Home   About Us   Holiness Library   Bible Prophecy   Listen to Sermons  History of the Holiness Movement   Early English Bibles   Bible Studies   Links










Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?” And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:13–14)


The vision seen by Daniel ends with verse 12; what we have in verses 13 and 14 is a discussion concerning the 2300 days. We considered what the 2300 days are not in the very first chapter of this book. We learned that some Bible scholars in the past interpreted the 2300 as prophetic days that represent 2300 years, which they did in an attempt to show that this prophecy of Daniel predicted their church movement.

When we studied the language in verse 14, we found the English word “days” is not the literal translation of the Hebrew, the Hebrew is actually two words and should be translated as evenings and mornings. The Revised Standard Version has the best English rendering of verse 14:


And he said to him, “For two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”


This version clarifies two things for us, which should remove any confusion as to what the verse means. First, the 2300 days are 2300 evenings and mornings. Second, the cleansing of the sanctuary refers to the literal sanctuary, or the temple, in Jerusalem, and involves it being restored to its rightful state. The “cleansing” is not some mystical or spiritual event in some mystical or spiritual sanctuary; it is a very literal and mundane happening.

The evenings and mornings are necessary to understanding the vision for the sake of consistency. In verse 11 it is said that the little horn would take away the daily sacrifices. These sacrifices were made on the brazen altar in the temple and were a very important element of the Jewish religion. The daily sacrifices were instituted shortly after the Hebrews were delivered from Egypt as recorded in Exodus 29:38–41:


Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually.  One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. With the one lamb shall be one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and you shall offer with it the grain offering and the drink offering, as in the morning, for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the LORD.


It makes no sense whatsoever to spiritualize or consider the 2300 evenings and mornings as anything other than 2300 days during which these sacrifices were prohibited by the decree of Antiochus Epiphanes. He also profaned the temple by constructing altars and making sacrifice to pagan gods. If the sanctuary needed cleansing, it needed cleansing from this desecration.




The vision ends with verse 12, but before Daniel can do anything, he hears two voices engaging in the short conversation recorded in verses 13 and 14. Who are these voices?

Daniel refers to them as holy ones; in the King James Version they are called saints. Daniel did not write that he saw these holy ones; he only heard them speaking. There is no record of what their appearance was like that can give us a positive identification. But, it is reasonable to assume the holy ones are angels and it seems logical to think they had been close to Daniel while he was seeing the vision. In all probability they had been sent by the Person identified only as the appearance of a man, whom we know to be Christ. It is also interesting to observe that this is the only time these holy ones and their comment on the 2300 days appears in the entire prophecy and its explanation. In fact, it appears that Christ sent them solely for the purpose of mentioning the 2300 days as it is so critical for understanding the prophecy.




So, what are the 2300 days? It is the time period from the time Epiphanes commanded the setting up of the pagan altars in the temple, the desecration of the temple, to the defeat of the Seleucid general Nicanor by Judas Maccabees at the battle of Beth-horon. The circumstance of this battle is related in 1 Maccabees 7:36–43:


Then the priests entered in, and stood before the altar and the temple, weeping, and saying, Thou, O Lord, didst choose this house to be called by thy name, and to be a house of prayer and petition for thy people: Be avenged of this man and his host, and let them fall by the sword: remember their blasphemies, and suffer them not to continue any longer. So Nicanor went out of Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Bethhoron, where an host out of Syria met him. But Judas pitched in Adasa with three thousand men, and there he prayed, saying, O Lord, when they that were sent from the king of the Assyrians blasphemed, thine angel went out, and smote an hundred fourscore and five thousand of them. Even so destroy thou this host before us this day, that the rest may know that he hath spoken blasphemously against thy sanctuary, and judge thou him according to his wickedness. So the thirteenth day of the month Adar the hosts joined battle: but Nicanor’s host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the battle.


Nicanor was a general under Antiochus Epiphanes tasked with crushing the Jewish rebellion. Serious prayer was made by the Jewish priests for God to intervene and destroy the Seleucid army. Judas Maccabees, on the field of battle, saw himself in need of God’s intervention as was King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:1–35 when God struck down Sennacherib’s Assyrian army during the night just prior to a battle. If God could give the victory then against such an imposing army, surely God could do it now. The battle between Judas and Nicanor was fought on the 13th of Adar in 161 b.c. God heard the prayers of Judas and the priests and gave the victory to the Jewish army.

Epiphanes gave the command to set up the pagan altars on the 15th of Kislev, 167 b.c. How many days were between the 15th of Kislev, 167 b.c. and the 13th of Adar, 161 b.c.? The chart below answers that question. The Jewish calendar was based on lunar months, the amount of time between full moons; the months had 29 or 30 days and their year contained 354 days. Our modern calendar is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun, and contains 365 days. As we look at the reckoning, it is necessary to adjust for the solar days omitted from the Jewish calendar.


Year           Month                         Days                Adjust to Solar Calendar


167 b.c.       from 15 Kislev            15

                               Tevet                           29

                               Shevat                         30

                               Adar                            29                      2 for remainder of 167 b.c.

166 b.c.       Entire Year                  354                  11

165 b.c.       Entire Year                  354                  11

164 b.c.       Entire Year                  354                  11

163 b.c.       Entire Year                  354                  11

162 b.c.       Entire Year                  354                  11

161 b.c.       to 13 of Adar               337                    3 up to 13th of Adar 161 b.c.


                               Total Days                   2210                60 days to adjust to Solar Calendar

                               Solar Adjustment            60

                      Actual Days                2270


There were 2270 days between the giving of the command to set up the pagan altars and the defeat of the Seleucid general Nicanor.  This lacks 30 days of the 2300 days stipulated by the holy one. How could it be that the sanctuary was cleansed on the 2300th day after it was profaned? It was not; and the holy one did not say it would be cleansed on the 2300th day; he said that 2300 days would transpire “then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” In other words, at some point in time after 2300 days, the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.

But, being that the holy one gave a specific number of days, it is important for the sake of accuracy to see if we can determine that precise number of days. Judas camped in Adasa, which was about 5 miles north of Jerusalem; the battle was fought at Beth-horon, which was about 10 miles north and west of Jerusalem. While those distances are insignificant to modern travel, it must be remembered there were no Interstate highways and the terrain was mountainous. After the battle, Judas, now at Beth-horon, would have had to regroup his army, take care of casualties, prepare for the journey to Jerusalem, and march 10 miles through the mountains up to Jerusalem—a process that could have easily taken the remaining 30 days, making it 2300 days from the defiling of the temple by Epiphanes to the time when Judas could begin restoring the temple.

Upon his return to Jerusalem Judas began the process of cleansing the sanctuary—or restoring the temple to its rightful state. He first reinstated the priesthood that had been made illegal under Epiphanes. He next cleared the temple of the pagan altars and set up the temple furniture. On the 25th of Kislev the cleansing process was complete and the temple was reconsecrated. The festival of Hanukkah was instituted to celebrate the event.




After this conversation between the two holy ones, the appearance of a man, whom we know to be Christ, instructs Gabriel to explain the vision to Daniel. He tells Daniel “that the vision refers to the time of the end.” The vision is not about the end of time, as some may think, it is about the time of the end—there is a difference. The time of the end refers to the end of the events pictured in the vision, which is the succession of empires consisting of the Babylonian Empire, which was defeated by the Persians, and the defeat of the Persians by the Greeks.

The Greek Empire in its four divisions is considered the time of the end in this prophecy because it is the last world-wide empire before the coming of the Roman Empire. We saw in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar that the legs of the image were struck by the stone cut out of the mountain, which we know is Christ and the kingdom of God. We saw in the prophecy of the Four Beasts that Christ would come at the very end of the reign of Herod the Great. With the fall of the Greek Empire to the Romans comes the closing of one dispensation and the coming of another dispensation, the time when the kingdom would be transferred from Israel to the reign of Messiah in the Kingdom of God.

As the chapter continues, Gabriel explains the meanings of the Ram and the Male Goat, which are the Persian and Greek empires respectively. In verses 22-25 Gabriel talks about Antiochus Epiphanes, revealing things about his character, the destruction he would bring, his defiance of the God of the Jews, and his end: “But he shall be broken without human means.”


Antiochus attempted to take vengeance for the defeat of his armies by the Maccabees, but he died a horrible death from worms and ulcers. His death was sudden and decisive and was brought about by the hand of God, not man. (Classic Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown)


Finally, in verse 26 Gabriel tells Daniel to “seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future.” The events shown Daniel in this prophecy were about 300 years in his future. While they might have been a curiosity to anyone with whom he might have shared them, they would have been of no value to them, and, in fact, they may have proved to be a liability as Matthew Henry suggests:


The charge given to Daniel to keep it private for the present: Shut thou up the vision; let it not be publicly known among the Chaldeans, lest the Persians, who were now shortly to possess the kingdom, should be incensed against the Jews by it, because the downfall of their kingdom was foretold by it, which would be unseasonable now that the edict for their release was expected from the king of Persia. Shut it up, for it shall be for many days. It was about 300 years from the time of this vision to the time of the accomplishment of it; therefore he must shut it up for the present, even from the people of the Jews, lest it should amaze and perplex them, but let it be kept safely for the generations to come, that should live about the time of the accomplishment of it, for to them it would be both most intelligible and most serviceable.


The things Daniel saw in the vision and what he could understand of what he saw and the fact he could not share these things with anyone made Daniel so sick he could not go to work for several days. Matthew Henry finishes his comments on this chapter with the following thoughts:


The care he took to keep it private, having received such a charge. He fainted, and was sick, with the multitude of his thoughts within him occasioned by this vision, which oppressed and overwhelmed him the more because he was forbidden to publish what he had seen, so that his belly was as wine which has no vent, he was ready to burst like new bottles. However, he kept it to himself, stifled and smothered the concern he was in; so that those he conversed with could not perceive it, but he did the king's business according to the duty of his place, whatever it was.