Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?” He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.” Daniel 8:13-14 (NIV).
That’s a long time: 2300 evenings and mornings. My Concordia Bible said that the 2300 likely refers to the morning and evening sacrifices offered over 1150 consecutive days. That time frame corresponds to the interval of time between the desecration of the Lord’s temple (by Antiochus) and its reconsecration by Judas Maccabeus. Thus, this prophecy was fulfilled long ago – and specifically – in a time not too far removed from Daniel’s.
Of course, the prophecy is also is taken to have end-times applications. Some have interpreted it to mean an exact time that has to do with the great tribulation and the desecration of the rebuilt modern temple. Others insist that the prophecy refers to year-days; this belief gave rise to the Millerites of the 1800s, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists who still worship today (https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/daniel-8/). Some see the verses as aligning with Jesus’ declaration of destroying and rebuilding the Temple. And still others believe something else, whatever that means.
It was too much for even Daniel to fathom. He was perplexed by the vision and had to ask for help.
So do we. Whatever the verses mean, they mean something over long periods of time. Yesterday, a friend of mine turned 100. We saw her over the weekend at her birthday party, and it struck me that many amazing things have happened during her 36525 days on this earth. When she was a little girl (in the 1920s), if you had been able to foresee the evils that would result in the next 100 years, it would have been unbearable. Ever since Eden, evil has kept growing uncontrollably.
Yet evil still has boundaries: ones defined by the Ancient of Days Himself. Evil can ONLY operate within those boundaries; it is powerless to exceed them, and powerless to remove them without God’s consent. In a time of His choosing, the Lord will vanquish evil, relegate it to eternal punishment, and make all things new for His people. Jesus completed the work of salvation; He will transform it when the Father commands it to happen. Until that time, it’s our lot to better live out our faith in Him to help others along the way, whatever that means. In addition to seeing all the evil, in her 100 years, I’m sure my friend has seen this, too.
For further reading: Isaiah 28:18, Luke 21:24, Revelation 11:1, Daniel 8:15
Lord, I don’t know what all these prophecies mean, except for them pointing the way to You.
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