Are the 1,290 "days" in Daniel 12:11 actually 1,290 "years"?

Email Received:

I read this online book or article by Ellis H. Skolfield: The False Prophet.

He talks about various topics, but the one that interested me the most was the notion of "days" actually meaning "years" such as the 1,290 days in Daniel 12:11. What do you think about this?

Ted's Response:

I did not have the time to read Skolfield's entire book or article, so I scanned through parts of it. Near the bottom of page 32, he implies that the things in Daniel 9:24 will be fulfilled for Daniel's people (Israel) after the 69th week of years. He is laying this down as a foundational principle on which he will build other beliefs that he has.

However, this foundation is made of sand because it is not true. Daniel 9:24 explicitly states that it is after 70 weeks of years, not after 69 weeks of years, that those things will be completed for Daniel's people, Israel. All of these things will not be finished until Jesus returns at the end of the 70th week of years. I explain this in one of my email responses here: How can you say that any part of the seventy weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) has yet to take place when all of that prophecy was fulfilled in the first century A.D.?

On page 36, he begins putting down another foundational principle that, in the Bible, a "day" always translates to a "year" of time. He uses the examples in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:5,6 to extrapolate this notion to all other uses of "day" in the Bible. But this is another foundation made of sand.

By doing this, he essentially is "putting God in a box" and saying that whenever He said "day" He really meant "year." One very obvious challenge to this is that the six "days" of creation certainly were not six "years" in length. Furthermore, to God, a "day" can be as a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). "Day" can mean whatever God wants it to mean: a 24-hour day, a year, a millennium, an age, an eon, or any unspecified period of time (see yôm = “day” and long “days”).

On top of the "days" to "years" foundation, he constructs one of his main tenets. On page 41, he begins talking about the 1,290 days of Daniel 12:11 and assumes that they are 1,290 years. From pages 39 to 46, he gives a tedious explanation as to why he feels these 1,290 years ran from 583BC to 688AD. However, not only is his translation from 1,290 days to 1,290 years incorrect, his fundamental interpretation of Daniel 12:11 is flawed.

Here is Daniel 12:11 from the KJV and from the NIV:

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. (Daniel 12:11—KJV)

From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (Daniel 12:11—NIV)

He is assuming that the time between the taking away or abolishment of the daily sacrifice and the time that the abomination that causes desolation is set up will be 1,290 days (which he incorrectly translates into 1,290 years). What he is missing, though, is that both of those events will happen at the same time; and 1,290 days from then, something else will happen (I believe the Battle of Armageddon). Therefore, this is yet another foundational assumption he has made that is erroneous. At least, I adamantly do not agree with it.

Furthermore, Daniel was told to seal up the words he was being given until the time of the end (Daniel 12:4)—that is, the end of the age. Moreover, he was given the term "time, times, and half a time" (12:7), which equates to "a year, two years, and half a year" = 3˝ years. John also wrote about the same amount of time (Revelation 12:14). This equates to 1,260 days (11:3, 12:4) and to 42 months (11:2, 13:5), which will be the longest portion of the 1,290 days of Daniel 12:11. On page 69, Skolfield provides a hazy explanation why he feels "time, times, and half a time" is only "2˝ times," not 3˝ years. I do not accept this notion at all.

Skolfield also indicates on pages 25-28 that the fulfillment of the "time of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) was in 1967, when Jerusalem came under "Jewish control" after the Six-Day War ended on June 6, 1967. Yet, the Temple Mount still is under the control of Islam, who are Gentiles, which also would like for East Jerusalem to be its capital. Skolfield felt that the Gentile control over Jerusalem was over at that time, but I do not see that as being true at all, as I feel strongly that Islam will be continue to be an actively violent threat to Jerusalem and Israel until the day Jesus returns and puts an end to it.

I am absolutely convinced that the 1,290 days and the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:11,12 are literal days (not years) and that they are yet to take place in the future, at the very end of this age (Daniel 12:4). This is explained in the final five sections (extensions to the 70th Week, 30 days, Bowl Judgments, Battle of Armageddon, and 45 days) of my Final Battles commentary.

Return to Email Questions and Ted’s Responses

Go to Ted’s Bible Commentaries and Other Links

View the New International Version of the Bible

Go to Ted’s Homepage