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Lucan's lines measured its exceeding greatness from the other points of the compass:
"Though from the frozen pole our empire run,
Far as the journeys of the southern sun."
-"Pharsalia," book 10.
"The empire of the Romans filled the world," says Gibbon. It was "exceeding great," according to the prophecy. In the vision the little horn that grew so great came into the prophet's view as proceeding out of one of the four horns that he had been watching. Rome rose to unquestioned supremacy out of its conquest of Macedonia, one of the four notable kingdoms into which Grecia was divided. It spread forth toward the south, and toward the east, and "toward the pleasant land," Palestine becoming a province of the empire in the century before Christ. And it was a Roman force that destroyed Jerusalem and devastated the pleasant land.
Thus the "sure word of prophecy," with exactness in detail, carries the history through the centuries to the last great universal monarchy, Rome.
But this prophecy does not deal so much with the earlier history of Rome as with the developments of later times. It was the same in the prophetic outline of Daniel 7. After briefly identifying Rome as the last universal monarchy, the vision of the seventh chapter dealt with the rise of papal Rome, described its exaltation of itself against God, and its warfare against the truth and the saints of God. And here again, in the eighth chapter, the same persecuting power is seen developing, exalting itself, and persecuting the saints of God. The prophecy says that "it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered." Dan. 8:12. The papal history, as given in the study on Daniel 7, need not be repeated here.
As the prophet watched the work of this lawless power, his heart must have cried out to know how long it was to be allowed to prosper in its evil way; for next he heard the voice of a holy one asking the question for him,
THE CAMP OF ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS
"Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall
the sanctuary be cleansed." Dan. 8:14.
"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 underfoot?" Dan. 8:13.
The answer was,
"Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Verse 14.
In symbolic prophecy a day stands for a year. Eze. 4: 6. This is a long period, therefore, of 2300 years. It reaches to the latter days; for the angel said of it, "At the time of the end shall be the vision." Dan. 8: 17.
The question was, "How long?" or literally, "Until when?" and the answer was, "Until two thousand and three hundred days." Then what was to come to deal with the great apostasy? "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." The cleansing of the sanctuary, therefore, must have something to do with meeting the great apostasy, lifting up God's truth that has been trampled underfoot, and cutting short the reign of evil. The cleansing of the sanctuary, with all that is involved in it, must be God's answer to this lawless power.
Error may prosper for a time; but the just balances of the sanctuary will at last pronounce righteous judgment, and the prosperity of evil will be cut short. "I was envious. when I saw the prosperity of the wicked," said the psalmist, "until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end." Ps. 73:3, 17.
What, then, is involved in the cleansing of the sanctuary, the time of which is marked by the long prophetic period? It is for us to understand; for it is a work pertaining to the latter days.
THE Bible teaching concerning the sanctuary of the Levitical service shows clearly that the cleansing of the sanctuary is God's answer to error and apostasy.
The priestly service of the earthly sanctuary, or temple, in the days of Israel, was typical of the work of Christ, our High Priest, in the heavenly temple. The earthly priests served after "the example and shadow of heavenly things." Heb. 8:5. And of Christ's ministry in the heavenly temple we are told:
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Heb. 8: 1, 2.
In the earthly service, the cleansing of the sanctuary was the closing work of the high priest, marking the end of the