The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 3


IV. Judgment Message Heralded According to Schedule

The final portion of the great outline prophecies of Daniel, sealed until the specified time of the end, 3 had been opened to the understanding of men in the Old World. The wise were to understand, and now the students of prophecy had seen much of their import and declared in part the advent and judgment-hour message. No movement of this kind is to be found prior to 1798. Now the obscuring veil covering Daniel 8:14 had been lifted, and men saw the intent of the words of Daniel 8 and of Revelation 14:6, 7. Verily, the hour for understanding and proclamation had come. PFF3 747.1

This was all involved in the final verses of Daniel 7, beyond the close of the 1260 year-days of the Little Horn when “the Ancient of days did sit,” and “thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” 4 This portrays the judgment scene in heaven while error and evil are still at work here on earth. While the unbelieving knew not that the end is near and that the judgment is scheduled in heaven, to be followed by the second advent in glory, pious men all over the world were led to study the judgment-hour message then due, and to proclaim it with varying clarity and force, and to appeal to mankind to prepare against that day. Such was the divine purpose and plan. PFF3 747.2

This matter of the judgment hour is dealt with in three successive chapters-in Daniel 7, 8, and 9. In chapter 7 the assurance is given that the great apostasy against truth, the grievous falling away that was to follow apostolic times, and the domination of the Little Horn will at last be dealt with in the judgment review above, and Christ will be adjudged the rightful possessor of the everlasting kingdom, while the usurper will be condemned to destruction. PFF3 748.1

Next, in chapter 8, the prophet again saw in vision the historic apostasy-how it “cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” Truth seemed always to be trampled underfoot by error. But to the prophet’s inquiry, “How long shall be the vision?” the answer was, “Unto 2300 days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” 5 This period, like all symbolic time periods, was of year-days, indicating when God’s judgment hour would come, and when the opening of the great antitypical service of the cleansing of the sanctuary would begin. And while the verdict against sin and error was being prepared in the judgment court in heaven, the synchronous message on earth began to lift up again the truths so long trodden underfoot by tradition. Only this would answer the question, How long shall error trample upon truth without being challenged and answered from the Word? This cleansing of the sanctuary was to come in the latter day, for the angel declared, “Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” 6 PFF3 748.2

In chapter 9 the angel returns to Daniel to complete the explanation. The beginning of the 2300-year-day period has not been explained or identified. The angel begins with the time prophecy. A lesser period was “determined,” or cut off, 7 from the full 2300 years and allotted to the Jewish state and people, the shorter period to lead to the times of the Messiah, when Jerusalem would fill up the cup of transgression. When this first portion of the prophetic period begins, the longer period of the 2300 years must also begin. And that would be from the command “to restore and to build Jerusalem.” 8 which fell in 457 B.C. PFF3 748.3

It was this grand clue-of the seventy weeks as the first segment of the 2300 years, cut off for the Jews and climaxing with the Messiah-that burst simultaneously upon the minds of men in Europe and America, and even in Asia and Africa. This was the great advance truth that led to the emphasis upon the 2300 years from 457 B.C. to A.D. 1843 or 1844 which we have surveyed. Clearer and clearer became the perception in the first four decades of the nineteenth century, until it reached its peak in America in the summer and autumn of 1844, contemporaneously with the predicted time of the prophecy. PFF3 749.1