“Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Daniel 8:14).
When Baptist preacher William Miller decided to present his interpretation of Daniel 8:14 in 1822, he had no idea of the uproar he would create among the North American protestant churches. Even after nearly 200 years have passed since his mark was first made, his influence over eschatological views remains.
Miller’s prime concern was that the church of the early 1800’s had been drifting into an attitude of indifference. There was a belief gaining popularity at the time that Jesus Christ would return after the thousand year millennium rather than prior to it. This post-Millennial theory contributed to the mounting indifference reflected in the heart the evil servant who said, “My lord delays his coming” (Matthew 24:48).
William Miller set out to reverse this post-Millennial belief by teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven was nigh at hand. He may have failed in that the Messiah did not return in the years expected, but he did succeed in rooting out the teaching of the post-Millennial return of Jesus Christ.
The 7th month movement, as it was eventually called, was the first contact the church at large had with Hebrew oriented practices and beliefs in 1500 years. This movement pointed believers to the 7th Hebrew month (occurring in the fall) following the Biblical reckoning of time practiced by the Karaite Jews of Israel. They were hopeful that believers would be sufficiently prepared for the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken of in Daniel 8:14. “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Daniel 8:14).
Although their expectations of the event failed, it set off a chain reaction of reform movements resulting in the formation of the Church of God, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Iglesia Ni Cristo, as well as the multitude of Messianic Hebrew Roots groups springing up today. These groups, representing well over 50 million plus believers hold in common that the return of the Messiah is imminent and all mankind are to uphold biblical standards of righteousness.
But the prophecy (Daniel 8:14) that originated this movement was (and still is) very difficult to understand. No wonder the Millerites had made so many errors in their attempts to explain it! It is primarily a time prophecy composed of 2300-time increments of either days of years. Regardless of which time standard you choose, the vision does not specify an event in time where its readers can begin to calculate.
Thankfully the prophecy does have a termination point. The King James Version says “then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed”. But what does this actually mean? William Miller believed that the Sanctuary represented the earth which would be cleansed with fire at the termination of 2300 years in the year 1843. Seventh Day Adventists reinterpreted the prophecy and concluded that the 2300 years expired in 1844 and that this commenced the “cleansing” of the Heavenly Sanctuary when works of the dead would be reviewed.
But arriving at the “Heavenly Sanctuary cleansing” conclusion is difficult to prove in the Bible; especially if you read the text in Hebrew. For if you search the Old Testament, there are no Levitical ceremonies or Hebrew related phrases tied specifically to the “cleansing of the sanctuary”. The closest one can get to anything remotely connected to a cleansing of the sanctuary concept is when Hezekiah invited upper Israel to join Judah at a Passover. He said “The good LORD pardon every one That prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary” (2 Chronicles 30:18-19). Note that the word “cleansed” is a word supplied by the interpreters and is not in the Hebrew text.
So, if Daniel 8:14 does not pertain to a Sanctuary complex, what then is it supposed to mean? Unfortunately for the Adventists, the key that could unlock and clarify this prophecy has never been fully explored by the church. Only those who are circumcised in heart to the Law of Moses will be able to comprehend it. Alternately, those who rebel against the teachings of the covenant will be led into deeper confusion and eventually into rebellion against the Divine Law Giver Himself. Interestingly, this is the very scenario conveyed within Daniel eight’s vision.
Part of the reason behind this confusion is that Daniel’s words were interpreted by men who had never believed in the objectives of the covenant that YHWH made with Israel. But if we read the Prophecy of Daniel 8:14 using the Holy Covenant as our interpretive guide, the meaning intended by the Almighty will become clear to us. Instead of reading “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” its Hebrew rendering should say, “then shall the holy (H6944) be made righteous” (H6663).
This all makes sense as we correlate the prophecy with the objectives of the Holy Covenant. In that Covenant we find that a restoration of righteousness would occur after a long period of turning His ears from the cries of His chosen people. No doubt that heartfelt cries of distress were rising from the People of Israel at the height of the 7th month movement when many thought the world coming to an end. "But if from there (The nations) you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29). So 2300 years rather than 2300 days would be the most probable interpretation of this time prophecy. The fact that many began to adopt the Sabbath as well as many other Old Testament laws after 1843-44 indicates that a heartfelt return to the righteous paths for Israel had commenced.
Of further interest, the Hebrew rendering of Daniel 8:14 does not say 2300 days, but rather 2300 evenings (H6153) and mornings (H1242). This seems to complicate the ability to use the day for year computation of Ezekiel 4:5-6. So how could a prophecy made up of evenings and mornings mean years? We must consider that biblical years, like biblical days, have evenings and mornings as well. These periods begin in Jerusalem (located in the Northern Hemisphere). The evening of the year begins at the fall equinox and from there, the northern hemisphere goes into six months of darkness (indicated by the shortness of days). Alternately, the morning of the year begins at the spring equinox when the northern hemisphere revives and commences its growing season.
So according to these details, the prophecy of Daniel’s 2300 years was meant to initiate as well as conclude in the autumn at the time of the fall festivals. Next, we would need to determine which year. Remember I previously mentioned that Daniel 8 does not give us a start date. But by taking a close look in the time prophecies of Daniel nine, we find an interesting correlation between these two prophecies. The angel said to Daniel, “From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25). This prophecy has always seemed specifically related to the great messianic prophecy spanning 490 years.
But note carefully that this prophecy goes beyond predicting the ministry of the Messiah. It had many another aspects as well. One of them was to “seal up vision” (see Daniel 9:25). But what vision? The answer to that question is connected to Daniel 8:14: "The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but “SEAL UP THE VISION, FOR IT CONCERNS THE DISTANT FUTURE” (Daniel 8:26). This means that the 2300 evening and mornings of Daniel 8:14 as well as the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24-25 are interrelated and designed to commence at the same time.
So we find that the prophecy of Daniel chapter eight is specifically related to the Holy People of Israel. Since 1843, His spirit has been calling them to fulfill the aims of the Covenant He made with them 3500 years ago. But the People of Israel have always been prone to backsliding and this backsliding has been prophesied to occur in the years following 1843.
The words conveyed in Daniel 8:14 are merely answering the questions asked by “the holy one” in the previous verse: The holy one asks, "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?" (Daniel 8:13)
What we are to expect in the next phase of this prophecy is rebellion against the holy covenant. Those who have embraced the movements who came from 1843-44 will embrace the teachings of the little horn of Daniel 8:10. They will betray their fellow brothers who advance towards the objectives of the Covenant of Israel. And in response to this, YHWH will unleash His anger against them in the sight of all nations. It is a fearful period we are entering into, especially as we see the encroachment of the Roman influence in the various Advent movements.
Lord, is it I? Maybe so? But how can one know? If you are hesitant to teach or practice even the least of the commandments given to Israel through Moses, then you are at risk. At most, you will betray your brothers who do and teach the Torah, and at the least, you will remain silent, watching others engage in the betrayal. And for this, the Host will be given over to be trampled on by the Beast.
Time is short, apply the eye salve so you will be able discern the approaching danger.