Tamid in Daniel -- A Better Explanation


The Bible book of Daniel is only to be understood if the Sanctuary doctrine is understood.

Because many Seventh Day Adventists don’t get much education in the sanctuary message, at least insufficient, (in other churches even less), to them, Daniel remains a closed book.  The sanctuary message is absolutely the foundation of the SDA theology.  Literally every doctrine we hold on to and every belief of the SDA Church finds its basis in the sanctuary doctrine, that Jesus is High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary.  When explaining the crucial verses in Daniel 8:1-14; 23-26 the sanctuary must be assumed to be understood.  The sanctuary is the immediate context of all the prophetic chapters in the book Daniel (2,7-12) and especially of Daniel 8:8-14, and also of the New Testament books Romans, Hebrews and Revelation.

Every controversy that arises over the SDA prophetic interpretation of the books of Daniel and Revelation, finds its roots in misunderstandings of the sanctuary in Israel.  In the explanation about the tamid in Daniel, hereafter, it is assumed that the reader understands the significance of the sanctuary of Israel. 

Tamid – daily sacrifice (KJV) 

What does Daniel mean with what is translated in our Bibles as daily sacrifice(s)?  There are few English translations that translates with ‘the daily’ of ‘the continually’; e.thmid (the tamid) in Hebrew.  For starters, there is not written ‘sacrifice’ in the original.  I crossed out this word in my Bible years ago.  In this study, I will tell you why…

Five times we find e.thmid in Daniel, and every time it informs us what the little horn power does (8:11,12,13; 11:31 and 12:11).  Thmid in Daniel is never ever used as an adjective, but always as a noun, easy to see by the article e..

The common SDA explanation is that in Daniel it’s an adjective used “substantively” i.e. as a noun, or adjectival noun, and that a noun is not implied, but that the reader has to add to the sentence (Cf. Don F. Neufeld, Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Revised Edition (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1976), 367-370). 

I am not a theologian, but I don’t agree with this explanation, because it totally neglects the sanctuary context of Daniel 8, while it is so obvious there. 
Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find in any reference to the sanctuary, thmid is used as an adjective attached to a (morning or evening) sacrifice – the noun one has to think attached to it according to Neufeld.  Morning and evening sacrifice is called oluth l.bqr u.lorb and sacrifices for special days are called olth ium.

Sacrifices that were brought daily , or always on set times, or day by day, (for instance morning and evening sacrifices), the word thmid is always attached to the word l.ium or olth.  Olth or Oluth means sacrifice, going up before the Lord (see Ezra 3:3-5). 
But in the Old Testament there are only six kinds of ‘continually’ without reference to ‘sacrifice’ – in relation to the sanctuary: 
(1) The shewbread (Ex 25:30: Lev 24:8; Num 4:7, 16). 
(2) The light of the six-armed candlestick (Ex 27:20; Lev 24:2,3,4). 
(3) The incense on the golden altar (Ex 30:8). 
(4) And the attributes on the coat of the High Priest: breast plate and the engraved plate on his forehead (Ex 28:29,30,38). 
(5) The cloud above the tabernacle (Num 9:16). 
(6) In Deut 11:12 we find a tamid not in reference to the sanctuary, where God promises that He would consider the land ‘continually’. 

In total we find tamid 104 times through the Old Testament, but only nine times in relation to the Holy (of the sanctuary), and always without giving reference to a oblation (1-3), and in each of those nine times it refers to parts of the work of salvation, taking place in the typical sanctuary service in the Holy, and not at the altar of burnt offerings in the courtyard. 

What the little horn does and what it doesn't do

We SDA’s know very well that the little horn power in Daniel 8 stands for more than imperial Rome, it also stands as a political power.  That would only be the case in verses 9 and 10.

From verse 11 on, the little horn is a symbol of papal Rome, a religious power who acts directly to the service in the sanctuary.  It makes no sense to imply here an earthly sanctuary because that lost its meaning after the death of the Cross, and ceased to have any salvific implication. 

In verses 11 and 12, it is written what this religious power in all its arrogance has done: it installs a religious service ‘by reason of transgression’ that is that it demands worship and puts that in place of the authentic one in the real temple of God.  See Hebrews 9:11-17. 

Now, every SDA who really knows his sanctuary doctrine, will understand that tamid – the continually’ can never relate to the old morning and evening sacrifices, because those sacrifices were brought on the altar in the courtyard and not in the Holy of the sanctuary.  Every sacrifice on that altar was a type of Christ’s death on the cross, who suffered “outside the city” (city is another word for sanctuary).  However, the attack on God’s sanctuary in Daniel 8 occurs literally and symbolically after Christ’s dying on the Cross.  Sacrifices on the altar of burnt offerings ceased to have any meaning – the sacrifice was completely made, once and for all (1 Peter 3:18).

It makes no sense therefore, to imply that the little horn took away the morning and evening offerings, because by the time the little horn rose to power, those offerings had ceased to have any significance for 500 hundred years.  But we adopt the translation error, made from an erroneous understanding of the shadow services in the earthly sanctuary, set on the wrong foot by the added word ‘sacrifice’, that is not there in the Hebrew text. 

Every SDA knows that Christ ascended on high to the heavenly sanctuary to minister in the Holy Place as our High Priest and Mediator.  The task of the earthly high priest in the Holy Place was caring for the showbread, the lampstand and the altar of incense (Lev 24:1-8).  And yes, that happened daily, but there was no relation with sacrifices in the courtyard. 

Shewbread stood for the Word of God; Light for the Spirit of Christ; Incense for the prayers with which He pleads for us continually (thmid) before the Father (Heb 7:25).

Every SDA understands that analogous to the earthly ministry, in 1844 our High Priest also began His ministry in the Holiest of Holy.  Because he is not human, He may walk in and out; the earthly high priest could only go in once a year.  And therefore He can still plead for us continually, while we are in the anti-typical Day of Atonement. 

Worship by an army of rebels

Now, the worship by reason of transgression installed by papal Rome is: Tradition before the Word (1: bread); the Church is the standard for inspiration (2: light), and forgiveness takes place by mediation of earthly priests (3: incense), with the authority given by an earthly, sinful high priest as head (pope).  With this the truth of the gospel of Christ was cast to the ground and trodden under foot; by crucifying Christ anew in every Holy Mass (mass as of massacre).  The sacrifice of Christ was made redundant, and also His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.  Indeed, pope and priest have direct control over salvation and can pray you straight into heaven and beatify or excommunicate you.

This metamorphosis of the sanctuary was so masterfully done that everyone got trapped in the lie, and the text says that after that everything this power did was successful (Daniel 8:12), for its shrewdness is supernatural.  Revelations 13:2 tells us that he (little horn) gets his power, throne and strength from the devil himself. 

How did the Papacy take away the continual mediating ministry of Christ and cast His sanctuary to the ground (Dan 8:11)?  By putting the mediation for humans in the hands of humans; priests in the confessional, through Mary, and by sacrificing Christ anew in every Mass, the papacy erased the heavenly mediation of Christ from the minds of the believers. 

By replacing the service of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary with the service of priests, it has cast His sanctuary to the earth, and trampled it under foot, and by doing so, defiled it.  The cleansing of the sanctuary that would take place after the 2300 evenings and mornings is thus the restoration of this biblical teaching, that Jesus is our only High Priest and Mediator in the heavenly sanctuary, where He serves on behalf of us.  We do not need a common mediator. 

Sanctuary cleansed 1 

We know from history that imperial (political) Rome crucified the Prince of Heaven, Jesus.  Rome destroyed the literal temple in Jerusalem and thus caused the three "continual" high-priestly mediation ceremonies to cease, and heavily persecuted the saints - both Jews and Christians.  But the essence of Daniel 8:11,12 is that papal Rome has gone a step further: it has taken over the task of Christ and under penalty of death, forced a 1260-1290 year-long unquestioning obedience to its doctrines (538-1798) or (530-1798), depending on when you set the starting point of the exercise of its power.

From history we know that in 508 AD Clovis, the king of the Franks, was appointed by the Church to scourge the rebellious Vandals, Heruls and East Goths, who refused to recognize the power of Rome.  These are the three horns in Daniel 7:8, which were "plucked out" by the Church in its struggle for religious supremacy in the Western Roman Empire (current Europe).

In 538 AD the power was consolidated and the last emperor of Rome - Justinian - officially gave his title of pontifex maximus (= large bridge builder, mediator between earth and heaven = high priest) to the Bishop of Rome, after he already had it passed by decree in 533 AD) determining that the bishop of Rome should be the only head of the Christian church.

Dark middle ages with terrible persecutions came: Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 11:3; 12:6,14 sketch time, times and half a time - 1260 years until 1798.  The imprisonment of the pope in that year meant the end of the exercise of the oppressive power of the Church on the conscience of the faithful, and the reopening of God's Word for the serious Bible searcher.  The believers started to "run back and forth" and seriously and gained insights.  The small booklet was opened and it was understood that the greatest time prophecy in the Bible was coming to an end (Revelation 10:6)!  They took the little book (Daniel) from the hand of the heavenly agent and they ate it greedily as if it were honey.  People continued to expect the Second Coming, but they did not fully understand the message.  "Blessed are those who keep on expecting and reaching a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days" (Daniel 12:12, my translation).  We know our SDA history: It was a bitter disappointment. 

And so it took 1335 years (538-1844) before God’s Bible-believing people understood what the truth of the sanctuary (which had been trampled under feet for 1260 years) meant.  On October 23, 1844, the Advent people raised their eyes and saw the shining light of the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ pleads continually (tamid) for us!  In this way the sanctuary was restored to its rightful place.

The angel says to John: "And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (Revelation 10:11).  The SDA church was born.

The proclamation of the everlasting gospel “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Revelation 14:7) became her "creed."  The proclamation of the three angels' messages and the casting of light on the heavenly sanctuary where Christ pleads tamid for us, became her mission. 

Confirmation from BRI – Gerhard Pfandl

In 2013, when I started studying this subject, I had an extensive email correspondence with Gerhard Pfandl from the Bible Research Institute (BRI).  I had it figured out for myself already, but God stopped me from working on it any further, although I had tried to finish it a few times.  Today, the last bits of the last verses of the book Daniel fell into place for me.

Although Gerhard Pfandl claimed in 2013 that e.thmid in Daniel is used as an adjective (I cannot discover the noun in the Hebrew text), he said the following, which supports my explanation.  He replied, “Your understanding of tamid in the book of Daniel is basically correct. 

In Daniel where the word tamîd occurs five times (Dan 8:11-13; 11:31; 12:11) it appears always by itself with the article, but without the word ʿōlâ or any other word for sacrifice, i.e., the adjective tamîd is used substantively.  Hence, in Daniel the word tamîd refers to the whole daily ministry of the Prince of the host (8:11) beginning in AD 31…

It is the ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary beginning in AD 31…. The ‘daily’ or ‘continual’ service in the Old Testament represented God’s continuing beneficent provision for man, and pointed forward symbolically to Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary which he began after his ascension (Heb 7:25)” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, s. v. “Daily”).

Confirmation of BRI - Ángel Rodriguez

After some further research on the BRI website, I found further support for my explanation in an article by Ángel Rodriguez, 2 in which he very delicately remarks that in Daniel it is not stated that the little horn power destroys the Prince, but that it rises against Him (in other words, challenges Him).  This is completely in line with how I understand the tamid passages in Daniel.

He writes:

“We notice that the little horn is not able to defeat or kill the Prince.  It only removed the continual/tamid from Him.  It ascribed to itself that which was the exclusive work of the Prince in the heavenly sanctuary.  This is the meaning of the phrase "and from him [the Prince] was taken the continual." 

The little horn removed the continual from the Prince by usurping His priestly work.  By ascribing to itself the work of the Prince, the little horn makes the mediation of the Prince ineffective for those who support its political and religious aspirations. … 

In Daniel 8:11, the little horn was to cast, or throw, in the sense of reject, abandon, or forsake, "the place" (Hebr) of the sanctuary down to earth (emphasis mine)... 3  

A careful reading of Daniel 8:11 suggests that there is a close connection between the taking away of the continual and the act of throwing (away) the place of the sanctuary.  The very purpose of the sanctuary is directly related to the work of the messianic Prince, that is to say, His work of mediation, intercession, and forgiveness of sins.  By misappropriating the continual ministry of the Prince, the little horn in fact rejects the very foundation of the heavenly sanctuary as a center of mediation and forgiveness.

Another activity of the little horn is described in verse 12: 4 "And a host was given over the continual in transgression/rebellion (peshac)."… 5 What the text seems to be saying is that once the little horn misappropriated the continual, it immediately appointed a host or army over it to control or to minister it... 6 

Daniel is informing us that the activity of the little horn against the continual and the heavenly sanctuary is in essence a manifestation of a spirit of rebellion against God.  Its work can be defined through a single word—"rebellion" (Hebrew: peshac).

Peshac is one of the strongest terms for sin in the Old Testament because it designates sin as an attack against God's sovereignty.  The person "who commits a peshac does not simply rebel against Yahweh or raise himself up against Him, but he breaks with Him, takes that which is His away, robs, defrauds Him, lays his hands on that which belongs to Him."  This understanding of the term peshac describes in a precise way the activity of the little horn.” 


Ingrid A. Wijngaarde is a biologist and a member of Groningen SDA Church in The Netherlands.



1 The ESV (English Standard Version) translates this verse more correctly – “Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”[terug 1]

2 U kunt het artikel hier vinden. De citaten zijn van de pp.5-7:https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/sanctanditscleansing.pdf [terug 2]

3 he makes it something earthly, mundane, while its place is in heaven.[terug 3]

4 In fact: And [to him] a host was given instead of the daily because of its rebellion. [terug 4]

5 Not only the place of the sanctuary was cast to the earth, but also the truth, its meaning became an earthly service, with earthly priests and an earthly high priest in Rome. [terug 5]

6 KJV translates with "a host was given". The Hebrew text suggests more details - an army of priests is appointed to control the rebellion (offense) and to fight against the daily. [terug 6]