The 1843 (eventually corrected to 1844) date of William Miller’s message was derived from the study of prophecy, especially the prophecy in Daniel 8:13, 14. The critics of Adventism have taken advantage of the average person’s lack of knowledge about several terms to introduce confusion, instead of understanding, concerning the fulfillment of this prophecy. We will look at several basic points: 1) Who and what is the little horn in Daniel 8? 2) Daniel 8:12 and 13 speak of two separate rebellions, first the continuance in rebellion and second the desolating or depopulating rebellion. These rebellions are sometimes called “transgression(s),” but a look into any Hebrew lexicon, or just a casual reading of the Hebrew Bible, easily shows that the common word used refers to a deliberate or willful transgression or more accurately a revolt or rebellion. I have found only a few places in the entire Hebrew Bible where the word could not be more helpfully translated “rebellion.” What are these two separate rebellions of Daniel 8:12 and 13? 3) It would seem almost embarrassing to have to mention this elementary fact but, because of the tricky reasoning of our opponents, we will. This is a time prophecy. 4) This is a time prophecy having to do with end-time events, because the angel said to Daniel, in regard to the 2300 days, that the vision dealt with the time of the end. This is an important enough point that it is mentioned twice (verses 17 and 19).
We will begin with point #4. This point by itself makes it completely impossible for this vision to have anything to do with Antiochus Epiphanes iv. Antiochus was one of approximately 20 Seleucid kings who ruled the northern territory of Alexander the Great’s empire, called in Daniel 11 “the king of the north.” None of these kings were as great as Alexander the Great. (See Daniel 11:4.) A minor king of a division of Alexander’s kingdom who lived in the second century b.c. could not be described as fulfilling a prophecy clearly stated as having to do with the time of the end.
Next we come to point #3. Every imaginable device has been attempted in an effort to demonstrate a 2300-day period during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Any fulfillment of this time prophecy would have to involve a time period of 2300 days. There has been an effort to say that, since the wording in Daniel 8:14 is “evening and morning,” it refers to 1150 days. This interpretation will not stand up to any candid investigation of the Scriptures. (See Genesis 1.) (The literal wording of Daniel 8:14 in the Hebrew text is “and he said to me unto evening, morning, two thousand and three hundred and [or ‘the’] it shall be cleansed [or ‘restored to its rightful state’ or ‘made right’] the sanctuary [or ‘holy place’].) No period of 2300 days can be shown for Antiochus Epiphanes. Any real fulfillment of this prophecy must demonstrate a beginning event and a closing event which are separated by 2300 days. This fact destroys the possibility of Antiochus having anything to do with the fulfillment of this prophecy a second time.
Then we come to point #2. Daniel 8:13, 14 are not the only places in the Book of Daniel where these two rebellions are mentioned. Any interpretation of these two rebellions in Daniel 8:13, 14 must also fit contextually with their identity and historical position when also described in Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11. Daniel 11:31 shows us that a future power will cause the continuance in rebellion to be removed and then the desolating rebellion will be set up in its place. This is an extremely important point, because it shows that these two rebellions are consecutive events, the one following the other.