The Sanctuary in Daniel

When taught as a unit, Seventh-day Adventists indirectly teach that Christ is the Anti-Christ little horn of Daniel 8:9-14 who defiled the sanctuary by transferring sin into it. See page one and chapter 4.


Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Spell-checked 11-2015

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

Dan. 8:14 For 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

Dan. 8:14 It 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.

The 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.

Two: “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 and 9.


Five: “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.

Six: “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