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Daniel 7:25 (ESV):

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.

More than once I've seen this verse being brought up by Sabbatarians to show that a change from Sabbath observance to Sunday worship was allegedly prophesied by Daniel. Are they right?

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  • While this is a good question, I am not sure we will get any realistic answers here as the answer is part of a greater scheme of prophetic interpretation (eg, historical, preterist, futurist, spiritual, etc) and so cannot be answered in isolation. – Dottard Apr 12 at 21:59
  • @Dottard - do you mean it could be answered but it would take a painful lot of work? – Spirit Realm Investigator Apr 12 at 22:13
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator - of course it can be answered but the answer will depend on heavily on the prophetic and eschatological scheme one adopts. Therefore, one needs to establish that background before attempting to address this question. However, as my answer below shows, some of these background schemes will have trouble getting a sensible answer. – Dottard Apr 12 at 22:17
  • @Dottard - I see. Maybe a fair compromise would be to list the a few most reasonable candidate 'prophetic and eschatological schemes' and argue for the one which makes more sense given the evidence. Kind of like: we have options A, B and C, and B is the one that makes more sense. – Spirit Realm Investigator Apr 12 at 22:20
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator - I hope that we get a variety of answers here that will have that very effect. We shall see. However, IF we do, we will also see just how dependent the answers are upon the assumptions and pre-suppositions. – Dottard Apr 12 at 22:22
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To “speak words against the Most High” trying (NIV) “to change the times and the law” has to be anti God as in promoting unclean and evilness, and would refer to the in the Bible prophesied coming “Anti Christ”.

Shall persecute (NKJ) “the saints of the Most High" and " the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time", sounds like it refers to the so called "Great Tribulation" period (Rev 7:14), which could last for 3.5 years.

So, no. The Bible passage in question doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any official change of the Sabbath day; the weekly day of rest, to which our Lord discouraged rigid observance.

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    The word for "time" in "time times and half a time" and "change times and law" are different and so not necessarily related. – Dottard Apr 13 at 20:24
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I confess I have never heard any charge that Daniel prophesied there would be a change from the Jewish Sabbath observance to Sunday worship. The former starts from sundown on Friday (the 7th day of the Jewish week) and the latter starts from midnight on Sunday (the 1st day of the Jewish week). All I have heard is that some people claim it was the Catholic Church who switched Sabbath day worship to a Sunday, but the Bible book of Acts tells us that the first Christians gathered together for worship on Sundays.

Going back to Daniel chapter 7, the fourth beast represents a kingdom that will speak against the Most High God and persecute the people of God. This fourth beast does the bidding of Satan whose aim is to wear out the saints (the people of God) and silence them. Here is part of a commentary by Matthew Henry:

He shall think to change times and laws, to abolish all the ordinances and institutions of religion, and to bring everybody to say and do just as he would have them. He shall trample upon laws and customs, human and divine. He pulls down, he builds, he changes square into round, as if he meant to alter even the ordinances of heaven themselves. And in these daring attempts he shall for a time prosper and have success; they shall be given into his hand until time, times, and half a time (that is, for three years and a half), that famous prophetical measure of time which we meet with in the Revelation, which is sometimes called forty-two months, sometimes 1260 days, which come all to one. But at the end of that time the judgment shall sit and take away his dominion (v. 26), which he expounds (v. 11) of the beast being slain and his body destroyed...

Henry asks, who is this enemy, whose rise, reign, and ruin, are foretold? He then shows how various interpreters do not agree. He then says:

but others will have the fourth kingdom to be that of the Romans, and the little horn to be Julius Caesar, and the succeeding emperors (says Calvin), the antichrist, the papal kingdom (says Mr. Joseph Mede), that wicked one, which, as this little horn, is to be consumed by the brightness of Christ's second coming. The pope assumes a power to change times and laws, potestas autokratorikeµ—an absolute and despotic power, as he calls it. Others make the little horn to be the Turkish Empire...

But yet it has a further reference, and foretells the like persecuting power and rage in Rome heathen, and no less in Rome papal, against the Christian religion, that was in Antiochus against the pious Jews and their religion. And St. John, in his visions and prophecies, which point primarily at Rome, has plain reference, in many particulars, to these visions of Daniel. Source: https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mh&b=27&c=7

Whatever interpretation is favoured, one thing seems clear to me. This has nothing to do with Sabbath keeping. As others have said, it depends on your eschatological position. Whatever fulfilments were experienced by God’s people during and after the fall of the Babylonians, the Medes and the Persians, the various Greek Ptolemies and Seleucids, the Maccabees and Hasmoneans and the Roman Empire, there is a greater fulfilment still to come, as described in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The beasts who are empowered by the Antichrist are hell-bent on destroying God’s people, and the final conflict is still some time future.

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This will not answer the question but provide some background. (The answer to this question is impossible without a grander scheme of eschatology and prophetic interpretation.)

The two words at question here are:

זִמְנִ֣ין (zimnin) = times

The root word זְמָן occurs only 11 times in the OT, all but one (Ezra 5:3) occur in Aramaic portion of Daniel, namely, Dan 2:16, 21, 3:7, 8, 4:36, 6:10, 7:12, 22, 25. Thus it means (by BDB)

time (probably loan-word from Old Persian zrvan, zarvâna, time, age, NöM 152 Scheft45; compare Biblical Hebrew (late); and (on change of ν [b] to m) FräZA iii. 52; Nabataean זמן, Palmyrene (Nabataean) זבן Lzb266; Lzb268 SAC48. 49); — absolute ׳ז Daniel 2:16; Daniel 7:12; emphatic זִמְנָא Ezra 5:3 +; plural absolute Daniel 6:11 +, emphatic זִמְנַיָּא Daniel 2:21; — time: specified time Daniel 2:16; appointed time Daniel 7:12,22, compare Daniel 2:21; בֵּהּ זִמְנָא at that time Ezra 5:3; Daniel 3:7,8; Daniel 4:33; (festival) seasons Daniel 7:25; time, occurrence, Daniel 6:11; Daniel 6:14 three times in the day.

וְדָ֔ת (w'-dat) = and law

The word דָּת occurs 14 times: Ezra 7:12, 14, 21, 25, 26 (twice), Dan 2:9, 13, 15, 6:5, 8, 12, 15, 7:25. BDB gives these meanings:

1 decree of king Daniel 2:13,15; Ezra 7:26; with suffix Daniel 2:9 decree against you.

2 unchangeable law of Medes and Persians Daniel 6:9; Daniel 6:13; Daniel 6:16.

3 law of God (in mouth of non-Jews): Daniel 6:6; Ezra 7:12,14,21,26, so (absolute) Daniel 7:25; laws of God Ezra 7:25.

Note that BDB classifies (correctly as is obvious from the context) Dan 7:25 as the Law of God.

Therefore, whatever Dan 7:25 prophesies, it has something to do with changing times in [God's] laws.

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  • "it has something to do with changing times in [God's] laws" - why in and not and? – Spirit Realm Investigator Apr 13 at 19:46

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