Unto two thousand and three hundred days - Though literally it be two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings. Yet I think the prophetic day should be understood here, as in other parts of this prophet, and must signify so many years. If we date these years from the vision of the he-goat, (Alexander's invading Asia), this was A.M. 3670, b.c. 334; and two thousand three hundred years from that time will reach to a.d. 1966, or one hundred and forty-one years from the present a.d. 1825. This will bring it near to the time mentioned Daniel 7:25; (note), where see the note.
And he said unto me - Instead of answering the one who made the inquiry, the answer is made to Daniel, doubtless that he might make a record of it, or communicate it to others. If it had been made to the inquirer, the answer would have remained with him, and could have been of no use to the world. For the encouragement, however, of the Hebrew people, when their sanctuary and city would be thus desolate, and in order to furnish an instance of the clear fulfillment of a prediction, it was important that it should be recorded, and hence, it was made to Daniel.
Unto two thousand and three hundred days - Margin, evening, morning. So the Hebrew, בקר ערב ‛ereb boqer So the Latin Vulgate, ad vesperam et mane. And so Theodotion - ἔως ἑσπέρας καὶ πρωΐ̀ heōs hesperas kai prōi - “to the evening and morning.” The language here is evidently what was derived from Gen. i., or which was common among the Hebrews, to speak of the “evening and the morning” as constituting a day. There can be no doubt, however, that a day is intended by this, for this is the fair and obvious interpretation. The Greeks were accustomed to denote the period of a day in the same manner by the word νυχθήμερον nuchthēmeron (see 2 Corinthians 11:25), in order more emphatically to designate one complete day. See Prof. Stuart‘s Hints on Prophecy, pp. 99,100. The time then specified by this would be six years and a hundred and ten days.
Much difficulty has been felt by expositors in reconciling this statement with the other designations of time in the book of Daniel, supposed to refer to the same event, and with the account furnished by Josephus in regard to the period which elapsed during which the sanctuary was desolate, and the daily sacrifice suspended. The other designations of time which have been supposed to refer to the same event in Daniel, are Daniel 7:25, where the time mentioned is three years and a half, or twelve hundred and sixty days; and Daniel 12:7, where the same time is mentioned, “a time, times, and an half,” or three years and an half, or, as before, twelve hundred and sixty days; and Daniel 12:11, where the period mentioned is “a thousand two hundred and ninety days;” and Daniel 12:12, where the time mentioned is “a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” The time mentioned by Josephus is three years exactly from the time when “their Divine worship was fallen off, and was reduced to a profane and common use,” until the time when the lamps were lighted again, and the worship restored, for he says that the one event happened precisely three years after the other, on the same day of the month - Ant. b. xii. ch. vii. Section 6. In his Jewish Wars, however, b. i. ch. i. Section 1, he says that Antiochus “spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six months.” Now, in order to explain the passage before us, and to reconcile the accounts, or to show that there is no contradiction between them, the following remarks may be made:
(1) We may lay out of view the passage in Daniel 7:25. See the note at that passage. If the reasoning there be sound, then that passage had no reference to Antiochus, and though, according to Josephus, there is a remarkable coincidence between the time mentioned there and the time during which the daily sacrifice was suspended, yet that does not demonstrate that the reference there is to Antiochus.
(2) We may lay out of view, also, for the present, the passages in Daniel 12:11-12. Those will be the subject of consideration hereafter, and for the present ought not to be allowed to embarrass us in ascertaining the meaning of the passage before us.
(3) On the assumption, however, that those passages refer to Antiochus, and that the accounts in Josephus above referred to are correct - though he mentions different times, and though different periods are referred to by Daniel, the variety may be accounted for by the supposition that separate epochs are referred to at the starting point in the calculation - the terminus a quo. The truth was, there were several decisive acts in the history of Antiochus that led to the ultimate desolation of Jerusalem, and at one time a writer may have contemplated one, and at another time another. Thus, there was the act by which Jason, made high priest by Antiochus, was permitted to set up a gymnasium in Jerusalem after the manner of the pagan (Prideaux, iii. 216; Daniel 8:9, and the things which attracted the attention of Daniel were, that he “waxed great,” and made war on “the host of heaven,” and “cast some of the host and of the stars to the ground” Daniel 8:10, and “magnified himself against the prince of the host” Daniel 8:11 - acts which refer manifestly to his attack on the people of God, and the priests or ministers of religion, and on God him. self as the “prince of the host” - unless this phrase should be understood as referring rather to the high priest. We are then rather to look to the whole series of events as included within the two thousand and three hundred days, than the period in which literally the daily sacrifice was forbidden by a solemn statute. It was practically suspended, and the worship of God interrupted during all that time.
(5) The terminus ad quem - the conclusion of the period is marked and settled. This was the “cleansing of the sanctuary.” This took place, under Judas Maccabeus, Dec. 25,165 b.c. - Prideaux, iii. 265-268. Now, reckoning back from this period, two thousand and three hundred days, we come to August 5,171 b.c. The question is, whether there were in this year, and at about this time, any events in the series of sufficient importance to constitute a period from which to reckon; events answering to what Daniel saw as the commencement of the vision, when “some of the host and the stars were cast down and stamped upon.” Now, as a matter of fact, there commenced in the year 171 b.c. a series of aggressions upon the priesthood, and temple, and city of the Jews on the part of Antiochus, which terminated only with his death. Up to this year, the relations of Antiochus and the Jewish people were peaceful and cordial.
In the year 175 b.c. he granted to the Jewish people, who desired it, permission to erect a gymnasium in Jerusalem, as above stated. In the year 173 b.c. demand was made of Antiochus of the provinces of Ccelo-Syria and Palestine by the young Philometor of Egypt, who had just come to the throne, and by his mother - a demand which was the origin of the war between Antiochus and the king of Egypt, and the beginning of all the disturbances. - Prideaux, iii. 218. In the year 172 b.c., Antiochus bestowed the office of high priest on Menelaus, who was the brother of Jason the high priest. Jason had sent Menelaus to Antioch to pay the king his tribute-money, and while there Menelaus conceived the design of supplanting his brother, and by offering for it more than Jason had, he procured the appointment and returned to Jerusalem. - Prideaux, iii. 220-222. Up to this time all the intercourse of Antiochus with the Jews had been of a peaceful character, and nothing of a hostile nature had occurred.
In 171 b.c. began the series of events which finally resulted in the invasion and destruction of the city, and in the cessation of the public worship of God. Menelaus, having procured the high priesthood, refused to pay the tribute-money which he had promised for it, and was summoned to Antioch. Antioclius being then absent, Menelaus took advantage of his absence, and having, by means of Lysimachus, whom he had left at Jerusalem, procured the vessels out of the temple, He sold them at Tyre, and thus raised money to pay the king. In the meantime, Onias III, the lawful high priest, who had fled to Antioch, sternly rebuked Menelaus for his sacrilege, and soon after, at the instigation of Menelaus, was allured from his retreat at Daphne, where he had sought an asylum, and was murdered by Andronicus, the vicegerent of Antiochus. At the same time, the Jews in Jerusalem, highly indignant at the profanation by Menelaus, and the sacrilege in robbing the temple, rose in rebellion against Lysimachus and the Syrian forces who defended him, and both cut off this “sacrilegious robber” (Prideaux), and the guards by whom he was surrounded.
This assault on the officer of Antiochus, and rebellion against him, was the commencement of the hostilities which resulted in the ruin of the city, and the closing of the worship of God. - Prideaux, iii. 224-226; Stuart‘s Hints on Prophecy, p. 102. Here commenced a series of aggressions upon the priesthood, and the temple, and the city of the Jews, which, with occasional interruption, continued to the death of Antiochus, and which led to all that was done in profaning the temple, and in suspending the public worship of God, and it is doubtless to this time that the prophet here refers. This is the natural period in describing the series of events which were so disastrous to the Jewish people; this is the period at which one who should now describe them as history, would begin. It may not, indeed, be practicable to make out the precise number of days, for the exact dates are not preserved in history, but the calculation brings it into the year 171 b.c., the year which is necessary to be supposed in order that the two thousand and three hundred days should be completed. Compare Lengerke, in loc., p. 388. Various attempts have been made to determine the exact number of the days by historic records. Bertholdt, whom Lengerke follows, determines it in this manner. He regards the time referred to as that from the command to set up pagan altars to the victory over Nicanor, and the solemn celebration of that victory, as referred to in John 10:22, and which our Saviour honored with his presence. See 1 Maccabees 4:41-58; 2 Maccabees 10:1-7; Josephus, Ant. b. xii. ch. vii. Section 6,7.
Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?” Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, “The vision ... shall be for many days,” he fainted away. “I Daniel fainted,” he records of his experience, “and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Verses 26, 27. PK 554.1
Still burdened in behalf of Israel, Daniel studied anew the prophecies of Jeremiah. They were very plain—so plain that he understood by these testimonies recorded in 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.” Daniel 9:2. PK 554.2
With faith founded on the sure word of prophecy, Daniel pleaded with the Lord for the speedy fulfillment of these promises. He pleaded for the honor of God to be preserved. In his petition he identified himself fully with those who had fallen short of the divine purpose, confessing their sins as his own. PK 554.3Read in context »
Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. They talk science, and the enemy comes in and gives them an abundance of science; but it is not the science of salvation. It is not the science of humility, of consecration, or of the sanctification of the Spirit. We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are,—the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.—The Review and Herald, May 25, 1905. CW 29.1
The Message to Present—Our lesson for the present time is, How may we most clearly comprehend and present the gospel that Christ came in person to present to John on the Isle of Patmos,—the gospel that is termed “the revelation of Jesus Christ”? We are to present to our people a clear explanation of Revelation. We are to give them the word of God just as it is, with as few of our own explanations as possible. No one mind can do this work alone. Although we have in trust the grandest and most important truth ever presented to the world, we are only babes, as far as understanding truth in all its bearings is concerned. Christ is the great teacher, and that which He revealed to John, we are to tax our minds to understand and clearly to define. We are facing the most important issues that men have ever been called upon to meet. CW 29.2
The theme of greatest importance is the third angel's message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels. All should understand the truths contained in these messages and demonstrate them in daily life, for this is essential to salvation. We shall have to study earnestly, prayerfully, in order to understand these grand truths.—Letter 97, 1902. CW 29.3Read in context »
Sabbath, March 24, 1849, we had a sweet and very interesting meeting with the brethren at Topsham, Maine. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the city of the living God. Then I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ relating to the shut door could not be separated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out with all their importance, and for God's people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments. This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844. Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy, and passed within the second veil, where He now stands by the ark, and where the faith of Israel now reaches. EW 42.1
I saw that Jesus had shut the door of the holy place, and no man can open it; and that He had opened the door into the most holy, and no man can shut it (Revelation 3:7, 8); [see page 86. See also appendix.] and that since Jesus has opened the door into the most holy place, which contains the ark, the commandments have been shining out to God's people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question. EW 42.2
I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come until the mediation of Jesus in the holy place was finished and He had passed within the second veil; therefore Christians who fell asleep before the door was opened into the most holy, when the midnight cry was finished, at the seventh month, 1844, and who had not kept the true Sabbath, now rest in hope; for they had not the light and the test on the Sabbath which we now have since that door was opened. I saw that Satan was tempting some of God's people on this point. Because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith and have not kept the true Sabbath, they were doubting about its being a test for us now. EW 42.3Read in context »
Then the wicked saw what they had lost; and fire was breathed from God upon them and consumed them. This was the execution of the judgment. The wicked then received according as the saints, in unison with Jesus, had meted out to them during the one thousand years. The same fire from God that consumed the wicked purified the whole earth. The broken, ragged mountains melted with fervent heat, the atmosphere also, and all the stubble was consumed. Then our inheritance opened before us, glorious and beautiful, and we inherited the whole earth made new. We all shouted with a loud voice, “Glory; Alleluia!” EW 54.1
*****Read in context »