The 2300 Days (Daniel 8-9)
Read the prophecy in Daniel 8 and 9.
The Messiah's Sanctuary, its desolation and restoration.
The ram and goat in this vision are both sacrificial animals offered on the Day of Atonement. These animals illustrate a shift of focus from Daniel's previous vision where the animals were beasts of prey and well known mythological creatures in the Babylonian world. The language of this vision also switches back from Aramaic to Hebrew, showing a change in perspective to the Hebrew culture and a new emphasis on the sanctuary (Daniel 2:4 to 7:28 was written in Aramaic, the means of official communication throughout the Medo Persian Empire).
The prophecy reveals how the sanctuary in heaven is "trodden under foot" while attention is diverted to an earthly imitation, causing the need for the sanctuary to be cleansed and made right. The prophecy parallels the previous two, and the court scene of Daniel 7 is now unfolded in greater detail.
Main Starting Points:
- The angel reveals that the ram symbolizes Medo Persia (v. 20) and the goat symbolizes Greece (v. 21), establishing the prophecy's starting point.
- This prophecy parallels the previous prophecy in Daniel 7, but provides more detail, especially about the middle ages and the "time of the end" (v. 17).
- This prophecy encompasses both Daniel 8 and 9. At the end of chapter 8, the angel Gabriel was commanded to make Daniel understand the vision. However, after hearing a partial explanation, Daniel didn't understand it and was so upset that he fell ill (v. 27). In chapter 9, Gabriel returns years later to explain further, saying "I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.. and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision" (Daniel 9:22-23).
Realm #2: Ram = Medo Persia (539BC to 331BC)
In this vision, Daniel sees a ram, which the angel says symbolizes the Medo-Persian empire (Dan. 8:20). One horn is higher than the other representing the imbalance of power (Persia was stronger than Media). This was also portrayed by the bear raised up on one side in Daniel's second vision (Dan. 7:5). The ram pushes in three directions, indicating its three main areas of conquest, which are also represented by the three ribs in the bears mouth in Daniel's previous vision:
Northward - Lydia - 546 BC
Westward - Babylon - 539 BC
Southward - Egypt - 525 BC
Realm #3: Goat = Greece (331BC to 168BC)
A goat appears after the ram, attacking it with fury, casting it to the ground. The angels also reveals that this symbolizes Greece (v.21) overpowering Medo Persia to become the next realm. The prophecy states that the goat's great horn is the first king of Greece, which was Alexandar the Great. He conquered the empire with remarkable swiftness, but when Alexander was in his prime, he unexpectedly died in 323 BC ("great horn was broken" Dan. 8:8). Alexander's generals eventually settled on a division of the kingdom into four parts (Dan. 8:8, 22). This was also symbolized by the four heads on the leopard in Daniel's previous vision.
- Ptolemy (Egypt, Palestine and parts of Syria)
- Cassander (Macedonia and some interest in Greece)
- Seleucus (Persian Empire, part of Asia Minor, Northern Syria, Mesopotamia and the east)
- Lysimachus (Thrace and a large part of Asia minor)
Realm #4: Little Horn = Rome (168BC to Second Coming)
This little horn comes into power after the horn (Alexandar the Great) on the goat (Greece) is replaced by four horns (divisions of political power in Greece under four of Alexandar's generals) that spread out in each direction (north, south, east, west). When the angel interprets the vision, he says the little horn arises in the latter time (end) of their (the four divisions) rule/realm (singular) (8:23). It comes out of one of the four divisions and becomes even greater than the realms prior to it ("exceeding great" v. 9). As already demonstrated in Daniel's previous visions and as known from history, Rome was the next realm and fits all of the identifying characteristics of this little horn.
Out of one of them
The Macedonian/Greece division of the Greek realm was initially ruled by Cassander, and he was later replaced by the Antigonid dynasty, which gained control over Macedonia and Greece by 276 BC. When the Romans defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC (end of the third Macedonian War), the Antigonid power in Greece came to an end. The monarchy was abolished and replaced by Roman client states. The monarchy attempted to regain power during the fourth Macedonian war (150-148 BC), but failed and Macedonia became a province of Rome (146 BC) and Greece became a Roman protectorate.
Medo Persia is described as "great" (v. 4), Greece is described as "very great" (v. 8), and the little horn is "exceeding great" (v. 9). The kingdom following Greece must be an even greater realm. In the angel's interpretation, the little horn symbolizes a "king of fierce countenance". The fierceness of Rome is also portrayed in previous prophecies as a kingdom of iron that subdues all and breaks them in pieces and bruises (Dan. 2:40), and as an exceeding dreadful and terrible kingdom (Dan. 7:7,19).
Little Horn Waxing Great (toward South, East & Pleasant Land): Pagan Rome (168AD to 538 AD)
Rome is first described as waxing great toward the south, east and pleasant land, showing Pagan Rome's conquests (Dan. 8:9).
Carthage and Northern Africa in 146 BC. Rome controlled Italy by 268 BC. During the Punic Wars (264-241, 218-201, 149-146 BC), Rome weakened Carthage and eventually emerged victorious. Carthage was a city in northern Africa south of Italy, whose territory also included much of Spain.
Anatolia, Armenia and Syria during the Mithridatic Wars of 88-63 BC. Rome expanded eastward during the wars against Mithradates (88-63 BC). The geography of the area of Greece and Asia Minor with many islands caused the wars to largely hinge on the strength of the naval powers. Piracy wars developed out of this war. Mithradates captured Asia Minor and pushed into Greece, but Rome declared war in 87 BC and by 86 BC, Greece was fully restored to Roman rule. During the second Mithradatic War (83-81 BC) there was fighting, but no major gains on either side. In the third Mithradatic War (73-63 BC), Rome continued further eastward taking Syria and establishing Armenia as a client state.
Land of Judea (Ps. 106:21-25) in 63 BC. The Jews lost independence and became a client kingdom of Rome in 63 BC when General Pompey captured Jerusalem.
Little Horn Waxing Great (Toward Heaven): Papal Rome (538 AD to 1798 AD)
Then, the Little Horn waxes great upward, to the host of heaven, showing Papal Rome's aspirations. The description of this little horn's activities and characteristics (Dan. 8:10-12) are similar to those of the Little horn in Daniel's previous vision, making it apparent that this little horn not only represents the Roman realm through its years as a pagan empire, but also Papal Rome through the middle ages. Just like in Daniel 7, the characteristics reveal that a religious power is at work, one that persecutes, rejects truth and interferes with Jesus' ministry. Notice the religious nature of many of its activities:
- It waxed great, even to the host of heaven
- It cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them
- Magnified himself even to the prince of the host
- By him the daily sacrifice was taken away
- By him... the place of his sanctuary was cast down
- An host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression
- Cast down the truth to the ground
- Shall destroy the mighty and the holy people
- He shall magnify himself in his heart
- By peace shall destroy many
- He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes
Activities of the Little Horn
Trods on the "Host"
= Papal Rome persecutes God's People
The Little Horn casts down and stamps on the host (v. 10), and the host is given to the Little Horn (v. 12). When the angel interprets the vision, he says the fierce looking king (little horn) will destroy the mighty and holy people (Dan. 8:24), linking the host to God's people (see "Verse-By-Verse Activities of The Little Horn" chart below for more details). The word translated to "host" means a mass of organized persons. The power of Papal Rome over God's people was also referenced in the previous prophecy in Daniel 7, where it was said it would "wear out the saints" and that "they shall be given into his hand" (Daniel 7:25). The saints were "given into his hand" in Daniel 7:25 and they were "given him" in Dan. 8:12.
As another parallel example, in Daniel 7, the saints would be in this troublesome state (given to the horn), which was allowed for 1260 years until the time of the judgment/court scene. "I beheld, and the same horn [Papal-led Roman Realm] made war with the saints [God's people], and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High [vindicating right as a result of investigating the books]; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom" (Daniel 7:21-22). In Daniel 8, the saints would be in this troublesome state until the cleansing of the sanctuary [restoration of the right] (Daniel 8:13-14, 12:11). This not only links the little horn of Daniel 7 to the little horn of Daniel 8, but also links the court scene of Daniel 7 to the sanctuary cleansing in Daniel 8.
Note: The "host of heaven" is used in the Old Testament in reference to the sun, moon, planets and especially the stars (compare the host in Jer. 33:22 to the stars in Gen. 22:17, the host in Is. 34:4 is explained in Rev. 6:13-14 as stars, 2 Kings 23:5, Deut 4:19, 17:3, Jer. 8:2, Psalm 148:2). It is also used in reference to the beings surrounding God's throne in heaven (I Kings 22:19/2 Chron. 18:18). When used as a prophetic symbol, and in conjunction with the specific mention of the stars (Dan. 8:10), it is likely referring to the literal heavenly bodies, especially stars, which then have a symbolic meaning. In Revelation, stars mean messengers.
Takes away the "Daily Sacrifice"
= Papal Rome usurps Christ's Continual Ministry
As represented by the sacrificial animals in this vision, the casting down of the sanctuary by the little horn, and the cleansing of the sanctuary, the focus of the prophecy is on God's sanctuary. The little horn magnifies himself even to the prince of the host, takes away the daily sacrifice, and casts down the sanctuary (Dan. 8:11).
The term "daily sacrifice" in Hebrew is "tamid", which means "continually" (note that the word "sacrifice" is not in the original) and is used in the Old Testament in connection with the earthly sanctuary services. The priests performed certain functions continually, such as keeping the lamps burning (Ex. 27:20, 2 Chron. 13:11), burning incense continually (Ex. 30:8) and keeping a burnt offering on the altar continually. The "daily sacrifice" in prophecy symbolizes the continual service of Jesus Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. He is our priest (Heb. 8:1-2) and our intercessor (Rom. 8:34), continually listening to our prayers, sending the Holy Spirit to help us, and mediating for us. The little horn thought to take this away, obscure it, or supplant it. The Papacy (little horn waxing great toward heaven) did this by establishing a religious system where direct access to God through Christ was replaced with earthly mediators. The little horn ascribed to itself the work of the Prince and rejected the Prince's sanctuary as the only place of true forgiveness and mediation. This desolation of the sanctuary would eventually be put to an end after 2300 days when the sanctuary would be cleansed (Dan. 8:14).
Transgression of Desolation
= The Roman state "surrounds" the church
This same symbol is referenced as the abomination that maketh desolate in Daniel 11.
"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).
Jesus pointed us to who this abomination would be. Read the three gospel verses that refer to this event:
- "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" (Matthew 24:15-16).
- "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" (Mark 13:14).
- "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains" (Luke 21:20-21).
Notice that in Luke's account, he clarifies that the abomination of desolation refers to the armies that would surround Jerusalem. This occurred in 68 AD when general Cestius' Roman army surrounded Jerusalem, but just when the Jews were seemingly at the point of surrender, the general withdrew his army. When the Jews chased after the Romans, the Christians were able to escape the city and flee to safely. The siege was later resumed by the general Titus and thousands of Jews perished from famine and sword and the city was finally successfully taken by the Romans.
The meaning of the prophetic symbol of the abomination of desolation is thus identified as Roman armies. But, more specifically, it is in the context of standing where they shouldn't, surrounding God's people, threatening God's people, using the state power to interfere in religious matters and destroying the sanctuary.
When this meaning is applied to Daniel's prophecies, we can see the development of a state power that gets involved where it shouldn't, using its armies to threaten God's people and interfere in religious matters. This situation came about in 508 AD when the Frankish leader Clovis became the first official Christian king of the Roman realm. This was formally recognized in the year 508 AD by the eastern emperor.
The Franks became the primary force that enabled the spreading of a false Christianity. As the political power leading the Roman realm, the Franks "surrounded" the church in their lands, integrating church offices into the fabric of government.
The timing of this abomination of desolation would occur as the Roman realm would transition from a political power into a religious-political power. Notice in the verses below how the Roman realm (the little horn) develops into a force that is very involved in religious matters.
"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 [Roman conquests against other nations]. 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 [Roman conquests against God in heaven and His people]. 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" (Daniel 8:9-12).
Later, in Daniel 12, a time prophecy is given in relation to the abomination of desolation, which pinpoints the exact date of 508 AD when the Roman state power would begin to "stand where it shouldn't" as it involved itself with church matters.
Israel's sanctuary was referred to as desolate because no one was there. Daniel prayed about this while they were in captivity in Babylon: "Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies" (Dan. 9:17-18). The symbolism of the earthly sanctuary being desolated (empty) is fulfilled in the reality as the heavenly sanctuary is made desolate when no one goes there for help from the true priest, Jesus, and for true forgiveness. Instead, the church-state system of the Middle Ages set up a substitute system that directed people to earthly priests for salvation.
In summary, the Roman state incorporated church into government and created the environment in which the apostate church could abuse the sanctuary and supplant Christ's ministry.
|Daniel 8:10 "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."
NIV: "10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them."
Papal Rome boasted and lifted itself up, gaining power until it had control over God's people (host), including the leaders/preachers (stars=messengers), overthrowing and persecuting them.
Notes: The word translated to "host" (s?aba) means a mass of people organized for war, or an army. This army is "of heaven". When the angel interprets the vision, he refers to the mighty and the holy people being destroyed (v. 24), which is symbolized here by the "host" being stamped upon. In prophecy, stars symbolize messengers. In Rev. 1:20, the stars are the messengers of the churches. This would be people like the preachers, evangelists and leaders. Thus, the host represents God's people (the church) and the stars are the leaders or pastors of God's people.
11 "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."
NASB: 11 "It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down." Papal Rome boasted and lifted itself up as if it were equal with Jesus (prince of the host) and took away from Jesus the continual ministry that Jesus does in the heavenly sanctuary (daily), and threw out the truth about Jesus' sanctuary.
Notes: The prince that the little horn magnifies himself to be equal to, is not just an ordinary ruler. Indeed, when the angel interprets the vision, he says the little horn (Rome) would stand up against the "prince of princes" (Dan. 8:25). The Hebrew word translated to "prince" is "sar" and means the head person, captain, chief or ruler. The Bible refers to many "sars" who ruled in many various places and capacities. But, the person who is captain or "sar" of the armies of heaven and the organized armies of God's people on earth, is the Lord (Josh. 5:13-15, 1 Sam. 17:36,45).
The prince of the host (identified as a host "of heaven" in the previous verse) would be the commander or leader of God's people or the armies of heaven, the Lord (Psalm 46:7). If the host is "of heaven" and refers to God's people, then the prince of this host would not refer to a prince who wasn't part of God's people.
12 "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."
NASB: 12 "And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper."
God's people (host) and the continual ministry of Christ (the daily) are given over to the power of Rome (Little Horn), because of rebellion (transgression).
Notes: In verse 13 the host is trodden under foot, which occurs because the host is given to the Little Horn in verse 12. The NASB reads "the host will be given over to the horn" and the YLT reads "the host is given up". This is also how it was portrayed in Daniel's previous vision in chapter 7 where Papal Rome (little horn) prevails over the saints and they are "given into his hand" for the 1260 years (Dan. 7:25).
Note: In Daniel 11:31 an army takes away the daily and sets up the abomination of desolation. However, the word translatated to "army" is different than the word here translated to "host". The army that enables the desolation to occur, was the state power of the Franks, who's king Clovis became the first Catholic king and who's armies became the defender of the Papacy. The host that is here (Daniel 8:12) given into the hands of Papal Rome to be trodden are God's people ("host of heaven").
13 "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?"
NLT: 13 Then I heard two holy ones talking to each other. One of them asked, "How long will the events of this vision last? How long will the rebellion that causes desecration stop the daily sacrifices? How long will the Temple and heaven's army be trampled on?"
How long will Papal Rome be allowed to put itself in place of Jesus' continual ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (daily), and the state powers of Rome continue the rebellion that causes such devastation (desolation), which abases/brings down (trod under foot) Jesus' sanctuary and God's people?
14 "And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
NASB: 14 "He said to me, 'For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.'"
The place of Jesus' continual ministry in heaven (sanctuary) will be vindicated/made right (cleansed) at the end of 2300 years (2300 days).
24 "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."
NLT: 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people.
The Papacy would not be powerful through its own might, but rather convince state powers to fight for it. The Papacy would destroy to an extraordinary degree, accomplishing difficult things. It would destroy powerful people and God's people.
25 "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."
NASB: 25 "And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency."
Because of the intelligence (policy) of the Papacy, it would successfully promote and engage in deceitfulness/fraud (craft). It would boast and lift up (magnify) itself in its own mind. It would destroy others when they felt secure and at ease (peace), when they didn't expect it. It would rise up and set itself as if over Jesus. It will be destroyed by supernatural means, not by human agency.
Similarities between the little horns of Daniel 7 and 8
- The same symbol of a little horn is used (7:8, 8:9).
- Both arise after the Greek realm (7:6-8, 23-24, 8:9,22-23).
- They are both little at the beginning but become great (7:8,20, 8:9).
- Both persecute God's people (7:21,25, 8:10,24).
- Both exalt themselves (7:8,11,20,25 and 8:10-12, 25).
- Both are involved in activities that extend to the time of the end (7:25, 12:7-9, 8:17,19)
- Both are supernaturally destroyed (7:11,26, 8:25)
Why the Little Horn doesn't Represent a Single King
When the angel interprets the vision, he says of the little horn, that "a king of fierce countenance" will stand up. The use of the word "king" does not necessarily symbolize an individual, but can refer to a kingdom. King is actually used interchangably with kingdom. For example, in the angel's interpretation of Daniel's vision in chapter 7, he uses kings and kingdoms interchangeably. "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth...The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms" (Daniel 7:17,23). In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar was told he (the "king") was the head of gold, but that his "kingdom" would be replaced by another, which referred to the Medes and Persians after several more Babylonian kings. Look earlier in this interpretation of Daniel 8, where the angel says "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia" (Daniel 8:20). The symbol of the ram includes all of its many kings. After that the angel says "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (Daniel 8:21). Notice that the goat is referred to as a king and the horn as its first king. The goat represents the entire kingdom including its first king. In like manner, the little horn also represents a kingdom, with all of its kings.
List of Reasons:
- Parallel visions: The previous two visions (Dan. 2, 7) point to Rome as the kingdom following Greece, which followed Medo-Persia. The patterns and parallels of the visions support Rome as the kingdom being symbolized by the little horn.
- Final realm destroyed without human power: The little horn is "broken without hand" (Dan. 8:25), signifying being destroyed supernaturally, not by human power. This is also how the final ruling kingdom is destroyed in Daniel 2, by the stone "cut out without hands" (Dan. 2:34). This final kingdom would last until the second coming when Christ defeats all earthly powers. The life of the little horn must span many hundreds of years.
- The realm is exceeding great: Medo Persia is described as "great" (v. 4), Greece is described as "very great" (v. 8), and the little horn is "exceeding great" (v. 9). The kingdom following Greece must be an even greater realm, not a relatively short and limited reign of one ruler.
- Fights against the Prince of Princes (v. 25): Only Rome has waged the kind of religious war outlined in the prophecy. It stood up against the sanctuary and God's people, but also Jesus Christ Himself. Rome stood up against Jesus, the "prince of princes" (v. 25), the prince of the sanctuary (v. 11), attempting to kill Him when He was born and putting Him to death on the cross in 31 AD. Rome also destroyed the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. It then trampled on truth and the sanctuary during the middle ages by supplanting the mediatorial ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary for 1260 years.
- The vision is for the "time of the end" (8:17): The angel says the vision is "for many days" (8:26). The "time of the end" is also referred to in Daniel 11, occurring only after a long succession of wars and conquests and just before the final king of the north comes to his end and none help him (11:45) as Michael delivers and resurrects His people (12:1-3). The vision covers a long time period, to the time of the end when Christ returns to earth. The extent of the little horn's activities require a much longer time period than the reign of one earthly ruler, and the time frame must extend from the fall of the Greek empire to the "time of the end". Only Rome, in its various phases, meets these time specifications.
- Same entity as Little Horn of Daniel 7: The descriptions of this little horn tie it to the sea beast of Revelation 13 (both work against God's sanctuary and His people), which is also tied to the Little Horn of Daniel 7. All of these symbols fit the same power of Papal Rome. The little horn of Daniel 7 only comes to power after the fourth realm (Rome) comes to power and after the 10 horns rise (Rome decentralizes into 10 kingdoms), which didn't occur until the 5th century AD. This happened much later than the reign of a single king arising near the end of the Grecian Empire or the beginning of the Roman Empire.
Note: Antiochus Epiphanes was a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire who ruled the Jews from 175 to 164 BC. He is known for persecuting the Jews and considered a major villian, massacring and selling into slavery eighty thousand Jews. He outlawed Jewish religious rites and traditions, ordered the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to Zeus and brought profane things into it. Though Antiochus did profane the sanctuary, he does not fit the requirements of the prophecy, for the many reasons outlined above.
Sanctuary Is Cleansed = Pre-Advent Judgment (1844 AD to Close of Probation)
The sanctuary that is cleansed exists in "the time of the end", long after the Israelite sanctuary was destroyed. The following Bible verses reveal another sanctuary that needs cleansing in the time of the end.
- The earthly sanctuary was made after the pattern:
"And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it" (Exodus 25:8-9) (see also Ex. 25:40).
When God instructed Moses to build a sanctuary, He said to make it after "the pattern", or after the model, resemblance or likeness of something. This great original, after which the Israelite sanctuary was patterned, is revealed in detail in the New Testament.
- The heavenly sanctuary is the pattern:
"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. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount" (Hebrews 8:1-5).
Notice that the sanctuary described above is in heaven, pitched by the Lord, different from the earthly sanctuary pitched by man. Also, the activities of the earthly priests were a shadow, or example, of Jesus' priestly ministry from this true tabernacle in heaven.
- The earthly sanctuary, its furniture and ceremonies are symbolic:
"And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side... And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it. And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold. Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels. And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount." (Exodus 25:31-32, 37-40) (see also Numbers 8:4).
The earthly sanctuary had a seven-branched candlestick in the Holy Place compartment. It was kept burning continually (Ex. 27:20). This candlestick was an example, or symbolized, an activity performed by Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary.
"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle" (Revelation 1:12-13).
"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God" (Revelation 4:5).
"The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches" (Revelation 1:20).
The seven-branched candlestick represents Christ's church, and the fire burning upon them represents the work of the Holy Spirit (oil) to enable the light of the gospel to shine out to the world. Jesus is pictured as standing among the churches and tending to them, just like an earthly priest would keep the earthly candlesticks trimmed, filled with oil and burning.
- When the furniture in the earthly sanctuary are seen in prophecy, it represents some aspect of Jesus' ministry from the heavenly sanctuary:
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand" (Revelation 8:3-4).
The objects referred to in the prophecy were part of the earthly sanctuary (Ex. 30:1,6-8). However, in this scene, these items are "before the throne", which is in heaven. The earthly was the shadow (type, symbol, figure) of the heavenly reality (antitype, fulfillment, original). The burning of the incense in the earthly sanctuary symbolizes Jesus mingling His mertis with the prayers of His people to make them acceptable before God, a sweet odor rising up before the throne of God.
"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints" (Revelation 5:8).
"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psalms 141:2).
- More Bible texts about the temple in heaven:
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail" (Revelation 11:19).
The above verse explicitly states that there is a temple in heaven. It also states that the "ark of his testament", which was contained in the Most Holy compartment of the earthly sanctuary, is seen in the heavenly temple.
"And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened" (Revelation 15:5).
"The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men" (Psalms 11:4).
See also: Psalm 102:19; Micah 1:2-3.
- Jesus' work from the heavenly sanctuary is to administer the plan of salvation.
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16) (see also Hebrews 1:3).
"Wherefore in all things it behoved him 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) (see also Hebrew 3:1).
"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14).
The work of Jesus, in His role as our high priest in the true sanctuary in heaven, is ministering to make reconciliation (make one no longer opposed, re-establish friendly relations, making compatible), give mercy, send grace and purify our consciences, among many other things. He is administering the plan of salvation. When prophecies use items, ceremonies or events related to the earthly sanctuary, they are symbolizing some aspect of Christ's ongoing ministry for us in the heavenly sanctuary.
The events and timing of the "Cleansing of the Sanctuary," can be understood by studying the Day of Atonement symbolism in the earthly sanctuary. The Israelites observed the Day of Atonement on day ten of month seven. "And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls" (Num. 29:7). "For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people" (Lev. 23:29). This was a solemn day of judgment for the Israelites. Those who did not afflict (humble, weaken, answer, chasten self) his/her soul that day would be cut off (Lev. 16:29, 23:27-29). This was the only day of the year that the high priest would enter into the Most Holy compartment of the Sanctuary (see Lev. 16:29-34). He would make atonement for the people and also for the sanctuary itself. This was necessary because, throughout the year, confessed sins were transferred symbolically to the sanctuary. Now full atonement would be made and the sins removed completely (cleansed).
The Hebrew word for "cleansed" in Daniel 8:14 is "tsadaq" and is associated with concepts such as judgment, vindication, cleansing, and salvation. It indicates a restoration of the order established by God through a work of cleansing and judgment. The earthly sanctuary was patterned after the true tabernacle, the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 8:1-2). The process in the earthly sanctuary of finally removing sins from the sanctuary that were previously forgiven, is also what happens in the heavenly sanctuary. Those who have accepted Christ are investigated, and their previously forgiven sins are forever blotted out of the books and remembrance (Is. 43:25, Heb. 10:17-18). The righteous princples of Christ's kingdom and His people, are vindicated. This is a time of investigation and judgment of the books, as revealed in Daniel's previous prophecy "...the judgment was set, and the books were opened" (Dan. 7:10).
The cleansing of the sanctuary would occur "then", at a specific time in the future. This brings to light the two phases of ministry that occur in the sanctuary. In the earthly sanctuary the priests carried out two distinct ministries, a daily ministry in the Holy Place, and a yearly ministry in the Most Holy Place. The yearly ministry only occurred once a year and was the time when the sanctuary was cleansed of all the sins that had been figuratively accumlated during the daily ministry (see Lev. 16:29-34, Heb. 9:6-7). The daily and yearly ministry each foreshadowed a phase of Christ's priestly ministry in heaven. Jesus was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His "daily" intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension after His death on the cross and resurrection. He continually ministers on our behalf from the heavenly sanctuary making the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross available to believers. He forgives sins and takes away guilt, recording the sinner as pardoned. At the end of the age (after 2300 prophetic days), prior to His second coming, He performs the "yearly" ministry, which blots out those sins and vindicates God of any responsibility for sin, and thus cleanse heaven of all sin. This last phase of His atoning ministry "cleanses the sanctuary" or makes the sanctuary right again.
"Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:" (Hebrews 9:6-7).
When our high priest moves from the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary (phase 1) into the Most Holy Place (phase 2), the cleansing of the sanctuary, or heavenly Day of Atonement, or Pre-Advent Judgment, begins. This movement is referenced in several places in the Bible:
- a) The coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of days in Daniel 7:13 as the court scene unfolds and the judgment occurs.
- b) The Lord "suddenly comes to His temple" (Malachi 3:1).
- c) When the bridegroom comes to the marriage in the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25).
How can anything in heaven need cleansing?
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these [blood of animals]; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these [blood of Christ]" (Hebrews 9:22-23).
A time of judgment/Investigation:
The meaning of the "cleansing of the sanctuary" indicates a time of investigation and judgment. This coincides with the same event foretold in Daniel's previous vision when he saw the court was seated and the books opened. The time of judgment referenced in Daniel 7 occurs during the "time of the end", sometime after 1798 and prior to second coming. It is referring to the "pre-advent" phase of judgment, when the books of record are examined. This time of judgment is referred to throughout the Bible (see Pre-Advent Judgment Parallels
). This last phase is a work of investigative judgment that results in the removal of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Coming.
The 70 Weeks (Daniel 9)
When the angel returned years later to finish explaining the vision of Daniel 8, he described a period of time, 70 weeks, that pinpointed the exact date the Messiah would begin His ministry and the date of His death. The fulfillment of every detail of this prophecy is provided in the life, death and ministry of Jesus Christ. The 70 weeks provide the information needed to understand the rest of the vision of Daniel 8.
Study the 70 Week Prophecy and then return here to continue.
Calculating the 2300 Days
After studying the 70 weeks in Daniel 9, we now know the start date of the 2300 days and the 70 weeks, and are equipped to calculate the ending date.
The decree to restore Jerusalem was given in the autumn of 457 BC, so the end of the 2300 years would also end in the autumn of 1844. Because of the symbolism of the Hebrew Day of Atonement, which occurred on the 10th day of the 7th month, the even more specific date of October 22, 1844 is used to mark when the cleansing of the sanctuary began. This is the date matching the tenth day of the seventh month according to the Jewish calendar, as kept by the orthodox Karaite Jews.
Realm #5: Prince Breaks Without Hand: Christ's Kingdom (Second Coming to Eternity)
After the judgment is concluded and the sanctuary is cleansed, the final kingdom is established. Just like in Daniel's first vision when the stone that is cut out of the mountain without hands destroys all the earthly kingdoms (Daniel 2:45), this little horn is also broken without hand (Dan. 8:25). The overcoming of all earthly powers and the establishment of Christ's (the Prince of princes) eternal kingdom is not accomplished by human power, but only by the power of God.
Summary Time Chart:
(click on image to enlarge)
The 2300 Days
The 70 Weeks (Daniel 9)
The 70 Weeks
Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus
Continue to the next study: Michael the Prince (Dan. 10-12)