Saturday, April 22, 2017

③ “The Abomination that Desolates” - the 1290 and 1335 days of Daniel 12.

Dear in Christ,

This is part ③ in the series on “The Abomination that Desolates”, please ensure that you have read parts and , before reading this one.

Cessation of daily sacrifices took place in July, 66 AD.

In every occurrence of the expression "daily sacrifice" in the book of Daniel, the word "sacrifice" is not part of the underlying Hebrew text and the word has been added by the translators. (Dan 8:11-13; 11:31; 12:11).

Before the final cessation of daily scarifies in the temple at Jerusalem, at least once the daily sacrifices were stopped. This happened in July 66 AD. We read thus in Flavius Josephus' Wars of the Jews, 2:17:2:
At the same time Eleazar, the son of Ananias the high priest, a very bold youth, who was at that time governor of the temple, persuaded those that officiated in the Divine service to receive no gift or sacrifice for any foreigner. And this was the true beginning of our war with the Romans; for they rejected the sacrifice of Caesar on this account; and when many of the high priests and principal men besought them not to omit the sacrifice, which it was customary for them to offer for their princes, they would not be prevailed upon. These relied much upon their multitude, for the most flourishing part of the innovators assisted them; but they had the chief regard to Eleazar, the governor of the temple.
This took place in the Hebrew month of Av. Josephus clearly indicates that this happened a few days before the festival called as Xylophory, (Wars of the Jews, 2:17:7) which is celebrated on the 15th day of Av (July-August). Knowing that lunar months begin in the middle of the months of lunisolar calendar, 15th day of Av should have been at the end of July. So, the daily sacrifices for the Caesars were stopped a few days before the end of July, 66 AD. (We ignore these unquantifiable "few days" in our discussion.)

The "TO" that's NOT there in Dan 12:11.

Almost everyone who has studied Dan 12:11 has thought that the 1,290 days mentioned therein is the duration between the taking away of daily sacrifices and the setting up of the abomination that desolates. But, unfortunately, the scripture doesn't say so. Please note that there is no "TO" in the verse.
Dan 12:11 And from[H4480] 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.
It's unusual for a prophecy about a specific time period not to contain a "from" prepositional pair. For instance, we see both these prepositions used in:
Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from[H4480] the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto[H5704] the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, ...
Some English translations add "to" in Dan 12:11 for either of the two reasons:
  • grammatical completeness,
  • because the Greek Septuagint has "to" in it.
It appears to me that the Holy Spirit foresaw the eventful and chaotic situations that would prevail in the prophesied  period and hence chose to be less specific about the time of the setting up of the abomination that desolates.

1,290 days for the setting up the abomination that desolates.

Ignoring the "few days" at the end of July, 66 AD, if we add 1,290 days or 43 months to August 1, 66 AD, we reach the beginning of March, 70 AD.

There are quite a few abominable acts that happened during 70 AD, especially during the first quarter of the year. Of all those acts, I "cherry pick" the one that Josephus describes as the most deplorable.

During the days leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, there were three major factions among the Jews in Judea:
While these groups were attacking each other and the innocent people who were held up within the city, Roman armies were making steady advances in various parts of Judea.

During this period, John of Gischala instigated Idumeans (descendants of Edom alias Esau) to hunt down the priests who were offering up sacrifices in the temple. (Wars 4:5:1, 2).

Idumeans, instigated by Gischala, went ahead and filled the court of the temple with the blood of Jews. They murdered Ananias, the priest, who was a peaceable man who was approved of by the people. Another person whom they murdered was a man named Jesus. After murdering these two leaders, their bodies were left in the public place, without according burial according to Jewish tradition. (Does it ring a bell? Could they be the two witnesses of Rev 11?)

They "sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves." (Josephus, Wars 5:1:3) If the abomination committed by Antiochus Epiphanes was to pour the blood of swine on the altar, here we see human blood being used to desecrate the temple.

Josephus continues his lamentation over Jerusalem and its temple like this:
"O must wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred! 'For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulcher for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.
Of all the detestable events that happened during the run up to the destruction of Jerusalem, this one seems to fit the bill as the abomination that desolates, as it far exceeds the detestableness of the misdeeds of Antiochus Epiphanes.

[I do admit that we need to study further to establish the specific dates of these events.]

1,335 days.

If we add 45 days (1,335-1,290) to the beginning of March 70 AD we reach the middle of April, 70 AD.
The Passover of 70 AD was on April 14. It was a "few days" before the Passover of 70 AD that Titus Caesar started the siege of Jerusalem. (As in the case of July 66, we ignore the "few days" here as well.)
Dan 12:12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty (1,335) days.
There was famine all over Judea; civil war was in progress within the city. Roman army had been making steady advances in various parts of Judea. Given this scenario, what kind of blessedness one who waits had to look forward to? There is much, I believe.

Immediately after telling his disciples that the armies surrounding Jerusalem and the troubles that would entail, Jesus added:
Luk 21:28 And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
All these calamities, armies surrounding Jerusalem, troubles and famines are the manifestations of Christ's parousia (coming). While the believers in Jerusalem see all these things they had to look up and lift up their heads because their redemption was drawing near. Their redemption was the hope that they had to wait for. (Is it even remotely possible that people who lived in Africa, America or Australia during the first century would be able to see the events that were unfolding in Jerusalem and Judea and lift up their heads and realize their redemption drawing near?)


Many do presume that “redemption” is all about catching the last flight to heaven. But,many of the well known scholars, who are futurists, have a different story to tell us.
  • Charles Ellicott: In its primary meaning here it points to the complete deliverance of the disciples from Jewish persecutions in Palestine that followed on the destruction of Jerusalem. The Church of Christ was then delivered from what had been its most formidable danger.
  • Jamieson-Fausset-Brown: redemption from the oppression of ecclesiastical despotism and legal bondage by the total subversion of the Jewish state and the firm establishment of the evangelical kingdom (Lu 21:31).
  • Pulpit Commentary: "Your redemption" would then signify "your deliverance from the constant and bitter hostility of the Jewish authority." After A.D. and the fall of Jerusalem, the growth of Christianity was far more rapid than it had been the first thirty or forty years of its It had no longer to cope with the skillfully ordered, relentless opposition of its deadly Jewish foe.
There could be more scholars who understood that “redemption” is all about escaping the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity, which befell them in the first century. (Of course, there are futurists who claim that whatever befell Jews in the first century is a “type” for a greater calamity that has to befall the entire world, some time in our future. Such conjectures lack scriptural support.)

I don't claim that this study is comprehensive or conclusive. Further studies may prove helpful in arriving at exact dates of the events mentioned herein.

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal