There are two different schools of thought on the numbers of years the great tribulation will last. One group believed the great tribulation would last for seven years, while the other claimed it would only last for three and a half years. Let’s consider a couple of scriptures that will assist us to know which one of the schools of thought is correct.
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Daniel 7:21-22, 25
“And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever, that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Daniel 12:7
From the above scriptures, a time, and times and the dividing of time or a time, times and a half simply means time (1) + times (2) + a half (½) i.e. 1+2+½ = 3½ years
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
The above scripture refers to the seven years peace agreement that the Antichrist will sign with the world powers. There are seven days in a week, and each day of the week in this prophecy represents a year (see detailed teaching on the 70th week of Daniel in Chapter 12 of my book, The Return of The Bridegroom And The End of The World). If “one week” in the above scripture represents seven (7) years, then “the midst of the week” = 7÷2 years = 3½ years
“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.” Daniel 12:11
“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:2-3
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:6, 17
From the three scriptures above, “a thousand two hundred and ninety days” , “forty and two months or a thousand two hundred and threescore days” expressed in figures equals 3½ years as follows:
1,290 days ÷ 365 days = 3½ years
1,260 days ÷ 30 days = 42 months
42 months ÷ 12 months = 3½ years
From the above, we can conclude that, although the Antichrist’s government will last for seven (7) years, the great tribulation will only last for three and a half (3½) years. The Antichrist and his agents will use the first three and a half (3½) years for the promotion of global peace and safety (Daniel 11:21-24 and 1Thessalonians 5:1-3) and the second three and a half (3½) years to wage war against the tribulation saints.