Article of the Month

December 2009

TIME MATTERS:  Part II

Daniel’s 2,300-Year Prophecy

(Daniel 8) 

Last month we looked at the revealing first-advent time prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.  It pointed out the year of Jesus’ becoming Messiah with his baptism in the Jordan River (A.D. 29).  It pointed out his death date in the “middle of” the 70th “week” of years (A.D. 33).  It pointed out the end of special favor to the Jews and, thus, the acceptance of the first Gentile (Cornelius) into Christ (A.D. 36).  And it pointed to the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 69-70) by Titus—not by dates, but by describing the events.  But this entire Daniel 9 prophecy was about the first seventy symbolic weeks (490 years) of a much longer prophecy given in Daniel 8:13, 14—the prophecy of the CLEANSING OF THE SANCTUARY, or the 2,300-year prophecy.

From Daniel 9 we learned that a “day” in prophecy equals a year in reality.  (See also Ezekiel 4:6.)  We also learned (because it WAS FULFILLED) that THE “70 WEEKS” (and thus the 2,300 “days” of which it was the forepart) BEGAN IN 454 B.C.

Now, when we look at Daniel 8:13, 14, we have almost no calculations to do to tell us the prophetic date.  The more difficult thing is to understand what was to happen at that date.  The prophetic 2,300 years after 454 B.C. bring us to the year A.D. 1846.  This does not appear to be an obviously significant date in world history!  But its importance will be seen as we consider the prophecy.

Daniel 8 shows the passage of history from the Medo-Persian Empire (the two-horned ram of verses 3 and 4), to Alexander’s Greece (the goat of verses 5 through 8), to the division of the Grecian Empire among Alexander’s four successors (verse 8) , to the birth of the Roman Empire (the little horn which becomes great; see verse 9).  Then (verses 10 through 12) we see Rome become “Holy Rome” (the ascension of the church over the state) so that the apostate church under the Pope “cast down the truth to the ground.”  (8:12)  In this context we discover two classes:  THE HOST and THE SANCTUARY.  The “host” is that large mass of “Christian” people who are only nominally religious.  The “sanctuary” are that small minority of Christians who are fully and profoundly dedicated solely to the service of God. 

Verse 8:11 shows that Catholicism took away the every-day, all-time, efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice.  This they did by insisting that Jesus be RE-SACRIFICED daily in the “sacrifice of the mass.”  Thus they took away the very FOUNDATION (“the place”) of truths which supported the faith of the “sanctuary” class.  This system of religious error flourished and prospered (8:12) for centuries.  Naturally (8:13), the QUESTION was, “How long” will the Lord permit this treading of the truth to the ground to go on?  The ANSWER (8:14) was given:  The errors will be removed from the “sanctuary” class (NOT from the “host” class) by A.D. 1846.  Daniel did not comprehend.  (8:27)  The length of time and complexities of the prophecy literally made him ill!  He was told very simply, the fulfillment of this vision is certain; but it is a long time in the future.  SO, “shut up” (e.g., don’t even try to interpret) the vision.  Daniel was told the same thing concerning his whole book.  (12:9)  It would not be until the period known as “THE TIME OF THE END” that understanding would come.  (12:4)  Next time we will learn that this “Time of the End” began in A.D.1799.

The Fulfillment

Since the “sanctuary” was defiled by errors of apostate Christianity, it needed to be CLEANSED.  (8:14)  Since Papacy had “cast down the truth to the ground,” (8:12) someone needed to PICK IT UP!  Because the “Time of the End” (A.D. 1799) was to mark the beginnings of the opening of the understanding of Daniel (12:4), it is clear that truth would begin to be PICKED UP off the ground.  Consequently, one by one, cleansing truths began to be spread among those who diligently searched.  The early 1800’s marked the establishment of Bible Societies which energetically translated and spread Bibles all over the world. Fervent studies by Christians (the “sanctuary” class) began to unearth long-lost truths. Major religious “revivals” and Adventist movements sprang up everywhere where Catholicism could not contain them.  Thus, within about a half century (1799-1846), the perverted errors of centuries had been removed, and a “sanctuary” class of Christians stood, CLEANSED of all the lies which had been promoted.

We must accept Daniel’s words and date.  No clear historical account suddenly proclaims that ALL ERROR HAS BEEN DISPROVEN!  There are, however, all kinds of records from the period documenting newly-found truths, and finally-rejected errors.  Clarity would have to wait.

Revelation 10:7 (obviously echoing Daniel 12) cautions that 1799 and 1846 would not bring indisputable clarity.  That would have to await the time of the “seventh trumpet.”  But before the “seventh trumpet” the dirt had been removed.

It is not a coincidence that in 1846 the “Evangelical Alliance” was formed.  It was the forerunner of the modern World Council of Churches.  Apparently the spreading truths and crumbling errors worried the “host” class—the nominal hordes of Christianity.  As a reaction to spreading truths, the Evangelical Alliance in that year published its list of what it considered ORTHODOX BELIEFS.  It was a list of all the old errors it wanted to continue to promote:  eternal torment, the inherent immortality of the soul, Trinitarianism, etc. 

It was a perfect testimony that Daniel’s prophecy had come true. The “sanctuary” was cleansed and wanted no part of the old error.