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Restitution of all things 2

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"Days" and "Years" in prophecy

The word usually translated as "day" is Strong's word number 3117. It has several possible meanings. Meaning number 1e is "year".


Most people accept that the seventy "weeks" in chapter 9 refer to periods of seven years. Daniel's visions were consistent. Daniel's thousands of "days" actually cover thousands of years.

1260 days of trial and the LDS church
- how Biblical can you get?

Even by the most cautious approach, the LDS church is deeply Biblical.

(To get the most from this page, you will need to be familiar with basic facts about the history of the LDS church.)


If you think the idea that "1260 days means 1260 years" is too much to take, let us start at a base line where even the most cautious Bible scholars agree: the general meaning of the "three and a half year" period. If we take this as meaning a literal period of trial, and not just a once-only 1260 year period, it is again fulfilled by the LDS church.

The Bible and 1260 days of trial

In the Bible, 1260 days (three and a half Jewish years) represents a period of trial. Elijah sealed the heavens in the days of Ahab for three and a half years. Jesus' ministry put Israel on trial for three and a half years. Daniel speaks of the "little horn" having power to speak blasphemies for three and a half years. Revelation speaks of the church being in the wilderness for three and a half years. Elsewhere in this web site I will look at the evidence for prophetic days representing years, but for now let's just look at them as plain old days of 24 hours each.

The first great trial of the LDS church

Note: this page deals with just the three worst historical periods of trial. Another way of looking at the trials is by themes that lasted the whole nineteenth century. That approach is taken elsewhere.

Joseph Smith had his first vision in 1820, but God chose not to reveal anything else to him until 1823. During this period, Joseph did not know where he stood with God. He was left to his own devices. He sometimes slipped up and did things he needed to repent of (though not any "great or malignant sins"). He must have been desperately concerned to know where he stood with God - after that incredible experience, and then silence. It seems that his faith was being tried. It was his "wilderness" experience.

A date for the First Vision

All we know about the date of Joseph Smith's First Vision is that it took place in the "early spring" of 1820. It was Joseph's first vocal prayer. He probably chose a Sunday to pray, because:

  • It seems the obvious day for an important prayer, especially if you are not used to praying.
  • Joseph's prayer was prompted by James 1:5, a reference he probably heard at the local Methodist church on a Sunday. Joseph had very little schooling, and his mother said he was "the least inclined" of her children to read books.
  • This was the only time his father's farm would be quiet and Joseph would have much free time.

So Joseph's first vision probably took place on either March 18, 25, April 2 or April 9, 1820.

Which Sunday was it? Ten years later, Joseph officially organized the church on April 6th, and every conference thereafter has been held on that date (some LDS members believe it is the day of Jesus' actual birthday). So April 6th is especially significant in LDS history. It seems a reasonable guess that the 1820 vision took place on the closest Sunday - April 9th.

The date of Joseph's next vision (which opened the floodgates to many other visions and heavenly visits until his death) is known as September 21st 1823. Only in the 20th century has the significance of this second date been realized - It was the Jewish new year (and "feast of trumpets") and the autumnal equinox, of great significance in antiquity. Both events were ripe with symbolism for what was to follow. And as far as I know, nobody has ever realized that the time between the two events was probably precisely 1260 days, or "a time, times, and half a time" of trial.

The second great trial of the LDS church

The church (literally) in the wilderness:

When Joseph was killed by a mob on June 27th 1844, near the (then) church headquarters in Illinois, it was the climax of years of persecution. Many people thought that the church would not survive now that its charismatic prophet had died. Many tiny splinter groups broke off. To escape the rising problems (including an "extermination order" placed on all church members in one state), the church fled to the west. Wagons and handcarts were pulled and pushed across the plains, prairies and mountains, to the desert around the Great Salt Lake.

It was a terribly hard time for the church, but God raised up an apostle, Brigham Young, the "modern day Moses", who kept the church together. Finally, the church was settled in the newly founded "Salt Lake City", and Brigham was chosen as Joseph's successor on December 5th 1847. Four days later on December 9th, Thomas Kane, a government officer with sympathies to the church, promised to ask the United States president and vice president for help. The worst trial was over. It has lasted - though nobody noticed at the time - precisely 1260 days.

The third great trial of the LDS church



In Old Testament times, God allowed many of his prophets to practice polygamy. (We don't know if he commanded them too, but he certainly gave David his wives - see 2 Samuel 12:8) This did not mean infidelity, but supporting and caring for more than one wife and children. The Bible prophesied a restitution of all things, spoken of by all the prophets since the world began. Part of that restitution was polygamy, though on a very limited level (the great majority of the church remained monogamous). It operated under strict controls - for example, the man had to have a record of high moral standards, be able to financially support his new wife, and most important, his first wife had to be in favour of it!

Polygamy was the focus for anti-LDS feeling. The government passed anti-polygamy laws. Note that they did not dare pass a law against infidelity as it would have caught out too many senators. So the law allowed infidelity, or even serial monogamy, but it forbade people making long term commitments to care for and support two people at once. This is not meant as a detailed defense of polygamy, I remember reading of a non-Christian scholar who thought that opposition to polygamy was designed to attack the rights of women. The scholar noted that in a polygamous society, a woman could choose whichever man she wished, even if he was already married, and thus benefit from the most responsible or economically able men. But when polygamy was banned, women had fewer choices.


The opposition to polygamy was a major cause of the "Utah war" of 1857, in which a government army was sent to squash an imagined rebellion in Utah. The church was ready to move on yet again, and had even ploughed up the field in which the temple was being built. The government literally trod the church underfoot ( link ). Persecution climaxed with the passing of the Edmunds-Tucker bill. This took away the church's legal existence, its property, the right of its members to vote, it put church leaders in jail, and so on. The legal opposition ended with the official announcement that, consistent with the church's teachings that all men should obey the law, No more polygamous marriages would take place.

Since the polygamy difficulties built up over a period of time, and subsided over a period of time, it is difficult to place exact dates to it. But the greatest trials were under the Edmunds-Tucker laws, which were passed February 17th 1887, and began to be enforced in the months that followed. They were no longer enforced after the official declaration ending plural marriage, on September 24th 1890, and voted on by the church on October 6th 1890. My history books do not say exactly when the Edmunds-Tucker laws were enforced to their greatest extent, but it looks like a trial lasting three and a half years once again.

For a footnote on the year 1890, see the pages on the year 1905, and the brief reference regarding the Baha'i faith.



Some churches try very hard to fulfil prophecy. They study the Bible and try to copy what they see. What a contrast with Joseph Smith, who never set out to deliberately fulfil any prophecies, but ended up fulfilling them all! And the best part of it is, you can be part of it. That is right, there is a church that lives by prophecy, both ancient and modern, where the Bible is still being written. and it invites you to join in. What an offer!


Another prophecy fulfilled by church history

Another student has pointed out that Daniel's 70 week prophecy is fulfilled - with literal weeks - in LDS church history. See for details. This does not mean that the prophecy cannot also be fulfilled by the first coming of Christ, but it serves to underline how the LDS church fulfils prophecy at every turn, without realizing that it is doing it.

Put simply, one of the most important events in the restoration was the dedication of the first temple in modern times, at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836. This was the scene of great miracles and visitations, including the visit of Elijah with the keys of work for the dead, as foretold at the very end of the Old Testament. Kirtland is in the county of Jerusalem, and has been referred to as the old Jerusalem temple in contrast with the new Jerusalem temple to be built in Jackson County, Missouri. Some of the prophecies that people assume apply to the Jackson County temple were actually fulfilled by the Jerusalem County temple.

In Daniel 9:24-25, Daniel saw that there would be seventy weeks plus seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks, from the command to rebuild Jerusalem until it was built. If we take these as consecutive, it adds up to 139 weeks. This is the exact period from:

  • August 2nd 1833 (when section 94 of the Doctrine and Covenants was revealed - which gave the command to build the temple) This is not the exact date given in current editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, but according to volume 2 part 2 page 1226 of "The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants" (a BYU Masters Thesis by Woodford), Joseph Smith said he received this revelation on August 2nd 1833.
  • and April 3rd 1836, when Christ came to his temple and accepted it in person.

Note that all of king Zedekiah's sons (heirs) except Mulek were killed at around 600 BC, so it could be argued that the rightful location of Jerusalem moved away when Mulek escaped to America. I am not sure I would go that far, but if the same prophecy is unintentionally yet literally fulfilled in two different ways, it does strengthen the position of the LDS church as the most Biblical church on earth. I disagree over this author's interpretation of the 1260 days (for several different reasons), but see what you think:

the bottom line

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints cannot stop itself fulfilling Bible prophecy. Because it wrote the Bible!


What is the simplest interpretation?

In some contexts, "days" are not what they seem:

I believe in taking the simplest explanation for each part of the Bible. Most of the time, there is no reason to take a "day" as anything other than 24 hours. But in the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, the "24 hour" assumption has some difficulties:

  • Why would Daniel (for example) pick just three years, starting a hundred years after his death, as being vitally important to prophecy? Much more important things happened since then, lasting much greater lengths of time.
  • Why use such obscure phrases as "a time, time, and the dividing of a time" when saying "three and a half years" would have made more sense?
  • The "day" prophecies in Daniel are in the context of other events (such as the return to rebuild Jerusalem) that are firmly dated before the Christian Era. So if the "days" meant 24 hour periods, they would be over before Christ. Yet John, writing in Revelation, referred to the 1260 period (using much the same language as Daniel) as being still yet to come.
  • The "days" prophecies refer both to events near to Daniel's time, and to events in the last days, without any hint of a gap in between.
  • Traditional interpretations involving literal days only work if you abuse the figures. Take for example the 2300 days. This is often applied to Antiochus' defiling of the temple, but it only fits if you halve the figure and then take off a couple of months. In contrast, the prophecies are fulfilled precisely if we read "day" as "year".
  • There are many places in the Bible where "day" means "year".


Where a "day" represents, or mirrors, a year

  • Genesis 5 - the genealogies frequently say "the days of (name) were (x) years". Days and years seem to be interchangeable.
  • Genesis 29:27 - Jacob served "a week" for Rachel, meaning seven years.
  • Exodus 20:10; Leviticus 25:3-4 - a seventh day Sabbath is paralleled by a seventh year Sabbath.
  • Exodus 13:10 - the annual Passover should be kept "from days to days". Similar wording is used regarding years in Numbers 9:22, Judges 1:40, 1 Samuel 1:21, 1 Samuel 2:19, 1 Samuel 27:7 and 1 Kings 1:1. English translations often change these references to say "year" or "years".
  • Numbers 14:34 - The children of Israel wander in the wilderness for forty years, to correspond to a previous forty day period.
  • Ezekiel 4:5-6 - This is probably the key text, since it deals specifically with predictive prophecy. Ezekiel is given a prophecy for the people, where every day is to symbolize a year.
  • (LDS readers should also compare JST Revelation 12:5 with KJV revelation 12:6.)

Where a "day" represents a "year" in Daniel:

  • Daniel 1:5, 18 - the end of Daniel's three years' training is referred to as the end of his "days".
  • Daniel 8:26 - many years in the future is described as "many days" in the future.
  • Daniel 9 - the "seventy weeks" prophecy, even before we see its literal fulfillment, only makes sense if a "week" is seven years. In fact, the Hebrew word for "week" is just "seven".

In the light of the above, it seems entirely reasonable that Daniel's "days", when in the context of "end of the world" predictions, can be read as "years".

Similarly, the 42 "months", given that they equal 1260 "days", should be seen as 42 groups of 30 years (the ancient Jewish month had 30 days). And the "time and times and dividing of a time", since "a time" can be translated "a year", and 3 1/2 years contain 42 months, could be treated in the same way.

Technical note:
Just because a single Jewish year had 360 days, this does not mean that we should count 1260 years as 1260 times 360 days (making something less than 1260 of the years that we are used to). Just as we have "leap years", where an extra day is added to keep us up with the solar year, so the ancient Jews used to add an extra month when necessary, called "second Adar" (after the normal month "Adar"). So individual years come in as 360 days, just as individual modern years are taken as 365 days. But over large periods of time we can treat a year as a solar year - that is, lasting slightly less than 365.25 days.


Why the little horn's 1260 "days" cannot be literal "days"

  • The context:
    The prophecy of Daniel on which there is most agreement - the messianic prophecy of chapter 9 - has "weeks" meaning "periods of seven years". The 1260 prophecies come either side of this chapter.
  • No three and a half year period (past or yet to come) can possibly fit:
    Perhaps the Bible skips over these thousands of years because the final three and a half years is so unspeakably awful? No. As shown below, the church will not be controlled by Satan. So the final three and a half years cannot be said to be worse for the church than anything that has gone before.
  • No huge gap:
    In Daniel 7, the little horn is shown as rising to power at the time of the ten kingdoms that came after Rome. In Daniel 8, we learn of the origin of the horn, which can be traced right back to the end of the Greek world. This takes us to the rise of Byzantium at the latest (see discussion). It is true that the horn appears before the 1260 "days" begins, but is it credible to assume a gap of one to two thousand years? before the horn gets into gear?
  • Too much happens:
    Too much happens in this period to squash into such a short space of time. The entire church is overcome -a process that took centuries, or decades at the very least - after the apostles died. Most people who hold to the "literal years" theory place the period of defeat right at the end, yet this is the same time that the gospel has been preached to the whole world (Matthew 24:14), with the help of angels (Revelation 14:6-7). The church is likely to be bigger than ever, and even less likely to be quickly overcome. And if the process takes a long time (a slow fall into apostasy followed by three and a half years of death), this just conflicts even more with the triumphal message referred to earlier.

the bottom line

The ancient prophecies were not talking about long-dead peoples. They were talking about you!

Daniel 2 and the 1260 "day" prophecy

For more prophecies from Daniel, click here.

This page contains a close look at the later history of the Roman empire, as predicted by the Bible. The implications for traditional Christian churches are nothing short of damning. Maybe I had better stop now if I still want any friends left outside my own church...

Left: the evils done in the name of Christianity. How can any Bible reader deny that the church fell into apostasy?


The most often repeated prophetic number in all scripture is 1260 "days" (equivalent to 42 Jewish months, or 3 1/2 Jewish years or "times".) It is mentioned directly in Daniel 7 and 12 and Revelation 11 and 12 and 13. It is referred to indirectly in Daniel 8 and 11, Matthew 24, and many other places. The context is always the same - the defeat of the church. The first and most important reference is in Daniel chapter 2.

Daniel chapter 2

Daniel and Rome

In Daniel chapters 2 and 7, the history of the world is given in terms of four kingdoms: Babylon, Media/Persia, Greece, and Rome. Rome is shown as surviving (broken into many kingdoms) until the last days and the triumph of the kingdom of God. Some people, in order to believe that Daniel could not in fact foresee the future, try to argue that the fourth kingdom was in fact Greece. But the fourth kingdom has to be Rome for the following reasons:

  • The "fourth kingdom is Greece" theory assumes that kingdoms two and three were Media and Persia. But Daniel 5:28 suggests that he considers "the Medes and the Persians" to count as one group, not two.
  • The symbolism of the fourth kingdom (rules whole earth, very strong, stamps in pieces, etc.) applies to Rome more than to Greece.
  • The third beast had four heads and four wings, which perfectly fits the rapid expansion of Greece and its breaking into four parts. In contrast, the description of the fourth beast as devouring and trampling over its victims, then producing ten kingdoms, perfectly describes Rome.
  • The other descriptions were perfectly fulfilled by Roman history, as we shall see.

Traditional Christians' problems start here.

In Daniel 2, Rome is shown as finishing up divided into many parts (verses 40-43). This is just what happened at the fall of the Roman empire, in the fifth century. Rome was not replaced by another great kingdom, it just fragmented.

Daniel says "in the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed" (verse 44, NIV). Did you notice what he said there? The Lord had set up his kingdom in AD 30, during the height of the Roman empire. Yet Daniel said that God would set up a kingdom "that would never be destroyed," much later, after the disintegration of Rome. Why? What happened to the kingdom of God that was already set up? If God needed to set up one that "would never be destroyed," then the previous one must have been destroyed!

What does Daniel 2 imply about modern churches?

This is the very first detailed guide the Bible gives to world history, and already the implications are shocking. The church set up by Jesus would be destroyed? It would have to be restored at a later date? How many modern churches teach that? Daniel does not even mention the church founded in AD 30. It does not even feature in his overview of world history! Whatever the kingdom of God is in the last days, it is certainly no reformation of what went before, but a complete new revelation from God!

When was this to happen? The imagery of rolling down a mountain does not suggest a great length of time - it must happen in the last days, not way back in the Protestant reformation.

How was this to happen? Well, how did Jesus set up his kingdom in the days of undivided Rome? Not by individuals just feeling inspired - he called apostles and prophets! Not by getting back to the old scripture - he provided new scripture!

What does this say for Catholics? They claim a continuity from the apostles. What does this say for Protestants? they claim to be a reformation, based on the Bible. Both these groups may do wonderful work and be very sincere, but can either of these be the kingdom of God as described by Daniel? You decide.


Daniel chapters 7 and 8

See also: "Daniel made simple", Daniel 7, verse by verse, and "days" and "years" in prophecy

In Daniel 7, Rome is described as having ten horns (instead of ten toes), which are ten kings that will come from the kingdom. After them, another king will arise that is different from the previous ten, and subdue three of the ten. It will speak against God, oppress the saints, try to change times and laws, and do this for 1260 years. So far so good.

Daniel 8: even more detail:

See also: Daniel 8, verse by verse, and the little horn (main page).

While Daniel 8 stated that the little horn (kingdom) gained prominence during the ten kingdoms after Rome, here we learn that it started during the four kingdoms after Greece. A host was given him because of transgression; he is crafty and does not do what he does by his own power.



See also: Revelation made simple, and "are these the same vision".

Revelation 11 and 12: yet more detail:

The gentiles will tread "the holy city" underfoot for 1260 years (11:2). We saw elsewhere that "the holy city" probably referred to the church and not just to Jerusalem.

In Revelation 12:1-6 we learn that the woman (the church) produced men who held the priesthood of God. But once these were all dead (i.e. taken to heaven), the church fled into the wilderness for 1260 years.

The woman being fed in the wilderness:

Those who admit there was an apostasy, but deny that the church was completely removed, point to Revelation 12: the woman was fed and protected while in the wilderness (verses 6, 13-17). But this interpretation is based on the faulty assumption that "the man child" is Christ. If the man child is those who hold the priesthood ( a much more likely interpretation ), then this is simply saying that the remnants of the church still managed to struggle along without the priesthood - without direction (hence the symbol of the wilderness).

In talking of the apostasy, we must not insult the memory of these faithful few who did their best under impossible circumstances. But we cannot go as far as some Protestants, who try to imagine there was an unbroken line of righteous men all through the dark ages, but when pressed for evidence, they have none.

The fact is that, according to Revelation, the church was in the wilderness because the leaders were dead. Until God sent that "stone cut without hands," anyone who had anything of the original truth would hide, or flee for their life.

Revelation 13: and more detail:

See also: the Beast, the second beast, and the Whore named Babylon.

Power is given to the beast to speak great blasphemies for 1260 years. It is important to note that not only did the beast attack the saints, but he overcame them (13:7).

Revelation 17: how much detail do you want?

This issue of the beast opposing the saints must be extremely important, as it is repeated so many times in so many different ways. In Revelation 17 we see a description of the beast, and the whore who rides it.

The chronology of events:

To summarize so far, the beast is the Roman empire and its descendants. It is the beast that speaks the blasphemies, and for 1260 years it entirely overcomes the saints. Revelation 17 gives the most detailed chronology of how this came to be:

  • First, Rome mixed up all kinds of religion (verses 1-2). Just read the epistles in the New Testament (including Revelation 2-3) to see the problems the church had with Greek/Roman ideas.
  • Next, Rome killed the saints (v.6), and most importantly, the apostles (v.11 - see the relevant section of the discussion on "the beast").
  • At this point, the ten kingdoms do not exist. Later they do, and co-exist with the beast for a short time (v.12). Next, the ten kings strengthen the beast (v.13) and agree to join it (v.17)
  • Ultimately they will fall before the Lamb (v.14).
  • Somewhere along the line, they cause the fall of the city of Rome (v.16).


Daniel and Revelation

We can check this against the chronology offered in Daniel 7:

We pick up the story in Daniel 7:23, the interpretation of the vision of Rome: we are on familiar territory - the beast has ten horns, which are ten kingdoms that will arise.

One shall arise that will be different from the other ten, and shall subdue three of them (verse 24).

This new horn (kingdom) will speak against God, wear out the saints, and try to change times and laws, for 1260 years (v.25).

But the judgement will sit, and his dominion will be taken away forever, to be given to the saints (v.26-27).



The most famous apostasy scripture of all is 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2. Paul warns that a falling away would occur before Christ returned. He said that something was holding back the apostasy. Practically all of the ancient saints agree that the thing he referred to was the Roman empire. When Rome lost its power over the world, the apostasy would begin. For more details, see the page on William Smith's Bible Dictionary.


Now let us combine these into the flow of history as seen by the prophets:

A summary of what to look for

  • Rome is powerful, and mixes the different religions.
  • Rome persecutes the saints.
  • Ten kingdoms arise from the Roman empire.
  • The ten kingdoms destroy the city of Rome.
  • Another kingdom comes that destroys three of these ten.
  • The ten kingdoms join this new one, and form a continuation of "Rome" in the broad sense.
  • This new kingdom, with the support of the others, has power over the church for 1260 years.
  • The church is restored and triumphs.


The 1260 year period began in AD 570

For evidence, see:

The evidence is overwhelming. Secular world histories, non-LDS Bible commentaries, the dates within Daniel, the events described in Revelation, various external evidence - it all points to one date.

One date marks the beginning of the medieval world and the "Dark Ages." One date marks the success of Rome as a political and religious power. One date is marked by the end of old empires and the beginning of new. It is the beginning of the career of Gregory the Great, the birth date of Mohammed, and the end of the last traces of the "early church." In half a dozen different ways, the Bible points to AD 570 as the beginning of the 1260 year period when the church is overcome by the beast. It ends when angels announce the kingdom of God returning from heaven - an event that could only have happened in AD 1830.


How will we recognize this kingdom of God when we see it? Daniel and John both refer to believers as "saints," so we are looking for a church of saints. It would be led by Jesus Christ, and clearly be a church of the latter days, and not simply a footnote to the previously established church. Hmmm. The kingdom of God is a Latter-day church of saints of Jesus Christ that was restored by new revelation and angels in 1830... Does this sound familiar?

the bottom line

The Bible is pretty clear. Why fight it?


Daniel's 70 "weeks"
completing and confirming the covenant given to Moses

7 "weeks" (49 years) 457 BC - 408 BC. Streets and walls of Jerusalem completed. 62 "weeks" (434 years) 408 BC - AD 27. Messiah is "cut off" 1 "week" (7 years), AD 27-AD 34. Messiah confirms (fulfills) the old covenant

One of the reasons we can take the Biblical numbers seriously is Daniel chapter 9. Daniel records the key dates up to the end of Jesus' ministry. He ends with the slide toward the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.

See also: Matthew 24
The Second Coming

The context of Daniel chapter 9:

In chapters 7 and 8 of his book, Daniel records his visions of the history of the world. He was badly shaken up by what he saw (7:15, 28; 8:27). He was concerned that his people would be destroyed by these kingdoms, because of their wickedness. So he prayed for forgiveness on behalf of his people (9:1-19). Daniel was rewarded by being shown the good news in the midst of this - the coming of the Messiah.


What Daniel was told in Daniel 9:24-27

  • From the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah would be 62 "weeks" and 7 "weeks" (or 69 "sevens" in Hebrew) i.e. 483 days/years.
  • The streets and walls will be rebuilt in troubled times. After the 62 "weeks" (434 years) the messiah would be "cut off". (So presumably the streets and walls referred to the 7 "week" period). Note that the word translated "cut off" (in 9:26) is "karath," which is often translated as "make," as in "make a covenant." See for example Ezekiel 17:13, 34:25, 37:26, Hosea 10:4, 12:1, etc. This meaning of "cut off" agrees with the previous verse (9:25).
  • Messiah will "confirm the covenant with many for "one week" (7 years). In the midst of that, he will cause sacrifices to cease. This will start the chain of events that leads to the abomination - the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, as described in Matthew 24. Abominations that lead to desolations are discussed here. The phrase "overspreading" is discussed below.
  • The whole period comes to 70 "weeks", the time allotted for Daniel's people to repent. Some Bible interpreters try to put a vast gap between the 69th and 70th week, but that is plainly foolish. It is like saying ":You have 70 weeks to finish this job. But I don't mind if you insert some unspecified time - maybe a couple of hundred weeks - between the 69th and 70th.": What kind of a time scale is that??


What was "the overspreading of abomination"?

This is another example of Bible translations being changed to suit traditional Christians who wish to deny the Great Apostasy. The NIV is one of the worst offenders. The word translated "overspreading" in the KJV means "edge" or "extremity", so could refer to the edge of the troubles. But the NIV translators render it "wing". They then add the words "of the temple" to blatantly change the scripture to support their discredited ideas about Antiochus IV.

In what ways did the crucifixion lead to the abomination of AD 70?

Matthew makes it appear that the destruction of Jerusalem came as a consequence of Jesus being rejected:

"When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be upon us, and on our children."

That was in Matthew 27:24-25. Jesus effectively confirmed that view four chapters earlier:

"Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth . . . All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate"

(see Matthew 23:34-38 - the next chapter describes the destruction of Jerusalem.)

Similar things were said when weeping over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44, and on the road to crucifixion in Luke 23:28-31 (compare Luke 23:29 and Matthew 24:19). Jesus' ministry saw Jerusalem teetering on the edge of the pit. But Jerusalem refused to listen. And sure enough, the next few years saw Jerusalem sliding toward desolation.

Whereas Jesus had taught the people to "render unto Caesar", to go two miles when compelled to go one, and to turn the other cheek, the people did the opposite. They were not interested in religious solutions, but wanted military ones. They rebelled and rebelled again. Their rebellions grew until, in the late 60s and culminating in AD 70, the Roman armies laid the region desolate.

The overspreading abominations - AD 34 to AD 70

The narrow and unscriptural idea that an "abomination" must always mean defiling a temple has led to much confusion, and the last verses of Daniel 9 are a prime example. But when we realise that in fact "abomination" has a wider meaning, we can see that the history of Israel between the atonement (the middle of the Daniel's seventieth "week") and the destruction of Jerusalem all comes under the category of "abomination".

Jesus' crucifixion was an abomination in itself. It even had the necessary element of idolatry - when, at the trial, the people stated that they had no king but Caesar (John 19:15). Like all idolaters, they did not really care about Caesar - he was just a convenient way to kill the prophets.

Conclusion: the abominations that led to desolation

The ungodly behaviour of the people of Jerusalem, bringing on greater and greater political pressure, could well be described as "overspreading abominations ". (The following information is from "Living in the Times of Jesus of Nazareth" by Peter Connolly - OUP 1993)

Ten abominations that led to the desolation at AD 70

Ten ways that opposing Jesus' teachings led to the destruction of Jerusalem. (Below: "the wailing wall" - all that remained of the temple after AD 70)

1. The people did not go two miles when compelled to go one:

The people resented the occupying Romans, and so the Zealots grew in strength, especially under a bad governor like Antonius Felix (AD 53)

2. They did not bless those that cursed them:

AD 48 - at Passover a Roman soldier insulted the Jews, who retaliated. So reinforcements were sent. In the crowds, literally thousands were trampled to death. Later, when some Jews were killed in Samaria, some Zealots led a mob to invade. Rome had to restore the peace, and an investigation suggested the Jews had planned the revolt.

3. They did not "let him that is without sin cast the first stone":

The growth of the Sicarii - more fanatical than Zealots - who would assassinate anyone suspected of Roman sympathy.

4. They did not ignore the various false messiahs:

The disappointed followers became more fanatical.

5. They did not keep Moses' laws:

The Chief priests were corrupt and stole the tithes - the poorer priests starved. This made the extremists even more popular. Under a weak leader like Albinus, it led to near anarchy. Corrupt chief priests fought each other. Even at this point it was still perhaps not too late. God sent another prophet, Jesus son of Ananias, who arrived in Jerusalem AD 62. He warned day and night that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed. So the Sanhedrin had him flogged.

6. They did not believe that "he that is least is greatest":

The Jews in Caesarea - a minority - tried to control the city. The emperor had to settle the dispute. And they chose not to "give to him that asketh" - later, the Jews in Caesarea made trouble over ownership of a small patch of land (nothing changes!).

7. They did not "turn the other cheek":

So Albinus was replaced by brutal Gessius Florus. The Jews did not turn the other cheek to his brutality. They did not at first rebel in a big way, but it was enough for Florus to feel insulted and send in the troops.

8. They did not love their enemies:

The Jews staged a big demonstration against Florus, which escalated. They gained effective control of Jerusalem. King Agrippa wanted to reconcile the Jews and the pro-Romans, so the Jews expelled him from the city

9. They forgot about "thou shalt not kill":

The Zealots took complete control of city and also Masada, killing many Roman soldiers. All over the land, Jews and Gentiles fought. Rome moved in. In Jerusalem, the Zealots tried to kill all those suspected of Roman sympathies. There were pitched battles with the chief priests.

10. They were not united:

At the height of the siege the Zealots divided into two, and burned each others' food supplies!

So the Romans marched in, killed or enslaved all the men, and flattened the city, sacrificed a pig in what was left of the temple, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world for nearly two thousand years.


What was "the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem"?

To understand the rest of the "70 weeks" prophecy we need to put a date to the "going forth of the decree".

The four possibilities

On four occasions, the rulers in Persia gave permission for different groups of Jews to return to Jerusalem for different purposes. Of the four possibilities, only one decree fits the prophecy:

  • Cyrus' decree (see Ezra 1) was NOT to restore Jerusalem, but just the temple.
  • Darius' decree (see Ezra 6) simply repeated and emphasized Cyrus' decree.
  • Artaxerxes' decree (see Ezra 7) is the most significant. Ezra is given great wealth to refurbish the temple and to use as he wishes (7:18). He is allowed to set up judges and magistrates to run the country (verse 25). He is credited with restoring the true faith, and a great deal of hidden scripture to Israel. He was later seen in the same way as Moses. (according to Harper's Bible Dictionary).
  • The help given by Artaxerxes (see Nehemiah 2) was not called a decree, and is not quoted. It is simply a number of letters to individuals (2:7-9), and was not public (Nehemiah was very discreet - 2:11-16).

What was the date of Artaxerxes' decree?

In Ezra 7, the date of the king's decision is not given. Only after arriving in Jerusalem is the decree quoted in full. So "going forth of the decree" probably meant its going forth to the Jews (and there were far more Jews already in Jerusalem than came with Ezra). This was the seventh year of Artaxerxes.

When was the seventh year of Artaxerxes? The "sacred" calendar began in April/May, so would be 458 BC. But this decree was from the Persian king, involving money and law, so presumably used the civil year, which started in September/October. This would be closest to 457 BC. This might explain why Ezra waited until the first day of the year - perhaps the decree was tied to the year? It would also explain why the journey took so long - it would have been in winter.

How Daniel's prophecies were fulfilled to the exact year:

  • 483 years from 457 BC takes us to AD 27 (note that there is no "year zero" - 1BC goes straight to AD1). This, according to scholars, is the likely date for the start of Jesus' ministry.
  • 49 years from 457 BC takes us to 408 BC, when the walls and streets were rebuilt, despite opposition. The other 62 "weeks" takes us to AD 27, as noted. After that time, Jesus had his ministry and was "cut off" (killed) as prophesied.
  • Jesus confirmed the covenant "with many" (not just the local Jews) for seven years: half during his mortal ministry and half afterwards, as he appeared to various believers, to Saul on the road to Damascus, and no doubt to others of his "lost sheep" as well. Half way through, as prophesied, he caused the sacrifices to cease, by fulfilling the Law of Moses: the sacrifice of Jesus meant an end to the anticipatory sacrificing of animals.
  • But the Jews of the time, by the end of the seventy weeks, had not repented. So, because of their abominations, Jerusalem was later destroyed.

The prince that shall come (verse 26)

The 'prince that will come' after Messiah is cut off is Satan, who brought the Great Apostasy - see John 14:28-30. But the whole passage is all about the Messiah ('Messiah The Prince", or 'The Most Holy') and the next verse returns to the messiah, describing how he will allow Jerusalem to become desolate.

As for whether God Jesus was responsible for destroying Jerusalem, the original text (as far as I can detect) does not actually say that this person made it desolate, only that it would become desolate. Even if it had said that this person did the destruction himself, that would still be accurate. See the parallel in Jeremiah chapter 13 - back around 600 BC, the people were wicked (abominations) an the Lord said that he himself would destroy the city. How the abominations and desolation was fulfilled in AD 70 is indicated in Matthew 23:37-38, quoted above.


Seven years to fulfil the covenant of Moses

About the last seven years

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."

"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (verse 27)

The conclusion of the seventy 'weeks,' the last seven years, is when the covenant is confirmed. What covenant? The only covenant that Daniel knew was the Old Testament Covenant, the law of Moses which ensured that the Jews were the chosen people. How as this confirmed? It seems to point to the ministry of Christ.

Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

All of this points to the atonement that makes (and retroactively made) forgiveness of sins possible. Even "to seal up the vision and prophecy" refers to this. 'The vision and prophecy' was about the rebuilding and destruction of Jerusalem. Its fate was sealed when Jesus was rejected by the Jews.

The last week - the final seven years - is:

  • AD 27 - Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist
  • AD 30 - Jesus suffers the atonement, to put an end to sins
  • AD 34 - the covenant with the Jews is completed, and the gospel is given to the Gentiles. The final rejection of the covenant led to the destruction of Jerusalem, as explained above.

Jesus' words before he ascended into heaven

Luke 24: 45-51. The gospel was to begin at Jerusalem, and the disciples are to stay there until they gained more power. Most people assume that this refers to the day of Pentecost, but the apostles knew better. Eve after Pentecost, they stayed focused on Jerusalem. The real power came with the conversion of Paul, and the command to take the gospel to the Gentiles.

"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. "And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."

"And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven."

Acts 1:5, 8. Note that Jesus begins his description with John the Baptist, and ends it with the gospel going to the ends of the earth.

"For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. ... But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Acts chapters 2-8: The disciples still minister to the Jews

Before AD 34, the gospel was preached mainly or exclusively to the Jews. Even at the day of Pentecost, mainly Jews were present, and Peter spoke to them as Jews:

Acts 2: 5, 14, 36
"And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. ... But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."

Although the occasional convert came from elsewhere, they had to do it through the Jews. In other words, they had to be circumcised, and accept the Jewish ways.

Acts 3:25
"Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed."

The apostles lived in Jerusalem, and that was where most of the preaching took place.

Acts 7:7
"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

The apostles still saw Jesus' role as restricted to the house of Israel:

Acts 5:30-31
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

But once Saul entered the scene, things had to start changing.

(8:3-4) "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."

Acts chapter 9: Jesus completes his ministry to the Jews, by personally calling Saul (Paul) to take the gospel to the Gentiles

According to the best sources I can find, Paul was converted sometime around AD 34 - seven years after Jesus as baptized.

Acts 9:3, 15
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: [Saul is humbled, then is sent to Ananias, who thinks that Saul is still an enemy of the Christians]... But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel"

Acts chapter 10: taking the gospel to the Gentiles completes the seven year Jewish ministry

In this chapter, Peter, the chief apostle, is commanded to allow the Gentiles to have the gospel. He then summarizes Jesus' seven year ministry to the Jews:

"The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; [AD 27]

"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: [AD 30]

"Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people the Jews, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. [AD 30-34]

"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. [AD 34]"

Acts chapter 11: Peter summarizes the most significant events

Verses 16-18:
"Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water [AD 27]; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [AD 30]. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; [AD 34] what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."


More about Paul

The end of the seventy weeks is when certain events are completed:

When was Jesus' Palestine ministry complete?

Jesus came to do two things. The main thing was to die for our sins and overcome death. This was accomplished on the cross and at his resurrection. But Jesus also came to fulfil the law of Moses, and to pass the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles. This took a little longer.

We should not underestimate the importance of setting up the church. This was essential if the atonement was to have any effect. Without the church, how would anyone know about Christ? How could anyone benefit from his gospel?

All the history books I have suggest that the most important single event in the history of the church, apart from the atonement of Christ, was when the gospel was take to the Gentiles. And the key event here was the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus (soon after which came the revelation to Peter, to take the gospel to the Gentiles, and Paul was to be the instrument of that). Paul was second only to Christ in his influence on the church. The entry in Harper's Bible Dictionary begins:

"Paul the Apostle was the most effective missionary of early Christianity and the church's first theologian. He is sometimes called the 'second founder' of Christianity."

Indeed, critics of Christianity often say that what we have is not the church of Jesus, but the church of Paul. Paul, "the apostle to the gentiles," was largely responsible for taking the gospel to the whole world. he was uniquely qualified for ensuring the passage of the church from Jew to Gentile. his credentials were impeccable (Roman citizen, Greek speaker, highly trained and respected Jew) and he had proved himself to be a man of extraordinary ability. Fourteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament were written by Paul. The Acts of the Apostles - the history of the early church - is mainly about Paul. And most of Paul's writings seem to be focused on the transition of the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles.

Paul's importance cannot be overemphasized. When Paul was converted, the church entered a new phase. It was no longer dominated by those who knew Jesus as a mortal, men who were largely uneducated fishermen from Galilee. Now it could call on educated and experienced men from further afield, people who knew Jesus only as the risen Messiah. It was no longer (by birth) a Jewish church, but rapidly became a Gentile church.

When was Paul converted?According to all the sources I can find, this crucial event happened in about AD 34. Once Paul had been chosen (through a personal visit by Jesus), Jesus' Palestinian ministry was over. It lasted for seven years (AD 27-34), as foretold by the angel. It began with his baptism, ended with his calling of Paul, and had the crucifixion in the middle. The time allotted to Daniel's people - the Jews - was completed.

the bottom line

If God is able to foresee precise events hundreds of years in advance, then you cannot hide. He knows who you are, and he knew way back then!



1. The date of Jesus ministry:

Most scholars believe that when the sixth century scholar Denis the Little calculated the year of Jesus' birth, and thus our modern calendars, he got it three or four years too late.

Some LDS like to quote Doctrine & Covenants 20:1,announcing the restoration of the church "one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior in the flesh". They say that this was given in 1830, which implies that Jesus' birth had to be in 1 BC. But most readers take that verse as being just a memorable way of stating the date on the calendar.

2. A parallel interpretation

Another view of this prophecy is described at Here, the author points out that all the symbolism - and the time periods - are also fulfilled in the events surrounding the building of the Kirtland temple in Jerusalem county, Ohio, in 1836. Personally, I think that this is an example of multiple fulfilments of the same prophecy. It illustrates how Biblical the LDS church is - without even being aware of it.

3. Attempts to link the final week to the 1260 'day' prophecies

Many people note the phrase "in the midst of the week" and divide seven by two, making 3 1/2. They then link this to the 3 1/2 "times" prophecies to the 1260 "days." This is a key plank in the single Antichrist theory. But is this valid?

First, the numbers are different. We can translate the "week" as either "week" or just "seven." Either way, half a week is 3 1/2 and not 1260.

Second, I don't think that "in the midst of the week" is precise enough to imply an exact division into 3 1/2 and 3 1/2. In normal conversation today, "mid week" can mean any time on Wednesday (not just 12:00 noon), or perhaps even Tuesday of Thursday.

Third, the subject is different. In one case we have Jerusalem having its destruction sealed, and in the other we have Israel in the wilderness. They sound a little similar, but so do a lot of things. A closer parallel with Israel in the wilderness would be when Elijah closed the heavens for 3 1/2 years (so Jerusalem became like a desert), but we all agree that this was just coincidence.

Daniel's prophecy of 1290 "days"

-- The year AD 570 identified


This page is about the best known "abomination that makes desolate" in the Bible. Daniel uses it as a reference point for identifying the year 570.

For more about abominations that lead to desolation, click here.
For "days", click here.
For the 1335 day prophecy, click here.


Daniel 12:11 refers to an "abomination that makes desolate", where the "continuous state" was taken away. A similar event was mentioned in chapter 11.

There is reason to believe that the angel did not refer to that event, but to an even more important "abomination that makes desolate" that Daniel knew only too well.


The significance of the second question

At the very end of the book of Daniel (Daniel 12:9-13), after all the visions of the history of the world and its kingdoms, Daniel still wanted reassurance. First (12:6-7) he had asked how long the "wonders" would be, and was again given the same key period, 1260 years. But Daniel still wasn't satisfied. He had a second question. He asked again when the end of all these things would be.

Why ask again?

Daniel had already asked about the "wonders" and received the same information that had already been given in chapter 7 - the key period was 1260 days. This was discussed elsewhere. So why did he ask again? The simplest explanation (and the most natural) is that he wanted more certain information. The "1260" period was only useful IF he knew the starting date.

Circumstantial evidence would suggest that the "1290" question went beyond simply the events of chapter 11.
FIRST, this was the final, summing up question, recorded in the very last verses of Daniel, so it probably dealt with the BIG picture.
SECOND, if you were Daniel wouldn't you really want to know when these events were going to start - in other words, wouldn't you want some information that would allow you to tie these visions to events you had dates for?

Is Daniel 12:11 a simple reference to Daniel 11:31?

No. Daniel had already asked about the "wonders" and received the same information that had already been given in chapter 7 (that the key period was 1260 days. See discussion of Daniel 12 for details.) He had already been told twice, so why ask the same question again?

Furthermore, the answer (1290 as opposed to 1260) indicates that we are not talking about the same thing.

'But the language "abomination that makes desolate" means he must have been referring to Daniel 11:31?'

There is nothing unique about the phrase "abomination that makes desolate". It is simply a general descriptive phrase. He also uses phrases like "transgression that makes desolate" (8:13) and "iniquity" that leaves the land "desolate" (9:16-17 etc.). There is more than one application of the label "abomination of desolation". In fact, the only time that "abomination that makes desolate" is defined, it is not in the Book of Daniel!


The first and greatest "abomination that makes desolate"

Daniel uses the phrase "abomination that makes desolate" as if his readers know what the words mean. Should we know? Yes, we should, if we read the Book of Daniel as a whole. In chapter 9, Daniel prays to the Lord. What is first on Daniel's mind? The sins of his people, which lead to the desolation of the land. This could be called "an iniquity that makes desolate" (See NIV Daniel 9:16-17, where "desolate" is mentioned twice.).

Who exactly has rebelled? Daniel says it is Judah and all Israel (9:7, 11). What was the nature of that iniquity or rebellion? Daniel refers to Moses' curse, which in Deuteronomy 11:26-28 is specifically a result of idolatry. We can confirm this by reading 2 Kings 17, the record of the fall of Israel. This chapter agrees - idolatry was the major sin. The fall of Judah is described in the last chapter of 2 Kings, and here again the captivity is a result of idolatry (of all the last kings except Josiah). Idolatry is of course the plainest form of rebellion against God. This is what Daniel is concerned about.

In fact, the abomination of idolatry is possibly the central theme of the book of Daniel - think of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue, the great gold statue that led to the fiery furnace incident, the command to worship the king that led to the den of lions incident, the pride of the little horn, and so on.

This idolatry is labeled an abomination in Hosea 9:10 (referring to Numbers 25:1-3). Isaiah also confirms that worshipping false gods is an abomination (Isaiah 41:23-24). The result of this abomination is that Israel will become desolate (Hosea 2:12, translated "destroyed" in the KJV, and Hosea 5:9).

The fall of Israel and Judah was the greatest example of an abomination that made desolate.

The fall of Israel and Judah is the greatest desolation of the Old Testament (after the Flood). It is due to the greatest abomination - Israel's idolatry. All the prophets warn against it, or lament it. The process of abominations (mainly idolatry) leading to desolations (i.e. Israel is overrun) is stated clearly in Ezekiel 33:25-29:

"Thus saith the Lord God; Ye eat with the blood [eating blood was against the law of Moses], and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land? Ye stand upon the sword, and ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbor's wife: shall ye possess the land? . . . For I shall lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall ye know that I am the Lord, because I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed."

So "abomination that makes desolate" properly refers to the captivity of a nation as a result of their sins, particularly idolatry. The greatest example is the fall of Israel and Judah.

Dating the fall of Israel:

There are two major endings in the history of Israel: the fall of Israel (the northern kingdom) to the Assyrians in 721 BC, and the fall of Judah (the southern kingdom) to the Babylonians over a period of years (606 BC, 587 BC, etc.). The most important date was the fall of Israel, for the following reasons:

  • Think of it from the Israelites’ point of view: Before 721 BC, Israel and Judah seemed to be constant and eternal. After 721 BC, things were far less certain.
  • After 721BC, Judah was spiraling down the same way as Israel, as seen all too clearly by the prophets - it was just a matter of time.
  • 721BC was a single, dramatic event, with an unambiguous date, whereas the captivities of 606, 587, etc., took place over a number of years.
  • 721 involved far more people - ten tribes versus two - being prevented from worshipping at the temple.
  • The prophets seem to lump the two captivities together, and the date chosen is 721 BC - see Hosea 5:7 (dating it as a "month" away), and Isaiah 7:16 (NIV text notes: another precisely dated prophecy).


What about the "continuous state"?

As noted earlier, the phrase "daily sacrifice" should be translated as "continuous state". When Hosea condemns Israel for her idolatry, he reminds her that she has been a child of God ever since leaving Egypt (Hosea 11:1-4). Similarly, when the invasion is recorded in 2 Kings 17, Israel is reminded that God brought her out of Egypt, and implored to remember what her fathers had been taught (2 Kings 17:7,13, 36-37). So the tragedy is that Israel has been preserved and blessed ever since the days of Egypt, but no more. She was told to keep the commandments "for evermore" (2 Kings 17:37) but she did not. All Israel was to bring sacrifices to the temple in Jerusalem where the High Priest was to sacrifice on their behalf "continually" (Leviticus chapters 1-5 and elsewhere). But after giving them every chance, this will happen no more. Israel will no longer be in her promised land, and can no longer go to the temple. Her "continuous state" was ended.

In this light, we should look at the Hebrew word translated as "taken away". A more accurate translation would be "turned aside". The whole point is apostasy.


So Israel's most important abomination that made her desolate, and the end of her continuous state, was 721 BC. That date allowed Daniel to calculate precisely when the beginning of the 1260 "days" was to be. A very important date indeed. 721 BC plus 1290 "days" brings us to AD 570. (Note that there is no "year 0" in our calendar - 1 BC went straight to AD 1). AD 570 is a date already attested in numerous ways.

And what about Daniel 11:31?

I suggested elsewhere that Daniel 11:31 referred to the process of apostasy that was complete in AD 570. This then, would be another example of the destruction of a nation because of idolatry, and the end of a continuous state. The nation was the Christians, who were destroyed (or assimilated) by the Romans. The idolatry was the imitation Christianity that gradually replaced the church when its leaders had died. The continuous state was the priesthood authority.

the bottom line

570 must have been a very important date for the Bible to point to it so often. Which means that the church that was restored 1260 years later must be pretty important too!



Daniel 8:14 gives 2300 years until the cleansing of the sanctuary. What does "cleansed" mean in this context? In the Bible, people are symbolically cleansed by the shedding of blood (animals in the Old Testament, looking forward to the shedding of Jesus' blood in the New). The Jerusalem Bible rewords this "then the sanctuary shall have its rights restored". Actually, this is the simplest of all the prophecies - there is more agreement about this one than any other prophecy.

What do the words mean?

Transgressions (or rebellions) that cause desolation

The topic of transgressions or abominations that leave a land desolate is discussed on its own page.

The important thing to notice here is that Daniel 8:13-14 involves the entire vision which includes the abomination - it is not dated from the abomination.

But what is "the sanctuary"?

There are many possibilities:

  • Then literal temple - and the "rights restored" refers to temple work.
  • The church - this seems to be the context of Daniel in general (the kingdoms of man and the kingdom of God) and these verses in particular (8:13 asks about the sanctuary and the host). See also Hebrews 8:2, where Jesus, as head of the church, is minister over the sanctuary.
  • In general, a sanctuary is any place where people can flee for shelter from the problems of the world - again, a good description of the church.


So the simplest fulfillment would be...

Remember, we are looking for the simplest possible fulfillment (if any), of the prophecy. So is there an event that fulfils all these possibilities? Is there an event that involved the shedding of blood, restores the rights of the church and restores the rights of the temple? And involves a place where people flee to from the world? An event that is closely linked to the fulfillment of the 1260 "day" prophecy and is so important that the angel who taught Daniel considered it one of the most important events in the history of the world? There is. But first, let's see if there are any other clues.


Identifying the start date

What is context for the starting date for this prophecy? Daniel 8:14 does not say, but verse 13 tells us (indirectly). The question Daniel asked was "how long shall be the vision concerning the continuous state and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden underfoot?" In other words, "how long is the vision I have just seen?" The vision, of course, includes the abomination of verses 10-11, but started some time before that, with the battles between Greece and Persia.

In Daniel 8, Persia (the ram) expands her borders (verses 3-4). But Greece (the he-goat) arises and takes over from Persia (verses 5-7). Then we learn about the origin of the little horn that was introduced in chapter 7. So the point of the vision in Daniel 8 seems to be to show the role of Greece in the story. Notice the word "therefore" at the start of verse 8. It is the end of Persia as a player in this drama that causes the events that follow. So when we are looking for a date, we should ask "when did Persia cease to be the important power and Greece become important, from Daniel's point of view?

The starting date for the 2300 year prophecy:

Daniel chapter 8 begins with the battle between Greece and Persia. When were they battling? Well nearly all the time, actually. But when were they battling on more or less equal terms? This narrows down the question. Back in the sixth century BC, Persia was clearly the superior power. In the fourth century BC, Greece was clearly dominant. But in between?.

We seem to be looking for some date in or around the fifth century BC - that is, 500 BC to 400 BC.


When the goat (Greece) defeated the ram (Persia)

Looking more closely at the rise of Greece:

Greece, in its early stages, was not a united kingdom, but a series of city states. From a world history point of view, Athens was most important. Athenian philosophers and statesmen (Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, etc.) led to Athens being called "the nursery of Western Civilisation". In the crucial fifth century BC, Athens had its own empire - it was the key player.

The Delian League

The crucial period for the battle between Persia and Greece was 478 to 48 BC - the Delian League. In 480 BC, Persia had sacked Athens. In 478, Athens created a league of city states (the Delian League) to defend themselves against Persia. (Incidentally, Byzantium was an important member of this league - Byzantium, remember, was one of the key players in the origin of Europe and the fulfilling of Daniel's prophecies of the little horn). By 448 BC, the Athenian empire had become so strong that the league was no longer needed, and was dissolved.

So we are looking for a date some time between 478 and 448 BC.


The most likely start date

Now, we are always looking for the simplest possible interpretation, so we shall assume that this ties in with a similar prophecy in the next chapter (Daniel 9). In Daniel 9, an important prophecy is dated from the time that Persia left Daniel's world - the last major decree for the Jews to return to their land. This date was was 457BC.

Checking, we find that 457 BC is comfortably in the middle of the Delian League period. In fact, this was just about the time that Pericles and others were starting to rebuild Athens into the formidable power. So 457 is a fairly safe starting date for the prophecy.

2300 years from 457BC (remember that there is no "year 0") takes us to 1844.


Don't take my word for it!

Many people have studied the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation over the centuries, and come up with various schemes for how it all might be fulfilled. But one date stands out from all the others - 1844. More than any other, this date resonated in peoples' minds. It was big news at the time, and millions believed in it (just look up "Millerites" in any good encyclopaedia).

The belief in 1844 as a major date in prophecy has been incorporated into modern religions such as the Baha'i faith and the Seventh Day Adventists.

In terms of prophetic dates, 1844 was The Big One.

Did all those Bible readers get it wrong?

So what happened? The world did not end, and everyone went home disappointed. But if they had read the context of the Bible prophecies, they would have seen that although the date was correct, its significance had been missed. 1844 was not the end of the world, but it signaled the restoration of the sanctuary, which is not quite the same thing. While all those people were climbing their hills and selling their worldly goods, looking heavenward in expectation of the end, the ancient prophecy was being fulfilled, right on schedule, in the state of Illinois, in a town called Nauvoo and in a tiny jailhouse called Carthage.

Almost 2000 years earlier, devout Bible readers had missed the first coming of Christ, because it took place in a lowly stable and not with armies of angels. This time they missed the final restoration of his kingdom in preparation for his second coming, because it took place in the middle of Illinois and once more the armies of angels were invisible to all save a few.

How 1844 fulfils the prophecy

In 1844, Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration, completed his mortal mission. He sealed his testimony with his blood (see Doctrine & Covenants 135). Like all those other martyrs spoken of in Revelation, he was slain for the word of God. All he had ever said was what he had seen with his own eyes, and they killed him for it.

Before the prophet Joseph died, when he could see what was inevitable, he had two driving goals:

  • First, to ensure that the church had everything necessary to survive and prosper.
  • Second, to ensure that the temple (then under construction) would be complete.

He died only once he had completed his work. After thousands of years when prophecy had ceased, the church was once more ready to fulfil the will of the Lord. And after thousands of years of there being no temple, or worse, a polluted temple, the rights were at last restored.

The sanctuary had been cleansed.

The rights of the temple had been restored.

The prophecy was fulfilled.


The aftermath of the prophecy

In this web site I promised not to use obscure historical details. You may not have heard of 1844 as significant before, but you will. 1844 was the turning point for the church of Jesus Christ in the Latter-Days - the first significant Christian church since the days of the apostles to claim new scripture, a church that has fulfilled prophecy after prophecy as it grows to fill the world.

When his enemies killed the prophet, the saints were numbered in the thousands. Now they are numbers in millions, and growing by hundreds of thousands each year.

When they killed Joseph, there was one temple under construction. Now the number of those completed or recently announced is one hundred.

When they killed Joseph, there were hundreds of missionaries spreading the news of the latter-day restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now there are over fifty thousand.

When his enemies killed the prophet, they thought that would be the end of "Mormonism". The people had lost their leader, and were soon driven from their homes into the wilderness. But they had reckoned without the hand of God.


A footnote: when did members of the Church first spot this prophecy?

I personally first heard of this prophecy in 1985. Many people, like myself, only become aware of it after seeing Seventh Day Adventist materials. But when did church members first come to accept that this great prophecy was fulfilled?

There is no indication that anyone in the church saw the significance of this prophecy before it was fulfilled. After all, they did not expect the prophet to be martyred. However, church members were well aware of the Millerites. The apostle Parly P. Pratt went so far as to say that instead of looking for the second coming, the Millerites should have been looking for the martyrdom of the prophet:

A Discourse, by Elder P. P. Pratt, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, October 7, 1855.

Are there any Millerites here who have been setting a time for the Son of Man to come? . . .

O ye Millerites, ye made a great mistake; you thought the first thing was the coming of the Lord in power and great glory; you were going to have him come immediately, without any kingdom to come to, without a forerunner in the shape of a Prophet, but just by men guessing, and predicting, and remarking, and commenting on the prophecies; but so far as the coming of the Lord being the first thing you knew, you will "begin to see these things come to pass, and then know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" and we have to be born again or we cannot see it.

People hear of "Joe Smith," as he is called, of the Book of Mormon, of angels coming from heaven again; of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; of modern Prophets and Apostles, and martyrs, and they think, "what under heaven does all this mean, we have no reason to look for anything of the sort, but we expect the Lord here every minute." They have no idea of a modern Prophet; of angels visiting the earth in the latter times; of modern inspiration; of a modern Church that will hearken to the voice of a Prophet in all things that he shall say unto them; it is all new to them, they are astonished, and say, "what does it mean, I wonder what is this Mormonism coming to?"

The Lord will never come until he has organized his kingdom on the earth, and prepared his people by sending a messenger to prepare the way before him; that messenger has come, and the man that delivered it has been slain, namely, Joseph Smith, and by the instrumentality of that messenger, here sit the Apostles and Prophets, ordained to hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

If the people had read the Scriptures they would have been looking for all this, if they had not listened to a set of blind guides, who have hired out for money to tell them the Scriptures mean something else.

The first time someone recognised the fulfillment of these prophecies may have been as early as three days after the martyrdom. An unnamed Millerite preacher, fresh from preaching about the fulfillment of the "2300" prophecy, accepted the gospel early in 1844:

"Sunday, the 30th of June [1844, three days after the martyrdom of the prophet] , we held conference in Lindon, at which time the different branches in Vermont were represented, and we had a very interesting time. There were two Millerite preachers present, and one of them became convinced of the truth and was soon after baptized."
- William Hyde Autobiography, BYU, p.12 (available on Folio Infobases)


the bottom line...

Millions of people recognised the prophecy of 1844 before it happened. The Bible was clear. The Bible was right ... even though most people didn't realise at the time.

The "1335" prophecy
-- the "blessed" period of church history

The final prophecy of the book of Daniel promises the reader that if he can wait a certain period of time, he will be blessed. Do you want to be blessed? This is your chance to commit yourself to the winning team.

The history of the church

Daniel 12:11-12 - a summary of the scattering of the kingdom of God.

As already noted, the Book of Daniel ends with a summing up of the message - by talking about the restoration of the gospel. Great prophecies typically end on such an upbeat note.

Daniel's prophecies are all about the scattering of the power of the people of God (Daniel 12:7, 10). As noted earlier, the first great scattering began 721 BC, the low point is the beginning of the Dark Ages in AD 570, and it ends with the final return of the kingdom of God in AD 1830, never to be scattered again.

Now we already know about the key date, 570, the start of the Dark Ages. So what more is there to say? We already know that we should wait for 1260 years for the return of the kingdom of God. In Daniel 12:12, we are instead advised to wait for 1335 years if we want to be blessed. So it is 1290 years from the first scattering to the Dark Ages, then 1335 years until a blessed era again. What exactly does this mean?

From a pioneer period to a blessed period

We have seen how the early days of the church, between 1830 and 1844, were uncertain - the saints relied on the prophet Joseph being able to fulfil the great task that the Lord had given him. We shall see elsewhere that the church went through three particularly bad periods of trial, each lasting 1260 days. Certainly life was not easy for the church in the nineteenth century. So when does this pioneer period blossom into a blessed period? When is Daniel's prophecy fulfilled?


The trials of the church

Note: this deals with the main themes of trial across the entire nineteenth century. The particular years of the nineteenth that had the worst trials are discussed elsewhere.

In the nineteenth century, the church had five main sources of trial:

  1. Persecution from outside.
    The worst attacks were linked to the polygamy issue, which was finally laid to rest with the "second manifesto" of 1904 and the resignation of Taylor and Cowley in 1905.
  2. Political prejudice.
    This began to be overcome with the election of the first LDS senator, Reed Smoot, in 1903, and his victory to retain his seat in 1907.
  3. Physical dependence upon the world.
    This was largely due to financial debt. The church paid back its last bonds between 1903 and 1907.
  4. Being hunted and literally fleeing for its survival.
    After fleeing west to the Rocky Mountains, and overcoming the trials just mentioned, the church was finally able to think about expanding back eastwards. Through the efforts of "good will" missionaries like Willard Bean and others, the church was finally able to return in a big way in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1905, the centenary of Joseph Smith's birth, the church was finally able to erect a large monument on recently purchased land near his home.
  5. Apostasy from within.
    Whenever God commanded a change that some people did not like (such as beginning polygamy - or ending polygamy), some group would decide that the church was wrong. Such a group would say that the church had forfeited its right to exist, and that they (the dissenters) were now the "true" church. To justify themselves some groups twist the "one mighty and strong" prophecy about bishop Partridge (Doctrine and Covenants 85) to their own ends. The definitive First Presidency statement on such apostates was given in the year 1905. It demonstrates that God's kingdom is not a chaotic anarchy, which falls one minute and is replaced the next. For more details, see the page on the Baha'i faith

1905 was the beginning of the twentieth century for the church

As noted, under "Centennial Observances",
"the Church ushered in the twentieth century in 1905 with the centenary of the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. For this occasion, President Joseph F. Smith led a group of Church leaders and Smith family members to Sharon, Vermont, Joseph Smith's birthplace, and dedicated a memorial cottage and large granite obelisk to his memory. Many LDS congregations held local observances."


"The Sunshine of Goodwill"

Gordon B. Hinckley, in "Truth Restored", summarized the nineteenth century as "persecution" and "endurance", but called the twentieth century "The Sunshine of Goodwill". The turning point was around 1905. Perhaps as symbolic of this healing, in 1905 the first LDS hospital opened.

As if to confirm that the time for hiding was over, the church from this time began to really look at one of its greatest blessings, something that until that time had been largely neglected by church members: the Book of Mormon. In 1907 Mission President Ellsworth was on the hill Cumorah with the church president. He heard an unseen voice say:

"push the distribution of the record taken from this hill. It will help to bring the world to Christ".

He did.

It will.

The year 1905

In conclusion, if a historian had to choose a single year that summarized the transition from retreat to advance, from persecution to blessings, the year would have to be 1905.

And how long was 1905 from that terrible year 570, the start of the Dark Ages? 1335 years. Exactly as prophesied in the book of Daniel. As the church grows from strength to strength, the years since 1905 have been a blessed time indeed!

A footnote: Joseph Smith foresaw the change


Although 1905 was the year when the church effectively ceased to be persecuted, Joseph Smith apparently did not know this. All he knew was that it would be some time after 1890, when the greatest persecution ended (see discussion).

Joseph Smith, as a prophet, would report on what God had told him, even when he did not understand exactly what it meant. Before Doctrine and Covenants 130:14-17, he had prayed to know the time of the Second Coming. Nobody knows the exact time, but Joseph was told that it would not be any sooner than 1890. He had earlier been told something similar. In 1835 he said that "fifty-six years should wind up the scene" (History of the Church 2:182).

Historians have noted that 1890 was something of a turning point for the LDS church, as the end of the greatest period of persecution, and the beginning of the long process toward the blessed state we now enjoy. Joseph was right to say that 1890 would wind up the scene he knew. It seems that in the Lord's timetable, there was to be a period of persecution (1830 to 1890) then a recovery period (to 1905) and then a blessed period. But only our Father in Heaven knows the exact date of the Second Coming.

For more about the year 1890, and the First Presidency message of 1905, see the page on the Baha'i faith.

the bottom line

Life is good! If it isn't good for you, have a look at what the church has to offer! published by permit of Chris Tolworthy

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 08:39  

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