Bible students have long argued over one text of Bible prophecy--Dan 8:14. It reads, "For 2300 days, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed." The Hebrew text reads, "For 2300 evenings and mornings, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed." Catholic and most Protestant scholars say that this prophecy was fulfilled in the desecration and cleansing of the Jewish Temple in the days of the Greek monarch Antiochus Epihanes. In the apocryphal book 1 Maccabees 1:54, the pagan shrine placed on the altar of the Temple by Antiochus is called the "abomination of desolation." Dan 9:27. But Jesus says in Matt 24:15 that it was still future in His day. So all who believe in His prophecy reject the above interpretation, and take the 2300 days to be so many years, taking a day for a year.
1) Most scholars regard the Bible as ordinary literature, not inspired by God. What basis have we for taking it as a day for a year?
Answer: Read Dan 8:26. It says, "The vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true, therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future." In this way the angel stresses the importance of the 2300 days riddle, helping us to see how God regards it. The "many days in the future" implies the day-year principle, for 2300 literal days would be less than six and a half years, and there would be no point in sealing a vision for such a short time. After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, there was no longer a sanctuary on earth. So thoughtful Bible students realize that the sanctuary to be cleansed after 2300 years must be the one in heaven. For Heb 9:23 says, "It was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." But the angel in Dan 12:4 says, "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." To "run to and fro" is to scan the pages of Scripture. God tells us that when the time comes, men will search the Bible to solve the 2300-day riddle, and know its meaning. Num 14:34 and Ezek 4:6 furnish Bible precedents for the day-year principle.
2) Can you tell me when is the "time of the end?" Does it have any basis in Scripture?
Answer: Yes. The angel says in Dan 12:4, "Shut up the vision and seal the book until the time of the end." Then in Dan 12:6 the question is asked, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" This is apparently asking about the of time of the end. An angel replies with both hands upheld, "that it should be for a time, times and half a time, and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.." This is the period in which the wicked power of Dan 7:25 prevails. These are called "wonders," as men don not understand why God permits the wicked to shatter "the power of the holy people." for so long.
These prophecies were fulfilled. Before World War II, L.E Froom of the SDA church in America found in the libraries of Europe 43 books dealing with the 2300 days. They were published in the first half of the 19th century. 26 of them gave 1843, 1844, 1847 as the end of the 2300 days. See Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol 1, p. 744-745. Those who studied the 2300 days but did not write any books, could have numbered into hundreds and thousands. William Miller in America was but one of many who ran to and fro in the pages of Scripture, arriving at similar conclusions.
3) After William Miller awakened the churches in America with the Advent message and then met with disappointment, what eventually developed from that movement?
Answer: The few Adventists who truly loved the Lord continued to study the cleansing of the sanctuary, and published their findings in the Day Star Extra of February 7, 1846, noting that Christ passed from the Holy Place into the Most Holy to begin His work of atonement. This was accepted by many Adventists, and became their basic teaching since they organized as the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Through the years, scholars of other faiths have said that this explanation of Dan 8:14 has no basis in Scripture, and claim that when Jesus ascended to heaven "He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." Heb 9:12.
We affirm that (a) there is Bible proof that in 1844 Christ entered the Most Holy Place, (b) The atoning efficacy of the blood of Jesus is timeless, yet the steps He takes in the plan of redemption has a time table. The timeless efficacy of His blood and the timely procedure of His work are complementary, and not contradictory.
4) Dan 8:14 does not mention God's judgment; how do you say that the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven is the investigastive judgment?
Answer: Two verses in Leviticus show that the day of atonement is the cleansing of the sanctuary, and also a day of judgment. (a) Lev 16:16,30 says, "So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of meeting, which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.. .For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you; to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord." The daily sin and trespass offerings transfer the sins of the people to the sanctuary, defiling it. This requires cleansing on the Day of Atonement. When the sanctuary is cleansed, all must "afflict their souls" in repentance. (b) Lev 23:27, 29 says, "The tenth day of the seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. . . you shall afflict your souls. . . For any person who is not afflicted of soul on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people." God alone knows who afflicts his soul and who is pretending. Hence the Day of Atonement is when God decides the destiny of every soul. This is a type of the investigative judgment in heaven. .
5) Judgment involves investigation, decision and execution. How can you tell what phase of judgment is spoken of in Rev 14:7?
Answer: Note the second part of this message: "Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water." This is calling all who do not worship God to repent, proving that this is not the executive phase of judgment. Hence the first part of the message speaks of the investigative judgment. Dan 7:9,10 says, "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; . . .A thousand thousand ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened." "The Ancient of Days" is God the Father; those ministering before Him are the angel host. People usually know that after death, the judgment, and don't know more. The everlasting gospel announces that the hour of God's judgment has come. The Ten Commandments are the standard of judgment. James 2:12. Christ the Mediator decides the destiny of every soul. "The Father . . has committed all judgment to the Son." John 5:22.
6) What Scripture speaks of the relationship of the judgment with God's kingdom?
Answer: Dan 7:13 says, "One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom." This relates to Luke 19:12: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return." The nobleman is Christ. The kingdom that Christ receives will be made up of His people. Their names are in the Book of Life; and He reviews their names in the investigative judgment. He says, "He that overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but will confess his name before the Father and before His angels." Rev 3:5.
7) Why does the Bible say that there is a beginning to the judgment? God is omniscient. He can make instant decisions. Why must the judgment have a time duration?
Answer: 1 Pet. 4:17 says, "The time has come for the judgment to begin at the house of God, and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?"
To begin at the house of God means that before Christ comes, He will decide how many who call Him "Lord, Lord" have done His Father's will. See Matt 7:21. "Begin" is the starting point of a period of time. It means that the judgment is a duration with beginning and end. Acts 17:31 says, "He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained." The appointed day is at the end of the 2300 days--October 22, 1844. The judgment has been going on for over 154 years, which is not long compared to the 1000 years when the saints will judge the world. See Rev. 20:4 and 1 Cor. 6:2,3.
The work of judgment takes time, because created beings take part. In the first stage the angels are the jury. See Dan 7:9,10. In the next stage the saints judge the world. At the close of the judgment of the saints, the door of mercy will be shut, and God will declare, "He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; he thast is holy, let him be holy still." Rev. 22:11. This means that before Christ returns, there must be people on earth whom God regards as holy. Heb 12:14 says, "Pursue peace with all men, and that holiness without which no one will see the Lord." God says, "Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Pet 1:16.
8) Please state simply the relation of the 2300 days to the 70 weeks, give the basis for determining the starting point, and how one arrives at the date of October 22, 1844.
Answer: Jesus began His work by saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;" Mark 1:15. Gal 4:4 says, "When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman." These two texts are based on Dan 9:25, "From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and seventy-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." Here "Messiah the Prince" is Jesus Christ. The command is found in Ezra 7:1-26. The 7th year of Artaxerxes king of Persia is 457 B.C. After 69 weeks we come to A.D. 27, when Jesus was baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit, and He formally became Messiah the Prince. Dan 9:26 says, "After 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself." This refers to the crucifixion. So the prophecy of Dan 9:25,26 concerning the anointing and cutting off of the Messiah, were fulfilled on time.
The entrance of Jesus to cleanse the sanctuary as foretold in Dan 8:14 was also fulfilled on time. Because the text did not give the starting point of the 2300 days, it had long been a moot question; its mystery is related to its being sealed. Isaac Newton calculated the 70 weeks, but did not solve the riddle of the 2300 days, because he lived in the 18th century, a hundred years before the time of the end. Once the time arrived, many people saw that the starting point of the 2300 days must be the same as the 70 weeks, and its terminal point was finally found to be October 22, 1844. That was the 10th day of the 7th month of the Jewish calendar.
9) Please explain the meaning of Heb 9:8, "The Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was (Greek is) not yet manifest while the first tabernacle was (Greek is) still standing." (NKJV)
Answer: Verses 9,10 read, "It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience--concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation." For sake of accuracy, the past tenses of the English should agree with the present tenses of the Greek, and the "first tabernacle" to agree with "first part" (apartmment) of Heb 9:2. Verse 8 would read, "the way into the Holiest of All is not yet manifest while the first part is still standing." Note that the first "part" or apartment of the sanctuary symbolizes the "present time" when Hebrews was written and Dan 8:14 was still sealed and the time of opening the seal had not arrived. Hence it says, "the way into the Holiest of All is not yet manifest" (tense corrected) when Hebrews was written. This is in fact a confirmation of the seal on Dan 8:14, keeping the door into the Holy of Holies shut. The Spirit who inspired Daniel is the same Spirit who inspired Paul. Heb 9:5 says, "Of these things we cannot now speak in detail."This text affirms that Jesus work of atonement proceeds in timely steps, implying that the second apartment symbolizes the "time of reformation." We would wish that he spoke in detail. But these words were also inspired by the Holy Spirit. If he gave added details, the seal on Dan 8:14 would be open, and God's plan exposed before its time. The seal must be kept intact until the time of the end, because it has a message for that time, bearing directly on the judgment day. The message of the judgment must be reserved for the end of the 2300 days. Hebrews must disclose new light on the sanctuary, but just enough to keep the seal on Dan 8:14 from being open before its time. Jesus said, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." John 16:12.
10) The plan of salvation must develop according to God's time table, does this contradict the text in Rev 13:8 about the "Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world?"
Answer: There is no contradiction. It clarifies a great truth. The efficacy of the saving blood of Christ is timeless. This in no way negates the truth that Christ's work of salvation proceeds according to schedule. Rom 5:6 says, "In due time Christ died for the ungodly." The time refers to Dan 9:26, which says, "After the 62 weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself." Timeless truths must be based on specific acts performed on time. When Adam first repented, Jesus' blood could wash away his sin, though He had to wait 4000 years to be crucified. Penitent Adam could also "enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus." Heb. 10:19, though Christ had to wait till 1844 before entering the Holiest. The "once for all" in Heb. 9:12 is clearly speaking from God's perspective of a completed work.
Another important truth is: The sacrificial service entirely symbolizes Christ's work of redemption. The altar of burnt offerings represents the earth, where Jesus shed His blood. The sanctuary on earth is a figure of the true sanctuary in heaven. Heb 8:2,5. Christ is the lamb, and also the high priest. "with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." Heb 9:12. "Having obtained" is a timeless truth complementary to the time table of salvation. We note the harmony between the timeless efficacy of Jesus saving blood and the truth that He first entered the Holy Place, then entered the Holiest of All in two stages.
11) The unity of time with eternity is not only seen in the Bible, but also in other things. Am I right?
Answer: Yes. This principle is seen in Matt 22:32. He says, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." God sees these three men as living; for the time they lie in the grave, compared to the time they will live in eternity, equals zero. Matt 22:44 is another example. "The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool." Jesus asks, "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his son?" Likewise we can ask, If Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, why must He be crucified?" And if "Christ entered the Most Holy Place once for all," why was "the way into the Holiest of All not manifest while the first apartment was still standing?"
The answer to these questions is: One aspect of the problem viewed it from man's perspective, the other aspect is seen from God's perspective.
Hebrews as a whole viewed Christ's work in the sanctuary as completed; But Heb 9:8-10 speaks of His work in the two apartments in terms of time. Note the many time particles here: "not yet," "while," "still," "until."
Ellen White handles this unity of time and eternity very well. In Desire of Ages p. 757 she writes, "Type has met antitype in the death of God's Son. The great sacrifice has been made. The way into the holiest is laid open. A new and living way is prepared for all. No longer need sinful sorrowing humanity await the coming of the high priest. Henceforth the Savior was to officiate as priest and advocate in the heavens. It was as if a living voice had spoken to the worshipers: There is now an end to all sacrifices and offerings for sin. The Son of God is come according to His word, 'Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.' 'By His own blood' He entereth 'in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.' Heb. 10:7; 9:12." Her use of this text did not mean that she repudiated what she wrote on Christ's entrance to the Holiest of All in 1844. In The Great Controversy, chap 23, she.wrote on the cleansing of the sanctuary in detail, showing that she believed in the timeless efficacy of Christ's blood, and also that His work of salvation is done in timely steps.