Daniel 8:13-14 NASB

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, “How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, [o]while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host [p]to be trampled?” 14 He said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be [q]properly restored.”

It seems its not clear whether this prophecy should be translated as referring to literal days or years in the above text.

Should the 2300 evenings and mornings be understood as referring to literal days?

  • I guess we'll have to wait till AD 2,370 to find out... – Lucian Sep 15 at 0:17
  • 1
    One of the more common interpretations is not days vs. years, but rather that the reference to "evenings and mornings" suggests separated "daily" sacrifices and therefore the 2300 should be divided in half to accurately reflect the "two daily sacrifices each day" implied reference to 1150 "completed" literal days. Not sure if it was technically asked by the OP, but it is a common understanding and was not addressed in any of the answers. – user22542 Sep 30 at 13:30
up vote 4 down vote accepted

They are literal days. This vision concerns the rise of Antiochus IV Epiphianes and the Maccabean Revolt during the 2nd cent. BC. The time period is pin pointed by verses 20 - 21.

"20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king." KJV

We can then apply this to the previous vs. 3-14 and know that the ram with two horns (two kings) was Mede and Persian empire, with the greater horn as Cyrus and the lesser horn as Darius (Gubaru) the Mede. (2) (3)

The vision of the goat with the strong horn (vs. 5) was Alexander the Great who conquered the Mede-Persian empire, and became the 3rd empire of Daniel's vision in chap. 2, and chap. 11. Dan. 8:8 tells of the death of Alexander: "when he was strong, the great horn was broken", and the division of the Greek empire into four smaller ones.

The four generals who split Alexander's kingdom are known from history as Seleucus 1 Nicator (the Seleucid dynasty), Ptolemy 1 Soter (the Ptolemaic dynasty), Cassander, and Lysimachus. They were split with the four directions - the four winds of heaven: east, west, north, and south. (4)

Of these four lesser kingdoms one took over the south and east, toward the pleasant land (vs. 9, Israel), and was the Seleucid dynasty in the Eastern Mediterranean regions sometimes called the Levant ("the rising" for the rising sun).

The Seleucid dynasty is referred to as the kings of the north in Dan. ch. 11, which calls the Ptolemaic dynasty the kings of the south. The kings of the north were constantly battling with the kings of the south for control of the Levant / Palestine. (5).

They were north and south of Jerusalem, which is the focus of the prophesies of Daniel. Daniel was praying in chap. 9 about when God would allow them to return to Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was the pleasant land (vs. 9), the holy land, the holy city (Dan. 9:24). So, the directions of north and south were as related to the city of Jerusalem.

The host of heaven in vs. 10 were the people of heaven - God's people which were at that time still the Israelite, and were Daniel's people (Dan. 9:24). Casting some of the host (people) and the stars (rulers, princes) to the ground happened when the prince that magnified himself (vs. 11) to the prince (ruler) of the host (God's people) and took away the daily sacrifice.

The use of "stars" in prophesy meant the rulers, authorities of the land. Throwing the "stars" down was removing them from their positions of rule and authority.

The prince that magnified himself was Antiochus IV Epiphianes whom the Jews called Antiochus Epimanes - the mad man. (7) He changed the succession of the high priest from the father/son line to one of client privilege - bought and paid for. First, Jason (Yeshua) ousted his brother Onias III by buying the position form Antiochus in 175 BC, and then in 172 - 171 BC Antiochus Epiphanes became angry with Jason, and displaced him with Jason's younger brother Onias who changed his name to the Greek Menelaus. Menelaus had outbid Jason for the post.

The 2300 days are literal days, approx. 6 years and 4 months, and are the time from which Antiochus IV Epiphianes sacked Jerusalem, and plundered the temple. From 170 -169 BC to the time that Judah, son of Mattathias (Maccabean) restored and cleansed the temple in approx. Dec 165(4) BC was the time the temple and the host (people) were trodden under foot (vs. 13-14). (1) (6) (8) (9)

Sources:

1) The Maccabean Revolt - here

2) Daniel's Prophesy of Antiochus Epiphanes - here

3) Belshazzar & Darius the Mede - here

4) Kingdoms of the Successors of Alexander - here

Excerpt: " The kingdom of Cassander (circa 358–297 BC), consisted of Macedonia, most of Greece, and parts of Thrace. The kingdom of Lysimachus (circa 361–281 BC), included Lydia, Ionia, Phrygia, and other parts of present-day Turkey. The kingdom of Seleucus (died 281 BC; later the Seleucid Empire), comprised present-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, and parts of Central Asia. The kingdom of Ptolemy I (died 283 BC) included Egypt and neighboring regions."

5) Pallestine in the Hellenistic Age - here

6) Chronology of Seleucid Rulers and Their Impact on Jerusalem - here

7) Antiochus Epiphianes - here

8) Antiochus Epiphanes - here

9) The Prophesy of Daniel 8 - ApologeticsPress

  • First class research. Much appreciated. (+1). – Nigel J Sep 14 at 18:19
  • @Gina,read somewhere that this refers to years from 457BC to 1844AD which is exactly 2300 years – collen ndhlovu Sep 14 at 19:38
  • This is the oft quoted interpretation but by Gina's own dates, it was not 6 years and a few month but about 4 years that the temple was desecrated: 169-165BC. Further, what do you make of Jesus' interpretation that made Daniel's prophecies still future (Matt 24:15 - compare Dan 8:17, 19, 26). Further, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, by your own admission was a mad man so he was not great nor did he prosper nor reach the host of heaven and did not succeed. Further Onius was a priest not a prince! – Dr Peter McGowan Sep 14 at 20:01
  • @Collen, the historicist make that argument. I would ask them when the sanctuary was cleansed at that time? There was no temple in Jerusalem in 1844 AD that could have been cleansed. The prophesy was for the temple that stood during the time of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Dynasties. – Gina Sep 14 at 23:34
  • @ Peter, Sources vary on the historical dates. Others have the sanctuary cleansed in 164 BC. But, Hebrews counted inclusive. Any part of day 1 counted the f1st day; any part of the st1 year, same. So, if we count 4 mos back from Dec 164 BC we get the mo of Sep 164 BC inclusive count. Then Yr 6 was Sep 164 BC to Oct 165; Yr 5 - Sep 165 BC - Oct 166; Yr 4 - Sep 166 - Oct 167 Yr 3 - Sep 167 BC - Oct 168; Yr 2 - Sep 168 BC - Oct 169; Yr 1 -the 1st Yr was then Sep 169 - Oct 170. Daniel's prophesy are not still future. I completely disagree with the expectation of a future ... – Gina Sep 14 at 23:45

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” 14 And he said to me,“ For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.” (Daniel 8) [ESV]

Likely the meaning is both: literally 2,300 days as suggested in Gina's answer and 2,300 years following the principle that it takes a year for each day to remove iniquity:

According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ (Num 14:34)

"You shall bear your iniquity...a year for each day." It would take 40-years to remove the iniquity before the people would be able to enter the Promised Land. Or stated differently, "After 40 evening-mornings (a year for each day), the nation shall be restored to its rightful state."

In addition, there is a physical reality which underlies the year/day principle. Since the earth is moving around the sun as it rotates on its axis, measuring the length of day using the sun overstates by 4 minutes, the amount of time it takes the earth to make a complete revolution. This is the difference between solar time and sidereal time. Therefore, someone on the surface of the earth counting days using the sun will continually understate the length of a day in relation to someone using the distant stars (or watching from above). Every time someone counts 360 solar days, the earth will actually have completed 361 rotations (360 days x 4 minutes/day = 1440 minutes which is 24 hours). Essentially, a full 24-hour day is "hidden" every 360 solar days.

First note that the word "and" is supplied in most translations. More literally, one might render the passage, "evenings-mornings". The best way to understand Bible prophecy is to seek its precedents. One of the few places where evening-morning is used consistently is in Gen 1 where literal 24 hour days are clearly in mind as we find the phrase, "evening and morning were first/second [etc] day". Thus, it is clear that the literal meaning is "days".

However, that is not to suggest that a 2300 day period is the prophet's necessary intention as Daniel 9 appears to make clear. 70 weeks are clearly weeks of years using the time honoured day-for-year idea. That step will depend upon one's presuppositions and the general method of prophetic interpretation one uses (eg, overly literal, spiritual, preterist, historicist, futurist, etc.)

All I can say here is that the 2300 "day" prophecy is the answer to the tripartite question in v13 - essentially how long will God allow the blasphemous activities of the little horn to continue to denigrate the sanctuary. Part of the explanation refers several times to "the time of the end" (Dan 8:17, 19) and the distant future (v26).

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