After what the world endured following the death and resurrection of the two witnesses (read about it HERE), we now find ourselves in heaven. Great rejoicing ensues as an angel blows the seventh and last 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.’ “
Revelation 11:15 NIV
Now we enter a time we’ve been waiting for since the Old Testament prophets. The mystery of God is finished, and the curtain has been pulled back. God’s glorious reign has begun. Then the twenty-four seated elders fall from their thrones and onto their faces to worship 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. 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.
Revelation 11:17-18 NIV
If you have ever prayed for justice, this is when that prayer will be answered. During God’s reign, all will be made right. The dead will receive judgment, and those who would destroy the earth will be destroyed. But His servants and prophets, and those who worship and revere God, will receive rewards.
Does this prayer of the elders happen now?
No, this prayer is a declaration of what is still to come. However, God’s reign on the earth begins at the blowing of the seventh trumpet.
Another great mystery is revealed.
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.
Remember the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark? Although complete fiction, it has always fascinated people to wonder what happened to the Ark of the Covenant. Now verse 19 solves that mystery. As we’re ushered into God’s heavenly temple, we see that the Ark, at some point, has been transported to heaven. Its glorious holiness and power is underscored by lightning and thunder on the earth, followed by an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.
But what happens on the earth at the blowing of the seventh trumpet?
We’ve just read about what happens in heaven, but Chapter 12 will show us what happens on the earth. We will also explore the deep symbolism of the woman and the dragon. This will be truly fascinating. Don’t miss our next post!
Dear Lord God, we rejoice along with the twenty-four elders that the reign of You and Your Son Jesus begins at the blowing of the last trumpet. The great mysteries of God, curtained away from our understanding for thousands of years, are now revealed in all their glory. Thank you that the days of reward and punishment will come in Your timing, for You are a just and holy God. In Jesus’s Name we pray, Amen.
“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.’ “
Revelation 11:1 NKJV
The Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple
In Chapter 11, our attention is focused on Jerusalem. The first thing we see is that a temple again exists on the Temple Mount, Mt. Moriah. We know the Mosque of Omar presently sits there, which is holy to the Muslim faith. Much debate has swirled around the how-can-this-be of a Jewish temple sharing real estate atop this same mountain. Regardless of how it will happen, we know with certainty from scripture that it will be established and in operation during the time of these two witnesses.
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.
Revelation 11:2 NKJV
Only the holy place is measured because the outer court represents the sinful world, referred to as the Gentiles. This tells us that the Jews will once again live out their Old Testament Laws through worship and animal sacrifice, lasting three-and-a-half years. But in relation to the seven-year timeline of the Tribulation, when does this happen? We’ll answer this question at the end of today’s post.
The Two Witnesses Preach God’s Word
‘And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’ These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 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. 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.
Revelation 11:3-6 NKJV
These two men (thought to be Elijah and Moses) are God’s anointed witnesses who will be the evangelists during this period of the Tribulation. God empowers them through the Holy Spirit to protect themselves from harm. Can you imagine seeing fire shooting from their mouths to kill their enemies? They will also have power to cause a worldwide drought, turn waters into blood, and produce all kinds of plagues as often as they like. Throughout the entire book of Revelation, we see God’s mercy going forth in the midst of judgment, giving every person another chance to be saved and miss the final judgment of the Lake of Fire.
The Sinful World Rejoices
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 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. 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. 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.
Revelation 11:7-10 NKJV
Pay special attention to verse 7. Outside of the rider on the white horse (read about it HERE), this is the first reference to the beast, who is the Anti-Christ. Neither Satan nor any person is allowed to touch the two witnesses until they complete their assignment, but now we see the world rejoicing at their deaths. The entire world will watch via internet and satellite TV as their bodies lie untouched in the street, decaying. During those three-and-a-half days, the world will have its only time of merriment and partying during the Tribulation. Like a Christmas celebration, they will send gifts to one another because the truth of God’s Word can no longer torment them.
A Miraculous Resurrection
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. 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. 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.
Revelation 11:11-13 NKJV
How shocking it will be for the world to witness the resurrection of these two dead men. After they stand on their feet, God’s voice calls them up to heaven. Not only will God’s voice be broadcast over the earth’s airwaves, but the world will watch as a cloud gathers them up, lifting them into the sky until they disappear. Immediately afterward, a strong earthquake will shake Jerusalem where one-tenth of the city will be destroyed and 7,000 people will die. But those terrified people who remain will now believe in God and give Him glory.
The end of the second woe is a pivotal point where we find ourselves in the middle of the seven years. We aren’t introduced to the two witnesses at the beginning of their preaching assignment–we only meet them at the end. Since we know from scripture that their evangelizing has lasted three-and-a-half years, we must look back. That takes us to the beginning of the Tribulation with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Therefore, we can surmise that the construction of the Jewish temple and God’s two witnesses must also happen at the beginning of the Tribulation. (For further study about the Anti-Christ and the Last days, see Daniel Chapters 7 and 9.)
Let’s summarize what we know so far.
The rider on the white horse of the Apocalypse is the Anti-Christ.
He will make a 7-year peace treaty with Israel and her enemies.
The Jewish temple will exist on Mt. Moriah alongside the Mosque of Omar. The Jews will worship there and sacrifice animals as they did in the Old Testament.
The seal and trumpet judgments will also be happening simultaneously.
The two witnesses will preach on Mt. Moriah, near the Jewish temple, for three-and-a-half years. Then the Anti-Christ (who has been killed at some point and then raised to life after three-and-a-half days) will kill the two men and refuse to bury their bodies.
The sinful world has a short time of celebration and will send each other gifts.
After three-and-a-half days, God will resurrect the two witnesses and call them up into heaven while the whole world listens and watches.
A great earthquake will destroy one-tenth of Jerusalem and 7,000 people will be killed.
The rest of the people will be afraid and will turn back to God to be saved.
“The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly” (Revelation 11:14).
From this point forward, the world will enter the last half of the Tribulation, which is the most terrible. We refer to it as the Great Tribulation. Nothing like it has even been, nor will ever be again. We will delve into those dark days in our next post.
Dear Father God, thank you that in wrath, you remember mercy. Your message of eternal salvation will be preached throughout the earth, even through the dark days of the Tribulation. May those who live in these days turn to You and be saved. We give You all the praise, honor, and glory, for You are worthy to be praised. Thank you for the cross of Christ and for His precious blood that saves, heals, and delivers us from the lying deception of the enemy. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.