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Eugene W. Prewitt

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Daniel 8 and the Daily

The Daily and Daniel 8

Brief Idea 1: Not all that is related to “important” is “important.” Our pet ideas, whether true or otherwise, may be urged in such a way as to do more harm than their potential trueness could do well. The “daily” of Daniel 8, in Adventist history, is a paragon of this truth.


Brief Idea 2: The “daily” is related to “important.” It appears in the prophecies of Daniel 8, 11 and 12. It is connected, in those chapters, with the 2300, 1290 and 1335 day prophecies. It represents the old order of human government, the kind that preceded the establishment of the papacy. However, see Brief Idea 1.

Historical backdrop to the Bible Study

Adventists, in general, believed the “daily” to refer to the first phase of the Roman Empire, the pagan phase. Hime’s “chart” did identify the daily with paganism. I do not have a copy of his chart. The 1842 Millerite chart of Hale and Fitch doesn’t address the issue and simply says that the “daily sacrifice” was removed in 508.

It is conspicuous as the one “date” on their chart without a historical event connected to it. This may be indicative of something less than unity of understanding on this point even at that early date. It may not indicate anything.

In Early Writings, pp. 74-76, Sister White commented that, prior to the disappointment, all parties were united on a correct view of the “daily.” She was shown that the word “sacrifice” was supplied and that it did not belong to the text. Decades later Prescott promoted a view differing from Smith and Miller. In this view the “daily” represented Christ’s intercession in heaven.

The issue over the daily became, eventually, an issue over hermeneutics and over the relation of Ellen White to Biblical exposition. Prescott and followers felt that the Early Writings statement did not settle the issue. Haskell, Smith, and followers felt that it did settle the issue. On this last question Ellen White eventually sided with Prescott’s camp. Her statement can be found in 1SM 164-165. She wrote a few days later to both camps:

Dear Fellow Workers: I have words to speak to Brethren

Butler, Loughborough, Haskell, Smith, Gilbert, Daniells, Prescott,

and all who have been active in urging their views in

regard to the meaning of the “daily” of Daniel 8. This is not to be

made a test question, and the agitation that has resulted from its

being treated as such has been very unfortunate. Confusion has

resulted, and the minds of some of our brethren have been

diverted from the thoughtful consideration that should have

been given to the work that the Lord has directed should be done

at this time in our cities. This has been pleasing to the great

enemy of our work.  {6BIO 259.1}

The light given me is that nothing should be done to increase

the agitation upon this question. Let it not be brought into our

discourses, and dwelt upon as a matter of great importance. We

have a great work before us, and we have not an hour to lose

from the essential work to be done. Let us confine our public

efforts to the presentation of the important lines of truth on

which we are united, and on which we have clear light.–Letter

62, 1910 (6BIO 259.2) [See context for fuller historical treatment.]

The Bible Study

Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

     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 practised, and prospered.

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? And he said unto me, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Dan 8:8-14.

The “he goat” represents Alexander the Great, the “first king” Dan. 8:21. The four “notable” horns represent the most significant of the divisions of his empire after his decease. Dan. 8:22. These were related to each other geographically as the four points of the compass. We mentioned these divisions in our study of Daniel 7. None of them would have the strength of Greece. Dan. 8:22.

As their power was beginning to wane (Dan. 8:23) and a cup of iniquity was filling, the Roman power would rise from the west. This is the “little horn.” This power would also be a fulfillment of Deut 28:49-50. Rome would punish Palestine, the “pleasant land” for their sins.

Rome would “wax great” by its military influence (Dan 8:24) and not by its own military power (Dan. 8:24). Rome would rise “even to the host of heaven, and cast down some of the hosts and of the stars to the ground” by “destroying wonderfully” the mighty and holy people. Dan. 8:24. These can not be the same persons as the “transgressors” that drew God’s judgments on themselves. Rather, they are the Christians.

Rome would “stamp” on the Christians in harmony with its character in Daniel 7:19 where Rome stamps the “residue” (ie, “remnant”) with its cruel feet. And Rome would magnify “himself” even to the prince of the host by magnifying “himself in his heart” and by rising in opposition to Jesus, the “Prince of princes.” Dan 8:25. This was done, among other ways, by persecution of the saints. (cf. Dan 7:25; Mat 25:40; Re 11:8.)

Rome would, “through his policy” cause falsehood to “prosper” and thus “cast down the truth to the ground.” Dan 8:25. In this way Christ’s “sanctuary” was “cast down.” (This was done, also, especially in reference to the Law of God, Dan. 7:25.) These cunning policies would allow the Roman papacy to “destroy many” during even times of “peace.” And while it is not prefigured in the symbols of Daniel 8, Gabriel reminds Daniel of what he had learned in Daniel 2 and 7, namely that this Papal Rome would be destroyed by God’s power, “without hand.”

Thus far Gabriel has explained everything in the symbols (and we have referred to every phrase of his explanation) except the part given in bold print. Not surprisingly, then, the elements in bold print are the subjects of Daniel 9, 11 and 12. The elements referred to again are the “daily”, the cleansing of the sanctuary, and the “transgression of desolation.”

The Daily

In Daniel 11 we are given more information on the daily. Daniel 8:12 says “a host was given him against the daily by reason of transgression.” Daniel 11:31, by way of explanation, shows that the “host” represents the armies that, though not properly belonging to the papacy, “stand on his part.” This is the meaning of “given him.”

Da 11:31  And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Further, the passage indicates that these “arms” also establish the “abomination of desolation.”

They also “pollute the sanctuary of strength.” In Daniel 11 this is particularly interesting. In the several verses previous the angel has described the papacy’s relation to the “holy covenant.” When prospering financially, her “heart” was against it. When attacked she would have “indignation” against the covenant. Then she would confederate with those that “forsake” the covenant. Dan 11:28, 30.

But it is the helping armies, not the priests, who take away the “daily.” And when these fighters take away the “daily” on behalf of the papacy, you can put a date on the time of their success. The taking away of the daily is associated with the establishment of the abomination.

Da 12:11  And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Daniel 8 tells us that the “daily” is taken away because, or “by reason of”, “transgressions.” This is the same way that Rome came to power originally. The Greeks before her had filled their cup of iniquity and were removed from their position. Now the next political power suffers the same fate.

A literal reading of Daniel 8:13 says “How long will be the vision, the daily and abomination desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be tread under foot.” In this reading the daily and the abomination are both modifiers of “desolation.” They are two successive agents in the desolation of God people and opposition to God’s true gospel.

Miller, when studying the “daily” originally found no certain interpretation of the word. His next tactic was to search through the phrase “taken away”—the one idea consistently associated with the “daily.” To his great delight he discovered in Paul’s description of the abomination of desolation that its open appearance was being hindered by the [pagan] Roman government that would to be “taken out of the way.”

2Th 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

The readers of Paul’s epistle knew what he was predicting, the fall of Rome. But he did not say it directly. 2 Th 2:6.

The “Continual” and its Priestly Connotations

All of Daniel 8 is worded with sanctuary imagery. Examine the following graph.

Prophecy Gen 40                    Gen 40                    Dan 7                                      Dan 8

Subject:   Famine                    Famine                    War                                         Sanctuary

Symbols  Edible Cows                            Corn                                        Ravenous Beasts     Sanctuary Items

There should be no doubt that Daniel 8 is about the sanctuary. Ram, Goat, four horns, sanctuary, continual, abomination, evening and morning—these are all sanctuary symbols and allusions. We do not, however, understand this to mean that the Ram represents Jesus (though most rams in scripture and sanctuary contexts do.) Nor do we understand the goat to represent Jesus (though most goats in scripture and sanctuary contexts do). Rather, we understand that the vision of the history of Persia and Greece is related to the subject of God’s sanctuary.

The papacy is different from previous nations. That is its defining characteristic in Daniel 7. See Dan 7:24, 23, 17, 7. It is the late-rising papacy, in Daniel 7, that sets the Roman beast apart from the rest.

Da 7:24  . . . . and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

The civil authority over God’s people passed from God to Israel’s kings to Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome. But since Rome we have entered a time when no-one would have civil authority over God’s people. Next Jesus will take that authority back.

Eze 21:27  I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

Up until the time of the papacy the captivity of God’s people was an obvious embarrassment. Since the rise of the papacy the captivity has been by those that “claim to be Jews and are not.” This is the difference. The synagogue of Satan has adopted Christian trappings. And the boasted authority of this civil-state-church has behind it, not the authority of heaven, but its own boasting.

The true right of civil rule over God’s people is “no more.” Where Babylon and Persia and even Rome had the right, the Papacy has it not. The “continual” has been replaced by the “abomination.” True right has been followed by usurpation. The papacy’s power over states that are not it own was bequeathed by Rome, not by God. Re 13:1.

The Connection between the Abomination of Desolation and the Defiling of the Sanctuary

Not every man is privileged to have his case decided in the judgment in heaven. In the sanctuary service on earth it was those that had confessed their sins on the lamb that had their sins carried into the temple by the priest. In our age it is those that confess their sins and claim Christ’s blood as their covering that are promised pardon and cleansing. 1 Jo 1:9.

While each of the world empires fought, at one time or another, against God’s truth, only the last one did so while claiming the favor of Jesus. The profession of the papacy entitles them to judgment. Romans 2:12-16. It also buys them a record of their sins in the sanctuary for evaluation in the judgment. The papacy is filling the sanctuary with the record of defiling sins and false profession that will be repudiated in the judgment.

The papacy can cast the truth to the ground. The papacy can brag and exalt itself. It can crush many of God’s people. But it can not remove the ministry of Him who “ever liveth to make intercession” for us.” Heb. 7:25. It can not bring an end to the priesthood of Him who is a “priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” Ps 110:4; Heb 5:6; 6:20; 7:17; 7:21. It may “think” to do this, as it thought to change God’s law, but it can not.


Gabriel explains all of Daniel 8. While he does not name the “daily”, just as he did not name iron legs in Daniel 2, he gives plenty of information for us to identify this symbol.


  1. The “daily” is taken away by armies working for the papacy.
  2. The “daily” is taken away in some manner that can be dated.
  3. The “daily” is taken away to allow the “man of sin to be revealed.”
  4. The “daily” is taken away because of “transgressions.”

None of these points allow the daily to be equated with Christ’s ministry of intercession. This has not been taken away. Further, its truth was not taken away by armies. Further, the casting down of its truth was a prospering process, but can not be dated for completion. Finally, it is Bible exposition, not Ellen White’s statement, that must settle the issue if it is to be settled.

Addendum:             The view found in this paper does not well represent that of Uriah Smith. In some respects it is original with me and in those respects, therefore, ought to be suspect. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.


(17) Comments

  1. Lillian Westmoreland - Reply

    The above presentation is very analytical and interesting. It was very thought provoking. Is it possible the RC false theory of the intersession of Mary – on behalf of sinful man – has – in millions of human hearts – been taking the place of the daily intersession of Christ for us – in the Heavenly Sanctuary?

    I’m almost done reading the book – DEEPER – and find it is walking me through
    the “fog” so to speak, so nicely.

    Thank You so much for writing it.

    • If I am right regarding the daily, then anything that the RC changes abominably could be construed as taking away the continuity and setting up the abomination. Certainly in Daniel 8 the RC is accused of casting truth to the ground and of being disrespectful of the sanctuary and its services. Mariology does both.

      Thank you for the kind words. Am glad you enjoy the book, Lillian. Recommend others to buy it from and I will be pleased even more.

  2. I love the presentation about the “daily” I have done a study on it myself but not as clear and profound as this one, for those who are studying the “daily” should truly look at Dan 12:11 it is an event prophecy and a time prophecy, and it is clear at least to me that the event took place at the beginning of the time prophecy.

  3. This view of the daily makes sense to me. My question is, other than wanting to know the truth about the matter, does is matter which view a person takes?

    • It makes a difference if you become militant about it. It makes a difference if you become sensitive about it. It makes a difference if you believe it is the present truth. But if you are just one of many that realize that it is not a vital issue and if you are studying it to understand things as well as you can, then, no, I don’t think it makes a vital difference which conclusion you currently hold. But if your conclusion leads you to make futuristic applications of the prophecy, that matters, and that is not good.

  4. As usual, a thorough bible study.

    Reading my quarterly I got one interpretation, reading the Bible myself I got another, then to find out that Sis White in agreement with Uriah Smith has yet another. Worse, neither brother Smith’s book nor Sis White provided clear texts to support their claim. This bothered me not a little, especially because she said that it was shown her, and her words mean a great deal to me.

    I think it matters quite a bit what understanding one has of this(at least it matters to me), simply because Sis White made a pronouncement on it. Your understanding of this topic may shape your perception of Sis White. Because all that she says must stand along side scripture.

    This Bible Study clears up a lot. Thanks

  5. The word “sacrifice” being supplied in connection with the word “daily,” it manifestly does not belong to the text.  Since, however, the English language does not have an exact equivalent of the Hebrew word “daily,” which is variously rendered ” continual ,” “perpetual ,” “everlasting, ” and since none of these terms are synonymous, but carry individual connotations, it is consequently imperative to take them all together as a compound word, so as to arrive at the exact truth.

    In view, therefore, of this fact, also the fact that the Sabbath doctrine is the only Bible doctrine in the Christian era that can possibly be designated as “daily” (pertaining to worship in respect to a day), as well as “continual,” “perpetual,” and “everlasting,” — from time immemorial to time eternal, — it is hence evident that all these various renderings can apply to no other doctrine than the Sabbath — the eternal rest day. And in divine certification of its perpetuity, ring on through the centuries from Sinai the immutable words:

    “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” Ex. 31:16, 17.

    The horn’s taking away the “daily,” was therefore nothing other than his taking away from the Christian church the Lord’s Sabbath and putting in its place Sunday worship, a pagan sabbath, — “abomination that maketh desolate,” — a desecration which grieved away God’s presence from the church.

  6. I had a hard time following your thoughts here. Seemed rather disjointed. What is the “daily” then? You never really stated it clearly.

    • Hi Angie,

      I am sorry my thoughts weren’t clear to you. I might be able to edit the paper in a few months. This is what I think: 1. The daily is not a critical issue. 2. The “daily” is nothing in particular. It is “the continuity” that was interrupted and upended by the rise of the papacy.

  7. YOUR exposition on the matter of “the daily” is good and interesting. You try to unite those on one of the two veiws. Otherwise persons are scattering abroad the sheep of Christ who are far off and who from your land who through internet receive various prophetic interpretations. Sister white warned the leading brothers to be aware of indifferences. She said, “press together!!!”

  8. hi,
    Just email.

    • If you read my article and didn’t find an answer to this, my article was a failure. But, briefly, it is not terribly important that one have a particular view of the daily in Daniel 8, 11 and 12. See the article for evidence as I like not the idea that someone might just take my word for it.

  9. Thank you for the interesting exposition of the daily. I just wanted to ask, do you then think it fits better that the sanctuary in verse 8:11 still would belong to the prince (jesus) and by taking away the daily it stamps on his sanctuary? Or that His sanctuary is referred to the little horn’s?

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