Sunday, October 14, 2012
What Do the 2300 Days of Daniel Mean?
One of the great mysteries of eschatology seems to be the passage in Daniel that speaks about the 2300 days. Nobody seems to be able to come to a consensus as to what it is referencing. Generally everyone tries to spiritualize the verses making them mean everything from 2300 years to 1150 days, but few if any people simply take the verses at as much face value as possible, to see if it simply makes sense as written. As I always try to interpret Scripture in the most literal way whenever possible, I would like to take a look at this passage to see what can be made of it. First let us just read through the passage.
Daniel 8:1-8 “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had there seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
Verses 9-14 “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Verses 15-26 “And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.”
I divided the chapter up into three sections. The first being prophetic history (meaning prophecy that has already come to pass), the second being somewhat prophetic history, but actually more future prophetic, and the third section being the explanation given to Daniel by the angel as to what the vision meant. In the first eight verses we are told of the history of Medo-Persia (the ram with two horns) and its falling to Greece under Alexander the Great. This is not in question, as the angel actually tells Daniel that this is Medo-Persia and Greece with its first “king” who was Alexander the Great. When Alexander died, his empire was divided up into four empires. (Actually five at first, but the other four quickly ganged up on the fifth and divided his lands.) These four empires were Macedonia or Greece under Cassander, Egypt under Ptolemy, Thrace (in Asia Minor) under Lysimachos, and the area of Mesopotamia and east (the area now known as Iran) under Seleucis. This part seems to be (from our perspective) merely historical.
In the second passage we are told that out of one of these empires comes a little horn (symbolically for a new powerful leader) which becomes exceedingly great, moving to conquer south, east, and to the pleasant land. From a historical standpoint and interpretation, this is speaking of Antiochus Epiphanes, who came out of the Seleucid Empire, and who waged war against Egypt, moved against the countries to the east of the empire (Persia for one), and then overran Judea desolating it. (the pleasant land). Continuing the passage as an historical event, metaphorically the host of heaven, stars, and prince of the host can refer to the priests and rulers of Israel, whom he destroyed. And indeed A.E. took away the daily sacrifice, slaughtered a pig on the altar and set up a statue of Zeus in the holy place desecrating the temple, killed many people and looted the temple of its treasures. This is the historical interpretation of this passage, as this is what actually happened. There is an even darker and future interpretation of this passage though, which we will cover below.
Before we go on to this darker and yet to happen interpretation, let us look at what Daniel is told in explanation of this vision. The first very important thing to note is what Gabriel tells Daniel. “Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” Gabriel is telling Daniel (and us) that the main interpretation of this vision has to do with the time of the end. In other words, the end of the age, the time of Yeshua's Second Coming, even though when this vision was given, Christ has not come the first time yet. So now we know that we must consider that the information contained about this horn that grows to heaven and what he does, has to do with the events of Daniel's 70th week. Next Gabriel tells him “Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.” Again we are told a second time that this has to do with the end of the indignation, or the time of the end when God's wrath will come. So this is reiterated twice, so that there will be no mistake that this information has to do with the end times. Then Daniel is given the explanation of the ram and goat, which to him was future, but to us is history. Because the countries are mentioned and the fulfillment is so specific, we can see that that section of the prophecy has been fulfilled. But then Gabriel makes it clear that the rest of the prophecy is in the very distant future, at the time of the end. We at told that “in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full,” some events will occur. This is speaking of the end times, when the world's transgressions have reached their fullness and God's patience will run out. From here we need to go back and look at this darker interpretation of which I spoke earlier.
If we take this passage not symbolically but literally, it tells us that this little horn reaches even to the host of heaven, or the angelic realm. Only Satan and other fallen angels can reach into that sphere. The antichrist will be empowered by Satan, so this can apply to him too. This horn actually casts down some of the host and stars of heaven. Now in Scripture, the host of heaven is the angelic host, and the word star is often used to reference an angel, so this is telling us that this horn is responsible for casting some of the angelic realm down to the ground and stamping on them. This is exactly what Satan did when he convinced fully a third of the angels in heaven to follow him. Revelation 12:4 “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven.” So this passage is speaking of Satan, and by extension the antichrist, as he is empowered or possibly possessed by Satan. In fact that is what the angel says. “a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise.” Practicing dark sentences is basically saying that he is an occult practitioner or worships Satan. Gabriel tells us a second time that he is an occultist. “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand,” “craft” being witchcraft. So this little horn or king of fierce countenance will be the antichrist, empowered by Satan.
As Antiochus Epiphanes was a foreshadow of the antichrist we should expect to see the AC's actions as a magnified mirror image of what AE did, and we do. We are told that this fierce king, or antichrist, takes away the daily sacrifice, and we know from history, although it is not mentioned directly in this passage in Daniel 8, that AE also set up a statue of Zeus causing an abomination of desolation. These sacrifices which this fierce king takes away would have to be the sacrifices that go on daily at the temple. For there to be sacrifices, there must be a temple or sacrificial altar set up. So as this is future and there presently is not temple, it is telling us that there must be a restored temple, or at least a restored area for sacrifices on the temple mount. These sacrifices must be ongoing before antichrist can stop them. And as AE set up a statue of Zeus in the holy place, so antichrist must commit an abomination that desolates the temple in the holy place. And indeed we are told in other verses that there will be sacrifices that are stopped, and a holy place which he abominates and desolates.
Daniel 9:27 “ And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: (this is the verse from where we get Daniel's 70th week) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Daniel 11:31 “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”
Daniel 12:11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
Matthew 24:15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.)”
Mark 13:14 “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.”
AE set up a statue of Zeus, but what does antichrist set up? This king mentioned in Daniel 8 magnifies himself to be as high as the Prince of the host. “he magnified himself even to the prince of the host,” Gabriel again reiterates the information a second time (which he does with several pieces of information in this passage), “he shall magnify himself in his heart, he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes” This Prince would be Yeshua which virtually means God Himself. And this is exactly what Satan tries to do, make himself to be God. And we are told the antichrist, who is Satan's “son” or “incarnation” just as Yeshua was God's, does this also. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Like father, like son. He sets himself up as God in the holy place.
Now we are also told, because of transgressions (against God) a host (not a host of heaven, but simply a host – a great multitude of people) is also given to him. We know that God will hand over His people to antichrist to purge and refine them, as there is great apostasy in the church.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
Daniel 7:21 “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.”
Daniel 7:25 “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”
Matthew 24:15-16, 21-22 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains..... For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.”
Mark 13:14,19-20 “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.... For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.”
He casts truth to the ground. The truth of God and His Word will be cast aside as he spins lies and delusions to make people follow him. God allows this to happen.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
Revelation 13:13-14 “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
And for a time (42 months) he does prosper in his goal, but as Gabriel tells Daniel, “he shall be broken without hand.” We know that antichrist will be destroyed by Christ at His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
Now we get to the part that has everyone in a conundrum. Daniel hears one saint ask another “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” And then Gabriel in his explanation of the vision tells Daniel “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.”
We already know that this is speaking of the last or latter days. So these 2300 days or as it is in Hebrew “dusk/dawns” or as some prefer “evening/mornings” has something to do with the last days. So what is the criteria of what falls into these 2300 days. We are told that this 2300 days have to do with the daily sacrifice, the transgression (or abomination) of desolation (which happens at the mid-point of Daniel's 70th seven year week), the host and sanctuary being trodden underfoot, and the time period until the sanctuary is again cleansed. So all of these events start with the daily sacrifice, and end at the cleansing of the temple. So we have a starting event and an ending event.
Now for some of these things we actually have a time frame. We know that the host and courtyard of the sanctuary are trodden underfoot for 42 months, and that antichrist reigns for 42 months and the saints are given to him for 3 ½ years.
Daniel 7:25 “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
Revelation 13:5 “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
Revelation 11:1-2 “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 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.”
So these two time periods are equated as being the same. Forty-two months are three and a half years. We know that 42 months and 3 ½ year are also 1260 days, as there are two other events going on at the same time which are given to us in length of days. The first is the ministry of the two witnesses.
Revelation 11:3 “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”
This event is given alongside the 42 months of the trampling of the temple courtyard, so that we see that they are the same length of time. The second is the one which ties the others together by telling us how long 3 ½ years are in terms of days. That is the woman in the wilderness who is given two different lengths of time.
Revelation 12:6 “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”
Revelation 12:14 “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” so between all of these verses, we see that 3 ½ years is 42 months or 1260 days.
Now we are told in Daniel 12:11-12 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”
From the abomination of desolation at the mid-point of the seven years, when the sacrifices are stopped, we are told that there will be 1290 days until all is completed (at Armageddon) in Daniel's 70th week. Then we are told that the one who makes it to the 1335th day will be blessed. As Yom Kippur is the Feast which foreshadows the Second Coming and God's wrath beginning (the vial judgments), the way Passover foreshadowed the crucifixion, and as antichrist's reign ends at the Second Coming (day 1260), we know that there are still 75 days to go after Yom Kippur to reach the 1335th day. The first 30 days take us to day 1290 when all is finished according to Daniel, and so we know the vial judgments fall in those 30 days after Yeshua returns at Yom Kippur. (He comes at the last trumpet, which starts the vial judgments). We now see there are 75 days from Yom Kippur until the 1335th day. The first 30 are taken up with the vials, then there are 45 more to go. It so happens that 75 days after Yom Kippur is Hanukkah. The day the sanctuary was cleansed from Antiochus Epiphanes abomination of desolation. So we can assume, knowing that God reuses dates to commemorate events, that He will have Hanukkah have a dual fulfillment. A cleansing of two temples, not just the one. This would then give us the time when the 2300 days would end or as said to Daniel, the sanctuary would be cleansed.
So we have our ending date of the 2300 days, which is 1335 days after the abomination of desolation. Many people like to claim that because the Hebrew for days in this verse is actually “evening mornings” that this is speaking of evening and morning sacrifices and therefore we should cut the 2300 in half to figure out the meaning. But this will not work. Half of 2300 is 1150, which is already less than the 1335 days from the abomination to the cleansing of the temple. And we are told that the counting of these days does not start with the abomination, but earlier with the sacrifices ongoing. As the sacrifices will be stopped, the evening/mornings cannot refer to 2300 sacrifices, as they will not be ongoing during all of this. So this must be referring only to days. God in Genesis refers to a day as an evening and morning, while in the Law He talks about a morning and evening sacrifice in that order. It seems He is referring to a 24 hour day here, not the morning and evening sacrifices.
Now if the seven years of Daniel's 70th week is 84 months (42 being the second half so the whole being 84) we have a period of 2520 days. That would mean that approximately 220 days into the 70th week of Daniel, sacrifices would have to start being made in a temple for this vision of 2300 days to be true, as sacrifices are the first event listed as happening within this time frame of 2300 days. And Gabriel is emphatic about that point. “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true.” So we should expect that once the covenant (no matter to what that covenant refers) is confirmed at the beginning of the seven year period, that roughly seven months into the first year of Daniel's 70th week we will see sacrifices being made. Possibly it will be the beginning of them.
Oddly enough, or maybe not oddly, in doing some calculations backwards seven years from Hanukkah on various years in the future, it seemed that counting back 2300 days sometimes ended up on a holy day. In fact one time I found that counting backward ended up on Rosh haShanah. What better day to begin sacrifices than on the New Year, on the ten days of awe before Yom Kippur. This does not happen every year, in fact it only happened once in my calculations, and I will not mention on what year it will occur, as many factors may affect the calendars as they now stand that will change them. But it is interesting that it could possibly line up that way.
Is this then the meaning of the 2300 evening mornings? That we are told when the sacrifices begin, that seven months or so earlier the covenant will have been confirmed? We cannot be sure that this covenant is something that will be public, so all we have to go by for a sign that we are in Daniel's 70th week is the temple sacrifices. By knowing how long it is from the time they start, we can estimate where we are in the 70th week. It may really be that simple.
*As an added note, it was brought to my attention that some say that the 2300 days have nothing to do with the future as they were fulfilled by Antiochus Ephiphanes. From all of my research that would seem to be impossible, as none of the time lines give would us either the 2300 days or 1150 morning and evening sacrifices (for those who feel the number should be cut in half). Most sources say that the records say that the time span from the abomination until the temple was cleansed was exactly three years from Kislev 25 to Kislev 25 three years later. One sight said that it was three and a half years. Neither of those time frames would provide us with either 2300 days nor 1150 days, whether you use a Jewish length of year of 360 days, the Jewish year with the leap year thrown in on a second or third year, or the 365 day year. In all cases one must use the cut in half time, meaning counting each morning and evening sacrifice each as one (which I do not think was meant by God) and the amount of days that result are either too many or too few to qualify. God is very specific about this length of time, so as it does not seem that this time refers to Antiochus's abomination, it must therefore refer to the future.