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Daniel 12:11-12: From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. (NIV)

What do the 1290 and 1335 days mean in these verses? Do they refer to the "great tribulation" that is yet to come?

  • This depends a great deal on the hermeneutic one employs. Dispensationalists have been arguing that much of Daniel applies to the time of the gentiles and the seventieth week of Daniel applies to the tribulation. Later today I will attempt an answer from a dispensational framework. – Ken Banks Aug 16 '18 at 13:19
  • There is very much symbolism attached to the number seven in Scripture, and 1260 days represent half of seven years. The time span signifies the period during which the Jerusalem Temple was under pagan occupation (168-164 BC). – Lucian Aug 16 '18 at 16:11
  • Daniel 12 seem to fit in very well with the terror of Antiochus Epiphanes IV (as you mentioned). Jesus picks up the same language (great distress yet unmatched) to refer to the destruction of the temple in AD70 (RC Sproul). And there is also clear indication in the text that Daniel is predicting a tribulation in the future yet to come. Is it right to conclude that these numbers 1290/1335 are referring to times when God's people will be under siege, two are already past-Antiochus in 168BC, then destruction in AD70. And now the third one is yet to come? – Kedo Aug 17 '18 at 6:20
  • The 1335 days is clearly an extension of the same 1290 days in the passage. It refers to the blessedness of "waiting" through to the fulfillment/completion of an additional 45 days. This is a logical understanding, but it is frequently overlooked. The day numberings 1290/1335 are specific - not "close" time period references. – user22542 Sep 30 '18 at 13:44
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My goal here is not to answer or even attempt to answer those interpretations that are based on hermeneutics such as amillennialism or other eclectic systems of eschatology. It is to affirm a consistently literal hermeneutic.

The immediate context of Dan. 12:11-12 is Daniel 12:9-13, which comes after Daniel's question in Dan. 12:8.This places the larger context as beginning in Dan. 12:1. This helps a great deal because it gives a great deal of information about the time period being referred to in Dan. 12:11-12.

1) For Daniel there would be a future period that is described as unique in its ferocity (Dan. 12:1). "There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation."

2) That time period with be marked by the deliverance of Daniel's people Israel ("thy people" mentioned twice in Dan. 12:1).

3) Following the time of trouble there will be partial resurrection and a judgment that will follow for those who have been resurrected. The Hebrew term rab (rendered here as "many") serves to limit the number of those who will be resurrected, as there are terms such as kōl that expresses the concept of totality, meaning all or everyone had it been used in the context of Dan. 12:2. The "thy people" people of verse also limits this resurrection to the people of Israel. Incidentally this is a strong argument, along with Isaiah 26 and 1 Thess. 4:13-17 against the idea of a single general resurrection of both the saved and the lost.

4) Michael the archangel limits these events to the "time of the end." This would prohibit this from having already taken place (from our perspective) when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple in 167 BC or in 70 AD at the hands of the Romans.

5) Daniel 12:5-13 is linked to Dan. 12:1-4 by the question made by one of the two men Daniel saw in Dan. 12:6, "How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?"

6) The man clothed in white linen describes the time of the end, which was earlier called the "time of trouble" as a time period that extends for "it shall be for a time, times, and an half." Some like myself suggest that this is defined elsewhere as 3 1/2 years. There are a number of passages that describe a period of 3 1/2 years:(Dan. 7:25; Dan. 12:7; Rev. 11:2; Rev. 12:6, 14; Rev. 13:5;).

7) In Dan. 12:11 there are two events that are actually distinct that are often put together in terms of time:(1) the daily sacrifice will be taken away, and (2) there will be an "abomination that maketh desolate." If there is a split in time between these two events this may partially explain the differences in days that are found in the various passages. Some of the dates are counted from the stopping of the sacrifices and others from the desecration of the temple.

8) One of the events in Dan. 12:11 is the "abomination that maketh desolate" which is commonly called the abomination of desolation. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus refers to a future event that he calls "abomination of desolation" and even adds that this was previously spoken by the prophet Daniel. So in 33 AD Jesus said that Daniel 12:11 would be fulfilled in the future. This prohibits this from having been fulfilled in 167 BC at the hands of Antiochus Epiphanes, unless one calls Jesus a liar or they deny that Jesus actually spoke those words. Since I hold to the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy that is simply not possible. As already noted in Daniel 12:1-4 this period is followed by a resurrection so that prohibits assigning this to 70 AD as well (see the next point).

9) To assign Matthew 24:15 and with it Dan. 12:11 to 70 AD requires a couple of problems. The events described in the larger context of Matthew 24:4-14 must be spirtualized or ignored. There would be a time when a great number of wars and rumors of wars are taking place. The context of the Jewish rebellion doesn't fit this description. These wars will involve many nations, not the two nations of Rome and Israel that were present in the Jewish rebellion of 70 AD. A great deal of physical judgments will come in the form of "famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places," all suggesting a larger context than the narrow context surrounding Jerusalem in 70 AD.

10) The strongest argument for a yet still future time period is the description that follows Matthew 24:15 in Matthew 24:16-31. The abomination of desolation marks the beginning of a period not the end of it. The temple is destroyed at the end of the siege of Jerusalem and therefore it would have made no sense for Jesus to tell people to flee once they saw the abomination. In 70 AD it would have been too late, the Romans had by then already surrounded and destroyed the city. Jesus (Matt. 24:21) also calls this a period of unequal ferocity with the added phrase that it will occur once -- οὐδʼ οὐ μὴ γένηται (and never will be). While the events of 70 AD were terrible in their ferocity and suffering we have seen numerous times where the suffering has far exceeded the events of 70 AD. Once again, to make Dan. 12:11 as having taken place in 70 AD requires the idea that Jesus was wrong when he said there would never again be a time period as horrific as the "Great Tribulation."

11) The events of Matthew 24:4-14 actually have a great deal of similarity with the initial judgments of Rev. 6, where they are just summarized in Matthew and then given more details in the judgments of Revelation. This is one of the weaker arguments here, which is why it was added later.

Therefore, I would conclude that Daniel 12:1-13 is coincides with the time period known as the Great Tribulation and the events right after the tribulation. As there are events that will happen upon His second coming, such as the sheep and goat judgment this too may explain some of the differences in the number of days. There are quite a few other passages that could also be used to show the consistency in Scripture of describing a future time period. In the context of those passages are descriptions of other events that when taken literally can only be seen as a yet future event. As it is this is a very long answer so I will leave the rest for another day.

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    unless one calls Jesus a liar - Or unless a scriptural passage can have more than one meaning. Take, for instance, out of Egypt I have called my son: in context, it refers to the Exodus; on a deeper level, it refers to Christ; in other words, it's not an either/or. – Lucian Sep 15 '18 at 0:08
  • @Lucian, I would suggest you read the "Jesus Crisis" by Robert Thomas. It answers the Matthew 2:4 passage better than any I have read and it establishes that every passage as given must have a single meaning or we we are in the subjective realm of spiritualizing the Scriptures. Matthew 2:4 differs from Matt. 24 in that the original OT meaning was not predictive and then the NT writer under inspiration made it predictive and gave it a new single meaning. In the case of the Daniel passage it was already predictive and therefore it about when it might be fulfilled. Dual fulfillment is out too – Ken Banks Sep 17 '18 at 10:50
  • Christ's inference in Matthew 22:32, Mark 12:27, Luke 20:38 does not appear particularly objective. Nor do Paul's words in Galatians 4:24 appear particularly literal. Furthermore, Daniel's time frame of roughly three-and-a-half years, repeated in the Book of Revelation, is most likely based on or inspired by the period during which the Jerusalem Temple was under pagan occupation (168-164 BC). Going forward 1290-1335 years from roughly 170 BC we arrive in AD 1120-1165, which fits nicely within the period of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1100-1290). – Lucian Sep 17 '18 at 18:30
  • Having said that, Daniel's seventy weeks prophecy does indeed seem to point to AD 70, for several reasons: The prophecy itself is said to have taken place in the first year of Darius (9:1), which is later revealed to be none other than Darius II (11:1-4), who acceded to the royal throne in 423 BC. Earlier in his book, Daniel describes a king by the name of Darius, but whose deeds are precisely those of Cyrus (chapters 5 and 6). Transforming the first year of Cyrus (9:25) into the first year of Darius, QED – Lucian Sep 17 '18 at 18:44
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In short a possible explanation, sacrifices stop at the destruction of the temple 600 bc, 1290 days = 1290 years, then the building of the abomination - dome of the rock build in Jesusalem on the holy place 691 ad (year zero is the mission 1), then from the dome of the rock it is 1,335 (1335 years) to 2026 (return of christ)

  • Hi Gabriel, welcome to BHSE and thanks for answering. Could you provide some support from the Bible or other credible places for your answer? Thanks. – phil-al-sophy Dec 7 '18 at 4:15
  • I will try and do some more research for you on this. in the mean time there is an easier way to get to 2026, for at least the start of the tribulation? – gabrielkolbe Jan 6 at 13:00
  • SET times and dates Acts 1:7 A 1000 years are like a day Psalm 90:4, and a day like a 1000 years 2 Peter 3:8 God says to Adam: Gen 2:17 'for in the DAY that you eat of it you shall surely die' Gen 5:5 Adam lived 930 years (less than 1 DAY) From Abraham to Christ is 4000 years. (4 days) Genesis 22:8 'God will provide a lamb' Exodus 12 the lamb should be kept for 4 days before sacrifice. Hosea 6:2 Indicates after 2000 years after He left us he will come again. Christ born 4 bc. Christ died 33 ad 33 ad plus 2000 years are 2033, to calculate start of tribulation minus 7 years. == 2026 – gabrielkolbe Jan 6 at 13:05
  • So in short anywhere from about 2026-2036 – gabrielkolbe Jan 6 at 13:07

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