The “war against the saints” will terminate after the period of a “time, times, and part of a time” – Daniel 7:25.
In chapter 7, the timeframe during which the “little horn” is authorized to wage war “against the saints” is described as a “time, times, and part of a time.” At the end of the period, this malevolent ruler loses his domain. In chapter 8, the angel Gabriel describes it as “the end of the indignation, for at the appointed time will be an end.” However horrific the “desolation” might be, it will not endure forever.
The description “time, times, and part of a time” is ambiguous. The book of Revelation uses it as the basis for the “short while” during which Satan and the “beast from the sea” are authorized to “wage war” on the “saints” – (Daniel 7:21-26, Revelation 12:12,17:10, 20:3).
In chapter 2 of Daniel, before he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel declared that Yahweh alone “changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.” This declaration is a key theme in Daniel. God used Daniel to proclaim the rise and fall of empires and to pronounce the limits of their power – (Daniel 2:20-21).
In the interpretation of the vision of the “four beasts,” the “little horn spoke words against the Most-High,” and presumed to challenge Yahweh by “changing seasons and laws.” This was the “mouth speaking great things” in action – (Daniel 7:8, 20-26).
Despite the pretensions of the “little horn,” he can only act when authorized to do so. At the appointed time, he received the authority to make “war on the saints,” but only until judgment was given for them.” Afterward, he lost his “dominion” and suffered destruction:
- (Daniel 7:21-26) – “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most-High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom…And he will speak words against the Most-High and wear out the saints, and he shall think to change seasons and law, and they will be given into his hand until a time and times and part of a time. But the judgment will be set, and they will take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it to the end.”
In his “war,” the “little horn” attempted to “change seasons and laws,” most probably, a reference to the suppression of the ritual practices of the “saints,” especially those connected to the annual calendar (e.g., Passover, Day of Atonement). And if so, then the term “laws” refers to the calendrical and sacrificial regulations of the Levitical code associated with the Temple.
“Times” translates the Aramaic word ‘iddan, a general term for “time” that can have the sense of “year,” depending on context (Strong’s – #H5732). “Season” represents the Aramaic word zemân or “season, set time” (Strong’s – #H2166). The two terms can be used synonymously. However, in places, zemân or “season” is substituted for its Hebrew counterpart mo’ed, which is often used for the “appointed feasts of Yahweh.”
In the clause “time, times, part of a time,” “time” refers to one “time,” “times” to two, and “part of a time” to some portion of a whole “time.” The Aramaic term pelag or “part” means a “dividing” or “portion” of something and does not necessarily mean “half.” In the passage, if “time” represents a year, then a period of over three years is intended.
The “little horn” is central to the next vision, the “ram and the goat.” This figure “magnified himself against the Prince of princes,” cast some “stars to the ground,” removed the daily burnt offering, and profaned the sanctuary by erecting the “trespass that desolates.” The period of persecution would terminate after “two thousand and three hundred evenings–mornings,” then the sanctuary would be “cleansed” – (Daniel 8:9-14).
In the interpretation, the termination of this period is described as the “end of the indignation.” The “king of fierce countenance” set out to “destroy the mighty ones and the saints,” and this corresponds to the previous vision when the “little horn made war on the saints and prevailed over them.” Thus, the same set of events is in view, the time of the “war” against the saints and its termination point.
The time limit for the aggression against the “saints” is set – “two thousand and three hundred evenings-mornings.” The key to this number is the description, “evenings-mornings.” There is no conjunction between the two words in the Hebrew clause. It alludes to the regulations governing the daily “burnt offering” in the sanctuary that was offered from morning to evening – (Leviticus 6:20).
The 2,300 “evening-mornings” equates to 1,150 full days or a little over three years. Whether Daniel was calculating with a 365 or 360-day calendar is not specified in the book. This figure refers to the same period as the “time, times, part of a time.”
In the “seventy weeks,” the period of intense conflict occurs in the final half of the “seventieth week,” that is, in its final three and one-half years. This also includes the removal of the daily sacrifice and the profanation of the sanctuary by the “abomination that desolates,” clear verbal links to the vision of the “ram and the goat” – (Daniel 9:27).
And at the end of the seventieth “week,” the malevolent ruler and the “abomination of desolation” continue until “until a full end, and that a decreed one,” presumably, the time limit set by Yahweh. Likewise, the “contemptible” king in chapter 11 will have “indignation against the holy covenant,” but only “until the indignation is accomplished, for what is determined will be done.” Once again, verbal links demonstrate that the same dark period is in view – (Daniel 11:30-36).
The book’s conclusion recaps the same events with their chronological markers, including the “time, times, and part of a time”:
- (Daniel 12:7-12) – “And I heard the man clothed with linen who was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left unto the heavens, and swore by him that lives forever, For a set time and times and part of a time, and when the dispersion of a part of the holy people is brought to an end, then shall come to an end all these things…and from the time of the taking away of the daily burnt offering and the placing of the abomination that desolates will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
The period of 1,290-days equates to the three and one-half years of the earlier visions. Though presented in different formats, in each vision, the assault against the “saints” and the “sanctuary” was predicted to last for over three years.
Whether this figure was intended literally or figuratively, the several descriptions consistently point to the same predetermined endpoint, the end of the “indignation,” the time of the “abomination that desolates.” And this chronological marker is just one of several verbal and conceptual links that connect the visions of the second half of Daniel.
And the period of a “time, times, and part of a time” during which the “little horn” attacks the “saints” provides the background for the “forty-two months” or “1,260 days” in the book of Revelation, the “short while” during which the “Dragon” and his earthly minions wage war on the “saints” – (Revelation 11:1-4, 12:12-14, 13:4-10, 20:3).
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