One of the keys to interpreting prophecy is to find definite ‘markers’ – people, places and times that are known as obvious facts. Then, you work either backwards or forwards in time to try and fix the other dates, places or people. Of course, as Daniel was given words about the far future, he could not possibly do this. But, we can, after the events… unless the events have yet to come.
In this chapter, does verse one refer to the end of all time, or to the end of Jerusalem in 70 AD? It seems to refer to the end of time, because it says saved Jews will be delivered: “Every one that shall be found written in the book”. (Others say differently).
Verse two appears to refer to the end of time. So, does the “time of the end” in verse 4 mean the end of time? Yes, it does. Thus we have an historical landmark for our prophecy. Everything else must fit before or after this landmark.
Verse 11 then gives us a time scale: from the “abomination that maketh desolate” will be 1,290 days. If days are counted in years, as in other prophecies, then this means 1,290 years from the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD. However, verse 12 speaks of blessings for those who wait for 1,335 days, or, if we are right, 1,335 years.
As usual, we will let scripture speak for itself.
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Michael (‘who is like God’), the archangel who helps Israel at times of trouble, “standeth for the children of thy people”. (Some interpret him as Jesus Christ). To ‘stand up’ is to appear and hold his ground on behalf of the people. He will be present because there would be a “time of trouble”. Now, this is linked immediately to “such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time”. This is very much like Matthew 24:21, referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel in 70 AD. So, is this statement also referring to 70 AD and its accompanying seven-year war by Rome?
It does not appear to be so, because the end of verse one talks about some Jews being “delivered” or saved. This applies to “every one that shall be found written in the book”. There is an argument for this applying to both the fall of Jerusalem and the end of time.
The word “delivered”, malat, is very similar to the New Testament Greek, sozo. The ‘book’, cepher, means – a book. ‘Book’ can have one of several meanings, but the most likely is the ‘record book of God’ or ‘God’s index of the living’… in the New Testament called the ‘Book of Life’, containing the names of all who are predestinated and saved. If it means this, then it is another proof that ancient Hebrews were saved just the same as post-resurrection Christians. That is, the ‘Church’ is one, covering all of history.
Verse 2 says: “And many of them that sleep… shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame (and) everlasting contempt.” Again, this appears to correlate with New Testament statements about the end of time and judgment day. Now, we know that no man shall be raised from the dead until the end of time, but some interpret this as meaning the Jews that came to (spiritual) life after Christ appeared on earth as Saviour, saving those Jews who were elect.
There is also mention of the ‘wise’ who will be radiant on that day, and of preachers of the Lord, who will be “as stars for ever and ever”. This again appears to reinforce the idea that we are talking about the end of time and judgment day.
Christ/Gabriel then told Daniel to “shut up the words”. He was to stop writing and “seal the book, (even) to the time of the end”. His job was done. Now he must forget it, because it would all unfold in due time. Then, he is told that “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” This phrase is odd and difficult to understand. Some say it refers to the way Christians looked hard and long at available testimonies and writings, after the fall of Jerusalem, collated scriptures, and then presented the bible to the world. Maybe. It may even refer to false knowledge accrued by those who run to and fro pretending to be genuine! There is no real way to give a final answer, though the first one is very attractive. It may even refer to the actual end of time, when there would be many apostates, but the few who are genuine will spread the truth and real knowledge of God. From what I can discern, no man can precisely fix the meaning or the dates.
Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.
And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
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 an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
Daniel then looked towards the river and saw two man-like persons. One stood closer to him on the riverbank; the other stood on the far bank, across the river. One talked to the man dressed in white linen (Who I assume to be Christ), and asked ‘When will these prophecies come to pass?’
What does Daniel mean by “other” two? Does he mean another two persons besides the two he already had been speaking with (so four were there at the same time)? Or does he mean two new persons, the other two having gone? ‘Other’, ‘acher, can mean another, or different, or following. That is, these two followed the other two in time. But, there is no statement to say the other two had gone! However, it does not affect the gist.
Christ/Gabriel held up both his hands to the sky/heaven, pointing. He then replied, giving the assurance of “him that liveth for ever” (God): “It shall be for a time, times, and an half”. Then, when God had finished scattering the people of Israel, the time of the prophecies would come to an end. The scattering of Israel took place about 70 AD, so perhaps this prophecy does indeed refer to that time, and not the final end of time!
We need to know if ‘the end of time’ is exactly the same as the ‘time of the end’. The end of time seems rather specific. But the ‘time of the end’ could mean the time when there is an end to a particular phase or period… which itself could be the end of time!
The time spoken of: “time, times and half a time” mean one year, plus two years, plus half a year; three and a half years total, to come to the end of the prophesied period.
And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
Daniel then admitted what many Christians do not – he did not understand what was said to him. Too many Christians think, or pretend, they know every answer to this Book. But, they do not. Daniel himself did not understand, and though I have the text, and the benefit (or not) of many ideas concerning this Book, I am still ‘vague’ at some points! The majority of ideas I read are far-fetched or have dubious meanings. It is better to admit ignorance than to jump to conclusions.
Daniel asked Christ “What (shall be) the end of these (things)?” This is more complex than asking ‘when’ the end shall be. Daniel wanted to know not just when, but how these things will occur. He was told that the issue was closed until the “time of the end”. Not even a Daniel can cause God to speak! Yet, today, many false Christians, mainly charismatics, pretend to know God and to call Him into their service any time they wish! (As do Catholic priests in Mass).
This statement by Christ also tells us that the issue spoken of was ‘sealed’, meaning that no man could alter the course of history planned by God. We can oppose evil and fight wicked men, but if they act because it is God’s will, nothing will stop them, not even the most devout of prayers and tears. We must stand for the truth, but we cannot alter what will be.
Christ told Daniel something he must have known previously, that “Many shall be purified”…meaning be saved, but “the wicked shall do wickedly”. Even in the midst of great glory and salvation, wickedness will abound. We see the latter today, in great profusion. But, we see little of the first. It is often thought that if we double our efforts to reach the lost, that double the number will be saved. But, there is no direct link between our efforts and the number saved. This is because the number is already decided, chosen before time began. We cannot alter that number by any means. Yet, we must preach and witness as ever before. In all this, only those who are elect will understand.
Verse 11 appears to talk about the period after the fall of Jerusalem. This was when “the daily (sacrifice)… (was) taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate (occurred).” From that time, 70 AD, there would be “1,290 days”, or, if we substitute actual time for prophetic time, 1,290 years. Intriguingly, we are then told “Blessed (is) he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” That is, 1,335 years. The meaning of this is not obvious to me.
The word ‘waiteth’ appears to say there is a choice. It can mean to wait or to long for something. Daniel is simply told to go away: he would ‘rest’ or die and wait in paradise, until the ‘end of days’ or end of time. Then, he would understand fully.
Some will be disappointed that I have not come to firm conclusions at certain points. It would be very easy to give you my opinions, but opinion does not count when teaching God’s word! If I do not know or I am unsure I would prefer to say so, rather than mislead the reader. In this chapter I really do not know the true meaning of the times given in verses 11 and 12. There are many ‘interpretations’ but I cannot concur with them, because they do not seem appropriate.
© January 2010
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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