THREE AND ONE HALF YEARS
There are many examples of how various time frames in the Bible are seen multiple times throughout scripture. Most of us would know that the ministry that Jesus, Yeshua wrought upon the earth was a span of about three and half years. In John's Gospel, Jesus attended at least three annual Passover feasts (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55-57). In fact, He probably had attended another Passover prior to the three other occasions mentioned in John. By the time of the first Passover mentioned in John 2:13, Jesus had already been baptized, spent 40 days being tempted in the wilderness, and had started preaching in various towns and villages. So a time frame of three and one half years for His ministry is probably pretty accurate.
We also have the account found in Daniel that mentions the time period of three and one half years. We know of this event as it pin-points the length of time when the abomination of desolation will occur. And this event that is described here below becomes even more important as other individuals also take their places during this time frame of three and one half years.
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. Daniel 12
Furthermore, we see that the figure of the “beast” is also allowed a certain time frame to continue his display of fury and to wreck havoc upon the earth.
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. Rev. 13:5
It is amazing how various time sequences can be noted while studying the scriptures. We know from reading many accounts concerning the two witnesses that are mentioned in Revelation, that they preach and prophesy for a period of 1260 days or three and half years.
3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. Rev. 11
To further explore how the scriptures unfold to document these findings, we see that after they die, that they come back to life after three and one half days. Then they are taken up into heaven immediately after this. Of course we should know of someone else who was resurrected after three and one half days.
9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. 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. Rev. 11
Many scholars have speculated about who these two witnesses actually are, but in looking at various scriptures, it becomes quite clear who they actually are. For we see many different places in scripture that document who they are. In Zechariah 4 we see this event mentioned as well:
3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. Zechariah 4
We see in the text that if anyone comes to harm them, that fire pours from their mouth to consume them. They have power to shut up the sky so that no rain may fall during the time of their prophesying. And what is the time frame of their prophesying? Well, it is stated in Rev. 11 as 1260 days. Which prophet during the Old Testament had called upon the Lord to keep it from raining?
Now Elijah the Tishbite was a prophet from the settlers in Gilead. “I serve the LORD, the God of Israel,” Elijah said to Ahab. “As surely as the LORD lives, no rain or dew will fall during the next few years unless I command it.” 1 Kings 17:1
Again, in the book of James we see this reiterated in James 5:
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. James 5
And the use of the word ‘fire’ becomes important as well when we view the biblical text. For what prophet had called down fire from heaven to destroy those who had come against him? We find the same mention of the word ‘fire’ used in the context of the prophet calling it down from heaven to destroy those who came against him that was originally cited in the Rev. 11 text as well as from Zechariah 4.
5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.10 So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.”And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. And he answered and said to him: “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly!’” 12 So Elijah answered and said to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
13 Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: “Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight.” 2 Kings 1
It is truly amazing how the various puzzle pieces found in the different books of the Old and the New Testament, find a way of fitting together examples like these. Here again, we see a time frame that is substantiated in the account of the prophet Elijah as he commands the heavens to not allow it to rain for three and one years. And here again echoed in the book of Rev. 11 where he along with one other prophet, will prophesy for a period of three and one half years.
Now we are told that one of the witnesses has the power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And yet again, this same description is seen in the book of Zechariah 4:
..And they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. Zechariah 4:6
Well, I wonder who that individual could possibly be? As we look at these accounts we are drawn to one place in particular that mentions this event:
“And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.”Ex. 7:20
But we can go even further into a deeper understanding of these two individuals who are marked to come back during the last days. For it becomes important to note how both of these two individuals came to die, or else were translated up, as seen in the life of Elijah. (2 Kings 2:11)
And to further examine the life of Moses we know that his burial place was not known, and perhaps this was so that God could keep his body safely until a future time when he would fulfill his final calling as one of the two witnesses. In the book of Jude we see how the angel Michael contended with the devil over the body of Moses.
9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’ Jude 9
Many years later, we then have the account of the transfiguration as documented in Matthew’s account found in chapter 17. Here we know that Jesus had led some of his disciples up into a high mountain to then show them something.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”Matt. 17
It’s interesting that Jesus would have allowed these three disciples to see these two patriarchal figures in the heavenlies. And yet what would the purpose have been? We certainly don’t know for certain, but we can surmise that they came and yet would come again at the appointed time chosen for them at the end of the age.