The 1290 and 1335 Day Prophecies

Editors Note: In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the 1290 and 1335 day prophecies in Daniel 12. This interest is often associated with the setting of time periods when certain end-time events are supposed to occur. Over the last several years, many people have sent books and manuscripts to Steps to Life, which on the basis of the 1290 and 1335 day periods plus a calculation of jubilee periods, have made some very startling predictions. Many of these writers are well-known throughout Adventism. Some have forthrightly stated that Ellen White was wrong, and others claim to believe Ellen White, but still set time, which she always rebuked, and stated that we would never have another message for God’s people based on time. The third angels’ message is the last message of mercy to be given to the world (The third angel’s message includes the first two and the repetition of the second in Revelation 18:1–5) and we have been warned that it is not to be hung on time. Nevertheless, a misunderstanding of the “daily” has been used over and over again in recent years to try to set time from Daniel 12. (See the article “The Cities to be Worked” in Land Marks, July 1995.) Although it would seem nigh unto blasphemy to call the ministration of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary “the daily in rebellion” as the daily is described in Daniel 8:12 (literal translation), this new view of the daily has persisted and is part of the popular timesetting interpretations. (A.T. Jones was at least consistent enough to indicate that Ellen White was wrong in her understanding of the daily when he espoused the new view of it.)

Although we have nothing personally against this host of Adventist time-setters, we must solemnly protest the teaching which has led multitudes of Adventists into time-excitement instead of organizing bands of workers to finish the proclamation of the three angels’ messages.

We have numerous manuscripts and books from well-known Adventist expositors which, partly on the basis of the 1290 and 1335 day prophecies, proclaim that the judgement of the living would begin in 1991 and the culmination of the jubilee would be in the fall of 1994, but we are now past the jewish day of Atonement of 1995. Surely a child could now figure out that these are false interpretations of prophecy and should not be given the slightest credence. Notice the following statements:

“I have been repeatedly urged to accept the different periods of time proclaimed for the Lord to come, but I have ever had one testimony to bear: the Lord will not come at that period, and you are weakening the faith even of Adventists, and fastening the world in their unbelief . . . their oft-repeated message of definite time was exactly what the enemy wanted, and it served his purpose well to unsettle the faith in the first proclamation of time, that was of heavenly origin. The world placed all time proclamation on the same level and called it a delusion, fanaticism, and heresy. Ever since 1844 I have borne my testimony that we were now in a period of time in which we are to take heed to ourselves lest our hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon us unawares. Our position has been one of waiting and watching, with no time proclamation to intervene between the close of the prophetic periods in 1844 and the time of the Lord’s coming.” Manuscript Release, vol. 16, 178.

“I want you to see that it is not in the providence of God that any finite man shall, by any device or reckoning that he may make of figures, or of symbols, or of types, know with any definiteness in regard to the very period of the Lord’s coming.” Manuscript Release, vol. 10, 272. See also Selected Messages, vol. 1, chapter 23.

Another important prophetic period upon which the Advent doctrine is based, is the 1335 days of Daniel 12, with which the 1290 days are so intimately connected. These two periods are introduced to us as follows:

“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. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:11–13.

The questions at once arise. Can we tell what the events are, from which these periods are to be dated; and if so, can we tell when they took place? We first inquire. What is the “daily” (sacrifice) and the “abomination that maketh desolate?” It will be noticed that the word, sacrifice, is in italics: denoting that it is a supplied word. The same will be noticed in the other instances of its occurrence in the book of Daniel 11:31 and 8:11-13. Let us briefly refer to this latter chapter. In verse 13 it will be observed that two desolations are brought to view; the daily (desolation,) and the transgression of desolation. This fact is made so plain by J. Litch that we cannot do better than quote his language.

The Daily

“The daily sacrifice is the present reading of the text; but no such thing as sacrifice is found in the original. This is acknowledged on all hands. It is a gloss or construction put upon it by the translators. The true reading is, ‘the daily and the transgression of desolation;’ daily and transgression being connected together by ‘and;’ the daily desolation and the transgression of desolation. They are two desolating powers which were to desolate the Sanctuary and the host.”

From this it is evident that the “daily,” can have no reference to the Jewish worship to which it has been applied by the older and more prevalent opinion; and this is further evident from the consideration that if these periods, taken either literally or figuratively, be dated from any taking away of this worship, they do not bring us to any event whatever worthy of note.

The daily and the abomination then, are two desolating powers which were to oppress the church. Can we ascertain what these powers are? We have only to adopt William Miller’s method of reasoning on this point to arrive at the same conclusion with him. He says “I read on, and could find no other case in which it [the daily] was found but in Daniel. I then [by the aid of a concordance] took those words which stood in connection with it, ‘take away;’ he shall take away the daily; ‘from the time that the daily shall be taken away’ I read on and thought I should find no light on the text. Finally I came to 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, ‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall the wicked be revealed.’ And when I had come to that text, O how clear and glorious the truth appeared. There it is! That is the daily! Well, now, what does Paul mean by ‘he who now letteth’ or hindereth? By ‘the Man of Sin,’ and the ‘wicked,’ Popery is meant. Well what is it which hinders Popery from being revealed? Why it is Paganism. Well, then, ‘the daily’ must mean Paganism.”

We see from Daniel 8 that it is the little horn, which succeeded the goat, or Grecian empire, that takes away the “daily;” and it is the only power brought to view after the division of Alexander’s kingdom down to the time when the Sanctuary should be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days. This little horn we have in its proper place showed to be Rome taken as a unit, corresponding with the fourth kingdom of Daniel’s other visions. Now it is a fact that a change did take place in the Roman power from Paganism to Papacy. Paganism from the days of the Assyrian kings down to the time of its modification into Popery, had been the daily, or as Professor Whiting renders it, ” the continual” desolation, by which Satan had stood up against the cause of Jehovah. In its priests, its altars, and its sacrifices, it bore resemblance to the Levitical form of Jehovah’s worship; but when the Levitical gave place to the Christian form of worship, Satan, in order to successfully oppose the work, must change also his form of opposition; hence the temples, altars and statues of Paganism are baptized into the blasphemies of Popery.

The Sanctuary of the Daily

But the daily, Paganism, is said in the prophecy, to have a sanctuary, and the place of its sanctuary was to be cast down. That a sanctuary is frequently connected with idolatry and heathenism, as the place of its devotion and worship, is evident from the following scriptures: Isaiah 16:12; Amos 7:9,13, margin; Ezekiel 28:18. Concerning the sanctuary of the daily of Daniel 8, we offer the following from Apollos Hale:

“What can be meant by the ‘sanctuary’ of Paganism? Paganism, and error of every kind, have their sanctuaries, as well as truth. These are the temples or asylums consecrated to their service. Some particular and renowned temple of Paganism may, then, be supposed to be here spoken of. Which of its numerous distinguished temples may it be? One of the most magnificent specimens of classic architecture is called the Pantheon. Its name signifies the ‘temple or asylum of all the gods.’ The place of its location is Rome. The idols of the nations conquered by the Romans were sacredly deposited in some niche or department of this temple, and in many cases became objects of worship by the Romans themselves. Could we find a temple of Paganism that was more strikingly ‘his sanctuary.’ ”

Having now ascertained that the daily is Paganism, and the transgression of desolation, or “the abomination that maketh desolate,” is the Papacy, and that the especial sanctuary of Paganism was the Pantheon, and that the “place” of its location was Rome, we inquire further.

Was Paganism “taken away” by the Roman civil power? The following statement of an important and well-known fact in the history of the church and world, we think answers to the prophecy. It refers to Constantine the first Christian emperor, and says:

“His first act of government was the dispatch of an edict throughout the empire, exhorting his subjects to embrace Christianity.”

The Place of his Sanctuary is Cast Down

Was Rome the city or place of his sanctuary, (the Pantheon,) cast down by the authority of the State? The following extract answers:

“The death of the last rival of Constantine had sealed the peace of the empire. Rome was once more the undisputed queen of nations. But, in that hour of elevation and splendor, she had been raised to the edge of a precipice. Her next step was to be downward and irrecoverable. The change of the government to Constantinople still perplexes the historian. It was an act in direct repugnance to the whole course of the ancient and honorable prejudices of the Roman mind. It was the work of no luxurious Asiatic, devoted to the indulgences of eastern customs and climates, but an iron conqueror, born in the west, and contemptuous, like all Romans, of the habits of the Orientals; it was the work of a keen politician, yet it was impolitic in the most palpable degree. Yet Constantine abandoned Rome, the great citadel and throne of the Caesars, for an obscure corner of Thrace, and expended the remainder of his vigorous and ambitious life in the double toil of raising a colony into the capital of his empire, and degrading the capital into the feeble honors and humiliated strength of a colony.”

This record from the pen of the historian, is too plain to need comment. The place of his sanctuary was cast down, says the prophecy; and after a statement of facts like the above, the most fastidious in prophetic interpretation must be satisfied of its application.

From Paganism to Popery

From the time that the daily shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred five and thirty days. With the facts before us that the daily is Paganism, that the abomination that maketh desolate is the Papacy, that there was a change from the former to the latter in the Roman power, and by the authority of State we have but to inquire further when this took place in a manner to fulfill the prophecy; for if we can ascertain this, we have the starting point from which the prophetic periods in the text before us are to be dated.

Therefore, when did the event referred to in the prophecy take place? Let it be observed, the question is not, when were the saints given into the hands of the Papacy, but when had the change of religion from Paganism to Papacy been so far effected as to make the latter the national religion, and place it in a condition to start upon its career. This, like all other great revolutions, was not the work of a moment. Its incipient workings were manifest long before. Paul said that even in his day the mystery of iniquity, the Man of Sin, the “abomination that maketh desolate,” was already at work. And it is in the light of this scripture that we must understand our Lord’s words in Matthew 24:15, concerning the abomination of desolation, where he makes evident reference to Daniel 9:27. For although Paganism had not given place to the Papacy in the year 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans we do understand that the power which then appeared, modified somewhat in name and form, was the very power that should, as the abomination of desolation, wear out the saints and desolate the church of the Most High.

Up to the time of the conversion of Clovis, king of France, which took place in 496, the French and other nations of western Rome were Pagan; but subsequent to that event the efforts to convert idolaters to Christ were crowned with great success. It is said that the conversion of Clovis gave rise to the custom of addressing the French monarch with the titles of Most Christian Majesty and Eldest Son of the Church. “Between that time and A.D. 508 by alliances, capitulations, and conquests, the Arborici, the Roman garrisons in the west, Britanny, the Burgundians and the Visigoths, were brought into subjection.”

Paganism in the western Roman Empire, though it doubtless retarded the progress of the Christian faith, especially in those nations which were molested, as in the case of England, by the inroads of the barbarous clans, who continued idolaters, henceforth had not the power, if it had the disposition to suppress the Catholic faith, or to hinder the encroachments of the Roman Pontiff. From that time the Papal abomination was triumphant, so far as Paganism was concerned. Its future contests were with the other Christian sects, who were always treated as heretics; and with princes who were always treated as rebels or dividers of the body of Christ. The prominent powers of Europe gave up their attachment to Paganism only to perpetuate its abominations in another form; for Paganism needed only to be baptized to become Christian in the Catholic sense; and when the interests or vengeance of its presiding minister made the demand; their possessions and thrones, perhaps their lives, must be laid on the altar.

In England, Arthur, the first Christian king, founded the Christian worship on the ruins of the Pagan. Rapin, who claims to be more exact in the chronology of events in his history, states that he was elected monarch of Britain in 508. Book 2, 29.

What was the condition of the See of Rome at this time? “Symmachus was Pope from 498 or 9 to 514. His pontificate was distinguished by these remarkable circumstances and events: 1. He ‘left Paganism’ when he entered the ‘church of Rome.’ 2. He found his way to the Papal chair by striving with his competitor even unto blood. 3. By the adulation paid to him as the successor of St. Peter. 4. By the excommunication of the Emperor Anastasius.

“How much,” says Mosheim, “the opinions of some were favorable to the lordly demands of Roman Pontiffs, may be easily imagined from an expression of Ennodius, that infamous and extravagant flatterer of Symmachus, who was a prelate of ambiguous fame. This parasitical panegyrist, among other impertinent assertions maintained that the Pontiff was constituted judge in the place of God, which he filled as the Vicegerent of the Most High.”

A Dying Capital

By the strength secured to the Catholic cause in the West, by these successes, and the agency of the vicars, and other agents of the See of Rome, the Papal party in Constantinople were “placed” in a position to justify open hostilities in behalf of their master at Rome. “In 508 the whirlwind of fanaticism and civil war swept in fire and blood through the streets of the eastern capital.”

Gibbon, under the years 508-514, speaking of the commotions in Constantinople, says “The statues of the emperor were broken, and his person was concealed in a suburb, till, at the end of three days, he dared to implore the mercy of his subjects. [Popery is triumphant.] Without his diadem, and in the posture of a suppliant, Anastasius appeared on the throne of the circus. The Catholics, before his face, rehearsed the genuine Trisagion; they exulted in the offer which he proclaimed by the voice of a herald, of abdicating the purple; they listened to the admonition, that, since all could not reign, they should previously agree in the choice of a sovereign; and they accepted the blood of two unpopular ministers, whom their master, without hesitation, condemned to the lions. These furious but transient seditions were encouraged by the success of Vitalian, who with his army of Huns and Bulgarians, for the most part idolaters, declared himself the champion of the Catholic faith. In this pious rebellion he depopulated Thrace, besieged Constantinople, exterminated sixty-five thousand of his fellow Christians, till he obtained the recall of the bishops, the satisfaction of the Pope, and the establishment of the council of Chalcedon, an orthodox treaty, reluctantly signed by the dying Anastasius, and more faithfully performed by the uncle of Justinian. And such was the event of the first of the religious wars which have been waged in the name, and by the disciples, of the God of Peace.”

With the following extract of Appollos Hale, we close the testimony on this point: ” We now invite our modern Gamaliels to take a position with us in the place of the sanctuary of Paganism (since claimed as the ‘patrimony of St. Peter’) in 508. We look a few years into the past, and the rude Paganism of the northern barbarians is pouring down upon the nominally Christian empire of Western Rome–triumphing everywhere–and its triumphs everywhere distinguished by the most savage cruelty . . . The empire falls and is broken into fragments. One by one the lords and rulers of these fragments, abandon their Paganism and profess the Christian faith. In religion the conquerors are yielding to the conquered. But still Paganism is triumphant. Among its supporters there is one stern and successful conqueror. (Clovis) But soon he also bows before the power of the new faith and becomes its champion. He is still triumphant, but as a hero and conqueror, reaches the zenith at the point we occupy, A.D. 508.

The Final Blow

“In or near the same year, the last important subdivision of the fallen empire is publicly, and by the coronation of its triumphant ‘monarch’ christianized.

“The pontiff for the period on which we stand is recently converted Pagan. The bloody contest which placed him in the chair was decided by the interposition of an Arian king. He is bowed to and saluted as filling ‘the place of God on earth.’ The senate is so far under his power, that, on suspicion that the interests of the See of Rome demand it, they excommunicate the emperor . . . In 508 the mine is sprung beneath the throne of the Eastern Empire. The result of the confusion and strife it occasions is the humiliation of its rightful lord. Now the question is, At what time was Paganism so far suppressed, as to make room for its substitute and successor, the Papal abomination? When was this abomination placed in a position to start on its career of blasphemy and blood? Is there any other date for its being ‘placed’ or ‘set up’ in the room of Paganism, but 508? If the mysterious enchantress has not now brought all her victims within her power, she has taken her position, and some have yielded to the fascination. The others are at length subdued, ‘and kings, and peoples and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,’ are brought under the spell which prepares them, even while ‘drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus,’ to ‘think they are doing God service,’ and to fancy themselves the exclusive favorites of heaven, while becoming an easier and richer prey for the damnation of hell.”

We have the date. The “daily” was taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up in 508. Dating from this point the 1290 days or years terminate in 1798 where, as has already been shown , the civil power was stricken from the Pope by the arm of Buonaparte. The 1335 days bring us 45 full years this side of that event.

But some may say, How is it that you make the periods terminate in the past? Does it not read that Daniel should rest and stand in his lot at the end of the days? Certainly; and we believe it. But what is it for Daniel to stand in his lot? This point will come under consideration when we come to an explanation of the passing of the time, and an examination of the events that did take place at the end of the days. Meanwhile we here cast anchor till another week.

The End