The Daily Sacrifice - Guest Article
The Daily Sacrifice of Daniel 8 is a topic little thought of by most religious groups. In others, it is considered of great importance but even among these, there are many variations in interpretation. How do you understand the mystery of "the daily sacrifice" of Daniel 8?
Tom Stapleton, a good, long-time friend and serious Bible student has looked at it from a totally different perspective. However, he has done it in a way consistent with the approach of this website - to allow the Bible to interpret itself. I consider this an absolutely vital aspect of the important ability to "rightly divide the word of truth." Also important is to consider how an individual Bible writer (in this case, Daniel) uses words within his own writings and Tom has certainly done that with this topic. I believe his approach introduces an important new way of looking at the daily sacrifice of Daniel 8.
Therefore, with his permission, and a little editing on my part, I am posting his study here. You can also see Tom's blog http://godsfestivals.com/ where he tackles the question "Are God's Festivals Still Relevant Today?"
The Daily Sacrifice
by Tom Stapleton
This study comes primarily from three chapters in the book of Daniel. One of these deals with an experience in Daniel's life (Daniel 6) while the other two are apocalyptic in nature (Daniel 8 and 11). Daniel 8 and 11 have been applied historically but a careful, objective study will show that neither one of these two chapters have met their fulfillment in those applications. In fact, there are clearly portions in these two chapters that do not fit into the historical application. Therefore, we must look for another application, a fulfillment. We will examine Daniel 8 and 11 in a futuristic context, just as the content of these two chapters demand.
The "daily" of Daniel 8:11 and 11:31 has long been a mystery. This is reasonable because, according to the prophecies containing the "daily," their understanding is to be sealed "until the end of time."
"Therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future" (Dan. 8:26).
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (Dan.12:4).
The understanding of these visions is to come at "the end of time"; therefore, any interpretation before the "time of the end" according to the prophecy must be incomplete and/or erroneous. Twice within the prophecy of chapter 8, Daniel is told that the taking away of the "daily" by the little horn happens at the "end."
"So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, 'Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.' ... And he said, 'Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.'" (Dan 8:17, 19).
We find the same terminology in Dan. 11:27 and 29: "for the end will still be at the appointed time" and "At the appointed time." Then in verse 31 we have the "daily" taken away. The question is, what is the "daily?" There is no explanation of the meaning of this term within chapters 8 and 10-12, at least no obvious explanation. To begin we must look elsewhere for the answer.
When the meaning of something within a particular prophecy is unknown we must look to a parallel prophecy. Daniel 7-8, 10-12, Revelation 12-13 and 17 are parallel prophecies. Let us look into these chapters to see what the little horn's activities are to see if this can shed light on the "daily." Dan. 7:25 states that the little horn changes "times and law." The term "change times and law" seems difficult to understand, but because of the connection of speaking "pompous words against the Most High" and "persecute the saints of the Most High," this changing of "times and law" must have to do with the changing of God's "times and laws." Let us examine Daniel 7:25 carefully. If we use some other translations to help us, the meaning of this text becomes clear.
All these translations have two things in common:
1.) They say not that the little horn will change the law but that he will "intend," "have it in mind," "attempt," "try" or "think to change" the law. The little horn, of course, cannot actually change the law of God.
2.) They say that there will be an attempt to make a change in something related to time: "times," "festival seasons," "sacred seasons," "set times," "sacred festivals," "time of sacred feasts and Holy Days" or "feast days."
Clearly, the activity of the little horn is to change Gods holy appointments with His people. These appointed meeting times are a part of the covenant that the Lord made with His people. These sacred times are listed in Numbers 28:1 through 29:40. Numbers 28:1 begins with the command from God to Moses telling him to command the children of Israel to be careful to offer their offerings at their appointed time. The Lord was very specific about the time of His appointments. The chapter begins with the daily appointment (morning and evening), then the weekly appointment (Sabbath), then the monthly appointment (New Moon), then the seven annual appointments, (two during the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the spring of the year, one at Pentecost, and four in the fall of the year: the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and two during the Feast of Tabernacles.) Each of the seven annual Sabbaths typified a different phase of the plan of salvation.
These times formed a religious timetable for the people of God; an organized calendar throughout the year. These set times were intended to maintain God's close connection with His people, with each other and to teach them of the plan of salvation. In Leviticus 23, these holy days are referred to as the "feasts of the Lord."
The sacred times, including the daily (morning and evening) were a continual reminder through the year that the LORD was their: Daily Sacrifice (morning and evening) Creator (Sabbath), Tree of Life (New Moon), Redeemer and Justifier (Passover), Sanctification (Unleavened Bread), Resurrection (Firstfruits), Latter Rain (Pentecost), Sentinel (Trumpets), Judge and Advocate (Day of Atonement) Light, Water, Shelter, Provider and Saviour from this world (Tabernacles or Feast of Harvest). His promise to them was: if they would honor Him, then He would honor them with His presence.
In Daniel 7:25 it is prophesied that the little horn power would change these divine appointments of God with His people. Why would he do this? The little horn would change these "times and laws" for the sole purpose of breaking the connection of God with His people. The fact that the little horn changes them leads one to conclude that there must be something to change to, a new set of times or sacred times or feasts. If I told you that I was going to change my shirt, would you expect me to come from my room without a shirt on or would you expect me to come out with a different shirt? I would be wearing a shirt. You can be sure that the little horn will have a replacement set of appointed times - out with the old, in with the new. The little horn power, by setting up a new set of sacred times would, in reality, create a new religious calendar contrary to the calendar and express will of God. This is why, in the prophecy, it states that the little horn intends, thinks, tries, attempts, and has it in mind to alter times and law, for you can only think to change something that you cannot change. This is also why the prophecy says that the little horn speaks pompous words against the Most High. The little horn is working against the will of God by changing these times and laws.
As there must be something to change to, there must be something to change from, Again, if I tell you I am going to change my shirt, I must have a shirt on. Just so, with the set times, if the little horn is going to change the set times to something, there must be set times in place to change from. Within the Christian Church worldwide, there are ongoing investigations into the idea of whether the Biblical sacred times terminated at the cross of Christ or not. The discoveries indicate that they did not cease at the cross, but continued to be kept well after the cross by the early Christian church. Furthermore, there is no scriptural evidence of their cessation at the cross; in fact, there are scriptures that indicate these sacred times continued to be observed. Here are some examples:
If this interpretation of history and the Bible are correct, there must be a restoration of the Biblical sacred times on a large or even a worldwide scale. This would give place for the little horn to "intend to change times and law."
A change in the sacred times would, of necessity, constitute an attack on the Ten Commandment Law of God, for one of the Ten Commandments states:
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exo 20:8-11).
In the prophecy of Daniel 7 we see that the little horn power "changes" these set "times and laws."
Let us now look at Daniel 11: 29-35 for a deeper understanding and clearer picture of what the little horn would do.
"At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time." (Dan 11:29-35)
This passage relates some very interesting events connected to the timing, an attack on the Holy Covenant and the taking away of the daily sacrifice. Let's consider each of these three areas.
1. The Timing
2. The Attack on the Holy Covenant
3. The Taking Away of the Daily Sacrifice
Daniel 7:25 states that the little horn changes the sacred times. In Daniel 8:11 and Daniel 11:31 we see that the little horn takes away the "daily." This must mean that the little horn institutes a system of worship which includes set times for daily worship, which replace the "daily" or evening and morning times of worship that the Lord gave to His people along with the other set times for worship (Numbers 28). Daniel was very familiar with the "daily." He knew what the "daily" was and how it was connected to the "evening and morning." The "evening and morning" and the "daily" are one and the same. In Daniel 8:13 a holy one asked the question "How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice?" It would seem that he is asking the question on Daniel's behalf, as Daniel seemed to be speechless. Daniel's question was not "What did the term 'daily' mean." The question in his mind was, "How long would this taking away of the 'daily' last?"
As we examine these texts more closely, in Daniel 11:32, 33 we see two groups of people:
Those who do wickedly against the Holy Covenant end up persecuting those who know their God. The people who know their God must be those who are faithful to the Holy Covenant, for they find themselves in conflict with those who are against the Holy Covenant. In other words, when the "daily" is taken away, the people who know their God remain faithful to their God, by maintaining their close connection with Him, by meeting with Him at His appointed times which He has specified in the Holy Covenant. This obedience on the part of the people who know their God has a strengthening effect on them. They will not worship at the little horn's appointed times. It has been said "if you want the sever the relationship between two parties be it a man and his wife or a boy friend and girl friend or a father and his son, just take away their special or intimate times that they spend together. If the appointed times of closeness between two parties is terminated, it will only be a matter of time before the relationship between those parties terminates. This seems to be the plan of the little horn power.
With regard to the Holy Covenant, we read in Deuteronomy:
"So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess." (Deut 4:13-14)
In Revelation, we also see the commandments of God surface again with respect to the conflict at the end of time.
The conflict at the end of time is over obedience to the covenant that God made with His people. Satan's purpose is to bring persecution against the people of God so that they will break their covenant - their relationship - with their God.
These verses in Revelation parallel Daniel's vision in chapter 11 perfectly. Daniel is given a little more detail, starting at verse 28:
"While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land. At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done." (Dan 11:28-36)
"And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 12: 17).
The book of Daniel is an apocalyptic book, but also recorded are some highlights of Daniel's and his friends' experience in Babylon. The prophecies of Daniel point to the world situation just prior to the Second Coming of Christ to this earth. It should not surprise us to learn that, also recorded within the book, is the method that the little horn power uses to attack God's people during the end of time. History will be repeated. The key to understanding how the attack on God's people will come is contained in the first six chapters. The "daily" can be understood by an experience that Daniel had. In Daniel 6 we find an interesting story of how Daniel rose to prominence primarily because of his faithfulness to his God. This caused jealousy among those around him, which led to them forming a law restricting Daniel in regard to his "daily" custom of worship and prayer to his God.
"It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God. So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: 'King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.' Therefore King Darius signed the written decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days." (Dan 6:1-10).
In verse 10, we read that that same day Daniel went to his home and had prayer "as his custom was since his early years."
We could ask, why was this his "custom"? It was his "custom" for the same reason that in the book of Luke we are told Mary and Joseph went up to Jerusalem at the time of the Passover, "according to the custom of the feast" (Luke 2:41-42). Also, Jesus went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day "as His custom was" (Luke 4:16). It was the "custom" to do these things because these observances were part of the Covenant of the Lord. Naturally, they would become customs for the people of God for it was a requirement in the book of the law. But instead of a legal requirement as it is looked upon by many today, it was actually a privilege for the people of God, for these sacred times were divine appointments with the Lord God of the universe. If a prominent world leader made an appointment with you for fellowship, would you be excited about being there? It was God's purpose to have a close connection with His people so that they would look forward with great anticipation to meeting with Him at His appointed times. The Bible says that Daniel's "daily" prayer time was his custom from his youth; it was probable his parents had instructed him in obedience to the requirements of the Covenant of the Lord God of Israel.
Daniel's "daily" prayer life was customary to him just as Mary and Joseph went customarily up to the Passover, and as Jesus went customarily to the synagogue on the Sabbath. In the book of Acts, we see another interesting record:
"Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour (3:00 pm)." (Acts 3:1)
This was and is one of the times of the "daily" prayer, the other being the third hour (9:00 am.). Peter's famous address on the Day of Pentecost was delivered at the time of morning worship.
"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them ... For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day." (Acts 2:14-15)
God is on time - all the time. These times had become customs for the people of God, for these observances were part of the covenant the Lord made with His people. Daniel's parents, being covenant-keeping people of God, taught Daniel from his youth to honor God by keeping his appointments. Daniel had a custom of daily prayer at set times according to the law of God. This could be why, in another chapter, we see Daniel in prayer at "about the time of the evening offering." (Dan. 9:21). This text does not prove that he kept this "daily" set time but it does prove that he was still, after many years of captivity, conscious of the time of the evening offering.
Elijah's confrontation with the 450 plus prophets of Baal culminated with Elijah's prayer at the time of the evening offering.
"And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench." (1 Kings 18:36:38)
Let us go back to Daniel. After the enemies of Daniel could find no fault in Daniel concerning the laws of the land, they would condemn him another way. The only hope they had to see him condemned was to have a law instituted that went against the law of his God. Therefore, they made a law that struck at the heart of Daniel's relationship with his God: his daily prayer life. We must notice that the law that was made was in opposition to the law of God. It was that anyone who petitioned any god, except the king for thirty days would be killed. This was a carefully orchestrated plan to bring Daniel into condemnation in regard to the law of the land. Daniel was forced to either obey God or the law of the land. We see here that the law goes against a law of God, which calls for daily morning and evening prayer as specified in Numbers 28:3. In this situation, Daniel had experienced first hand the "daily" being taken away, a privilege, which he had practiced from his youth. Again, his question in Daniel 8 was not "what did the daily represent?" but "for how long would the 'daily' be taken away?" There was no question as to what "daily" was. His concern was for the people of God who would be living when the "daily" would be taken away as mentioned in Daniel 8 and 11.
We have examined the little horn power from Daniel and connected it to the harlot of Revelation 17. You might be thinking that there is no way the harlot of Revelation could force the world to worship each day at set times. If this is the case, I would like to encourage you to reread the prophecies regarding the events just before Christ returns. This world will be reeling in chaos. This world, according to Jesus' own words, is going to enter a storm the likes of which it has never seen.
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened no flesh would be saved" (Matt 24:21, 22)
This sounds a lot like a passage from Daniel:
"At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people, and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation; even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered. Everyone who is found written in the book" (Dan 12:1)
Another verse describes conditions at the end:
"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken" (Luke 21:25).
A number of years ago, I spent a summer fishing and nearly lost my life. We went through an all-night storm out on the open Pacific Ocean that nearly buried the crew and I in a watery grave. I want to tell, you that night I learned how to pray, and no one had to force me. I want to assure you that the world will bow if the circumstances are right. Prayer will seem like the only way out for this world.
"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8)
At the right time, Satan will inspire laws to be formed, laws regarding daily prayer and worship that, for the most part, will be readily accepted by the heads of state just as in Daniel's day. This will be a direct attack on the covenant-keeping people of God, exactly as outlined in the prophecies. Remember, the book of Daniel is the pattern.
With reference to the "daily," we will look at the Hebrew word "tamid", which means "continual" as it is translated other places in scripture. The New King James Version uses the word "regular" instead of "continual." In several passages of scripture, it is used in combination with morning and evening offering, as in Numbers:
"And you shall say to them, 'This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs in their first year without blemish, day by day, as a regular burnt offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening.'" (Num 28:3-4)
The idea here is that this regular offering to God was to be made day by day at the appointed time without fail. The "daily" morning and evening appointed time is when God's people were to formally connect with Him. This was to keep His people conscious of Him throughout the day as they went about their business. This is symbolized in the smoke that was to rise all day from the burning of the morning and evening offering. The daily morning and evening offering was to be observed as a continual reminder of the blessings of God, and how He (Jesus) always (continually) "lives to make intercession for them" (Heb 7:25). This offering was not a sin offering, but it is significant that a lamb had to die in this morning and evening service. This reminds us that we need a sacrifice just to approach God because we are sinful human beings; we need the merits of the blood of Jesus continually whether we think so or not.
One hundred years ago, this interpretation of the "daily" would have seemed preposterous, but recent studies have shown that, in the past, our interpretation of certain portions of scripture has not been correct. One example of this is Colossians 2:16. Of late there has been a keen interest in the study of the sacred times of the Lord. This study has crossed denominational boundaries worldwide, and it has brought many things to light. Current studies in scripture and history seem to indicate that God's holy days were not "nailed to the cross" as has been assumed by most of Christendom for several centuries. The Biblical holy days continued to be celebrated by the disciples after the cross, and the early Christian Church observed these holy days for several centuries. The change came largely from a desire by the Christian Church in Rome to dissociate itself from the Jews. The Jews were under tremendous persecution which is why the Roman Christian church changed these times. To distance themselves from the Jews, the Christian Church adopted a calendar of holy days that resembled paganism rather than Judaism. Could this discovery of truth be a part of what the Angel spoke to Daniel:
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." (Dan 12:4)
Daniel understood the importance of the "daily." That is why he continued to practice it even though he was in a foreign land. Morning and evening prayer was an important part of Daniel's life; it was his daily appointment with his God.
The little horn of Daniel's visions is the same power as the harlot of Revelation 17. This power will change the appointed meeting times which God has set for His people by instituting a new system complete with its set times for worship. The "daily" morning and evening is the set time specifically mentioned in Daniel 8 and 11. This sacred time is probably the most sacred of all set times because it relates to one's "daily" walk with God. If Satan can break this connection that God has with His people, the other sacred times will become meaningless for if one has not a daily experience with God all the other appointments will become only a formality. By changing the set times for worship Satan will have shifted the focus from God to himself, exactly as recorded in the book of Isaiah.
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'" (Isa 14:12-14)
Morning and evening worship is a vital part of the experience of every child of God. This special time is when the Christian makes his or her connection with the Most High God: YHWH. This connection sustains him or her through the day; its effect is continual. As the smoke for the morning sacrifice arose until the evening sacrifice the effect of the morning worship sustains the Christian until he meets with his God in an intimate way at the evening worship. If you desire a closer walk with the Almighty, try the "daily" and "taste and see that the LORD is good." I believe that the time approaching is a time in which our daily connection with our God will be vital.
In this world of hustle and bustle that we live in, God knew what we needed to help us keep Him in focus "daily."
Thank you, Tom for such insightful thoughts on the meaning of the daily sacrifice of the book of Daniel. As we get to know God better, our commitment to the time of the daily sacrifice will not seem to be such a sacrifice at all but, rather, a joyful time as we fellowship with our Father in heaven and His Son who made such a sacrifice to provide salvation for us.You may also view a video presentation of Tom's study on the daily.
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