Jesus Is the Anti-Christ of Daniel 8:14:
Seventh-day Adventist Doctrine
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

One of the most bizarre consequences of Adventism’s efforts to explain their investigative judgment doctrine is that they make Jesus the one who defiles heaven. According to their explanation of their central proof text, Daniel 8:14, Jesus’ actions are worse than are those of the little horn described in Daniel 8:9–12.

Adventism reaches this horrifying conclusion by using William Miller’s faulty principles of interpretation: they, as did Miller, disconnect Daniel 8:9-12 from Daniel 8:14. Re-connecting the context of these verses reveals their greatest error.

Here’s how they do it

Step one: Seventh-day Adventists teach that pagan Rome is the little horn of Daniel 8:9-10 which defiled the literal sanctuary on earth by destroying the temple in Jerusalem in A. D. 70. Thus, according to Adventism, Titus and his armies, fulfilled the destructive activities of that little horn, unleashing what Daniel 9:26 calls “desolations” when they destroyed the earthly temple.

Step two: Having established that pagan Rome is the little horn of Daniel 8:9–10 which defiled the earthly sanctuary, Adventism then morphs its interpretation of the passage. In fact, they extensively teach that papal Rome is the little horn of Daniel 8:11-12 which “cast down” and defiled the heavenly sanctuary. They identify the “prince of the host” in verse 11 as Jesus, and they teach that papal Rome essentially cast Jesus out of the heavenly sanctuary by replacing His heavenly ministry with their false worship involving the confessional, Sunday worship and their mass.

Context, of course, demands that the little horn of verses 9–10 is the same power as the little horn of verses 11–12, but Adventism makes them different. In fact, this supposed merging of pagan Rome into papal Rome is the major focus of Adventist evangelists when they preach on their doctrine of the cleansing of the sanctuary. According to the Adventist interpretation of Daniel 7:25 and 8:11-13, of the “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10, and of the beast rising out of the sea in Revelation 13:1-9, the little horn of pagan Rome merged into the little horn of papal Rome. Thus, papal Rome’s supposed defilement of the heavenly sanctuary by the practices of false Sunday worship, their mass and their confessional are identified as the “transgression of desolation” in Daniel 8:13 and the “overspreading of abominations” in Daniel 9:27. If this interpretation is correct, the heavenly sanctuary has very definitely been defiled and very definitely requires cleansing.

Adventist Validating Documents

This confusing interpretation of Daniel 8:9–12 is endorsed in Adventist doctrinal documents. For example, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary says this: “The little horn of chapter eight [papal Rome] ‘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’ [by Jesus]” (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, 1960, “little horn,” page 656).

Further, the Adventist Bible Dictionary says this under the entry “abomination”: “The two systems [pagan and papal Rome] 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” (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, 1960, “abomination,” p7).

Notice that the “two systems” are pagan and papal Rome. According to this explanation, Rome defiles the sanctuary and introduces false worship, and the “restoration of true worship” implies embracing Adventist doctrines—including Adventism’s requirement to worship on the seventh day and to understand the Adventist explanation of Jesus’ supposed ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.

One may wonder how this supposed Romish desecration the sanctuary can possibly be cleansed. The Adventist answer to that question is revealed by an egregious error in interpreting Daniel 8:13.

The Pivotal Text

In order to support their unique doctrine of an investigative judgment, Adventists wrongly interpret Daniel 8:13, disconnecting it from its context in the same way William Miller did. In order to see clearly how Adventist interpretation is skewed, let us look at the whole passage of Daniel 8:9–14. We will use the KJV since that version is the one that most clearly supports the Adventist argument, and we highlight the pivotal text, verse 13:

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]. 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. 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. 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 practised, and prospered. 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain [saint] which spake, 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? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Contextually, if Daniel 8:13 refers to the destructions of the sanctuary and its service described in 8:9-12, then 8:14 must also refer to that same sanctuary which was defiled by the little horn in verses 9–12. In other words, given the context of the passage, Daniel 8:14 defines the time when the sanctuary defiled by the little horn would be cleansed.

On the other hand, Adventism disconnects verse 13 from verses 9–12. It interprets verses 13 and 14 as a discreet unit that has nothing to do with the details of verses 9–12. Adventist interpretation, therefore, insists that the sanctuary and the cleansing mentioned in 8:14 have no relationship at all with the little horn of Daniel 8:9–12 and the supposed desecrations done by pagan and papal Rome.

It is easy to see that the Adventist interpretation is utter confusion. The context and the language of the passage are clear: Daniel 8:9–14 is a complete unit of thought. Grammar dictates that the sanctuary that will be cleansed (v. 14) is the same sanctuary that was desecrated by the little horn named in verse 9. In fact, all of the desecrations described in 9–12 are done by the same little horn and not by two different ones that merged and morphed.

Finally, if the defiling of the sanctuary described in 8:9-12 has no relationship to the cleansing from defilement promised in 8:14, then the discussion of 8:9-12 has no purpose but is irrelevant to the passage. Because these verses actually exist together, however, we have to read them as components of the same narrative. In context, verses 9–14 convey a prophecy, and each verse builds upon the previous one. They cannot be separated from each other; the rules of grammar clearly dictate that 8:14 describes the cleansing of the sanctuary defiled by one single power as detailed in verses 9–12.

False Doctrinal Foundation

Finally, after misinterpreting the little horn of Daniel 8:9–12 and actually giving it two separate identities, and after dissecting the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 from the defiled sanctuary of Daniel 8:9–12, Seventh-day Adventists make their most horrifying declaration of all. At first glance the blasphemy is almost hidden: they proudly proclaim that Jesus Christ is the wonderful hero who first entered the heavenly Most Holy Place in 1844 to begin cleaning the heavenly sanctuary. They ignore the fact that this supposed 1844 intervention contradicts the biblical statements that Jesus ascended straight to His Father and sat down (Heb. 10:11–14).

Upon a second glance, it is clear that this Adventist interpretation is not only theologically heretical, but it is also contextually and grammatically impossible. In fact, the hermeneutical twisting Adventists perform in order to get from 8:9-12 to 8:14 is incredible, bizarre, and totally illogical.

For the sake of argument, let us assume the Adventist interpretation of the little horn is correct. In other words, suppose that it does start out as pagan Rome and merges into papal Rome, destroying first the temple in Jerusalem and then defiling true worship with the papal mass, Sunday worship, and the confessional while persecuting believers on earth. Even if this scenario were true, the cleansing and the sanctuary in verse 14 would still have to be related to the defilements of verses 9–12.

Instead, however, Adventists make a disorienting “about face”, a 180-degree turn, and they blame the defilement of the sanctuary that needs to be cleansed on the atoned sins of believers! The Adventists’ prophetess Ellen White explains this blasphemy in her book The Great Controversy on pages 417- 422.

Significantly, in the 719 pages of The Great Controversy, Ellen White refers to the “papal little horn” of Daniel 7:25 four times, but never does she mention the little horn of Daniel 8:9–13 defiling the sanctuary that must be cleansed as stated in Daniel 8:14. The prophetess who describes this entire Adventist sanctuary doctrine never connects the central proof text, Daniel 8:14, with the verses preceding it.

Also significantly, Daniel 8:15–23 explains the vision of verses 9–14, and the angel speaking to Daniel identifies the little horn in this chapter as arising from Greece, not from Rome. Adventism has taken a proof text completely out of its context and created a false doctrine which cannot be made to harmonize with the Bible or with history.

Investigative Judgment Destroyed

We begin to understand Adventist theology by asking one simple question—a question which destroys Adventist logic, the investigative judgment, and the reason for the existence of Seventh-day Adventism: “Who brought the atoned sins of believers into the heavenly sanctuary to defile it?”

According to Adventism, Jesus has been applying His blood to the confessed sins of believers since October 22, 1844. Those sins had been carried to heaven away from professed believers by Jesus’ blood when they “accepted Jesus”. Once those are atoned, they remain in heaven, thus defiling the heavenly sanctuary, until the investigative judgment has ended. This supposed defilement of the heavenly sanctuary brought about by the atoned sins of believers is what must be cleansed. For Adventists, Daniel 8:14 is describing literal desecration of the heavenly sanctuary,


Like it or not, admit it or not, Seventh-day Adventist teaching portrays Jesus Christ as the worst of their three defilers of the sanctuary. First, they teach that pagan Rome defiled the earthly sanctuary and then papal Rome defiled true worship with its false worship. Finally they say Jesus entered heaven in 1844 to establish true worship (according to Adventism), to restore the law, and to finish His atonement and cleanse the defiled sanctuary.


Adventism further claims that this supposed sprinkling of Jesus’ blood carrying believers’ sins defiles the heavenly sanctuary. It is this defilement of heaven caused by the presence of believers’ sins carried there by Jesus’ blood that Adventism says must be cleansed.

[[The error is that sacrificial blood defiles. In reality only un-atoned sins can defile. The cleansing was from residual un-confessed and un-atoned sins of ignorance which remain dt the end of the year – similar to the last words of First John 1:9. The Most Holy sacrificial atonement blood was brought into the sanctuary as a “receipt:” or “proof of purchase” that the sin had been atoned (Jer 17:1). I have an extensive article on this subject.]]

This mechanism reveals the dark core of Adventist theology. It sounds clever to equate Jesus’ heavenly ministry with the earthly blood-sprinkling of the levitical Day of Atonement, but the comparison is false. Jesus completed the Day of Atonement sacrifice and atonement on the cross on Calvary. To say He transfers sins from believers into heaven where they actually defile the presence of God is utter blasphemy. Jesus does not participate in any way with defiling heaven, yet Adventist theology says He does. Ironically, the investigative judgment of Seventh-day Adventism—it’s only unique doctrine—is actually its greatest error. This error was established by their completely separating Daniel 8:14 from its context.

While most Adventists know that their doctrines teach that the atoned sins of the saved defile the heavenly sanctuary, and while they also know those sins supposedly were carried into heaven by Jesus’ blood, they have ignored the obvious question: who actually defiled heaven? According to Adventist theology, the One they present as the hero cleansing the sanctuary is also the villain who defiled it!
The horror of facing fully the implications of teaching that Jesus’ blood in any way transfers sin or defilement is shocking. This teaching is anti-Christ, and Adventism carries this detail at the heart of its doctrine of salvation. Nevertheless, Adventist evangelists continue to hide the fact that the one who actually defiles heaven necessitating the cleansing of Daniel 8:14 does a worse thing even than the terrible deeds they claim pagan and papal Rome did in verses 9–12. In fact, the Jesus Adventism teaches is a different Jesus from the one revealed in Scripture.
I urge all Seventh-day Adventists to read carefully every word of chapter 23 in The Great Controversy, What is the sanctuary?, pages 409-422. The reality of how the sanctuary doctrine “works” is clearly revealed.
Then, after seeing what Ellen White has established as Adventist “truth”, I urge all Seventh-day Adventists to read carefully every word of the book of Hebrews. The Bible itself reveals the fallacy of the Adventist sanctuary doctrine.
The truth is, Jesus’ blood never defiles; it always cleanses. It is impossible for Jesus to participate in defilement or desecration in any sense!

[[The chart is clear enough for a child to grasp. It points out the WHO, WHAT and HOW of 8:9-1.

The ritual of the Day of Atonement is identical to the daily ritual with two exceptions.
Both involve confessed sins of ignorance and accident.
Both involve placing hands and confessing over sacrificial animals.
The difference is that the daily was personal while the yearly was congregational. For the first 9 days of the tenth month every Israelite was commanded to “afflict his soul” — to try to remember every unconfessed sin and to confess it. He was about to be judged on the 10th day. The confessed and atoned sins did not defile. Only those still forgotten defiled and required cleansing (Lev 16:29, 31; 23:27, 32).
It is absurd to teach that the daily defiled while the yearly cleans.