What is the meaning of the phrase “a time and times and half a time”?

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This phrase appears first in Daniel’s description of the beast power that will oppose God. “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25).

There are parallel prophecies pointing to this same time period, but under other titles. In Rev. 12:14, the period is denominated “a time and times and half a time.” The same period is referred to earlier in the chapter by the title “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Rev. 12:6). And in Rev. 11:2, 3 the expression “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” is equated with “forty and two months.” Thus, it is clear that a period of three and a half times equals 42 months, which in turn equals 1260 days, and that a “time” represents 12 months, or 360 days. This period may be denominated a prophetic year.

A prophetic year of 360 days, or 12 30-day months, must not be mistaken either with a Jewish calendar year, which was a lunar year of adjustable length, or with a solar calendar year of 365 days. A prophetic year means 360 prophetic days, but a prophetic day stands for a solar year.

This difference may be explained this way: A 360-day prophetic year is not literal, but symbolic; hence its 360 days are prophetic, not literal, days. By the year-day principle, as illustrated in Num. 14:34 and Eze. 4:6, a day in symbolic prophecy stands for a literal year. Thus, a prophetic year, or “time,” represents 360 literal and similarly a period of 1260 or 2300.

The prophetic period of the little horn in Daniel 7:25 began in A.D. 538, when the bishop of Rome seized full control of his kingdom. Exactly after 1260 years (1798), Napoleon, Berthier, with a French army, entered Rome. Then he announced the political rule of the papacy has ended and took the pope captive, carrying him off to France, where he died in exile. The victory over the papacy in 1798 marks the end of the prophetic period of 1260 years.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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