Time, Times and Half a Time | Time of the Antichrist

Posted on 21. Dec, 2013 by in Equipping the Saints

End Time Prophesy

In Daniel’s vision of the rule of the antichrist, recorded in Chapter 7,  a time-frame was given indicating the duration of this rule:  … time, times and half a time …  

Understanding the biblical definitions of such keywords used in ‘prophesy language’  is essential in discerning the meaning. In regards to time, there are biblical definitions for the following keywords within ‘prophesy language’:

DAY = YEAR   (Ezekiel 4:6 & Numbers 14:34)

WEEK = 7 YEARS ( Daniel 9:24, Ezekiel 4:6 & Numbers 14:34)

TIME, TIMES and HALF = 3 ½ YEARS or 1260 PROPHETIC DAYS, according to the linisolar calendar, there are 360 days in a year; and a prophetic day according to Ezekiel 4:6 & Numbers 14:34 is one literal year, so 1260 prophetic days = 1260 LITERAL YEARS

Robert Bellarmine was a Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest who set out to nullify the ‘1 day for a year ‘ principle – for the the purpose of diverting the view held among the Protestant Reformers which identified the ‘Papal See’ as the antichrist. (More to be said about that toward the end of this article)

Note: The same time frame is used in  Rev 11:2-3, 12:6 & 14 & 13:5 rendered as 1260 days, 3 1/2 years & 42 months. Every event with this time frame does not necessarily pertain to the same event referred to in Daniels vision. There are several examples of biblical numerology which use certain time frames for different events: i.e. ’40 days & 40 nights’ is a time frame used for the Great Flood, Moses on Mount Sinai and Jesus’ Fast. And we know the 7 day time frame has a multitude of applications.

So – 1260 ‘days’  -or-  ‘years’?…

The visions of Daniel were written in ‘prophesy style’, otherwise referred to as ‘prophesy language’ – which uses symbolic keywords and numbers to communicate a rather “concealed definiteness”. The time-frame of the antichrist rule, referred to in Daniels 7:25,  is delivered within a sequence of symbolic keywords, such as “beast “, “10 horns”, etc.  Since it would be absurd to make a literal interpretation of such symbolic words and descriptions, suddenly making a literal interpretation of  ‘ time, times and half ‘ would be an unnatural break from such prophetic language.

Furthermore, most references to prophetic time periods pertain to years, rather than days; such as the “seventy sevens” of Daniel 9, or the ‘one day for a year’ principle of Ezekiel 4:6.  References to prophetic time periods rarely designate a literal meaning.

And since prophesy time references usually pertain to years rather than days, it is understandable why the time-frame for the ‘transgression of desolation’  in Daniel 8:14 is referred to as ‘evenings and mornings‘ — so to specify actual ‘days’ and not years. Even though many translations read as ‘days’ here, the Hebrew word for day, ‘yom‘, is not used;  rather ‘ereb‘ for ‘evenings’ andboqer for ‘mornings’  to indicate an actual 24 hour day, so to be clear that this particular time period is not referring to years, but days.

Now if we stick to the biblical definitions of the key-prophetic-words, we can be sure this time frame is a period of 1260 literal years. So what now? How do we apply this to our understanding of prophesy?.. Where do we place this time period?…

Placement of the time-frame – Various views

It is difficult where exactly to place the 1260 year time-frame – as there are various  opinions, some plausible and others not so much. Below are a few different propositions with my own comments at the end of each:

View which sets the time from 538 A.D. to 1798
Counting 1260 years from the year 538 A.D. -when the ‘Papal See’ commenced – brings us to the year 1798, when Napolean’s general marched into Rome and dethroned the Pope, which seemed to end the ‘Papal See’. However, the ‘Holy See’ with its civil power was restored by the Great Powers at the 1815 Congress of Vienna  and other developments like the ‘Lateran Treaty’  in 1929.

This view interprets the 1798 event as the fulfillment of the “mortal head wound that was healed”, as prophesied in Revelation 13:3, which continued the rule of the Antichrist until the return of  the true Christ.

~ The above proposition almost seems  plausible, but there are a few problems: First off, the ‘little horn’ (antichrist) of Daniel’s visions is said to continue for this time period “until the Ancient of Days came” ; so the above view gives no account for the era after 1798. There is no biblical basis which indicates another time era of antichrist rule, but only that time which antichrist ‘continues until the Ancient of Days came’.

Secondly, the Papal See did not exactly commence in 538 A.D., but is considered to have began the year before- in 537 A.D. – which throws the time-frame off a year –  See Pope Vigilius.  Furthermore, while Virgilius has been (arguably) considered the first Pope, the Papal civil authority was rather limited as the Roman Empire had spiraled into degradation until the rule of Charlemagne in 800 A.D.

View which sets the time from 800 A.D. to 2060
Charlemegne was crowned by Pope Leo III as ‘ Emperor’ of the “Holy Roman Empire” on December 25 of 800 A.D.   Counting the 1260 year time-frame from this date would end in 2060,  bringing us to the time of Christ’s return.

~ The above view is certainly plausible since the three previous centuries before Charlemagne was firmly established as Emperor, was a time when the Roman Empire appeared to be extinct as it was splintered into countless factions – until Charlemagne set about his conquest to unite the nations of Europe under the ‘Holy Roman Empire’, as overseen by the Papal Authority of the Roman Catholic Church. This is when  Papal temporal power was consolidated, and then began to thoroughly fulfill the prophesies of the antichrist.

Also, there are other significant dates pertaining to Charlemagnes’ Carolingian Dynasty – with the subsequent rise of Papal authority, such as the Donation of Pepin in 754, confirmed by  Charlemagne in 774,  which marked the beginning of the temporal power of the popes as the Patrimony of Saint Peter. So this date of 774 also qualifies as a plausible starting point for the 1260 year time-frame which would land in 2034.

Such developments within the second half of the 8th century are highly significant because they pertain to both the revival of the Roman Empire (fourth beast) – as well as the rise of the ‘Papal Horn’ – which came to dominate over the other ‘horns’, (or sovereigns of the Roman/European nations). So when aligning history with the revelation of scripture, the the general time frame around the latter half of the 8th century seems to be the most plausible approximation to place the starting point of the antichrist rule.

However, I would still be careful not lean on exact dates, as Jesus made it clear that no one can know the day nor hour- only the season. So perhaps the placement of this time-frame cannot be exact because it is not meant to be so. Yet, with all evidence and reason considered, we still may have a plausible approximation of this time-frame beginning close to the turn of the 8th century – which would indicate we are now living toward the end of the age  dominated by the antichrist system – as we must be ready, in season and out of season, to firmly keep our testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ.

View of the very last 31/2 years of the age
Ignoring the ‘1 day for a year ‘ principle, accredited to Jesuit Robert Bellarmine (mentioned above), this time-frame is deemed as 1260 literal days (not years), or literally 31/2 years – which is set at the very end of the age – preceding the return of Christ.

~ While this view is now the most widely excepted, there are extremely serious problems with it: First off, this view pertains to Futurism, which is an alternative doctrine invented and propagated by Roman Catholic Jesuit Priests – for the purpose of diverting the biblical view held among the Protestant Reformers which identified the Papal See as the antichrist. Secondly, it does not square-off with scripture. This issue is covered in Discerning The Threads of Eschatology

Keeping within the parameters of scripture, we can be sure of the exact duration of this time frame, but placing the time frame is another story.  Though the saints of God have much reason to believe the placement of this time-frame is meant to be understood since it is mentioned several times in the revelation of scripture. But again, I would not stress exact dates, but would certainly consider the more plausible approximations – whereby recognizing the era of this time-frame as well as the general season of its fulfillment.

As Jesus spoke of the fulfillment of this time, which is to precede His return, the bottom line He gave  is to ‘be ready‘. So the aim for the saints is  to be ready at all times – to look to the Lord Jesus Christ, that His Kingdom would come, and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.


Related Articles
The ‘Little Horn’ of Daniel
Discerning The Threads of Eschatology
What Happened to the Historic Premillennial View and Historicism?
The Abomination of Desolation – Standing in the Holy Place
Daniel’s Dream – What Does it Mean?
The Rapture


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