Category Archives: The Time Element

Amazing Prophecy about the Church

Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding the interpretation of Revelation 10-11 has robbed these chapters of much of their power. In reality, they provide an amazingly clear guide from God with interesting detail about our role in the church age.

Our conviction is that these words complete the prophecy given to God’s people (Daniel 10:14) by Daniel in Daniel 10-12. What was closed to Daniel (Daniel 12:4, 9) was opened to John who now completes it. A word which starts in the third year of Cyrus in 535 BC and ends at the end of the age. A word whose first half, described in Daniel, is temporarily suspended when the power of God’s people is totally shattered (Daniel 12:7) by the Roman Empire. A word whose second half is resumed when the Islamic Kingdom came to power and completed during the rest of the church age. So Revelation 11 is not a prophecy which is fulfilled in 3.5 calendar years, but rather in more than 1,200 years.

The language is clearly symbolic, but is also narrative prophecy with a literal meaning. If the prophecy was just for 3.5 calendar years, then very likely the two witnesses introduced in Revelation 11:3 are two individuals. The NIV reference to the them as men (Revelation 11:6) seems to favour this futurist perspective and perhaps reflects a translator bias. However, given that the prophecy extends for over 2,500 years and begins in 535 BC and is explicitly about God’s people then the two witnesses must be God’s people, not two individuals.

Therefore, the period of 3.5 years must be symbolic. Since the two witnesses are called to minister in the power of the Spirit for 3.5 years, then to be defeated, die, to lie dead for 3.5 days, rise again and then ascend into heaven, then they are clearly called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, exactly as Jesus did. The allusion to the ministry of Jesus is remarkably clear and obvious.

At this point we could delve deeply into the detail of what we are called to be and to do. That would make this post incredibly long. We leave it for another time.

So these two chapters sit at the crossroads of understanding the book of Revelation. Previous chapters set the context, subsequent chapters’ flow along the direction implied by how they are interpreted.


The Time is Near Volume 1

I am excited to announce that this book has now been published and is available as an eBook and in soft copy from all major online bookshops including Amazon and can be ordered by any bookshop. Published by Balboa Press it is available on their website as an eBook for $US9.99 and in softcover for $US33.99.


Taking 686 pages, it is not a quick read, but a serious study and reference book. It is a theological work which gives insight into history, God’s nature, plan and purpose and whose outcomes seriously impact our lives. It supplies a radically new perspective and if read carefully will challenge aspects of every existing work on the book of Daniel. Everything is laid out carefully and in detail, so that the understanding can be tested and the fundamental assumptions examined. The goal is to understand God and His ways as accurately as possible.

Some of the posts on this website already present aspects contained in the book. However, the book will give you a comprehensive understanding of the root ideas in those posts. You will see the rise and fall of five civilisations who had authority over Jerusalem for substantial periods of time, but also see that the nation of Israelites, although small, survives them all sometimes through periods of suffering even until the present day just as Jeremiah had prophesied in his chapters 30-31.

You will see how Daniel’s understanding grew as his life unfolded and how influential he was in the courts of both the Babylonian and Persian Empires. You will see how prophecies he received about his own time were gradually fulfilled and therefore the prophecies he received about the future even until the end of the age carry compelling authority. You will see the precision in his understanding and how all the visions he received were anchored in the present that he knew. It is a book that gives remarkable insight into those ancient times.

Then you will see how Jesus understood the book of Daniel and how this understanding informed His prophetic words in the New Testament. Then you will glimpse how The apostle Paul was informed by Daniel too. To appreciate how Daniel influenced the book of Revelation you will have to wait for Volume 2, but this website does give snippets of understanding.

If you have studied the book of Daniel, you will be familiar with the phrase a “time, times and half a time” which occurs in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7 and also in Revelation 12:14. As well as being a symbolic phrase meaning 3.5 and a period of time which is trying to complete by reaching 7, but is cut short, it is almost universally believed to be 3.5 years. The conviction that it is 3.5 years is so entrenched in our thinking, but rarely questioned. We show that the two “time, times and half a time” in Daniel are two consecutive periods of time forming a symbolic complete period of 7 and that both are literally in excess of 1200 years in a way which we believe will be very hard to refute. When combined together they span the whole of history from the return from exile to the end of the age. This perspective devastates existing end time theologies as strongly as Copernicus devastated the idea that the earth was flat and revealed how the earth moved around the Sun about 500 years ago.

Overall, one of my goals is to see end time confusion in the world wide church resolved. Since that confusion correlates with the ambiguities in the Hebrew text and English translations of Daniel 9:24-27, the famous seventy sevens prophecy I have hope. This is because this book shows how the better foundation for end times understanding is in Daniel’s final vision in his last two chapters. This final vision is narrative prophecy and is so historically accurate that some scholars believe that it must have been written after the events described. This book shows why this is not possible. The beauty of basing our end time understanding on this vision is that it is not hard to understand like his earlier visions which are written in an apocalyptic style, and so should have fewer interpretive difficulties.

Peace in the Middle East? Part 2

This post will be fairly technical and targeted especially for Christians interested in end time theology. It will seek to answer the question “What will identify the beginning of the end times? Our answer will be, “the establishment of a significant treaty between many nations centred around Israel”. This post will seek to answer this question as simply as possible. It will suggest that the emerging, current context of conflict, tension and power alignment discussed in part 1 may well lead to a treaty signalling the beginning of the end times so we should watch and pray with heightened alertness.

For many reasons outside the scope of this post to investigate fully, it is possible to show that the unfolding events in the history of Israel form a means by which we can discern the timeline of God’s plan. In other words, we can see where we are in God’s plan today by what is happening to Israel. From this we can infer that we are not in the end times yet, but we are approaching them and we are near. We make a distinction between the last days which begins with Pentecost about 30 AD and spans the whole church age and the end times which is associated with the emergence of the end of the age ruler (sometimes called the anti-Christ). We understand that the key verses that mark that starting point (although it would take too long to explain the reason for that here) are Daniel 9:26-27 from the seventy sevens prophecy.

Our understanding of this prophecy is different from many. An earlier post explains why the periods of seven are not periods of seven years. We also indicated that the Hebrew text of Daniel 9:24-27 is highly ambiguous. We believe the reason for this ambiguity is intentional for these verses are highly structured so that they can form a template whose interpretation only makes sense when slotted into their correct contexts. And there are three contexts which fit; we call them scenarios! The fact that it is structured should be expected since scholars now know that Hebrew text is often structured and that the structure carries substantial meaning and clues to its interpretation. Discerning that structure, if present, is therefore of critical importance. So I want to write these verses in a way that exposes their structure.

The final two verses make a statement about a covenant for the final period of seven preceded and succeeded by a tri-colon. To explain this, Hebrew text can contain multiple lines (or colons) in a thought unit. These lines each add to the thought and can be parallel, inverted parallel, opposite or in other kinds of related thoughts. If there are two lines it is a bi-colon, if three a tri-colon and so on. The bi-colon is usually unmarked, but if the writer wants to vary from this to serve some special discourse function, he will usually mark the thought unit in some way. For example, we see that Psalm 1:1 is a tri-colon marked by the phrase “Blessed is the man”, whose three following thoughts identify characteristics he does not have.

In Daniel 9:26-27 we claim the author does this by beginning the two tri-colons with a time phrase. Typical of Hebrew writing, the most important thought is in the middle rather than at the beginning. Here that central thought is framed by the two tri-colons, each of which contains an opening time phrase followed by three balanced and matching phrases.

Daniel 9:26
After sixty-two sevens
(A) an anointed one will be cut off and will have nothing.
(B) People of a coming ruler will devastate the city and the sanctuary and its end will be with a flood.
(C) Until an end of warfare, desolations are decreed.

Daniel 9:27a
And he will make a strong covenant with the many for one seven.

Daniel 9:27b
From the middle of this seven
(A) sacrifice and offering will be made to cease,
(B) and upon a wing desolating abominations,
(C) until an end which is decreed will pour out on the desolator.

Careful consideration of the three lines in the thought unit shows that they are related; the cutting off of the anointed one with ceasing of the sacrifice and offering, the devastation of the city and sanctuary with the desolating abomination and the continuation of the effects of these things until the end. The two time phrases identify a period of time which must be within the period of the final seven and so the events in the tri-colons must be concurrent. It is also apparent that Daniel 9:26 deals with physical effects whereas Daniel 9:27b is associated with religious ones.

This structure is highly significant and to our knowledge has not been recognised before. We’d be delighted if it was accepted, but our expectation is that it will produce many objections. For one, it challenges those who interpret the passage as describing events in chronological order. Our conviction is that the heart of the message is the middle statement which is framed by two statements which are chronologically in parallel, because the first statement is fulfilled after sixty two sevens which must therefore be within the final seven and the other occurs in the middle of that seven. The two statements outline the events which will occur within that seven, whereas the middle statement indicates that the strong covenant is put in place at the beginning of the seven, not the middle of it as some interpret. This structure is quite typical of Hebrew literature as explained above, although in this case it has some unique features.

In general, the prophecy is focused on the survival of Israel and the answer to Daniel’s prayer although it will take a long time and Israel will suffer greatly in the process. If you study commentaries on Daniel you will find that the prophecy is usually interpreted so that the “coming ruler” in Daniel 9:26 is one of three authorities, (1) the end of the age ruler or (2) Antiochus IV or (3) a Roman general. In our view, the prophecy is written as a template which can be applied to all three authorities and which then leads to three distinct scenarios . Each covers a period of time when Israel’s survival in the Promised Land was severely threatened. So rather than being applied to just one of the three authorities identified above, all three are covered. In all scenarios, the crisis is in the final period of seven. In the first two scenarios, the final seven is short although not seven years. The final seven in the first scenario is still future and will be the worst and will begin when the end of the age ruler appears and the strong covenant will then identify the beginning of the end times. The second scenario was completed when Antiochus IV attempted to impose Hellenism on the Jews before he died in 163 BC. In the third scenario, the whole period of Jewish history starting with the return from exile to the end of the age is covered, with a focus is on rebuilding Jerusalem, the persecution and scattering of the Jews under Rome, the death of Jesus, and the Jews survival through a long period of difficult times.

When Daniel received God’s answer in Daniel 9, he only knew of one scenario to which it could be applied; that was the message he was given in Daniel 8. In the final vision, he was given the other two which can be identified by the phrase “the abomination that causes desolation”. Interestingly, this phrase is plural in Daniel 9:27, but singular in Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11.

The reason we cover all this is in order to explain that only in the first scenario is the final seven still future. The “he will make a strong covenant with the many for one seven” in Daniel 9:27a is what initiates the end times and is therefore a crucial event still in the future whose occurrence will mark a key synchronism between current affairs and God’s plan revealed in the Bible.

Let’s examine Daniel 9:27a for this first scenario. Note there are at least 3 ambiguities that can lead to different interpretations, (1) the identification of the “he”, (2) the identification of the many and (3) the length of the period of one seven.

Firstly, who is the “he”? Normal grammar would connect it to the previous, immediate antecedent which in this case is the coming prince who will devastate the city and the sanctuary. The parallelism between phrase “B” in Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 9:27b suggests that the devastation occurs in the middle of the final seven and causes worship to cease. We connect this to what Jesus said in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 which speaks of a coming invasion of the location of the sanctuary which should cause God’s people to flee Jerusalem in urgent haste. So the “he” in this scenario is the end of the age ruler.

Secondly, who are the “many”? Our conviction is that these are many nations and the “he” will be the leader of one of them, but he does not necessarily have to come from the most powerful of those nations.

Thirdly, with regard to the length of the final seven, if we connect this scenario to Daniel 8 we are told there that following the defilement of the location of the sanctuary there will be 2,300 evenings and mornings until the end of the little horn. This is most likely to indicate that the period is literal 24 hour days which equates to about 6.3 years. The overall period of the final seven would therefore be perhaps 10 to 20 years since the defilement of the temple location is somewhere in the middle of this seven.

By the way, in our understanding of this scenario, the anointed one cut off in Daniel 9:26a is the nation of Israel. In this respect, it is most enlightening to read Isaiah 53 as a prophecy with dual fulfilment, applying to Jesus at His first coming and to Israel in the end times.

So the key event we are looking for is a major treaty involving many nations probably including Israel although that is not essential from the text. To me this will signal the beginning of the end times. Of course, the treaty could be initiated for many reasons, so we will have to wait and see what happens. We will also need to discern whether the treaty has the right stature and significance, because Bible prophecy is quite high level. This may only be possible after a period of time. It will also give us clues as to the identity of the “he”.

The discussion about a treaty initiated by the U.S. and Russia to bring peace to Syria, also involving many Middle Eastern countries, may lead to a major treaty with the right stature to be this key event. We must watch and pray because the end times could soon be upon us.

I believe that if a treaty occurs soon, for whatever reason, many Christians will miss its significance for a while because of their end time theology. This will be particularly true for those who see the rapture occurring seven years before Jesus returns. The situation will not be unlike the Jews during Jesus’ first coming who expected the Messiah to overthrow Rome and take world wide authority. Because their interpretation of the Bible was wrong, they failed to recognise who Jesus really was. It may also be missed by those with a dominion slant, because they are expecting the church to embrace the world and God’s kingdom to be established on earth before Jesus returns. We are in interesting times!

Thus, in these days, we need to be alert and on the watch and prayerfully seek to understand what is happening so we can guide our people through the coming crises. We must also weigh up events and be alert to what the Spirit is saying so we rightly understand what is happening. That is why we must test our understanding very carefully with the word of God and hold onto what is good.

The permission of God to allow Satan to carry out damage is significant in the book of Revelation. It stems from God allowing mankind to reap what they have sown. God’s grace operates to prevent wars and disasters occurring until the appointed time. Satan continually tries to throw God off His plan and precipitate conflict He does not desire. In part, this is one of the lessons we can learn from Daniel and Revelation especially.

The outcomes of the evolving tensions in the Middle East are having significant impact on the alignments of major powers. Some have not yet shown their hand, but they are certainly watching very closely and will act if their own security is threatened. The outcome of a major treaty seems very possible. In all of this, it is hard to envisage the terrible suffering of civilians especially in Syria. So this is also God’s opportunity as many turn to Him in their desperate cry for help. This is how I believe we should pray. It is the salvation of as many as possible that is at the centre of God’s heart.

In all this turmoil, God’s mercy is available to everyone no matter how evil they have been. Anyone who calls on the name of The Lord will be saved. This is what we must pray. Also, when peace comes to Syria, there may be open doors for a short time in a narrow window. We need to stay alert.

Shaking the Foundations

This is another post written for Christians who are interested in the end times. If you accept what is written here it will revolutionise your end time convictions.

For all published end time theologies up until now, perhaps the most crucial foundation comes from the interpretation of the seventy sevens prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. Since 2006 I have had the conviction that this is incorrect; instead the key that unlocks our end time theology is in Daniel’s final vision from Daniel 11:36-12:13, the passage that has been a mystery to us all throughout the church age.

I suggest that if we think big picture, we will see that the seventy sevens prophecy cannot fulfil the foundational role that has been given to it and will continue to cause confusion as long as we try to give it this role. The Hebrew text of Daniel 9:24-27 is arguably one of the most ambiguous (if not the most ambiguous) passages in the Bible. This ambiguity is reflected in the differences in our English translations and in the huge number of different interpretations it has been given which correlate with the huge number of end time theologies. Most extraordinary is the extent to which each of us have held onto our particular view so strongly given the rather obvious ambiguity that is present.

Related to this and just as notable are the large number of commentaries on the book of Revelation which say little about their interpretation of the book of Daniel even though the bonding between these two books is so critical and the interpretation given is so tightly coupled to it.

Having said this, let’s now consider Daniel’s final vision to see why it can fulfil the role that the seventy sevens prophecy never could.

Firstly, it is written as a prophetic, historical narrative which is so accurate that many scholars believe it was written after the events described. It is therefore not written in hard to interpret symbolic, apocalyptic language and there are only small variations of interpretation right up until Daniel 11:35. This vision is not open to many plausible interpretations depending on interpretation principles as is the case with the other visions in Daniel and most of Revelation.

Second we note that the man in linen “came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come” (see Daniel 10:14). It is written so Daniel can understand what will happen to his people in the future. We should be able to as well and especially because we live after most of the history has already occurred.

Third, we note that it quickly surveys the period of the Persian Empire and then up to verse 35 covers in greater detail the period of the Greek Empire describing the various Ptolemaic kings (kings of the south) and Seleucid kings (kings of the north) which impacted Daniel’s people up until the Jews regained authority over Jerusalem by defeating the armies of Antiochus IV in 164 BC.

So in line with the purpose of this vision and the flow of the continuation of history our natural expectation of the next passage, Daniel 11:36-12:13, is that it would describe the rise and fall of the next empire to occupy Jerusalem, that is Rome. And that is precisely what it does. After searching through many books on Daniel, I was totally amazed that this option has never even been considered in the modern era and very rarely before that.

The criteria that we have applied to test this interpretation is that it must match history at least as well as the earlier description of the Greek Empire. This it does very well. The full detail of this is in a file available for download, but to give you a taste of this note the following

1. The king in Daniel 11:36 is the government of Rome. Daniel 11:36-39 describes the character of Rome in a remarkably elegant and precisely accurate way.

2. The rise and fall of the Empire is covered in Daniel 11:40-45. It is Jerusalem centric and only describes the history of Rome in Daniel’s known world which extends West to East from Greece to Persia and North to South from Turkey to the Sudan.

3. The history begins with Rome’s entry into the region with its war with the Seleucid Empire under Antiochus III. We can identify it with confidence because Antiochus III was the only major force outside of Rome which had a large navy and they engaged Rome in battle with navy and army from 192-188 BC. History tells us that Ptolemy V, the king of the south at that time, called to Rome for help against the king if the north because he was trying to capture land in the Aegean belonging to the Ptolemaic Kingdom. To accept this interpretation we have to realise that our English translators did not know the conflict that was being described and so assumed that the “king” fought against the “king of the south”, however the Hebrew text only says that the king engaged in battle with him which could equally be translated to mean that they fought on the same side against the king of the north.

4. With this interpretation of Daniel 11:40, Daniel’s perspective is that the “time of the end” starts with the Roman Empire. We must understand the book of Daniel from Daniel’s perspective for which these events are far in the future, not from our perspective today.

5. History tells us that after capturing Jerusalem in 63 BC, the Romans advanced against Petra, the capital of the Nabateans who were an Arab people who now occupied the region previously comprising Edom, Moab and Ammon in Daniel’s time. Rome accepted a bribe of 300 talents to withdraw from their attack and so fulfilled the prophecy in Daniel 11:41 precisely.

6. Daniel 11:44 describes in a very brief way the many battles Rome had to defend its Eastern and Northern provinces until it was eventually defeated by the northern tribes.

7. Daniel 12:1-4 gives us a description of the Jews persecution under Rome which is described as the worst until then. In allusion to these verses, Jesus says that the persecution of the Jews just before His return will be the worst until then, but will never be repeated (Matthew 24:21). There is a clue here that Jesus would have understood Daniel 12:1-4 as persecution by Rome, not at the end of the age.

These seven points give a taste of why this interpretation is so strong. In fact, every phrase can be shown to match history very well. Now let us see how this enables us to compute the length of the time, times and half a time.

Daniel 12:6-7 NIV
6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”

The question asked by the angel assumes that the start time for the period is Daniel’s now, that is the third year of Cyrus, about 535 BC. That would be the natural way to understand the question; why many assume it starts with the king in Daniel 11:36 makes little sense. The end point is when the power of the Jews is finally broken. In the context of this prophecy, this occurred when the Jews were scattered all over the Empire and lost control of Jerusalem. History reveals that after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD they made about 10 attempts to rebuild it. The last one was in cooperation with the Muslims about 638 AD when they captured Jerusalem. The final “nail in the coffin” which eliminated all possibility of rebuilding the temple was the construction of the “Dome of the Rock” on the Temple Mount which began in 688 AD. This matches the end of the prophecy described in Daniel 12:11. Thus the prophecies of the book of Daniel, whose first was given to Nebuchadnezzar in his second year of reign (603 BC) ends in 688 AD after 1290 years. The time, times and half a time which begins in 535 BC ends in 688 BC after 1222 years. This is very different from the 3½ years normally assumed, but is far more robust in its derivation.

It is but a short step from here to arrive at the conclusion that the little horn in Daniel 7 must be Muhammed, the founder and prophet of Islam.

If we know the book of Daniel, we will quickly make a connection between the time, times and half a time in Daniel 12:7 with the one in Daniel 7:25. The results are even more dramatic. If the king in Daniel 11:36 is Rome, we can be sure that the four empires described in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 and the vision in Daniel 7 are the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. Since the little horn in Daniel 7:8 who emerges from the Roman Empire also lasts for a time, times and half a time (TT½) as explained in Daniel 7:25 it cannot be the same period of time, it must be contiguous with the one in Daniel 12:7 and follow after it. When joined together they make a single longer period of seven, starting in 535 BC and still continuing today and with an abomination that causes desolation in the middle (Daniel 12:11-12).

The total period of time from these two TT½ must exceed 2,500 years as the end of the age has not yet come.

The astute student of the word of God will also see that the two TT½’s matches the final seven in Daniel 9:26-27. It contains two contiguous three and one halves with an “abomination that causes desolation” in the middle. However, this is not seven years, but more than 2,500 years.

All of Daniel’s visions focus on God’s people and centre on Jerusalem. The four empires he describes in Daniel 2 and 7 are all empires which had authority over Jerusalem and interestingly each of the founders of these empires is explicitly identified. So the question must be asked, which empire has controlled Jerusalem for most of the time after the Roman Empire and who was its founder?. The answer is clear, the Islamic kingdom. The little horn in Daniel 7 must therefore be Muhammad, the prophet and founder of the Islamic kingdom.

The revived Roman Empire promoted by some must be the Islamic Kingdom

The Three and a Half Years Part 2

This post examines the second crucial, fundamental assumption which underpins much end time theology. It is particularly targeted to Christians with an interest in end times theology. This post examines the basis for concluding that the time, times and half a time in Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 12:14 is 3½ years. It is expected that the conclusions will generate some strong resistance, but I implore you to examine the interpretation very carefully so that we engage in fruitful debate at the deepest level in order to establish the truth.

What is the reason for taking the time, times and half a time (in future abbreviated TT½) in Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 12:14 as 3½ years? We believe that this assumption cannot be adequately supported from the Bible and it is a (perhaps the) primary reason for end time theological confusion.

We discover that it relies on a chain of linked time periods incorporating the 42 months in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5, the 1260 days in Revelation 11:3 and 12:6, the TT½ in Revelation 12:14, the two TT½ in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7 and the first or second half of the final seven in Daniel 9:27. The assumed common identity and literalness of these time periods is used to derive the conclusion that this length is 3½ years. For many, this is also the primary basis through which the prophecies in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation are linked which leads to specific, crucial time elements being imparted to the book of Revelation.

Since the interpretation of this time chain and its validity is so crucial to a large percentage of end time views, it is vital that it is very carefully and thoroughly checked. From an analysis of most commentaries, this is rarely if ever done and is therefore a major hermeneutical weakness in these works. Usually, the time chain is only cursorily checked and few of the links are thoroughly examined. Many just assume that the work of a previous scholar is valid and consequently they rarely check the assumption thoroughly for themselves.

Let’s draw a diagram of this time chain whose sequence reflects the usual way in which the links are inferred. The biblical references are shown underneath. The abbreviations are D = Daniel, R = Revelation, d = days, m = months, y = years and TT½ is the time, times and half a time.

TT½ -> 1260d -> 1260d –> 42m (=3½y) -> 42m -> TT½ -> TT½ -> 3½y
R12:14-> R12:6-> R11:3-> R11:2-> R13:5-> D7:25-> D12:7-> D9:27

The way this typically works is that firstly, the assumed common identity of Revelation 12:14 and 12:6 is used to establish that the TT½ is 1260 days. Then secondly, it is assumed that the two periods of 1260 days are the same. Then thirdly, the assumed common identity of the 42 months and the 1260 days in Revelation 11:2 and 3 is used to establish that the 1260 days is 3½ years. Fourthly, it is assumed that the 42 months in Revelation 13:5 must be this same period of time as the 42 months in Revelation 11:2 and therefore 3½ years as well. Fifthly, it is assumed that the TT½’s in Revelation and Daniel are all the same period of time which must then be 3½ years in length. Finally, this is equated to the (usually) final 3½ years in the final seven of the seventy sevens prophecy whose length of time was independently asserted from the interpretation of that prophecy (this was examined in Part 1 of this post).

Notice how this chain has 8 nodes and 7 links. If at any point the chain should be broken through an invalid assumption or the chain weakened through an unproven or doubtful assumption, then the overall interpretation will be damaged. In this way, the time chain should be seen to be fragile. Note that not all end time interpretations necessarily require all the 8 nodes.

Let us now examine these assumptions.

Firstly, is the 1260 days in Revelation 12:6 the same period of time as the TT½ in Revelation 12:14?

In Revelation 12:6 the woman flees, but why she flees is not explained and the focus of verse 6 is on the woman being “taken care of”. The Greek word used which occurs eight times focuses on the idea of feeding, nourishing and bringing up, but excludes the thought of protection from an enemy. Thus the focus of the 1260 days is nurture, not protection.

There are important similarities between the description of the woman fleeing into the wilderness to a place prepared for her and being nourished there in Revelation 12:6 and 12:14. For this reason, many scholars take the 1260 days and the TT½ as the same period of time. However, there are also important differences in the second passage reflected in all of Revelation 12;13-16 and these must be taken into account when making this assessment. Overall, it is apparent that the focus of the first passage is on nurture in the wilderness, whereas the focus in the second is protection from the direct attacks of the dragon and the indirect attacks of the serpent.

In Revelation 12:13, the woman is pursued, and by implication persecuted, by the dragon with the clear intention of destroying her. This would explain why she flees in Revelation 12:6. Then we are told in Revelation 12:14 that the woman is given the two wings of a great eagle and so is given help in her flight whereas in Revelation 12:6 no help is identified. Next, in Revelation 12:14 we are informed that she is carried to a place of refuge in the wilderness where she will be taken care of for a period of TT½. An important difference between Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 12:14 is that this place in the wilderness is “out of sight of the serpent”. It is quite curious that the identity of the woman’s aggressor changes from the “dragon” to the “serpent” although the same person is clearly in mind. Then we see that because the woman is out of sight, the serpent has to adopt a different “catch all” strategy to attack the woman as direct attack is not possible. So the serpent pours rivers of water out of his mouth to sweep her away. To understand this we need to recall the rivers of living water that flow from God’s throne as a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit. Here, the serpent’s counterfeit spiritual attack is designed as a catch all strategy to destroy the woman, much like Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus by killing all the babies less than two years old. The reason this attack fails is that “the earth swallowed the river”. We need to consider the vision picture here and we suggest that the reason the attack fails is that the “woman” is scattered over a large region implying that the woman is symbolic of a large group of people not a single individual.

The change of identity of Satan from being a “dragon” to be being a “serpent” reflects the different strategy needed to destroy the woman. As a dragon, the attack is direct and violent; as a serpent, the attack is subtle and deceptive.

So the focus on Revelation 12:13-16 is on Satan’s attempts to destroy the woman and the protection given to save her in the wilderness. This contrasts with Revelation 12:6 where the focus is on nourishing the woman in the wilderness. So what we must observe is that the period of 1260 days is related to the nourishment given to the woman at her location in the wilderness, whereas the TT½ is related to the protection given to the woman in the wilderness. The role of nourishment for 1260 days is replaced by the role of protection for a period of TT½.

When we examine the TT½ in Daniel 7:25 we see that the aggression of the little horn continues right up until the end of the age and so the protection of the woman must continue right up to the end as well. In contrast, when we examine the 1260 days in Revelation 11 it becomes apparent that there are events that follow after the end of the 1260 days before the end of the age. The TT½ must therefore be longer than the 1260 days. Although some may argue that the word translated “taken care of” in Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 12:14 means the same and therefore implies the period of time is the same length, a better explanation is provided if we include the wider context of Revelation 11 and Daniel 7 and recognise that the TT½ starts at the same time, but extends beyond the end of the 1260 days right to the end of the age.

Secondly, why does John make a distinction between the 1260 days and the 42 months?

This question is especially relevant if both are the same period of time. In my recollection, this question has not been examined, but the answer is obvious from the text. The 42 months is a period when Jerusalem is under the authority of her people’s enemies. The 1260 days is a period when the two witnesses are prophesying clothed in sackcloth and the woman has fled into the wilderness and so does not have a home so it has to do with actions of God’s people. Given that the two contexts are different, the onus is on the scholar to prove that they are the same; it cannot be assumed.

This conclusion is further reinforced when we recognise that under the Julian Calendar that was in use in John’s days, 42 months is equivalent to 1279 days if rounded up. If these periods are interpreted literally, they cannot be the same either. To overcome this, it is often taken that the 1260 days is 3½ years of 360 days (sometimes called a prophetic year) which can be shown to be valid in the days of Noah and probably in the days of Moses too. However, by the time of Daniel all countries in Mesopotamia were using calendars that recognised that a year was longer than 360 days. It is therefore highly doubtful that a 360 day year can be used literally although it might be used symbolically.

Thirdly, are the two periods of 1260 days the same?

Since the contexts of the two uses of this period of time are very similar, it is reasonable to assume that they are the same.

Fourthly, are the two periods of 42 months the same?

Since the contexts of the two uses of this period of time are very similar, it is reasonable to assume that they are the same.

Fifthly, is the 1260 days in Revelation 11:3 the same period of time as the 42 months in Revelation 11:2?

Since the descriptions are different, the contexts are different and the numbers expressing the length of time are different, the most natural assumption is to assume they are different. Although the two lengths are nearly the same, they are literally about 19 days different. A full explanation of this difference is necessary to be sure of any conclusion that we arrive at. This has rarely, if ever been done.

Our conviction is that the only possible conclusion that unifies the whole word of God is that these two periods are 3½ years symbolically, but something else literally.

Sixthly, are all the periods of TT½ the same?

If we allow the presence of the same numbers to determine our end time theology, this is like the “tail wagging the dog”. The presence of the same phrase does not prove they are the same period of time especially if the phrase is symbolic and since the context surrounding each use is so different, we need to have solid grounds for saying they are the same. To my knowledge, this has not been done.

The weight of textual evidence using sound interpretation principles strongly suggests that the TT½ in Daniel 12:7 begins at the time Daniel received this final vision, that is in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia which is about 535 BC. The question that is asked in Daniel 12:6 is “How long shall it be until the end of these wonders?”. The normal, natural meaning of this question is that the starting time for the period is Daniel’s now which is the third year of Cyrus, not when the king appears on the scene in Daniel 11:36.

It also strongly suggests that the TT½ in Daniel 7:25 begins when the little horn emerges out of Rome. Whatever interpretation you give to the little horn, the two TT½ cannot be the same. To conclude that the two TT½ are the same the validity of the time chain must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Seventhly, is the final period of seven in the seventy sevens prophecy a period of seven years so that the events that occur in the middle of that seven split it into two periods of 3½ years?

The argument given in Part 1 of this post strongly suggest that the periods of seven are either symbolic or determined from the context of the interpretation. We cannot without further evidence conclude that the final seven is a period of seven years.

Many other scholars, who interpret Revelation symbolically, still see these time periods as being the same length of time, but frequently interpret the period to be actually the whole or most of the church age. However, these scholars rarely debate the reason why John uses 1260 days in one place, 42 months in another and why Daniel and John use a time, times and half a time. If indeed John has written under the inspiration of the Lord with precision, the failure to explain these differences is a weakness in the interpretation.

In conclusion, it is very doubtful that we can validly conclude from intensive Bible study that the periods of seven in the seventy sevens prophecy are periods of years and the time, times and half a time is 3½ years. This means that substantial components of most end time theologies are in error and most certainly cannot be asserted with any degree of confidence. Accepting this conclusion will most definitely lead to the removal of much confusion and steer us to a much more accurate end time theology.

I do expect some strong emotional reactions to what has been written here. From my perspective what has been written is motivated by a strong desire to know God and a love for the truth reflected in my convictions that the word of God is accurate. I believe the truth is knowable so that the end time confusion reflects the fact that up until now there is so much confusion. Current end time theologies must to some extent be in error, because they neither unify the word of God nor do they bring unity to the world wide church.