TODAY’S READING: DANIEL 6-8
“Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, ‘For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled?’ And he said to me, ‘For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.'” – Daniel 8:13-14
If you google this passage of scripture, then you are going to find all kinds of interpretations for the meaning of the 2,300 days in this prophecy. Even all of the commentaries take different approaches, although there are two main interpretations. One is to take the 2,300 evenings and morning as literal days. These interpretations then try to tie this prophecy into Antiochus and his desolation of the temple. The other is to take the 2,300 evenings and mornings as years (the whole one day is a 1,000 years with the Lord thing). Most of these interpretations tie this prophecy into the Catholic church and say something was to supposed to happen in 1800 something.
I have no idea whether either of these interpretations are right or wrong. But, I do know that very few, if any, of the interpretations I looked at make Jesus the center of the interpretation. And, in truth, Jesus as the key to the interpretation is the only interpretation that truly matters.
How do we know this prophecy is about Jesus?
Revelation 19:10 says, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” In other words, all prophecy is about Jesus. Not coincidentally, John wrote this statement after an angel told him to write something and he fell down at the angel’s feet to worship him. John’s situation was pretty similar that of Daniel in his prophecy.
Even more, we know that Daniel’s prophecy is about Christ crucified.
Luke 24:25-27 says, “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Jesus said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus that he had to suffer the crucifixion to enter his glory. And, this is what Jesus showed them that Moses and all the Prophets spoke about.
Daniel was a prophet. So, his prophecy was about Jesus and about Jesus crucified.
Further, Daniel 8:26-27 says, “‘The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.’ And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.”
Daniel was given a partial interpretation of the prophecy by the angel Gabriel. But, when it came to the 2,300 evenings and mornings, the angel only told Daniel that the vision was true but that he should seal up the vision. In other words, the angel wasn’t going to tell Daniel what it meant. In addition to meaning “seal up,” the Hebrew word here can mean to block or obstruct.
What blocks or obstructs are understanding of Old Testament prophecies?
Who removes the veil that blinds our understanding of Old Testament prophecies?
1 Corinthians 3:12-16 says, “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.”
Daniel could not yet turn to the Lord. So, he could not have the veil removed. Therefore, the vision was sealed, obstructed, and Daniel could not understand the interpretation.
In Revelation 5, an angel asks, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break it seals?” John tells us that it was a slain lamb, Christ crucified, that was able to open the seals of the scroll and reveal what it says. Again, we see that it is Jesus Christ crucified that provides us the understanding we need to interpret prophecy.
Within Daniel’s prophecy, the key to understanding it is the statement “Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”
The Hebrew word sanctuary might be more literally translated “holy thing.” The King James version of Luke 1:35 says, “And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore all that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.'” Jesus is “that holy thing” spoke of in Daniel 8:14.
At the end of the 2,300 days, Jesus, “that holy thing,” would be restored to his rightful state. Philippians 2:6 tells us that Jesus had the form of God. In other words, he had God’s glory. But, he gave up that glory to take on flesh and blood and bear our sin on the cross. So, the night before Jesus was crucified, he prayed, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” After his crucifixion, Jesus would be resurrected and restored to his rightful state, to the glory he had with the Father in eternity.
However, even if we go with the common translation of sanctuary or temple, then we still see this as referring to Jesus. We should also keep in mind that the phrase “shall be restored to its rightful state” can also be translated properly restored, vindicated, made right again, or cleansed.
The last possible translation mentioned, “cleansed,” is an interesting one. For, when do we see Jesus cleansing the temple?
John 2:14-15 says, “In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.” Here is Jesus cleansing the temple.
The Jews were angered by this and asked Jesus, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John tells us that Jesus was speaking not about the physical temple but the temple of his body, which fits perfectly with what we have already seen in the prophecy by Daniel.
But, the Jews responded to Jesus, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?”
Now, this is an interesting response.
Why was it significant to include that the temple had taken 46 years to build?
Because the number 2,300 is 46 x 50.
The number 50 immediately calls to mind the jubilee. And, it was Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that would usher in the greatest of all jubilees were everyone and everything that believed in him would be set free.
John 8:31, 36 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'”
Surely these numbers are not coincidences, right?
Notice that Jesus says that abiding in his word makes us disciples and causes us to know the truth so that we can be free. And, even this ties into the number 2,300.
John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is the physical manifestation of the Word of God, the logos. And, he dwelt among. But, the Greek word for dwelt is literally tabernacled. Jesus was literally God’s sanctuary, God’s dwelling place, among us.
It is the Word made flesh, God’s living tabernacle, that ties into the number 2,300.
2,300 is 4 x 575.
The number 4 symbolizes the physical creation. So, here we have the physical manifestation part of Jesus as the Word.
What about the number 575?
Throughout the prophets we read a phrase that typically says “and the word of the Lord came to me.” This phrase and its slight variations occur 45 times in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah.
Care to guess what the numerical value of that phrase is?
So, we have 4 x 575 = 2,300, or the physical manifestation of the word of the Lord coming to us as a sanctuary.
The number 2,300 is also 23 x 100. The number 23 symbolizes death and resurrection life throughout the Bible. And, the number 100 symbolizes the child of promise, which of course is Jesus. So, we see the number 2,300 as the death and resurrection of the child of promise, Jesus.
And, all of this fits beautifully with what we read in Daniel 8:13.
“For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering.” The burnt offering was to be offered every evening and morning. But, we know based on this prophecy that at the end of “2,300 evenings and mornings” the burnt offering would come to an end. It was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that brought it to an end. Hebrews 10:11-12 says, “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”
This is followed by “the transgression that makes desolate.” The transgression of all transgressions in history was the crucifixion of the most innocent person to who have ever lived, Jesus. And, it was the crucifixion of Jesus that made the temple desolate, empty, and ultimately brought about the destruction of Jerusalem as the Jews turned away from the way of peace that Jesus was showing them.
This is followed by “and the giving over of the sanctuary.” Jesus, the sanctuary, the tabernacle, the temple, was given over to the Romans by the Jews to be crucified. They delivered him up to Pilate.
This is followed by “and the host to be trampled underfoot.” Who is the host of the sanctuary, the tabernacle, the temple? The one who lives there. Jesus it the host of the tabernacle. And, he was trampled under the feet of the Gentiles at his crucifixion.
So, whenever we read prophecies, particularly those that seem difficult to understand and interpreted by many in all kinds of ways, we need to always look to Jesus for the true meaning. For, it is the testimony of Jesus that is the spirit of prophecy. All scripture truly speaks of Jesus and what he needed to suffer to enter his glory and deliver us from sin and death.