Author: Ron Graham
The Many Days of Daniel
—1290, 1335, 1260 days
We continue to look at the symbolic time spans in vision and prophecy, especially at the phrase "a time, times, and half a time". In this lesson, we focus on the numbers of days that we find in Daniel’s prophecies.
In the Bible's presentation of tribulation and the antichrist, I believe there are two elements woven together.
- A general world view. The Bible describes a wicked world, exemplified by, but not unique to, the Roman worldwide empire which was the crucible of Christianity. This view addresses "the world forces of this darkness" which have polluted the whole world with wickedness throughout history (Ephesians 6:12).
- A particular personal view. Our own individual lives are a microcosm of that world problem. Within prophecy and vision we see our own personal experience portrayed, not just the broad sweep of world history. Unfortunately, this personal focus has been lost in popular interpretation of prophecy and vision. People's attention has been distracted toward supposed future world scenarios. People need instead to focus on their own personal struggle with Satan, through the power of Christ operating in their own daily lives.
Let me suggest an interpretation of the days at the end of Daniel (Daniel 12:7-13) which follows this line of thought and sees in these symbolic days not only the broad world view, but also sees oneself and one's own lifetime represented.
1 The Dividing of Days
The 1290 days (Daniel 12:11) and the 1335 days (Daniel 12:12) are combinations of "a time, times, and half a time" (Daniel 12:7).
Let us take each number of days as composed of two elements
First element: 1260 days (convert to three-and-a-half symbolic years —360 symbolic days to a year).
Second element: A remainder of days (convert to symbolic months —30 symbolic days to a month).
Consider the second element in each case. From the number 1290, we have a remainder of 30 days (1290-1260=30). This is one symbolic month. From the number 1335 we have a remainder of 75 days (1335-1260=75). This is two months and half a month (75 is 2 times 30 plus a half of 30, ie 60+15=75).
2 The Burden of Months
So the remainder of 1290 is one month, the remainder of 1335 is two months and half a month. This is a time, times, and half a time in symbolic months, just as the original element in the numbers was a time, times, and half a time in symbolic years.
I don't regard the two numbers of days as separate periods but as one period of 1260 days with a burden added. In the first instance (1290) there is a burden of one month added, whilst in the second instance (1335) there is added a greater burden of of two months, then a lesser burden of half a month.
3 The Symbol of Self
We can think of the symbolic years as representing the world, whilst the symbolic months represent our individual lives. Daniel is seeking knowledge of the world, but the angel turns Daniel’s attention to himself and his own lifetime: "As for you, go your way to the end, then you will enter into rest and rise again for your alotted portion at the end of the days" (Daniel 12:13).
Each of us, like Daniel, has an interest and a place in world history and in the world future. But we don't live in history nor in the future but in the present. World history and the world future are symbolically represented as 1260 days or a time, times and half a time in symbolic years. Our own personal lifetime is symbolically represented as 30 days or a "time" in symbolic months.
Essentially this means a time of tribulation. In our lifetime, as a child of God, we will suffer. It may even be that we suffer double trouble (two months or two "times") but God helps us along the way and he makes the seem like "half a time" (half a symbolic month).
These symbolic times are an encouragement to us. In times of tribulation God will not forsake us. He will effectively halve our troubles even though the world may double them.