It is written:
“And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” 7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.” (Daniel 12:6-7)
Daniel the Prophet, like the angels of God, desired to better understand the hidden mysteries of God’s Word (cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12). Here, he asks the angel how long till the fulfillment of these wonders will be. He is given two answers to this question:
1. First, it will be for a time, times, and half a time;
2. Second, when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
The phrase “time, times, and half a time” had reference to a period of three years and six months. This is made clear in the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 12:6, 14-Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days….But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
Notice that “time, times, and half a time” was the equivalent of 1, 260 days-or 3 1/2 years. Indeed, this was commonly understood phraseology in the Old Testament.
“Until a time, times and half a time. . .” Computed as a period of time there is no doubt that this stands for 3 ½ years. This can be seen in Revelation 12: 6 and 14. Let me list the places where this phrase or its equivalent occurs. In this passage of course, and, Revelation 11: 2 which says: “The holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two months.” Revelation 11: 3 which says: “They shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” Revelation 12: 6 which says: “Nourish her a thousand two hundred and threescore days. . .” Revelation 12: 14 which says: “Nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. . .” Revelation 13: 5 which says: “Authority to continue forty and two months. . .” You’ll have noticed that 12: 6 and 14 used two different phrases as equivalents. The Jews (and ancients in general) used a 360 day year with 30 day months. They added months called “intercalary” months to work things out in solar years (365 days). So now we know what the temporal equivalent is, but what does the phrase mean? It speaks of a state of affairs in which the people of God suffer but are sustained; where they are persecuted but protected. You’ll notice that this is the common denominator in each of the passages above.” (Jim McGuiggan, Daniel, 1912-1926 (Kindle Edition); Lubbock, TX; Sunset Institute Press)
Interestingly enough, there is another reference in Daniel to a span of 3 1/2 years time, involving a wicked king. In the fourth chapter of Daniel, king Nebuchadnezzar went insane for a time. He became like a wild animal, abandoning his family and his kingdom.
We are told:
Daniel 4:16-Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him.
Many believe that that the phrase “let seven times pass over him” means “seven years.” However, there is a much better explanation based on the cultural understanding of Daniel’s day and age.
“The fourth chapter of the Book of Daniel, like the rest of this astonishing book, is not without its witnesses and their written depositions. We shall consider them in a moment. Meanwhile, one objection from the critics needs to be dealt with. It is the notion that what came to be known as the ‘madness’ of Nebuchadnezzar lasted for seven years. There are those who say there is no room in the records for that long a period of incapacity on the part of the king. Well, there is room, and plenty of it. Nebuchadnezzar reigned for a total of 43 years, the first eleven of which are reasonably well documented. But then, there is a very long and unusual hiatus, leaving some 32 years pretty much unaccounted for. 2 But that is not all. The Book of Daniel doesn’t necessarily say that he would endure this madness for seven years. Daniel 4: 25 uses the word iddan, which means an appointed time or season. Now the Babylonians counted just two seasons in the year, summer and winter, each of six months duration. Therefore, seven seasons would have equalled three and a half years. Interestingly, an account of Nebuchadnezzar’s incapacity, the East India House Inscription, begins by stating that it occurred during a four-year period (see below), which fits exactly within the timeframe spoken of in the Book of Daniel.” (Bill Cooper, The Authenticity Of The Book Of Daniel, 627-632 (Kindle Edition).
So, the span from the beginning of this “wicked” king’s reign (including his persecution of the people of God) until the fulfillment of these “wonders” would have something to do with a period of three and a half years.
Furthermore, the angel tells Daniel that the fulfillment of these wonders would have to do with the shattering of the power of the holy people of God. Herein, we find an interesting question: who are the holy people? While the phrase throughout the Old Testament had reference to the physical descendants of Abraham, under the New Testament the holy people of God are the church.
1 Peter 2:9-But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Titus 2:11-14-For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
The Bible teaches that the Jewish people were cut off from being God’s chosen race when they rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and crucified Him.
Romans 11:19-23-You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Thus, the “holy people” of the passage could be a reference to Christians. The idea of their power being shattered could mean that they are persecuted so terribly, they will find deliverance only in the Return of the Messiah and the resurrection of the dead (Daniel 12:1-2).
In our next study, we will notice yet another characteristic of this wicked king-one that has shocking ramifications for our day and age.