You are about to study a very long and significant time prophecy in the Bible. Given more than 500 years before the death of Christ, it accurately pinpoints the time of His sacrifice. As the only place in the Old Testament that speaks of a coming “Messiah” by that term, it ranks at the top of all Messianic prophecies.
Yet this prophecy, found in the eighth and ninth chapters of the book of Daniel, moves beyond the earthly ministry of Christ to provide a panorama of His present work for us in the courts of heaven. You will remember that the prophecy of Daniel 8 begins with a ram and a he-goat. After discussing the goat’s horns, the vision then turns to the activities of the little horn, which magnifies itself to defy heaven, casting truth to the ground and trampling upon the sanctuary and the host.
When Daniel had heard about the horrible things that the little horn on the terrible beast was going to do to God’s people, (Daniel 7) he was sick for a while. Now he is shown the same power from another angle, in the vision of the ram being overcome by the he-goat. Again a horn arising from one of the four winds in the end of this vision catches his attention and we see it leads us to the same power.
“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.” Daniel 8:13,14
Daniel needed to understand this vision and Jesus commissions Gabriel, the highest angel, who occupies the place from which Lucifer fell when he became Satan, to help him.
“And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.” Daniel 8:15, 16
The angel began to explain the vision. He told Daniel that the ram represented Medo-Persia; the goat and its horns represented Greece. He enlarged a little on the activities of the little horn, but said nothing more about the time factor involved.
“Afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Daniel 8:27.
Now after Daniel had been fasting and praying for further understanding, Gabriel returns and tells him more about the amazing time-prophecy.
“Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Daniel 9:21-24
Now Gabriel swiftly returns and begins to teach Daniel the secrets of the wonderful time prophecy.
Seventy weeks equal 490 days. Subtract that from the total 2,300 days, and 1,810 days of the prophecy are left. In the Bible God has a way of showing special time-prophecies. He uses a day to equal a year of real time.
“And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” Ezekiel 4:6.
“Each day for a year.” Numbers 14:34.
Applying this rule, 2,300 prophetic days is actually 2,300 literal years, the first 490 of which pertained especially to the Jews. The time period would begin when the command went forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” Daniel 9:25
In fulfilling God’s command, three kings of Persia would need to make decrees regarding the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Ezra 6:14 “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
The final decree, that of Artaxerxes, is recorded in Ezra 7, and went into effect in the autumn of 457 BC 457 BC + 2300 years =1844 AD The Messiah was to appear after seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. That is sixty-nine weeks of prophetic time.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Daniel 9:26
Sixty-nine weeks are 483 prophetic days; 483 literal years. From the autumn of 457 BC, 483 years takes us to the autumn of AD 27. According to the prophecy, that is when the Messiah would appear. “Messiah” is the Hebrew word for “Anointed one”. The Bible tells us that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” Acts 10:38. That anointing took place at His baptism (John 1:32). Jesus was baptized in the autumn of AD 27, the precise time foretold in Daniel’s prophecy.
After Jesus was baptized, and God sent a special anointing of the Holy Spirit, then He was the Messiah, which means Anointed One. “He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” John 1:41
Over 300 Prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus life and ministry!
As Jesus began His public ministry, He showed His awareness of His prophetic dateline from Daniel’s Prophecy. “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:15 Paul said that Jesus came right on schedule. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Galatians 4:4
In the ‘middle of the week’ Jesus’ death on the cross as the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, brought to fulfillment the sanctuary sin offerings and the Passover Lamb, and thus brought them forever to an end. Although the unbelieving priests continued to offer sacrifices for a while, these ceremonies no longer had any meaning.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:27
That “week” would be the last seven years of the “70-week” portion of the prophecy. It extended from the autumn of AD 27 to the autumn of AD 34.
In the spring of AD 31, exactly half way through that seven-year period, Jesus brought to an end the whole system of sacrifices and oblations, by offering Himself as the Lamb of God, to whom the whole sacrificial system had pointed. On the 14th day of the 1st month at 3 PM; Jesus our Passover was slain for us; this was an exact fulfillment!
Also, as we see in Verse 26; it is telling us that because of the rejection of ‘Messiah’ the Prince, the city and temple would be destroyed. This finally occurred in AD 70, but no Christians perished in that siege because they believed the warning Jesus had given, recorded in Matthew 24. Thus they fled from the city, when they saw the signal Jesus told them to watch for, before the final siege happened.
An amazing event happened in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus died at the exact time for the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, which signified that its ritual services would never again have any meaning. “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” Matthew 27:51
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Daniel 9:24
The “seventy-week” portion of the 2,300 years ended in AD 34. In that year Israel’s probationary time ceased, and they sealed their rejection of Christ by stoning Stephen. With the Jews no longer God’s chosen people, the gospel began to be proclaimed to the Gentiles, and the Christian church inherited all the privileges promised to the descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29).
The temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed by Roman armies in AD 70 (Daniel 9:26, 27; Mark 13:14). But the vision of the 2300 days still left 1810 more, ending in 1844.
“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.” Daniel 8:17
From the autumn of AD 34, 1,810 years of the prophecy remained. Add 1,810 to 34 and it brings us to the autumn of the year 1844, which the prophecy refers to as “the time of the end”, that is, the end of that time prophecy. At the end of the “2300-day” period the Sanctuary was to be ‘cleansed’:
“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14
The angel told Daniel this vision was not for his day.
“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.” Daniel 8:26
The part of Daniel’s book dealing with these extended time prophecies, was ‘sealed’; that is, it would not be fully understood until towards the time these prophecies were due to end. ‘Time of the End’ here meant the end of the time prophecies.
“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, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4
‘Running to and fro’ in the Hebrew meant searching here and there in the scriptures for the purpose of understanding their meaning, and the promise is that ‘knowledge would be increased’. In the early 1800s all over the world people began to turn to the book of Daniel and many began to bring out the secrets of the ‘sealed book’ and preach or write on these mysteries.
Let us look now at the Gospel in the Old Testament and the end-time work of Christ. At no time in the world’s history has anyone ever earned salvation by his own works, or by rituals and ceremonies. No one ever bought their salvation with the blood of animals, or gifts and money. In both Old and New Testament times, people were saved by the Grace of God and Faith in the merits of Jesus. The offering of the sacrifice was to show faith in the coming Redeemer. The following texts make it clear that people who lived before the cross were saved on the same terms as were people in New Testament times.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them.” Hebrews 4:2.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8.
The Old Testament itself teaches salvation through Christ. The “scriptures” spoken of in the following texts are the Old Testament. These texts make it clear that the Old Testament scriptures teach the same gospel of salvation through Christ that we find in the New Testament.
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3.
“From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15.
“Then he said unto them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:25-27.
The Bible presents one gospel from Genesis to Revelation, one plan of salvation for humanity. The Bible calls it “the everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6), the “everlasting covenant” (Psalm 105:10; Hebrews 13:20).