Seems like most everyone is weighting in on the time frame of the tribulation period as to whether it's 7 years or 3.5 years in duration. For what it may be worth let me promote what I believe scripture has to say on this seemingly confusing aspect of God's word.
Instead of taking a forward timing approach I would like to take a backward one where we look from the end of the tribulation period backward toward the beginning. I believe a clearer picture is seen when one does this.
With this in mind lets look at the last part of Daniel 12 where he is describing one of the day intervals of the tribulation period. And again, lets focus on the end of the tribulation period and work backwards.
Daniel asks in verse 8....”what shall be the end of these things?”....or the end of this period of trouble (verse 1) or the end of this period that we today call.... the tribulation period??
The answer is then provided to Daniel in verse 11 which states......”And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1290 days.
This statement..... this 1290 day count alone should give everyone the knowledge that the tribulation period can't be 3.5 years or 1260 days because of what we were just told in verse 11......... 1290 days is 30 days beyond a 3.5 year period.
So, lets look closer at that verse 11. Verse 11 shares with us two major events that happen during the tribulation period.....the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the the “setting up”of the abomination of desolation at some location. Obviously these two events happen the same day because they have the same day count until the end.
With this in mind, are there other areas of scripture that dovetail into these phrases and facts ( end to daily sacrifice, setting up abomination of desolation) that also seemingly forecast a greater than 3.5 year period of trouble? Yes, several
In Daniel 9:27 we see the same verbiage....end of daily sacrifice and offering and abominations shall be one who makes desolate.
When does Daniel say that these two things happen? He says they happen in the “middle of the week”. What week?
Many / most bible scholars have shown that this week represents a 7 year period. So Daniel is saying in chapter 9 that half way through this 7 year period someone will put an end to daily sacrifice and offerings and will do something that is considered an abomination, an abomination that will lead to desolation or to make desolate.
Do these events and day count / time intervals agree with what was stated in Daniel 12? It certainly appears they do.
Are there other areas of scripture that also seemingly agree with this overview as well? Yes, lets look at Revelation 13. In Revelation 13 we see the first beast, the antichrist arrive on the world stage. Does he reign 3.5 years or 7?
Lets look....in the first few verses of Revelation 13 we see the world completely fawning over this person. The verses say that the world marveled at him and followed him. It says they worshiped him and his unbelievable powers and his great public speaking abilities. It was a worldwide love fest of sorts. Revelation 17:8 echoes these same thoughts and admiration.
So, how long does this love fest last before this “beloved beast” is not fawned over or worshiped any longer? Revelation 13:5 says that God permitted this love fest or gave His authority for this to continue for 42 months or 3.5 years.
Then what happened at this 3.5 year point? Then this worldwide love fest was over. Verse 6 states that then (after these 3.5 years) this beast / beloved antichrist …...”opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who were in heaven”..... So, it is now after 3.5 years that this beloved worldwide charmer turns from Mr. Nice guy to a monster. A monster that now has the second half of the 7 year end time period to show his true colors and terrorize the world.
Verse 6 and the following verses state that this beast will then (at the 3.5 year mark) declare himself to be the true god of all creation........ declare that his throne / tabernacle is no longer in heaven but is now here on earth. This beast will then (agreeing with the verbiage in Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 12:11 and also agreeing with the day counts given) cancel all sacrifices and offerings. What does that mean? It means that this beast / antichrist will then demand that all worship and offerings by all worldwide religions be directed to him.
Revelation 13, Daniel 12, Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 all address a talking image of this beast being set up in Jerusalem and all referring to it in some form or the other as....the abomination of desolation set up in the holy place.
When is it set up?? Daniel 9 says in the middle of the week or in the middle of a 7 year period. Daniel 12 gets more specific, there he states the abomination of desolation will be set up 1290 from the end of these things or from the end of the 7 year period. Revelation 13 says this happens at or around the 42 month mark......again half way through the 7 years.
In Revelation 13 we see the love fest with the AC last for 42 months.....then he turns into a monster and forces the whole world to worship him. (Revelation 13:8)
How does he convince / force all religions and peoples to worship him? He is allowed by God to kill the two witnesses who to this point in time no one could harm without being killed themselves. This now great manifestation of power by the AC convinced the world populous with the exception of those whose names appear in the Book of Life that he was indeed God. Revelation 11:7 and Revelation 13:7 both state that God allowed the AC “to make war” with the two witnesses / saints and he (AC) was allowed to kill them.
What is the duration of the two witnesses ministry.....3.5 years. Revelation 11:3
When does this ministry start? Seemingly their ministry begins at the start of the 7 year tribulation period in direct concurrence with the first half of the reign of the AC.
At what point does God allow the AC to kill the two witnesses....at the end of their ministry or 1260 days into the “one week” period of time. Revelation 13:5-7 and Revelation 11:7.
If the tribulation period only lasted 3.5 years or 42 months would the interaction between the two witnesses and the AC portrayed in scripture make any sense? No!!!
If there is only 3.5 years total in the tribulation period then as soon as the two witnesses were killed at that 3.5 year mark (as scripture clearly states) then the whole tribulation period would be over. That's clearly not the case from scripture. Look again at Revelation 11.....after the ministry of the two witnesses is complete, they are killed, they lie on the streets of Jerusalem for 3.5 days and are then raptured to heaven. Then chapter 11 speaks about the “woe's” to come. Come when? During the last half of the 7 year period.
Remember the AC has just at this point (after 1260 days) transformed from beloved to monster. This is when his real terror begins as is described in scripture. And this period after the initial 1260 days is also full of the judgments of God.
Look at the first 3.5 years of the 7 year tribulation as a contest... if you will. What do I mean? Well you have two opposing teams. On one side you God's two witnesses who are preaching the gospel worldwide and are protected by God and are unable to be harmed even by Satan or the AC. On the other side you have the AC who is powerless to create worldwide havoc until these two witnesses are taken out of the picture. In the interim, in this initial 3.5 year period as per Revelation 13 the AC befriends the world. He speaks great things, he manifests all manors of lying signs and wonders to the marvel of the world. The world then follows him and worships him. Revelation 13:3-4. But as soon as God allows the AC to kill the two witnesses at the 3.5 year mark everything changes 180 degrees.
I believe scripture clearly states these facts and timings / day intervals. And clearly indicates a 7 year total period of time. Will there be tribulation and wrath for 7 years? No, I believe and it appears in scripture that God's wrath and the AC's scourge will begin half way through the 7 year time period.
Then, when will this 7 year time period begin? It appears from scripture that it will begin when both the two witnesses and the AC appear on the world stage at nearly the same time.
What would / could be a favorable event that could trigger the AC making his appearance on the world stage. How about total worldwide chaos and anarchy. If you haven't taken note or are paying attention, the world is on the precipice of a worldwide economic depression that will make 1929 look like a tiny bump in the road.
When this happens the world will cry out and beg for a leader.....a leader with all the answers. A leader who speaks boldly and is able to manifest all manors of lying signs and wonders. A beloved leader who the world is already familiar with, who lived, died and yet is back somehow on the world stage. Revelation 17:8
Is there such a leader poised and waiting in the wings? The bible says yes.... and indicates (if one can add and subtract) that he will occupy the world stage for 7 years.
Hope this post flows logically for you and sheds light on the timing conundrum.
Blessings Doves.........John B