History of Interpretation. 1. Literal and Symbolic Interpretations. Through the centuries, long before the Advent movement of the 1840s, there had been two classes of interpretations of "daily," or "continual." The literal view saw the "daily" as meaning the Jewish sacrifices in the Temple, and the taking away of the "daily" as their interruption by Antiochus (2nd century B.C.), or by the Romans (A.D. 70), or by a last-day antichrist. In this view, the "two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings" (Dan. 8:14, margin) are 2,300 (or 1,150) literal days, and the 1290 days (Dan. 12:11) similarly literal days. The symbolic view, also widely held, saw the periods as symbolic days, that is, as literal years, extending into the Christian Era; and the "daily" as a symbol of true worship or sound doctrine in the church, taken away by either the Papacy or the Muslim conquest (or, from the Catholic side, as the sacrifice of the Mass abolished by Protestants, or by a future antichrist).
2. Two Interpretations Among Seventh-day Adventists. Adventist writers have given two symbolic interpretations of the "daily": (1) the so-called old view, inherited from the Millerite movement, namely, that the "daily" means ancient Roman paganism; and (2) the so-called new view, also advocated by at least one unnamed Millerite writer but not adopted by the others, that the "daily" represents Christâ€™s priestly mediation in the heavenly sanctuary. Both of these views agree that the desolating little horn described as taking away the "daily" and treading down the sanctuary and the people of God represents the Papacy. According to the first view the "daily" that was taken away is the first phase of the Roman hornâ€™s oppressive power (paganism, replaced by the papal phase in the role of treading down Godâ€™s sanctuary and people); but according to the second view the "daily" is the object, rather than the agent, of the little hornâ€™s attacks (the true mediation of Christ, our high priest, replaced by the false mediation of a human priesthood).
3. Origin of the "Old" View. The identification of the "daily" as paganism originated with William Miller. Seeking the meaning of the term as he found it in Daniel, he searched, with the aid of a concordance, in the King James Version of the Bible for other occurrences of the English word "daily." He described his search thus: "I read on and could find no other case in which it was found, but in Daniel. I then took those words which stood in connection with it, â€˜take away.â€™ He shall take away the daily, â€˜from the time the daily shall be taken away,â€™ &c. I read on, and thought I should find no light on the text; finally I came to 2 Thess. ii. 7, 8. â€˜For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that wicked be revealed,â€™ &c. And when I had come to that text, O how clear and glorious the truth appeared. There it is! that is â€˜the daily!â€™ Well, now, what does Paul mean by â€˜he who now letteth,â€™ or hindereth? By â€˜the man of sin,â€™ and â€˜the wicked,â€™ Popery is meant. Well, what is it which hinders Popery from being revealed? Why, it is Paganism: well, then, â€˜the dailyâ€™ must mean Paganism" (William Miller, quoted in Apollos Hale, Second Advent Manual, p. 66).
Protestants before Miller had applied this text in Thessalonians to the replacing of Roman paganism by apostate Christianity; he now applied it thus: The "daily" (Roman paganism) was taken away and the place of its (pagan) sanctuary (Rome) was cast down, or polluted; and in its place the abomination (the papal system) was set up in the church. Then Godâ€™s sanctuary, which was trodden down first by paganism and then by the Papacy, was to be cleansed. He at first identified this as "the temple at Jerusalem and the worshipers therein"; later as "the Earth and the Church." (See his Evidence . . . on the Second Coming ["Millerâ€™s Lectures"][1838 ed.], pp. 36â€“38; Letter . . . on the Cleansing of the Sanctuary , p. 8.)
Miller gave the date A.D. 508 as the time when the "daily" would be taken away (explained as the triumph of the Roman church over Roman paganism) and the 1290 days (Dan. 12:11), counted as years, would begin. According to his reckoning, the date A.D. 508 also marked the end of a period of 666 years (arrived at by his application of the number 666 mentioned in Rev. 13:18), during which Roman paganism would dominate the people of God, first the Jews and later the Christians (Evidence, p. 81).
4. Opposition to Millerâ€™s Interpretation. Millerâ€™s explanation of the "daily" soon drew fire from his opponents on two scores: (1) his chronology and (2) his identification. His chronology was objected to on historical grounds and his identification of the "daily" on exegetical grounds-the latter especially from those who held the literal view that the "daily" and the time periods (1290 and 2300 days) meant literal sacrifices and literal days.
5. Shift in Millerite Position. Millerâ€™s colleagues generally accepted his identification of the "daily" but disagreed with his application of the number 666. The most widely used Millerite prophetic chart (designed by Fitch, 1842) omitted any explanation of 666 or any identification of the "daily." In 1843 a view at variance with Millerâ€™s appeared in the Midnight Cry (5:52, 53, Oct. 4, 1843). This view, which was disclaimed in an editorâ€™s note, identified the "daily" as the "continual mediation of Jesus Christ" taken away by the papal little horn, which "cast down the place of his gospel sanctuary" when it "cast down the sacraments and gospel truth" and "the true doctrine of the cross of Christ."
Yet in spite of differences of opinion on Millerâ€™s detailed interpretation, the Millerites stood united against the opponents who contended for the literal rather than the symbolic interpretation. Time and again Millerite writers insisted that the word "sacrifice" was not in the original Hebrew but was supplied by the translators, that therefore the "daily" did not mean the literal Jewish sacrifices taken away by Antiochus, and that the 2300 days were not literal days but years, to be dated from 457 B.C. Not until the period of confusion and division following the 1844 disappointment did a group arise (the "Age to Come" party) supporting the old literalist view, looking to literal sacrifices in the future at Jerusalem; and this view was repudiated by the majority of those who remained with Miller and Himes, and also by the small group that became the Seventh-day Adventists.
6. Forerunner of Seventh-day Adventist Views. When the Sabbatarian Adventists moved on, after 1844, to develop their new doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary, they left behind William Millerâ€™s identification of the sanctuary of Dan. 8:14, of the two beasts of Rev. 13, and of the number 666 as pertaining to the "daily," but they retained Millerâ€™s idea that the "daily" and the "transgression of desolation" were two successive phases of the Roman power, pagan and papal.
However, in the very beginning a suggestion was made in a new direction, when O.R.L. Crosier, after joint study with Hiram Edson and F. B. Hahn, wrote out the first exposition of the sanctuary doctrine. The first article appeared in the Day-Dawn in 1845. His article in the Day-Star Extra, Feb. 7, 1846, expressly stated that Danielâ€™s various references to the sanctuary as being cast down (Dan. 8:11), polluted (Dan. 11:31), trodden underfoot (Dan. 8:13), and cleansed (v. 14) applied to the heavenly sanctuary of the new covenant. This, he said, can be trodden underfoot figuratively in the same way as the Son of God has been.
"This â€˜politico-religiousâ€™ beast polluted the Sanctuary (Rev. 13:6,) and cast it down from its place in heaven, (Ps. 102:19; Jer. 17:12; Heb. 8:1, 2) when they called Rome the holy city (Rev. 21:2) and installed the Pope there with the titles â€˜Lord God the Pope,â€™ â€˜Holy Father,â€™ â€˜Head of the Church,â€™ &c., and there, in the counterfeit â€˜temple of Godâ€™ he professes to do what Jesus actually does in his Sanctuary; 2 Thess. 2:1â€“8. The Sanctuary has been trodden underfoot (Dan. 8:13), the same as the Son of God has; Heb. 10:29" (Day-Star Extra, Feb. 7, 1846, p. 38).
This was a definite step away from Millerâ€™s two sanctuaries, that of Dan. 11:31 as a pagan sanctuary belonging to the daily, and that of Dan. 8:13, 14 as the temple of God. He does not define Danielâ€™s "daily." He does (ibid., p. 39, col. 3) say, "The daily service described was a sort of continual intercession," but the context of this statement shows that he is clearly speaking of the Levitical sacrifices performed daily throughout the year in contrast with the special yearly service of the Day of Atonement. Crosier describes these services as a type of the heavenly priesthood of Christ, lasting from His ascension to the end of the 2300 years; not as Danielâ€™s "daily," taken away when the Papacy was set up.
But by 1847 Crosier had clearly rejected Millerâ€™s "daily equals paganism" equation for a new definition. He read in Dan. 8:11 (taking the margin): "from him [Christ] the daily" was taken away. He defined the "daily" as the doctrine "that Christ â€˜WAS CRUCIFIED FOR US" (cf. "true doctrine of the cross" in col. 1, sec. 5), replaced by the Papacy, "with its human merit, intercessions and institutions in place of Christâ€™s" (Day-Dawn 2:2, Mar. 19, 1847). This was almost the later SDA "new view."
7. Development of Seventh-day Adventist "Old" View. Crosier had identified the sanctuary in Dan. 8:11, 13, 14 and 11:31 as the heavenly sanctuary. Adventist writers thereafter agreed that the sanctuary described in Dan. 8:14, the one to be cleansed after 2300 days, meant the heavenly sanctuary. In the other three passages, Adventist writers in general followed Crosier also (perhaps with the single exception of David Arnold) in applying the sanctuary described in Dan. 8:13, the one that was trodden underfoot, to the heavenly sanctuary, even though they continued to hold, with Miller, that the "daily" was paganism and that the sanctuary referred to in Dan. 8:11 and 11:31 (cast down, and polluted) belonged to the "daily," and represented a pagan sanctuary. Joseph Bates identified the "daily" as paganism in 1846 (The Opening Heavens, p. 31), so did J. N. Andrews in 1853 (Review and Herald 3:145, Feb. 3, 1853; cf. p. 129, Jan. 6, 1853), and later Uriah Smith (ibid. 24:180, Nov. 1, 1864) and James White ("The Time," in his Sermons on the Coming and Kingdom of . . . Christ [1870 ed.], pp. 116, 117; cf. pp. 108, 118, 122â€“125). In an early article (Review and Herald 1:28, 29, January 1851) White had followed Crosier in arguing at length that the sanctuary trodden down was the one in heaven, but he did not define the "daily" in this article. When he later did define it, he emphatically described "the daily, and the transgression of desolation" as "two desolating powers; the first paganism, then, Papacy" (Sermons, p. 116).
Other Adventist writers subsequently followed this interpretation, and Smith gave a more detailed exposition in Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation.
8. A Variant View and Its Results. Oddly enough, however, an isolated and atypical interpretation had appeared in March 1850, in the earliest article on Dan. 8 in any Adventist periodical-an article by David Arnold (Present Truth 1:60). It was significant in relation to one of several attempts among the larger group of non-Sabbatarian Adventists-those who had abandoned the 1844 date-to find a new and later time reckoning for the 2300 years. A few of them, expecting the end of the period in 1850, were advocating that believers go to Jerusalem (among those who went was Mrs. Clorinda S. Minor).
Arnold opposed the 1850 expectation but appeared to echo some of the current Holy Land enthusiasm. Explaining the "daily" as meaning the literal Jewish sacrifices at Jerusalem that were taken away in A.D. 70, he equated the treading down of the host with the oppression of the Jews through the centuries, and saw the cleansing of the sanctuary as involving their deliverance.
It was the 1850 expectation, and its effect on a few Sabbatarian Adventists, that occasioned a statement by Ellen White in that year mentioning the "daily." She said that the word "sacrifice" is not in the original text and that the Millerites had held "the correct view" of it. (The Millerites, as already noted, had repeatedly emphasised this view of the word "sacrifice," namely, that the word had been added; they had insisted that the "daily," or continual, did not mean any actual Jewish sacrifices.) Mrs. White also warned against the setting of any new dates after 1844 and against looking for a gathering of the saints to old Jerusalem before the Second Advent (Present Truth 1:87, November 1850, reprinted in EW 74, 75).
9. Ellen G. White on the "Daily." Many years later Mrs. Whiteâ€™s 1850 statement-after its setting, and the specific errors at which it was aimed, were forgotten-was cited (from EW 74, 75) in controversy as an endorsement of the prevalent Millerite identification of the "daily," namely, as paganism. When questioned, however, on the meaning of the "daily," Mrs. White "usually said that she has no clear light on the subject, and that our brethren would have to study the matter for themselves" (W. C. White letter to J. E. White, June 1, 1910, in White Archives, Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.). According to A. G. Daniellsâ€™ report of an interview with her concerning the "daily," she made it clear that her 1850 statement was not intended to settle the identity of the "daily," which she did not profess to know, but to state that the Millerites had the right view of the "daily" as to that period of time (the 2300 days); that she had written with reference to the errors current at that time, especially the attempts to revise the dating of the 2300 days (statement of A. G. Daniells, Sept. 25, 1931, in White Archives). Time was the point at issue-as it had been between the Millerites and their opposers who made the "daily" the literal Jewish sacrifices-not the identity of the "daily."
In 1910 Mrs. White rebuked those who differed over "the true meaning of â€˜the daily,â€™" saying that it was "a subject of minor importance," and that she "had no instruction on the point under discussion." Her advice was: "While the present condition of difference of opinion regarding this subject exists let it not be made prominent" (SM 164â€“168).
10. The "New" View. Feeling the need of a more accurate linguistic and historical basis for interpreting the "daily," a growing number of SDA leaders set forth what came to be called-somewhat inaccurately-the "new view." Two flaws in the argument for paganism as "the daily" were pointed out (see for example, W. W. Prescott, "The Daily," pp. 9â€“11): first that the historical events cited for the taking away of the "daily"-the victory of Clovis, Catholic king of the Franks, over the Arian Visigoths-actually constituted a victory over Arianism, not paganism; and second, that Clovisâ€™ success did not occur in 508.
About 1900 L. R. Conradi, who soon thereafter became head of SDA work in Europe, wrote to Mrs. White in Australia, asking her to give him any light she might have on the subject, and if not he would proceed to publish what he and his associates had arrived at. Since she had none, he issued his work on the book of Daniel in German (see W. C. White letter to J. E. White, June 1, 1910, in White Archives). Conradiâ€™s work, the first SDA book to offer a substitute for the "daily = paganism" interpretation, was Die Weissagung Daniels, which was later translated into several European languages and was recommended in 1905 for circulation in America among foreign-speaking readers.
In a letter to Mrs. White, Apr. 17, 1906 (in White Archives), Conradi recalled how he came to his conclusions that: (1) the word "sanctuary" meant "the sanctuary of God as it was in type on earth and as it is in antitype now in heaven"; (2) the "daily," or continual, was the true sanctuary service; (3) the taking away of the "daily" was the papal churchâ€™s displacement of "the true sanctuary service by its own human service," the Mass, setting "aside the true High Priest by placing the pope in His stead"; (4) the prophecy of the cleansing of the sanctuary assured Daniel, at a time when the Jerusalem Temple lay in ruins, "that not only would the typical service in the earthly sanctuary be restored, but that there would be a true service in heaven which should be carried on unto the end." He stated further that he was surprised to find that some of the Reformation writers thought "the idolatrous mass" "to be the abomination predicted in Daniel 8"; and thus he linked his "new" view with an interpretation much older than Millerâ€™s "old" view.
Conradi discussed his interpretation with A. G. Daniells (who in 1900 was passing through Europe en route to the 1901 General Conference session), H. P. Holser, W. W. Prescott, and W. A. Spicer. Daniells later reported hearing of it then from Conradi and further from Prescott. In America thereafter Prescott, and Daniells especially, and others advocated this interpretation.
Although for a time there was considerable controversy in ministerial circles, Mrs. Whiteâ€™s counsel-to avoid divisive argument on a minor point-eventually prevailed. Debate on the subject has long since ceased -- Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopaedia.