The prophecy of the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14 outlines the history of the geocentric cosmology of the hellenistic age, which became prominent in the centuries after Daniel, and persisted for 23 centuries after Daniel’s vision.
In the image below the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 and the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 are compared.
The 70 weeks begin with the decree of Cyrus, 538 BC. These are depicted in the top bar in the chart. The first section of 7 weeks is 49 leap years with 13 months, which span 133 years. The second section is 62 seven-year cycles, from 406 to 28 AD. The third section is one week, the ministry of Jesus, three and a half natural years, plus the “time, times and a half,” which is symbolic of the whole age of the Church as explained in previous posts. There are no gaps; the shaded section at the left represents the time of the Jews’ exile in Babylon, which Dan. 9:11 indicates was the first of the four periods of seven times in Lev. 26. The three sections of the 70 weeks are easily seen to correspond to the remaining three periods of “seven times.” Each of the three sections consists of “seven times” where a “time” has different units in various sections. In the last seven times, which is one week, God is reconciled to his people. The 70th week is the gospel age when Jesus confirms his covenant with many.
Now, let’s notice the lower bar, which represents the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14. The start date for this period is the date of Daniel’s vision, which he says was the third year of Belshazzar, and scholars say this was about 552 BC. Next, the expression “evening morning” must be interpreted. It alludes to the creation account in Genesis 1. The reason for this will become evident shortly. The 2,300 days may be interpreted as years, so they represent 23 centuries, and the specified period ends about 1750 AD. This agrees with the conclusions of scholars such as Nicholas of Cusa, (1400?-1464) Arnold of Villanova (c. 1235–1311) and John Fletcher, (1729-1785) who was an associate of John Wesley. These men clearly understood that the word “unto” in Dan. 8:14 meant that the start date of the 2,300 days was the moment the word was spoken by the angelic messenger, in the third year of Belshazzar.
Now, what is the desolation that was to be cleansed at the close of the period? This must be understood from the prophecy which describes some of the deeds of Antiochus IV, the Seleucid king of Syria who reigned from BC 175 to BC 164. He is represented by the horn of a goat which grew tall, up to the stars, and cast them to the earth, and trampled them.
Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, 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 of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the tamiyd was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. [Dan. 8:8-11]
The word tamiyd means constant, or daily, and translators usually interpret this as referring to a ritual morning and evening sacrifice at the Jerusalem temple. But the meaning of this prophecy is far more significant than a lapse in those offerings. Antiochus IV was dedicated to promoting the worship of Zeus. He financed the construction of a great temple of Zeus at Athens, the ruins of which still remain. It is the largest temple in Greece. He built a temple of Jupiter Capitolinus at Antioch. He had a statue of Zeus made for the temple of Apollo at Daphne. He contributed to temples of Zeus in other Greek cities. His policies outlawed the practice of all other religions in his realm. The first two books of Maccabees describe some of the trouble that the Jews suffered during his reign. Many of the priests at Jerusalem participated in Greek sports, and tried to reverse their circumcision. Sabbath keeping and circumcision of infants were forbidden. The temple at Jerusalem was dedicated to Zeus, until it was restored by Judas Maccabeus and his men. The high priests appointed by Antiochus, Jason, and later, Menelaus, were leaders who promoted the hellenization of the Jews in this period.
During this period, Antiochus initiated a revision of the cosmology of the Bible, to make it conform to the geocentric cosmology of the Greeks. The first chapter of Genesis was a target for the revisions. The helenistic concept of a rigid heaven revolving around earth was supported by a clever redaction. The ‘raqia’ was named Heaven, whereas before, it referred to the earth’s rocky crust. Statements that God assigned names to Day, Night, Heaven, Sea, and Earth were added. Originally the creation account of Genesis contained no statements about God giving names to parts of his creation. The things that are named, were prominent Greek deities in the time of Antiochus. The object of these changes that were introduced in Scripture was to support the geocentric cosmology of the Greeks, that was based on geocentrism, and denied that the earth revolves on its axis. The word tamiyd or constant, I think, alludes to the knowledge of the earth’s diurnal rotation, known to Greek scholars in the previous century, as it had been taught by Aristarchus of Samos (c. 310 BC. – c. 230 BC.). And Seleucus of Babylon, a contemporary of Antiochus, taught the heliocentric theory, ‘not just as a theory, but as a fact,’ Plutarch says. But his works have been lost, perhaps destroyed in the reforms of Antiochus IV.
The cosmological reforms of Antiochus IV attempted to stamp out the knowledge of the earth’s rotation, which was seen as a threat to the religion of Zeus. Since Zeus was identified with the rigid heaven required by geocentrism, saying that the earth rotated threatened his existence. If the earth rotates, no need for a rigid heaven.
The geocentric cosmology that was promoted and established by Antiochus IV and the hellenized Jews who supported his program was successful and the fraud he introduced into the holy Scriptures was accepted for generations by scholars and theologians who believed in the flawed geocentric cosmology. Scholars speculated about what was meant by the “waters above the heavens.” Early church buildings featured elaborate domes that were intended to be celestial symbols, images of the rigid heaven, often colored blue and spangled with stars. They copied domes of pagan temples built to represent Zeus.
But man’s view of cosmology changed in the mid-eighteenth century, 2,300 years after Daniel’s remarkable vision of the ram and the he-goat. The period is called the ‘Enlightenment,’ a time when the old world-view, with its closed-shell universe, was discarded. Along with the changed cosmology, men everywhere turned away from an oppressive Church-dominated system, and embraced science and discovery. The Bible was discredited, because it seemed to support the old geocentric view, with a rigid “firmament” revolving daily around the earth. Scholars could not understand how God could have been so wrong about the nature of his creation. They were ignorant of Daniel’s prophecy, and were victims of the fraud of Antiochus IV.
The scientific revolution in astronomy, about 1750 AD, fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy of the 2,300 days. The starry heavens were “cleansed” or “justified” because of the discoveries of astronomers, who showed there is no rigid firmament; the diurnal rotation was assigned to the earth, instead of heaven. God’s heaven does not revolve around the earth. Isaiah said, “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” [Isa 66:1] What king in his right mind would rotate his throne around his footstool every day? Of course God has known the true nature of the heavens from the beginning.
Copyright © 2011, 2013 by Douglas E. Cox
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