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).