Leviticus has the most numbers of any book of the Bible, containing the dimensions of the tabernacle. The book with the second most numbers in it is Revelation. Surely if God intended us to count on a closing 7 years period called the great tribulation it would seem of all books in which He would speak of it would be the Revelation. But no! It's not there! However many, perhaps even if all of the 3 1/2 year periods pertain to the same period only repeatedly mentioned, ALL, I repeat ALL these numbers were actually mentioning not 7 but 3 1/2 year periods. That is a fact. (It was 7 or 8 times mentioned if you assume the "time, times and half a time" is included.)
The period of three years and six months was mentioned by Jesus:
And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
It is also mentioned by James:
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
In the New Testament, Elijah seems to be symbolic of the spirit of God; the prophecy about Elijah in Malachi, Jesus said, was fulfilled already, which his disciples understood to mean John the Baptist fulfilled Malachi's prophecy about Elias, which he did. The spirit of God was present in Jesus too.
Jesus said about John,
And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
The last bit is a quote from Malachi 3:1. When the spirit was given to the disciples, this was the same spirit the prophets had, the spirit of Christ. [1 Peter 1:11] John said, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." [Revelation 19:10]
In the days of Elijah, the Israelite King Ahab built a temple for Baal in Samaria. He married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Sidonians. She had the prophets of God killed, but Elijah was one who escaped. Elijah prayed that there would be no rain in Israel for three years and six months, as Jesus said.
The three and a half years of no rain in Israel, when Elijah remained in hiding, may be a type, or a figure, of the "time, times and a half" mentioned in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7, where it represents the age of the church, during which period, it is dominated by a sinister "little horn." This horn has "eyes like the eyes of a man," which pictures a human viewpoint on things, as opposed to a divine one. The same time period is mentioned in Revelation 12:14. The two witnesses in Revelation chapter 11 shut heaven, as Elijah did, so that it does not rain. The "rain" is a symbol of God's word, which is compared to rain, see Isaiah 55:10-11 for example. The famine in Israel in the days of Elijah pictures the period of the church's ministry, in which no further revelation ("rain") is given. Elijah was sustained during the famine in the house of a gentile woman, in Sarepta, a city of Sidon. She was a widow, whose son Elijah revived. Some consider her to be a figure of the church. (Christ was revived from the grave.) The oil and meal did not fail in her house during the famine; oil is also a symbol of the spirit. Elijah eventually turned the people of Israel to the true God, and there was a great rain, after the sacrifice on Carmel. Because of Elijah, 450 prophets of Baal were killed.
The spirit of Elijah, that passed on to his successor Elisha [2 Kings 2:15], in the New Testament, is identified with the spirit of God; the prophecy about Elijah in Malachi is fulfilled by the work of the Spirit in the church. So, why does John refer to a period of 1,260 days in Revelation 12:6, and "a time, times and a half" in Revelation 12:14? These are the remaining time of the church, the last half of "seven times." I suggest it is the final "seven times" in Leviticus 26, when God remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and becomes reconciled to his people. And "seven times" is equivalent to the last "week" in the 70 weeks prophecy, in Daniel 9, in which Christ "confirms the covenant" with his church. (A "week" is "seven times.")
The "time, time, times and a half" is the last half of that "week." The first half of the week was the ministry of Jesus to the Jews, that seems to span about three and a half years. I take the last half week to be a symbolic three and a half years. This cannot be literal, as it is represented in three different ways; 1,290 days, 1,335 days, and 1,260 days. None of these numbers correspond to a literal three and a half years. And how can the days in a literal three and a half years be three different numbers?