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Puzzled by 1,260 vs. 1,290 in Daniel

By March 6, 2013July 19th, 2014No Comments

Q: In reading the book of Daniel, I came across something that appears to be contradictory. Daniel 12:11 says 1,290 days, while my understanding from being taught Daniel and Revelation has given me the number 1,260. Please explain.

A: Bible prophecy recorded in Daniel and Revelation refers to 70 “weeks,” which actually means 70 “sevens” of years, with a year being 360 days on the Jewish calendar. Daniel 9:24–26 outlines the 69 “sevens” of years. It is a great testimony to the Bible’s accuracy that the time period foretold in these passages comes out to the very day; that is, 173,880 days from the decree by Artaxerxes to restore and build Jerusalem on March 14, 445 BC, to April 6, AD 32, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy (Zechariah 9:9)! The latter event marks Christ’s being “cut off,” or crucified. Daniel 9:27 then deals with the 70th (final) “week” of Daniel, a time of seven years well-known as the tribulation period. It is still to come, a fearful time on earth following the rapture (catching up to Heaven) of born-again believers in Christ. Believers will thus escape this dreadful seven-year period, which is divided into two segments.

In the 70th week these two segments are three-and-a-half years each, or 42 months, or 1,260 days. So why does Daniel 12:11 mention 1,290 days, or an extra 30 days? Some Bible scholars have tried to minimize this difference in days, as though one could treat it as more or less symbolic. But that cannot be a good solution if we take the 1,260 number as literal. If other related numbers are literal, and there certainly is no reason not to take them this way, then we surely need to stay with the 1,290 number as well. Comparing Scripture with Scripture, we discover something important in Matthew 25:31–46. This passage deals with the judgment of Christ when He comes at the end of the Tribulation. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (vv. 31, 32). This judgment will obviously take time, hence the extra 30 days, and will determine who may enter the Millennium, the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth.

Did you note that in Daniel 12:12 there is yet another number, 1,335, to ascertain: “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days”? This number is 45 days longer than 1,290 and 75 more than 1,260. These extra days provide time for Christ to establish His rule and appoint duties to believers (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3), a transition into the glorious time in which believers will jointly reign with the Savior.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send your Bible questions to nolson@garbc.org, or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

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