You are hereThe 1,290 and 1,335 Days of Daniel 12
The 1,290 and 1,335 Days of Daniel 12
by John Evans
In the course of working on a book on the four kingdoms of Daniel that will be published, I hope, in March of this year, I found it necessary to take a good look at Daniel’s last vision (chapters 10-12) to see what light, if any, it sheds on the identities of the fourth kingdom of Daniel 7 and the “little horn” of 7:8 with “eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” In the course of working on a book on the four kingdoms of Daniel that will be published, I hope, in March of this year, I found it necessary to take a good look at Daniel’s last vision (chapters 10-12) to see what light, if any, it sheds on the identities of the fourth kingdom of Daniel 7 and the “little horn” of 7:8 with “eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” My overriding concern in looking at this last vision was to determine if the span of time it encompasses extends beyond the time of the oppressive Seleucid king Antiochus IV, who died either in late 164 or early 163 BC while campaigning along the eastern frontier of his realm in what is now southwestern Iran. My conclusion on this point is that the material of the last vision from 11:33 on does indeed extend past the time of Antiochus and that the fulfillment of the vision’s last prophecies occurred with the Jewish War of AD 66-70.
Critical-historical scholars assure us that the Book of Daniel was a product of the second century BC and was completed, with possibly a few exceptions, shortly before rebels led by Judas Maccabeus took Jerusalem and reinstituted the traditional sacrifices at the Second Temple in December 164. They maintain that the author/s of Daniel believed that the restoration of the Temple would signal the arrival of the "time of the end," which would feature the death of Antiochus (7:26, 8:25, 9:27, 11:45), a general resurrection of the faithful "to everlasting life" (12:3), and the establishment on earth of an "everlasting kingdom" of God (7:27).
The candidates for the "few exceptions" mentioned in the last paragraph especially include verses 12:11 and 12:12, which the NIV gives as follows: "11From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days." Both of these periods slightly exceed the three and one-half years found in 7:25, 9:27, and 12:7. Why these two specific numbers were inserted into the very end of the Book of Daniel has provoked much speculation among both liberals and conservatives. On the liberal side, opinion has largely coalesced along the lines indicated by the preeminent contemporary critical scholar who has specialized in the study of Daniel, John J. Collins of Yale. On the conservative side, however, diverse opinions about the 1,290 and 1,335 days continue to flourish. My purposes in writing this article are (1) to raise doubts about the plausibility of Collins's explanation of the 1,290 and 1,335 days and (2) to endorse what I feel to be the most plausible explanation of them.
In the interpretations of Daniel that liberals offer, the "time, times and half a time" of 7:25 and 12:7 and the second half of the seventieth "seven" of the seventy sevens prophecy of 9:24-27 all refer to a period of about three and one-half years during which Antiochus would suppress the practice of the Jewish faith. Both Daniel 9 and 12 specifically refer to the suspension of traditional Jewish religious sacrifices at the Temple, but Daniel 7 does not. Collins suggests that the omission of a specific reference to the sacrifices in Daniel 7 means that it was written a little earlier than the chapters containing the other three purported visions of Daniel and that its three and one-half years represent an attempt at genuine prophecy.1
According to 1 Maccabees 1:54 (RSV), the forces of Antiochus IV "erected a desolating sacrilege upon the altar of burnt offering" at the site of the Temple in December 167. Three years later; i.e. in December 164, the traditional sacrifices were renewed at the reclaimed and reconsecrated site (1 Macc 4:52, 2 Macc 10:5). While it is possible, indeed likely, that the Greco-Syrian soldiers occupying Jerusalem in 167 began prohibiting the traditional sacrifices at the Temple a little before the "desolating sacrilege" was erected, the difference between the two events was surely measured in days, not months. It thus appears that the three and one-half years of 7:25, 9:27, and 12:7 exceeds by close to half a year the time between the suspension of the daily sacrifices at the Temple and their restoration.
Collins suggests that Daniel 8:14 provides a more precise indication of the duration of the time during which the daily sacrifices were suspended. That verse states that "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings" for the sanctuary to be reconsecrated. Because the sacrifices were made twice daily, first in the evening and then in the morning, Collins (and liberals in general) interpret this to mean 1,150 days. That, they believe, closely approximates the length of the period during which the daily sacrifices were suspended. Collins believes, however, that the 1,150 days somewhat exceeded the actual period of time during which the sacrifices were omitted, and that this figure "cannot be after the fact and must have been composed before the actual rededication of the temple."2
Because of its similarity to Daniel 12:11, here is the NIV translation of 9:27, the last verse of the seventy sevens prophecy (9:24-27): "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." In liberal exegesis, the "He" with which this verse begins is, of course, Antiochus IV. And since this particular translation and ones that proceed along similar lines provide no hint of any other person being involved in the actions depicted in this verse, this means that it is Antiochus who abolishes the sacrifice and sets up the abomination.
There are other leading translations, perhaps most notably the NASB, that suggest the possibility that the desolator of 9:27 need not be the same person as the "He" who puts an end to sacrifice. Moreover, while the abomination of 12:11 is singular, what the NIV gives in 9:27 as "an abomination" is more accurately rendered as "wing of abominations," which suggests more than one abomination. This means that it is possible to interpret 9:27 as indicating that while the sacrifice and offering are abolished in the middle of a "seven," the abominations that cause desolation occur toward the end of the seven and are brought about by a different agent or agents. On the other hand, if you assume, as liberals generally do, that "abomination" is singular in 9:27, that these two verses refer to the same two events, and that Antiochus IV causes the two events in one of these verses, then he must be the person who causes them in the other verse. The difference would then seem to be that whereas 9:27 sets the time period between the two events as half a "seven"; i.e., three and one-half years, 12:11 pins down the time a little more precisely with its figure of 1,290 days; i.e. about a month more than three and one-half years composed of 30-day months.
Collins suggests that the time periods in 8:14, 12:11, and 12:12 were all intended "to specify the length of this [three and a half year] period more exactly.3 In his separate commentaries on these three verses, however, he indicates that 8:14 refers to the time during which the temple sacrifices were to be suspended while 12:11 and 12:12 should be understood as looking beyond the reconsecration of the Temple to "some more definitive event, most probably the resurrection that was described at the beginning of the chapter"4; i.e. in verses 2-3.
Note that the language of 12:11 does not state what is to occur 1,290 days after the abolition of the daily sacrifice. In fact, although 9:27 can be translated so as to allow abominations to occur over three years after the abolition of the daily sacrifice, the language of 12:11 seems more compatible with the interpretation that the abolition of the sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination occur at about the same time and are followed 1,290 days later by some other event. This is certainly how Collins interprets 12:11, for he writes that "Dan 12:11 clearly mentions both the interruption of the offering and the installation of the abomination (in December 167) as [the] starting point."5 On the other hand, the language of 12:11 is not so compelling as to force you to abandon the notion that the abomination occurs some time after the abolition of the sacrifice. Thus, if you believe, as I do, that 9:27 allows an interval of up to three and one-half years to exist between the abolition of sacrifice and the worst of the abominations and you also believe that the fulfillment of the seventy sevens prophecy is closely linked to the fulfillment of 12:11, then the language of 12:11 does not rule out the existence of such an interval between the two events.
The prophecies of 12:11 and 12:12 are given to Daniel by the mysterious "man clothed in linen" (12:7), who is taken by some conservative exegetes to be an angel and by others, including myself, to be the preincarnate Christ. In Daniel 12:7, this being answers Daniel's question about how long it will take "before the astonishing things" referred to earlier will be fulfilled (v.6) with the statement that "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." Then, when Daniel asks (v.8): "My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?," he receives in reply the prophecies of the 1,290 and 1,335 days.
For Collins, and for many other liberals, the explanation for the 1,290 and 1,335 days is that these numbers "can be explained only as successive attempts to give precision to the prediction of the end." He adds that "Daniel 12:11 was presumably inserted after the 1,150 days of 8:14 had elapsed, and 12:12 is later than 12:11."6 He then goes on to indicate, as noted earlier, that both 12:11 and 12:12 were probably intended to prophesy when the general resurrection would occur. Verse 12, he suggests, must have been an editorial insertion after the prediction in verse 11 proved false.7 The dominant liberal view about the 1,290 and 1,335 days thus sees them as predictions of the arrival of the end-time that was to ensue shortly after the restoration of the sacrifices at the Temple. That end-time was to feature a general resurrection, a last judgment, and the establishment on earth of an eternal kingdom to be ruled from heaven through angelic emissaries, the chief of whom was Michael, the protector of Israel.
The predominant liberal position on Daniel holds that what lay behind the "publication" of Daniel ca. 164 BC was the desire to inspire resistance to the oppression of Antiochus IV by convincing the faithful that God was about to intervene decisively on their side. One sometimes encounters among those who try to fit the prophecies of 12:11 and 12:12 into a second century BC framework the notion that the author/s of Daniel was/were allied with the rebel forces led by Judas Maccabeus. Collins and other leading critical scholars assure us, however, that the group to which the author/s belonged, the "wise" of 11:32 and 11:35, pinned their hopes on direct divine intervention and considered the Maccabees to be only "a little help" (11:34).
An obvious problem with the position staked out by Collins on 12:11 and 12:12 is explaining why the failure of their "prophecies" to be fulfilled as promised by 163 BC did not cause lasting disillusionment with the Book of Daniel. Collins boldly states that, to the contrary, Daniel soon acquired greater authority than ever because its "predictions were freed from their historical moorings and read with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans or to the Antichrist."8 Logically, however, if the Book of Daniel was written to convince the faithful that the time of the end was almost at hand, it would surely have circulated among them almost immediately after the completed version had first been written on a scroll. One would think that the disillusionment which then had to follow when its "prophecies" went unfulfilled might have left some traces of its existence. Yet nothing in 1 or 2 Maccabees or in the writings of Josephus-by far our most important sources of information on the history of the Maccabean Revolt and its immediate aftermath-suggests any such disillusionment. Neither do these sources provide any evidence to support the idea that a belief that the end-time was almost at hand played an inspirational role in the Jewish resistance.
Although critical scholars portray the author/s of Daniel as having been motivated by the desire to inspire hope for deliverance, they also find the prophecies in Daniel's four visions (chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10-12) to be so ambiguous that they could be applied to different sets of historical circumstances from those that existed ca. 167-164 BC. But if the author/s intended that the Jews living at that time would understand that all of Daniel's visions pointed to fulfillment in their day, one has to wonder why they were presented in such ambiguous form. One also has to wonder how it is that although today's critical scholars can see that the visions' prophecies point unmistakably to fulfillment only in Maccabean times, the people who actually lived during those times could not. The critics dismiss such concerns with suggestions that it is the very nature of apocalyptic literature to be ambiguous, and they imply or state that the Jews of the second century BC were unsophisticated people who could be rather easily manipulated by apocalyptic tales. It is by reasoning along these lines that Collins arrives at his assertion that it was no great problem for the prophecies of the Danielic visions to be "freed from their historical moorings and read with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans or to the Antichrist."9
I strongly incline toward the view that the critics' confidence in the validity of their explanation of how it came to pass that Daniel was "recycled" for future use is unwarranted. A far more plausible scenario than what they offer is one that proceeds along the following lines. The completed Book of Daniel circulated in Judea before the outbreak of the Maccabean Revolt in 167 and became well-known among Jews who retained loyalty to their traditional beliefs. When the revolt began, there probably were some among them who hoped that its end-time prophecies might apply to their day. But when the resurrection and last judgment failed to occur, most believers had no great difficulty in transferring their hopes for the arrival of the eternal kingdom of God to a future time when the Roman Empire, already clearly in evidence as the embodiment of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, would have its power removed through divine intervention. It was not difficult for them to adjust because they had not expected the immediate coming of the end-time in the first place.
Another point worth making against Collins and the other leading critics who reason as he does is that they assume that it was somehow possible for the Book of Daniel to circulate among the faithful ca. 164 and then to be editorially modified by the insertion of the 1,290 days and then, still later, the 1,335 days. This, too, I find it difficult to accept. And if this is what happened, why weren't further emendations made when the 1,335 days passed without anything of great significance occurring? One can speculate that perhaps by that time too many copies of Daniel were in circulation to effect a "recall." One can also speculate that perhaps the "wise" were exceptionally adept at "spinning" explanations for failed predictions, but I am extremely uncomfortable with making such an assumption in the face of a complete lack of supporting evidence.
But if Collins's explanation of the 1,290 and 1,335 days is to be rejected, what can be offered in its place? Recall that Collins insists that the 1,290 and 1,335 days "can be explained only as successive attempts to give precision to the time of the end."10 Taken strictly on its face, this statement makes sense. For Collins, however, the "time of the end" can only mean the year 163 BC. I emphatically reject that assumption.
Those futurists who try to incorporate the 1,290 and 1,335 days into a framework that is compatible with an end-time scenario featuring a future Antichrist who abolishes sacrifice, etc. face the difficult task of explaining why a prophecy rendered in the sixth century BC should provide such detail about events occurring more than 2,000 years after the birth of Christ. I judge this task to be so hopeless as to merit no space in this article. I go into a little detail on their position in my forthcoming book, but even there I do not give serious consideration to their efforts. I prefer to devote my efforts to offering an alternative to the critics' exegesis that offers plausibility rooted in historical fact, not conjecture based on questionable renderings of Scripture. That means that I seek the fulfillment of 12:11 and 12:12 in the first century AD.
Some conservative commentators on Daniel have sought to find the fulfillment of Daniel 12:11 and 12:12 in Maccabean times while assigning the prophecies of 7:25 and 9:27 to a later time, either in the first century AD or in our future. Those who have taken this tack have differed among themselves, however, with regard to whether the fulfillment of 12:7 should be ascribed to Maccabean times. It is more natural to assume that the 1,290 and 1,335 days must somehow be connected to the "time, times and half a time" of 12:7, but I have found instances where capable commentators have offered a preterist or a futurist interpretation of 12:7 while assigning 12:11 and 12:12 to the Maccabean era.
I reject any effort by conservatives to assign the fulfillment of 12:11 and 12:12 to Maccabean times because I believe that the authenticity of supposedly fulfilled prophecies must be verifiable from historical evidence and I do not believe there is such evidence to support the idea that these prophecies were fulfilled in the second century BC. What notable historical events happened 1,290 days and 1,335 days after the abolition of the sacrifices at the Temple in December 167? One might suppose that the death of Antiochus marks the 1,290 days and that it took an additional 45 days for news of that event to reach Judea. I very much doubt, however, that it would have taken that long for such momentous news to reach Judea from the vicinity of Babylon in 163 BC. Furthermore, while we do not know precisely when Antiochus died, it is highly unlikely that his death occurred as late as six or seven months into the year 163. And if the 1,290 and 1,335 days have nothing to do with the death of Antiochus, what other events can be pinned down to that year that could possibly be important enough to constitute prophetic fulfillment?
If we reject both Maccabean era and futurist interpretations of the 1,290 and 1,335 days, what remains? The only alternative worth considering is the time of the Jewish War, which began in the summer of AD 66 and ended slightly more than four years later in September 70, though some would extend its duration until the spring of 73, when the famed fortress at Masada was finally taken by the Romans. Is it possible, the question becomes, that a way can be found to plausibly apply the prophecies of 12:11 and 12:12 to the time of this great war? It is my belief that the answer to question is decidedly yes and that the best solution to the challenge of interpreting these two verses proceeds along the lines suggested by John Noe in Beyond the End Times.11
Before offering my understanding of Noe's exegesis of Daniel 12:11 and 12:12, I shall give brief consideration to alternatives to his analysis that also suggest a first century AD fulfillment. In particular, I shall emphasize the interpretations offered by Philip Mauro and Ward Fenley.
Philip Mauro was a talented proto-preterist whose writings helped establish the foundation for the contemporary preterist movement. Although his overall approach to biblical understanding incorporated important elements of futurism, he believed that the prophecies of Daniel 12 were fulfilled in the first century AD. He suggested that in the "time, times and half a time" of 12:7, the "half a time" should be understood to mean part of a year, not half a year. That meant, he argued, that both the 1,290 days and the 1,335 days could fit within the framework established by 12:7 since each of these periods was three years and a "part." The 1,290 days, he claimed, are the time that elapsed from the invasion of Judea by the Roman army commanded by Cestius Gallus, the governor of Syria, in November 66 until the ending of the daily sacrifices at the Temple in July 70, when the besieged inhabitants of Jerusalem were forced to suspend the daily sacrifices. The 1,335 days, he wrote, are the 1,290 days plus the 45 additional days that transpired between the ending of the sacrifices and the conclusion of the siege with the fall of the upper city.12
For Mauro, the invasion by the Romans under Cestius was "the abomination that causes desolation" of 12:11. In support of this finding he drew upon the passages in Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:20 that refer, respectively, to "'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel," and "Jerusalem being surrounded by armies."13 He found, in other words, that the starting point for the prophecies of Daniel 12:11 and 12:12 is the abomination that causes desolation, not the abolition of the sacrifice. This sequence is the reverse of what we should expect. Furthermore, the accuracy of his chronology can be called somewhat into question.
As John Noe has written, "In Jewish terminology, an 'abomination' was anything that involved the worship of false gods or the false worship of their God in sacred places."14 In terms of this definition, which seems quite sensible, the invasion of Judea by Cestius hardly constitutes an abomination. It quickly ended in abysmal failure, and it did not bring with it "the worship of false gods or the false worship of their God in sacred places." Moreover, in both Daniel 9:27 and 11:31, which, like 12:11, refer to an "abomination that causes desolation" and the abolition of the daily sacrifice, the abolition of the sacrifice explicitly precedes the setting up of the abomination.
Daniel 11:31, incidentally, unquestionably refers to the time of Antiochus IV, and liberals use that fact to support their contention that 9:27 and 12:11 do also. Space constraints do not allow me to go into detail about why they are wrong about this, but I shall point out that their position amounts to holding that Jesus was in error if Matthew 24:15 quotes him correctly since that verse indicates that the abomination had not yet appeared in His time. If you believe, as I do, that Jesus is quoted correctly in Matthew 24:15, then, I suggest, he was referring to the abomination of Daniel 12:11 and one of the abominations of Daniel 9:27.
Determining the precise chronology of the events of the Jewish War is not always easy because although we are fortunate that the great Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote a very detailed history of the war, we are unfortunate in that he was somewhat careless about noting precise dates; and even when he did provide dates, the problem remains of converting them into our modern dating system. It appears, however, that Cestius invaded Judea in October 66, not November. His arrival before Jerusalem did take place in November, however, but the siege was a brief one and was soon abandoned. The termination of the sacrifices at the Temple may have occurred in late July of AD 70, but it may have taken place early in August. All-in-all, it is arguable that the time period that Mauro picked for his 1,290 days may actually have been more than a month longer than he assumed. As for the time elapsing between the termination of the sacrifices and the fall of the upper city to the Romans, neither the date on which the sacrifices stopped nor the date on which the city truly fell can be determined with precision. Probably the best we can do is to go with late July to early August for the termination of the sacrifices and late August to early September for the fall of the city. The Temple itself was probably in Roman hands by the end of August.
Ward Fenley, a preterist who maintains the website eschatology.com, offers an analysis of the prophecies of 12:11 and 12:12 that deserves brief mention. Because we know from Josephus that the besieged Jews were forced to suspend the sacrifices at the Temple in late July to early August 70, it is natural to wonder if there is any possibility of marking off the 1,290 and 1,335 days from that event. Fenley suggests that there may be, though he admits to harboring a great deal of doubt about how the prophecies of these verses should be understood. It should be noted that the article in which he comments about 12:11 and 12:12 is concerned primarily with understanding the seventy sevens prophecy of 9:24-27.15
Fenley recognizes that the language of 12:11 does not clearly state that the abomination appears 1,290 days after the abolition of the sacrifice, and he avoids making a clear-cut call on that issue. He inclines, however, toward a line of analysis that would have them occur around the same time. The taking away of the daily sacrifice, he states, refers to "the Jews being unable to offer sacrifices due to the war with the Romans," and he suggests that the 1,335 days point to the promised resurrection as being the great event that occurs at the end of that time. What happens at the end of the 1,335 days, he writes, comes 45 days after what happens at the end of the 1,290 days. He suggests that the 1,290 days may refer to the time during which the Christians in Judea fled into the mountains as directed in Matthew 24:16 and that this period may well be related to the forty-two months of Revelation 11:2 and the 1,260 days of Revelation 11:3 and 12:6.16
The big problem with Fenley's line of analysis is that if you assume that the abolition of the daily sacrifice referred to in Daniel 12:11 occurred in late July or early August 70 and then proceed to mark off 1,290 and 1,335 days from that time, you wind up in historical nowhere. The fall of Masada is generally assigned to April 73, but marking off 1,290 and 1,335 days from, say, the end of July 70 puts you in late February 74 for the 1,290 days and the middle of April 74 for the 1,335 days. I know of no important events pertaining to the history of Christianity that can be identified as having occurred at those times. I suspect that there are some who are willing to speculate that there may have been a general resurrection in AD 74, but speculating about that possibility is matter that goes beyond my capabilities. I know of no historical evidence to support such an idea and prefer to look at other exegetical options if such can be found.
But are there any other exegetical options? You can come within about a month of the 1,290 days by taking the period from December 66 to August 70. That period approximates the time from the completion of the withdrawal of Cestius from Judea to the fall of the Temple. The problems are that this period is a little too long and the text of 12:11 provides no basis for selecting it. There is simply no way to associate either the abolition of sacrifices or the abomination that causes desolation with the ignominious retreat of Cessius. It is true that when the Romans took the Temple, they conducted pagan rites there before burning it to the ground. That provides an abomination with which to finish the 1,290 days, but there is still no abolition of sacrifices with which to begin them.
Those who try to find a first-century AD fulfillment of Daniel 12:11 and 12:12 naturally tend to assume that the abolition of the daily sacrifice referred to in 12:11 refers to sacrifices conducted at the Temple in connection with the practice of Judaism. Easily overlooked, however, is the fact that for many years, twice daily sacrifices were conducted at the Temple on behalf of the Roman emperor and people. When the rebellion against Rome began in the summer of 66, one of immediate results of its initial success was the elimination of those sacrifices, which can be dated, probably, to August 66. For John Noe, this is the time from which you should start marking off the 1,290 days to see if something corresponding to the abomination that causes desolation turns up at the end of that time. According to Noe, it does indeed. The abomination that fulfills 12:11, he finds, took the form of factional fighting among three fanatical Jewish groups for the control of the Temple complex that reached its peak just before the Roman army under Titus appeared before Jerusalem shortly before Passover in the year AD 70.17
The factional fighting among Zealot groups that occurred in the early months of 70 turned the Temple into a battleground where genuine worshipers risked being killed if they entered the grounds. The fighting made a mockery of the religion that the combatants supposedly embraced. By any reasonable standard, it constituted an abomination against the Jewish faith.
Matching Noe's chronology against the historical record offers some difficulty because of uncertainty about precise dates. August 66 is the most probable starting date, I believe, though Noe goes with July.18 Coming forward forty-three months from then places us in February-March 70, which seems about right. Going with February-March 70 as the fulfillment time range receives support from Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, all of which contain passages that can readily be linked to Daniel 12:11.
Matthew 24:15-16 read in full as follows: 15"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel-let the reader understand-16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." Mark 13:14 offers a slightly shorter version of the same passage that omits the reference to Daniel. Now look at Luke 21:20-21: 20"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city." Luke's "surrounded by armies" has been taken by some to mean that the army of Titus is the abomination of Matthew 24:15. I disagree. My interpretation is that the passage in Luke helped Christianized Jews in AD 70 to understand that the desecration of the Temple by the Zealots was the abomination referred to in Matthew and Mark and that it was imperative to leave Jerusalem immediately upon hearing the news that the Roman troops were in the vicinity of the city. In any event, March 70 seems to be an excellent date for the prophetic fulfillment of these verses.
But what about the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:12? Here, I believe, Noe's exegesis is a harder sell but is still "marketable." If we start the 45 days by which 12:12 exceeds 12:11 around the middle of March and come forward 45 days, we arrive at the beginning of May. That time, Noe informs us, was when the siege against Jerusalem actually began. Now recall that 12:12 reads in full "Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days." How can it be, one instinctively asks, that the beginning of one of the most brutal sieges in recorded history can be taken as a blessing? Noe's answer to this question is that the commencement of the siege signaled the end of "the Jews' exclusive relationship with God, as manifested by the Temple complex." This meant that the believers in Jesus who had heeded the warnings in the Synoptic Gospels as illustrated by Matthew 24:15-16, Mark 13:13, and Luke 21:20-21 could see that the "the time of the end" had arrived for the Old Covenant system.19
In support of this I add that "Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days" can readily be interpreted to apply to the case of someone who heeded the advice of the Synoptic Gospels to flee or avoid Jerusalem and could see as of May 70 that his decision had been a wise move. By contrast, many thousands of Jews who had no interest in fighting the Romans came to Jerusalem around the time of Passover in AD 70 and soon found themselves trapped and unable to flee after the Romans adopted a policy of crucifying anyone who attempted to leave the city so as to encourage those within to surrender en masse.
But what about the "time, times and half a time" of Daniel 12:7? Noe's answer is that the passage "When the power of the holy people has been finally broken" in that verse was fulfilled when the Roman army destroyed the Temple.20 The most probable date for that event was late in August 70. If you go backward forty-two months from that date, you arrive at the date, February 67, which is when the Roman commander (and later emperor) Vespasian received his commission from Nero to reconquer Judea and began his methodical and comprehensive invasion of that country. That chronology seems a remarkably good fit for the prophesied three and one-half years.
Note that in Noe's exegesis, the 1,290 and 1,335 days overlap the three and one-half years instead of being added to them. I have no problem with this. The prophecy of 12:7 comes in response to the question "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?" in the preceding verse. The astonishing things include the time of the end and the resurrection referred to 12:2-3. To add additional time to the time of the end seems to me to be a redundancy. Consequently, I regard the 1,290 and 1,335 days as referring to events occurring within the period of three and one-half years.
That concludes my summary of how I deal with the 1,290 and 1,335 days in my forthcoming book. I invite readers to show me where I have gone wrong in my analysis since I still have time to correct errors before committing my manuscript to the publisher.
1. John J. Collins, A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, Hermeneia-A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1993), 35, 322.
2. Ibid., 336.
3. Ibid., 322.
4. Ibid., 336, 400-01.
5. Ibid., 401n.281.
6. Ibid., 371.
7. Ibid., 400-01.
8. Ibid., 401.
10. Ibid., 371.
11. John Noe, Beyond the End Times: The Rest . . . of The Greatest Story Ever Told," 2d ed. (Bradford, Penn.: International Preterist Association, 1999).
12. Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation: A Study of the Last Two Visions of Daniel, and of the Olivet Discourse of the Lord Jesus Christ, rev. ed. (Sterling, Va.: Grace Abounding Ministries, 1988), 175-78.
13. Ibid., 177.
14. Noe, Beyond the End Times, 148.
15. Ward Fenley, "Daniel's Seventy Weeks," www.eschatology.com/seventy.html.
17. Noe, Beyond the End Times, 94-95.
18. Ibid., 94.
19. Ibid., 96-98
20. Ibid., 151-52, 155.