This week we continue our in depth exploration of the investigative judgment, a peculiar doctrine unique to Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. In particular, the dicussion will focus on the longest time prophecy in the Bible, the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 by dispelling various myths regarding the interpretation of this prophecy and setting forth the truth in clear logical lines that cannot be refuted, except by the gainsayers. The following passage comes from a tract entitled “The Judgment and the Harvest” first published in 1937.
“Hence, conclusively, the 2,300 days do not end in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, as some teach they do. This untenable position on the subject, along with other similarly unsupportable views on it, therefore makes necessary, in order to establish the very date of the cleansing, our first
Dispelling The Confusion Concerning The 2,300 Days.
Those who are in opposition to the doctrine that the 2,300 days find their terminus in the end of the world, are, among themselves, at strong variance over when the days do, supposedly, end, just as they are over the truth of a multitude of other doctrines. Fully evident therefore is the fact that none of them have the truth on the subject. And yet in spite of this fact, they fail to see that the spirit which has led them into their present state of schism, doctrinal difference, strife, and confusion, unparalleled in history, cannot possibly be the Spirit of Truth, Who alone can lead them into the truth of the 2,300-day prophecy. Thus they continue darkening Christendom with what they imagine and proclaim to be light on it.
In the effort to support their position, they bring in the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the English Revised Version. These in the order named variously render the number in Daniel 8:14 as 2,400, 2,200, and 2,300 “evening morning.” This difference alone is ample proof that the renderings are not the sound results of exact, literal translation of the verse; but rather are the product of interpretative translations of it, engendered of theological preconceptions on the subject.
Nevertheless, even these renderings as they stand, lend such feeble plausibility to the theories held in opposition to the doctrine that the 2,300 days terminate in the end of the world, as to compel the theorizers to read into Daniel 8:14 the word “sacrifice” so as to transform the “evening morning” phase of the text to read “evening morning sacrifices.” Next, on the grounds that there were two sacrifices a day, they split the number of them in half. And the number being 2,400, 2,200, or 2,300, depending on which version they use, they get respectively 1,200, 1,100, 1,150 days! This adding-to and cutting-down, they then boldly put forth in proof of their theory! although there is no escaping the crystal-clear meaning of “evening morning” when viewed in the light of Genesis 1:5 which, as every Bible student well knows, can only mean a twenty-four hour period (both the night and the day), and which has nothing to do with sacrifices.
Very plainly, therefore, the numbers 2,400 and 2,200 and the interpolation of the word “sacrifices,” are the vain results of false interpretation of Daniel’s prophecies. The discrepancy between the two figures is due to the difference in the dates necessary to work out the different ideas on the text. Exposing both the ambition and the fate of those responsible for this vain attempt to place the fulfillment of the prophecy, the Lord declared unto Daniel: “Also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.” Dan. 11:14.
Though the endeavor of these robbers of God’s people to make the vision fit their ideas is doomed to failure, yet in their blind self-confidence they still try their best to establish it, even going so far in the effort as to make the writings of Josephus seem to speak as sacred history in support of their theory.
“And indeed it so came to pass,” says the Jewish historian, in a passage which they most commonly use, “that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel’s vision and what he wrote years before they came to pass” — Antiquities, Book 12, Chapter 5.
Though Josephus does not even remotely allude to the number of days mentioned in Daniel 8:14, yet because he does apply the vision to the work of Antiochus Epiphanes, they in effect take him as a prophet inspired to interpret the Scriptures! Being merely a historian, though, and not a prophet, he accordingly, in writing the history of the Jews, made only a historical application of the similarity which he saw between Daniel’s prediction and Antiochus’ work. And such was well within his province as a historian. But his not having the gift of prophecy forbids God’s people from accepting his applications of the Scriptures as authoritative and dependable.
From this sort of wresting, juggling, rationalizing, and explaining away of simple facts, the candid reader will see to what lengths men are going in order to dodge revealed truths which they do not like, and to lock arms with private theories to their liking. True indeed is the saying, “give a man a theory and the facts will come trooping after! ”
With the mists of error now dispelled, our way is clear to proceed in ascertaining
When The 2,300 Days Begin And End.
From Daniel 7 it was seen that the throne of judgment or of cleansing was not to be set up until sometime after the little-horn power came into existence, while from Heb. 9:24-27 it was seen to be set up sometime before “the end of the world.” Now to throw into full focus the light on the facts already brought forth, we must go to Daniel 8 and 11, to the express prophecy of the subject — the 2300 days.
Dan. 8:11, 12 “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.”
Dan. 11:31 “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.”
From this juxtaposition of Daniel 8:11, 12, and Daniel 11:31, the reader will observe that both scriptures are speaking of the same power. And Christ, predicting the signs of the end of the world, as He looked forward along the stream of time, declared: “When ye [His followers who were to be living at the time that this horn-power was at work against God, His truth, and His people] 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.” Matt. 24:15, 16. These clear words of Christ Himself, place the work of this power in the future from His time.
Here Christ plainly states that at His time the abomination of desolation had not yet stood up “in the holy place,” but that sometime in the Christian dispensation it would be seen to stand there. Still further, the angel instructed Daniel that at the time of the end shall be the vision (Dan. 8:13, 17). These two facts carry sweeping proof that the 2300-day period could not terminate until, following Christ’s time, the daily be cast out and the abomination set up: for both of these events were to take place within the 2300 days.
This desolating power was, according to Daniel, to pollute by transgression the earthly sanctuary, or church. This was to be accomplished by casting down the Truth to the ground, by taking away the daily, and by bringing into the holy place “the abomination that maketh desolate,” all of which was to be, said the angel, “unto two thousand and three hundred days;” and “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
From the weighty evidences here amassed, there is manifestly but one conclusion possible: the polluting of the holy place, the terminating of the 2300 days, and the cleansing of the sanctuary could not have taken place before Christ’s time.
Facing the resounding finality of this threefold conclusion, the numerous voices which insistently localize within the Old Testament period the events bound up with the 2300 days, ought now to silence themselves completely and forever. But if they do not, then God, only, knows what they may next proclaim!
You cannot afford, brethren, now that the light is come, to let slip from you the opportunity of breaking away from the theories of men herein discredited by the “Spirit of Truth,” and of placing your feet firmly on the solid foundation here established in their place by the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Upon this solid rock the structure of truth now in building will, as the reader can already see, withstand the most severe storm of both “wind” and “rain.” So let us, in proceeding to erect its superstructure, liberally utilize, without the slightest fear of the coming storm (which will demolish and sweep away everything standing on a sandy foundation), the material so freely given:
To cleanse the earthly sanctuary, the abomination which the wicked power here under discussion, brought in, must necessarily be cast out, and then “the truth,” also “the daily,” which the same power trod down and cast out, must be restored. Very obviously, therefore, there is not the slightest room for doubt as to either the way in which the sanctuary was polluted or the way in which it must be cleansed.
The eighth chapter of the book of Daniel contains a vivid prophetic symbolism of two beasts (a ram and a he goat), concerning which the angel explained: “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia.” Dan. 8:20, 21.
“…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. 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.” Dan. 8:8, 9. “…the great horn that is between his eyes,” explained the angel, “is the first king” — Alexander. “Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power” — not in Alexander’s power; that is, not “to his posterity.” Dan. 8:21, 22; 11:4.
“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors [the Jews] 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 [for "arms shall stand on his part" (Dan. 11:31) -- the armies of the civil powers]: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Dan. 8:23, 24.
Obviously, then, Daniel 8:22-24 is parallel with Daniel 7:25: “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
Daniel had the vision in Babylon, northeast of “the pleasant land” — Palestine. From Babylon the exceeding great horn went first “south,” next “east,” then north in order to make the turn westward — “toward the pleasant land.” Thus it went in all four directions, denoting that it became a world power. Moreover, also the “brass” of the great image of Daniel 2, which Daniel explains is to “bear rule over all the earth,” represents Grecia. However, as neither the goat’s first horn nor his subsequent four horns bore universal rule, then to fulfill the prophecy of the brass kingdom, his exceeding great horn must be the one to “bear rule over all the earth.” Dan. 2:39.
Though the fourth beast of Daniel 7 shows that this desolating power is descended from Rome, the symbolism of the he goat goes further back to show that this world power originally descended from one of the Grecian divisions (Dan. 11:5), and later put on the garb of Christianity — the religion of “a god whom his fathers knew not.” Dan. 11:38.
Gradually assuming the ornaments of the sanctuary, he before long magnified himself against the Prince (Christ) of the host (the Christians). And disregarding “the god of his fathers,” he ostensibly became Christianized, but at what cost to Christianity! — Not only was the “daily” “taken away,” but also “the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” In other words, he “cast down” the Lord’s “place” and there set up his own — elevated himself to Christ’s place.
The word “sacrifice” being supplied in connection with the word “daily,” it manifestly does not belong to the text. Since, however, the English language does not have an exact equivalent of the Hebrew word “daily,” which is variously rendered ” continual ,” “perpetual ,” “everlasting, ” and since none of these terms are synonymous, but carry individual connotations, it is consequently imperative to take them all together as a compound word, so as to arrive at the exact truth. In view, therefore, of this fact, also the fact that the Sabbath doctrine is the only Bible doctrine in the Christian era that can possibly be designated as “daily” (pertaining to worship in respect to a day), as well as “continual,” “perpetual,” and “everlasting,” — from time immemorial to time eternal, — it is hence evident that all these various renderings can apply to no other doctrine than the Sabbath — the eternal rest day. And in divine certification of its perpetuity, ring on through the centuries from Sinai the immutable words:
“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” Ex. 31:16, 17.
The horn’s taking away the “daily,” was therefore nothing other than his taking away from the Christian church the Lord’s Sabbath and putting in its place Sunday worship, a pagan sabbath, — “abomination that maketh desolate,” — a desecration which grieved away God’s presence from the church.
The ram and the he goat were shown to Daniel in vision “in the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar.” Dan. 8:1. Daniel was “astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Dan. 8:27. The time, moreover, had elapsed, and Jerusalem was still a waste. So later “in the first year of Darius,” who “was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans” (Dan. 9:1), Daniel was shown “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.” Dan. 9:2. Jerusalem, however, was still a desolation, though the time of the people’s captivity according to prophecy was fulfilled and the vision was still “none [not] understood,’ as is clearly seen from Daniel’s prayer:
“…I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God….O Lord, according to all Thy righteousness, I beseech Thee, let Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain: because for our sins and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us 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….
“Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning [in the eighth chapter], being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation…and said,…Seventy weeks are determined 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.
“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. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And He 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.” Dan. 9:3-27.
The angel apportioned the seventy weeks into three periods: “seven weeks, and three-score and two weeks,” and “one week.” And though in his words to Daniel, quoted above, he explained the time prophesied, yet Daniel still did not fully understand the vision. As he did certainly, however, understand the angel’s interpretation of the “ram” and of the “goat” to be symbolical of “Persia” and “Grecia” respectively, the work of “the exceeding great horn” was therefore what he did not understand And so it was that later “in those days,” he was again “mourning;” this time, “three full weeks.’ Whereupon he says:
I saw “a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz….Then said he unto me,…Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.” “For at the time of the end shall be the vision.” Dan. 10:5, 12, 14; 8:17.
That chapters 11 and 1 2 contain the explanation of the vision promised by the angel in chapter 10, can be readily recognized not only from the continuity of the angel’s speech but also from the fact that these chapters are the explanation of the vision in the eighth chapter. For the reader’s convenience, we quote the last two verses of chapter 10, and a part of the angel’s explanation recorded in chapter 11:
“Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the Scripture of Truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your Prince.”
“Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” Dan. 10:20, 21 ; 11 : 1-4.
It is evident that in this chapter the angel is explaining in detail “the vision” which was shown to Daniel in the eighth chapter, and that Daniel 8 :11, 12 is parallel in time with Daniel 11:31. A comparison of both scriptures, as found on page 25, makes clear that the eleventh chapter is an explanation in particular of the power that is projected by the exceeding great horn of the eighth chapter.
Also it makes clear that the sanctuary spoken of in Daniel 8:11 cannot be any other than God’s sanctuary: for on the one hand a heathen structure can never be of strength or on the other hand be polluted when it has never been clean. And, moreover, never does the Bible call it a sanctuary.
And, finally, the very fact that the sanctuary in Jerusalem was neither polluted nor cleansed in the manner described by the angel, but was left desolate and was ultimately destroyed (Dan. 9:26), puts the riveting evidence to the proof that neither the polluting nor the cleansing took place in the Old Testament era.
This solid conclusion is made doubly fast by virtue of Christ’s statement (page 25), placing the work of the desolating power in the Christian dispensation.
There is no time other than the “two thousand and three hundred days” (Dan. 8:14) and the “seventy weeks” (Dan. 9:24), to which can apply the statement, “the time appointed was long.” Dan. 10:1. But seeing that the former period was too long for restoring and cleansing the sanctuary in Jerusalem, and that the latter period was too long for the rebuilding of the city (for the seventy years spoken of by Jeremiah were already fulfilled), Daniel was prompted to cry out to the Lord for understanding.
“Then,” he says, in continuing, “I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily…, 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; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Dan. 8:13, 14.
Expressed in modem speech, the angel’s answer to Daniel’s question would be that 2300 days would be required for “both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot,” also for the daily to be cast down and for the transgression of desolation to be set up, and that afterwards shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
In this light it is seen that the 2300-day period must terminate after “the daily” has been taken away and “the transgression of desolation” has been accomplished. Thus the taking away of “the daily” and the bringing in of “the abomination that maketh desolate” by the transgression of desolation, will “give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot.”
The treading of the host is the massacring of the Christians who would not worship according to the dictates of the horn-power. The treading down of the sanctuary, the church, gave rise to the establishing of an earthly priesthood in the place of Christ, Who ministers from within the heavenly sanctuary.
And as the great horn of the he goat is symbolical of the Roman (iron — Dan. 2:40) world in its three periods, — pagan, ecclesiastical, and protestant, — also as in its second period, it trod the truth and the “host” under foot and polluted the sanctuary by bringing in the abominations while “it practiced, and prospered” (Dan. 8:12), the 2300-day period, accordingly, extends beyond the fall of Ecclesiastical Rome and reaches into the Protestant period.
As furthermore, the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem went forth in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:21- 27), the starting point of the seventy weeks proves to be one with that of the 2300 days.
And localizing Christ’s ministry within this period, the angel said: “…He [Christ] 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.” Dan. 9:27.
Since the confirming of the covenant with the many (the Jews) was accomplished during the seven years from the beginning of Christ’s ministry, the time of His baptism, to the time Peter was commissioned to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:28; read entire chapter), and since in the midst of this period Christ was crucified, “the week” proves to be seven literal years, and reveals that the 2300-day period must be computed by the rule of Ezekiel 4, reckoning a day for a year, thuswise:
“…from the going forth of the commandment [found in Ezra 7:21-27] to restore and to build Jerusalem [the beginning of the 2300 days], unto the Messiah the Prince [to Christ at His baptism], shall be seven weeks [49 years], and three-score and two weeks [434 years],” totaling 483 years in all, with the first seven weeks or forty-nine years, being for the rebuilding of the city.
Then after “seven weeks” plus “threescore and two weeks [483 years] shall Messiah be cut off,…and the people of the prince [the Romans] that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary [fulfilled by Titus about 70 A.D.]; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And He [Christ] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years, beginning at His baptism]: and in the midst of the week [in the midst of the seven years] He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease [by the sacrifice of Himself and by its transfer to the heavenly sanctuary: His sacrifice taking the place of the earthly sacrifice, and thus the heavenly sanctuary taking the place of the earthly sanctuary, with Christ Himself being the high priest], and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it [the temple in Jerusalem] desolate [His presence completely removed], even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Dan. 9:25-27.
The remainder of the 2300 days, or years, reach to the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary. (See illustration on page 37.)
Counting forward 2300 years from October 457 B.C., the terminus is October, 1844 A.D. And as the angel said, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” the cleansing must thence have commenced in 1844, the very year in which, for the first time in history, the first angel’s message rang forth the proclamation: “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come” (Rev. 14:7; Dan. 7:9, 10) — the time that the Great Judge and the heavenly tribunal sit in judgment to separate the bad from the good; that is, to blot from the Book of Life the names of those who have entered the service of Christ but have not endured to the end.” — Tract No. 3, pp. 21-42. (to be continued).