Numbers in Revelation are used in a symbolic way.
|times and half a time|
||three and a half days|
Two is the number of witness. The disciples were sent out by twos (Mark 6:7). Two witnesses are required to establish truth (Deu 17:6, John 8:17, 2 Cor 13:1). Examples in Revelation are the beast out of the earth who has two horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon (13:11). He is the false prophet. However the two witnesses are the true prophets of God (11:3).
Four is used to specify the whole world, as in the four directions of the compass. Examples are: the four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth (7:1 see also 20:8). The great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language (four-fold description), see also Rev 5:9 11:9 13:7 14:6 the four-fold description indicates that these people come from all over the earth.
Six is man’s number because man was created on the sixth day. The most obvious use of this number is in the notorious passage containing 666.
(Rev 13:18 NIV) This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.
The number seven is used 55 times in Revelation. It usually means fullness or completeness as in seven days of the week. God rested on the seventh day. Examples abound: seven churches, seven trumpets, seven seals, seven bowls, seven eyes etc etc.
Ten is another number that indicates completeness. Examples: ten days, ten horns and ten kings.
This indicates God working in the world through man as in the twelve tribes of Israel and twelve apostles.
The woman of 12:1 with a crown of twelve stars on her head represents the Old Testament people of God who bring forth the Messiah (cf. Gen 37:9).
We have the new Jerusalem with twelve gates and on the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (21:12).
The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21:14).
Both these indicate that the New Jerusalem has saints from both the old and new testaments. Also associated with the New Jerusalem are the numbers 144 (12*12) and 12,000 which are multiples of twelve.
The 144,000 (12*12*1000) represents the church on the earth (7:4) and in heaven (14:1).
1,260 days, 42 months, time, times and half a time, three and a half days
These numbers are either three and a half years or three and a half days or in other words a half week (of years). When these periods are used in Revelation they indicate either persecution or protection.
The idea of protection comes from the three and a half years that Elijah was cared for by God (1 Kings 17:1-14, 1 Kings 19:1-8, Jam 5:17). He was fed by ravens and the widows cruze of oil did not run out. He was supernaturally nourished by God during the drought on the ungodly. In Daniel 7:25 the 3.5 years seems to refer to persecution and in Dan 12:7 it seems to refer to a long time of persecution.
(Dan 7:25 NIV) He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
(Dan 12:7 NIV) The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”