Welcome to a Revelation of Jesus. This video will continue our study of the Seven Trumpets and specifically the meaning of sacrifice in the context of the Seven Thunders of Revelation 10, which unseal the mysterious prophecies of Daniel and Matthew 24.
In the previous video we looked at Daniel 7 which outlines the persecution of the saints that continued for a time and times and half a time, in other words, for 1.260 days. We saw from the historical context that each of these days symbolizes a year, and represents the centuries of persecution of faithful Christians by the medieval union of church and state.
This oppressive union is emphasized repeatedly in the book of Daniel because it serves as a model for the final crisis during the Great Tribulation.
To find out more about how God will resolve this crisis we are going to look at one of the most challenging prophecies in the Bible, Daniel chapter 8. Take a few minutes to read the chapter two or three times, and check out video 3 for an overview of the prophecies in the book of Daniel.
In chapter 8 Daniel sees a ram that symbolizes the Persian empire. Suddenly a male goat with a strong horn attacks and destroys the ram. An angel tells Daniel that the goat symbolizes Greece; the horn is Alexander the Great, “the first king”.
But when the goat becomes strong the horn is broken and four horns come out of it, predicting the division of Greece into Hellenistic kingdoms after the death of Alexander. Out of one of the horns comes another horn that begins small but which “grew exceedingly great… up to the host of heaven, and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them; He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host” (Daniel 8:10,11).
As with Daniel’s other visions, this describes the succession of empires that would oppress God’s chosen representatives through the ages. But unlike the visions of chapters 2, 7 and 11, this vision hardly mentions the Roman and holy roman empires. Although their terrible oppression is assumed in the symbol of the great wicked horn, the description seems to transcend to the heavenly realm.
The wicked horn “grew up to the host of heaven… He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host”.
It was Lucifer who sought to “ascend into heaven, exalting his throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:13). The horn “Cast some of the host and some of the stars to the ground”. Satan the dragon “drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Revelation 12:4).
This shows us that the oppressive events on earth are planned and orchestrated by Satan as an attack on God and His angels.
Satan has been seeking to exalt himself and gain the following of the angels even before the creation of our world. But this attempt to usurp the “prince of the host,” a phrase used in Daniel to refer to Jesus, shows that Satan has actually been trying to interfere with Christ’s ministry as our High Priest. “We have a High Priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected ” (Hebrews 8:1,2).
Jesus, our great High Priest, “Is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us” (Hebrew 7:25).
But in Daniel 8 we see that Satan is working through earthly powers, symbolized by the wicked horn, to interfere with Jesus’ intercession. “[The wicked horn] exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away and the place of His sanctuary was cast down… An army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices, and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered” (Daniel 8:11,12).
The Hebrew word “tamid”, translated as “daily sacrifices” and mentioned twice in this passage, actually means daily or continual and includes all of the services that were performed every day in the ancient Hebrew sanctuary. They included the morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb (Exodus 29:38,39), the continuous presence of the bread (Exodus 25:30, Leviticus 24:5-9), the continuous burning of the lamps (Exodus 27:20,21, Leviticus 24:1-8), the burning of incense every morning and evening (Exodus 30:1-9) and the continual burnt offering (Leviticus 6:9-13).
These services graphically symbolized the gospel. The system of theology that was developed in the medieval Christian church “takes away” every phase of “daily”. More specifically:
- The daily sacrifice of the lambs symbolized the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. (1 Peter 1:18,19). This sacrifice was “taken away” by the mass, in which the priest supposedly “creates” the body and blood of Christ in a “renewed sacrifice” and gives it to the worshipers to eat for their salvation.
- The continual presence of the bread represented Jesus as He is found in the Word of God. But God’s Word was “hidden” in ancient languages and superseded by the “holy tradition” and the writings of the “church fathers.”
- The ever-burning lamps represented the Holy Spirit working in every born-again believer, giving him gifts to bless the church. The gifts of the Spirit became the propriety of the professional clergy, and set liturgies were introduced, which ruled out the moving of the Spirit and the active participation of the worshipers.
- The daily offering of incense represented Christ’s mediation, mingling His prayers with ours and interceding for us. But this was obscured by the mediation of the priests, the saints and the Virgin Mary.
- The continuous burnt offering represented the transforming, refining work of God in the life of the believer, purging him of his sinfulness as he repents and confesses his sins to God. This was replaced by confession to the priest and works of penance to “atone” for sins.
These doctrines and practices were infused gradually by Satan himself as he inspired and prompted decisions that seemed good and honorable at the time, but which struck at the heart of the gospel.
Although Satan has appeared to prosper in his campaign to obscure the gospel, Daniel chapter 8 assures us that God will ultimately make things right. “[Daniel] heard two holy ones talking to each other. One of them asked, “How long will the events of this vision last? How long will the rebellion that causes desecration stop the daily sacrifices? How long will the Temple and heaven’s army be trampled on?” (Daniel 8:13 NLT).
An angel answered Daniel with one of the most enigmatic statements in the Bible: “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again” (Daniel 8:14).
The most common interpretation of Daniel 8 applies it to the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, a king of the northern Greek Hellenistic kingdom who reigned from 175-163 BC. The Apocryphal books of Maccabees record his three-year desecration of the temple that had been built after the Babylonian captivity.
Although this has been a widely accepted interpretation from ancient times, there are many serious problems that I can address in the comments section if you are interested. But the angel Gabriel clearly said that “the vision refers to the time of the end” (Daniel 8:16,17).
I think it is evident that the time of the end was not in the second century BC. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 24:15 that the abomination of desolation was still in the future long after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. And finally, two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings are not a significant period in the history of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Let’s look a little closer at this period of time. The Hebrew for evening morning is ereb boqer. Many commentators assert that this refers to the sacrifices of a lamb which took place twice a day in the ancient Hebrew sanctuary service. With this interpretation, the time span is considered to be 1,150 evening sacrifices and 1,150 morning sacrifices for a total of 1,150 days. This calculation is used in an attempt to support the Antiochus Epiphanes theory.
But the word order in the Old Testament is never evening sacrifice followed by morning sacrifice, but always morning sacrifice followed by evening sacrifice.
The evening followed by morning is only found in Genesis 1, describing the days of creation, for example, “the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). This would suggest that one evening/morning is one day. The Greek Septuagint translation from the second century BC supports this position, calling them “evening and morning days”.
Are the 2,300 days literal or symbolic? In the previous video we saw that the time period “time, times and half a time” indicates 3 ½ years or 1,260 days, but each day symbolizes a year.
Later we will see that in Daniel 9 the time period “seventy-sevens” is symbolic of 490 years. In these examples, we see that when God inspired Daniel to use unusual language for time prophecies, He was indicating symbolic time in which a day symbolizes a year. This gives strong support to the hypothesis that the 2,300 evening mornings symbolize 2,300 years.
This is supported by the specifications of the vision.
Daniel 8 begins with a ram, symbolizing the Persian empire, which reigned from 538 to 330 BC. This would put the end of the 2,300-year period somewhere between 1761 and 1969. In the next video we will look at a more specific starting point, but with this range, we can see that a 2,300-year period could fit with “the time of the end” that is specified in Daniel 8:17.
Most importantly, what is supposed to happen at the end of the 2,300 years? Various translations say “the sanctuary shall be cleansed or reconsecrated or restored to its rightful state or made right again or vindicated”. I will include a link in the description to an article about the rich, multifaceted Hebrew word nisdaq that is so hard to translate.
But first, what sanctuary is it that needs to be made right?
Since the vision “refers to the time of the end,” it could not be the temple that the Jews rebuilt after they returned from Babylon, because it was destroyed in AD 70 and never rebuilt. Although it is possible that a temple could be built, desecrated, and reconsecrated before the Second Coming, I don’t know of any convincing scriptures that support this position.
This leaves the sanctuary in heaven that is featured in the book of Hebrews.
This hypothesis is supported by the activity of the wicked horn, which “grew up to the host of heaven… and even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host… and the place of His sanctuary was cast down” (Daniel 8:10,11).
Although we don’t know much about the sanctuary in heaven, we do know that when Moses was instructed to build the Old Testament sanctuary and set up its services he was instructed to use a pattern that was shown to him. We can assume that the earthly sanctuary service gave a symbolic representation of what Jesus is doing in the heavenly sanctuary.
We don’t need to get hung up on rooms and furniture; after all, the earthly sanctuary symbolized a heavenly reality that is incomprehensible. But there was a major ceremony given through Moses that seems to apply to the cleansing or making right of the sanctuary: the Day of Atonement. It is described in Leviticus chapters 16 and 23.
First a little background. When someone brought their sacrificial animal to the sanctuary for a sin offering, they would lay their hands on the animal and confess their sin, transferring their guilt to the animal. See Leviticus 4 for the details. After the sacrifice of the animal, some of its blood was taken inside and sprinkled and wiped on the furnishings of the sanctuary (Leviticus 4:7).
The sanctuary was a symbolic representation of God Himself. When the blood of the sacrifice was applied to the sanctuary it symbolized how Jesus takes our sins upon Himself when we confess them to Him.
The daily sanctuary services symbolize what God does day by day for the sinners who come to Him. The Day of Atonement, on the other hand, symbolizes what God does to bring sin to an end.
The Day of Atonement had three ceremonies. In the first ceremony, the priest sacrificed a bull for himself and brought the blood into the Most Holy Place before God’s throne (Leviticus 16:6,11-14). Of course, Jesus, who was symbolized by the priest, did not need a sacrifice for His own sins since He never committed any. But He bore upon Himself the sins of the world and presented His own blood to the Father as an atonement for these sins.
This took place when Jesus returned to heaven after His death on the Cross. It is symbolically portrayed in Revelation 5, where “the Lamb as though it had been slain,” comes before the Father, accepts the Book of Life from Him, and sits down at His right hand. Check out videos 16 and 17 for the details.
The second ceremony of the Day of Atonement was the sacrifice of “The Lord’s goat” which was “for the people” to “make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel and because of their transgressions, for all their sins” (Leviticus 16:15,16).
This is a strange concept; it suggests that there was something wrong with the sanctuary itself that required atonement. And this is the link to Daniel 8:14, which tells us that the sanctuary needed to be cleansed, made right, or even vindicated.
Keep in mind that when someone brought their sacrificial animal, laid their hands on its head, and confessed their sins, it was not just their sins that were symbolically transferred to the animal. Their very life was transferred as the animal became their substitute.
Deuteronomy 12:23 tells us that “the blood is the life,” so the sinner’s life was taken into the sanctuary with the animal’s blood. This symbolized the reality that in Christ, “We died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
When Jesus returned to heaven to be greeted by the myriads of angels, He did not bring with Him a list of forgiven sins. He brought a crowd of former captives who had been freed and captivated by His love. The apostle Paul says, “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive… when we were dead in trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 4:8, 2:5-6)
But this presents a problem. Although Jesus died for our sins, we still have a sinful nature. God declares us righteous and declares that we are sitting together with Jesus in heaven, but the reality is that we are also sitting here on earth, so immersed in the corruption all around us that we are oblivious to our own sinfulness. With our sinful nature, we are not really fit for heaven, even though we are forgiven and declared righteous.
This brings us back to the Day of Atonement. When the sinner brought his animal to the sanctuary, the specific sin was confessed and forgiven. But there were many other sins, past and future, that were not confessed; some forgotten, some not considered sinful, and some just a part of the sinful nature. The life of the sinner that was brought into the sanctuary with the blood of the sacrifice was a defiling influence and also required atonement. In the second ceremony “the Lord’s goat” symbolized Christ’s sacrifice “for the people,” and “made atonement for the Holy Place” because it covered “all their sins”.
The forgiveness of all their sins on the Day of Atonement did not happen automatically. Leviticus 23 highlights this. “The Day of Atonement shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls… And you shall do no work… For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people” (Leviticus 23:27-30).
These serious consequences show that the Day of Atonement was a day of judgment, to determine which people should receive atonement and which should be cut off. The people who afflicted their souls showed by their deep remorse that they recognized their sinfulness and their need for God. As they stopped working they showed that they were willing to listen to Jesus and let Him do His work in their lives. These people were accepted in spite of their sinful nature.
This judgment symbolizes God’s desire to both preserve the holiness of heaven and to fully forgive and accept those people who recognize their sinfulness and humbly desire to be His. It also vindicates God’s decision to grant eternal life to people who have not yet demonstrated complete righteousness.
The second ceremony of the Day of Atonement including the judgment is what Daniel 8:14 means when it says, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed, made right, and vindicated”
The third ceremony of the Day of Atonement was the banishment of the scapegoat to the wilderness, symbolizing the fate of Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. He will be banished and eventually destroyed. In Revelation this is depicted in chapter 20, which describes the millennium and the final judgment. With this, the Day of Atonement will be over and the universe will be free from sin.
These may be new concepts, and I will have more to say about them in the next video. I will show more of how Daniel 8 aligns with the Day of Atonement, with the other visions of Daniel, and with the Book of Revelation. We will also see where the 2,300 evenings and mornings fit on the Revelation timeline.
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