Why doesn't the day for a year principle apply to every prophecy in the Bible?

Scripture: Numbers 14:34, Ezekiel 4:4-5, Luke 13:31
Why doesn't the day for a year principle apply to every prophecy in the Bible? If the prophecy gives you an interpretation that indicates this, then you know it applies. Also, if you discover the prophecy was fulfilled in a period of years.
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Caller:  I’ve been doing quite a bit of study in prophecy for the last several years and the only sticking point I have is Number 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:4—they don’t exactly say that for prophecy we give you a day for a year.  I do understand like in Ezekiel a lot of it had to do with the Calabean symbolism, God speaks to us in the language of our time.  I’m just wondering how do we come up with that particular principle and why isn’t it applied to every prophecy? 

Pastor Doug:  I believe that you don’t say a day equals a year in every prophecy.  If the prophecy gives you an interpretation where the time is already explained by an angel—let me give you an example.  In Daniel 14 Nebuchadnezzar dreams about a tree and seven times pass over the tree.  Then Daniel says those seven times represent seven years, literal years when you will be crazy, and that’s what happens. So we don’t need to wonder does a day equal a year there the angel makes it clear.  But there are a lot of these other prophecies where a time period is uttered, of days, and after three days nothing happens but three years later something happens.  Let me give you one more example of how you can apply a day for a year. 

You know, Jesus supports that principle.  Luke 13:31.  This is after John the Baptist is arrested.  ‘The same day there came some of the Pharisees saying to Him, Get Thee out, depart, for Herod will kill Thee’.  In other words, he’s arrested John or he killed John, you’d better run for your life, too, you’re next.  Here’s what Jesus said, in verse 32, Go tell that fox, behold I cast out devils and I do cures, today, tomorrow, and the third day I will be perfected.  Most scholars agree John died six months into Jesus’ ministry.  Did Jesus minister three more days or three more years?

Caller:  Three more years.

Pastor Doug:  Here Christ is using that very principle.

Caller:  I see.  So just comparing a lot of the different verses and different ways its used throughout we can come up with what it means, and what it doesn’t mean, as well. 

Pastor Doug:  If you look at the 490 year principle in Daniel 9, he talks about the coming of the Messiah.  Well, Jesus, the Messiah, did not come 490 days later.  You have to apply a day for a year because it was 490 years later. 

Caller:  That’s a big sticking point when I witness, because people say that it doesn’t say that, and I try to show them throughout the Bible and also how exactly it fits throughout history but I guess sometimes people just don’t want to believe. 

Pastor Doug:  You know, Jesus said that spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and the unbelievers will not see but the wise will see.

Caller:  I want to share something that will take just one second.  I was talking about why God allows some things to go on and why certain punishments happen, and I was talking to this guy and in the end when we talked about Satan and Christ, out of his mouth he says “Well, then, all that’s left is free will”. I thought the Holy Spirit couldn’t have said it better Himself.

Pastor Doug:  That’s how we love.  We must have a free will to love.  

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