|3 1/2 Days
|Trees and Lampstands
Bodies and Ascension Earthquake
There are two basic views of the 1260 days: literal days (required by the futurist theory; there is no time for anything else) and one day = one year (based on Daniel 9:24-26, and the time it took for Messiah to come). If the days are literal, they are understood to be the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel (in which the days are years), and hence, in the futurist view, the first half of the Tribulation.
In the Historicist view, these are 1260 years, taken at various dates. The most common one is AD 533 - AD 1793, for reasons which will be detailed later.
3 1/2 Days
The 3 1/2 days are likewise understood either literally or prophetically. If literally, they are (by definition, almost) the second half of Daniel’s 70th week, and thus constitute the second half of the Tribulation period, also known as the “Great Tribulation.” This therefore ties this section back to the fifth seal of Revelation.
In the historicist view, these are three and half years -- in general, viewed as the three and a half years of “the Terror” in the French Revolution.
Trees and Lampstands
These figures are taken from Zechariah 4:2-14. In that passage, the lamps (there are seven on one lampstand there) are said to be the seven eyes of the Lord (signifying his omniscience). The two olive branches (trees here) are said to be the “anointed ones.” If you recall the fact that “Anointed One” is the meaning of Messiah (Hebrew) and Christ (Greek), and comes from the one on whom the Spirit rests, you can see that these are those who
• give light, and therefore see all, and
• are anointed (inspired? led by?) the Holy Spirit.
Bodies and Ascension
The literal interpretation is fairly obvious, and has been alluded to before this. The figurative interpretation is also fairly obvious; it means that while “dead” they are ineffective; but they not only come back to life but ascend -- which would mean they would have even more power than before. We shall see how the historicist view depends on this.
This could be either a literal earthquake, or a shaking among the people of the earth (as before).
Sackcloth, the symbol of mourning, is in fact intended to signify a time of trouble. Any interpretation fits this; the futurist holds that they prophesy during the Tribulation (no problem there); the historicist says during the Dark Ages.