Numbers are important in the Bible.

3 is the number of the Trinity

4 is the number of Creation

6 symbolizes man

7 is the number of completeness

666 is the number and mark of the beast

Then there are the references to 1260 days or 3 ½ years or 42 months or a time, times, and half a time. What in the world do those mean? Unlike Eeyore, the gloomy friend of Winnie the Pooh, who said, “Days, weeks, months. Who knows?”, we can know exactly what is being referenced if we take the time to study. If you calculate them out, they are all referring to the same amount of time. Today in our study of Revelation 11, we will be all about numbers, so let’s get started.


Tribulation Times



Prepare for a whirlwind tour of Scripture, y’all, because I want us to look at each passage where these number references are used and see what we can learn. It will make for a long post, but I am going to give you each Scripture, rather than sending you off to look each one up. Each of these verses are an entire teaching by themselves, so I do invite and encourage you to go to the passage and read the surrounding verses to gain context. We will start in the Old Testament.

Daniel 7:25

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.


Daniel 9:27

This verse does not specifically use the above references, but rather a general reference to the same amount of time

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is pour out on the desolator.


Daniel 12:7

And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.


Revelation 11:2-3

…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. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.


Revelation 12:6

…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 12:14

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 13:5

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


There is an agreement among biblical scholars that the time period being referred to by each of these descriptors falls into what we would call the ‘tribulation’ period. In addition, most scholars agree that the people being referred to in these passages (saints of the Most High, the many, the woman, the holy people) are the Jewish people.

Let me elaborate for a moment on one verse in this grouping that I believe will help you with a better understanding. In Daniel 9:27 we hear the prophet proclaim this:

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is pour out on the desolator.

If you look at this verse in context (remember, context is king) you discover that it falls within a larger discussion of the 70th week of Daniel. For more on the 70th week, please see THIS POST from earlier in our study.

In a nutshell, Daniel’s 70th week refers to the seven years of tribulation just before the return of Christ. The passage tells us that at the beginning of the seven years, antichrist will enter into a covenant with Israel…a covenant that favors Israel, restoring sacrifices and offering for them (which means there must be a temple in which to offer sacrifices at that time). But, and this is a HUGE but, in the middle of the seven-year covenant, antichrist will break the covenant with Israel and turn on them. There will be unprecedented persecution of Israel in that day. This time of persecution is what is being referred to in most of the verses we examined today.

What we do not know for certain is whether the testimony of the two witnesses in Revelation 11 runs simultaneously with this persecution. It could, but it also could span a different portion of the seven years. That is something we will likely have to wait until it happens to find out.

After a decent amount of study, I believe (you may believe differently, and that is okay) that the 42 months/1260 days/time, times, and half a time/3 ½ years of intense persecution of Israel begins with the sounding of the 7th trumpet. I also believe that this time of persecution, what Matthew 24:21, Revelation 2:22 and Revelation 7:14 calls ‘the great tribulation”, takes place in the last half of what we call the tribulation period. Then, there is this little matter of the rapture which we will discuss in much more detail beginning May 8th.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we have studied today. Share in the comments.


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