Thursday, June 11, 2009

Daniel 8

Chapter 8 is the next vision Daniel had. Daniel sees himself at the riverbank of the Ulai river. He sees a ram with two horns and the horns were high, but one was higher than the other and the higher one came up later. The ram pushed west, north and south and no beast could stand before him and he became great. Then a goat came up from the west and he wasn’t even touching the ground. He had a notable horn between his eyes. He runs into the ram and breaks its horns and the ram has no power to stand against him. The goat gets very strong, but his horn is broken and in its place comes up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them comes a little horn which becomes exceedingly great toward the south, east and the “pleasant land” (Israel). And it gets even greater, even to the heavens, and casts down some of the host and stars to the ground and stamps on them. He magnifies himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice is taken away and the sanctuary is cast down. And the host is given over to him for the transgression against the daily sacrifice, and truth is cast down. And he practices and prospers. Then one saint asks another how long will the length of this vision be wherein is the daily sacrifice, the transgression of desolation, where the sanctuary and host are trodden under foot. He is told 2300 days (or literally evening mornings) will pass for all this to occur, then the sanctuary will be cleansed.

Daniel asks for the meaning and Gabriel is told to explain it to him. He is told that this vision is for the end of time, or end times. Again it is reiterated that he will explain what shall happen at the last end of the indignation and the time appointed for the end. Three ways of saying at the end of the age, or end times. The ram is Media and Persia (and this time they are mentioned by name, we don’t have to go to historical records, although the ram was the national symbol for Persia.). The goat is the king of Greece (the goat was the national symbol for Greece) and the horn is the first king (Alexander). Out of his kingdom will come four kingdoms toward the four compass points, but not because he has made it thus. We know that this happened after he died, so that shows the accuracy of the prophecy. In the latter time of their kingdom (the end times again) when transgressors are come to the full (in other words, when we have filled ourselves to the full with sins till we can do no more and God has reached His limit of patience) a king of fierce countenance knowing dark sentences (this basically translates as evil tricks) shall stand up or come to power. His power will be mighty, but it won’t be his own power (he will be empowered by Satan). He will move toward the south, toward the east, and toward Israel (the pleasant land - Jews would understand this as a common way of referring to Israel.). He will destroy in an incredible manner and will destroy the holy people (us, as the believing Jews will be protected from him. We will learn this in Revelation). Through his “policy” (a very significant political term) he will cause craft (craftiness, deceit, treachery) to prosper and will magnify himself in his own heart. He will destroy many by “peace” of all things. That will be his rallying cry apparently. Peace.

Interestingly it says that this horn will wax great even to the host of heaven. He will cast down some of the host of the stars and stamp upon them. This is no longer talking about a human, as no human can ascend to the host of heaven, the host of stars. We know from previous studies that this refers to the angels. So this is talking about the spirit which will empower the horn or antichrist. The person responsible for taking a lot of angels out of heaven with him is Satan. He magnifies himself, (Satan wanted to be God) even challenging the Prince of princes (Christ), but will be destroyed without any human lifting a hand. So now we have the information that the antichrist is empowered directly by Satan, as we can see that these Scriptures also speak of a human in verse 23, so it is a melding of the two.

In all of my reading, I have never found anyone who can find an end time explanation for the 2300 days. Most people say that it refers to the time of the Maccabees, but they don’t seem to have verifiable proof that there were 2300 days from the time the sacrifices were stopped and the statue of Zeus set up to the cleansing of the temple by the Maccabees. There is approximately that much time, but I have not seen any evidence that someone can prove it was 2300 days. Other than that, people seem to be unable to account for it. I cannot say that I have any better insight, but we will take our literal approach and see what we can come up with to make any sense. Starting with the later verses and working backwards, it says concerning the daily sacrifice and the sanctuary, that the vision of the evening and morning is said to be true. He emphasizes this point. So we are not to doubt that it is about the end times, which many do. It will happen and we are to take special note of this, as we may find out that it is the only sign that we will see that will let us know we are in the actual end. First we need to look at the phrase “evening mornings” which is the actual translation of the word days here. Some say that this actually means 1150 days as they count each sacrifice as 1, thus 2300 would mean 1150 days. If we look back to the first chapter of Genesis, God uses this same phrase, and the evening and the morning were the first (or second, third, etc.) day. An evening and morning classifies as 1 day. So using Scripture to explain Scripture, this would mean 2300 days. Daniel is told to shut up the vision (in other words, keep the knowledge of it to himself) as it is for the long distant future. This seems to indicate that the daily sacrifice being taken away (verse 11) is for the end times. For the daily sacrifice to be taken away, there has to be a daily sacrifice. For there to be a daily sacrifice, there has to be a temple, and it does mention that the place of the sanctuary is cast down in verse 11 which indicates there is a temple.

So now we go back to the previous passage about the 2300 days. In verse 13 a saint asks how long will the whole process of there being a sacrifice, the transgression of desolation (stopping of the daily sacrifice) and the sanctuary and the host (the host given into his hand because of the sin against the daily sacrifice - one assumes this speaks of God’s people, as a host does not have to be a heavenly host) to be trampled under foot. This trampling under foot is mentioned in Revelation 11:2 “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” He is told that there will be 2300 days for all of this to take place until the sanctuary is cleansed again. That will be at the beginning of the millennium after God’s wrath.

All of this indicates that there will be another temple in Jerusalem for all of this to take place, however Revelation tells us that it is only the temple Holy Place, as the courtyards will not be included. It is given over to the Gentiles. Rev. 11:2. So we are looking for a literal temple proper (only the Holy Place) to be built, so that the sacrifices can be taken away, or stopped, and then the temple itself will be trampled under foot. Next we see that the question is asked in parts. The first part is “how long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice”, then the next part is “and the transgression of desolation” (this is the stopping of the sacrifice - remember the setting up of a statue or image is not mentioned here, so the transgression is the stopping of the sacrifice), then “to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot”. The question does not start with how long from the time the sacrifice is stopped, but how long from the time there is daily sacrifice, and then the stopping of the sacrifice, and the sanctuary and people being trodden underfoot or persecuted. The answer given is that there will be 2300 days for all of this to take place until the temple is cleansed. We can assume that the temple will be cleansed at the end of God’s wrath and the beginning of the millennium. In later chapters we will see that we are given a timeline as to how long that will be, but for now, let us assume that from the time there are daily sacrifices, or the sacrifices commence, until the temple is cleansed there are 2300 days. That is a period of roughly six years and four and a half months. That would mean that from the start of Daniel's 70th week (which we will learn about in the next chapter), there should be roughly 8 months and then the sacrifices will begin.  If this is a true understanding of this passage, it will have great meaning when we study the rest of Daniel, and it will show us when we have entered and where we are in the 70th week.  Interestingly enough there are two time periods when there are 2300 days between two holy days, in particular they are the Feasts of Rosh haShanah and Hanukkah (which is the expected start of the millennium and end of the 2300 days).  One seven year time period would begin in 2012, and the other I believe was 2020 (or 2021, I can't find the paper with my calculations at the moment). That may or may not be significant.  Time will tell.

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