The “evening morning” sequence is contextually a distinct allusion to a sacred Hebrew festival time. That word order was first introduced in the Creation week – but later as a holy re-creation period through the solemn, yet wonderful, Day of Atonement:
- “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you” (Leviticus 23:27).
- “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath” (Leviticus 23:32).
This sacred time was on Tishri 10 – but it was to be observed beginning the night before – on the 9th. Though one does not allude to Creation as a “sacred holiday,” it shares with the Atonement a wonderful link: one was creation – everything was made new; the second was re-creation – everything was renewed!
In Daniel 8 Gabriel, for our benefit, was wondering when the horrors of the rough he-goat and the little horn power would end. He appealed for the honor and vindication of God, His church and His people in the question, “How long?” What better way to answer than to define an Atonement template! It is a day of sacred purification and justice toward all evil and rebellion.
- The wonders of that renewal and justice imply that holiness will be restored. A beautiful “beginning again” will occur.
- On the Day of Atonement, the “one” (Jesus) is implying (Daniel 8:13-14) in His response that there will be a judgment – when all evil is destroyed.
“For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people” (Leviticus 23:29).
Gabriel’s projection of hope is to be our passion, our quest, our concern: “When is that defiance of God and persecution of your people going to end?” A similar, though almost subliminal, hope is personified on our behalf elsewhere!:
- Anticipatory in the Old Testament: “Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous…. For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31:18, 22-24).
- Expectant at the Second Coming: “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers…. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate…. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 1:10, 16; 2:13).
Anticipating eternity: “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of…. And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:2-4, 13).
The presence of oppressive evil and a lively hope will continue to the end. But God designated segments of Daniel to strengthen our prophetic hope! There, our hope is enlightened with terminus ad quem to evil that now seems so successful. Daniel wants us to know that it really has an end!
- There is a “little horn” that speaks blasphemy, “great” things, in 7:8, 11, 10. Then the seer says: “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (Daniel 7:11).
- Later, there is that little horn persecuting the saints and “thinking to” change times and laws of God (7:25). Then it says: “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end” (Daniel 7:26).
These represent the finality of evil, depicted in Day of Atonement imagery. Those prophetic promises assure us that justice will supervene and a holy, eternal kingdom will follow.
- In Daniel 8, after the evil work of the rough he-goat “waxed very great” in its evil, the “great horn was broken” (Daniel 8:8). After the little horn harmed God’s people and His church, and exhibited tyranny against the Prince of princes (vss 9-12, 23-25), he was broken or destroyed “without hands” [by divine intervention] (vs 25).
- “… the close intertextual relationship of the divine judgment in Dan 7 and the restoration of the holy to its rightful place in Dan 8 points to another concept that comprises both of them, the Day of Atonement, for it is only on this cultic day that cleansing and judgment are prominent themes. The final scenes of both the vision of Dan 7 and the vision of Dan 8 in this case would be understood in terms of an eschatological Day of Atonement…. the vision of Dan 7 indeed contains cultic allusions that refer to the conception of the Day of Atonement.” (The word “cultic” refers to a religious system of worship).
The justice within the atonement is good news, and it is part of that Daniel 8 promise with the evening-morning sequence.
The Promise Deepens!
Daniel 8:14 ends with two very important words: wa·nisdaq qodes (H). A vast array of interpretations have tainted the Biblical translations. They were deeply influenced by the Books of Maccabees, especially Book One, which describes the purification or cleansing of the Jerusalem temple following its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes IV. As an example, the passive verb nisdaq is translated in the KJV as “cleansed,” from the Greek word katharisthesetai.
“This traditional translation as ‘cleansed’ or ‘purified,’ began with the Old Greek and Theodotian versions (Da 8:14, …) who preferred to use the same verb as did the books of Maccabees, when they refer to the cleansing and dedication of the Jewish historical sanctuary in the year 165 B.C.”
“In his unpublished manuscript ‘The Eschatology of Daniel – a Definitive Exegesis of the Text’ (p. 40) Dr RF Cottrell asks: ‘Why did the LXX [Septuagint – another Greek translation] consistently translate 38 of 40 uses of the verb “tsadaq” [root word of nisdaq/nistdaq] by various forms,’ which means ‘justified’ or ‘be just’ or ‘be righteous.’ But in Dan 8:14 it deviates from this pattern, where ‘nitsdaq’ is interpreted as ‘cleansed.’ This arose because ‘the book of Daniel was one of the last parts of the OT rendered into Greek, probably about the time of Antiochus Epiphanes’ says Dr Cottrell. Thus the LXX translators believed that ‘katharisthesetai’ (cleansed) would be more appropriate to what they considered to be the historical counterpart of the prediction.… Dr Cottrell correctly concludes ‘The translation cleansed in Dan 8:14 can thus be traced directly back to the LXX translation of Daniel into Greek in the belief that reference was to the ritual cleansing of the Temple after the crisis precipitated by Antiochus Epiphanes’ (p. 42). The Vulgate [Latin] (‘mundabitur’ or 'cleansed’) followed the LXX conceptual interpretation as has almost every English Bible translation ever since. The skew affected both Dan 8:13 and verse 14.”
“Generally speaking, there are two different conceptions of what … [nisdaq and its root] mean. One is that [it] has a judicial-legal notion and is understood as conformity with a (divine) norm. In this forensic concept, [tsdq(tsadaq) – root of nisdaq] designates legal righteousness, judgment, justification, and vindication. The other is that [tsdq] has a relational notion and often expresses a relationship to God.
“The forensic aspect is particularly obvious [in Daniel 8:14] … and in a legal context it denotes vindication.” The Day of Atonement expresses a divine judicial end.
In a prophetic context, vindication describes a conclusion – an end – eschatological salvation – the time of bringing in everlasting righteousness, following the finishing of transgression, the ending of sin and the providing of atonement for iniquity. A continuation of that “hope” is beautifully promised in Daniel 9:24, when everlasting righteousness will be established!
The use of nisdaq in Daniel 8:14c is another example of an eschatological dimension since it intimates a divine event which occurs on or after the “2300 evening-morning” period, at “the end of time” (8:17) and at “the time fixed for the end” (8:19) – all an immediate followup to 8:14.
These deeper thoughts are given to show that nisdaq, again a passive verb, is best viewed as “vindicated.” The concern that Satan and his minions are winning the moral and physical war will come to an end and God’s kingdom will be legally justified – vindicated!
The word nisdaq is preceded by the conjunction “wa.” All these words suggest that the best contextual expression of 8:14c is: “Holiness (qodesh - H) is then vindicated.”
If that is so, and it is, why is nisdaq passive? It comes as the outcome of God’s people resisting the three sins noted in Daniel 9:24. Four hundred and ninety years were “decreed” (NIV) for the church and people to “put an end” (NET) to the transgression (pesha – rebellion), seal up and finish sin (hatta•a) and to make an atonement for iniquity (awon). The final vindication of God and His holiness occurs when a group of people covenant eternally with God – forever called saints!
That verse brings to light several more amazing “people outcomes”! The first listed is everlasting righteousness (sedeq olamim). Angel Gabriel had asked “until when” will the horrors of the little horn be completed. Jesus, and later Gabriel, suggests not until there is a body of saints who have given up those sins. Then eternal holiness rises. This would correspond to the promise “and the judgment was given in favor of the saints” (Daniel 7:22).
Inauguration “until when?” When “holiness [is] vindicated.”
Daniel 8:13, 17, 19:
Acceleration “until when?” After 2300 atonement years at the “time of the end.”
Daniel 8:13, 7:22:
Consummation “until when?” When “judgment is given in favor of the saints”
Can you see the beautiful picture emerging? Trials, evil, violence, loss of life, immorality, persecution, etc., seem to be accelerating – and they will continue until that final Day of Atonement! This prophecy, like so many others, assures us that God and His people will be victorious at the end when holiness/righteousness will be legally established.
A Special Hebrew Word
Daniel 8:14 ends with the word “qodesh.” This stands alone without an article! It is acting as the subject of the passive verb nisdaq.
“… qodesh … connotes the concept of ‘holiness,’ i.e., the essential nature of that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred and which is thus distinct from the common or profane. This distinction is evident in Lev 10:10 and Ezek 22:26 where qodesh occurs as the antithesis of holy (‘profane,’ ‘common’).”
In a personal 2004 communique from Roy Gane, Ph.D., Th.D., M.Th., professor (Andrews University) to Herb Kersten, an Australian evangelist, regarding the word qodesh with nisdaq came this observation: “You are right that ‘qodesh’ basically means ‘holiness,’ which is significant because it is God’s holy character that is in question.” Though “sanctuary” is used in several places in the Old Testament, contextually, the contest is between evil and holiness – Satan and Christ.
When putting these wonderful words together an amazing message of restoration hope unfolds.
Again, Gabriel wanted to know when God is going to vindicate his character and that of His people in light of the successful terrors of the antichrist. The answer?
- “On or after 2300 Atonement years (reflections on judgment and restoration of right) holiness (righteousness) will be vindicated.” (paraphrased)
- A lingering question that must stir all of God’s people who analyze this: “When will that be – can we decipher a closer ‘time’?”
Timing for this Promise
Gabriel shortly came to Daniel’s rescue and comes to ours.
- “So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision…. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be” (Daniel 8:17 and 19).
- At the “time of the end,” at an “appointed time,” this will all occur.
When is that? The answer is in Daniel 11:30–12:11. Though another study, here’s a clue:
“Then I heard the man clothed in linen who was over the waters of the river as he raised both his right and left hands to the sky and made an oath by the one who lives forever: ‘It is for a time, times, and half a time. Then, when the power of the one who shatters the holy people has been exhausted, all these things will be finished’” (Daniel 12:7 – NET).
Another stunning clue is given to us later in that chapter:
“From the time that the daily [sacrifice] is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days” (Daniel 12:11).
This period of three and a half years, identified in Daniel 11 and 12 as that “appointed time,” begins with an “abomination”! This distinctly refers to a law that sets up a false Sabbath. Jesus advised us to study and know this issue in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. When a law comes that threatens the honor of this holy day, we will know that the wonders of Daniel 8 and 9 will be pending!
This is when something marvelous occurs to God’s people. Recall that nisdaq is a passive verb. They vindicate God’s character.
- “The Saviour came to glorify the Father by the demonstration of His love; so the Spirit was to glorify Christ by revealing His grace to the world. The very image of God is to be reproduced in humanity. The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of His people.”
- “But the plan of redemption had a yet broader and deeper purpose than the salvation of man. It was not for this alone that Christ came to the earth; it was not merely that the inhabitants of this little world might regard the law of God as it should be regarded; but it was to vindicate the character of God before the universe. To this result of His great sacrifice – its influence upon the intelligences of other worlds, as well as upon man – the Saviour looked forward when just before His crucifixion He said: ‘Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me.’ John 12:31, 32. The act of Christ in dying for the salvation of man would not only make heaven accessible to men, but before all the universe it would justify God and His Son in their dealing with the rebellion of Satan. It would establish the perpetuity of the law of God and would reveal the nature and the results of sin.”
That’s really what Daniel 9 is all about! It culminates in “everlasting righteousness” (9:24) and that is something to pray for soon!
Combining nisdaq with qodesh (“vindicate holiness”) points to a divine consummation when holiness rises eternally. This restoration of holy to its rightful status necessarily implies the vindication of God himself.
This occurs at an eschatological Day of Atonement that combines judgment and re-creation. This is when everything holy will be restored. That is a fundamental Christian hope!
A Deliverance Promise
There’s another dimension to this. Daniel comes to our rescue once again.
- “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered.” (Daniel 12:1 – NIV).
- Did you catch the hope embedded in this verse?
A point of time is reached – a Day of Atonement – when God’s people will be delivered. There are rich references to this in Revelation. Expositor White expands on this time.
- “It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance.” (There’s that dual Atonement imagery again.)
- “Those who have sacrificed all for Christ are now secure, hidden as in the secret of the Lord’s pavilion. They have been tested, and before the world and the despisers of truth they have evinced their fidelity to Him who died for them. A marvelous change has come over those who have held fast their integrity in the very face of death. They have been suddenly delivered from the dark and terrible tyranny of men transformed to demons. Their faces, so lately pale, anxious, and haggard, are now aglow with wonder, faith, and love.”
- “The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus' coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth. The Israel of God stand listening, with their eyes fixed upward. Their countenances are lighted up with His glory, and shine as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked cannot look upon them. And when the blessing is pronounced on those who have honored God by keeping His Sabbath holy, there is a mighty shout of victory.”
Gabriel is concerned as to when the leader of apostasy and evil, the antichrist, will be stopped. This is implied by his question in Daniel 8:13, as to when God’s character and those of His people will be honored as righteous – vindicated.
Christ’s response, Daniel 8:14, is a promise wonderfully symbolized in Day of Atonement language that it will occur. The time for this to occur is (adding the rich information in the rest of Daniel’s book):
- On or after a 2300-year period (Daniel 8:14).
- At an “appointed time” at the “time of the end” (Daniel 8:17, 19), when God’s indignation reaches its peak (8:18).
- At the end of a three-and-a-half year period (Daniel 12:7).
- On a final Day of Atonement, when Michael stands up and a time of terrible trouble falls on the world, God’s people will be delivered (Daniel 12:1).
Daniel 8:14 introduces a final Day of Atonement picture that is embellished in expositor White’s chapter entitled “God’s People Delivered.”
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EndTime Issues…, Number 212, April 5, 2018
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