The Two Witnesses and the Conclusion of the Seven Trumpets
In the previous chapter, the narrative of the Seven Trumpets was interrupted when John saw an angel holding a Little Scroll accompanied by the voice of Seven Thunders. In this chapter, the description of the events of the Seventh Trumpet continue to be delayed in order to provide John with more details concerning the judgments of the previous Six Trumpets. (To read about the Fist Six Trumpets, see Revelation Chapter 8) The re-telling of the events of the First Six Trumpets begins with a description of the Attack on Jerusalem, which was first explained in the sounding of the Fourth Trumpet.
I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.” Rev. 11:1-2
In the above verses, the Attack on Jerusalem and the ensuing occupation of the city is described as a time when the Gentiles will trample on the holy city for 42 months (3 ½ years). Prior to the Attack on Jerusalem, two prophets known as the Two Witnesses will prophecy in Jerusalem for 1,260 days, which also equals 3 ½ years.
And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days (3 ½ years), clothed in sackcloth. …They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Rev. 11:3, 6
Although we are not given the identity of the Two Witnesses, the timing of their ministry can be seen in the description of the powers that will be given to the two prophets. In the preceding verses, we are told that Two Witnesses will be given the power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain, to turn the waters into blood, and to strike the earth with plagues as often as they want. These are the same Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees that were first mentioned in the events of the Seven Seals, and that were further described in the sounding of the First Three Trumpets as follows:
– When the Two Witnesses shut up the heavens so that it will not rain, the ensuing drought will cause a third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass to be burned up as described in the events of the First Trumpet.
– The power given to the Two Witnesses to turn the waters into blood matches the description of the Second Trumpet when a third of the sea will be turned into blood.
– When the Two Witnesses call down plagues as often as they want, it will lead to the plague on the waters when the springs of waters will become bitter as described by the sounding of the Third Trumpet.
The above explanation adds to our understanding of the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees which will warn the Inhabitants of the Earth before the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven is revenged. In this account, we learn that the actual warning to those on earth will come from the mouths of the Two Witnesses who will preach in Jerusalem and call down the plagues.
The Purpose of the Ministry of the Two Witnesses
As described above, the purpose of the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees will be to provide an opportunity for the Inhabitants of the Earth to repent before the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven is revenged. We first read about the avenging of the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven in the events of the Fifth Seal, which is repeated below.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood? ”Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Rev. 6:9-11
Combining the above information, we learn that when the Martyrs in Heaven pray for judgment and revenge, God will send the Two Witnesses who will call down the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees as a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth before the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven for judgment and revenge is answered. In this way, the Inhabitants of the Earth will be given an opportunity to repent and to escape from the judgments that will avenge the blood of the martyrs that was shed by past generations.
Rather than repenting at the sight of the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees and the preaching of the two prophets, the Inhabitants of the Earth will strike back at the Two Witnesses, but anyone who tries to harm them will be killed by the words that come from the prophets mouths.
If anyone tries to harm them (the Two Witnesses), fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. Rev. 11:5
The account of the Two Witnesses has its comparison to the events of Moses and Aaron who testified to Pharaoh and who also became loathsome to the people of Egypt because of the plagues they called down. In the same way, the two prophets will be hated by the Inhabitants of the Earth, who will refuse to repent, and who will become enraged when the Two Witnesses call down the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees.
The Fourth Trumpet and the Rise of the Beast
Following the account of the Two Witnesses, we are next introduced to the Beast, which is the name given to the future ruler who will blaspheme God and persecute His people. Today, this ruler is more commonly known as the antichrist, although, in the Revelation, the word antichrist is never used. Instead, the Revelation calls this ruler the Beast. The rise of the Beast will come in opposition to the Two Witnesses and will culminate when the Beast goes up to Jerusalem and kills the two prophets.
Now when they (The Two Witnesses) have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified (Jerusalem). For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. Rev. 11: 7-10
When the Beast (the antichrist) enters Jerusalem and kills the Two Witnesses, it will not be an isolated event but will take place as part of a larger Attack on Jerusalem itself, which was first shown to John in the events of the Fourth Trumpet.
The Description of the Beast
The picture of a beast to describe a ruler is first introduced to us in the Old Testament through the prophet Daniel who was given a dream in which he saw four different beasts. In His dream, the four beasts represented four different kings and their kingdoms.
“These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.”
“Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.” Dan.7:23
In these verses, we learn that the imagery of a beast is used in the Scriptures to describe either a king or his kingdom. Accordingly, the description of the Beast who will kill the Two Witnesses represents both the king who will kill the two prophets and the kingdom over which he will rule.
Further descriptions of the Beast can be found in another prophecy of Daniel, which describes how a future world ruler will make a Seven-Year-Covenant with the nations and put an end to the worship of God in the temple .
The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Dan. 9:26-27
In these verses, the Ruler Who Will Come is a description of the Beast (the antichrist) who will attack Jerusalem and kill the Two Witnesses. The Seven-Year Covenant that the Beast will make with the nations will take place during the 3 ½ years that the two prophets will testify in Jerusalem, followed by the 3 ½ years that the Gentiles will trample on the holy city. Accordingly, when the Beast is said to put an end to sacrifice and offering at the Temple, in the middle of the seven, it is a reference to how the Beast will attack Jerusalem and kill the Two Witnesses after they have prophesied for 3 ½ years.
The Abomination that Causes Desolation
In Daniel’s description of the Attack on Jerusalem, the abomination that causes desolation refers to an idol that the Beast will place in the Temple and the unclean sacrifice that he will perform in the Holy place. This same prophecy was referred to by the Lord who warned the people that when they saw the Abomination that Causes Desolation standing in the temple, they were to flee to the mountains.
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress (Tribulation), unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. Matt. 24:15-2
From these passages we learn that before the Attack on Jerusalem takes place, the Beast will desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem. Accordingly, Jesus warned the people that when they saw this event take place, they were to flee to the mountains without stopping to gather any of their possessions. In addition, the Lord warned the people that following these events, the Great Distress (Tribulation) would begin. 
The Two Witnesses are Caught Up
The account of the ministry of the Two Witnesses ends with the description of how the breath of life will come into their dead bodies before they are called up to heaven.
But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. Rev. 11:11-13
The Seventh Trumpet
After providing more details to the events of the First Six Trumpets, the narrative of this chapter returns to the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet by telling us that the Second Woe has passed.
The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. Rev. 11:14
The passing of the Second Woe is a reference to how, earlier, we read that the Last Three Trumpets would be accompanied by Three Woes that would strike the Inhabitants of the Earth.
As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” Rev. 8:13
Based on the above passages, we know that the announcement that the Second Woe has passed refers to the passing of the events of the First Six Trumpets. Accordingly, this announcement is then followed by the next verse, which describes the events of the Seventh Trumpet.
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 11:15
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. Rev. 11:19
When the Seventh Trumpet is sounded, there will be an earthquake and severe hailstorm, followed by the Reign of Christ on Earth. This is the same Great Earthquake and the Severe Hailstorm, which was first described in the events of the Seven Seals as repeated below.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” Rev. 6:12-17
The fact that both the Sixth Seal and the Seventh Trumpet describe the events of the Battle of Armageddon and the Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm, which will defeat God’s enemies, corresponds with how John was, first, given a general description of the events of the Last Days through the opening of the Seven Seals and then provided with more details to these same events through the sounding of the Seven Trumpets.
The description of the events of the Seventh Trumpet completes this chapter’s review of the Seven Trumpets as follows:
– Following the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven, the Two Witnesses will preach in Jerusalem, for 3 1/2 years, and will call down the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees as described by the sounding of the First Three Trumpets.
– When the Two Witnesses begin preaching in Jerusalem, the Beast (the antichrist) will form a Seven-Year-Covenant with the nations.
– At the end of the 1,260 days (3 ½ years), and in the middle of the Seven-Year-Covenant, the Beast will go up to Jerusalem to offer an unclean sacrifice at the Temple (the Abomination that Causes Desolation). Those who heed the words of the Lord will flee from Jerusalem when they see this event take place.
– Following the desecration of the Temple, Jerusalem will be set on fire in a sudden attack as described by the Fourth Trumpet. During the Attack on Jerusalem, the Two Witnesses will be killed by the Beast.
– Following the Attack on Jerusalem, the Gentiles will occupy Jerusalem during the second 3 ½ years of the Seven-Year-Covenant, and the Great Tribulation, which has never been equaled, will begin.
– After the full number of saints have been killed in the Great Tribulation, the condition given to the Martyrs in Heaven, concerning their brothers and sisters, who would be killed, will have been fulfilled, and the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets will be sounded that will announce the judgments that will avenge the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven.
– When the Seventh Trumpet is sounded, a Severe Hailstorm and Great Earthquake will strike the enemies of God and loud voices will announce the Reign of Christ on earth.
 Ex. 5:19-21
 The word antichrist is found in 1 & 2nd Jn. where it is used to describe the future Ruler or anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ (1 Jn. 2:18-22; 2 Jn. 1:7).
 When we read that the Beast will offer up an unclean sacrifice at the Temple (the Abomination that Causes Desolation), it seems to imply that the Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. (Currently, there is no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem; the previous Temple having been destroyed by the Romans is 70 A.D.) This tells us that the first sign to keep watch for, before the final events of the Last Days begin, is the re-emergence of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
 The word that is translated as Distress in these verses is the Greek word thlipsis (SEC 2347), which is also translated as Tribulation in the following verse. And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation (thlipsis SEC 2347) ; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev. 7:14
 Rev. 9:13-18