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Looking Unto Jesus

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    20 Daniel 8 EXPLAINED BY Daniel 9

    HAVING now seen that the 2300 days of Daniel 8 are symbolic, and denote 2300 literal years, the inquiry is resumed, When do they commence, and when terminate? The symbols of the ram, goat, and little horn, were clearly explained in chapter 8. Gabriel was commanded to make Daniel understand the entire vision. But at the conclusion of the chapter, Daniel says, “I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.”LUJ 168.1

    So far, therefore, as the record of the eighth chapter is concerned, Gabriel had not then fulfilled his mission. The point left unexplained was the 2300 days. Why did not Gabriel continue his instructions till this point also was made clear? - Because Daniel had heard all he could endure, and “fainted and was sick certain days.” But Gabriel must somewhere explain this matter of the time, or prove disobedient to his instructions. We need not be assured that there was no failure on his part; for more than five hundred years after this, we find him still in divine employ, sent on a sacred mission to Zacharias and to Mary. Luke 1:19, 26. Gabriel has therefore somewhere given Daniel further instruction on that part of the vision which remained unexplained; namely, the 2300 days. We are to look for this, of course, in the subsequent records of Daniel’s prophecy.LUJ 168.2

    Less than a year elapses, and the record of chapter 9 opens. For the vision of chapter 8 was in the third year of Belshazzar, which was the last of the Babylonian kingdom. The same year Cyrus took Babylon, and Darius ascended the throne, which would be his first year, in which the vision of chapter 9 was given. We have now reached the year 538 B.C. A mighty revolution has just taken place. The empire of the world has changed hands. Babylon lies prostrate in the dust. The proud oppressor of God’s people is brought low. Medo-Persia now wields the scepter. Daniel beholds in all this the hand of God, and the fulfilment of prophecy. He understood by the writings of Jeremiah that Jerusalem should lie desolate for seventy years, and that the termination of that period would be marked by the punishment of the king of Babylon. Jeremiah 25:12. He has seen the punishment of Babylon, and concludes that the day of deliverance for his people is at hand. The seventy years did actually terminate two years later, in the first year of Cyrus, B.C. 536, and their expiration was marked by the decree of Cyrus for the return of the Jews to their own land, and the rebuilding of the temple.LUJ 168.3

    Daniel therefore sets his heart to seek the Lord, and to pray to him for the fulfilment of his word. Then follows the wonderful prayer of Daniel, as recorded in chapter 9:4-19. In the course of his prayer he said, “O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate.”LUJ 169.1

    We remember, as Daniel doubtless did, that the 2300 days ended with a promise respecting the sanctuary. And it is evident from this expression that Daniel had in some way connected the end of the 2300 days with the end of the seventy years of Jewish captivity. In this it was necessary that he now be set right; and for this purpose the angel again visits Daniel.LUJ 169.2

    Again the prophet is rapt in vision; and a heavenly messenger appears upon the scene. We ask the reader to consider carefully who this is. We last beheld Daniel in converse with Gabriel. Chapter 8:16, and onward. The angel was explaining to him the things he had seen, in compliance with the mandate of One qualified to command even so high an angel as Gabriel. “Make this man to understand the vision.” He had explained all but the time, when Daniel’s powers giving way, he fainted, and the angel was obliged to desist. Thus the eighth chapter leaves us, Gabriel departing heavenward, his work unfinished, and Daniel, though sufficiently recovered to attend to the king’s business, wondering at the vision but not understanding it. This vision of the ninth chapter is the very next vision, so far as we have any account, which the prophet had. Again he is honored with the presence of a heavenly guest. And who is it? - “Gabriel,” exclaims the prophet; and that there may be no doubt as to his identity, Daniel adds, “whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning.” Thus our minds are carried directly back to the vision of chapter 8, and the prophet declares that the very same angel he had seen at that time was with him again.LUJ 170.1

    The vision or chapter 9, therefore, opens as the vision of chapter 8 closed, Daniel and Gabriel in communication with each other. And there is no intervening vision to cut off the connection between these two scenes. And here we behold two of the manifold links that bind these chapters together; the same vision called up, and the same angel introduced whom we there beheld.LUJ 170.2

    Gabriel speaks; and his first words confirm this view: “O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” As if he had said, O Daniel, when last I was with you, explaining the vision you had seen, I was obliged to leave my explanation midway, because you could endure no more; hence you did not understand it; but I was commissioned to make you understand it; and therefore I am now come forth to give you the understanding which I could not then impart.LUJ 170.3

    Gabriel continues; and every word he utters strengthens this conclusion: “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter and consider the vision.”LUJ 171.1

    It would be useless for any one to deny that a previous vision is here referred to; and it would be equally useless for him to deny that that is the vision of chapter 8.LUJ 171.2

    Now we will introduce a test to settle beyond a peradventure the truthfulness or falsity of the position here taken. If chapter 9 is connected with chapter 8; if the vision of chapter 9 is the sequel of that of chapter 8; if the expression used by Gabriel in chapter 9, “consider the vision,” refers to the vision of chapter 8; and if he has now come to complete the instruction which he there omitted, - it is certain that he will commence with the very subject which he was obliged to leave unexplained in that vision: namely, the subject of the time. If he does this, the connection between these two chapters, for which we here contend, is established. If he does not, it is perhaps still an open question.LUJ 171.3

    And what does he say? - “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” He does, therefore, commence with the subject of time. But how do we know that this time has any connection with the time of chapter 8? - Because he says of it that it is “determined;” and the word determined here signifies “cut off.” But there is no period of time from which they could be said to be “cut off,” except the 2300 days PICTURE AND TEXT
    of chapter 8. Thus are the expressions relating to the time connected together; and Gabriel undertakes an explanation of the 2300 days by dividing it into two periods, the first of seventy weeks, or 490 days, and the remainder of 1810 days, and then explaining the shorter period, which is a key to the whole.
    LUJ 171.4

    Proof that the word “determined” signifies “cut off,” and testimony from eminent writers who have acknowledged the connection between Daniel 8 and 9, are of sufficient importance to be set apart in a chapter by themselves.LUJ 172.1

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