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The Prophetic Days of Revelation

The ‘forty and two months’, ‘a thousand two hundred and threescore days’, and ‘a time, and times, and half a time’

In the book of Revelation there are three different time periods mentioned that have been debated throughout the centuries. These days are the ‘forty and two months’, ‘a thousand two hundred and threescore days’, and ‘a time, and times, and half a time’. This article will discuss these time periods.

The difficulty in understanding these three time periods is that they can very easily be seen as a synonym. Synonyms are said to be different words (and in some cases phrases) that give identical or very similar meanings. The three time periods can be brought down to a single common denominator as a specific period of time. Scholars can easily achieve this by changing the forty and two months to 1260 days. The logical reasoning for this is that 1260 days is equal to 30 days per biblical month times 42 months. They also equate the time, and times, and half a time to three and one half years or 42 months and then break it down further to 1260 days. It is the matching of these days as synonyms and breaking them down to a common denominator that brings in all of the confusion.

One religious denomination even goes further than just the 1260 days. They misinterpret the days for years and thus reach the conclusion that the 1260 days mentioned are years. They get that from two verses in the bible.

(Num 14:34) After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.

(Ezek 4:6) And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

There is great danger in twisting the scriptures to meet your teachings. It is far better to change your teachings to match the scriptures.

The book of Revelation in all of its simplicity is dealing with the end times. A great part of the book of Revelation is dealing with Israel and the world during the tribulation period. From the book of Daniel we know that seventy weeks were prophesied concerning Israel. Of these seventy weeks, sixty nine weeks have already occurred. The seventieth week is the period of time for most of the book of Revelation. In the seventy weeks of Daniel, we have a week for a year. That has been verified by many scholars when they calculate the number of years to the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation covers this seven year time period in chapters four through chapter nineteen. If we simplify the week to seven days and give a day for a year we get the seven years. The days for a year can be applied in some cases. It just cannot be applied in all cases. The two witnesses are said to be dead in the streets for three and one half days. They would not be in the streets dead for all to see for three and one half years.

(Rev 11:8-9) And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. {9} And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

No matter how you try to twist the scriptures, you cannot change the fact that the tribulation period lasts seven years. You cannot take what is written than change it down to its base denominator as mentioned above and then keep changing the meaning of what was said till it fits your interpretation of scripture. The scriptures are not of any private interpretation.

(2 Pet 1:20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

There is no way to fit 1260 years into a seven year period no matter how spiritual you think you are. The religious system that perverts and distorts the 1260 days of Revelation to mean years instead of days is purely satanic.

Now we need to look at the opposite side of the spectrum. We have just been given an example of a religious system that changes the seven year tribulation period into 1260 years followed by an unknown number of years. The next thing that needs to be discussed is the shortening of the tribulation period. There are many scholars today that teach we are only going to go through three and one half years of tribulation.

There are two camps of thought on this shortening of the tribulation period. Both however reach the same amount left for different reasons. Some actually teach that the first three and a half years of Daniels’s seventieth week deals with the three and one half years the Lord Jesus Christ had his ministry on earth and in the midst of the week he is cut off leaving only three and one half years left. The other is the teaching that three and half years of Daniel’s seventieth week occurred in Acts and completed at the stoning of Stephen in Acts chapter seven.

(Dan 9:24-27) Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. {25} Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. {26} And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. {27} And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Those that teach that the first three and a half years of Daniel’s seventieth week has occurred misinterpret the he in verse 27 above to be the Lord Jesus Christ at the start of his ministry when he mentioned the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. He caused the sacrifices to cease when he was crucified and the curtain of the temple was rent in twain. It is very hard to see how this can be interpreted in this way when verse 25 mentions the Messiah will be cut off after threescore and two weeks. This added to the seven weeks mentioned in verse 25 gives us the crucifixion occurring after 69 weeks of the seventy week system. The Antichrist is the one who confirms a covenant for one week at the start of the tribulation period.

In the second camp we have the following versus for reference.

(Acts 7:55-60) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, {56} And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. {57} Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, {58} And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. {59} And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. {60} And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The scriptures above mention Stephen being stoned. Many scholars teach that this occurred three and a half years after the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have not proof text for this, just their private interpretation of the scripture.

In both camps of the shortened tribulation period, the different days mentioned in Revelation are brought down to the common denominator of 1260 days. In that way they say they are all the same time period. And the time period is only three and one half years long. Then they go even further and mention that when the rapture occurs only three and one half years are left till the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ at Armageddon.

The distorting the time period for the tribulation period to be either 1260 plus years or shortening to only three and one half years is a result of ignoring what God said in the scriptures. The Lord Jesus Christ is the author of scripture. He knows best how to word his book. In the book of Revelation the Lord Jesus Christ uses the three different phrases ‘forty and two months’, ‘a thousand two hundred and threescore days’, and ‘a time, and times, and half a time’. Instead of trying to give a private interpretation for those phrases, why don’t we just trust the Lord Jesus Christ to correctly use those phrases?

The Reason for the different mention of days


Now I am going to give a common example of what three time periods to demonstrate what point I am trying to make. In hockey you have three time periods. And they are called by three different names. The first is called the first period. The second is called the second period. The third is called; you guessed it, the third period. Now you do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. Now if I do to these time periods what the scholars did above you would say that each period is 20 minutes long so they are all 20 minute periods. That would be correct. The problem is when you try to make the 20 minutes into some other period of time. It just will not work. The other problem in making them all the same is how would you know what period a hockey player scored a goal. In the news you would get and Mr. Hockey scored the go ahead goal in the 20 minute time period. It matters that he scored, but in what period did he score? I know this is very simplistic. But it drives my point home. The reason the periods are known by first, second and third is to differentiate from each period from the others.

Now applying this principle to the book of Revelation we would have the Lord Jesus Christ using three different phrases for a specific reason. We need to closely look at when and where each phrase occurs in the book of Revelation. For all of the confusion these phrases have occurred, it seems odd that they occur only in the following five verses.

For the phrase ‘forty and two months’ we have these two verses.

(Rev 11:2) But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

(Rev 13:5) And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

For the ‘a thousand two hundred and threescore days” we have these two verses.

(Rev 11:3) And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

(Rev 12:6) And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

For the ‘a time, and times, and half a time’ we have the following verse.

(Rev 12:14) And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly 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.

And a similar wording being time, times and dividing of times in the following verse.

(Dan 7:25) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

The saints in this case is obviously Israel who flees into the wilderness. This is not the bride going through the tribulation. The saints in Dan 7:25 is tied to the woman of Rev 12:14.

Let us do something unthinkable here. Let us trust the Lord Jesus Christ to have worded his book correctly and that he used the three different phrases for a specific reason. In doing so you would have to trust the Lord Jesus Christ to know what he is talking about more than you. That would be a refreshing change. Scholars trusting what God said and the way he said it.

Sorry for the little sarcasm there, but sometimes you have to hit the mules over the head to get their attention.

Looking at the above verse you see an instant pattern.

The forty and two months are mentioned in connection with the temple and the time the Antichrist continues after his mortal wound was healed.

The 1260 days are connected with the two witnesses and Israel in the wilderness.

The time, times and half a time are dealing with Satan at war with Israel.

(Rev 12:12-17) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. {13} And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. {14} And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly 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. {15} And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. {16} And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. {17} And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

In the verses above Satan knoweth he hath but a short time. The word time connects him to the following verses where he persecutes the woman who flees into the wilderness and the period of time mentioned uses the phrase ' a time, times and half a time.

Now see how easy that was to figure out. Each phase denotes a period of time and who it is connected with. Nothing could be simpler than that. You do not have to do any changing of the verses. You do not have to look for any code. You just take it literally at face value and run with. So let us run with it.

What we know of the temple and the Antichrist.

We know that the Antichrist comes in peaceably. We know that in the middle of the week he causes the sacrifices to cease. We know in the middle of the tribulation period he causes to occur as to what the Lord Jesus Christ referred to as the abomination of desolation.

(Mat 24:15-16) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) {16} Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Mark 13:14) But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

Historians tell us that Antiochus Epiphanes went into the temple and offered up a pig to his god and that is what Jesus was referring to for the abomination of desolation in Daniel. In the tribulation period the Antichrist will desecrate the temple in a similar manner. We know from Zechariah 11 and Revelation 13 that the Antichrist receives a mortal wound and it is healed.

So the 42 months refers to two periods of time. The first period would be in the first half of the tribulation where the peace treaty brought about through the Antichrist allows Israel to rebuild the temple. In the midst of the week, the Antichrist causes the daily sacrifices to cease and desecrates the temple. The Antichrist receives a mortal wound and Satan then enters into him and the Antichrist rises from the dead for the entire world to see. The Antichrist then continues to reign from the temple for forty and two months.

In the case for the 1260 days we know that it is tied to the two witnesses. It is also tied to Israel being fed in a place prepared by God. We also know that Israel does not flee to the mountains till after they see the abomination of desolation take place. God has just told us when the 1260 days occur. It occurs in the last half of the tribulation period. The two witnesses then prophecy to Israel, and protect Israel in the wilderness during this same time frame. That means the two witnesses prophecy during the last half of the tribulation period. By taking and trusting in what God said, you find out that God does tell you when the two witnesses prophecy. You get that by not changing what God said and trusting in the way he said it.

The third and last case to look at is the ‘time, times and half a time’. It is connected with Satan chasing after Israel who is fleeing into the wilderness and makes war with her. Since Israel flees to the wilderness in the middle of the tribulation, we know that Satan chases after her and makes war with Israel in the last half of the tribulation. Satan does not enter into the Antichrist till he is healed from a mortal wound by Satan himself. That lets us know Satan chases and makes war with Israel in the last half of the tribulation after he possesses the Antichrist.

In conclusion, by not changing what God said we learn the following.

The Antichrist comes in peaceably at the beginning of a seven year tribulation period and starts with a seven year peace treaty.

The temple is being rebuilt during the first half of the tribulation period and daily sacrifices are started again. (I know this has to be because you cannot stop something that is not occurring. It would like telling a car parked at the curb to stop. It already is stopped. The only way to stop the daily sacrifices is to have them start up again. Otherwise there would be no daily sacrifices to stop.

In the Midst of the week the Antichrist receives a mortal wound. About that same time either just before or after the mortal wound being healed, the Antichrist sits in the temple and desecrates it and declares that he himself is god. The Antichrist continues after he rises from the dead for forty two months and attacks Israel in the wilderness.

The two witnesses prophecy during the last half of the tribulation period.

Nothing could be simpler when you just trust and believe in what God said.