Bible Question:

First of all, I thank God for your website and I pray for you and your ministry. My question deals with the time frame of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. You state that they will minister in the latter half of the tribulation. Can you give me a basis for this? I always thought that they would prophesy in the first half and out of their ministry would come the 144,000 of chapter 7. Once again, may God richly bless you for this tremendous ministry!

Bible Answer:

The two witnesses who appear in Revelation 11:3-14 perform their ministry in the last half of the Tribulation. There are several reasons we believe this. They first appear in Revelation 11:3.

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. Revelation 11:3  (NASB)

First it is important to notice that their ministry lasts for only 1,260 days, which is 42 months, or 3.5 years. There is a study at the site entitled the “Illusion of Freedom” which you may find helpful. The study describes the power and identity of the two witnesses of Revelation 11.

Revelation - Scenes In Heaven

Ministry Occurs In Last Half of the Tribulation

The primary key to determining when the ministry of the two witnesses starts in the Tribulation is found in Revelation11:2, 7 and 15-18. Verse 2 tells us that the nations of the world will be allowed to trample the holy city for forty-two months, which is 3.5 years. Zechariah 14:2 prophesied that this would occur. According to Jesus this occurs during the great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-28), which occurs before the Second Coming of Christ (Matthew 24:29-31). Daniel 9:27 reveals the tribulation will occur in the last week of Daniel’s 70 weeks. Since each of the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are seven year periods this means that the Tribulation is a 7 year period. Since Jesus refers to the Abomination of Desolation in Matthew 24:15 and to the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:21, this means the two witnesses minister in the last half of the Tribulation.

tribulation period

Antichirst Appears In The Middle of the Tribulation

In Revelation 11:7 we are told that the beast who comes out of the abyss will be allowed to kill them. This beast is the Antichrist (Revelation 13) who is empowered by the dragon. The dragon descends from heaven (Revelation 9:1) and is the angel over the abyss (Revelation 9:11). The Antichrist appears in the middle of the Tribulation (Revelation 13:1) and becomes violent in the last half of the second half of the Tribulation (Revelation 13:2-7). This implies that the two witnesses die in the last half of the Tribulation.

Revelation 11:15-18 Refers To the Second Coming of Christ

When we come to v. 15-18, we discover that at the end of the Tribulation Jesus returns and defeats the armies of the Antichrist. Jesus will completely deny any freedom to the Antichrist and the world forces. Jesus will destroy anyone who comes to fight Him.

Conclusion:

Maybe the most significant explanation for the two witnesses appearing in the last half of the Tribulation is that the expressions 1,260 days, 42 months, and 3.5 years as well as “times, time, and half a time” are only used in Revelation for the last half of the Tribulation. It is also important to notice that the only reference to the first part of the tribulation is the first seal (Revelation 6:1-2). The rest of Revelation is the last half. The first part of the Tribulation is all peace! The study in Daniel 9:27 may be helpful. What occurs in the second half is anything but peace. Then Jesus comes and establishes real peace. Do you think that Jesus likes peace? Do you think that Jesus loves righteousness? The answer is yes, and He loves His godly ones.

Reference Links:

Prophecy of Daniels' 70 Weeks
Will the two witnesses appear in the first half of the tribulation?