Nelson Walters wrote another insightful post at thegospelintheendtimes.com blog a few weeks ago regarding the two witnesses of Revelation and whether their 1260 ministry fits the first or second half of the final seven years… or neither. He makes a good case for overlapping the two halves, which has inspired me to do a great deal of research on this topic again recently.
His article begins:
“Two of the most mysterious figures in scripture are the Two Witnesses of Rev. 11. Let me state a disclaimer right up front: this post does not discuss who the Witnesses are. There are dozens of theories and although speculating on their identities is interesting, this post doesn’t discuss that aspect. I will leave that discussion to other prophecy teachers because from what I can tell its pretty much immaterial who they are. (Please do not leave comments about their identities.)
What is more interesting and meaningful to me, however, is when their ministry takes place.
Scripture tells us where the Two Witnesses minister and how long they minister.
And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days. (Rev. 11:3)
And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Rev. 11:8)
So we know without question that they minister in Jerusalem for 1260 days (which is 1/2 of the 70th Week of Daniel.) For this reason most commentators believe they minister either during the first half of the 70th Week or during the last half. There is a third theory, however, that needs to be explored as well: they might minister for a 1260 day period that overlaps the two halves of the 70th Week. We mention this theory in the previous post WHEN THEY SAY ‘PEACE AND SAFETY’.
There are numerous clues within Rev. 11 and if we assemble them together, they should give us a better idea which theory is more likely.
|Aspect of Ministry of Two Witnesses||Ministry During the First Half of 70th Week||Ministry from 3rd Year till 6th Year of 70th Week||Ministry During the Last Half of 70th Week|
|Do They Witness to the Jews?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Do They Witness to the Gentiles?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Is Their Resurrection Timed With Primary Resurrection? (Rev. 11:11-12)||No||Yes||No|
|Is Their Ministry and the drought associated with it timed with the Famine of the third year of the 70th Week? (Rev. 11:6)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Does their ministry coincide with the plagues of the second half of the 70th Week? (Rev. 11: 6)||No||Maybe?||Yes|
|Will the Nations be in a celebratory mood upon the death of the Witnesses? (Rev. 11:10)||Maybe?||Yes||No|
|Will the Nations be able to say “Peace and Safety” upon the death of the Witnesses? (1 Thess. 5:1-3)||No||Yes||No|
|Is an Earthquake foretold as part of the other events surrounding their resurrection? (Rev. 11:13)||No||Yes||No|
Let me say at the outset that I don’t think we can prove any of these theories to be correct. We can however, make assumptions that one is “more likely” than the others. By looking at this table, its obvious that a ministry that overlaps both halves of the 70th Week (from the third year to the end of the sixth year) is the most likely (it matches the most clues). This isn’t definative proof however.
Now with that said, let’s look individually at each clue:
Will They Witness to the Jews?
The Two Witnesses minister in Jerusalem. In order to witness to the Jews, the Jews will have to be in Jerusalem during the time the Witnesses are ministering. A ministry during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week is required because the Jews are mostly killed or taken into captivity during the second half of the “Week.” Both of the first two options have a portion of the ministry during the first half of the “Week”.
Will They Witness to the Gentiles?
Using the exact same logic, it will be necessary for a portion of their ministry to be during the second half of the 70th Week in order for them to minister to the Gentiles who trample Jerusalem for this 42 month period. This makes a ministry solely during the first half of the 70th Week less likely.
The ministry of the Two Witnesses includes the calling down of plagues (some of which mirror the plagues of Egypt). Doesn’t it make more sense that these plagues will be upon the Gentiles (just as they were in Egypt)? If so then the Two Witnesses must be witnessing during the second half of Daniel’s 70th Week since that is the only time the Gentiles are present in Jerusalem….”
Click HERE for his full blog post