Time, Times, and Dividing of Times
expressed period of time is recorded in the book of Daniel—time, times
and the dividing of time. We have deliberately passed over, for the
moment, the other criteria which provide evidence of the identity of the
little horn. These will not be forgotten as we turn our attention in
subsequent chapters to the first of the two beasts signified in the
title of this work.
There is something about this period of the rule of
the little horn which impels us to discover its precise value and
discern its magnitude in terms of time periods we understand today.
Since we are examining a period of time expressed in Biblical terms we
are compelled to seek its meaning within the Bible itself, lest we make
a foray into human speculation and end in a morass of error.
First we cite the definition of time as used in the
Book of Daniel as found in the Complete Oxford Dictionary. The
twelve volumes of this dictionary provide an English vocabulary of
gigantic proportions. Most of us are content to express ourselves in far
fewer words. The definition provided in this comprehensive dictionary of
the term "time" in Daniel 7 and Daniel 12, is, "A space of time
generally understood to mean a year." If this definition be correct,
then a time would equal one year. But we are left, by the indefinite
nature of the terms "times" and "the dividing of time" without certainty
concerning the period of time they represent. Certainly we may assume
that "times" means more than one year and "the dividing of time" would
signify a fraction of a year, but here we are left to conjecture.
The Book of Daniel itself does confirm the fact that
the Complete Oxford Dictionary is correct in assigning the period
of one year to the Biblical term "time." In Daniel chapter 4, King
Nebuchadnezzar, writing of the seven-year period of insanity which
overtook him, claimed that Daniel, interpreting his troubling dream, had
They shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling
shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat
grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and
seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High
ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
The same period is referred to in identical terms in
verses 16 and 23 of the same chapter.
We quote this period as cited in Daniel 7 in its
And he shall speak great words against the most
High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to
change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a
time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 7:25)
This is the lone text of Scripture which uses this
terminology. But we are fortunate that the same period is specified in
similar terms in two other Scriptural passages.
And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was
upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his
left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it
shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have
accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things
shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)
And to the woman were given two wings of a great
eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where
she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face
of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
These passages provide an answer to the exact
fraction of a year, accepting the Complete Oxford Dictionary to
be correct, of the term, "the dividing of time." It is one-half year, a
period of six months.
We now turn to solve the mystery of "times." Here
again the Word of God comes to our assistance. In the parallel prophecy
of the first beast of Revelation 13, a new term is introduced. This is a
great step toward solving the second term, times, in the period
provided in Daniel 7:25. This verse in Revelation chapter 13 provides a
parallel criterion of that in Daniel 7:25, as do the two succeeding
verses. Thus we will quote all three verses.
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great
things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty
and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to
blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome
them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and
nations. (Revelation 13:5—7)
We are compelled to compare the amazing similarity of
the identifying features of the little horn of Daniel 7:25 and the first
beast of Revelation 13:5—7.
1. Speak great words against the Most High
2. Wear out the saints of the Most High.
3. Change times and laws.
4. Rule for time, times and the dividing of times (42
prophetic months or 1260 prophetic days)
1. A mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.
(verses 5, 6)
2. Made war on the saints (verse 7)
4. Continue 42 months (verse 5)
Criteria 1, 2 and 4 of the little horn of Daniel 7
are precisely represented in the criteria of the first beast of
Revelation 13. This is the reason the Protestant Reformers recognized
these two Biblical symbols to be representative of the same power. The
42-prophetic-month/1260-prophetic-day period, as we shall demonstrate,
represents 1260 years of rulership. Only one power in history has
possessed an empire which ruled for such a period.
This feature is crucial to identification of this
power. In medicine a symptom or sign which occurs in one specific
disease and none other is termed pathognomonic. By this is meant that
when that symptom or sign is present it indicates the presence of one
disease and none other. The 1260-year rule of the little horn (first
beast of Revelation 13) is "pathognomonic" of one power alone.
Here the prophet explains that the term, a time, and
times and half a time, which he has used in the previous chapter
(Revelation 12:14) also equals 42 months. But the mystery deepens. How
long is this month? Our months range from twenty-eight to thirty-one
days in length. To discover the length of 42 months using our current
calendar we would need to determine the starting and ending points of
the period, for our half-years are unequal in length. Usually there are
181 days in the first six months and 184 in the second. Further, we
would, if precision is sought, need to determine if a leap year is
involved, for that would increase the number of days in the first half
of the year to 182.
Or are we dealing with lunar months—the period of
time it takes for the moon to orbit our earth—29.53 days?
All these questions need to be settled if we are to
fix upon a precise period. Most helpfully, once more Scripture comes to
our rescue. The period 42 months is also set forth in a previous chapter
of the book of Revelation.
But the court which is without the temple leave
out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the
holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
In the following verse the prophet provides this
period in terms of days.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and
they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days,
clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
The same numeration is utilized in the following
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she
hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a
thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Revelation 12:6)
Since a score is twenty, the 42 months equals a span
of 1,260 days. A simple division of 1,260 days by the divisor, 42,
provides the answer. The result is, precisely thirty days per month.