What Are the 1,260 Days, 42 Months, and Time, Times, and Half a Time of Revelation?

TODAY’S READING: REVELATION 12-14

“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11.3)

“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.” (Revelation 12.6)

“But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” (Revelation 11.2)

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.” (Revelation 11.5)

“But the woman was given two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.” (Revelation 12.14)

In Revelation, there are three symbolic time periods – 1,260 days, 42 months, and time, and times, and half a time.

What are these times?

First, we need to understand that each of these time periods is three-and-a-half years.

Second, we need to understand that Jesus’ ministry lasted three-and-a-half years.

Instead of looking to these times as specific times in history, I believe we are simply to see the times in Revelation as a mirror image of Jesus’ ministry.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3.1)

Jesus is the son of God. But, God has loved us in such a way that we should be called children of God.

Therefore, when Jesus was resurrected, he said to Mary Magdalene, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to m Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

Jesus call the disciples his brothers. And, Jesus says that his Father is their Father.

Therefore, 1 John 4.16-17 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.”

If we know and believe that God loves us, then we are sons of God. Just as Jesus is, so are we in this world.

So, what is the correlation between these times in Revelation and the ministry of Jesus?

 

Speaking of Jesus, John 1.18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

John 3.31-34 says, “He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no on receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.”

In John 8.18, Jesus said, “I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

Jesus said, “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12.49-50)

Jesus came as a prophet. He came to witness to the Father. He came to reveal who the Father is and what he is saying. And, he remained faithful to his prophetic ministry for three-and-a-half years until he was crucified.

“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11.3)

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that the two witnesses were the faithful, suffering churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia. These two churches represent the saints who have hear the call for endurance and faith (Revelation 13.10 and 14.12). Of these saints, it could be said that “they have conquered him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”

This then is the prophetic ministry of the two witnesses. They prophesy about the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. These saints held to the testimony of Jesus. “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19.10)

Just as Jesus prophesied of and witnessed to the Father for three-and-a-half years, so the faithful, suffering saints prophesy of and witness to Jesus for 1,260 days, a symbolic three-and-a-half years.

Jesus’ ministry started in the wilderness. This is clearly stated in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But, if we understand what John is doing in his gospel, then it is evident that Jesus started his ministry in the wilderness there too.

For John’s gospel starts, “In the beginning…” John is saying that his gospel is one of the new creation. Creation takes places from something that is “without form and void.” (Genesis 1.2)

But, this was exactly the state of Israel that Jesus was born into. Speaking of Judah, Jeremiah prophesied, “I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void.” (Jeremiah 4.23)

Revelation 12.6 says, “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.”

The woman that gave birth to a male child fled to the wilderness for 1,260 days, which is the same time period that the two witnesses prophesy. This woman can be thought of as the true people of God that brought forth Jesus. If understood this way, then the woman would be equivalent to the two witnesses. Therefore, the prophetic ministry of the two witnesses would take place in the metaphorical wilderness, the place that is without form and void.

So, for three-and-a-half years “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.” (2 Corinthians 5.19)

But, “all this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5.18) for 1,260 days, a symbolic three-and-a-half years.

This ministry of reconciliation was the prophetic witness of both Jesus and his two witnesses, the woman.

The whole point of Jesus coming to the wilderness of this earth and his ministry of reconciliation was to create a new heavens and a new earth. And, his disciples, his witnesses, the woman, have been called to participate in that. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5.17)

Jesus was persecuted for the entire three-and-a-half years of his ministry. A casual read through the gospels makes this very clear.

“But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” (Revelation 11.2)

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that, those who dwell in heaven.” (Revelation 13.5-6)

The suffering saints, the two witnesses, the woman, Jesus’ disciples, dwell in the holy city. They are the dwelling place of God. So, in the two passages above, we see that they are trampled upon, spoken against, and have authority exercised over them by the nations and the beast for forty-two months, a symbolic three-and-a-half years.

In other words, they are persecuted in the same way that Jesus was. In John 15.20-21, Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”

Revelations 12.14 says, “But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.” (Revelation 12.14)

Here we have another time associated with the woman, the true people of God. This time is against three-and-a-half – one time, two times, and a half time. But, we are given no unit of time. It’s simply three-and-a-half.

I believe that we should understand this that prophetic ministry of reconciliation for new creation of the two witnesses, the woman, is for an indefinite period of time, but it is meant to mirror the three-and-a-half year ministry of Jesus. Therefore, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:35-36)

So, the 1,260 days, 42 months, and time, and times, and half a time are all the same period of time. They are all happening simultaneously. They all started at the crucifixion and have continued until today. They will continue until Jesus returns. And, they are all meant to mirror the life of Jesus. For as he was in the world so are we.

But, there’s just one more question for consideration.

Why is the time for the two witnesses and the woman given in days while in regards to the nations and the beast the exact same time period is given in months?

The time is in days for the two witnesses and the woman because the day is a time of light.

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1.5-7)

John 8.12 says, “I am the light of the world, Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 11.9 says, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.”

John 12.35 says, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light.”

The Jews had a lunar calendar. This meant that the months were determined by the movement of the moon. The moon was the lesser light that governed the night, darkness. So, the time is given in months for the nations and the beast because they are walking in darkness.

John 11.10 says, “But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

John 12.35 says, “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.”

Let us walk in the light.

Let us be witnesses to the light.

Let us be “not fear what we are about to suffer.” (Revelation 2.10)

Let us “be faithful unto death.” (Revelation 2.10)

Let Jesus say of us, “You have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3.8)

Let Jesus say of us, “You have kept my word about patient endurance.” (Revelation 3.10)

Let is be said of us, “They have conquered him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12.11)

3 Replies to “What Are the 1,260 Days, 42 Months, and Time, Times, and Half a Time of Revelation?”

  1. Greetings! Before I started reading you, I began to think that God does not care about our flesh. Your recent posts about how God does nothing negative, brutal, etc. and now your interpretation of Revelation reinforce that belief.

    Satan causes all of the terror of “the end”, after all, he is blood lust at its best. In his frustration of not being able to overcome the love and Spirit of God, he destroys all life. The spirit of the Lord that is in all of us, survives to walk in the Light, in Eternity!

    One observation / question – why when referring to Scripture, is it not referred to in numerical order? Example this blog – Revelation 11.3, 12.6, 11.2, 11.5, 12.14

    As always,
    Blaine Keller

    1. I took them out of order so that I could comment on the two passages that mention 1,260 days together and the two passages that mention 42 months together. I wanted to show that both references to 1,260 days were to the church, God’s people, while both references to 42 months were to the nations and beast, or not God’s people.

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