David C. Pack and the 3 ½ years
In the prophecy of Zechariah 14, Jerusalem is described as under siege; all nations come against it. In prophecy, after Jesus ascended to heaven, Jerusalem is the heavenly city, the church. Isaiah said Jerusalem, and the mountain of the Lord’s house, would be established “in the tops of the mountains,” and “exulted above the hills,” and the New Testament shows Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled.
Paul said that the church’s enemies are of a spiritual nature; he said, “we wrestle against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12] Many Christians have become captive to flawed interpretations, that they learned from others. Beliefs and theories about prophecy are spiritual, and embracing flawed beliefs is analogous to being infected with a disease or plague, such as the one described in Zechariah 14:12, which destroys the flesh, the eyes, and the tongue of those who fight at Jerusalem.
Christians who are influenced by false doctrines tend to follow the teachings of a particular individual. This was true in the case of David C. Pack, who was one of the ministers in Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God. After Armstrong’s death, Pack was associated with Roderick C. Meredith’s Global Church of God, one of several splinter organizations. In May 1999 Pack founded the Restored Church of God, located in Wadsworth, Ohio. Pack inherited the beliefs of Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God upon many subjects, including their peculiar interpretations of the time periods in the prophecies of Daniel 12:11-12, the 1,290 days, and the 1,335 days, and the 1,260 days of Revelation 11:3 and 12:6.
Naturally, the spiritual plague that characterized the Worldwide Church of God continued to affect most of its splinter organizations. Those groups are examples of the plague that Zechariah’s prophecy described. Those who are involved in them are spiritually blind in certain ways; their spiritual understanding is impaired, because their teachings are flawed, and the spiritual health of those groups is impaired. How could it be otherwise?
Pack claims his Restored Church of God is “the only true extension of Mr. Armstrong’s ministry–the Church in which Christ is now working” and he apparently considers himself an apostle. Pack and those who follow him are victims of a spiritual plague such as Zechariah’s prophecy describes.
Such things have occurred numerous times in the history of the church. The experience of the Anabaptists involved in the rebellion at Münster, Germany in 1534–1535, and the Muggletonians of London, England in about 1651 are related examples.
Like the Anabaptists and the Muggletonians, Pack’s organization interprets the 1,260 days of Revelation 12 and Daniel’s 1,290 and 1,335 days as periods consisting of so many literal days. Each of the groups mentioned above interpreted those time periods as literal days, supposing they applied to their own time. The Branch Davidian sect at Waco, Texas was another example.
Pack explained his views on Daniel’s time periods in an article about a former colleague and fellow minister in the Worldwide Church of God, Ronald Weinland. The article title is: “Ron Weinland—Spectacularly Wrong!” In it, Pack wrote on the 1,260 days:
Luke 21:35-36 describes how God’s people “escape” the “snare” that comes on “all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Revelation 3:10 describes how God will “keep” His faithful remnant from “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 12:14 describes the Church (those who are faithful) as “flying into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times and half a time from the face of the serpent.” This three and a half years is the same “42 months” referenced a few verses earlier in Revelation 11:2. This speaks of “the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two months.” Three and a half years and 42 months equal 1,260 days. So then, with the Church to be protected for only 1,260 days, there are 30 days before it arrives at its designated place of protection.
Influenced by the views of Herbert W. Armstrong, Pack considers the 1,260 days to be a time when the church—that is—his church, the Restored Church of God, flees to a place in the wilderness where the people are to be protected from harm while the rest of the world suffers tribulation. He compared his interpretation with Weinland’s view. Weinland has claimed to be one of the two witnesses, which implies that the 1,260 days of Revelation 11:3 has already begun. On his website, (under the sections: FAQ – Topics – Timeline Questions Answered), Weinland wrote:
1260 Days: The blowing of the First Trumpet occurred on the 14th of December, 2008. That day was the beginning of the final 3 1/2 years that will eventually escalate into WW III and end at the return of Jesus Christ on Pentecost of 2012. From the start of this final 1260 days, the process began that will lead to the complete collapse of the USA and the other Israelite countries. The Second, Third, and Fourth Trumpet will occur in God’s timing, and the combination of these first four trumpets will bring about that complete collapse. God will reveal more about these events, in His time, to His two end-time prophets (and two end-time witnesses) whose job began at the start of this final 1260 days.
Pack thinks Weinland is mistaken, and that the conditions for the 1,260 days to begin have not yet appeared. He wrote, “It is critical to realize that certain biblically described pre-conditions, which must precede the Tribulation—however close these now are—are themselves not yet here.”
Pack wrote about the 1,290 days:
The “1,290 days” appears in Daniel 12:11: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” These are obviously also literal days, beginning with the setting up of the abomination of desolation. This abomination involves the Jews’ sacrifices being stopped, a religious figure in the holy place and, the most obvious aspect of it, the city of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20).
Evidently, Pack is waiting for Jews to build another temple where sacrifices will be resumed, and then halted, and at the same time, armies of all nations will lay siege to Jerusalem. On the other hand, Weinland claims the 1,290 days began on November 14, 2008. He wrote:
1290 Days: The Seventh Seal was opened on the 14th of November, 2008, which signified an end to the abomination of desolation that has been working in God’s Church. This marks the beginning of an awakening for spiritual Israel – the final remnant of the Church of God that was scattered (those baptized before December 1994 – approximately 3000), and will continue right up until the return of Jesus Christ. 30 days later we arrived at 1260 days.
Pack wrote about the 1,335 days:
The 1,335-day period is introduced one verse later in Daniel: “Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” (vs. 12). Starting 45 days before the 1,290-day “mile-marker,” the 1,335 date also counts down to the Return of Christ. This moment signals the end of God’s Work of preaching the true gospel and warning the world’s greatest nations. The 1,335 is when God’s people are “taken” to—gathered in—Judea for flight to safety. Then, when the abomination is set up—45 days later—events culminate in Jerusalem and the Church flees from Judea. The 45-day period permits the Church time to be brought from around the world to what we will see to be Judea. (In a longer scriptural exercise, beyond the natural bounds of this article, the 45-day period can be fully proven.)Since Daniel prefixes the event beginning the 1,335 days with “blessed is he that waits,” this is designated as the signal, with a possible accompanying event—at this specific time—for which the Church has patiently waited. Review and understand these scriptures: Matthew 24:13; 10:22; Luke 21:19; Revelation 3:10 and 14:12.The arrival of the critical 1,335 days moment is something that will only be known to those in God’s one, undivided Church. An internal signal will be given by the Church’s Head, Jesus Christ (Col. 1:18-19; Eph. 1:22-23). Of course, no man could be the source of such a signal. Real faith will be required. Carefully prepared beforehand, God’s people will plainly understand when Christ is “revealed” (Luke 17:30).
Presumably, Pack believes that the person who gets to say when it is time for the church to flee will be none other than himself. The traditional view of the Worldwide Church of God was that church members would all live together at Petra, in Jordan, for three and a half years, until the return of Christ and the beginning of the Millennium. [See Herbert W. Armstrong’s Personal column in the Jan. 1980 Good News.]
Weinland wrote of the 1,335 days:
1335 Days: The sealing of the 144,000 that will make up the Government of God at Christ’s return in 2012 took place on September 30th, 2008, and 45 days later we arrived at 1290 days.
The basic difference between Pack’s view and Weinland’s position is that Weinland believes that Daniel’s time periods have already begun, while Pack thinks they are yet future.
For Pack, the notion that he will get to decide who is to escape to a place of safety, and who will be “left behind” is wonderfully empowering.
The reality is that the numbers provided by Daniel represent the symbolic time, times and a half, which is half of seven times. The word “time” means neither literal days, nor months, nor years; it is indeterminate, as it may take various units. Where the angel said “days” in Daniel 12:11 and 12, it does not mean literal days. The apostle Peter said, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” [2 Peter 3:8] This principle implies that to take the numbers in Daniel 12:11-12 as referring to literal days is unsound.
Both the numbers Daniel provided fit the pattern of a time, two times and a half, where months are taken to be 30 days, and the units of one of the “times” differ from the rest. The 1,290 days is one year of 13 months, plus two and a half years of 12 months, but no literal three years and a half equals this number of days. The 1,335 days is one year of 12 months, plus two and a half years of 13 months, but no literal three years and a half equals this number of days.
Real lunar months are a little less than 30 days, so these numbers signify an unreal, or figurative three and a half years. They represent the last half of the 70th week of Daniel 9:24-27, the week in which Christ confirms his covenant with many. This refers to the gospel, which Christ confirms with his saints to this day. Destroying the delusions that have taken Christians captive is part of his promise to the church.
The 1,335 days represent the entirety of the time, times and a half, the whole period for which Christ is waiting until his enemies are put under his feet, and his bride has made herself ready.
The 1,290 days represent the period remaining after the abomination of desolation is set up, and sacrifices cease. That happened in the first century, as John reported that there were already “many antichrists.”
The 1,260 days represent the remaining time when the two witnesses minister, and I suggest these are the Spirit, and the Word of God, which have remained with the church since the apostolic era. The writing of the Apocalypse completed the New Testament, so the 1,260 days began when the Apocalypse was written. The 1,290 days, then, is intermediate between the 1,335 days and the 1,260 days. Each of these periods began in the first century and extends to the end of the present age.