The prophecies of the books of Daniel concern the final corruption of the Christian Church, and the establishment of a New Church after a final judgment. The book of Daniel is unique in that it contains prophetic time periods spanning long periods of time. The one that is most well known and documented historically is the prophecy of Daniel 9, which spans a period of 490 years from 457 B.C. to 34 A.D.
Here, I want to focus on the prophecy of the 2300 days in the book of Daniel. This prophecy happens to be a central one for the Seventh Day Adventist Church (for which I have respect due to their view on the 10 commandments). The focus of much discussion is on two verses:
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (Dan 8:13-14, KJV)There are two main interpretations of this prophecy of Daniel 8. The "safe" interpretation is literal, treating it as a literal period of 2300 days. Then there is another interpretation that more historical in nature, spanning a period of 2300 years, but the full meaning is still debated. What I will do is briefly summarize the literal interpretation, then summarize and analyze the historical interpretation. After that I will make the case for what I think is the true interpretation of the prophecy.
THE LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL 8
Image courtesy of Eschatology: Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat. Daniel 8
The first interpretation is obvious: it is literal, the prophecy means what it says, and nothing more. In the first part of the visions, a ram who two horns rises up, which the angel explains is the Medo-Persian Empire (539 - 332 B.C.) which arose after the fall of the Babylonian Empire in 539 B.C. The ram is then attacked by a he-goat with a single horn which represents the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great, which defeated the Medo-Persian Empire. Afterwards the horn of the he-goat is broken, and in its place four horns rise up. This represents the break up of the Grecian Empire into four dominions under the four generals of Alexander: the Seleucid kingdom, the Ptolemaic kingdom, the kingdom of Lysimachus, and the kingdom of Cassander:
Following this, a "little horn" rises up, which attacks the host of heaven and the prince of the host, and brings down the stars of heaven. It then removes the daily sacrifice and casts down the sanctuary. According to the literal interpretation, this refers to the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes who reigned over the kingdom from 175 to 164 B.C. He executed a war against the Jews, abolished their sacrifices, and established an idol in their own temple. This is described in detail in the book of the Maccabees. Eventually the temple was restored and rededicated, after which the Jews established the Feast Day of Hannukah.
So what about the 2300 days? This would be about 6 years and 3 months. The best explanation I have seen is it refers to a period from the corruption of the high priest to the rededication of the Jewish temple in 165 B.C. From THE 2300 DAY PROPHECY OF DANIEL 8:
In the 142nd year of the kingdom of the Greeks (Seleucidae) Antiochus corrupted Menelaus, a usurper, who had murdered the previous high priest and had installed himself in that office. In time, Menelaus gave himself to converting Jews to Greek Culture, building a gymnasium and entering athletic events in the Greek fashion (naked). He and other Jews developed a false method of appearing uncircumcised, so far did he go in getting some to abandon their God, culture, and religion.And here is the explanation of the 2300 days, accepted by several commentators:
Two and a half years later Antiochus did indeed stop the daily sacrifice and set up an idol in the temple and an altar upon which swine were sacrificed. The temple fell into disuse, weeds and brush grew up in its courtyards. This was the root cause of the rebellion of the Maccabean family, who after three years of fighting, defeated the Greek forces, cleansed the temple, and reinstituted the daily sacrifice. Antiochus, upon hearing of this and other setbacks, took to his bed and in a fever died shortly thereafter.
From the time of the corruption of Menelaus until the death of Antiochus in the 149th year of the Greeks was about six years and three months or approximately 2,300 literal days. Many take the position that this fulfills the prophecy. These note that the prophecy includes the attack on the land and "the prince of the host," or high priest. Keil, Pulpit Commentary, Jamison, Faucett and Brown, Matthew Henry, and other commentators take this position.This is the literal interpretation. It is so accurate, that Bible critics assume that the book of Daniel must have been written in the late second century B.C. To maintain their scholarly reputation, they of course ignore the prophecy of Daniel 9 which predicted the year of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
There certainly is a close coincidence in the time, but there is no way to pinpoint the exact number of days because there is no exact date recorded either for the defection of Menelaus nor the death of Antiochus.
THE HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL 8
In the historical interpretation, the war between the Jews and Antiochus IV Epiphanes is understood as a type of things to come. This view is correct, as the rituals and historical events of the Jews are symbolic representations of the spiritual church that came after it. Researchers have noted that the "little horn" in the prophecy of Daniel 8 also shows up in the prophecy of Daniel 7 (see Dan 7:8), and there is a similar description in the prophecies of Daniel 11-12 and Revelation 13. Also, we have this explanation given:
Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision (Dan. 8:17)The vision thus concerns end times. Thus, many conclude that the historical events surrounding Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Jewish temple of the 2nd century was a representative type of things to come. Biblical scholars who have concluded this are on the right track. In the New Church, it is known that the Jewish people were a representative church, and historical events that happened to them were a type of things to come for the Christian Church. The Seventh Day Adventist church has recognized the historical interpretation, and as they have the most research on this topic I will focus on their interpretation. The 2300 days of Daniel 8 are understood to be a time period of 2300 years. The "little horn" is understood to be Papal Rome which trampled upon the truths of the Christian church. The issue here is to find a starting point for the 2300 year time period. For this, they choose the starting point of 457 B.C. for the 490 year prophecy of Daniel 9. Counting from 457 B.C., they arrive at the end date of 1844 A.D. as shown in the following chart:
Originally, they thought the year 1844 A.D. was the year of the Second Coming, based on falsely interpreting scripture in a literal manner. Subsequently they revisited scripture on this prophecy and now understand that the sanctuary is the sanctuary of heaven, and that the year 1844 A.D. marked the cleansing of the sanctuary of heaven. Some of the teachings on the meaning of the "cleansing of the sanctuary" in heaven by Seventh Day Adventists are questionable as they are based on the external literal sense of scripture. Further insight on this matter can be given from the visions received by Swedenborg.
ANALYSIS OF THE HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION
So the question to ask here, is the 2300 year prophecy valid, and does it start in 457 B.C. and end in 1844 A.D.? Here is a link in which a Seventh Day Adventist does his own analysis in an article entitled 1844---is it biblical? There are four main assumptions that need to be made, as follows:
1. One apocalyptic day equals one literal year.
So which of these assumptions are true? The first assumption is definitely correct: there is strong support that days equal prophetic years, and there is scripture to support that (see Num. 14:34, Eze. 4:5-6, and Dan. 9:24-27 in which days are used to represent years, see also The Day-year Principle). Thus I would agree, the 2300 days of the corruption of the Jewish religion under Antiochus IV Epiphanes is representative of a longer 2300 year period.
2. Daniel 9 explains the mystery of Daniel 8.
3. The 490 years of Daniel 9 are "cut off" from the longer time span of 2300 years.
4. The 2300-year prophecy started in 457 B.C.
So what about the second assumption? This is somewhat true, as both prophecies concern end times, which are represented by the desolation and destruction of the Jewish temple. Also, it is the same angel Gabriel who gives both visions:
Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (Dan. 9:21)So what about the third assumption, that the 490 years are "cut off" from the larger time period of 2300 years? This I would say is possibly true, but the 490 year period of Daniel 9 is more closely related to the 70 year desolation period .
So what about the fourth assumption, that the year 457 B.C. marks the beginning of the 2300 years? This is speculative. All that can be determined for certain is that the year 457 B.C. is the start date for the 490 year prophecy of Daniel 9 (for research on this, see Establishing the date 457 B.C).
THE SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION OF DANIEL 8
As explained in The Spiritual Meaning of Daniel's Prophecy of the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar, the literal interpretation is not the only interpretation of the prophecy. It is in fact the lowest interpretation, and hidden within it is a more spiritual interpretation. In the spiritual sense, every event, and every word of scripture, has a particular spiritual significance that in its most universal sense is related to the Lord and His church. So let us take a look at the vision of Daniel 8 in detail:
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. (Dan. 8:3)In the literal sense this simply refers to the Medo-Persian Empire, where the Median Empire initially had power, but later power passed into the hands of the Persian Empire. In the spiritual sense, all things of scripture are related to love and truth, and this is no exception. Horns are symbolic of power. The initial small horn is symbolic of the truth of faith which comes first in time, but the second horn that comes up later and is taller than the first is the good of charity. In one's spiritual development, one first learns the truth, but as one grows, one then does the good of charity and love which one learned from the truth. The ram thus represents the spiritual church, which Swedenborg also demonstrates from multiple passages of scripture. The goat which arises afterwards, however, represents the church that separates faith from charity:
"That a ram signifies that which is spiritual, or, what is the same, those who are spiritual, is plain also in Daniel — that a ram was seen by him standing before the river, which had two horns; afterward a he-goat of the goats, which smote him, broke his horns, and trampled him down (viii. 3, 4 and following verses); where nothing else is meant by the ram than the spiritual church, and by the he-goat of the goats those who are in faith separated from charity, or in truth separate from good, who gradually lift themselves up against good, and at length against the Lord — which is also described." (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 2830.6)In other words, the he-goat represents those of the Protestant Church, who in the 16th century made faith alone saving, regardless of one's works, by misinterpreting the writings of the apostle Paul (see A New Perspective on Paul and the New Church Perspective on Paul). That a goat represents this is also shown from multiple passages of scripture in Swedenborg's works (see The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem), for each and every animal in scripture represents something slightly different. Swedenborg is more explicit about this prophecy of Daniel 8 in the following passage:
"From this what is signified by the "ram" and the "he-goat," and "the battle between them," in the eighth chapter of Daniel can be seen, namely, that the "ram" there means those who are in faith from charity, and the "he-goat" those who are in faith separated from charity. Thus the future state of the church is there described, namely, that faith separate would dissipate all charity, which is the good of life, and falsity therefrom would have rule in the Christian world." (Swedenborg, Apocalypse Explained, n. 817.4)Thus it can be seen, that the historical events of Medo-Persia, Greece, the Jews, and the desecration of the Jewish temple were symbolic and representative of the future events which would beset the Christian church. The destruction of true Christianity can be seen in the power that the Protestant churches have over much of the Christian church in espousing their basic doctrine, which was an invention of the 16th century. As the he-goat came from the west, so we see that Protestants have their power in western Europe and the U.S. The spiritual sense of the he-goat is described in the following passage, which I will quote in full:
"..."the he-goat of the goats that came over the faces of the whole earth" signifies faith separate from charity, springing from evil of life; "the he-goat of the goats" is that faith; the "west" evil of life; and "the earth" the church; "he had a conspicuous horn between the eyes" signifies that this is from self-intelligence; "he ran upon the ram in the wrath of his strength, and brake his two horns, and cast him down to the earth, and trampled upon him," signifies the entire destruction of charity and of faith therefrom, for when charity is destroyed faith also is destroyed, for the latter is from the former; "the great horn of the he-goat was broken, and in place of it there came up four toward the four winds of the heavens," signifies all falsities conjoined with evils therefrom, "horns" signifying the falsities of evil, "four" their conjunction, and "the four winds of the heavens" all, both falsities and evils; "out of one of them came forth a little horn" signifies justification by faith, for this is born of the principle of faith alone; it is said to be "little" because it does not appear as a falsity. That this horn "grew exceedingly towards the south, and towards the east, and towards beauty, and grew even to the host of the heavens, and cast down some of the host to the earth, and trampled upon them," signifies that it destroyed all the truths and goods of the church; "the south" meaning where truth is in the light, "the east" and "beauty" where good is in clearness through truth, "the host of the heavens" all truths and goods of heavens and the church; "to cast down the host to the earth, and to trample upon them," signifies to destroy utterly; that "even to the prince of the host it magnified itself," and that "the dwelling place of his sanctuary was cast down," signifies the denial of the Lord's Divine Human, and the consequent vastation of the church; "the prince of the host" is the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, because from that proceed all the truths and goods that constitute the church; "the dwelling place of the sanctuary" is the church where these are; this plainly means the truths destroyed by falsities, for it is said, "it cast down truth to the earth."" (Swedenborg, Apocalypse Explained, n. 316.16)So the meaning of the sanctuary is now clear: it is not the Jewish temple, but represents the corruption and desecration of Christianity from within. It also represents the denial that the human of Jesus Christ is the Son of God, this denial comes in the form of the doctrine of a trinity of three persons. The original truth of Christianity is that Jesus is Jehovah in human form, with Him is the Divine trinity of the Divine itself, the Divine Human, and the Divine proceeding. The Nicene Creed is a falsehood, an invention of men. For more information on the doctrine of the Divine Human, how the fullness of the Godhead is revealed in one person Jesus Christ, see The Lost Doctrine of the Temple of the Divine Human and The Divine Human of the New Church. From this we conclude: the sanctuary, in the highest sense, represents the doctrine and truth of the Divine Human. For the Lord himself is the temple (see John 2:19-21), and He Himself is the foundation of the church.
THE SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION OF THE 2300 DAYS
From the spiritual sense, we now know that the prophecy of Daniel 8 spans a long period of time, and that it concerns the spiritual development and corruption of the Christian church. We now arrive at the spiritual interpretation of the 2300 days. However the passage has been mistranslated by the KJV, first here is a more literal translation:
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (Dan 8:13-14)In the Hebrew, it does not say "days," instead it literally says "evenings and mornings." At first it seems insignificant, but the gloss of the translators hides the internal spiritual meaning. Leading up to the year 1844 A.D., interpreters thought this referred to the Second Advent, and Swedenborg confirms that they are correct in their interpretation from the spiritual significance of "morning" which Swedenborg demonstrates from multiple passages (see The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem), some are below:
"That the Lord's coming or the approach of His kingdom is not compared to the morning, but is called the morning, may be seen in Daniel: A holy one said, . . . How long shall be the vision, the continual sacrifice, and the transgression that maketh desolate? . . . He said unto me, Until evening and morning, two thousand three hundred, then shall the sanctuary be justified. . . . The vision of the evening and the morning which hath been told is truth (viii. 13, 14, 26). Morning here stands manifestly for the Lord's coming." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2405.4)Here is another passage:
"That the coming of the Lord into the world is signified by evening and morning, is evident in Daniel: Then I heard a holy one speaking . . . How long shall be the vision, the continual sacrifice, and the transgression . . . to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden down? And he said to me, until evening and morning two thousand three hundred; then shall the sanctuary be justified (viii. 13, 14). That here by evening is meant the last time, when the church was altogether vastated and the Lord came into the world, and by morning the light and rising of a new church from Him, is manifest." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7844.4)Another passage:
"That morning signifies the first state of the church, and also a state of love, is evident from Daniel: One holy one said, how long shall be the vision, the continual sacrifice, and the wasting transgression? . . . And he said to me, until evening and morning two thousand three hundred; then shall the sanctuary be justified (viii. 13, 14). The subject here is the coming of the Lord; evening is the state of the church before His coming, while morning is the first state of the church after His coming, and in the supreme sense it is the Lord Himself. That the Lord in the supreme sense is the morning, is because He is the Sun of heaven, and the Sun of heaven never sets, but is always rising; hence also the Lord is called the east, consequently also the morning (n. 2405, 2780, 9668)" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10134.10)There are several other passages, which repeat the same thing. From the spiritual sense, we now know that the Seventh Day Adventists were correct in interpreting the end of the 2300 day prophecy as predicting the Second Advent. However, due to their literal interpretation of scripture, they falsely expected a literal physical return of Jesus. With the wrong date. In the New Church, the Second Advent is not a return of Jesus in physical form, but rather it is the revelation of the spiritual sense of the Word. The First Advent was a revelation of the Word in human flesh (see John 1); the Second Advent is the revelation of the spiritual sense of the Word in scripture, revealing how the Bible is Divinely inspired. This again can be shown in Swedenborg's commentary on the prophecies of the Second Advent in scripture; a complete explanation would take volumes (again, see The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem for the proof of this assertion).
THE TIME PERIOD OF THE 2300 YEAR PROPHECY OF DANIEL 8
So now we arrive at the time period of the 2300 years. We have seen that the historical interpretation is correct, that the 2300 days is a prophetic period of 2300 years, spanning the Christian era. We also know from the revelations received by Swedenborg is that the end of the 2300 years refers to the Second Advent. On these two points the Seventh Day Adventists are correct.
But what of the start date? We should pay attention to the question: it is asked how long the period is for the entire vision (Dan. 8:13). The vision begins as follows:
The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. (Dan. 8:20)So the answer is actually quite simple: the 2300 year prophetic time period begins with the beginning of the Medo-Persian Empire. This begins of course with the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C., which was also the end of the Babylonian Empire. Upon the fall of Babylon, Darius the Mede was made co-regent with Cyrus king of Persia. This year 539 B.C. is known for certain as we have astronomical datings in cuneiform tablets, as well as other chronological synchronisms in various records. The year 539 B.C, the fall of Babylon, marked the end of the 70 year period of desolation in the prophecies of Jeremiah. Indeed, Daniel even mentions this at the start of the prophecy of Daniel 9, which he notes took place in the first year of Darius the Mede (539 B.C.):
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. (Dan. 9:1-2)The fall of Babylon is the focus of numerous prophecies. Note that in the literal interpretation, the 2300 days corresponds to the corruption and desecration of the Jewish temple. Likewise, the night that Babylon fell, king Belshazzar of Babylon profaned the treasures of the Jewish temple (see Dan. 5:1-5, 23). At that moment handwriting appears on the wall, which is interpreted as follows:
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. (Dan. 5:25-28)The fall of Babylon is thus marked as a date of importance. Thus in the historical interpretation of Daniel 8, the year 539 B.C. should be chosen as the start date, not 457 B.C. This for the following reasons:
1. The vision of the 2300 days begins with the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire in 539 B.C.So, if we take 539 B.C. as the start date, counting 2300 years from that date brings us to the year 1762 A.D. And at first it would seem to most that nothing in particular happened on that date. However, it was at this time that Emanuel Swedenborg had been receiving revelations in waking visions concerning the doctrines of the New Church, which he declared was the Second Advent of the Lord. In his visions, Swedenborg saw that a last judgment took place in the spiritual world, in a region known as the "world of spirits" which is a region mid-way between heaven and hell. A judgment was executed on those who had not yet been judged; after the judgment many were either cast to hell or brought up to heaven. This is described in much detail in two works, The Final Judgment and The Final Judgment Continued (also known as The Last Judgment and The Last Judgment Continued). In other words, the Seventh Day Adventists are correct in their understanding that there was a "cleansing of the sanctuary" in heaven. But they do not have a complete idea on the meaning, and they got the date wrong. But the doctrine in itself is correct. Not only that, they state that the end of the 2300 years marks the beginning of the "Investigative Judgment." Here is their official position, from Heavenly Sanctuary:
2. The visions of Daniel 8 and 9 are related. The vision of Daniel 9 is based on the 70 year prophecy which had ended in that year, 539 B.C.
3. The vision of the 2300 days begins with the corruption and desolation of the Jewish temple. This corresponds to the 70 year desolation period which had ended in 539 B.C.
4. The prophecies of Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 are two separate longer extensions of the 70 year desolation period which ended in 539 B.C.
5. The date of 539 B.C. is marked as an important date which appeared in the "writing on the wall" in the palace of Belshazzar.
The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE YEAR 1762 A.D.?
According to Swedenborg, the "dead who are asleep" refer to many of those who were caught in the middle region of the world of spirits. In the Last Judgment, which took place in the spiritual world, an investigative judgment took place in the year 1757 A.D. Literalists, such as many within the SDA church, were expecting a literal physical resurrection and judgment to take place on earth, not understanding that all are judged in the spiritual world. What is interesting about the SDA church is that they get some parts right, and other parts wrong. And all this with no knowledge of Emanuel Swedenborg, because they have adopted the false doctrine that there is no afterlife. In The Final Judgment Continued, Swedenborg offers a nice summary of the work The Final Judgment:
"In the former little work on "The Final Judgment" the following subjects were treated of: The destruction of the world is not meant by the day of the final judgment (n. 1-5). The procreations of the human race on the earths will never cease (n. 6-13). Heaven and Hell are from the human race (n. 14-22). All who have ever been born men from the beginning of creation and are deceased, are either in heaven or in hell (n. 23-27). The final judgment must be where all are together, thus in the spiritual world, and not on earth (n. 28-32). The final judgment takes place when the end of the church is come, and the end of the church is when there is no faith, because there is no charity (n. 33-39). All things predicted in the Apocalypse are at this day fulfilled (n. 40-44). The final judgment has been accomplished (n. 45-52). Babylon and its destruction (n. 53-64). The former heaven and its abolishment (n. 65-72). The state of the world and of the church hereafter (n. 73, 74)." (The Final Judgment Continued, n. 1)The 2300 year period begins in the year 539 B.C., with the fall of the literal kingdom of Babylon. Babylon, in the spiritual sense, represents those who use religion to obtain dominion over others. Spiritual Babylon is thus the Roman Catholic Church, and the Last Judgment of 1757 A.D. removed its power in the spiritual world. Much of the visions that Swedenborg received concerned the destruction of the spiritual Babylon, which makes a start date of 539 B.C. all the more appropriate to the 2300 year prophecy.
The obvious question now is how come the 2300 year prophecy ends in the year 1762 A.D., and not the year 1757 A.D.? Swedenborg makes clear that the Last Judgment in 1757 A.D. was the first step in providing new revelations and doctrines of the New Church:
"III. Before the final judgment was effected upon them, much of the communication between heaven and the world, thus also between the Lord and the church, was intercepted.So, what revelation was made in the year 1762 A.D.? The main work that Swedenborg worked on in this year was a little small work known as The Doctrine of the Lord. This was then published in 1763 A.D. along with three other works as The Four Doctrines. But what many do not realize is that little work The Doctrine of the Lord is the central doctrine of the New Church: it states that Jesus is Jehovah in human form, and that the human form Jehovah assumed is the Son of God. Moreover, His human form had been made one with the Divine, and is the Divine Human. A trinity of three persons is a falsehood. Note, as stated above, in the spiritual sense Swedenborg had stated that for Daniel 8 the sanctuary that is cast down and trampled upon is the Divine Human. Moreover, in Swedenborg's visions it was revealed that the work The Doctrine of the Lord was very important - this small work is the little book, the book of the seven thunders in Revelation 10 (see The Mystery of the Book of Seven Thunders Explained). In Apocalypse Revealed, Swedenborg states the following:
IV. After the final judgment the communication was restored.
V. Hence it is, that since the final judgment has been effected, and not before, revelations have been made for the New Church." (The Final Judgment Continued, n. 8)
I will lay open what was in the little book. In the little book were the things which are contained in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Lord (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 465)This of course, refers to the work that was published in 1763 A.D., but was probably completed in 1762 A.D. So anyone who ever wondered what was in the book of seven thunders in Revelation, now you know.
I had to cover a lot of ground here. I can summarize this in the following points:
1. The prophecies of Daniel have both a literal and spiritual interpretation.This of course will probably bring up more questions than it answers, as I tried to restrict the material to the 2300 day prophecy. There will also be resistance to it as some have probably been taught differently on these topics. But the evidence is there for anyone to examine, to consider the revelations and doctrines of the New Church, as foreseen in scripture.
2. The historical interpretation of the prophecy of Daniel 8 is partially correct.
3. The Seventh Day Adventist interpretation is partially correct, but they chose the wrong start date.
4. In the spiritual sense, the prophecy of Daniel 8 deals with a long time span concerning the corruption of the Christian Church.
5. A Last Judgment took place in the spiritual world in the year 1757 A.D. This was independently revealed to the Seventh Day Adventist church as the "cleansing of the sanctuary" in heaven, albeit with a later date.
6. The SDA church needs to reassess some of their doctrines, not all of them are correct. But the essential idea of some of them are correct.
7. Although Emanuel Swedenborg was unaware of the 2300 year time period (he himself discouraged prophecy), information in the revelations confirm it.
8. The interpretation matches the time of the revelation of the Divine Human in the work The Doctrine of the Lord.
9. The Second Advent is not a physical return of Jesus in the clouds of the sky, but rather the Second Advent is the revelation of the spiritual sense of the Word, and the revelation of the true doctrines of the New Church.
"As explained in The Spiritual Meaning of Daniel's Prophecy of the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar, the literal interpretation is not the only interpretation of the prophecy. It is in fact the lowest interpretation, and hidden within it is a more spiritual interpretation. In the spiritual sense, every event, and every word of scripture, has a particular spiritual significance that in its most universal sense is related to the Lord and His church. So let us take a look at the vision of Daniel 8 in detail:"ReplyDelete
You stated this sentence perfectly, Imho. This answers the question that I asked you perfectly. For the spiritual interpretation I will yield to Swedenborg as there is none better. I am so encouraged that you acknowledge that there is a literal intrepretation as well. I will be quoting this sentence from time to time.
I cannot agree with the literal interpretation that you lay out here and attribute to the SDA. I will search for a way to share a much, much more accurate LITERAL interpretation as I mentioned to you earlier.
How is it that you can make such a beautiful presentation with matching art work etc? Very well done...
Hello David, the literal interpretation I did not take from the SDA church, its actually the standard interpretation among traditional Biblical scholars (some are mentioned in a quote), and probably the Jews as well. The historical interpretation alone is from the SDA church - they probably discount the literal one that I presented.Delete
Ok Doug. I apologize for the mistake. It was an unintentional foul.ReplyDelete
I believe every word that Swedenborg wrote in the little work on the “Last Judgement”. I believe every reference that you quoted from Swedenborg’s writings here. The presentation is very well done.
But, lets be perfectly clear. Swedenborg did not write that the 2300 days/years terminated in 1757 or 1762. He did not say that you did. You made your best case based on what you understand.
Hello David, yes, that is correct, Swedenborg did not say that. He was also somewhat against prophecy to predict future dates. Moreover, for Daniel 9 he interpreted it only according to the spiritual sense, and missed the literal meaning which referred to a 490 year period.Delete
So, what does he say for the 2300 evenings and mornings? According to the spiritual sense, "morning" refers to the coming of the Lord and His kingdom. He mentions this repeatedly for Dan. 8:13-14. The judgment that occurred in the spiritual world in 1757 was the beginning of the Second Advent. Now, look at this passage from True Christian Religion:
"IV. After this night follows morning, and that is the Coming of the Lord.
764. Since the successive states of the church in general and particular are described in the Word by the four seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and by the four divisions of the day, morning, noon, evening, and night, and because the present church of Christendom is the night, it follows that the morning, that is, the first of a new church, is now at hand."
So the question now is, why would the 2300 year period end in 1762 and not 1757? Following that last judgment, in several instances when Swedenborg completed a book providing a new revelation or doctrine for the New Church, he saw some event take place in the spiritual world. So at the end of True Christian Religion, he saw this take place:
"After this work was finished the Lord called together His twelve disciples who followed Him in the world; and the next day He sent them all forth into the whole spiritual world to preach the Gospel that the Lord God Jesus Christ reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages of ages, according to the prediction by Daniel (vii. 13, 14), and in the Apocalypse (xi. 15); and that Blessed are they who come to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Apoc. xix. 9). This took place on the nineteenth day of June, in the year 1770. This is meant by these words of the Lord: He will send His angels, and they shall gather together His elect from one end of the heavens even to the other (Matt. xxiv. 31)." (TCR, n. 791)
This shows the Second Advent takes place in stages, not necessarily all at once in one year. The reason why 1762 is important is that is probably when he completed the small book Doctrine of the Lord. Although it is probably the least known, I consider it in fact his most important work. In it, it was revealed that a trinity of three persons is a falsehood, and that Jesus Christ is Jehovah in human form. If you consider that in the highest sense the sanctuary is Jesus Christ Himself, the "cleansing of the sanctuary" is the removal of a falsehood that had been central to the doctrine of Christianity for many centuries. Before this there were a few references in Heavenly Arcana, but the doctrine was not fully revealed until Swedenborg finished "Doctrine of the Lord." He was clearly told this is the little book of the seven thunders in Rev. 10.
In a general sense, the Seventh Day Adventists got many things right. Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 are indeed related: Daniel 9 predicted the First Advent, and Daniel 8 predicts the Second Advent.
I need to add one point here. Many quote the phrase from Dan. 9:24 where it says "to seal up the vision and prophecy" and then state that "the vision" is referring to the vision of Dan. 8. Unfortunately, this is a mistranslation. The original Hebrew says this: "to seal up vision and prophecy" - there is no definite article. In other words, ALL vision and prophecy was fulfilled with the coming of Jesus Christ. All of scripture points to the Lord. Swedenborg confirms this in multiple passages:ReplyDelete
""Sealing up the vision and the prophet" denotes to close up the things that have been said in the Word about the Lord, and to fulfill them" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9954.13)
"these same words signify also that the Lord will fulfill all things that are predicted of Him in the Word" (Apocalypse Explained, n. 624.20)
Also, with the coming of the Lord, Swedenborg points out that with His coming, it brought an end to representative and symbolic prophetic visions that were once common among the prophets:
"Such were the visions that appeared from heaven, before the sight of their spirit and not before the sight of their body. Such visions do not appear at the present day; for if they did they would not be understood, because they are produced by means of representatives, the particulars of which signify internal things of the Church and spiritual truths of heaven. It is also foretold by Daniel xi. (A.V. ix) 24, that these visions would cease when the Lord came into the world." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence, n. 134.4)