In Revelation 11 and 12, John mentions 1,260 days in two prophecies concerning another persecution of the Jews during the end times. Daniel 8 speaks of 2,300 days in a prophecy concerning a persecution of the Jewish people during the intertestamental period. The main differences between these two prophecies are 1) Daniel’s has been fulfilled, and John’s has not; and 2) Daniel predicts the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes, and John predicts those of the Antichrist.
The 1,260-day prophecy is found in two passages in Revelation. First, Revelation 11:2–3 says,
“[The Gentiles] will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Then, as part of a symbolic vision, Revelation 12:6 says,
“The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”
The time period covered, 1,260 days, figures to 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. We believe this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled but will be during the end-times tribulation. The 42 months refers to the reign of the Antichrist, specifically, the last half (3 1/2 years) of the seven-year tribulation. At the beginning of that time, the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and set up “the abomination that causes desolation” (Mark 13:14; cf. Daniel 9:27)—an act that links the Antichrist to Antiochus Epiphanes, who similarly defiled the temple. The Antichrist will then turn his attention to the genocide of the Jews. During the persecution, Israel (the woman of Revelation 12) will be protected by God in the wilderness. Also during that troubled time, God will send two witnesses to perform miracles and proclaim the truth of Christ in the face of the Antichrist’s lies (Revelation 11:5–6).
The detailed prophecies contained in God’s Word are part of what makes the Bible unique among religious texts. Our God can “make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:10), and He has revealed significant events in the future, counting out the very days of those periods of time.