BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Why is a prophecy established on the basis of Daniel 8:14 and ending in 1844 important for all Christians?
This is a question we are occasionally asked by other Christians. In an age of rationalism and scientific methodologies, it is considered absurd to suggest that a biblical writer could predict events that would take place thousands of years after the prediction. But the Bible provides abundant examples of long- and short-term prophecies that were fulfilled within history.
1. A God of the Future: The 1844 date should remind Christians that the God of the Scriptures is still involved in their history. The historical critical approach to Bible interpretation excluded divine intervention from human affairs, leaving us in the hands of human and natural causality. Daniel 8:14 and its fulfillment in 1844 call Christians to return to the Bible and its apocalyptic prophecies to reaffirm that God is still active in fulfilling His prophetic word in human history. These prophecies provide a general outline of the experience of God’s people during the Christian Era to help them locate themselves within the flow of history and to call them to align themselves with His divine plan.
God’s speaking did not end at the close of the first century, and we can hear His voice to us in the fulfillment of His apocalyptic prophecies. The fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 in 1844 is a divine shout to the human race informing us that the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary is directly related to His work within our history.
2. Christ’s Work of Mediation: The year 1844, as a year when prophecy was fulfilled, calls the Christian world to return to the biblical teaching of the work of mediation of Christ in the heavenly temple. This biblical truth has been neglected by Christians in general. In Roman Catholic tradition the church became the heavenly temple and a human priesthood was established to distribute the grace of Christ. Consequently the work of the only Mediator between God and humans was clouded (1 Tim. 2:5). Protestants emphasized the cross so much that they have had little to say about the mediation of Christ before the Father. Quite often His mediation is limited to His death on the cross. The typological significance of the Israelite sanctuary services has been partially ignored. But Christ’s mediation in heaven is as important for us as the cross; not in the sense that it complements the cross, but in that it unfolds its saving power.
3. Christ’s Work of Judgment: The fulfillment of prophecy in 1844 tells the Christian world that the typological meaning of the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16)—His work of eschatological judgment—is being fulfilled in the mediation of Christ in the heavenly temple. This judgment—already in progress—will result in the vindication of God and His people and in the cleansing of the universe from the miasma of sin (Rev. 20:11-15). This judgment is not to inform God, but to reveal to all intelligent creatures that He dealt justly and lovingly with the cosmic problem of sin (Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 16:5-7; 19:1, 2). While this judgment takes place in heaven the church is active on earth.
4. The Urgency of the Message: The fulfillment of prophecy in 1844 invites the Christian world to awake from its spiritual lethargy to proclaim a message that will prepare the world for Christ’s coming. This eternal gospel should be proclaimed in the context of the hour of God’s judgment and of a demonic deception that will significantly increase toward the end of the cosmic conflict (Rev. 14:6-12; 13:13, 14).
The Christian church should urgently proclaim the crucified and risen Savior who is in the heavenly sanctuary standing for us before the Father and directly involved on earth, through the Spirit, in opposing the last demonic attack against God and His kingdom. The year 1844 brought to light a system of biblical truth that fearlessly opposes the deceptions of the enemy, thus becoming a divine instrument in preparing the world for Jesus’ return.
Angel Manuel Rodríguez was director of the General Conference’s Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference prior to his retirement.