Then we begin with the general time prophecy, the one that sets the framework for prophetic time. We find this prophecy in Daniel 8,14 where it says: He said to me, It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated (NVI 1984).
2300 evenings and mornings are the time when the sanctuary and the host are handed over to be trampled down. Here the sanctuary is the heavenly temple, and the hosts are God’s faithful people. The time here must be read from Daniel’s contemporaries, but the prophecy does not indicate the beginning of when the sanctuary and the host will be trodden under foot. On the other hand, it gives a starting time for when the reconsecration of the sanctuary and the host will begin, and it is at the end of the 2300 evenings and mornings. This time also defines the end of prophetic time and the beginning of the end time in the broadest sense and can be timed as accurately as to a specific date.
This is a two-part affair. First, it is about cleansing all sin that God’s faithful people have confessed and asked for forgiveness over time through a) all the animal sacrifices they made in Old Testament times for the forgiveness of sins, and through b) all the prayers prayed to the Father in Jesus’ name in New Testament times for forgiveness of the sins that have been confessed. All of these known sins pollute the heavenly temple, and the model here is the temple service of the Old Testament time. Secondly, it is a matter of cleansing the sanctuary itself in heaven of all the sins that have polluted heaven, and then finally placing all known sins where they rightfully belong, on the originator of sin – Satan. I will return to this later.
This prophecy is part of Daniel’s second great vision, which begins with Medo-Persia, and sets an approximate starting point for the prophecy. The prophecy was given in the year 547 BC. while Babylon still existed, but it applies from a specific year that lies within the Medo-Persian rule, between the years 539 and 331 BC. The start time can therefore be any year that is within the 208 years that Medo-Persia existed. But God, who is a God of order, does not allow coincidences to happen in the prophecies, so we must therefore look for an exact starting time. We want to know when things begin and end because it can be crucial to us in our Christian life today.
First to the expression evenings and mornings. Many believe that because it says 2300 evenings and mornings, this means that we must double the number of days mentioned, so that it will be 4600 days. But is this according to how the Bible itself uses this term? If we go to the creation in Genesis chapter 1, we find the following in verse 5; 8; 13; 19; 23 and 31 … … And there was evening, and there was morning… // … the first day, the second day etc. even to the sixth day. As we see, the day starts at sunset and lasts until the next sunset. Why would it mean anything other than a day (of 24 hours) when it is written in the book of Daniel?
There are also those who claim that when evenings are mentioned before mornings, it is because the night was counted to the previous day. It is not true that the night is counted to the previous day, but the following day is counted to the previous night. In any case, they have at least made the point, evening and morning describe one day. Evenings and mornings are a common way to describe a day in the Bible. We can therefore reject the theory that says we should double the number of days. The problem is rather how we are to understand this time period, and how long this period is. Are these days literal days? Then it will be 6 years and 140 days. We must remember that a year was counted as 360 days, and a month as 30 days in Daniel’s time. Or is it maybe something else? It is a time period that spans a longer period of time, from the time of Daniel to the beginning of the end times, and we understand this from what the angel Gabriel says to Daniel in chapter 8 verse 17: … Son of man, he said to me, understand that the vision concerns the time of the end. The vision thus refers to the end time and the time when the sanctuary and the host were to be cleansed, (verse 13). We claim that the end time began at the end of the two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings.
This time indication comes in a prophecy, and prophecies must in many cases be understood in the same way as parables where it is used a pictorial language, and should not necessarily be taken literally. None of the time prophecies we have in the Bible are to be interpreted as literal days or weeks but must be interpreted according to the biblical principle where a day corresponds to a year, and which is called the year/day principle.
The year/day principle:
This ancient Jewish year/day principle has been used by scholars and theologians for more than 800 years.
– In 1190, Joachim of Floris, Calabria, Italy used the year/day principle on prophetic times.
– In the 13th century, there were several in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany who followed Joachim of Floris and used the year/day principle.
– In 1440, the Roman Catholic theologian Nicholas Crebs of Cusa stated that one year must be adopted for each day, according to the revelation given to Ezekiel, when it came to prophetic time.
What revelation Ezekiel received we find here:
4 Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5 I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the house of Israel. 6 After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. Ezekiel 4,4-6
This is the same thing that was made known to the stubborn Israel who had to wander 40 years in the wilderness because they did not trust in God and took Canaan when they reached the borders just after the exodus from Egypt: For forty years – one year for each of the forty days you explored the land – you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you. Numbers 14,34
As we see, God tells Ezekiel that he must bear the sins of the people of God, as many years as they have sinned, just as many days the prophet will bear their sins. And God told Israel to bear their sins for 40 years, one year for each day. This confirms the year/day principle of prophecy, where a prophetic day corresponds to a literal year.
All the time prophecies in Daniel and Revelation given in the form of evenings and mornings, months, weeks, or days must be understood according to the year/day principle, where a prophetic day is a literal year. As for the 70 weeks, a week consists of seven days, and 70 weeks becomes the same as 490 days, and according to the year/day principle, this becomes 490 literal years.
This period, the 2300 evenings and mornings, is as mentioned the longest time prophecy in the Bible and make up 2300 literal years. This is important for our understanding of prophetic time and end time, and this prophecy makes an accurate distinction between these two time periods. The prophecy of the 2300 days must therefore be the basis for other time prophecies in the sense that the other time prophecies must be within the framework of the 2300 evenings and mornings, and be fulfilled before we reach the end time. End time must be understood as the time it takes from the end of prophetic time to the second coming of Christ.
The prophecy tells us 1) what is going to happen, and 2) who is behind the events. But we have not yet been told when this period will begin or end. We will find out eventually, but first we will take time to look at what is going to happen and who is behind it.
I think Daniel 8,11-12 is essential for the understanding of the whole period of 2300 evenings and mornings, for here it is told what will happen, 11 Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 12 And a host was given [him] against the daily [sacrifice] by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised and prospered. While verses 13 and 14 give us the time for this.13 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? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
What is going to happen?
And the truth was thrown to the ground.
We have stated that it is a worldwide power that will take away the daily sacrifice and cast down the sanctuary of God. The question is: How can this be done, and what is the daily sacrifice?
What really happens during this period is that an alternative form of worship comes into the church. It is far from news that there is an alternative way to worship God. Shortly after creation, we read about two forms of worship, but now this is gaining ground in the Church of God.
It is written in Genesis 4,3 that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord» while Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock. God had prescribed an animal, actually a blemish-free lamb, as a sin offering because sin cannot be forgiven without blood. God looked favourably on Abel’s sacrifice because it was a type of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, while Cain’s sacrifice was a result of what he himself had cultivated. We can say that Abel humbly sought God’s grace and forgiveness, he did not seek to justify himself, while Cain instead tried to justify himself by bringing the fruits of his labour.
This means that right after creation, there were two different ways of worshiping God:
1) as God has prescribed and as Abel followed, somethig that Seth carried on a few years later (Genesis 4,26), and…… 2) the way man chooses to worship God, as Cain did (Genesis 4,3).
We can call this 1) Seth´s line = those who did God’s will, and 2) Cain’s line = those who did according to their own will. As I said, we have the same thing today. Some worship God as He is to be worshiped, while others are not so careful about it, but do as they please. It is like hearing the echo from the Garden of Eden when the serpent asks Eve the following question: Yeah, has God said …? and in our time the serpent adds … … that He should be worshiped in a certain way?
Worshiping God as He has said we should do leads to justification in Jesus Christ, while worshiping the way one choose is trying to justify oneself by one’s own works.
At first the people of God or the line of Seth were pure and had no involvement of the wicked in their ranks, but that soon changed. In Genesis 6,2 we read: That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
I believe this was Satan’s plan when he got Cain to sacrifice what he himself chose, and he succeeded almost 100% with his tactics. First, one had to break out of the fellowship with God, so that there were two groups. After a few years when men began to multiply there were still two groups, one of which was pure and did the will of God, while the other lived as they pleased. Now Satan is playing card number two, and for the first time, God’s people are being attacked from within, in the sense that the sons of God, who are the men in the line of Seth, marry the daughters of men, who are the women in the line of Cain.
There were, and still are, only two groups, 1) the people of God and 2) the wicked,
1) are those who do God’s will …
2) are the ones who do as they please …
… but now Satan has divided the wicked into two groups,
2A) those who influence God’s people from within, and……
2B) those who influence God’s people from the outside.
Among other things, this is what the little horn has done in connection with what is written in the prophecy; it cast down the truth to the ground … // … the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot. Satan has been trying to destroy the holy people ever since the days of Cain and Abel, and he has used many different methods to bring it about, but God has always kept a small remnant.
What is the time for this prophecy when the truth is cast down to the ground, when does it begin, and when does it end?
Actually, the truth has been casted down to the ground ever since the days of Cain, but since Daniel is concerned with the future, and with respect for prophecy, we start from what it says about time. 2300 evenings and mornings it says in the prophecy. When this period started and ended, we will take a closer look eventually.
The daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation.
When Jesus died on the cross, he abolished the temple service, which included the priestly service and animal sacrifices. These animal sacrifices were tamid or a permanent work a persistent and ongoing act in Old Testament times. After Jesus’ death, we do not have to sacrifice animals – sin offerings – for our sins, but we must offer our daily or tamid in form of prayers. In Revelation 8,3-4 we see that it is our prayers that lie on the altar together with the incense that the angel places there. It is our daily prayers addressed to God the Father in Jesus’ name that are our tamid <sacrifice> in New Testament times. When the daily sacrifice is taken away in Daniel 8,11.12.13; 11,31 and 12,11 then this refers to the same action performed by the same power that sets up the destructive abomination, which represents the Roman Empire – both the military-political as well as the religious-political Rome.
In these five verses (Daniel 8,11.12.13; 11,31 and 12,1) it is pointed, without exception, to the religious-political Rome, or the papacy, which through its paganism and idolatry makes the people to pray and worship statues of Mary and the saints, to wohreship relics and the pope himself. It is in this way that this church takes away the daily tamid sacrifice, because the church in this way prevents our prayers from reaching God the Father.
We may say that the Roman Empire denotes both phases of the daily sacrifice, but to say that the daily or tamid is the pagan form, and the transgression of desolation is the religious form, is something searched. The term transgression of desolation may refer to the Roman Empire, both the militar and the religious phase. But to say that military Rome does not represent the transgression of desolation does not harmonize with reality and not with what the military Rome did. In a way, the military-political Rome, or pagan Rome, really set up the transgression of desolation when they crucified Jesus on Good Friday in the year 31. When it comes to religious Rome, it is no worse than the military Rome in relation considering the transgression of desolation, and the way the religious-political Rome did this was through penance tariff.
The military Rome has obviously played a significant role in relation to the daily sacrifice until the year 70 when the temple was destroyed and the Roman soldiers sacrificed pigs in the holy place where the altar had been, but the time when the daily = tamid, was taken away corresponds in time to the little horn in Daniel 8. Although prophecies are not always linear, we see clear linear features in Daniel 8 where Daniel sees the story evolving from the ram in verse 3, via the goat in verse 5 to the little the horn in verse 9, and it is this little horn that takes away the daily sacrifice. And it is precisely the little horn, which is an image of the papacy, that occupies Daniel most, just as the woman in Revelation 17 occupies John most in the visions he sees. The time when the daily – tamid <sacrifice> is taken away thus corresponds with the papacy, and the time when the little horn is about to wax exceedingly great. It is the time when the bishop of Rome seized power over Rome and proclaimed himself the head of the church. Penance tariff was introduced, and now began the introduction of Mary, saint, relic, and pope worship. Penance tariff, however, is only one of several incidents covered by the term the transgression of desolation. The word that has here been translated to transgression is used in the Old Testament to describe idolatry, (see 2 Kings 23,13 and Isaiah 44,19).
Who is behind what is happening?
It is no secret that it is the Roman Empire which is behind most of what is happening in this period, and there are many clues in the Bible to the claim that it is the Roman Empire that is behind what is happening in this period. A great part of this we find in these texts. Daniel 7,8; 7,20; 7,23; 7,24; 7,25; 8,11; 8,12; 8,23; 8,25; 11,16; 11,31; 11,36; 11,41; Revelation 13,1; 17,3; 19,19.
The answer to this question about whom is behind what is happening in this period can be found in what we have gone through earlier in chapter 2, and especially in Daniel 8,9. This verse points to all the other verses mentioned above. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant [land].
We find the little horn, as we see above, several places in the book of Daniel, and in Revelation, and together these verses give us a complementary picture of who the main character is, even though the Roman Empire is not mentioned directly in words. Despite the fact that these verses use different expressions when talking about the little horn, all these verses point to the same power – the Roman Empire. In addition to being called a little horn (Daniel 8,9), the following expression is used for this power:
Another little horn; Daniel 7,8
And the other (in the sense of the little horn); Daniel 7,20
The fourth kingdom; Daniel 2,40;7,23
Another (points back to the kings in the same verse); Daniel 7,24
He/it (points back to king and horn); Daniel 7,25; 8,11; 8,12; 8,25
A king; Daniel 8,23
This little horn, or king, a fourth kingdom, or he, is the main character in this part of the prophecy, and is the mastermind behind what will happen, and is as we know described in Daniel 8,11,13-14.
In Daniel 11,21-22 we find the following statements:
21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile (despised is more correct) person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
These verses refer back to verse 15 in the same chapter, which shows the transition from the third kingdom – Greece – to the fourth kingdom Rome. It was the military-political Rome that conquered Greece and became the world-leading power. We find this in Daniel 2: legs of iron, Daniel 7: a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceeding strong, and in Daniel 8: a little horn.
This fits well into this scenario we have. Here it is once again a king who will do as he pleases. This king does not care what God wants, but would like to be seen as God himself.
But, what lies in the expression a vile person?
Many claim that the one who is a vile person is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but this is wrong. Although the Jews considered Antiochus IV Epiphanes to be a vile person, he was nothing more than a parenthesis in history. Moreover, Jesus was referring to a future event when he spoke of the events that many associate with Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
In the early days of Christianity, those who called themselves Christians were despised by the people in large parts of the Roman Empire, also in Rome when the Christian church eventually was established there, because they primarily did as the Jews and kept the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath – our Saturday, as their holiday, and that through this they did not observe the day of the sun, and consequently did not worshiped the sun-gods as the rest of the world did. This is the main reason why the Christians were cosidered vile persons and a despised sect, together with the fact that the leader of the Christian church in Rome, the bishop, at least in the beginning, was without any kind of honour given by a kingdom.
Eventually, the bishop of Rome, by flattering, manages to usurp both the place that the Roman emperor once had and the title he once had. By flattering, therefore, the bishop of Rome succeeded in seizing the kingdom. One who was despised – a vile person, the bishop of Rome, had now usurped the position and power that the highly esteemed emperor previously held. The prophecy says (Daniel 11,21) And in his place shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flatteries, and that was exactly what happened.
As a curiosity, I can mention that the Roman emperors eventually both demanded and allowed themselves to be worshiped as a god. I wonder if we do not see something similar with the emperor of our time.