Written by Gerhard. F. Hasel
Daniel 8:9-14 is the thematic heart, not only of chapter 8, but of the entire book of Daniel itself. These texts are the culmination of the vision in Daniel 8, which is composed of a ram (vs. 3,4), a he-goat (vs . 5-8), a little horn power (vs 9-12), and a heavenly audition (vs 13, 14). This paper focuses on Daniel 8:9-14, the little horn power and the heavenly audition following it. We will look at them, verse by verse.
The Little Horn
One of the key factors in determining the identity of “the little horn” is its origin (v.9) Does the little horn come forth from one of the four horns (v. 8), or from one of the four winds (v. 8)–that is, from one of the directions of the compass? Recent scholarship shows that Hebrew grammar and syntax makes it impossible for the “little horn” to be derived from the horns, and thus be identified with Antiochus IV, who—as a Seleucid–represents of one of those horns. Indeed, the verb used to describe in verse 9 the appearance of the little horn– “to go out” or “to come, move forth”–is not the typical word for the growth of a horn as it appears in chapter 8, but instead expresses a movement from one direction of the compass, from one fixed position to another. This point is made clearer in verse 9 itself, which says that the little horn waxed great “toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the glory,” evidence favoring its interpretation as pagan Rome as opposed to Antiochus.
Verse 10 reads that this little horn “waxed great, even to the host of heaven, and it cast down some of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.” The “host of heaven” in the Bible is often used in the context of pagan worship, or the phrase can mean celestial beings themselves. On the other hand, the word “host” itself also refers to people (Exo. 7:4), in which case this text in Daniel seems to be talking about the persecution of God’s saints here on earth, another trait that points to pagan Rome as the identity of the little horn. In fact, that position is strengthened later in Daniel when, talking about the little horn power, the chapter says that it “shall destroy the mighty and the holy people” (Daniel 8:24), a possible reference to what was described here in verse 10, with its assault on the “host of heaven.”
A literal translation of verse 11 would go like this: “And it made itself great even to the Prince of the host, and from Him was taken away the continual service, and the foundation of His sanctuary was thrown down.”
In verse 11, the activity of the little horn continues, only for some reason the verbs used to describe its activity change from feminine to masculine, indicating (possibly) a change in the phases of the power represented, Rome; in other words, the change in gender could represent the change from pagan Rome to papal Rome.
The first clause in verses 11a reads, “And it made itself great even to the Prince of the host.” Study shows that whenever the subject of verb “great” (in the Hiphil form of the verb, as here) is a human being, making oneself great implies an arrogant, presumptuous, and even illegal act. The verb expresses the notion that the “little horn” power took to himself illegally, arrogantly, and presumptuously the prerogatives that belong to “the Prince of the host.”
In Joshua 5:14 a personage designated as the “Prince of the hosts of Yahweh” speaks to Joshua, telling him to take off his sandals because he stands on holy ground. The “Prince of the host of Yahweh” is, obviously, a non-earthly being. Indeed, in the prophetic portions of Daniel, the word “prince” often designates a heavenly being. In 10:13 Michael is called “one of the chief princes”; and verse 21 speaks of “Michael, your prince,” that is, the Prince of God’s people. “Michael, the great prince” also stands up in behalf of His people (Daniel 12:1-3).
In the interpretation that Daniel himself is given of the vision, the little horn power is said to rise up against the “the Prince of princes,” (v.25), generally understood to be identical with “the Prince of the host.” According to Daniel 12:1-3, the name of the “Prince” is Michael, “the great Prince” (vs. 1). Michael is a judgment figure in Daniel 12:1-3 who has close associations with the judgment figure of the Son of man in chapter 7. The judgment motif appears also in 8:25, where the uprising of the “little horn” against “the Prince of princes” ultimately leads to the horn’s destruction “by no human hand” (vs. 25d). In this connection one cannot fail to be reminded that in the NT the Michael figure is identified with Christ.
Literally, the second clause in verse 11 reads, “And from him was taken away the continuance [or continual service].” Grammatically, the nearest most natural antecedent is “the Prince of the host.” From him, that is, the prince of the host, something was “taken away.”
What “was taken away”? The text states directly that it was the tāmîd. Though the term, with the definite article is usually translated by commentators as “daily sacrifice,” “regular offering,” and the like, it’s a terms used in the context of all phases of the daily Hebrew sanctuary system, not just the sacrifice. Though tāmîd (meaning “the continual,” “the continuance,” “the perpetual,” “the daily”) is used in association with the “burnt offering,” it is also used with the “grain offering,” “showbread,” “incense,” “light,” “allowance,” etc.
What does all this mean? The historicist position understands the little horn to symbolize Rome, both in its political-pagan and ecclesiastical-papal phases, though the emphasis now is on the papal phase. Taking away “the continuance” is the taking away the continual priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary (Heb 7:25; 1 John 2:1); that is, it’s an expression of papal Rome’s usurpation of the work and ministry of Jesus Christ by taking upon itself divine prerogatives that belong only to Christ, the “prince of the host” in terms of service, mediatorial activities, and a reaching toward the glory and honor belonging to God in the plan of salvation.
We have noted that 8:11a refers to the self-exaltation of the “little horn” power even to the heavenly “Prince of the host.” In verses 11b, the statement is made that “from him,” from the heavenly “Prince of the host,” the tâmîd was taken away. This indicates that the tâmîd is something that belongs to the heavenly Prince.
What does the heavenly “Prince of the host” (Christ) do which may be “taken” from Him? The heavenly “Prince of the host” engages in an ongoing activity of mediation and intercession. The NT depicts Christ (after ascension and installation) as heavenly High Priest, functioning as “mediator [mesitēs] between God and men” (I Tim 2:5, KJV). He functions also as a heavenly Intercessor (Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24; 1 John 2:1), carrying on His intercessory activity continuously “in the presence of God on our behalf” (Heb 9:24, RSV). Accordingly, the tâmîd (“the continuance”), which goes on without interruption and which the “little horn” power takes away “from Him” is this continuous ministry and service of mediation and intercession.
The usurpation on the part of the ecclesiastical phase of Rome reflects the kinds of activities by the horn, which make ineffective the continual ministry and service of the heavenly “Prince of the host,” whose ministry is part of the plan of salvation. This is what seems to be in view in the second part of 8:11. Also, the tāmîd is that which takes place in the holy place of the sanctuary. The “little horn” power is able to confuse human beings with regard only to the ministration in that place. (In the earthly sanctuary the term tāmîd is used only in connection with items and rituals connected with the first apartment.) But the “little horn” is never capable of interfering with the activity in the Most Holy Place at the end of time.
We turn our attention now to the last clause in 8:11, A literal translation of verse 11c reads, “and the foundation of His sanctuary was thrown down.” The Hebrew verb used in verse 11c is hušlak, meaning “to throw down.” It derives from a root that means “to throw (away, down, behind)” with literal and metaphorica1 usages. In about 75 percent of its 125 occurrences human beings are the agents engaged in the activity expressed. In the remainder of the cases the subject is God (Yahweh). There is no example among the 125 usages of this verb that suggests or hints–either in a literal or a metaphorical sense–that its meaning has anything to do with defilement, desecration, or the like. This fact can hardly be overemphasized. A “throwing down” does not communicate an act of defilement, but rather an act of destruction, or a making of something ineffective.
The object that “was thrown down” in verse 11c is “the foundation of His sanctuary.” The word “foundation” is mākôn. Traditionally it is translated as “place” in the English language. The regular Hebrew word for “place,” however, is another term from a completely different root with no relationship to the word used here in 11c, which is almost always used in reference to aspects of the Hebrew religion, including God’s “place of dwelling” in heaven, His heavenly sanctuary. Twice mākôn is used metaphorically in connection with God’s throne. It is in God’s heavenly dwelling place, His sanctuary in heaven, that He hears the prayers of His faithful, both Israelites and non-Israelites, and from which comes His forgiveness and from which He renders “judgment” or “justice.” Again, it is from His heavenly dwelling place, His sanctuary in heaven, that the Lord looks upon the inhabitants of the earth (Ps 33:13- 14). This is where His throne is located, the “foundation” (mākôn) of which is established on principles of “righteousness and justice” (Ps 89:14; 97:2).
Thus on the basis of our investigation of of mākôn (aside from its appearance in 8:11), we can discern new insights regarding its function in the prophecy. The “little horn” power is the anti-God power which throws down “the foundation of His sanctuary.” The horn’s act of throwing down the mākôn (“foundation”) of the sanctuary in heaven is an interference with God’s hearing the prayers of His people and an interference with the forgiveness that is the basis/foundation of God’s sanctuary in heaven. Thus the horn’s act involves an interference in the sense of making of no effect the “foundation” or “basis” (mākôn) of the heavenly sanctuary from which issue divine righteousness and justice.
This throwing down is a way of communicating in pictorial, metaphorical language the fact that the “little horn” power is reaching, as it were, the very center of the divine activity in the heavenly sanctuary, an activity involving forgiveness of sin. Such an action touches the core of the continual intercession and ministry of the “Prince of the host” (the Christ) who ministers in the heavenly sanctuary. In other words, the anti-God horn-power attacks the very basis of the intercession of the heavenly sanctuary with its mediatorial and saving activities on behalf of the faithful.
In summary, the major outlines regarding the activity of the “little horn” in verses 9-11 is as follows:
(1) horizontal expansion from small beginnings to large proportions (vss. 9b, 24a);
(2) persecution of the saints of God (vss. 10bc, 24bc);
(3) arrogating to himself divine prerogatives by reaching up to the Prince of the host (vss. 11a, 25ab);
(4) removal of the continuance of (divine) services for man’s salvation (vss. 11b, 25c);
(5) throwing down or making ineffective the beneficent ministry of Christ that has continuance and involves forgiveness and is the foundation of the sanctuary in heaven (vs. 11c).
Exegesis of Daniel 8:12
A literal translation of Daniel 8:12 reads: “And it was given a host against the continuance in transgression, and it throws truth to the ground, and it succeeded and prospered.”
In the first clause (“And it was given a host against the continuance in transgression”), if “the continuance” (tāmîd) refers to the same thing as in verse 11, then the “host” designates an entity which is opposed to “the continuance,” or ministry of the “Prince of the host” in the heavenly sanctuary. In this case “host” must be associated with the “little horn.” That is, it is the little horn’s host that is active against the “continuance.”
The action of verse 12a, then, seems to communicate the idea that “a host” of the “little horn” power in the form of ecclesiastical Rome (a symbol which could possibly refer to the clergy) was given charge over “the continuance,” that is, the ongoing intercessory, mediatorial ministry of the heavenly Prince of the host. Intercession, mediation, and other benefits associated with the tāmîd are fully in control of the little horn’s “host.”
The “how” of this negative activity may be described in the expression “in transgression.” The preposition normally means “in,” but may also mean “[together] with.” Thus the expression could indicate that the little horn’s “host” acts “in” or “with” transgression.
The second clause of verse 12 may be rendered literally, “and it throws truth to the ground,” the “it” (on linguistic and grammatical grounds) referring to the little horn. Given the context, the truth that it “throws to the ground” probably refers the revelation that God has given regarding Himself, salvation, and worship.
Verse 12 concludes with two short verbs which may be literally translated, “and it succeeded and it prospered.” The idea is clear. The anti-God power symbolized by the “little horn” was successful in its attempts; it prospered in its rebellious undertakings. “Prospering” in the visions of the book of Daniel is always the experience of the anti-God powers. However, the prophetic message is plain: although the anti-God powers prosper, in a final sense they do not. God remains in control even if things appear otherwise.
This is the conclusion of the angelic interpretation. The “little horn,” despite its fantastic success in geographical-horizontal and vertical-upward movements and its various activities, will be broken “by no human hand” (vs. 25, RSV). This breaking takes place at the turn of the ages, at the time when all the kingdoms of Daniel 2 come to a sudden end by the stone cut out “without hands” (2:34, 45).
Exegesis of Daniel 8:13-14
The question in Daniel 8:13 reads “Until when [is to be/will be] the vision, the continuance, and the transgression causing horror, to make both sanctuary and host a trampling?” The question opens with the Hebrew words customarily rendered in English as “how long,” even though “until when” is a more accurate translation. The thrust of the expression “until when” is upon the end of the time span, the “2300 days” and beyond, which makes sense considering that the explicit emphasis in the vision-audition of chapter 8 focuses on the end-time. The angel-interpreter informs Daniel in explicit terms that “the vision is for the time of the end” (vs. 17, RSV); and again, “the vision of the evenings and the mornings . . . is true,” but “pertains to many days hence” (vs. 26, RSV). Hence the opening question, “until when,” puts the focus of the chapter on the end point of the 2,300 evening-mornings.
Scholars long have suggested that the expression “evenings-mornings” of Daniel 8:14 is simply a unique way to express the total number of tāmîd sacrifices omitted during the time of the temple’s desecration by Antiochus IV. Since a sacrifice was offered in the morning and evening of each day, it is argued that the omission of 2,300 such sacrifices indicates an actual time period of 1,150 days. This argument, however, falls apart on numerous grounds.
First, the Septuagint (LXX) translates the phrase by interpreting “evenings-mornings” with “days” as, “Until evenings and mornings, 2,300 days.” The LXX knows nothing of 1,150 days.
Second, the tāmîd sacrifice ritual in the OT employs the expression “continual burnt offering” as the designation for the double burnt offering of the morning and evening. It does not designate an offering brought in the morning and another in the evening. Because the tāmîd is referred to as a single sacrifice, the division of 2,300 by two is unwarranted.
Third, the sequence of “evenings-mornings” with evenings before mornings hardly refers to tāmîd sacrifices. The tāmîd sacrifices are always designated in the sequence of morning before evening: “Burnt offerings morning and evening” is how the sacrifice is always presented, not evening and morning, which is the sequence in Daniel 8:14. No exception to the sequence appears in the OT.
Fourth, there’s no exegetical support for counting 2,300 evenings-mornings separately in order to arrive at 1,150 whole days. The sequence of evening and morning as an expression for a full day appears, for the first time, in the creation account of Genesis 1. The language of the Genesis passage is reflected here in 8:14, 26. Besides, when the Hebrews wished to designate the day and night separately, they would mention the number of both, as in “forty days and forty nights” or “three days and three nights.” Even in these instances, however, the expression “forty days and forty nights” does not mean 20 whole days but a sequence of forty calendar days.
Finally, whether the 2,300 evenings-mornings are correctly understood as whole days or incorrectly as 1,150 whole days, or whether they are taken as 6 years, 4 months, and 20 days or as 3 years, 2 months, and 10 days respectively (on the basis of a 360-day year), the fact remains that there is no historical epoch mentioned in the Book of Maccabees or in Josephus regarding Antiochus IV that corresponds with either set of figures. The profanation of the temple by Antiochus IV lasted three years to the day. This makes only 1,080 days on the 360-day calendar and thus falls far short of the supposed 1,150 days, not to speak of 2,300 days.
For these reasons, and others, the idea that the 2300 days really means 1150 has no biblical support whatsoever.
The Scope of the Question
The question in Daniel 8:13 reads “Until when [is to be/will be] the vision, the continuance, and the transgression causing horror, to make both sanctuary and host a trampling?” A study of use of the word translated vision here, hāzôn, reveals that it refers the vision of the ram, he-goat, and the “little horn,” as its first usages in verses 1-2 clearly indicate. This is crucial for understanding the time span covered by the vision, which includes the entire range of events the prophet was shown in verses 3-12. Contextually and terminologically the term is not limited to the “little horn” period. Though some Bible versions translate it as “the vision of . . .” or “the vision concerning . . .” the Hebrew grammar in the doesn’t allow for that translation. The intended thrust of the question may be understood as, “Until when the vision, [until when] the continuance and the transgression causing horror, [until when] to make both sanctuary and host a trampling?”
The point being that the question of verse 13 is about all the events depicted in Daniel 8:3-12, which means that the 2,300 evenings (and) mornings cover the period all the way from the ram, and the he-goat, through the activities of the “little horn,” to the end of time (vss. 17, 19). This means, first, that the day-year principle must be operating here because a literal 2,300 days couldn’t cover the span of events in the vision, which began early in the ram period (Media-Persia) and extended down to the time of “the end” (v.17).
It’s clear, too, from the structure of the question that the focus of the chapter is on the terminal point of the vision. The emphasis is on the end point of the vision itself. The terminus a quo (“starting point”) and the terminus ad quem (“concluding point”) of the time span of the 2,300 “evenings-mornings” in terms of a particular year is not provided in chapter 8. Emphasis is placed primarily upon what takes place at the end of the time span and beyond in verse 13-14.
Content of the Question (vs. 13)
The first expression requiring our attention is “the continuance,” which carries the same meaning as it does in verses 11-12: Christ’s priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. In the next phrase, “the transgression causing horror,” the word for “transgression (peša’) means basically a rebellion or revolt. Here is expressed the weight of the activity of the “little horn” power that leads to “transgression.” A study of the phrase “causing horror” seems to express an appalling horror caused by religio-cultic transgression to which the “little horn” has given rise through a counterfeit system of ministry and mediation. Such a system rivals the one functioning in the heavenly sanctuary and leads individuals to transgress the truth of God’s redemptive activities.
The last phrase of verse 13 reads: “to make both sanctuary and host a trampling.” The word qōdēš, though translated here as “sanctuary,” comes with a broader connotation that just sanctuary but also of saints (holy ones), and of judgment. In this verse, though, it’s clearly tied to “host,” and it apparently recapitulates what the same term expressed in verse 10: God’s people, identified in verse 24 as “the people of the saints,” coming under attack.
Both “sanctuary” and “host” are given over to “a trampling,” a word which indicates, not defilement or desecration, but the idea of being made ineffective. The question presents the idea, echoed earlier in the vision, of the activity of the little horn power against God’s heavenly ministry in the sanctuary, and against God’s people here on earth. Both activities are linked.
Content of the Answer (vs. 14)
The audition moves from the visio–its description of the empires and the activity of the “little horn–to the climactic event which takes place at the termination of the 2,300 evenings-mornings and thereafter. This now demands our consideration.
The answer contains the time element and the phrase, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (KJV). Though some modern versions have opted for other translations of the verb (“to be vindicated,” “to be restored”), evidence is strongly in favor of “cleansed.”
First, the Hebrew word for “to be cleansed” (nisdaq) in verse 14 comes in a form that appears only once in the Hebrew Bible, here in verse 14, so we can’t compare it with other usages in the Bible. Nevertheless, the oldest versions of the ancient Greek translations for Daniel render nisdaq with the Greek term, katharisthēsetai, (“shall be cleansed”). The Latin Vulgate translation by Jerome from about A.D. 400 contains the reading, mundabitur (“shall be purified/cleansed”). The Syriac Peshitta has the same translation, as does the Coptic. Obviously, all these ancient translations saw the meaning of nisdaq as “to be cleansed,” a point that should not be ignored.
Next, one of the procedures of recovering meanings of words in the study of the OT is to turn to poetry and investigate terms employed in poetic parallelism. This study has been undertaken and the results indicate that various derivatives of the root found in verse 14 are used in parallelism with zākāh (“to be pure”), tāhēr (“to be clean, pure; to cleanse”), and bōr (“cleanness”). On the basis of these parallel terms and their close association, it clear that the ideas of clean/pure, cleanse/purify should be considered as part of the semantic content of the verb in Daniel 14.
Finally, a study of the root word from which nisdaq arises shows that it’s used in the context of legal and judicial setting, often in the context of God’s justice and judgment itself. Daniel 8:14 is also in a cosmic setting of divine judgment activity involving the heavenly sanctuary and the peša’ (“transgression”) of God’s people. The various ideas contained in the verb include “cleansing, vindicating, justifying, setting right, restoring.” In whatever way one renders the Hebrew term in a modern language, the “cleansing” of the sanctuary includes actual cleansing as well as activities of vindicating, justifying, and restoring. It appears that the Lord chose the term nisdaq–a word from a root with rich and broad connotations, widely employed in judgment settings and legal procedure–in order to communicate effectively the interrelated aspects of the “cleansing” of the heavenly sanctuary in the cosmic setting of the end-time judgment.
What sanctuary is it that, in verse 14, is “cleansed” at the end of the 2300 days–the earthly one in Jerusalem, or the one in heaven? Given the time frame of the prophecy, coming at the end of the 2300 days, the text must be referring to the heavenly sanctuary, because the earthly one has long been gone. The little horn power is clearly Rome, with a particular focus on the papal aspect of Rome, an entity that didn’t arise until long after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Accordingly, the only sanctuary in existence at the end-time is the celestial, the new covenant sanctuary (Heb 8).
It may come as a surprise to the casual reader of the Bible that the key term for the cleansing of the “sanctuary” on the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 is the term qōdeš, the same word for sanctuary in verse 14. It would seem that when a Hebrew (steeped as he was in the sacrificial ritual which yearly climaxed with the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement) would hear nisdaq qōdeš (“the sanctuary shall be cleansed”), he would associate this function with the Day of Atonement.
The issue of the defilement or pollution of the sanctuary is not explicitly addressed in 8:9-12. We have noted that the “little horn” power in chapter 8 nowhere directly defiles or pollutes the sanctuary. Among the explicit activities of the “little horn,” none directly relate to a defilement/pollution of the sanctuary, such as what Antiochus Epiphanes did. It follows, therefore, that one cannot say on exegetical and contextual grounds that the “little horn” defiled the sanctuary.
The attack of the “little horn” is always against (1) the “host of heaven” and “the stars” (vs. 10), (2) the “Prince of the host” (vs. 11a), (3) His tāmîd ministry (vss. 11b-12a), (4) the foundation of the heavenly sanctuary (vs. 11c), and (5) the “truth” (vs. 12b). One may summarize this attack of the “little horn” by saying that it is engaged in a struggle with the “Prince of the host,” usurping His functions and thus interfering with the benefits He provides for His people in heavenly redemptive activity. Furthermore, the horn persecutes the people of the Saviour-Prince. This consistent picture in 8:9-12 is fully supported by the angelic interpretation in 8:23-25.
The earthly sanctuary was cleansed on the Day of Atonement from the people’s accumulated sins at the end of the ritual period of a full year. The Day of Atonement was a day of judgment and redemption, a day of cleansing and purgation. Likewise antitypically the real reality of the heavenly sanctuary will at the end of the world period (time of the end) be “cleansed” from the accumulated sins of the previous epoch when the 2,300 evenings-mornings (years) are terminated.
The judicial-redemptive activities of the Day of Atonement in the earthly sanctuary in behalf of ancient Israel have their typological counterpart in the judicial-redemptive activity in the heavenly sanctuary at the end-time. There is a clear link between Daniel 8 and Leviticus 16. The expression of the Hebrew word qōdeš (“sanctuary”) in 8:14 has a profound analogue in Leviticus 16. The idea expressed by nisdaq (“cleansed”) with its rich semantic emphases immediately calls to mind the “cleansing” aspect of the sanctuary and the people of God in Leviticus 16:16, 19, 30.
These unmistakable links are forceful indicators of the connections between Leviticus 16 and Daniel 8. What Leviticus 16 describes as the grand climax of cleansing, restoring, justifying, and vindicating for ancient Israel on the Day of Atonement at the end of the annual cycle, Daniel 8 describes as the grand climax for all of God’s people on a cosmic, universal scale at the end of this aeon–the prelude to the ushering in of the new aeon when the kingdom of God alone will exist.
Links With Daniel 7
Chapter 7 describes a “little horn” making “war with the saints [holy ones], . . . until the Ancient of Days came” (vss. 21-22a, NASB) and the “court . . . [sat] in judgment” (vs. 26, NASB) in behalf of “the saints [holy ones] of the Most High” (vs. 22b, RSV). The latter enter into judgment in the end-time; after that, “the time came when the saints received the kingdom” (vs. 22c; cf. vs. 27, RSV). This heavenly judgment occurs before the saints receive the kingdom. Thus it is a preadvent judgment, which involves investigation and cleansing. Daniel 8:13-14 complements the judgment scene of chapter 7 by supplementing it with the process of the judgment itself.
The judicial-redemptive activity described in 8:14 pinpoints precisely the beginning of these events, which are to commence at the end of the 2,300 evenings-mornings or years in the celestial “sanctuary.” It compares them with the typical Day of Atonement activities (Lev 16). This judicial-redemptive end-time activity before the intelligences of the universe (7:9- 10) restores to its efficacy the sanctuary (8:14), which was attacked and supplanted by the rival system of the “little horn.”
Every apocalyptic vision in the book of Daniel moves to this grand climax. In chapter 2 the grand climax is reached by the stone “cut out by no human hand” (vss. 34, 45, RSV), which breaks the whole statue into pieces and fills the whole earth (vs. 35). Then God Himself sets up a kingdom which “shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people” (vs. 44, RSV). Its magnitude is of universal proportions; its design is cosmic dimensions. In chapter 7 the same universal proportions and cosmic dimensions are emphasized. The little horn’s attack upon the people of God is followed by a heavenly investigative preadvent judgment that is in behalf of the saints and leads to His final kingdom. In chapter 8 we move again from world empires to focus on the “time of the end” (vs. 17). After the vision of the “little horn” power (vss. 9-12), central focus is accorded the end-time, grand climax of the judicial-redemptive activity beginning at the end of the 2,300 years in the heavenly sanctuary (vs. 14). This activity involves both the heavenly sanctuary and the earthly saints in cleansing, restoring, justifying, and vindicating.
As in the previous apocalyptic vision, this activity has an effect upon the “little horn.” It is broken “by no human hand” (vs. 25, RSV). The focus of God’s cosmic activity is always the same. It is directly for His people, who shall possess the everlasting kingdom. Indirectly it also has implications for the opposing forces. On a larger scale we recognize time and again the grand conflict between God and the opposing forces. In its most ultimate sense this involves life and death.
Daniel 8:9-14 are, as we said in the beginning, at the thematic heart of chapter 8. They must be seen, however, in the context of the judgment segments of the vision of chapter 7 as well as the climactic events of chapters 11-12. Daniel 8:13-14, in particular, is an expansion, supplementation, and enlargement of the end-time investigative preadvent judgment scene of 7:9-10, 13-14, 21-22, 25-27. It is presupposed by the executive activities of Prince Michael, who rescues “everyone who is . . . written in the book” (12:1, NASB) and raises the faithful to everlasting life.
The whole book of Daniel, with chapter 8 holding a key place, climaxes in the resurrection of the faithful people of God. At that moment an entirely new order of existence begins. Sin and death are overcome, once and for all. The new aeon commences, and it knows only the indestructible and eternal kingdom of the saints. Eternal life is secured for man.