POST OVERVIEW. (2nd post) A detailed examination and comparison of three portions of end-times Scripture. OBJECTIVE. To discover interpretive clues for better understanding end-times literature in general and understanding these passages in particular. The passages under consideration are Daniel 7:21-27, Revelation 11:3-12, and Revelation 13:1-10. This study also begins to explore the “42 months” of Revelation 11-13.
In our previous post (#615, 1/27/2023), we began by examining and comparing three verses, Daniel 7:21, Rev. 11:7, and Rev. 13:7, in order to discover interpretive clues for better understanding other end-times passages. We made some interesting discoveries.
The fact that these three verses describe, in almost identical words, the actions of the little horn (Dan. 7) and the beast (Rev. 11; 13) leads to the logical conclusion that the little horn and the beast are symbols for the same person (i.e., the antichrist).
Not only this, but we can also conclude that, because the events are described almost identically, the events of Daniel 7:21 are the same events described in Revelation 11:7 and 13:7 and thus occur at the same time in history. This yields the interpretive principle that, when different scenes in eschatological literature are written with very similar or identical words, the Scripture is marking these scenes as either closely linked or identical.
Finally, since the beast will make war with the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7) and the beast will make war with the saints (13:7), it can be deduced that the “two witnesses” of Revelation 11:3-12 is a figurative expression for “the saints” (Dan. 7:21 and Rev. 13:7), which is the church. In these three scenes, then, we see three depictions of the antichrist’s war against the church (“the saints”) at the end of the age (confirm Dan. 7:22, 26-27). But what else can we learn about these encounters?
WHEN DO THESE EVENTS TAKE PLACE?
Let’s ask the question, “When in history do these events take place?” Notice that, from Daniel 7:22, 26-27, these events occur shortly before the end of the age, but we can learn more than that. A key observation is that “the little horn” wars against the saints (the church) and speaks against the Most High (i.e., blasphemes) for “a time, times, and half a time” (Dan. 7:25), or forty-two months. We will call this time period the “42 months.”
As we look at the events in Rev. 11:3-7, we observe that “the two witnesses” (which is an expression for “the saints” or the church – see above) prophesy for 1,260 days (11:3), which is also a period of “42 months.”
Looking finally at Rev. 13:1-10 as the beast “makes war with the saints” (13:7) and as he “speaks arrogant words and blasphemies” (13:5) and “opens his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle” (13:6), we read that “authority to act for forty-two months is given to him” (13:5). Again, we find the “42 months.”
THE “42 MONTHS”
Thus, from one scene in Daniel 7 and two scenes in Revelation 11 and 13, we see that, near the end of the age, the antichrist arises and persecutes the church during the period of the “42 months.” But are there other occurrences of the “42 months” in end-times prophecy? It turns out there are four more places where end-times passages mention this time period.
- 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”
What we are seeing is that there are seven separate occurrences of this time period of “42 months” in end-times passages of Scripture. This is definitely significant and deserves some further investigation. Here is our plan for investigating the “42 months.”
- Make some general statements about this period (“42 months”) from observations and quick deductions.
- Look carefully at these four new passages to observe their features.
- Draw a conclusion about when in history this time period the “42 months” takes place.
- Make a concluding statement about the “42 months” to guide our interpretation of the book of Revelation.
GENERAL STATEMENTS ABOUT THE “42 MONTHS”
First, in each occurrence of the “42 months” in the text of Scripture, the same time period is in view. So, in Revelation 11-13, there is a single period of time which is called the “42 months,” but there are five different scenes depicting the activities which take place during the “42 months.” An analogy might be to think of the year 2022. A person presents five top news stories from all over the world which occurred in 2022. Each news story is separate from the others but they all occurred during 2022. The point is there is only one period of the “42 months,” but there are many events going on during that single time period.
Second, the “42 months” is presented in three different forms (“a time and times and half a time,” “forty-two months,” and “1,260 days”), none of which fits any symbolic or figurative pattern. Numbers in Revelation often have a figurative or symbolic meaning (like 3, 7, 12, 1000, etc.), but the expressions for the “42 months” do not point in any figurative direction. Since there can be discerned no figurative meaning for “42 months,” this expression is probably to be understood as “relatively literal.” This suggests that the “42 months” lasts something like forty-two calendar months. That means that, in contrast to the thousand years (Rev. 20:2-7), which represents a very long period of time, the events of the “42 months” take place in a span of a very few years.
Finally, it is helpful to understand each of these separate scenes or visions as taking place DURING the “42 months,” rather than FOR the “42 months.” Thus, each of these separate events occurs for some portion of time during the period called the “42 months,” and do not occur simultaneously throughout the duration of the “42 months.”
A CAREFUL LOOK AT FOUR NEW PASSAGES ABOUT THE “42 MONTHS”
Having made some general comments, we now want to look carefully at the four new passages (see above) which also describe events of the “42 months.” That careful look will be the topic of our next post.
Soli Deo gloria rmb 1/29/2023 #616