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The 2,300 day prophecy

When did it start?

In the eighth chapter of Daniel there is no clue to the starting point of the 2,300 day/year prophecy. The angel Gabriel, though commanded to make Daniel understand the vision, gave him only a partial explanation. As the terrible persecution to befall the church was unfolded to the prophet's vision, his physical strength gave way. He could endure no more, and the angel left him for a time. Daniel "fainted, and was sick certain days." And, "I was astonished at the vision," he says, "but none understood it."

Yet Jesus had bidden His messenger: "Make this man to understand the vision." That commission must be fulfilled. In obedience to it, the angel, some time afterward, returned to Daniel in chapter 9, saying: "I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding... therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." There was one important point in the vision of chapter 8 which had been left unexplained, namely, that relating to time - the period of the 2300 days. Therefore the angel, in resuming his explanation, dwells chiefly upon the subject of time:

"Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city." The word here translated "determined" literally signifies "cut off." Seventy weeks, representing 490 years, are declared by the angel to be cut off, as specially pertaining to the Jews. But from what were they cut off? As the 2300 days was the only period of time mentioned in chapter 8, it is the period from which the seventy weeks were cut off. The seventy weeks are therefore a part of the 2300 days, and the two periods begin together. The seventy weeks were declared by the angel to date from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. If the date of this commandment could be found, then the starting point for the great period of the 2300 days would be ascertained.



The commandment to restore

In Ezra 7:12-26 the decree is found. In its completest form it was issued by Artaxerxes, king of Persia in 457BC. But in Ezra 6:14 the house of the Lord at Jerusalem is said to have been built "according to the commandment ["decree," margin] of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia." These three kings, in originating, reaffirming, and completing the decree, together brought it to the perfection required by the prophecy to mark the beginning of the 2300 years. Taking 457BC, the time when the decree was completed, as the date of the commandment, every specification of the prophecy concerning the seventy weeks is seen to have been fulfilled.

"From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks" - namely, sixty-nine weeks, or 483 day/years. The decree of Artaxerxes went into effect in October of 457BC. From this date, 483 years extend to October of 27AD.

At that time this part of the prophecy was fulfilled.



Messiah the Prince

The word "Messiah" signifies "the Anointed One."

In the autumn (September/October) of 27AD Christ was baptized by John and received the anointing of the Spirit. After His baptism He went into Galilee, "preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled." Mark 1:14, 15.

"And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week."

The "week" here brought to view is the last one of the seventy; it is the last seven years of the period allotted especially to the Jews. During this time, extending from 27AD to 34AD, Christ, at first in person and afterward by His disciples, extended the gospel invitation especially to the Jews.

"In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease."

In April of 31AD, three and a half years after His baptism, our Lord was crucified. This great sacrifice offered upon Calvary ended that system of offerings which for four thousand years had pointed forward to the Lamb of God. Type had met antitype, and all the sacrifices and oblations of the ceremonial system were therefore to cease.



After the seventy weeks

The seventy weeks, or 490 years, especially allotted to the Jews, ended, as we have seen, in October 34AD. At that time, through the action of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the nation sealed its rejection of the gospel by the martyrdom of Stephen and the persecution of the followers of Christ. See Acts 7 and 8.

Thus far every specification of the prophecies is strikingly fulfilled, and the beginning of the seventy weeks of years is fixed beyond question at 457BC and their end in 34AD. From this data there is no difficulty in finding the termination of the 2300 days. The seventy weeks - 490 days - having been cut off from the 2300, there were 1810 days remaining. After the end of 490 days, the 1810 days were still to be fulfilled. From 34AD, 1810 years extend to 1844. Consequently the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 terminate in October 1844.

Thus the time of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary was definitely pointed out.

The cleansing of the sanctuary

In the earthly sanctuary system there was a ceremony performed on the tenth day of the seventh month [September/October] called the Day of Atonement.

Leviticus 23:1-32

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My feasts.

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

These are the [ceremonial] feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons....

... on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that do any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.

This was the day on which the forgiven, repenting sinner was finally cleansed of the burdens which he or she had left in the sanctuary throughout the year. This was the day on which the sins which had accumulated in the sanctuary during the year were removed and placed on a scapegoat. This particular "day" and its atonement, were the final act in many "days" and many "atonements" which had been entered into during the previous 364 days. Without it, the earlier ones would not have had any lasting significance.

Leviticus 5:18 A typical "daily" atonement

And he [a repenting sinner] shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with your estimation, for a trespass offering, to the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist [understood] it not, and it shall be forgiven him.

1 John 1:9 What Jesus promises

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


The great "Day" of Atonement

In the year 1844 that Day of Atonement fell on the 22nd October.

All that remains to be established is what actually happened in heaven on that day!

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On to "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed"


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