What does the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:13-14 mean?

Daniel 8 speaks of 2,300 days in a prophecy concerning a persecution of the Jewish people during the intertestamental period. Similarly, in Revelation 11 and 12, John mentions 1,260 days in two prophecies concerning another persecution of the Jews during the end times. The main differences between these two prophecies are 1) Daniel’s has been fulfilled, and John’s has not; and 2) Daniel predicts the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes, and John predicts those of the Antichrist.

The prophecy of the 2,300 days (“evenings and mornings”) is found in Daniel 8,

“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.” Daniel 8:13–14

The time period covered, 2,300 days, figures to about 6 1/3 years. This prophecy was fulfilled before the birth of Christ, during the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV (Epiphanes). Antiochus desecrated the temple in Jerusalem and severely persecuted the Jews from about September 171 BC to December 165 BC. When Antiochus died, the Jews purified and rededicated the temple, just as Daniel had predicted. These events are commemorated in the celebration of Hanukkah.

The detailed prophecies contained in God’s Word are part of what makes the Bible unique among religious texts. God can “make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:10), and He has revealed significant events in the future, counting out the very days of those periods of time.

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