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Chapter Four of this Commentary
The Sixth Trumpet of Revelation 9
Also called "the second woe."
Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11
of the Book of Revelation
Scene 7. Revelation 11:3
The Two Witnesses prophesy during one thousand two hundred and sixty days wearing
Since this prophecy is, as we shall see, to be fulfilled in modern times, it does not seem appropriate to represent the “Two Witnesses” of Revelation 11 as two men in the dress of ancient times. Perhaps this abstract painting of a man of recent times and settings, deeply
concerned by circumstances and events of his world, captures more aptly the affliction and anguish of spirit the Two Witnesses feel during the period of one thousand two hundred and sixty days they prophesy dressed in sackcloth.
II. “And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth.” Revelation 11:3
A. For how long do the Two Witnesses prophesy? For “…one thousand two hundred and sixty days...”
B. When do these "one thousand two hundred and sixty days" transpire?
During the comparatively short period that immediately precedes the voice of the Seventh Trumpet, which signals that time will be no more. This period is identified in Revelation as the “little while.” Revelation 20:1-10
1. This is the temporal position that the "one thousand two hundred and sixty days" occupy on the timeline in the sequence of prophecies and visions proclaimed by the Six Trumpet. To confirm this, let’s review what has been revealed in that respect.
a) When the four angels that are restrained “by the great river Euphrates,” for “the hour, day, month, and year” programmed for their intervention, are untied, they kill, by means of “three plagues,” “a third of mankind.” Revelation 9:13-21
b) Afterwards, the “mighty angel” announces the end of time, and the consummation of the “mystery of God” for the time with the Seventh Trumpet begins to sound. He also gives “a little scroll” to the apostle John that is “sweet like honey” in the mouth but bitter in the stomach. Revelation 10:1-11
c) Then, John receives “a measuring rod like a staff,” with the instructions to take it and “measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,” but not to measure “the court outside the temple… for it is given over to the nations” who “will trample over the holy city for forty-two months.” Revelation 11:1-2
d) The very next Scene in the sequence that takes place in the great drama of the Sixth Trumpet is that of the “Two Witnesses” who receive “authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days, wearing sackcloth.”
On the one hand, before this event, three events, to wit: the “three plagues,” the proclamation of the end of time, and the order to measure the temple.
At the other extreme, three more events, to wit: the “Two Witnesses” are revived (Revelation 11:11-12), the sign of “a great earthquake” takes place (Revelation 11:13), and the Seventh Angel sounds his trumpet. Revelation 11:15-19
Where do the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” fall in the sequence? Precisely, between these two sets of three events each! They transpire after the first three events but before the second three. This fact fixes them, necessarily and undisputedly, to my understanding, in the “little while,” the short time that follows the Millennium but precedes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ “like a thief in the night,” which comes to its conclusion with the end of the material world and material time itself.
2. We will see that this interpretation is supported by the careful scrutiny of conditions that prevail and events that take place during the "one thousand two hundred and sixty days."
B. The time of "one thousand two hundred and sixty days" is the same as the "forty-two months."
1. The “nations… will trample over the holy city for forty-two months.” Revelation 11:2. In this context, “the holy city” would be the holy church faithful to Christ composed of “the holy ones of the Most High [God].” Daniel 7:18. It definitely would not be the earthly city of Jerusalem. The very different spiritual, parallel work of the Two Witnesses is their prophesying during "one thousand two hundred and sixty days."
2. My conviction is that these two times transpire simultaneously, that time being a portion of the “little while” that immediately precedes the voice of the Seventh Trumpet. Forty-two months of 30 days each is 1,260 days.
C. The Two Prophets (Two Witnesses) prophesy, “wearing sackcloth.”
Sackcloth. “A garment of coarse material fashioned from goat or camel hair worn as a sign of mourning or anguish, also marked by fasting and sitting on an ash heap (Isaiah 58:5). Jonah 3:8 notes even animals mourned in sackcloth. The shape of the garment could have been either a loose-fitting sack placed over the shoulders or a loin cloth. The word sack is a transliteration of the Hebrew word rather than a translation.” Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/s/sackcloth.html
1. Why do the Two Witnesses prophesy with anguish, profound sadness, and perhaps bitter lamentations? In the “time and circumstances” context of the interpretation being developed, the following possible reasons may be discerned.
a) Because during the "one thousand two hundred and sixty days" that precede the death of the faithful Two Witnesses, the "gentiles" (“nations”), that is, the incredulous and depraved peoples of the world, belligerently opposed to God and his own people, almost completely dominate the governments, cultures, societies, traditions, and mindsets of a great majority of the inhabitants of planet Earth.
They trample on the “holy city” (the church loyal to Christ, and especially its biblical leadership), effectively stymieing the work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This painful, difficult, and
dangerous situation is, I think, the chief reason that induces the Two Witnesses to begin wearing “sackcloth.”
b) Additionally, having already entered the church “the full number of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:25), by inference, relatively few people are converted to the Lord during the “little while,” at least to the last days of that period when 144,000 Jews are sealed as “the first fruits.” Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5. The harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God is scarce, a circumstance that also deeply saddens any sensitive preacher of the pure Gospel of Christ.
2. Let’s locate our own position on the timeline with careful precision in order that we may fully appreciate this moving scenario of prophecy.
a) First, during the Millennium of peace and religious liberty for the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Two Witnesses joyfully testify on the earth by means of the Word of God and faithful Christians, especially evangelists, elders (synonymous with bishops or pastors. Acts 20:17-28), teachers, and deacons. They are NOT persecuted nor hobbled in their works during this stage.
Many, many souls confess Jesus Christ as Savior, repenting, and being baptized “for the forgiveness of sins,” according to the commandment of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38, in exact fulfillment of the terms of the Great Commission as stated in Mark 16:15-16. The harvest is great. Eventually, “the full number of Gentiles” enter the Kingdom of God.
b) Then, as the Millennium winds down, the “time of Satan-deceived rulers” begins to develop, perhaps rapidly, when “smoke from the shaft of the bottomless pit” rises and floats over the earth. “Locusts” like “scorpions” with poisonous tails come from the smoke to torment for five months those “who do not have the seal of God.” Revelation 9:1-6. When the Sixth Bowl of Wrath is poured out, "three foul spirits like frogs… demonic spirits, performing signs… go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.” Revelation 16:12-16. These are very somber times for God and his people when religious peace and liberty diminish greatly, even to the point of complete curtailment. Dark, dangerous times for God and his people, and the Two Witnesses begin wearing sackcloth!
Figuratively, faithful ministers of the Lord Jesus dress in “sackcloth” to continue their work even in the most perilous times, not fleeing the “great tribulation” upon them. Following the directive of the apostle Paul to the evangelist Timothy which says. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus… I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage with the upmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine…” 2 Timothy 4:1-2. An exhortation that is to be heeded during the entire Common Era, even to the moment when the Two Witnesses are killed.
c) During the Dark Ages (Medieval Ages), the voice of the Two Witnesses is almost inaudible, silenced by cruel, persecuting, sadistic religious apostate forces governed by the Popes, united with Satan-deceived secular powers, who, together, violently accost the Two Witnesses, represented on earth by faithful Christians. Few are the valiant ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ who proclaim and apply the prophecies of the New Testament for the time of the great “apostasy,” also translated “falling away” or “rebellion.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
d) In notable contrast, during the "one thousand two hundred and sixty
days" of Revelation 11:3, the unbelieving will hear clearly and often the
“testimony” of the Two Witnesses, that is, of the true church with her
“competent ministers” full of the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, they will
hear that “testimony” so much that they will feel tormented by the
prophecies that the two servants “who stand before the Lord of earth” so
boldly and persistently announce. Revelation 11:4-10
e) I reason that the prophecy of the Two Witnesses would not be, logically, applicable to the long time of the Middle Ages. Let’s review the relevant facts.
The Reformation and the Renaissance bring the Middle Ages to an end, liberating the true church and its faithful administrators of the true gospel of Christ from the belligerent opposition and persecutions of the Two Beasts of Revelation 13.
Once the Two Witnesses are freed from their fierce persecutors, with they initiate diligence and joy the grandiose work of restoration and evangelization, which continues all during the Millennium of
religious peace and liberty, though there are setbacks and total religious liberty all around the globe of the earth may never be fully attained. Dear reader, do you see the sequence?
(1) First, the Two Witnesses find themselves confronted harshly, violently, during the Middle Ages, silenced almost completely, if not entirely, in vast extensions of territories governed by the autocratic powers of the apostate ecclesiastical Roman hierarchy, in diabolical confabulation with Satan-deceived secular, political powers.
(2) Then, freed from those grievous shackles and the tortures and torments of unholy, blasphemous, obscene inquisitions and wars when the nascent nations of the Renaissance violently threw off the yoke of the apostate Roman church (the “great whore… mother of harlots,” “Babylon the Great.” Revelation 17), gradually putting a stop to her evil persecutions, the Two Witnesses begin to preach joyfully once again the “gospel of salvation,” rejoicing in the restoration of that precious religious liberty made possible by secular, political powers who broke with apostate religion at its worst.
(3) The Two Witnesses continue so during the “thousand years” (the Millennium. Revelation 20:1-6) when religious peace and liberty are assured for the church loyal to Christ, a circumstance which also benefits even churches and religions that follow Christ only partially.
(4) Then, recapitulating, when the “full number of Gentiles” has entered the church loyal to Christ, and the “nations” have once again allowed themselves to be seduced by Satan, officially and legally allying themselves with his deceptive interpretations of “family, marriage, society, tolerance, inclusion, engineered sexual identities,” etc., they continue giving “testimony,” but again dressed in sackcloth during “one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”
(5) Therefore, those “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” transpire after the Millennium. Definitively, they are not concurrent with the Middle Ages. Rather they transpire long after the Middle Ages, the Reformation, and the Renaissance. Also, after the Millennium. In the time of the “little while” between the Millennium and the end of the material universe and time itself.
Now we are exactly situated on the timeline where we need to be in order to understand the works, circumstances, and destiny of the Two Witnesses.
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