THE daily round of service during the year typified the work of confessing sins and leaving them with Christ, our great Sin-bearer, in the heavenly sanctuary. But Christ will not always bear the sins of the world. There will come a time when He will blot out the last trace of sin from the books of heaven. Then the sins of the righteous will be laid upon Satan, the originator of sin, and he, with all sin and sinners, will be consumed in the lake of fire.
God is a God of justice, and before either the sins of the faithful or the names of the unfaithful are blotted from the books of heaven, (Rev. 3:5) there will be an examination of the records,– an investigative judgment. The service in the second apartment of the sanctuary was a type of this work. It was called the day of atonement, or the cleansing of the sanctuary. The record states: "On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord." (Lev. 16:30)
When men and angels were placed on probation, a time of judgment was appointed when they would be judged. The resurrection of Christ is a pledge, or assurance, of the judgment. God "hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." (Acts 17:31)
The day of judgment is a definite time set apart in which to perform a specific work. It is a period of time. "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked:for there is a time there for every purpose, and for every work." (Eccl. 3:17) God did not leave the world in darkness in regard to the time of the day of judgment, of which the day of atonement, or the cleansing of the sanctuary, was a type; but through the prophet Daniel He foretold when that event would take place.
In the eighth chapter of the book of Daniel, we read that in the last days of the Babylonian kingdom, the prophet was given a prophetic view of the history of the world from that time until the end of all earthly kingdoms. He saw a ram having two horns; and a rough goat with a notable horn between his eyes, came from the west and overcame the ram and trampled him under foot. Then the goat grew very strong; and when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and in its place came up four notable horns. "Out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceeding great," until "he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host;" that is, claimed to be equal to the Prince of the host.
While the prophet was watching this little horn persecuting the people of God on the earth, his attention was arrested by a conversation between two heavenly beings, which he records as follows: "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto the Numberer of secrets, or the Wonderful Numberer, 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? And He [the Wonderful Numberer, the Prince of hosts] said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." (Dan. 8:1-14, margin) Daniel did not understand the vision, and One having authority over the heavenly forces commissioned the angel. Gabriel to make him understand it. Gabriel then gave the following brief explanation:
"The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia, and the rough goat is the king of Grecia:and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king [Alexander the Great]."
He then said that the four kingdoms into which Grecia would be divided, represented by the four horns, would not be as strong as Grecia, but that the kingdom represented by the little horn; viz., the Roman kingdom, which grew out of the four horns, would destroy the people of God, and would even stand up against the Prince of princes Himself when He should come to the earth. This last view was more than Daniel could endure. When he saw that this power would even take the life of the Prince of princes, he fainted; and when Gabriel said, "The vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true," he found it was useless to proceed, as Daniel was not able to comprehend. (Dan. 8:20-27)
Daniel was sick for some days, but soon began to pray for a full explanation of the vision. We have his prayer recorded; it is not long. When he began to pray, God in heaven commissioned Gabriel to go and answer the prophet's prayer, and before he had finished praying the angel touched him. (Dan. 9:1-23) Heaven and earth are brought very near together by the prayer of faith. The one who holds on by simple faith until an answer is sent from heaven, is beloved by the Lord. (Dan. 9:23)
Gabriel assured Daniel that he was come to give him "skill and understanding," and told him to "consider the vision." All had been made plain except the question asked the "Wonderful Numberer," and His reply. All heaven is interested in the work of God on the earth, and it was not idle curiosity but intense interest which prompted the question, "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?" The word "sacrifice" is given in italics in the authorized version of the Bible, showing that it "was supplied by man's wisdom, and does not belong to the text."
At the time the question was asked, the sanctuary, or temple built by Solomon, lay in ruins, and God's people were in captivity in a foreign land. The vision had revealed to the angels as well as to Daniel that far down in the future a power would arise that would bring a worse persecution upon the people of God than they had ever experienced, which was fulfilled in the twelve hundred sixty years of papal persecution, known in history as the Dark Ages. (Dan. 8:23-25) This persecution could not affect the heavenly sanctuary, as no earthly power can reach heaven; but it trod underfoot the host who worshiped toward the heavenly sanctuary, and by depriving the people of the word of God, it obscured the correct knowledge in regard to the heavenly sanctuary for a long period of time.
When the Wonderful Numberer answered the question, He directed His words to Daniel instead of to the one who asked the question. None but the Father or the Son could reveal the time appointed for the great court of judgment to convene in the heavenly sanctuary. It was. Christ then, who numbered the years to intervene before the opening of the great judgment. He is truly called the Numberer of Secrets, or the Wonderful Numberer. (Dan. 8:13)
When Daniel was told to consider the vision, no doubt the words addressed directly to him would come into his mind:""Unto two thousand and three hundred days [evening, morning]; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." (Dan. 8:14) As Daniel's mind reviewed these words, Gabriel began the explanation of the portion of the vision he had been unable to explain during his previous visit.
The prophecy regarding the two thousand three hundred days of Dan. 8:14 is one of the grandest prophecies in the entire Bible. There are other lines of prophecy that foretell the rise and fall of nations, but the two thousand three hundred days definitely locates two of the greatest events in the history of all mankind; viz., the time when Christ would come to the earth and offer Himself as a ransom for the lost race; and the opening of the great tribunal in heaven, when the Judge of all the earth will decide the eternal destiny of every soul that has ever lived upon the earth.
During Gabriel's first visit to Daniel, he explained the symbols of the ram, the rough goat, and the four horns, and gave an account of the work of the little horn; but Daniel fainted before he had explained the two thousand three hundred days; therefore when he returns to give the prophet skill and understanding and asks him to consider the vision, he immediately introduces the subject of time. His first words are, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city." The word "determined" signifies cut off from some longer period of time. The only time period under consideration is the two thousand three hundred days. Therefore, seventy weeks were to be cut off from that period, and allotted to the Jews and their holy city. (Dan. 9:24-27)
A day in prophetic time represents a year of real time. (Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6) Seven years make a week of years. (Gen. 29:27) Seventy weeks would be 70 x 7 = 490 years. Four hundred and ninety years were determined upon the Jewish people to accomplish six things; viz.,
1. "To finish the transgression," to commit the crowning act of all transgression,– take the life of the sinless Son of God.
2. "To make an end of sin." Christ partook of death, "that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," and thus forever end all sin. (Heb. 2:14)
3. "To make reconciliation for iniquity." Christ "made peace through the blood of His cross," and reconciled "all things unto Himself." (Col. 1:20)
4. "To bring in everlasting righteousness." The death of Christ opened the way by which every son and daughter of Adam could obtain everlasting righteousness if he desired it.
5. "To seal up the vision" Events transpired within those four hundred-ninety years that sealed, or established, the entire vision of the two thousand three hundred years.
6. "To anoint the most holy." When the time came to begin the service in the earthly sanctuary, the entire sanctuary was anointed; (Ex. 40:9) and when Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary to perform the work of which the earthly service was a type, the heavenly sanctuary was anointed, before He began His ministry in the first apartment. The heavenly sanctuary is spoken of as most holy to distinguish it from the earthly.
Wonderful changes were wrought in the history of the church during that four hundred ninety years. After the angel had enumerated the events to take place during that period, he told Daniel where to locate it in the history of the world, by announcing the date of the beginning of the period; "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." (Dan. 9:24,25)
The long period of two thousand three hundred days from which the seventy weeks, or four hundred ninety years, were cut off, began with the going forth of the great threefold
commandment (Ezra 6:14) a to restore and build Jerusalem, which went forth 457 B.C. This decree did not go into effect until about the middle of the year, (Ezra 7:9) which would make the exact date for the going forth of the decree 456 1/2 B.C.
Gabriel divides the seventy weeks into three divisions; viz., seven weeks, sixty, two weeks, and one week. (Dan. 9:25) The prophet Nehemiah gives an account of the rebuilding of the walls during troublous times.
The seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks, or sixty-nine weeks in all, were to extend to Messiah the Prince. Sixty-nine weeks equals 69 x 7 = 483 years. This taken from 456 1/2 B.C. brings us to 26 1/2 A.D. In the spring of A. D. 27, or 26 1/2 A. D., Jesus at His baptism was anointed with the Holy Ghost, and henceforth was the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed One. (John 1:4, Luke 3:21,22; Acts 10:38)
After the seven weeks and the threescore and two weeks passed, Messiah was to "be cut off, but not for Himself." He died to atone for the sins of the world. After stating that the Messiah would be cut off, Gabriel adds, "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." (Dan. 9:27) Christ's ministry after His baptism continued three and one-half years, or half a prophetic week.
Christ was cut off in the midst of the seventieth week, (Dan. 9:26, Is. 53:8) but the entire seventy weeks had been "determined" upon the Jews. Christ directed His disciples to begin their work at Jerusalem, and it was not until the stoning of Stephen in A. D. 34, or three and one-half years after the crucifixion, that the gospel went to the Gentiles. The covenant was confirmed by the disciples, (Heb. 2:2,3) for they confined their labors to the Jews until 34 A. D., the close of the period allotted to that people. (Acts 8:1-4)
The seventy weeks, or four hundred ninety years, ended in A. D. 34. Four hundred ninety years taken from the entire period of two thousand three hundred years, leaves eighteen hundred ten years of the period remaining in A. D. 34 [2300 - 490 = 1810]. This added to A. D. 34 brings us to eighteen hundred and forty-four A. D. [34 + 1810 = 1844].
"Unto two thousand and three hundred days [years]; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." (Dan. 8:14) The earthly sanctuary ceased to exist long before this date; but the time had come for the antitype of the cleansing of the sanctuary, the work performed on the day of atonement in the earthly sanctuary, to begin in the heavenly sanctuary. In 1844 the great Court from which there is no appeal convened in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.
This wonderful prophecy of two thousand three hundred years began with the restoration of God's people to their earthly possessions, and the rebuilding of the holy city Jerusalem; but again the Jews proved unfaithful to their trust, and the land of promise with the holy city passed from their control into the hands of the heathen.
The coming of Christ and His death on Calvary, like a great seal, fixes definitely the entire prophecy, and insures the inheritance of the earth to the faithful; and the judgment which opened at the close of that wonderful period of prophetic time will give to the faithful a "court title" to the eternal inheritance and the city of God, the New Jerusalem.
Note:– The twenty-three hundred days, or years of Dan. 8:14 is the longest line of prophecy in the Bible with definite dates, marking the beginning and close. It locates four very important events: 1st, the baptism of Christ; 2nd, the crucifixion of Christ; 3rd, the gospel going to the Gentiles; 4th, the opening of the investigative judgment in heaven. The crucifixion of Christ in the midst of the seventhieth week “sealed the vision,” and established the other dates.
Events definitely located by the two thousand three hundred years
Baptism of Christ. Dan. 9:25; John 1:41, margin; Luke 3:21.
Death of Christ. Dan. 9:26, 27.
Anointing the heavenly sanctuary. Dan. 9:24.
Gospel going to the Gentiles. Dan. 9:27; Heb. 2:3; Acts 8:4.
Opening of the investigative judgment. Dan. 8:14.