Friends, I’m happy to connect with you again at the end of another week. As the world continues to slowly move forward out of the coronavirus situation, we are seeing some places opening up, and people starting to move into what has been termed the “new normal.”
As we face whatever may lie ahead, this is an excellent time to delve into God’s Word—which never changes—and particularly into prophecy, as it provides assurance that God’s Word is true.
For the last two weeks we have been looking at the prophecies found in the book of Daniel, and today we will look briefly at the pivotal chapter of Daniel 8.
Now, this chapter is so deep—we can’t cover everything in it during this short time together. However, let’s look at a few highlights:
Daniel 8 begins in the time of Medo-Persia, symbolized by the ram with two horns, as the angel explains in v. 20. The ram is defeated by the goat, coming from the west without touching the ground, having a prominent horn, symbolizing Greece and Alexander’s amazingly rapid conquest. The four horns that replaced the prominent horn symbolize the division of Greece among four of Alexander’s generals. Out of one of the four winds came a “little horn” that expanded first horizontally, as we see in verse 9, symbolizing pagan Rome’s conquest of Greece, and then vertically, as we see in verses 10 to 12, symbolizing papal Rome’s usurping the powers and prerogatives that belong to Jesus, called here “the prince of the host”.
The casting down of the stars and the host represent the persecution of God’s people and casting down the “place of the sanctuary” indicates that the papal power would seek to displace Jesus’ ministry in the heavenly sanctuary with a counterfeit priesthood and system of salvation.
And now, the climax of this vision comes in Daniel 8: 13,14:
“Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said . . . ‘How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?’ “And he said to me, ‘For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.’”
You know, that question of ‘How long?” has been asked by God’s people again and again. For example, in Joshua 18:3, Joshua asked how long Israel will wait and neglect to go and possess the land God was giving to them. In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah asks the people, “How long will you falter between two opinions?” In Psalm 94:3 we read, “Lord, how long will the wicked triumph?” and in Daniel 12:6,7 we read: “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” And the answer is given “for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.”
Since we have very limited time here, let’s summarize some of the key points:
Putting the two passages from Daniel 8 and 12 together, we learn that after the end of the “3 ½ times” or 1,260 prophetic days, symbolizing 1,260 literal years, the little horn would be put down (which took place in 1798), leading up to the end of the 2,300 days (or years) in 1844, when the truth of Christ’s heavenly ministry would begin to be restored. in 1844, the “cleansing” of the heavenly sanctuary would begin, referring to the judgment of God’s people and revealing who will be a part of Christ’s kingdom.
You know, friends, the subject of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is so important for us to understand. In the book, The Great Controversy, p. 488, we read: “The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.”
In our video next week, we’ll talk more about the heavenly sanctuary, what Jesus is doing there, and how it relates to us right now. It is such a vital and relevant message for us today!
In closing, I would like to encourage you--Be of good courage! Jesus Christ, our High Priest, is ministering for us right now in the heavenly sanctuary, just as Scripture has indicated. We can have confidence in Him, and in His Holy Word.
Let's pray. Father in heaven, be with each person around this globe right now and help them to realize that prophecy has been given to us to assure us, and to encourage us that you have provided all for us as we move into these very last days of Earth's history, and that Jesus is working for us in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary right now. Thank you for what He's doing in the investigative judgment. And we are so grateful that His blood and His grace can cover us as we submit to Him every day. Thank you for the promise of your soon coming. And Lord, help us to be Your hands and feet in healing and hope that is so much needed in this world. In Jesus' name, amen.