The 2,300 days prophecy and 1750 AD
The 2,300 days prophecy of Daniel chapter 8 is one of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible. It relates to events in the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV, that were to have long lasting effects, that would be especially relevant in the “time of the end.”
Daniel’s prophecy describes the Greek empire under the figure of a goat, as described in a previous post, Antiochus IV a type of the Antichrist. The goat has four horns, that represent the diadochi, the hellenistic kingdoms that arose after Alexander. Out of one of them a small horn arises, that grows very tall. It first extends itself to the north, the east, and the south, and to the promised land, and then it grows up, past the tree tops, and higher than the clouds, to the stars, and it opposes the prince of the host, and casts stars and the host of heaven to the ground, and tramples them. Four things are cast to the ground by the horn: the stars, the host of heaven, the place of God’s sanctuary, and the truth. Daniel reports that he heard two angels conversing. He wrote:
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.
The context of the prophecy shows that the “sanctuary” here is the sanctuary of heaven, the starry heaven or the universe. No start date for the 2,300 days is mentioned, so the period began when the words were spoken by the angel. This was the 3rd year of Belshazzar, [Daniel 8:1] which was in about 550 B.C.
If the 2,300 days are interpreted as 2,300 years, they end in the mid-eighteenth century, a time when the whole world was being made aware of the astronomical discoveries of the scientific revolution. Men everywhere began to realize that the heaven was not a rigid shell revolving around the earth, but that the earth rotated on its axis.
Daniel’s prophecy points to the period called the “enlightenment,” when the heavens were “cleansed” or “set right,” in the mid eighteenth century. Man’s view of the heavens was radically changed; it was when modern astronomy replaced the old geocentric cosmology. About 1750 A.D., the rigid heavenly firmament, and the planetary spheres, of the old cosmology were abolished forever. It was 23 centuries after Daniel saw his vision.
Very few Bible scholars noticed that Daniel’s prophecy was being fulfilled. [John Fletcher was an exception. See John Fletcher and Daniel’s 2,300 days.] The majority of scholars misunderstood and misinterpreted the prophecy, supposing that by “sanctuary” in Daniel 8:14, a temple at Jerusalem was meant, and that the prophecy as a whole concerned a temporary lapse in the regular offerings at the temple. But that is ridiculous!
Daniel was hardly interested in an interruption in the regular temple service; in his time, there was no temple, and Jerusalem was in ruins, as it had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. Daniel was certainly interested in the end of the exile, and the future of Jerusalem, but that was several years later, as we read in chapter 9.
The words of the angel in Daniel 8:14 refer to the tamid תָּמִיד, or continual that was taken away. This is thought to be referring to ritual sacrifices, but that is an interpretation. The KJV puts the word sacrifice in Daniel 8:14 in italics, indicating it was added by translators. I suggest that it refers, not to sacrifices, but to the earth’s diurnal rotation, which is “continual,” and constant. The prophecy has to do with cosmology.
Scholars have struggled to find meaning in the prophecy, and in the period of 2,300 evening-mornings or days. Otto Zöckler wrote in his commentary on Daniel: 
The whole prophecy relates principally to the תָּמִיד, to which the passage under consideration assigns an especially prominent position; but as, according to Ex. xxix. 41 (cf. infra, chap. ix. 21), … the terms “evening” and “morning” in this place clearly denote the evening and morning sacrifices, or, if it be preferred, the times at which they were offered. “Morning” and “evening” are therefore to be counted separately; and thus the period indicated by the author covers 1,150 days instead of 2,300. This period is nearly equivalent to the three and a half years in chap. vii. 25, while, on the other hand, the later numbers of 1,290 and 1,335 days (chap. xii. 11 et seq.) exceed the medium of three and a half years but little. How this discrepancy in the limits assigned to the duration of the time of antiChristian persecution and oppression is to be explained, and, in particular, how the number in this place is to be interpreted, is of course very uncertain, and must always remain undecided. In general, those expositors of the truth who always come nearest to the sense of the prophetic author, will regard the present number 1,150 as a designed narrowing, and the numbers 1,290 and 1,335 as a designed extension or overstepping of the limit of three and a half years, and seek to establish a conformity to law both in the narrowing and the extension of that period. If it is assumed that this book limits the year to 360 days (or to twelve months of thirty days each) besides five intercalated days, amounting in all to 365 days, it will be found (1) that the whole number of 1,277 days, which are necessary to cover the period of three and a half years, is decreased by 127 days, or something more than four months, by the number 1,150; (2) that the number 1,290 adds twelve days or about half a month to 1,277 days or three and a half years; and (3) that the number 1,335 adds fifty-eight days, or nearly two months, to the period of three and a half years. A certain conformity to law is evident from these figures, inasmuch as the two months by which the three and a half years are extended in the last number, are added to the shorter period of three years in the first (i.e., to 1,095 days); or, in other words, in the one case the prophet regards the period of three and a half years as extended by two months, in the other (in the present passage) as shortened by four months.
In my interpretation, the prophecy reveals that Antiochus IV, the little horn, initiated a revision of the cosmology of the Jewish Bible. This is represented by the horn of the goat growing to the sky, and casting stars to the earth. In Genesis, on the second day, the rocky crust of the earth, raqia, was formed in the midst of the waters, according to the original Scriptures, but this was changed, by the addition of “And God called the firmament Heaven,” and other changes of a like nature that identified the raqia with heaven. This is how the “host of heaven,” and the stars, were figuratively cast to the ground. The earth’s crust was identified with the rigid heaven. The truth was cast to the ground, when the earth’s crust was identified with the rigid heaven of geocentrism, and the knowledge of the earth’s diurnal rotation was stamped out, by the policies of Antiochus IV. The Greek cosmology, and geocentrism, were established for centuries by the changes secretly introduced into the Bible.
In the mid-eighteenth century, because of the discoveries connected with the scientific revolution, the real nature of the universe became clear, and the heavens were “cleansed” or “justified.” This fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel, but because of the changes and corruptions that were introduced into the Scriptures in the second century B.C., the Bible was discredited by the new discoveries. The Bible seemed to support the old cosmology, and the idea of a rigid heavenly firmament, and even “waters above the heavens.”
Thus Daniel’s prophecy has become important in our own time; many people view the Bible as myth, and as having little credibility in today’s scientific age, because of the flawed cosmology it contains. They are victims of the fraud of Antiochus IV, that Daniel’s prophecy exposes!
1. Otto Zöckler. The book of the prophet Daniel. In: Johann Peter Lange, ed., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Ezekiel, Daniel. C. Scribner & co., 1876. pp. 178-179.