20 July 2021

Forty-Two Months

The “forty-two months” and “1,260-days” both refer to the same prophetic period when the saints are persecuted

Calendar - Photo by Eliza Diamond on Unsplash
Revelation
 refers to the period during which the saints will endure persecution, which is presented in three different but equivalent forms – “forty-two months,” “1,260-days,” and the “season, seasons, and half a season.” These variations do not point to three separate periods. Instead, they connect several visions that stress specific points about the persecution - [Photo by Eliza Diamond on Unsplash].

In chapter 12, the source of the formula is clear. The “woman clothed with the sun” was nourished in the “wilderness” for a “season, seasons, and half a season from the face of the serpent.” This alludes to the “little horn” from Daniel that “wore out the saints of the Most-High” who were “given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.” In Revelation, this period is also enumerated as “1,260-days,” confirming that the two figures refer to the SAME period - (Daniel 7:21-25, Revelation 12:6, 12:14-17).

Chapter 12 concluded with the enraged “Dragon” waging war with the rest of the “woman’s seed…they who have the testimony of Jesus,” which is another allusion to the passage from Daniel when the “little horn waged war against the saints.”

The “1,260-days” is mentioned first in the vision of the “two witnesses.” They were to “prophesy” for the “1,260-days” while “clothed in sackcloth.” When they completed their “testimony,” the “beast” ascended from the “Abyss to make war with them…and to kill them,” alluding again to the same passage from Daniel - (Revelation 11:3-7).

The “1,260-days” connects the “two witnesses” to the “woman” kept in the “wilderness” safe from the “Dragon.” Likewise, the “two witnesses” were protected from “harm” until the completion of their “testimony.” They were identified as the “two lampstands,” and elsewhere, “lampstands” represent churches - (Revelation 1:20).

When John was commanded to “measure” the sanctuary, the altar, and the company serving in it. The “holy city” was handed over to the nations and “trampled underfoot for forty-two months,” and forty-two months is the equivalent of 1,260 days.

The clause “trampled underfoot” alludes to the “little horn” of the “fourth beast” in Daniel that “trampled and broke in pieces,” and challenged the “host of heaven and the stars, and cast them down to the ground, and trampled upon them.” The literary links to Daniel demonstrate that the “forty-months” and the “1,260-days” refer to the same period, a time when the saints endure persecution – (Daniel 7:21-25, 8:9-14).

What was “handed over to the nations” and “trampled” was the “holy city” that contained the “sanctuary,” the “altar,” and the priests that were “rendering divine service” in the “sanctuary.” This was not Ancient Jerusalem since it is called “holy,” whereas, the old city is described as “spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified,” and the very place where the “two witnesses” are slain – (Revelation 1:4-6, 5:9-11, 11:8).

Hourglass Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash
Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

The “
forty-two months” is mentioned again when John sees the “beast” ascending from the sea, which is the equivalent of its “ascent from the Abyss.” Just as the “Beast from the Abyss” waged “war” against the “two witnesses…and overcame them,” so the “beast from the sea” wages “war on the saints and overcomes them.” And just as the “holy city” and its “sanctuary” were handed over to be “trampled underfoot,” so the “beast from the sea” attacked the “tabernacle, those who are tabernacling in heaven.”
The same “war against the saints” is in view in each passage, though seen from different aspects. Likewise, whether delimited as “forty-two months,” “1,260-days,” or the “season, seasons, half a season,” the same prophetic period is in view.

The citation of the “season, seasons, half a season” makes the connection to the passage in Daniel clear. The two different formulas - “forty-two months” and “1,260-days” - are not for stylistic purposes. While they do refer to the same period, the “forty-two months” links the visions of the “measured sanctuary” and the “beast from the sea” more closely, and likewise, the “1,260-days” with the visions of the “two witnesses” and the “woman” preserved from harm for “1,260-days.”

Whether the figure is literal or symbolic, it evokes the story of the “little horn” and its persecution of the “saints” for a “time, times, and half a time.” A specific but limited period is in view. However long it lasts, it will come to an end. In each case, however it is delimited, it is the time when the saints are persecuted severely, especially by the “beast.” Each vision emphasizes specific aspects of this final assault by the “Dragon” and his vassals.