Author Topic: Daniel's "Time, times and an half" Problems  (Read 5287 times)


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Daniel's "Time, times and an half" Problems
« on: June 29, 2008, 08:27:24 AM »
From "The False Prophet"

From two different dreams the prophet Daniel wrote about control of the holy land by a succession of Gentile kingdoms, and the dispersion of the Jews.  At the beginning of one of these prophecies we are given a specific time pin: 

(KJV)  Daniel 10:1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing [was] true, but the time appointed [was] long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

Pick up a conservative bible handbook, or you can Yahoo confirmation of the first year of Cyrus in Babylon to be 536 BC, making the third year of Cyrus 533 BC.

Toward the end of this prophecy we read: 

(KVJ)  Daniel 12:7  And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these [things] shall be finished.

Some Jewish scholars, both Messianic/Christian and non, translation of the Hebrew idiom "time, times and an half" is somewhat different than most Christians may have been taught.  Below is the above verse from a version of the Tanach:

(Tanach)  Daniel 12:7 And I heard the man clad in linen, who was above the waters of the river, and he raised his right hand and his left hand to the heavens, and he swore by the Life of the world, that in the time of [two] times and a half, and when they have ended shattering the strength of the holy people, all these will end. 
Link to

Let's consider for a moment, that Jewish scholars might actually understand antiquated Hebrew idioms a little better than Christian scholars do, and that the "time, times and an half" problems are actually a factor of 2-1/2 and not 3-1/2.

While Daniel's prophecies use this "times" idiom, the Old Testament never defines it.  However, most Christians are familiar with the following verse from the New Testament:

2 Peter 3:8  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Greek word that is translated as "day" in the above verse is "hemera".  This is an ambiguous word whose definition is determined by it's context. 
In 3 other passages in the KJV it is translated as "time" (in 12 verses in the NASB).

From Strong's:
New Testament Greek Definition:
2250 hemera {hay-mer'-ah}
from (with 5610 implied) of a derivative of hemai (to sit,
akin to the base of 1476) meaning tame, i.e. gentle;
TDNT - 2:943,309; n f
AV - day 355, daily + 2596 15, time 3, not tr 2, misc 14; 389

So, what if the Lord had meant for a "time" to be as a  thousand years?

Let's put it together:

2-1/2 "times" =  2,500  years

2,500 - 533 BC = 1967 AD

The "times of the Gentiles" were fulfilled in 1967 when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem.  The end of the scattered strength of the holy people.
In the KJV verses above we read: "...when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people..."
In the Tanach above we read: "...when they have ended shattering of the strength of the holy people..."
The Jews were the only holy people in Daniel's day.

Daniel wrote that "...the time appointed [was] long...", and this prophecy is about the dispersion/oppression of the Jews, and control of the holy land by a succession of Gentile kingdoms, that spanned hundreds of years in Daniel's future.  Is it reasonable, then, to suggest that a long appointed time in prophecy is 3-1/2 years?  My version of the New American Bible translates it simply as 3-1/2 years, not even offering their readers the term "times" to consider.

Is the above problem a mathematical and textual accident that spans 2500 years?  Does God's Holy Word offer confirmation that this isn't a one "time" wonder?


Daniel includes this term in another prophecy.  In Chapter 7 we find the successive lion, bear leopard and a 4th "dreadful" beast as a succession of kingdoms that would rule the holy land in Daniel's future.  The prophecy begins with another specific time pin: 

(KJV)  Daniel 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, [and] told the sum of the matters.

Go back to the bible handbook, or you can Yahoo confirmation for the first year of Belshazzar to be 552 BC

Then in verse 25 we find:

(KJV)  Daniel 7:25  And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Using the factor of 2-1/2 again we find:

2,500 - 552 BC = 1948 AD

The Jewish people raised their flag and declared an independent nation of Israel in 1948, coming in from the wilderness of the nations (people Ezekiel 20:35).  The end of the Jews being oppressed at their enemy's hand, and the end of the Gentile control of the holy land.

Two parallel problems written over 500 BC, that confirm each other in parallel over a period of 2500 years, pinning the restoration of the Jews to their land in 1948 and to their city in 1967.  To even an honest atheist, PROOF OF GOD.  Is the Lord is pulling out all the stops as He brings in the last of His harvest?

From where we stand today we can see that it wasn't until after the dates of 1948 and 1967 had passed, that we could confirm the simple mathematical and textual relationship of these blessed verses.  Why couldn't we see this until now? 
Near the end of the last chapter in Daniel we read:

Daniel 12:4  But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

This was followed up with a crystal clear statement of fact:
Daniel 12:9  And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

Daniel's "times" problems seem to demonstrate with stunning clarity the perfect seal that was put on the book of Daniel.  He did write that our knowledge would be increased in these times.  In context, that increase in knowledge refers to knowledge of the book of Daniel. 

Blessedly, the above problems regard FULFILLED PROPHECY, not guesswork theology, about some someday.

Interesting to contemplate the requirement of the combination of Jewish and Christian understanding above and consider: 

Ezekiel 37:19  Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

Here's how Isaac Newton weighed in on the time we find ourselves in: 
"This Prophecy is called the Revelation, with respect to the scripture of truth, which Daniel was commanded to shut up and seal, till the time of the end. Daniel sealed it until the time of the end; and until that time comes, the Lamb is opening the seals:....
...All which is as much as to say, that these Prophecies of Daniel and John should not be understood till the time of the end: .... But in the very end, the Prophecy should be so far interpreted as to convince many."
(Part II. Observations Upon the Apocalypse of St. John. Chap 1)

Genesis 17:8  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Genesis 12:2-3   And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Here's how Matthew Henry weighed in on the times in which we live:

"VI. That this prophecy of those times, though sealed up now, would be of great use to those that should live then, v. 4. Daniel must now shut up the words and seal the book..... 
Then this hidden treasure shall be opened, and many shall search into it, and dig for the knowledge of it, as for silver...
Those that would have their knowledge increased must take pains, must not sit still in slothfulness and bare wishes but run to and fro, must make use of all the means of knowledge and improve all opportunities of getting their mistakes rectified, their doubts resolved,...
Those things of God which are now dark and obscure will hereafter be made clear, and easy to be understood. Truth is the daughter of time. Scripture prophecies will be expounded by the accomplishment of them; therefore they are given, and for that explication they are reserved.