1. IN PRAYER WITH FASTING
a. Show how Daniel, a highly honored prophet of God, did not consider himself beyond the need of studying the writings of other prophets. Daniel 9:2; Jeremiah 29:10.
“Burdened in behalf of Israel, Daniel studied anew the prophecies of Jeremiah.”— Prophets and Kings, p. 554.
b. What must we be willing to do in order to understand the writings of God’s appointed messengers? Daniel 8:27; 9:3; 10:1–3.
“This test would reveal the strength of those who with real faith had obeyed what they believed to be the teaching of the word and the Spirit of God. It would teach them, as only such an experience could, the danger of accepting the theories and interpretations of men, instead of making the Bible its own interpreter. To the children of faith the perplexity and sorrow resulting from their error would work the needed correction. They would be led to a closer study of the prophetic word. They would be taught to examine more carefully the foundation of their faith, and to reject everything, however widely accepted by the Christian world, that was not founded upon the Scriptures of truth.”—The Great Controversy, p. 354.
2. TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED DAYS
a. What showed that the angel Gabriel came to enlighten Daniel concerning an explanation of a vision previously given that the prophet had not understood? Daniel 9:20–23, 26, 27.
“Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard ‘one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?’ Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed’ (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God’s sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, ‘The vision . . . shall be for many days,’ he fainted away.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 554.
“It was Gabriel, the angel next in rank to the Son of God, who came with the divine message to Daniel.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 234.
b. What command previously given to the prophet was yet incomplete and with what did the unfinished explanation concern? Daniel 8:16, 14.
“The angel had been sent to Daniel for the express purpose of explaining to him the point which he had failed to understand in the vision of the eighth chapter, the statement relative to time—‘unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ ”—The Great Controversy, p. 326.
“As a people, we should be earnest students of prophecy; we should not rest until we become intelligent in regard to the subject of the sanctuary, which is brought out in the visions of Daniel and John. This subject sheds great light on our present position and work, and gives us unmistakable proof that God has led us in our past experience. It explains our disappointment in 1844, showing us that the sanctuary to be cleansed was not the earth, as we had supposed, but that Christ then entered into the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and is there performing the closing work of His priestly office, in fulfillment of the words of the angel to the prophet Daniel, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ ”—Evangelism, pp. 222, 223.
3. THE Day-for-a-Year Principle
a. How are we to understand a prophetic day? Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:33, 34.
“A day in prophecy stands for a year. See Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 698.
b. How do we know that the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are a part of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, aside of the reason given in the questions above and what was to be accomplished during this time period? Daniel 9:24–27.
“After bidding Daniel ‘understand the matter, and consider the vision,’ the very first words of the angel are: ‘Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy Holy City.’ The word here translated ‘determined’ literally signifies ‘cut off.’ Seventy weeks, representing 490 years, are declared by the angel to be cut off, as specially pertaining to the Jews. But from what were they cut off? As the 2300 days was the only period of time mentioned in chapter 8, it must be the period from which the seventy weeks were cut off; the seventy weeks must therefore be a part of the 2300 days, and the two periods must begin together. The seventy weeks were declared by the angel to date from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. If the date of this commandment could be found, then the starting point for the great period of the 2300 days would be ascertained.”— The Great Controversy, p. 326.
“The plan of salvation had its place in the counsels of the Infinite from all eternity. The gospel is the revelation of God’s love to men, and means everything that is essential to the happiness and well-being of humanity. The work of God in the earth is of immeasurable importance, and it is Satan’s special object to crowd it out of sight and mind, that he may make his specious devices effectual in the destruction of those for whom Christ died. It is his purpose to cause the discoveries of men to be exalted above the wisdom of God. When the mind is engrossed with the conceptions and theories of men to the exclusion of the wisdom of God, it is stamped with idolatry. Science, falsely so called, has been exalted above God, nature above its Maker, and how can God look upon such wisdom?”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 186.
4. Explanation of Terms
a. How was the phrase “make an end of sin,” or “sin offerings” as the original implies, fulfilled? Hebrews 9:24–26; 7:26, 27.
“Then, said the angel, ‘He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years].’ For seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself, and afterward by the apostles. ‘In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.’ Daniel 9:27. In the spring of a.d. 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed.”— Prophets and Kings, p. 699.
“With the great sacrifice offered upon Calvary, ended that system of offerings which for four thousand years had pointed forward to the Lamb of God. Type had met antitype, and all the sacrifices and oblations of the ceremonial system were there to cease.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 327, 328.
b. How was reconciliation made for iniquity? 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20.
“Jesus paid an infinite price to redeem the world, and the race was given into His hands; they became His property. He sacrificed His honor, His riches, and His glorious home in the royal courts and became the son of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was one of the humblest of day laborers. Jesus also worked; he lived a life of hardship and toil. When His ministry commenced, after His baptism, He endured an agonizing fast of nearly six weeks. It was not merely the gnawing pangs of hunger which made His sufferings inexpressibly severe, but it was the guilt of the sins of the world which pressed so heavily upon Him. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. With this terrible weight of guilt upon Him because of our sins He withstood the fearful test upon appetite, and upon love of the world and of honor, and pride of display which leads to presumption. Christ endured these three great leading temptations and overcame in behalf of man, working out for him a righteous character, because He knew man could not do this of himself. He knew that upon these three points Satan was to assail the race. He had overcome Adam, and he designed to carry forward his work till he completed the ruin of man. Christ entered the field in man’s behalf to conquer Satan for him because He saw that man could not overcome on his own account. Christ prepared the way for the ransom of man by His own life of suffering, self-denial, and self-sacrifice, and by His humiliation and final death. He brought help to man that he might, by following Christ’s example, overcome on his own account, as Christ has overcome for him.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 372.
5. THE HEAVENLY MINISTRATION BEGUN
a. How was everlasting righteousness assured? Nahum 1:9.
“The whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought fear to angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law. Never will evil again be manifest. Says the word of God: ‘Affliction shall not rise up the second time.’ Nahum 1:9. The law of God, which Satan has reproached as the yoke of bondage, will be honored as the law of liberty.”—The Great Controversy, p. 504.
“Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God ‘was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.’ Sin is defined to be ‘the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:5, 4. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. When on earth, He said to His disciples, ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 311, 312.
b. Before the earthly sanctuary could begin its ministry, the tabernacle had to be anointed (Exodus 40:9). What did Jesus need to undergo before the 70 weeks were finished in order to begin the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary? Daniel 9:24; Matthew 3:13–17; John 19:28–30; Hebrews 8:1–5; 9:8, 9.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What self-denial should we be willing to exercise in order to understand the important prophecies for our time?
2. How do we know that the prophecies of Daniel 9 are clearly connected to Daniel chapter 8 and especially the explanation of verse 14?
3. When studying prophecies, what do we need to realize about time periods?
4. Explain some things to be fulfilled during the 70-week period of time.
5. What had to occur before Jesus could begin His heavenly ministration?