Understanding the prophecy at Daniel 8:14 convinced me that the Bible is true and trustworthy.
“And the vision … which was told is true … for it refers to many days in the future.” (Daniel 8:26)
Historicist interpretation of prophecy is the traditional Protestant view. It looks at prophecy according to the year-day principle and sees a logical progression of predicted events from the time of the prophet, all through the Christian era, right up to the restoration of all things.
In Daniel 8 and 9, God reveals the date for His final judgment to begin and powerful prophetic clues proving Christ as the Messiah. Thus no prophecy in all of Scripture is more vital.
“For two thousand three hundred days and then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:14) We need to look at the next chapter to understand this prophecy.
Gabriel had interpreted all the vision of chapter 8 with the exception of the 2,300 days (years). In chapter 9, Gabriel came to Daniel to help him understand the time period.
“Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again. … And after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. … And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice … to cease.” (Daniel 9:24-26, 27)
Sir Isaac Newton described these verses as “the foundation stone of the Christian religion” — it gives the exact time of the Messiah’s appearance, the date of His death and a description of His saving work.
The time prophecy of 70 weeks forms a part of the 2,300 years. The 490 years were “cut off” from this and began with the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC to rebuild Jerusalem.
•408 BC — The rebuilding of Jerusalem was completed.
•AD 27 — The Saviour was baptized, right on time according to the prophecy, and exactly 483 years after the commandment to restore Jerusalem.
•AD 31 — In the middle of the seventieth week, the Messiah brought an end to the sacrificial service by dying for the salvation of the world.
•AD 34 — The stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, marked the close of Israel’s 70-week (490-year) probation. Judaism as a nation gives way to spiritual Israel, the church.
And by simple math, the prophecy ends in AD 1844 AD, the glorious truth of the Messiah’s high priestly mediation in the heavenly sanctuary. The Great Advent awakening led by a Baptist, William Miller, in the 1840s preached the judgment message of Revelation 14:6-12. This is now preached worldwide and is now sweeping around the world.
The 2,300 days began with Artaxerxes’ command for the restoration and building of Jerusalem, went into effect, in the autumn of 457 BC. Taking this as the starting point, there was perfect harmony in the application of all the events foretold in the explanation of that period in Daniel 9:25-27. The 70 weeks, or 490 years, were to pertain especially to the Jews. At the expiration of this period, AD 34, the nation sealed its rejection of Christ by the persecution of His disciples, and the apostles turned to the Gentiles. The first 490 years of the 2,300 having then ended, 1810 years would remain. From AD 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. “Then,” said the angel, “shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
This prophecy proves to be accurate, telling us about Jesus and His death in the midst of the final “week” of the prophecy.
Ian Cotton is the retired pastor of the Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church.