The great army of Joel 2
In Joel’s prophecy, God’s people are described under the figure of a plague of locusts. [vs. 25] The locust metaphor alludes to the Israelites in the wilderness. After the Exodus, Moses commissioned representatives from each tribe to survey the land that Israel was to inherit. When they returned after 40 days some of the spies gave an evil report, describing the people dwelling in the land as giants, and themselves as grasshoppers. People who have not entered the saints’ promised land are represented in Joel’s prophecy by locusts.
In Daniel 12:7, a swearing angel standing upon the waters of a river declared that the period represented by ‘a time, times and a half,’ in which all Daniel’s prophecies would be fulfilled, will continue to the end of the age, when the resurrection described in Dan. 12:1 occurs. “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” [Dan. 12:7] The “holy people” in the prophecy are the saints, as we can see in chapter 7, and in Dan. 12:1. They are those whose names are in the book of life.
A great amount of misinformation has been generated about the prophetic “time, times and a half” of Daniel 7:25, and 12:7.
Austin Farrer referred to the “astonishing elaboration of imagery” that John employed in the prophecy of the second woe. Metaphors overlie other metaphors like layers of clothing. In his book A Rebirth of Images: The Making of St. John’s Apocalypse [SUNY Press, 1949. pp. 235-236.] Farrer wrote:
The prophetic time periods of 1,290 days, and 1,335 days, are mentioned in Dan. 12:11-12. The 1,260 days is found in Rev. 11:3 and 12:6. Each of these three periods is distinct, because each represents either the church age, or a portion of it. This is a diminishing period. The “time, times and a half” is symbolic, and the numbers associated with it are also symbolic. They are “models” having a character similar to other prophetic symbols. For example, the church is represented by a temple, or a candlestick; Christ is represented by the passover lamb, etc. Likewise, the duration of the church age is represented by three and a half symbolic years, that together with the ministry of Jesus, make a prophetic “week,” in which Christ confirms his covenant with his saints. [Dan. 9:27]
In Revelation 11:1, John is told to measure the temple of God, which in the gospel era, is the church. In verse 2 he is told to omit the outer court, which is given to Gentiles, who trample the holy city for 42 months.
The prophecy of Daniel 7 describes the saints as given into the hand of a little horn, which arises among the ten horns of the fourth beast, representing the Roman Empire. The “time, times and a half” in Daniel 7:25 is the duration of the period of warfare between the saints and the little horn.
David, Isaiah, Daniel, and other prophets asked God, “how long?” They looked for a time when God will no longer hide, [Psalm 13:1; 89:46] when the adversary would no longer reproach the saints, [Psalm 74:10], when God would turn away his anger, [Psalm 79:5] when the wicked would not triumph, [Psalm 94:3-4] when the land would no longer mourn, [Jeremiah 12:4] when the time periods of prophecy would be fulfilled, [Daniel 12:6] when God would save his people, [Habakkuk 1:2] and avenge the blood of the martyrs. [Revelation 6:10]