The Beginning of Time, Times, and Half a Time

(Daniel 7:25; 8:11-14; 12:7-11)

The Protestants in the 18th century understood the “time, times, and half a time” in Daniel 7:25 as the time when the saints were placed in the hands of the pope, the bishop of Rome. Most of the Protestants at that time believed this began when the bishop of Rome gained full status as a “temporal prince” in the 8th century.

However, the Catholics disagreed with the Protestants’ view of the beginning of the pope’s power. They cited the letters of excommunication that the bishop of Rome wrote to the churches of Asia in 193 as proof that the primacy of the bishop of Rome had begun much earlier.

Already, in the 1st century, the apostle John warned of the coming of the Antichrist, saying, “This is the last hour.”11Jo 2:18 Forty years later, Justin Martyr said, “He whom Daniel foretells would have dominion for a time, and times, and a half, is even already at the door, about to speak blasphemous and daring things against the Most High.”2Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 32

The event that began the “time, times, and half a time” was described in Daniel 12:11: “From the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.” This was 3 ½ years or 43 months of 30 days on the Jewish lunar calendar.

The sin that caused desolation and the taking away of the daily sacrifice was described in Daniel 8:11: “He shall exalt himself as high as the Captain of the Armies, and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.”

Indeed, the letters of excommunication written by the bishop of Rome in 193 marked the start of the “time, times, and half a time.” When the bishop of Rome wrote the letters of excommunication to the churches of Asia, he exalted himself as high as the Captain of the Armies, as high as Christ.