The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: 1-9

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3 1/2 years

  1. Daniel and Revelation not only share the characteristic of having specific time periods mentioned: they have identical time periods. Rev 12:14 seems to equates "a time, and times and half a time" with "one thousand two hundred and sixty days" (Rev 12:6). Assuming that "a time" = one year, and "times" = two years, the equation is 3 1/2 years = 1,260 days. This just happens to equal 42 30-day months. Since the period of 42 months appears to be equated with 1,260 days in Rev 11:2,3, the assumption is validated.
  2. When the same or similar activity occurs in both books, it is reasonable to believe that the same event is being described. Thus the little horn's war on the saints for 3 1/2 years (Dan 7:25) = the beast's war on the saint for 42 months (Rev 13:5). Indirectly, this equates 42 months with 3 1/2 years, and further confirms the argument in point #1 above: 42 months = 3 1/2 years = 1,260 days.
  3. Most interestingly, the three years and six months when there was an Elijah-implored drought upon Israel (Jam 5:17; Luk 4:25) corresponds exactly with the time period of the Elijah-like witnesses in Rev 11:3-6. This strongly suggests that the literality of 3 1/2 years can be used when estimating the actual duration being prophesied.
  4. Significantly, Daniel's "seventy weeks prophecy" has a final "week" divided into two (Dan 9:27), the first half of which surely corresponds to the 3 1/2-year ministry of Jesus at his first coming. (The Hebrew for "weeks" here is not necessarily restricted to "weeks" of 7 literal days; rather, it simply means "sevens"!) The second half-"week" readily aligns with the other 3 1/2-year periods in Daniel and Revelation, which demonstrably end with the return of Christ (cp Dan 7:21-27; Rev 11:2,3,15-18). Since a literal 3 1/2 years was used in the first half of the "week", it would be consistent to deduce a literal 3 1/2 years in the second half.
  5. Although not explicitly mentioned in Daniel, the 1,260 days is inherent in the 1,290 days and 1,335 days of Dan 12:11,12 and is effectively referred to by the 3 1/2 times of Dan 12:7. The 1,290 = 1,260 plus 30, where the extra 30 days probably reflects the "intercalary" month the Jews inserted in their calendar (a sort of "leap-month" added 7 out of every 19 years, or approximately once every three years) in order to keep the planting of crops in line with the actual seasons.
  6. Rev 11:2 says, "...and they [the nations] shall trample over the holy city for forty-two months." Dan 8:13 asks, "For how long is the vision concerning... the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled under foot?" So when Jesus is predicting the overthrow of Jerusalem, it is not surprising to see him using the same terminology: "They [the Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luk 21:24).
  7. In the Olivet prophecy, Jesus was predicting a first-century fulfillment. In Rev, Jesus reinforced that prediction, for he spoke about "what must soon take place", and he said that "the time is near" (Rev 1:1,3; 22:6). But Jesus also said: "Behold, I am coming soon" (Rev 22:7,12,20). Since his personal return to earth is still future, these words of Rev are describing a Last Days scenario. So one fulfillment of these prophecies is past, and we can read about it in the history books. The next fulfillment is upon us, and we can read about it in our Bibles.
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