The Prophetic Time Period of 1260 years
Next, we need to review the time period referred to as “a thousand two hundred and three score days” which is referred to in three forms in the books of Daniel and Revelation, as follows:
As “a thousand two hundred and three score days,” — Rev. 11:3; 12: 6.
As “42 months.” —Rev. 11:2 and 13: 5.
As “three and a half times.” — Dan. 7: 25 and 12: 7, and Rev. 12: 14.
All refer to the same prophetic period of time and can easily be calculated based on the following: A “time” is a year (see Dan. 11: 13, marginal reading). One year has 12 months, and a Biblical month has only 30 days. Thus:
1 year of 12 months at 30 days/month 360 days
3 1/2 years or “times” of 360 days 1, 260 days
42 months of 30 days/month 1, 260 days
That the Biblical month has 30 days is demonstrated in the following, based on the account of Noah’s Flood Genesis chapters 7 and 8:
- The Flood came on the 17th day of the second month. Gen. 7:11.
- The Flood continued for 5 months—from second to the seventh month.
- The waters subsided on the 17th day of the seventh month. Gen. 8: 4.
- Gen. 7: 24 says that “the waters prevailed upon the face of the earth a hundred and fifty days.” We have 5 months a given above—from the 17th day of the second month to the 17th day of the seventh month. Hence, we have 5 months equaling 150 days,– or 30 days to a Biblical month.
Thus we have a definite metric for calculating all prophetic time periods based on a prophetic day equals a year of 360 days of ordinary time. This is further proved in two Scriptures: Numbers 14: 34 and Ezekiel 4: 6.
The Daily Sacrifice, and the “Trangression of Desolation
Abomination that Maketh Desolate.”
Next, we have to determine as to who or what the “daily sacrifice” and “the abomination
that maketh desolate” refers to, as there can only be one explanation; Otherwise there
will be confusion. Some Adventist expositors believe like others in the Christian main
Once more: the word sacrifice after “the daily” is italicized in the Authorized Version (King James) by the translators, meaning, “it was supplied by man’s wisdom and does not belong to the text” (E.G. White, Early Writings, pp. 74-75). James White rendered it strongly when he wrote:
“The daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation represents Rome, in its pagan and papal forms. . . . There are the two powers that have desolated God’s people.” – Bible Adventism or Sermons on the Coming Kingdom.”
The word daily is the Hebrew tamiyd, meaning, “to stretch continually.” While the persecution of the early Christians by the emperors of pagan Rome was a “stretching continually,” daily, it paled in comparison with the horrors implemented by the papacy when it succeeded the Roman emperors, which persisted for nearly a thousand years ending only in 1798.
The Bible scholar and longest-tenured editor of the Review & Herald, Uriah Smith, concurs with other Biblical expositors as well as E.G. White and James White as to who or what the daily refers to. We will quote quite extensively from his book, Daniel and the Revelation, as appears with quotes (emphasis mine):
Verse 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
“The Time in the Prophecy. — These two verses of Daniel 8 close the vision proper. They introduce the one remaining point which of all others would naturally be of most absorbing interest to the prophet and to the church, namely, the length of time the desolating powers previously brought to view were to continue. How long shall they continue their course of oppression against God’s people? If time had been given, Daniel might have asked this question himself, but God ever anticipates our desires, and sometimes answers them before we ask.
“Two celestial beings converse upon this subject. This is an important matter which the church should understand well. Daniel heard one saint speaking. What this saint said, we are not informed. But another saint asked an important question: ‘How long shall be the vision?’ Both the question and the answer are placed upon record, which is prima facie evidence that this is a matter which the church should understand. This view is further confirmed by the fact that the answer was addressed to Daniel, as the one whom it chiefly concerned, and for whose information it was given.” – D & R, p. 162.
“Is it 2300 Days? or 24oo Days?. — “The angel declared, “Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ The question may be raised, Why does the Vatican edition of the Septuagint (LXX) render this number ‘twenty-four hundred days’? On this point S. P. Tregelles writes:
“Some writers on prophecy have, in their explanations of interpretations of this vision, adopted the reading, ‘two thousand and four hundred days;’ and in vindication of it, they have referred to the common copies of the LXX version. In this book, however, the translation of Theodotion* has been long substituted for the real LXX: and further, although ‘two thousand four hundred’ is found in the common printed Greek copies, that is merely an erratum made in printing the Vatican edition in 1586, which has been habitually perpetrated. I looked (in 1845) at the passage in the Vatican MS., which the Roman editions professedly followed, and it reads exactly the same as the Hebrew text [‘twenty three hundred days’]; so does also the real LXX of Daniel. (So too Cardinal Mai’s edition from the Vatican MS. which appeared in 1857)’ – S. P. Tregelles, Remarks in the Prophetic Visions in the in the Book of Daniel, p. 89, footnote.”
“Further substantiating the veracity of the 2300-day period, we quote the following:
“The edition of the Greek Bible which is commonly used, is printed, as you will find it stated in Prideaux and Horne, not after that of the 70 [LXX], but after that of Theodotion, made about the end of the second century. There are three principal standard editions of the Septuagint Bible, all containing the version of Daniel by Theodotion; viz., the Complutensian, published in 1514; the Aldine, 1518; and the Vatican, 1587, from which the last English editions of the 70 have been chiefly taken; to these three we may add a fourth, being that of the Alexandrian text, published between 1707 and 1720.
Beside these, there is one called the Chisian, 1772, which contains the Greek text both of Theodotion and the 70. Of all these six copies the Vatican alone reads 2400, all the rest agreeing with the Hebrew and our English Bibles. Moreover, the manuscript itself, in the Vatican, from which the edition was printed, has 2300, and not 2400, and therefore it is indisputable that the number 2400 is nothing but a misprint.’”- Dialogue on Prophecy, Vol. I, pp. 326, 327.
“These quotations show clearly that no confidence whatever can be placed in this rendering of the Vatican edition of the Septuagint.’”- D & R, pp. 163, 164.
“What is the Daily?—We have proof in verse 13 that ‘sacrifice’ is the wrong word to be supplied in connection with the word ‘daily.’ If the taking away of the daily sacrifice of the Jewish service is here meant, as some suppose (which sacrifice was at a certain point of time taken away), there would be no propriety in the question, How long shall be the vision concerning it? This question evidently implies that those agents and events to which the vision relates occupy a series of years. Continuance of time is the central idea. The whole time of the vision is filled by what is here called the ‘daily’ and the ‘transgression of desolation.’ Hence the daily cannot be the daily sacrifice of the Jews, for when the time came for it to be taken away, that action occupied but an instant of time, when the veil of the temple was rent in twain at the crucifixion of Christ. It must denote something which extends over a period of years.
“The word here rendered ‘daily’ occurs in the Old Testament 102 times, according to the Hebrew concordance. In the great majority of instances it is rendered ‘continual’ or ‘continually.’ The idea of sacrifice is not attached to the word at all. That is a supplied word, the translators putting in that word which to their understanding of the text seemed to demand. They evidently entertained an erroneous view, the sacrifices of the Jews not being referred to at all. But it appears to be more in accordance with both the construction and the context to suppose that the word ‘daily’ refers to a desolating power, like the ‘transgression of desolation,’ with which it is connected. Then we have two desolating powers, which for a long period oppress, or desolate the church. Literally, the text may be rendered, ‘How long shall be the vision [concerning] the continuance and the transgression of desolation?’—the word ‘desolation’ being related to both ‘continuance’ and ‘transgressions,’ as though as though it were expressed in full thus: ‘The continuance of desolation and the transgression of desolation.’
The Two Desolating Powers of Rome: Paganism and the Papacy
“By the ‘continuance of desolation’ or the perpetual desolation, we understand that paganism, through all its history, is meant. When we consider the long ages through which paganism had been the chief agency of Satan’s opposition to the work of God in the earth, the propriety of the term ‘continuance’ or ‘perpetual,’ as applied to it, becomes apparent. We likewise understand that the ‘transgression of desolation’ mean the papacy. The phrase describing this latter power [the papacy] is stronger than that used to describe paganism. It is the transgression (or rebellion, as the word also means) of desolation; as if under this period of the history of the church the desolating power had rebelled against all restraint previously imposed on it.”
“From a religious point of view, the world has presented these two phases of opposition against the Lord’s work in the earth. Hence, although three earthly governments are introduced in the prophecy as oppressors or the church, they are here ranged under two heads: ‘the daily’ and the ‘transgression of desolation.’ Medo-Persia was pagan; Grecia was pagan; Rome in its first phase was pagan. These were all embraced in the ‘daily.’ Then comes the papal form, the ‘transgression of desolation,’ a marvel of craft and cunning, and incarnation of cruelty.
No wonder the cry has gone up from suffering martyrs from age to age, ‘How long, O Lord, how long?’ No wonder the Lord, in order that hope might not wholly die out of His downtrodden, waiting people, has shown the future events of the world’s history. All these persecuting powers shall meet an utter end and everlasting destruction. For the redeemed there are unfading glories beyond the suffering and sorrow of this present life.
“The Lord’s eye is upon His people. The furnace will be heated no hotter than is necessary to consume the dross. It is through much tribulation that we are to enter the kingdom. [ ]. The word tribulation is from tribulum, a threshing sledge. Blow after blow must be laid upon us, until all the wheat is beaten free from the chaff, and we are made fit for the heavenly garner. But not a kernel of wheat will be lost.” – pp. 164-166. (to be continued)