Three Angels' Messages Part 25

Welcome again, and thank you for joining with us as we continue to study the Three Angels’ Messages, found in Revelation 14. These messages are so important, because they represent God’s last invitation to the human race. God wants to wrap this up quickly!
We are currently looking at the phrase, “The hour of His judgment has come,” and as we’ve mentioned before, we see that the Bible clearly reveals that there is a judgment, and that one important phase of it starts and ends before Jesus returns. We should find out everything that we can about this subject, since it has to do with the eternal destiny of all human beings, plus refuting the accusations brought by Satan against God!
            We’ve seen that there are at least three “witnesses” that testify that the phrase in Daniel 8:14, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” speaks to this pre-advent judgment: by the structural comparison of chapters 7 and 8, which shows that the “cleansing of the sanctuary” of chapter 8 fits into the same slot in the sequence as the judgment scene of chapter 7; by the strong legal flavor of the word tsadaq; and by the purpose and goal of the Day of Atonement, to which our attention is drawn through the phrase “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
            The specific question we want to explore now is, Can we know when the 2300-day prophecy of the cleansing of the sanctuary would come to its terminus? Can we know when this pre-advent judgment began? Thankfully, the answer to those questions is, Yes. To start with, by employing the “day for a year in symbolic prophecy” rule (see Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6), we find that we are actually working with a period of 2300 years, making it the longest time prophecy in Scripture. This makes sense, because the angel Gabriel forewarned Daniel, “the vision refers to the time of the end.” Daniel 8:17. Only with a “day for a year” yardstick could we have a prophecy extending from just after Daniel’s day to modern times.
            To know when it ends, we must know when it begins. Although no beginning point is established in chapter 8, one is brought to view in chapter 9. Although it may seem like we’re taking a detour, we must spend some time studying the prophecy of Daniel 9 and its vital relationship to the prophecy of the 2300 years, in order to confirm the inception for the prophecy of the “hour of His judgment.” To establish the beginning date for this crucial prophecy is indispensable. In order to do that, we must establish that the information that is given in chapter 9, which includes a beginning point, pertains to the prophecy given in chapter 8, relating to the cleansing of the sanctuary after a 2300-day (year) period of time.
Let’s begin by analyzing the return of Gabriel and the message of explanation he brought, with particular emphasis on the relationship between what Gabriel said in these verses of chapter 9 and the vision of chapter 8, which had challenged Daniel’s thinking. We suggest that the two chapters, Daniel 8 and 9, are directly connected and cannot be correctly understood apart from each other.
            Elder H.M.S. Richards, beloved founder of the Voice of Prophecy radio program, used to tell the story of a driver of a car at a stop sign waiting for the evening traffic to break. Finally it looked like things were going to clear, as a pickup went across before him, followed by what he adjudged was adequate space. The driver started out into the intersection only to encounter a strange impediment. It seems the pickup was pulling another vehicle, attached by a chain which the driver of the car couldn’t see in the dusk. Disaster! So it is with Daniel eight and nine. They are linked by a chain of logic, which if unseen by the casual reader, will result in misunderstanding and misapprehension. Here are some of the links in the chain that tie the two chapters together.
            1) It is the same Gabriel in chapter 9 who appeared to Daniel in chapter 8. The name “Gabriel” means “God is my strength,” or “mighty one of God.” It is composed of the Hebrew verb gabar which means “to have strength, to prevail” plus the letter “i” which means “my,” and the last part, “El,” which is an abbreviated form of the name Elohim, or God. You see the same “iel” ending in the name Daniel. Later Gabriel informed Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, that he “stands in the presence of God.” Luke 1:19. That would make him one of God’s most highly positioned angels. Daniel said, “The man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning” was the one who returned to give additional understanding. Gabriel’s presence in chapter 9 is a clear link to his coming to Daniel in chapter 8.
            2) In chapter 8, a command was given by God: “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision” (8:16), but when Gabriel left, Daniel said that “none understood it,” leaving the impression that a return visit would be necessary to complete the assignment. When he came back, Gabriel said, “I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.” Daniel 9:22.
            3) All of the symbols in the vision of chapter 8, the ram, the goat and the horn, had been explained by Gabriel on his previous visit. The only thing that had not been explained was the matter of the time period. Daniel had been particularly confused as to the 2300 days, expressing his cherished hope that they would not be a lengthening of Israel's captivity by the phrase, “Do not delay.” Daniel 9:19. Thinking that perhaps the time period of 2300 days represented an extension of the captivity, which had been foretold by Daniel’s contemporary Jeremiah to be 70 years, in chapter 9 Daniel prayed a most eloquent prayer, asking the Lord to “defer not” in the fulfillment of the covenant promise to restore Israel after the 70 years of captivity. At that point, Gabriel returned to give further explanation to the prophet concerning the time aspect of “the vision.” Daniel 9:21. Much of Gabriel’s explanation in chapter 9 bears directly on the matter of time.
            4) Although a time period is brought to view in the vision of chapter 8, the 2300 days, there is no beginning point established. When would the 2300 days begin? How could the time-related vision have meaning and relevance if you didn’t know when it commenced? On the other hand, a very definite beginning point is laid out in chapter 9 with the words, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” Daniel 9:25.
            5) When Gabriel returns to Daniel he said, “Therefore consider the matter and understand the vision.” Daniel 9:23. There being no intervening vision requiring explanation, the only reasonable conclusion is that he was referring to “the vision” of chapter 8, which Daniel confessed he didn’t understand. The definite article is significant.
            6) The word for “vision” that has been used in the Book of Daniel through chapter 7 has been the word chezev, which means primarily “vision, appearance, night vision, or prophetic dream.” The only exception to this is found in Daniel 1 where it says, “Daniel had understanding in visions (chazon) and dreams.” Daniel 1:17. In chapter 8, 9 and thereafter, two words for “vision” are used: chazon, which means “dream, revelation, or oracle” found in Daniel 8:1, 2, 13, 15, 17, 26; 9:21, 24 and mareh, which means “sight or appearance” and is found in Daniel 8:15, 26, 27; 9:23. Some scholars make the distinction that chazon refers to the whole of a vision, while mareh refers to a part of the larger whole. This distinction seems to make sense when we note how the words are used in the narrative.
            The bottom line is that up through the end of chapter 7, with the one exception noted, the word chezev is used, while beginning in chapter 8 chezev is not found again while chazon and mareh are used, which did not appear before chapter 8. So, when the angel says, “consider the vision” (mareh) in 9:23, and that word has not been used before chapter 8, and it is the word that is used in chapter 8 when Gabriel is told to “make this man understand the vision,” it is most reasonable to conclude that he is pointing Daniel to the vision of chapter 8 and none other.
            It follows logically then that chapters 8 and 9 of Daniel are inseparably linked and that the explanation Gabriel gives in chapter 9 relates directly to the vision of chapter 8. Furthermore, since no beginning point is referenced for the vision of chapter 8 and one is established in chapter 9, it follows that the beginning point Gabriel establishes in chapter 9 is also the starting point for the vision of chapter 8 and that the shorter period of time, the seventy weeks of chapter 9 are a part of, in fact the beginning part of the larger period of chapter 8.
            While this explanation might seem a bit technical, it is absolutely crucial that we see that the two chapters, chapter 8 and chapter 9, are indivisible. And, as we’ve said before, a simple way to think about the timing of the pre-advent judgment, is to see that a judgment scene is revealed in Daniel 7, but not much is said about when it occurs. A time period is brought to view in Daniel 8, but no beginning point is established. It is in Daniel 9 that the starting point is identified, and therefore these three chapters need to be read in conjunction with each other.
            The important point for us is to know that this pre-advent judgment, in which Jesus is reviewing the records of those who have professed faith in Him, and undergoing a special work of purification of the hearts and characters of His people so they can be ready for His coming, started in 1844. Jesus is coming soon! He wants us to be ready to go with Him to the place He has prepared in heaven! It is up to us to ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse us of sin and make us ready for that great Day! Please join us next time as we continue our study of the wonderful Three Angels’ Messages.