This is a scriptural commentary submitted by a volunteer or a volunteer translator. It’s not an official view of the 2001 Translation project. We are not a religion and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other. Anyone can submit a commentary (see requirements).
Revelation and Daniel both mention periods of 1,260 days. According to the 360-day Hebrew calendar, these would represent 3-1/2 years or 42 months. They are:
1. Daniel 7:25:
“He will then speak grandiose words
And mislead the Holy Ones of the Most High.
He’ll be allowed to change laws and times
For a time, [two] times, and a half.”
2. Revelation 11:1,2:
“Now, go measure God’s Holy Place, its Altar, and those that are bowing low there. Pay no attention to the courtyard outside the Holy Place … don’t measure it, because it has been given to the nations and they’re going to trample the Holy City under their feet for 42 months.”
3. Revelation 11:3:
“Then I’m going to have my two witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days wearing sackcloth.”
4. Revelation 12:6:
“And the woman escaped into the desert… to a place that God had prepared for her, where she was to be fed for 1,260 days.”
5. Revelation 12:14:
“However, the woman was given the two wings of a huge eagle so she could fly to her place in the desert where she will be fed for a time, times, and half a time, and where the snake couldn’t reach her.”
What does all of this mean? It’s not the place of a translator to offer interpretations. However, in the course of translating these words, we have learned the following:
The fact that 3-1/2 days (or ‘times’) is exactly half of a week may be relevant. It may indicate that there is an initial 3-1/2 days, followed by a second 3-1/2 days to make a complete “week”. This idea has Biblical and historical support.
The ministry of Jesus lasted for precisely 3-1/2 years, followed by 3-1/2 years between his death and the conversion of the first gentiles. Daniel prophesied about this in Daniel chapter 9, where he describes events taking place over a seven-day week which is split into two half-week periods.
The destruction of Jerusalem
Further, several years later, another 3-1/2 year period occurred. In 66 CE, as Jesus had warned, the Roman armies came to attack JeruSalem. But suddenly they mysteriously withdrew, allowing the Christians to flee as per Jesus’ instructions. Then, about 3-1/2 years later in 70 CE, the Romans returned and destroyed the city and the entire Jewish way of worship.
Another 3-1/2 year period may have followed this event, from the destruction of JeruSalem until the final conquest of Masada in 74 CE. This event marked the complete victory of Rome over the Jews. Daniel may have also foretold these events.
What we can learn
So these critical parts of Jewish and Christian history are 3-1/2 year periods. Further, both may be composed of two 3-1/2 year periods which together make a “week”. If so, wherever we can identify a 3-1/2 year period in a prophecy, we might find a second 3-1/2 year period following it.
So, what are the 3-1/2 year periods in Revelation referring to? Well, note that there is strong evidence that John wrote Revelation around 98 CE –almost 30 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. So they could be symbolic references to those past events, intending to convey something by reminding readers of what happened. Or they could be foretelling further actual 3-1/2 year periods after 98 CE.