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Chapter 7

Time, Times, and Dividing of Times

 

A curiously 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 stated,

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. (Daniel 4:25)

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 Biblical setting.

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.

Daniel 7:25

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)

Revelation 13:5–7

1. A mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. (verses 5, 6)

2. Made war on the saints (verse 7)

3. --------------

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. (Revelation 11:2)

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 chapter.

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.

 

 

 


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