What does forty-two months represent in Bible prophecy?

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“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5).

Forty-two months or the 1260 period is referenced in seven places in Daniel and Revelation (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5). The phrases appear three times as a time, times, and half a time, twice as 42 months and twice as 1,260 days. If we consider the 30-day calendar used by the Jews, these periods are all the same duration of time:

3 1/2 years = 42 months = 1,260 days.

And according to Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34, a prophetic day equals one literal year. Thus, the little horn (Antichrist) was to rule over the saints for 1,260 prophetic days or 1,260 literal years.

The rule of the papacy began in A.D. 538, when the last of the three opposing Arian kingdoms was uprooted or destroyed. And the political rule of the papacy lasted until 1798 when Napoleon’s general, Berthier, took the pope captive with the goal of destroying both Pope Pius VI and the political, secular power of the papacy. This period of time is an exact fulfillment of the 1,260-year or the forty-two months prophecy. The blow was a deadly wound for the papacy, but that wound began to heal to our present time.

Jesus, in Matthew 2:21, mentions this same period as the worst era of persecuting God’s people. And Jesus adds that it was so deadly that not one person would have survived if God had not shortened it (v. 22).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

 

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