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 Epiphanies 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).

40 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

  10. I Google searched “how long is the great tribulation”? and this was one of the top results I got back. So I just reasoned this would be a fairly open area to see if anybody out there can even hear. You could consider me a fisher of sorts, and I am honestly not even sure what I’m doing, if anything at all. I hope you understand why I am being so short. Abominations are now among us more than ever before, look at the times, the daytes, we’re now under full invasion. United the states, divided she fell. At this very moment I wish I had more to give, but that’s unfortunately all I have to offer. Contact is possible, if you have problems, or if this fails to be in our timely favor, remember, the animals do not stress, and are we not of greater value?

    • Jesus says that the great tribulation will begin when the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, is seen standing in the holy place.

      15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

      16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

      17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

      18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

      19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

      20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

      21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

  11. I’m surprised that in the quotation from Revelation (by Kirk on May 4th 2015) no one has picked up on the phrase “and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city for 3 1/2 days”, without noticing that this very unusual occurrence already happened years ago.

    If they had, they would have known exactly when it was and that it has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the Great Tribulation which has only started recently

  12. Alan Peters…….please give a date for when the two witnesses were already in Jerusalem breathing fire and turning water into blood. I don’t recall that happening. Also please give a date for when the 7 year treaty was signed ( I haven’t seen that occurrence either) since the tribulation CANNOT begin until the treaty is signed.

  13. I think the reason people believe it is 7 years is due to Daniel 9:27. They are confusing the “he” with antichrist. This passage says NOTHING about antichrist. The “he” is Yeshua who “strengthens” the covenant. There is nothing in there about a 7 year peace treaty with Israel.

    Dan 9:27 And he (Yeshua) shall confirm/strengthen the covenant (the new covenant that is now written upon our hearts instead of stone) with many (Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for MANY for the remission of sins.) for (“for” should not have been used, he strengthens the covenant 1 week, NOT FOR 1 week, which stretches until the end of the 70th in our time.) one week: and in the midst of the (70th) week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, (He did, for those who accepted the new covenant he was the final sacrifice) and for (or because of) the overspreading of abominations (continued sacrifices were an abomination to God after Yeshua’s final sacrifice) he (Yeshua) shall make (it) (it was added by translators) desolate (Matt 23:38 and Luke 13:35, the temple was left desolate), even until the consummation (end), and that determined (decreed) shall be poured (7 vials) upon the desolate (or those who never accepted his sacrifice).

    • MM, this common interpretation does not fit the context. Go forward a few chapters to Daniel 11 and you find that a man of flattery, a type of the Antichrist (Antiochus) does a precursor abomination of desolation (Dan 11:31-32). This leaves no doubt Dan 9 is talking about another wicked man, the Antichrist to do it in the end time.

  14. I believe Tim is spot on. I was brought up in a Baptist church and for years taught that the rapture occurs before anything then the seven year period. Thank God I met a true friend while I was in Iraq who told me to read the Bible for myself and I did. I don’t know why it is so hard to understand but the rapture is not biblical and yes we will be here for the tribulation. If YHWH is a fair and just God then it’s not even a correct assumption that he would take the church first then Israel especially since in Romans when you read he cut the unfruitful branches off the olive tree and grafted in the wild branches,that’s tells me we are either saved or unsaved hence Gods elect. So this means Jeshua is coming back one more time to get all his faithful at one time not a two part deal and yes Daniel does confirm what Tim is saying. People, quit trying to say its how you interpret the Bible and read what it actually says

  15. It’s nice to see this blog still going. We’re so close to the final tribulation that I’ll just
    point folks to the and mention the book of truth is now open (mostly daniel 11) – sealed until the end but promised to clarify all the numbers so HIS people can prepare for departure. Good blog, thanks for allowing my post.

  16. I agree that the great tribulation is not seven years. According to Matthew 24, the great tribulation starts after the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the holy place, the temple of God in Jerusalem (2 Tess. 3:2-4) which will happen at the end of the first 3/12 years . And it seems to me , according to scripture, it will be short, not all of the latter 3 1/2 years. What I see as far as timing and sequences is this: The antichrist in the temple at the midpoint of the seven years. the great tribulation breaks out, is extremely intense, but short. Immediately thereafter, the sun goes dark and the moon like blood, immediately thereafter the angels collect the elect (the rapture). On that day, the day of the Lord starts and God’s judgement is metered out for the duration of the last 3 1/2 yer period. At the end of the 3 1/2 years, Christ comes back with all his holy ones to reign for a thousand years.

  17. I believe that the entire Tribulation Period is 7 years total with the Great Tribulation being the last half….Fist off, there has to be a third from the very get go that is in place that would not only permit the sacrifices to begin again but they can only stop after they have begun…If you study anything about the Romanian Prophet Dumitru Duduman, He makes the statement that America is completely destroyed by Russia and this is said to be something that takes place right after a peace treaty ( when they shall say Peace and Safety ) is signed by a world leader, the AC… This is the sudden destruction that the Bible tells us about in which THEY ( America, Mystery Babylon ) WILL NOT ESCAPE!!!….This all makes so much perfect sense as the elites want the dollar to crash so they can force their system of a NWO on everyone which is what they have always wanted from the very beginning….Russia, being the King of the North, will be able to do this because of many spies that have found out where all the main missile Silos are… Now if the destruction of some 200 million Ppl isn’t enough to cause the start of the Tribulation , a period like NO OTHER, then I don’t know what is…If your not familiar with Dumitru Duduman, He was shown everything by the Angel Gabriel after smuggling for many years, some 300,000 Bibles into eastern block countries and being imprisoned many times and being beaten and electrocuted so badly that He lost ALL of his hearing….Could He ( Dumitru Duduman ) be a false prophet you ask?… Well I’m 56 years old and don’t know of anyone that has smuggled even 100 Bibles into Eastern block countries or for that matter, anywhere in the world…..Also He would be shown just exactly how to get them there without always getting caught ( as he would get caught whenever He wouldn’t pray over it as much so this led Him and others who where helping Him to do this, to do these 5 and 6 day prayer and fasting sessions….Once again, I don’t know of anyone that has ever brought so many Bibles into other parts of the world and would pray and fast for 5 or 6 days straight….No wonder He was chosen to witness to so many toward the end of His life….Also with America being taken out at the very beginning of the 7 years, that would take Israel’s protector out of the way so they would have to go back to totally depending on God…..I’m sure that a peace treaty could also include an agreement to rebuild the third temple as the AC will be given many, many powers…But there could be a slicing up of God’ s Holy land that causes this to take place…

  18. You can not possibly add these numbers in consecutive order ( 1260 + 1290 + 1335 ). The 1290 days are anchored to MID 70th week ( Dan. 12:11 ). Also the 1335 are implied the great Tribulation: “blessed is he who waiteth..the 1335 days ( Dan. 12:12 ). We allready know the Great Tribulation is pegged to MID 70th from Matt. 24:21. The first half of the 70th must be counted approximately because it is not given to us in days: “in the midst” = 3 1/2 years, or 3.52, 3.49 etc. So we also see the seven years is approximate: 1260 + 1335 days= 7.21 years.

  19. Just curious – has it occurred to any of us that maybe Christ intended this complex riddle to NOT be completely unlocked/solved – in order to hopefully extinguish self-righteous opinions/“answers” of individuals/churches/denominations – which DIVIDE His sheep ??

    Then, we can ALL awake and with Godly FEAR focus and warn/proclaim the suddenness of the soon arrival of God’s righteous judgement of the earth and mankind – as plainly defined in Matt. 24:37 & Luke 17:26-29, (with prolonged, sufficient and perfect prior warnings- as Noah preached for decades with the greatest object lesson ever 🙂 .
    Also we can certainly ALL agree that every single prophecy given in the Bible as a sign of the return of Christ has now been fulfilled.

    SO, He is not only figuratively but now literally on our doorsteps!!

    Preach that with fear and trembling through the power of the Spirit ya’ll
    and let’s be active participants in the Lord’s final HARVEST! ????

    • I agree … Whether 1800s commentaries said one thing and newer thoughts are now different seems a moot point (Dan 12:4 … shut up the book until the end times) and I’m not bothered by more recent understandings are now different. God is the revealer of mysteries… but the proper interpretation still seems controversial. I’m kind of a pan-trib guy … it’ll all pan out in the end, but due to what’s coming, we should all watch and warn/proclaim as stated. Pre-trib and a later return with Christ back to Earth would be great, but I know God is just and will protect His own too … however that turns out. Be ready for any outcome in terms of how we’re protected. And I agree … no more prophecies need to come true before Christ’s return and we are told to look up and be ready, and for sure the judgments of the Great Tribulation have NOT occurred yet … as can be proven by their severity (hasn’t happened) and the ‘meta tauta’ term in Revelation which prescribes exact order of the judgments … Even if events in the past might be rationalized to be one of the judgments, the others didn’t happen first (yet) nor were any of those events followed by the other prescribed judgments. One MUST complete BEFORE the next begins … there is no parallelism when the “and then” comes from the greek “meta tauta”. See you there! Somewhere!

    • Proof 1
      I think the Jewish people will recognize the importance of September and October.

      The “moon became as blood”. Logically, this passage in the Bible would take place from the point of view of the Jewish people. And they would of course be in Israel. So I asked the computer to come up with a date when this event in the Bible for the next full blood-red moon will occur. This seems to be in September on 2025.

      We are of course not permitted to know the day and time. But nothing was said of the year or month.

      You can watch the computer generated event, if you play this video

      Revelation 6
      King James Version

      12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

  20. In order to address the question. I must start with the Pre-Trib-Rapture
    The Rapture and its probable Year and Months since we are not allowed the actual day and time.

    Run this video clip
    For the Blood Moon

    Revelation 6 New King James Version
    Sixth Seal: Cosmic Disturbances

    12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

    The New Moon of Rosh Hashana and the Blood Moon over Israel are expected to appear as follows. Notice the date and time in the upper right hand corner. Rosh Hashana marks the return of the Jewish Messiah and the Blood Moon marks the return of Jesus Christ and Jewish Messiah concurrently?

  21. Let me know, if you want me to continue?

    The above video clip calls for the Blood Moon/Rapture to occur in September 2025. The following shows that the rapture occurs – Before – May 2028.

    By No Means is May 1948 + 80 years or 2028 or before May 2028. Reference Psalm 90:10 below maximum biblical age.

    Matthew 24:34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by “no means pass away”.

    Psalm 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

    The most important signs are the ones that relate to Israel because God uses the Jews throughout the Scriptures as His prophetic time clock. By this I mean that very often when the Lord is revealing an important event that will take place in the future, He will point to the Jewish people and state that when a certain thing happens to them, the important event will also occur.

    A good example of this principle can be found in Daniel 9 in the famous “Seventy Weeks of Years” prophecy. The prophet tells us to watch for a decree to be issued that will authorize the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He then says that the Messiah will come sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) after that decree is issued to the Jewish people.

    There are two key prophecies which relate the return of Jesus to events that have occurred in Jewish history since 1948. These two events clearly established the period in which we are now living as the season of the Lord’s return.
    The State of Israel

    The first is the re-establishment of the state of Israel, which occurred on May 14, 1948. Jesus singled out this event as the one that would signal His soon return.

    His prophecy is contained in the fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35) which He presented in His Olivet Discourse. The day before He delivered this speech, He had put a curse on a barren fig tree, causing it to wither (Matthew 21:18-19). This was a symbolic prophecy that God would soon pour out His wrath upon the Jewish people because of their spiritual barrenness in rejecting His Son.

    The next day, Jesus reminded His disciples of the fig tree. He said to watch for it to bloom again. In other words, He said watch for the rebirth of Israel. He indicated that when the fig tree blooms again, He would be at the gates of Heaven, ready to return (Matthew 24:33).

    Equally significant, He added an interesting observation: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34). What generation? The generation that sees the fig tree blossom.

    We are that generation. The fig tree has blossomed. Jesus is at the gates.
    The City of Jerusalem

    Matthew 24:33-34 New King James Version

    33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

    Matthew 24:18-19 New King James Version

    The Fig Tree Withered

    18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately, the fig tree withered away.

    Matthew 24:32-35 New King James Version

    The Parable of the Fig Tree

    32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that [a]it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.


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