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Daniel's prophecy

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(C) Copyright 1998 by Massimo Franceschini

The book of Daniel is certainly one of the most interesting books of the
whole Bible. In just a few chapters it contains a myriad of teachings,
information and the most important prophesies of all times. Daniel was a
careful observer of the word of wisdom, and it was because of this that
he received great knowledge and marvelous revelations. Although he had
admiration for the heathen king he served, yet he preferred to face
death rather than worship his master as a god. His integrity is equal to
that of the most famous Biblical heroes, and it is very easy to
understand why he had so many great experiences. In this article I will
discuss only a couple of his prophesies which pertain to the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For me, everything began fifteen years ago. I was praying to the Lord to
enlarge my testimony of the church, especially regarding the mission of
Joseph Smith. After my prayer I found a small, unknown booklet speaking
about Daniel's prophesies. As I began to read it I thought, "How can
this unknown booklet of another church, help me to enlarge my
testimony?" Yet, despite this concern, I felt something urging me to
continue reading.

The scriptures discussed in this pamphlet were from the book of Daniel,
chapters 8 and 9. In these two chapters there are two very interesting
prophesies. One is related to seventy weeks in relationship to the
mission of the Messiah. The other one speaks about 2300 evenings and
mornings related to the last days. Since we know that the year in which
the prophecy was given is 457 b.c., it is therefore possible for us to
arrive at the dates in which the prophecy would have had to been
fulfilled. Fortunately we also have another way to determine the same
dates. (It is always better to have two or three witnesses, especially
if you are speaking about the scriptures.)

However, before we examine these prophecies, it is important for us to
know that a "day" as used in Biblical prophecies, many times means a
year. How do we know this? Because it is explained in Ezekiel 4:6.
Moreover, we will see that the prophecies of Daniel will be fulfill if
we count the days like years. This is especially true of the second
prophecy which refers to the end of the times, because it couldn't be
fulfilled if we use "days" instead of "years." This is also the same for
the first prophesy related to the Messiah.

But before I explain these prophecies, I need to clarify that these are
my own opinions and are not the official doctrines of the LDS church. In
fact, you won't find any of these ideas anywhere in the books of the
church, although this study has been done by other people not related to
the church. It is for this very reason, that I find this subject a lot
more interesting, because they fit perfectly in connecting the
historical events of the LDS church with the prophecies of the Bible.

In the eighth chapter of Daniel we read: "In the third year of the reign
of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after
that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it
came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is
in province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of
Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood
before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high;
but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw
the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no
beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver
out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And
as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face
of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a
notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two
horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in
the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was
moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two
horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he
cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none
that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed
very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for
it it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out
of one of them came forth a little horn, toward the south, and toward
the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the
host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and the stars to the
ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the
Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and
the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him
against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down
the truth to the ground; and it practiced and prospered. Then I heard
one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which
spake, how long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and
the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host
to be trodden under foot? and he said unto me, Unto 2300 days then shall
the sanctuary be cleansed."

Then the scripture goes on to specify that Gabriel is sent from God to
explain to Daniel the vision. He states: " Understand, O son of man: for
at the time of the end shall be the vision....and he said, behold, I
will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation:
for at the time appointed the end shall be."

At this point Gabriel explains the symbols of the animals and the horns,
but I will not comment about these because they are not related to the
purpose of this topic. The main point of this search is to fix the
starting date of the 2300 years and then find the ending date of this
prophecy.

It is interesting to note, as Gabriel points out, that the vision is
true and it is referring to something that is still a long way off in
the future. He also says, "keep the vision secret." In fact he explains
all the symbolism about the animals and horns, but it doesn't give any
clue regarding the vision of the evenings and mornings. He only states
that the sanctuary will be cleansed.

Before I comment about this part of the book of Daniel, it is first
important for us to read Daniel 9:21-27 which tells us, "Yea, whiles I
was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the
vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about
the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with
me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and
understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment
came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved:
therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks
are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the
transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation
for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up
the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and
understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and
to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and
threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall
even in troubles times. And after threescore and two weeks shall
Messiah be cut of, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince
that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end
thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolation
are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one
week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the
oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall
make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall
be poured upon the desolate."

Daniel was pondering the prophecy of Jeremy at the beginning of chapter
9. He was thinking that the period of the vision that refers to the
purification of the sanctuary meant a longer period of the Jews being in
exile. Daniel prayed to God in behalf of his people, confessed the sins
that provoked the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile and asked God
to rebuild the holy city and its holy temple. While Daniel was praying,
Gabriel, whom he had seen in another vision, came and told him,: "Know
therefore and understand." Then Gabriel explained to him that the vision
related to the Messiah and not to the exile of the Jews.

The beginning of both these prophesies starts at, "From the going forth
of the commandment to restore and build up Jerusalem." Cyrus published
an edict in the 536 b.c.which empowered the Jews to go back to their
homeland (see Ezra  1:1-4.) In the 520.b.c. Darius promulgated an edict
that gave the Jews the authority to rebuild the Temple (see Esdra
6:1-12.) Afterwards, in 457 b.c., Artaserse, in the seventh year of his
kingdom, issued a third edict that insured the Jews would have full
autonomy (see Ezra  7.) This edict also gave Esdra the legal authority
to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple (see Ezra 9:9.)

The scripture says that from this point until the Messiah's death,
seventy weeks will pass, or, in other words, 490 years. Therefore from
457b.c., adding 490 year we go directly to the 34 a.c. I don't need to
make any comment about this because it is too clear that the prophecy
was fulfilled to the letter in Jesus Christ. Therefore, I will go
directly to the other prophecy.

We have two ways of establishing the ending date of the second vision.
The first is, we have the same beginning date of 457 b.c. From this we
can simply add 2300 years, which takes us to 1844 a.c.. The other method
is, we can subtract 490 years from 2300 years and add 34 (that is the
difference of time between the two related visions) and the result is
the same -- 1844.

Now I am sure the big question on your mind is, "What does all of this
mean?" That is a good question. In fact, I had the same thought. The
Mormon church was restored on 1830a.c. which would make it seem
improbable that the date of 1844  is relevant. However, we have to
remember the words of the prophecy -- "After the Sanctuary will be
cleansed."

How it is possible to clean a sanctuary?

In Hebrew 9:18-22 we read:  "Whereupon neither the first Testament was
dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all
the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of
goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the
book, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament,
which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both
the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all
things are by the law purged with blood: and without shedding of blood
is no remission."

The sacrifices cleansed a soul from their sins (see verse 13) because
they were in the likeness of the Atonement. More than that, all the
prophets gave their blood to sanctify their mission, including Christ.
In fact Paul in the same chapter explains this identical concept. He
wrote, "For where a testament  is, there must also of necessity be the
death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead:
otherwise it is not strength at all while the testator liveth. whereupon
neither the first testament was dedicated without blood" (verses 16-18).

It was at this point that the date of 1844 started to become clear to
me. I had always thought that the apostasy was over with the restoration
of the church in 1830, but this isn't so. There was a verse in D&C that
had always sounded strange for me, but at this point became tremendously
clear.

On June 27, 1844 the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith
were martyred like many of the other prophets in the scriptures. In
regards to this date, I will have something to say later in the section
on symbolism.

Let's go now to D&C, section 135. It reads, "He  lived great, and he
died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the
Lord's anointed in ancient times, he sealed his mission and his works
with his own blood; and so did his brother Hyrum." After this came the
verse I had never understood before. It says, "The Testators are now
dead and their testament is in force." Joseph Smith Icon

The apostasy was over the moment the two testators sealed their
testimony with their own blood, just as the Hebrew law required. The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't teach this doctrine,
but with a simple verse the Doctrine and Covenants shows us how the
prophecies of the Old Testament is connected to modern-day events.

For further information on the topic of the law of two witnesses,  I
recommend you read "Doctrines of Salvation" by Joseph Fielding Smith.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:41  

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