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 will send to Israel to warn His people to “get
right” with Him while there’s still time. Remember, after the
end of the Battle of
God will have brought every living Jew to Israel, leaving none
Even though many will
have already been martyred during the Seal and Trumpet judgments,
especially among those who’ve found the Messiah, there will still be
a huge population of religious Jews in Israel with a fully
functioning Temple (Daniel
9:27). The Abomination of Desolation will put
an end to the sacrifice and offerings, but that won’t happen until
the middle of the last 7 years, described in
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
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. Could this be the Lord? The angel’s
identity is not disclosed but the passage is certainly rich in
The Seven Thunders most probably contain an
undisclosed warning spoken by God between the 6th and 7th Trumpets.
John was about to detail this for us when the Lord told him not to.
As a point of interest, in
the voice of the Lord is compared to the sound of thunder. His
name is spoken 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
Psalm 29 is often called “the Seven Thunders of God”
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) The omission of the phrase “Who is to come”
indicates that His reign has begun. (Some translations put the “Who
is to come” part back in but the Greek text doesn’t include it.)
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
the anti-Christ will make his official appearance on Earth as
Satan’s host at the beginning of
(He will have first come on the scene in
Rev. 6 as
a mere man.) This will signal the start of the Great Tribulation on
Earth. The seven Bowl judgments will 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
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
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 know His judgment is righteous,
and that He’s been long-suffering, and 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.
Here’s evidence along with
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
Jews from all over the world will respond to His offer of
reconciliation and make aliyah (return to Israel). Once their
Old Covenant relationship is restored, they’ll need a Temple for
worship, and early in the 70th Week of Daniel it will be built.
Nearly 2000 years of diaspora (scattering) will finally end.
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.
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.
The 3½ year ministry of the two witnesses is
not congruent with either half of Daniel’s 70th week but overlaps
them, beginning late in the first half of the 70th week and ending
sometime before the 2nd Coming. Before discussing the identity of
the two witneses we should note that they provide the ultimate
Zechariah 4:11-14, the “Sons of Oil” prophecy
partially fulfilled by Zerubbabel and Joshua in the time of the 2nd
Who Are Those Guys?
There are three primary candidates for their
identity; Moses, Elijah and Enoch. Elijah and Enoch are popular
choices because they’re the only two in the Old Testament who didn’t
die, but were taken into heaven alive. And Moses and Elijah are
liked because the powers of the two witnesses 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 the 3½-year drought he had earlier
Kings 17:1, 1 Kings 18:16-46). (You have to
read James 5:17
for the duration of the drought.)
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 End times
judgments. Noah and his family were preserved through the Flood and
represent Israel, preserved through the judgments. Enoch was
taken alive into Heaven before the Flood, representing the Church
who will be taken alive into heaven before the judgments begin.
For all these reasons, I hold the Moses and Elijah view.
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
and Egypt, 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
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 on.
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 will be
left where they fall in the streets of Jerusalem, because that’s the
city where the Lord was crucified. And through the technology
of satellite communications their dead bodies will be visible all
over the world.
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
“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 around Jerusalem, 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
By saying that the earthquake survivors gave
glory to God, John didn’t mean that they worshiped 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
Where’s The Temple?
This part of chapter 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, formed again a
few years ago after 1600 years, is tackling the question as one of
it’s first priorities. It’s a good start, but I don’t think they’re
asking the right 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 what will happen is something that already has happened,
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.
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,
proclaiming himself to be God (Epiphanes means god made manifest).
Then he forced the Jews to worship him on pain of death. In 1
Macabbees, this act 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.
Almost 200 years later Jesus told Israel to look for the same thing
to happen again in the future as the sign that the Great Tribulation
has begun (Matt.
24:21), thereby identifying the statue of Antiochus
as a model of the End Times Abomination of Desolation.
The Macabbean Revolt contains many remarkable similarities to the
Here’s the point. The Jews didn’t demolish
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 Hanukkah. 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 in
Ezekiel 40-44. (The Jews call Ezekiel’s Temple the
3rd Temple, which would make it the next one.) And that means it
won’t be built in Jerusalem. Next time I’ll show you where it will