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More Evidence of the Connection Between Daniel 8 & 9

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Archives / 1968 / July

 

 

More Evidence of the Connection Between Daniel 8 & 9

Desmond Ford

Desmond Ford, Professor, Bible Department, Avondale College, Australia

 

 

 

That which lifts Seventh-day Adventists out of the category of being merely an­other sect is the evidence from prophecy that it is a divinely timed movement. Our distinctive claims rest upon the closely knit relationship between Daniel 8 and 9 and the date 1844 thus formulated. It is the purpose of this article to show that the connection between these prophetic chapters is more intimate and indissoluable than even some Adventist preachers have real­ized.

Consider the linguistic and conceptional parallels suggested in the following list:

1. Both prophecies revolve around the sanctuary.

It is a commonplace with us that the sanctuary is central in Daniel 8, but we have not usually perceived that it is almost as central in Daniel 9. T. R. Birks wrote the following more than a century ago:

There is another feature common to the three later in contrast with the former visions. They all make repeated allusions to the temple of God. In the eighth chapter the term translated, The pleas­ant land, will be found, by a comparison with other scriptures, to denote the temple itself. Twice, again, in that vision the sanctuary is directly named. The prophecy of the Weeks also directly mentions the temple, both in the prayer of Daniel and the message of the angel. In like manner, in chapter xi. 16, 31, 41, we have a similar allusion. Each vision appears thus to divide itself into two portions, the times of the second temple, and a period of re­newed and heavier desolation, Their close also looks forward to a third era, more blessed and glorious, when the sanctuary shall be cleansed, and the holy people shall be scattered no longer; but Gentiles shall come to the light of Zion, and kings to the brightness of her rising.'

The theme of Daniel's prayer is the res­toration of the sanctuary, and the starting point of the seventy weeks has to do with the re-establishment of the Jewish sanctuary community. The prophecy, after pre­senting the blessings associated with Mes­siah's coming, including the anointing of the "most holy," closes with reference to the fate of the sanctuary.

"And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanc­tuary; . . . and unto the end of the war desolations are determined" (Dan. 9:26). Compare Dan. 8:13: "How Long shall be the vision concerning . . . the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?"

Knox's translation gives the following for the close of verse 27: "In the temple all shall be defilement and desolation, and until all is over, all is fulfilled, that desolation shall continue." (Compare Dan. 8:13, 17.)

It is certainly significant that Christ in His second advent sermon, which passed without a break from the desolation of literal Israel by literal Rome to the desola­tion of spiritual Israel by spiritual Rome, should quote both Daniel 8 and 9 regard­ing the destiny of the sanctuary. Thus:

"When ye therefore shall see the abom­ination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (Matt. 24:15; compare Dan. 9:27).

"And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gen­tiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24; compare Dan. 8:13).

Christ here quotes phrases, "abomina­tion of desolation" and "trodden under foot" from Daniel 9 and 8 respectively. (For the former see Dan. 12:11 in the Sep­tuagint.)

The Protestant reformers saw in Daniel 8:13 a prediction of the papal desolation of the Christian church (see The Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, vol. 4, pp. 61, 62), and many commentators have found the same in Daniel 9:26, 27. Revelation 11:2 confirms this interpretation.

This evidence indicates that Daniel 9 as well as Daniel 8 discusses the fate of the sanctuary and covers the entire Christian era—a period of approximately 2,300 years from its starting point to the beginning of the time of the end.

2.    Both prophecies refer to Christ and the Antichrist as the protagonists in the war over the sanctuary.

In Daniel 8 we read concerning the "prince of the host," whose sanctuary was cast down by the little horn. He is also referred to as the "Prince of princes," while the little horn is styled "a king of fierce countenance."

In Daniel 9 we find the prince of the sanctuary is referred to as "Messiah the Prince," while His opposite number is de­scribed as "the prince that shall come." "Come" is always used in Daniel in con­nection with the warlike approach of a hos­tile power. (See chaps. 1:1; 8:6; 11:10, 13, 15, 16, 40.) Undoubtedly the reference here in Daniel 9:26 particularly refers back to the prediction in the previous chapter con­cerning the future desolating prince. T. R. Birks wrote as follows on this point:

The "people of the prince that shall come," it is quite evident, are the Romans, by whom the Jew­ish temple was destroyed. But since the same angel is the messenger in both visions, (a point, to which the Spirit draws our special attention,) the mean­ing of the phrase is most simply explained by this narrative of the Little Horn. A king of fierce countenance, the angel Gabriel has already taught the prophet, will cast down the place of the sanctuary, and destroy the people of the holy ones. He now declares afresh, when the Messiah shall be cut off, the people of the prince that shall come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Can any al­lusion be more distinct and clear? Surely it is plain that the same prince and people are announced in the two visions, and the prophet himself could never have supposed, for a moment, that the desola­tion of the sanctuary, which had been announced fifteen years before, would be nearly six hundred years later in its fulfillment. The Little Horn, then, must be an emblem of the Roman power?

3.    Both prophecies begin with the time of Medo-Persia.

Daniel 8 has for its first symbol a ram having two horns, and the prophet is told that the horns represent the kings of Media and Persia.

Daniel 9 has its starting point in the reference to the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, which commandment, of course, was issued in the days of Medo-Persia (see Ezra 6:14).

4.    Both prophecies culminate with judg­ment on the Antichrist at the end of time.

The chief aggressive symbol in Daniel 8 is the desolating little horn, but the proph­ecy closes with the promise that this power will be "broken without hand" (verse 25).

Daniel 9 speaks of the "prince that shall come" against the sanctuary, and after de­scribing the desolations of the holy place, it is pledged that ultimately "that determined shall be poured upon the desolator" (verse 27, margin). The Amplified Bible has: "Until the full determined end is poured out on the desolator." *

Many commentators point out that the language of the last section of Daniel 9:27 is an echo of Isaiah 10:23-25, which fore­tells the ultimate destruction of Israel's foes. The concept of "pouring out" reap­pears in Revelation 15 and 16 with the pouring out of the plagues upon Babylon.

5. Both prophecies point to the bring­ing in of everlasting righteousness.

Daniel 8, by its portrayal of victorious persecuting powers through the ages, says in effect, "Wickedness shall prosper till the sanctuary is cleansed." This cleansing, or justifying (margin), of the sanctuary is made the terminus of the prowess of the little horn. Thus in the explanation given by Gabriel it is declared that ultimately the conquering little horn will be "broken without hand," an obvious reference to the coming of the "everlasting kingdom" of Jehovah referred to in Daniel 2:44, 45, and 7:27.

The word for "cleansed" in chapter 8:14 is the niphal form of the root whose sub­stantive occurs in Daniel 9:24 as "righteousness," the "everlasting righteousness" to be ushered in by the Messiah when sin and transgression are ended. Thus both Daniel 8 and 9 point to the final setting up of God's eternal kingdom of justice made sure by Calvary and established in glory at the end of time.

By way of review, parallel expressions (related though not always identical in meaning) in the two prophecies are now placed side by side.

Daniel 8

"Gabriel make this man to understand the vision." "The vision" 

"The place of his sanctuary was cast down." "By reason of transgression."

 "Concerning . . . the transgression of deso­lation."

"Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (made righteous).

"The prince of the host."

"King of fierce countenance."

"At the time of the end shall be the vision." "At the time appointed the end shall be." "Shall destroy the mighty and the holy people."

"He shall be broken without hand." "Trodden under foot." "Unto two thou­sand and three hundred days."

"Shall stand up against the Prince of princes."

Daniel 9

"He [Gabriel] informed me, . . . and said, . . . I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. . . . Therefore under­stand the matter, and consider the vision." "Consider the vision."

"To seal up the vision."

"Shall destroy . . . the sanctuary."

"To finish the transgression."

"Desolations are determined."

"He shall make it desolate."

"To bring in everlasting righteousness." "Messiah the Prince."

"The prince that shall come."

"Unto the end of the war desolations are determined."

"That determined shall be poured upon the desolator [margin]."

"Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." "That determined shall be poured upon the desolator."

"Desolate, even till the consummation." "Shall Messiah be cut off."

The significance of these parallels will be rapidly appreciated if the central motifs are compared as follows:

Daniel 8

"He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes." "And the place of his sanctuary was cast down," giving "both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot.' "Unto two thousand three hundred days."

Daniel 9

". . . shall Messiah be cut off, . . . and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; . . . and unto the end . . . desolations are determined."

 Matthew 24 makes it clear that both prophecies refer to the destruction of Jeru­salem in A.D. 70, but then continue to be fulfilled in the war against spiritual Israel by Antichrist through the ages. (Compare Matt. 24:1-22 and Rev. 11:2.) This fact alone disqualifies the position of critics who apply Daniel 8 solely to the times of Antiochus Epiphanes.

These parallels in theme between the key chapters of Daniel substantiate the Sev­enth-day Adventist position regarding their connection, and furthermore, they demonstrate the primacy given to the doctrine of the sanctuary by the Holy Spirit in the prophecies specially for these last days.

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Notes:

From The Amplified Bible. Copyright 1965 by the Lock­man Foundation. Used by permission of Zondervan Publish­ing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506.

An expression used pre-eminently of Daniel 8. So ap­plied at least ten times.

1 T. R. Birks, The Two Later Visions of Daniel, p. 6.

2 Ibid., p. 180.

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