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 will lose 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 last forever.
The description of a “time, times, and part of a time” is ambiguous. The book of Revelation applies it to 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 Daniel chapter 2, the prophet declares that Yahweh alone “changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings,” and this declaration is a key theme of the book. God uses Daniel to proclaim the rise and fall of empires – (Daniel 2:20-21).
In the interpretation of the “four beasts” in chapter 7, the “little horn speaks words against the Most-High,” and presumes to challenge Yahweh by “changing seasons and laws.” This is the “mouth speaking great things” in action. Despite the pretensions of the “little horn,” he can only act when authorized to do so, and only until judgment is given for the saints.” Afterward, he loses his “dominion” and suffers destruction – (Daniel 7:8, 7:20-26).
In his “war,” the “little horn” attempts to “change seasons and laws,” most probably, the suppression of the ritual practices of the Jewish nation, especially those connected to the annual calendar. And if this is so, the Aramaic term rendered “laws” in the chapter refers to the calendrical and sacrificial regulations of the Levitical code.
The term for “times” is 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). Both words can be used synonymously, though in places, zemân or “season” is substituted for its Hebrew counterpart mo’ed, often used for the “APPOINTED feasts of Yahweh.”
In the clause, “time, times, part of a time,” the singular “time” refers to one “time,” the plural “times” to two, and “part of a time” to some portion of a whole “time.” The Aramaic term pelag is rendered “part” and means a “dividing” or “portion” of something. In chapter 7, if “time” represents a year, then a period of over three years is intended.
The “little horn” is central to the vision concerning the “Ram and the Goat.” This figure “magnifies himself against the Prince of princes,” casts some of the “stars to the ground,” removes the daily burnt offerings, and profanes the sanctuary. The period of persecution terminates after “two thousand and three hundred evenings-mornings,” and then the sanctuary is “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” sets out to “destroy the mighty ones and the saints,” and this corresponds to the previous vision where 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 this evil ruler’s aggression against the “saints” is described as “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 offerings” in the sanctuary that were 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. The figure of 2,300 “evening-mornings” refers to the same period as the “time, times, part of a time” in chapter 7.
In the “seventy weeks” prophecy in chapter 9, 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 vision also includes the removal of the daily sacrifices 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 as in the preceding visions – (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 offerings and the placing of the Abomination that Desolates will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
In chapter 12, 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” is predicted to last for over three years.
Whether this figure is intended to be taken literally or figuratively, the several descriptions consistently point to the same predetermined endpoint, the end of the “indignation,” and the time of the “Abomination that Desolates.”
And this chronological marker is just one of several verbal and conceptual links that connect the several visions of the second half of the book of Daniel.
Moreover, 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).