The Bible lists three prophetic periods of time related to the length of the Great Tribulation, the Day of Lord and the availability of God’s Spirit after the Millennium begins. All three time periods are found in the book of Daniel.
“Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times and half a time (X, X’s & ½ a X); and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered all these things shall be finished” (Dan. 12:7).
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Dan. 12:11).
“Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (Dan. 12:12).
Two of these three time periods are very specific in length (1290 days & 1335 days).
However, the other is not.
How many days are actually in X, X’s & ½ a X?
It is important to understand the Bible does not define this period of time in days.
In Hebrew, “time(s)” refers to “a fixed time or season.” In the Greek, “time(s)” refers to “set or proper time.” In the context of Daniel 12:7, a “time” refers specifically to a year.
The table above provides a breakdown of how X, X’s & ½ a X totals a period of 3 ½ years.The X, X’s & ½ a X of Dan. 12:7 is the same time period Philadelphian Christians are protected during Great Tribulation (Rev. 12:14).
In a December 27, 1983 World Tomorrow telecast, titled "Coming Great Tribulation," Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong clearly shows X, X’s & ½ a X equaling 3 ½ years. He also pointed out this 3 ½ years is how long the Great Tribulation will last (Mt. 24:21, Dan. 12:1), but does this equal to 1260 days?
Remember the initial question; “How many days are in X, X’s & ½ a X?”
Since the Philadelphia era of God’s Church, it has been taught X, X’s & ½ a X equals a total of one thousand two hundred and sixty days (1260). Mr. Armstrong confirms this in the January 1980 edition of “The Good News Magazine”, pg. 23; “Never before have we (God’s Church) understood these periods of 1260 days, 1290 days and 1335 days.”
Where did this teaching come from? It came through the use of a “prophetic calendar.”
A calendar which consists of 12 months, with each month being 30 days. The total number of days for a year in this calendar is 360. When 360 is multiplied by 3 ½ years, it equals 1260 days. Using a prophetic calendar allows for consistency in working with other prophetic time periods.
For example, 1260 days is equal to 42 months. Despite consistency in numbers, use of a prophetic calendar is not consistent with the Bible’s method for calculating time.
Calculating Biblical Time
A search of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation will produce no evidence for using a “prophetic calendar.” In fact, God created the heavenly bodies to be used for calculating time.
“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;” (Gen. 1:14)
The first specific reference to God’s calendar is found in designating the start of “The Flood.”
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” (Gen. 7:11)
Before bringing the Israelites out of Egyptian captivity, God had to re-establish the use of His calendar. Speaking to Moses and Aaron, God said, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exo. 12:2)
The re-establishment of this calendar was necessary in order for the ancient Israelites to properly observe God’s feast days.
“These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.” (Lev. 23:4)
“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD;” (Lev. 23:5-6a)
The calendar used to calculate God’s feast days is known as the Hebrew calendar. In order to determine the number of days in X, X’s & ½ a X, this same calendar must be used.