"A Time, Times, and Half a Time,"The Period of Gospel Opposition

Speaker: Categories: May 14, 2005


[44min, 16sec / 37min, 31sec]


For most SDAs the title Pastor Christoffel has chosen for this presentation has a rather familiar wording. In fact, many who read this announcement will no doubt hear one or more Bible texts running in the back of their minds. But how recently might you have heard a contemporary treatment of the relevance and meaning of such texts? Larry Christoffel provides an informative overview in the following paragraphs.

"The cryptic expression, atime, and times, and half a time, occurs strategically in Daniel 7:25, toward the end of the Aramaic section (Daniel 2:4-7:28), in Daniel 12:7, toward the end of the Hebrew section (Daniel 1 :1-2:3; 8:1-12:13), and in Revelation 12:14, just after the chiastic center of the book (Revelation 12: 1 0-12). It is likely represented in the bisected finalsevenof theseventy sevensof Daniel 9:24-27. In its two variant forms,42 monthsand1260 days, it is found in Revelation 11 :2; 13:5 and Revelation 11 :3; 12:6 respectively."

"On one hand the numbersevenis associated with completeness of God's purposes in Scripture, whether they be a finished creation (Genesis 2:1-3) or a curse against evil (Genesis 4:23,24; Leviticus 26: 18,21,24, 28, 34; Daniel 9:2,24-27; Jeremiah 25:11; 29: 10; 2 Chronicles 36:20-23. ) Theseven tImesof God's curse is also reflected in God's judgment against Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:16, 23). On the other hand, the brokensevenor atime, times, and half a timeis identified as a period during which God permits his people to be turned over to the powers of evil (See Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:7)"

"Thetime, times and half a timehas associations with the Son of Man, the Judgment, the overthrow of evil, the restoration of God's eternal Kingdom. As the last half of the 70th seven in Daniel 9:24-27, it is associated with Messiah the Prince. In every instance it has to do with God's permitting evil to rule for this period. It is one of the, if not the, most important apocalyptic time expression, gathering within itself the2300 evening morningsof Daniel 8:14. (It should be remembered that Daniel 9:24-27 with the broken seven and Daniel 12:7 with thetime times and half a timeare both explanations of the final vision in the Book of Daniel, Le., Daniel 8:1-14)."

"In the New Testament,three and a half yearsis the period of Elijah's prophetic ministry in the wilderness, protected by God, as Ahab and others sought his life. (Luke 4:25; James 5:17). Though the Old Testament does not describe the period in terms of this duration, New Testament individuals apparently associated it with a time of trouble, perhaps drawn from thethree and a half timesof Daniel."

"According to Revelation 10:7; 11:3-7, 12:6,12, the1260 daysor thetime, times and half a timeis the period of the Two Witnesses (symbols of the witnessing church) faithfully carrying out their task, under duress, but protected by God. The42 months, from the standpoint of the oppressor, is mentioned in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5. A careful study of Revelation 10-12 will show that the3½ times, 1260 days, or 42 monthsbegins with the ascension of Jesus Christ and extends until the Gospel has gone to the whole world."

"John, writing at a time after the Temple and Jerusalem had been destroyed, provides hope to the Christian community by explaining just where they stand in the stream of Bible prophecy. For John, as with all New Testament writers, the end is very near. John gathers up the various strands of the time prophecies and presents them as one simple period - stretching from Christ's ascension to the church's completion of its task of proclaiming the Gospel to the world."

"Recognition of this simple explanation of the cryptic time prophecies could simplify our task as a church which claims to have been raised up to prepare the world for Christ's return. Once we see that the time prophecies are Christologically determined, we can consider the social/ethical issues facing us today in the light of the Gospel. We shall also become painfully aware of the opposition which accompanies the faithful proclamation of the Gospel. See Matthew 24:14,15 and Revelation 10:7; 14:6-14, where the preaching of the Gospel is juxtaposed with the time of Crisis Daniel said was coming on the world."

So, from this newsletter editor's perspective, is all of this a kind of numbers game which needs special decoding skills? Is it an encrypted message, perhaps even a secret code, which had particular relevance to the original readers/hearers and only a kind of fascinating curiosity for us today? How recently have you heard your pastor make reference to any of curiousnumbertexts (cited frequently above) in recent sermons?


Larry Christoffel, who made a SDAF presentation in September, 1997, entitled: John's Understanding of the Book of Daniel, is Pastor for Family and Church Ministries at the Campus Hill Church on the Campus of Lama Linda University in Lama Linda, California. He has served there for the past 18 years, pastoring previously in Ohio and Georgia. He has taught classes in the Books of Daniel and Revelation and other subjects for Lama Linda University School of Religion. Eschatology, as it relates to the Gospel, has been one of his constant pursuits and he has published several articles on the subject. He is one of the organizers of and contributors to the Jesus Institute Forum: jesusinstituteforum.org .

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