The 2300 days of Daniel 8
There are three schools of thought as to how prophecy is approached — Preterist, Historical and Futuristic. Briefly, Preterist belief is that all in the book of Revelation was a forecast of things that would come upon the earth shortly after Jesus ascended and was completely fulfilled early in the Church age. The second, Historical, sees Revelation as a long-range series of events that would unfold throughout the whole Christian age. And thirdly, the Futuristic, regards Revelation (from 4:1 onward) as all yet future. It is not my intent to condemn any of these approaches because I believe that all three have certain validity when correctly understood.
As pointed out previously, "The Law of Double Reference" must be applied to cogently grasp God's word, especially prophecy. (In the case above, we could even say "triple reference"). While the Preterist perspective may have had application in its day, we need not give much attention to it now because it's over. However, the Historical and Futuristic viewpoints are of utmost importance because both still have applicability to all humanity (not just to the Church).
I suspect most of you reading this know that the Futuristic concept is the focus of most prophetic students in our day and I've done my share of study and writing in this area, too. For an example of Futuristic understanding put in interesting novel form, see Ron Graff's short novel called "The Registration". Visit Ron's PROPHECY CENTRAL website at http://bible-prophecy.com and there you'll be able to load and read a fictional account of how the last of the end-of-the-age events could come about.
If you've read other articles of mine you know that the thrust of my position relative to prophecy is that understanding the Historical perspective sets the mind for better comprehension of the Futuristic. Because this approach is so severely lacking in the Church, much of what I will have to say in COME & SEE Ministry's prophetic series will concentrate on the Historical side. Some misunderstand me, believing I think one must accept an either/or (i.e., Futuristic or Historical) view. This has never been my belief or teaching method.
In another article I discuss the hidden message in the "...one half hour of silence in heaven" (see Rev. 8:1). We saw that "1/2 hour" could mean 20.8 years when seen symbolically, based on the metaphor in 2 Peter 3:8 which says, "...one day is with the Lord as a thousand years". This "silence", I believe, represented the relative peace that existed for 20.8 years between WW1 and WW2. It's important to understand that before seeing the half hour idea, I had already interpreted the 6th Seal as representing WW1 (in the Historical sense) and that the 5th Trumpet has strong implications of WW2. (These conclusions are completely covered in my book "The Two Witnesses".)
In this article I want to discuss another long-range concept which beautifully demonstrates the reality of the Historical side of prophecy, this one taken from the Old Testament. I call it "The 2300 'days' of Daniel 8."
Oh how I love and admire the prophet Daniel. He was a man with a servant's heart, the prayer warrior of all intercessors, an obedient man of God. His overwhelming desire was to know and please the Lord.
Daniel was also a dreamer — the kind who had supernatural visions from God. He could also interpret dreams and visions of others. Being human, he wanted to know the meanings of these things. Sometimes he would get an immediate answer, sometimes not. In Daniel, chapter 8, we have a prophetic picture of gigantic proportions, a vision Daniel saw which the angel Gabriel explained to him. Let me briefly summarize the story:
In his vision Daniel saw two animals, a ram with two horns and a white shaggy goat with one single horn between his eyes. The two horns on the ram were identified as the Medes and Persians, who would strip the power away from Babylon (the nation which had taken Daniel and all Judah into captivity). Later, it happened just as Daniel previewed it.
This was all a great story, but it was the white goat with the single horn that really got my attention a few years back. The text itself explains that the goat symbolized Greece and its horn pictured Greece's ruler, Alexander the Great. The one-horned goat butted and broke both horns of the ram, meaning Alexander would defeat the Medes and Persians, which he did. In fact, Alexander built the greatest empire in the shortest amount of time of any of the kingdoms up to that time in history.
But, his empire would be short-lived. The passage says this horn would be broken early in life, now we know it to be a clear fact of history. Alexander's death occurred at age 33 in the year 323 B.C., (a date on which all historians seem to agree). Alexander's kingdom would later be divided among four other leaders, later to be dominated by the Roman Empire. The changes in the Middle Eastern and European kingdoms goes on from there, of course, but I'll stop with that and come to my main focal point---a span of time Daniel called "2300 evenings-mornings".
In his vision, Daniel sees two individuals identified as "saints" (or "holy" ones) and one of them said to the other, "How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary (or temple) and the host to be trampled under foot?" Then one of the 'saints' spoke directly to Daniel and said, "For two thousand three hundred days; (literally, he said evenings-mornings) then the sanctuary (temple) shall be cleansed." (Dan.8:13&14).
Now most expositors give this a literal day-for-a-day explanation. In fact, even some Bibles translate these 2300 "evenings-mornings" as "2300 days", as does the New King James Version from which I quoted. I find this rather odd in light of verse 26 which says, "And the vision of the EVENINGS and MORNINGS which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to MANY DAYS in the future." (My emphasis.) In your Bible you should find a marginal note or some kind of explanation that the original language of this phrase is best rendered simply as evenings...dash...mornings. In other words, something like this---"evenings-mornings", no 'and' inserted. This little dash is so important. It's an example of the "jot and tittle" Jesus spoke of
in Matthew 5:18. Read that verse and you'll see that He obviously inferred that even little marks have pertinent meanings.
I'm convinced that valid interpretation of Daniel 8 hinges on exactly how this wording is handled. In his book, "Flee To The Mountains", Reginald Dunlop points out a very interesting observation. In the days Daniel wrote, Dunlop says the people often used the expression "morning" when they were referring to the period with more daylight hours, i.e., spring and summer; and "evening" when referring to the period of lesser daylight hours, fall and winter. Thus, when they wanted to convey the idea of a yearly cycle, they would often use the two words together like this: "evening-morning". The idea sounds very plausible to me and such expressions are often heard amongst common people, even until this day. I believe and accept this as the truth. Before I explain the significance of this "golden nugget" find, you need to know a bit more about what I was doing at the precise time of making this discovery.
The time was May 1981. I had been voraciously studying Bible prophecy for about 2 1/2 years. One morning I was sitting at the breakfast table reading a San Francisco newspaper and there in the center of the page was a picture of a white shaggy goat with a single horn right between its eyes! It was not a fake. The owners had supposedly discovered an "ancient secret" on how to produce such a horn. I saw the animal again that night on the 6:00 o'clock news. He was later placed in Africa-Marineworld USA where he remained for some time as a showpiece for visitors to see and wonder about.
Now that alone was exciting. But the amazing thing was that at that very same time I just happened to be right in the middle of studying about the singled horned, white shaggy goat of Daniel 8! I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw that picture. Can't you imagine how you would feel if that happened to you? It's also important for you to realize the intensity of my study in those days: I had Daniel, rams, goats, horns, Alexander the Great, etc., coming "out of my ears". I was living, eating and sleeping this stuff (no disrespect intended). But that's not all...
During that same year all kinds of things were going on involving Alexander the Great. For example, an exhibition called "The Search For Alexander" was, coincidentally, touring the major cities of America. It was a big deal. Also, a book came out that year called "Funeral Games" which mainly emphasized Alexander. And, while on vacation in the Carmel, CA. area that summer, my daughter, Jennifer, her friend and I could not help noticing in the stores and shops the amazing preponderance of single-horned animals on all sorts of items. It was phenomenal. 1981 was most definitely a year that, for some reason (s), highlighted Alexander the Great. But there's something better yet...
On January 1, 1981, Greece became the 10th member of the Common Market. Many prophecy students believe that the EEC may very well represent the beginning stages of a restoration of the old Roman Empire. I agree. In the chapter preceding the one we're looking at (Daniel 7), the prophet spells out in great detail how this final kingdom will be comprised of "ten horns". There is no doubt in my mind that when Greece joined the EEC, that fulfilled the very "ten horns" Daniel saw.
Today, I think there are 14 members of the EEC. That in no way denies my conclusion on the matter because Daniel was also careful to explain that it would be AFTER the ten came together that a special "another" would rise to become the final leader over a certain "ten". The passage doesn't say exactly how many will come to join "the ten" (which fulfilled this prophecy), only that eventually "another" will come. (Perhaps some of the current members will drop out leaving finally only an actual ten.)
I'm surprised by the arithmetic of many authors regarding this "another" individual. The Scripture doesn't say this leader is one OF the ten, but comes as an additional one to the ten. Daniel 7:24 says, "...ANOTHER SHALL RISE AFTER THEM". But to their credit, most prophetic writers do agree that this "another" horn will be the final anti-Christ (which space nor time allows me to discuss here today). Now, back to Alexander.
Let's tie some loose ends together. There is no question in my mind that the 2300 "evenings-mornings" Daniel spoke of mean 2300 years, and that they link Alexander's death (when the horn was broken) to modern times. One day while pondering all this, it occurred to me, "Why not simply add 2300 years to the year Alexander died and see when it ends?" But before doing that you need to understand one more little fact. As you know, all historians agree we have a calendar error of a few years.
According to Reese's Chronological Bible (20 years in the making) which I had used throughout my studies, Jesus' birth was in 5 B.C. This means you have to add four years to calculations when counting forward and subtract 4 when counting backwards. (The reason for 4 instead of 5 is because there is no "0" year; we go from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. the day Jesus was born.) Here's the way it's done:
2300 "evenings-mornings" (Daniel's prophecy)
- 323 B.C. (the year Alexander died)
+ 4 years (to make correction for the calendar error)
= 1981 A.D.
Now folks, this is fantastic! Do you realize what we have just shown? A 2500-year-old prophecy (approximate) came true in our day which fit the prophecy and modern circumstances perfectly! (By the way, I said 2500-year-old because Daniel saw all this long before Alexander came on the scene.)
Now I admit one must accept a few stipulations and presumptions before everything fits but do you believe all these occurrences came about by mere-chance coincidence? And that it would "just happen" to be when I was in the middle of working through this particular passage? And to top it all off, thinking in plain, everyday terms, plus showing God has a good sense of humor, that white goat's name was LANCELOT, my own childhood pet-name! Ha! Actually, I'm not kidding. Could it be that God would be so personal as to link all these things together in such a manner as this? Hey, my God is a personal God. He's like a "daddy" to me. Is yours?
But let me not end this month's thoughts gloating on personal experiences. Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus is coming again. We don't know the exact day or hour for He said we wouldn't (see Matt. 24:36). But surely we are in the season of His return and THAT, we CAN, according to Jesus, know (see Luke 21:28).
Note also in Daniel 8 that when the 2300 years would have transpired, the "temple" would be cleansed. What does this mean? I do not believe this refers merely to the ancient temple or to some other building the Jews may yet construct in Jerusalem. Believers in the God of the Bible---ancient, believing Israelites and in this age, the Church---are the "temple" of reference here. The word of God and those who transmit and live by it is the essence of Dan. 8:13. Regarding this special "temple", this passage makes clear that those who are guilty of "trampling under foot both the host and the sanctuary" will eventually get their just reward. I also believe God has some "house cleaning" plans for Christians before the end comes. Get ready for a "bath",
"Even so, come Lord Jesus."
Blessings to you today, dear reader, in His name,
Lance Johnson, O.D.
P.S. Criticisms and comments are welcome.
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