If the Foundations be Destoryed, Part I
John J. Grosboll
As historic Seventh-day
Adventists we are not teaching, believing or adopting any kind of new theology.
We do not need it, because we have the truth. That does not mean that our minds
are not open to believe and receive more truth, but the new light will not
contradict the old light. We believe in the same old fashioned Adventist
message that our pioneers preached over one hundred years ago.
In this article, I want to
review the central pillar of our message. What is a pillar? It is something
that is very important. Recently my wife and I were in the state of Washington visiting my wife’s father and stepmother. On the way
back home we were traveling in the mountains. The freeway we were on was below
a two-lane freeway going in the opposite direction that was held up by pillars.
I was not worried about it because of those pillars. As long as the pillars
stay in place, as long as the foundation stays in place, then there is nothing
to worry about because everything will be all right.
What if a foundation is knocked
loose? Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the
righteous do?” If the foundations are destroyed, we are in big trouble. The
whole building can come crashing down, or the freeway will break apart.
When I was attending Walla WallaCollege a disaster occurred along the Columbia River. A pillar from under the John Daybridge was washed away, and the bridge came
down. Some people came down with it and they were never seen again.
It is easy to see then, that if
a foundation or a pillar is washed away, disaster is sure to come. The devil
knows that, so he does not chip away at the roof of the building, He tries to
get underneath and knock the foundation out. The devil has been trying to do
this over and over again with the Adventist faith. He has been trying to knock
the foundation or pillar out from under it, so the whole thing will come down.
What is the foundation, the
central pillar of the Advent faith? “The Scripture which above all others had
been both the foundation and the central pillar of the Advent faith was the
declaration: ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days then shall the sanctuary
be cleansed.’ Daniel 8:14. These had been familiar words to all believers in
the Lord’s coming. By the lips of thousands was this prophecy repeated as the
watchword of their faith. All felt that upon the events therein foretold
depended their brightest expectations and most cherished hopes. These prophetic
days had been shown to terminate in the autumn of 1844.” The Great Controversy, 409.
Here it says that the central
pillar of Adventism is found in Daniel 8:14. The devil has attacked this
Scripture over and over again through our theological opponents for one hundred
and fifty years his attacks have not ceased.
If you are a Seventh-day
Adventist, or if you are thinking of becoming a Seventh-day Adventist and you
want to understand the Seventh-day Adventist faith, you should make a special
study of Daniel 8:10–14. Here is the central pillar and the foundation of our
message. We will study Daniel 8 in its historical, linguistic and theological
“Those who would share the
benefits of the Saviour’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with
their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God.” Ibid.,
488. All Christians have been given the command to perfect holiness in the fear
of God. “The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or
to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the Word
of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be
clearly understood by the people of God.” Ibid.
We are to clearly understand the sanctuary and the
investigative judgment. This is the central pillar and the foundation of our
faith. If we do not understand it, then we cannot give anyone a rational reason
why we are Seventh-day historic Adventists.
The faith of many Adventists
today is in disarray because they do not understand Daniel chapter eight. They
do not understand what the investigative judgment is or what the cleansing of
the sanctuary is all about and so they do not have a rational reason to be
Several years ago I was a
teacher at SouthwesternAdventistCollege. In one of the classes one day, after reading the
daily devotional Scriptures, I asked the students a question about salvation. When
they answered my question, I was shocked. Here were dozens of Adventist young
people, even ministers children and they did not know the
fundamentals of salvation. They were not talking like Seventh-day Adventists.
They were talking like Baptists. Baptists teach that salvation is a one step
process. Seventh-day Adventists know from the sanctuary that salvation involves
more than a one step process.
I worked with an
Inter-denominational jail ministry for a number of years. A Christian worker
from another denomination would say to me, “Some people were saved tonight.” I
said to myself, “What is he talking about?” As soon as
a prisoner said, “I believe,” they thought this person was saved—that it was an
accomplished fact. The plan of salvation is more involved than that and
Adventists know it. That is one of the reasons that other Christians hated our
pioneers. If the sanctuary message is true, there is more to it than merely
saying, “I believe.”
We need to understand what the
sanctuary doctrine is and what the investigative judgement is. Ellen White
said, “All need a knowledge for themselves of the
position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise, it will be impossible
for them to exercise the faith, which is essential at this time, or to occupy
the position, which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to
save or lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the
great Judge face to face.” Ibid.
Daniel 8 begins with a vision in
which Daniel sees a ram and a goat, which has a big horn. The he goat destroys
the ram and then the great horn is broken. Then there appear four horns. And
finally a little horn appears. That is in the first eight or nine verses of
Daniel 8. To understand Daniel 8:14 we need to know who and what this little
horn is, because the prophecy about the twenty-three hundred days deals with
this little horn.
In Daniel the angel tells Daniel that the ram represents the
kings of Media and Persia. The he-goat represents the kingdom of Greece
and specifically Alexander the Great. The ram of Media Persia is described in
the Hebrew text as being great. The he-goat is called exceedingly great or very
great. Greece was more powerful and a greater empire than the kingdom of Medo-Persia and it took in more territory. The little horn power is described in
even stronger terms, translated as “great beyond measure.” From that
description it would have to be a power that is much greater than the
Medo-Persian Empire which was a world empire. It would have to be even greater
than the kingdom of Greece.
The only kingdom that fits that description is Rome.
The little horn power was not
Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a vassal king and did not
have a world empire. He was definitely not greater than Alexander the Great. The
theory that Antiochus Epiphanes was the little horn
does not make any sense in the Scripture, no matter how our theological
opponents present it.
Some people say that the Bible
says that this little horn comes out of one of those four horns. It does not
say that. The literal Hebrew translation reads, “And there came up four
conspicuous horns in its place toward the four winds of the heavens.”
There are two nouns there, one
is “horns” and the other is “winds”. “Out of one of them . . .” verse 9.
Someone says, “See Pastor John, it says out of one of the horns.” No, it does
not say out of one of the horns. It says out of one of “them.” The word “them”
in Hebrew is masculine. The word “horn” is feminine. So “them” cannot refer to
In Greek and Hebrew a pronoun
always has to agree with its noun in gender. Winds can be either masculine or
feminine, but horns can only be feminine. So the word “them” cannot refer to
horns. It refers to the winds, which is the noun directly preceding it.
“Out of one of them,” that is,
out of one of the winds of heaven, “there came a little horn.” Daniel 8:9. When we look at the linguistic context, we see
that the little horn comes out of one of the winds of heaven, the west wind.
We have seen that the historical
context proves this little horn to be Rome, and the linguistic context points the same way. Let
us look more closely at the little horn power. Verse 10 says, “And it became
great, even to the host (army) of the heavens.”
Who is the host of heaven? The armies, or the hosts of heaven, is a term in the Bible that
refers often to God’s people. (See Joshua 5:14, 15 and Exodus 12:41.) The
angels are also referred to as the armies or the hosts of God. (See Luke 2:13.)
When the angel explained what
this meant, he said that this little horn power would “destroy the mighty and
also the holy people.” Verse 24. That is God’s people—the
armies of heaven.
“He even exalted himself as
high as the Prince of the host.” Verse 11. Jesus
Christ is the Ruler of the armies of heaven. Revelation 19 describes His coming
back to this world as the head of the armies of heaven. “He has on His vesture
and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation
19:16. He is the Commander of the hosts of heaven. This little horn power would
even exalt himself to oppose the Commander of the
hosts of heaven.
Which government was involved
in the crucifixion of Jesus? It was the Roman government. Roman soldiers nailed
Him to the cross at the command of a Roman governor. It is not hard to figure
out that this little horn power would exalt itself even to the Commander of the
armies of heaven.
It [the little horn] cast down
some of the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled [destroyed] them.
(Daniel 8:10.) Verse 24 says, concerning this little horn power, that he would
“destroy the mighty and also the holy people.” Then notice what it says will
happen. “He magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the
daily was taken away.” Daniel 8:11.
The little horn power exalted
the continuous, or the daily, or that which is continual. What is it that was
continual? Verse 12 calls it the “continuance in rebellion.” Then it says that
the very thing that he exalted, he later was given an army against it. The
Bible translators could not figure that out, so they changed the wording to the
“daily sacrifice.” They could not figure out how you could exalt something and
then have an army given you to destroy it.
Ellen White said that the
pioneers and William Miller had the truth on what the “daily” was. The
continuance, that which was always in rebellion—even back before the flood;
then at the Tower of Babel, in Egypt, in Assyria, in Babylon, in Medo-Persia, in
Greece and finally it reached its epitome in Rome. It was the “continuance in
rebellion” that was exalted to its highest level in Rome. For four thousand five hundred years it was a
continuance in rebellion. It was paganism or heathenism which center around sun worship.
The history of Rome reveals what paganism does to a nation. The horrors
and debauchery are too dreadful to be written down, but if you look in Romans
chapter 1 you can get a small idea. Romans was written
to the people who lived in that city and it describes the society in which they
had to live.
Later on it says an army would
be given to this little horn power to take away the continuance and set up an “abomination
that would make desolate,” or that would depopulate it. In verse 12 it says, “Because
of the transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily;
and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.” The word
translated “transgression” means a revolt or a rebellion.
There are two rebellions
mentioned in these verses 10–12. The first one, the daily, is the daily in
transgression or the “continuance in transgression” or rebellion. (Daniel 8:12.)
Then there is the desolating transgression or the desolating rebellion. (See Truth Triumphant, by
Benjamin Wilkinson.) The continual rebellion started before the flood
and it kept on going after the flood until the beginning of the sixth century,
A.D. When it was taken away, something worse was put in its place. That
something is described in the Scriptures as Antichrist, the Man of Sin. The apostasy of the latter times that would last until the Second
Coming of Christ.
The continuance, plus the
abomination of desolation, refers to the sin problem from its beginning to its
end. Somehow our detractors and opponents cannot seem to figure that out. It is
one of the main thrusts of Daniel 8, 10, 11 and 12. It is connected here in
Daniel 8 with the twenty-three hundred days because we read in Daniel , 14, “And then I heard a certain holy one speaking
and he sent another holy one to that one who spoke. ‘Until when is the vision
concerning the daily [“the continuance in rebellion”]?’” Daniel 8:13.
How long is the vision
concerning the continuance and the desolating rebellion? It has been going on
now for thousands of years. The time is coming when it is going to be taken
away and the desolating rebellion put in its place. How long are both of these
things going to continue into the future, “to give both the sanctuary and the
host to be trampled? And he said to me, Unto two
thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed [made
righteous, purified or restored].” Daniel 8:13, 14.
At the end of two thousand
three hundred days, the sanctuary will be restored to its rightful state. “Then
I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and
measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave
out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has
been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the HolyCity under foot for forty-two months.’ ”
Revelation 11:1, 2.
What does it mean for the
sanctuary to be restored, vindicated? God’s sanctuary is in heaven. They knew
that, even in the Old Testament time. We enter into that sanctuary by faith.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of
Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the Veil,
that is, his flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw
near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled
from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19–22.
When this sanctuary is cleansed, friend, it is God’s measuring time. He is not
just going to measure a building. The sanctuary, the temple, is a symbol of the
church (See Ephesians –22.)
The sanctuary, the altar and the worshippers will be measured. God has a
measuring rod, and He will measure the people who are in it.
When the measuring is over, you
will either be in it or you will be shaken out of it.When you lose your vision, and you turn your
back on the Biblical teaching of the judgment like some people are doing today,
you have been shaken out. You can go to church every week for the rest of your
life, but you have been shaken out of God’s church. The sanctuary cannot be
restored to its rightful state as long as those who are worshipping in it by
faith are still full of sin. They must be purified, cleansed.
The central pillar and the
foundation of the Advent faith cannot be knocked out from under the person who
studies the Biblical texts carefully. It is rooted in the Bible. You can study
it historically, linguistically, and theologically—any way you want to study it, and it will stand investigation.
It is measuring time and God is
doing the measuring. Either by His grace we are going to measure up or we will be
shaken out. (See Hebrews 12.) The good news is, Jesus
says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” If you want to be saved, He will give
you enough grace so that you can be purified, so that you will measure up, so
that you can be restored. When the worshippers in the sanctuary are measured,
when they are all put before the measuring rod, I want to be ready for that
time so I will remain and will not be shaken out. How about you?