Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 13, No. 10 Straight and Narrow October 2004
Apologetics Without an Apology
By Allen Stump
Are you familiar with the term “apologetics”? Apologetics is simply a term that is used for a defense of the faith. When you study apologetics, you study how to defend the faith. It sounds a lot like the word apology, but brothers and sisters, we have a truth that admits of no compromise and we have a truth that doesn’t need any apologies. I am thankful today that God has been gracious to give me an understanding and some wisdom on some of this truth. Do I know it all? Of course not. I don’t know a fraction of what I should know. I probably don’t know a fraction of what has been my privilege to know, but, by God’s grace, He has shown me some things. I am thankful for those things that He has shown me, and how precious they are to me. Consider the song, “How Firm a Foundation.” We, as a people, have been given a foundation by our God, a foundation that is sure.
There is a question asked by the psalmist in Psalms 11:3. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Of course, the implication is that the righteous are in a very sad situation if the foundations are destroyed. It has been Satan’s great desire to try to attack the gospel. It is Satan’s determined effort to try to undermine every aspect of the gospel foundational points.
As a people of Adventists, we believe in the gospel and that God, by His grace, has helped us to have a unique understanding of the gospel. I say unique not because it is different among equals, but something that is special and really helps us to understand the gospel to a depth and in a way other people cannot understand. This is true even among people who understand the truth about God. Historically, Seventh-day Adventist people were not the only people who believed there was one true God who had an only-begotten Son. There were other people then, and there still are many communities of believers who believe this truth, but they have failed to be able to connect with that truth something very vital and important that truly sets Adventists apart from every other group under the sun. This uniqueness is the understanding of Daniel Chapter 8, verse 14: Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. This is something that we need to understand and have a sure foundation of in our own experience, not just because we read it in Great Controversy, and not just because Brother Allen can preach it or Brother David can preach it. We need to understand for ourselves, because it has been, is and, I assure you, will continue to be attacked by Satan because it is a point of interest to God’s people that is extremely important. This is the one unique doctrine that helps us to understand what real perfection is. There are people who teach the seventh-day Sabbath in other communities. There are people who believe that Jesus is the literal Son of God in other communities, but you can look high and low over the earth and you will not find a group of people who have come to an understanding of what perfection means, and what it means to be able to truly live without sin, like God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist people. The issue of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 is at the heart and the center of this. This is one of the reasons that Satan directly, and indirectly through his different agencies, attacks this doctrine so much.
In this study I want to review some of this prophecy. Some of the things that are more basic, which we have studied through for a long time, we won’t spend as much time on. Perhaps many of us have had an opportunity to understand some of the basics, at least at one time or another. We’ll try to look at a few points of the prophecy that might be of benefit to us as we encounter objections and arguments used by people try to discredit this prophecy.
The book of Daniel has some very wonderful prophecies in it, and I want to encourage you to study all of the prophecies in it. In fact, there are four main lines of prophecy in the book of Daniel. There are also stories in the book of Daniel that are equally important. In fact, perhaps they are more important to us in some degrees and ways than even the prophecies are. The prophecies tell us what is going to happen. They give us an outline of events, and the stories tell us how to relate to those events. That is important! According to the book of Revelation there is coming a death decree. (See Revelation 13:11-18.) Well, you find two of them in the book of Daniel. In fact, you find three different types in various degrees.
Today, our primary focus is the 2300 days. As I mentioned, there are four great lines of prophecy in the book of Daniel. There is a line of prophecy in Chapter 2, a line of prophecy in Chapter 7, another in Chapters 8 and 9, and the last line in Chapter 11 into Chapter 12. These are parallel prophecies saying the same thing, with added detail, emphasis or perspective being given from one prophecy to another. It is like my four fingers—they are running parallel. They are all pointing out in the same direction. (See “Harmony of Daniel” chart, courtesy of Restoration Ministries.)
In Daniel Chapter 2, there are four world empires, with the breaking up of the empires, the divisions, and then the setting up of God’s kingdom. We first have Babylon, then Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.
In Chapter 7, there are four beasts, then the ten horns and the little horn, and then the notable horn that comes out. We understand again this to be Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the setting up of God’s kingdom with His saints. We also have the ten divisions of the Roman Empire added, as well as further details.
In Chapter 11 we have a similar sequence, except by the time we get to Chapter 11, Babylon is no longer on the scene historically, and we begin with Persia.
In Chapters 8 and 9, specifically starting in Chapter 8, we have another line of Bible prophecy. In Daniel 2, Daniel 7, and Daniel 11, we have three parallel prophecies. Up to this point, most everyone agrees. Does it just not make common sense that the prophecy in Chapter 8 should be a parallel prophecy as well? I believe it makes very good, reasonable sense, but even beyond the reasonableness of it, the internal context of the prophecy will prove and show that, indeed, it does fit in.
Why do I say this and why do I bring this up? Because many people today and many evangelical Christians, will agree that Daniel 2, 7, and 11 are parallel prophecies, but when it comes to Chapter 8, they make a distinction. They say that there is a big difference when you get into the latter part of Chapter 8, and they deny that there is direct connection between Chapter 8 and Chapter 9. However, we will see that there is abundant evidence that there is a clear connection between Chapters 8 and 9.
In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. (Daniel 8:1) The time of this vision was the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar. I am going to suggest to you that historically we understand this to be about 550 B.C. Now, that is important. It is not just as an incidental that I mention this. We will bring it back to our memory later. Daniel now has a vision, and in this vision he saw some animals. The first animal he saw was a ram that had two horns. After the ram, he saw a he goat with a notable horn, and they clash. They fight, and the he goat wins. After the he goat, the horn is gone. The he goat moves to, and clashes with, the ram. Then a little horn comes up and becomes exceedingly great. We are going to talk a little bit more about it in a minute. Within this prophecy, we have an interpretation given. Please note before we go on, that in the last part of verse four, about the ram, it says that the ram became great.
The “he goat waxed very great,” (Daniel 8:8) and the little horn “waxed exceeding great.” (v. 9) Please keep this in mind. The ram is “great,” the he goat is “very great,” and the little horn is “exceedingly great.” As we study these parallel prophecies, we understand that Greece was greater than Persia, and Rome was greater than Greece. Why do I bring this up? Because, this little horn power is very often associated with one of the Grecian kings who came after Alexander by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes. This little horn power cannot represent Antiochus Epiphanes because he was definitely not greater than Persia and he wasn’t greater than Greece. The horn that came out of the he goat, the Bible specifically says was the first king of Greece, which was Alexander. Antiochus was just a small king, compared to Alexander. There is an interpretation given for part of this prophecy in this same chapter.
“So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” (Daniel 8:17-21)
Now, if you are at all in tune with anything that is going on in Adventism or in the fringe of Adventism, you realize, friends, that there are multiple interpretations of what these verses mean. But is it fair and logical to give an additional interpretation, different from what the angel of God, who has come from the throne of God, interprets it? Is that reasonable? God says the ram is Medo-Persia. God says the goat is Greece, and then we go and say that it really means something else. I dont believe that we have the right to do that based on Gods Word. If God says this is what it is, that’s what it is. The Bible wasn’t written for the theologians, rather it was written for common people like you and me, so that we could understand.
The Little Horn Power
The little horn in verse 8 waxes exceedingly great. The Bible says that it waxes toward the south, toward the east, and toward the pleasant land, and now it is going to do something. Remember there was first Babylon, then Medo-Persia, then Greece, and then Rome? How many phases of Rome are there? There are two main phasespagan Rome and papal Rome. Was papal Rome always in existence with pagan Rome? No, but has pagan Rome ever ceased to be in existence with papal Rome? No. Pagan Rome continues in a papal form all the way through. Notice what the Bible goes on to say it will do: 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. 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.” (vs., 10, 11) Now, the word “sacrifice” you see is in italics. That means it is supplied, and in fact it should not be in this text. “… and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given him against the daily by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.” It says that there was a truth that was cast down to the ground. “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? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:13, 14)
Daniel 8, verse 25 tells more of the work of this little horn, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” The “Prince of princes,” the “Prince of hosts,” is Christ. This little horn magnifies himself directly against Christ. The Bible says he takes away the daily and he casts down the place of the Lord of hosts’ sanctuary. This is not speaking here of the sanctuary in Jerusalem. It is speaking of the sanctuary of the Prince of hosts, and that is the heavenly sanctuary. Jesus spoke about this event in Matthew 24 as a future event. This could not represent the work of Antiochus Epiphanes, because the vision goes to the end, and the little horn is pagan and papal Rome. This prophecy points past the time of Christ, and we all agree that after Calvary the earthly sanctuary and services were not valid any longer.
The word that is translated daily is the Hebrew word dymt (tamid), and it simply means continual. This is the word that is used in Leviticus in connection with the daily or the continual services of the priest in the sanctuary. Now, remember that Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 are parallel prophecies. Turn over to Daniel 11 for just a moment. We are going to read a verse, and ask ourselves if this has anything to do with what we have just been reading in Daniel 8. “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” (Daniel 11:31) That’s right, it parallels Daniel 8:10-12. Notice this striking description of Rome in Daniel 11:36, 37: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” My friends these verses are describing the work of the Papacy. No apologies whatsoever for saying it.
Now, the Bible says in Daniel 8 that he is going to take the truth and cast it down and trample upon it. He is going to trample upon this concept of the daily, or the continual; the mediatoral work of Christ. The Bible predicts that the Papacy would rise to power, reject the true God and honor a strange god in His place. Before coming to full power, she, indeed, formulated the doctrine of the trinity.
Maybe people have asked you at times, like they have asked me, “Brother Allen, why do you make such an emphasis about this doctrine of God? Remember in the book of Revelation there is a prophecy about Sunday exaltation. Sunday is the big issue. Shouldn’t we be talking more about Sunday exaltation and the denigration of the Sabbath?” Well, that has its place and it surely is an important part of our message, friends. Sometimes we think there is nothing prophetic about this restoration movement taking our people back to the Old Paths, but there is something very emphatically prophetic about us as a people here. God raised up the Advent people, friends, to do a very special work, and I am going to get back to that in a minute. The Papacy brought in a new concept about God. It removed Christ as being the actual Son of God, and if we take away His Sonship, we take away His Priesthood and His mediatoral work. The Bible says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Timothy 2:5) If God the Father and Jesus (and you can put the Holy Spirit in there, too, if you want,) are all co-equal, co-eternal beings or persons, and they are all just alike, and if I have to have a mediator between myself and the Father, then do you know what happens? I have to have a mediator between myself and the Son too, don’t I? That’s right, and this is why the Papacy has set up Mary to be the mediatrix, and you have the dead saints that you pray to also, because you can’t go directly to Christ because He is just like God. In this way, the ministry of Christ was taken away from the people.
Now, immediately after the vision of the ram, the he goat and the little horn, we have Daniel 8, verses 13 and 14. Let’s read those again. It comes after this little horn power has prospered, cast the truth to the ground, trampled, and taken away the daily, “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? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
This is a little cryptic and difficult to understand. Breaking the question down into very simple English, it is asking how long shall the Papacy continue this work before God restores the truth to His people and performs the final work of cleansing? How long will be this vision? Till when is the vision of the continual (Youngs Literal Translation), or how long will these matters continue? And the angel says, “Unto two thousand three hundred days.” At the heart of the attack against God and His Son, God’s sanctuary, and God’s people, is the strange god mentioned in Daniel 11:39. By the time when the vision is closing, there must be a message proclaiming the truth about God, His Son, the sanctuary, and the continual work of Christ as our Mediator in the heavenly sanctuary.
Now, the evangelicals take this vision and try to make it a literal time period. They try to say that this was fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes but, again, this could not be. Antiochus, first of all, was not greater than Alexander. Almost two hundred years after the fall of Greece, Jesus said that this prophecy was yet future, and, as we are going to see, the twenty-three hundred days are linked with the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.
Significance of the word “Vision”
There is a word that we have read a few times in our study, that we are going to look at a little closer, and it is the word vision. This was first brought to my attention almost 20 years ago by Elder William Grotheer, and I have found it to be very helpful and I think you will also. Go back to the beginning of chapter 8, In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me (Daniel 8:1) The Hebrew word for vision is Nwzx (chazown). It is a word that means vision, but interestingly, it is not the only word that is translated vision in this chapter, but it is the only word translated vision up to verse 15. In verse 15, Daniel says he has seen the vision, the chazown but you come to verse sixteen and something new happens. I heard a mans voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. The word for vision is not chazown. The word is harm (mareh), a different word altogether. It is a significant word that we are going to look at in just a minute.
Now, the angel Gabriel starts to explain this vision. Weve read through part of the explanation. Lets go down to verse 26, And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true How many people have told you that it is all a lie, that the twenty-three hundred days is all a lie? Lets be honest, havent we heard it many times? The angel says it is true, but interestingly, the word for vision here is mareh. It is not the chazown. Study the context of this prophecy and what we find is that the prophecy as a whole is called the chazown, but when he is speaking specifically of the part of the prophecy that involves the evening and the morning, it is now a mareh. The most important thing that God wanted Daniel to understand about this prophecy was the mareh. Daniel writes that the angel says that the vision of the evening and the morning was true. He says, wherefore shut thou up the vision (chazown); for it shall be for many days. (Daniel 8:26) Now, notice verse 27, And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the kings business, and I was astonished at the vision (mareh), but none understood it. Daniel was astonished at the mareh because that is the part he didn’t understand. He had been given an explanation about the ram and the he goat. He understood something about the little horn power, that he would be a king of fierce countenance, but this issue of the evening and morning had not been explained to him yet, and that was the very specific thing that God had instructed Gabriel to make Daniel to understand, the part about the evening and morning.
Fitting the Prophecy to the Time-line
We noted earlier that the vision in Chapter 8 was given about 550 B.C., the third year of Belshazzar. This is important because, if you go down into Chapter 9, you are now in the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes. The first year of Darius was in 538 B.C. That is about twelve years later. You see, if this twenty-three hundred evenings and mornings were literal time, it would be about six-and-a-half years. But well more than six-and-a-half years had already expired. If there was something that was going to occur in literal time, God had given time for that to occur, but nothing happened. God, I believe, in His wisdom, knew that there would be certain detractors later on who would make accusations, so He intentionally delayed giving Daniel the understanding for twelve years. How would you like to receive a vision where God tells you something but not all of it, and then you wait to hear, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story? Daniel waited for twelve years, but he kept praying and he kept studying. In fact, he says in Chapter 9, verse 2, In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by 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. He had been studying the prophecy of Jeremiah and he understood that the seventy-year prophecy of Jeremiah was about to end and that the people were going to have the opportunity to go back to their land. So, he was praying fervently, asking God to fulfill this and to allow His people to go home. Well go to verse 20 now, And whiles I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision (chazown) at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved (Daniel 8:20-23) Let me stop there. How would you like to get a message from heaven that said you are greatly beloved? You know what? You have already received it. Its in John 3:16! Lets continue: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision (mareh). He says, this man Gabriel that I had seen in the chazown, he comes to me and says, Daniel, you are greatly beloved. When you began praying, God commissioned me to come and give you an understanding on the mareh. Go back into Chapter 8, Verse 26, And the vision (mareh) of the evening and the morning which was told is true What did the mareh specifically deal with? It dealt with the evening and the morning. The part of the prophecy that Daniel did not have interpreted and given to him in Chapter 8 was the part of the evening and the morning: the mareh. And Gabriel had come to given Daniel understanding.
You all should be students of this to a degree, and I am not going to take time to go through all the mechanics of it now, but we realize, as we read through this prophecy, that there were in verse 24 in Chapter 9, Seventy weeks determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and anoint the most Holy. He says there is a seventy-week period and it is determined or as the Hebrew means, cut off from something. What is the only thing it could be cut off from? The twenty-three hundred days mentioned in Daniel 8, because, again, this is an understanding of the mareh. It takes us right back into Daniel 8. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” (Daniel 9:25) This verse states that there would be seventy weeks, a seventy-week period, right? Out of that time there would be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, which would make sixty-nine weeks, until the Messiah would come.
When was the commandment given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem? It is recorded in Ezra Chapter 7, one of the most confirmed Biblical dates in the entire Bible, 457 B.C., in fact the autumn of 457 B.C. We have all seen it on charts many times. It is a matter of basic arithmetic. You begin at 457 B.C. and you count forward 483 years. (A day in symbolic Bible prophecy stands for a year, Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34. In fact, most evangelicals will admit it is a day for a year up to the 70th week and then they want to change after that.). This brings you to the fall of 27 A.D. There is no zero year on the time line. You go from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. In Luke Chapter 3, verse 1, it says that Jesus began in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, historically 27 A.D., a very easy date to validate. In Mark 1:15 Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” What time was He talking about? He was talking about this time prophecy in Daniel. He realized that it was the exact time for Him to appear and to do His work.
You take, from the fall of 27 A.D., three-and-one-half years to the midst of the week, and it brings you to the spring of 31 A.D., right when Jesus was crucified. The Bible says in the midst of the week He would be cut off, and the sacrifice and the oblation would cease. When Jesus died, what happened in the temple? The veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was rent in twain from top to bottom. Surely, it had to be of a divine origin. It could not have happened on its own that way. Three-and-one-half more years brings us to 34 A.D. and to the stoning of Stephen and the rejection of the gospel by the corporate Jewish nation. After this the gospel went to the Gentiles. The 70 weeks are very simple and very plain.
After 34 A.D., there are 1810 years left of the twenty-three hundred days. You add it up, and you come to 1844. It really isn’t that hard to calculate and I think there is plenty of contextual evidence and linguistic evidence to show that Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 indeed are connected.
Satan Hates this truth
Why is it that Satan hates this understanding of this prophecy? Why is it that he inspires so many to attack Adventists because of their understanding of this prophecy? Because, friends, for one, it points out that God does have a particular people. He does have a people who will do a particular work. It points out that there is a real only begotten Son of God who has a real mediation. It points out that this mediation is to lead a people into perfection. I would think that would be the greatest message this world has ever heard. I would think that this is a message that people should be wonderfully glad to hear. I cannot understand how it is discouraging to people. If someone told me that, by God’s grace, I can be better and live a better life, a clean life and holy life, I would like to hear that. I don’t want to have to stay in filth all my life, do you? But, it is not a popular message.
Let’s go back now to the context of Daniel 8. Daniel saw the ram, which represented Medo-Persia. He saw the goat, which represented Greece. He saw the little horn that waxed exceedingly great, which represented the Papacy, Rome. This same little horn, the Bible says, would not regard the god of his fathers and a god whom his fathers knew not should he honor, a strange god. (Daniel 11:37-39) The Papacy would reject the true God and put a strange god in His place. This is the major part, I submit to you, of the truth that the little horn is said to have cast to the ground and trampled upon. After this, Daniel heard in Daniel 8:13, when shall these things be over? He sees this desecration going on, and he asks how long till these things come to an end? When will this truth about God be no longer hidden? When will this truth about the heavenly sanctuary no longer be hidden? When will the truth about the continual mediation of Christ be no longer hidden? And according to the context of the vision, it must be in 1844 that we find the answer. Prophecy is simply history written before it happens, and the fact is that if we go back to the 1830’s, we find the beginning of what we sometimes call today the Millerite Movement, this great awakening. It happened not only in America, but also in many places all over the world. God was leading a people, and preparing a people with a message. They had studied Daniel 8:14 and they understood it concerned a sanctuary, but they didn’t understand which sanctuary was concerned. Miller misunderstood the sanctuary. He misunderstood the event. He finally came to a correct understanding about the date, but he misunderstood what it all meant.
God raised up a group of people that understood that Christ began the Most Holy Place experience there, that He began an experience of cleansing, restoration, vindication, and justification. The Bible clearly says that there is a heavenly sanctuary. The Bible is not hypocritical. God is not a hypocrite. What is another word for hypocrite? Actor! God is not acting. He is not telling us fables or stories. Turn with me to Hebrews 8, verse 1: “Now 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.” Friends, if there is not a sanctuary in heaven, if there is not a tabernacle which the Lord pitched, then neither is there a priest of that tabernacle, and God is a lying hypocrite and actor. But, He is not. He is a God of truth, and when He tells us that there is a sanctuary in heaven, I believe it. When He tells us in verse 5 that Moses was admonished of God to make his tabernacle according to the pattern of what he had seen in heaven, I believe it and I know it to be true.
The Atonement of Atonements
Now, in this sanctuary that Moses was to make, there were two main functions, two main services. “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always (and the Greek means simply daily or continually) into the first tabernacle (apartment), accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” (Hebrews 9:6, 7) Everything in the sanctuary really focused around two main services, the daily sin offering and the Day of Atonement offering (Yom Kippur).
Before proceeding to Leviticus Chapter 16 where the Day of Atonement is discussed in detail, I want you to notice an emphasis that God placed on the Day of Atonement. In Leviticus Chapter 23 Moses outlines some of the services of the sanctuary and for the children of Israel, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be an day of atonement. (Leviticus 23:27) Do you know what the Hebrew actually says for atonement? It actually is atonements, plural. The Hebrew actually says: There shall be a day of atonements: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day, for it is a day of atonements, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. You say, what is the significance of that? Why is it in a plural form here? This is what is called the plural of majesty in the Hebrew language. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word Elohim is sometimes used for the name of God. Elohim is a plural term. Elohim, when speaking of many false gods, is understood to mean many numerically. However, when it speaks of the only true God, its plural nature denotes superiority or greatness, not numerical quantity. In a similar manner, in Leviticus 23 God is saying the Day of Atonement is the atonement of all atonements, because as you read through Leviticus, there are a lot of atonements.
In English, this is something that may seem strange to us, but if you go into many languages of the world, this is still a practice and a custom. I was in Romania a couple years ago and I was talking about the truth concerning God and His oneness to a group of young people. I was talking to them about this word Elohim and the concept of the majesty of plural. After I got about halfway through, the translator said, “Wait, wait, you don’t really need to go on because we understand already what you are saying because we use this in our own language.” He said, “When we’ve been talking about you among ourselves, we refer to you in the plural.” I didn’t know that, but he said, “You are our senior, you are older than we are and we respect you, and we call you a plural.” So friends, the Day of Atonement is something very special. It is the atonement of atonements.
Leviticus and Daniel connected
Now, lets notice something that happened, in Chapter 16, verse 33: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. There is going to be an atonement. Notice also in verse 30 what the real emphasis is, For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” It is not just a cleansing of the sanctuary, but the cleansing of God’s people. The restoration of God’s truth, the truth of God about Himself, about Christ, about His priesthood, this is involved in the cleansing of God’s people and this was fulfilled to the letter by the early Adventist people. They brought in a restoration of the truth about God. They brought in a restoration of the truth about His Son. They brought in a restoration of the truth about Christ being our High Priest, and they understood the heavenly sanctuary. There is not a group of people anywhere in the world that fits that except those early Adventist people.
Now, I want to deal with a couple specific points that I think you might find interesting and helpful, because we have just read here about this cleansing of the sanctuary. Daniel 8 speaks about the cleansing of the sanctuary, and many times detractors of the message will say that they are really not linguistically connected, that there really isnt a tie between them. They say there may appear to be a similarity of language in the English translation but that is as far as it goes, but I would like to say it is not. In Leviticus Chapter 16 and verse 30, you notice about midway through the verse there is the word cleanse. That word in the original language is rhj (taher). In Daniel 8:14, it says, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed, but it is a different word. It is the Hebrew word qdu (tsadaq). You have the tsadaq in Daniel and taher in Leviticus. Dissenters say are these different, unrelated words. However, they are really, in fact, synonyms that rightly represent the same thing.
There is a concept of Hebrew poetry called parallelism. Hebrew poetry was not written like English poetry. In English we want sentences to rhyme. However, in one form of Hebrew poetry parallel thoughts are expressed with each other. For instance, the inspired prophet would make a statement one way and then he would use different language to say the same thing in a different line.
An excellent example is Job 4:17. Notice the parallel structure here: Shall mortal man be more just (tsadaq) than God? Shall a man be more pure (taher) than his maker? Now, is that a parallel construction? Is he saying the same thing, just in different ways? It is pretty clear, isnt it? Now interestingly, the word just in the first part of the verse, is the Hebrew word tsadaq. The word pure is taher. They are used to represent the same thing. You can find similar constructions with these words or variations of them in Job 17:9; Ecclesiastes 9:2; Psalms 19:9; and Malachi 3:1-3. There is a direct linguistic connection between Leviticus 16 and Daniel 8.
Now, there is one other point that sometimes is brought up as an objection. The tense in Daniel 8:14, “… then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” sounds like it is going to happen right at that time, immediately. In fact, this is in the perfect tense in the Hebrew language. The perfect tense can be used to denote action completed from the point of view of another action yet future. An example is in Genesis 24:19, “…I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.” You see, there is a future tense involved. “Sometimes in Hebrew, future events are conceived so vividly and so realistically that they are regarded as having virtually taken place and are described by the perfect.” (Online Bible Hebrew Lexicon) An example of that is in Daniel Chapter 9, verse 24. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people…” Again it is in the perfect tense in the Hebrew, but it cannot be completed action here because the seventy weeks didn’t begin for over eighty years.
Cleansing and Forgiveness
It has been objected, as well, that heaven is a pure place and heaven is a holy place and nothing could be defiled or dirty in heaven. That sure seems logical, I’ll admit, but it doesn’t match up with what God’s Word says. Turn to the book of Job, Chapter 15 and verse 15, “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Have there been things that have been defiled in heaven? Yes, there have been. Interestingly, when you go to study the agenda of how the cleansing of the sanctuary occurred in Leviticus 16, it is imperative that you understand how the sin offering was made throughout the year.
There were four basic types of sin offerings outlined in Leviticus 4, but there were two basic ways they were administered. If the high priest sinned, there was a protocol to follow. If the congregation as a corporate group sinned, there was a protocol. If one of the priests or the rulers sinned, there was a protocol. And if an individual person like you or me sinned, there was a protocol for the offering. There are two basic protocols that were done. On the first two mentioned, the animal would be slain and the blood would actually be taken into the Holy Place and sprinkled, but in the other two cases (the great majority of the cases), the blood was not immediately taken into the Holy Place, but rather a piece of the flesh was eaten by the priest and the blood was administered at the brazen altar. These offerings, with the exception of the sin offering for the high priest, resulted in an “atonement” of forgiveness being made.
“… and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven.” (Leviticus 4:20)
“… and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Leviticus 4:31)
Do you know what we find in the cross? We find an atonement of forgiveness, full and complete, but it wasn’t the only atonement. It wasn’t the final atonement. The Bible speaks in Leviticus 16 of another atonement. The atonement of all atonements, and what was the end result of that atonement? Cleansing! “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” (Leviticus 16:30)
One time when my daughter, Heidi, was a little girl, her mother put a nice, clean dress on her. We were going to go somewhere, and she told her not to get dirty. Well, she went outside and somehow managed to get dirty, and she came very repentant to the door. “I’m so sorry, Mom.” Well, we forgave her. But, you know what? The dress had to be washed. She wasn’t cleansed yet. We can come with repentance before our God. We can see our sin and we can really be sorry, and the Lord forgives us, but, there is still sin in us. The depths of that sin we don’t understand at first, and there has to be a continual work to bring the sin out of our life fully, to cleanse us. That’s what Christ is doing today for His people. He is bringing us to a deep repentance; where all sin will become so abhorrent to us that we will never, ever sin again.
In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15, verses 12-17, Paul speaks very eloquently, that if Christ had not been raised from the tomb, His death would have been in vain. WE might have received pardon, but not cleansing. We need both a title and fitness for heaven. Sometimes we hear that the death of Christ was all that was needed for the plan of salvation. I tell you friends, it is truly the straw that stirs the drink, Christ’s death is the focal point, it is the act of God that draws the sinner to repentance, but it is not the entire plan of salvation. If Christ had not been raised from the dead, His death would have been in vain.
I believe that we do have a good bit of contextual evidence that the twenty-three hundred days must be twenty-three hundred years, and that at the end of the twenty-three hundred years, the truth about God, His only begotten Son, the sanctuary, and Christs continual ministration in the heavenly sanctuary must be revealed. This is more than just a date. It is more than just a question if Ellen G. White was right or not. The little horn has tried to take the salvational truths about these things away from Gods people. Gabriel was sent to Daniel so that he could understand the mareh, so that we might know where our Christ is, who He is, and, just as importantly, that we might be in step with Him. Friends, we have a sure foundation. You can study this out for yourself and you can know it for yourself, so that if someone comes to you and says this message is all wrong, or here are ten reasons why it is wrong, you will have eleven reasons why it is right!
Just as we were going to press last month, Brother Lynnford Beachy’s sister, Lucinda, a resident of Tucson, Arizona went hiking on MT. Lemmon and became lost. She began her hike on Monday afternoon and was not found til late Sabbath afternoon. Lynnford and most of the family traveled to Tucson to help with the search. Local news coverage kept interest in the search and after many prayers were sent to our Father, Lucinda was found.
Lucinda injured her back in a fall just shortly before she was rescued but she is expected to make a good recovery. Please keep her and her family in prayer. Her son, Alex, who before this rejected God, now has a new perspective on the matter. We are very thankful that God has seen fit to preserve Lucinda and also dry her family closer as a result of her being lost.
Brethren Survive Hurricanes
During the month of September three major hurricanes (Charlie, Francis, and Ivan) wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and the southern part of the United States, especially Florida. At the time of this writing, a fourth, Jeanne, is marching northward as well. Many have called wanting to know if we have heard from our brethren in these areas; wanting to know if they are okay.
To our knowledge, none of our believers were hurt. Many of the brethren in Florida temporarily lost their electrical power from Charlie. Some did receive minor damage to their personal property. In Jamaica, Brother Harold Webb (Israel) had part of his roof torn off by Ivan, which caused some water damage not only to his belongings, but to some of Restoration Ministries equipment since they rent part of Brother Webb’s house for office space. Currently electrical power is off over most of the island. Shortly before going to press we received this report from Elder Clayton:
Report from David Clayton
“Thanks for your email. It is such a blessing to know that so many persons were praying for us. Thankfully, serious damage was not wide spread among believers when we were visited by ‘Ivan the Terrible.’ We lost many trees (including my beloved coconut tree and perhaps my banana trees) and some got major leaks and had to be drying water all day and all night. Israel’s roof is in a bad way. We did some repairs but when it rained yesterday it still leaked like a sieve. We may need to get some professional help and some new sheets of zinc, so your help will go a long way. Please pass on our appreciation to the rest of the Smyrna Family. (Smyrna is sending $500 to help with damages.) Sister Heather lost half of her roof. Brother Howard lost one window. This is remarkable because all around us many people lost their entire roof and even in some cases, entire homes were devastated. We give thanks and praise to our Father and can see His hand at work in many ways. Unhappily, about 15 people lost their lives, but as I said, none among our brethren.
“We have no water or electricity, but we are able to get water from friends nearby. I am sending this email by battery power from my laptop, but I will soon be out of power and will have to charge again from my car. We had no phone or internet, but we got back phone service yesterday. Hopefully we will get back our water supply soon. That is the most difficult thing to deal with. God bless you and thanks for your prayers.”
Any who desire to assist with help for the brethren in Jamaica may contact David Clayton directly by calling, 876-625-2785 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update on Hans
Every week as I speak to people on the phone or respond to mail, I am frequently asked about the health of my son, Hans. I wanted to write a short update for you. As some of our readers know, five years ago Hans, then age seventeen, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor inside his spinal cord. During the last five years Hans has had many challenges, but by the grace of God he has faced each one with a Christian attitude and retained a faith and trust in God that has been a witness to many.
Hans recently went to the University of Virginia Medical Center for an MRI scan. This is the doctor’s annual cancer hunt, checking out his neck area for any signs of cancer. The results show no sign of cancer! We praise God for His wonderful working in Hans’ behalf. Hans is doing very well for all he has been through. He has even been well enough to obtain a part-time job as an ambulance dispatcher working one to two shifts a week. Hans has been cancer free for almost five years, the time usually used as a gauge to mark being “cured.” It is believed by some that after five years the cancer patient is not any more likely to have a return of the cancer than a normal person getting cancer.
Our family would again like to express our heart-felt appreciation for your past prayer and ask that you remember us in your future prayers as well.
Them That Honor Me, I Will Honor
“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”
God always honors the right. The most promising youth from all the lands subdued by the great conqueror had been gathered at Babylon; yet among them all, the Hebrew captives were without a rival. The erect form, the elastic step, the fair countenance, the undimmed senses, the untainted breath,—all were so many certificates of good habits, insignia of the nobility with which nature honors those who are obedient to her laws.
During the past three years the youthful Hebrews had been gaining other wisdom than the learning of the Chaldeans; God had been giving them a knowledge of himself. They had placed themselves in right relation to God, and he could trust them with a deep knowledge of eternal truths.
The habits and understanding of the youth who were not instructed by God were in accord with the knowledge that comes from idolatrous practises, and that leaves God out of its reckoning. Daniel and his companions, from the first of their experience in the king’s court, were gaining a clearer comprehension, a sounder and more accurate judgment, than all the wise men of the kingdom of Babylon. They placed themselves where God could bless them. They followed rules of life that would give them strength of intellect and would gain for them the greatest possible benefit from the study of God’s Word.
While faithful to his duties in the king’s court, Daniel so faithfully maintained his loyalty to God, that God could honor him as his messenger to the Babylonian monarch. It was to Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar, unable to get help from his wise men, turned for an account of his forgotten dream, and an interpretation of it. Daniel and his companions sought the Lord, and to Daniel was revealed the dream and its meaning. And when he had related to the king the vision God had shown him, Nebuchadnezzar said, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.”
The history of Daniel and his companions has been recorded on the pages of the Inspired Word for the benefit of the youth in all succeeding ages. What men have done, men may do. If the youth will make the unreserved surrender of the will that Daniel made, God will help them as he helped Daniel. If they will appreciate the opportunities he gives for growing in understanding of him, he will give them wisdom and knowledge, and will fill their hearts with unselfishness. He will put into their minds thoughts that will inspire them with hope and courage as they seek to bring others under the sway of the Prince of Peace. They will have the co-operation of God and the angels. They will work out with carefulness the sum of their salvation, God working in them to will and to do of his good pleasure.
As Daniel studied the Word of God, his understanding became ever clearer; and as he comprehended its ennobling principles, he purposed in his heart to form a character that God could approve. He could not foresee the result of his determination to be true to God in the courts of Babylon; but he resolved that even at the loss of all things, he would preserve his integrity. And the Lord fulfilled to him the word that he has pledged, “Them that honor me I will honor.”
There is wonderful encouragement in the story of Daniel for the youth who today are striving to gain knowledge. In his Word the Lord has left his children a divine instructor that will never disappoint those who seek its direction with a sincere heart. Its teachings will give a strength of character and mental development that no other book can impart. Let the student make the Word of God the chief book of study, giving all other branches of learning a secondary place. And as the heart is opened to the entrance of the Word, light from the throne of God will shine into the soul. The Word, cherished in the heart, will yield to the student a treasure of knowledge that is priceless. Its ennobling principles will stamp the character with honesty and truthfulness, temperance and integrity. (Mrs. E. G. WhiteYouths Instructor, August 20, 1907)
Florida Camp Meeting
The church in Orlando, Florida, has asked us to announce that they will be hosting a Camp Meeting, January 26 -31, 2005 (the date was incorrectly noted in the printed edition), at the River Forest Campground located in the southeast corner of the Ocala National Forest, on the scenic St. Johns River. All are invited to attend.
Meals will not be provided, but a nice kitchen is available. You might wish to consider bringing simple fruits and pancakes or waffles for breakfast, and simple salads and bean dishes for dinner, enough for your family. This way, if you choose to combine your meals with others, they will be compatible.
There are no RV hookups, but plenty of room for RVs and tents. There is a main building for meetings, showers, restrooms and, as mentioned earlier, a kitchen. If you can make it, please come. Mosquitos may be present, so be prepared. More information please contact Bill James by calling 407-446-7654 or email him at email@example.com. Please begin planning now to attend.
Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013