The following is LeRoy Froom’s discussion of Nicholas of Cusa’s interpretation of the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:13-14, which he correctly explained as representing 2,300 years, that began in the third year of Belshazzar, the date of the vision (c. 550 B.C.), [Dan. 8:1] and ended about 1750 A.D.
The PROPHETIC FAITH OF OUR FATHERS
The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation
by Le Roy Edwin Froom
VOLUME II. REVIEW AND HERALD. 1948
In 1727 John Hutchinson (1674–1737) published ‘Moses’s Principia,’ in which he attempted to defend his interpretation of the cosmology of the Bible, against that of Sir Isaac Newton, and Dr. Samuel Clarke, who publicized Newton’s ideas in the Boyle lectures, and of Dr. John Woodward, (1665–1728) physician to the duke of Somerset. Hutchinson ridiculed Woodward’s treatise, The Natural History of the Earth. Hutchinson also attacked Clark for his heterodox views on the Trinity as well as for his Newtonian natural philosophy.
The following is a brief account of the history of the notion of “waters above the heavens” that followed from the identification of the ‘raqia’ or ‘firmament’ made on the second day with heaven, by the insertion of “And God called the firmament Heaven,” [Gen. 1:8] one of the key changes implemented by Antiochus IV and his agents in the second century BC. Since the ‘raqia’ was a solid layer formed in the midst of the primeval waters, that separated the upper from the lower waters, identifying it with heaven implies waters above the heavens. For centuries, theologians and astronomers struggled to understand these mysterious upper waters.
The scientific revolution in astronomy that occurred about 1750 AD fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 8:13-14, when an angelic messenger or saint answered the question, “How long shall be the vision concerning the tamiyd [continual] and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” The answer came: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Read more…
Martin Luther reportedly denounced Copernicus and declared, “I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, not the earth” (Luther, Table Talk, pp. 358-59)
Ezekiel’s description of the firmament in Ezekiel 1 is similar in some respects to Exodus 24:9-11. In both the Ex. 24 account and in Ezekiel, the firmament is likened to a sapphire stone, with God above, like Zeus seated above the rigid heaven.
In an essay on Reading Biblical Poetry in the Jewish Study Bible, Adele Berlin commented on the Hebrew used in Psalm 136:6. [Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler. The Jewish Study Bible. Oxford University Press, 2004. pp. 2101-2012.]