the Old Testament. Any translator knows what that word means. Once in a while it’s used in regard to the morning and evening sacrifices in the books of Moses, but the literal meaning of the word tamiyd means something “that is all the time or continual or just continually or continuance.” It can be translated as an adverb—continually or always. It can be translated as an adjective—continual; or it can be translated as a noun—continuance.
In Daniel 8, I prefer to translate it as the word continuance, because it’s used as a noun, sometimes here, and if you translated it the same all the time then people don’t get so confused. Continuance means something that’s just all the time. “And he shall take away the continuance and shall cast down [or it shall be cast down], the place of his sanctuary [that is his holy place].” Now we come to the part the translators couldn’t figure out, so they tried to make it make sense. It would have been better it they hadn’t tried to make it make sense and just translated it literal word for word the way it was written. I’ll translate it for you literally, word for word, the way it was written.
But before I do that, I want to go over another Hebrew word with you—the word pesha . This is another very common Hebrew word. It just occurs throughout the Old Testament. Anyone who’s read any Hebrew knows what the word means, because it occurs over and over again. The most literal meaning of the word pesha is “a rebellion or a revolt.” It’s often translated by the word “transgression,” and that’s all right, but when you see that word, if you translate it “transgression,” you need to understand that the Bible talks about different kinds of sin. The Bible talks about a sin of stumbling. It talks about a sin of ignorance. A pesha is not a transgression; that’s a sin of stumbling or a sin of ignorance. A pesha is a deliberate, intentional sin. It is a deliberate, intentional, premeditated transgression. It’s not just like someone losing their temper or something. No, it’s not that. That’s why the word revolt or rebellion is the most literal translation. It’s the kind of transgression that is premeditated, and it’s intentional. So in the Book of Daniel, when I run across this word, I actually prefer to translate it by the word “rebellion,” because English-speaking people get more clear in their mind what it’s talking about. It’s talking about transgression, all right, but it’s a deliberate, premeditated, intentional transgression against God. It’s a rebellion; it’s a revolt. We’re going to come to that word in Daniel 8:12, and we’re going to translate it literally, word for word, the way it reads.
It reads like this: “And a host was given against the daily [or the continuance], in transgression [or in rebellion].” That’s a very interesting phrase. By the way, if you ever find a Bible translation that translates this literally right, I would like to know about it. For some reason, the translators don’t understand what they’re translating, so they try to make it make sense, and it doesn’t make sense. It literally says, “an host was given against the continuance in rebellion.” By the way, are you aware of the fact that Ellen White says that the word sacrifice is an added word here? It was added by human wisdom. It was not in the Hebrew text, and it shouldn’t be in the translation, because it gets people all mixed up. It’s not talking about sacrifice at all; it’s talking about a continual rebellion.
I wrote a manuscript about this. I got involved with this because of the Ford controversy, and people said, “You’re not taking into account the context,” but I said that we do believe the context.
I started studying this out. What was the continual rebellion all the way from Cain until up to 500 years after Christ? When that question is answered, “Continuance in rebellion”; that is the truth. Of course, the Bible is always the truth. When the Bible says that something is continually in rebellion, it’s continually in transgression—that’s deliberate transgression, revolt.
What was it? It’s all through the Old Testament, starting in the Book of Genesis. Remember when Jacob pronounced Rachael’s death sentence? And Laban came to Jacob and said, “How come you stole my gods?” And Jacob said, “Nobody’s stolen your gods. If anybody’s stolen your gods, let him die.” (See chapter 31:32.)
The archeologists have found some very interesting things about that. Did you know that in those days they had such high regard for their household gods, those gods were called ‘elohiym, that’s household idols. They had such high regard for those household idols that if you were caught stealing someone’s household idols, it was the death penalty in that culture. Jacob was just telling what was the normal procedure. And so he sentenced his favorite wife, Rachel, to death. He didn’t know it, because he didn’t know she’d taken them. Rachel was in a pinch. She had to see to it that her father did not find those gods, so she hid them under the saddle, and she sat on the saddle. Then she told Laban, “Please don’t be offended that I can’t get up because the custom of women is upon me and I can’t get up.” (Verses 34, 35.) Laban didn’t make her get up, so he never found the gods, and her life was saved. However, her life wasn’t really saved, she died in childbirth. I’ve wondered for a long time whether God allowed her to fulfill her husband’s curse. I mean, she died, and her husband had cursed whoever had those gods that they were to die, but he didn’t know he was cursing his own wife.
That’s something we’ll find out in the kingdom of heaven. We can’t prove anything on that; we don’t know. We do know she died a few months after that incident. But, why was Laban there? Why was he so incensed that he didn’t have his household gods? Because he was an idolator. Idolatry was the continual rebellion against God from the days of Cain clear until up until 500 years after Christ.
Read through the Old Testament and you read the story of Joseph. What’s going on in Egypt? Well, they’re worshipping every kind of thing you can imagine. They’re worshipping the sun. They’re worshipping turtles. They’re worshipping frogs. They’re worshipping snakes.
A few years ago, my wife and I were in Cairo, Egypt, and we had a day that we were able to go the museum there. I was very interested to see all the ancient relics at the museum. On their headdress, the kings and the important people always had a snake head symbol. Why? They were snake worshippers. They were actually demon worshippers. There was demon worship, idolatry, throughout the ancient world. Anyone who has studied ancient history sees this idolatry throughout the entire ancient world. You see it over and over again throughout the whole Old Testament.
The children of Israel fall into idolatry over and over again, and when they fell into idolatry, they were just doing what everybody around them was doing. That was the continual rebellion of the ancient world. When it says continual or continuance, that’s just the truth. It was continual. You find it throughout the Old Testament; you find it up until the time of Christ, and after the time of Christ, you still see paganism. That was the continual rebellion against the God of heaven that took place for 4,500 years. It’s called Baal worship.
Daniel 8:12 talks about that which is continually in rebellion. Now, if you don’t get it translated right, you may think it’s talking about a daily sacrifice. There have been scholars, even some Adventist scholars, I’m sorry to say, that have thought that this was talking about the mediation of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.
Think this through a minute. Could the mediation of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary even be described as the continuance in rebellion? It doesn’t make any sense, does it? If it could be described as the continuance in transgression or anything like that, it wouldn’t make any sense.
You see, the foundation of the Adventist faith is laid a lot deeper than we know. Most people have no idea how deep the foundation of the Adventist faith is. It was the angels of God, I believe, that led William Miller to the right understanding of what this was. William Miller understood. He didn’t understand everything; he was mixed up on some things, but he understood what the continuance in rebellion was. It’s often called the “daily,” because the translators translated it “daily,” but it’s the continuance in rebellion. Miller said that it’s paganism. He was right.
You can study that out. You can go clear through the Old Testament, right up into the New Testament, and you can see the pagan idolatry. The New Testament writers wrote about it over and over again. Read Romans 1. Paul talks about it in detail.
It says, in Daniel 8:12, “And an host was given against the continuance in rebellion and he cast down the truth to the ground, and he practiced, and he prospered.” Notice this little horn power. He’s exalted himself against the Prince of the host of heaven, and he’s received this host. That could also be translated “an army.” “An army was given him against the continuance and rebellion.” Then it says, “he cast down the truth to the ground, and he practiced, and he prospered.” He prospered in this casting down the truth to the ground.
Verse 13 says, “And I heard one saint [or one holy person] speaking, and he spoke another holy person to that certain one, who is speaking, until when is the vision of the continuance.” What’s the continuance? It’s the continuance in rebellion. “Until when is the vision of the continuance and the desolating rebellion?” There are two rebellions talked about here. There’s the continuance in rebellion, and there’s the desolating rebellion. That is a very critical point to understand, because in Daniel 12, we are told about a time when the continuance in rebellion is taken away and the desolating rebellion is set up. If you don’t understand that there are two here, then that’s not going to make any sense, is it?
So, there are two rebellions. There’s the continuance in rebellion, and there’s the desolating rebellion. The question is this—one holy person speaking to another holy person—“How long is this going to go on? There’s the continuance in rebellion, and there’s the desolating rebellion. How long is this going to go on? The sanctuary is being trampled; the truth’s being cast down to the ground. How long is it going to go on?”
Well, “To give also the Holy Place, or the sanctuary, and the host”—that’s the army— . . . By the way, you can look up this word in your own concordance. In the Old Testament, when it talks about the host or the army of the Lord, it’s not always just talking about the angels. The saints of God, the people who are members of His church, are spoken of in the Old Testament as the army of God, the host of God. You can find that in the Book of Exodus.
I hope you understand no preacher can cover everything. You need to be a Bible student. I hope you’re on a regular Bible study program, and if you’re not, I hope that what we study here stimulates you to get on a regular Bible study program so you can explain every word in this passage.
“To be trampled, to give both the Holy Place, and the host, and the sanctuary to be trampled. And he said to me, unto evening, morning, two thousand and three hundred and then”—and there’s where the argument is again—“shall be cleansed the sanctuary.” Daniel 8:14. Or it is sometimes translated, “shall be vindicated, the sanctuary,” or “shall be made right.” The Hebrew word is tsadaq . It can be translated any of those ways, and every one of those translations happens to fit here.
It’s been claimed that Adventists can’t prove the investigative judgment from the Bible. I’m embarrassed to say that there are even people that have claimed to be Seventh-day Adventist Bible scholars that have made such claims. I believe that I can prove the investigative judgment from the Bible alone, without using any of Ellen White’s writings, and I don’t think it’s hard, either. I believe every Adventist ought to be able to do that.
But it says here, in Daniel 8:14, “unto two thousand three hundred.” Now, let’s just do a little thinking here for a moment. How many years is 2300 days? Seven, a little less than eight. Our opponents do not recognize the day for a year principle that we do. We need to understand that. So they’re trying to say that Antiochus Epiphanies came and caused them to quit sacrificing. Do you know what the problem is with that? There is no history book that can prove that. They’ve tried to say that it’s 2300 mornings and evenings. That’s what it says in the Hebrew text, so that would be 1150 days. That doesn’t make any sense, but they can’t even get 1150 days. Nobody can even prove how many days this actually went on with Antiochus Epiphanies—it’s just a guess; we don’t know exact time. That is a problem. By the way, if you think that Antiochus Epiphanies is what it’s talking about, why didn’t the Lord leave you enough evidence so that you could prove anything?
But that’s just the beginning of your problem. Let’s go on down, you tell me whether it’s verse 19 or 20 in your Bible. In this Hebrew Bible, sometimes it’s hard to tell where the verse split is, but it should be, I think, in verse 19. Does it say, in the last part of verse 19 in your Bible, “this vision is going to go until the time of the end?” Does it say that in your Bible? It’s verse 19. Now, the Hebrew word qets  means “end,” so it means this vision about the 2300 days goes until the end. If you do go back to Daniel 2 or Daniel 7, where would the end be? It would be when God sets up His kingdom.
The end is when God sets up His kingdom, and this vision goes until the end. Now, if we look at the context of all of Daniel—if we look at Daniel 11 and 12 or at Daniel 2 or 7, and we say, “What is the meaning of the word ‘end’ in the Book of Daniel?”—The word ‘end’ always refers to the time when God sets up His kingdom. So how do people say that we’re not paying attention to the context? We’re looking at the context of the whole book. We’re not just looking at the context of this one text; we’re looking at the context of the whole book. All through the book, in Daniel 2, 7, 11, 12, or 8, when it talks about the end, that’s the time when God sets up His kingdom.
Now, go down to about the end of verse 26. The rest of the vision in Daniel 8 is explained by the angel, but look at verses 26 and 27 and you’ll see that the vision of the 2300 days was not explained. All the rest of vision was explained. But the 2300 days was not explained. About it, it says, “and the vision of the evening and the morning . . .” What would the vision of the evening and the morning be? In Daniel 8:14, it says, “And there will be evening and morning two thousand three hundred.”
So the vision of the evening and the morning would be the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14. “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true and you shut up [or seal up] the vision.” Daniel 8:26. Seal it; shut it up. What does that mean? Seal—it’s not going to be understood because it is for many days.
“And I, Daniel, was sick for some days.” He was sick because of what he had just seen in his vision. “And I arose and I did the business of the king, and I was astonished at the vision.” Verse 27. What vision was he astonished at? The 2300 days. He understood all the rest of it, because the angel had explained it. But the 2300 days the angel didn’t explain. He says, “I was astonished at the vision, but there was no understanding.” You know that he’s talking here, in verse 27, about the 2300 days, because that’s what he didn’t understand.
There are still some things about the 2300 days about which we need to go into some detail. We’ve just scratched it; we haven’t dug down deep in it, but just from our preliminary investigation, let’s draw a few conclusions.
Number 1. The 2300 days goes to the time of the end. (Verse 19.) Since it goes to the time of the end, the 2300 days could not possibly be referring to Antiochus Epiphanies, because Antiochus Epiphanies ruled before Rome became an empire. Rome was not a world empire yet when Antiochus Epiphanies ruled. Rome was a power, and it was gaining power; it would be a world empire in a few years, but Rome did not actually have control of the whole world until after the battle of Pedin in 168 b.c., and that was a few years after Antiochus Epiphanies.
So after Antiochus Epiphanies, you have Rome, Rome divided, and then you have the little horn. You have all that after Antiochus Epiphanies, and yet the 2300 days goes until the time of the end. Does it make any sense that it could be Antiochus Epiphanies? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It’s absolute nonsense. It doesn’t fit; nothing fits.
Number 2. Then, also, we have seen that Daniel understood all the rest of the vision in Daniel 8, except for the 2300 days. That he didn’t understand. He said, in verse 27, there was no understanding. He says “I was astonished at what I saw, but there was no understanding.” He was seeking understanding for that.
In our next study, we’re going to look to get some understanding of the 2300 days, like Daniel wanted to do, and we’re also going to look at the investigative judgment. We’re going to find out that the 2300 days has to do with what we call the investigative judgment.
I’m not interested in arguing about terms. If somebody challenges that the term “investigative judgment” is not in the Bible, fine, I’ll just say “judgment,”—forget investigative. I know the term “investigative judgment” does occur in the Bible, but I’m willing just to go with the term “judgment.” We will see that the 2300 days has to do with the judgment. There’s no question about it. By the way, you don’t have to know anything about Ellen White or the Spirit of Prophecy to know that. You can find it out from the Bible.
I get excited when I study Daniel, because when I study it, I see that the Adventist faith has roots that go deep. And the deeper you go in the Bible, the more you’re going to find out that what the Adventist pioneers discovered about Daniel 8 and Daniel 11 and Daniel 12 is true.
It is the foundation and central pillar, and the devil’s trying to knock it out. But if you study your Bible enough, you’re going to find out, if you want to believe the truth, that it can’t be knocked out. It’s the truth, and it will stand! I want to stand on the truth; I don’t want my faith knocked out from under me, do you? I want to stand on the foundation; I want to stand on the central pillar. You don’t need to be afraid of investigating it all the rest of your life. You can investigate every Hebrew word. You can investigate every Greek word. You can investigate everything by word, by letter, and it’ll stand. Don’t be afraid. Do not be afraid for your faith to be investigated. Investigate it yourself. As you investigate it and study it, you’ll find out the truth, and the opposition won’t be able to knock the props out from under you by making up some kind of story about Antiochus Epiphanies, or a day doesn’t equal a year.
If I did not believe that in symbolic Bible time prophecy a day equaled a year, I wouldn’t even be a Christian, let alone an Adventist. If you don’t believe that, friend, you have no right to be a Christian. Did you know that? You have no right to call Jesus Christ of Nazareth the Messiah. No right whatsoever, if the day for a year principle isn’t so. I don’t want my faith knocked out from under me. I want my faith to grow more and more and more until Jesus comes, don’t you? I am Adventist. I believe that Jesus is coming. I think we’re in the time of judgment now, and I want to be ready. If you want to be ready, too, pray and ask the Lord to help you be ready.