The Rejection of Prophecy

(Daniel 12:9)

Most Evangelical Christians today understand “a time, times, and half a time” differently from the 18th-century Protestants. In his 18th-century dissertation on the Book of Revelation, Bishop Newton stated that all the Protestants of his day recognized that “a time, times, and half a time” did not equal 1,260 days but 1,260 years, which began when the saints came under the power of the bishop of Rome.1Thomas Newton,D.D., Dissertations on the Prophecies, 1832, London, pg 211-212

The Protestants did not understand the abomination of desolation, the event that put the saints in the hand of the Antichrist, but they clearly understood the kings and kingdoms that Daniel prophesied in Chapter 2 and 7. They easily saw the relationship between the ten kings and the pope. The ten kings were the ten states of Europe that came out of the Roman Empire, and the little horn was the Antichrist, whom they identified as the pope. This understanding gave them the confidence to break free from the Catholic Church, which the Book of Revelation called “a great harlot.”

Today, however, few Protestants believe in the interpretation of the Book of Revelation we have described. Most Evangelicals now say that “a time, times, and half a time” literally means a 42-month tribulation.

Why is the modern interpretation so different from the view that was universally acknowledged only 200 years before? In the 19th century, the Seventh Day Adventist Church successfully argued that if the pope was “the beast,” then the “mark of the beast” was the changing of God’s commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day. As a result, many Protestants abandoned the understanding of “the beast” that they had held for centuries.

Modern Evangelicals say that the beast has not yet appeared and that “the mark of the beast” is a microchip that will be implanted in people’s foreheads, but the 19th-century Protestants simply quoted from the last chapter of Daniel, which said that Daniel’s prophecy was sealed until the end times.