Reconciling Matthew 24 and Daniel 12
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
A while back I posted a study showing why the phrase “No one Knows The Day or Hour” was meant for the 2nd Coming, not the Rapture. Even though it’s clear that the Great Tribulation is 1260 days long, and the 2nd Coming follows it, the Lord said people on Earth at the time will not know the day or hour of His coming. To emphasize this, He repeated it 4 times within the span of 28 verses (Matt. 24:36-37, 42-44, 50-51, 25:13)
A reader responded with the fascinating suggestion that this might help solve the mystery of the 1290 days and 1335 days of Daniel 12:11-12. Here’s what she wrote.
“I agree with you that Matt. 24:36-51 refers to the Lord’s return at the end of the Tribulation, also known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” However, I can understand why so many Christians become confused and think those verses might refer to the rapture. It used to seem strange to me that “the evil servant” mentioned in Matt. 24:48-51 could mistakenly think that “his Lord delayeth his coming” when there are so many places where the exact length of time of the final 3 1/2 years is spelled out in Daniel 12:7 and 12:14 (time, times, and half a time), Rev. 12:6 (1260 days), and Rev. 11:2 and 13:5 (forty two months). Because of those verses, most Christians tend to think that Jesus is going to return on the very last day of the Great Tribulation, so how could He “delay His coming.” But then there are those intriguing verses in Daniel 12:11-12:
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”
I have always wondered if there is a little pause after the seven years of Tribulation ends and then the Lord returns, and Daniel 12:12 is speaking of that little pause. Matt. 24:29-30 seems to confirm the short pause spoken of in Daniel. Matt. 24:29-30:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
If there is a bit of a pause between the end of the Tribulation and our Lord’s return to earth, that explains why some people on the earth who don’t maintain their faithfulness during that last little stretch of time after the Tribulation ends might be caught unfaithful, per Matt. 24:48-51:
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
A pause like this could also explain why the 10 bridesmaids “fell asleep” waiting for the Lord. I suppose that all this is a moot point for the Church, but it’s one of those things that I’ve pondered. What do you think?”
I think putting Daniel 12 and Matt. 24 together makes a lot of sense. To explain why will require some speculation on my part because the Bible doesn’t go into much detail. But if you’ll permit me a little latitude, I’ll try not to stray away from the Bible’s intent in filling in some of the blanks concerning the time of the Lord’s coming.
Immediately after the end of the Great Tribulation, on the 1260th day after the Abomination of Desolation, the Sun and Moon will go dark, and the stars will fall from the sky (Matt. 24:29). An indeterminate period of total worldwide darkness will follow, and then a great sign will appear in the dark sky. This sign has not been described to us, but people on Earth will know it’s the sign of the Lord. After that, on a day no one will have known in advance, the Lord will suddenly appear on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30). Imagine if you can the contrast between the totally black sky and the brightness of His glory, especially after an extended period of total darkness. What a sight!
The armies of Heaven will be with Him (Rev. 19:14), as will the Church (Rev. 17:14). He’ll be coming from the Jordanian desert where He will have defeated the enemy forces trying to wipe out the Jewish remnant hidden there. (Isaiah 63: 1-6) As His foot touches the Mt. Of Olives a giant earthquake will open a deep ravine running from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. Living water from the Temple north of Jerusalem will immediately fill the ravine, connecting the two bodies of water. (Zechariah 14:1-9, Ezekiel 47:1-12)
With nothing more than the word of His mouth He’ll destroy the forces arrayed against Him. The anti-Christ and the False Prophet will be captured and thrown into the Lake of fire. He’ll summon a lone angel who will seize the devil, bind him in chains, and cast him into the Abyss for 1000 years. (Rev. 19:11-20:3)
At the end of the day light will finally return to Earth (Zech. 14:6-7) brought by the New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven. (Rev. 21:22-24) To say it’ll be a unique day is one of the greatest understatements of all time.
This will be a judgment of Tribulation survivors. Those who pass will have shown themselves to be believers and will be received unto the Lord and welcomed into the Kingdom Age to help re-populate Earth. Those who fail will be put away, removed from the planet. This is summarized in Matt. 24:40 where the Greek word translated taken means to receive unto oneself, and the one for left means to be put away.
The Lord described this judgment in greater detail in the form of four parables. The first one describes how He’ll deal with the false teachers, those who led people astray during the Great Tribulation. This is the Parable of the Servants (Matt. 24:45-51)
Next we see those who placed no value on His word. They didn’t study it or share it, but in effect buried it in the ground and in the process lost even what little comprehension they originally had. This is the Parable of the Talents. (Matt. 25:14-30)
And finally comes the judgment of people who stood by and watched the Lord’s people be nearly driven to extinction with out lifting a finger to help them. This is the story of the Sheep and Goats. (Matt. 25:31-46)
The next task on the Lord’s agenda will involve cleansing the defiled Temple, making it fit for use again. (I’m convinced that the same Temple used during Daniel’s 70th week will be used in the Millennium. For more detail read my study called “The Coming Temple”.) By the time the Temple is re-dedicated, 1290 days will have passed since the Abomination of Desolation. This is consistent with the view held by some that the 1290 day period from Daniel 12:11 pertains to the duration of the Temple’s desolation, not the Lord’s return.
But there will still be 45 more days before reaching the 1335 days given to Daniel as the duration of time from the Abomination of Desolation to the beginning of blessing, which I see as being the official start of the Millennium. I suggest that this time may be necessary to set up the Kingdom. There’s a lot that needs to be done, like crowning the Prince of Israel and installing his government, organizing the priesthood behind the family of Zadok (Ezek. 44:15-16) and teaching them their new duties, especially concerning the new cycle of sacrifices and Holy Days (Ezek. 44-46), positioning the New Jerusalem in its orbit above Earth (Rev. 21:2-3), reassigning the Tribal land allotments in Israel (Ezek, 45 & 48) and installing the governments of the Nations. If these things unfold as I’ve described them, then 1335 days from the Abomination, the Millennial Kingdom will be officially inaugurated.
Those who have both waited for and actually reached that day will be truly blessed, because they will have been eyewitnesses to the most amazing events in human history, and at its conclusion will have found themselves among the victors, poised to experience the fulfillment of all their dreams. It will be a celebration such as has never before been seen on Earth. If you close your eyes and listen carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.