The Prophetic Periods

Reviewing the method of understanding the prophetic periods of Daniel and Revelation.

By C.P. Bollman

A contributor to the Moody Bible Institute Monthly has undertaken re­cently to darken counsel by words without knowledge "touching the time-honored method of reckoning certain prophetic periods which are given in the books of Daniel and the Revelation."

The writer referred to seeks by ap­peal to the Jewish calendar to show that the "thousand two hundred and threescore days" of Revelation 12: 6; the "time, and times, and half a time," of verse 14 of the same chapter, as also the "forty and two months" of Revela­tion 13: 5 cannot all refer to the same period of time for the reason "that forty and two months is never 1260 days."

We said that to show this the writer in the Moody Monthly had resort to the Jewish calendar, remarking that "in this study, of course only the Jew­ish calendar has to be considered, the prophecies relating as they do to that people."

Now, as a matter of fact, though Daniel 7: 25, which is also referred to, was given through a Jewish prophet, neither that prophecy nor yet the three and a half years, the "forty and two months," or the twelve hundred and sixty days of the 12th and 13th chapters of Revelation, had anything whatever to do with the Jews as such. In both Daniel and the Revelation these time periods had reference to the Papacy and the oppression of Christians by that apostate system.

It matters not that "the Hebrew year of twelve months falls short of our cal­endar year by some ten or more days." The thing aimed at in every prophecy wherein a year is symbolically repre­sented by a day, is to signify not cal­endar but solar years. This method of representing real years by days was well understood by the Jews. We find it used first in Numbers 14:34, where we read: "After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know My breach of promise."

The rendering in the A. R. V. is practically the same, except that in­stead of "breach of promise," as in the Authorized, the Revised has, "the re­voking of My promise," a rendering which seems less harsh, as it implies no failure on God's part.

The next occurrence of the use of a day to represent a year is found in Ezekiel 4:6: "Thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year." The margin says, "A day for a year, a day for a year."

It may help us to understand this whole subject better, especially Rev­elation 12:14, to remember that among the Jews a year was sometimes called a "time." This is true of Daniel 4:23, when, in interpreting the king's dream recorded in that chapter, the prophet described the period during which Nebuchadnezzar was to be insane as "seven times." Writing of this in his "Antiquities of the Jews," Book X, chapter 10, par. 6, Josephus testifies that the king was in that condition seven years.

So there can be no question as to the meaning of the Biblical expressions, "time and times and the dividing of time" of Daniel 7:25, and the "time, and times, and half a time" of Revela­tion 12:14, which are clearly the same; namely, three and one-half years; "a thousand two hundred and threescore days," as given in verse 6 of the same chapter, and as "forty and two months," according to verse 5 of chap­ter 13. Clearly, then, these three forms of expression are variants, each of the others.

Now in such matters there is no attempt at mathematical exactness. Thirty days are counted as a month the world around. Commenting upon the words in Revelation 13:5, "Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months," Dr. Adam Clarke says:

"As these forty-two months are pro­phetic, they must mean so many years as there are days contained in them; namely, 1260, each month containing thirty days."

Similarly, in his comment on Reve­lation 12:14, Dr. Clarke remarks that "the period for which the woman should be nourished in the wilderness would be a time, times, and a half; con­sequently this period is the same with the twelve hundred and sixty days of verse 6. . . . And as each prophetic year contains three hundred and sixty days, so three years and a half will contain precisely twelve hundred and sixty days."

In writing as he has, the contribu­tor to the Moody Monthly runs counter not only to the opinions of the most conservative commentators of the nine­teenth century, but, in effect, he charges with folly the divine Spirit who inspired the writings of the proph­ecies of Daniel and John, as He did also the other Scriptures.

Washington, D. C.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By C.P. Bollman

March 1932

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The Sure Foundation

In order to build on the sure founda­tion, the word of God, one must seek for the true meaning of the word.

The Leaders Should Lead in Evangelism

It is easy for us to see how institu­tionalism has hindered evangelism in mission lands in the case of other mis­sion boards; but are we not in danger of drifting in the same direction?

Making Successful Contact

There is one sure, certain way to have success in working for souls——the way of personal contact.

Others Are Also Watching

Readers of the Ministry will be interested in a report of the recent Student Volunteer Movement convention held in Buffalo, December 30 to January 3.

Editorial Keynotes

Next to the direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart, the profound and sincere belief of the preacher in the integrity of the message he proclaims is doubtless the most potent influence that can be brought to bear upon the hearer.

A Layman's Appeal

The rebuke and appeal in the following letter, sent recently to one of our evangel­ists, touch upon a point that unfortunately makes it personal to many who are engaged in the gospel ministry.

Hints for Amateur Song Leaders

Often our young men, and older ones too, are pressed into the service of conducting the music in our meetings, even when without previous experi­ence. For such, a few suggestions may be timely.

Sunset Musings

When in 1875 I accepted "present truth," my whole outlook was changed, and life seemed to take on a new meaning.

Open-Air Meetings

To speak successfully in the open-air forum, one needs to have a very definite conviction that he has a divine message, and must not be moved from its presentation.

Receiving the Offerings

Giving to the support of the work of God is an act of worship, and has been so regarded from the earliest times.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All