Once again it is important to rely on Church Fathers who enjoy much wisdom and discernment from God as they approached the Scriptures and especially Apocalyptic Literature. It is easy to assume a text says one or the other thing. It is also easy to use your doctrinal beliefs and construct what your theology wants to impose on the text. Rather, it is very important to learn from sound teachers, particularly of many years ago … men who were giants in the original languages and in their studies in ancient history through to New Testament times and even beyond. You will recall I mention that parts of the passage is very difficult to interpret and before us today we have such a passage. The matter at hand is the vision Daniel had … and he is still in vision.
1) We now need to ask the question … who are “the host of the saints”? From what I find … and support, is that verse 12 ought to read “and a host was given up together with the daily sacrifice, because of transgression” … and not as our text says …
Da 8:12 Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.
The host is many Israelites, who because of their rebellion against God, namely apostasy, will be given over to their rebellion against God, together with the daily sacrifices. Now the last part of the verse comes in … It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. This refers to how the horn took the Truth of God and the Worship of God and literally threw it to the ground, discarding it … and he prospered and flourished in his evil madness.
2) How long will this desecration last?
Da 8:13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?”
The picture before Daniel was one holy one (an angel) relating the content of verses 10-12 to another angel who asks how long this terrible environment will continue. That is, how long will this horn’s rebellion against God and His holy things endure and for how long will those being punished be punished? This is the sort of question we tend to ask about our suffering or struggles … but here it relates to the desecration of the holy things of God. It is total anarchy. It is absolute blasphemous! How long will this endure the angel wants to know.
3) The angel asking “how long” provides the answer to Daniel.
Da 8:14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”
This terrible act of wickedness will last, he says, for 2,300 evenings and mornings. There are two main interpretations as to what the 2,300 means.
(1) The first says this 2,300 evenings and mornings means 1150 days. They say 2300 sacrifices (morning and evening) would be offered over 1150 days. They rely on
Dan 7:25 The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
This is 3 ½ years they say … but there is a huge difference between 1150 and 1277 ½ days in 3 ½ years.
(2) The second says the 2,300 evenings and mornings are 2,300 days. The thought here is a symbolic 7 years (a little short in number). It tends to cover the period of Antiochus’ persecution. The 2,300 days, approximately covers the period between 171 BC to 165 BC, which historically is the period of Antiochus’ reign of terror … the period of his abominations. Personally I follow the second interpretation.
4) What is meant by “sanctuary” in this verse? It reads … then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated. It seems as though this refers to the purification and re-consecration of the temple after the way it was abused, desecrated and used for sacrificing to pagan gods (idols). The word vindication is important because in restoring the temple it shows the abuse of the temple was unjustifiable. The interpretation follows from verse 15-27, but before we get there let’s do some interrogation of our Christianity.
(a) Our personal brand of Christianity. The Corinthian Church was filled with people who wanted the world and the Lord. Listen to Paul speaking to them as to whom they are and what they need to be doing.
1Co 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
The sexual issue then as today was a huge issue. Paul writes under inspiration that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. That is, the true Christian’s soul is housed in a human body and God calls that body the housing of the Holy Spirit. Sexual sin is not an external sin, it is an internal sin. So when a believer is engaged in sexual sin, he or she includes the Holy Spirit in the sin. Like what Antiochus did in the temple of the Jews we do in the temple of the Holy Spirit when we sin like this. We desecrate the temple! That is blasphemous! One of the most pleasurable experiences and gifts used sinfully is an abomination to God.
(b) Our Church’s brand of Christianity. Like the Christian Church, our Church might accept and overlook certain practices when the people of God gather together. Ask the question … why do we are believers gather together? If we think it is to meet friends or make friends … or if we think it is an opportunity to promote a political party … or to network and make business contacts, we have gotten Church wrong! The purpose of the Body Gathered is to
(i) Worship and Praise;
(ii) Confess our sin and seek pardon and cleansing;
(iii) Read the Bible together;
(iv) Be educated through expositional teaching;
(v) Serve our Lord and His people … and
(vi) Fellowship. This last one is different to making friends or meeting friends. Fellowship is around the Bible, engaging in prayer, sharing joys and needs and finding godly ways to bless each other.
(c) Our alliance partners brand of Christianity. Denomination, Federation, Church Grouping. Those we align ourselves with, are they doctrinally and theologically sound? Are their motives spiritually healthy? Are they servants of Christ, serving His people to further the Gospel? Are they trustworthy and dependable? In all Churches people fall off the pathway. Even pastors and Church leaders fall. I am not referring to the one or two here and there, I am referring to the Body you as a Church publically align yourself to, are they reflecting Jesus Christ through their actions and their words?
Lord clean our Church. Amen.