Daniel 8 and the 2300 Days
"Bible Adventism"
by James S. White

Subtitles in this Sermon:
The Two Saints
The Vision
The Two Desolations
The Sanctuary
The Host
Trodden Underfoot
The 2300 Days -- on Page two


TEXT: 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? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Dan.8:13, 14.

Artist: Frank Breadon
THE text is important, or it would not be in the Bible. The text may be understood; otherwise, it is not a portion of God's revelation to man. What God has revealed he designs to be understood. It is true that "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God." We have no business with them. "But those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children forever." Deut.29:29.

Time is revealed in the sacred Scriptures. Time is important, or it would not be in the Bible. To class the prophetic periods with non-essentials, is an insult to the God of the Bible. In giving man a revelation, our gracious God gave the essentials, and left the non-essentials out of the book.

The definite time of the second advent of Christ is not revealed in the Bible. This fact, however, does not take from the prophetic periods any of their importance. They were designed to serve an important purpose; and just what purpose, is the object of this discourse to show.

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We will first briefly define the terms employed in the text.
1. The two saints in conversation are Christ and Gabriel.

2. The vision embraces the three empires of Persia, Grecia, and Rome.

3. The daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, represent Rome in its pagan and papal forms.

4. The sanctuary is that of the new covenant, or of the Christian age, and is in Heaven. It is the sanctuary of which Paul speaks in the book of Hebrews.

5. The host are the true people of God, who direct their worship to the heavenly sanctuary.

6. Both the sanctuary and the host are trodden under foot in the same sense that men now tread under foot the Son of God. Heb.10:29.

7. The days are prophetic, meaning 2300 years, and their commencement and termination can be distinctly defined.

8. The cleansing of the sanctuary is not from physical uncleanness, but from the sins of the people. Much may be learned of the nature of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary at the close of the 2300 prophetic days, by the manner in which the typical sanctuary was cleansed on the tenth day of the seventh month in each year.

We will now notice each point stated, and give our reasons for the positions taken.


1. The two saints in conversation. The angel selected to especially instruct Daniel, says to him, in chap.10:21, "There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince." Jude, verse 9, has the expression, "Michael the archangel." Archangel is the head over angels, as archbishop is head over bishops.

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But who is the archangel? The apostle, in 1 Thess.4:16, says, "The Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first." And John 5:25, proves that it is the voice of the Son of God that wakes the dead to life: "The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live

These texts prove that Michael is the Son of God. Therefore the Son of God was one of the two heavenly beings. And as there were but two engaged in revealing to Daniel the great facts of the vision, the angel Gabriel, mentioned in chapter 8:16; 9:21, is the other heavenly being.

How beautifully grand the scene! The Son of God and the angel Gabriel in conversation! One inquires of the other, "How long the vision" concerning Persia, Grecia, and Rome? The other directs the answer to the prophet, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."


2. The vision relates to what the prophet saw respecting Media and Persia, Grecia, and Rome, as recorded in the eighth chapter of Daniel.

Verses 1, 2: "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. 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."

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In these verses the term, "a vision, " is mentioned three times. Referring to the same in verse 13, the question is asked, "How long shall be the vision?" The Son of God, in verse 16, commands Gabriel to make Daniel "understand the vision." And Daniel says at the close of his prayer, in chapter 9, "While I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision." This vision we will now consider.

Verses 3, 4: "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. 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."

The symbol of the ram is explained in verse 20:– "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." This vision does not begin with the empire of Babylon, represented by the head of gold in chapter 2, and the lion of chapter 7 It begins with the empire of Media and Persia, at the height of its power, prevailing westward, northward, and southward, so that no power could stand before it. The two horns of the ram denote the union of these two powers in one government. Compare this with the arms of the metallic image of chapter 2, and the bear raising itself up on one side, of chapter 7.

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Verses 5-8: "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. 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. And I saw him in the fury of his power. 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. 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."

The symbol of the goat is thus explained:–

"And the rough goat is the king of Grecia; and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." Verses 21, 22.

The explanation of this symbol is also definite and certain. The power that should overthrow the Medes and Persians, and in their stead bear rule over the earth, is the empire of the Greeks. Greece succeeded Persia in the dominion of the world B.C.331. The great horn is here explained to be the first king of Grecia, who was Alexander the Great. The four horns that arose when this horn was broken, denote the four kingdoms into which the empire of Alexander was divided after his death. The same is represented by the leopard with four heads and four wings, of chapter 7, and by the brazen sides of the metallic image of chapter 2. It is predicted without the use of symbols in Dan.11:3, 4. These four kingdoms were Macedon, Thrace, Syria, and Egypt. They originated about B.C. 312.

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Verses 9-12: "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. 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. Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 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 practiced and prospered."

In verses 23-25, the symbol of the little horn is explained thus:–

"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. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 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."

To avoid the application of this prophecy to the Roman power, pagan and papal, the papists have changed it from Rome to Antiochus Epiphanes, a Syrian king, who could not resist the mandates of Rome. See notes of the Douay (Romish) Bible on Dan.7;8;11.

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This application is made by the papists to save their church from any share in the fulfillment of the prophecy; and in this they have been followed by most of those who have opposed the Advent faith. The following facts show that the little horn was not Antiochus:–

(1) The four kingdoms into which the dominion of Alexander was divided, are symbolized by the four horns of the goat. Now this Antiochus was but one of the twenty-five kings that constituted the Syrian horn. How, then, could he, at the same time, be another remarkable horn?

(2) The ram, according to this vision, became great; the goat waxed very great; but the little horn became exceeding great.

How absurd is the following application of this comparison:–

Great.............. Very Great........... Exceeding Great
Persia............... GRECIA............... ANTIOCHUS

How easy and natural is the following:–

Great............. Very Great........... Exceeding Great.
Persia............. GRECIA................ ROME..........

(3) The Medo-Persian empire is simply called great. Verse 4. The Bible informs us that it extended "from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces." Esther 1:1. This was succeeded by the Grecian power, which is called VERY GREAT. Verse 8. Then comes the power in question, which is called EXCEEDING GREAT. Verse 9.

Was Antiochus exceeding great when compared with Alexander, the conqueror of the world? Let an item from the Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge answer:

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"Finding his resources exhausted, he resolved to go into Persia, to levy tributes and collect large sums which he had agreed to pay to the Romans."

Surely, we need not question which was exceeding great, the Roman power which exacted the tribute, or Antiochus who was compelled to pay it.

(4) The power in question was little at first, but it waxed, or grew, "exceeding great toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land." What can this describe but the conquering marches of a mighty power? Rome was almost directly north-west from Jerusalem, and its conquests in Asia and Africa were, of course, toward the east and south; but where were Antiochus' conquests? He came into possession of a kingdom already established, and Sir Isaac Newton says, "He did not enlarge it."

(5) Out of many reasons that might be added to the above, we name but one: This power was to stand up against the Prince of princes. Verse 25. The Prince of princes is Jesus Christ. Rev.1:5; 17:14; 19:16.

But Antiochus died 164 years before our Lord was born. It is settled, therefore, that another power is the subject of this prophecy.

The following facts demonstrate that Rome is the power in question:

(1) This power was to come forth from one of the four kingdoms of Alexander's empire. Let us remember that nations are not brought into prophecy till connected with the people of God. Rome had been in existence many years before it was noticed in prophecy; and Rome had made Macedon, one of the four horns of the Grecian goat, a part of itself B.C.168, about seven years before its first connection with the people of God. See 1Mac.8

Page 126 So that Rome could as truly be said to be "out of one of them, " as the ten horns of the fourth beast in the seventh chapter could be said to come out of that beast, when they were ten kingdoms set up by the conquerors of Rome.

(2) It was to wax exceeding great toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land (Palestine. Ps.106:24; Zech.7:14). This was true of Rome in every particular. Witness its conquests in Africa and Asia, and its overthrow of the place and nation of the Jews. John 11:48.

(3) It was to cast down some of the host and of the stars. This is predicted respecting the dragon. Rev.12:3, 4. All admit that the dragon is Rome. Who can fail to see the identity of the dragon and the little horn?

(4) Rome was emphatically a king of fierce countenance, and one that did understand dark sentences. Moses used similar language when, as all agree, he predicted the Roman power. Deut.28:49, 50.

(5) Rome did destroy wonderfully. Witness its overthrow of all opposing powers.

(6) Rome had destroyed more of "the mighty and the holy people, " than all other persecuting powers combined. From fifty to one hundred millions of the church have been slain by it.

(7) Rome did stand up against the Prince of princes. The Roman power nailed Jesus Christ to the cross. Acts 4:26, 27; Matt.27:2; Rev.12:4.

(8) This power is to "be broken without hand." How clear the reference to the stone "cry out without hands, " that smote the image. Dan.2:34. Its destruction, then, does not take place until the final overthrow of earthly powers. These facts are conclusive proof that Rome is the subject of this prophecy. The field of vision, then, is the empires of Persia, Greece, and Rome.

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3. The daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation represent Rome in its pagan and papal forms. Leaving out the supplied words, the text would read, "The daily, and the transgression of desolation." These are two desolating powers; first, paganism, then, papacy. Of these, Paul, in 2 Thess.2:3-8, says:

"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not that when I was yet with you I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."

That which withheld the manifestation of the papacy in Paul's day was paganism. These are the two powers which have desolated the people of God, of which the angel speaks in the vision of Dan.8.

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4. The sanctuary. The definition of the word sanctuary is, "A holy place." -Walker. "A sacred place." - Webster. A holy or sanctified place, a dwelling-place of the Most High." - Cruden. A dwelling-place for God. Ex.25:8.

The earth is not the sanctuary. Since man left Eden on account of transgression, the earth, or any portion of it, has not been a holy place, a sacred place, the dwelling of the Most High. The word sanctuary is used a hundred and forty-six times in the Bible, and is not applied to the earth in a single instance.

The church is not the sanctuary. The Bible never calls the church the sanctuary. But if a single text could be cited to prove that the church is called the sanctuary, the following plain fact would prove beyond controversy that the church is not the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days. The church is represented in Dan.8:13, by the word host: "To give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot."

The church and the sanctuary are two things. The church is the host, or worshipers, and the sanctuary is the place of worship, or the place toward which worship is directed.

The land of Canaan is not the sanctuary. Of the one hundred and forty-six times in which the word sanctuary occurs in the Bible, only two or three texts have been urged, with any degree of confidence, as referring to the land of Canaan

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Yet, strangely enough, men have claimed that the supposed meaning of these two or three texts ought to determine the signification of the word in Dan.8:13, 14, against the plain testimony of more than a hundred texts! For none can deny that in almost every instance in which the word does occur, it refers directly to the typical tabernacle, or else to the true, of which that was but the figure or pattern.

But we now inquire whether the two or three texts in question do actually apply the word sanctuary to the land of Canaan. They read as follows:

"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." Ex.15:17.

"And he 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." "And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established forever." Ps.78:53, 54, 69.

The first of these texts, it will be noticed, is taken from the song of Moses, after the passage of the Red Sea. It is a prediction of what God would do for Israel. The second text was written about five hundred years after the song of Moses. What Moses utters as a prediction, the psalmist records as a matter of history. Hence, the psalm is an inspired commentary on the song of Moses. If the first text be read without the other, the idea might be gathered that the mountain was the sanctuary, though it does not directly state this.

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But if the second text be read in connection with the first, it destroys the possibility of such an inference. The psalmist states that the mountain of the inheritance was the border of the sanctuary; and that God, after driving out the heathen before his people, proceeded to build his sanctuary like high palaces. See 1 Chron.29:1.
(1) The land of Canaan was the mountain of the inheritance. Ex.15:17.
(2) That mountain was the border of the sanctuary. Ps.78:54.
(3) In that border God built his sanctuary. Ps.78:69.
(4) In that sanctuary, God dwelt, by his representative, the glorious Shekinah. Ps.74:7; Ex.25:8
(5) In that border the people dwelt. Ps.78:54, 55.

These facts demonstrate that the same Spirit moved both these holy men of old. These texts perfectly harmonize, not only with each other, but with the entire testimony of the Bible respecting the sanctuary. If the reader still persists in confounding the sanctuary with its border, the land of Canaan, we request him to listen while a king of Judah points out the distinction:–

"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, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence (for thy name is in this house), and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help." 2 Chron.20:7-9.

This language is a perfect parallel to that of Ps.78:54, 55, 69. In the clearest manner it points out the distinction between the land of Canaan, and the sanctuary which was built therein; and it does clearly teach that that sanctuary was the house erected as the habitation of God.

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But there is another text by which some attempt to prove that Canaan is the sanctuary.

"The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while; our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary." Isa.63:18. No one offers this as direct testimony. As it is only an inference, a few words are all that is needed.

(1) When the people of God's holiness were driven out of the land of Canaan (as here predicted by the prophet, who uses the past tense for the future), not only were they dispossessed of their inheritance, but the sanctuary of God, built in that land, was laid in ruins. This is plainly stated in 2 Chron.36:17-20.

(2) The next chapter testifies that the prophet had a view of the destruction of God's sanctuary, as stated in the text quoted from 2Chronicles. This explains the whole matter. Isa.64:10, 11; Ps.74:3, 7; 79:1.

A fourth text may occur to some minds as conclusive proof that Canaan is the sanctuary. We present it, as it is the only remaining one that has ever been urged in support of this view.

"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." Isa.60:13.

This text needs little comment. The place of God's sanctuary, we admit, is the land of Canaan, or the new earth; for Isaiah refers to the glorified state. And as God has promised to set his sanctuary in that place, Eze.37:25-28, the meaning of the text is perfectly plain.

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But if any still assert that the place of the sanctuary is the sanctuary itself, let them notice that the same text calls the same "place" the place of the Lord's feet; and hence, the same principle would make the land of Canaan the feet of the Lord! The view that Canaan is the sanctuary, is too absurd to need further notice. And even were it a sanctuary, it would not even then be the sanctuary of Daniel; for the prophet had his eye upon the habitation of God. Dan.9 Canaan was only the place of God's sanctuary, or habitation.

The sanctuary to be cleansed at the termination of the 2300 prophetic days, or, as we shall show, years, is not the sanctuary of the first covenant. Heb.9:1-7. This sanctuary exists at the end of the 2300 days, while that passed away with the first covenant. The sanctuary of Dan.9, then, is the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands. Heb.9:11. The sanctuary of the first covenant was typical of this. In chap.8:1, 2, the apostle says:-

" 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."

Man pitched the typical on earth; the Lord pitched the antitypical in Heaven. The Jewish priests ministered in the earthly; Christ ministers in the heavenly. The earthly sanctuary was cleansed from the sins of the people on the last day of each yearly service of the Jews; the heavenly is cleansed from the sins of the people, once for all, at the close of the 2300 days. But of the cleansing of this sanctuary we will speak hereafter.


5. The host. We have only to say on this point that the host embraces all the people of God who direct their worship to the heavenly sanctuary where their great High Priest ministers.


6. The sanctuary and host trodden under foot. The agents by which the sanctuary and host are trodden under foot are the daily, or continual, desolation, and the transgression, or abomination, of desolation. Dan.8:13; 11:31; 12:11.

These two desolations, as we have already seen, are paganism and papacy. It is often urged as a sufficient argument against the view of the sanctuary of God in Heaven, that such a sanctuary is not susceptible of being trodden under foot. But this should not be regarded as impossible, when the New Testament shows us that apostates tread under foot the Minister of the heavenly sanctuary, our Lord Jesus Christ. Heb.10:29; 8:1,

2. If they can tread under foot the Minister of that sanctuary, they can tread under foot the sanctuary itself. It is not impossible that the pagan and papal desolation should be represented as treading under foot the heavenly sanctuary, when the same vision represents the little horn as stamping upon the stars, Dan.8:10, and when it is expressly predicted that the papal power should war against the tabernacle of God in Heaven. Rev.13:5-7.

The language of this vision, that these blasphemous powers should cast down the truth to the ground, stamp upon the stars, and tread under foot the sanctuary and the host, is certainly figurative, as it would otherwise involve complete absurdities.

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Let us now briefly trace the manner in which Satan has, by paganism and papacy, trodden under foot the sanctuary of the Lord. We have already seen that he has done this by erecting rival sanctuaries, where, in the place of the only living and true God, he has established "new gods that came newly up." Deut.32:16, 17.

In the days of the judges and of Samuel, Satan's rival sanctuary was the temple of Dagon, where the Philistines worshiped. Judges 16:23, 24. And when they had taken the ark of God from Israel, the Philistines deposited it in this temple. 1 Sam.5.

After Solomon had erected a glorious sanctuary upon Mount Moriah, Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin, erected a rival sanctuary at Bethel, and thus drew away ten of the twelve tribes from the worship of the living God, to that of the golden calves. 1 Kings 12:26-33: Amos 7:13, margin.

In the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the rival to the sanctuary of God was the temple of Nebuchadnezzar's god at Babylon. And into this temple he carried the vessels of the Lord's sanctuary, when he laid it desolate. Dan.1:2; Ezra 1:7; 5:14; 2 Chron.36:7.

At a still later period, Satan established at Rome a temple or sanctuary of all the gods. Dan.8:11; 11:31.

After the typical sanctuary of the first covenant had given place to the true sanctuary of God, Satan baptized his pagan sanctuary and heathen rites and ceremonies, calling them Christianity. Thenceforward, he had at Rome a temple of God, " and in that temple a being exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshiped 2 Thess.2:4. And this papal abomination has trodden under foot the holy city, Rev.11:2; 21:2, by persuading a large portion of the human family that Rome, the place of this counterfeit temple of God, is the "holy city, " or the "eternal city." And it has trodden under foot and blasphemed God's sanctuary, or tabernacle, Rev.13:6; Heb.8:2, by calling its own sanctuary the temple of God, and by turning away the worship of them that dwell on the earth from the temple of God in Heaven to the sanctuary of Satan at Rome.

It has trodden under foot the Son of God, the minister of the heavenly sanctuary, Heb.10:29; 8:2, by making the pope the head of the church, instead of Jesus Christ, Eph.5:23, and by leading men to the worship of that son of perdition, as one able to forgive past sins, and to confer the right to commit them in the future, and thus turning men from Him who alone has power on earth to forgive sins, and to pardon iniquity and transgression.

Such has been the nature of the warfare which Satan has maintained against the sanctuary and the cause of God, in his vain attempts to defeat the great plan of redemption which God has been carrying forward in his sanctuary.

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