The Sanctuary and the Little Horn
(Daniel 8, Hebrews 9)
Introduction: If you are reading this, it means that you are still with me in this study, even though it has been hard work to trudge through some of the details of Daniel's prophecies. Last week I promised you that we would discover this week why it makes any difference, as a practical matter, whether the "Little Horn" of Daniel 7 & 8 is Antiochus or Rome. Why should we care as Christians? What does it matter to modern people? Let's jump in and discover why this issue brings us to the heart of the gospel and the proof of your faith!
- The Target of the Little Horn
- Read Daniel 8:9-12. What is being attacked by the "Little Horn?" (We previously discovered that on a very basic level, it destroyed the Jewish sanctuary in 70 A.D.)
- What else is being attacked? ( Daniel 8:10 tells us that it reached into heaven and threw "some of the starry host down to the ground.")
- What does that bring to mind? (Read Revelation 12:3-4 and Revelation 12:7-9. This is a picture of Satan bringing a third of the angels down to earth with him when he loses his fight against God.)
- What kind of animal is depicted here? (A dragon with ten horns.)
- What kind of animal is pictured in Daniel 7:19-20? (Something that could pass as a dragon with ten horns.)
- Let's go back and read Daniel 8:11-12 again. What else does this Little Horn do? Who is the "Prince of the Host?" (The Prince of the Host has to be Jesus. This Little Horn thinks it is a replacement for Jesus. Further, this attack on Jesus involves the sanctuary.)
- Read Daniel 8:13-14. What sanctuary did we previously discuss was being reconsecrated (cleansed) here? (Because of the timing(our conclusion that the 2,300 days was symbolic and meant 2,300 years), this has to refer to the sanctuary in heaven.)
- Sanctuary Activities
- Hebrews 9:1-5 gives us a description of the Holy and Most Holy rooms of the Jewish sanctuary here on earth. Continue by reading Hebrews 9:6-10. What was the purpose of the Jewish sanctuary and its sacrificial system? (It is "an illustration for the present time.")
- Are you part of the "present time?"
- What is being illustrated for you (us)? (1. The "way into the Most Holy Place" had not been "disclosed" as long as the Jewish sanctuary on earth was in existence. 2. Until the time of the "new order" the conscience of the people was not really being cleared.)
- Can you summarize these two points in one sentence? (The Jewish sanctuary on earth was a symbol, but not the reality, for the way to forgiveness of sin.)
- Read Hebrews 9:11-14. What is the "present time" reality for the forgiveness of sin, and where does that reality take place? (The good news for the present time is that Jesus is the real sacrifice and the real High Priest and the real work of forgiveness of sin is being done in the original sanctuary which is in heaven.)
- Read Hebrews 9:15. What is the "new covenant?" (That Jesus was the perfect "sacrificial lamb" because He lived a perfect life, and His death on the cross, if accepted by us as the substitute sacrifice for our sins, truly wipes away our sins. It takes away your sins - all of them!)
- Friend, do you want that? Real forgiveness of all of your sins?
- Why the Antiochus Question Matters
- Remember that we have learned that the Little Horn of Daniel 7 and 8 attacks the sanctuary (Daniel 8:11-12), attacks God ( Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:10-11, 25) and attacks God's people ( Daniel 7:21; Daniel 8:12, 25). If the Little Horn of Daniel 7 and 8 is Antiochus Ephiphanes, a minor Seleucide King who ruled eleven years from 175-164 B.C., what sanctuary did he attack?(The sanctuary on earth.)
- If the Little Horn is Antiochus, how important is that to us today? (It is not important at all. It is a footnote about a minor figure in history.)
- If the Little Horn is Rome (as I believe) in both its pagan and papal phases, how important is that to us today? ("Rome" is still with us.)
- Let me repeat again that many of my most important religious liberty cases involved the defense of Catholics. I love the fact that the Catholic Church stands strong against abortion and other moral evils. But, the Catholic Church has a serious flaw in its theology when it comes to the issue of Christ our Mediator in the Heavenly Sanctuary. What is that flaw? (I think it is fair to say that the idea of confessing your sins to men, the idea of viewing Mary as your mediator, is an attack on the role of Jesus as our mediating High Priest in the sanctuary in heaven. Rome also has a sad history of persecuting the saints.)
- The Little Horn is obviously symbolic. If it symbolizes a power that attacks God, His people, and the role of Jesus our Sacrifice, High Priest and Mediator in the heavenly sanctuary, are there any other powers today that qualify as "little horns?" (Any religious belief that undercuts righteousness by faith, that undercuts the forgiveness of sin by faith in Christ alone, that describes a different path to heaven than through Jesus our High Priest, is a Little Horn power!)
- Can you name a few? (Islam, all of the "works" religions of the East, Judaism without a Messiah - these all describe ways to salvation without Jesus. They all miss salvation by grace alone. Indeed, there are a lot of members of churches which teach grace who unfortunately believe that they are saved by their works. If you believe you are saved by your works, you stand under the banner of the Little Horn because your belief is an attack on the mediating work of Jesus.)
- What about modern humanism? Does that fit within the symbolism of the Little Horn? (Absolutely. The "faith" of the secular humanist is that they are god. There is no god higher than the person. They are entitled to make their own judgments on what is right and what is wrong. They have little tolerance for Bible-believing Christians. Is this not an "attack" on God, righteousness by faith, and the saints?)
- We have previously determined in this series of lessons that "running the numbers" from Daniel's prophecies using the day = a year symbolism predicts that Jesus is the Messiah, predicts His death, predicts the spread of the gospel to Gentiles and predicts the destruction of the Jewish sanctuary on earth. We also ran these numbers and found that they ended in 1844 or, possibly, some time later. Read Hebrews 9:23. Was the sanctuary in heaven purified? (This verse says it was "necessary," using "better sacrifices.")
- Read Hebrews 9:24-26. When does Jesus enter the sanctuary in heaven to do away with our sins? ("At the end of the ages.")
- Read Hebrews 9:27-28. What follows Jesus doing away with our sin? (He comes again to take us to heaven with Him.)
- Friend, the message of the Little Horn and its attack on the sanctuary is a message for today - not some dusty footnote in history. The saints today are surrounded on all sides by belief systems that are an assault on righteousness by grace alone. The "1844" message is that we are saved by faith alone. Jesus is working on our behalf in the sanctuary in heaven. Jesus has a judgment, from which we can only be saved by faith in Him. When He finishes that judgment, He will "appear a second time" to "bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." ( Hebrews 9:28) Are you among those waiting for Him? Or, are you allied with the Little Horn: the religious philosophy that salvation comes some other way than through Christ alone?
- Next week: The Pre-Advent Judgment.