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Sanctuary lesson 21

Lesson 21 - The 2,300 Days Prophecy

The message of the sanctuary has been passed down by God's people since the beginning of time, starting with Adam and Eve.  The people of Israel were given the oracles of the truth, as held in the sanctuary service, of a coming Messiah.  The sanctuary service pictured a messiah who would save mankind from sin and also destroy sin forever.  The 2,300 days prophecy is the big picture of how God restores the lost truths of the sanctuary to His people.

There are three main prophecies we will study: Daniel 8:14; Daniel 7:25; and Daniel 9:24-27.

1. The 70 Weeks Prophecy

The Babylonians destroyed the temple of Solomon in 586 BC and the Israelites were taken into captivity as a result of their rebellious unfaithfulness against God.  During this captivity, Daniel is given visions of the future starting in chapter 7.

Let's turn to Daniel 8:14.

- According to these verse, how long until the sanctuary will be cleansed?

  • - Answer (highlght to read): 2,300 days

Let's turn to Daniel 8:26.

- According to this verse, when did the vision refer to?

  • Answer: Many days in the future

Let's turn to Daniel 8:27.

- According to this verse, did Daniel understand the vision?

  • Answer: No

Let`s turn to Daniel 9:2.

- According to this verse, how many years was Jerusalem to be left desolate?

  • Answer: 70 years

About thirteen years passed between chapters 8 and 9.  Daniel was studying the writings of Jeremiah and understood that the exile would last only 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10-12, compare with 25:11-12). Sixty eight years have gone by since Babylon fell in 605 BC.  In Daniel 9:3-19, Daniel prays with urgent expectancy and impatience for the restoration of Jerusalem.

Let's turn to Daniel 9:24-27.

- According to these verses, how much time is determined for Daniel's people and the holy city?

  • Answer: 70 weeks

The word "determined" signifies "cut off" from some longer period of time.  The only time period under consideration is the 2300 days. 70 weeks were to be cut off from that period and allotted to the Jews and their holy city.  To understand this prophecy, we need to understand prophetic time.

Let's turn to Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34.

- According to these verses, what does one day equal, in prophetic terms?

  • Answer: One day = one year

A day in prophetic time represents a year of real time.  Seven years make a week of years.  Therefore, 70 weeks would be 70 x 7 = 490 years.

The Jews were given 490 years to fall back in line with the duty God gave them to share the message of salvation.

Let's turn to Daniel 9:25. 

- According to this verse, when does the 70 weeks time period begin?

  • Answer: From the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem

Historically speaking, the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given in 457 BC by King Artaxerxes.  (For more detailed information, go back and study Bible study lesson 14 - the 70-week prophecy.)

69 prophetic weeks = 69 x 7 = 483 years. 

This takes us from 457 BC to 27 AD, which was the year Jesus was baptized (Mark 1:14-15).  Jesus' ministry continued for 3 & 1/2 years after his baptism, or half a prophetic week.  Christ was cut off in the midst of the 70th week (crucifixion, death, and resurrection in the spring of 31 AD).  Note that when Christ was crucified, the veil of the temple was supernaturally torn in two from top to bottom, opening the way to the Most Holy Place and signifying the end of earthly sanctuary services.

However, remember that 70 weeks was determined for the Jews according to Daniel's prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.  The Jews still had 3 & 1/2 years remaining to fulfill the role God had given to them before they were cut off as God's chosen people (Leviticus 23:27, 29).  During this time, Jesus directed His disciples to being their work at Jerusalem and continue preaching the Gospel message to the Jews.

In 34 AD, the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:51-60) signified the Jews' rejection of the Gospel message and the end of their probation.  

In summary, the 70 weeks prophecy tells of the Jews' (Literal Israel's) rejection of the Messiah and the message of salvation that pointed to Him (which was the function of the sanctuary).  The message of the plan of salvation (the sanctuary) was no longer entrusted to the Jews, but given to the Gentiles (Spiritual Israel - see Romans 2:26-29) to proclaim. 

2. The 1,260 days prophecy
Let's turn to Daniel 7:25; 8:11; and 12:7. 
- According to these verses, how long will the saints be given into the hand of the Antichrist power?

  • Answer: Time, times, and half a time

Let's turn to Revelation 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; and 13:5.
- According to these verses, how long will the Antichrist power tread the holy city underfoot?

  • Answer: 42 months

- According to these verses, how long did the woman hide in the wilderness?

  • Answer: One thousand two hundred and sixty days

Time, times, and half a time = 42 months = one thousand two hundred sixty days

1,260 prophetic days = 1,260 literal years

(For more detailed information, go back and study Bible study lesson 7 - the Antichrist.)

The 1,260 days prophecy tells of a time period when the sanctuary of God would be cast to the ground, and those who have God's truth would be persecuted.  During this time period, a rival institution had set itself up againt the heavenly sanctuary.  This institution would:

  • Reject the heavenly temple (Daniel 8:11-12)
  • Reject the heavenly temple's Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) and its truths (Daniel 7:25) to implant a counterfeit
  • Persecute God's people (Daniel 7:25) who would not accept this counterfeit (e.g. the Waldenses and the Anabaptists)
In 538 AD, the papacy became a political power and mandated the destruction of all pagan practices.  Only the religion of the state could be practiced during this time.  Just as Literal Rome oppressed Literal Israel,now Spiritual Rome was persecuting Spiritual Israel.  During this time, the Dark Ages fell upon the world and many heavenly truths from the sanctuary message were either lost or replaced with earthly counterfeits.

In 1798, exactly 1,260 years later, Napoleon's French army led General Berthier marched on Rome and captured the pope, in exact fulfillment of prophecy:


"The Eternal City had no longer Prince or pontiff, its bishop was a dying captive in foreign lands; and the decree was already announced that no successor would be allowed in his place." (George Trevor, 
Rome: From the Fall of the Western Empire, London: The Religious Tract Society, 1868, page 440)

The power of the papacy was apparently broken (Revelation 13:3).

3. The end of the 2,300 days prophecy

Let's turn back to Daniel 8:14.

- According to this verse, what happens after 2,300 days?

  • Answer: The sanctuary will be cleansed.

 From 457 BC to 1844, the sanctuary is "cleansed" or "restored".  All the truths lost during the 1,260 years of darkness are recovered by God and brought back through His people.  Friend, just as God had first entrusted the Jews to share and teach the truths of the sanctuary message to the world, we have been entrusted today with the sanctuary truth - God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Will you do your part and pass down this truth to others?