The Forty-Two Months

The period when the saints endure persecution 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 link several visions that describe specific aspects of the persecution that takes place during this period.

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.”


The passage in chapter 12 alludes to the “little horn” in Daniel that “wore out the saints of the Most-High” for “a time and times and half a time.” And in Revelation, the same period is also enumerated as “1,260 days,” which confirms the two figures refer to the SAME “short time” - (Daniel 7:21-25, Revelation 12:6, 12:14-17).

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

The “1,260 days” period is mentioned first in the vision of the “Two Witnesses.” They “prophesy” for the period “clothed in sackcloth.” When they complete their “testimony,” the “Beast” ascends from the “Abyss to make war with them…and to kill them,” alluding once again to the same passage in chapter 7 of Daniel - (Daniel 7:21, Revelation 11:3-7).

The “1,260 days” connects the “Two Witnesses” to the “woman” who was protected in the “wilderness.” Likewise, the “Witnesses” are protected from “harm” until the completion of their “testimony.” They are identified as the “two lampstands,” and elsewhere in the book, “lampstands” represent churches - (Revelation 1:20).

After John “measures” the sanctuary, the altar, and the company serving in it, the “holy city” is 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,” the one who challenged the “host of heaven and the stars, and cast them down to the ground, and trampled upon them.”


The literary links demonstrate that the “forty months” and the “1,260 days” refer to the same period, a time when the saints endured severe persecution by the “Beast” – (Daniel 7:21-25, 8:9-14).

In chapter 11 of Revelation, what is “handed over to the nations” and “trampled” is the “holy city” that contains the “sanctuary,” the “altar,” and the priests that were “rendering divine service” in the “sanctuary.”

This was not old 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” were slain – (Revelation 1:4-6, 5:9-11, 11:8).

Moreover, the imagery and language applied to the “sanctuary” are derived from the ancient Tabernacle that accompanied Israel during its sojourn in the wilderness, and not from the later Temple complex in Jerusalem. Moreover, the structure is identified as the “Tabernacle” in chapter 13 - (Revelation 13:6).

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” are handed over to be “trampled underfoot,” so the “Beast from the sea” attacks 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 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” connects 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 this period lasts, it will come to an end. In each case in Revelation, it is the time when the saints are persecuted severely by the “Beast.” Each vision emphasizes specific aspects of this final assault by the “Dragon” against the people of God.



Silence in Heaven

Sorrow Not