Bringing the Holy Place into Right Condition
“Until two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; and the holy place will certainly be brought into its right condition.”—Dan. 8:14, NW; RS.
1. After her centuries of existence, in what way has Christendom been disappointing, and near the close of what period is she?
AS TIME rapidly moves on, more and more persons are becoming convinced that Christendom is not the place or sanctuary of pure worship of the one living and true God. The place of His worship ought to be holy, and Christendom is far from being that. After the sixteen centuries of her existence, something better than her unholy condition should have been expected of her, for she claims to worship this true God, the Creator of heaven and earth. After all the religious unsettlement that has been taking place, it is now evident that Christendom has not been “brought into its right condition,” or, “restored to its rightful state.” (Revised Standard Version) Plainly, Christendom is in her “time of the end” and is nearing the close of it.—Dan. 12:4.
2. For the fulfillment of what prophecy of Daniel must we look elsewhere than to Christendom?
2 It is necessary for us to look somewhere else than to Christendom to find where that “holy place” or that “sanctuary” of the Most High God has been “brought into its right condition,” or, “shall be justified.”—Dan. 8:14; Leeser’s translation.
3. Where is the center of the theocracy, and what good definition does one Cyclopœdia give of the term “theocracy”?
3 According to the Sacred Scriptures, the “sanctuary” of God is his temple of worship. It is his “palace,” according to another meaning of the word that the Scriptures use for “temple” (hei·khalʹ, Hebrew). (Mal. 3:1; Ps. 45:15) In it he reigns over his dedicated people. To these he is the God Ruler or Theocrat. It is from there that he exercises theocratic rule or government. It is the center of his theocracy. A good definition for this governmental term “theocracy” is given in M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia, Volume 10, page 317, which says: “A form of government such as prevailed among the ancient Jews, in which Jehovah, the God of the universe, was directly recognised as their supreme civil ruler, and his laws were taken as the statute-book of the kingdom. This principle is repeatedly laid down in the Mosaic code, and was continually acted upon thereafter.”
4. What questions therefore arise as to Jehovah’s “holy place” or “sanctuary,” and why should religiously disturbed persons be interested in the answers?
4 In view of the foregoing, how would the “holy place” or “sanctuary” of Jehovah God need to be “brought into its right condition”? And when would this occur, or when did it occur? This is something that affects true worship, the right religion, and all persons who are upset by all the religious disturbance and confusion and disillusionment of today have good cause for being interested in the answers to these questions.
5. In the last years of what world power did Daniel get the vision, and under what circumstances?
5 It is the ancient prophet Daniel who was used to call this matter to our attention. This was as long ago as in the sixth century before our Common Era, or more than twenty-five centuries ago. Daniel was then an exile in Babylon and was in the service of King Nabonidus the father of Belshazzar, who was acting as a coregent. The Babylonian Empire, the Third World Power of Bible history, was then in its last years, for Daniel goes on to tell us: “In the third year of the kingship of Belshazzar the king, there was a vision that appeared to me, even me, Daniel, after the one appearing to me at the start.”—Dan. 8:1.
THE “HOLY PLACE” OR “SANCTUARY”
6. Before being taken into exile, where had Daniel worshiped his God, and did that God lose his real temple by what happened about eleven years later?
6 Before being taken into exile in the year 617 B.C.E., Daniel had worshiped his God Jehovah in the temple at Jerusalem. But about eleven years later, in 607 B.C.E., King Nebuchadnezzar, the grandfather of Belshazzar, had destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple that had been built by King Solomon. That glorious temple was not really the dwelling place of Daniel’s God Jehovah, but was pictorial of it. And so at the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E., God’s real dwelling place or Palace was not really destroyed.—1 Ki 8:27; Acts 7:48; 17:24.
7. What did that temple at Jerusalem picture, and in the Most Holy thereof whose sacrifice was presented?
7 That earthly temple did not picture or typify the Christian congregation that was established 639 years later in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. No, but it was pictorial or typical of Jehovah’s heavenly temple or palace, in which he reigns supreme above the living cherubs who attend him. As it is beautifully stated in Psalm 99:1, “Jehovah himself has become king. Let the peoples be agitated. He is sitting upon the cherubs. Let the earth quiver.” It was there in the Most Holy of Jehovah’s temple that Jesus Christ presented his sacrifice after ascending to heaven.
8 In ancient Jerusalem before its destruction by the Babylonians the Jewish high priest presented the blood of the Atonement Day sacrifices every year on Tishri 10, sprinkling the blood before the golden mercy seat upon which were carved two golden cherubs, above whom the Shekinah light appeared, to represent the invisible presence of Jehovah there. (Ex 25:17-22; Lev. 16:11-17; Num. 7:89; 1 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2) On the other hand, Jesus Christ was not a Levite priest of the family of Aaron and did not enter into the Most Holy of the earthly, mundane temple at Jerusalem. So as regards his service as Jehovah’s spiritual High Priest we read:
9 “Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us. . . . But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things to put sin away through the sacrifice of himself. . . . so also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many.”—Heb. 9:1, 24-28.
10. When did Jesus enter upon his sacrificial course on earth, and like what ancient priest did he become?
10 When on earth Jesus laid down his perfect human sacrifice, he entering on this course of self-sacrifice at the time that he was baptized in water by John the Baptist, in 29 C.E. There God’s spirit descended upon Jesus, begetting him to spirit life as a spiritual Son of God. At the same time that spirit anointed him as a spiritual High Priest and a spiritual King who resembled King Melchizedek of the ancient city of Salem.
11. (a) Into what new relationship did Jesus then enter, and by what was the state in which he was then walking pictured? (b) What then separated him from spirit life in the heavens?
11 From that time on, John the Baptist spoke of the anointed Jesus as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,” also as “the Son of God.” (John 1:29-51; Matt. 3:13-17) Because of this new spiritual relationship with Jehovah God in heaven Jesus Christ was, as it were, walking in that spiritual state pictured by the first compartment of the temple, called The Holy, even while he was carrying out his sacrificial course on earth. Like the curtain or veil that separated the Holy and the Most Holy of the temple, Jesus’ perfect flesh was the thing that separated him during his human life in the flesh from spirit life in the invisible heavens where God personally is. He passed beyond this “veil” by dying as a human and being raised as a spirit.
12. According to the manner of whom did Jesus Christ become a high priest, and what did the inner curtain of the temple picture?
12 With regard to this, it was written to the Christianized Hebrews, the natural descendants of the patriarch Abraham: “In this manner God, when he purposed to demonstrate more abundantly to the heirs of the promise [made to Abraham] the unchangeableness of his counsel, stepped in with an oath [to back up the promise], in order that, through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to the refuge may have strong encouragement to lay hold on the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm, and it enters in within the curtain, where a forerunner has entered in our behalf, Jesus who has become a high Priest according to the manner of Melchizedek forever.” (Heb. 6:17-20) “Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness for the way of entry into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, which he inaugurated for us as a new and living way through the curtain, that is, his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach.”—Heb. 10:19-22.
13. According to the testimony of 1 Peter 3:18, what kind of resurrection did Jesus have, and who are to share with him in that kind of resurrection?
13 That Jesus Christ was resurrected as a spirit creature because of having laid down his human life as a sacrifice in order to pass beyond the “curtain, that is, his flesh,” the apostle Peter testifies, writing: “Why, even Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 3:18) Thus he left his flesh forever behind and ascended to heaven with the “blood,” that is, the value of his perfect human sacrifice. There, as a High Priest, he presented that ransoming merit before the person of God, hence in the antitypical Most Holy. All his dedicated, baptized footstep followers, those begotten with God’s spirit and anointed with God’s spirit, have the hope of sharing in Jesus’ resurrection and joining him in the spirit heavens as heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.—Rom. 8:14-17.
14. (a) Where are those anointed footstep followers pictured as walking? (b) Why can they be called an “army,” and also “the established place of his sanctuary”?
14 While still on earth in the flesh, these spirit-begotten Christians are serving as underpriests in that spiritual condition pictured by the first compartment, The Holy, of the temple. (1 Pet. 2:5-9) In this way, although still on earth, they are serving Jehovah God in his “holy place” or “sanctuary.” Because these spiritual underpriests will eventually number 144,000, they could be called an “army,” and also “the people made up of the holy ones.” Inasmuch as Jehovah God calls this earth his “footstool,” these 144,000 could be called “the established place of his sanctuary.” At least, they represent it, for they are the earthly subjects and representatives of Jehovah’s Theocracy.* Also, while in the flesh on God’s footstool, they are pictured as being in the temple’s inner courtyard for the priests, where the altar of sacrifice was located.—Dan. 8:11, 24.
PLACE OF HIS SANCTUARY CAST DOWN
15, 16. (a) What are the anointed remnant and other Bible students interested in doing regarding Daniel’s vision, and what two animals did he see? (b) What did the one animal do to the other, and what happened to the victor?
15 Today, after more than nineteen centuries of selecting out these 144,000 theocratic joint heirs of Jesus Christ, there is only a remnant of these heirs of God’s heavenly kingdom on earth. These anointed Christians, along with all other Bible students, are interested in taking a new look at the vision that the prophet Daniel had during those final days of the Babylonian World Power.* In Daniel 8:2-6 he tells how a two-horned ram is attacked by a shaggy male goat that had a single horn, between its eyes. Daniel 8:7, 8 goes on to say:
16 “And I saw it coming into close touch with the ram, and it began showing bitterness toward it, and it proceeded to strike down the ram and to break its two horns, and there proved to be no power in the ram to stand before it. So it threw it to the earth and trampled it down, and the ram proved to have no deliverer out of its hand. And the male of the goats, for its part, put on great airs to an extreme; but as soon as it became mighty, the great horn was broken, and there proceeded to come up conspicuously four instead of it, toward the four winds of the heavens.”
17. For what time is the vision reserved, and what did the angel say that the horns of the ram pictured, and then the horns that developed out of the goat?
17 As to the meaning of this vision neither Daniel nor we are left to guess. By angelic means Daniel is told: “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end. . . . Here I am causing you to know what will occur in the final part of the denunciation, because it is for the appointed time of the end. The ram that you saw possessing the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. And the hairy he-goat stands for the king of Greece; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes, it stands for the first king. And that one having been broken, so that there were four that finally stood up instead of it, there are four kingdoms from his nation that will stand up, but not with his power.”—Dan. 8:15-22.
18. After the downfall of what world power did the vision apply, who were the symbolic horns of the “ram,” and who was the symbolic single horn of the “goat”?
18 This prophecy begins to apply, therefore, after Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian brought about the downfall of Babylon in the autumn of the year 539 B.C.E. and the Medo-Persian Empire was established as the Fourth World Power of Bible history. This Empire, which grew to greater size than that of Babylon, eastward and westward and southward, continued its world domination from 539 to 331 B.C.E. (Dan. 5:1–6:28; 11:1, 2) Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Macedonian king, finished the conquest of the Persian Empire by the year 331 B.C.E. So that great horn between the eyes of the hairy goat pictured this “first king,” Alexander the Great. In this way the Grecian Empire, that quickly extended itself as far eastward as to the Indus River of India, rose to the position of the Fifth World Power of Bible history.
19. How was the goat’s “great horn” broken, and, in its stead, who became the symbolic four horns?
19 Death from malarial fever at the city of Babylon in the year 323 B.C.E. brought Alexander’s emperorship to an early end. Thus the “great horn” was broken at the zenith of its imperial power. Finally, after years of maneuvering on the part of the military generals of Alexander, four Hellenic kingdoms came into existence, none of these, of course, with the “power” of Alexander. So, by the year 301 B.C.E., General Ptolemy Lagus reigned over Egypt and Palestine; General Seleucus Nicator reigned over Mesopotamia and Syria; General Cassander ruled Macedonia and Greece; and General Lysimachus ruled European Thrace and Asia Minor. Symbolically speaking, four minor “horns” came up instead of the single great one, in proof that Bible prophecy is true, infallible.—Dan. 11:3, 4.
20. (a) Into what period had the fulfillment of the vision not yet entered? (b) What grew up out of one of the four horns, and with what success did it act?
20 However, the fulfillment of the prophecy had not then moved on to the “time of the end,” “the final part of the denunciation.” (Dan. 8:17, 19) What history of the world does Daniel’s vision now show in advance? Writing concerning the four Hellenic Kingdom horns, Daniel says: “And out of one of them there came forth another horn, a small one, and it kept getting very much greater toward the south and toward the sunrising and toward the Decoration. And it kept getting greater all the way to the army of the heavens, so that it caused some of the army and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it went trampling them down. And all the way to the Prince of the army it put on great airs, and from him the constant feature was taken away, and the established place of his sanctuary was thrown down. And an army itself was gradually given over, together with the constant feature, because of transgression; and it kept throwing truth to the earth, and it acted and had success.”—Dan. 8:9-12.
21. What did the angel say that the activities of the symbolic little horn would be, and how would it end?
21 We are given an inspired clue to the meaning of this prophetic vision, for, again by angelic means, Daniel is told with regard to the four Hellenic kingdoms: “And in the final part of their kingdom, as the transgressors act to a completion, there will stand up a king fierce in countenance and understanding ambiguous sayings. And his power must become mighty, but not by his own power. And in a wonderful way he will cause ruin, and he will certainly prove successful and do effectively. And he will actually bring mighty ones to ruin, also the people made up of the holy ones. And according to his insight he will also certainly cause deception to succeed in his hand. And in his heart he will put on great airs, and during a freedom from care he will bring many to ruin. And against the Prince of princes he will stand up, but it will be without hand that he will be broken.”
22. What did the angel tell Daniel to do, that would affect the understanding of the final part of the vision?
22 The meaning of that part of the vision was to be sealed to our understanding, for Daniel was told: “And the thing seen concerning the evening and the morning, which has been said, it is true. And you, for your part, keep secret the vision, because it is yet for many days.”—Dan. 8:23-26.
23. (a) Who is the “Prince of the army,” and who “the Prince of princes”? (b) Historically, out of which symbolic “horn” did the ‘small horn’ come forth?
23 Surely by now those “many days” must have passed by. So we ask, What does world history reveal regarding the fulfillment of this prophetic vision? The angel explained the “Prince of the army” to be “the Prince of princes.” That One is the heavenly Theocrat, Jehovah God. Among all those who are called “princes” on earth, he is The Prince. None of them can compare with Him or hold ground against Him. Not even the symbolic ‘small horn,’ that “king fierce in countenance,” can do so. Who, then, is that fierce political power? According to history, it was an offshoot of one of the four symbolic “horns,” the one farthest to the west, namely, the Hellenic kingdom of General Cassander over Macedonia and Greece. Later, this kingdom was absorbed by the kingdom of General Lysimachus the king over Thrace and Asia Minor. This left now just three symbolic “horns.” But in the second century before our Common Era those western Hellenic domains were taken over by Rome.
24. (a) How did Rome become the Sixth World Power of Bible history? (b) Despite its anti-Christian record, why could the Roman Empire not be the symbolic ‘small horn’?
24 In the first century before our Common Era imperial Rome took over the eastern Hellenic domains, and finally the southern domains. Thus Rome became the Sixth World Power of Bible history, in the year 30 B.C.E. So, then, did the Roman Empire prove to be that ‘small horn,’ that “king fierce in countenance”? No! For it did not keep existing down to the “appointed time of the end.” According to what the angel said to Daniel, then is when the fulfillment of the prophecy is due to occur. (Dan. 8:19) Of course, the Roman Empire did cruelly persecute the spirit-begotten followers of Jesus Christ, who were worshiping and serving Jehovah in his spiritual “sanctuary.” These were in the spiritual condition pictured by the Holy of the earthly temple. Rome is said to have put the apostles Peter and Paul to death, after that great fire in Rome for which Emperor Nero blamed the Christians. Also, Revelation 1:9 shows that the Roman Empire exiled the apostle John to the penal island of Patmos. But such persecution ceased shortly before the claimed conversion of Emperor Constantine. Still that was sixteen hundred years before the “time of the end” that began at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. Even the Holy Roman Empire passed out of power long before the year 1914.
25. (a) What relationship did the ‘small horn’ have with the Roman Empire, and what did it prove to be? (b) How was it a “king fierce in countenance”?
25 What, then, does history show to be the symbolic ‘small horn,’ that aggressive “king fierce in countenance”? It was a northwestern offshoot of the Roman Empire, namely, Britain, forasmuch as there were Roman provinces in what is now England down till the early part of the third century C.E. In the course of the following centuries England came to be the seat of an empire, which, from the seventeenth century onward, included colonies in North America. By the year 1763 the British Empire had defeated Spain and France, both of which were powerful sections of the Holy Roman Empire. From then on, the British Empire demonstrated herself to be the mistress of the seas and the Seventh World Power of Bible prophecy. Even after the thirteen American colonies broke away to establish the United States of America, the British Empire grew to embrace a quarter of the earth’s surface and a quarter of its population. The Seventh World Power gained still greater power when the United States of America collaborated with Britain to form the Anglo-American Dual World Power. Economically and militarily it was indeed a “king fierce in countenance.”
26. How did the symbolic ‘small horn’ grow great “toward the Decoration,” and so what question arises regarding that Decoration as a location for fulfillment of prophecy?
26 In the year 1917 this Anglo-American Dual World Power did grow “very much greater . . . toward the Decoration.” How? By the capture of Jerusalem on December 9, and bringing Palestine under British control. In the year 1920 the League of Nations assigned the mandate over Palestine to Great Britain, to continue until May 14, 1948. In Bible times the Promised Land that Jehovah gave to his chosen people was so beautiful that it was called the Decoration, that is, of the entire earth. In Ezekiel 20:6, 15, Jehovah calls it “the decoration of all the lands.” Was it literally there that the “established place of his sanctuary was thrown down” by the symbolic “horn, a small one”? We must examine the physical facts of this “time of the end” to find out.
Under “Theocracy” M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia goes on to say: “Under the New Economy [because of the New Covenant], this idea passed over, in its spiritual import, to the Messiah as the heir of David’s perpetual dynasty, and thus Christ becomes the ruler of his Church and the hearts of its members.”
See the article “His Sanctuary” (Part 3), particularly under the subheading “2300 days,” page 212, of the July 15, 1933, issue of The Watchtower. That application of Daniel’s prophecy was followed in the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” in its chapter 9, entitled “Restoring the Sanctuary to Its Rightful State.” Published in 1958. See, also, the Watchtower issues of September 1 through October 15, 1959, pages 536-540, 570-574, 597-602, 632, 633.
[Picture on page 712]
Solomon’s temple did not picture the Christian congregation; rather it pictured God’s heavenly temple into the Most Holy of which Jesus went with the value of his ransom sacrifice