Did Antiochus fulfill the 2300 day prophecy?

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This argument is emphasized by critics Dale Ratzlaff in his book “Cultic Doctrine of Seventh Day Adventists,” and Dr. Desmond Ford. The verse in question is:

Daniel 8:14
(14) And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

The claim is that because the context is on the morning-evening sacrifices (verses 11-13), and that “days” in verse 14 is “evening-morning” in the Hebrew, that therefore the intended number of years would be 2300 individual morning and evening sacrifices, totaling 1,150. At the end of the terrible siege of Jerusalem and the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanies, this time prophecy will therefore come to an end, and the sanctuary would have been “cleansed,” or, restored.

Let us first dispense with the theory that the word “day” is not really day, and that “daily sacrifice” is intended in Daniel 8:14. Below is an excerpt from another page at this site titled, The Hebrew word for “days” in Daniel 8:14:

First argument:
The Hebrew word for “days”

“… But what about Daniel 8:14? Well, the Hebrew word for days, though often used by Daniel, is not here to be found. The Hebrew expression rendered ‘evening mornings’ is not identical with the similar words of Genesis 1 (see modem translations), and Daniel 8:26 with its inclusion of the article before each Hebrew term proves that what is intended is the daily evening and morning sacrifice. (‘Evening’ and ‘morning’ refer to points of time, not the dark and light parts of the day. Take the concordance and see.)”

We therefore grabbed our Strong’s concordance, as Dr. Ford suggested, and this is what we found…

The Hebrew words translated “days” in Daniel 8:14 are ‛ereb and bôqer. The word ‛ereb means “dusk” and is often translated “night, even, evening, evening tide and days.” The second word, bôqer, means “dawn, break of day, morning” and is often translated, “morning, marrow, early and day.” So generally the words ‛ereb and bôqer mean evening and morning. This is awfully similar to what we find in Genesis 1. Take a look:

Genesis 1:5
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening (‛ereb) and the morning (bôqer) were the first day.

Genesis 1:8
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening (‛ereb) and the morning (bôqer) were the second day.

Genesis 1:13
And the evening (‛ereb) and the morning (bôqer) were the third day.


We notice that the combination of the evening and morning, or the ‛ereb and the bôqer, make up the “yom” which is the Hebrew word translated as “day.” Where then does Dr. Ford say that the two words in Daniel 8:14 are not the same words in Genesis 1? They are the exact same words, and since both words put together make up a “day,” the same words, found in Daniel 8:14, also make up a “day.” Why were these Hebrew words used in Daniel 8:14 and not simply the Hebrew word “yom?” Perhaps these were used to emphasis the importance of this prophecy in showing how that at the end of this time period, something major in God’s plans was to be accomplished, much like at the end of their use in Genesis 1 something major in God’s plan was accomplished: the creation.

Now Dr. Ford makes the following comment…

“… and Daniel 8:26 with its inclusion of the article before each Hebrew term proves that what is intended is the daily evening and morning sacrifice.”

The article “the” is not in the Hebrew, but we can see how it was placed there in the English language. However we do not agree that this proves that the intention in Daniel 8:26 is the evening and morning sacrifice, simply because the daily sacrifice was not rendered “evening and morning” as found in this verse but rather “morning and evening.” The following verse will show the true order in which the daily sacrifices were to take place:

Numbers 28:3-4
(3) And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.
(4) The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning (boqer), and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even (ereb) [see also Exodus 29:38-42].

Perhaps the translators knew this, which is probably why, when they included the word “sacrifices” in the texts in Daniel, they did it in italic, showing that it was not in the original text.

It is note-worthy to see that the Hebrew word translated “sacrifice” in Numbers 28:3-6 in describing the “morning/evening” sacrifice is ‘ishshâh and this word is nowhere to be found in all of Daniel chapter 8. In fact, the Hebrew word translated “sacrifices” in Daniel 9:27, which some say this is also speaking about the “daily” sacrifice, is again not the same Hebrew word used to describe the daily sacrifice in Numbers 28.

Now examine the above verses in Numbers 28 carefully. Note the difference between the order in which the two words “boqer and ereb” appear in the Hebrew of Daniel 8:14, 28 and the order in which they were to be observed according to Numbers 28:3-4. In Numbers, God said that the daily (day by day) sacrifices were to take place beginning first with the morning (the boqer) sacrifice and then ending with the evening (the ereb) sacrifice. If the “days” in Daniel 8:14, 28 were the same as the daily sacrifices, the order of the Hebrew words would have rather been “boqer/ereb.” Add to this that, as mentioned already, the Hebrew word translated “sacrifice” in Numbers 28 is no where to be found in all of Daniel 8, showing that the intention is not the daily morning/evening sacrifices as our critic contends.

Now, Daniel 8:14 tells us that the 2300 day prophecy, which really refers to 1,150 days if each day is divided by half, expires when the sanctuary is cleansed. Our critics always refer us to the following verses in the book of 1 Maccabees chapter four:

1 Maccabees 4:41-43
(41) Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.
(42) So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law:
(43) Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place.

We already learned that there is no problem with the word used by Daniel in 8:14. To suggest that he is really talking about 1,150 morning and evening sacrifices rather then 2300 days is rather ridiculous, since, as shown above, the chapter has nothing to do with sacrifices. But, lets say that our critics are right, and that the 2300 day prophecy does refer to 1,150 days, and that these days show the entire period of Antiochus’ attack against the Temple in 1 Maccabees. Notice what 1 Maccabees really says about the time period between the setting up of the idols in the Temple and the rededicating of it thereof:

1 Maccabees 1:54
(54) On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-five, the king erected the horrible abomination upon the alter of holocausts, and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan alters.

According to Saint Joseph’s Edition of the New American Bible with Apocrypha, in a footnote, the comment is given: “early December, 167 BC. Therefore, the beginning of the temple desolation, when the horrible abomination was set up on the alter of holocausts (sacrifice), was in the year 167 B.C. The very fact that the horrible abomination is set up upon the alter of sacrifice in the Temple; means that the daily sacrifice was ceased. Although this chapter is describing an abomination being erected, and a taking away of the sacrifices, remember that the context of Daniel 8 still does not support that idea that the activity of the little horn includes a taking away of the Jewish sacrifices.

Now, 1,150 days would add up to 3 years and about 2 months, whether you believe you should calculate the year with 365 days, or with 360 days per year at 30 days a month… which is the bibles way of reading a year (Genesis 7:11, 8:3-4. See Identification Mark # 14 in Identifying the Antichrist Part 2).

Since this event would begin the supposed 1,150 day prophecy in 167 BC, that means that 3 years and two months later the sanctuary has to be cleansed, or rededicated. Let’s see if this took place at the time foretold:

1 Maccabees 5:52-54
(52) Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, that is, the month Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight,
(53) they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law on the new alter of holocausts that they had made.
(54) On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it, on that very day it was reconsecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals.

Again according to the Saint Joseph’s Edition of the New American Bible with Apocrypha, the year here referred to is: December 14, 164 B.C. But notice what the above verse told us… it said that the rededication of the Temple took place, “on that very day.” Which day? The day, “on which the Gentiles had defiled it.” That day was the day when that horrible abomination was set up in 1 Maccabees 1:54, the year 167 B.C.! From 167 B.C. to 164 B.C. is 3 years exactly, or to “that very day.” However, 1,150 will equal more then 3 years. It will equal a little more then 3 years and 2 months!

Let us gather the facts already concluded:

1: The word “days” does not pose a problem to the Adventist interpretation, nor does it hint to the morning/evening sacrifices.
2: The word “sacrifice” is missing from the chapter, and therefore it can not rightly be said that that is what Daniel was referring to.
3: The 2300 days, are 2300 days… not 1,150 days! If 1,150 days was intended, the Angel interpreter would not have specifically said the number 2300.

Dale Ratzlaff and Desmond Ford’s method of reckoning Daniel 8:14 is one based on to many assumptions and miscalculations. But, there is another point in our interpretation that they and others attack, and that point is…

The Day/Year Principle


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About The Author

Edwin Cotto

With years of experience in evangelism and youth directing, Edwin has worked with various ministries including Our Higher Calling and Spanish ministry El Ministerio Internacional Jesús es la Solución where he had the opportunity to travel conducting evangelistic meetings. Edwin has also appeared on 3ABN, worked as the main apologist at the Adventist Defense League, and is trained and certified with the Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He is also a Bible Worker for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

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