The Twenty-Five Hundred
Year Old Mystery
by Richard Speights
Universally, with few exceptions, people believe the word phrase “time, times, and half a time” stands for three and a half years. Some even believe this word phrase is connected to Revelation’s 42 months and 1260 days, which they further believe stands for 1260 years, the amount of time they conclude the Catholic Church dominated the world. As much as this seems plausible, these conclusions are born through unverifiable speculation.
When the man in linen said spoke this word phrase in the twelfth chapter, Daniel said, “Although I heard, I did not understand.” (Dan 12:8 NKJV) Ever since the man in linen raised His hand to heaven and swore on Him who lives forever, nobody has understood that word phrase, words spoken almost twenty-five hundred years ago.
That’s a long time for a mystery to remain intact.
And if speculation will never solve the symbolisms, then how shall we demystify this thing? How can we know the meaning of “time, times, and half a time”?
The Nature of The Language in
Revelation, Daniel, Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17/21
Before solving a mystery, one must first try to understand the nature of the mystery. Speculation and assumption do not consider the nature of biblical mystery but applies meaning to the unknown the same way a child labels unfamiliar items in the house with contrived names.
People supporting the preterist view of Revelation explain the complicated nature of the symbolisms by saying, “It was written in a way the Roman could not understand, but the early Christians could.”
This is a fallacies statement. For one, there is no empirical evidence it is true. This explanation is the result of assumption and their need to demand the early Christians understood all of Revelation. Second, Romans were not a stupid people, and they understood the cultures and religions of the peoples they conquered. So, if Revelation’s mysterious language was and is based upon some aspect of early Christians, then the Romans could have easily figured it all out.
I agree the early Romans could not understand the symbolic part of Revelation. However, if the Romans did not understand, then it follows the early Christians did not understand too. They couldn’t understand, because the message in Revelation is in the form of encryption. If they had known this, they would have already demystified the mystery.
Encrypted messages hide the message by saying one thing and meaning another. Letter replacement codes are a good example. By scrambling the alphabet, the message created becomes unreadable garbage. In that unreadable garbage is, well, unreadable, the encryption is clear. However, when a message seems to say something, the encryption is not so evident.
The symbolic language in Revelation seems to say a lot—but the things it says are intellectual gobbledygook. Revelation, on its face, says nothing. It’s full of beasts, flying, living creatures, and other oddities. The surface message is not stable but travels up and down, left and right, inside and outside, and forward and backward. It leads everywhere and goes nowhere.
Beneath Revelation’s intellectual gobbledygook, however, is an encrypted message, hidden in the symbolic verse.
There are many forms of encryptions. Almost all military encryptions, like those produced by the German Enigma machine, are letter replacement codes. Masons in the Dark Ages created symbol codes, and even World War II’s Navaho code talkers created a form of encoded messages since their language was wholly unknown to the Japanese.
There is a hard-and-fast rule covering all encrypted messages: The only way to verifiably decrypt an encoded message is through a code key, and all encrypted messages have accompanying code keys. (This is a hard-and-fast rule: All encrypted messages have an associated code key. More importantly, the only way to verifiably decrypt an encoded message is through the code key.)
Code keys can be a mysterious as the message they encode. The Navaho code talkers, for instance, spoke their own language, which the Japanese didn’t even know existed. The code talker added an additional layer of encoding by calling tanks, truck, and airplanes by animal names and whatnot.
A jigsaw puzzle code is another form of encryption and one of the most difficult to break, since the code key and the puzzle are merged. Write a message on one or both sides of a puzzle sheet, separate the pieces, and then send each by a different route to the desired destination. If a piece falls into the wrong hands, it will not reveal the message. Only when the pieces are all brought back together in order can one read the message in its entirety.
When I was younger, I grew tired of building jigsaw puzzles and decided to put the pieces together by force. Where two pieces didn’t fit, I’d jam them fit, with a hammer if necessary. I cut off tabs that didn’t have corresponding blanks and used them to fill in the blanks without corresponding tabs.
I was able to build a puzzle, but the abstract picture I had created looked nothing like the picture on the box. This forced puzzle had gaps, and the border was not smooth but puzzle jagged. Since the pieces were in a bind, it caused the puzzle sheet to warp.
What This Essay Will Show
This paper proposes the word phrase “time, times, and a dividing of time” is symbolic of four periods of time, Garden of Eden, Pre/Post flood worlds, and the Jewish/Christian ages.
Time, Time, and Half a Time, Decrypted
The Word “Time”
First of all, the word “time” is indefinite. The other biblical expressions of time are defined: 42 moths, 1260 days, 3 ½ days, 2300 days, etc. However, say a man lives in Texas four times, one and a half years each time. That man has lived in Texas four times but a total of six years.
The reason most people believe the word “time” in Daniel stands for a years is a misreading of Daniel 4:16: “Let [Nebuchadnezzar’s] heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him.” (NKJV emphases mine)
People assume the seven times in Daniel 4:16 is seven years, so they assume “time, times, and half a time,” means three and a half years. Basing a second assumption on the strength of a previous assumption is like building a poorly framed house on a poorly poured foundation. The house will fall at the first gust of wind.
Even though the “seven times” in Daniel 4:16 are probably seven equal times, it’s more likely this refers to the moon passing overhead, since the term indicates an astronomical event more than a abstract perception of passing year. Nonetheless, seven times can stand for almost any length of time.
(People in ancient times keyed upon the monthly motion of the moon. They were highly aware of its slow plodding trek through the monthly sky as it passed over them.)
Nevertheless, biblical events happening seven times connects the event to God’s number, seven, therefore connecting the event to God and or His will and or power. The priests sprinkled blood seven times for purification. Joshua had seven priests blast their horns, and the people marching around Jericho seven times. The child Elijah brought back to life sneezed seven times. And God said he will strike the river in its seven streams, referencing God parting the River Jordan for the Children of Israel to cross, in further reference to Elijah and Elisha having struck the River Jordan with the mantle to do the same.
The Bible is interconnected and dovetailed. Understanding one part demands understanding another. It is similar to our study and understanding of the plan of salvation, which is not presented in list form but is scattered throughout the Gospels and letters. It takes more than a passing glance to put these things all together.
The Dividing of Time
Before further decrypting this mysterious word phrase, we must first take a hard, studied look Daniel 7:24:
There is a problem with the New King James translation. It does not follow the Aramaic exactly. The King James, Young’s Literal Translation, and others like translations follow the Aramaic more closely. The King James says:
“…and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (KJV emphasis mine)
The New King James translators changed the wording, apparently because they decided it meant the same as the word phrases found in Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 12:14. Even translators can make mistakes, usually by wrangling the meaning of the mysterious biblical verses to fit preconceptions.
Nonetheless, if I have ten apples and have a dividing of apples, I’d still have ten apples in two groups of equal or unequal quantities. So, “time and times and the dividing of time” isn’t three and a half times.
Matching The Puzzle Pieces
What symbolisms or events in the bible match “time, times, and a dividing of time”?
This word phrase is very much like Abram’s sacrifice, the one he made when God made a covenant with him at the beginning of the Jewish age.
“Then [God] said to [Abram], ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.’
And he said, ‘Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?’
So He said to him, ‘Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.” (Gen 15:7-10 NKJV)
(Special note: Abram asked an all-important question: “…how shall I know I will inherit it?” Jesus said, ‘…When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.’ ” (John 8:28 NKJV)
These two things are not unrelated.)
Notice the number and arrangement of the animals in this sacrifice that begins the Jewish age: one heifer / one goat and one ram / and two birds.
Heifers, goats, and rams are all related, but goats and rams are more closely related to one another, two branches of the same species. Turtledoves and pigeons are also two branches of the same species of bird. The grouping of the sacrifice and the grouping of words are the same.
The animals were each three years old as well, a number equal to “time and times”.
In a vision Ezekiel saw four living creatures. Each living creature had four faces each and four wings. These came out of a whirlwind, which is, of course, symbolic of God (Job 38:1 and 40:6). So these living creatures are connected to God, like the living creatures later in Ezekiel are also connected to God via the wheel-in-a-wheel. The eyes all around and the wheels are symbolic of God.
These two groups of living creatures in Ezekiel are in some ways identical and in some ways unique.
A quick word about the word “living” in the term “living creatures”: The dead in symbolic biblical terms are the spiritually dead (Matthew 8:22, Romans 8:10, Romans 8:11, 1 Peter 4:6, Revelation 3:1). Therefore, in that these creatures are living, they, in biblical terms, represent those alive in spirit or who will become alive in spirit through their obedience to God’s will.
The four living creatures symbiotically represent people throughout history, all who had lived obedient to God’s commandments, past, present, and future. All people of all time have been blessed through the shedding of Christ’s blood at Calvary, but only the obedient receive the benefit of this blessing. (I’m jumping ahead by claiming the four living creatures represent all obedient people of all time. The bases for my assertion will become clearer a little later in this paper.)
Furthermore, wings represent freedom from the bonds of the earth. The four living creatures wings represent their freedom from the bonds, in the spiritual sense, of sin bondage and death.
These four creatures had four faces each. Of course, the four creatures represent four periods of time (time, times, division of time), as do the four wings. So do the four faces. More importantly, however, and more to the point, the four faces connect the living creatures to Abram’s sacrifice at the beginning of the Jewish age.
Of equal importance, the four faces also connect the living creatures to Jesus’s sacrifice at the end of the Jewish age. These two sacrifices are a key to everything.
These four creatures each had four faces:
The face of a man is the Son of Man, Jesus (Matt 12:8). The face of the lion is also Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). These faces connect the living creatures to Jesus’s sacrifice.
The face of an ox, as a bovine, is symbolic of the heifer (also related to the goat and ram) of Abram’s sacrifice. The face of an eagle, as a bird, symbolically connects to the two birds of Abram’s sacrifice.
When we, as Americans in the 21st Century, hear the word, “eagle,” we think positive thoughts. The website, Whats-Your-Sign, has listed modern and ancient symbolic meanings of eagles:
Opportunity, protection, guardianship, masculinity, dominance, control, freedom, community, command, action, authority, skill, focus, determination, vision, power, liberation, inspiration, ruler, and judgment. (Whats-Your-Sign.com)
However, when Jews during the Jewish age heard the word, “eagle,” they didn’t think such positive thoughts. The Jews held all raptors in contempt as abominations.
“ ‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 14 the kite, and the falcon after its kind; every raven after its kind, the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl; the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture; the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.’ ” (Leviticus 11:13-19 NKJV, emphasis mine)
Although scripture refers to “wings of an eagle,” this is a different take on an eagle for the Jew, more closely related to our current feelings. This use is as a symbol of freedom from bondage on strong wings (Exodus 19:4).
Make no mistake; eagles are scavengers. All raptors are scavengers. Eagles, hawks, and the like are specialized hunters that scavenge carrion whenever carrion is available. Vultures and buzzards are specialized scavengers that will also hunt in the pinch of hunger.
The eagle, as a one of the faces on Ezekiel’s four living creatures, plays a duel role. As a bird, it connects the living creatures to the two birds in Abram’s sacrifice. As a scavenger, it connects the living creature to Abram’s sacrifice in another way.
When Abram left the sacrifice outside awaiting God, “ …vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.” (Gen 15:11 NKJV)
The vultures landed on Abram’s sacrifice and tried to eat a thing what meant for another. They tried to eat what did not belong to them.
Although this thing with the vultures seems superfluous, it is not. There are only some seven hundred thousand words in the bible. Know this: Everything written in the Bible has a purpose. None of the words are written for nothing. The vultures landing on the carcass of the sacrifice is more significant than it might seem.
Four More Faces, Ezekiel 10
Ezekiel sees the same four living creatures he first saw in chapter one later in chapter ten. But their faces are different. Although they are the same, they are different.
The cherub, as an angelic creature, is symbolic of Jesus, for Jesus, is the Angle of the Lord, who led the children of Israel through the desert (Judges 2:1), strengthen Gideon (Judges 6), and told Manoah and his wife she would conceive Samson (Judges 13).
The face of a man is, of course, the Son of Man, Jesus. The lion is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus. And the eagle…
Again, the eagle in these faces is not as simple as it might appear. This face of an eagle does refer to the scavenging nature of raptors, but this time it does not point back to Abram’s sacrifice. It points forward to Jesus’s sacrifice at Calvary.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:28, “Where the carcass is the eagles will gather.”
Preterists insist this is in reference to the Romans, in that their standard is in the image of an eagle. However, Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience. They would not have thought of Rome and their standards but would have recognized the abominable nature of the bird, especially in its connection to a dead body.
In Luke, Jesus also said, “ ‘Where the body is the eagles will gather,’ ” (Luke 17:37 NKJV)
People have noticed the disparity, that Jesus says “carcass” in Matthew and “body” in Luke. Those who say the “body” in Luke is a living body speak well, because this is exactly what Jesus was saying. However, they thereafter come to the wrong conclusion of what the living body means.
If Jesus is speaking of one body, then how can it be both dead and alive at the same time? Here’s a hint: We eat His flesh weekly and yet serve Him as a risen savior.
Peter wrote, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…” (1 Peter 3:18 NKJV)
In Matthew and Luke, Jesus referenced the vultures landing on Abram’s sacrifice to foretell an event connected to his death post Calvary (far past Calvary). However, that event is beyond the scope of this paper. I will write about that event more in the future.
Nonetheless, know that Ezekiel points to Jesus’s sacrifice with the face of the eagle in this second group of living creatures and connects Jesus’s future sacrifice with the vultures of Abram’s past sacrifice.
This group of living creatures is one of three, the last found in Revelation.
Four Living Creatures – Revelation
Their faces on the first group of living creatures in Ezekiel distinguish them from the second. And the four living creatures in Revelation are distinguished from the two groups in Ezekiel. Nonetheless, that there are three groups relate to “time and times,” like the age of the heifer, goat, and ram relate to the same (they were all three years old each).
The living creatures in Revelation have attributes connecting them to both groups of living creatures in Ezekiel and to the Seraphim in Isaiah. The eyes all around relates to the second group of living creatures in Ezekiel. The four faces relate to both groups of Ezekiel’s living creatures. The six wings relates to the Seraphim.
Ezekiel’s two groups of living creatures relate to both Abram’s and Jesus’s sacrifice. However, Revelation’s four faces, the lion, man, calf, and flying eagle connects mainly to Jesus’s sacrifice and only little to Abram’s sacrifice.
The flying eagle, like the eagles in the first two groups, has a twist. It connects this group of living creatures to both Abram’s sacrifice and Jesus’s sacrifice as an eagle (vulture and bird). However, as a flying eagle it makes a connection to another scriptural verse.
Jesus has symbolically carried us away from the death and bondage of sin like God carried the Children of Israel away from Egypt’s bondage. God said, “ ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.’ ” (Exodus 19:4 NKJV emphases mine)
And again, ““But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV emphases mine)
The “a division of time” in Daniel and Abrams’s two sacrificial birds are connected to the seraphim in Isaiah.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ ” (Isaiah 6:1-3 NKJV)
Although Isaiah does not number the seraphim, logical deduction dictates only two seraphs.
There are other biblical angelic creatures that relate to these seraphim. Two cherubim as angelic creatures stood in the Temple’s inner chamber (1 Kings 6:27 2, Chronicles 3:11) and two rested atop the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25). All these winged, angelic creatures relate to the two birds of Abram’s sacrifice, which also relate to the Jewish/Christian ages, which relate to a dividing of time. The wings of the cherubim touch each other, like one period of time touches the next.
The three sets of four living creatures, and the two seraphim, add up to four groups. They symbolize time, times, and a division of time.
Although Christians have typically divide biblical history into ages like the patriarchal age and whatnot, there is a natural division of time. From creation, there have been four grand periods of world history, the Garden of Eden, the pre-flood world, the post-flood world, and the Jewish/Christian ages.
The Jewish age and Christian age are two halves of the same coin. The Christian age could not have come into existence without the Jewish age, and the Jewish age without the Christian age could never fulfill the plan of salvation.
So, putting it all together:
Time = Heifer = Living Creature 1 = Garden of Eden
Times = Goat and Ram =Living Creature 2 = Pre-Flood and Post-Flood Worlds
Time Divided = Abrams’ Two Birds = Two Seraphim = Jewish/Christian Ages
All the pieces fit together without gaps and without creating a warped message. Nonetheless, as we begin to unravel the rest of Daniel, the reason for the hidden meaning of time, times, and half a time/a division of time becomes clearer and clearer.
Coming Soon: The Little Horn, Eyes of God, and Pompous Words
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