Faculty Publications

The History of the Adventist Interpretation of the "Daily" in the Book of Daniel from 1831 to 2008

Denis Kaiser, Andrews University


During the more than 160 years since Adventism's inception, the interpretation of the tamid or "daily" in the book of Daniel underwent several changes with respect to the argumentation, as well as the way differing views are handled. This study analyzes various Millerite and Adventist interpretations of the tamid in Dan 8 between 1831 and 2008 focusing especially on the approach to the biblical text, the argumentation, and the atmosphere during the time of conflict (1900 - 1930), as well as on Ellen White's counsels during the period, puzzling statement, and possible explanations. This documentary study was based primarily on published primary sources produced by Millerites and Seventh-day Adventists from 1831 to 2008. Both primary and secondary sources were used to provide background, historical context, and perspective for the present study. While Seventh-day Adventists first adhered to the Millerite interpretation of the "daily" as Roman paganism, beginning around the turn of the nineteenth century they identified it as Christ's heavenly ministration. The proponents of the Millerite interpretation eventually relied more on tradition and their understanding of the statement on the "daily" written by Ellen White in 1850. The proponents of the new interpretation drew their reasons rather from exegetical studies. This change did not happen without controversy, and both groups were responsible for the intensity of the conflict. Ellen White's statement referred to the prophetic dates and the supplying of the word "sacrifice" in the text of Dan 8 rather than to a specific identification of the "daily."