How Long is the Great Tribulation: 7 years or 3½?

Someone asked:

Which half of the Great Tribulation do the Two Witnesses do their ministry in, the first or the second?

This question obviously assumes the Tribulation is all 7 years of Daniel’s 70th week. But, is that often-repeated idea correct?

Here’s how we find out how long the Great Tribulation is step by step:

  1. Daniel 9:27 says there will be a league for 7 years and then halfway through it the sacrifices will be stopped and an abomination erected on a wing of the temple (same day apparently) by the Prince who shall come. (AC)
  2. Dan 12:11 confirms that the sacrifices will be stopped and abomination set up on the same day, adding the detail that its exactly 1290 days from the end of the 7 years, which indeed is in the middle (not to the very day of course).
  3. In Mat 24:15, Jesus says that the abomination spoken of by Daniel would “stand” (Mk 13:14) in the Holy Place immediately preceding the Great Tribulation (the same time of distress during the final End Times King of the North’s terrible reign over the whole earth that Dan 11-12:1 speaks about).
  4. Therefore the Great Tribulation must be less than 1290 days long and thus cannot be 7 years long since it starts after the Abomination which is said to come in the middle of the 7 years. This makes it at most 3½ years.

The 1260 days of the Two Witnesses preaching is the same 42 months that the Temple Mount is trampled (Rev 11:1-3) and the same 3½ years that the Woman is protected in the desert (Rev 12:14) which all fit the Tribulation period well and make perfect sense placed there.(How 1260 days = 42 months = 3½ years literally is quite amazing to understand. See this article for a detailed explanation of the future 360 day year.)

But Why Do the Two Witnesses Preach 1260 days, not 1290?

The reason why the Two Witnesses preach for 1260 days and not 1290 and the gentiles trample for only 42 months not 43 months, etc. is because since the Abomination was the only sign given to us by Jesus for how to recognize when to flee Judea to the mountainous safe place prepared for the righteous remnant (Mat 24:15-16=Rev 12:14), then there ought to be some time allocated in there to effectively flee as he commanded.

Thus, it seems that the Tribulation is only 1260 days and starts 30 days after the sacrifices are stopped and the statue of the Beast that the False Prophet commands to be made is set up which is what the Abomination is in case you are wondering (idols are one of only about five abominations identified in the Torah and also what Antiochus Epiphanes as a type of the Antichrist put in the Temple–a statue of Zeus).

Let me know if someone after reading this still believes the tribulation is 7 years long and why (I’m very curious to know why that idea is so persistent. I guess it’s because of the assumption that the treaty the Prince makes at the start of the 70th week is a public treaty all will see as his first act, but  not only does this treaty make no mention of Israel being the other party but no where does it say its not the secret treaty that Revelation 17 mentions the Antichrist makes with the 10 kings to destroy Mystery Babylon and rule the world instead).

12 thoughts on “How Long is the Great Tribulation: 7 years or 3½?

  1. I am curious to know why you would say “The question of how long the Tribulation is does not depend on any of the above questions. (i.e. in your ‘Dan 9:27’ article)” and then proceed with that very verse as the first step in your “proof” of a 3.5 year Trib in your “How Long Is the Great Tribulation?” article? But then anyone who would “always recommend many translations” is obviously granting himself the latitutde to spend opinion as though it were “proof”.

  2. I did not say it does not depend on any of the above “verses”, but on the “questions” surrounding what the covenant is and who He is who makes it in that verse.

    If you think I recommend using the best translations available in order to make the Bible say what I want it to, then you obviously do not know me very well.

  3. the idea of the 7 seven years comes from several things.
    1) Jacob’s trouble. He had to work 7 years to get Rachel.
    2) The Hebrew from daniel’s 1 week.
    3) Matt. 24 – Jesus made a very clear distinction b/t the trib & grt trib indicating 2 halves.
    4) Rev. only describes the second half of the 7 years.
    Here’s where the problem comes. No where does the Bible say that the 7 years is 2520 days. No one has considered an overlap b/t the end of the 1260 and the start of the 1290. The seven 7 years actually comes down to a very simple pattern. A pregnancy. The pregnancy starts 14 days before Passover and end on Hanukkah. A pregnancy can last 38-42 weeks thus the term 42 months. The first half starts at Passover (Elijah comes)and ends on Hanukkah (2 wit dead) Rev 11:10. The 2nd half starts Passover and ends Hanukkah, thus the entire 7 years starts passover and ends hanukkah. On the 1335 day Jesus will dedicate the millenial temple on the same day it was desecrated by Anti. Epiphanes. The reason for the extra 30 days in the second half is because of Magog. Passover will be one month later because of all the dead in the land. It doesn’t make any sense that the 2 wit will prophesy the second half and not the first half. 2 wit confirm the consummation of the 1st rapture (Leah). The consummation with Rachel won’t happen until the 2nd coming.

  4. Sherrie,
    that was an excellent explanation! I have never heard it explained that way before; makes perfect sense.
    I still believe that Daniel’s 70th Week was completely fulfilled by 70 AD (leaving only 42 months of GT as given by the Book of the Revelation).
    That’s why I feel the Jubilee is still valid for 2nd Coming
    (fall 2014 to fall 2015 = 49th year)
    God bless!

  5. Most definately the total tribulation period is 3 1/2 years. 2 1/2 years being satans wrath and the last year the day of the Lord (Gods Wrath)! But as far as rapture that isnt biblical! Place of safety yes its in scripture!

  6. Shalom,

    It’s possible that a new Jubilee year starts in 2015. In the evening of 6 June 1967 Jerusalem came in the hands of Israel. A Jubilee year = 7 Sabbat years = 7 x 7 =49 year. In prophetic days is this 49 x 360 = 17640 days. Count the 17640 to the date 6 June 1967 and you get 23 September 2015. Moed Yom Kippur.


  7. i have had troubles wanting to know how this 7 years thing came about. looked for ideas but seems getting more confused.
    thank you sherrie. i will try to read more on this subject.

  8. “Sjofar Says: April 5th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    It’s possible that a new Jubilee year starts in 2015. In the evening of 6 June 1967 Jerusalem came in the hands of Israel. A Jubilee year = 7 Sabbat years = 7 x 7 =49 year. In prophetic days is this 49 x 360 = 17640 days. Count the 17640 to the date 6 June 1967 and you get 23 September 2015. Moed Yom Kippur.


    I read this and something went “click”.

    • Thanks for the thought, but 2014 was not a sabbath year. Jubilee years always follow a sabbath year, the 7th one from the last jubilee.

      Plus jubilees cycles do not reset. Whatever the right one is, it has continued on every 49 years since Moses first indicated it to ancient Israel.

  9. The two witnesses are coming to call Israel to repentance and accept Jesus as Lord and Messiah. Scripture indicates that they are killed at the end of the second woe, sixth and sixth trumpet. This is near the end of great tribulation as the seven bowl plagues must take place upon those who dwell upon the earth.

    Revelation 11:7. Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified…11. Now after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand men were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

    Sorry, sixth trumpet and second woe. The seventh trumpet, third woe and seventh bowl plague are simultaneous and congruent

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