The little horn of Daniel 8 is the Papacy?

800px-Antiokhos_IV

  • Seventh-day Adventist’s teach that the little horn power of Daniel 7 and little horn power of 8 are Rome (Papacy). However, there is a problem with this, as there are important differences between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the little horn of Daniel 8. Here are a few:

Little Horn of Daniel 7

Little Horn of Daniel 8

Is associated with a beast representing the fourth empire (Rome)

Is associated with a beast representing the third empire (Greece)

Rises directly out of the head of the beast (Rome)

It does not come up from the head of the goat (Greece), but rises out of an already existing four horns (Alexander’s four generals)

Is a horn (ruler) that comes out of a beast (Kingdom)

Note: Horns represents rulers or kings (Dan. 8:20). Beast represents kingdoms (Daniel 7:17, 23)

Is a horn (ruler) that comes out of a horn (ruler)

Note: Horns represents rulers or kings (Dan. 8:20). Beast represents kingdoms (Daniel 7:17, 23)

  • Daniel 8:9 says the little horn (ruler) would originate from one of the four divisions of Alexander’s empire:
  • The goat (Greece) became very powerful (under Alexander the Great). But at the height of his power, his large horn (ruler Alexander) was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four horns (four generals of Alexander) pointing in the four directions of the earth. 9 Then from one of the [four] prominent horns came a little horn (ruler from the same Grecian empire) whose power grew very great (Daniel 8:8,9).
  • Daniel 8:9 says the little horn would originate from one of the four divisions of Alexander’s empire when these were in their “latter time” (v. 23). This points us toward a power originating from the Greek world sometime after 300 BC, and not Rome.
  • Therefore, the little horn of Daniel 8 was to arise six centuries before the little horn (Roman emperor Nero) of Daniel 7 existed!

So who is the little horn of Daniel 8?

  • There is a near-unanimous opinion among Bible scholars of all denominations–Jewish and Christian, and even including a few prominent SDA scholars–that the “little horn” of Daniel 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes, a Grecian King.
  • Let’s examine the evidence:
  • The little horn of Daniel 8:9 ‘was to wax exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land
  • Antiochus’ sphere of operations was precisely in the three areas that Daniel mentions (See: Ancient History. Vol IV. P422, 1 Maccabees 1:20-42). This is not true of Rome. Many of Rome’s greatest conquests were to the North and West of Rome.

  • Since the little horn is said to wax ‘exceeding great’, SDA’s argue that compared with Medo-Persia and Greece, Antiochus was not “exceeding great,” (only Rome was), and therefore could not have been the little horn of Dan. 8:9.
  • However, a careful reading of Dan. 8:9 reveals that the prophecy never says the little horn will be exceeding great in comparison to Persia and Greece. The little horn is not compared with other powers, but merely said to wax “exceeding great” in three regions: to the south, the east, and the pleasant land. Antiochus was not a big horn on a big stage. He was a little horn that played a big role on a little stage.
  • The little horn in Daniel 8:10 is said to cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them
  • The above verse is not talking about heavenly beings, because no empire, not even Rome, has cast down heavenly beings. Both the Bible and the Jewish Apocrypha use similar language to calls the priests and rulers of the Hebrew people as stars (Genesis 37:9). In 2nd Maccabees 9:10 (a history book), Antiochus persecuted Jews including priests and rulers and is described as, “the man, which thought he could reach to the stars of heaven…
  • The little horn in 8:11 is said to, ‘magnify 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
  • Prince in the Bible is defined as (sar) meaning “a head person, captain, chief, general, governor.” Therefore, the little horn would magnify himself to the head/captain/ruler of the host (Jews). Antiochus did this literally, during his rule, when the high priest, Onias, was driven into exile and later killed in the cruelest manner.
  • Furthermore, Antiochus figuratively magnified himself to the ultimate prince of the host, God Himself. His surname Theo Antiochus declared him to be an effulgence in human form of the Divine, a god manifest in the flesh (see Edwin Bevan, The House of Seleucus, vol. 2, p. 154).
  • Antiochus Epiphanes ‘took away the daily sacrifices’ (Dan 8:11) as prophesied by forbidding the daily sacrifice of lambs and profaned the sanctuary. The book of Maccabees describes how the daily sacrifice was taken away, and how the sanctuary was desolated: “And in his arrogance he went into the sanctuary and took away the gold altar and the lampstand for the light, and all its furniture…” (1 Maccabees 1:21)
  • Daniel 8:12 says ‘And an host (army) was given him (Antiochus) against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth [of sacrifices] to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered’
  • Antiochus’ attack on the Jewish religion was the worst crisis to face the Jews between the Babylonian captivity in 606 BC and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. History records, “And they (Antiochus’ army) shed innocent blood all around the sanctuary, and polluted the sanctuary itself. … Her sanctuary became a desolate wilderness…” (1 Maccabees 1:37,39)
  • The Bible says these calamities came upon the Jews “by reason of transgression.” (Dan 8:12). In other words, it was the sins of the Jews that brought this calamity upon themselves.
  • The question is raised with regard to the duration of this attack on the sanctuary in Daniel 8:13, 14 ‘How long shall be the vision concerning the [attack on ] 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.
  • Since the context of the verse itself is talking about the daily sacrifices in the temple, which took place every morning and evening, the only reasonable conclusion is that this verse is talking about the daily sacrifices in the temple. Certainly it would be reckless to apply the “year-day” principle to every prophecy where “days” are mentioned. In Genesis 6:3 God prophesied there would be a period of 120 years before the flood, which did not equate to 43,200 years.
  • The 2300-day prophecy witnessed an amazing fulfillment during the terrifying reign of Antiochus. According to the Jewish calendar, the 2300 days works out to be six years, three months, and 18 days. This is the time period in which Antiochus took the daily sacrifices away, and at the end of the 2300 days, was eventually defeated.
  • This attack on the sanctuary by Antiochus was the beginning of a period of intense suffering for those in Israel who chose to remain faithful to God. Judas Maccabeus was outraged over the injustice done to God’s sanctuary: ‘Behold, our sanctuary and our beauty and our glory have been laid waste, and the heathen (Antiochus) have profaned them.” (1 Maccabees 2:7,8,12)
  • Maccabeus rose up and started a revolt against Antiochus. The Sanctuary was “cleansed” by Judas Maccabeus when he purified the holy places, sanctified the courts, rebuilt the altar, renewed the vessels of the sanctuary, and put all in their proper places: “Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary. So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law: Who cleansed the sanctuary..’ (1 Maccabees 4:41-51)
  • The Sanctuary is being vindicated or cleansed from having been trampled upon and cast down by the ‘desolation’ which is the devastation due to sacrilegious or wrong treatment of the temple by Antiochus. Antiochus Epiphanes profaned the temple of God by offering sacrifices to idols upon the holy altar of God.

  • Jesus referred to the abomination (by Antiochus) in the book of Daniel (Dan. 9:27) as a warning to His followers that a similar desolation was going to happen to the Jewish nation in the future: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation (sacrileges treatment of the temple leading to emptiness), spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (referring to Jerusalem temple destruction by Titus in AD70), then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” (Matt. 24:15)
  • When Daniel 8:19 says the prophesy of 2300 days is ‘at the time of the end…in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be’. We must bear in mind that the “time of the end” is not the same as the “end of time.” Rather, it refers to the end of the particular period associated with this prophecy. In this case, the “end of the indignation” is definitely indicated, namely, the afflictions permitted to be brought upon the Jewish people.
  • Daniel 8:25 says the little horn power (Antiochus) ‘shall be broken without hand’. This is a stunning prophecy indicating how Antiochus would die. Notice how this prophecy was fulfilled:
  • But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague;.. Thus the murderer and blasphemer having suffered most grievously, as he entreated other men, so died a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains.” (2 Maccabees 9:5-12,28)

  • Albert Barnes adds, “All the statements given of his [Antiochus] death, by the authors of the books of Maccabees, by Josephus, by Polybius, by Q. Curtius, and by Aarian agree that the Divine prediction in Daniel was fully accomplished, that his death would be ‘without hand,’ in the sense that it would not be by human instrumentality, but that it would be a direct divine infliction.” (Notes on Daniel, p. 355)
  • To summarize:
  • There is near universal agreement among scholars (including both Christian, Jewish, agnostic, and even some Adventist scholars) that Antiochus Epiphanes is the “little horn” of Daniel 8.
  • The 2300-days represents a literal period during which the daily evening-morning sacrifices ceased and the Temple in Jerusalem was profaned by the gentiles led by Anticohus Epiphanes.
  • The cleansing of the sanctuary refers to the restoration of the temple services after Antiochus Epiphanes was defeated by the armies of Judas Maccabees.

Seventh-day Adventists make some very unusual claims about Daniel 8:

  • Gabriel was unable to make Daniel understand the vision–particularly the 2300-day portion of it
  • Gabriel came back later (in Daniel 9) to help Daniel understand the 2300 days
  • Daniel 9 is an expansion upon the subject of Daniel 8
  • The 70-week prophecy is “cut-off” from the 2300 days, and therefore they have the same starting date
  • First, I will address whether Gabriel failed in his mission to make Daniel understand the vision.
  • SDA’s claim that the latter part of Daniel 9 is a further explanation of Daniel 8. This teaching is derived from Daniel 8:27: “And I Daniel fainted, 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.”
  • First, we need to recognize that the word it is supplied by the translators, and is not in the original Hebrew. Removing the word makes the meaning of the verse clear: “…I was astonished at the vision, but none understood.”
  • What does “none understood” refer to? Did no one understand the vision? Or did no one understand Daniel’s reaction to the vision? Isaac Lesser, a leading Jewish scholar, renders the verse as follows:
  • “And I Daniel, grieved, and was sick several days: afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was depressed because of the appearance; but no one observed it.”
  • It is obvious from this translation that the part about “not understanding” was referring to the people Daniel worked with who did not comprehend why he was ill and depressed.
  • To make the claim that Daniel failed to understand the vision–thus requiring a second visit from Gabriel–one must first assume the angel failed in his first mission. In Daniel 8:16 a voice commands, “Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.” If one is a Bible-believing Christian, then one must believe that Gabriel obeyed the command to make Daniel understand the vision.
  • Is the sanctuary of Daniel 8:13-14 the heavenly sanctuary?
  • Notice the question: “How long shall…the sanctuary…be trodden under foot?” (Daniel 8:13)
  • The answer is 2300 days (evenings-mornings). This puts the Seventh-day Adventists in a dilemma, because they insist that the sanctuary being “cleansed” in verse 14 is the heavenly sanctuary.
  • However, according to their own calculations, the papacy did not arrive until after 476 AD–nearly a millennium after the 2,300 years started! Who was trampling the sanctuary for 934 years before the rise of the papacy? Seventh-day Adventists claim that “Imperial Rome” trampled the earthly temple in 70 AD when it was destroyed by Roman armies, but that was the earthly, not the heavenly temple. If the sanctuary is the heavenly sanctuary in verse 14, then how could it be the earthly sanctuary in verse 13, since verse 13 is a question being answered in verse 14?
  • The truth is that there has never in human history been a 2300-year period where the sanctuary in heaven (or on earth) was trodden under foot. This fact alone should prove that the SDA interpretation does not fit historical facts, and is therefore invalid.

The gospel & 1844: are they compatible?

1844

Why the gospel and 1844 are not compatible?

  • Seventh-day Adventist’s teach that in 1844, Christ began a work of judgment. This doctrine is their special gospel message to the world, and the reason for their existence. Ellen White said this teaching is the ‘foundation’ and ‘central pillar’ of the Advent faith (The Great Controversy, p. 409). Is this message compatible with the Biblical gospel?

Let’s see what the Bible teaches about the gospel

  • The gospel is called ‘the gospel of Christ’: It is about Jesus Christ’ (Romans 1:3).

  • The gospel is about Jesus Christ fulfilling the Old Testament: He fulfils its law and prophecy (Matt. 5:17).

He fulfils the law because He is the reality of all Jewish sacrifices and ceremonies.

His fulfils the law because His perfect obedience to God is the righteousness which the law demands of the human race.

  • The gospel is about a finished thing: His last words on the cross were ‘’It is finished’’. It is the good news of Christ’s finished work.

He ‘made atonement for sin’ (Rom 3:25), ‘destroyed death’ (2 Tim. 1:10), and ‘defeated the devil’ (Hebrews 2:14).  Man’s lost dominion has been restored in this one man, Jesus, ‘who reigns over all principalities and powers’ (1 Cor. 15:25).

  • The Bible presents the gospel as a historical thing that is done and finished.

‘Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached [past tense] to you before. It is this Good News that saves you. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said’’ (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

‘He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross’ (Col. 2:14,15)

‘When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honour at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven’ (Hebrews 1:3)

The New Testament gospel is not presented as if it were an Old Testament promise of what God will do. It is message of what He has done. If anyone preaches about a gospel not already finished, it is not the gospel (Gal. 1:8).

  • The Gospel is a final thing: ‘Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son’ (Heb. 1:1-2).

God did everything for our salvation when He acted in Christ. Christ is God’s final word to man. For there is no hint that the New Testament Christians are waiting for the Spirit (latter rain), the sealing, the verdict of the final judgment. They only wait for the Son of God to come from heaven (1 Thess. 1:10).

Hence, until Jesus comes, there is no way to go on from hearing the gospel to some higher knowledge of the gospel message or some more profound experience of God (latter rain).

  • The gospel is a complete thing: ‘For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole counsel or teachings of God’’ (Acts 20:27).

We need to guard against the idea that since we are in the last days, we need to preach aspects of Christ’s redemptive work which were not proclaimed by the apostles.

  • The proclamation of the gospel of Jesus is a last day event:’But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice’’ (Hebrew 9:26).

Calvary therefore was a last day event. The outpouring of the Spirit to proclaim the gospel took place at Pentecost, which was a fulfilment of what Joel preached would take place in the last days (Acts 2:16, 17).

  • The gospel is an all-sufficient thing: It gives us eternal life (John 5:24; 3:16); it gives us the seal of God which is the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13); No new testament believer waits for the Spirit, but by the Spirit he waits for the Lord (Rom. 5:5). In Christ, believer is now perfect, without fault, blameless in God’s sight (Col. 1:20).

It is denial of the gospel to talk about a future character perfection, sealing, as if there is something above and beyond hearing the gospel that has already been given to the New Testament church.

  • The gospel is a clear and certain thing: It is not a mystery or hidden thing. ‘’If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ..’’ (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

The clear message of the gospel is Christ is the promised one who died to take away our sins so that all who believe find forgiveness and life everlasting (John 3:16).

  • The gospel is a decisive thing: Those who obey the gospel are sealed and given life eternal. Those who disobey the gospel are judged already (John 5:24). This means that the final judgement is mysteriously present in preaching of the gospel (John 3:18). God doesn’t require any further judgement to decide who are his children.

1844 : does it match up with the Biblical gospel?

  • The date 1844 and the teaching on the two-phased ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary are the nerve center of Adventism. From this teaching comes a plethora of teachings like the investigative judgment, the remnant church, the special sealing, the latter rain, and Spirit of prophecy (Ellen White).

Because the gospel given to the apostles was a finished, complete thing, and no future addition to that gospel was implied, SDA teaching on 1844 actually denies the gospel. The SDA pioneers, and members do not appear to understand the gospel.

  • Consequently, even today, the SDA gospel is being preached as a promise of what God will do for us if we fulfil certain conditions, and not as something finished! For example, He will blot out our sins if we pass the investigative judgment that began in 1844. If we keep the Sabbath, we will receive the seal of God. He will help us overcome every character defect so that we can receive the latter rain.

It’s no exaggeration to say that SDA community has lived and continue to live as an Old Testament community with a gospel of promise than a New Testament community with a gospel of something already finished.

  • The Old Testament revelation God gave through Moses, Daniel was veiled. But this was revealed or unveiled in the New Testament because ‘God has spoken’ (Hebrews 1:2) the final word about the essential meaning of the Old Testament. This means we must interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament. SDA’s generally do the reverse.

When the New Testament declares Dan 7:14, ‘He was given all authority’ was fulfilled in Christ (Matt. 28:18), we must not go beyond God’s final word.

  • Since Aaron went into holy of holies in the earthly sanctuary, SDA’s reasoned that Christ must have gone into heaven to do the same. SDA’s do not get that the book of Hebrews contrasts between type (symbol) and antitype (real) more than the parallels. Unlike Aaron, Christ made atonement ‘once and for all’ and then went into the presence of God (Heb. 1:3). That’s why Hebrews says nothing about a two-phased ministration in heaven.

The book of Hebrews know nothing about a further ministration to prepare His children for his coming, because, ‘For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy’’ (Hebrews 10:14).

  • Christ’s intercession in heaven is not that of an Aaronic priest standing before God to offer the blood. His intercession is that of a king seated on His throne, exercising the rights and titles gained by His finished work.

The 1844 teaching implies that the apostolic gospel was not complete, that it did not contain all the light necessary to prepare the church for translation. All this is opposed to the gospel ‘once for all entrusted to the saints’’ (Jude 3), which was a gospel containing all necessary things to prepare people for the Christ’s coming (Rom. 5:1).

  • What can we say about 1844? It rests on one solitary text – Daniel 8:14. There is no New Testament confirmation of either the date 1844, or the new phase of Christ’s work in heaven.

The truth is SDA’s have not been able to convince a single recognised Biblical scholar that their interpretation of Daniel 8:14 is worthy of a second thought. There is not an adventist in ten who would feel comfortable ‘proving’ the 1844 doctrine from the Bible. Yet SDA’s have to hold on to it, because it alone justifies the existence of Adventism as a movement with a special message.

  • Instead of a pre-advent judgment beginning in 1844, the New Testament knows only one pre-advent judgment. It is the apostolic gospel (John 3:17-19). By this gospel, all men are tested and are thereby declared righteous or guilty.

It’s time for SDA’s to wake up, and embrace the true gospel. For the gospel is about Jesus, something He finished, therefore it is final, complete, an end time event, all sufficient, clear, and decisive!

Adapted from: Are the gospel and 1844 theology compatible? By R. Brinsmead