(The 2300 Days of Daniel 8, 9)
WHAT startling message is given in Revelation 14:7?
"Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."
When is the hour of God's judgment?
"He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Daniel 8:14.
NoTE.—By the study of the succeeding chapters on the sanctuary, it will be seen that the cleansing of the sanctuary is the work of judgment. The Jewish people understood it so. This 2300-day period, being 2300 literal years (Ezekiel 4:6), reaches down to the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven, or, in other words, to the time when the investigative judgment begins, as described in Daniel 7:9, 10.
Why was not this time period fully explained when the angel first appeared to Daniel?
"I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it." Verse 27.
NOTE.—The prophet had been given a vision of the great nations of his and succeeding days and the persecutions of God's people, concluding with the time period pointing to the cleansing of the sanctuary. But the aged Daniel fainted and was sick certain days. Consequently, the interpretation was arrested, and was not completed until after the recovery of the prophet. The vision and its partial explanation were given in the third year of Belshazzar's reign with his father Nabonidus; the interpretation of the time period was given following the fall of Babylon, in the first year of Darius.
After Daniel recovered from his illness, to what did he turn his attention?
"In the first year of Darius .. . I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desola- tions of Jerusalem." Daniel 9:1, 2.
NoTE.—Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim (Dan. 1:1), and Jeremiah announced the seventy-year captivity in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1, 12). This means that the first deportation of the Jews to Babylon, when Daniel and his companions were carried away, was at that time. The seventy years of Jeremiah's prophecy would expire in 536 B.c. Since the first year of the Persian Empire began in 538 B.c., the restoration period was therefore only two years distant from that time.
What did this nearness of the time of restoration from cap- tivity lead Daniel to do?
"I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and suppli- cations, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes." Verse 3.
In what especially was the prophet interested?
"Now therefore, 0 our God, hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake." Verse 17.
GABRIEL AGAIN APPEARS
While Daniel was praying concerning the sanctuary lying desolate at Jerusalem, who appeared on the scene?
"Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation." Verse 21.
NoTE.—It was fitting that the angel Gabriel should return to the prophet for the purpose of explaining that portion of the prophecy in Daniel 8 which had not been interpreted, the time period, when Daniel was earnestly praying for the sanctuary made desolate at Jerusalem. The angel not only would open to his vision the earthly typical sanctuary and its future, but would give him, for the benefit of those living at the time of the end, a view of the true heavenly service.
What did the angel at once ask the prophet to consider?
"He informed me, and talked with me, and said, 0 Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding . . . therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." Verses 22, 23.
NoTE.—It is evident that the angel began just where he had left off in explanation of the prophecy of the eighth chapter; for he introduces no new line of prophecy, no new vision. "Consider the vision." "Vision" is definite, as shown by the article the. Since the 2300-day period was the only part of the former vision left unexplained, the angel would naturally begin with an interpretation of that period.
What portion of the 2300 days mentioned in the vision was allotted to the Jews?
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city." Verse 24, first clause.
NOTE.—Gesenius, in his Hebrew Lexicon, says that the original word here translated "determined" means "properly, to cut off; tropically, to divide; and so to determine, to decree."
"Seventy weeks have been cut off upon thy people, and upon thy holy city."—Whiting's Translation.
The Chaldeo-Rabbinic Dictionary of Stockius, defines the Hebrew word for "determined" thus: "Scidit, abscidit, conscidit, incidit, excidit—to cut, to cut away, to cut in pieces, to cut or engrave, to cut off."
Mercerus, in his Thesaurus, furnishes a specimen of Rabbinical usage in the phrase, chatikah steel basar, "a piece of flesh," or "a cut of flesh." He translates the word as it occurs in Daniel 9:24, by proecisa est, "was cut off."
Brown quotes the New (Late) Hebrew as giving the definition for this Hebrew word thus: "Cut, cut off, decide."—FRANCIS BROWN, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament.
Theodotian's Greek version of Daniel (which is the version used in the Vatican copy of the Septuagint, as being the most faithful), renders it by sunetnzethesan, were cut off: and the Venetian copy by tetinentai, have been cut.
The seventy weeks, therefore, were determined, or cut off. There are two periods of time under consideration, the first the 2300-day period, the second the seventy-week period. They both had to do with the restoration of the Jewish people and the sanctuary, for the Jews were in captivity and the sanctuary was in ruins. The two periods must then begin with the restoration, and at the same time. The full restoration of the Jewish laws and government pertaining to the people and their sanctuary took place in 457 B.c., as we shall see later. It is reasonable; then, to say that the seventy weeks were a part of the 2300-year period, and that they were thus "cut off" as a period pertaining to the Jewish people and their sanctuary service.
What was to be accomplished at or near the close of this seventy-week period?
"To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting right- eousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Verse 24, last part.
"To Finish the Transgression."—The Jews were to fill up the measure of their iniquity by rejecting and crucifying the Messiah; they would then no longer be His peculiar, chosen people. Read Matthew 21:38-43; 23:32-38; 27:25.
"To Make an End of Sins."—The best explanation of this clause is given in Hebrews 9:26: "Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"; and in Romans 8:3: "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."
"To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness."—This must mean the righteous- ness of Christ—that righteousness by which He was enabled to make an atonement for sin, and which, through faith, may be imputed to the penitent believer.
"To Anoint the Most Holy."—The Hebrew words here used are regularly employed of the sanctuary, but not of persons. The anointing of the "most Holy," then, must refer to the anointing of the heavenly sanctuary, when Christ became the "minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Hebrews 8:2.
THE BEGINNING OF THE TIME PERIOD
When did the angel say that the seventy weeks (490 years) were to begin?
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." Daniel 4:25.
NoTE.—Seventy weeks are 490 prophetic days, and reckoning a prophetic day as a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6), this would be a period of 490 literal years. Sixty-nine (7 weeks and 62 weeks) of the seventy weeks were to reach "unto the Messiah the Prince." Messiah is Christ, "the Anointed." Messiah is the Hebrew word, and Christ the Greek word, meaning anointed. (See margin of John 1:41.)
How was Jesus anointed?
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power." Acts 10:38. At what time did Jesus receive the special anointing of the Holy Spirit? "Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art My beloved Son." Luke 3:21, 22.
What prophecy did Jesus quote shortly after this as applying to Himself?
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor." Luke 4:18. (See Mark 1:15.)
NOTE.-It is evident that the sixty-nine weeks (483 years) were to reach to the baptism of Christ, as that was the time of His anointing by the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist began his work in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius (Luke 3:1-3), and this would put the anointing of Jesus in A.D. 27, at the time of His baptism.
When was a decree made to restore and build Jerusalem?
"This Ezra went up from Babylon.... And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year• of Artaxerxes the king. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king." Ezra 7:6-8.
NOTE.—Three decrees were issued by Persian monarchs for the restoration of the Jews to their homeland. They are mentioned in the book of Ezra: "They builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Arta- xerxes king of Persia." Ezra 6:14.
The decree- of Cyrus pertained to the temple only; the decree of Darius Hystaspes provided for the continuance of that work, hindered by Smerdis; but the decree of Artaxerxes restored the full Jewish government, making provision for the enforcement of their laws. This last decree, therefore, is the one from which we reckon the seventy weeks, as well as the 2300 days. The letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra, conferring upon him authority to do this work, is found in Ezra 7:11-26.
The decree of Artaxerxes was issued in the seventh year of his reign, and according to ancient methods of chronology, went into effect in Jerusalem in the fall of 457 B.C. Reckoning 483 full years from the first day of 457 n.c., would bring us to the last day of A.D. 26. This is demonstrated from the fact that it requires all of the twenty-six years A.D., and all of the 457 years B.C. to make 483 years, which may be illustrated by the following diagram:
It is also manifested by the diagram that if the decree for the complete restoration of Jerusalem did not go into effect until past the middle of the year 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:8), then all the time of the first part of that year not included in the period, must be added to the last day of A.D. 26, which would bring us to the latter part of A.D. 27, the time of Christ's baptism. This "seals up," or makes sure, the prophecy. At the close of 483 years, in Am. 27, one week, or seven years of the 490, yet remained.
What was to be done in the midst of that week?
"He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." Daniel 9:27.
NOTE.—As the sixty-nine weeks ended in the fall of A.D. 27, the middle of the seventieth week, or the three and a half years, would end in the spring of A.D. 31, when Christ was crucified, and by His death caused to cease, or brought to an end, the sacrifices and oblations of the earthly sanctuary. Three and a half years more (the last part of the seventieth week) would end in the autumn of A.D. 34. This brings us to the end of the 490 years which were "cut off" from the 2300. There still remain 1810 years, which, if added to A.D. 34, take us to A.D. 1844.
A.D. 1844 AND THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT
And what did the angel say would, then take place?
"He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Daniel 8:14.
NOTE.—In other words, the great closing work of Christ for the world, the atonement, or the investigative judgment, would at that time begin. The typical Day of Atonement for Israel occupied but one day in a year. This may occupy but a correspondingly short time. Already that work has been going on for more than a century, and must soon close. Who is ready to meet its decisions?
Under what symbol is the importance of the judgment-hour message emphasized?
"I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the ever- lasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." Revelation 14:6, 7.
NOTE.—The symbol of an angel is here used to represent the message of the judgment which is to be preached to every nation. Since angels preach their messages to men through human agencies, it would be understood that this symbol of an angel flying in midheaven represents a great religious move- ment giving to men the judgment-hour message.
In view of the investigative judgment, what are we admonished to do?
"Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Verse 7.
What earnest admonition is given by the apostle Paul?
"The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because He bath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He bath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." Acts 17:30, 31.
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