An Overview

The sanctuary, with it's prophecies of Christ's ministry, as revealed in Daniel, is constantly under attack. We are constantly ridiculed for our position. Here is but one example of the taunts Adventists face:

DOES A QUESTION DESERVE AN ANSWER? Gabriel, the angel of prophecy, is asking Jesus a question. That question is recorded in Daniel 8:13. Jesus speaks the answer to Gabriel in verse 14. Presumably we can trust that Jesus is giving Gabriel a sensible answer. Gabriel's question is, "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?" Basically Gabriel is asking, "How long will this haughty power, that persecutes God's people, be allowed to prosper?" If Jesus was saying the answer to that question was "1844 and that power will be demolished and My people vindicated." then Jesus has made a very big mistake. The anti-Christian, persecuting power was NOT brought to an end at that specific time, nor were God's people vindicated in any special way. In fact, they were embarrassed by the disappointment of 1844. They had been wrong and were taunted by some people. This is the opposite of vindication.

Are these taunts truth? Hopefully as you read through the evidence you will see that the Bible clearly and forcefully holds up the Adventist belief and it is indeed an enemy that would destroy the sanctuary doctrine. To really counter this one, a person must do an exposition on Daniel 9,8,7 to present the full contextual picture which would show the sanctuary doctrine shining forth in brilliant light. I will attempt to give a quick overview. Yes, I wrote those numbers in reverse order for a purpose, because Daniel 9 describes Christ's ministry while on earth as the Messiah who is cut off and ends the sacrifices of the earthly temple, Daniel 8 describes the heavenly sanctuary and the power of a little horn that reaches up to heaven and attempts to throw the truth of Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary to the ground and tramples upon it. Chapter 7 moves on into the investigative judgment phase of Christ's ministry and the judgment against the little horn and final vindication of the saints.

It is rather interesting that the author of the paper from which the above challenge was taken attempts to throw all of Daniel 8 into the future, while other opponents have tried to throw the whole prophecy into the past. This of course reflects the work of the Jesuits. Through the Jesuit Ribera of Spain, the Futurist interpretation was presented, and through Jesuit Alcazar, also of Spain, the Preterist interpretation was presented at the same time. It was during the counter reformation that Jesuits came out with the futuristic and preterist theories to take the focus off of the papacy in all these prophecies, and they have well nigh succeeded in convincing the whole religious world on these theories .

Yet a careful study of the prophecies given to Daniel show they begin with the political situation during the time in which they are given and move in great sweeps to the end of the world.

In Daniel two, we see Babylon the head of gold, Media Persia the chest and arms of silver, Greece the thighs of brass, Rome the legs of iron, Papal Rome the feet of iron and clay with the ten toes of the ten divisions of Europe. The stone denoting the end of the earthly kingdoms and the coming of God's everlasting kingdom.

Daniel seven, we have Babylon the lion, Media Persia the bear, four headed leopard as Greece, and dinosaur like beast as Rome, and a stout little horn as Papal Rome among the ten, minus three horns, of divided Europe.

When Daniel was given the vision on chapter eight, Babylon had given way to Media Persia. Media Persia is depicted by the Ram, Greece by the Goat, and the horn, which begins small and grows till it attempts to reach into heaven itself, is Rome, both Pagan and Papal.

It is this horn which wages war against Christ, the heavenly Prince, to destroy His ministry; to get rid of the "TAMID", Christ's daily ministry, and trample truth to the ground.

It is the enemies (satan's) plan to obscure Christ's work in the heavenly sanctuary and focus attention on earthly substitutes.

So what do the verses mean when they speak of the daily being taken away, and the sanctuary being cast down; that the sanctuary and the daily would be trampled underfoot and then be cleansed in 2300 days?

The main subject in the book of Hebrews is about Christ's work in the HEAVENLY sanctuary. He is our mediator. He has entered the sanctuary with His blood to make atonement for our sins. Salvation is no longer centered around shadows in an earthly sanctuary but on better things in heaven. In chapter 8 of Daniel, the horn "grew up to the host of heaven, and cast down some of the host," "he even exalted himself as high as the Prince of host... and the PLACE of His sanctuary was cast down". How was this done? By "casting truth down to the ground." So the heavenly sanctuary must be the one in Daniel's prophecy. (Dan. 8:10,11) tells us the horns assault is against the Prince in heaven. "It grew up to the host of heaven." "It exalted himself as high as the prince of hosts."

How can the heavenly sanctuary be trampled underfoot? No earthly power can change the truths of heaven! But they can obscure them from the minds and understanding of the people on earth who depend on Christ's ministry for salvation.

Enters the little horn. It is rather interesting that in the first few centuries the Christian churches (especially those in Rome and Alexandria) tried desperately to disconnect themselves from any Jewish identification, yet they actually adopted the Jewish sacrificial system and Christianized it!

They established earthly priests, confessionals, human mediators. They elected bishop overseers whom they sometimes styled as High Priests. This finally resulted in the Papacy.

The Lord's supper was changed from a memorial service to an atoning sacrifice, offered continually, "daily" by an earthly priest in mass. The priests claim power to change the "host" or bread into the actual body of Christ which is offered in a "bloodless" sacrifice on the altar at the front of the church. People come to mass to receive forgiveness. This power claimed the right to forgive or withhold forgiveness. They offer indulgences, absolutions, and even claim to be "gods" upon earth. (See The Priest: His Dignity and Obligations by Saint John Eudes p. 8)

In other words the Little Horn took the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary and substituted an earthly system. It tried to totally obliterate Christ's ministry in heaven. They cast it to the ground and stamped on it." The saddest part is--they very near succeeded--except for a few people, most of them in hiding, ---the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary was totally unknown for well over 1000 years.

This is a struggle between two plans of salvation, both claiming to be truth. Two systems of Christianity. There are two rival sanctuaries and two rival priesthoods. There are two rival High Priests. One our High Priest in heaven, the other a mere man named the pope who claims the power of forgiveness and absolutions for himself. At some point in history there must come a time to decide which one is right.

To find the next step we must turn to Daniel chapter Seven. Here again is the sequence of history. Here again is a "little horn" — it's the same power. But in this chapter we see heaven's action .

Vs. 8 and 11 talk about the little horn with it's pompous words. Right in the middle, showing that the judgment has to deal with this "horn", we see a heavenly judgment scene. The judgment scene is described again in vs 22 and vs 26.

This chapter vividly and graphically portrays the investigative judgment. The cleansing of the sanctuary involves not only the removal of the forgiven sins of the penitent (another very important study) but also the cleansing of the sanctuary from the defilements of false religious systems and mere professions of Christianity. It cleanses the sanctuary from everything that is false and which defiles.

How often the earthly judgments were made against God's people in opposition to the heavenly decisions. That false system that claimed that God Himself must abide by the judgment of it's earthly priests as to who could and who could not enter heaven. (See "The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations", by St. John Eudes, with 1946 imprimatur, p.27)

Now the whole universe will be able to see what the truth really is. Ten thousand times ten thousand and a thousand thousands will be witnesses at that court (7:10) Martyrs--consigned to hell by the earthly system, will be vindicated by the heavenly court. Many so called "saints" venerated by the earthly will be found to be not saints at all. God will be seen as just, fair, and true. His ways are righteous.

In Revelation 6:10-11 We hear the cry from those slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. "How long, until You judge?" Then white robes will be given to each of them.
Revelation 16:7 And I heard another from the altar saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."

In conclusion please notice the enemies tactics.
In 31 A.D. Christ ended the work of the earthly sanctuary and began His ministry in the Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. Yet on earth a Christianized version of the old Jewish ceremonial system of priests and daily sacrifices was set up to remove the focus of the people from the true ministry to a counterfeit. During the Reformation the false was stripped away and people were again directed to approach Christ directly in heaven.

The way was opened for people to follow their High Priest from His ministry in the Holy into the most Holy, but again the enemy moved to obscure people's understanding so they would not follow their Priest. Just as for 1260 years he well nigh succeeded in obscuring Christ's first phase ministry, he is now succeeding in obscuring Christ's second phase ministry and in doing so he will lead the Christian world back into the false mediatorial counterfeits of Rome.

But the court shall be seated. Daniel 7:26
It is now seated. The dominion of the false system will be taken away and destroyed forever. And judgment shall be made in favor of the saints of the Most High (vs 21). Those whom Revelation 14:12 identifies as "Here is the patience of the Saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus."

Knowing this truth will give God's people the assurance and strength to stand during the oppressive events ahead when the little horn power will make it's last massive assault against heaven. May we all look to the true High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary!

In conclusion let's look at the 3 phases of Christ's ministry as outlined in these three chapters.

1. Chapter 9 deals with Christ's ministry in the outer court. His ministry upon earth where He provided the all sufficient sacrifice by which to make the atonement. This happens in the midst of the last week of the 490 day/years which is cut off from the 2300 day/years.

2. Chapter 8 deals with Christ's ministry in the holy place where the daily takes place. It progresses till the end of 2300 day/years, when the cleansing of the sanctuary begins.

3. Chapter 7 deals with Christ's ministry in the Most Holy Place, where the court is seated. This begins sometime after the 1260 year/days or (chapter 8 was more specific as to the date).

Daniel 7-9 Articles

Picture Credit: Frank Breaden, Pictorial Aid for Bible Study