Uncover when God’s final judgement begins and how that affects us
Uncover when God’s final judgment begins and how that affects us
What do Lindy Chamberlain and O.J. Simpson have in common?
Both were arrested in cases that involved innocent deaths. The difference? Lindy spent years in jail for a crime that she never committed, while O.J. walked free from one he most certainly did.
Why, though, be surprised?
Human courtrooms, even in free and open societies, often get it wrong. After all, who hasn’t heard of stories – especially in recent years with the advancement of DNA testing – of men or women who have spent years, even decades, behind bars, only later to be exonerated?
Venegance is Mine
One can only imagine the incredible injustices done through history by human courts. Some of the most insane were the witch hunts in Europe. In some trials, the accused women would be held under water. If they drowned, they were innocent – if they survived, it proved that they were witches and, thus, were burned at the stake.
However, time and again the Bible talks about God as a God of justice, and we can be certain that He will make no mistakes.
Look at this text:
For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
The God who knows every secret thing is a loving God, a forgiving God, but also a God of justice, who has also promised:
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.
For we know Him who said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. And again, The LORD will judge His people.
No question, God is a God of judgment, and judgment and justice will be executed. We already saw, in the lesson on hell, a great example of the justice of His judgment, in that, contrary to the horrific notion of eternal torment, God’s justice will bring final destruction to the lost.
They will return to the nothingness out of which they arose; a far cry from billions and billions of aeons writhing in the fires of hell. As we said, such a punishment would, in itself, be the greatest injustice.
The charges Lucifer made when he rebelled against God in a sense put God on trial. Was God what He claimed to be, or were Lucifer’s accusations true? It’s the greatest trial ever to take place.
That’s why there’s another element of judgment in the Bible that many people miss. Though aspects of this concept are found throughout Scripture, one of the first explicit explanations occurs in Psalm 51. King David had committed a horrible crime. After he confessed and repented of his sins, he wrote:
Have mercy upon me, O God … blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. … Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight; that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.
What did he say? He asked the Lord to blot out his sins, to wash him and cleanse him so that … what?
… that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.
God found just when He speaks? God blameless when He judges?
The text gives the idea that God Himself is going to be judged on how He deals with David’s sin. In other words, God Himself is going to face scrutiny regarding how He has dealt with erring humans.
The idea is picked up also in the New Testament, which quotes from this Psalm on that same subject. Talking about the sinfulness of humanity, Paul wrote:
Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.
The same idea appears again, which is that God Himself is going to be judged on His interaction with humanity. The Authorised Standard Version translates it like this: That thou mightest be justified in thy words, and mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment.
God Himself, coming into judgment? Though the idea, at first, might seem blasphemous or even absurd, when you understand the context, it not only makes sense, it also makes God appear more just, kind, fair, and loving than ever. God is so open that He puts Himself on trial – open to judgment. That’s what the epic story is unveiling. It’s the big picture. Miss the big picture, and the personal stuff on earth becomes distorted.
Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come …
The Judgement of God
All through these lesson, we have come back to the crucial theme of the great controversy, which began with the rebellion against God in heaven. We saw, in earlier studies, that Satan sought to usurp the throne of God.
There is cosmic warfare going on, and the issues in it are bigger and broader than what happens here on earth. Would not even some of these beings have questions about the horrible situation here on earth? And they, indeed, are watching: … for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 1 Corinthians 4:9
Among the issues at stake is the character of God Himself. Look back at those texts we just saw. God Himself is going to be judged. This is not in the same way as people are judged guilty or innocent, but in the sense of how He dealt with the whole rebellion. The universe is watching.
After all, for many people, the biggest question about the existence of God is usually around one issue – why is there evil and suffering? If God is all powerful, all loving, and all knowing, why do we go through so much here?
Personally, haven’t we suffered great injustices in our own stories? And we’ve seen others suffer in theirs, and wondered about the fairness of it all?
Who hasn’t asked – Why has God allowed all this to happen?
With these ideas in mind, look at the following texts:
And I heard the angel of the waters saying: You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things.
And I heard another from the altar saying, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.
They are praising God for the kind of judgments that He had executed. What we can see here is called theodicy. It comes from two Greek words that together mean the justification of God. Not justification in the sense that we need to be justified, forgiven our sins, but in the sense that we will see the love and goodness and justice of God, despite all the terrible things that have happened.
In the Bible, all sorts of judgments occur. Jesus, we saw, was judged at the cross, condemned in our stead. There is a judgment at the end of the millennium when the lost are destroyed forever, reaping the just reward of their sins.
But the Bible also clearly teaches another kind of judgment, a pre-Advent judgment, a judgment that occurs before Jesus returns.
Look at this text:
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
This text makes it clear that before the Second Coming of Christ a divine reckoning or judgment takes place. If His reward is with Him, there must have been some sort of pre-Advent judgment, some sort of decision making that determined who got what reward.
What can we know about this judgment?
The Scope of History
We pick up the story with the sequence of kingdoms in the vision of Daniel 2, which we covered in an earlier booklet, with the statue made of various metals. It can be summarised like this:
We saw, too, in the study on the change of the Sabbath to Sunday, that Daniel 7 gave a parallel sequence of the same nations, only now with a bit more detail. In Daniel 7, Daniel the prophet had a dream in which four beasts rose out of the sea. See Daniel 7:1-3.
Later in the chapter, he is told that these four beasts represent four kings (Daniel 7:17) or kingdoms that will arise over the centuries, and these are the same four kingdoms of Daniel 2 – Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The chapter then ends with God’s eternal kingdom, as did Daniel 2.
Daniel 7, however, spends a great deal of time on the fourth kingdom – Rome – and especially the little horn power that arises out of Rome.
What is fascinating, however, is that just after the depiction of Rome in Daniel 7:23-25, the Bible then talks about a heavenly judgment that eventually leads to God’s kingdom.
Look at what immediately follows the description of Rome’s little horn and before the second coming of Jesus:
But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
A divine court takes place, and the result is the final and eternal kingdom – the one that Jesus will create on earth after the Second Coming and the millennium, as we saw earlier.
The point here is that before the Second Coming of Jesus, before the establishment of God’s final kingdom, there is a judgment – a judgment that leads directly to God’s kingdom.
The Books were Opened
This crucial reality is seen even more clearly earlier in the same chapter. After describing more activity of the little horn power in Daniel 7:7-8, the following scene is depicted. The Roman power is in regular type, and the heavenly judgment in italics.
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three
of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set,
and the books were opened.
Daniel 7: 8-10 KJV
Talk about a heavenly judgment scene! Books opened, thousand thousands ministered to him, the court was seated, and the books were opened. If this is not a heavenly judgment – what is? God is not conducting a secret trial, hidden from view.
No, many heavenly beings are there and books are open, which implies scrutiny – a biblical theme. God knows all things, yes. But we have to remember that thousands and thousands up there don’t. Again, keep in mind the great controversy scenario.
Other beings could easily have questions as well as we do. And now there’s a judgment going on, open for them all to see just how God will judge. For our purposes, though, the crucial point is that this judgment occurs before God establishes His final kingdom. That is, this is a pre-Advent judgment, a judgment that occurs before Christ returns.
Thus, if you were to place Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 together, they would look like this:
The crucial point now is that there is a massive judgment scene going on in heaven. And the end result of this judgment is that God’s eternal kingdom is established. Thus, this pre-Advent judgment is a big deal.
More so, it’s good news for God’s people, because this judgment leads to the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. Daniel 7:27
The Cleansing of the Sanctuary
Each vision in Daniel builds on and expands the previous one. Deeper insight into the nature of this judgment comes from Daniel 8.
As in Daniel 2 and 7, a sequence of kingdoms appear, now though depicted with the symbols of a ram, a goat, and a little horn – like the little horn that symbolised papal Rome in Daniel 7.
The vision then ends with Daniel 8:14, which reads: And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
The first fourteen verses of the chapter, the vision itself, could be summarised like this:
Ram – Goat – Little Horn – Sanctuary cleansed
The second half of Daniel 8 then interprets the first half.
This is what it says:
The ram which you saw, having the two horns – they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the
kingdom of Greece.
Unlike Daniel 2 and 7, this vision skips Babylon, probably because at the time it was written the Babylonian empire was on its way out. But notice how two of the kingdoms are named outright, two of the same kingdoms that appeared in Daniel 2 and 7. The rest of the explanation goes into depicting the little horn, which arises after these two – a persecuting power, which, as in Daniel 2 and 7, was Rome – both pagan and papal. It then ends with that kingdom being broken without hands (Daniel 8:25), symbolic of a supernatural demise, just like the stone kingdom in Daniel 2 that was cut out without hands, a symbol of the end of this world at the Second Coming of Jesus. See Daniel 2:34.
Thus, we could summarise the interpretation of the Daniel 8 vision like this:
The parallels between Daniel 2, Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 are obvious:
The Sanctuary Angle
Notice that the pre-Advent judgment scene in Daniel 7 parallels the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8. Daniel 8, however, brings in the crucial element of the sanctuary, which we studied back in Booklet 5.
We saw that the sanctuary was a symbolic presentation of the entire plan of salvation. The sacrifices of the animals, and ministry of the priesthood, symbolised the work of Jesus, not only as our Sacrifice but as our High Priest in the sanctuary in heaven.
Yes, the Bible teaches that there is a real sanctuary in heaven, and that after His death and resurrection, Jesus now ministers there in our behalf.
Look at these texts:
We have such 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, and not man.
What the author had done in the previous chapters in Hebrews was explain the work of the priests in the earthly sanctuary service, which we have already studied. He then explains that they were symbols of the work that Jesus, our High Priest, is doing for us now in the heavenly sanctuary, the one that is clearly depicted in the book of Hebrews.
There’s much to get into on this fascinating topic, including the timing.* What’s crucial for us now, however, is that the sanctuary element adds the most important component of all, and that is grace.
Yes, there is this pre-Advent judgment that will lead directly to God’s eternal kingdom. That’s so clear from Daniel 7. And that judgment is also given, we are told, to the saints of the Most High. Or, as the New English Version translates it, judgment was rendered in favour of the holy ones of the Most High. Daniel 7:22
Is that favourable judgment because these people are sinless, flawless, and perfect?
No; it is because of the righteousness of Jesus, which covers them in the judgment, a theme that is taught in the sanctuary service.
That’s why the introduction of the sanctuary theme in Daniel 8, and its cleansing, is good news. It shows us that, yes, though judgment is coming, we have Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for us as our substitute.
And we also have Jesus, our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, and according to the Bible that’s good news too. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
Thus, because of what the sanctuary reveals to us about Jesus, and what He has done and is doing for us, we can know that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) – not now and not in the pre-Advent judgment.
We will wait long and in vain for justice and fair judgment here in this world. That’s why our great hope is in the justice and judgment of God – the pre-Advent judgment that culminates in His Second Coming.
Events in the world are signalling that the epic story is building to a dramatic showdown. The preaching of the gospel, with God’s final appeal, includes this urgency: … having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth … saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come. Revelation 14:6-7 Meanwhile, in the courts of heaven too, the pre-advent judgment is in process, and will soon end. When that judgment ends, every person’s destiny is forever sealed. It’s too late to change your mind then.
God has revealed this to us so that we have the assurance that He who promised He would come, will come. God’s time frame knows no haste and no delay. As a consequence of God’s openness and fairness, another outcome of the judgment is that ultimately all will see that God is what He has always claimed to be.
For it is written: As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Romans 14:11
* For a detailed explanation of the timing for the start of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and the pre-advent judgment, see supplementary material.
In the 19th century, Russian author Feodor Dostoyevsky created a character who was going to do a study on why more people did not kill themselves.
Not kill themselves?
Yes, because the character understood that more and more people were denying the existence of God, of Heaven, or of any kind of final judgment in which all the injustice meted out here would somehow be made right. Thus, with this life being so miserable, so hard, and with no hope of anything beyond the short and often painful spasm of cellular metabolism here – the character wondered why people even bothered not to just end it all now.
Of course, in these studies we have viewed life from a completely different angle – an angle based on the teaching of the Bible, which shows among many other things that not only does God exist but that justice will come. There will be a judgment. That’s good news!
In fact, we have already seen that the Bible teaches about various phases of the judgment that will occur in the final days of earth’s history. In Booklet 17, for instance, we saw a general time frame when a judgment occurs in Heaven, a judgment that precedes the Second Coming of Jesus, a judgment that is clearly given in favour of God’s people.
In this supplement we are going to look at this judgment in more detail, because it helps us understand how, as believers in Jesus, we can have complete assurance of salvation.
In previous lessons we have seen that Daniel 2, 7, and 8 were long-range time prophecies showing the scope of world history from the time of ancient Babylon up until the end of the world. The following is a summary of what we discovered:
We saw earlier in this Lesson that the pre-Advent judgment scene in Daniel 7 is the same thing as the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8. Daniel 8, however, brings in the crucial element of the sanctuary, which we studied in Lesson 5.
We saw that the sanctuary was a symbolic presentation of the entire plan of salvation. The sacrifices of the animals and the ministry of the priesthood symbolised the work of Jesus, not only as our Sacrifice but as our High Priest in the sanctuary in Heaven.
What’s fascinating, however, is that in Daniel 8 we are given a very specific time prophecy concerning the start of this judgment. As the summary above shows,
Daniel 8 is about Media-Persia, Greece, Rome –
both pagan and papal, and then the sanctuary being cleansed, which is depicted in Daniel 8:14: And he said to me, For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.
Thus, we are given a precise time frame for this cleansing of the sanctuary.
When do the 2300 days end? What is that date? And what does it mean for us today?
An Incomplete Explanation
The dream of Daniel 2 is followed by a complete explanation of the dream. The vision of Daniel 7 is followed by a complete explanation. Daniel 8 is also a vision, but only a partial explanation is given. Daniel 8 ends with Daniel saying he didn’t understand part of the vision shown to him. It wasn’t explained, as was the rest of the vision.
And the vision of the evenings and mornings (means days in Daniel 8:14) which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future. And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king’s business.
I was astonished by the vision,
but no one understood it.
Of the four elements in the vision of Daniel 8 – ram, goat, little horn, and the sanctuary cleansed – only the part about the sanctuary being cleansed – the vision of the evenings and mornings – was not explained.
Thus, Daniel 8 ends with Daniel not understanding the part about the 2300 days – the time for the start of the pre-advent judgment.
Now we come to Daniel 9. One point here cannot be overemphasised: Nowhere in this chapter is Daniel asking for an explanation about anything. The bulk of the chapter consists of Daniel’s prayer about the captivity of his people – that’s it.
The crucial point is that the only thing that Daniel does not understand is the timing of the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14.
Now, in Daniel 9, after Daniel offers his prayer, confessing his sins and the sins of Israel – what happened?
Yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.
Skill to understand about what? Obviously, about the last thing he didn’t understand from the previous Daniel 8 vision.
Look what follows. Gabriel then says to Daniel:
At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.
Understand the vision? What vision? Well, the last vision that Daniel had – the part he didn’t understand – the vision about the 2300 evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14.
Note, there are two different words for vision in Daniel 8 – one word for the whole vision, (chazon) and another specifically for the vision of the 2300 days (mareh). Interestingly enough, the same word for vision (mareh) is the exact word that Gabriel uses when he says to Daniel – understand the vision (mareh).
Also, what kind of vision was the prophecy of Daniel 8:14? It was a time prophecy. What is the next thing that Gabriel says to Daniel after he tells him to understand the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14?
He immediately says to him, Seventy weeks are determined for your people … Daniel 9:24
What kind of prophecy is that? Of course, it’s a time prophecy as well.
Thus, it’s very clear that Gabriel has now come back to give him the explanation about the time prophecy – the 2300 days – that Daniel had not understood when Daniel 8 ended.
So, we have two time prophecies: the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, and the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.
Why, though, have we converted the days into years?
Again, these are prophecies given in symbols and metaphors. Daniel 8 comes in symbols – ram, goat, and a little horn. Thus, the time element itself is symbolic as well. Hence, the day-year principle is needed in Daniel 8. As we studied in the 1260 days supplementary material, we need to apply the day-year principle in symbolic prophecies like these.
Also, Daniel 8 itself started with Media-Persia, many centuries before Christ, and goes through Greece, and Rome – both pagan and papal – into the future even from our time. A literal 2300 days is less than seven years. How could the vision, which covers such a long span of history, climax with a time prophecy that covers less than seven years? Makes no sense.
Apply the day-year principle and suddenly it turns into 2300 years – a vast span of time that fits so much better the range and scope of the prophecy than does a mere seven years. This is another good reason why the prophecy calls for the day-year principle.
It’s the same with the 70 weeks – 70 weeks with 7 days a week comes to 490 days.
As we have seen, Daniel 8 and 9 are two parts of the same prophecy – Chapter 9 giving an explanation of Chapter 8 – and both need the day-year principle. Thus, with the day-year principle it becomes 490 years. This truth will be become more obvious as we continue.
The Seventy-Week Prophecy
As we saw, Daniel didn’t understand the 2300 year vision (mareh) of Daniel 8:14.
In Chapter 9, the same angel – Gabriel – comes to give him the explanation of that vision (mareh), and he starts out with a time prophecy – the 70 weeks.
Here’s the prophecy as a whole. After Gabriel tells Daniel to consider the vision (mareh), he says:
Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.
Though there’s much in this prophecy worth studying, we need to concentrate on a few points.
Firstly, it says seventy weeks are determined. The Hebrew word for determined is literally cut off.
Thus, the 70 weeks – or the 490 years – are cut off. Cut off from what?
Obviously, from the unexplained larger time prophecy – the 2300 years. Hence, we can see more evidence about how closely related these two time prophecies are. The 70 weeks is just a small part of the larger 2300 day prophecy. And because the 2300 days needs the day-year principle, the 70 weeks does as well.
It says 70 weeks – or 490 years – are cut off from the 2300 day prophecy. But when does the prophecy itself begin? We are immediately told:
Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.
From the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks, which comes out to 69 weeks. Thus, right away, 69 of the 70 weeks are accounted for.
If we apply the day-year principle – as we must – 483 years of the 490 years are covered here.
The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel wrote after the ancient city had been destroyed by the Babylonians) can be accurately dated to the year 457 B.C. – a date, by the way, that Sir Isaac Newton used for this prophecy.
The Messiah The Prince
The word Messiah is the translation of the Hebrew word meaning anointed one. The word Christ is the translation of the Greek word meaning anointed one. Thus the prophecy states that from the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (457 B.C), until the Messiah the Prince (Daniel 9:25), will be 483 years. The Messiah the Prince is, of course, Jesus the Christ.
It’s no coincidence then that if you go from 457 B.C and add 483 years you come to the year 27 A.D. This is allowing for the conversion from B.C. to A.D., which adds one year, because there is no year zero. Thus instead of 26 – which you get it you subtract 457 from 483 – the date comes to 27 A.D.
Our best historical records show that John the Baptist baptised Jesus in the Jordan in 27 A.D.
God leaves us in no doubt about this. He tells us specifically when Jesus of Nazareth became Jesus Christ – the anointed one:
… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
It was at his baptism that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and began His public ministry as the Christ, and Luke, in his gospel, gives us the exact time.
.Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
It’s no coincidence that history confirms that the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar was 27 A.D. But it continues:
When all the people were baptised, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptised; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him.
The fact that this points to Jesus is more proof of the day-year principle, because if we were dealing with literal time – a mere 69 weeks – the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (457 B.C.) would not get us anywhere near the known dates of Jesus, which is in the first century A.D. With the day-year principle, the problem is solved.
The prophecy, talking about the Messiah – Jesus – also says:
Then He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
This verse brings in the last week – the last 7 years, as the first 483 years have already been covered. Thus, the full 490 years – which started with 457 B.C. – are now accounted for in the prophecy.
What does it mean that in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering?
Earlier, the prophecy said that the Messiah shall be cut off (Daniel 9:26), a clear reference to the death of Jesus. In fact, history shows that Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River in 27 A.D., and it was exactly three and a half years later that He went to the cross, where He was cut off, but not for Himself. Daniel 9:26 No – He was cut off for the sins of the world. The Scripture shows in Mark 15:38 that, at the moment of His death, the veil in the earthly sanctuary was supernaturally ripped apart. This symbolised the official end of the sacrifices having any true meaning, because their fulfilment was met in Jesus.
Sacrifices were still carried out in the Temple itself until it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., but they had no more prophetic significance than do the slaughter of animals today.
The middle of that last week – after 31⁄2 years – comes to 31 A.D., the date that Jesus was indeed crucified – cut off.
Finally, the idea that He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week is often linked with the stoning of the first Christian martyr – Stephen. See Acts 7.
This occurred in 34 A.D – the end of the 490-year prophecy. At this point, the covenant promises made to Israel itself were now given to whoever believed in Jesus – Jew or Gentile.
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The Year 1844
The essence of the Daniel 8:14 prophecy:
Though there’s much more here in this prophecy that could be explored, for our immediate purposes there are two crucial points.
Firstly, the 490- year prophecy is cut off from the larger 2300-year prophecy.
Secondly, the starting point of the 490 years, and hence the 2300 years – which was not given a starting point in Daniel 8 – is 457 B.C.
Let’s look at the two prophecies together – for they really are one:
70 weeks (Daniel 9) cut off from the vision (mareh) of the 2300 days (Daniel 8).
When we cut off the 490-year prophecy from 2300 years, what do we get?
So 1810 years beyond the end of the 70 weeks or 490 years, which is 34 A.D., brings us to 1844.
The cleansing of the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14 starts in the year 1844. With the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem as the starting point, when you add 2300 years, remembering the shift from B.C. to A.D., you get the year 1844. If you start with 34 A.D. – the end point of the 490 years – and simply add the remaining 1810 years – you come to 1844 as well.
The 2300 years of Daniel 8:14 reach to 1844 – the longest prophetic time period in the Bible, and the one that brings us from antiquity into the modern era.
What’s fascinating, too, about this date, is that it harmonises with the other supplemental lesson, where we saw that the date of the little horn’s persecution would end about the year 1798.
As we saw, it was after that date that this pre-Advent judgment began. Thus, the year 1844 fits perfectly with that prophecy in Daniel 7.
In Favour of the Saints
Hence, the beginning of the cleansing of the sanctuary is in the year 1844. That’s when the pre-advent judgment begins, so powerfully depicted in Daniel 7 like this:
A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.
And a judgment was made in favour of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
This judgment, which began in 1844, is made in favour of the saints. Indeed, it’s so much in their favour that when it’s over they posses God’s eternal kingdom. That is, when this judgment ends, Jesus returns, the world as we know it is gone, and the saints get their kingdom.
If that’s not important – what is?
Remember, too, that this is a judgment in favour of God’s people.
Why? Is it because they are perfect? No, it’s because Jesus died as their substitute and is now their High Priest in Heaven. And so now they stand in the judgment covered by His righteousness, His holiness – and not their own, because their own is not good enough – not even close. See Isaiah 64:6.
In the earthly sanctuary model, when the sanctuary was cleansed (Leviticus 16), atonement was made for all the people because blood was shed in their behalf – blood that symbolised the death of Jesus.
This once a year ritual – known as the Day of Atonement – is the earthly symbol, the earthly type, of the judgment depicted in Daniel 8:14. And the good news about this judgment is that, all through Leviticus 16, atonement was being made for the children of Israel.
Atonement is always the work of God on behalf of His people, to do for them what they cannot do for themselves – which is save them from their sins. Thus, this Old Testament Day of Atonement symbolises the time that we are living in now – a time dedicated to the work of God in bringing us into His eternal kingdom.
That’s why this judgment – the pre-Advent judgment which began in 1844 – says to us:
The end is near. Be covered by the blood of Jesus, which becomes our covering when we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
In the light of the Epic story, while on earth the forces of evil are marshalling their final assault on God’s people (Daniel 8 and Revelation 13), in Heaven, the pre-advent judgment is in process (Daniel 8). God’s final three angels’ messages (Revelation 14:6-12) bring these two into focus, with a powerful call and urgent warning that the end is near.
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth – to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people – saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.
And another angel followed, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the
wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation.
He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.