Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Daniel 8:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

One saint speaking, and another saint said - One angel asked another how long the sanctuary was to be trodden down?

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Then I heard one saint speaking - One holy one. The vision was now ended, and the prophet represents himself now as hearing earnest inquiries as to the length of time during which this desolation was to continue. This conversation, or these inquiries, he represents himself as hearing among those whom he calls “saints” - or holy ones - קדשׁ qâdôsh This word might refer to a saint on earth, or to an angel - to any holy being. As one of these, however, was able to explain the vision, and to tell how long the desolation was to continue, it is more natural to refer it to angels. So Lengerke understands it. The representation is, that one holy one, or angel, was heard by Daniel speaking on this subject, but nothing is recorded of what he said. It is implied only that he was conversing about the desolations that were to come upon the holy city and the people of God. To him thus speaking, and who is introduced as having power to explain it, another holy one approaches, and asks how long this state of things was to continue. The answer to this question Daniel 8:14 is made, not to the one who made the inquiry, but to Daniel, evidently that it might be recorded. Daniel does not say where this vision occurred - whether in heaven or on earth. It was so near to him, however, that he could hear what was said.

And another saint - Another holy one - probably an angel. If so, we may conclude, what is in itself every way probable, that one angel has more knowledge than another, or that things are communicated to some which are not to others.

Unto that certain saint which spake - Margin, Palmoni, or, the numberer of secrets, or, the wondeful numberer. The Hebrew word, פלמוני palemônı̂y occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. The similar form, פלני pelonı̂y occurs in Rth 4:1 , “Ho, such a one, turn aside;” in 1 Samuel 21:2, “appointed my servants to such and such a place;” and 2 Kings 6:8, “In such and such a place.” The Italic words denote the corresponding Hebrew word. The word, according to Gesenius, means some one, a certain one; in Arabic, one who is distinct or definite, whom one points out as with the finger, and not by name. It is derived from an obsolete noun, פלון pâlôn from the verb פלה pâlâh to distinguish, and is united commonly with the word אלמני 'alemonı̂y - meaning, properly, one concealed or unknown. It is language, therefore, which would be properly addressed to an unknown person with whom we would desire to speak, or whom we would designate by the finger, or in some such way, without being able to call the name. Thus applied in the passage here, it means that Daniel did not know the names of the persons thus speaking, but simply saw that one was speaking to another. He had no other way of designating or distinguishing them than by applying a term which was commonly used of a stranger when one wished to address him, or to point him out, or to call him to him. There is no foundation in the word for the meaning suggested in the margin. Theodotion does not attempt to translate the word, but retains it - φελμουνὶ phelmouni - Phelmouni. The Latin Vulgate well expresses the meaning, dixit unus sanctus alteri nescio loquenti. The full sense is undoubtedly conveyed by the two ideas,

(a) that the one referred to was unknown by name, and

(b) that he wished to designate him in some way, or to point him out.

How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice? - How long is what is designed to be represented by the vision to continue; that is, how long in fact will the offering of the daily sacrifice in the temple be suspended?

And the transgression of desolation - Margin, making desolate. That is, the act of iniquity on the part of Antiochus producing such desolation in the holy city and the temple - show long is that to continue?

To give both the sanctuary - The temple; the holy place where God dwelt by a visible symbol, and where he was worshipped.

And the host - The people of God - the Jewish people.

To be trodden under foot - To be utterly despised and prostrated - as anything which is trodden under our feet.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 156

Verse 13

The time. These two verses close the vision proper of chapter 8; and they introduce the one remaining point which of all others would naturally be of the most absorbing interest to the prophet and to all the church; namely, the time the desolating powers previously brought to view were to continue. How long shall they continue their course of oppression against God's people, and of blasphemy against high Heaven? Daniel, if time had been given, might perhaps have asked this question himself, but God is ever ready to anticipate our wants, and sometimes to answer even before we ask. Hence two celestial beings appear upon the scene, holding a conversation, in the hearing of the prophet, upon this question which it is so important that the church should understand. Daniel heard one saint speaking. What this saint spoke at this time we are not informed; but there must have been something either in the matter or the manner of this speaking which made a deep impression upon the mind of Daniel, inasmuch as he uses it in the very next sentence as a designating title, calling the angel “that certain saint which spake.” He may have spoken something of the same nature as that which the seven thunders of the Apocalypse uttered (Revelation 10:3), and which, for some good reason, John was restrained from writing. But another saint asked this one that spake an important question: How long the vision? and both the question and the answer are placed upon record, which is prima-facie evidence that this is a matter which it was designed that the church should understand. And this view is further confirmed by the fact that the angel did not ask this question for his own information, inasmuch as the answer was addressed to Daniel, as the one whom it chiefly concerned, and for whose information it was given. “And he said unto me,” said Daniel, recording the answer to the angel's question, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”DAR 156.3

The daily sacrifice. We have proof in verse 13 that sacrifice is the wrong word to be supplied in connection with the word daily. If the daily sacrifice of the Jewish service is here meant, or, in other words, the taking away of that sacrifice, as some suppose, which sacrifice was at a certain point of time taken away, there would be no propriety in the question, How long the vision concerning it? This question evidently implies that those agents or events to which the vision relates, occupy a long series of years. Continuance of time is the central idea. And the whole time of the vision is filled by what is here called the daily and the transgression of desolation. Hence the daily cannot be the daily sacrifice of the Jews, the taking away of which, when the time came for it, occupied comparatively but an instant of time. It must denote something which occupies a series of years.DAR 157.1

The word here rendered daily occurs in the Old Testament, according to the Hebrew Concordance, one hundred and two times, and is, in the great majority of instances, rendered continual or continually. The idea of sacrifice does not attach to the word at all. Nor is there any word in the text which signifies sacrifice; that is wholly a supplied word, the translators putting in that word which their understanding of the text seemed to demand. But they evidently entertained an erroneous view, the sacrifices of the Jews not being referred to at all. It appears therefore more in accordance with both the construction and the context, to suppose that the word daily refers to a desolating power, like the “transgression of desolation,” with which it is connected. Then we have two desolating powers, which for a long period oppress, or desolate the church. The Hebrew, ????????? ??????????? ??????, justifies this construction; the last word, ?????? , desolation, having a common relation to the two preceding nouns, the perpetual and the transgression, which are connected by the conjunction and. Literally, it may be rendered, “How long the vision [concerning] the continuance and the transgression of desolation?” the word desolation being related to both continuance and transgression, as though it were expressed in full, thus: “The continuance of desolation and the transgression of desolation.” By the “continuance of desolation,” or the perpetual desolation, we must understand that paganism, through all its long history, is meant; and by “the transgression of desolation” is meant the papacy. The phrase describing this latter power is stronger than that used to describe paganism. It is the transgression (or rebellion, as the word also means) of desolation; as though under this period of the history of the church the desolating power had rebelled against all restraint previously imposed upon it.DAR 157.2

From a religious point of view, the world has presented only these two phases of opposition against the Lord's work in the earth. Hence although three earthly governments are introduced in the prophecy as oppressors of the church, they are here ranged under two heads; “the daily,” and the “transgression of desolation.” Medo-Persia was pagan; Grecia was pagan; Rome in its first phase was pagan; these all were embraced in the “daily.” Then comes the papal form, — the “transgression of desolation” — a marvel of craft and cunning, an incarnation of fiendish blood-thirstiness and cruelty. No wonder the cry has gone up from suffering martyrs, from age to age, How long, O Lord, how long? And no wonder the Lord, in order that hope might not wholly die out of the hearts of his down-trodden, waiting people, has lifted before them the vail of futurity, showing them the consecutive events of the world's history, till all these persecuting powers shall meet an utter and everlasting destruction, and giving them glimpses beyond, of the unfading glories of their eternal inheritance.DAR 158.1

The Lord's eye is upon his people. The furnace will be heated no hotter than necessary to consume the dross. It is through much tribulation we are to enter the kingdom; and the word tribulation is from tribulum, a threshing sledge. Blow after blow must be laid upon us; till all the wheat is beaten free from the chaff, and we are made fit for the heavenly garner. But not a kernel of wheat shall be lost. Says the Lord to his people, Ye are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. In his eyes there is nothing else on the earth of consequence or importance. Hence the peculiar question here asked, How long the vision respecting the daily and the transgression of desolation? Concerning what? — the glory of earthly kingdoms? the skill of renowned warriors? the fame of mighty conquerors? the greatness of human empire?DAR 159.1

No; but concerning the sanctuary and the host, the people and worship of the Most High. How long shall they be trodden under foot? Here is where all Heaven's interest and sympathy are enlisted. He who touches the people of God, touches not mere mortals, weak and helpless, but Omnipotence; he opens an account which must be settled at the bar of Heaven. And soon all these accounts will be adjusted, the iron heel of oppression will itself be crushed, and a people will be brought out of the furnace prepared to shine as the stars forever and ever. To be one who is an object of interest to heavenly beings, one whom the providence of God is engaged to preserve while here, and crown with immortality hereafter — what an exalted position! How much higher than that of any king, president, or potentate of earth? Reader, are you one of the number?DAR 159.2

Respecting the 2300 days, introduced for the first time in verse 14, there are no data in this chapter from which to determine their commencement and close, or tell what portion of the world's history they cover. It is necessary, therefore, for the present, to pass them by. Let the reader be assured, however, that we are not left in any uncertainty concerning those days. The declaration respecting them is a part of a revelation which is given for the instruction of the people of God, and is consequently to be understood. They are spoken of in the midst of a prophecy which the angel Gabriel was commanded to make Daniel understand; and it may be safely assumed that Gabriel somewhere carried out this instruction. It will accordingly be found that the mystery which hangs over these days in this chapter, is dispelled in the next.DAR 159.3

The sanctuary. Connected with the 2300 days is another subject of equal importance, which now presents itself for consideration; namely, the sanctuary; and with this is also connected the subject of its cleansing. An examination of these subjects, will reveal the importance of having an understanding of the commencement and termination of the 2300 days, that we may know when the great event called “the cleansing of the sanctuary” is to transpire; for all the inhabitants of the earth, as will in due time appear, have a personal interest in that solemn work.DAR 160.1

Several objects have been claimed by different ones as the sanctuary here mentioned: (1) The earth; (2) The land of Canaan; (3) The church; (4) The sanctuary, the “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man,” which is “in the heavens,” and of which the Jewish tabernacle was a type, pattern, or figure. Hebrews 8:1, 2; 9:23, 24. These conflicting claims must be decided by the Scriptures; and fortunately the testimony is neither meager nor ambiguous.DAR 160.2

1. Is the earth the sanctuary? The word sanctuary occurs in the Old and New Testaments one hundred and forty-four times, and from the definitions of lexicographers, and its use in the Bible, we learn that it is used to signify a holy or sacred place, a dwelling-place for the Most High. If, therefore, the earth is the sanctuary, it must answer to this definition; but what single characteristic pertaining to this earth is found which will satisfy the definition? It is neither a holy nor a sacred place, nor is it a dwelling-place for the Most High. It has no mark of distinction, except as being a revolted planet, marred by sin, scarred and withered by the curse. Moreover, it is nowhere in all the Scriptures called the sanctuary. Only one text can be produced in favor of this view, and that only by an uncritical application. Isaiah 60:13 says: “The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.” This language undoubtedly refers to the new earth; but even that is not called the sanctuary, but only the “place” of the sanctuary, just as it is called “the place” of the Lord's feet; an expression which probably denotes the continual presence of God with his people, as it was revealed to John when it was said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3. All that can be said of the earth, therefore, is, that when renewed, it will be the place where the sanctuary of God will be located. It can present not a shadow of a claim to being the sanctuary at the present time, or the sanctuary of the prophecy.DAR 160.3

2. Is the land of Canaan the sanctuary? So far as we may be governed by the definition of the word, it can present no better claim than the earth to that distinction. If we inquire where in the Bible it is called the sanctuary, a few texts are brought forward which seem to be supposed by some to furnish the requisite testimony. The first of these is Exodus 15:17. Moses, in his song of triumph and praise to God after the passage of the Red Sea, exclaimed: “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.” A writer who urges this text, says, “I ask the reader to pause, and examine and settle the question most distinctly, before he goes further, What is the sanctuary here spoken of?” But it would be far safer for the reader not to attempt to settle the question definitely from this one isolated text before comparing it with other scriptures. Moses here speaks in anticipation. His language is a prediction of what God would do for his people. Let us see how it was accomplished. If we find, in the fulfilment, that the land in which they were planted is called the sanctuary, it will greatly strengthen the claim that is based upon this text. If, on the other hand, we find a plain distinction drawn between the land and the sanctuary, then Exodus 15:17 must be interpreted accordingly. We turn to David, who records as a matter of history what Moses uttered as a matter of prophecy. Psalms 78:53, 54. The subject of the psalmist here, is the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian servitude, and their establishment in the promised land; and he says: “And he [God] led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.” The “mountain” here mentioned by David is the same as the “mountain of thine inheritance” spoken of by Moses, in which the people were to be planted; and this mountain David calls, not the sanctuary, but only the border of the sanctuary. What, then, was the sanctuary? Verse 69 of the same psalm informs us: “And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established forever.” The same distinction between the sanctuary and the land is pointed out in the prayer of good king Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 20:7, 8: “Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name.” Taken alone, some try to draw an inference from Exodus 15:17 that the mountain was the sanctuary; but when we take in connection with it the language of David, which is a record of the fulfillment of Moses' prediction, and an inspired commentary upon his language, such an idea cannot be entertained; for David plainly says that the mountain was simply the “border” of the sanctuary; and that in that border, or land, the sanctuary was “built” like high palaces, reference being made to the beautiful temple of the Jews, the center and symbol of all their worship. But whoever will read carefully Exodus 15:17, will see that not even an inference is necessary that Moses by the word sanctuary means the mountain of inheritance, much less the whole land of Palestine. In the freedom of poetic license, he employs elliptical expressions, and passes rapidly from one idea or object to another. First, the inheritance engages his attention, and he speaks of it; then the fact that the Lord was to dwell there; then the place he was to provide for his dwelling there; namely, the sanctuary which he would cause to be built. David thus associates Mount Zion and Judah together in Psalms 78:68, because Zion was located in Judah.DAR 161.1

The three texts, Ex. 15:17; Psalms 78:54, 69, are the ones chiefly relied on to prove that the land of Canaan is the sanctuary; but, singularly enough, the two latter, in plain language, clear away the ambiguity of the first, and utterly disprove the claim that is based thereon.DAR 163.1

Having disposed of the main proof on this point, it would hardly seem worth while to spend time with those texts from which only inferences can be drawn. As there is, however, only one even of this class, we will refer to it, that no point may be left unnoticed. Isaiah 63:18: “The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.” This language is as applicable to the temple as to the land; for when the land was overrun with the enemies of Israel, their temple was laid in ruins. This is plainly stated in verse 11 of the next chapter: “Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire.” The text therefore proves nothing for this view.DAR 163.2

Respecting the earth or the land of Canaan as the sanctuary, we offer one thought more. If either constitutes the sanctuary, it should not only be somewhere described as such, but the same idea should be carried through to the end, and the purification of the earth or of Palestine should be called the cleansing of the sanctuary. The earth is indeed defiled, and it is to be purified by fire; but fire, as we shall see, is not the agent which is used in the cleansing of the sanctuary; and this purification of the earth, or any part of it, is nowhere in the Bible called the cleansing of the sanctuary.DAR 163.3

3. Is the church the sanctuary? The evident mistrust with which this idea is suggested, is a virtual surrender of the argument before it is presented. The one solitary text adduced in its support is Psalms 114:1, 2: “When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.” Should we take this text in its most literal sense, what would it prove respecting the sanctuary? It would prove that the sanctuary was confined to one of the twelve tribes; and hence that a portion of the church only, not the whole of it, constitutes the sanctuary. But this, proving too little for the theory under consideration, proves nothing. Why Judah is called the sanctuary in the text quoted, need not be a matter of perplexity, when we remember that God chose Jerusalem, which was in Judah, as the place of his sanctuary. “But chose,” says David, “the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion which he loved. And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established forever.” This clearly shows the connection which existed between Judah and the sanctuary. That tribe itself was not the sanctuary; but it is once spoken of as such when Israel came forth from Egypt, because God purposed that in the midst of the territory of that tribe his sanctuary should be located. But even if it could be shown that the church is anywhere called the sanctuary, it would be of no consequence to our present purpose, which is to determine what constitutes the sanctuary of Daniel 8:13, 14; for the church is there spoken of as another object: “To give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot.” That by the term host the church is here meant, none will dispute; the sanctuary is therefore another and a different object.DAR 164.1

4. Is the temple in heaven the sanctuary? There now remains but this one claim to be examined; namely, that the sanctuary mentioned in the text is what Paul calls in Hebrews the “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man,” to which he expressly gives the name of “the sanctuary,” and which he locates in “the heavens;” of which sanctuary, there existed, under the former dispensation, first in the tabernacle built by Moses, and afterward in the temple at Jerusalem, a pattern, type, or figure. And let it be particularly noticed, that on the view here suggested rests our only hope of ever understanding this question; for we have seen that all other positions are untenable. No other object which has ever been supposed by any one to be the sanctuary — the earth, the land of Canaan, or the church — can for a moment support such a claim. If, therefore, we do not find it in the object before us, we may abandon the search in utter despair; we may discard so much of revelation as still unrevealed, and may cut out from the sacred page, as so much useless reading, the numerous passages which speak on this subject. All those, therefore, who, rather than that so important a subject should go by default, are willing to lay aside all preconceived opinions and cherished views, will approach the position before us with intense anxiety and unbounded interest. They will lay hold of any evidence that may here be given us, as a man bewildered in a labyrinth of darkness would lay hold of the thread which was his only guide to lead him forth again to light.DAR 164.2

It will be safe for us to put ourselves in imagination in the place of Daniel, and view the subject from his standpoint. What would he understand by the term sanctuary as addressed to him? If we can ascertain this, it will not be difficult to arrive at correct conclusions on this subject. His mind would inevitably turn, on the mention of that word, to the sanctuary of that dispensation; and certainly he well knew what that was. His mind did turn to Jerusalem, the city of his fathers, which was then in ruins, and to their “beautiful house,” which, as Isaiah laments, was burned with fire. And so, as was his wont, with his face turned toward the place of their once venerated temple, he prayed God to cause his face to shine upon his sanctuary, which was desolate. By the word sanctuary Daniel evidently understood their temple at Jerusalem.DAR 165.1

But Paul bears testimony which is most explicit on this point. Hebrews 9:1: “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” This is the very point which at present we are concerned to determine: What was the sanctuary of the first covenant? Paul proceeds to tell us. Hear him. Verses 2-5: “For there was a tabernacle made; the first [or first apartment], wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary [margin, the holy]. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.”DAR 165.2

There is no mistaking the object to which Paul here has reference. It is the tabernacle erected by Moses according to the direction of the Lord (which was afterward merged into the temple at Jerusalem), with a holy and a most holy place, and various vessels of service, as here set forth. A full description of this building, with its various vessels and their uses, will be found in Exodus 25 and onward. If the reader is not familiar with this subject, he is requested to turn and closely examine the description of this building. This, Paul plainly says, was the sanctuary of the first covenant. And we wish the reader carefully to mark the logical value of this declaration. By telling us what did positively for a time constitute the sanctuary, Paul sets us on the right track of inquiry. He gives us a basis on which to work. For a time, the field is cleared of all doubt and all obstacles. During the time covered by the first covenant, which reached from Sinai to Christ, we have before us a distinct and plainly defined object, minutely described by Moses, and declared by Paul to be the sanctuary during that time.DAR 166.1

But Paul's language has greater significance even than this. It forever annihilates the claims which are put forth in behalf of the earth, the land of Canaan, or the church, as the sanctuary; for the arguments which would prove them to be the sanctuary at any time, would prove them to be such under the old dispensation. If Canaan was at any time the sanctuary, it was such when Israel was planted in it. If the church was ever the sanctuary, it was such when Israel was led forth from Egypt. If the earth was ever the sanctuary, it was such during the period of which we speak. To this period the arguments urged in their favor apply as fully as to any other period; and if they were not the sanctuary during this time, then all the arguments are destroyed which would show that they ever were, or ever could be, the sanctuary. But were they the sanctuary during that time? This is a final question for these theories; and Paul decides it in the negative, by describing to us the tabernacle of Moses, and telling us that that — not the earth, nor Canaan, nor the church — was the sanctuary of that dispensation.DAR 166.2

And this building answers in every respect to the definition of the term, and the use for which the sanctuary was designed.DAR 167.1

1. It was the earthly dwelling-place of God. “Let them make me a sanctuary,” said he to Moses, “that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8. In this tabernacle, which they erected according to his instructions, he manifested his presence. 2. It was a holy, or sacred place, — “the holy sanctuary.” Leviticus 16:33. 3. In the word of God it is over and over again called the sanctuary. Of the one hundred and forty instances in which the word is used in the Old Testament, it refers in almost every case to this building.DAR 167.2

The tabernacle was at first constructed in such a manner as to be adapted to the condition of the children of Israel at that time. They were just entering upon their forty years' wandering in the wilderness, when this building was set up in their midst as the habitation of God, and the center of their religious worship. Journeying was a necessity, and removals were frequent. It would be necessary that the tabernacle should often be moved from place to place. It was, therefore, so fashioned of movable parts, the sides being composed of upright boards, and the covering consisting of curtains of linen and dyed skins, that it could be readily taken down, conveniently transported, and easily erected at each successive stage of their journey. After entering the promised land, this temporary structure in time gave place to the magnificent temple of Solomon. In this more permanent form it existed, saving only the time it lay in ruins in Daniel's day, till its final destruction by the Romans in A. D. 70.DAR 167.3

This is the only sanctuary connected with the earth, concerning which the Bible gives us any instruction, or history any record. But is there nowhere any other? This was the sanctuary of the first covenant; with that covenant it came to an end; is there no sanctuary which pertains to the second, or new covenant? There must be; otherwise the analogy is lacking between these covenants; and in this case the first covenant had a system of worship, which, though minutely described, is unintelligible, and the second covenant has a system of worship which is indefinite and obscure. And Paul virtually asserts that the new covenant, in force since the death of Christ, the testator, has a sanctuary; for when, in contrasting the two covenants, as he does in the book of Hebrews, he says in chapter 9:1 that the first covenant “had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary,” it is the same as saying that the new covenant has likewise its services and its sanctuary. Furthermore, in verse 8 of this chapter he speaks of the worldly sanctuary as the first tabernacle. If that was the first, there must be a second; and as the first tabernacle existed so long as the first covenant was in force, when that covenant came to an end, the second tabernacle must have taken the place of the first, and must be the sanctuary of the new covenant. There can be no evading this conclusion.DAR 168.1

Where, then, shall we look for the sanctuary of the new covenant? Paul, by the use of the word also, in Hebrews 9:1, intimates that he had before spoken of this sanctuary. We turn back to the beginning of the previous chapter, and find him summing up his foregoing arguments as follows: “How of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Can there be any doubt that we have in this text the sanctuary of the new covenant? A plain allusion is here made to the sanctuary of the first covenant. That was pitched by man, erected by Moses; this was pitched by the Lord, not by man. That was the place where the earthly priests performed their ministry; this is the place where Christ, the High Priest of the new covenant, performs his ministry. That was on earth; this is in heaven. That was therefore very properly called by Paul a “worldly sanctuary;” this is a “heavenly one.”DAR 168.2

This view is further sustained by the fact that the sanctuary built by Moses was not an original structure, but was built after a pattern. The great original existed somewhere else; what Moses constructed was but a type, or model. Listen to the directions the Lord gave him on this point: “According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:9. “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.” Verse 40. (To the same end see Exodus 26:30; 27:8; Acts 7:44.)DAR 169.1

Now of what was the earthly sanctuary a type, or figure? Answer: Of the sanctuary of the new covenant, the “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” The relation which the first covenant sustains to the second throughout, is that of type to antitype. Its sacrifices were types of the greater sacrifice of this dispensation; its priests were types of our Lord, in his more perfect priesthood; their ministry was performed unto the shadow and example of the ministry of our High Priest above; and the sanctuary where they ministered, was a type, or figure, of the true sanctuary in heaven, where our Lord performs his ministry.DAR 169.2

All these facts are plainly stated by Paul in a few verses to the Hebrews 8:4, 5: “For if he [Christ] were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” This testimony shows that the ministry of the earthly priests was a shadow of Christ's priesthood; and the evidence Paul brings forward to prove it, is the direction which God gave to Moses to make the tabernacle, according to the pattern showed him in the mount. This clearly identifies the pattern showed to Moses in the mount with the sanctuary, or true tabernacle, in heaven, where our Lord ministers, mentioned three verses before.DAR 169.3

In chapter 9:8, 9, Paul further says: “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all [Greek, holy places, plural] was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present,” etc. While the first tabernacle stood, and the first covenant was in force, the ministration of the more perfect tabernacle and the work of the new covenant was not, of course, carried forward. But when Christ came, a high priest of good things to come, when the first tabernacle had served its purpose, and the first covenant had ceased, then Christ, raised to the throne of the Majesty in the heavens as a minister of the true sanctuary, entered by his own blood (verse 12) “into the holy place [where also the Greek has the plural, the holy places], having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Of these heavenly holy places, therefore, the first tabernacle was a figure for the time then present. If any further testimony is needed, he speaks, in verse 28, of the earthly tabernacle, with its apartments and instruments, as patterns of things in the heavens; and in verse 21, he calls the holy places made with hands, that is, the earthly tabernacle erected by Moses, figures of the true; that is, the tabernacle in heaven.DAR 170.1

This view is still further corroborated by the testimony of John. Among the things which he was permitted to behold in heaven, he saw seven lamps of fire burning before the throne (Revelation 4:5); he saw an altar of incense, and a golden censer (chapter 8:3); he saw the ark of God's testament (chapter 11:19); and all this in connection with a “temple” in heaven. Revelation 11:19; 15:8. These objects every Bible reader must at once recognize as implements of the sanctuary. They owed their existence to the sanctuary, and were confined to it, to be employed in the ministration connected therewith. As without the sanctuary they had not existed, so wherever we find these, we may know that there is the sanctuary; and hence the fact that John saw these things in heaven in this dispensation, is proof that there is a sanctuary there, and that he was permitted to behold it.DAR 170.2

However reluctant a person may have been to acknowledge that there is a sanctuary in heaven, the testimony that has been presented is certainly sufficient to prove this fact. Paul says that the tabernacle of Moses was the sanctuary of the first covenant. Moses says that God showed him in the mount a pattern, according to which he was to make this tabernacle. Paul testifies again that Moses did make it according to the pattern, and that the pattern was the true tabernacle in heaven, which the Lord pitched, and not man; and that of this heavenly sanctuary the tabernacle erected with hands was a true figure, or representation. And finally, John, to corroborate the statement of Paul that this sanctuary is in heaven, bears testimony, as an eye-witness, that he beheld it there. What further testimony could be required? Nay, more, what further is conceivable?DAR 171.1

So far as the question as to what constitutes the sanctuary is concerned, we now have the subject before us in one harmonious whole. The sanctuary of the Bible — mark it, all, dispute it, who can — consists, first, of the typical tabernacle established with the Hebrews at the exode from Egypt, which was the sanctuary of the first covenant; and, secondly, of the true tabernacle in heaven, of which the former was a type, or figure, which is the sanctuary of the new covenant. These are inseparably connected together as type and antitype. From the antitype we go back to the type, and from the type we are carried forward naturally and inevitably to the antitype.DAR 171.2

We have said that Daniel would at once understand by the word sanctuary the sanctuary of his people at Jerusalem; so would any one under that dispensation. But does the declaration of Daniel 8:14 have reference to that sanctuary? That depends upon the time to which it applies. All the declarations respecting the sanctuary which apply under the old dispensation, have respect, of course, to the sanctuary of that dispensation; and all those declarations which apply in this dispensation, must have reference to the sanctuary of this dispensation. If the 2300 days, at the termination of which the sanctuary is to be cleansed, ended in the former dispensation, the sanctuary to be cleansed was the sanctuary of that time. If they reach over into this dispensation, the sanctuary to which reference is made is the sanctuary of this dispensation, — the new-covenant sanctuary in heaven. This is a point which can be determined only by a further argument on the 2300 days; and this will be found in remarks on Daniel 9:24, where the subject of time is resumed and explained.DAR 171.3

What we have thus far said respecting the sanctuary, has been only incidental to the main question in the prophecy. That question has respect to its cleansing. Unto 2300 days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. But it was necessary first to determine what constituted the sanctuary, before we could understandingly examine the question of its cleansing. For this we are now prepared.DAR 172.1

Having learned what constitutes the sanctuary, the question of its cleansing and how it is accomplished, is soon decided. It has been noticed that whatever constitutes the sanctuary of the Bible, must have some service connected with it which is called its cleansing. There is no account in the Bible of any work so named as pertaining to this earth, the land of Canaan, or the church; which is good evidence that none of these objects constitutes the sanctuary; there is such a service connected with the object which we have shown to be the sanctuary, and which, in reference to both the earthly building and the heavenly temple, is called its cleansing.DAR 172.2

Does the reader object to the idea of there being anything in heaven which is to be cleansed? Is this a barrier in the way of his receiving the view here presented? Then his controversy is not with this work, but with Paul, who positively affirms this fact. But before he decides against the apostle, we ask the objector to examine carefully in reference to the nature of this cleansing, as he is here undoubtedly laboring under an utter misapprehension. The following are the plain terms in which Paul affirms the cleansing of both the earthly and the heavenly sanctuary: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:22, 23. In the light of foregoing arguments, this may be paraphrased thus: “It was therefore necessary that the tabernacle, as erected by Moses, with its sacred vessels, which were patterns of the true sanctuary in heaven, should be purified, or cleansed, with the blood of calves and goats; but the heavenly things themselves, the sanctuary of this dispensation, the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man, must be cleansed with better sacrifices, even with the blood of Christ.”DAR 172.3

We now inquire, What is the nature of this cleansing, and how is it to be accomplished? According to the language of Paul, just quoted, it is performed by means of blood. The cleansing is not, therefore, a cleansing from physical uncleanness or impurity; for blood is not the agent used in such a work. And this consideration should satisfy the objector's mind in regard to the cleansing of the heavenly things. The fact that Paul speaks of heavenly things to be cleansed, does not prove that there is any physical impurity in heaven; for that is not the kind of cleansing to which he refers. The reason Paul assigns why this cleansing is performed with blood, is because without the shedding of blood there is no remission.DAR 173.1

Remission, then, that is, the putting away of sin, is the work to be done. The cleansing, therefore, is not physical cleansing, but a cleansing from sin. But how came sins connected with the sanctuary, either the earthly or the heavenly, that it should need to be cleansed from them? This question is answered by the ministration connected with the type, to which we now turn.DAR 173.2

The closing chapters of Exodus give us an account of the construction of the earthly sanctuary, and the arrangement of the service connected therewith. Leviticus opens with an account of the ministration which was there to be performed. All that it is to our purpose to notice here, is one particular branch of the service, which was performed as follows: The person who had committed sin, brought his victim to the door of the tabernacle. Upon the head of this victim he placed his hand for a moment, and, as we may reasonably infer, confessed over him his sin. By this expressive act he signified that he had sinned, and was worthy of death, but that in his stead he consecrated his victim, and transferred his guilt to it. With his own hand (and what must have been his emotions?) he then took the life of his victim on account of that guilt. The law demanded the life of the transgressor for his disobedience; the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11, 14); hence without the shedding of blood, there is no remission; with the shedding of blood, remission is possible; for the demand of life by the law is thus satisfied. The blood of the victim, representative of a forfeited life, and the vehicle of its guilt, was then taken by the priest, and ministered before the Lord.DAR 174.1

The sin of the individual was thus, by his confession, by the slaying of the victim, and by the ministry of the priest, transferred from himself to the sanctuary. Victim after victim was thus offered by the people. Day by day the work went forward; and thus the sanctuary continually became the receptacle of the sins of the congregation. But this was not the final disposition of these sins. The accumulated guilt was removed by a special service, which was called the cleansing of the sanctuary. This service, in the type, occupied one day in the year; and the tenth day of the seventh month, on which it was performed, was called the day of atonement. On this day, while all Israel refrained from work and afflicted their souls, the priest brought two goats, and presented them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. On these goats he cast lots; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scape-goat. The one upon which the Lord's lot fell, was then slain, and his blood was carried by the priest into the most holy place of the sanctuary, and sprinkled upon the mercy-seat. And this was the only day on which he was permitted to enter into that apartment. Coming forth, he was then to lay both his hands upon the head of the scape-goat, confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, and, thus putting them upon his head (Leviticus 16:21), he was to send him away by the hand of a fit man into a land not inhabited, a land of separation, or forgetfulness, the goat never again to appear in the camp of Israel, and the sins of the people to be remembered against them no more. This service was for the purpose of cleansing the people from their sins, and cleansing the sanctuary and its sacred vessels. Leviticus 16:30, 33. By this process, sin was removed, — but only in figure; for all that work was typical.DAR 174.2

The reader to whom these views are new will be ready here to inquire, perhaps, with some astonishment, what this strange work could possibly be designed to typify; what there is in this dispensation which it was designed to prefigure. We answer, A similar work in the ministration of Christ, as Paul clearly teaches. After stating, in Hebrews 8, that Christ is the minister of the true tabernacle, the sanctuary in heaven, he states that the priests on earth served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things. In other words, the work of the earthly priests was a shadow, an example, a correct representation, so far as it could be carried out by mortals, of the ministration of Christ above. These priests ministered in both apartments of the earthly tabernacle, Christ therefore ministers in both apartments of the heavenly temple; for that temple has two apartments, or it was not correctly represented by the earthly; and our Lord officiates in both, or the service of the priest on earth was not a correct shadow of his work. But Paul directly states that he ministers in both apartments; for he says that he has entered into the holy place (Greek, ?? ???? , the holy places) by his own blood. Hebrews 9:12. There is therefore a work performed by Christ in his ministry in the heavenly temple, corresponding to that performed by the priests in both apartments of the earthly building. But the work in the second apartment, or most holy place, was a special work to close the yearly round of service, and cleanse the sanctuary. Hence Christ's ministration in the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary must be a work of like nature, and constitute the close of his work as our great High Priest, and the cleansing of that sanctuary.DAR 175.1

As through the sacrifices of a former dispensation the sins of the people were transferred in figure by the priests to the earthly sanctuary, where those priests ministered, so ever since Christ ascended to be our intercessor in the presence of his Father, the sins of all those who sincerely seek pardon through him, are transferred in fact to the heavenly sanctuary where he ministers. Whether Christ ministers for us in the heavenly holy places with his own blood literally, or only by virtue of its merits, we need not stop to inquire. Suffice it to say, that his blood has been shed, and through that blood remission of sins is secured in fact, which was obtained only in figure through the blood of the calves and goats of the former dispensation. But those sacrifices had real virtue in this respect: they signified faith in a real sacrifice to come; and thus those who employed them have an equal interest in the work of Christ with those who in this dispensation come to him by faith, through the ordinances of the gospel.DAR 176.1

The continual transfer of sins to the heavenly sanctuary (and if they are not thus transferred, will any one, in the light of the types, and in view of the language of Paul, explain the nature of the work of Christ in our behalf?) — this continual transfer, we say, of sins to the heavenly sanctuary, makes its cleansing necessary on the same ground that a like work was required in the earthly sanctuary.DAR 176.2

An important distinction between the two ministrations must here be noticed. In the earthly tabernacle, a complete round of service was accomplished every year. For three hundred and fifty-nine days, in their ordinary years, the ministration went forward in the first apartment. One day's work in the most holy completed the yearly round. The work then commenced again in the holy place, and went forward till another day of atonement completed the year's work. And so on, year by year. This continual repetition of the work was necessary on account of the short lives of mortal priests. But no such necessity exists in the case of our divine Lord, who ever liveth to make intercession for us. (See Hebrews 7:23-25.) Hence the work of the heavenly sanctuary, instead of being a yearly work, is performed once for all. Instead of being repeated year by year, one grand cycle is allotted to it, in which it is carried forward,

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
God gives Daniel a foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms, which in their day were as powerful as that of Babylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be when we are gone, we should be less affected with changes in our own day. The ram with two horns was the second empire, that of Media and Persia. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. This was Alexander the Great. Alexander, when about thirty-three years of age, and in his full strength, died, and showed the vanity of worldly pomp and power, and that they cannot make a man happy. While men dispute, as in the case of Alexander, respecting the death of some prosperous warrior, it is plain that the great First Cause of all had no more of his plan for him to execute, and therefore cut him off. Instead of that one great horn, there came up four notable ones, Alexander's four chief captains. A little horn became a great persecutor of the church and people of God. It seems that the Mohammedan delusion is here pointed out. It prospered, and at one time nearly destroyed the holy religion God's right hand had planted. It is just with God to deprive those of the privileges of his house who despise and profane them; and to make those know the worth of ordinances by the want of them, who would not know it by the enjoyment of them. Daniel heard the time of this calamity limited and determined; but not the time when it should come. If we would know the mind of God, we must apply to Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not hid from us, but hid for us. There is much difficulty as to the precise time here stated, but the end of it cannot be very distant. God will, for his own glory, see to the cleansing of the church in due time. Christ died to cleanse his church; and he will so cleanse it as to present it blameless to himself.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 554

Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?” Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, “The vision ... shall be for many days,” he fainted away. “I Daniel fainted,” he records of his experience, “and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Verses 26, 27. PK 554.1

Still burdened in behalf of Israel, Daniel studied anew the prophecies of Jeremiah. They were very plain—so plain that he understood by these testimonies recorded in books “the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2. PK 554.2

With faith founded on the sure word of prophecy, Daniel pleaded with the Lord for the speedy fulfillment of these promises. He pleaded for the honor of God to be preserved. In his petition he identified himself fully with those who had fallen short of the divine purpose, confessing their sins as his own. PK 554.3

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 547

Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1

As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2

From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1

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