Theories about the 1,260 Days

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The Creation Concept



Joachim of Fiore


Walter Brute

William Fulke

James Brocard

David Chytreus

David Pareus

John Napier

Joseph Mede

Drue Cressener

Isaac Newton

Johan Albrecht Bengel

John Gill

Bishop Thomas Newton

Joseph Galloway

George Stanley Faber

William Miller

Edward Irving

James Stuart Russell

Joseph Franklin Rutherford

James Burton Coffman

Ronald Weinland

The 1,260 Days and the Time of the Church (pdf)

St. Clement of Alexandria (c.150- 215)

The period of the destruction of Jerusalem

Tyconius (d. about 390 AD)

Tyconius said the two witnesses of Revelation 11 represent the pure Church, the Lord's body in the world, prophesying and preaching through the two testaments. He interpreted the 1260 days as 350 years.

Joachim of Fiore (1130-1202)

1 BC - 1260 AD

Joachim divided the history of salvation into several distinct eras and preached that the final era, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, was emminent. He identified the 1,260 days with the period between the advent of Christ and 1260 AD.

Gerardo of Borgo San Donnino in 1250 AD 

1 BC - 1260 AD

Gerardo published a work called the Introduction to the Eternal Gospel, which was an interpretation and summary of Joachim's three major works. Gerardo's Introduction claimed that the third status would arrive in A.D. 1260, signaling the total abrogation of the church of the second status, including the substitution of Joachim's writing for the Old and New Testaments. Gerardo's work created such a scandal that a papal commission was held at Anagni under Alexander IV in A.D. 1255, which condemned the Introduction, but not Joachim himself. Gerardo was imprisoned for life.


Walter Brute in 1391

135 AD - 1395 AD

Brute said the 1,260 and 1,290 days of prophecy were so many years, to be reckoned from the Hadrian desolation of Jerusalem to his own day.

William Fulke (1538-1589)

In his book Praelections vpon the sacred and holy Reuelation of S. Iohn, Fulke wrote the following about  Revelation 11:2:

And the holy city they shall tread under foot two and forty months &c.

The wicked and profane gentiles shall tread under foot, that is, shall grievously oppress, persecute, and afflict the Church of God, to the full space of two and forty months, that is for that time which Christ doth grant unto Antichrist to rage in cruelty against the godly. Some do count the number of months, from the first persecutions of the christians by the Roman conquerors, even till the time of the emperor Constantine which granted peace, unto the churches. But let them which maintain that opinion see how certain it is. But to me it seems more plain that under numbers the certain fixed, and determinate time of the persecution of antichrist is assigned, which he cannot pass, although he fret fume and rage never so much. For the Lord hath counted the same time by months days and hours. The reason of the numbers seemeth to be of this sort, this time which sometime is called two and forty months, sometime a thousand two hundred and sixty days, sometime a time two times and half a time, maketh in all three years and an half, that is the one half of a prophetical week, which time also is called three days and an half. And this place alludeth to the weeks of years in the 9 Chapter of Daniel. Whereupon we gather to the great consolation of the Church, that a short time is appointed to Antichrist to wait the same, which is also shewed twice afterward in the 12 Chapter and in the 20, that a short space of time is permitted to the devil that he may strive with all his force to beat down the Church, this interpretation as most simple and plain pleases me best; those that seek more subtler may follow their own judgment.

David Chytreus in 1571

412 AD - 1672 AD

Chytreus suggested the 1,260 years began with the overthrow of the Western Roman Empire by Alaric in 412.

David Pareus  (1548 - 1622)

606 AD - 1866 AD

Pareus claimed the 1,260 years began with the decree of Phocas in 606.

John Napier (1550-1617)

300 AD - 1560 AD;
316 AD - 1576 AD

Napier's Proposition 36 in A plaine discouery of the whole Reuelation of Saint Iohn, 1593, said the 42 months are 1260 years  which began about the years 300 or 316 Ad. He identified the pope professing himself to be the head of the church as the Antichrist, and the fulfillment of Paul's prophecy in 2 Thess. 2.

James Brocard (b. 1563)

313 AD - 1573 AD

Brocard supposed the 42 months or 1,260 years of trampling of the holy city began with the reign of pope Sylvester. He wrote:

Now at this time when we shall come to the end of 1260 years, the beginning being taken from Pope Sylvester, the church, and the government thereof shall be given to those who hold the testimony of Christ. The new Prophets and the worthy Petarcha famous for godliness and learning do recken that those 1260 days are set for years, for the year of our Lord 313 unto the time when with power and might Christ shall bring his Church out of the desert, then if to those 1260 years you add 313, in the which year Sylvester took the red garment for the black, there shall be 1573 years, when both in France, Holland and Zelande the Gospellers having been trodden down oppressed, put to death, burned and slain lifted up themselves, and afterward made their foes afraid, as it is said hereafter.

[The Reuelation of S. Ihon reueled or a paraphrase opening by conference of time and place such things as are both necessary, and profitable for the tyme present: writen in Latine by Iames Brocard, and Englished by Iames Sanford Gent., Imprinted at London : In Fleetestreate neare vnto S. Dunstones Church by Thomas Marshe, 1582.]

Joseph Mede (1586-1638)

476 AD - 1736 AD

Mede equated seven time prophecies which contained time spans of 3 1/2 years, 1260 days, or 42 months (Dan.7:25; 12:7; Rev.11:2,3; 12:6,14; 13:5). These, he explained must apply to the antichristian power of papacy.

Drue Cressener (1642 - 1718)

606 AD - 1848 AD

An English clergyman and interpreter of the Apocalypse, Cressener in 1690 said the years of the period should be taken as 360 days each, and shortened the period of 1,260 days to 1,242. Thus he proposed 1848 as the critical year in the downfall of the papacy.

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Newton proposed 360 days for each prophetic year and 30 days to a prophetic month. Thus, unlike Mede, he disassociated prophetic time from solar or lunar calendars;  "he specified the time vaguely, at about the time of the invasion of the Barbarous nations and their erecting several Kingdoms in the Roman Empire," and "it being certain that 1200 of the 1260 years are run out already."

Johan Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752)

1143 AD - 1810 AD

In Bengel's scheme, a prophetic day was 1/2 year and about 8 days, or 190 + 20/21 days; a prophetic year was 190 + 20/21 natural years or 69570 days.

John Gill  (1697- 1771)

606 AD - 1866 AD

Gill maintained that the date when the Bishop of Rome was made Universal Bishop, or Pope, should be considered that of the decree of the Emperor Phocas in 606; "if to this we add 1,260 the expiration of his reigns will fall in the year 1866, so that he may have upwards of a hundred and twenty years yet to continue; but of this we cannot be certain; however, the conjecture is not improbable."

Bishop Thomas Newton (1704-1782)

533 AD - 1793 AD;
606 AD - 1866 AD;
727 AD - 1987 AD

For the 1260 day/year period Newton suggested at least three starting points. The earliest is with Justinian's degree (533 AD), the second Phocas' degree in 606 (this had the additional benefit of being also the beginning of Mohammed's rise to power), and the third the early 8th century when the pope was established as a "temporal prince."

Joseph Galloway, 1809

606 AD - 1866 AD

Galloway wrote: "If, then, we date the rise of the two apostacies in the year 606, which has just been proved to be the true time, the witnesses have now prophesied in 'sackcloth' 1195 years of the 1260 so that there are only 65 years to come, before they will have 'finished their testimony,' according to our present mode of calculation. But if the prophet calculated by synchronical years, or only 360 days to a year, according to the Jewish mode of computation, when he wrote, as some commentators suppose, and which indeed, is most probable, there remain only 48 years before the witnesses shall have finished their testimony in sackcloth."

Link [p. 108]

George Stanley Faber (1773-1854)

606 AD - 1866 AD

Faber wrote: "Some have supposed, that the 1260 years are already expired, and that their expiration took place about the commencement of the French revolution. As yet I have seen no sufficient reasons to induce me to assent to this opinion. According to the most natural interpretation of Dan. xii. 6, 7, the interpretation adopted by Mr. Mede and other eminent expositors, the interpretation which best harmonizes with parallel prophecies, the Jews will begin to be restored so soon as the three times and a half shall have expired. But the Jews have not begun to be restored. Therefore we scarcely seem warranted in supposing that the three times and a half have expired. However this may be, I have little doubt that the wonderful shaking of nations during these last eighteen years is preparatory to the return and conversion of God's chosen people, and to the final overthrow of his congregated enemies."

William Miller (1782-1849)

538 AD - 1798 AD

Miller claimed that the one thousand two hundred and sixty years of the papacy were to be reckoned from A. D. 538, by virtue of the decree of Justinian. This decree, though issued A. D. 533, did not go into full effect until 538, when the enemies of the Catholics in Rome were subjugated by Belisarius, a general of Justinian.

Miller adopted the Protestant view, that they represent years. There is probably no point respecting which Protestant commentators have been more agreed than this. Faber, Prideaux, Mede, Clarke, Scott, the two Newtons, Wesley, and almost every expositor of note, have considered this a settled question. Indeed, so universal has been this interpretation of these periods that Professor Stuart says: 'IT IS A SINGULAR FACT THAT THE GREAT MASS OF INTERPRETERS in the English and American world have, for many years, been wont to understand the days designated in Daniel and the Apocalypse as the representatives or symbols of years. I found it difficult to trace the origin of this GENERAL, I might say ALMOST UNIVERSAL, CUSTOM.'


Edward Irving (1792-1834)

533 AD - 1793 AD

Irving was the first expositor who ventured to connect particular predictious with the events of the French Revolution. According to him, the Papacy commenced in A.D. 533, which, with the 1260 prophetic days or years of its continuance, brings Popery down to the year 1793, the year when the French Revolution commenced, at which date Mr. Irving considers the reign of Popery to have been superseded by that of Infidelity, and the judgments upon Babylon to have commenced.


James Stuart Russell (1816-1895)

67 AD - 70 AD

Russell has been called the father of full preterism; he saw the second coming as a past event that took place in conjunction with the Roman destruction of the Jewish temple in AD 70.

The following is from Russell's "The Parousia:"  The passage which we are now considering throws light also upon our Lord's prediction in Luke xxi. 24: 'And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.' Our Lord, it is to be observed, is here speaking of the siege and capture of Jerusalem, the very theme of the apocalyptic vision. ... But if so, what are we to understand by 'the times of the Gentiles' in our Saviour's prediction? It has been generally supposed that this expression refers to some mystic period of unknown duration, extending, it may be, over centuries and aeons, and still rolling on its uncompleted course. But if this non-natural interpretation of words is to be applied to Scripture, it is difficult to see what use there is in specifying any periods of time at all. Surely, it is much more respectful to the Word of God to understand its language as having some definite meaning. What, then, if 'forty and two months' should really mean forty-two months, and nothing more? The times of the Gentiles can only mean the time during which Jerusalem is in their occupation. That time is distinctly specified in the Apocalypse as forty-two months. Now this is a period repeatedly spoken of in this book under different designations. It is the 'thousand two hundred and sixty days' of the next verse, and the 'time, times and half a time' of chap. xii. 14, that is to say, three years and a half. Now it is evident that such a space of time in the history of nations would be an insignificant point; but for a tumultuous and lawless rabble to domineer over a great city for such a period would be something portentous and terrible. The occupation of such a city by an armed mob is not likely to continue over ages and centuries: it is an abnormal state of things which must speedily terminate. Now this is exactly what happened in the last days of Jerusalem. During the three years and an half which represent with sufficient accuracy the duration of the Jewish war, Jerusalem was actually in the hands and under the feet of a horde of ruffians, whom their own countryman describes as 'slaves, and the very dregs of society, the spurious and polluted spawn of the nation.' The last fatal struggle may be said to have begun when Vespasian was sent by Nero, at the head of sixty thousand men, to put down the rebellion. This was early in the year A.D. 67, and in August A.D.70 the city and the temple were a heap of smoking ashes.


Joseph Franklin ("Judge") Rutherford (1856-1942)

1914 AD - 1918 AD

Rutherford said the "three and a half times" is the 1,260 day period that began in 1914, and ended in mid-1918, when the Watch Tower Society's preaching work was suspended. This was immediately followed by the 1,290 days, which ran to 1922. The 1,335 day period (1922-1926) then ensued--the period of the celebrated conventions.


James Burton Coffman (1905-2006)

Coffman identified the "time, times and a half" and the 1,260 days of Revelation 12 with "the whole Christian dispensation" in his commentary on Daniel.

Ronald Weinland

2008 AD - 2012 AD

Weinland said the 1,260 days began in 2008, when he declared himself to be one of the two witnesses, and his wife Laura the other one.


Copyright 2010 by Douglas E. Cox
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