Question:

No matter how much I search your site, I can't seem to find anything on Daniel 7:25. This verse seems to be widely ignored by everyone except Sabbath-keepers. In fact I can't find any explanation of it except in the meaning of changing worship days or changing systems of time.


Answer:

"Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Daniel 7:23-27).

Daniel's prophesy deals with the early persecution of the church by the Roman Empire (the fourth kingdom). A similar prophecy is found in Revelation 11-17. The horn refers to a king who believes himself above God. He persecutes the church.

  • "When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them" (Revelation 11:7).
  • "Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation" (Revelation 13:6-7).
  • "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14).

It would appear that this king would be successful for a short while. Three and a half years is used repeatedly to represent a short, distressful time of persecution. But eventually he and the empire would be destroyed. "And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:19-20).

In the midst of this persecution, this arrogant king would attempt to change the times and law. Now, let's first take note that this verse does not mention and particular times or a particular law. To claim that this somehow refers to the changing of the day of worship is pure speculation by those who wish to imagine that the early church worshiped on the Sabbath (Saturday). Please note that intentions does not equate to actual accomplishment, regardless to what these times and law refer.

Daniel notes that only God has the power to change times. "And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding" (Daniel 2:21). By this it is meant that God alone has the ability to change eras, dynasties, and the like. Daniel also talked of a king who would take away the worship of God in the Temple:

"And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. ... Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things" (Daniel 11:31, 36-38).

Jesus referred to this prophecy and applied it to the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20). See The Fall of Jerusalem for details.

Given this king's arrogance against God, most likely the law referred to is, "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Matthew 4:10). This matches the context and the disobedience of the king. "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).

However, it isn't critical to the context of the passage to understand exactly what times and law was intended to be changed. What matters is recognizing the extreme arrogance of a man who thought he had more power than God.

For Sabbath keepers the problems faced are:

  • Proving that "times" has to refer to the day of worship by the church.
  • Showing how this king attempted and failed to accomplish the changes.
  • Proving that the early church did worship on the Sabbath
  • Proving that some Roman Emperor changed the day of worship for Christians.

As pointed out in Answering the Sabbath Observance it is well documented both in the New Testament and in secular history that the early church worshiped on the first day of the week. Daniel 7:25 doesn't make the case desired by the Sabbath keepers.