There are a variety of different interpretations of this verse.

A number of interpreters use the idea of a day-for-a-year so correlate these time periods to historical events. For example, Graham Mansfield suggests a number of possible time periods, relating to events to do with the Catholic Church, Islam and Zionism:

  • Starting 533 AD (Decree of Justinian), 1290 years later is 1823 (independence of Greece from Turkey), 1335 years later is 1868 (end of temporal power of papacy).
  • Starting 610 AD (Decree of Phocas), 1290 years later is 1900 (Zionism sponsored in England), 1945 (end of Second World War).
  • Starting 622 AD (beginning of Islam), 1290 years later is 1912 (beginnings of First World War), 1335 years later is 1957 (Treaty of Rome).
  • Starting 627 AD (Jerusalem captured by Saracens), 1290 years later is 1917 (Jerusalem captured by British)

Similar day-for-year interpretations are proposed by Adventist interpreters.

A number of evangelical commentators propose that these time periods relate to future events, usually relating to the Anti-Christ. It is proposed that they will have some literal fulfilment at that time.

Paul Wyns proposes that the various time periods in the book of Daniel can be explained by reference to the various Jewish Feast Days. He proposes that from the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes there were 1290 days to the celebration of Hanukkah, and a further 45 days either to Purim or to Passover (celebrations of deliverance).

Joyce Baldwin suggests the additional 45 days are symbolic, indicating a special blessing on those who are patient and keep the faith.

Daniel 12:11 states that:

And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.

So any adequate interpretation must relate this time period to the taking away of the regular burnt offering from the Temple in Jerusalem. This occurred when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple, again when Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the Temple (167 BC), and finally when the Romans destroyed the Temple (70 AD). (Some have suggested that in the future the Temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices offered once more, so that perhaps in the future the regular burnt offering will be taken away yet again).

Whilst history has not preserved the time periods precisely, we can make some guesses about these time periods. There was roughly 3 1/2 years from the desecration of the Temple (167 BC) and its restoration. The 1335 days may have terminated with some special celebration. The Jewish Revolt that terminated with the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD) lasted about 3 years. Perhaps the extra 45 days relates to the Christians flight from Jerusalem (cf. Matt 24:15).

The short answer is that there is no consensus amongst critical scholars or bible commentators about what these periods relate to.


Joyce Baldwin, Daniel (Tyndale Commentaries), 1978.
HP Mansfield and GE Mansfield, The Book of Daniel, 1992.
Paul Wyns, God is Judge, 2011.

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