Daniel's 2,300 Day Prophecy FAQ

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Is Daniel 8:14 a prophecy about temple sacrifices?

A. Actually the mention of "sacrifice" in Daniel 8:11-13 is a gloss or a mistranslation, and is not part of the text in the original language, as can be seen by the use of italics in the KJV. Italics are used to indicate words added by translators in their attempt to make sense of the text. In this case, the addition of "sacrifice" probably obscures the real meaning. Some scholars prefer to use the word "Constant" in place of "daily sacrifice." I think this is much better, as it allows one to see what the prophecy actually says, rather than blindly follow someone else's interpretation.

Why would Daniel be interested in a ritual temple sacrifice, when there was no temple in his time? Would it make any sense for God be so upset about the lapse of a ritual sacrifice of the Jews for a few years, that meant the survival of a few thousand lambs, which would otherwise have been slaughtered? Of what cosmic significance would it be, that those lambs survived? How is it important for us to know about it at the end time?

Daniel 8:10 mentions stars, and the host of heaven, which includes various astronomical objects. The "host of heaven" refers to the sun and moon, and planets, and galaxies, constellations, and other celestial things. So if it is not a ritual "daily sacrifice" that was taken away in vs 11, what could it be? I think it means the knowledge of the earth's diurnal rotation, that was stamped out by Antiochus IV. What is more "constant," after all, than the earth's rotation?

Daniel's prophecy shows that the idea of a rigid, rotating heaven is foreign to the Bible, and identifies statements supporting it in the Old Testament as corruptions dating from the time of Antiochus IV in the hellenistic period. The notion of a rigid sky, a closed shell centered on the earth, was dominant in the hellenistic age. It is a concept typical of the ancient Greeks, and in fact the idea of a solid sky and geocentricism was the focus of their religion and philosophy. The idea of a solid sky can be traced back to the poems of Homer. Since the scientific revolution, everyone now knows there is no rigid shell or firmament centered on the earth.

Daniel foretold in symbolic language the revolution in astronomy which came 23 centuries after his time, in Daniel 8:14. After 2,300 "days," or "evening mornings," (which I take to represent 2,300 years) the heavenly "sanctuary" would be cleansed or justified. God's sanctuary is heaven, or the universe. I suggest this refers to the old concept of a rigid rotating firmament, and the system of planetary spheres centered on the earth, being abandoned as a result of scientific discoveries, in the mid eighteenth century.

Man's view of the heavens was "set right" in the eighteenth century, 23 centuries after Daniel's vision. This was the heavenly sanctuary being "set right" as foretold in Daniel 8:14.


Aren't the stars in Daniel 8:10 Israelites?

A.  In Daniel 8:10, the topic of the prophecy is cosmology. Stars, and the host of heaven, are astronomical objects. The "host of heaven" refers to the sun and moon, and planets, and galaxies, constellations, and other celestial things. In my interpretation Daniel's prophecy in chapter 8 refers to changes in the cosmology of the Bible.

The interpretation proposed by some scholars, that "stars" in vs. 10 represent the Jewish people, is implausible because nations are represented by animals in Daniel's vision. Daniel 8:20-21 identifies the two horns of the ram as symbols representing the kings of Media and Persia, and the goat as the Grecian kingdom, and its large horn is stated to be the first king, unmistakable as Alexander the Great. Since nations are represented by animals, and kings are represented by horns on the animals, if the nation of the Jews were being referred to, couldn't Daniel could have easily chosen another animal, (such as a cow, or a horse, or a camel, for example) to represent the Jews? Stars representing the Jews would be out of place, being inconsistent with the previous symbolism.

Scholars attempting to interpret Daniel have struggled and failed to make sense of it. Only since the scientific revolution is it possible to understand what has happened, and how the Bible's cosmology has been corrupted.



When do the 2,300 days start?

A. Since no start date is mentioned, the period must begin at the time the words were spoken. Supposing the period began at some later time has no basis. The question in Daniel 8:13 was:

How long shall be the vision concerning the Constant, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

The answer in Daniel 8:14 was:

Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Note that there is no mention of 'sacrifice' in the Hebrew, which occurs in the KJV in italics. The question referred to the vision Daniel saw in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, so that's what the period of 2,300 evening mornings refers to. These are best interpreted as years. The "evening mornings" are symbolic. They date the scientific revolution in astronomy, 2,300 years from Daniel's vision.


When do the 2,300 days end?

A. The "target" of the 2,300 years was the mid eighteenth century. This was the period, more so than any other time in history, when the old idea of a rigid rotating heavenly "firmament" was abolished, and man's thinking about cosmology was "set right".

The scientific revolution in astronomy began with the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, most people still supposed the heavens consisted of a rigid firmament, which rotated around the earth. A revolution in man's thinking about cosmology and astronomy occurred during the eighteenth century, as predictions based on Newton's Principia were confirmed. Consider these developments:



When was belief in the firmament abandoned?

A. Copernicus mentioned the idea of infinite space but did not commit himself to it. His diagram of the heliocentric system showed the firmament as the sphere of the fixed stars, which he thought was large enough to account for the absence of stellar parallax.

Frances R. Johnson wrote that Thomas Digges "...clearly perceived that, the moment the rotation of the earth was conceded, there was no longer any necessity for picturing the stars as attached to a huge, rotating sphere at a definite distance from the earth... Digges had the courage to break completely with the older cosmologies by shattering the finite outer wall of the universe. He was the first modern astronomer of note to portray an infinite, heliocentric universe, with the stars scattered at varying distances throughout infinite space."

Similar views were held by Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). Bruno was in constant conflict with traditional doctrines. His book 'On the Infinite Universe and Worlds', in which he argued that there are many other inhabited worlds, was published in 1584. Bruno believed that man's perception of the world is relative to the position in space and time from which he views it, and so, there are as many possible modes of viewing the world as there are possible positions. He was tried for heresy by the Inquisition in 1591, and after being imprisoned in Rome, he was burnt to death in 1600.

In 1576 Thomas Digges (1546-1595) contributed a supplement containing sections of Book 1 of De Revolutionibus by Copernicus translated into English, in a posthumous edition of his father Leonard Digges's book, 'Prognostication euerlasting'. The universe was described as extending infinitely. Thomas suggested the resulting astronomical system was more than just a mathematical hypothesis, but was "a Perfit Description of the Caelestiall Orbes." He sought to have these ideas tested by experiment and observation.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) calculated the distance to the starry firmament. His Epitome Astronomiae was published in 1621. He calculated the distance of the firmament to be four million sun diameters, which was 2,000 times greater than Ptolemy's universe. Its thickness he estimated as nine English miles, which meant the stars contained in it would be quite small.

John Milton (1608-1674) included a starry firmament in his cosmology. The Ptolemaic system of concentric planetary spheres and a stationary earth was the cosmological setting for his Paradise Lost (1667). He placed the waters above the firmament in a crystalline sphere which enclosed the sphere of the stars. The empyrean Heaven was separated from the spheres of the world by a floor of immense dimensions. Chaos and Hell were also located in the region beyond the universe.

Thomas Burnet (1635-1715), in the first edition of his 'Sacred Theory of the Earth', "seems to have advanced the suggestion that the firmament was the earth crust itself, which separated the waters of the abyss from those on the surface; but he receded from this position in later editions."

Joseph Addison (1672–1719) wrote this, which is still a popular hymn, which refers to a rigid firmament revolving around the earth. 

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
Th’unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator’s powers display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine.”

It is said that the dons at Oxford University took 50 years to abandon their old doctrines and accept Newton's Theory.

A century after the publication of Newton's Principia, academics at the University of Salamanca in Spain were still holding out for Aristotle's cosmology; they claimed "The principles of Newton... and Cartesio do not resemble the revealed truth as much as do those of Aristotle." [Durant, Will and Ariel. 1967. Rousseau and Revolution. Simon and Schuster, N.Y., p. 294]

From:
http://www.huntington.org/LibraryDiv/Newton/Newtonexhibit.htm


    A NEW WORLDVIEW EMERGES

The diffusion of Newtonian ideas before Newton’s death in 1727 was confined to the domain of mathematicians and natural philosophers as well as to a small circle of educated men who had acquired a taste for such studies. Wider dissemination required the unique genius of Voltaire and of Francesco Algarotti. What made Voltaire so effective an agent — apart from an unparalleled ability to seduce an audience by a masterful combination of shock and wit — was that he was neither a mathematician nor a physicist, but a literary giant aloof from the academic disputes over Newtonian ideas. In other words, Voltaire’s stature as an amateur in matters of science was the source of his contemporary appeal, demonstrating for the first time the accessibility of Newton’s ideas to non-specialists. Equally successful was Algarotti’s transmutation of Newtonian ideas into an agreeable dialogue format, specifically intended to appeal to women, which mitigated the dryness of the subject matter with amusing digressions. Other popular texts soon came on the market, ensuring that by the middle of the eighteenth century Newtonian science became a topic of general conversation. Women and children emerged as the audience of choice for publishers of popular scientific and philosophical works, while fashionable salons throughout Europe became pivotal venues for the discussion and dissemination of new scientific ideas.

The revolution in astronomy, when the old cosmology was replaced by the new, was accomplished in the mid 18th century, as foretold by the prophet Daniel 2,300 years before.


Why does Daniel mention an 'Abomination of Desolation'?

A.  The erection of a Zeus image and the conversion of the holy temple at Jerusalem to a shrine of Zeus Olympus was called the "abomination that makes desolation" in the prophecies of Daniel. The introduction of the essential elements of the flawed cosmology of the Greeks into the scriptures in the hellenistic period was the subject of the first part of Daniel's prophecy in chapter 8, which foretold the duration of the geocentric cosmology; it would end after 2,300 years.  Dan 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 constant, 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.

In this prophecy, days or "evening-mornings' represent years. Daniel says the "constant" or "continual" would be taken away. The rough goat represents the Greek empire, and the little horn which grows tall is the Seleucid king Antiochus IV.

In the KJV, and in many other versions, there is a reference to a "daily sacrifice" being taken away, but the real meaning is "continual" or "constant", and the word "sacrifice" has been added by translators who incorrectly interpreted the prophecy as referring to ritual sacrifices. However the lapse of such sacrifices some time in the future were not of any concern to Daniel at a time when there was no temple, and the city of Jerusalem was in ruins.

The little horn of the goat, which represents Antiochus IV, grows up, very high, past the tree tops, past the clouds, up to the stars! It casts stars and the host of heaven down to the earth.

There are several things cast down to the earth by the horn which grows great: the stars, the place of God's sanctuary (heaven), the host of heaven (sun and moon, constellations, planets, etc.), and the truth. The "constant" which was taken away refers to the diurnal rotation of the  earth, the knowledge of which was stamped out in the time of Antiochus IV.

Antiochus actively promoted the worship of Zeus Olympus, the sky god of the Greeks. Greek religion was very much tied to cosmology. The main gods were the 12 Olympians of Homer. The Greek cosmology was geocentric, and assumed the sky revolved around the earth. Zeus was identified with the rigid sky, (also called Olympus) which held up all the stars, sun and moon, planets, etc.

In the second century BC some astronomers questioned the reality of a rigid sky. Plutarch says Seleucus of Babylon supported a heliocentric cosmology, and claimed it was "not just a hypothesis, but a fact." Such a claim would threaten the Greek religion and cosmology which Antiochus supported.

Antiochus financed the construction of a huge temple of Zeus in Athens, the ruins of which are still there; it was said to be the largest temple in all of Greece. He built a temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Antioch, and had a statue of Zeus made for the temple of Apollo at Daphne, a copy of the one at Olympia in Elis. He had several temples converted to temples of Zeus including the Jerusalem temple and the one in Samaria.

Antiochus and his agents stamped out the knowledge of the earth's diurnal rotation, and established the supremacy of the geocentric cosmology of the Greeks, with its system of rigid spheres. Daniel's prophecy said the heavenly sanctuary would be "cleansed" after 2,300 evening-mornings. This can be interpreted as 2,300 years, so the prophecy indicates the heavens would be cleansed 23 centuries after it was given. The start date for the 2,300 years should be taken to be when the angel spoke the words, as no other start date is given, and Daniel 8:1 says it was in the third year of Belshazzar, which was in the mid sixth century BC.

After 2,300 years, in the mid 18th century, the old cosmology was abandoned, and men realised it is the earth that moves, not the sky. The rigid heavenly firmament and the planetary spheres were swept away like old cobwebs, when the discoveries of Newton and Galileo and Copernicus and Kepler and others were finally accepted. It was the scientific revolution that Daniel foretold.

Around 1750 AD, belief in the old cosmology ended, and the world became aware of the Newtonian system. Several translations of the "Principia" appeared around that time.  Newton's theory was confirmed in a spectacular way by the reappearance of Halley's comet in 1758 which Edmond Halley had predicted in 1705 on the basis of Newton's Principia.



Don't the 2,300 evening mornings begin after the "little horn" (Antiochus Epiphanes) appears?

A. The question was, in Daniel 8:13, "For how long is the vision concerning the Constant..?" So the 2,300 evening mornings is the duration of the vision, until it was fulfilled by the cleansing of the sanctuary. The vision originated in the 3rd year of the reign of Belshazzar, Daniel 8:1, so that would be the most natural start date of the 2,300 evening mornings.


Why does Daniel 8:17 say the vision is for the "time of the end"?

A. The information provided by Daniel gives us insight into the role of Antiochus IV in corrupting the cosmology of scripture, and more. Antiochus presents a rather fascinating figure, unique because of his prominence in the prophecies of Daniel.

Apparently, in the prophecies of Daniel, Antiochus IV is the type of the spiritual ruler of the world system, which destroys the saints at the end time. The history of the Jews of Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC provides a type of these end time saints. So I see events in those days as a metaphor for ours. We can notice many parallels between the influence of hellenism on the Jews of Jerusalem in those days, and the influence of modern materialistic society on Christians in our time. The Jews of the 2nd century BC who embraced hellenism or compromised their traditional beliefs compare to "modern" or "liberal" Christians, while the hasidim, the conservative party among the Jews, who opposed the hellenizers and the reforms of Antiochus, correspond to the conservative Christians.

Notice Daniel 8:23-25 where a "king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences" arises. I take this to mean the invisible spirit represented by Antiochus; it tries to suppress truth by means of fraud, intimidation, and ferocious scowls, sneers, and derision. These are a typical response to attempts by Christians to uphold the message of the Bible.

Daniel says this king "destroys wonderfully." The destruction is probably accomplished by means of modern technology; consider the pollution, the species have become extinct, the destruction of forests, etc. There has also been an attack on the credibility of the scriptures.

He "destroys the mighty and holy people," referring to the weakening of the faith of saints. Just as some among the Jews in the time of Antiochus changed their names to Greek names, and even hid or reversed their circumcision, there are Christians who have become ashamed of their faith. In Daniel's prophecy, Antiochus typifies the materialistic, human point of view, which opposes the spirit of God: "he shall also stand up against the Prince of Princes; but he shall be broken without hand" [vs 25].

Daniel's prophecies refer to an "abomination" which was to cause desolation of God's sanctuary. It was something initiated by Antiochus IV, who is generally recognized as the "little horn" of Daniel chapter 8, which grows up to the stars.

The "sanctuary" referred to by Daniel is assumed by most scholars to mean the temple in Jerusalem. However, in Daniel's time, when he saw his vision, there was no temple in Jerusalem, as the city lay in ruins. Another sanctuary of God that is mentioned in the Old Testament is heaven, i.e., the universe, where the stars and galaxies are located. The prophecy about the little horn says it grew up to the height of the stars, and cast the stars and the "host of heaven" (sun, moon, planets, constellations, etc.) down to the earth. So it appears most likely that the sanctuary which was cast down in Daniel's prophecy was not the temple in Jerusalem, but the starry heaven. This is evident simply by reading the prophecy in Daniel chapter 8:8-14.

And the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and instead of it there came up four notable horns toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the glorious land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and some of the host and of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled upon them. Yea, it magnified itself, even to the prince of the host; and the continual was taken away from him and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And the host was given over to it together with the continual through transgression; and it cast down truth to the ground, and it did its pleasure and prospered.

Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said unto that certain one who spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the continual, and the transgression that maketh desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (justified).

The prophecy says the little horn grew great, and cast stars, and the host of heaven to the earth. It "magnified itself" against the prince of the host, a reference to God. It cast God's sanctuary (identified in scripture as heaven, or what we call the universe) to the ground, along with the truth. Notice there were 4 things cast to the ground by the little horn:

Bible scholars have had difficulty making sense of this, and have felt compelled to read into the prophecy their own opinions about what Daniel might have meant. So the translators have added the word "sacrifice" or "burnt offering" after the word "continual," which obscures the true meaning. Daniel was not referring to a sacrifice being discontinued in this prophecy, but his reference to the "continual" being taken away probably meant the knowledge of the earth's rotation being stamped out.

The books of Maccabees report that Antiochus IV introduced an image of Zeus Olympus into the temple at Jerusalem and polluted the altar by his offerings to pagan deities. This would certainly be an abomination, but its duration was not 2,300 days; the temple was restored precisely three years after it was desecrated. The prophecy of Daniel 8 shows the sanctuary which was made desolate by the policies of Antiochus was the sanctuary of heaven, where the stars are located, not the temple site in Jerusalem.

Antiochus is the "little horn" which grows great, transgresses against God, and casts the "place of his sanctuary" and the "host of heaven" to the ground, and tramples them, in Daniel 8:10-12.

I suggest the introduction of celestial spheres of the hellenistic cosmology in scripture was the abomination that Daniel referred to. One of them was the rigid rotating firmament containing the stars. The belief in a rigid firmament persisted until about the mid eighteenth century. Only when Isaac Newton's discoveries about gravity and the laws of motion were generally understood, was belief in the rigid heavenly "firmament" abandoned, about 2,300 years after Daniel's vision.

The stars, host of heaven, and God's sanctuary being cast to the ground was accomplished by a corruption inserted in Genesis 1, that identified the "raqia" or earth's crust, made in the primeval waters, with the sky. Antiochus was the source of the statement "God called the firmament Heaven" in Genesis 1:8 [KJV].

The presence of cosmological concepts from the hellenistic age in scripture led to the Bible being discredited during the period known as the "enlightenment" in the eighteenth century, and its message was rejected by many. Daniel's prophecy reveals the reason for the flawed cosmological statements in the Bible; they are due to a revision of the cosmology of the OT, that began about 168 BC, and continued in the following centuries, a process initiated by Antiochus IV.


Isn't the "sanctuary" in Daniel 8:12 & 14 the Jerusalem temple?

A. The interpretation of Daniel 8:14 which supposes the "sanctuary" referred to is the Jerusalem temple (which did not even exist when Daniel wrote his prophecy) has many problems. The 2,300 "days" don't work out; the scholars supporting this interpretation have not figured out Daniel's statement that the little horn (representing Antiochus IV) grew up to the sky and cast stars and the host of heaven to the ground, and their view makes the lapse of a ritual sacrifice the focus of Daniel's prophecy, which makes no sense. These scholars think the problems are defects in Daniel's prophecy, but it not not Daniel's prophecy which is flawed, it is their interpretations. They have failed to understand what Daniel's prophecy was talking about.

The "sanctuary" in Daniel 8 is no doubt the heavenly one, the universe, where the stars and host of heaven are located. It was figuratively "cast down" to the earth when Antiochus altered Genesis 1, identifying the 'raqia' or the earth's crust with the rigid sky. This interpretation of the sanctuary fits the context of astronomical objects, such as the stars, planets, and constellations, or the host of heaven mentioned in verse 10 of the prophecy. Daniel's prophecy makes very good sense, and accurately predicted the scientific revolution in astronomy, and the duration of the geocentric system, as well as the corruption of the Bible's cosmology by Antiochus IV, in my interpretation.


Why do some scholars claim the 2,300 evening mornings are 1150 days?

A. Some Bible scholars have supposed that Daniel's prophecy referred to the number of lapsed ritual sacrifices in the temple service. This view is supported by the insertion of the word "sacrifice" in Daniel 8:12-14, suggesting the main subject of the prophecy was the ritual morning and evening sacrifice. Others think the claim that 2,300 evenings mornings is 1,150 days is flawed; in Genesis 1, where the phrase "the evening and the morning" is mentioned, it is defined as one "day". So 2,300 "evening mornings" would point to 2,300 "days," not 1,150 days.

The temple in Jerusalem was restored by Maccabeus on the anniversary of its desecration, so 1,150 days does not work out. There is no way that 1,150 days could be made to work out, either. This interpretation proposed by some scholars implies Daniel's prophecy fails miserably. 2 Maccabees 10:5 says:

It happened that on the same day on which the sanctuary had been profaned by the foreigners, the purification of the sanctuary took place, that is, on the twenty fifth day of the same month, which was Chislev.

The Jewish calendar was a lunar calendar in which some years had an extra month. Leap years with an extra month occurred about once every three years. [More precisely, there were 7 leap years in 19 years.] For 3 years to equal 1150 days, there would need to be three leap years in succession. In that case, three leap years with 13 months (assuming a month is 29.5 days) = 13 * 3 * 29.5 = 1150.5 days. But it is very unlikely that three leap years would occur in succession. Even two leap years in succession would be very rare, though not completely impossible, perhaps. So this interpretation requires the unlikely occurrence of three leap years in a row.

Jesus referred to people seeing the "abomination which makes desolate" that Daniel wrote about as something yet future from his time, in Matthew 24:15. Why would he refer to it as future, if Daniel's prophecy referred only to a desecration of the temple in the time of Antiochus IV? Jesus was probably referring to the recognition of the cosmological corruptions that Antiochus introduced into the Bible, which Daniel's prophecy reveals. The presence of the old hellenistic idea of a rigid rotating sky or 'firmament' in the creation account of Genesis is one of the abominations that is exposed by Daniel's vision.


Why does Daniel 8:14 refer to 2,300 "evening mornings" rather than days?

A.  In the prophecy about the 2,300 evening-mornings of Dan 8:14 the KJV says "days", but many have interpreted them as years. [Dan 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?
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

The literal translation is "unto two thousand and three hundred evening mornings". Referring to Genesis 1, where an evening and a morning is called a day, the KJV translation seems reasonable, but there is some loss of information and detail in this, because the KJV translators have attempted to interpret the prophecy.

Not only have they interpreted the "evening mornings", but also the word "tamiyd" or "constant" in vs 13, which they rendered as "daily sacrifice". But the prophecy is not referring to an obscure ritual sacrifice as they supposed. The proper word here is 'constant', or 'continual', and the reader should omit the word 'sacrifice' in the KJV, which is usually italicised to indicate it is an added word that was not in the original. So for vs 13 we should read [Dan 8:13]:

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the CONSTANT, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

The word CONSTANT could be a reference to the earth's diurnal rotation, or the knowledge of it, as the context of the prophecy is astronomical, and cosmological knowledge.

Genesis 1 is the only other place where the phrase 'evening morning' occurs, besides Dan 8:14.

Does the identification of 'evening mornings' with days in Genesis 1 explain the evening mornings of Dan 8:14? Or, is Dan 8:14 a clue for interpreting the days of Genesis 1?

What we can say in both cases is that the evening mornings are symbolic, rather than literal days. The days of creation in Genesis 1 are clearly not 24 hour days, as the creation "week" encompasses the whole creation; for instance, stars being created now are included in the creation "week".  [Ex 20:11]:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 

Not only stars, but sunspots, snowflakes, meteors, volcanoes, clouds, hurricanes, and earthquake faults are included in "all that in them is."

So clearly the 'days' of Genesis 1 are symbolic, and this suggests the same is true of the evening mornings of Dan 8:14. If the latter were literal days, the period specified in the prophecy would have expired just a few years after the prophecy was given in the 3rd year of Belshazzar, approximately 550 BC, and so it would come to nothing. The "evening mornings" may refer to a specific evening and a specific morning, that occur only once a year, such as new year's eve, and the first morning of a new year. In this case, 2,300 of these "evening mornings" would span of 2,300 years. There was no start date given for the 2,300 evening mornings, so the period must begin when the prophecy was given. Taking these to represent years, it ends about 1750 AD.

This was when the "sanctuary" of God, heaven, or the universe, was 'cleansed' or 'justified', in the sense that belief in the old cosmology was abandoned, the rigid firmament revolving around the earth was abolished, along with the homocentric planetary spheres, and the true nature of the universe was understood, as the discoveries of Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, and others were accepted and proven.

The prophecy of Dan 8:14 foretold the scientific revolution in astronomy, which occurred 2,300 years after the prophecy was given. Daniel's prophecy refers to evening mornings because the phrase points us to Genesis 1. Daniel's prophecy provides us with crucial information needed for understanding Genesis 1, as it was in the creation account that a major cosmological corruption introduced by Antiochus occurs, that identifies the "raqia" with heaven.


What about William Miller?

A.  Miller was a 19th century American farmer turned evangelist. He and about 50,000 followers called 'Millerites' expected the end of the world to happen between 21 March 1843 and 21 March 1844. Miller believed the "sanctuary" of Daniel 8:14 meant the earth, which was to be "cleansed" by fire that would consume the wicked. They based their calculation on the prophecy of the 2,300 days, but they had the wrong start date. They assumed the period started when Ezra returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem, in 457 BC. When the end did not come as they expected, the date was revised, and set for 22 October 1844, but they were again disappointed.

Afterwards, a theory was developed by some of Miller's followers, which claimed that in fact something had happened; in that year, Jesus had begun the cleansing of the "heavenly sanctuary", preparing it for the future kingdom. Writing about this view, Jacques B. Doukham says [Daniel: A Vision of the End. Andrews Univ. Press, Berrien Springs Mi. 1987, p. 43]:

One may wonder about the nature of this event which is taking place in heaven, which the Bible describes with the strange term of Kippur. Does this mean that there, as in the ancient city of Israel, a tent is pitched, with a roof and curtains, and that in 1844 a personage vested with the function of High Priest passed from one compartment to another as prescribed in the Levitical system (cf Lev. 16:2)? This scene is difficult to imagine because it seems to point to a theatrical performance rather than to the activity of a God dealing with man's salvation. This sounds awkward and against the familiar idea of a God who is beyond space and time.

But, in spite of our uneasyness and philosophical presuppositions, we must admit that God may very well have played this game, and the irrationality of a fact does not challenge the reality of that fact...

There is no need to guess when the 2,300 years began, as Miller and his followers did. The 2,300 days prophecy is a prediction about the duration of the geocentric cosmology with its system of rigid heavenly spheres. It began when the prophecy was given, the 3rd year of Belshazzar in the mid 6th century BC, and ended 2,300 years later, around 1750 AD.



What is the 2,300 Year Luni-solar Cycle?

The 2,300 years span the period from when Daniel saw the vision described in chapter 8, to the mid eighteenth century, when the "sanctuary" was cleansed. At that time, men understood the truth about the heavens, and belief in the rigid heavenly firmament rapidly declined.

The 2,300 years is the period of a lunisolar cycle, described by astronomer E. W. Maunder in the article quoted below, from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

The Luni-solar Cycles of Daniel.

To the same prophet Daniel a further chronological vision was given, and a yet more perfect cycle indicated. In answer to the question, "How long shall be the vision concerning the continual burnt-offering, and the transgression that maketh desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" the answer was returned, "Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (Daniel 8:13,14). Whatever may be the prophetic significance of the passage its astronomical significance is clear:

840,057 days are precisely 2,300 solar years, or 28,447 lunar months, or 30,487 anomalistic months, the anomalistic month being the period in which the moon travels from perigee to perigee. It is the most perfect lunisolar cycle known, and restores the two great lights exactly to their former relationship. This fullest "season" indicated by the sun and moon is given as that for the cleansing of the sanctuary, for the bringing in, as it were, of the full and perfect Jubilee.

It is not possible at present to decide as to whether the Jews had learnt of this cycle and its significance from their astronomical observations. If so, they must have been far in advance in mathematical science of all other nations of antiquity. If not, then it must have been given to them by Divine revelation, and its astronomical significance has been left for modern science to reveal.

The following calculations help to demonstrate.

T = 2,300 years
TD = 840,057 days
SM  = 29.53059 days = Synodic month
AM = 27.55455 days = Anomalistic month
L = 28447 = Number of lunar months in T
A = 30487 = Number of anomalistic months in T

From the above data,

TD/T = 365.2422
L*SM/T = 365.2420
A*AM/T = 365.2416

These last 3 numbers approximate to the number of days in a solar year; the close correspondence demonstrates the astronomical cycle of 2,300 years.

The 2,300 year luni-solar cycle was discovered by astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Cheseaux (1718-1751) of Lausanne, Switzerland. Cheseaux discovered several nebulae, and made detailed observations on comets in 1743, 1744, and another one called "Comet 1746 De Chéseaux", which was named after him. Observations on comets at this period were highly significant for establishing the truth of the Newtonian system. Cheseaux also discovered what later became known as Olber's paradox, which says the night sky should be bright. Cheseaux found the remarkable lunisolar cycle of 2,300 years when he was investigating the date of the crucifixion and Daniel's prophecies, as related in the account of this discovery by Henry Grattan Guiness provided below.

The discovery of the lunisolar cycle of 2,300 years by Cheseaux occurred right at the time that the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 was fulfilled, 2,300 years after Daniel heard the words of the angelic messenger, in the mid 6th century BC. [Daniel 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 constant , 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.

Unknown to Cheseaux, Daniel's prophecy about the "cleansing" of heaven, the sanctuary of God, foretold the demise of the old geocentric system, and the discoveries in astonomy that were then taking place! Belief in the old system of homocentric spheres and the idea of rigid "firmament" that revolved around the earth carrying the stars ceased, as Newton's discoveries were confirmed by astronomers like Cheseaux. The account of his discovery of the 2,300 year lunisolar cycle provided below is from The Approaching End of the Age Viewed in the Light of History, Prophecy, and Science by H. Grattan Guinness (1879) Section III.

M.de Cheseaux was engaged in some chronological researches, and in order to fix with certainty the date of the Crucifixion, he was led to examine certain parts of Scripture, and especially the Book of Daniel. The first portion of his essay is purely chronological, and unimportant to our subject, we may say, however, that he clearly perceived that the " time times and a half-" of Dan. vii. meant a period of 1260 years. "The importance of this conclusion and of some of the foregoing principles," he adds, "will be perceived, when we show how it led to a discovery of the singular relation which exists between this period of Daniel, and the facts of astronomy. However strange it may seem, I can positively deduce from the periods of Daniel, as accurately as by the best astronomical methods, and even more so, the five elements of the solar theory."

He goes on to explain what a cycle is: "a period which brings into harmony different celestial revolutions, containing a certain definite number of each, without remainder or fraction," and he shows that there are four different kinds of cycles connected with the sun, moon, and earth.

1. Those harmonizing the solar day and year.
2. Those harmonizing the solar year and lunar month.
3. Those harmonizing the solar day and lunar month.
4. Those harmonizing all three, day, month, and year.

M. de Cheseaux adds," the discovery of such cycles has always been a great object with astronomers and chronologists. They have considered it so difficult a matter, that they have almost laid it down as a principle that it is impossible, at any rate as regards those of the fourth class. Till now, the discovery of a cycle of this kind has been to astronomers,-like perpetual motion to mechanicians,-a sort of philosopher’s stone. Anxious to settle whether the thing were really impossible, I began some time ago to try for a cycle of the second kind."

M. de Cheseaux then describes the process by which he was led to the discovery that 315 years is such a soli-lunar cycle, ten times more exact than the nineteen years Metonic cycle in use by the ancients; the sun and moon coming after a lapse of that period, to within three hours twenty-four seconds of absolute agreement: and he proceeds,- "I had no sooner discovered this cycle, than I observed that it was a quarter of the 1260 years of Daniel and the Apocalypse, and that consequently, this period is itself a soli-lunar cycle;" after which the sun and moon return, within less than half a degree, to the same point of the ecliptic precisely, and that within an hour of each other.

"The relation of this period, assigned by the Holy Spirit as the limit of certain political events, to the most notable movements of the heavenly bodies, made me think it might be the same with the 2300 years. By the aid of the astronomic tables I examined this latter, and found that at the end of 2300 Gregorian years, minus six hours fourteen seconds, the sun and the moon return to within half a degree of the place from which they started, and that an hour later the sun has reached its exact starting point on the ecliptic: whence it follows that the prophetic period of 2300 years, is a cyclical period (also remarkable for the number of its aliquot parts, and for containing a complete number of cycles) and one so perfect, that though it is thirty times longer than the celebrated cycle of Calippus, it has an error of only thirteen hours, a seventeenth part of the error of that ancient cycle.

"The exact similarity of the error of these two cycles of 1260 and 2300 years, made me soon conclude that the difference between them, 1040 years, ought to be a perfect cycle, free from all error; and all the more remarkable as uniting the three kinds of cycles, and furnishing consequently a cycle of that fourth kind, so long sought in vain, and finally concluded to be chimerical, impossible to find.

"On examination of this period of 1040 years by the best modem astronomic tables I found that it was even so. Its error is absolutely imperceptible, in so long a period, and may indeed be accounted for by errors in the tables themselves, owing to the inaccuracy of some of the ancient observations on which they are founded..

"This period of 1040 years, indicated indirectly by the Holy Ghost, is a cycle at once solar, lunar, and diurnal or terrestrial of the most perfect accuracy. I subsequently discovered two singular confirmations of this fact, which I will explain presently, when I have adduced all my purely astronomic proofs; may I in the meantime be- permitted to give to this new cycle, the name of THE DANIEL CYCLE."

M. de Cheseaux then goes into full astronomic detail, of a kind that would fail to interest our readers, though proving the very remarkable nature of this cycle: and he subsequently continues, "As I before said, a cycle of this kind had long been sought in vain; no astronomer or chronologist, had been able to light upon one for nineteen centuries; and yet for two thousand three hundred years, there it has been, written in characters legible enough, in the Book of Daniel: legible, that is, to him who was willing to take the trouble of comparing the great prophetic periods, with the movements of the heavenly bodies; in other words, to him, who compared the book of nature with the book of revelation."

"The slightest error, even of a few seconds, in -the determination of the true length of the solar year, would remove altogether from these numbers, their cyclical character. Only the perfection of modern astronomical instruments in fact, can demonstrate it at all. So that we have the problem, How did Daniel, or the author of the Book of Daniel, whoever he was (if, as some assert, the prophecy is of a later date than Daniel), light upon these undiscoverable and undiscovered, yet excessively accurate celestial cycles, at a time when there were no instruments in existence capable of measuring solar revolutions with sufficient accuracy, to reveal the cyclical character of the periods?"

M. de Cheseaux adds, "I must close with one observation. For many ages the Book of Daniel, and especially these passages of it, have been quoted and commented on by numerous and varied authors, so that it is impossible for a moment to call in question their antiquity. Who can have taught their author the marvellous relation of the periods he selected with soli-lunar revolutions? Is it possible, considering all these points, to fail to recognise in the Author of the Book of Daniel, the Creator of the heavens and all their hosts, of the earth and the things that are therein?"



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