Wednesday: Day of Atonement in Daniel 8
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The target of the horn’s assault is God’s heavenly sanctuary and His people. What does the future hold for them? That is what the question in Daniel 8:13 asks. However, only the Day of Atonement can bring the sanctuary and the people of God back to their rightful state and thus justify God in His dealings. So, the answer in Daniel 8:14 must be a Day of Atonement activity. In fact, the Day of Atonement is the only ritual day that shows the same combination of prominent themes as shown in the climax of the vision of Daniel 8: sanctuary imagery, purification of sanctuary and people, judgment, and creation.

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

There are also several terms in Daniel 8 that allude to the Day of Atonement. The horn acts in “rebellion” (Dan. 8:12-13, NIV), a term that occurs specifically in Leviticus 16:16, 21 (NIV). It describes a defiant sin, and only on the Day of Atonement can the sanctuary be cleansed from it. The word holy (qodesh) explicitly links Daniel 8:14 with Leviticus 16, where it occurs to designate the Most Holy Place (Lev. 16:2-3, 16-17, 20, 23, 27, 33). That the “holy” is restored to its rightful place is reminiscent of the Day of Atonement, when the “holy” is purified from “rebellion” (Lev. 16:16, NIV). The specific use of the animal imagery of the ram and he-goat also alludes to the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:5), as does the further designation of the goat as the “shaggy” one (Dan. 8:21, NASB), a description used for the two goats at the Day of Atonement.

The horn’s war in the realm of religion is countered and cut short by divine intervention carried out in the context of an eschatological Day of Atonement. At last, terror finds its end, and God’s people, the true worship, and the sanctuary are restored to their rightful position and, in the final analysis, God Himself is vindicated. As God demonstrated on the Day of Atonement that He is just in His dealings and judgments, forgiving the loyal and to judging the disloyal and rebellious, so the eschatological Day of Atonement will verify that God is just when He saves and when He punishes.

Whatever else we can learn from Daniel 8:14, it should tell us that even after all these long centuries, the Lord has not forgotten His promises to us and that He will punish evil and reward His saints. How can you learn to hold on to those promises, especially during times of trial? After all, without these promises, what hope do you have?

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Wednesday: Day of Atonement in Daniel 8 — 2 Comments

  1. Phew! These lesson is really profound. I have to reread several times to understand the meaning. What a blessing and a hope that God will cleanse the sanctuary, vindicate His people and Himself. Maranatha.

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