The Book of Revelation (part 21)
September 23, 2020
The Book of Revelation (part 21)
The Two Witnesses and the Second Coming of Christ
We are going through the book of Revelation verse by verse on Wednesday nights. Our world is changing. Jesus’ return is soon! I want you to be informed as to what the scriptures have to say about His Second coming and what we should be doing to prepare for that day!
The word Revelation in Greek is – Apocalypsis – an unveiling…God is unveiling the future for us.
The book of Revelation is God coming to repossess the earth that rightfully belongs to Him by judging nations, men, and the demonic hosts of hell that work with Lucifer to hold the earth in bondage to darkness and rebellion.
**The book of Revelation is God cleansing the earth of all contamination resulting from the fall of man and bringing it back to its pristine condition enjoyed before Adam’s sin.
Revelation 4 shows God as the creator, owner, and sustainer of all things. The Sovereign. The Almighty. He alone is worthy to bring fair judgments and justice into a fallen world.
Revelation 5 shows God with a scroll in His right hand, the hand of authority. The scroll is God’s title deed to the earth, He is the earth’s rightful owner and is preparing to take it back from His enemy Satan, who took the authority over it from Adam and Eve when they sinned.
In Revelation 6, we looked at the opening of 6 of the 7 seals on the scroll on God’s right hand.
Revelation 7 is a parenthesis between the 6th and 7th seals, showing God’s protection of Jews before the Day of the Lord wrath begins, and shows the raptured saints in heaven before God’s wrath is poured out.
The rapture of the church occurs after the 6th seal is opened and the cosmic disturbances happen in Revelation 6, beginning with verse 12. The rapture ends this period of severe terror by antiChrist, and prepares the way for the 7th seal to be opened and the Day of the Lord to begin.
Revelation 8 is the beginning of the Day of the Lord, which is when the wrath of God is being poured out.
Understand that there is a clear pattern or sequence of events that are transpiring in Revelation.
The scroll in God’s right hand has been unsealed. The church of the Lord Jesus will be here for the breaking of the first 6 seals on the scroll as mentioned in Revelation 6.
But the church is taken out before the 7th seal is broken. The 7th seal opens the scroll in God’s hand. The obvious contents of the scroll are 7 trumpets which begin the wrath of God unleashed on those without Christ who follow Satan’s plans. After the 7 trumpets are 7 bowls containing the final outpouring of the wrath of God.
In Revelation 8 and 9 are the Trumpet Judgements .
First Trumpet: Vegetation affected
Second Trumpet: The Seas Struck – Salt water affected
Third Trumpet: The Waters Struck – Fresh water affected
Fourth Trumpet: The Heavens Struck
Fifth Trumpet – Locusts from the bottomless pit – demonic forces attack people
Sixth Trumpet – Angels from the Euphrates – fallen angels and demonic forces attack people
Some believe that the time period of the trumpet judgments is about two years or so. It’s really hard to know for sure. We do know that the antiChrist rules for 3½ years and then turns against Israel. From that time to the blowing of the last or 7th trumpet is 3½ years.
The Great Tribulation (the period of intense persecution right after the AntiChrist turns against Israel) will last for a year to a year and a half. No one is quite sure. Just think about this so that when the antiChrist appears with the peace agreement with Israel, you will have an idea of how long we have before the rapture of the church.
Revelation 10 is another interlude (pause) between events and begins a series of events that will culminate with the return of Jesus!
An angel, the Lord Jesus, appears and a scroll is opened which contains what will happen in Revelation 11 with two witnesses, the 2nd coming of Christ at the blowing of the 7th trumpet, and then the bowl judgments that will cleanse the earth during the 75 extra days after the 70th week of Daniel is completed.
75 additional days
After the 7 year period, there are 75 additional days added for God to cleanse the earth and prepare for the Millennial reign of Jesus. 30 of those days will be for the 7 bowl judgments to quickly bring the AntiChrist and his armies to defeat, and then 45 of those days are an interim between the battle of Armageddon and the 1000 year rule of Christ.
Daniel 12:11-13 (NKJV)
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. (12) Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. (13) But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.
The time period between the antiChrist desecrating the rebuilt temple and his defeat at Armageddon is 3-1/2 years plus 3O days.
Jesus returns when the 7th trumpet is blown and is here during the bowl judgments. He goes back and brings believers with Him from Heaven to help Him with the last battle (Armageddon).
Today – Revelation 11
The events of Revelation 11 are contained in the scroll in the angel’s hand in Revelation 10.
These events include the measuring of the temple, the desecration of Jerusalem, information about the ministry of the two witnesses, and the blowing of the 7th trumpet, which is the 2nd coming of Christ to earth.
Revelation 11, 12, and 13 happen during the last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week (typically called the tribulation).
The two witnesses appear and minister during the last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week.
Also during the last 3½ years, a remnant of Israelites will flee to a wilderness area.
(See Revelation 12:6.)
Satan will empower the antiChrist during the last 3½ years of the 7-year period.
(see Revelation 13:3-5)
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.
Notice in verse 1 that John measured the Temple and the altar. This leads us to believe that the Jewish temple will be rebuilt during the last 7 years before Christ’s return.
But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.
In Verse 2, John was told not to measure the court outside the temple. This leads us to think that Jerusalem may be divided along with the Temple Mount in an effort to bring about a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. This area was given to the Gentiles.
Jerusalem will be under the rule of other nations during this time. This is called the time of the Gentiles.
Luke 21:24 (NLT)
They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.
Just as other nations such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome ruled over Jerusalem and Israel in history, so during this time the antiChrist and his kingdom will for a time rule over a part of Jerusalem.
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
During the last 3½ years of the 7-year period, the antiChrist will severely persecute Jews and Christians. During this time, the two witnesses come on the scene with the tremendous power of God to bring judgment and to represent God in a very dark time.
During this time, the Day of the Lord will occur. The rapture of the church will occur prior to it.
The sackcloth denotes that they are ministering in humility, urging repentance to the nations of the world.
Listen to this description of that time from the prophet Joel:
Joel 1:13-20 (NLT)
Dress yourselves in burlap [sackcloth] and weep, you priests! Wail, you who serve before the altar! Come, spend the night in burlap, you ministers of my God. For there is no grain or wine to offer at the Temple of your God. 14 Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Bring the leaders and all the people of the land into the Temple of the LORD your God, and cry out to Him there. 15 The day of the LORD is near, the day when destruction comes from the Almighty. How terrible that day will be! 16 Our food disappears before our very eyes. No joyful celebrations are held in the house of our God. 17 The seeds die in the parched ground, and the grain crops fail. The barns stand empty, and granaries are abandoned. 18 How the animals moan with hunger! The herds of cattle wander about confused, because they have no pasture. The flocks of sheep and goats bleat in misery. 19 LORD, help us! The fire has consumed the wilderness pastures, and flames have burned up all the trees. 20 Even the wild animals cry out to you because the streams have dried up,
and fire has consumed the wilderness pastures.
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. (5) And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. (6) These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
Why are two olive trees and two lampstands mentioned here?
Zechariah 4:1-6 (NKJV)
Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. 3 Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” 4 So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” 6 So he answered and said to me:
“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the LORD of hosts.”
Here in Zechariah, these lampstands and olive trees most probably referred to Zerubbabel, a leader and governor, and Joshua the high priest. They were seeking to rebuild the temple in their day. Perhaps they are saying that nothing can be accomplished without the moving of the Holy Spirit. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.
The scripture does not reveal the identity of the two witnesses, but we have some clues. It was Moses and Elijah who appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew.
Matthew 17:1-3 (NKJV)
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Many believe that they could be Moses and Elijah. If so, they could represent the Law through Moses and the Prophets through Elijah.
Moses was buried by God on Mount Nebo, and Satan fought with an angel about his body (Jude 9). Remember that Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus in Matthew 17. Moses and Elijah performed miracles similar to the 2 witnesses, leading us to think that it may be them.
The two witnesses are sharing the gospel and compelling people to repentance during the terrible reign of the antiChrist. It provides quite a stark contrast.
Notice what the antiChrist is doing while these two witnesses are ministering:
Revelation 13:5-7 (NLT)
Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. 6 And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.
The two witnesses call fire down from heaven just like Elijah did:
2 Kings 1:10-12 (NLT)
But Elijah replied to the captain, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and killed them all. 11 So the king sent another captain with fifty men. The captain said to him, “Man of God, the king demands that you come down at once.” 12 Elijah replied, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!” And again the fire of God fell from heaven and killed them all.
They had the power to stop rain like Elijah did:
1 Kings 17:1 (NLT)
Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
They also had the power to turn water into blood and to produce all sorts of plagues like Moses did in Exodus 7-11!
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
The beast here is the antiChrist. The bottomless pit refers to the demonic forces that control him. This is where the locusts came from that attacked people when the trumpets were blown. This is also where Satan will be imprisoned during the Millennium.
They were only able to be killed when their ministry was completed.
And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
When they have concluded ministry, the antiChrist will kill them, and leave their bodies in the streets for 3 days for all the world to see.
The great city refers to Babylon the great. Here Jerusalem is equated with Babylon the great.
Revelation 17:18 (NKJV)
And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.
Revelation 18:9-10 (NKJV)
The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
Sodom refers to immorality, and Egypt refers to slavery. This shows what happens to the cities where the antiChrist is allowed to rule with his lawlessness activities.
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. (10) And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
This shows the utter depravity of the people during this time. Leaving the dead bodies on the streets is an act of great sacrilege to a Jew.
The consensual crowds that are excited that the two witnesses are dead show the deep persecution during this time of any person that has to do with God. It shows the absolute rebellion of the human heart towards God.
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
Three-and-a-half days reminds us of Jesus being raised from the dead after 3½ days.
The breath of life from God may hint at a spiritual resurrection of Israel that was prophesied by Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 37:5-6 (NKJV)
Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel 37:9-10 (NKJV)
Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’” (10) So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Commentators believe that this may be the beginning of a revival among the Jews as many during this time embrace Jesus as Messiah.
And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
The two witnesses are raptured to heaven to be with the church and the believers from the OT. A tremendous earthquake occurs. This is the very end of the 7 years closing this age.
In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The partying came to an abrupt end as an earthquake rattled the city, with many being killed.
The rest being afraid and giving glory to God is another reference to many Jews coming to Christ during this time.
The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
Revelation 8:13 (NKJV)
And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
The 1st woe was the locusts from the bottomless pit attacking those who took the mark of the beast. (Revelation 9:12)
The 2nd woe contains the killing of the two witnesses, their rising from death and rapture, and the great earthquake that kills thousands.
The 3rd woe comes with the blowing of the 7th trumpet and the bowl judgments being poured out in Revelation 16.
Then, Jesus returns with the blowing of the 7th trumpet!
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
This is the end of the 7 years of Daniel’s 70th week. Here Jesus returns and begins the process of cleansing the earth.
Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV)
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Revelation 20:4-6 (NKJV)
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Revelation 12-19 goes through the last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week and includes the 75 extra days mentioned in Daniel 12:11-12, when the bowl judgments are poured out and the earth is cleansed and prepared for the 1000-year rule of Christ.
(16) And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.
These are the elders seen in Revelation 4:3-4. They are worshipping as the reign of Jesus begins on earth.
19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
The Ark of the Covenant was set in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and then in the temple. Now, that same ark is seen in heaven.
The covenant that God has made with His people is emphasized with the Ark of the Covenant seen in heaven.
Revelation 16:18-21 (NKJV)
And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
Jesus has come back, and now the earth is into the 75 remaining days of God’s cleansing the earth
Daniel 12:11-13 (NKJV)
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. 13 “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”
The time period between the antiChrist desecrating the rebuilt temple and his defeat at Armageddon is 3½ years plus 3O days.
Jesus returns when the 7th trumpet is blown, and is here during the bowl judgments. He goes back and brings believers with Him from Heaven to help Him with the last battle (Armageddon).
During this time the bowl judgments occur, and the earth is prepared for the 1000-year rule of Christ!
1. Instead of worrying about what is happening now, we should be excited that Jesus is returning and sharing Jesus with those around us.
2. We should stay aware that God is sovereign and is ultimately in control of all things.
3. We should pray daily for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done!