This is the third post in a series on the Investigative Judgment, for the previous entry please click HERE.
The interpretation that the SDA Church uses with regards to Daniel 8:14 is another key component of the Investigative Judgment and will likely take several posts to cover properly. If this verse could possibly be read in a way that doesn’t work for SDA theology that means that 1844 was just another year on the calendar and that nothing of any eschatological significance took place.
Before getting started lets take a close look at the verse in question:
“And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.” Daniel 8:14 ESV
There are numerous assumptions that come into play in the SDA interpretation of this verse but what I am going to focus on here is the concept of 2300 years. It is my assessment that this interpretation is predicated upon the following:
- That 2300 evenings and mornings means 2300 24 hour days
- That 2300 24 hour days really mean 2300 years
|2300 evenings and mornings means 2300 24 hour days
I do not think that the most logical interpretation of Daniel 8:14 is 2300 days, but rather 2300 evenings and mornings. In the King James, which was used by early Adventists it does say days. But according to all of the commentary I have read on this verse the Hebrew says ‘evenings and mornings’.
In most places in scripture when a day is referenced the transliterated Hebrew word “yom” is used:
Working with the term evenings and mornings that would then mean 1150 24 hour days not 2300 as every day has one (1) evening and one (1) morning contained within it.
To be sure let us take a closer look at the preceding context of Daniel 8:14
“It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. 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?” Daniel 8:11-13 ESV
The most logical understanding of the evenings and mornings in Daniel 8:14 would then be the evening and morning sacrifices in which the “regular burnt offering” was given in the Old Covenant Temple. It would therefore follow that 1150 24 hour days is a more accurate period of time than 2300 as we are talking about a numerical amount of evenings and mornings rather than straight days. This is rather damaging to SDA doctrine because without the 2300 literal days they have no point with which to build their next premise.
|2300 24 hour days really mean 2300 years|
As I have just shown above we don’t even have 2300 days anymore we have 1150. But could Daniel 8:14 possibly mean 1150 years? If that were the case then it would have ended a long time before 1844. Even still, this is a critical thesis for SDA who claim that the ‘day to year principle’ is a key tool for unlocking prophecy.
I would argue that ‘day to year principle‘ isn’t even a thing. This was an interpretive technique invented by scholars who favored a brand of eschatology called Historicism. There is only one verse in the Bible that outright uses days to typify years and it is not even in an eschatological genre.
“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 ESV
However we also see a day representing a thousand years:
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Ptr 3:8 ESV
And a Basket:
“And Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days.” Gen 40:18 ESV
And a 12 hour period of time:
“Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.” John 11:9 ESV
And a branch:
“Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days.” Gen 40:12 ESV
And a 24 hour period of time:
“And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” Gen 1:8 ESV
It seems clear to me that the hermenuetic for day to year principle is violating the logical fallacy of begging the question as it has already assumed 1844 and must use whichever verse in the bible it can to justify its existence. Problem is by the same logic incorporated for day to year principle I could simply assert that a day is a thousand years (2 Ptr 3:8) so in 1,150,000 years from its start date we can expect fulfillment. As far as I am concerned Daniel 8:14 is speaking of 1150 literal 24 hour days that would contain two (2) temple sacrifices at each end. I see no Biblical reason to assume that any lens be placed on top of them.
The most common objection I will see to this argument I have just presented is that Daniel 8:17, within the context of the preceding verses is clear that the “vision is for the time of the end”. The problem is that this passage does not define “time of the end”. Does it mean time of the end of the age preceding the Advent of Christ? Does it mean end of the world? We can’t say for sure based only on verse 17.
Though I actually believe the end he is speaking of here is referring to Christ that is not my main point, and would go beyond the scope of this post. My main point is that even if the referent of “the end” in verse 17 is eschatological that doesn’t transform verse 14 into years. That would simply mean that we are still waiting on a little horn to trample the temple for 1150 days at some point in the future. By no means can you pull 2300 years out of Daniel 8:14 unless you already have your mind made up ahead of time.