The book of Daniel covers the big issues in the great conflict between Christ and Satan. In chapter 7 the prophet saw the rise and fall of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. He then saw the “little horn” power of the Medieval church.
Once this power fell (which occurred in 1798), Daniel saw the judgment take place (Daniel 7:9-11). So we know the judgment would occur some time after the year 1798.
In chapter 8 the timing of the judgment becomes very specific. Daniel once again saw the large superpowers of world history (including the antichrist power). They were attacking God’s people and ruling the world.
Daniel responded by asking “how long” all these attacks would last.
Daniel was told that all the conflict and apostasy would last for 2,300 days before the “sanctuary would be cleansed”.
This literally made him sick with anxiety (Daniel 8:27). It was clear that this prophecy was a long way off because the prediction would come to fulfilment “many days into the future” (Daniel 8:26).
Daniel likely knew that a prophetic day was a year, and so as he looked down the barrel of 2,300 years, he went to his knees in prayer.
Daniel’s heartfelt prayer is found in the next chapter, Daniel 9. In fact, the key to understanding the time frame of Daniel 8:14 is to recognize that Daniel 8 and 9 are part of the one vision and prophecy. In the original Scripture manuscripts there was never a division made between the chapters.
Daniel prayed earnestly for his city and people, asking forgiveness and cleansing. God responded to Daniel’s prayer by sending His angel Gabriel (Daniel 9:20-22). Gabriel was the same angel “seen in the vision” of chapter 8 “at the beginning” (Daniel 9:21).
Throughout chapter 8 Gabriel identified the beast powers and described the event that would take place at the end of 2,300 days (the cleansing of the sanctuary). The only thing missing was the starting date for the 2,300 day prophecy.