LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, September 02, 2007

More thinking out loud…


Still following the bread crumbs on this trail, I think I’ve come across some larger morsels from the same loaf . Could it be our daily bread?

When last I read Daniel 9:27, perplexed about whatever happens with the remaining 3 ½ years of the final (or 70th) ‘seven,’ if indeed the “he” in verse 27A is Jesus, I was intrigued by Riddlebarger’s suggestion that “we find the answer in Revelation 12:14, where John reinterpreted this three-and-one-half years in Daniel as ‘a time, a times, and half a time.’"

I noted in my last post that in Hebrew and Arabic the denotation of ‘two’ items is rendered distinct from all other plurals (three or more). This means that by the word alone you can determine a noun’s quantity by whether or not it is rendered in its singular form, its double (or two) form, or plural (three or more) form. Of course, this got me thinking that if ‘a time’ is singular and if ‘a times’ would happen to be the double form (not three or more), and then ‘half a time,’ well, that would indeed equal three-and-a-half.

So I looked a bit further into the “time, times, and half a time” of Revelation 12:14.

Let’s examine its context. The 12th chapter of Revelation notes that the woman (who gives birth to the child sought after by the dragon, widely held to be Christ sought after by Satan) flies “from the serpent into the wilderness to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”

The footnote in RC Sproul’s English Standard Version for this particular verse points to Revelation 11: 2 – “but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.”

To which, Sproul writes: “11:2 – forty-two months. A time of distress and intense conflict between God’s people and their opponents [13:5].”

Revelation 13:5 - And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.”

Sproul notes: “It is also described as 1,260 days [v. 3, 12:6] or ‘a time, and times, and half a time” [i.e., three and a half years, 12:14]

Well, how about that?

Three-and-a-half years = 42 months = 1,260 days (with years having been rendered as 360 days in days past). There are 354.37 days in a lunar year [of 12 moons/months], and 365.24 days in a solar year; together they average 360 days.

He goes on: “It is half of seven years, which from a symbolic point of view suggests a complete period of suffering, cut short by half. The main background is found in Dan. 7:25, which in turn is related to other passages [Dan. 9:27; 12:7, 11:12]. But like other numbers in Revelation, this one may be symbolic in character, relating to the three and a half days in vv. 9, 11. It would then designate a persecution of limited length.”

To what three-and-a-half days is Sproul referring?

Revelation 11:9 – “For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb …”

Revelation 11:11 – “But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet and great fear fell on those who saw them.”

Let’s jump back to Daniel for a moment. Check out 7:25: “He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

This is uncanny – the fact that there are “3 ½ years” remaining from Daniel’s final ‘seven’ (if indeed the “he” in Daniel 7:25 refers to Christ) and the multiple references given to persecution of the saints of the Most High as “a time, times, and half a time,” both in Daniel 7:25 when the beast wears out the saints for this period of time and Revelation 12:14 when the woman who birthed the child is nourished for the same period of time. Fascinating.

A few other thoughts may help place this in a greater context.

“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” – Revelation 11:1,2

To which, Sproul notes:

“The description is reminiscent of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Assuming that Revelation was written before AD 70, some interpreters see chs. 6-11 or even larger portions of Revelation as prophecy concerning the fall of Jerusalem. But these verses may just as easily be a figure of the preservation of God’s people in the midst of attacks. The temple represents the presence of God on earth, especially through His people … The altar and those who worship there represent the worshipers of God, who are sealed and protected [ch. 7]. The destruction of the outer court represents the attack of outsiders on God’s people.”

With respect to the “two witnesses” of Revelation 11, Sproul indicates that they are possibly two literal individual human beings – either two Christian prophets who were martyred shortly before the fall of Jerusalem or two prophets who will appear shortly before the Second Coming. “But their identification with two lampstands [v. 4] suggests they might be symbolic figures standing for the witness of the lampstand churches of 1:20. If this is the case, they would symbolize churches rather than specific individuals. Two lampstands, rather than seven, are mentioned to imitate the pattern of Zech. 4 and of Moses and Elijah [cf. Deut 17:6; Matt. 17:3,4; Luke 10:10].”

And, if this interests you, do a quick google of ‘a time, times, and half a time.’ Several sites detail how it equals 3 ½ years.

Now, of course, 3 ½ years (or days), along with the references to 42 months and 1,260 days could be considered as great a leap to stretch it out into the entire kingdom or church age as inserting a several-thousand-year gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week. I daresay, however, that there seems to be a connection between the ‘time, times, and half a time’ (which I see as “3 ½ years,” albeit not necessarily literal 360- or 365-day periods) and the 3 ½-day, 42-month, and 1,260-day periods.

I just ordered Kenneth Gentry’s “Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation,” as well as his “Perilous Times” (about the book of Daniel), so I hope to learn more information about these things after I receive those books.

Still following the bread crumb trail on this…

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4 Comments:

Blogger gordan said...

I commend your "thinking out loud." It does take courage to lift what you've always heard up against the Scripture and really check it. Some time ago, I did a chapter-by-chapter review of the Gentry book you ordered.

Bottom line: read with discernment. It seemed like an extremely persuasive argument the first time I read it. I changed my eschatology because of it. But then I read it again later and could suddenly see the little man behind the curtain, frantically pulling levers, etc. I'll look forward to reading what you think of his book.

September 02, 2007 6:08 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Gordan,

Thank you for your wise caution. I'm kind of excited about all of this because I'd only ever been taught one way (dispensationalism) as the only way, and I daresay that a lot of this new thinking just seems to resonate with me and make sense.

I far prefer the footnotes in Sproul's ESV Bible because he does precisely what you advise to do. He offers more than one take on the verse, even though I know he leans toward partial preterism. I don't know if he's amill or not.

In MacArthur's study Bible, John offers only one possibility, such as "At the mid-point of the Tribulation, the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, puts a stop to temple worship, sets up the abomination of desolation, etc," whereas Sproul will say "Advocates of the first-advent view understand ... Advocates of the second-advent view posit... etc"

I prefer Sproul's method, but I fully understand that since MacArthur firmly believes what he believes, it is understandable that he would present his footnotes that way.

To which Gentry book are you referring (that you reviewed) - the one on Daniel or Revelation? I think I'm going to start with "Perilous Times," regarding Daniel and seek out the info about chapter 9.

September 02, 2007 6:43 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
I heard Dr. Sproul say a couple years ago that his position is not firm, but he did say he was convinced that full preterism and dispensational pre-mill were NOT correct....

Hello, Gordan.

September 02, 2007 8:06 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Jazzy,
I respect that in Dr. Sproul. I think it takes wisdom to consider there is much we can't definitively understand this side of heaven.

September 02, 2007 8:35 PM

 

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