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 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, beginning with the Attack on Jerusalem.
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, which was described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet, 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, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 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.
From these verses, we discover that the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, which will be announced by the First Three Trumpets, will also be announced by the Two Witnesses, who 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. The plagues of the Two Witnesses correspond with the plagues of the First Three Trumpets as follows:
– When the Two Witnesses shut up the heavens so that it will not rain, it will cause a worldwide drought when a third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass will be burned up, as announced by the sounding of the First Trumpet.
– When the Two Witnesses turn the waters into blood, a third of the creatures in the sea will die, and a third of the ships will be destroyed, as described in the sounding of the Second Trumpet.
– When the Two Witnesses call down plagues as often as they want, it will include a plague on a third of the rivers and the springs of water, as announced by the sounding of the Third Trumpet.
The corresponding events of the First Three Trumpets and the Two Witnesses tells us that plagues on the land, the sea, and the trees will be announced by the trumpets in Heaven and by the prophets on earth. In this way, the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees will be accompanied by the preaching of the Two Witnesses, who will call down the above plagues while warning the Inhabitants of the Earth of the Wrath of God to come. In this way, those on 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 for the blood that was shed by past generations, the Inhabitants of the Earth will attempt to strike back at the two prophets but anyone who tries to harm the Two Witnesses will be killed by the words that come from the prophets’ mouths.
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 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 world’s opposition to the ministry of the Two Witnesses will be led by a future Ruler, who is described elsewhere in the Scriptures as the antichrist but who the Revelation calls the Beast. (In the Revelation, the word antichrist is never used, instead, this person is called the Beast.) When the Two Witnesses have finished their testimony, the Beast will lead an Attack on Jerusalem and will kill 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
In these passages, the world’s hostility towards the Two Witnesses can be seen in how the Inhabitants of the Earth will gloat over the bodies of the two prophets and will celebrate their deaths by sending each other gifts. As previously mentioned, when the Two Witnesses are killed, it will not be an isolated event but will take place as part of a larger attack on Jerusalem itself as described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet. (We will read more about the Beast in later chapters.)
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 account of the Two Witnesses adds to our understanding of the events of the Six Trumpets as follows:
– Following the prayer of the Martyrs for judgment and revenge, the First Three Trumpets will be sounded that will announce the judgments that will harm the land, the sea, and the trees as a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth.
– To those on earth, the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees will be announced by two prophets, known as the Two Witnesses, who will call down the above plagues as a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth.
– The worlds opposition to the message of the two prophets will be led by a future world leader known as the Beast, who will Attack Jerusalem as described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet and will kill the two prophets.
– Following the Attack on Jerusalem, the Inhabitants of the Earth will kill the full number of God’s people in the events of the Great Tribulation.
– When the Two Witnesses are killed, and the full number of the brothers and sisters are slain in the Great Tribulation, the Wrath of God will poured out as announced by the Last Three Trumpets, beginning with the sounding of the Fifth Trumpet, which will announce the Plague of Locusts that have the sting of scorpions.
– The Plague of Scorpions will be followed by the Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur when a massive army from the north and east of Israel will challenge the rule of the Beast but will be defeated, and a third of mankind will be killed in the war.
The Seventh Trumpet
After giving the account of the Two Witnesses, 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 the Last Three Trumpets, which will be accompanied by Three Woes that will 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 passage, we know that the announcement that the Second Woe has passed is a reference to the events of the Sixth Trumpet. Accordingly, the next verses describe the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet which will announce the Reign of Christ on earth.
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.” And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
In these verses, we learn that the events of the Seventh Trumpet will usher in the reign of the Messiah on earth. We will read more about this event, which is commonly referred to as the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, in later chapters. In addition to announcing the Reign of Christ on Earth, the Seventh Trumpet will also for worn the Day of Judgment.
The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Rev. 11:18
The above events are a description of the Day of Judgment, which will follow the events of the Seventh Trumpet and the Reign of Christ on earth. We will read more about the Day of Judgment in later chapters.
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
In these passages, we read of the actual judgment that will bring about the Reign of Christ on earth; namely, a great earthquake and severe hailstorm. These are the same Great Earthquake and the Severe Hailstorm, which were first described in the events of the Sixth Seal 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
From the above passages, we learn that in the events of the Last Three Trumpets, we are given another description of the events that were described earlier through the opening of the Sixth Seal when the Wrath of God will be poured out.
Order of Events of the Last Days
Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal)
– 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s kingdom defeated (2nd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan cast out (3rd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
The Great Tribulation
The Wrath of God is Poured Out (6th. Seal)
– The Plague of Locusts (5th. Trumpet)
– The Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur (6th. Trumpet)
– The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm (7th. Trumpet)
Silence in Heaven (7th. Seal)