2 Witnesses and 2 Great Wonders

I. The sequence and structure of Revelation requires evaluation.

A. There are two repetitive phrases that are easily recognized.

1. “Then I saw (heard)” or “and I saw (heard)” appears 14 times in the Book.

a. The Greek phrase is begun by the conjunctive kai usually translated “and” by the English; sometimes “then”, as in “next.”
b. The information that follows that phrase typically speaks to details within a larger “disclosure.”

2. “After this I saw (heard)” is a more specific phrase and appears only 6 times.

a. The Greek phrase is meta tautos . . . and specifically uses a preposition that is related to future time – meta.
b. The information that follows the “after this (these things)” phrase appears to begin a new vision, separated from the previous “disclosure.”

B. There are 7 obvious “disclosures” identifiable in Revelation.

1. Disclosure oneRevelation 1:11 - 3:22 - The Lord Jesus walking among the “Candlesticks”; the messages to the 7 churches (Although the “after this” phrase is not used, it is obvious that John is seeing the first of the visions.)

2. Disclosure two:  Revelation 4:1 - 6:17 – the Throne room and the opening of the 7-sealed book

3. Disclosure threeRevelation 7:1 - 7:8 – the sealing of the 144,000 from among the tribes of Israel

4. Disclosure fourRevelation 7:9 - 15:5 – the key elements and major events that progress to the end

a. The great multitude of saints
b. The opening of the 7th Seal and the sounding of the 7 trumpets
c. The mighty angel and the little book
d. The 42-month ministry of the 2 witnesses
e. The sounding of the 7th trumpet
f. The great wonders of the Woman and the Dragon
g. The blasphemous beast out of the sea
h. The “other” beast out of the earth
i. The angelic reaping of the earth
j. The 7 angels with the 7 last plagues

5. Disclosure fiveRevelation 15:5 - 17:18 –final events and descriptions

6. Disclosure sixRevelation 18 – the fall of Babylon

7. Disclosure sevenRevelation 19:1 - 22:21 – the victorious return of Jesus Christ and the establishing of the New Heavens and the New Earth

8. Note: All of the events described in chapters 11 through 18 appear to take place within the 42 months, 3 ½ years, and 1,260 days mentioned and repeated throughout these chapters.

9. Note: Chapter 20 contains the only mention of a 1,000 year period.  It is to be taken literally – there is no indication at all that it is a figure of speech.  All else in these 4 chapters portrays the end of time.

II. The Two Witnesses are disclosed – Revelation 11:3-12.

A. The temple of God is to be measured, but not the outer court (11:1-2).

1. The “mighty angel” of Revelation 10:1 may be the one who tells John to measure the temple.

a. The description of the angel’s appearance resembles that of the risen Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:13-16).
b. The angel gives John the “little book” and orders John to prophesy.
c. The angel is the one giving (“power to”) the 2 witnesses.

2. The temple is not mentioned again until chapter 21 when the New Jerusalem is measured.

B. The prophecy of the 2 witnesses is to last for 1,260 days during the time that the “outer court” of the temple is “trampled” for 42 months.

1. The timelines of Scripture must be reconciled with historical time.

a. One year is 365.20886 days – the orbital time of Earth around the sun.
1) One month is ~ equal to 30.43 days
2) 3 ½ Years is ~ equal to 1,278.23 days
b. 42 months is equal to 1,278.06 days ~ 3.5 years
1) 1,260 days is ~ equal to 3.45 years or 41.4 months
2) 1,290 days is ~ equal to 3.53 years or 42.4 months
3) 1,335 days is ~ equal to 3.66 years or 43.9 months
c. 2,300 days is ~ equal to 6.2977 years or 75.57 months
d. The sum of these “days” is 2,625 days ~ equal to 7.188 years or 86.25 months.

2. The following appear to have the same essential and overlapping time reference:

a. The “Saints” are given into the hand of the 4th Beast for 3.5 years (Daniel 7:25).
b. The time required to “scatter” or “shatter” the power of the “holy people” is given as 3.5 years – (Daniel 12:7).
c. The Gentiles are to dominate the Holy City for 42 months (Revelation 11:2).
d. The Two Witnesses are to have authority to prophesy and evangelize for 1,260 days – (Revelation 11:3).
e. The “Woman” is nourished and fed in the wilderness for 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6).
f. The “Woman” is protected from ‘the Serpent” for 3.5 years (Revelation 12:14).
g. The “Revived Beast” (8th Head) is given power for 42 months (Revelation 13:5).

3. The following appear to have a different time reference.

a. The “Fifth Horn” of the Goat (from the Grecian Empire) will dominate the holy people and wreak havoc among the “stars” and the holy sanctuary for 2,300 days (Daniel 8:14, 24-25).
b. The “Vile Person” dominates for 1,290 days (Daniel 12:11).
c. The additional 45 days (a total of 1,335 days) are necessary to wait for blessing (Daniel 12:12-13).

4. Note: Premillennial theology aggregates a 7 year timeline, coupling two 3.5 year periods.  The Postmillennial theology reconciles all the time references as fulfilled within one 3.5 year period.  The pivotal text for both systems hinges on whether the pronoun “he”, in Daniel 9:27, refers to the “Prince that shall come” or the “Messiah.”

C. The identification of the 2 witnesses has been somewhat controversial.

1. They are identified as 2 “olive trees” and 2 “candlesticks” (11:4).

a. The language in Zechariah 4 is very similar.
b. There are two witnesses called “olive trees.”
c. They are on either side of a golden candlestick with 7 branches.
d. The context focuses on Zerubabbel and Joshua.

2. The olive trees are referred to as God’s planting (Romans 11).

a. The Gentiles are the “wild” olive tree.
b. The nation of Israel is the “natural” olive tree.

3. The candlestick(s) is imagery of the church(es) (Revelation 1).

a. The Old Testament had only one candlestick with 7 branches.
b. The New Testament reveals 7 candlesticks as the churches.

4. They are probably two individual men—called 2 prophets (11:10).

a. Moses and Elijah are most often favoured.
1) They were present with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3).
2) The miracles performed by Moses and Elijah were similar.
b. Elijah and Enoch are also proposed.
1) They were the only two men identified as having not died.
2) They would represent both the 1st and 2nd ages (pre and post- flood).

D. The Witnesses seem to be part of the 2nd Woe (Sixth Trumpet) – 11:14.

1. This takes place over a period of 42 months (11:2) with a specific focus of 1,260 days of Witness authority (11:3). 

2. The 42 months is approximately 3.5 years.

3. The 1,260 days is essentially the same period of time ~ 41.4 months.

4. The remaining time (~18 days) may be at either end of the 42 months.

E. The Witnesses have power (authority) to shut heaven from rain, turn waters to blood, and to strike Earth with plagues.

1. The events are similar to the judgments of the Trumpets and the Vials.

2. The 7 angels may be responding to the prayers of the Witnesses.

3. They are killed by the “Beast” out of the bottomless pit (11:7).

a. This could be the demonic king, Apollyon (9:11).
b. This could be the “8th head” of the Beast (17:7-11).
c. This could be Satan at the end of the 1,000 years (20:3-9).

4. Their bodies are displayed in Jerusalem for 3 days (11:8-10).

5. They are resurrected and called up to heaven (11:11-12).

6. Their ascension triggers a great earthquake in Jerusalem (11:13).

III. The first wonder is revealed: a Woman clothed with the sun (Revelation 12:1-2, 5-6, 14-16).

A. This is probably representative of the nation of Israel (compare Genesis 37:9), who is to bring forth the “child” (compare Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6).

1. She is “clothed with the sun” and has the “moon under her feet”.

a. She has a crown of “12 stars” on her head.
b. She is near birth with a male child.

2. She is often identified as Israel and the child as Jesus Christ.

a. The problem is that the vision is about the end times.
b. The Lord Jesus Christ was born long before the vision.

3. She is also identified as the Church and the child as the saints of the end times.

a. The problem is that the child is taken into heaven.
b. The child who is to rule with a rod of iron appears to be the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15).
c. The “overcomers” will rule with Christ (Revelation 2:26).

B. The woman is given “wings” and transported to “her place” for 3 ½ times (12:14).

1. She is “protected in the wilderness” for 1,260 days (the same period of time as that of the Two Witnesses).

2. She is “nourished” for 3 ½ “times” (12:14) – the same period as has been identified (42 months) for the “treading down” of Jerusalem.

IV. The second wonder appears; a “great red dragon” (Revelation 12:3-17)

A. The “Fire-like” Dragon (12:3, 9) is Satan or Lucifer, the “Chief Angel.”

1. He is one of three, named “Arch” angels.

a. Gabriel – seems to be connected to the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Zechariah in Luke 1:19 and Mary in Luke 1:26-27).
b. Michael – seems to be connected to the ministry of the Son of God (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7).
c. Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12) – seems to be connected to the ministry of God the Father (Ezekiel 28:13-17).

2. He was created perfect in knowledge and beauty.

a. He was the “anointed cherub that covers.”
b. He was on “the holy mountain” and walked in the “stones of fire.”

3. He is given four titles throughout the Scriptures.

a. The Dragon (Revelation 20:2; 12:3-9; Isaiah 27:1)
b. The Devil (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8)
c. The Adversary -- “Satan” (Job 1-2; Zechariah 3:1-2; Luke 22:3, 31; Revelation 20:7)
d. The “Serpent” (Revelation 12:9-15; 20:2) -- It is possible that Genesis 3 identifies his first appearance on earth.

B. The Dragon is thrown out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-9).

1. This passage is often referenced as taking place before the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man described in Genesis 3

2. This passage is often connected to the descriptions of that Fall provided by Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:13-18.

C. The result of this war with the casting out of Satan and his angels is (12:10) a victorious celebration (12:11-12). 

1. This would not be the case if many centuries still were to come. 

2. This may picture the release of Satan after the 1000 years identified in Revelation 20:3.

3. This dragon now “persecutes” the woman (12:13), knowing that he has but “a short time” (12:12 – compare 20:3: “a little season”).

4. This close identity with the Dragon and the Beast indicates that Satan empowers and directs the empires that are “the Beast” in the world.

5. This closing 3 ½ year period is also referenced in Daniel 12 and further parallels descriptions of the dragon made in Daniel 7:19-26.

Series: 
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Lesson: 
#6
Book: 
Revelation
Verses: 
ch. 11-12

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