1844 Made Simple (2,300 Day Prophecy)
Introduction: Last week we studied one of the most important prophecies of the Bible. We learned, from Daniel 9:22-27, that the specific dates of the coming of Jesus the Messiah were revealed hundreds of years in advance through Gabriel's message to Daniel. As far as I am concerned, this is the most important message of Daniel. God reveals to His people not only the details of the sweep of history, He reveals the timing of the coming of His Son. Of course, we learned a number of other important things as well. We learned that the sanctuary will be rebuilt and then destroyed again. We learned that the gospel will go from being a message directed to the Jews to a message for all of us today. There are, however, a few "loose ends." (Aren't there always?) One unresolved question is the meaning of the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14. Let's dig into Daniel to see what other secrets God has revealed to us today!
- The Sanctuary
- Read Daniel 8:13-14. Put yourself in Daniel's place. If you had a short "wish list" about the future, what would be on it? (Recall that Daniel had been taken from his home when he was a very young man. He would want to return to his native country, Judah.)
- What would come to Daniel's mind when the sanctuary was mentioned in his vision? (Daniel would surely think about the sanctuary (temple) that was built by Solomon. See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19.)
- Did Solomon's temple exist at the time of Daniel's vision? (No. The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon's temple. This was part of the tragedy of his youth. He had been taken captive, and the important institutions of his country had been destroyed. This included the city of Jerusalem and Solomon's temple, the center of Jewish worship.)
- When Daniel heard that the sanctuary would be "reconsecrated" (NIV) ("cleansed" NKJV) what would he logically think was going to happen? (It is logical to believe his first thoughts were that Solomon's temple would be rebuilt. This vision of the future could be about one of Daniel's most dearly held hopes - that the Jewish worship center would be back in operation.)
- What other possibilities might come to Daniel's mind when he heard about the sanctuary being reconsecrated? (Read Psalms 102:19, Exodus 25:8-9 and Hebrews 8:1-5. Moses had originally been given "the pattern" so that the sanctuary in the wilderness was modeled after the sanctuary in heaven. Solomon then built a permanent version of the sanctuary to house the ark of God and to continue the worship and the sacrificial services. Only the copy on earth had been destroyed. The heavenly original still existed. Since the sanctuary on earth had been destroyed, Daniel might have thought this had something to do with the sanctuary in heaven.)
- What time frame is given for the sanctuary being reconsecrated? (2,300 days.)
- Let's back up a minute and read the context for the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14. Read Daniel 8:9-13. What sanctuary do you think is being described in these verses? (In Lesson 5 of this series (on Daniel 8), we concluded that this "horn" was the Pagan and Papal phase of Rome. Thus, this would be the rebuilt sanctuary promised to Daniel.)
- If this is true, could Gabriel be speaking of a literal 2,300 days - a little over six years? (No. This had to be symbolic days (meaning a day equals a year), not literal days. We know that Rome was hundreds of years in the future.
- Read Daniel 8:19-26. This is Gabriel's explanation of the "vision of the evenings and mornings" and he says it concerns "the distant future." Is there any possible way that the 2,300 days are literal days? (I cannot see any way that this is possible!)
- So, what happens at the end of this 2,300 years? What does it mean for the sanctuary to be reconsecrated? What sanctuary are we talking about? Is this the end of the world?
- Living in the twenty-first century, we know that thereafter the temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt and for hundreds of years Jews held their daily sacrifices and worshiped God in the sanctuary. We also know that in 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed the sanctuary. Given our knowledge, what sanctuary do you think is being referred to in Daniel 8:14? (Read Daniel 8:17. Since this is a vision "of the end," and since we know the sanctuary on earth was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago, that logically leaves only the sanctuary in heaven as the subject of this vision.)
- What argument can you make that the vision might refer to a sanctuary that is again rebuilt in Jerusalem before the world ends? (Such an argument would deny that Jesus is the Messiah. It would ignore Jesus' High Priestly ministry in heaven referred to in Hebrews. If the Jews rebuilt a temple in Jerusalem it would be to continue the same sacrificial system which Jesus fulfilled by His life and death.)
- Read Hebrews 9:8-12. What does this suggest about the possibility of a new temple being built in Jerusalem? (Hebrews tells us that the temple on earth was both an illustration and an impediment to Jesus' work for us in heaven. The idea that it would be rebuilt at some time before the Second Coming of Jesus is completely at odds with Hebrews and the entire concept of Jesus fulfilling the symbolism of the sanctuary service.)
- The reasonable conclusion, based on what we know about history, and our understanding of the gospel, is that the sanctuary to be reconsecrated (cleansed) is the heavenly sanctuary.
- The Nature of the Cleansing
- If Daniel 8:14 is about reconsecrating (cleansing) the sanctuary in heaven, the logical question is, "Why would it need to be cleaned?"
- Read Leviticus 16:32-34. These three verses describe in summary form a yearly event for the Jewish people. Can you tell me about this event? (Throughout the year the people would come to the temple to sacrifice an animal for the forgiveness of their sins. Symbolically, the shed blood of the animal transferred the sin from the person to the sanctuary. Then once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the sanctuary itself was cleansed of all of these sins which had accumulated over the year. On that day the High Priest entered the Most Holy place of the sanctuary.)
- What about the sins of the people? Were they completely taken care of during the year? (Read Leviticus 16:29-30. It appears that the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement was the final act in the removal of the sins from the people.)
- Since the sanctuary on earth was patterned after the sanctuary in heaven? Do you think there is a parallel activity in heaven? If so, what is it? (According to the text in Hebrews that we previously read ( Hebrews 9:11-12), Jesus is the sacrifice for the heavenly sanctuary. He is also the High Priest who enters the Most Holy Place.)
- When Daniel 8:14 tells us that the sanctuary will be reconsecrated (cleansed) could it mean that after the 2300 day period the Day of Atonement in heaven will take place? (That seems to be what is meant. Since the sanctuary could not be the sanctuary on earth, it must be the sanctuary in heaven. Hebrews tells us that Jesus will enter the Most Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary - so it makes sense that this is the meaning of Daniel 8:14.)
- The Meaning of the Day of Atonement.
- Let's review a minute. The sanctuary referred to in Daniel 8:14 is the sanctuary in heaven. The historical meaning of the cleansing of the sanctuary is the Day of Atonement. So, the next question is what would be the meaning of a Day of Atonement in heaven? Read Daniel 8:26-27. Did Daniel understand what it meant to reconsecrate the sanctuary in heaven?
- Notice that verse 27 says that Daniel did not understand the vision. Did he not understand any of it? (This is the Ram/Goat/Horn vision of the first half of Daniel 8. Gabriel told Daniel about the meaning of the Ram and the Goat. It was only the horn and the 2,300 days that was not specifically explained. Since Daniel calls the this (v.26)"the vision of the evenings and mornings" it must be the 2,300 days that most specifically created the mystery.)
- What do you think the Day of Atonement in heaven represents? Is this the beginning of the judgment? The end of the judgment? The Second Coming of Jesus?
- In trying to solve this mystery, it sure would be nice to know when this 2,300 years ended. What do we need to know to determine this? (When that period of time started.)
- Does Daniel 8 say when the 2,300 year period begins? (No. Indeed, Daniel 8:26 seems to say the details are "sealed up" for now.)
- Let's re-read what we studied last week: Daniel 9:25-27. We have some very hard dates from this. Does this sound like the same subject matter? (Yes. I'm quite certain that Daniel is not understanding what sanctuary Gabriel is speaking about, but we are back to the theme of the future of the sanctuary and its "desolation.")
- Let's make the assumption - a reasonable one - that our "Seventy Weeks" message of Gabriel in Daniel 9 is a further answer and explanation of Gabriel's message of Daniel 8. Since we concluded last week that the seventy weeks began in 457 B.C., where does 2,300 years end? (1844 A.D. The title of our lesson is "1844 Made Simple." The math is surely simple, but I'm far from sure any other aspect of this is simple!)
- If we are right about tying the two prophecies together and starting them in 457 B.C., what does that clarify about the previous question about the nature of the cleansing of the sanctuary, this Day of Atonement? (It does not mean the end of the world - unless God is simply delaying His coming. We know from the parallelism in the visions we have studied that the end of the world starts with a judgment of the righteous and ends with the Second Coming of Jesus. Historically the judgment and the "conclusion" to sin, occurred within the Day of Atonement.)
- What should the reaction of a Christian be to this prophecy? (The message is important, it came straight from the throne of God by Gabriel. The message is reliable - because all of the other prophecies given to Daniel came to pass. Whether 1844 was the "target time" for Jesus' Second Coming, or whether it begins the time of the final judgment, our main conclusion should be that Jesus' Second Coming is imminent. Something very important is happening in heaven and it has to do with our Messiah bringing sin to its final conclusion.)
- Friend, are you ready for the judgment? For the Second Coming? Are you looking for your Savior to return?
- Next week: Day-Year Principle.