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Sabbath School Lessons on The Gospel, 1844, and Judgment
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: 1844 Made Simple (2,300 Day Prophecy) *
Introduction: Last week we studied one of the most important
prophecies of the Bible. We learned, from Daniel 9:22-27, that the
specific dates of the coming of Jesus the Messiah were revealed
hundreds of years in advance through Gabriel's message to Daniel. As
far as I am concerned, this is the most important message of Daniel.
God reveals to His people not only the details of the sweep of
history, He reveals the timing of the coming of His Son. Of course,
we learned a number of other important things as well. We learned
that the sanctuary will be rebuilt and then destroyed again. We
learned that the gospel will go from being a message directed to the
Jews to a message for all of us today. There are, however, a few
"loose ends." (Aren't there always?) One unresolved question is the
meaning of the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14. Let's dig into Daniel to
see what other secrets God has revealed to us today!
- The Sanctuary
- Read Daniel 8:13-14. Put yourself in Daniel's place. If
you had a short "wish list" about the future, what would
be on it? (Recall that Daniel had been taken from his home
when he was a very young man. He would want to return to
his native country, Judah.)
- What would come to Daniel's mind when the sanctuary
was mentioned in his vision? (Daniel would surely
think about the sanctuary (temple) that was built by
Solomon. See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19.)
- Did Solomon's temple exist at the time of Daniel's
vision? (No. The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem
and Solomon's temple. This was part of the tragedy of
his youth. He had been taken captive, and the
important institutions of his country had been
destroyed. This included the city of Jerusalem and
Solomon's temple, the center of Jewish worship.)
- When Daniel heard that the sanctuary would be
"reconsecrated" (NIV) ("cleansed" NKJV) what would he
logically think was going to happen? (It is logical
to believe his first thoughts were that Solomon's
temple would be rebuilt. This vision of the future
could be about one of Daniel's most dearly held hopes
- that the Jewish worship center would be back in
- What other possibilities might come to Daniel's mind
when he heard about the sanctuary being
reconsecrated? (Read Psalms 102:19, Exodus 25:8-9 and
Hebrews 8:1-5. Moses had originally been given "the
pattern" so that the sanctuary in the wilderness was
modeled after the sanctuary in heaven. Solomon then
built a permanent version of the sanctuary to house
the ark of God and to continue the worship and the
sacrificial services. Only the copy on earth had been
destroyed. The heavenly original still existed. Since
the sanctuary on earth had been destroyed, Daniel
might have thought this had something to do with the
sanctuary in heaven.)
- What time frame is given for the sanctuary being
reconsecrated? (2,300 days.)
- Let's back up a minute and read the context for the 2,300
days of Daniel 8:14. Read Daniel 8:9-13. What sanctuary do
you think is being described in these verses? (In Lesson 5
of this series (on Daniel 8), we concluded that this
"horn" was the Pagan and Papal phase of Rome. Thus, this
would be the rebuilt sanctuary promised to Daniel.)
- If this is true, could Gabriel be speaking of a
literal 2,300 days - a little over six years? (No.
This had to be symbolic days (meaning a day equals a
year), not literal days. We know that Rome was
hundreds of years in the future.
- Read Daniel 8:19-26. This is Gabriel's
explanation of the "vision of the evenings and
mornings" and he says it concerns "the distant
future." Is there any possible way that the
2,300 days are literal days? (I cannot see any
way that this is possible!)
- So, what happens at the end of this 2,300 years? What does
it mean for the sanctuary to be reconsecrated? What
sanctuary are we talking about? Is this the end of the
- Living in the twenty-first century, we know that
thereafter the temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt and for
hundreds of years Jews held their daily sacrifices and
worshiped God in the sanctuary. We also know that in 70
A.D., the Romans destroyed the sanctuary. Given our
knowledge, what sanctuary do you think is being referred
to in Daniel 8:14? (Read Daniel 8:17. Since this is a
vision "of the end," and since we know the sanctuary on
earth was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago, that logically
leaves only the sanctuary in heaven as the subject of this
- What argument can you make that the vision might
refer to a sanctuary that is again rebuilt in
Jerusalem before the world ends? (Such an argument
would deny that Jesus is the Messiah. It would ignore
Jesus' High Priestly ministry in heaven referred to
in Hebrews. If the Jews rebuilt a temple in Jerusalem
it would be to continue the same sacrificial system
which Jesus fulfilled by His life and death.)
- Read Hebrews 9:8-12. What does this suggest
about the possibility of a new temple being
built in Jerusalem? (Hebrews tells us that the
temple on earth was both an illustration and an
impediment to Jesus' work for us in heaven. The
idea that it would be rebuilt at some time
before the Second Coming of Jesus is completely
at odds with Hebrews and the entire concept of
Jesus fulfilling the symbolism of the sanctuary
- The reasonable conclusion, based on what we know about
history, and our understanding of the gospel, is that the
sanctuary to be reconsecrated (cleansed) is the heavenly
- The Nature of the Cleansing
- If Daniel 8:14 is about reconsecrating (cleansing) the
sanctuary in heaven, the logical question is, "Why would
it need to be cleaned?"
- Read Leviticus 16:32-34. These three verses describe in
summary form a yearly event for the Jewish people. Can you
tell me about this event? (Throughout the year the people
would come to the temple to sacrifice an animal for the
forgiveness of their sins. Symbolically, the shed blood of
the animal transferred the sin from the person to the
sanctuary. Then once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the
sanctuary itself was cleansed of all of these sins which
had accumulated over the year. On that day the High Priest
entered the Most Holy place of the sanctuary.)
- What about the sins of the people? Were they completely
taken care of during the year? (Read Leviticus 16:29-30.
It appears that the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day
of Atonement was the final act in the removal of the sins
from the people.)
- Since the sanctuary on earth was patterned after the
sanctuary in heaven? Do you think there is a parallel
activity in heaven? If so, what is it? (According to the
text in Hebrews that we previously read ( Hebrews 9:11-12),
Jesus is the sacrifice for the heavenly sanctuary. He is
also the High Priest who enters the Most Holy Place.)
- When Daniel 8:14 tells us that the sanctuary will be
reconsecrated (cleansed) could it mean that after the
2300 day period the Day of Atonement in heaven will
take place? (That seems to be what is meant. Since
the sanctuary could not be the sanctuary on earth, it
must be the sanctuary in heaven. Hebrews tells us
that Jesus will enter the Most Holy place of the
heavenly sanctuary - so it makes sense that this is
the meaning of Daniel 8:14.)
- The Meaning of the Day of Atonement.
- Let's review a minute. The sanctuary referred to in Daniel
8:14 is the sanctuary in heaven. The historical meaning
of the cleansing of the sanctuary is the Day of Atonement.
So, the next question is what would be the meaning of a
Day of Atonement in heaven? Read Daniel 8:26-27. Did
Daniel understand what it meant to reconsecrate the
sanctuary in heaven?
- Notice that verse 27 says that Daniel did not
understand the vision. Did he not understand any of
it? (This is the Ram/Goat/Horn vision of the first
half of Daniel 8. Gabriel told Daniel about the
meaning of the Ram and the Goat. It was only the horn
and the 2,300 days that was not specifically
explained. Since Daniel calls the this (v.26)"the
vision of the evenings and mornings" it must be the
2,300 days that most specifically created the
- What do you think the Day of Atonement in heaven
represents? Is this the beginning of the judgment?
The end of the judgment? The Second Coming of Jesus?
- In trying to solve this mystery, it sure would be nice to
know when this 2,300 years ended. What do we need to know
to determine this? (When that period of time started.)
- Does Daniel 8 say when the 2,300 year period begins?
(No. Indeed, Daniel 8:26 seems to say the details are
"sealed up" for now.)
- Let's re-read what we studied last week: Daniel 9:25-27.
We have some very hard dates from this. Does this sound
like the same subject matter? (Yes. I'm quite certain that
Daniel is not understanding what sanctuary Gabriel is
speaking about, but we are back to the theme of the future
of the sanctuary and its "desolation.")
- Let's make the assumption - a reasonable one - that
our "Seventy Weeks" message of Gabriel in Daniel 9 is
a further answer and explanation of Gabriel's message
of Daniel 8. Since we concluded last week that the
seventy weeks began in 457 B.C., where does 2,300
years end? (1844 A.D. The title of our lesson is
"1844 Made Simple." The math is surely simple, but
I'm far from sure any other aspect of this is
- If we are right about tying the two prophecies together
and starting them in 457 B.C., what does that clarify
about the previous question about the nature of the
cleansing of the sanctuary, this Day of Atonement? (It
does not mean the end of the world - unless God is simply
delaying His coming. We know from the parallelism in the
visions we have studied that the end of the world starts
with a judgment of the righteous and ends with the Second
Coming of Jesus. Historically the judgment and the
"conclusion" to sin, occurred within the Day of
- What should the reaction of a Christian be to this
prophecy? (The message is important, it came straight from
the throne of God by Gabriel. The message is reliable -
because all of the other prophecies given to Daniel came
to pass. Whether 1844 was the "target time" for Jesus'
Second Coming, or whether it begins the time of the final
judgment, our main conclusion should be that Jesus' Second
Coming is imminent. Something very important is happening
in heaven and it has to do with our Messiah bringing sin
to its final conclusion.)
- Friend, are you ready for the judgment? For the Second
Coming? Are you looking for your Savior to return?
- Next week: Day-Year Principle.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.