September 18, 2004 – September 24, 2004
“And I heard a man’s voice between [the banks of] Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this [man] to understand the vision.” Daniel 8:16.
Suggested Reading: Stephen N. Haskell, Story of Daniel the Prophet (1904), TEACH Services Inc., Brushton, New York, 1995, 88–133.
“As a people, we should be earnest students of prophecy; we should not rest until we become intelligent in regard to the subject of the sanctuary, which is brought out in the visions of Daniel and John. This subject sheds great light on our present position and work, and gives us unmistakable proof that God has led us in our past experience. It explains our disappointment in 1844, showing us that the sanctuary to be cleansed was not the earth, as we had supposed, but that Christ then entered into the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and is there performing the closing work of His priestly office, in fulfillment of the words of the angel to the prophet Daniel, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’
“Our faith in reference to the messages of the first, second, and third angels was correct. The great way-marks we have passed are immovable. Although the hosts of hell may try to tear them from their foundation, and triumph in the thought that they have succeeded, yet they do not succeed. These pillars of truth stand firm as the eternal hills, unmoved by all the efforts of men combined with those of Satan and his host. We can learn much, and should be constantly searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so. God’s people are now to have their eyes fixed on the heavenly sanctuary, where the final ministration of our great High Priest in the work of the judgment is going forward,—where He is interceding for His people.” Review and Herald, November 27, 1883.
1 Why had special blessings been bestowed upon Israel? When the majority of the people failed, how did God accomplish His purpose? What enabled God to reveal Himself through the young men in Babylon? See Genesis 12:2, 3; Isaiah 39:5–7; Daniel 1, 2:1–30.
2 What had become of God’s material kingdom on the earth? At this time, what purpose did God announce? What was the reason for outlining the course of earthly empires? What will fit us for a home in the abiding kingdom? See 1 Chronicles 9:1; Daniel 2:37–49; Hebrews 12:28; 11 Peter 3:11–14.
3 What is the “gospel of the kingdom”? Why was it preached at all times? What is the “mystery of the kingdom”? How personal does the “mystery” become? For what does it prepare? See Matthew 4:23; Genesis 12:1–3; Galatians 3:8; Luke 1:31, 33; Colossians 1:26–28; Matthew 25:31–34.
4 How did Babylon’s king seek to reverse God’s plan? What purpose had the evil one in this? How fully was the “mystery of the kingdom” demonstrated by the young Hebrews? What result came to the king and to the young men? See Daniel 2:32, 37, 38; 3.
5 Give the substance of the three messages that resulted in the conversion of the king of Babylon. What was Daniel’s advice? What could have come from heeding it? What was the result of rejecting it? How fully did the king at last recognize Jehovah? See Daniel 2:47; 3:28; 4.
6 What would have come to Babylon if she had heeded God’s messages? Why was Daniel called? What was pronounced? Why could God do nothing else for her? How has this history been repeated? See Jeremiah 51:9; Daniel 5.
7 How was Satan still plotting under the reign of Darius? What enabled Daniel to remain steadfast? What was the result? What were the consequences for Daniel and his people? See Daniel 6.
8 What would prepare God’s people for deliverance from Babylon? What would keep them steadfast? How early had Cyrus been called for this work? What results had been promised him? See Isaiah 40:1–12, 22, 25–27; 44:24, 28; 45:1, 2, 13, 14.
9 Name the four universal empires. Give, as far as possible, dates for them. How did the little horn differ from the others? How was it like them? What was its work against God and His people? What was this power called by the Revelator? What will God give to those who overcome this power? See Daniel 7; Revelation 17:5, 6.
10 When do the 1260 days begin and end? Who will survive the domination of the little horn? Who will finally overcome it? How is heaven affected by its downfall? See Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:14, 6; 13:7–10; 17:14; 18:20–24; 19:1–6.
11 What does the little horn of Daniel 8 represent in addition to what was represented by the little horn of Daniel 7? How will this power obscure the priestly work in the sanctuary? By what event will the sanctuary work be restored to its rightful importance? See Daniel 8; 7:26; Revelation 11:18, 19; 22:3–5, 12.
12 Why did righteous Daniel confess sin? What blessing came as a result? When does the time period of Daniel 8:14 begin? Therefore when will it end? What preparation is demanded of us who are living in such times? See Daniel 9; Malachi 3:1–3.
note: Regarding Daniel 7:25: “We must now consider that we are in the midst of symbolic prophecy; hence in this measurement the time is not literal, but symbolic. The inquiry then arises, How long a period is denoted by the three years and a half of prophetic time? The principle given us in the Bible is, that when a day is used in symbolic prophecy, it stands for a year. (Ezekiel 4: 6; Numbers 14: 34.) . . .
“Bible students have recognized this principle through the ages. The following quotations reveal the agreement of various authorities on this point. Joachim, abbot of Calabria, one of the great ecclesiastical figures of the twelfth century, applied the year-day principle to the 1260-year period. ‘The woman, clothed with the sun, who signifies the church, remained hidden in the wilderness from the face of the serpent, a day without doubt being accepted for a year and a thousand two hundred and sixty days for the same number of years.’ [Joachim of Floris, Concordantia, book 2, chapter 16, 12b.]
“ ‘Three times and an half; that is, for 1260 solar years, reckoning a time for a calendar year of 360 days, and a day for a solar year. After which “the judgment is to sit, and they shall take away his dominion,” not at once, but by degrees, to consume, and to destroy it unto the end.’ [Sir Isaac Newton, Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, 127, 128.]
“The Bible year, which must be used as the basis of reckoning, contained three hundred and sixty days. . . . Three years and a half contained twelve hundred and sixty days. As each day stands for a year, we have twelve hundred and sixty years for the continuation of the supremacy of this horn. Did the papacy possess dominion that length of time? The answer again is, Yes. The edict of the emperor Justinian, dated a.d. 533, made the bishop of Rome the head of all the churches. But this edict could not go into effect until the Arian Ostrogoths, the last of the three horns that were plucked up to make room for the papacy, were driven from Rome; and this was not accomplished . . . until a.d. 538. . . . The edict would have been of no effect had this latter event not been accomplished; hence from this latter year we are to reckon, as this was the earliest point where the saints were in reality in the hands of this power. From this point did the papacy hold supremacy for twelve hundred and sixty years?—Exactly. For 538 + 1260 = 1798; and in the year 1798, Berthier, with a French army, entered Rome, proclaimed a republic, took the pope prisoner, and inflicted a deadly wound upon the papacy. Though it has never since enjoyed all the privileges and immunities which it possessed before, we are seeing a gradual restoration of its former strength.
“After describing the terrible career of the little horn, and stating that the saints should be given into his hand for 1260 years, bringing us down to 1798, verse 26 declares: ‘But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.’ In verse 10 of the same chapter we have substantially the same expression regarding the judgment: ‘The judgment was set.’ It would seem consistent to suppose that the same judgment is referred to in both instances. But the sublime scene described in verse 10 is the opening of the investigative judgment in the sanctuary in heaven . . . Daniel 8: 14 and 9: 25–27. The opening of this judgment scene is located by the prophecy at the close of the great prophetic period of 2300 years, which terminated in 1844.” Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee, 1944, 144, 145.
Regarding Daniel 8:14: “It is thus evident that the decree granted to Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, 457 b.c., is the point from which to date the seventy weeks. [Daniel 9:24.] That was the going forth of the decree in the sense of the prophecy. The two previous decrees [Ezra 1:1–4; 6:1–12] were preparatory and preliminary to this. Indeed they are regarded by Ezra as parts of it. . . .
“Our starting point then is 457 b.c. Forty-nine years are allotted to the building of the city and the wall. On this point, Prideaux says: ‘In the fifteenth year of Darius Nothus ended the first seven weeks of the seventy weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. For then the restoration of the church and state of the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea was fully finished, in that last act of reformation, which is recorded in the thirteenth chapter of Nehemiah, from the twenty-third verse to the end of the chapter, just forty-nine years after it had been first begun by Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus.’ [Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. 1, 322.] This was 408 b.c. . . .
“Let us apply the measuring rod of the prophecy still further. Sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, were to extend to Messiah the Prince. Dating from 457 b.c., they end in a.d. 27. What event then occurred? Luke thus informs us: [Luke 3: 21, 22 quoted]. After this, Jesus came ‘preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled.’ Mark 1: 14, 15. . . .
“Further, the Messiah was to confirm the covenant with many for one week. This would be the last week of the seventy, or the last seven years of the 490. In the midst of the week, the prophecy informs us, He should cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. These Jewish ordinances, pointing to the death of Christ, could cease only at the cross. There they did virtually come to an end when the veil of the temple was rent at the crucifixion of Christ. . . .
“We see that, reckoning the seventy weeks from the decree given to Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, 457 b.c., there is perfect harmony throughout. The important and definite events of the manifestation of the Messiah at His baptism, the commencement of His public ministry, the crucifixion, and the rejection of the Jews and the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, with the proclamation of the new covenant—all come in in their exact place, sealing the prophecy and making it sure. . . .
“The seventy weeks are but the first 490 years of the 2300-year period. Take 490 from 2300, and there remains 1810. The 490, as we have seen, ended in the autumn of a.d. 34. If to this date we now add the remaining 1810 years, we shall have the termination of the whole period. So to a.d. 34, autumn, add 1810, and we have the autumn of a.d. 1844. Thus speedily and surely do we find the termination of the 2300 days, when once the seventy weeks have been located. . . .
“The momentous declaration made by the angel to Daniel, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,’ is now explained. In our search for the meaning of the sanctuary and its cleansing, and the application of the time, we have found not only that this subject can be easily understood, but lo, the event is even now in process of accomplishment. . . .
“We have seen (and this is what brings the solemnities of the judgment to our own door) that that long prophetic period which was to mark the beginning of this final work in the heavenly sanctuary, has met its termination. In 1844 the days ended. Since that time the final work for man’s salvation has been going forward. This work involves an examination of every man’s character, for it consists in the remission of the sins of those who shall be found worthy to have them remitted, and determines who among the dead shall be raised. It also decides who among the living shall be changed at the coming of the Lord, and who of both dead and living shall be left to have their part in the fearful scenes of the second death. All can see that such a decision as this must be rendered before the Lord appears.
“Every man’s destiny is to be determined by deeds done in the body, and each one is to be rewarded according to his works. (11 Corinthians 5: 10; Revelation 22: 12.)” Ibid., 211–220.
These lessons are adapted from Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1918.