Home > Book of Revelation, Daniel's 70 Weeks, Dispensationalism, Preterism, The 3 ½ years > The 1,260 days and the ever-widening gap

The 1,260 days and the ever-widening gap

June 6, 2011

A continuously swelling, portentous gap has developed in the time periods of biblical prophecy. It is thought that there is a gap in the 70 weeks, between the 69th and 70th week. The popular theory of dispensationalism assumes that the gap spans the present age of the church, which has been called a parenthesis by some.

However, the idea of a gap is not unique to dispensationalism. Long before the time of John N. Darby, a gap in prophecy was invoked by interpreters in the Historicist tradition. As centuries passed its dimensions increased. The gap applied to the period following the ministry of Jesus, and extended to the start of the 1,260 days, that were usually understood as years.

The size of the gap grew over time because prophecies about the little horn of Daniel 7 seemed to apply to the church, and the little horn of that chapter was identified by Protestants with the papacy. But there was little agreement on what event in the church’s history might have begun the 1,260 days, whether taken as 1,260 years, or as 3 ½ years. Preterist interpretations also invoked a gap, that was usually confined to the apostolic age. In the table below, some authors who attached dates to their proposed interpretations of the 1,260 days are listed on the basis of gap size. This gap is the span of time from the crucifixion, here taken to be 30 AD, to the start date proposed for the prophetic 1260 days. In dispensationalism, that date also begins the 70th week. Note that some authors proposed multiple alternative pairs of dates for the 1,260 days, and a few claimed they might be calculated by using other than natural years.

Author Gap Proposed Dates
James Stuart Russell (1816-1895)
Robert Young (1822-1888)
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. (1950- )
37 years 67-70
Henry Hammond (1605-1660) 102 132-136
Walter Brute c. 1391 105 135-1395
B. H. Carroll (1843-1914) 220 250-1510
John Napier (1550-1617) 270 300-1560
Thomas Brightman (1562-1607) 274 304-1546
James Brocard (b. 1563) 283 313-1573
John Napier (1550-1617) 286 316-1576
Michael Servetus (1509-1553) 295 325-1585
Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588-1638) 332 362-1622
Thomas Parker (1595-1677) 360 c: 390-1649
Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680) 376 406-1666
David Chytraeus (1530-1600) 382 412-1672
Hanserd Knollys (1599-1691)
David Robertson (1786-1846)
398 428-1688
Pierre Du Moulin (1568-1658) 399 429-1689
William Whiston (1667-1752) 425 455-1715
Joseph Mede (1586-1638)
William Whiston (1667-1752)
446 476-1736
James Hartley Frere (1779-1866) 502 532-1792
Bishop Thomas Newton (1704-1782)
Matthew Habershon (1789-1852)
Edward Irving (1792-1834)
Albert Barnes (1798-1870)
Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910)
503 533-1793
Michael Paget Baxter (1834-1910) 507 537-1797
David Simpson (1745-1799)
William Miller (1782-1849)
Uriah Smith (1832-1903)
508 538-1798
Robert Fleming (c. 1660-1716) 522 552-1794
Roderick C. Meredith (1930- ) 524 554-1814
Matthew Habershon (1789-1852) 553 583-1843
George Stanley Faber (1773-1854) 574 604-1864
Drue Cressener (1642-1718)
Robert Fleming (c. 1660-1716)
576 606-1848
Thomas Parker (1595-1677) 576 c: 600-1859
David Pareus (1548-1622)
William Whiston (1667-1752)
John Gill (1697-1771)
Bishop Thomas Newton (1704-1782)
Joseph Galloway (1731-1803)
David Simpson (1745-1799)
George Stanley Faber (1773-1854)
Edward Bishop Elliott (1793-1875)
Albert Barnes (1798-1870)
Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910)
576 606-1866
David Simpson (1745-1799) 636 666-1926
Bishop Thomas Newton (1704-1782) 697 727-1987
Albert Barnes (1798-1870) 722 752-2012
Bryce Johnston (1747-1805) 726 756-1999
Moses Lowman (1679-1752)
David Simpson (1745-1799)
726 756-2016
Robert Fleming (c. 1660-1716) 728 758-2000
Isaac Newton (1642-1727) 770 800-2060
Johan Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752) 834 864-1521
1028 1058-1836
Albert Barnes (1798-1870) 1043 1073-2333
Hans Hut (c. 1490-1527) 1495 1525-1528
Melchior Hoffman (1495-1544) 1496 1526-1530
Lodowicke Muggleton (1609-1698) 1622 1652-1658
Michael Paget Baxter (1834-1910) 1837 1867-1871
Joseph Franklin “Judge” Rutherford (1856-1942) 1884 1914-1918

This table illustrates how the idea of a gap was developed over the centuries by Historicists. The concept subsequently became part of dispensationalism, and although its duration is usually not specified, theories of dispensationalism say that it now spans at least 1980 years, and is still growing!

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