We take a break from the Trumpet Judgments now to give the
world its final warnings before the Great Tribulation begins. These are the Seven Thunders and the Two
Witnesses that God has sent to Israel to warn His people to "get right
with God" while there's still time.
Remember, at the end of the Battle of Ezekiel
38-39, God will bring every living Jew to Israel, leaving none behind. (Ezek.
39:28) Even though many will be martyred, especially among those who've
found the Messiah, there'll still be a huge population of Jews in Israel with a fully functioning Temple.
In the sequence of events, the Abomination of Desolation hasn't happened
yet so they haven't had to flee into the mountains of Jordan. The 144,000 and the Tribulation Saints will
help complete this world wide evangelistic "last call."
The Angel and the Little Scroll
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven.
He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the
sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll,
which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left
foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he
shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders
spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up
what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down." (Rev
10:1-4) Lots of things in this passage hint at the possible identity of
this angel. He's clothed in a cloud and
his legs are like pillars of fire, which reminds us of the Angel of the Lord
who protected the Israelites in the wilderness. The Rainbow over his head is
symbolic of God's mercy. His voice is like the roar of a lion. The voice of the
Lord is compared to thunder seven times in Psalm 29. Could it be the
Lord? His identity is not specified but
whether he is or not doesn't really impact our understanding of the
The Seven Thunders most probably contain an undisclosed warning by God
between the 6th and 7th Trumpets. John was about to detail this for us when the
Lord told him not to.
In Psalm 29 the voice of the Lord is mentioned seven times and is
compared to the sound of thunder. The
name of the Lord is given four times in the two-verse introduction of the Psalm
and four times more in the two-verse conclusion (four is the number of
Creation). It appears ten times in verses 3 through 9 (ten is a number that
denotes the completeness of Divine Order) and the phrase "Voice of the
Lord" is repeated seven times (seven is the number of perfection). Psalm
29 is often called "the Seven Thunders of God" as well.
With the coming Seventh Trumpet, we'll be told that the Kingdoms of the
world have become the Kingdom of our Lord (Rev. 11:15) and for the first
time the traditional translation of God's name as "the One Who is and Who
was and Who is to come" is changed to just "the One Who is and Who
was" (Rev. 11:17) also indicating that His reign has begun. (Some translations
put the "Is to Come" part back in but the Greek text doesn't include
This means that in the Heavenly view, the Great Tribulation will have begun.
After Satan's losing battle in Heaven and confinement to Earth in Rev. 12,
the anti-Christ makes his official appearance on Earth as Satan's host at the
beginning of Rev. 13. (He first came on the scene in Rev. 6 as a
mere man.) This signals the start of the Great Tribulation on Earth. The seven
Bowl judgments begin soon thereafter.
Put all this together and you can make a circumstantial case that the Seven
Thunders will announce that the Great Tribulation with its Bowl Judgments will
complete the Divine Order, perfectly satisfying God's righteous requirement
that the people of Earth be judged for their sins, and leaving Earth in a
condition of readiness to receive her King.
Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his
right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who
created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There
will be no more delay! 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."
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel
who is standing on the sea and on the land."
So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He
said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in
your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." I took the little scroll from
the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when
I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, "You must
prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings." (Rev.
The Lord told John to take the scroll and eat it. At first taste, it seemed
sweet as honey, but after he swallowed it, his stomach turned sour. This is to
signify that as followers of the Lord, we anticipate the fulfillment of End
Times prophecy with much excitement and joy.
We join with the souls of the righteous slain in crying, "How
long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the
earth and avenge our blood?" (Rev. 6:10) We know His judgment is righteous, and that
He's been long-suffering, patient almost to a fault. But because our enemy is so intent upon
succeeding in his rebellion against God, the horror and carnage of the warfare
necessary to accomplish his defeat is enough to make you sick.
The Two Witnesses
I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was
told, "Go and measure the temple
of God and the altar, and
count the worshipers there. (Rev. 11:1) Here's evidence along with Daniel
9:27 and 2 Thes. 2:4 that a Temple
will exist before the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Having seen the miraculous way in which God
delivered them from certain defeat in the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, Jews
from all over the world will respond to His offer of reconciliation and make Aliyah (return to Israel). Their Old Covenant relationship restored,
they'll demand a Temple
for worship, and early in the 70th Week of Daniel it will be built.
Nearly 2000 years of diaspora (scattering) will
But exclude the
outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They
will trample on the holy city for 42 months. (Rev. 11:2) This verse
has been used to support the idea that the Temple will be built next door to the Dome of
the Rock. Later, I'll offer an
alternative to this view. But first
let's meet the Two Witnesses.
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will
prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive
trees and the two lampstands that stand before the
Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths
and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.
These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the
time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood
and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. (Rev.
11:3-6) The 3½ year ministry of the two witnesses is not congruent with
either half of Daniel's 70th week but overlaps them, beginning after
the 70th week does and ending sometime before the 2nd
Coming. Before discussing their identity
we should note that they provide the ultimate fulfillment of Zechariah
4:11-14, the "Sons of Oil" prophecy partially fulfilled by Zerubbabel and Joshua in the time of the 2nd Temple's construction.
Who Are Those Guys?
There are three primary candidates for their identity;
Moses, Elijah and Enoch. Elijah and Enoch because they're the only two in the Old Testament
who didn't die, but were taken into heaven alive. And Moses and Elijah
because the powers of these two are identical to those exercised by Moses in
the Plagues of Egypt and
Elijah in his contention against idolatry in Israel. Remember, it climaxed in his spectacular
defeat of the prophets of Baal on Mt.
Carmel with fire from
heaven and the end of a 3½-year drought. (You have to read James 5:17
for the duration of the drought. It's not given in 1 Kings 18.) Also Moses and Elijah were on the Mt. Of
Transfiguration with Jesus and the disciples (Matt.17:1-13) and
according to early church tradition were the two men in white who appeared to
the disciples following the Lord's ascension. (Acts 1:10-11) And finally Moses and Elijah are two of the
most highly revered figures in all of Israel's past,
more able than anyone else God could send to convey His message. Moses was the Law Giver and Elijah was the
greatest of Israel's
Prophets. Their two names are all but
synonymous with the Jewish name for their scriptures, the Law and the Prophets.
I believe Enoch's disappearance before the Great Flood was a
special event designed to pre-figure the disappearance of the Church before the
Great Tribulation. As it was in the
days of Noah, so will it be at the Coming of the Son of Man. (Matt 24:37) In the days of
Noah the world perished in the Flood.
They represent those who will perish in the Great Tribulation. Noah and his family were preserved through
the Flood and represent Israel,
preserved through the Great Tribulation.
Enoch was taken alive into Heaven before the Flood, representing the
Church who will be taken alive into heaven before the Great Tribulation. For all these reasons, I hold the Moses and Elijah
Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from
the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie
in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom
where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days men from every
people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them
burial. 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.
But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God
entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw
them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up
here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked
At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the
city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the
survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. (Rev.
There's no question that their bodies were left where they fell in the
streets of Jerusalem. It's the city where the Lord was
crucified. And through the technology of
satellite communications their dead bodies will be visible all over the
In Middle Eastern cultures the greatest insult one can convey is to deny
burial to one's enemy. Their deaths prompt the only expression of joy on earth
in the entire book. But after 3½ days,
symbolic of the length of the Great Tribulation, the two witnesses will hear
the same command that John heard in Rev. 4:1, "Come up here!"
and will ascend into Heaven in full view of the whole world. Just as the Lord's command in chapter 4 was a
model of the Rapture of the Church, the command here is a model of the
resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs.
In the Psalms we read, O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have given the dead
bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, the flesh of your
saints to the beasts of the earth. They have poured out blood like water all
and there is no one to bury the dead. (Psalm 79:1-3) It's a clear
prophecy of things to come, and it begins in Revelation 11.
By saying that the earthquake survivors gave glory to God, John didn't mean
that they worshipped Him or came to faith in Him. It means that they correctly attributed these
miraculous events to Him, like the Egyptian priests did in explaining the cause
of the plagues in Exodus 8:19.
Where's The Temple?
This part of Revelation 11 hints at some troubling
inconsistencies with our understanding of the coming Temple's location. It's given as the Holy
City in verse 2, but in verse 8 Jerusalem is called the Great
City, figuratively Sodom
and Egypt. Are they the same? The Holy
City will be trampled on by the
Gentiles for 42 months, but Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trampled on by the
Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled, over 2000 years.
For generations a controversy has existed among Jews and Christians alike as
to the exact location of Solomon's and Herod's Temples.
The Jewish Sanhedrin, recently reformed after 1600 years, is tackling
the question as one of it's first priorities. Call me naïve but I think we've all been
asking the wrong question. Sure it's
great to know the exact placement of these historical monuments to God, but the
real question is, "Where will the next Temple be?"
Many Christians think the coming 3rd Temple will be desecrated by the Abomination
of Desolation during the Great Tribulation and then destroyed. For that reason
they call it the Tribulation
Temple. Then another Temple, number four, will be built at the
beginning of the Millennium. But the
only model we have for all of this is the desecration of the 2nd Temple leading up to the Macabbean Revolt.
And it's something that Jesus took pains to point us toward in the
Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15).
In the model, Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes
stormed the Temple
and converted it into a pagan worship center in 167 BC. He slaughtered a pig on the altar and erected
a statue of Zeus (Jupiter) in the holy place with his own face on it, thereby
proclaiming himself to be God (Epiphanes means god
made manifest) and required worship on pain of death. In 1 Macabbees,
this was called the Abomination of Desolation, the only event so named in
history. It triggered the Macabbean revolt, a 3 ½
year battle to oust Antiochus from the Promised Land. The Jews thought it
fulfilled Daniel 9:27, but almost 200 years later Jesus told Israel to
look for it in the future as the sign that the Great Tribulation has begun,
thereby identifying it as a model for the End Times Abomination of Desolation.
And it's true that the Macabbean Revolt contains many
remarkable similarities to the Great Tribulation.
Here's the point. The Jews didn't
destroy the Temple
after the Abomination of Desolation in 167 BC. When they recaptured it, they
destroyed the statue and replaced the Altar. Then they subjected the Temple to the eight-day
purification ceremony required by Law and began using it again. The
purification is remembered to this day in the Feast of Chanukkah. If the model is complete, then the Temple built during Daniel's 70th week won't be
destroyed either, but will become the Millennial Temple
described in great detail by Ezekiel in chapters 40-48. (The Jews call Ezekiel's Temple
the 3rd Temple.)
And that means it won't be in Jerusalem. Next time I'll show you where it will