Now after the 1260-year period, the vision explains that an everlasting kingdom would be set up. However, like the previous vision, there is no indication of the period of delay until God’s Kingdom is set up.
Daniel’s vision of a ram and a goat
In the eighth Chapter of the Book of Daniel, two further visions are given, and explained. The chapter should be read in full, for it not only describes the respective actions of these animals, but also reveals their intended identification.
The two-horned ram, we are informed, represents the kings of Media and Persia. The ram therefore parallels the bear of the previous vision.
An angel named Gabriel explained to Daniel about the goat:
“The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.” Daniel 8:21–22
The goat therefore parallels the leopard of the previous chapter. But additional features are introduced:
“It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.” Daniel 8:11–12
What was the action taken by a successor of Alexander the Great—the ‘large horn’—that could fulfil a prediction concerning the sanctuary and the daily sacrifice?
A successor of Seleucus—who was one of the four horns that replaced the single large horn—was Antiochus Epiphanes. During his lifetime he conducted military campaigns in all the areas predicted by Daniel, especially ‘toward the pleasant land’. He attempted to stamp out Judaism by force, and issued an edict that outlawed Jewish worship, forbidding the sacrificing of whole burnt offerings and Mosaic sacrifices in general. He also ordered the sacrilege of the Sabbaths and feasts, and destroyed the books of the Law.
The vision carried a time period of 2300 ‘evening-mornings’, an expression used nowhere else in the Bible. It would indicate that an intention of the expression was to maintain a day as a day, rather than the normal prophetic expansion of a year for a day. If so, then the period covered would be just over seven years, and coincides exactly with the period of the abominations of Antiochus Epiphanes, from B.C.171 to B.C.165.
The vision of the eighth chapter, however, extends beyond this particular period since the angel Gabriel applies it also to a later event.
“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” Daniel 8:26
This parallel event takes place when a dominant world power assumes involvement with the ‘daily sacrifice’. For this second fulfilment, it is not possible to positively identify the intended end date since no starting date is provided, even if we were to assume the day-for-a-year principle. If the time was taken from the beginning of the vision, when Alexander the Great—the ‘large horn’—invaded Asia in B.C.334, the 2300-year period would terminate in 1967A.D., the year of the ‘Six Day War’ when Jerusalem ceased to be under foreign control, and the Jews were once again able to freely worship in that city.
Since the vision is ‘sealed up’, it would be futile to attempt any greater precision in its second fulfilment other to indicate that the time of realisation is certainly at hand, and indicates once again that the setting up of God’s Kingdom could be in our day.
Daniel’s seventy-week prophecy
This prophecy comes in the concluding section of the ninth chapter of Book of Daniel.
“As soon as you [Daniel] began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision: ‘Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.’ ” Daniel 9:23–24
The seventy ‘sevens’ equate to 70 weeks, which in turn signify 490 days or prophetic years. The period is divided into three segments:
“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens’, and sixty-two ‘sevens’. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’. In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 9:25–27