The question of when these two witnesses begin and end their ministry has been difficult to understand. Much of what I’ve heard has them prophesying at the end of the tribulation. But there seem to be too many contradictions with that idea. It looks like their ministry is at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week. And, in fact, is how the Lord begins measuring time again. Aside from the fact that the Lord 42 months to describe the Gentiles time and 1260 days to describe the ministry of the two witnesses where He could’ve said 42 months in both instances to tie them together. Instead He deliberately made them distinct. Here are some reasons why the two witnesses appear at the beginning of the tribulation.
Corresponding Olive Trees
- Revelation 11:4
- This identification ties the two witnesses to Zechariah 3 with Joshua the high priest, and Zechariah 4 with Zerubbabel the governor rebuilding.
- These men did not wait for the temple to be rebuilt in order to start sacrificing. See Ezra 3:2-7. So also these two witnesses will not need to wait for a rebuilt temple to start sacrifices again. But they will need supernatural protection from the opposition of the world when they begin sacrificing.
- This is what the Antichrist will replace in his time which is after the two witnesses have finished their ministry.
- Daniel 9:27, 12:11;
- Revelation 13:14-15
Command to Obey
- Revelation 11:8
- Ministering in Jerusalem versus Fleeing Jerusalem
- So why would Jesus Christ be telling His people to flee Jerusalem, then also calling them to Jerusalem to perform the sacrifices? And calling the two witnesses to prophesy in Jerusalem?
- Matthew 24:15-21
Cause for Celebration
- Revelation 11:9-10
- Celebration or destruction?
- The whole world will not be celebrating while at the same time being plagued by the seven vials of God’s wrath and destroyed by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. These are conflicting events.
- When the two witnesses are killed, it marks the rise in power of the beast not the death of the beast (Revelation 11:7).
- The two witnesses are able to destroy their enemies with miraculous signs. You can’t have them able to destroy their enemies with miraculous signs while at the same time have the Antichrist prevailing and destroying them with miraculous signs.
- Revelation 13:4, 13 – who is able to make war with the beast?… call fire down from heaven…
- Daniel 7:25, 8:11-12, 23-24
- 2 Thessalonians 2:9
Chronology of the “Woes”
- There are three “woes” that God issues:
- 1st woe was the angel of the bottomless pit and the locusts that persecute the men who were not sealed (Revelation 9:4)
- 2nd woe is the earthquake in Jerusalem coupled with the resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:14)
- 3rd woe is the fall of the Devil from the heavens and mercilessly going after the faithful remnant (Revelation 12:12). That will coincide with 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4