Daniel 8 and the Daily

The 1843 Chart’s presentation of Daniel 8 includes verses 20-26.

These verses are an explanation of Daniel’s chapter-eight vision. The two-horned ram which Daniel had seen in his vision represented the kingdom of Medo-Persia. The goat represented Greece and the goat’s single, prominent horn represented Alexander the Great, first king of Greece. When the “great horn” was broken (Alexander’s death), four horns came up in its place on the goat. “Four kingdoms shall stand up out of [Alexander’s dominion], but not in his power.” These four kingdoms would rule “towards the four winds of heaven,”[1] towards the four directions of the compass.[2] In fulfillment, Ptolemy Lagides ruled the south territories in Egypt, Lysimachus ruled Asia Minor in the north, Seleucus took control of the eastern territories from Syria to India, and Cassander took Macedonia and Greece in the west.

No one who carefully reads the chapter today struggles to understand Daniel 8:8. “Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” The verse which follows, however, is often misinterpreted. “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” Errant expositors have suggested that “out of one of them” in this verse means out of one of the four horns of Greece. Such an interpretation results in the belief that the “little horn” of verse 9 – the next main power of prophetic history – is fulfilled in a Grecian ruler (suggested: Antiochus Epiphanies) to reign over one of the four divisions of Alexander’s kingdom. Those students of prophecy who rely on the comparison of scripture with scripture, however, will not be confused, for they know simply from the visions of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 that the main power to follow Greece is clearly Rome. The “little horn” of Daniel 8:9 must be Rome, arising not out of one of the four horns, but out of one of the four winds of verse 9’s immediate context (presumably the western wind). History bears out that Rome originated west of Israel and “waxed exceeding great, toward the south [Egypt], and toward the east [Syria], and toward the pleasant land [Palestine].”[3] Clearly it was Rome that “magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host,”[4] in other words, “shall stand up against the Prince of princes.”[5] Jesus, the Prince of the host of God’s people, was crucified by the authority of Rome.

In Bible prophecy, symbols of pagan Rome and the Roman Catholic Church are closely associated with each other or blended. Consistently the Bible presents Rome as having two distinct, yet similar phases: pagan and papal. Two examples in Daniel establish this even before one comes to Daniel 8. In chapter 2 the image has a section of the lower body all at least partially made of iron, a metal representing Romanism generally, yet this section has two distinct yet similar parts, the solid iron section representing pagan Rome and the iron-and-miry-clay mixture section representing papal Rome.[6] These two sections are the legs and the feet. In Daniel 7, the little horn representing the papacy specifically rises up out of pagan Rome, the “dreadful and terrible”[7] beast, and is united with it.

In Daniel 8, the little horn no longer represents the papacy specifically, but Rome as a whole. How do we know this? Because two distinct powers are seen to be represented by the symbol. In the chapter, each time a new major power arises on the stage of prophetic history, the Hebrew word gawdal (translated “great”) appears to indicate the pride and self-magnification of that power. Each superpower of chapter eight’s preview of history waxes greater than the last. The ram “became great.”[8] The he-goat “waxed very great.”[9] The little horn “waxed exceeding great.”[10] And finally, “it waxed great, [even] to the host of heaven.”[11] Thus, the little horn is made up first of a power which “waxes exceeding great,” and then of another power which “waxes great, [even] to the host of heaven.” The first power within the symbol of the little horn is pagan Rome, for history bears out that pagan Rome indeed arose in the west and expanded its domain “toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant [land].”[12] The power which “waxed great, [even] to the host of heaven [the sun, moon, and stars],”[13] is clearly papal Rome. The pope claims the position of God on earth thus exalting himself in place of the “Sun of righteousness.”[14] The Catholic Church asserts her own traditions and teachings above the Word of God, the lesser light of “the moon…a faithful witness in heaven.”[15] The papal system indeed caused many of the people of God to fall morally, and persecuted and killed those who would not surrender their pure faith; it “cast down some of the host and of the stars [ministers] to the ground, and stamped upon them.”[16]

Pronouns referring to the little horn in Daniel 8 refer either to the pagan or papal phase of Rome. In verse 9 we see pagan Rome, in verse 10 we see papal Rome. But which form or Rome “magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host” in verse 11? This is a question over which there is much controversy. Yet a simple Bible study of the above phrase yields a clear answer – pagan Rome is the “he” and “him” of verse 11. The simple study showing this is now outlined. “Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host” is language most parallel to both the phrase “he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes” in Daniel 8:25 and the phrase “with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant” in Daniel 11:22, phrases which clearly refer to how pagan Rome stood up against and put to death “Messiah the Prince” (Daniel 9:25) in 31 A.D. Putting Bible line upon Bible line[17] note that all three phrases are referring to the same thing – pagan Rome against Christ in 31 A.D. Pagan Rome is referred to by the little-horn pronouns of Daniel 8:11.

Verse 11 continues, “and by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” The Hebrew word here translated “take away” actually means “raise up” or “exalt.” That is, by pagan Rome the daily was exalted, yet the place of the daily’s sanctuary was cast down. But what is the “daily [sacrifice]”?

William Miller, the first man to discover the correct answer to this question, had nearly to complete his study-journey through the Bible before finding the answer in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. We, on the other hand, need only 1) believe that Ellen White was shown in vision the truth of God, and 2) know our history. Ms. White wrote,

I saw in relation to the “Daily,” that the word “sacrifice” was supplied by man’s wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the “Daily;” but since 1844, in the confusion, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion has followed [18]

Ellen White refers those desiring to know about the “daily” to the leaders in the great Second-advent movement of the 1840s. What was the “correct view” given to “those who gave the judgment hour cry”? Lee’s article, “The Correct View of the Daily,” thoroughly answers: the “daily” is paganism. We shall see as we continue to study Daniel 8 that this fact is absolutely vital to us as Seventh-day Adventists. Without it our church’s treasured theory of prophetic fulfillment crumbles.

“And by [paganism] was [paganism] exalted, and the place of [paganism’s] sanctuary was cast down” [19]. How were these two prophetic clauses fulfilled in history?

Clearly the Roman Empire long exalted pagan worship. Thus we see clear fulfillment in history of the first clause.

Note that pagan Rome had a most distinctive temple or sanctuary – the Pantheon, a majestic structure where the Roman Empire kept and honored its collection of idols obtained from every nation and region it conquered. The “place” of this “sanctuary” was clearly the city of Rome. Just as Daniel had written so long before, the city of Rome was indeed “cast down” when Constantine inexplicably abandoned it to instead make Constantinople the capitol of the empire in 330 A.D.

In Daniel 8:12, we read of how a “host”/army was given to war against “the daily”/paganism “by reason of transgression.” In 496 A.D. Clovis, king of the Franks, was converted to Catholicism and became the military defender of the Catholic Church. The Franks proved a terror to pagan powers standing in the way of the church’s authority. By 508 A.D., the united power of paganism had been “taken away” [20]. Thereafter “it [the same power as is denoted by ‘it’ in verse 10 – papal Rome] cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.”

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[1] Daniel 8:8.

[2] Jeremiah 49:36. The “four winds” are the “four quarters” of heaven. There are four directions – north, south, east, and west.

[3] Daniel 8:9.

[4] Daniel 8:11.

[5] Daniel 8:25.

[6] Psalms 40:2 shows that miry clay comes from “an horrible pit.” It is the nature of the papal “beast” (Revelation 17:8) to “ascend out of the bottomless pit.”

[7] Daniel 7:7.

[8] Daniel 8:4.

[9] Daniel 8:8.

[10] Daniel 8:9.

[11] Daniel 8:10.

[12] Daniel 8:9.

[13] Daniel 8:9, Deuteronomy 4:19.

[14] Malachi 4:2.

[15] Psalms 89:37.

[16] Daniel 8:10.

[17] Isaiah 28:10.

[18] Review and Herald, 11/1/1850, par. 13.

[19] Daniel 8:11.

[20] Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 also speak of the daily being “taken away,” but in these verses the Hebrew word translated “take away” really does mean this unlike the word translated “take away” in Daniel 8:11. 

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