ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY DAYS
“She has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there 1,260 days” (Revelation 12:6). This specific period of time is repeated several times in different ways in the books of Daniel and Revelation. In Revelation 12:14 the period is called “a time [1 year], times [2 years] and half a time,” [total 3 ½ years]<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> that the woman was “nourished” in the wilderness. In Revelation 13:5 the same period is referred to as “forty-two months”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> in which “the beast” spoke “great things and blasphemies” and made “war with the saints,” having “authority…over every tribe, tongue and nation” (v. 5-7). In Daniel 7 the “little horn” “speaks pompous words against the Most High” and “shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law... for a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:24,25). The same period is also mentioned in Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 11:2,3.
With so many references in such crucial sections of the most important last-day prophecies, it is obvious that this is a critical period for the people of God, and a correct understanding is essential. In chapter 12 “the dragon” (Satan) is portrayed as the one who persecutes “the woman.” However, this chapter is highly symbolic. Just as the woman represents real men, women and children who are a part of God’s church on earth, so the dragon has his agents on earth who carry out the actual persecutions. In Chapter 13 the identity of the persecutors is revealed under the symbol of “a beast rising out of the sea.”
The 1,260 days, the time, times and half a time, and the 42 months, if taken literally, are a fairly short period of time. However, the context of Revelation 13 and Daniel 7 indicates that a much longer period of time is indicated. Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:5,6, as well as the prophecy of seventy weeks in Daniel 9 (which are explained in appendixes 4 and 5) show that in many time prophecies a day represents a year. <![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]>
Thus the period of time when “the dragon…persecuted the woman” who “fled into the wilderness... [for] 1,260 days” (Revelation 12:13,6) refers to the 1,260 years of papal supremacy during the Middle Ages, as detailed in chapter 2 (the Church of Thyatira). It was the medieval Christian church which became the deadly persecutor of “heretics,” culminating in the Inquisition in which thousands were tortured and killed. Persecution continued during the Protestant Reformation, including the martyrdom of reformers such as Huss and Jerome, the slaughter of the Huguenots and others who dared to follow the Bible and the dictates of their conscience.
Although these persecutions waxed and waned through the centuries, it could be argued that the 1,260 years began in AD 538. In that year the last of the opposing Arian tribes were driven from Rome. This allowed the edict of Emperor Justinian of AD 533 to become a reality, in which the Pope, the Bishop of Rome was declared the head of all churches and the corrector of heretics. With this mandate the papacy was able to become the effective power of the Western Roman Empire. Although the papacy gathered its power gradually with major setbacks at times, by the 1200’s the church had gained such control that Pope Innocent III could claim, “Ecclesiastical liberty is nowhere better preserved than where the Roman Church has full power in temporal as well as spiritual matters.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This power, however, waned rapidly toward the end of the 18th century, as the church lost much of its influence and it’s Papal States during the French and Italian Revolutions. I
Continue to next section: 12:15,16 A FLOOD AFTER THE WOMAN
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> The Greek word here is kairos, which often refers to an indefinite period of time or a set or proper time. However, in this instance it is obvious that it refers to the usage of Daniel 7:25 “The saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time” the Hebrew word here being iddan, “a set time, technically a year” (Strongs New Exhaustive Concordance, World 1994).
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> The Bible month is considered to be 30 days. Thus in Genesis 7 and 8, the 5 months that the flood continued (7:11, 8:4) amounted to 150 days (7:24, 8:3,4). A year was 12 months, with an extra day every 3 years as a leap year. Thus 42 months and 3 ½ years are both equal to 1260 days.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> In Numbers 14:34, referring to the spying out of the land of Canaan and the refusal to enter in, God said “According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years.” Again in Ezekiel 4 the prophet was instructed to be a human symbol for the punishment that would fall upon Israel and Judah: “I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days, so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel…Then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year” (Ezekiel 4:5,6).
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> Contributors, Your Dictionary, http.//biography.yourdictionary.com/innocent-iii, accessed 12-09-2014.