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Revelation: 1260 Days and 1000 years

May 22, 2011


Rev 11:1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there.
Rev 11:2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.
Rev 11:3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

(Rev 12:5) She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
(Rev 12:6) The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

(Rev 12:14) The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.
(Rev 12:15) Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.
(Rev 12:16) But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
(Rev 12:17) Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

(Rev 13:5) The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

Whether 1260 days, forty-two months, or “time, times, and half a time” (3 1/2 years), the same time period is described (based on a 30 day month, and a 12-month year). During this time, the Gentiles would trample the outer court (symbolic language) and the woman would be protected while the dragon made war on those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. This period represents a time of persecution of the church. The attacker is the dragon, Satan (Rev 12:17), through the agency of the beast, the Roman Empire (Rev 13:5-18).

The 3 1/2 year period is not to be taken literally, any more than the ten days are to be taken literally in Rev 2:10.  It simply represents the time period in which the Roman Empire would persecute the church.   We can identify approximately when that time period starts and ends from the known time when the book was written (AD 95-96) and the time when the Roman persecution of Christians came to an end.

(Rev 20:1)  And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.
(Rev 20:2)  He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
(Rev 20:3)  He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
(Rev 20:4)  I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
(Rev 20:5)  (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
(Rev 20:6)  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.


Revelation 20 tells us of a thousand year period immediately following the downfall of the Beast (aka Roman Empire) at the end of chapter 19. As with the 1260 days, we should not think of the thousand years as a literal time period. We do not know how long it is in our actual years, nor when it will end. But we do know a sequence of events associated with that period. First Satan would be bound, and the martyrs who had been previously killed under the persecution of the Roman Empire would be raised from the dead. The resurrected martyrs would reign with Jesus for a thousand years. Following the thousand years, Satan would be unbound for a short period, and then thrown into the lake of fire. And then would come the final judgment.

Since the Roman Empire fell long ago, and since Satan has not yet been thrown into the lake of fire, we are apparently in the midst of the 1000 year reign right now.

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3 comments

  1. […] John 17: 21a May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. (HCSB) « Revelation: 1260 Days and 1000 years Revelation: Progress Assessment May 28, […]


  2. Why could we not be in the “short time”? Between 1000 year reign and final judgement.


    • I suppose it is possible. We aren’t told much in specific about that period. We know Satan will be released for a short time but we aren’t told whether he will actually succeed at inflicting harm on the church. We are also told that the end will come like a thief in the night and at an hour we do not expect, so that suggests there won’t be a clear sign.



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