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George Gifford on the 3 ½ years of Revelation 12

June 10, 2011

George Gifford’s interpretation of the 1,260 days and 42 months of Revelation 11 was presented in this post. Below are some additional comments by him, from his Sermons on Revelation. On the 1,260 days of Revelation 12:6, the period for which the woman is nourished in the wilderness, he wrote: [1]

We have now in the last place the time set forth, that is, how long they shall feed her in the wilderness, even a thousand two hundred, and threescore days. This is the same number of days, that he said in the former chapter, his two witnesses should prophecy. Reckoning thirty days to the month, it ariseth unto two and forty months, in which he said, the Gentiles should tread under foot the holy city: and two and forty months make three years and a half. And therefore he saith afterward in this chapter, that the woman fled into the wilderness, unto her place where she is fed, a time, times, and half a time. All these times of days, and months, and years meeting in one, the Papists, as we noted before, will needless understand not mythically, but literally for the space of three years and an half, as we in common use do take years. And thereupon they infer, that Antichrist shall reign but three years and an half: but the Pope hath reigned divers hundred years (say they) and then cannot he be Antichrist. If they will needless take it literally, then let them shew how the Church in all countries of the world, shall for those three years and an half be fed by two men. The Church shall be fed in the wilderness, and the two witnesses shall feed her all that time of three years and an half, for so long they prophecy, and so long the woman is fed in the wilderness. Can two men be in all countries at once? If they will say there shall be more then two, then according to the letter the things are imperfectly set down. For those that prophecy so long, are they which all the while do feed the Church. The two witnesses shall feed her in the wilderness, that is, in all nations of the world, and must needs therefore be more than two. Even so the certain number of days, is put for a number indefinite, even for the whole time that the Church shall be persecuted by the dragon, and not for three years and an half. Let no man think this strange: for can any be so foolish as to imagine, that of every one of the twelve tribes of Israel there should be saved just twelve thousand? But of this no further.

On the time, times and a half in verse 14, Gifford wrote: [2]

The time of her abode in the wilderness was before numbered by days, as a thousand, two hundred and threescore days, and here he saith, a time, times, and half a time. Touching this time we have spoken before how mythically it is to be taken, and not as the Papists, which apply it unto three years and an half, as years are taken in common use, and so would prove that AntiChrist shall reign but so long. Our Saviour did in his own person preach three years and an half, and therefore some do interpret that that time is used here to signify the whole time that the Church shall be fed in the wilderness of this world. And indeed we saw in the former chapter that the two Prophets do prophecy even so long. So long also he saith there, the holy city shall be trodden under foot of the Gentiles. Then all the time that the Church shall be persecuted & vexed in this world, so long yet she shall be fed.

References

1. George Gifford. Sermons vpon the whole booke of the Reuelation. Set forth by George Giffard, Preacher of the Word at Mauldin in Essex. Richard Field and Felix Kinston, 1599. No. 24.

2. George Gifford. Ibid., No. 26.

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