The Day-Year Principle & the Abomination of Desolation:

(As outlined in ‘Dancing with the Scimitar of Islam’ (DSI) by Frank Selch this principle argues for the 2300, 1260 and 1335 ‘days’ of Daniel to be years.)

Many who believe that the ‘day-year’ principle (Historicism) is invalid. Many also think that a book#Kai by Kai Arasola gave this principle the death knell. The following comments by Jon Paulien of Andrews University are however illuminating:

“Extremely well written and carefully nuanced, the book is not a diatribe against historicism, as some have suggested from its title, but is rather a historical documentation of the process by which historicism became sidelined within the scholarly debate on apocalyptic.”

“As Arasola concluded in his seminal work, declarations of the ‘end of historicism’ may prove to have been premature.” (p 171-172)

While they may make many correct statements about where this principle is misapplied or about how, even if true, it has been used to arrive at incorrect conclusions which have been historically validated as such. From my brief study I believe that these critics make some serious errors of logic (i.e. they use a number of logical fallacies), as well as making some errors of biblical interpretation.

I do not profess to have much expertise in this area at all, but I would like to make a few points as to why I am not convinced that this principle does not have some validity.

I believe Frank Selch’s book (DSI) provides a very good introduction to the role of Islam in the end-times and to the evidence of our times matching much in biblical prophecy. Frank Selch also makes a good case regarding the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ or directly translated from Hebrew ‘Transgression or Detestable Thing which makes desolate’ (p30 DSI).

One article that spends considerable effort attempting to refute the ‘day-year’ principle makes a number of interesting points.

Firstly, it makes an interesting aside regarding a Karaite scholar:
“It is interesting to note that  the most ancient usage of the formula may have come from a Karaite scholar  writing in the 8th or 9th century, Benjamin Ben Moses Nahawendi, for whom the 2,300 evening-mornings as well as the 70 weeks of years were to reach  the messianic era in 1,358. “

The Karaite’s are a Judaic sect who reject the oral Torah. That is, they do not add the ‘traditions of men’ to the written Torah and Hebrew Scriptures. While, they do not recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah at this time, they foundationally share much with those who have the faith of Yeshua.

I personally find it of some intellectual comfort then, that one of their scholars should take the ‘day-age’ principle seriously.

Secondly, the following is an extract regarding the famous prophecy of Dan 9:24-27.
Fulfillment of this prophecy (referring to the Dan9:24-27 70- week prophecy being applied to the Messiah) “at the exact time” depends on historical, textual and exegetical choices that have been questioned even by conservative interpreters. Such precision must be demonstrated unequivocally if the messianic interpretation is to be maintained. The dates of the beginning, development and end of the period cannot be established with absolute certainty, whatever be the interpretation adopted. The messianic interpretation of the prophecy is itself invalid if Massoretic  punctuation and syntax which was accepted by major early Christian church fathers, is respected as trustworthy …   (– an ex-SDA and Trinitarian site.)

It seems that the author here (Fernand Fisel, Professor Emeritus Indiana University of Penna.) is questioning that Daniel 9:25 was fulfilled in the arrival of Yeshua. He seems to be a little unfamiliar with the Hebraic method of reckoning here and even with the Judean history clearly detailed in the New Testament that ‘wise men’, both within and out of (East) Israel,  were expecting the Messiah (most likely based partly on this prophecy) . While the use of the 70 weeks here does not imply that every other use of days or weeks in Daniel means years, etc. it would seem at least to allow for this possibility.

Another significant issue is that if the days used by Daniel are meant to be only days then when have they been fulfilled or are the all still future?

For example the 2300 days of Dan 8:14?

13Then I heard a certain set-apart one speaking. And another set-apart one said to that certain one who was speaking, “Till when is the vision, concerning that which is continual, and the transgression that lays waste, to make both the set-apart place and the host to be trampled under foot?” 14And he said to me, “For two thousandthree hundred days, then that which is set apart shall be made right.”

Note: NKJV has for Dan 8:14And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

I have searched for satisfactory explanations which indicate that these 2300 days are only days either leading up to an event or which mark the duration of an event. I can find no explanation which fits my understanding.

Not that there isn’t a satisfactory answer, just that despite some effort, I can not find one. I also note that in Daniel 8 the use of time, times and ½ a time is understood to mean years. It seems reasonable to conclude that if time=year (Dan 12:7) then perhaps days may also sometimes equal years. I agree we must not assume that days always equal years as I do believe that the references to 1260 days in some places does refer to 42 months or 3 ½ years and also in other places (such as in Daniel) may refer to 1260 years.

Look again at Daniel 8:13 and assume that Daniel is prophesying over the full span of history from his time until the end of this present evil age. In this case, it seems clear to me that Daniel is here referring to the Jews or more correctly Judeans, being oppressed by Gentiles as well as their Land or at least, their Holy City and Hill being in some way under the control or oppression of Gentiles.

So when did the nation of Israel first experience oppression by Gentiles, an oppression that was continual, and when did it end, at least to a significant degree?

Surely it began with the arrival of Alexander the Great and Hellenism (see Dan 8:5) around 333 BC (He died around 323 BC) and has effectively continued through the time of Yeshua up to 1948 (and if we are speaking of the Holy City and Holy Hill, it was in a sense up till 1967). As Alexander allowed the Israel a significant degree of freedom, it is difficult, even here, to set a definitive start date. It could be his arrival in 333 BC; his death in 323 BC or more likely the capture of Jerusalem by one of hid generals in 304 BC.

Ignoring the 360 day year issue for a moment we see that 2300 – 333 – 1967 (the year Jerusalem was recaptured by Israel).

Alternatively, allowing for the 360 day years prior to the Julian calendar and instead using the date of the death of Alexander the Great we get: 323 years from 2300 gives 1977. (1977 x 360)/365.25 = 1948. i.e the year the State of Israel was re-established.

From my understanding of Hebraic reckoning we should not try to get too precise with these numbers – suffice it to say that this calculation seems more convincing to me than any others I have studied.

If we look at Dan 8:8-11 (see below) we appear to see a reference to one of the four generals who succeeded Alexander the Great. (Almost all bible scholars attribute this portion of scripture as a prophecy regarding Antiochus IV Epiphanes).

Ptolemy I "Soter" or Ptolemy the Saviour, was one of these generals who controlled Egypt & much of Syria (East and South) as well as much of Israel and particularly Judea. He captured Jerusalem in 304 BC.

 Dan 8: 8And the male goat became very great. But when he was strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four conspicuous ones came up toward the four winds of the heavens. 9And from one of them came a little horn which became exceedingly great toward the south, and toward the east, (Egypt & Syria) and toward the Splendid Land. (Judea, etc)  10 And it became great, up to the host of the heavens. And it caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and trampled them down. 11 It even exalted itself as high as the Prince of the host.(Ptolemy I called himself the Saviour!)

Using the maths above (304 years from 2300 gives 1996. (1996 x 360)/365.25 = 1967).

Thus Jerusalem has been controlled or trampled down by Gentiles for 2300 years until 1967.

Of-course this could be just a co-incidence but given that I can find no better fit and given that the 2300 days surely means something, then this approach appears to have merit?!

Further, note that this prophecy was to be ‘sealed’ until the end of time and until a time when knowledge will increase (Dan 12:4). We do indeed live in a time when knowledge is increasing exponentially. If this understanding is correct, it makes sense that none would arrive at this conclusion much before 1948 (which may help explain how even Isaac Newton missed it).

Regarding the ‘cleansing of the sanctuary’:

Normally the cleansing of the sanctuary took place each year on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). An important part of this ‘cleansing’ was the blowing of the shofar. In 1967, The Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Army blew the shofar and declared the Wailing Wall to be an open-air Synagogue. That was the nearest they could get to "cleansing the Sanctuary" whilst the Dome of the Rock still stands.

If the Dome of the Rock is representative of the Abomination of Desolation, then this might explain why it was not removed at this time, as it still has a part to play in God’s end time events.

Paul Herring Oct 2007


Kai Arasola, The End of Historicism: Millerite Hermeneutic of Time Prophecies in the Old Testament, University of Uppsala Faculty of Theology (Sigtuna: Datem, 1990).

Of the two greatest events in the history of this present age, the Second Coming is, I would argue, of greater importance than the first. Therefore, it seems reasonable to me that some scholars/believers will get the date of the Second Coming correct. Perhaps not to the very day or hour but at least to the year and festival. The ‘wise men’ of Yeshua’s time surely must have known more than that the required conditions (such as the control of the law of the Land being in foreign ownership), but have utilised some way of calculating the approximate date.  If this comparison is valid, then we should expect to find some way to calculate the Second Coming and perhaps retrospectively, the approximate beginning of the 3 ½ year tribulation.