The 2300 days prophecy: placing the end time in History 

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1. Introduction

The 2300 days prophecy of Daniel 8 takes us to the time when the Sanctuary would be cleansed, which in turn leads to the second advent of Christ.  These momentous events define the time of the end. 

It is therefore vital to date the 2300 days prophecy accurately, and to understand its meaning clearly. 

2. The 2300 days prophecy

Da 8:13,14  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? 

14  And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed [Strong’s H6663, to be right]. 

The vision is 'shut up'...

Dan 8:26  And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. 

...until the end time

Dan 8:17  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. 

2.1 Summary of the prophecy

The prophecy spans the period of history when the ‘transgression of desolation’ would trample the ‘daily’, ‘the host’ and the sanctuary underfoot.  These events are covered in study: ‘Daniel 8, part 2’.

The 2300 days prophecy focuses on a momentous event occurring at the end of the 2300 days period: the cleansing of the Sanctuary.  

In this study we will identify the dates of the prophecy and give a brief explanation of the cleansing of the Sanctuary.  

However, we must first examine a commonly held interpretation.

3. The 2300 days: a common interpretation

The common interpretation is to apply the 2300 days prophecy, in conjunction with the little horn of Daniel 8, to the Hellenistic Greek king Antiochus IV (ruled 175-164 BC, i.e. approximately 9 years).  

Antiochus IV took the blasphemous title ‘Epiphanes’, which means the "illustrious one" or "god manifest”.  He was a king of the Seleucid empire, which included Israel.

Antiochus Epiphanes seized the throne illegally while the true heir was a hostage in Rome.  Antiochus was himself politically subordinate to Rome.  Antiochus Epiphanes is notorious for his suppression of the Jews. 

3.1 The reign of Antiochus Epiphanes

Antiochus Epiphanes was the eighth king in the Seleucid line.  More than a dozen Seleucids ruled after him. 

The Seleucids ruled for a century and a third before Antiochus Epiphanes and a century after him, which places him near the midpoint of the dynasty and not ‘in the latter time of their kingdom’ (Da 8:23).

3.2 Desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes

Antiochus Epiphanes had invaded Egypt, but in the spring of 168 BC, he was forced from Alexandria by a Syrian army supported by a Roman fleet.

Antiochus took vengeance upon Israel.  He killed many thousands of Jews, and sold many more into slavery. He committed many brutal atrocities. He outlawed Jewish religious rites and traditions and desecrated the temple, dedicating it to the pagan god Zeus.  He even sacrificed a sow upon the temple alter.

These events sparked the Maccabean revolt (167 BC), the success of which enabled, in December 165 BC, the ritual cleansing of the Temple and the restoration of the Priesthood.

3.3 Do the 2300 days fit Antiochus Epiphanes?

The common interpretation applies 2300 literal days to the period of desecration of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, and to its subsequent cleansing in 165 BC - but do these events fit 2300 days?

2300 literal days (i.e. ‘evenings and mornings’, the literal translation of ‘days’, Da 8:14) come to 6 years and 140 days (the Jewish year had 360 days).  Yet Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple for less than four years (Spring 168 - Dec 165 BC, which is approximately 1350 days). 

An attempt has been made to overcome this problem by counting ‘evenings and mornings’ as half-days, i.e. 1150 whole days (3 years and 70 days). Neither of these interpretations fit 2300 days/years.

We are told that the vision is for the time of the end (Da 8:17:12:4), which rules out 165 BC as the close of the 2300 days - though many hold that this is a dual prophecy referring both to Antiochus Epiphanes and to a great tribulation at the end of time, lasting a literal 2300 days.  There is no scriptural justification for this interpretation.

3.4 Summary: Antiochus Epiphanes and the 2300 days

The might and scope of the Little Horn of Daniel 8 is in direct contrast to the limited and short-lived power of Antiochus Epiphanes.  

The Little horn ‘waxed exceeding great’ and prospered (Da 8: 9-12), while Antiochus Epiphanes was a subordinate king who was defeated, first by Rome, then by the Maccabees. 

Furthermore, the Little Horn (an end time power) and Antiochus Epiphanes do not occupy the same historical period.  

Additionally, the 2300 days prophecy does not fit either the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes or the period of his desecration of the temple.  Thus we must look elsewhere for the understanding of the 2300 days prophecy.

4. Dating the 2300 days prophecy

First, as this is a prophetic time prophecy we must apply the year-day principle (see study: ‘The 70 week prophecy',2) in which one prophetic day equals one year of actual time.

Thus the 2300 days of the prophecy refer to a period of 2300 actual years.

The book of Daniel presents two major time prophecies: the 2300 days prophecy discussed here, and the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel chapter 9, which is a prophecy of Christ (see study: ‘The 70 weeks prophecy’). 

However, despite there being two time prophecies, the Book of Daniel gives only one clear datable point in history: the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Da 9:25), which marks the start of the 70 weeks prophecy (Da 9:24). 

In study: ‘The 70 weeks prophecy’,3.1, we date the start of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the autumn of 457 BC. 

As we have just the one clear dateable point, the only means we have of calculating the start date of the 2300 days prophecy is by the 70 weeks prophecy. 

4.1 Relating the 70 weeks prophecy to the 2300 days prophecy

We read in Da 9:24 (KJV) that the 70 weeks (of the 70 weeks prophecy) are ‘determined’ upon thy people.

The Hebrew word translated ’determined’ means literally ‘cut off’ (Strong's H2852).  What, then, are the 70 weeks ‘cut off’’ from?  The only time period available is the 2300 days prophecy introduced in the previous chapter of Daniel (Da 8:13,14).

Thus the 70 weeks must have been ‘cut off’ from the 2300 days, which means that the 2300 days prophecy has the same start date as the 70 weeks prophecy: the autumn of 457 BC. 

4.2 The dates of the 2300 days prophecy

We have the start of the prophecy, autumn 457 BC.  Now we simply add 2300 actual years to 457 BC, which brings us to the autumn of 1844 AD (remembering there is no year 0).

The 2300 days prophecy, therefore, runs from autumn 457 BC to autumn 1844 AD.

The prophecies of Daniel are for the end time (Da 8:17:12:4). Thus the 2300 days prophecy takes us to the final days of Earth’s history: 1844 to the second advent of Christ.

5. Understanding the 2300 days prophecy

According to the prophecy (Da 8:14), in autumn 1844 AD the Sanctuary would be cleansed (addressed in detail in study: ‘The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary’).  

We know that the Sanctuary in this prophecy must be the Sanctuary in Heaven, because the earthly Sanctuary, with its sacrifices and sin offerings, ceased at the Cross.  

As we have seen, the 2300 days prophecy is for the end time (Da 8:17:12:4). Thus 1844 AD marks the start of the end time in Heaven.

5.1 The end of the 2300 days - what happened in1844 AD

After the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, the Bible became increasingly available. Thus, over time, though hindered by the Papacy, many lost truths were rediscovered. 

In study: ‘Identifying the antichrist beast’,3.2 we see that in 1798 the power of the Papacy was broken, which marked the beginning of the end time on Earth  This enabled the unhindered re-discovery of important Scripture truth that the Papacy had kept hidden. 

Foremost amongst this truth was the true way to salvation in the Sanctuary in Heaven.

Note.  The end time on Earth had to begin before the end time in Heaven so that truth essential for understanding 1844 could indeed be rediscovered - the providence of God is far-reaching.

The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary is such an important concept it is addressed in depth in study: ‘The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary: Christ's final judgment’.  Here we provide a brief summary.

The earthly Sanctuary (see study: ‘The Sanctuary on Earth’), which ceased at the Cross, was a shadow (a representation) of the Sanctuary in Heaven (He 8:5).  Thus, by means of the earthly Sanctuary, we know everything that we need to know about the Sanctuary in Heaven.

In study: 'The Sanctuary on Earth',3.1 we see that sin atoned for by the 'continual' (evening and morning) sacrifices was transferred to the Sanctuary. Once a year the earthly High Priest entered the Most Holy (in the autumn, on the Great Day of Atonement) to cleanse the earthly Sanctuary of the accumulated sin of God's people. 

Thus, as the Sanctuary on Earth is a representation of the Sanctuary in Heaven, we know that Christ, in the autumn of 1844 AD, entered the Most Holy in Heaven to begin the cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary (see study: 'Entering the Most Holy in Heaven',3).  

Christ, by His own Blood, is now cleansing the Sanctuary in Heaven of the accumulated sin of all penitent mankind, which was transferred to the Heavenly Sanctuary by Christ's continual ministry (typified by the ‘continual’ ministry in the earthly Sanctuary).

6. The end time

We have seen that the 2300 days prophecy was ‘shut up for many days (actual years)’, and that it was specifically for the end time - see section 4.2, and the following scripture.

Da 12:4  But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run {to and fro} [Strong’s H7751, push, lash], and knowledge shall be increased.

Many understand this to mean knowledge in the general sense.  However, the context is the prophecies contained in the book of Daniel.  

Thus it is knowledge of these that will be increased (become clear), together with Daniel’s companion book: Revelation.

Many understand this to apply to modern travel, but once again the context is the prophecies in Daniel.  

Thus it applies to the searching of prophetic writings by many seeking to understand the times.  

They ‘run to and fro’, looking for answers - some find the truth in Scripture.  Others, however, give heed to fables such as the Mayan prophecies that supposedly predicted the end of the world in 2012.  Others again give heed to mis-interpretations of Scripture.

In Ep 4:14 we see ‘tossed to and fro’ used in the sense of casting about for truth and being misled into doctrinal confusion - precisely the case today.

By adhering to Scripture in combination with recorded history we know that today we are living in the end time - a period of final atonement, a period of judgment, and of the eradication of the sin of the redeemed (see study: ‘The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary’,2).

Once this period is finished Christ will return to Earth to redeem his faithful people, and also to exercise judgment upon the wicked, i.e. those who have refused God’s grace (see study: ‘The end of sin and sinners’). The return of Christ, His second advent, is addressed in study: ‘The second advent of Christ’.

7. Summary

Christ came to this world at the appointed time, to atone for sin by shedding His own blood.

Again at the appointed time, Christ began the final part of His saving ministry in the Most Holy in the Sanctuary in Heaven: the cleansing of The Heavenly Sanctuary of the accumulated sin of the redeemed.

Thus God has left us with a clear knowledge of His timetable for redemption.

The 2300 days prophecy is the last biblical time prophecy.  It denotes that the final events of Earth’s history began in Heaven in 1844 AD.  We are now living in that momentous time.

Once again we are left in no doubt, and once again we have no excuse for unbelief and for preferring unscriptural doctrine.

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