An investigation into the “42 months” of Revelation 11-13

POST OVERVIEW. (3rd post) A continuing investigation (see post #616, 1/29/2023) into the “42 months” of Revelation 11-13 (and Daniel 7:25 and 12:7). OBJECTIVE. To discover the meaning of the “42 months” and to interpret these passages occurring during the “42 months” so that we have a clearer picture of the events of Revelation.


We began this study (post #615, 1/27/2023) by comparing Daniel 7:21 with Revelation 11:7 and 13:7, making some observations about these verses, and then drawing some conclusions about what we saw (see #615 for details). In our last post (#616, 1/29/2023) we expanded our portions for investigation to include the passages around the original three verses. In that portion of our study, we observed that all three of our study passages (Dan. 7:21-22, 25-27; Rev. 11:3-12; 13:1-10) mentioned a period of time which we have called the “42 months.” We noted that this time period, the “42 months,” appeared significant as an end-times concept. We then found four other occurrences of that same time period, one more in Daniel and three in Revelation 11-13, and are digging deeper into those verses to see where they lead.

The four other passages are:

  • In Dan. 12:7 “a time, times, and half a time”
  • In Rev. 11:2 “forty-two months”
  • In Rev. 12:6 “1,260 days”
  • In Rev. 12:14 “a time and times and half a time”


In our last post (#616), we made some general comments about the “42 months” and now we want to look carefully at each of these new passages (see above). Our plan is to look at the context of each “42 months” passage and try to identify interpretive clues from each.

DANIEL 12:7. In Daniel 12:7, we encounter the phrase “a time, times, and half a time,” which we have already identified as “42 months” (see Dan. 7:25). So, even before we begin to investigate this verse, we can see that it links directly to Dan. 7:25 and also to Rev. 12:14, because those two verses use the identical expression for the “42 months.”

The immediate context of the “42 months” phrase is an answer to the question, “How long until the end of wonders?” “For a time, times, and half a time.” But the answer goes on. “And as soon as to finish (literal translation) shattering the power of the holy people, all these will be completed.” My interpretation of this immediate context is that the holy people (i.e., the church) will be shattered for “42 months,” and then the end will come (“be completed”). This interpretation is strengthened by its agreement with the events of Dan. 7:25. If this interpretation is correct, it says that the church will be severely persecuted for “42 months” near the end of the age and then the end will come.

We just looked at the very narrow context of the verse where this occurrence of the “42 months” appears but looking at a larger context of Daniel 11-12 tells us more. In Daniel 11, we read of the activity of the “despicable person” (11:21; the antichrist), who meets his end after “he pitches his tent between the sea and the beautiful Holy Mountain” (Dan. 11:45). This phrase is figurative language for Armageddon (see Ezek. 38:14-18; Rev. 16:14, 16; 20:8-9). Then in Dan. 12:1, we see the great tribulation of the church (Matt. 24:21), then Dan. 12:2 tells of the Resurrection, and finally Dan. 12:7 places all these events in or around the “42 months” at the end of the age.

SUMMARY. This occurrence of the “42 months” includes a manifestation of the antichrist who subjects the church to persecution, which culminates in Armageddon when the church is rescued by Resurrection. Then the antichrist comes to his end (11:45).

REVELATION 11:2. This is the most spartan of the “42 months” occurrences, and the context is difficult to determine. After giving a picture (Rev. 11:1) that reminds us of the measuring of the temple scene from Ezekiel 40-42, we discover that “the nations will tread underfoot the holy city for forty-two months” (Rev. 11:2). My interpretation of this scene is consistent with others like it in the “42 months,” namely that the nations (under the leadership of the antichrist; Rev. 13:7-8) will oppress and persecute (“tread under foot”) the church (“the holy city”) for (or during) the “42 months.”

We should also note that this verse links directly to Rev. 13:5, because these two verses use the identical expression for the “42 months,” namely, “forty-two months.” This direct link confirms that the events surrounding Rev. 11:2 are related to the events surrounding Rev. 13:5.

That’s enough for one post. We will continue to explore other occurrences of the “42 months” by looking at Rev. 12:6 and Rev. 12:14 in our next post.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 1/30/2023                   #617

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