Chapter Four

DANIEL 8:8-14




Edited: 3-15-2018

Seventh-day Adventists teach that, on October 22, 1844, at the end of the 2300 “prophetic” year-days of Daniel 8:14, Jesus moved from the Holy Place into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. He then began His final phase of ministry, the Investigative Judgment, which was prefigured by the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement from Leviticus 16. This final ministry involves researching the books of heaven, beginning at Adam, in order to determine who among professed believers will qualify to be resurrected at Christ’s return. When this Investigative Judgment is complete, Jesus will return to earth.

The Investigative Judgment is the only Seventh-day Adventist doctrine which cannot be found elsewhere. It is the foundational doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism which gives reason for its very existence. This doctrine allowed them to accept William Miller’s logic for an 1844 event while completely changing his conclusions. It preceded its other distinct doctrines such as the Sabbath and health reform. It also forced SDAs to adopt their doctrine of conditional immortality. Otherwise, Seventh-day Adventists would merely be a mixture of Methodists (Arminian), Seventh-day (Sabbath-keeping) Baptists (adult immersion) and health reformers with a Jehovah Witness-like approach to the non-immortality of the soul.

                                HOW SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM BEGAN

Dan. 8:14 “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” KJV

Dan. 8:14 “In 164 B. C., after 2300 evening-mornings, the Hebrew sanctuary will be restored after being defiled in 171 B. C. (or 167 B. C.).” Interpretation accepted today by most denominations.

Dan. 8:14 “In 1843, 1810 years from A. D. 33, Jesus will return and destroy [cleanse] the earth [the sanctuary] by fire.”  William Miller’s and early Adventists’ most prominent interpretation is Daniel 8:14 “In 1844, 2300 years from 457 B. C., Jesus entered the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary and began investigating the records of all professed believers to determine who will be recreated — a ministry which removes [cleanses] the defilement which their sins caused to the heavenly sanctuary.” SDA Investigative Judgment.


In Daniel 8:14 Seventh-day Adventists have chosen the most controversial verse in the most controversial book of the entire Old Testament to find a reason for their existence. The book of Daniel is listed among the Writings and is not even among the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew canon. The author and date of Daniel are among the most challenged by liberal scholars who attempt to disprove that Daniel is even prophecy at all — instead of only being recent history. There is disagreement even among conservative scholars about the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the little horn of Daniel 8. Ellen G. White does not even discuss Daniel 8:9-13 in The Great Controversy. Theories range from Persia, the Maccabeans, pagan Rome, papal Rome and a future Antichrist. Daniel 8:14 has been infamous for radical interpretation throughout history.

In order for the Seventh-day Adventist explanation of Daniel 8:14 to be correct, all of the following presuppositions must be correct. If any of these presuppositions is wrong, then the entire argument must be discarded as false.

          One: The SDA explanation of 8:8-12 correctly leads up to 8:14.

          Two: The SDA explanation of 8:14 correctly answers the question of 8:13.

          Three: The sanctuary of 8:14 can only be in heaven.

          Four: The 2300 erev boqer of 8:14 could only be prophetic years.

          Five: The 2300 erev boqer of 8:14 could only begin in 457 B. C.

          Six: The 2300 days of 8:14 could only end in 1844.

          Seven: The cleansing of 8:14 can only refer to a Day of Atonement cleansing.

          Eight: Sacrificial blood carries sins into the sanctuary and defiles it.

          Nine: The earthly sanctuary became defiled when priests carried atoned-sin into it. The heavenly sanctuary became defiled when Jesus carried the atoned sin of believers into it. Jesus is the defiler of the heavenly sanctuary.

          Ten: The Day of Atonement pattern was not fulfilled at Calvary. Instead of being fulfilled in one literal day or one prophetic years, it has already taken many years for an Omniscient God to read the books of heaven.

          Eleven: The 1844 Day of Atonement is an exact pattern-fulfillment event.

Twelve: The heavenly sanctuary began being defiled with Adam and is still being defiled by Jesus as His blood continues to defile the heavenly sanctuary by bringing atoned-forgiven sins into it.

Thirteen: The Day of Atonement is an investigation of professed believers to determine who will be re-created from the annihilation of death.

DANIEL 8:8-12

Seventh-day Adventists gradually built their Investigative Judgment doctrine upon their unique interpretation of Daniel 8:14. Without Ellen G. White’s assistance, the S. D. A. Bible Commentary and Bible Dictionary attempt to place their interpretation of Daniel 8:14 upon the essential contextual link of Daniel 8:8-13. This makes 8:8 to 8:13 extremely important foundational texts which absolutely must be interpreted correctly. Again, it is important to realize that these links leading to 8:14 must all be correct in order for SDAs to even offer their interpretation of 8:14. Therefore, if 8:8 to 8:13 fail to withstand historical, contextual and theological challenges, then the SDA use of 8:14 should be rendered incorrect.

Dan. 8:8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great; and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

Dan. 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Greece; and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

Dan. 8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

Dan. 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

Dan. 11:4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven …

8:8 — SDAs teach that Daniel 8:8 does not refer to the four Greek kingdoms that replaced Alexander the Great’s empire. It only refers to the four directions of the wind, thus allowing 8:9 to refer to pagan Rome.

Historically, the great horn of 8:8 was replaced by four other Greek horns. Most commentaries, including SDAs, agree (1) that the he-goat was Greece, (2) that the leopard in 7:6 with four heads and four wings was also Greece and (3) that the great horn of 8:8 was Alexander the Great. The disagreement is over “for it,” “four notable ones” and “four winds.”

Most commentaries teach that the emphasis is (comparable to 7:6) to the four horns into which the Greek empire was split. These four horns of 8:8 and 8:22, like the four heads of 7:6, were “in place of” the broken horn. When Alexander died, his Greek kingdom was split into the four Greek-ruled kingdoms of Greece, Macedonia, Syria and Egypt.

The Greek third kingdom of brass in 2:39 is the leopard of 7:6 with four wings and four heads and the he-goat of 8:8 with four notable horns towards the four winds out of which came forth the little Greek horn. This division is also seen in Daniel 8:22 and 11:4. The Roman fourth kingdom of iron in 2:40 is the dreadful and exceedingly strong beast of 7:7-8 with iron teeth and ten horns — out of which came forth a different little Roman horn.

Although all conquerors have many similar characteristics, the little horn from 7:7-8 is not the same as the little horn of 8:9-12. Since Greece did not conquer Rome or the Italian peninsula, it is evident that Rome did not come “out of one of the four horns.” The little horn of chapter 8 is connected to the third kingdom of chapters 2 and 7 by “four.” Compare the four wings and four heads of the leopard in 7:6 with the four horns and four winds of the he-goat in 8:8 and 11:4. However, on the other hand, the little horn of 7:24 is connected to the fourth kingdom of both 2:40-44 and 7:19-20 by “iron” and “ten.”

SDAs disagree! They interpret the little horn as an entirely different kingdom (Rome) even though the text does not introduce another animal to replace the he-goat! Their interpretation is inconsistent with the new-animal-to-new-kingdom pattern followed in chapters seven and eight. By ignoring the connection between 8:8 and 11:4, they also deny the greatly detailed struggle between Greek-ruled Egypt and Greek-ruled Syria in Daniel 11. However, if SDAs were to admit error at this first foundation text of 8:8, then they would have to admit that everything else they built upon 8:8 (including 8:14) is also wrong!

Dan. 8:9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceeding great toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

8:9 — SDAs teach that the little horn of 8:9 is pagan Rome which came “out of one of the four winds” (or directions) rather than “out of one of the four horns.” Again, this is because pagan Rome did not emerge from any of the four Greek kingdoms which replaced Alexander.

Historically, the little horn of 8:9 was Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) who emerged from the Seleucid Greeks of Syria. Most commentaries say that “out of one of them” means “out of one of the four horns.” Although 11:4 equates “4 horns” with the “4 winds,” it is not in the context of the little horn.

The SDA argument is that pagan Rome was “exceeding great” in all directions of the compass while Antiochus IV eventually failed. However, the biblical perspective is from the viewpoint of the Jews. Although Alexander was historically “greater” than the Seleucids, the Seleucids were “exceeding great” in imposing Greek religion and thought on the Jews. Antiochus IV was “exceeding great” in causing Temple worship to cease for the first time since 515 B. C. when he erected an altar to Zeus inside it in 167 B.C. Again, if the SDA interpretation is wrong at this second foundational text of 8:9, then everything else that follows is also wrong.

Dan. 8:10 And it waxed great even to the host of heaven and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground and stamped upon them.

8:10 — SDAs teach that the “host” of 8:10 are primarily Jewish believers and, by extension Christians.

Historically, the “host” of 8:10 refers to Jews. “Host” is found in 8:10, 11, 12 and 13. Most commentaries interpret “host” and “stars” to refer to the Jewish people and their leaders who were persecuted by Antiochus IV between 171-164 B. C. However, SDAs interpret “host” as Christians persecuted by, first, the Roman Empire, and, second, by the Roman Catholic Church.

Dan. 8:11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

8:11 SDAs teach that the “prince” of 8:11 is Jesus Christ. Therefore, from 8:8 to 8:11, the little horn is pagan Rome who crucified Christ, “the prince” and pagan Rome who caused the “daily sacrifice” to cease when the Jerusalem Temple was defiled and destroyed in A. D. 70.

Historically, the “prince” of 8:11 was the high priest, Onias III, who was deposed in 176 B. C. by Antiochus IV. Antiochus caused the literal daily sacrifices of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem to cease when he defiled the Temple by offering a pig on its great altar on December 25, 167 B.C. — thus inciting a successful war of independence and requiring a cleansing of the sanctuary.

Dan. 8:12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.

Dan. 8:23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.


8:12 — SDAs teach that Daniel 8:12 describes the Roman Catholic Church which defiled the heavenly sanctuary by replacing its ministry with its confessional and other doctrines. In verse 12 the little horn of the papacy sets up the abomination of desolation, tramples down the sanctuary and takes away its sacrificial system — creating a need for cleansing of the sanctuary.

Historically, Daniel 8:12 describes the desolation of the Jerusalem Temple by Antiochus IV of the Greek Syrian Seleucids. Its cleansing is recorded in Maccabees and was not a Day of Atonement-type cleansing.

Dan. 8:13 How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? KJV

Dan. 8:13 How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled ‑ the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?  NIV

Dan. 8:13 How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled? NASU

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: In one of the world’s most absurd theological switches, SDAs

(1) Changed the PLACE of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:9-12 from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem into God’s dwelling place in heaven.

(2) Changed the WHO of the defiler from the little horn of pagan and papal Rome in Daniel 8:9-12 into Jesus Christ Himself who “transfers” SIN into the heavenly sanctuary via his sinless blood!

(3) Changed the RECIPIENT of the little horn’s defilement from God’s saints to the sanctuary itself. God’s dwelling place, the Most Holy Place in the Universe, is now defiled by Jesus Christ Himself.

(4) Changed the AGENT of defilement from the armies of the little horn o pagan Rome and the theology of papal Rome to the transferred atoned SINs of believers. In other words, the recipient of pagan and papal Rome’s defilement from 8:9-12 is now the agent of defilement by Jesus Christ in 8:14 (GC18-421).

(5) Changed the REASON for cleansing the sanctuary from the rebuilding of the temple Rome destroyed in A.D. 70 and the restoration of Christ’s ministry by refuting papal Rome’s confessional theology (Dan 8:9-12) into the removal of the sins of believers from the sanctuary in heaven from 8:14 (GC21-422).

(6) The inadvertent but evident CONSEQUENCE of these changes makes Jesus Christ a worst “antichrist little horn” than pagan and papal Rome combined! Whereas they did not literally and physically defile the heavenly sanctuary, SDAs almost boast about their evidence that He did! — that is why He must now cleanse it from the defilement He brought into it.

          The questions asked in 8:13 and answered in 8:14 have no relevance to the immediate context of 8:8 to 8:12:

SDAs teach that the answer given in 8:14 to the question of 8:13 is that, “In 1844, Jesus opened the books of heaven which contain the names and deeds of all who professed faith and began judging, or investigating, only professed believers to determine who is worthy of being re-created from annihilation” when He returns.

(1) Instead of answering how long before the vision of 8:8-12 would end, the SDA answer tells when Christ would only begin to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary in 1844.

(2) Instead of answering when the daily sacrifice from 8:11 would be restored, the SDA answer tells when the final phase of Christ’s ministry will begin in heaven (although He has continued a daily ministry in heaven since His ascension). This challenges the omniscience of God.

(3) Instead of answering when the little horn of 8:10-12 will stop persecuting the saints, the SDA answer tells us when Christ will begin blotting out the sins of the saints which have caused the desolation of the heavenly sanctuary since Adam’s first sin. Instead of being a judgment of the little horn, the Investigative Judgment is a judgment of professed believers.

(4) Instead of answering when the sanctuary will finally be cleansed from defilement by the little horn in 8:10-12, the SDA answer tells us when Christ will move from one room into another in the heavenly sanctuary and finally begin cleansing the Most Holy Place. it requires cleansing from the sins of God’s own people.

(5) Instead of answering when the host, (believers) will stop being persecuted by the little horn, the SDA answer blames the desolation of the heavenly sanctuary on the atoned and confessed sins of the host. They fail to blame the desolation by Jesus Himself who (according to their theology) literally brings atoned sins into the sanctuary and defiles it.

(6) Instead of focusing of WHO defiled the heavenly sanctuary in 8:14, SDAs focus on WHO will cleanse it. They carefully use the words “transfer sin” instead of “defile” although them mean the same in the context of 8:9-13.

Therefore, incredible as it sounds, one must conclude that the SDA answer given in 8:14 to the question asked in 8:13 has absolutely nothing to do with its context in 8:8-12!!

Historically, the answer to the question asked in 8:13 provided in most commentaries is very simply that, “After 2300 evening and morning cycles, in 164 B. C., the Jews won their civil war against Antiochus IV, re-dedicated the sanctuary and gained their independence for the first time since 586 B. C.” What a tremendously important historical event! The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was cleansedrestored, or rededicated to resume offering the daily sacrifices. Today this restoration is still celebrated by the Jewish holy day of Hanukkah, meaning dedication. Also, this was a normal cleansing and not a special Day of Atonement-type cleansing!

The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Dictionary, 1960, “little horn,” p 656. “The little horn of chapter eight ‘takes away the daily sacrifice’ and casts down the ‘place of his sanctuary’ (v11), —— but after a period called ‘two thousand and three hundred days’ (v14) the sanctuary is ‘cleansed’ (KJV), or ‘restored to its rightful state’ (RSV.”

Notice the six dashes are added for emphasis.

Prior to the dashes SDAs teach that the “little horn” of Daniel 7 and 8 is the pagan Roman Empire which became the papal Roman Empire. Pagan Rome literally defiled the literal Temple in Jerusalem in A. D. 70. Papal Rome defiled the Church with its substitute religion and confessional.

Following the six dashes, SDAs teach that the sanctuary is in heaven and was defiled by Jesus Who brought sin into the both sanctuaries via atoned blood of the saints. This simple logic makes Jesus Christ an even worse little horn than pagan and papal Rome combined.

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, 1960, “abomination,” p7. “The two systems are mutually exclusive, since the setting up of the abomination of desolation is accompanied by the trampling down of the sanctuary (8:13) and by the taking away of the ‘daily’ (11:31; 12:11). This substitute system of worship is abominable, or detestable, because it stands in implacable opposition to that of the true God. It desolates the sanctuary by replacing its services with its own. This turn of events naturally appalls worshipers of the true God. In the symbolic prophecy of Daniel 8, it is the power represented by the “little horn” that terminates the worship of the true God in His sanctuary and institutes a false system of worship in its place (8:9-12). At the end of “two thousand and three hundred days” the sanctuary was to be cleansed (v 14) by the restoration of the worship of the true God.” [SDAs referring to Roman Catholicism]

Inventing a defiled heavenly sanctuary forces the necessity for an Investigative Judgment restoration. This interpretation is reached by working backwards from their peculiar interpretation of 8:14. Otherwise, there is absolutely no connection between the SDA “daily” implications of 8:11, 13 and 14. While SDAs disqualify Antiochus IV because he did not literally “cast down the sanctuary,” neither is there a literal casting down in their own extended explanations either by the papal confessional or by the sins of believers.

In conclusion it is utter nonsense to condemn and elaborate about how evil pagan and papal Rome were for defiling the sancuary as the little horn when Jesus defiled it even more by literally carrying sins into God’s Most Holy presence in heaven. Yet Ellen G. White very clearly teaches Christ’s sin-transfer-defilement in The Great Controversy, pages 418-422. Furthermore, since SDAs teach that the Day of Atonement was prophetic time, using their own hermeneutic, the Day of Atonement should have only taken one year — not over 170 thus far.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD