Sabbath, May 21, 2011
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first….” 1 Thessalonians 2:3.
1. What change occurred in Rome in the fourth century A.D.? What else was cast down by this power, and in what way?
2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Daniel 8:12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.
Daniel 8:25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
“Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.
“This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of ‘the man of sin’ foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God….
“The Bible would exalt God and place finite men in their true position; therefore its sacred truths must be concealed and suppressed. This logic was adopted by the Roman Church. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it or to have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with authority over church and state.
“Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 50, 51, 55.
2. Who helped the papacy become so powerful? What question did an angel ask after this symbol was described?
Daniel 8:24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
Daniel 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
“The archdeceiver had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner and to exercise his power through his vicegerent, the proud pontiff who claimed to be the representative of Christ. Through half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving churchmen he accomplished his purpose.” –The Great Controversy, p. 53.
A very long time period
3. What was the answer? Did Daniel understand everything about this?
Daniel 8:14, 15 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
“ ‘How long shall be the vision?’ Both the question and the answer are placed upon record, which is prima facie evidence that this is a matter the church should understand. This view is further confirmed by the fact that the answer was addressed to Daniel, as the one whom it chiefly concerned, and for whose information it was given….
“We have already mentioned Daniel’s longing to understand these things. He sought for the meaning. Immediately there stood before the prophet one who had the appearance of a man. Daniel heard a man’s voice, that is, the voice of an angel as of a man speaking.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 162, 187.
4. How did the Lord fulfill his desire? When did the angel return with another message?
Daniel 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
“It was Gabriel, the angel next in rank to the Son of God, who came with the divine message to Daniel. It was Gabriel, ‘His angel,’ whom Christ sent to open the future to the beloved John; and a blessing is pronounced on those who read and hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written therein. Revelation 1:3.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 234.
“The commandment was given to make this man Daniel understand the vision. It was addressed to Gabriel, a name that signifies ‘the strength of God,’ or ‘man of God.’ He continues his instruction to Daniel in chapter 9. Centuries later this same angel was commissioned to announce the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias, and that of the Messiah to the virgin Mary. Luke 1:26. To Zacharias, he introduced himself with these words: ‘I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God.’ Luke 1:19.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 187.
A vision for the time of the end
5. In what period of time does the vision of the 2,300 days belong?
Daniel 8:17-19 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
6. What impression did the presence of this high-ranking angel make upon Daniel? Was Gabriel able to carry out his commission to explain the vision completely?
Daniel 8:18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.
Daniel 8:27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
”… The angel Gabriel, though commanded to make Daniel understand the vision, gave him only a partial explanation. As the terrible persecution to befall the church was unfolded to the prophet’s vision, physical strength gave way. He could endure no more, and the angel left him for a time.” –The Great Controversy, p. 325.
The cleansing of the sanctuary
7. How did William Miller fare when he studied the verse in Daniel 8:14?
Daniel 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
“Miller accepted the generally received view that in the Christian age the earth is the sanctuary, and he therefore understood that the cleansing of the sanctuary foretold in Daniel 8:14 represented the purification of the earth by fire at the second coming of Christ. If, then, the correct starting point could be found for the 2300 days, he concluded that the time of the second advent could be readily ascertained….
“In the eighth chapter of Daniel he could find no clue to the starting point of the 2300 days;…” –The Great Controversy, 324, 325.
For personal study
• Early Writings, pp. 54-56.
• The Story of Redemption, pp. 375-379.
“During the year 330 Constantine moved his governmental headquarters from Rome to Byzantium (Constantinople).… This move was of far-reaching significance for the church. It facilitated the unhindered development of the papal power in Rome….” –Großer katholischer Katechismus (Great Catholic Catechism), p. 243.
“We are told of King Clovis and the Franks that they joined the church in the fifth century: ‘It was important to note that the powerful Franks did not join the Arians, but generally acknowledged the confession, which was called the Catholic Confession for that reason. Because the Franks conquered gradually one German tribe after another, this meant at the same time the victory of the Catholic Church over the Arians.’ ” –Emil Staub, A. Zimmermann, Bilder aus der Kirchengeschichte (Pictures from Church History), p. 44.