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Sabbath School Lessons on Daniel
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: The Sanctuary Cleansed *
Introduction: Last week we ended our study with a number of questions
unresolved. We agreed that the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 had to be
symbolic days (meaning a day equals a year), not literal days. So,
what happens at the end of this 2,300 years? What does it mean for
the sanctuary to be reconsecrated? What sanctuary are we talking
about? Is this the end of the world? Is it the beginning of the first
judgment in heaven that we discussed in connection with Daniel 7? We
agreed that we would pick up our study of this mystery this week. So,
let's jump into our study!
- The Sanctuary
- Read Daniel 8:13-14. Put yourself in Daniel's place. If
you had a short "wish list" about the future, what would
be on it? (Recall that Daniel had been taken from his home
when he was a very young man. He would want to return to
his native country, Judah.)
- What would come to Daniel's mind when the sanctuary
was mentioned in his vision? (Daniel would surely
think about the sanctuary (temple) that was built by
Solomon. See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19.)
- Did Solomon's temple exist at the time of Daniel's
vision? (No. The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem
and Solomon's temple. This was part of the tragedy of
his youth. He had been taken captive, and the
important institutions of his country had been
destroyed. This included the city of Jerusalem and
Solomon's temple, the center of Jewish worship.)
- When Daniel heard that the sanctuary would be
"reconsecrated" (NIV) ("cleansed" NKJV) what would he
logically think was going to happen? (It is logical
to believe his first thoughts were that Solomon's
temple would be rebuilt. This vision of the future
could be about one of Daniel's most dearly held hopes
- that the Jewish worship center would be back in
- What other possibilities might come to Daniel's mind
when he heard about the sanctuary being
reconsecrated? (Read Psalms 102:19, Exodus 25:8-9 and
Hebrews 8:1-5. Moses had originally been given "the
pattern" so that the sanctuary in the wilderness was
modeled after the sanctuary in heaven. Solomon then
built a permanent version of the sanctuary to house
the ark of God and to continue the worship and the
sacrificial services. Only the copy on earth had been
destroyed. The heavenly original still existed. Since
the sanctuary on earth had been destroyed, Daniel
might have thought this had something to do with the
sanctuary in heaven.)
- Living in 2004, we know that thereafter the temple in
Jerusalem was rebuilt and for hundreds of years Jews held
their daily sacrifices and worshiped God in the sanctuary.
We also know that in 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed the
sanctuary. Given our knowledge, what sanctuary do you
think is being referred to in Daniel 8:14? (Read Daniel
8:17. Since this is a vision "of the end," and since we
know the sanctuary on earth was destroyed almost 2,000
years ago, that leaves only the sanctuary in heaven as the
subject of this vision.)
- What argument can you make that the vision might
refer to a sanctuary that is again rebuilt in
Jerusalem before the world ends? (Such an argument
would deny that Jesus is the Messiah. It would ignore
Jesus' High Priestly ministry in heaven referred to
in Hebrews. If the Jews rebuilt a temple in Jerusalem
it would be to continue the same sacrificial system
which Jesus fulfilled by His life and death.)
- Read Hebrews 9:8-12. What does this suggest
about the possibility of a new temple being
built in Jerusalem? (Hebrews tells us that the
temple on earth was both an illustration and an
impediment to Jesus work for us in heaven. The
idea that it would be rebuilt at sometime before
the Second Coming of Jesus is completely at odds
with Hebrews and the entire concept of Jesus
fulfilling the symbolism of the sanctuary
- The reasonable conclusion, based on what we know about
history, and our understanding of the gospel, is that the
sanctuary to be reconsecrated (cleansed) is the heavenly
- The Nature of the Cleansing
- If Daniel 8:14 is about reconsecrating (cleansing) the
sanctuary in heaven, the logical question is, "Why would
it need to be cleaned?"
- Read Leviticus 16:32-34. These three verses describe in
summary form a yearly event for the Jewish people. Can you
tell me about this event? (Throughout the year the people
would come to the temple to sacrifice an animal for the
forgiveness of their sins. Symbolically, the shed blood of
the animal transferred the sin from the person to the
sanctuary. Then once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the
sanctuary itself was cleansed of all of these sins which
had accumulated over the year. On that day the High Priest
entered the Most Holy place of the sanctuary.)
- What about the sins of the people? Were they completely
taken care of during the year? (Read Leviticus 16:29-30.
It appears that the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day
of Atonement was the final act in the removal of the sins
from the people.)
- Recall that the sanctuary on earth was patterned after the
sanctuary in heaven? Do you think there is a parallel
activity in heaven? If so, what is it? (According to the
text in Hebrews that we previously read ( Hebrews 9:11-12),
Jesus is the sacrifice for the heavenly sanctuary. He is
also the High Priest who enters the Most Holy Place.)
- When Daniel 8:14 tells us that the sanctuary will be
reconsecrated (cleansed) could it mean that after the
2300 day period the Day of Atonement in heaven will
take place? (That seems to be precisely what is
meant. Since the sanctuary could not be the sanctuary
on earth, it must be the sanctuary in heaven. Hebrews
tells us that Jesus will enter the Most Holy place of
the heavenly sanctuary - so it makes perfect sense
that this is the meaning of Daniel 8:14.)
- Read Daniel 2:34-35. What is the end of the story of this
- Read Daniel 7:21-22, 25-27. What is the end of the story
of this vision?
- Read Daniel 8:14, 24-26. What is the end of the story of
- Are these visions generally parallel?
- Are the endings generally parallel?
- If so, what is the common ending? (In each one
of these endings God wins. But, there is more to
the end than that. The win in chapter 8 comes
after the sanctuary is cleansed. The win in
chapter 7 comes after the court opens and
judgment is entered. The win in chapter 2 comes
supernaturally. Thus, God wins and so do His
saints after a procedure is followed (the
judgment or the sanctuary cleansing).
- The Meaning of the Day of Atonement.
- Read Daniel 8:26-27. Did Daniel understand what it meant
to reconsecrate the sanctuary in heaven?
- Notice that verse 27 says that Daniel did not
understand the vision. Did he not understand any of
it? (This is the Ram/Goat/Horn vision we discussed in
detail last week. Gabriel told Daniel about the
meaning of the Ram and the Goat. It was only the horn
and the 2,300 days that was not specifically
explained. Since Daniel calls the this (v.26)"the
vision of the evenings and mornings" it must be the
2,300 days that most specifically create the
- What do you think is the Day of Atonement in heaven
represents? Is this the beginning of the judgment?
The end of the judgment? The Second Coming of Jesus?
(We know from the parallelism in the visions we have
studied that the end of the world starts with a
judgment of the righteous and ends with the Second
Coming of Jesus. All of that, the judgment and the
"conclusion" to sin, occurred within the Day of
- If we could determine the date for the ending of
the 2,300 day prophecy, would this be the start
or the ending of the judgment? (Now you know why
Daniel thought it was "beyond understanding."
Stay tuned for our next two studies to see if we
can figure out the answer. Next week we will
find some more clues.)
- Friend, are you ready for the judgment?
- Next week: God's Timetable.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.