Time, Times, and Half a Time

We have spent much time in Daniel 9:24-27, i.e., the seventy weeks, and rightly so, so now we move on to chapter 12. However, one might ask, what happened to chapters 10 and 11? Well, since 10:13 mentions the kingdom of Persia, 10:20 the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece, and 11:2 three more kings arising in Persia and of the realm of Greece, regardless of what many say about those kings and princes, they are talking about the second and third kingdoms of the statue of King Nebuchadnezzar’s visions and dreams of chapter two. Moreover, most importantly, it is the time in which God is to “set up” a kingdom (2:44).

Verses 12:1-4 are of particular interest to us, and we will come back to them soon, but for now, we see that not only 12:7, but 7:25 mention time, times, and half a time. Many interpret that to represent one year, two years, and one half of a year. Adding them, they equal three and one-half years or forty-two months. Then, 12:11-12 talks of 1290 days and 1335 days. In addition to that, Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 both speak of forty-two months, while 12:6 talks of 1260 days, which are equivalent. Confusing? Yes! So, let us break them down and have a little fun in the process.

Daniel 7:25 – time, times, and half a time (three and one-half years). The time that the saints of the Most-High will be given into the hand of the little horn from the beast of the sea.

Daniel 9:24 – Seventy Weeks (seventy sevens, or heptads – not weeks).

Daniel 12:7 – time, times, and half a time (three and one-half years). The time until the end of the wonders of v.1-4

Daniel 12:11 – 1290 days (1260 days + one “time”)

Daniel 12:12 – 1335 days (1260 days + “times” + one-half “time”)

Revelation 11:2 – 42 months (1260 days, or three and one-half years). The time God gave for the nations to tread the holy city underfoot. 

Revelation 11:3 – 1260 days – the time God gave authority to His two witnesses to prophesy

Revelation 11:9, 11 – three and one-half days – the time God said that His two witnesses remain dead after being slain by the beast that comes up out of the abyss.

Revelation 12:6 – 1260 days – the time God prepared for the woman with child to be nourished after she fled from the red dragon

Revelation 13:5 – 42 months – the time God gave the beast from the sea authority to act.

What are we to make of all these numbers, and how do they relate to the abomination of desolation? Trying not to bore nor lose the reader, but the only numbers that remotely appear to make any sense are those that relate to the 1260 days. For if 30 days equal a month, and one divides 1260 days by 30 days, it equals forty-two months, which equals three and one-half years. Remember – time, times, and half a time – for this example, are three and one-half years, or forty-two months, or 1260 days.

Using another example, let us assume that 30 days, or one month, are a “time.” Forty-two months, or 1260 days, would then equal forty-two “times.” Take the 1260 days and add one “time” (30 days) to it, and it comes to 1290 days. Replace that “time” with “times (60 days) plus one-half time (15 days), and you get 1335 days.

Let us take still another example. As we have been referring to seventy “weeks” in Daniel 9, in reality, it says seventy sevens. What those sevens are, is undefined, but assuming they are years, represented by weeks (in some Bible versions), and taking similar liberty, as one looks at the three and one-half days in Revelation 11:9&11, let us assume they are three and one-half years. At that point, we would be using the same time equivalents.

Many will disagree, but the reality is that many assumptions and liberties have been taken throughout the years as to the meaning of these challenging passages. One’s perspective about eschatology determines one’s interpretation of these passages. It is possible to see God’s plan repeated throughout the Scriptures if one chooses to interpret these demanding passages from what the Scriptures themselves are telling us, rather than from the standpoint of we the reader.

Now, let us look at a final example of these hazy terms and attempt to make sense out of them. The two witnesses (Revelation 11:3) are metaphoric language because if they are people, they are not lampstands or olive trees. Furthermore, olive trees are not lampstands. Moreover, fire cannot come out of the mouths of people, and lampstands and olive trees do not have mouths. Think, instead, of the two witnesses as representative of the Law and the Prophets, for they witness of God.

If the Law and the Prophets are what those verses are talking about, then it makes sense because God’s judgment (fire) has been brought down on His people in the past for not obeying His law. Their most egregious sin was neglecting the law and playing the harlot by worshiping other gods. When God sent His prophets to turn the people back to the law, they killed those prophets, so God came in judgment against them (the destruction of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah). However, even then, they continued to play the harlot, so He sent His Son. When they killed Him too, He came in judgment against them again. That was the desolation of 70AD.

Moreover, think of the woman with child of Revelation 12 as first-century Judea and the child as the Christ child.  And then think of the beast as first-century Rome, personified by Caesar Nero, whose name does add up to 666. There are many resources available to support that thesis.

So, as demanding as these verses are, there seems to be something there – one can almost see it through the fog. As we have said, this is strictly for fun, the numbers are hard to make real sense out of, and they only provide fodder for people to perform mental gymnastics, so we’ll leave it at that.

The Scriptures give us enough information to arrive at a correct understanding. However, in the study of eschatology, many times the information is shrouded in imagery and metaphoric or apocalyptic language. That makes it hard to discern. If one attempts not to interpret the imagery in a literal sense, and instead holds a loosely-knit interpretation similar to what was said in the above, rather than attempting to determine what all the symbolism is, a general picture will emerge, and God’s plan will be seen. The story has always been about Jerusalem, and it is about Christ.

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