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SEGMENT 3 DANIEL 7

Segment 3 - Daniel 7
God is Sovereign

page 6 of 7
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Three and a Half Times

 

Daniel 7:25 also says the little horn would “wear out the saints of God (through persecution).” In fact, the Bible says “they” [the saints] shall be given into his hand [e.g., the hand of the little horn] for a time, times and half a time!” (Insertions mine) This single verse should cause every believer in a pre-tribulation rapture to think about his position, because this verse indicates that God Himself handed His saints over to the little horn to be persecuted for a prescribed length of time! If God subjected His saints to persecution in times past, why should the last generation expect to escape from the coming tribulation? Instead of delivering the saints from persecution, God did the opposite by handing His people over to the little horn for 1,260 years! Why would an all-wise God do this? I can offer two possible reasons:

 

First, persecution keeps the saints on their knees and their focus on the Word of God. When life is easy, faith in God evaporates. Moses warned Israel: “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14) When we contrast the Church at Rome (the little horn) with the Church in the Wilderness (the persecuted saints), we clearly see what prosperity and persecution produces. Prosperity produces decadence. Persecution, on the other hand, pushes people into a life of dynamic faith, clinging to Jesus as their hope and salvation. Persecution made God’s Word extremely precious to the Church in the Wilderness. Many Bibles, or portions of the Bible, were laboriously copied by hand so that people could have the Word of God to study. Meanwhile, back in prosperous Rome, the Bible was not important. The Bible was chained to the walls of monasteries and libraries because the authority of the church rested in its clergy, not the Word of God! The Church in the Wilderness hungered for every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, while the Church in Rome preferred the authority of popes and priests who spoke boastful things. For the saints, a plain “thus saith the Lord” was more important than any papal bull. The saints loved and honored the Word of God and held it in much higher esteem than life itself. In summary, the persecution of God’s people kept the Word of God alive.

 

The second reason God handed His saints over to the little horn is this: Persecution keeps faith in Christ alive. This is ironic. The very circumstances that cause faith to grow are the very circumstances that human nature hates the most! The selfish desires of the carnal nature include pleasure, prosperity, power, unchallenged authority, and limitless amounts of money, fame and respect. Faith during times of persecution means trusting God for survival of life itself. Furthermore, as the Holy Spirit led the saints into a greater understanding of the truth, the Church in the Wilderness proceeded to follow God’s Word without regard for social and financial consequences. This is the essence of faith – obeying God at any cost. When the Church in Rome rose to power, the word, “faith,” was changed. Faith came to mean a religious view, not a religious experience. Even today, people typically ask, “What faith do you belong to?” Therefore, the second reason God wisely gave the saints over to persecution was to keep faith in Jesus alive!

What Is a Time?

We do not need to review the atrocities of the Roman Catholic Church or those of her enemies during centuries past. (Historians have devoted thousands of pages to this topic and these works can be found in public libraries.) However, we do need to consider a specification about the Roman Catholic Church that is profound. Daniel 7:25 say the saints would be given over to the little horn for a time, times and half a time. According to Rule Four, this time-period amounts to 1,260 years in length. It began in A.D. 538 and ended in 1798.

 

You may recall, until the sixteenth century A.D., men believed the Earth stood still and the Sun orbited our planet. For purposes computing time, the ancients used 360 degrees of arc to represent a completed circle or cycle of the Sun. The Jews did not count a year as 365 days because the number of days in their year is either 354 or 384. God gave Israel a solar/lunar calendar to measure time and the cycles of the Sun and Moon determine the number of days in a year. (Exodus 12) Since the Sun moves about one degree of arc per day in a year, the use of 360 degrees of arc (the number of degrees in a circle) to represent the length of a year was a practical method for measuring “a time.” This type of averaging was also done for the length of a month. Even though a month is actually 29.53 days, the ancients counted a month (or a moon) as 30 days for the purposes of calculation.

 

The Aramaic word, ‘hiddan, translated “a time” in Daniel 7:25 (and used elsewhere in Daniel), refers to “a set time” or “a turning.” The word, ‘hiddan, indicates the beginning or turning of a year at its appointed time. Revelation 12:14 also contain the phrase “a time, times and half a time,” and according to Revelation, 12:6, this phrase represents 1,260 days. Some people question if the word “times” means two times or more than two times. First, Revelation 12 reveals that 1,260 days are “a time, times and half a time.” (Revelation 12:6,14) Second, at the minimum, the plural of “a time” is two times. If there are more than two times, the time period cannot be measured because no one knows how many times to count. Last, historical evidence confirms that God had 1,260 years in mind when He defined this time-period. The number of days in “a time, times and half a time” is determined by the following formula:

 

  1. One time of the Sun equals one circle of 360 degrees of arc.

 

  1. Two times of the Sun, equal two circles of 360 degrees of arc or 720 degrees.

 

  1. Half a time equals half a circle or 180 degrees of arc.

 

  1. Total: 1,260 degrees of arc

                       (360 + 720 + 180= 1,260 degrees)

 

It is widely known that God gave the Jews a calendar in which a day of the week represents a year, e g., and a week of seven days equals seven years. (See Leviticus 25; Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:5,6.) Many Bible students understand the 70 weeks mentioned in Daniel to be 490 years (that is, 70 weeks times seven days equals 490 days, and each day represents a year). Therefore, if God used the Jubilee Calendar to measure the 70 weeks in Daniel 9, then it is possible that He used the Jubilee Calendar to determine the 1,260 days in Daniel 7 as 1,260 years. This is a good place to repeat Rule Four which states: “God reckons apocalyptic time in two ways: (a) a day for a year, and (b) as literal time. The presence or absence of the Jubilee calendar determines how God reckons time.”  Even though it is essential to understand the Jubilee Calendar when applying this rule, for now just consider the fact: History confirms the duration of the little horn’s power was 1,260 years – to the very month! The Roman Catholic Church persecuted the saints for 1,260 years. Even though Protestants in centuries past did not properly understand the operation of the Jubilee Calendar, they did conclude that history and prophecy are in perfect harmony, and many Protestants predicted a “wounding” of papal powers prior to 1798. In short, Daniel was told the Roman Catholic Church would persecute God’s saints for 1,260 years – and history confirms this to be the case.

 

Part Ten:

 

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of Days came, and [a favorable] judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. (Daniel 7:21-23, KJV, insertion mine)

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