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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

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.

I suggest to read First Vision and Master's Page, they are all related to this page and the homepage.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 September 2012 10:50  

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