Then I heard a holy one speaking;…“How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”
And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”
Recap from the last study
In Daniel’s vision, he saw a vicious battle between a ram and a goat. The two animals are easily identified as the kingdoms of Media-Persia and Greece:
The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.
So, there can be no doubt who these animals represent. History has proved the succession of these nations to be absolutely correct. The large horn of the kingdom of Greece is the first king who history has shown to be Alexander the Great.
As the prophecy predicted, Alexander’s great kingdom of Greece was divided into “four notable” generals: Ptolemy Lysimachus, Cassander, and Seleucus.
Then “from out of one of them came a little horn.” This little horn power represented pagan Rome, the next kingdom in the succession of conquering kingdoms. This power corresponded to the iron legs in the metal image of Daniel 2 and the “dreadful beast” of Daniel 7.
These prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, and 9 are clearly interpreted from God’s own word within each chapter and further confirmed by the historians looking back on that time period.
This little horn now becomes the center of attention of Daniel. He understood the rise and fall of the nations, but his main focus is on the little horn power and the destructive events at its hand.
The battles and events have been on a horizontal plane up to this point, but now it turns vertical and a spiritual war against the host of heaven.
And it grew up to the host of heaven, and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host, and by him, the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered
Daniel 8: 10-12
This little horn power that “grew up” greatly concerned Daniel. At this point in his vision, Daniel heard a conversation between the two attending angels:
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”
And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”
Daniel 8: 13-14
Even the attending angels wanted to know how long this little horn power would rule and wage its war against God’s people and even Jesus Himself (Prince of the host). The chapter ends leaving us in suspense because even though the question about “how long” has been answered as “two thousand three hundred days” we have no idea as to the starting point. Daniel is so troubled by this little horn power that he faints and becomes sick. This time period is the only part of this prophecy not interpreted….at least at this point.
And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward, I arose and went about the king’s business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.
Chapter 8 ends with the words “no one understood it.” The ram, the goat, the horns were all explained and everyone understood this part, because the angel interpreted the beasts to represent coming kingdoms that would rise and fall. But the little horn and its time of rule remained mysterious.
Chapter 9 opens with Daniel studying another prophet-Jeremiah. We must remember that Daniel and the Jews were in captivity, but Daniel understood from the book of Jeremiah that their captivity would last 70 years and those 70 years were coming to a close:
“I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
Daniel 9: 2
Starting in verse 3, Daniel begins to pray to God in a state of great humility and confession for himself and his people (Jews) who have sinned against God. Because of this, they did not enjoy the benefits, mercy, and protection God offers to those who keep His covenant and obey His commandments. They were in captivity!
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,..“
Daniel 9: 3-4
(Note: God’s covenant can be either conditional or unconditional based on the context. In the previous passage, we see that those who love Him and keep His commandments are recipients of His covenant of mercy.)
“As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.
Daniel 9: 13
Such a great truth! When we separate ourselves from Him and fail to follow His will, disaster is sure to come. But, through connecting back with this merciful God through prayer and turning from “our iniquities” we can find the path of righteousness and protection for our souls!
As Daniel is praying, Gabriel appears. He was the angel who interpreted the dream in Chapter 8. This messenger of God has returned to continue the explanation of the part of the prophecy that concerned Daniel in Chapter 8.
Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.
Daniel 9: 20-22
The context of the following time prophecy is with the 2,300 days until the sanctuary will be cleansed. (Daniel 8:14). Gabriel has come to help him understand the vision. What vision? It was the mysterious part of Chapter 8. All of it was explained except for the little horn that concerned Daniel and the time part of the vision i.e. 2,300 days. We know this to be true because this is what Gabriel explains.
(Note: In our previous study, we determined through comparing Bible passages about time prophecy that a day represents a year. (e.g Numbers 14:34, etc). So we are talking about 2,300 years.
God’s Mercy – Daniel’s People Given Time
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.”
Daniel 9: 24
Th Greek word chathak word is translated “determined” which means “cut-off” or “marked out” Out of the 2,300 years, 70 weeks are cut-off or marked out for Daniel’s people (Jews). Using the day-year principle of interpretation, The 70 weeks are 490 years (70 X 7). So out of the 2,300 years, 490 are given to the Jews to complete their purpose as God’s chosen people. Their purpose was to follow and believe God. To obey His laws within their heart rather than through legalism. Equally important was to bring in everlasting righteousness and end the vision and prophecy via anointing the Most Holy (Jesus)
But when was the time period to start? When did the 2,300 days begin as well as these 70 weeks (490 years)? The answer is found in the next verse:
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street[ shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.”
Here is our starting point for the 2,300 days. A portion of this time period is allotted or “marked out” for Daniel’s people the Jewish nation.
The starting point is the “command to restore and build Jerusalem.” This was a command still future to Daniel, but we can easily find the time and date of this command from the Bible and history!
This command to restore and build Jerusalem can be found in Ezra Chapter 7 when Artaxerxes gave the commandment in 457 BC. (See the notes at the end)
The Arrival Time of Jesus the Messiah Predicted
Starting with this date, the prophecy is unlocked. From 457 BC until “Messiah the Prince” would be 69 weeks. There are 483 days in 69 weeks, but using the day/year principal, we discover that 483 years after 457 BC brings us to 27 AD. This was the date Jesus was baptized and began his ministry. The Messiah had arrived right on time! He was “anointed” by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He[ saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3: 16-17
Jesus also announced at the beginning of His ministry this message:
“Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Mark 1: 14, 15
The time of Daniel’s prophecy had been fulfilled. The Messiah the prince came right on schedule…483 years after the commandment to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem.”
This time prophecy is further confirmed by the words of Paul (A great student of God’s word):
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son
Galatians 4: 4
But the prophecy continues
Jesus Ministry Confirms the Covenant
Jesus’ direct ministry would cover the space of 3 1/2 years. That is half of 7 years or the midst of the week. in 31 AD Jesus died on a cruel cross for us and not for Himself, but Jesus indirect ministry would continue through His disciples for an additional 3 1/2 years.
And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself...
…Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
Daniel 9: 26
Jesus’ message was primarily to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” first and foremost. There are many parables and direct statements of Jesus. He was “confirming the covenant” as predicted in this Daniel 9 prophecy. Here is one example:
But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Matthew 15: 24
To continue with the confirmation of the covenant God made with “Daniel’s people” (Israel) even after the “Messiah the Prince” had been “cut off,” Jesus gave specific instruction to His disciples before they “preached the gospel in all the world“
These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel
Matthew 10: 5,6
They obeyed the resurrected and ascended Christ by doing this very thing for an additional 3 1/2 years to complete the prophecy to “confirm the covenant for one week” (7 years).
In 34 AD, Stephen was stoned marking the end of the 70 weeks (490 years) cut off from the 2,300 years before the sanctuary would be cleansed.
After that point, the gospel burden went to the Gentiles and those who accepted Christ as the Messiah became the new Israel. Listen to the words of Paul confirming this understanding of the mission of Christ and the fulfillment of the 70-week prophecy:
Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
Paul would go on to describe the real nation of Israel and how it is identified:
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3: 29
but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
Let’s review the 70 weeks (490 years) through this simple chart:
Here are the important dates:
- 457 BC-The commandment by Artaxerxes (Ezra 7: 12-26) to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem
- 483 years later, “Messiah the Prince” appeared right on time. This was in 27 AD when Jesus was anointed and began his ministry primarily to the nation of Israel
- In 31 AD, Jesus was crucified (3 1/2 years after his ministry to the house of Israel began)
- 34 AD marked the end of the 70 weeks (490 years) allotted to the nation of Israel to turn to their God. In this year, Stephen was stoned and the disciples began to be persecuted. Shortly after, Paul would begin his ministry to the Gentiles. He called himself a preacher to the Gentiles:
I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles
2 Timothy 1:11
- 70 weeks (490 years) of the 2300 days (years) are used in this section of the prophecy. 1810 years remains.
1810 years from 34 AD leads us to the year 1844. Daniel was told in the longest time prophecy that at the end of the 2300 days (years) the sanctuary would be “cleansed.” What doe this mean? We will let the bible interpreted itself in our next study, but here is a short introduction.
The sanctuary services were instituted by God Himself. The pattern was given to Moses. This design is a copy of the heavenly sanctuary. Some might think there is nothing applicable to the Christian since these services ended when Jesus was “cut off” and,
“(brought) an end to sacrifice and offering.
But, as we shall understand next time, Paul dedicated a whole book to the study of the sanctuary and its comparison to the ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. It is the book of Hebrews. If the earthly sanctuary and its services is a shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, then it must foreshadow the work of Jesus there in heaven. He has gone to “prepare a place for us.” Does this mean He is a carpenter and building mansions or is He a priest doing a service of preparation for His people?
The old sanctuary service of “cleansing” is a type of resolution and end of the sin issue. By studying closely the sanctuary services, we will see a picture of what God has planned for the return of Jesus and an end of sin which includes the conquering of the last enemy, death.
Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
And for this reason, He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Until next time, may the Lord bless and keep you and your family.
Notes on the Ezra dates:
*Notes about the dates described above:
Ezra has three decrees with different dates that could be used. Nehemiah has a date also. But the decision as to which one to use, you must keep in mind the key words of the prophecy: “the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.”
The decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4)
The decree of Darius I (Ezra 6:1-12)
The decree of Artaxerxes I (Longimanuus) (Ezra 7: 12-26)
The decree of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah Chapters 1 and 2)
The Babylonian business tablets
Elephantine papyri from Egypt
From the above documents, we know that Xerxes was killed in late December of 465 B.C. and the reign of Artaxerxes began at the time.
Fall to Fall
|First year||464/463 B.C.|
|Second year||463/462 B.C.|
|Third year||462/461 B.C.|
|Fourth year||461/460 B.C.|
|Fifth year||460/459 B.C.|
|Sixth year||459/458 B.C.|
|Seventh year||458/457 B.C.|
Therefore, the seventh year of Artaxerxes, according to Jewish reckoning, extended from the fall of 458 to the fall of 457 B. C.