The Two Witnesses
The Second Woe
The Three Great Woes Page 3
The Great Tribulation Part II
From the Main Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
After the First Woe
To review what has been stated, the Great Tribulation will begin with a comet or asteroid collision, the impact probably occurring in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, devastating a third of the earth's surface and wiping out a third of humanity. This will be followed by a period of five months when mysterious, probably demonic, creatures described as "locusts", sting the survivors in an extremely painful but non-fatal way. It is also likely that during this time the sunlight will be partially blocked by a layer of clouds over the entire earth. Both of these things will probably end at about the same time.
When this has ended, the world may seem, briefly, to be returning to something near normal. That is to say, there may be a brief respite from God's wrath. This is suggested in the verse quoted below. But this is not the end of the Tribulation. The Christians who are still alive then will need to be aware of this.
As the angel told John, "One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things" (Revelation 9:1). If the first woe is past, and the second hasn't come yet, then there may be a respite period, but...
Beware! Another terrible catastrophe is coming.
The Second Woe Begins
The Second Woe begins with something that, like the "locusts", is probably demonic and is something completely outside of human experience. A mysterious "army", two hundred million strong, appears in the Euphrates region. Why there, the Bible gives no clue. However, we must understand that John's description of the creatures that make up this army is, like the "mountain burning with fire", a comparison of things that John did not recognize with some things that he knew. That Greek word, wV, meaning, "something like, but distinctly not", is there (verse 9:17). These creatures, like the "locusts", are something that no one has ever seen before and that no one will ever see again afterward.
Understand also, that, contrary to what some have taught, this army is clearly not human. Note that it is led by four angels (verses 9:14 & 15). But although the Bible is not clear about what these creatures are, it is painfully clear what the "army" does: It kills another third of the (that is, half the surviving) human race. (Compare Zechariah 13:8.) In all likelihood, the only people who will be safe from this "army" will be those who have the seal of the living God. You may have noted that they were safe from the "locusts" (verse 9:4).
The "army" will spread out from the point where they appear, and, it appears, more or less randomly kill every other person they meet. If this is so, it may actually be the true fulfillment of Luke 17:34 & 35. Some other students of Prophecy are of the opinion that the "taking" in this passage is about judgment, rather than the Rapture. How long this will last is not even suggested in the Book of Revelation. It could be as little as a few minutes, or as long as several months. If this is the fulfillment of the passage in Luke, it will all happen in exactly one night. What is, again, painfully clear is that when this "army" has finished its deadly work, two thirds of the human race, over four billion people (four thousand million to the British) will have been killed.
The surviving world will be in a state of chaos such as has never been known in the history of the world. The world as we have known it will have already come to an end.
Two Strange Men
Out of the chaos two strange men will appear. The Bible does not say where. But it does tell us what they will do, and suggests the purpose. These men are Christians, but they are the most superhumanly powerful Christians who will ever live. They can wield the wrath of God like a sword. They can, at will, strike the earth with plagues, probably like the plagues of Egypt. It appears that they will also strike the earth with a drought that will last the entire duration of their ministry, like what Elijah did in the time of Ahab and Jezebel. And if anyone tries to harm them - and some people will try - they will breath fire like dragons and kill them.
Who are they?
They are the Two Witnesses of the Revelation!
Again, the Book of Revelation gives no clue as to who they are in human terms. It is interesting to note that if this interpretation is correct, and the Great Tribulation is really near, they must be alive right now. By Biblical precedent, they will probably (but not necessarily) both be about 30 years old when they appear and begin their ministry. But, again we have no clue to exactly who they are, so don't try to identify them now. It probably can't be done, and you will make a fool of yourself trying. Ignore anyone who claims to be one of them, as some people have done in the past, and some are still doing.
Special Note: There are people around today, here and there, who have been and/or are claiming to be the Two Witnesses. They should not be believed. To believe them is to be deceived. In all likelihood, the real Two Witnesses will not claim to be them at all. Rather, they will just do what the Bible says they will do. By comparison, Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah (Matthew 17 10-13), but John himself never claimed to be.
There are also people who don't believe that the Two Witnesses will be literal human beings. However, the fact that they are killed and that "Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified." (Revelation 11:8 NIV) ...for three days and a half days while "The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth." (Revelation 11:10 NIV) ...shows unmistakably that the Two Witnesses will indeed be human beings.
It has been suggested that these men could be Moses, and Enoch or Elijah. Maybe. In the light of what they will do, Moses and Elijah are more likely. However, the most realistic and Biblically acceptable possibility is that they will be two men who will be equivalent to Moses and Elijah spiritually. (See Malachi 3: 4-6.) But an actual re-appearance of these two men would be contrary to Biblical pattern. (See Hebrew 9:27 - Moses died - Deuteronomy 34:5.) There is also a good chance that they will come from a Messianic Jewish background (See Romans 3:2 and 9:4). And that is as close as there is any Biblical basis for taking our speculation.
They may also be the two most hated men in history. Even ordinary Christians may not like them. But if you are anywhere that you can hear what they say, and if you want to survive the Tribulation spiritually, whether you like them or not, Listen!!! If you know where they are, and you can do it, go to them. If in any way possible; help them. But again, above all, Listen!!! And do what they say!
What Is Their Ministry?
The Two Witnesses will preach a stern message of repentance. This is symbolized in the fact that they will do their ministry "clothed in sackcloth" (Revelation 11:3). Sackcloth is a visual metaphor for repentance. These men may have repented to the point that they have become completely free from sin, which is why they are able to be so powerful. The statement that they are "two olive trees" suggests that they have a powerful, unlimited anointing of the Holy Spirit, and their being "two lamp stands" suggests that they are, spiritually, powerful sources of divine light. Their preaching will specifically target the lukewarm Christians who have survived the beginning of the Tribulation, and the unsaved Jews. It will be under their leadership that the lukewarm Christians will have "washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14), and the Jews will turn to Christ, en masse.
When their ministry is finished, all opportunity for salvation by grace through faith will be gone. We know this from the Book of Revelation. The seventh angel sounds right after the Two Witnesses ascend into Heaven (Revelation 11:15). Back in chapter 10:7, an angel speaking to John told him,
"But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."
There are two keys to understanding this. The first is the Greek word translated "announced". It happens to be "euaggelion", the word from which we get the word "evangelism". It would be more completely rendered "declared its good news". The second key is the word "mystery". This word does not refer to the Tribulation. As used elsewhere in the New Testament, it refers to the Gospel. For example, in Mark 4:11, we read, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God...". Exactly the same Greek word. In that context, the word "mystery" is synonymous with the word "gospel". In other words, the angel was saying that after the Two Witnesses die and rise from the dead, the Gospel Age is over.
When the Two Witnesses are gone, so is all chance for salvation for those who haven't repented. From then on, the Tribulation will be nothing but wrath.
The End of the Two Witnesses
Although the Bible does not say specifically where the ministry of the Two Witnesses will begin, the Scriptures tell us clearly that it will end in Jerusalem. We know this from Revelation 11:8, which says...
"Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified." (NIV)
The chapter tells us that... "the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them." (NIV)
The word "overpower" suggests that it will be a fight - remember, the Two Witnesses can breath fire - but the Beast will win and the Two Witnesses will be killed. Then, as stated, the followers of the Beast will not allow their bodies to be buried. They will lay in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days while their enemies celebrate. (Note: the kind of celebration described is a typical Muslim practice.) But at the end of the three and a half days, they will suddenly arise from the dead. Then a voice from Heaven will call them to "Come up here". Terror will strike the people who see them arise and ascend to Heaven. It will tell anyone who has the presence of mind to think about it that the Two Witnesses were really the true messengers from God. But for them, as shown above, it will already be too late.
Immediately after the Two Witnesses arise from the dead and ascend to Heaven, there will be a local earthquake in Jerusalem that will kill 7000 people (probably mostly Muslims - Jerusalem has a large Arab population). This will apparently be immediate wrath for what they did to the Two Witnesses. When this has happened, the second "woe" is over. For the world as a whole, there may be another brief period of respite from God's wrath. But something is coming that will make the followers of the Beasts wish they were back in the good old days with the Two Witnesses.
We will discuss what is coming in the second following page. However, before we get to that, we have to discuss the other side of the Second Woe. We will do that in the following page,
The Two Beasts and Mystery, Babylon.
Great Tribulation Home Page A Mountain Burning With Fire Return to Home Page Other Important Topics What's New? Links Page
Contact Author, William D. Brehm