Daniel 12:11-12

11. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

11. Et a tempore quo ablatum fuerit juge, nempe sacrificium, et posita fuerit abominatio obstupefaciens, 1 erunt dies mille ducenti et nonaginta.

12. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

12. Beatus qui expectaverit, et attigerit usque ad dies mille trecentos et triginta quinque.


Inconsequence of the obscurity of this passage it has been twisted in a variety of ways. At the end of the ninth chapter I have shewn the impossibility of its referring to the profanation of the Temple which occurred under the tyranny of Antiochus; on this occasion the angel bears witness to such a complete destruction of the Temple, as to leave no room for the hope of its repair and restoration. Then the circumstances of the time convinces us of this. For he then said, Christ shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and shall cause the sacrifices and oblation to cease. Afterwards, the abomination that stupifieth shall be added, and desolation or stupor, and then death will distill, says he, upon the astonished or stupefied one. The angel, therefore, there treats of the perpetual devastation of the Temple. So in this passage, without doubt;, he treats of the period after the destruction of the Temple; there could be no hope of restoration, as the law with all its ceremonies would then arrive at its termination. With This view Christ quotes this passage in Matthew 24, while he admonishes his hearers diligently to attend to it. Let him who reads, understand, says he. We have stated this prophecy to be obscure, and hence it requires no ordinary degree of the closest attention. First of all, we must hold this point; the time now treated by the angel begins at the last destruction of the Temple. That devastation happened as soon as the gospel began to be promulgated. God then deserted his Temple, because it was only founded for a time, and was but a shadow, until the Jews so completely violated the whole covenant that no sanctity remained in either the Temple, the nation, or the land itself. Some restrict this to those standards which Tiberius erected on the very highest pinnacle of the Temple, and others to the statue of Caligula, but I have already stated my view of these opinions as too forced. I have no hesitation in referring this language of the angel to that profanation of the Temple which happened after the manifestation of Christ, when sacrifices ceased, and the shadows of the law were abolished. From the time, therefore, at which the sacrifice really ceased to be offered; this refers to the period at which Christ by his advent should abolish the shadows of the law, thus making all offering of sacrifices to God totally valueless. From that time, therefore. Next, from the time at which the stupefying abomination shall have been set up. God's wrath followed the profanation of the Temple. The Jews never anticipated the final cessation of their ceremonies, and always boasted in their peculiar external worship, and unless God had openly demonstrated it before their eyes, they would never have renounced their sacrifices and rites as mere shadowy representations. Hence Jerusalem and their Temple were exposed to the vengeance of the Gentiles. This, therefore, was the setting up of this stupefying abomination; it was a clear testimony to the wrath of God, exhorting the Jews in their confusion to boast no longer in their Temple and its holiness.

Therefore, from that period there shall be 1290 days. These days make up three years and a half. I have no hesitation in supposing the angel to speak metaphorically. As he previously put one year, or two years, and half a year, for long duration of time, and a happy issue, so he now puts 1290 days. And for what reason? To shew us what must happen when anxieties and troubles oppress us. If a man should fall sick, he will not say, Here I have already been one month, but I have a year before me -- he will not say, Here I have been three days, but now I languish wretchedly for thirty or sixty. The angel, then, purposely puts days for years, implying -- although that time may seem immeasurably prolonged, and may frighten us by its duration, and completely prostrate the spirits of the pious, yet it must be endured. The number of days then is 1290, yet there is no reason why the sons of God should despair in consequence of this number, because they ought always to return to this principle -- if those afflictions await us for a time and times, the half time will follow afterwards.

Then he adds, Happy is he who shall have waited and endured until the 1335 days. In numerical calculations I am no conjurer, and those who expound this passage with too great subtlety, only trifle in their own speculations, and detract from the authority of the prophecy. Some think the days should be understood as years, and thus make the number of years 2600. The time which elapsed from this prophecy to the advent of Christ was about 600 years. From this advent 2000 years remain, and they think this is the assigned period until the end of the world, as the law also flourished about 2000 years from the date of its promulgation to its fulfillment at Christ's advent. Hence they fix upon this sense. But they are quite wrong in separating the 1290 days from the 1335, for they clearly refer to the same period, with a slight exception. It is as if the angel had said, although half the time should be prorogued, yet the faithful ought constantly to persist in the hope of deliverance. For he adds, about two months, or a month and a half, or thereabouts. By half a time, we said, the issue was pointed out, as Christ informs us in Matthew 24:22. Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been safe. Reference is clearly made here to that abbreviation of the time for the Church's sake. But the angel now adds forty-five days, which make a month and a half, implying -- God will put off the deliverance of his Church beyond six months, and yet we must be strong and of good courage, and persevere in your watchfulness. God at length will not disappoint you -- he will succor you in all your woes, and gather you to his blessed rest. Hence, the next clause of the prophecy is this, --

1 We have translated it so before; some translate, "of desolation." The word signifies "to be desolate," but the other sense suits better here. -- Calvin.