The conclusion of the lead article in the last issue of Present Truth left us with a challenge to understand the Day of Atonement in relation to Christ’s ministry as our High Priest. I believe the prophecies of Daniel chapters 8 and 9 provide us with valuable insights into this subject. I pray that you will be blessed as you study this article.
In the eighth chapter of Daniel is recorded a vision given to Daniel in which he beheld a ram, an he goat, and a little horn. We will examine this chapter, and while we are going through it we will take special notice of the Hebrew words Daniel chose to use in reference to his vision. Specifically, there are two different Hebrew words translated “vision” in chapters 8 and 9. Please note these Hebrew words, which will be in brackets immediately following the word “vision.”
The Babylonians who had taken Daniel, along with many others, captive to Babylon, had destroyed Jerusalem, along with the temple. While Daniel was in Babylon yearning to return home he wrote, “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision [Hebrew: chazown—Strong’s #2377] appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.” (Daniel 8:1) According to many historians this vision was given to Daniel in approximately 550 B.C. (For example, see Bedford’s Scripture Chronology, page 710, as quoted in John Gill’s Expositor on Daniel 8:1.) We will note the significance of this date a little later in the study.
Daniel gives an account of his vision: “And I saw in a vision (chazown); 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 (chazown), 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.” (Daniel 8:2-4) Daniel saw what he described as a “vision” (chazown).
In this vision, the first thing he saw was a ram with two horns. This ram is said to be great. There is no need for us to be in doubt as to the meaning of the symbolism here. The angel Gabriel explained this to Daniel. He said, “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” (Daniel 8:20) Daniel was shown that very soon the kings of Media and Persia would overthrow Babylon.
The He Goat
Daniel continues, “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 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.” (Daniel 8:5-8) After Daniel beheld the great ram, he then saw an he goat that waxed very great.
Again, we can be sure what this he goat represented. Gabriel explained to Daniel, “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.” (Daniel 8:21, 22) Daniel was shown that the next kingdom to come to power would be the kingdom of Greece, which would overthrow the kings of Media and Persia. This prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. The first king here referred to is Alexander the Great. With Alexander as the king of Greece the kingdom enjoyed its greatness. “Alexander was one of the greatest generals of all time, noted for his brilliance as a tactician and troop leader and for the rapidity with which he could traverse great expanses of territory.” (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000—article, “Alexander the Great.”) After Alexander’s death the kingdom of Greece was divided into the hands of four of his generals. The kingdom weakened, never to regain its former power.
The Little Horn
Daniel continues his account of the vision, “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.” (Daniel 8:9) Daniel saw a “little horn” coming out of one of the four “notable ones.” He says this little horn waxed exceeding great. Notice how Daniel describes each of these powers. The ram was great, the he goat was very great, and the little horn was exceeding great. Each one in succession was greater than the one before. Notice that the little horn could not possibly be referring to any of the succeeding kings of Greece, for none of them could be described as “exceeding great.” Alexander was called “very great,” and he was by far the greatest of the kings of Greece.
We must then look beyond the rulers of Greece for the fulfilling of this part of the prophecy. While Gabriel does not tell us exactly who the “little horn” is, he provides enough information to clearly identify the little horn. He said, “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 practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” (Daniel 8:23, 24)
When it says, “in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full,” it is saying that the end of Grecian dominance was at hand, because their sins had come to their full. God used this expression in the Bible to signify the downfall of a kingdom. Notice what God says about the Amorites, “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” (Genesis 15:16) This little horn must arise at the end of the Grecian dominance.
Gabriel described the little horn as “a king of fierce countenance.” God used very similar words referring to this same power when He inspired Moses to write, “The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.” (Deuteronomy 28:49-52)
This is a very accurate description of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. when the walls were destroyed and the temple was cast down. The kingdom that destroyed Jerusalem at this time was none other than the Roman kingdom. This harmonizes perfectly with the other references to the little horn in the prophecies of Daniel. (See Daniel chapter 7.)
Daniel saw what was going to happen to the little horn. He wrote, “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 practiced, and prospered.” (Daniel 8:10-12) Gabriel commented on this, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” (Daniel 8:25)
Daniel’s vision takes us all the way to the end of time, as we know it, when this little horn will be “broken without hand”; not by human power but by the coming of the Lord. Paul wrote that he shall be destroyed by “the brightness of [Christ’s] coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8) Of this power Daniel wrote, “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” (Daniel 7:11)
The Little Horn Magnifies Himself
This little horn is said to magnify himself “even to the prince of the host,” who is also called the Prince of “the host of heaven.” The Prince of the host is Christ Himself who is said to be the “captain of the host of the Lord.” (Joshua 5:14)
Further, it says in verse 11 that this little horn takes away the “daily,” and casts down the place of his sanctuary. (The word “sacrifice” in the King James Version, is in italics to show that it has been supplied by the translators. This word should not be in the text.) Whose sanctuary is meant here? Obviously the sanctuary of the “prince of the host.” It also says that this little horn power will cast the truth to the ground. The work of this “little horn” is referred to as “the transgression of desolation” in the very next verse.
This prophecy could not possibly have reached its fulfillment during the reign of the he goat (Greece), for while Jesus was on earth He referred to that time as yet future when He said, “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).” (Matthew 24:15)
There is no doubt that the “little horn” spoken of here is referring to the Roman power. Since this vision takes us all the way to the second coming of Christ, this “little horn” must encompass not only the pagan Roman power but the papal Roman power as well.
When the verse says that the little horn takes away the daily and casts down the place of Christ’s sanctuary, this could not possibly be referring to the sanctuary on earth for Christ told us, just prior to His death, that it was yet future. Also, at the time of Christ’s death the daily sacrifices on earth became of no account and the earthly sanctuary could in no way be called His sanctuary. Further, the original Hebrew speaks nothing of sacrifices but merely says “daily,” literally meaning “continual.” Since the daily and the sanctuary are linked together here, it is reasonable to conclude that the daily has something to do with the sanctuary. Since the sanctuary on this earth cannot possibly be referred to here, it must have reference to the sanctuary in heaven where Christ is “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Hebrews 8:2) This little horn would seek to take away Christ’s continual work in the heavenly sanctuary. Has this been done? This will be discussed in more detail later in this article.
Daniel Chapter 11
Daniel chapter 11 is an account of Gabriel explaining these things in more detail than was given in chapter 8. Gabriel spoke of this same “little horn” power in this way, “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 11:31)
Gabriel goes on to say of the little horn, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” (Daniel 11:36, 37)
This has evident reference to the papacy. Notice what one commentator had to say about this.
“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, &c. Of the apostles of Christ, from whom he pretends to descend, and whose successor he would be thought to be: …though he would be thought to be [Christ’s] vicar on earth; yet slights him, yea, opposes and acts contrary to him, in his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, and therefore is rightly called antichrist:
“nor the desire of women; or ‘wives’ …not desirous of having wives, or enjoying women in lawful marriage; but forbidding his priests to marry, as is notoriously a tenet of antichrist, and foretold by the apostle, in agreement to this prophecy, 1 Timothy 4:3, otherwise, none more lustful or desirous of women in an unlawful way than the Romish priests:
“nor regard any god; either the true God, and his laws, or any god in a metaphorical sense, any king or potentate on earth; showing no respect to any authority, or to any laws, divine or human:
“for he shall magnify himself above all; above all gods, real or nominal, as in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.” (John Gill’s Expositor on Daniel 11:37.)
Gabriel explained that this little horn power would not “regard the God of his fathers.” He goes on to say, “a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour… a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory.” (See Daniel 11:37-39) The Scriptures foretold that when the papacy arose to power it would reject the true God and honor a “strange god” in His place. Has this happened?
The Papacy Invents a False God
Prior to the papacy coming to full power she formulated a doctrine about God that was contrary to what Christ and His apostles taught. This “strange god” would come to be known as the Trinity. This doctrine was thrust upon the world with power. All those who rejected this “strange god” were threatened with persecution and even death. (For an in-depth study into the formulation of the Trinity doctrine, contact us and ask for the booklet entitled, The Formulation of the Doctrine of the Trinity.)
This new concept of God removed Christ as being the actual Son of God and distorted Christ’s work as our Mediator and High Priest. The Scriptures state, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) The papacy says, “No, there is one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We need a mediator between God and us and if Christ is exactly equal with His Father we must also need a mediator between Christ and us.” Hence the papacy instituted Mary and dead saints as mediators between Christ and us.
As if that were not enough, the papacy then instituted her own priesthood to take the place of Christ ministering as our High Priest in heaven. In this way, the little horn successfully took away the daily and cast the place of Christ’s sanctuary and the truth to the ground, thus setting up the abomination of desolation.
The 2300 Days
Immediately following Daniel’s vision of the ram, the he goat, and the little horn, he “heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision (chazown) 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 [literally: evenings and mornings]; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:13, 14)
The papacy set up the abomination of desolation through the invention of their “strange god,” the Trinity. By this doctrine they hid the truth about Christ being the Son of God, and hence our Mediator. They cast down the truth about Christ ministering in the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest, thereby taking away the daily and casting the place of His sanctuary to the ground. Daniel heard one saint asking, “How long shall be the vision (chazown) concerning” these things? Or as it reads in a more literal translation, “Till when is the vision of the continual…” (Young’s Literal Translation.)
This saint wanted to know when these things would be over. Notice the saint was not asking how long from the beginning of the time when the daily would be taken away to the end of that time, but merely, until when would be the end of these things. Judging by the answer given, and looking elsewhere in Daniel, we can be sure that 2300 days were not given as the total length of time that the abomination of desolation would take place. We learn elsewhere that the total length of time of these things would be 1290 days (see Daniel 12:11), which is slightly more than half of the total 2300-day period. It is evident that the abomination of desolation, the taking away of the daily, and the casting down of the sanctuary does not last for the entire 2300-day period, but by the time the 2300-day period ends, the daily would be reinstated, the sanctuary would no longer be cast down, and the truth which the papacy cast down would be revealed to God’s people once again.
Since the papacy used their “strange god,” the Trinity, to accomplish the abomination of desolation, then by the time of the close of the 2300-day period there must be a message proclaimed revealing the truth about God, His Son, His sanctuary, and the continual ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. These are undeniable facts that must occur to fulfill this prophecy. When we come to an understanding of the 2300-day prophecy, if any of these things are left out, we cannot be correct, and we must look elsewhere for the fulfillment of the 2300 days.
The Literal View
Some people try to place the fulfillment of the 2300 days back during the time of the kings of Greece. They claim that Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled this prophecy by forbidding the daily sacrifices of the earthly sanctuary for three-and-a-half years. Antiochus Epiphanes could not have fulfilled this prophecy for several reasons:
1) The little horn is said to be exceeding great, while the first Grecian king, Alexander the Great, was merely said to be very great, and there were no greater Grecian kings than the first. Therefore there was never a king in the Grecian empire who could fulfill this prophecy. Antiochus Epiphanes could not even be considered very great, let alone exceeding great.
2) Jesus, nearly 200 years after the Grecian kingdom’s fall, predicted this abomination of desolation as yet future.
3) The 2300 days are inseparably linked to the 70 weeks of Daniel 9, which could not possibly have been fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes. (We will examine the 70 weeks more thoroughly a bit later in this study.)
When one examines the commentaries that have been written on Daniel 8:14 he will come away astounded at the confusion that exists on these verses. Some say that the 2300 days were literal days, which make up a little less than six-and-a-half years and were fulfilled during the lifetime of Antiochus Epiphanes, nearly 200 years before Christ. Others claim that the 2300 days are actually 2300 years that end in 1966 A.D. Still others claim that it may have ended in 1820 or 1821 A.D. (For an example of the confusion present throughout the Protestant world on the meaning of the 2300 days, see the following commentaries on Daniel 8:14: Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, John Gill’s Expositor, 1599 Geneva Bible Footnotes, etc.)
Chazown or Mar’eh
At the beginning of this study we noted that we would examine the two Hebrew words Daniel used for “vision” in chapters 8 and 9. Here is where they become important. Daniel used the Hebrew word chazown every time thus far (up to verse 14) in his account of what he saw. Daniel continues, “And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision (chazown), 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 (Hebrew: mar’eh—Strong’s #4758).” (Daniel 8:16)
Up until this point Daniel referred to his vision as a chazown. Now, someone (most likely Christ) commands Gabriel to “make this man to understand the vision (Hebrew: mar’eh). Why the sudden change? We will see shortly. Notice what happens next.
Daniel wrote, “So he [Gabriel] 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 (chazown).” (Daniel 8:17) This is very interesting. Gabriel was commanded to make Daniel understand the vision (mar’eh). But then Gabriel comes to Daniel and says, “Understand… the vision (chazown),” then he proceeds to explain to Daniel what each part of the vision means. We have already looked at Gabriel’s explanation of the ram, he goat, and little horn. When Gabriel comes to the end of the vision something happens. Right when it comes time for Gabriel to explain the 2300 days he stops short. All he says is, “And the vision (mar’eh) of the evening and the morning which was told is true.” And he goes on to say, “wherefore shut thou up the vision (chazown); for it shall be for many days.” (Daniel 8:26)
The next verse gives us a clue why Gabriel stopped short in his explanation. It says, “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision (mar’eh), but none understood it.” (Daniel 8:27) Daniel was not able to handle any more information at that time and Gabriel stopped short in his explanation. Gabriel had been commanded to make Daniel understand the vision (mar’eh), but all he was able to do before Daniel fainted was to explain the vision (chazown). Gabriel thoroughly explained the first part of the vision, which both Daniel and Gabriel referred to as the chazown, but he didn’t get to explain to Daniel the mar’eh, which Christ had commanded him to explain. Notice that in each case where the Hebrew word mar’eh was used it had direct reference to the 2300-day prophecy portion of the vision, and each time the Hebrew word chazown was used it had direct reference to the vision of the ram, he goat, and little horn.
Daniel is Left Astonished
Daniel testified that he was astonished at the mar’eh and none, including himself, understood it. This could not possibly be referring to the portion of the vision concerning the ram, he goat, and little horn, because Gabriel had explained the meaning of them. The only part of the vision that was left unexplained was the 2300-day portion of the vision, otherwise known as the mar’eh. By the time Gabriel left, Daniel still did not understand the mar’eh. This is a sad testimony for Gabriel because Gabriel had been specifically commanded to make Daniel understand the mar’eh.
Daniel was left to ponder these thoughts for approximately 12 years before Gabriel again communicated with Daniel on these matters. (See Bedford’s Scripture Chronology, page 710, as quoted in John Gill’s Expositor on Daniel 9:1.) In approximately 538 B.C. Gabriel again appeared to Daniel, of which he wrote, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” (Daniel 9:1-3)
Daniel was a student of the Scriptures. For 12 years his mind had been contemplating on what the time prophecy of 2300 days could mean. To make certain Daniel understood that the 2300 days were not literally 6 1/3 years, and did not begin at the time the vision was given, God had Gabriel wait until more than seven years had transpired to come to Daniel again. Now Daniel engaged himself in the study of another time prophecy, which was recorded in the book of Jeremiah. The next sixteen verses record the prayer Daniel offered to God. Then Daniel wrote, “And whiles I was speaking, and 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; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision (chazown) at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision (mar’eh).” (Daniel 9:20-23)
Gabriel Comes to Daniel Again
While Daniel is contemplating a time prophecy and praying, Gabriel came informing him that he was to give Daniel understanding. Gabriel had not yet accomplished what he had been commanded to do: to make Daniel understand the mar’eh. Gabriel had now come to Daniel for this very purpose. He goes on to say, “understand the matter, and consider the mar’eh.” Gabriel was not asking Daniel to consider a vision he was about to give him. No, no, for Gabriel did not give Daniel another vision at this time. He was asking Daniel to consider the vision he had already received some twelve years before, recorded in chapter 8. So what came into Daniel’s mind at that time? Did he immediately think of rams and goats and horns? Certainly not! That had already been explained to him. Daniel’s mind went back to the specific portion of the vision that was left unexplained, the 2300-day prophecy (the mar’eh). If Gabriel had expected Daniel to consider the ram, goat, and little horn, he would have said, consider the chazown, but he didn’t, he said, “consider the mar’eh.”
With Daniel’s mind stirred to consider the 2300-day prophecy, Gabriel immediately starts in with the words, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people…” Gabriel does not begin expounding on rams, goats and horns, but begins with an explanation of time. If the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 do not have a direct connection to the 2300 days, then Gabriel failed in his mission. Gabriel had been commanded to make Daniel understand the mar’eh, which he had not done in the previous chapter. Gabriel reminds Daniel of the mar’eh (the 2300 days) and immediately begins expounding on time. This is not a new vision Gabriel is giving to Daniel, but merely an explanation of time. We will see this more clearly as we go on.
The Seventy Weeks
Gabriel said, “Seventy weeks are determined [literally: “cut off”] upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24) The Hebrew word that was translated here “determined” means, “Properly, to cut off; tropically, to divide; and so to determine, to decree.” (Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon) This is the only place in the Bible where this Hebrew word was used.
The angel Gabriel had asked Daniel to consider the 2300 days portion of his last vision, then he said, “Seventy weeks are cut off…” Cut off from what? Gabriel was here to fulfill his mission of making Daniel understand the 2300 days. It is evident that the 70 weeks are cut off from the 2300 days or else Gabriel’s explanation here would be useless to help Daniel understand the 2300 days. So it is clear that 70 weeks must occur sometime during the 2300-day prophecy. Further, for Gabriel to use the 70 weeks to help Daniel understand the 2300 days, these 70 weeks must be cut off from the beginning of the 2300 days or else it would not help Daniel to understand the 2300 days. Therefore, the 2300 days and the 70 weeks must begin at the same time. So if we can determine when the 70 weeks began and ended it is simple to determine when the 2300 days end.
How can we know when these 70 weeks begin? Gabriel gives us the answer in the following verse, he said, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” (Daniel 9:25)
Daniel was in Babylon while his homeland, Jerusalem, was in ruins. Gabriel informed Daniel that soon a commandment would go forth to “restore and to build Jerusalem.” Certainly Daniel was overjoyed at this news. Notice, the beginning of these seventy weeks was not when Jerusalem would be rebuilt, but when the commandment would go forth for it to be rebuilt. Concerning this, one commentary reads, “The seventy weeks date thirteen years before the rebuilding of Jerusalem; for then the re-establishment of the theocracy began, namely, at the return of Ezra to Jerusalem, 457 B.C.” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary on Daniel 9:24.)
We learn of this in the seventh chapter of Ezra where it says, “This Ezra went up from Babylon;… unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.… Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest…” (Ezra 7:6-11) There had been two previous commands given to rebuild Jerusalem, but neither of them truly “went forth” nor accomplished the intended goal. Artaxerxes’ command was recorded verbatim by inspiration. No other decree carries such credentials! Of Artaxerxes’ command it could truly be said it “went forth.”
Artaxerxes began his reign in 464 B.C. “Artaxerxes I (reigned 464-424 B.C.)… Artaxerxes I showed favor to the Jews, issuing a decree allowing them to rebuild Jerusalem and restore the Temple…” (“Artaxerxes” Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1998 Edition.) The seventh year of Artaxerxes’ reign was 457 B.C. According to Gabriel this is the date for the beginning of the 70 weeks. This 70-week prophecy could not possibly be literal weeks of days, for this would only bring us down to 456 B.C., at which time nothing in history would validate the fulfilling of this prophecy. Moreover, Gabriel informs us that when 69 weeks are completed Messiah would come. This certainly did not happen in 456 B.C.
Those who lived prior to the death of Christ had one reference point to determine the beginning of the 70 weeks, which was the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. For those of us living after the death of Christ it is very easy to know when the 70 weeks began and ended because we have two reference points to go by, the coming of the Messiah and the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
From the context of what takes place during these seventy weeks, it is evident that this could not be referring to literal weeks of days, but must mean weeks of years, which would be 490 years.
This understanding of prophetic time is not uncommon in the Bible. For example, consider the following verses:
“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.” (Leviticus 25:8)
“And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” (Ezekiel 4:6)
“After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.” (Numbers 14:34)
“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 12:6)
The prophetic principle of a day of prophetic time equaling a year of literal time is a well known and established principle in Bible prophecy. This biblical understanding of time prophecy is also known by many Bible scholars. For example, please consider the following:
“This space of ‘seventy’ weeks is not to be understood of weeks of literal days; which is too short a time for the fulfillment of so many events as are mentioned; nor were they fulfilled within such a space of time; but of weeks of years, and make up four hundred and ninety years… this way of reckoning of years by days is not unusual in the sacred writings; see Genesis 29:27; Leviticus 25:8; Ezekiel 4:4, 5; Revelation 12:6; 13:5.” (John Gill’s Expositor on Daniel 9:24.)
Referring to Gabriel’s words here, the 1599 Geneva Bible footnotessay, “He alludes to Jeremiah’s prophecy, who prophesied that their captivity would be seventy years: but now God’s mercy would exceed his judgment seven times as much, which would be 490 years, even until the coming of Christ…” (1599 Geneva Bible footnotes on Daniel 9:24.)
With the biblical precedent of a prophetic day equaling one literal year, we can make sense of the 70-week time prophecy.
Putting it all Together
The 70 weeks comprises a total of 490 years and began in 457 B.C., extending to 34 A.D.
If you were to add 457 and 34 you would come up with the number 491. This is one year too many for the 490-year total. So how can I say that the 490 years ended in 34 A.D.?
The answer lies in the fact that there was no year zero (0) A.D. or B.C. The time shifted from 1 B.C. directly to 1 A.D. To illustrate this we will use the example of going from 5 B.C. to 5 A.D. If I wanted to know how many years transpired in this amount of time, and I were to simply add 5 plus 5, I would come up with the answer 10. I would think that ten years transpired. However, please take a look at the graph below.
The time went from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. Now, looking at the time line and counting the number of years that transpired, you can see that it was actually only 9 years that transpired from 5 B.C. to 5 A.D. So if I wanted to designate when 10 years were complete I would have to go all the way to 6 A.D.
The same is true when we consider the 490-year prophecy. Since this prophecy spans over the change from B.C. to A.D. we have to add one year to the A.D. portion to retain the correct number of years. Therefore, the completion of the 490-year period has to be in 34 A.D. Now the question is, what happened in 34 A.D. that would signify the completion of the 70 weeks, and did the Messiah come exactly as predicted in the prophecy? Let us take a few minutes to examine this.
The Coming of the Messiah
Gabriel told Daniel that first there would be 7 weeks, then 62 weeks, and then 1 week, to make up a total of 70 weeks. When we translate this to years, as it evidently must be, we see that first there was a 49-year period, which would take us down to 408 B.C. Next there was a 434-year period, which would take us down to 27 A.D. Gabriel said, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks…” (Daniel 9:25) According to Gabriel in this prophecy, Messiah the Prince would come in exactly 27 A.D. Did this happen? Not if we assume that this was referring to the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. However, let us consider that at that time the coming of the Messiah was almost unknown to the world. Up until 27 A.D. Jesus was not known as the Messiah, but merely as “the carpenter’s son.” (Matthew 13:55)
It was in 27 A.D. that Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan and was proclaimed to be “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) It was in 27 A.D. that Christ began His public ministry, and it was in this year that it could truly be said that the Messiah had come. Mark wrote, “Now after that [thebaptism of Christ and his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness] John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14, 15) What did Jesus mean when He said, “The time is fulfilled”?
One commentary says the following: “We should note that Jesus himself declares that the prophesied time for the setting up of his kingdom was at hand. There were many general prophecies as to this kingdom, but one which especially fixed the time of its coming; namely, Daniel 9:24-27. This prophecy tells of seventy weeks in which each day is reckoned as a year, so that the seventy weeks equal four hundred and ninety years. They are to be counted from the date of the decree, which ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The Messiah, or Prince, was to come at the beginning of the seventieth week, or four hundred and eighty-three years from the date of the decree.” (J. W. Mcgarvey, LL.D. and Philip Y. Pendleton, A.B., The Fourfold Gospel Commentary on Mark 1:15)
Christ came right on schedule, just as the prophecy had foretold. Christ began His public ministry in 27 A.D., which ended 69 weeks of the total 70-week period that had been “cut off” for the children of Israel. They had just one week (7 years) left of their allotted time.
The prophecy did not end here. Gabriel went on, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…” (Daniel 9:26) Gabriel said very plainly that the Messiah would come at the end of the 7-week and 62-week periods, and then Gabriel said, “after” the 62 weeks “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.” The Hebrew word rendered here “cut off” signifies the death of the Messiah. Gabriel informs us that sometime after the first 69 weeks Christ would be killed. Then he goes on: “but not for himself.” Christ died; but not for Himself, for He had not committed any sins. Christ was killed; not for Himself, but for you and me. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just, for the unjust.” (1 Peter 3:18)
The Death of the Messiah
Up to this point Gabriel did not tell us when Christ was to die, but merely sometime after the 69 weeks were completed, or in other words, sometime after 27 A.D. But he doesn’t end it here. He continues, “And he [the Messiah] shall confirm the covenant with many for one 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 9:27) Gabriel informed us that Christ will confirm the covenant with many for one week and in the midst of that week He would “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” What did Gabriel mean when he said that Christ will “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”?
The Hebrew word that is here rendered “oblation,” was used 211 times in the Old Testament. 164 of those times it was translated “offering.” According to Gabriel, Christ would cause the sacrifices of animals and the offerings performed in the earthly sanctuary to cease in the middle of the last week. Did this happen? In the spring of 31 A.D., precisely 3 ½ years after His baptism, Christ was crucified. At this time, the Bible records, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” (Matthew 27:50, 51) When the veil was rent in two by supernatural power it signified that the sacrifices and offerings, along with the earthly sanctuary, were no longer of any use. At that time Christ caused “the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”
By 31 A.D. 69 ½ weeks of the total 70-week period had transpired. There was ½ week left, so what happened next? The ½ week, or 3 ½ years remaining, brings us down to 34 A.D. This date would end the 70-week period that had been allotted to the Jewish nation. At this point we should look for a sign that God had no longer regarded the Israelites as His special people and turned to the Gentiles to bring them salvation.
The Jewish Close of Probation
The year 34 A.D. witnessed the death of the first Christian martyr. Stephen was boldly speaking the truth before the leaders of the Jewish church when they turned on him and stoned him to death. This, along with their killing of the Son of God, ended their role as God’s chosen people. One of those standing there at the time of Stephen’s murder turned out to be the man whom God chose to be the apostle to the Gentiles.
Paul said to the Jewish leaders, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:46) He also wrote, “I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” (2 Timothy 1:11)
In 34 A.D. the times of the Gentiles began, giving them the opportunity to hear the gospel. Thus the Jews’ time of probation had ended as a nation. Their sins had reached heaven, and shortly thereafter Jerusalem was destroyed, along with their temple. To this day they have not been able to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem.
Tying it Together with the 2300 Days
Now that we have this brief overview of the 70 weeks it is simple to designate the year that the 2300-day prophecy ended. As mentioned before, the 70-week prophecy must be inseparably linked to the 2300 days or else Gabriel failed in his mission to make Daniel understand this prophecy. The giving of the 70-week prophecy was specifically designed to make Daniel understand the 2300 days. This 70-week period was said to have been “cut off” and must evidently be “cut off” from the 2300-day period. These two prophecies must begin at the same time or else the 70-week prophecy would be useless to Daniel to help him understand the 2300 days.
This being the case, and since we already know when the 70-week period ended, all we must do now is subtract the 70 weeks from the 2300 days and we will know the date for the end of the 2300-day prophecy. The 70 weeks equals 490 years and ended in 34 A.D. If we take the 2300 days, which would equal 2300 years, and subtract 490 years, we get 1810 years. Therefore, in 34 A.D., there still remained 1810 years before the completion of the 2300-day prophecy. From 34 A.D., if we go down in time 1810 more years, we come to the date 1844. 1844 then must be the end of the 2300-day prophecy.
Back to the Context
Let us take a moment to refresh our minds as to the context of the 2300-day prophecy. Daniel had just been given a vision where he saw a ram, an he goat, and a little horn. He saw that the little horn would take away the daily, cast down the sanctuary, and cast the truth to the ground. We also were informed in chapter 11 that this same power would not “regard the God of his fathers” and “a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour… a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory.” (See Daniel 11:37-39) The Scriptures foretold that when the papacy arose to power it would reject the true God and honor a “strange god” in His place. This is the major part of “the truth” that the little horn is said to have “cast down… to the ground.” All of this together is said to be “the transgression of desolation.”
Immediately following Daniel beholding the events surrounding the little horn and the abominable things it would do, Daniel heard one saint speaking to another saint asking, “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?” (Daniel 8:13)
The one saint was asking, “When will all these things be over?” “When will the truth of the daily ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary no longer be taken away?” “When will the truth about the sanctuary in heaven no longer be cast down?” “When will the truth about God no longer be trodden under foot?” This is the context of the 2300 days.
According to the context of the vision, in 1844 we must look for a message that is proclaimed that will reveal the truth about God, His Son, His sanctuary, and the continual ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. All these things must be fulfilled at this time to fulfill the 2300-day prophecy. Now we must look at this date and see if anything like this occurred.
What Happened in 1844?
History reveals that in the late 1830s and early 1840s a message was being proclaimed in direct relation to the 2300-day prophecy. A Baptist man by the name of William Miller studied the prophecies of Daniel chapters 8 and 9 and came to the conclusion that the 2300 days would end in 1843. His calculations were off by one year due to his misunderstanding of the transition from B.C. to A.D. After the passing of 1843 William Miller revised his understanding of the date in which the 2300-day prophecy would end. He realized that because of the B.C. to A.D. transition there was one extra year that needed to be added. Thus he came to the conclusion that in the fall of 1844, on the Jewish Day of Atonement, Christ would come to cleanse this earth by fire.
William Miller misunderstood the sanctuary to be referring to this earth, and taught that the cleansing of the sanctuary meant that Christ would come and destroy the earth by fire. This, however, was not the case.
Many people joined Miller in his preaching of the soon-coming of Christ. However, the Day of Atonement in 1844 passed without any sign of Christ coming to cleanse the earth with fire. Many people lost hope of the imminent return of Christ and concluded that Miller’s interpretation of the 2300 days was wrong. Miller was correct in his understanding that the 2300 days ended in 1844, as has been demonstrated by this study, but he was wrong in his conclusions as to what would happen in that year.
The Cleansing of the Sanctuary
The day after the Day of Atonement in 1844 a man by the name of Hiram Edson saw a vision in which he beheld the sanctuary in heaven. He saw that Christ and His Father, instead of coming to this earth, actually moved from the holy place to the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to begin their work in the second apartment of that sanctuary.
This understanding fits the verse that says, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” This sanctuary evidently refers to the sanctuary in heaven because by the time the 2300 days were completed, there was no sanctuary on earth. Paul demonstrates that there truly is a sanctuary in heaven as is brought out in Hebrews chapter 8.
It is clear from Scripture that the earthly sanctuary and its services were a “shadow of heavenly things.” (Hebrews 8:5) In the earthly sanctuary there was one day each year when the high priest entered into the most holy place. Scripture explains that on this day the priest “shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.” (Leviticus 16:33)
On the Day of Atonement the high priest was to make an atonement for the sanctuary. In this process he was to “sprinkle of the blood upon the altar with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” (Leviticus 16:19) Making the atonement for the sanctuary can also be referred to as cleansing the sanctuary. Notice what God said about how we fit into the cleansing of the sanctuary. “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” (Leviticus 16:30) The cleansing of the sanctuary included a cleansing of the people.
In 1844 the Father and His Son began their work in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, thus beginning the true Day of Atonement. This is the message Hiram Edson and his companions proclaimed as the fulfilling of the 2300-day prophecy. Yet if this were the only part of the message they proclaimed, it would fall short of fulfilling the context of the 2300-day prophecy. The context indicates that not only would the sanctuary be cleansed but also the truth about God, His Son, His sanctuary, and the continual ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary would be revealed. Did this happen?
In 1844 God raised up a body of believers proclaiming a message predicted by Bible prophecy. The woman described in Revelation 12 that had gone into the wilderness was coming out. This church proclaimed all the messages prophesied in Daniel chapter 8. They rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, which enabled them to teach the truth on these important subjects. They taught the truth about God, His Son, His sanctuary and Christ’s daily ministration in the heavenly sanctuary. This prophecy was fulfilled to the letter by this movement that God raised up.
Daniel and Leviticus Connected
“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:14) This prophecy has reference to the day of atonement described in Leviticus 16, especially verse 30, which speaks of an atonement of cleansing. “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” This was an atonement of cleansing, complementing the atonement of forgiveness as described in Leviticus 4, which resulted from the sin offering.
This connection between Daniel 8 and Leviticus 16 has been called into serious question by some because it is stated that the translation of “cleansed,” in Daniel 8:14 in the KJV, is incorrect. However, a study of the two Hebrew words in question, from Daniel and Leviticus, shows a clear linguistic parallel in meaning. In Daniel 8:14, the word translated “cleansed” is the Hebrew word qdu – tsadaq (Strong’s #6663 ). The words translated “cleanse” and “clean” in Leviticus 16:30 are from the Hebrew word: rhj – taher (Strong’s #2891).
Hebrew parallelism shows a clear connection between these words. Notice Job 4:17:
“Shall mortal man be more just (tsadaq) than God? shall a man be more pure (taher) than his maker?” (Job 4:17) Here the parallelism is the synonymous form where the second line repeats the first in slightly different words, but carries the same meaning. In this verse tsadaq and taher are considered to be equivalent.
Let us now look at some other verses that use tsadaq and taher or one of their variations with similar meaning.
“The righteous (tsaddiyq: a form of tsadaq) also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean (tehowr: a form of taher) hands shall be stronger and stronger.” (Job 17:9) Here the “righteous” and the “clean” are given equivalent status.
In Ecclesiastes 9:2 we find more parallelism. “All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous (tsaddiyq), and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean (tahowr: a form of taher) and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.” Here the wise man is equating the “righteous” with those that are “clean.”
“The fear of the LORD is clean (tahowr), enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous (tsadaq) altogether. (Psalms 19:9) Here “clean” and “righteous” are clearly parallel.
Especially interesting is the connection found in Malachi 3:1-3: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier (taher) of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness (tsedaqah: a form of tsadaq).” Here a work of judgment and a work of refining or cleansing is clearly brought to view as the Lord comes to his temple or sanctuary.
While we are considering the linguistic concerns of Daniel 8:14 we wish to tackle another concern that has been raised over the years: “Daniel 8:14 says, ‘And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Even if the time prophecy extends to 1844, the language seems to be saying that it is to be done or at least finished by 1844, not beginning in 1844. Also, the verb tense for tsadaq in this verse is the Hebrew perfect tense which usually denotes a completed action.” This concern appears, on the surface, to be a very valid one. However, the perfect tense can also be used to denote action, “completed from the point of view of another action yet future – I will draw for thy camels also until ‘they have done’ drinking.” (Brown–Driver–Briggs’ Hebrew Lexicon.)
Concerning the perfect tense, the Brown–Driver– Briggs’ Hebrew Lexicon also states, “Sometimes in Hebrew, future events are conceived so vividly and so realistically that they are regarded as having virtually taken place and are described by the perfect.” An example of this is connected to the mar’eh. Daniel 9:24 says: “Seventy weeks are determined [cut off] upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” The Hebrew verb, Ktx – chathak, translated “determined,” is in the perfect tense, yet it cannot denote completed action here because the “seventy weeks” were not to begin for another eighty plus years! In Daniel 8:14 God is declaring that even though the little horn power would seem to gain the upper hand in his warfare against God and His people, there would come a time when not only would the sanctuary be cleansed, but the truth about God, His Son, His sanctuary, and the continual ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary would be revealed.
Let us also notice two other verses using the perfect tense.
“And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead [perfect tense] with you face to face.” (Ezekiel 20:35) It is obvious that this verse is referring to a time when God would begin pleading, rather than a time when He had already finished pleading.
“Our necks are under persecution [perfect tense]: we labour, and have no rest.” (Lamentations 5:5) This verse is obviously referring to an ongoing persecution rather than a persecution that has already been completed.
Some may ask, “How could the heavenly sanctuary need cleansing?” The answer is to be found when we consider the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary. God instructed Moses to make an atonement for the sanctuary to “cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” (Leviticus 16:19) It was the sins of the people that made the sanctuary unclean. The sanctuary was not unclean in and of itself, but was considered unclean because of the sins of the people that had been symbolically transferred to it by the blood of the sacrifice. In like manner, the sins of God’s people were transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ at His resurrection.
It seems strange to consider anything in heaven to need cleansing, but let us consider a couple verses: “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” (Job 15:15) Paul wrote, “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these [blood of calves and goats]; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” (Hebrews 9:23) Paul says that the heavenly things must be purified with better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
A Work Done After the Death of Christ
Christ’s death on the cross was vitally important, for without that He would have nothing to offer on our behalf. Paul wrote, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.” (Hebrews 8:1-3) At Christ’s resurrection He, for the first time, entered upon His work as our High Priest; a minister of the sanctuary in heaven. He could not have been our high priest until after He had something to offer—after His death on the cross.
The earthly high priest was ordained “to offer gifts and sacrifices.” To whom did he offer the gifts and sacrifices? To God! Christ has been ordained as our High Priest, and He must have something to offer—the merits of His perfect and complete sacrifice.
If, in the earthly sanctuary service, the sinner brought the sacrifice and merely killed it, would that be of any benefit to the sinner? Certainly not! The sin that had been symbolically transferred to the sacrifice by confession had to be transferred, by the priest, to the sanctuary before the sinner could be forgiven. In like manner, we must have the ministration of our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary so that we can be forgiven. We need the ministration of Christ on our behalf as much as we needed the death of Christ for our sins. One without the other would be of no avail. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
The Work of Our High Priest Today
This all seems new to many people because they have never given much thought regarding the necessity of Christ being our High Priest, “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
Notice what Paul said in the following verse: “Wherefore in all things it behoved him [Christ] to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17) This verse sheds much light on this subject. It says that Christ had to become a man before He could be a merciful and faithful High Priest. The Greek word that was translated “behoved” means to be under obligation. (See Strong’s Greek Lexicon.) Before Christ could be our High Priest He had to become a man and die for our sins so that He would have something to offer as a minister in the heavenly sanctuary.
Notice what Paul said Christ would do after He became our High Priest. He said that Christ had to be a High Priest “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Christ is our High Priest today, making reconciliation for our sins. Paul did not say He made reconciliation [past tense] for the sins of the people but that He is making reconciliation [present tense] for the sins of the people. The Greek term to ilaskesqai that was translated “make reconciliation” is in the present tense in Greek. This agrees with Paul’s words in the book of Hebrews where he said Christ “ever liveth to make intercession” for us. (Hebrews 7:25) Praise the Lord that He has not only provided His Son as our perfect sacrifice, but also appointed Him to be our High Priest to minister for us, making reconciliation for our sins today. There is a work going on right now in heaven that we must not overlook.
The context of the 2300 days demands that they are 2300 years, and that at the end of them the truth about God, His Son, His sanctuary, and Christ’s continual ministration in the heavenly sanctuary must be revealed. The 2300-day prophecy itself shows that at the close of the 2300 days the sanctuary in heaven would be cleansed. Gabriel’s mission was to make Daniel understand the 2300 days, which he did by explaining that 70 weeks were cut off from the total length of the 2300 days. The 70 weeks must have been cut off from the beginning of the 2300-day period or else the 70 weeks would not help Daniel understand the 2300 days, and Gabriel would have failed in his mission to make Daniel understand this prophecy.
The 70 weeks began in 457 B.C. with the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. They are 70 weeks of years rather than 70 weeks of days. The 70 weeks must have ended in 34 A.D. with the stoning of Stephen, which ended the time of probation for the Jewish nation. The 2300 days ended in 1844, at which time the truth about God, His Son, His sanctuary, and the continual ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary was revealed. Also, at this time the Father and His Son entered the most holy place to begin the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, typified by the Day of Atonement.
I pray that this study has been helpful to you in your quest for the truth and nothing but the truth. I have enjoyed studying these things out for myself, and I pray you will find the same blessings as you do the same.