From Contamination to Purification

From Contamination to Purification

Scripture: Daniel 8:14
Date: 02/29/2020  Lesson: 9
'What should this study tell us about how precious and important the knowledge of biblical truth really is in contrast to human traditions?'

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♪♪♪ Jean Ross: Good morning, friends, welcome again to "Sabbath School Study Hour" here at the Granite Bay Seventh Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our online members who are joining us, as well as those who are part of our study time across the country and around the world. I'd like to also welcome our regular Sabbath School members who are here, as well as those of you who are visiting for the first time this morning. A very warm welcome to all of you. Over the past few weeks, we have been studying through the book of Daniel. Today, we find ourselves on lesson number nine. And it's actually--the title of the study is "From Contamination to Purification." And we're looking at Daniel chapter 9 for our study.

But before we get to our study, we'd like to let you know about our free gift for those who are joining us online. It's one of the Amazing Facts study guides entitled "God Drew the Plans." And we'd be happy to provide this to anyone. All you'll need to do is call the number, 866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 129, and we'll be happy to send that to you. Or if you'd like, you can text the code "SH135" to the number 40544 and you'll be able to get a digital download of this study, and you'll be able to study right online. Again, it's called "God Drew the Plans," and we'll be happy to send this for free to anyone who contacts us.

Well, this morning, we have a real treat. We've got the Weimar College Choir that is with us this morning, and they're going to be bringing us a special musical item at this time.

♪ ♪ Because of the Lord's great love ♪ ♪ We are not consumed

♪ ♪ His compassions never fail ♪ ♪ His compassions never fail

♪ ♪ They are new every morning ♪ ♪ New every morning

♪ ♪ Great is God's faithfulness

♪ ♪ Because of the Lord's great love ♪ ♪ We are not consumed

♪ ♪ His compassions never fail ♪ ♪ His compassions never fail

♪ ♪ They are new every morning ♪ ♪ New every morning

♪ ♪ Great is God's faithfulness ♪

♪♪

♪ ♪ When morning gilds the skies ♪ ♪ My heart awaking cries

♪ ♪ May Jesus Christ be praised

♪ ♪ Alike at work and prayer ♪ ♪ To Jesus I repair

♪ ♪ May Jesus Christ be praised♪

♪♪

♪ ♪ The night becomes as day ♪ ♪ When from the heart we say

♪ ♪ May Jesus Christ be praised

♪ ♪ The powers of darkness fear ♪ ♪ When this sweet chant they hear

♪ ♪ May Jesus Christ be praised ♪

♪♪

♪ ♪ Be this, while life is mine ♪ ♪ My canticle divine

♪ ♪ May Jesus Christ be praised

♪ ♪ Sing this eternal song ♪ ♪ My song through all the ages long

♪ ♪ We'll sing the one eternal song ♪ ♪ May Jesus Christ be praised

♪ ♪ May Jesus Christ be praised ♪

Jean: Amen, thank you for that beautiful song, Weimar Choir. Again, we'd like to welcome all of you to our "Sabbath School Study Hour" here at the Granite Bay Church. And as we mentioned in our introduction, we're looking at Daniel chapter 8 is going to be the main focus of our study this morning. It's actually lesson number 9 in your lesson quarterly, but it actually focuses on Daniel chapter 8, very important study today.

But before we get to our study, let's just begin with a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we are grateful that we have this opportunity to gather together in Your house and open Your Word and study a very important prophecy, something that is in particular relevant for us and for the time in which we are living. We do ask that the Holy Spirit would come and guide our hearts and our minds. Help us to understand these very important prophetic truths, for we ask this in Jesus's name, amen.

Well, we're looking at lesson number 9, and it's entitled "From Contamination to Purification." And we have a memory verse. And if you have your lesson quarterlies or your Bibles, you can turn to our memory text, it is Daniel chapter 8 and verse 14. It's a famous, well-known verse in Scripture, especially to Adventists. Daniel the 8th chapter and verse 14, it says, "And he said unto me for 2,300 days, 'Then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.'" Daniel 8, verse 14.

Now, we'll be getting to this cleansing of the sanctuary here in just a few moments, but by way of an introduction as we lead into to our study, we're going to be looking at Daniel chapter 8. Now, Daniel chapter 8 reveals the fact that there is an attempt to undermine the work that Jesus does for us in the heavenly sanctuary. Now, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus is our high priest ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, Hebrews chapter 8, verse 1 and 2.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the new and living way into the presence of the Father, that's Hebrews chapter 10. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the one mediator between God and man, that's 1 Timothy 2, verse 5. He's also the author and the finisher of our faith, and you read about that in Hebrews 12. And John 14:6, He's the only means of salvation. So, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus is our High Priest. He's our mediator, He's the one that represents us before the Father. Salvation comes in and through Christ.

But in Daniel chapter 8, we are introduced to an entity that tries to usurp the position of Jesus as high priest and mediator. And that's really the focus of our study in Daniel chapter 8. Now, Daniel chapter 8 is divided up into four parts. The first, which is from verse 1 through to verse 12, describes what Daniel saw in vision. And then you've got verse 12 and 13 that tell you what Daniel heard, and that's where our memory text came from in verse 14. Then in verse 15 through to verse 25, you have the interpretation of the vision that Daniel had seen, that's the angel Gabriel that comes to explain the meaning of the symbols. And then in verse 26 and 27, you've got the explanation or the interpretation given by Gabriel interrupted. And then, of course, you read about the last part of that in Daniel chapter 9, when Gabriel comes back to give a clear understanding of the 2,300 days.

So, we're not going to be getting into Daniel 9, but we are going to be looking at Daniel chapter 8 this morning. So, with that as the background, we're going to begin. And if you have your Bibles, you can turn to it, it's Daniel chapter 8, and we're going to start reading here in verse 2. Daniel chapter 8, verse 2, and this is what it says. Daniel is describing what he sees in vision, "I saw in vision, and it so happened while I was looking that I was in Shushan."

Now, as you'll remember, Daniel was in Babylon, but here it's nearing the end of the Babylonian reign, and Medo-Persia is soon to conquer Babylon. Shushan was about 230 miles east of the city of Babylon. It served as the summer palace for some of the Babylonian kings as well as the Persian kings that came later on. So he says, "I was in Shushan, the citadel." The word "citadel" is just fortified palace, and that's where it was located. "Which is in the province of Elam, and I saw in the night visions that I was by the river Ulai."

Now, Ulai was an artificial canal that was connecting two rivers, and it was used primarily for irrigation. Now, where did the four living creatures that we studied previously in Daniel chapter 7, where did they come from? The four living creatures came from the--the four beasts came from the sea, right? And what does water represent in Bible prophecy? People, multitudes, and nations. It's interesting to note that what we read in Daniel chapter 8 also takes place close to water. Daniel sees these visions and he's by the river. In Daniel 7, these creatures come out of the sea. So again, it represents multitudes and nations.

All right, looking then at verse 3, it says, "Then I lifted up my eyes and I saw there standing beside the river, there was a ram that had two horns." Now, the ram with the two horns represents Medo-Persia, as we'll find out in just a few moments. Of course, animals in Bible prophecy represents kingdoms or nations. We have this ram, it's got two horns, the two horns represent the two parts of the kingdom, the Medes and the Persians. It's also interesting to note that in Daniel chapter 7, the animals that's described coming up from the sea are what we would refer to as wild animals or unclean animals. But the animals described in Daniel chapter 8 would be considered clean animals. You've got a ram, you've got a goat. Now, rams and goats were very important to the sanctuary and to the sacrificial system. In Daniel chapter 7, you have a lion, an unclean animal, a bear, a leopard, and then a dragon-like beast.

So, in Daniel chapter 8, the focus is on the sanctuary and on something relating to the plan of redemption or the plan of salvation. You'll see that unfold as we go. So, the imagery that we find in chapter 8 is sanctuary imagery, sanctuary language. Now, of course, our memory text in verse 14 of Daniel 8 talks about the cleansing of the sanctuary. So, you can see that, that, all of the images here are connected together. Okay, then it says that this ram had two horns and the larger horn came up last. This is the last part of verse 3. Even though the Medes came before the Persians, the Persians, which came up later, grew to dominance. And so, that's the horn that is larger and comes up. Then we look at verse 4, it says, "I saw the ram pushing westward and northward and southward so that no animal could stand before him."

This is a description of Medo-Persia. It expanded from the east, it expanded to the west. Cyrus, who was the general that led the conquest of Medo-Persia, he conquered Babylon, he conquered Syria, in Asia Minor. He pressed up towards the north to conquer Armenia all the way up to the Caspian Sea region, and south all the way down to Egypt and Ethiopia. So, Medo-Persia comes from the east, and it's moving towards the west, and it's conquering this land. And the middle of verse 4 says, "Nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will, and he became great." The Medo-Persian empire conquered and occupied more land than Babylon.

So, notice you have Babylon followed by Medo-Persia, Medo-Persia controls more land than Babylon, but then Medo-Persia falls to Greece, and Greece controls more land than Persia did. And then Rome controls even more land and territory than Greece. So, each time these kingdoms that arise, they have more power and they control more territory, and that's the pattern that we can see established.

Now, of course, we don't have to guess as to who this power is because the angel Gabriel comes and explains the meaning of the symbol. And if you look in verse 20, Daniel chapter 8, verse 20, the angel Gabriel comes and it's very clear as to who the ram is. Verse 20 says, "The ram which you saw having the two horns are the kings of Medo-Persia." No question about that. So, here we see a parallel beginning to develop between what we looked at in Daniel 7 and what we've read in Daniel chapter 2.

It's important for us to remember the context of these visions in the book of Daniel. Daniel chapter 2 is, you know, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. And in the dream, he sees this giant image made of these different metals. And each of these metals represent a different kingdom. The head of gold in Daniel chapter 2 represents the kingdom of Babylon. The chest and arms of silver represent what kingdom? Medo-Persia. And then, of course, you've got the belly and the thighs of brass, representing Greece; the legs of iron, representing Rome; the feet of iron and clay representing Western Europe even as we know it today. And then the stone that comes and strikes the image upon its feet.

Now, if you can just picture this giant image in Daniel chapter 2, and then you parallel that to Daniel chapter 7, you'll notice the kingdoms are described, but using different symbols. Instead of the head of gold that you find in Daniel chapter 2, Babylon in Daniel 7 is represented as a lion that has eagle's wings. And we studied this last week. Medo-Persia in Daniel 2 is the chest and the arms of silver. In Daniel 7, it's represented as a bear that is raised up on one side and he has three ribs in his mouth.

Now, we mentioned this last week, the arms of the image of Daniel 2, there are two arms, and there's two parts. Medo-Persia consists of two parts, the Medes and the Persians. And just like the right arm is typically stronger than the left, so the Persians were stronger than the Medes. Thus the bear was raised up on the one side. And then you've got the kingdom of Greece represented by the belly and the thighs of brass in Daniel chapter 2. And now, we find in Daniel chapter 7 that's the leopard with four heads and four wings. Rome are the legs of iron in Daniel 2. In Daniel 7, it is a nondescript beast that has ten horns, and a little horn that comes up, and he has iron teeth. So, you can see the parallel here.

Now, Daniel chapter 8, nothing is said about Babylon because Babylon was at the point of being conquered by Medo-Persia when the vision was given to Daniel in Daniel chapter 8. So, the vision begins in Daniel 8, not with Babylon, but with Medo-Persia. So, this ram with two horns the angel tells us is Medo-Persia. Well, what power conquered Medo-Persia? Well, we know it was the power of Greece. The Greeks conquered the Medes.

And so, we find here in verse 5, it introduces us to another symbol, and it is the he goat. Daniel chapter 8 beginning then in verse 5, it says, "And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat," that would be the kingdom of Greece, "came from the west."

So, if you think of the map of the Mediterranean, Medo-Persia came from the east conquering towards the west, but Greece would be to the west conquering to the east. So, this power came from the west, this is Greece. And it says, "It came across from the west across the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground," representing the speed with which Alexander the Great conquered. It says, "The goat had a notable horn between its eyes."

Now, the Bible tells us what this notable horn is, it says it's the first king, and we know that from history as being Alexander the Great, he was a great military prodigy. He was able to understand and come up with some great military strategies. So, this notable horn is Alexander the Great. He launched his first attack against Persia in 334 BC. And in essence, by 330, just four years later, he had pretty much fully conquered the Persian Empire. Verse 6 says, "Then he came to the ram that had the two horns, which I'd seen standing before the river, and ran at him with fury and power."

So, here he's referencing the power and the conquest of the Greeks. Verse 7 says, "And I saw him confronting the ram, and he was moved with rage against him, and attacked the ram and broke his two horns. And there was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled upon him, and there was no one that could deliver out of his hand." So again, this is a reference to the Greeks and Alexander the Great.

Probably one of the more decisive battles that occurred took place in 331, October the 1st, 331, known as the Battle of Arbela. The Persians had gathered together sort of their last stand against Alexander and his forces. They had about 200,000 soldiers in the Persian army. In addition to the footmen, they had their horses, and they had chariots, they even had elephants that were prepared for battle. And they would take these elephants into war. So, 200,000 soldiers is what was on the side of the Persians, Alexander the Great had, well, about, let me see, he had a total of 47,000 men. So, 200,000 Persians and 47,000 Greeks. Well, in the battle, these were all footmen, Alexander didn't have horses or chariots. But based on his military ability to figure out battles and his strategy and the speed with which his men could move, at the end of the battle, which of course the Greeks won, the Persians had lost 50,000 men in the battle and the Greeks had lost 500. And that was the deciding battle, which really gave the upper hand to Alexander the Great. And of course, the Greeks conquered Medo-Persia.

Now, as to the identity of this he goat, the Bible tells us clearly in verse 21, Daniel chapter 8, verse 21, it says, "And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king." So, no question as to who this goat represents, it represents Greece, and the big horn between its eyes is Alexander the Great.

Now, we come to the next symbol that we find, and that's these four horns that we read about, starting in verse 8. If you have your Bibles and following along, we're looking in Daniel chapter 8, beginning in verse 8. And it says, "Therefore, the male goat grew very great. But when he had become strong, the large horn was broken."

This prophecy indicates that Alexander the Great, that he would fall while his empire was at the height of its power. And this is, of course, exactly what happened. At the age of 32 while back at Babylon, Alexander the Great fell ill, some think it's the result of a drinking spree that he had gone on, a fever that he had picked up, and he died at the age of 32. His kingdom then was divided up amongst his four generals. And you notice the rest of the verse there, it says, "And in the place of it, that is this notable horn," Alexander the Great, "four notable ones came up towards the four winds of heaven."

So, when Alexander the Great died, his kingdom was divided up amongst his four generals. And you have Ptolemy, one of the generals, who took control of Egypt and Palestine. Cassander took control of Macedonia, Lysimachus took over Turkey and a large part of Asia Minor, and Seleucus had the northern Syria, Mesopotamian eastern part of the empire. Thus the kingdom of Greece was divided into four, just as the prophecy says. Now, as to the meaning of these symbols, again we don't have to guess, the angel Gabriel gives the explanation. And you'll find in verse 22, Daniel chapter 8, verse 22, the angel says, "As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of this nation, but not in its power." And so, when Alexander the Great died, his kingdom is divided up.

Now, we get to a very interesting symbol, it's the little horn power that we read about now in Daniel chapter 8. And this starts in verse 9. So, what does it say about this little horn power? And most of what this chapter talks about is the little horn power. So, we begin in verse 9, it says, "And out of one of them." Now, I want to just spend a few moments on this, there is some confusion as to who the them is in this verse. Is it referring to the four winds, or is it referring to the four horns? Now remember, the kingdom was divided up into four parts, but it says, "Out of one of them," talking about the four points of the compass, the four winds.

Let me back up just to make sure you understand. If you notice over here where it says in verse 8, it says four notable, this is the end of verse 8, "And in its place, there were four notable horns that came up towards the four winds of heaven." So, you have four horns and you have four winds. Then it says, "And out of one of them arose a little horn." So, the question is, is it referring to the four horns or is it referring to the four winds? Why is that important? Well, because the next power that we're going to be looking at, the little horn power, represents the kingdom of Rome. Rome did not really grow out of one of the four divisions of the Grecian empire. Rome, of course, came way over from the west and it conquered towards the east. So, it's brought some confusion.

Actually, some people have come up with some interesting views as to try and identify who this little horn power is. But if you look at the actual Hebrew in which this passage was written, the different Hebrew words are either masculine or feminine, or in a neuter form. And when it's talking about these four them that we find in verse 9, it's actually given in the masculine form.

Now, horns are always given in the feminine form, winds are always given in the masculine form. Horns can also sometimes be used in the feminine form, but--or winds can be either, but horns are always in the feminine form. So, when it says them, it's in the masculine form, it's relating to the winds and not the horns just from the grammatical study of the text itself. So, when he says, "From one of them arose a little horn," the them there is not the four horns, but from one of the four points of the compass, one of the four winds. Now, with that, it makes perfect sense when we talk about Rome coming up because Rome didn't really arise from one of the four horns, but it did arise from one of the four points of the compass. It actually came from the west and then moved to the east. And you'll see why that's important here in just a few minutes.

We're going to be talking about Antiochus Epiphanes and some of the misunderstanding about that. So it says, "From one of them," that would be one of the four points of the compass, "came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great towards the south, towards the east, and towards the glorious land." So, if you're picturing in your mind the Mediterranean and Rome, which came up in Italy, it did grow towards the west, or it came from the west, but it expanded towards the east, towards the south, that would be Egypt, and towards the pleasant land, that would be Palestine or Israel. And that's exactly what happened, Rome did expand in that direction. And then verse 10 says, "And it grew up to the host of heaven." And verse 24 calls it the mighty and the holy people. "And it cast down some of the hosts and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled upon them."

This, of course, is a reference to the persecution that came against the Jews by the Romans, and even to some degree speaks of the persecution that came against Christ. Remember Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross, and that's what's brought to view here a little later as well. Verse 11 says, "He even exalted himself to the Prince of the Host." Now, who do you suppose the Prince of the Host would be? That would be Jesus. And it says, "By him the daily sacrifice was taken away and the place of his sanctuary was cast down."

Now, when we're talking about Rome, we're talking about this little horn power, we're describing Rome both in its pagan phase and also in its papal phase. Remember Medo-Persia, it had two arms in Daniel chapter 2, representing the Medes and the Persians? And the legs in Daniel 2, there were two legs representing pagan Rome and papal Rome. The little horn power in Daniel chapter 8 describes both pagan Rome and what pagan Rome would do, as well as what papal Rome would do because papal Rome is really an extension of pagan Rome. So, when it talks about raising himself against the Prince of the Hosts, it's talking not only about pagan Rome persecuting and crucifying Christ, but it's also talking about something that papal Rome would do as time goes on. And we'll see how that comes together in just a minute.

Okay, verse 12, Daniel chapter 8, verse 12, it says, "Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices. And he cast the truth to the ground, and he did all of this and prospered." Now, verse 12 is referring to the papal power more than the pagan power. And we'll explain what the daily sacrifices is and how it was cast down to the ground here in just a minute.

Now, as an explanation of this little horn power, if we go to verse 23 of the same chapter, Daniel chapter 8, verse 23, this is what the angel says. He says, "In the latter time of their kingdom," that is the division of the four parts of the Grecian empire, "when transgression has reached their fullness, a king shall arise having fierce features, who's understanding sinister schemes." Verse 24, "His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power. He shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive. He shall destroy the mighty and also the holy people." Verse 25 says, "Through his cunning, he shall cause the seed to prosper under his rule, and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of Princes, but he shall be broken without human means."

So, who then is this little horn power? I've mentioned it, it's referring to Rome both in its pagan form as well as its papal form. Now, I'd like to look at some characteristics that we find of this little horn power, and maybe they could put this on the screen for us, identifying marks of the little horn power of Daniel chapter 8. First of all, in verse 9, it says, "It grew exceedingly great." So this power, Rome, would be greater than Greece, greater than Medo-Persia, and greater than Babylon. And of course, that refers to Rome.

Point number two, it would rise towards the south, the east, and the glorious land. Rome arose in the west and conquered south and east. It had fierce features. Rome was fierce and war-like. It exalted himself in his heart. Rome was proud and arrogant. Now, this is not only referring to the Roman emperors, but as we see, it also refers to the papal power and the popes during the 1260 years of papal supremacy. Verse 5 says, "He shall destroy the mighty and the holy people," that's verse 24.

Rome is a persecuting power of God's true people. Again, that's referring to pagan Rome and the papacy. Verse 11 says, "He shall exalt himself as high as the Prince of the Host." This is clearly a reference to the papal power. "And it will cast down Christ's truth and the sanctuary," that's verse 11 and 12. That would pervert the truth of the sanctuary and the high priestly ministry of Jesus, and that's what we find happened during the time of papal supremacy.

Point number 8, "By him the daily sacrifice was taken away," and that's verse 11. Took away the original gospel provisions that we find in Scripture, and that again is the papal power. "Practiced and prospered till the time of the end." This power would continue right up till the last days, longer than any other power in history. We know that the papacy ruled from 538 till 1798, 1260 years of supremacy, which is much longer than any of the other kingdoms or powers that we have described in Daniel 2, Daniel 7, and Daniel chapter 8.

Now, one of the questions that people have when talking about this little horn power, they ask, "Well, could this little horn represent Antiochus Epiphanes?" Let me explain a little bit about who Antiochus Epiphanes is. If you look at the verse, it says, "Out of one of them arise a little power, a king," and the them is the horns. People began to look around the divisions of the Grecian empire after Alexander the Great died, and they looked for a king or a power that would arise from one of those four divisions. And they tried to identify that power as the little horn, thus moving the focus away from pagan Rome and even moving away from the papal power.

And one of the suggestions that has been made is, well, this little horn power, could it be Antiochus Epiphanes? Now, he was a king that did arise from one of the four divisions of the Grecian empire, but he does not fit into the prophecy. And we'll see here a few points on the screen. First of all, Antiochus Epiphanes did not become exceedingly great as the prophecy says he would have to be.

Matter of fact, there's not much said about Antiochus Epiphanes. Alexander the Great is far greater than he. And of course, you have the various other powers like Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, much greater than Antiochus Epiphanes. So no, he did not become exceedingly great. Number two says he did not rule in the latter time, nor the end of the Seleucid kingdom as the prophecy requires. Verse 23 says, "He shall rule till the latter time." This king obviously did not rule even to the end of the Grecian empire, nor does he have any reference to today.

Number three, those who teach that Antiochus Epiphanes is the little horn power take the 2,300 days literal instead of prophetic. It says of 2,300 days in verse 14, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. So, if they're going to apply this to this king, they say, "Well, you've got to take this time period literal, not prophetic." But even in taking it literal, it doesn't fit with Antiochus Epiphanes. If taken literally, it would be about six years. Antiochus Epiphanes was not born until 215 BC, some 242 years later, so he doesn't even fit with the 2300 year time period. Verse 4 or point number four says the little horns still exists at the time of the end. And of course, Antiochus died in 164 BC. It does not exist till the end of time. The little horn was to become exceedingly great in the southeast and in Palestine, according to verse 9. Although Antiochus Epiphanes did rule Palestine for a while, he did not rule in Egypt, which is to the south, nor in Macedonia, which is to the east.

The next point says, "The little horn throws down the place of God's sanctuary," according to verse 11. Antiochus Epiphanes did not destroy the temple in Jerusalem, he did profane it. Apparently, there was a rebellion amongst the Jews, and he marched into the temple in Jerusalem and he offered a pig on the altar, so he definitely profaned the temple and made many of the Jews upset. But he did not destroy Jerusalem, nor did he cast down the sanctuary, the temple. That, of course, did not happen until 70 AD by the Romans, who finally destroyed the temple as well as the city of Jerusalem.

Point number seven, Christ applies the abominations of desolation, which we read about in Daniel 9, to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This is a rather important point. And maybe if you have your Bibles, you can just turn to it. Matthew chapter 24, this is this famous passage where Jesus is talking to the disciples, and he refers to the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. And it's important for us to understand this because there are a number of modern interpretations of Daniel chapter 8, and they apply the abominations of desolation to Antiochus Epiphanes, who sacrificed the pig on the altar. But this is not what Jesus did.

Jesus applies the abomination of desolation not to a historical occurrence, but rather to something that was to be in the future from his time. And here you find in Matthew chapter 24, this is when the disciples came and asked Jesus, "When shall these things be, when will Jerusalem be destroyed, and what are the signs of Your second coming?" And Jesus responds in verse 15, and He says, "Therefore, when you see," this is Matthew 24:15, "when you see the abomination of desolation," there it is, "spoken of by Daniel the prophet, 'Stand in the holy place. Whoever reads, let him understand. Then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains.'"

So, is Jesus talking about the abomination of desolation as a historical event that already occurred before His time? Or does Jesus still put it in the future? He puts it in the future. He says, "When you see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place." Jesus can't be referring to Antiochus Epiphanes, who died 100 years before Christ. He must be referring to a future event.

Now, verse 16 says, "Let them that--let them or those that be in Judea flee to the mountains." Now, you want to keep that in mind and take a look at another verse where Jesus is talking about the same event in Luke chapter 21. So, turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 21 and we're going to look here at verse 20.

Jesus says when you see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place, then flee to the mountains. Now, he words it differently in Luke chapter 21, verse 20. Starting in verse 20, we'll read through to verse 22. Luke chapter 21, starting in verse 20, Jesus says, "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near." Notice the word there desolation, paralleling with Matthew 24, the abomination of desolation? Verse 21, "Then let those who be in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let those who are in the country enter her--or not enter her." Verse 22, "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."

Now, in Matthew 24, Jesus says it's something that Daniel wrote. And when he says, "When you see this abomination of desolation, flee to the mountains," clearly here Jesus is not talking about a historical event, he's talking about a future event from his time. When you see armies surrounding Jerusalem, that occurred in 70 AD, it brought the destruction of Jerusalem.

So, from Christ's own words, you can't apply this abomination of desolation or this little horn power to Antiochus Epiphanes. It has to be the Roman power, pagan Rome followed then by papal Rome. So, hopefully you understand that because, as mentioned, it is a popular teaching today that the little horn is not Rome or the papacy, but it's Antiochus Epiphanes.

All right, the next question we want to consider then is, what is meant by the daily sacrifice? It says, "The little horn power would remove the daily sacrifice." If you have your Bibles, look now at verse 11. Talking about this little horn power and it says this, "He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the Host." Who's the Prince of the Host? Jesus. "And by him," that is the little horn power, "the daily sacrifices were taken away and the place of his sanctuary was cast down."

Now, one of the things that the Roman power would do, the papacy in particular, would cast down the sanctuary and the daily sacrifices. Verse 12, "Because transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices, and he cast the truth down to the ground, and he did all of this and he prospered." Again, we're talking about the papal power. Verse 13, "Then I heard one speaking to the other, of one of the holy ones who said, 'How long will be the vision concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation to be given both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?'"

So, what then are the daily sacrifices? Got to understand that remember the context of Daniel chapter 8 is in sanctuary language or imagery. In the Old Testament sanctuary, a daily sacrifice is offered, a lamb was brought in the morning and in the evening, and it represented the atonement or forgiveness through a substitute. It pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God that would take away the sins of the world.

So, when it says the little horn power would try and do away with the daily sacrifice, it's referring to what this horn power would do to try and remove an understanding of the ministry of Jesus of his sacrifice for us on Calvary. He's talking about the papal power. It would misrepresent the gospel and the work that Jesus is doing for us. Hebrews chapter 8 makes it very clear as to where the sanctuary is today and what Jesus is doing as our high priest. Hebrews chapter 8, verse 1 says, "Now this is the main point of the things that we are saying. We have such a high priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty of the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord erected, not man."

So, in Hebrews, it tells us that Jesus is in heaven and He's ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, not the earthly. Number 3, verse 3 of Hebrews 8 says, "For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, therefore it was necessary that this one also has something to offer. For if He was on the earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law, who serve as a copy and a shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For he said, 'See that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed you in the mount.'" Verse 6 says, "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry in as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises."

So, Hebrews chapter 8 makes it very clear that there is a heavenly sanctuary. Jesus is a high priest who ministers for us, and it's his sacrifice that brings salvation. The little horn power would try to misrepresent what Jesus is doing in heaven, would take the truth of his sacrifice and his atonement and cast it down to the ground. Misrepresented, that's what's being described here.

So, how did this daily sacrifice get taken away? How did the papacy remove this daily sacrifice? First of all, we noticed that there was a counterfeit sanctuary. The Roman Catholic church on earth has usurped the place of Christ's true tabernacle in heaven. In other words, the Roman church says that salvation is found in the church. And if you're outside the church, you don't have access to salvation, thus you have excommunication. When the church would banish someone from the church, in essence they were saying, "You don't have salvation."

Well, where is our sanctuary, where we find salvation today? It's not on the earth, it's not the church, but it's in heaven, where Jesus ministers as the high priest. Point number two, a counterfeit sacrifice. The sacrifice of the mass has been given to usurp the place of Christ's true, once for all sacrifice, His atoning sacrifice on Calvary. There is a counterfeit priesthood, where you have human priests who can't forgive sins.

Who only can forgive sins? That's Jesus. So, we go directly to Jesus to obtain forgiveness, we don't go to a human priest. There is a counterfeit mediator. Not only is Christ our mediator, but according to the papal power, Mary is declared to, in some cases, even be more compassionate and accessible as a mediator. She is a co-mediator with Christ. Point number five, there is a counterfeit vicar of Christ or representative of Christ. The pope has usurped the place of the Holy Spirit as the infallible teacher of divine truth and the true successor of Christ on the earth. Jesus said to His disciples, "I'm going to leave you, but I will not leave you orphans, but I will send the Holy Spirit. He will represent Me, He will speak of Me."

But in the papal power, the pope takes the place of the Holy Spirit, he is the one that speaks for God or at least claims to speak for God. There is also a counterfeit way of salvation. Salvation by works through prayers and penances, this has usurped the place of salvation by God's free grace. And of course, that was the point in particular that sparked the Protestant Reformation.

Well, the Bible makes clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, not through a church or not by asking forgiveness from a priest, but we go directly to Jesus, our high priest, who ministers for us in the heavenly sanctuary. So, what Daniel chapter 8 is doing, it's identifying a power that would rule right till the very end of time that would try to misrepresent the truth of Christ's sacrifice and His high priestly ministry. And that's what's been highlighted here. But then the verse says in verse 14, "Until 2,300 days, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed." So, what is this cleansing of the sanctuary mean?

Well, when we talk about the cleansing of the sanctuary, there are two parts to this cleansing work. There is a cleansing that takes place in heaven, as well as a cleansing that takes place on the earth. When it talks about a cleansing in heaven, this will be accomplished by the commencement of the great heavenly day of atonement, when the confessed sins of God's children are blotted out of the heavenly record.

Now, verse 14 of Daniel 8 says, "Until 2,300 days, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed," that announced the beginning of this heavenly ministry, where Jesus is cleansing the record of the sins of those who have confessed, those who have exercised faith in Jesus. And that work is going on right now.

But in addition to the work of cleansing that takes place in heaven in the heavenly sanctuary, there is also a work of cleansing that takes place on the earth.

Now, I've asked you this before, how many different types of sanctuaries are described in the Bible? Well, we got the obvious ones, we've got the sanctuary in heaven, and that is the work of cleansing that Jesus is doing for us in heaven. But the Bible also speaks of a sanctuary on the earth during the days of Moses. God told Moses to build a sanctuary, so we have the heavenly sanctuary, we have the earthly sanctuary. But then the Bible also speaks of Jesus being the temple of the sanctuary. Jesus said, "Destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up again." And He was speaking of Himself, so that would be the third. And then the Bible also speaks of the believer as being the temple or the sanctuary. "Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit," right? That dwells in you.

And so there's four, and then the fifth would be the church. The Bible speaks of the church as being the sanctuary or the temple, and we're living stones built upon Jesus, the chief cornerstone. So, when it talks about a work of cleansing, not only is he referring to a cleansing of the record of sin in heaven, but it's also referring to a work of cleansing, a reestablishment of truth on the earth through the church, through the believer, a cleansing in the heart and in the life, a reflecting of the character of Jesus to the world.

So, this work of cleansing in heaven is paralleled by a work of cleansing that takes place on the earth. And when the work of cleansing is complete in heaven, there will be a work of cleansing that'll be complete on the earth. And when Jesus is finished, this high priestly ministry, this work of cleansing, then he says, "He that is holy, let him be holy still. He that is filthy, let him be filthy still." Probation closes, and then Jesus removes his priestly robe, puts on his kingly robe, and Jesus comes back as King of kings and Lord of lords. His work of high priest is finished, and now He's coming as a king to take us home.

So, what's brought to view then in Daniel chapter 8 is not only Medo-Persia and Greece and Rome, but it's also identifying a power that would rule or be around all the way to the time of the end that would try to misrepresent the sacrifice of Jesus.

But at the same time, it says at the time of the end, the truth of what Jesus is doing as our high priest will be revealed, and the work of cleansing that Jesus is doing in heaven through the antitypical day of atonement will be experienced amongst His people on the earth, a special work of cleansing or revival that takes place in the hearts and the lives of believers.

So, from Medo-Persia through Greece, Rome, the papal power, the cleansing of the sanctuary, we come to where we are today. We are living in this final phase of Christ's high priestly ministry, an entire panorama of history to show us where we are today. That's what we find in Daniel 2, Daniel 7, and in particularly here in Daniel chapter 8.

Now, Daniel chapter 8 doesn't talk about this 2300 days as to when it begins. The answer to when the 2300 days begins you find in Daniel chapter 9, and that'll be our study next week. But just at this point, we understand what this cleansing is all about, the cleansing of the sanctuary. And next time, we'll find out when exactly this begins.

Again, we'd like to thank our friends for joining us for our "Sabbath School Study Hour." We'd like to remind you about our free offer today, it's entitled "God Drew the Plans." If you'd like to receive the lesson, the number to call is 866-788-3966. And ask for offer number 129, and we'll send it to you. Or you can text the code SH135 to the number 40544 and you'll be able to get a digital download of the study guide, "God Drew the Plans." Again, we want to thank you for joining us for our Sabbath School study time. We look forward to studying with you again next week.

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Announcer: Amazing Facts, changed lives.

Kip Johnston: I was raised very spoiled, very lucky, very blessed. I was raised in the church, actually. As a child, God was presented to me as vindictive, so it didn't interest me very much. When I got much older, I was told by a friend of mine that I wasn't even a Christian. I said, "I'm a good person, I don't steal, I don't cheat, I don't kill." And it was told to me that, "No, in order to be a Christian, you must be born again."

The next day, I went and appropriated a Bible, I read the New Testament. I just set the Bible down and said, "God, if you're real, deal me in." I went to a Christian college to study theology and about God. But when I left college, I took a job selling Christian literature and Bibles door to door, and I went flat broke. I stopped in to play poker in a place in LA. I was an instant success. My life became poker, and I got books, and I read poker books. I had my Bible in one hand and a poker book in the other.

I was a Christian poker player. I thought that the Lord was blessing me. The amount of money that I made playing poker was so big, it would scare you. I was very self-indulgent, I did not deny myself anything that I thought would make me happy, but I was still empty. I went to all the Christian churches, gave them all a fair shot. Some of them three months, some of them two years. Unimpressed.

Saturday morning, I happened to be traveling from one poker place to another, I just happened to have a little TV in my truck, and Doug Batchelor came up on there. And I was like, "This guy makes sense." I knew Doug Batchelor was in Sacramento, so I came to meet him. I told him, I said, "I am a Christian doing God's work, and I make a living playing poker. And I am giving away these great converses to players, I go to church and help the community, and don't tell me that I'm not doing what's right." And he said, "No, you got to get out of that casino, period." I said, "I'm making good money." And he says, "I know that you know what I'm telling you is right." And I did.

I recognized that through it all, I wasn't happy. I said, "Lord, my life is a disaster. I'm selfish, I'm empty. I've tried to do what you wanted me to do so many times, and I've always failed. Why do I always fail? Why do I always lose my way?" And the Lord spoke to me, says, "You got to be involved. You got to be involved in my work." And that's when I said, "I need to dedicate my life fully to God's work." I, by the grace of God and my wife, we went to India. Until the Lord tells me otherwise, we're going to build orphanages in India so that children can grow up and hear about Jesus, and they can go tell the 1.3 billion people in their country.

God had a plan for me, and now I just want to be fully dedicated to the Lord's cause. I am Kip Johnston, and God used Amazing Facts to change my life.

Doug Batchelor: On Christmas Eve, 1971, 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke boarded LANSA flight 508 with her mother in Lima, Peru. They intended to join her father for Christmas at his research station in the Amazon rainforest. After crossing the Andes at about 21,000 feet, their aircraft was enveloped by large, dark thunder clouds, and it encountered severe turbulence. Lightning was flashing everywhere and the plane was shaken violently, which naturally terrified the passengers.

Then a bolt of lightning struck the plane's engine and tore off a wing. As the doomed airliner hurdled towards the earth, the cabin came apart, and the next thing she knew, Juliane found herself strapped alone to a row of seats falling and spinning silently from over 10,000 feet above the rainforest. She plummeted through the jungle canopy and slammed on the forest floor.

When she awoke the next day, Juliane was amazed to realize she had survived the two-mile fall with just a broken collarbone and a bad gash in her arm. After failing to find any other survivors, Juliane relied on what her father had taught her, that walking downstream will always lead to civilization. So, with a bag of candy that had fallen from the plane and one sandal, she started walking.

For ten days, Juliane hobbled, swam, or floated downstream. Her wounds became infected and she was plagued by maggots while having to dodge crocodiles, piranhas, and relentless insects. Eventually, she came to a shack, where she slept, and she was soon discovered by Peruvian loggers. Eventually, Juliane was united with her amazed father.

It's hard to imagine a 17-year-old girl surviving such a fall, and then hiking alone out of the world's largest rainforest. You know, the Bible talks about some who survived an even greater fall than Juliane. In fact, according to the Scriptures, when Adam and Eve fell in the garden of Eden, it brought the whole human race down. But Jesus came to redeem the world from sin.

Perhaps you're thinking to yourself, "Well, that's okay for the world, but I've fallen too far." Well, if the Lord can save Juliane, God can save you. You've not gone farther than Moses, who was guilty of murder, or David, who was guilty of adultery, or Peter, who denied Jesus. And all of them were saved and restored from their fall.

Or maybe you're thinking, "I've fallen too many times." Be of good courage. It says in Proverbs chapter 24, verse 16, "A righteous man falls seven times and rises again." And Jesus cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalene. So, don't get discouraged, friend, if you've fallen, get back up again. The same way that He could save Juliane, lead her from that lost condition in the rainforest, and restore her to her father, Jesus can lead you from your lost condition and restore you to your heavenly Father.

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