“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
There will appear difficult days for all the believers that are God’s temple on earth just as it has been since the beginning of Christian era. The gentiles (unbelievers) will continue their pursuit of gaining precedence over them. God too will hand over some of the works and good deeds of believers into their hands to destroy them (ref. “court outside the temple” in v.1). In the process they may also obstruct the commencing of righteous deeds. On the other hand, God will give complete authority (v. 5, 6) to His two witnesses for themselves even as He has been doing since the beginning of the 1260 days. His two witnesses are His prophets, saints as well as the small and the great that fear His name (v. 18). God causes this whole scenario so that He brings judgment upon the wicked and defeat to Satan from time to time. A further knowledge is that God never lacks witnesses throughout the Christian phase.
Sackcloth depicts troublesome times, times of need and help. His witnesses keep seeking God’s forgiveness, mercy, power, counsel and righteousness and hence, also receive authority. The 1260 days, also the 42 months (30days x 42 = 1260 days), represent the Christian era or what is called “short time” (Rev. 12:12).
This above verse simply does not point to the events of the past, but the ongoing process of God’s will toward His Kingdom and the last day. When God gave the apostle John this vision, He wanted him to see and deliver by what has already taken place that which will continue.
What of the number 1260? It is a mystery number – not confined to human calculation – whose true identity or time frame is with the Lord. By merely looking at it we understand its allegorical nature. Nonetheless, what’s more pivotal is the substance of that period. It gives penitent believers great encouragement, courage and sense of security.