by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:
“70 ‘7s’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and 62 ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the 62 ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
When we began this series of four studies on Daniel 8:14, we learned that this text is the central pillar that brought about the birth of the Advent Movement. In this concluding study of Daniel 8:14, there are two facts that we must keep in mind — two facts that we have already covered in our previous studies but must be kept in mind if we are to correctly understand and interpret this text.
These two facts are:
In view of this principle of parallelism, one thing is very clear — the cleansing of the sanctuary is a last-day event. It is what we call an eschatological event. It’s something that will take place at the end of time. This itself is confirmed in at least three verses in Daniel 8.
We will look at those three verses now. We have already covered them. They tell us that this vision that God gave Daniel is to take humanity to the end of time. Of course, the last part of the vision is verse 14. First look at the last part of verse 17. Daniel 8:17b:
“Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”
In other words, this vision which begins at your time will take you until the time of the end. Of course, that phrase itself could either be the end of the Jewish dispensation or the time of the end of the Gentile dispensation. It is still the time of the end.
Verse 19 is the second verse that tells us that this vision is fulfilled at the time of the end. Daniel 8:19:
He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.
Then, in verse 26, when the vision is explained to Daniel, you will remember that he is not told what verse 14 signifies. All he is told in verse 26 is:
“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”
So even the book of Daniel chapter 8 tells us that verse 14 is to take us to the time of the consummation. The first thing I want you to note is that the cleansing of the sanctuary given in Daniel 8:14 is a last-day event.
I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power. It did as it pleased and became great.
As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power. The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.
Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled — the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”
He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”
These are the four things.
As we studied this chapter in Daniel, we discovered that the first three things were explained to Daniel. Verse 20 explains the ram as Medo-Persia:
The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.
Verses 21 and 22 explain the goat, which is the symbol for Greece:
The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.
Verses 23 to 25 are explaining the ecclesiastical power which will be very great and, according to the historicist approach, refers to the papacy:
In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.
The fourth item in verse 26 was not explained. Daniel 8, therefore, does not explain verse 14. All that’s told are the facts. So the question is, “Does God actually explain Daniel 8:14?” The answer is, “Yes.” And that is what we are going to cover in this study.
The explanation is given in Daniel 9:24-27. This is not only our position as a church. Many reliable scholars agree and admit that verses 24 to 27 of Daniel 9 is the explanation of Daniel 8:14. Among them is Desmond Ford, who does not agree with us entirely on Daniel 8. I will give you his quotation taken from a book that he produced not long ago called Good News for Adventists, published by Good News Unlimited. These are his statements on Daniel 9:24-27:
“We take the position that the vision of Daniel 8:14 is briefly explained in Daniel 9:24-27. Why? In chapter nine, Gabriel appears again. The same angel that appeared in chapter 8 appeared again, this time to give Daniel wisdom and understanding. Gabriel commands Daniel to consider the word and understand the vision. What vision? Could it be the prophecy of Jeremiah concerning the 70 years? Some scholars think so. However, this position is questionable. We are inclined to favor the vision of Daniel 8:14. In other words, Daniel 9:24-27 is explaining Daniel 8:14.”
“Thus, in Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel is told in more detail than before, just what the restoration of the sanctuary consists of.”
So it is accepted by many reliable scholars that Daniel 9:24-27 is an explanation of Daniel 8:14.
In order for us to understand that passage, we need to understand the context of Daniel 9. I keep repeating and I will repeat it again: Please don’t use any text out of context. We have been accused enough and sometimes rightly so. We need to stick to context.
So first let us look at the context of Daniel nine. First the time element. It is about 14 years after the vision of Daniel 8. Look at Daniel 9:1:
In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom —
That is enough to give us the history of the time. It is approximately 538 B.C., which is approximately 14 years after the vision of Daniel 8. So for 14 years, Daniel had gone without an explanation. For 14 years he had been wrestling with Daniel 8:14, wondering, “What is the meaning of this statement?” The time element is 14 years. This would make it approximately 65 years after Jerusalem and the temple were already destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. So the temple and city of Jerusalem were in ruins, in desolation, now, for about 65 years.
...In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years.
From Daniel 9:2, we discover that Daniel understands from the prophet Jeremiah, who was a contemporary of Daniel who lived in Israel, from his prophecy that God gave him that the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple was to be 70 years. Sixty-five years had already passed, so there were five years left. But the problem is that, from Daniel 8:14, it seemed that the restoration was in the distant future.
So Daniel is concerned. He is disturbed. Put yourself in his shoes. Forget for a moment that you are an American. I want you to think like a Jew living in the days of Daniel. To the Jews, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple meant one word — “Ichabod.” In Hebrew it means, “The Glory of God has Departed.” To the Jews, it meant that God had forsaken them. This, of course, would be a burden to any man or woman of God. To think that it will not be five years but in the distant future that the sanctuary will be restored! What does Daniel do? He goes on his knees with fasting and sackcloth and he prays. Continue reading verse three:
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
We need to read that prayer. We need to observe something that is very important in that prayer and that is the concept of corporate oneness. Here was Daniel, the servant of God. He doesn’t point his finger at the church and say that the church has gone wrong. He identifies himself with the church that has gone wrong. We need to learn that from Daniel. The church is one body and when the body goes wrong, even though you may not participate in the wrongness, you are a part of it. You need to identify with it. Look at verse five:
...We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
“We have sinned.”
We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
“We have not listened.”
Look at verse 8:
We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you.
“We are ashamed.”
...We have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
“We have disobeyed God.”
All Israel [not part but all Israel] has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
All through this prayer it is like that — just keep on reading.
Notice in this prayer the burden of Daniel. His burden is not an Adventist burden, it is a Jewish burden. Look at Daniel 9:16-19. First, verses 16-17:
“Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts [not according to our goodness but according to your righteousness], turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors [that’s corporate repentance] have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.”
In other words, the nations around us, Babylon included, and other nations around us, are pointing their fingers to us and saying, “Where is your God? You are a defeated people, where is your God?” So Daniel is concerned. Verse 18:
“Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous [he has already confessed his sins and the sins of the church], but because of your great mercy.”
He is turning to God’s love and His mercy as the means of his supplication. Verse 19:
“Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake [not for our sake but for your sake], my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Does Christianity have a reproach today? Yes, we need to pray like Daniel! In verse 20 we are told:
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill —
What happened? Did God listen to his prayer? Yes. God said, “Yes Daniel, I understand your concern. I know you are confused. You can’t reconcile Jeremiah’s prophecy which has only four years left with the prophecy I have given you.” The thing that I want you to notice is that Daniel is not thinking of a heavenly sanctuary. His burden is Jerusalem and his people. But we know from the principle of parallelism that we studied that Daniel 8:14 is not dealing with the Jewish nation. It is dealing with the time of the end — the consummation. So God has a problem. “What shall I do?”
Now Jesus had a similar problem. Let us turn to Matthew 24 and look at the similar problem that Jesus faced. Daniel, as I see it, was not making a distinction between Jeremiah’s prophecy which was 70 years of desolation and Daniel 8:14. He was not seeing the distinction. The disciples made the same mistake. In Matthew 24:1:
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.
“Look Jesus, what a wonderful, beautiful temple!” Verse two:
“Do you see all these things?” he [Jesus] asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
We know from history that He was referring to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. What were the disciples thinking? To them the destruction of the temple was the same as the second coming of Christ. How did they respond? Listen to what they said in verse three:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately [because they were disturbed, just like Daniel was disturbed]. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
So the disciples linked the destruction of Jerusalem with the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world. They were confused. Now what could Jesus do? Could he say to them, “No, you are mistaken”? “Your temple will be destroyed in a few years in 70 A.D. but my coming will be in the 20th century or even later.” What would happen to the disciples? They couldn’t handle that. So Jesus combined the two events. When you read Matthew 24, you will notice the signs of the destruction of Jerusalem and the signs of the Second Coming of Christ, which are separated by almost two millenniums, as far as we know, are joined together. That may seem unfair to you, but, remember, God lives in eternity. A thousand years are to Him as one day. 2 Peter 3:8:
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
In fact, there is another text that says that a thousand years are like the wink of an eye. Time is no limit. I believe that God is doing the same thing to Daniel.
Let’s go back to Daniel 9. The angel Gabriel comes to Daniel and says (Daniel 9:22-23):
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision....”
But he doesn’t discuss in Daniel 9:24-27 the end of the world. He is discussing the final stages of the Jewish nation. Jeremiah’s prophecy is right. The Jewish temple will be restored but it will once again be destroyed, never to be restored. This is the end! So he is explaining in the 70 weeks the final time of the end of the Jewish nation. But, at the same time, this has to give an explanation of the Daniel 8:14, which is the consummation. The only way I can reconcile it is to take the 70 weeks as a model. In other words, God is using the 70 weeks as a model for what will take place at the end of the 2,300 years or days. The day-year principle is already there in Daniel 9. That which we need to do is to take the main events of the 70 weeks and use them as a model to understand Daniel 8:14. That is what we will do here.
Here’s the chart mentioned earlier:
Command to Restore
Jerusalem and Temple
Abomination That Will
Make Jerusalem Desolate
Come Out of Literal Babylon
Rebuilt & Restore Jerusalem & Temple
Christ Confirms Convenant
(Revelation 10:11; 14:6-12)
|Command to Restore
And Proclaim Gospel
|Abomination That Will
Make Earth Desolate
Now this is not the APO [Align, Plan, and Organize] principle. The APO which Ford uses means that the problem has multiple applications, so every event is a fulfillment. That makes prophecy meaningless. What I am giving here is what the New Testament uses — The Jew-Gentile principle. If you look at the New Testament, God divides the human race into two camps — Jews and Gentiles. Let us look at a couple of examples. When Jesus gave the great commission of the gospel, He said, “Take the gospel first to the Jews. After they have had their chance and, if they reject it, then go to the Gentiles.” Even when He sent out the 72, he said, “Don’t go to the Gentiles. Their time has not yet come. Give it to the Jews first.” Paul does the same in Romans, “The Jew first and then the Gentiles.” Romans 1:16:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
That doesn’t mean that the Gentiles cannot be saved during the Jewish period. They can be saved but the Gentile had to become a Jew during the Jewish period. Like in our Christian period, which began in 31 A.D., if a Jew accepted the gospel, he had to become a Gentile. When a Jew in Israel today becomes a Christian, he loses his citizenship. The government takes away his passport because he has become a Gentile. Even the Jews recognize today that when a Jew becomes a Christian he no longer is a Jew — even in nationality. So please remember that a Jew can be saved today. God is not going to give the Jewish nation a second chance. The Bible does not teach that. God does say that every Jew still can be saved if he accepts Christ as the Messiah.
Going through this chart, let us first look at the five main points of the 70 weeks:
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and 62 ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.”
The hardest part of the 70 weeks is the restoration itself. There will be much opposition. There will be many difficulties, but it will be restored — guaranteed! Even though it will take a long time.
So number one is the commandment. Number two is the coming out of Babylon and number three is the restoration, which will take place in troubled times.
Did the Jews accept that promise which was now confirmed? I’m talking of the Jews as a nation not as individuals. The answer is “No.” God gave them three and one half more years. Now God did not blame them for crucifying Christ. He would forgive that. But, after Christ was risen from the dead, and the soldiers came to Caiaphas, the leader, and said, “This man that you put to death and sealed His tomb is resurrected.” — Now there was no excuse. The resurrection was the greatest evidence that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. They had no excuse!
Caiaphas had two choices. Either he could accept the fact that his church had made a mistake, which he instigated and pushed the church to do — to crucify the Son of God — or he could cover up the mistake. These were the choices he had. He covered it up. And when the soldiers said to him, saying, “If we lie that his body was stolen by the disciples, we are admitting that we failed as Roman soldiers to do our duty.” Caiaphas said, “Don’t worry. We will solve that problem.” He would give Pilate a little baksheesh. That’s a Middle-Eastern word. You cannot get a work permit in the Middle East without baksheesh.
Even the church has to follow this practice by giving money under the table so they can get a work permit. That’s the Middle East culture. There is no choice there. I tried to side step the choice but I failed. We were building a church in Africa where the same problem exists. I told the contractor I was the architect and he was the builder. I said to him, “This is one church that will be built without any bribery.” He said, “Jack, you know better after being born here.” I said, “Yes, but this church will be built without any corruption.” He said, “All right, let’s try it.”
We got the foundation ready and before we could pour the concrete we had to get permission from the engineer that the foundation was dug deep enough and the steel was correct. I went to the engineer myself. I said, “Please come and inspect it.” I filled the form out and he said, “I’m coming tomorrow.” Tomorrow came and he did not come. I went back to him the next day and said, “Why didn’t you come?” “Well,” he said, “I was too busy.” This went on for three months. The rainy season was about to come and the contractor said, “Look, why don’t you give up? Leave it to me.” I said, “All right. I give up.” The man gave him twenty shillings and the inspector said, “Your pastor is an architect. You don’t need to be inspected. You go ahead and pour the concrete.
So Caiaphas did that. He gave the money to soldiers and said, “Look, we’ll take care of the problem.”
Jesus said to the Jews, “How often did I take you under my wings like a hen does her chicks. But now I leave you desolate.” And when they stoned Stephen to death, they were publicly confessing by that act that they rejected the Messiah. The abomination that was to bring desolation to Jerusalem, Ichabod to the nation.
When the temple was about to be destroyed, the Roman soldiers took the Roman insignia and nailed it on the door of the temple. And Jesus had told the disciples, “When you see that sign, you know that the end is coming. What do you do? You take off. You flee from Jerusalem.” And because of the prophecy that Jesus gave which he connected with Daniel, no Christian that we know of died in that siege. But the unbelievers died. I tell you it was terrible. Just read the history of it. Do you know that the Jews were actually eating rats during the siege? They were actually eating their babies that died because they were starving. That’s how desperate they became during the last siege.
We have looked at these five things and now we will apply it to Daniel 8:14 as a consummation. The 70 weeks began with a commandment. The cleansing of the sanctuary also begins with a commandment. Turn to Revelation and remember that Revelation is complementing Daniel. Revelation 10. Here is a description of the bitter disappointment of 1844. A very bitter disappointment! But there were a faithful few who held unto God. What did God say to the few who remained faithful to God, even though the experience of the stomach was bitter? Revelation 10:11:
Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
Why “again”? Because the gospel that God gave to the early church was polluted by the Little Horn. Remember the sanctuary is the model plan of salvation, which we have covered. This was polluted by the Little Horn of Daniel 8. And what God is saying to this little flock: “You must prophesy again — you must restore this gospel and proclaim it again.” To whom? “To many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”
What is that proclamation that has to be proclaimed again? Well, Revelation 14 tells us. It is the Three Angels’ Message, which is the everlasting gospel. So the commandment that God gave the “little flock” — the Advent flock that came out of the Millerite movement — was to restore the gospel and proclaim it to the world. That’s the commandment. That’s what 1844 means to me — the commandment.
But for that commandment to be fulfilled, those people had to go out from Babylon. Not physical Babylon, not literal Babylon, but spiritual Babylon. “Come out of her my people.” That’s number two.
Number three is the actual restoration. Have we restored the gospel? God tried it 100 years ago, but it fizzled away. That is why we are having difficulty, because the restoration of Jerusalem was done in troublesome times. The restoration of the gospel today is also in troublesome times. We are still struggling to restore the gospel. We are not united as a church on the gospel. So we are at point number three.
But the question is, “Will this gospel be restored?” Was Jerusalem restored eventually? Yes. And the gospel will be restored. How do I know? Because Revelation 18 says so. And, when it is restored, the earth will be lightened with the glory of God. In other words, God will confirm the covenant, which is the everlasting gospel, not now with the Jewish nation, which was done in 31 A.D., but with the Gentile world. He will confirm so that no nation, no people of the Gentile world, will have any excuse like Caiaphas to say, “The gospel cannot save.” That will be so clear. The world will be lightened with His glory. There will be no excuse.
Now comes the question, “Will the world accept the gospel?” I’m not thinking of individuals, for we know that thousands at that time will be converted, but will the world? No. They will reject the gospel. Not this time out of ignorance but deliberately and willfully, like Caiaphus did with Jesus Christ. It will be a wilful rejection of the gospel. That is the abomination that will bring this world into desolation for a thousand years. To me, God has raised up the Advent movement to restore the gospel and to proclaim it with power. When that is done, we are still struggling right now, but when that is done, the earth will be lightened with the truth as it is in Christ. There will be no excuse. And when the world deliberately and wilfully rejects the gospel, probation will close. God will say to the world, the Gentile world, “I leave your house desolate.” God will remove His protection from the world and they will experience the seven last plagues.
And to me, that will be symbolically posted, as the Roman seal was posted on the temple in 70 A.D., by the passing of a Sunday law. That will be a sign that tells us Christians to flee, just as the posting of the Roman seal was a sign to the early Christians. When we see that, we will have to give up our freezers and Loma Linda Linkettes and we’ll have to live on watercress and dandelions up in the mountains, but only for a short season.
That is what I see Daniel 8:14 is saying to me. I feel that we have a mission and if we destroy 1844, we will destroy the mission for this church. And if we destroy this mission for this church, we are just another denomination drifting along like everybody else. So I want to restore this local church at least and especially the young people. I challenge you young people because my generation has failed to restore the gospel. Your generation cannot afford to fail because, while we have been struggling to restore the gospel, the devil has not been sleeping. He has been working overtime and is working harder.
So we need to realize that Daniel 8:14 has a special message for us today. And it is my prayer that we will take the challenge and go on our knees like Daniel and say, “God we beseech you, we plead with you, please restore the gospel, that has been polluted by the Little Horn, so that the world may know the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, that He can come as He promised.”
Jesus said in Matthew 24:14:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
That word “testimony” is a legal term. In a court case, you bring witnesses to testify either for or against the person. That preaching of the gospel will be the greatest testimony to a world that has deliberately rejected it. And when that gospel has been preached to the world for a witness, the end will come. May God bless us that we will carry out the mission that He has given us.