Question from a commentary on an article
… A gap in this theory is that you understand 1260 days literally, whereas Daniel 9:27 should be understood by the principle a day for a year.
This subjected can be discussed a lot, but I would like to start with the words of apostle Paul from his second letter addressed to Christians of his time, to protect them from false teachers “who will secretly introduce destructive heresies”:
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention to as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:19-21)
What I wanted you to pay attention to is that all the books from the Bible have a single author, even if they were written by different people. In other words, even if the book of Daniel and Revelation were written by different people and at a great time lapse (around 600 years), the author of these books is still the only God.
I want to start my article with the gaps of the theory “a year for a day” and then I will provide you a few arguments which will show you that those 1260 days of which the book of Revelation talks about must be understood literally.
The gaps of the theory “a year for a day”
Not to mention too many details I want to mention that this theory is shared by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and by the Adventists (Seventh Day Saints). I was truly surprised by the reason for which Jehovah’s Witnesses share this theory, because their teaching is not based upon the text of Daniel 9, but on the text of Daniel 4 and primarily upon king Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the tree. Here is a sequence from an article which presents the way of thinking which lead to such an understanding.
“Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” (interpretation: 1 day= 1 year; 1260 days= 1260 years).
“But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” (interpretation: 1+2+1/2=3.5 times= 1260 years).
The tree that you saw, which became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth and whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt and in whose branches the birds of the sky lodged— it is you, O king; for you have become great and grown strong, and your majesty has become great and reached to the sky and your dominion to the end of the earth. In that the king saw an angelic watcher, a holy one, descending from heaven and saying, “Chop down the tree and destroy it; yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, but with a band of iron and bronze around it in the new grass of the field, and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass over him,” this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes. And in that it was commanded to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules. Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’ (interpretation: 7 times = 2 ×3,5 times = 2 ×1260 years= 2520 years).
Following the order of these ideas, Jehovah’s Witnesses, namely their leader Charles Russel calculated that the coming of our Lord Jesus would be in 1914, which didn’t happen.
These ideas surprised me a lot, having considered the fact that the vision about the tree in Daniel 4 is a prophesy regarding king Nebuchadnezzar which has been fulfilled right then upon the king:
All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’ Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Daniel 4:28-37)
The text clearly presents that those 7 times were appointed upon king Nebuchadnezzar and were fulfilled a year after he had the vision.
Proofs that those 1260 days in Revelation 12 must be understood literally
I. If the verse 27 of Daniel 9 should be interpreted according to the principle a year for a day (a week= 7 years= 2520 days= 2520 years), then the whole period of 70 weeks will be equal to 176 400 years (a hundred seventy-six thousands four hundred days).
If we speak about the prophesy from Daniel 9:27 we must consider this verse in its context. In chapter 9 Daniel prays for the Temple from Jerusalem, for the fortress of Jerusalem and for the people of Israel:
Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. (Daniel 9:24)
Therefore, this vision only includes the people of Israel and the fortress of Jerusalem as proof that God did not abandon Israel as a nation. Moreover, in this vision Daniel was given some time clues: when this period of time begins and when it ends. Regarding the due time (up until it is established) there are no contradictions: everybody agrees that it is about the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishing of God’s Kingdom. The moment when this period starts serves as a problem to many. God’s word gives us a clear clue at which point we should start to calculate the time of fulfillment of this vision: since the issuing of a decree to rebuild Jerusalem (not the Temple of Jerusalem), an event that took place in the twentieth year of the king Artaxerxes, in the month of Nisan, meaning the year 445 BC.
So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. (Daniel 9:25)
In Daniel 9:24-27 neither the notion of days nor the notion of years is mentioned, only the 70 weeks are mentioned, meaning 7 times 70 time units, which makes 490 time units. If we counted these units as years we would have 490 years. If we turned all these years (not only the last 7 in verse 27) we get a number of 176 400 days. If we follow the principle a year for a day then the prophesy of Daniel 9:24-27 would cover a period of time of 176 400 years, because we cannot interpret a part of the prophesy literally and another part of it symbolically.
II. The prophesy of Daniel 9:24-27 interpreted in the context of the whole Scripture reveals us that a time unit from this text equals to 360 days, almost a calendar year. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_year)
We also find out about the second half of the last week (the 70th) described in Daniel 9:27 in Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:6, 14 and 13:5. In Daniel 7:25 this period of time is said to be “a time and a half of time”.
He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)
…but in Revelation 12:6 and 14 we are shown that this period of time consists of 1260 days:
Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Revelation 12:6)
But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
Thus, if three times and a half consists of 1260 days, then “a time” consists of 360 days, which is almost a calendar year. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_year ) Therefore, we understand that those 70 weeks are 490 time units that equal to 360 days each.
This means that 7 weeks and another 62 (meaning 69 weeks; 69×7=483 time units) would have to pass since the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (445 year BC) until the Messiah will be cut off.
So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:25-26)
Jesus Christ who entered Jerusalem as King 5 days before Easter was crucified (cut off) on the day of Easter, this having happened between 30th -33rd years AD. Calculating 483 time units by 360 days we reach a period of 476 calendar years. Calculating since 445 BC this period of 69 weeks ended in 31st year AD.
I recommend you to study the course Revelation (consisting of 4 parts) and Daniel in order to better understand this subject.
Translated by: Jessica Filat