THE CLEANSING OF DANIEL 8:14
Exposing Seventh-day Adventism
By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
Revised June 7, 2017
Dan. 8:14 then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (KJV); then the holy place will be properly restored (NASU);
then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state (RSV); then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated (NIV); wa-ni-tsa-daq
(then shall be made righteous) Hebrew.
Seventh-day Adventists inconsistently teach three very different reasons for cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. Without
adding their explanation, the following statement from their Dictionary on "little horn," especially the
first sentence (8:13-14), agrees with the SDA opponents who teach that the little horn (not the sins of the
saints) desolated the sanctuary which required cleansing in 8:14.
The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible
Dictionary, 1960, “little horn,” p 656. “In chapter 8 at the close of the specified period of time the
sanctuary is ‘cleansed’ of the ‘transgression of desolation’ erected in it by the little horn (vs.
13, 14). In chapter 9:26, 27 the same power destroys Jerusalem and the Temple, causing “the sacrifice
and the oblation to cease” and desolating the sanctuary. In chapter 11:30, 31 the same power
enters “the glorious land” -- Palestine (vs. 16, 41, 45), stands up against “the prince of the covenant”
(vs. 22), pollutes the sanctuary and takes away the daily sacrifice, sets up the “desolating abomination”
(vs. 30, 31), and conspires to obliterate the worship of the true God (vs. 30) -- all for a “time, times and a half”
One: SDAs teach that the sanctuary cleansed in 8:14 is not the Jerusalem sanctuary mentioned in 8:11; 9:17 or 9:26. However,
the nearest, and only, previous antecedent to the word, sanctuary, prior to Daniel 8:13 is 8:11. Therefore, 8:11
should be the logical context of the question of 8:13 and the answer of 8:14. Noticeably Ellen G White never comments on Daniel
Most Christians teach that the sanctuary of 8:8-14 is the Jerusalem Temple which had been defiled by the little horn,
Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 B.C.
SDAs admit that the sanctuary of 9:17 was the Jerusalem Temple which had been destroyed by Babylon in 586 B.
C. They then teach that the sanctuary of 8:11 and 9:26 was the Jerusalem Temple that the little horn of pagan Rome destroyed
in A. D. 70. However, ignoring the surrounding sanctuary texts (8:11and 9:17), SDAs change to teach that the sanctuary of
8:14 is the one in heaven! Even the S. D. A. Bible Dictionary (above), “little horn,” cannot
seem to get this straight because it agrees with everybody else (except its own church) that the little horn defiled the sanctuary
Two: SDAs teach that cleansed in 8:14 refers to the Day of Atonement ritual in Leviticus 16 rather than the necessary
rededication performed in 164 B. C (or even the dedication ritual performed in 515 B. C.). Numerous problems exist while attempting
to connect cleansed in Daniel 8:14 to the cleansing of the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16: 19, 30. The KJV cleansed
in 8:14 is the translation of the Hebrew tsa-daq. The NASU reads “properly restored”; RSV “restored
to its rightful state”; NIV “reconsecrated.” Tsa-daq is a very common Old Testament root word meaning
“justify,” “just,” “justified,” “justice” or “righteous.” Tsadaq's
only other occurrence in Daniel 12:3 is “righteousness.” In fact, Daniel 8:14 is the only time (in 41 occurrences)
that tsa-daq is translated “cleansed” in the KJV! Desperate for proof-texts, the
SDA Biblical Research Committee, in 1989, could only refer to two obscure texts in Job to argue that tsadaq might
also mean “cleanse” (Doctrine of the Sanctuary, p222).
In the Day of Atonement ritual of Leviticus 16,
“cleanse” is the Hebrew word, ta-heer, not tsa-daq. “Cleanse” is taheer
in all 15 occurrences in Leviticus. This very strongly indicates that Daniel 8:8-14 does not refer to the Day of Atonement.
However, while “cleansed” in 8:14 refers to an "any time" general restoration, or re-dedication,
of the sanctuary, SDAs teach that “cleansed” in Daniel 8:14 only refers to the Day of Atonement ritual in Leviticus
16. After Christ did not come to destroy the earth-sanctuary in the autumn of 1844, the small group which later became SDAs
made one error into two errors. First, they redefined their “sanctuary” in 8:14 from earth itself to the heavenly
sanctuary. And, second, they un-biblically limited the sanctuary’s cleansing to only the Most Holy Place.
Three: SDAs teach that the sins of God’s people defiled
the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 (GC418).
SDAs completely disconnected 8:13-14 from the remainder of the chapter and book context of Daniel --especially
8:9-13. . The 2300 days became 2300 years that ended in 1844. The sanctuary changed from the Jerusalem Temple to only one
room in the heavenly sanctuary. And, especially, the desolating power changed from the wicked nations and forces of 8:9-12;
9:17, 27; 11:31 and 12:11 to God’s own saints!
In the SDAs’ own 1960 SDA Bible Dictionary explanation of 8:9-12, the context of 8:14, they stated
that the little horn opposed the host of heaven, cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, stamped upon them
(8:10), magnified himself to the prince of the host, took away the daily sacrifice, cast down the place of his sanctuary (8:11),
was against the “daily sacrifice” and “cast down the truth” (8:12). Very clearly, the little horn,
and not God’s saints, defiled and took away the “daily sacrifice.”
However, the SDA explanation of 8:14 ignores 8:9-13
and reverses the need for the cleansing of the sanctuary! Although God allowed the little horn to
desolate the sanctuary as punishment for the sins of His people (“by reason of transgression”), it was still the
little horn who desolated the sanctuary and not God’s saints!
Historically, 8:9-12 is a description of the events
in Jerusalem from the time Antiochus IV cast down the Jewish religion to the ground, enticed the Jewish boys to abandon the
Temple for the Greek gymnasium, to his desecration of the altar, until its restoration and rededication after the end of the
war of independence in 164 B.C.
Four: SDAs switch to teach that defiling the “daily sacrifice” in Daniel 8:14 required a Day of Atonement-type
of cleansing. This is essential because the Day of Atonement cleansing did not involve the sins of unbelievers such as the
However, there are at least two and possibly three different kinds of “cleansings” associated with the
sanctuary service and SDAs have chosen the wrong one to explain Daniel 8:14. The first “cleansing” was its original
“dedication; a possible second was a "rededication” and the third was “atonement.”
This initial dedication-cleansing was performed for the tabernacle in the wilderness, for Solomon’s temple,
for Ezra’s second temple in 515 B. C. and for Ezekiel's temple. Initially priests were consecrated through sin offerings
for atonement to “cleanse,” “anoint” and “sanctify” the great altar. “And you shall
offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and you shall cleanse (chata) the altar, when you have
made an atonement for it, and you shall anoint it, to sanctify it. Seven days you shall make an atonement for the altar, and
sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever touches the altar shall be holy”
After the priests had been cleansed by the sin offering, the whole burnt offering of the “daily sacrifice”
was offered. The blood of the daily sacrifice was poured out at the base of the great altar and was not brought into the sanctuary
Finally, anointing OIL, not blood, was used to “anoint” (not cleanse) the entire
sanctuary! It is important to note that the Most Holy Place was entered on this initial dedication day, not with blood, but
with OIL. “And you shall anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony" (Ex.
30:26). Although the blood from the priests’ sin offerings (i.e. Christ) was not brought into the sanctuary, it was
still sufficient to consecrate the entire new [un-defiled] sanctuary. This is a totally different cleansing, for
different reasons, than that on the Day of Atonement (compare 30:10 with 30:25-26).
This dedication ritual must have also been performed
when Solomon's temple was initially dedicated, when Ezra's temple was initially dedicated and when Ezekiel's temple
was initially dedicated. Although innumerable animal sacrifices were offered (1 Kg 8:5; 2 Chron 5:6), God's filling the
yet-undefiled worship place with His glory was all the dedication necessary (1 Kg 8:11; 2 Chron 5:14). The dedication of Ezekiel's
temple in 43:19-27 mekes no mention of the Most Holy Place (especially 43:25-26).
In 586 B. C. the Babylonians entered the temple,
took war spoil of all its precious articles from the sanctuary and then they completely destroyed Solomon’s Temple.
In 515 B. C. a completely different second temple was erected. Ezra 6:14-20 describes the restoration, or dedication (chanukka)
of the second temple. The temple was “dedicated” and the priests were “purified.” See Exodus 30:23-30,
Leviticus 8 and 9, Numbers 7, First Kings 8, Second Chronicles 7, Ezra 6 and Ezekiel 43.
A second re-dedication" or “cleansing” of the sanctuary was required whenever it
had been defiled by any unclean person or thing such as the Greeks in 167 B. C., the entire sanctuary complex was considered
“defiled” and required "re-dedication" or “cleansing.” Although this was most likely the
same as the original dedication ceremony, it was clearly a different “cleansing of the sanctuary,”
for different reasons, than that performed on the Day of Atonement! This is very important! And,
again, the Most Holy Place was entered for the cleansing.
The 167 B. C. desolation of the second Temple by Antiochus IV, which is described in Daniel 8 and 11 and in
the historical books of First and Second Maccabees, was this second type of cleansing, or re-dedication.
Antiochus had offered a pig on the altar of burnt offering and had erected a statute of Zeus inside the temple. A restoration,
or rededication, was required in order to start using the temple again. The historian of First Maccabees 4:42 wrote,
“He [Judas] chose blameless priests devoted to the law, and they cleansed the sanctuary and
removed the defiled stones to an unclean place.” This is the cleansing described in Daniel 8:14 (and not that of the
Evidently the restriction of only the high priest entering the Most Holy Place only applied while the Sanctuary or
Temple was operational. Exceptions existed for repairs and maintenance such as removing spider webs, lizards and rodents.
For example normal priests entered the Most Holy Place every time the sanctuary was moved. (Ex 26:31-33; Numb 4:5).
Another unscheduled desecration of the Temple occurred
in 68 B. C. when Roman General Pompeii entered to see Israel's God. Many things defiled the temple: offering strange fire
(Lev 10:1-2), touching lizards and spiders (Lev 11:44), touching dead humans (Lev 21:1-3; Numb 19:13) and drinking gnats (Mt
23:24). Any number of offenses on any day of the year could have forced the necessity of a "re-dedication" or "cleansing"
of the sanctuary such as a priest dying while officiating. Such re-dedication would involve the high priest cleansing the
sanctuary beginning at the Most Holy Place.
These facts are important to point out that the "cleansing" o Daniel 8:14 is far from automatically
being the SDA's Investigative Judgment beginning in 1844. SDAs offer three very different scenarios:
DAY OF ATONEMENT:
A third “cleansing,” actually called “atonement” of the sanctuary, was required
to make a final atonement for the un-confessed residual sins of God's own people prior to entering
Canaan (God's peace). Seventh-day Adventists disagree! They teach that Christ's blood carried atoned sins into the
sanctuary every day of the year and defiled it (GC41). Only on the Day of Atonement did Christ's blood cleanse it and
remove the defilement His blood had previously caused (GC418-420). This interpretation demands that the little horn NOT be
the defiling agent.
The Day of Atonement was scheduled once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, and is
called the “Day of Atonement” or Yom Kippur. Although Leviticus 16 uses “cleanse, clean”
(taheer, Strong’s 2891) twice in verses 19 and 30, it is "clean," "cleanse" and "purify"
95 times in the Old Testament. "Taheer" is not the same word used for "cleansed" in Daniel 8:14.
"Atonement" (Strong's 3722) occurs 13 times, in 16:6, 10, 16, 17, 17, 18, 20, 24, 27, 30, 33, 33 and 34.
The bad news for SDAs is that the Hebrew word translated “cleansed” in Daniel 8:14, tsa-daq
(Strong's 6663), does not appear in any description of the Day of Atonement rituals! Therefore, SDAs incorrectly identify the dedication,
or re-dedication, “cleansing” of 8:14 with the Day of Atonement “cleansing.”
However, even if it were the Day of Atonement cleansing,
in their 1844 pattern-fulfillment scenario, SDAs restrict it to only the Most Holy Place, although it actually applied to
the entire sanctuary complex. Leviticus 16:33
“And he shall
make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the
congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests,
and for all the people of the congregation.” This restriction is essential because they portray Christ
ministering inside the Holy Place since His ascension. It also contradicts EGW's statement that the entire sanctuary was
cleansed on the [one day] Day of Atonement (GC419).
Five: By their very inaccurate application SDAs teach that part of the sanctuary could function even though part
of it had been defiled -- therefore, Christ could minister in the Holy Place while the Most Holy Place remained defiled until
1844 (and beyond until immediately prior to His return to earth). This would have been completely unimaginable in biblical
This SDA error is from deduction of their stated doctrine. Since SDAs at least concede that Christ began ministering
inside the Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary after His ascension, then He must have already first made some kind of dedication
of His blood (per Heb. 9:23). However, this SDA solution creates at least two problems. (1) How could Christ present His blood
and only dedicate part of the heavenly sanctuary? (2) Why did He not dedicate ALL of the heavenly sanctuary on the same day
as was done in the “patterned” reality of the earthly sanctuary?
Contrary to SDA doctrine, all three of the “original
dedications,” “re-dedications,” and “atonements” found in God’s Word are total
and not partial! In other words, if any one part of the sanctuary were defiled, then all
of it would be defiled! Therefore, the entire sanctuary, or Temple, was always cleansed at the same time! Again, no part of
the sanctuary could function unless all of it had been restored by cleansing.
Exodus 29:38-43 reveals yet another SDA inconsistency.
The “daily sacrifice” was offered, or restored, before the other dedications, anointings
or cleansings could proceed. By taking away the “daily sacrifice,” the entire sanctuary service was forced to
cease. Likewise, by first restoring the daily sacrifice through ritual cleansing and re-consecration, the entire sanctuary
could then be restored. Even on the Day of Atonement, the “daily sacrifice” never ceased and always
preceded (and followed) the other rituals. This means that the altar of burnt offering was used “first”
and “third” for the daily sacrifice even on the Day of Atonement. “First” for the evening (‘ereb)
daily sacrifice, “second” for the Day of Atonement cleansing and “third” for the morning (boqer)
Six: SDAs teach that the cleansing of the Most Holy Place in heaven is Christ’s final ministry phase which
only began there in 1844.
The biblical facts are clear: (1) The entire earthly sanctuary received cleansing on the Day of Atonement, not just
the Most Holy Place. (2) On the yearly Day of Atonement, the “daily sacrifice” had never ceased and was still
offered to begin the day. (3) Since the sacrificial blood on the Day of Atonement was brought into the Most Holy Place soon
after its being shed, then Christ followed this correct pattern.
However, the SDA error of restricting the Day of Atonement “cleansing” to the Most Holy Place is
absolutely necessary to fit their Investigative Judgment. Yet their own statements create even more confusion. With no explanation,
The S.D.A. Bible Dictionary, “Atonement, Day of,” reads (following the cleansing of the Most
Holy Place) “In this manner the holy place was cleansed, and atonement was made for the sins of the
people (Lev. 16:16). In a similar manner the altar was cleansed (verses 18, 19).” Also GC419. Here,
SDAs admit that, on the Day of Atonement, not only the Most Holy Place, but also the Holy Place and the altar of burnt offering
were “cleansed” with the blood of atonement! Therefore, whatever types of sins were (supposedly) required to be
cleansed from the earthly Most Holy Place were also required to be cleansed from both the outer Holy Place and the great altar
outside of the sanctuary proper.
Yet this admission contradicts their own doctrine in several ways: (1) As discussed previously, absolutely no
ministry could be performed in either the earthly (or heavenly) sanctuary until ALL of it had been restored after defilement.
(2) Since the cleansing of the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement was immediately followed by the cleansing of the Holy
Place and the great altar, the cleansing of these should be explained in SDA theology. (3) Christ could not have begun a ministry
in the heavenly sanctuary (in either room) unless the entire sanctuary had first been completely dedicated. Thus it makes
no sense to give the impression that Christ only moved from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in 1844. If one studies
the doctrine carefully, Christ would not have needed to cleanse any part of the sanctuary in 1844 because He had already been
ministering there since His ascension. SDAs fail miserably to follow their own pattern-fulfillment.
Seven: SDAs teach that Jesus did NOT enter the Most Holy
Place in the heavenly sanctuary and begin ministering there after His ascension. Therefore, by extension SDAs teach that the
“right hand of the Father” does not refer to the Most Holy Place.
With the lone exception of Seventh-day Adventism,
the Christian world, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, believes that, after Christ’s death and resurrection, Jesus
ascended into heaven to the throne of God corresponding to the Most Holy Place and sat down at the
right hand of the Father in the heavenly sanctuary. His sinless life, atoning death, burial, resurrection and ascension to
the throne of God fulfilled all of the types of the earthly sanctuary. He fulfilled the types of the many sacrificial animals,
the daily ministering priests and the high priest. He also fulfilled the types of the furnishings and furniture within the
holy place and most holy place. Having finished his work of atonement, Jesus “sat down” at the right hand of the
Father. See the chapter on “Rooms” for a full discussion of this subject. The Day of Atonement lasted one day
Enter content here