Troublesome Topic: What’s Up with 1290 Days and 1335 Days?

Daniel 12:11


And from the time that the regularly repeated [thing] is removed

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and the detestable thing [that causes] desolation is set up,

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[there will be]

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a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

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Also realize that after

things get as bad as you have ever seen them get and you have witnessed the worst thing you could possibly imagine along with its horrible consequences,

then you will need to hang on just a little bit longer.

Daniel 12:12


The one who waits and reaches the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days [will be] blessed.


The one who holds on and hangs in there yet a little longer still, will be rewarded.

There is considerable agreement among scholars that 1,290 days is a reference to three and a half years plus one month (Jewish months were always 30 days long), and 1,335 days would be one and a half months beyond that. However, there is much less agreement about the meaning of these additional periods of time.

I believe that the Jews of biblical times would have started by seeing the sign of three and a half years as a reference to something (either time, or something that is not related to time) cut short, or limited. In this vision, it is suffering that will be limited in its intensity, making it bearable. While the suffering will be limited, these two phrases require the sufferer to hold on a little bit longer, and then a little longer again.

So if you are personally going through a trial that is worse than you could have imagined, then realize two things: First of all God will enable you to endure all of it if you are trusting in Him, and secondly, you may have to hang on a little longer than you thought possible, and then a little bit more beyond that, but you will indeed endure and be victorious to the glory of God. This is especially true of things we suffer for the sake of Christ, not just things that come into our lives but have nothing to do with our relationship with God. But remember that this symbolic language does not always refer to time. Here it is about intensity and the capacity to endure either more time, or greater intensity.

Can we use this passage to predict future events?

I think not. The mention of a “detestable thing that causes desolation,” usually called “the abomination that causes desolation,” is indeed a reference to Antiochus IV destroying the Jewish altar and sacrificing pigs on an altar he built and dedicated to a foreign god. Most authors and preachers focus on the fact that it appears to be talking about periods of time, and the one thing mentioned was a political event that is historically verified, so they assume that everything else in the passage should refer to major, visible events set in time. Based on those assumptions, many have used this passage in an attempt to predict the timing of future events, especially the return of our Lord in power and glory.

However, there are a few things that point a different direction; allow me to point them out. 1) The phrase “time, times, and half a time” is code language for “three and a half,” and “three and a half” is code language for “something that has been limited” and therefore, you will be able to endure it. The thing that is being limited does not need to be time, it can be anything the context requires it to be.

2) The additional periods of “time” are also code language. Both of them can mean “a little bit longer,” and the context of this passage shouts for them to be understood in that way. To go beyond that is to go beyond what the context will allow.

3) The purpose of this vision was to give Daniel and his compatriots encouragement and hope. While several of Daniel’s visions indicated that things would be tough for the Jews, there was also hope because the Messiah would indeed come, and they were promised that God’s strength would enable them to endure all the hardships. In my opinion, the angel was not giving Daniel a predictive tool, he was giving him strength to carry on.

Of these things we can be certain. Anything else is supposition and has a high probability of being wrong.

The next lesson is: Is Persecution Coming to America?


1: “regularly repeated thing”

This is referring to the daily sacrifices, but the word “sacrifices” is not used. You are expected to use the context to realize what the speaker meant. Notice that there are three things in this verse that are not stated but must be assumed. Leaving things out like that is typical of ancient Hebrew.


I believe “that causes” is more accurate than “of” because neither “the detestable thing” (commonly translated “abomination”) nor “desolation” are in a possessive form, which would call for “of”.


The word “until” is conspicuous by its absence. This starts out sounding like a “from…until” statement, but the speaker never arrived at “until;” he left it to the hearer/reader to assume what would happen after 1,290 days. Even though this passage does not mention the Messiah specifically, it can be assumed that the coming of the Messiah (either His first coming or His last coming, or both) is implied by the unspoken “until” of this verse. Verse 1 of this chapter says “your people shall be delivered,” which would bring to their minds the coming of the Messiah.


Here “days” must be figurative. This is one case in which it does not work to interpret it literally because we now know that there were more than 1290 days between the abomination of Antiochus IV and the coming of Jesus. The ancient Jews would have understood days to mean literal days unless the context demanded something different. We are not at liberty to make the word “day” mean whatever length of time we wish, as some erroneously do with Genesis chapter 1, in which the context uses several mechanisms to point to literal days. The use of days in Daniel 12:11 and 12:12 are an exception to the norm because the context points to a symbolic usage and history has verified that it must be symbolism.