The book of Daniel speaks of the end times of the church, and the Second Coming. Within the book of Daniel there are many prophecies that were fulfilled in the historical sense, including a 490 year prophecy that predicted the year in which Jesus came as the Messiah and was crucified (Dan. 9:24-27). In the latter prophecy it is quite clear that a "day" is used to signify a prophetic year. That a day signifies a year in prophecy is explicitly declared in scripture in Num. 14:34 and Ezek. 4:4-6.
There is another prophecy which speaks of the Second Coming, which will occur after a "time, times and half a time":
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. (Dan. 7:23-27)This prophecy is discussed in detail in The Prophecy of the Four Beasts and Little Horn of Daniel 7. In the literal sense the "fourth beast" refers to the Roman Empire, but in the spiritual sense it refers the final state of the Christian Church that had spread under the rule of the Roman Empire. Most interpreters agree that the "10 horns" in the literal sense refer to Europe, where Christianity had become the established religion. The prophecy of Daniel is speaking of the final end of the Christian church, where no truth remains within it.
That Christianity had become a superficial religion was revealed in visions to Emanuel Swedenborg. On the one hand we have the Catholic Church that used the religion to obtain religious authority and power, and its many traditions conflict with true Christianity. On the other hand you have the Protestant churches who in the positive sense read the Word as a source of authority. But their theology is corrupt as they make faith a matter of belief alone, without regard to how one lives their life. Both follow a trinity of three gods (but deny it in mouth) and believe in vicarious atonement, which is not true. Thus, there is no truth remaining in Christian churches that has not been corrupted by falsehoods. Moreover, they cannot rationally defend it. And this is death in the modern world of the post Enlightenment era.
Now, in the above prophecy of Daniel, it mentions the word "time." Swedenborg will simply say all time periods mentioned in the Bible are different states and will tend to not dwell on the literal sense. But there is an interesting literal meaning to the time period that corresponds to the time when Swedenborg received his heavenly revelations. The word "time" is Aramaic iddan which comes from Akkadian adannu which simply means a "fixed time period." However this can be extended to mean "year," and the same word is used to describe a period of 7 years for the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar (see Dan. 4:13, 4:20, 4:22, 4:29). For the historical evidence regarding the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar see The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar.
It is likely that a time is one year, times is two years, and half a time half a year, the same time period when Elijah did not allow it to rain (see Luke 4:25). This would be 42 months or 1260 days, as these time periods appear in the Apocalypse (Rev. 11:2, 11:3, 12:6, 13:5).
Using a day for a year principle, the prophecy of Daniel thus speaks of a period of 1260 years. This would be the time period when falsehood was dominant within the Christian church. The end was when no truth remained, which in effect was "the end of the world" or more accurately "the end of a world age."
The prophecy of Daniel speaks of a final judgment at the end of the time period, which in the literal sense is 1260 years. The revelations given to Swedenborg reveals that the final judgment takes place in the spiritual world, not the physical world. In his visions Swedenborg was shown that there is heaven, there is hell, and between heaven and hell there is a middle region where souls await judgment. Last judgments are when souls are judged in mass, where the good are separated from the evil. This allows heaven to flow into the minds of men, and a new revelation can be given to establish the church anew.
In one of Swedenborg's most important visions, he saw a last judgment take place in the spiritual world in the year 1757. This is described in detail in his work, The Final Judgment:
That Daniel's prophecy was fulfilled in the last judgment seen by Swedenborg in his visions can be seen in the following prophecy of Daniel:
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Dan. 7:13-14)Swedenborg was shown that the clouds of heaven do not literally refer to clouds, but clouds in the spiritual sense refer to the literal sense of the Word. The "Son of Man" was a title that the Lord chose to refer to Himself as the Divine Truth. The prophecy is thus a revelation of Divine Truth in the literal sense of the Word. It is proof that the Bible is Divinely Inspired. This was revealed in multiple visions which is covered in multiple volumes, especially Heavenly Arcana, otherwise known as Arcana Coelestia or Heavenly Secrets. It is a massive read. These and other works of his are collected in an anthology entitled The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem: Expanded Edition. It is all freely available online, one can search everything at Heavenly Doctrines.
That the Second Coming is a spiritual event, a spiritual revelation from heaven, is shown in the blog post Is the Second Coming a Physical Event or Spiritual Event?
So the obvious conclusion is that the period of 1260 years lasts from 497 A.D. to 1757 A.D. So what happened in 497 A.D.? By that time, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed became firmly established in the west, even declaring in the creed itself that although there are three persons one should not verbally say "three gods" but "one God" even though the religion became one of tritheism in the mind. Since this could not be rationally defended, rational thought is then suspended. Europe then fell into the Dark Ages. With the year 1757 we have the Age of Enlightenment, in which rationality became primary over traditions and rule of authority.
More specifically, the year 497 A.D. fell within the period of time known as the Acacian Schism. To sum up a lot of theological gibberish: the west declared the original Christians of the east heretics because they believed Jesus Christ had one Divine nature. The western Popes declared he had a dual nature of Divine plus human, so that they could stand in his place and declare themselves as the Vicar of Christ. This, in Biblical prophecy, is known as the "abomination of desolation" standing in the "holy place." Don't look for a future Jewish temple, the falsehood and error resides within the traditional theology of Christian churches that many think is the foundation of truth.
So, the 1260 years is from 497 to 1757 A.D. And this leads us to another interesting set of time periods from Daniel in the following prophecy:
And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. (Dan. 12:11-12)Using the day for year principal, we have the following literal fulfillment of the prophecy:
- 1260 years = 497 - 1757 A.D.
- 1290 years = 497 - 1787 A.D.
- 1335 years = 497 - 1832 A.D.
So what happened in 1787 A.D.? The first New Church based on the theology of the revelations given to Swedenborg was established in England.
And what about 1832 A.D.? This was the year that the New-England Anti-Slavery Society was established. Many Swedenborgians became involved in the Abolitionist movement, which resulted in the end of slavery in the United States after a huge Civil War. In the revelations given to Swedenborg, in the future the New Church will grow out of Africa and among the African peoples.
In a spiritual sense, one can make an argument that the three time periods fulfilled in the literal historical sense correspond to the feast days of Passover (liberation of souls from Limbo in the spiritual world), Pentecost (establishment of the Church) and finally the Feast of Tabernacles (when good is finally established - in this case - social activism, applying truth to one's life).
The prophecy is thus fulfilled, the Second Coming is here. Hopefully more will begin to notice and be brought into the light of the new revelation that restores true Christianity.