THE TWENTY-THREE HUNDRED DAYS.
7. The twenty-three hundred days. We will now go back to Verses 13, 14 of Daniel 8:
|"Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint 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 said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."|
|Verses 15-19: "And it came to pass, when I, even I, Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face; but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man; for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground; but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be, "|
In the remaining verses of chapter 8, the angel explained the meaning of the ram, the goat, and the little horn. But he gave no explanation of the time in this chapter. The vision embraces Persia, Grecia, and Rome. And it is evident that twenty-three hundred literal days could not cover the duration of one of these kingdoms, much less all three of them. Hence, the days must be symbolic, a day for a year, even as the beasts and horns are shown to be symbols. And it is a fact that a symbolic, or prophetic, day is one year. Num.14:34; Eze.4:5, 6. Hence, the period is twenty-three hundred years.
But the angel did not explain the time in chapter 8. And, at the very close of the chapter, the prophet says, "I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it." It was the time alone that he did not understand, as all else had been explained in that chapter.
But Gabriel did explain the time in chapter 9; so that in the first verse of chapter 10, he says that "he understood stood the thing, and had understanding of the vision." This understanding therefore, he did receive in chapter 9
This chapter commences with the earnest, importunate prayer of the prophet, from the reading of which it is evident that he had so far misunderstood the vision of chapter 8, that he concluded that the twenty-three hundred days of treading under foot the sanctuary would terminate with the seventy years' desolation of the city and sanctuary, predicted by Jeremiah.
Compare verses 1 and 2, with verses 16 and 17. Gabriel is now sent to undeceive him, and to complete the explanation of the vision.
|"While I was speaking in prayer, " says Daniel, "even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning [here he cites us back to chapter 8:15, 16], being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved; therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." Verses 21-23.|
Note these facts: (1) In verse 21, Daniel cites us to the vision of chapter 8.
(2) In verse 22, Gabriel states that he has come to give Daniel skill and understanding. This being the object of Gabriel's mission, Daniel, who at the close of chapter 8 did not understand the vision, may, ere Gabriel leaves him, fully understand its import.
(3) As Daniel testifies at the close of chapter 8, that none understood the vision, it is certain that the charge given to Gabriel, "Make this man to understand the vision, " still rested upon him.
Hence it is that he tells Daniel, "I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding;" and in verse 23, requests him to "understand the matter, and consider the vision." This is undeniable proof that Gabriel's mission in chapter 9, was for the purposes of explaining what he omitted in chapter 8. If any ask further evidence, the fact that Gabriel proceeds to explain the very point in question, most fully meets the demand.
Verses 24-27: "Seventy weeks are determined (The word here rendered "determined", is "chathak. Gesenius, in his Lexicon, defines it thus:"Properly, to cut off; tropically, to divide, and so to determine, to decree") 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."
These facts should be borne in mind:
(1) The word rendered determined, verse 24, literally signifies, cut off.
(2) The vision which Gabriel came to explain, contained the period of 2300 days; and in explanation he tells us that seventy weeks have been cut off upon Jerusalem and the Jews.
Therefore the seventy weeks are a part of the 2300 days. Hence the commencement of the seventy weeks is the date of the 2300 days. And the fact that the seventy weeks were fulfilled in the 490 years, as all admit, is a demonstration that the 2300 days, from which this period of 490 days was cut off, are 2300 years.
The angel's date of the seventy weeks next claims our attention. The date for the commencement of the weeks is thus given by Gabriel: "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.9:25.
We present the following important testimony from the Advent Herald. It is a calm, dispassionate vindication of the dates, which establishes them beyond dispute. It was written in the year 1850, and consequently cannot be supposed to be given with a desire to prove that the days ended in 1844, as the Herald is not willing to admit that fact. Therefore it must be regarded as candid and honorable testimony to important facts. That it demolishes every view that has been put forth to re-adjust the 2300 days, no one who can appreciate the force of the arguments presented will fail to perceive:-
"The Bible gives the data for a complete system of chronology, extending from the creation to the birth of Cyrus, a clearly ascertained date. From this period downward, we have the undisputed Canon of Ptolemy, and the undoubted era of Nabonassar, extending below our vulgar era. At the point where inspired chronology leaves us, this Canon of undoubted accuracy commences. And thus the whole arch is spanned. It is by the Canon of Ptolemy that the great prophetical period of seventy weeks is fixed. This Canon places the seventh year of Artaxerxes in the year B.C. 457; and the accuracy of the Canon is demonstrated by the concurrent agreement of more than twenty eclipses.
The seventy weeks date from the going forth of a decree respecting the restoration of Jerusalem. There were no decrees between the seventh and twentieth years of Artaxerxes. Four hundred and ninety years, beginning with the seventh, must commence in B.C. 457, and end in A.D. 34. Commencing in the twentieth, they must commence in B.C. 444, and end in A.D. 47. As no event occurred in A.D. 47 to mark their termination, we cannot reckon from the twentieth; we must therefore look to the seventh of Artaxerxes. This date we cannot change from B.C. 457, without first demonstrating the inaccuracy of Ptolemy's Canon.
To do this, it would be necessary to show that the large number of eclipses by which its accuracy has been repeatedly demonstrated, have not been correctly computed; and such a result would unsettle every chronological date, and leave the settlement of epochs, and the adjustment of eras, entirely at the mercy of every dreamer, so that chronology would be of no more value than mere guess-work.
As the seventy weeks must terminate in A.D. 34, unless the seventh of Artaxerxes is wrongly fixed, and as that cannot be changed without some evidence to that effect, we inquire, What evidence marked that termination? The time when the apostles turned to the Gentiles harmonizes with that date better than any other which has been named. And the crucifixion, in A.D. 31, in the midst of the last week, is sustained by a mass of testimony which cannot be easily invalidated." - Advent Herald, March 2, 1850.
Sixty-nine of the seventy weeks were to extend to the Messiah the Prince. Sixty-nine weeks of years are 483 years. Beginning these with the seventh of Artaxerxes, they extend to A.D. 26-7. The word Messiah signifies, the Anointed. John 1:41, margin. The Saviour was anointed at his baptism. Compare Acts 10:37, 38; Mark 1:10; Luke 4:18.
After being thus anointed, he went into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled." Mark 1:14, 15. The time then fulfilled could be no other period than the sixty-nine weeks, for that was to reach unto the Messiah, or the Anointed One. The sixty-nine weeks, reckoned from the seventh of Artaxerxes, as it is fixed by astronomical calculations, would end in A.D. 26-7; and A.D. 27 we find is the precise point of time when the Saviour must have been "about thirty years" of age, when he was baptized of John, and declared the time fulfilled.
The decree referred to in Dan.9, from which the seventy weeks are dated, is that of the seventh of Artaxerxes. Ezra 7. Indeed, speaking properly, there was no decree in his twentieth year; for by turning to Neh.2:18, it will be seen that when Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem he had nothing with which to incite the Jews to action, except to relate to them the good words which the king had spoken to him. Thus Nehemiah had mere verbal permission to restore the city of Jerusalem. But such verbal permission does not constitute a Persian decree; for in Dan.6:8, we learn that it must be a written document, signed by the king. But thirteen years previous to Nehemiah's permission to go up to Jerusalem, such a decree had been given to Ezra in the seventh year of Artaxerxes. Respecting this decree, Prof. Whiting remarks:-
" We are informed in Ezra 7:11, `Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes to Israel.' The letter then follows, written, not in Hebrew, but in Chaldaic (or the Eastern Aramaic), the language then used at Babylon. At the 27th verse, the narrative proceeds in Hebrew. We are thus furnished with the original document, by virtue of which Ezra was authorized to `restore and build Jerusalem, ' or, in other words, by which he was clothed with power, not merely to erect walls or houses, but to regulate the affairs of his countrymen in general, to `set magistrates and judges which may judge all the people beyond the river.'"
That Ezra understood that power was conferred upon himself and upon the people of Israel, to rebuild the street and wall of Jerusalem, is certain from his own testimony, recorded in chapter 9:9: "For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem."
The seventh year of Artaxerxes, from which the decree is dated, is fixed beyond dispute in B.C. 457. The commencement of Christ's ministry, in A.D. 27, was just sixty-nine weeks, or 483 prophetic days, from the decree in B.C. 457. The crucifixion in the midst of the week occurred in the spring of A.D. 31, just three and a half years from the commencement of Christ's ministry. The remaining three and a half years of the seventieth week ended in the autumn of A.D. 34. Here the seventy weeks, which had been cut off upon the Jews, in which they were "to finish the transgression, " close with the act of the Jewish Sanhedrin in formally rejecting Christ by persecuting his disciples; and God gives the great apostle to the Gentiles his commission to them. Acts 9.
The first three and a half years of the seventieth week ended in the first Jewish month (April) in the spring of A.D. 31. The remaining three and a half years would therefore end in the seventh month, autumn, of A.D. 34. Here ends the great period which Gabriel, in explaining the 2300 days to Daniel, tells him was cut off upon Jerusalem and the Jews. Its commencement, intermediate dates, and final termination, are fully established.
It remains, then, to notice this one grand fact: The first 490 years of the 2300 ended in the seventh month, autumn, of A.D. 34. This period of 490 years being cut off from the 2300, a period of 1810 years remains. This period of 1810 years being added to the seventh month, autumn of A.D. 34, brings us to the seventh month, autumn of 1844
Let us now recur to the events connected with the great Advent movement of 1843 and 1844. Previous to the year 1843, the evidence on the going forth of the decree in B.C. 457, had been clearly and faithfully set forth. And as the period of 457 years before Christ, subtracted from the 2300, would leave but 1843 years after Christ, the end of the 2300 years was confidently expected in 1843. But if the 2300 years began with the commencement of B.C. 457, they would not end till the last day of A.D. 1843, as it would require all of 457, and all of 1843, to make 2300 full years.
But about the close of 1843 it was clearly seen that as the crucifixion occurred in the midst of the week, in the spring of A.D. 31, the remainder of the seventieth week, viz., three and a half years, would end in the autumn of A.D. 34.
And as the first seven weeks of the seventy mark the time of the work of restoring and building Jerusalem in troublous times, the great period must commence with the commencement of the work of restoring and building, which did not commence in the spring, on the first month, when Ezra started from Babylon, but after he he had reached Jerusalem, in the autumn, probably on the seventh month. "For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem." Ezra 7:9. This would give two months for necessary preparations for the work of restoring and building to commence on the seventh month, immediately after the great day of atonement.
When it was seen that only 456 years and a fraction had expired before Christ, it was at once understood that 1843 years, and a portion of 1844 sufficient to make up a full year when joined to that fraction, were required in order to make 2300 full years. In other words, the 2300 days in full time, would expire in the seventh month, 1844. And if we take into the account the fact that the midst of the seventieth week was the fourteenth day of the first month, and that consequently the end of the seventy weeks must have been at a corresponding point in the seventh month, A.D. 34, we perceive at once that the remainder of the 2300 days would end at about that point in the seventh month, 1844.
With this great fact before us, that the 2300 days of Daniel, which reached to the cleansing of the sanctuary, would terminate at that time, and also with the light of the types, that the high priest in "the example and shadow of heavenly things, " on the tenth day of the seventh month, entered within the second vail to cleanse the sanctuary, we confidently expected the advent of our Redeemer in the seventh month, 1844. The prophecy said, "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." The type said that at that season in the year the high priest should pass from the holy place of the earthly tabernacle to the most holy, to cleanse the sanctuary. Lev.16.
With these facts before us, we reasoned as follows:
(1) The sanctuary is the earth, or the land of Palestine.
(2) The cleansing of the sanctuary is the burning of the earth, or the purification of Palestine, at the coming of Christ.
(3) And hence our great High Priest will leave the tabernacle of God in Heaven, and descend in flaming fire on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the autumn of 1844.
It is needless to say that we were painfully disappointed. And, though the man does not live who can overthrow the chronological argument which terminates the 2300 days at that time, or meet the evidence by which it is fortified and sustained; yet multitudes, without stopping to inquire whether our conceptions of the sanctuary and of its cleansing were correct, have openly denied the agency of Jehovah in the Advent movement, and have pronounced it the work of man.
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