Another key term within the book of Revelation also refers to time. It is stated variously as:
3. Forty-two months - Rev. 11:2
One thousand two hundred and sixty days - Rev. 11:3
One thousand two hundred and sixty days - Rev. 12:6
Forty-two months - Rev. 13:5
These periods refer to the same period of time.
These references give us some idea of the relative time span of the fulfillment of "Those things which must shortly come to pass" - Rev. 1:1. When compared with the "thousand years" period in which Satan is bound and Christ reigns, it is a relatively short period of time. All these references refer to the same time.
All of these time periods represent 3 and a half years. These periods refer to the same period of time, not three different 3 and a half year periods. They should not be taken as literal 3 and a half year periods, but something represented by such a statement; i.e. three and a half centuries. These references to time are to be taken as we would take the "weeks" or "groups of seven" of Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks (Daniel 9:24 and following).
In fact, the period represented by the three statements is the same as the period prophesied by Daniel:
(Dan 7:25 NKJV) "He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time."
The "things which must shortly come to pass" will be completed within the time, times and half a time, or three and a half groups of one hundred years, three and a half centuries. The 1260 days and 42 months both apply to the same period of time within which the "fourth kingdom" of Daniel's prophecies would come to an end and the "saints of the Most High" would conquer that kingdom. This found its fulfillment when by 400AD Rome had been conquered by Christianity and had ceased to be a power of any magnitude.
4. The "thousand years" -
Another, more famous key term is the reference to the "thousand years" in Rev. 20:2-7. This time is obviously not included in the "things which must shortly come to pass." This period commences when "those things which must shortly come to pass" were fulfilled. It is a much longer period in which Satan will be bound from directly influencing the nations of the earth, and Christ and His saints will reign. It, too, should not be taken as a literal time period of exactly a thousand years. It is a relative term. Also, please note that this passage NEVER says that Christ will be reigning from a physical throne ON EARTH.
With these terms firmly in mind, it is plain that the majority of the Revelation, with the exception of the "thousand year" period, would commence its fulfillment within a short time after John received the Revelation, NOT two thousand years later as many would have us believe.
These terms, then, help us limit our search for the places and characters prophesied about in Revelation. And to those we now turn our attention. Please click the right arrow below.
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