SANCTUARY IN DANIEL
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
Dan. 8:14 Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. KJV
2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored. NASU
Dan. 8:14 For two thousand
and three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state. RSV
will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated. NIV
Dan. 8:14 ‘Ad (until) ereb-boqer (evening morning) al-pa-yim
(2000) u-shlosh (and 3) mee-ot (hundred) wa-ni-tsa-daq (then shall be made righteous) qo-desh
(sanctuary; holy place). Hebrew transliteration.
SDAs teach that the sanctuary of 8:14 is in heaven. This conclusion is forced onto (at least) Daniel 8:14 by
their assumption that the 2300 days were prophetic years that ended in 1844. Since there was no Jerusalem Temple in 1844, and, since the previous Adventist assumption that the earth itself was the sanctuary had proven wrong, then
the heavenly sanctuary became the alternative explanation of 8:14.
English word, sanctuary, occurs six times in the book of Daniel:
One: “And the place of his sanctuary [miq-dash] was
cast down” (8:11). Most scholars, including
SDAs, agree that this is a reference to the Jerusalem Temple. However, while most point
to Antiochus IV in 171 B. C. or 167 B. C., SDAs teach that it is the Jerusalem Temple which was
cast down by pagan Rome in A. D. 70.
“How long ....to give both the sanctuary [qo-desh] and the
host to be trodden under foot?” (8:13).
Since its antecedent in 8:11 (SDAs agree)
refers to the Jerusalem Temple, then one would expect no disagreement. However, because SDAs change
the little horn of 8:10-11 from pagan Rome to papal Rome in 8:12, they
ignore their own contextual meaning from 8:11,
skip the papacy here, and interpret 8:13 to
be the heavenly sanctuary which (they say) has been trodden under by the sins of believers.
Three: “Then shall the sanctuary [qo-desh] be cleansed” (8:14). SDAs are the only group which has ever said that
this refers to the heavenly sanctuary. During the height of the historical school of biblical interpretation, there were many
different speculations about the meaning of Daniel 8:14. Some predicted the re-building of the Jerusalem Temple at the end of the 2300 prophetic days, while others taught that the sanctuary was the earth.
Four: “Shine upon your sanctuary [miq-dash] that is desolate” (9:7). Even SDAs
concede that this is a reference to the Jerusalem Temple which had been destroyed in
586 B. C. by the Babylonians. In chapter 9, while trying to understand the vision of chapter 8, Daniel was in deep remorse
over the continuing ruins of the Jerusalem
Temple and was praying for its restoration.
Notice that Daniel was not praying for the restoration of a defiled heavenly sanctuary.
Since chapter 8 ends with Daniel saying “I was astonished at the vision, but none understood
it,” and chapter 9 begins with Daniel praying for the restoration of the Jerusalem sanctuary, then it is difficult to miss the continuity between the sanctuary texts of Daniel 8
“Destroy the city and the sanctuary [qo-desh]” (9:26). God’s answer to Daniel's prayer about the vision of 8:27 and
the sanctuary in 9:7 was not what he had expected -- yet another desolation! Since
chapter 9 is (at the very least) a partial answer to Daniel’s question about the vision of chapter 8 (and even if the
SDA doctrine were correct), then one would expect to discover some mention of their defiled heavenly sanctuary in the answer
given in chapter 9.
“Shall pollute the sanctuary [miq-desh]” (11:31), is probably another reference to Antiochus IV which the SDAs attribute to pagan and papal Rome.
Conclusion: Most commentaries, historians and common sense leads even the average reader of Daniel to conclude that the Jerusalem sanctuary was being discussed in all six of the
above texts. Both the end of chapter 8 and Daniel’s anguishing prayer at the beginning of chapter 9 focus on restoration
of the earthly sanctuary for national Israel.
The SDA teaching that 3 of the 6 sanctuary texts in Daniel refer to the heavenly sanctuary comes
from their interpretation of the 2300 days and their false interpretation of cleansed and not from the context, history
and theology of chapter 8.