THE TWO WITNESSES

Few subjects in the book of Revelation have caused as much speculation as the one mentioned in Rev 11:3 as part of the sixth trumpet of the seventh seal: the Two Witnesses.

Some groups say two people will emerge from among them, while others believe that two prophets from the past will reappear, e.g. Moses and Elijah. The Seventh Day Adventists teach that the Two Witnesses are the Old and New Testament Scriptures. 

Is it possible that a far more basic explanation can reveal the identity of the Two Witnesses; an explanation that is brought to light by other Scriptures, historical facts and Bible chronology?

What does this passage of Scripture in Rev 11 refer to?

1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

In verse one, John is told to “measure”, but what exactly is he meant to measure? 

The Church is referred to in Scripture as a spiritual Temple, its individual members being spiritual Jews. The Church escaped the destruction of Jerusalem and the physical Temple in AD70, and its progress from there is foretold in the seven successive Church era messages of Revelation 2 and 3. However, as the specific delineations of these seven eras have not been given, they need to be "measured", i.e. carefully studied in the light of history, to work out their correct time periods. In the Church era messages, we have been given the criteria by which this measuring is to be done.

However, as verses two and three of Revelation 11 show, John is told that the time periods involving the physical Jews, the people we associate with the physical Temple and the "holy city", are fixed and given. They do not need to be worked out by us. Two successive periods of 1260 "days" (which I intend to show are two periods of 1260 years), foretell their exact time line.

Most people in the Church of God are familiar with the “day for a year” principle of reckoning prophecy, a principle found in the Scriptures (Numbers 14, Ezekiel 4). In Rev 11:2, the text mentions 42 months and in Rev 11:3 it mentions 1260 days, but when applying the “day for a year” principle, they each become 1260 years. As two consecutive periods of 1260 days are referred to here, together they comprise 2520 years or “seven times” (7 x 360 days which equal 2520 days or years).

Seven times, or 2520 years, is the exact period of time the people of God were to be punished for not obeying His laws, according to Lev 26.

Rev 11:2 says in regard to the court outside the temple, that “it is given unto the Gentiles”, but the literal Greek says "it was given unto the Gentiles". Young's Literal Translation here reads "was given". Green's Interlinear Bible also says "was given". The Companion Bible has a marginal note in this place saying "is = was".

This raises the question: When was the Holy City given unto the Gentiles? The answer is simple: when the Babylonians captured it. All seven successive Gentile powers that captured Jerusalem: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, the Ptolemaic Kingdom, the Seleucid Empire, Rome and Mecca/Medina, came to power within this first 1260 year period, from 575BC (the correct, Scripturally derived date for the first capture of Jerusalem - download the chronological chart on the home page for proof of this) until 685AD, where Rev 11:3 picks up. 

Rev 11:3 says the Two Witnesses will prophesy, but what do they prophesy about?

Looking back at how history has unfolded, we can see (as I intend to show) that the Witnesses were THEMSELVES the prophecy - a living fulfilment of the prophecy of Dan 7:24-25:

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

"Saints" refers to those set apart by God. Just like the word "elect", it can refer either to God's physical people or His spiritual people. Both were set apart by God and so are His "saints" and "elect". The context has to bear out which is intended, and we can see that here the physical saints, Daniel's countrymen, are intended.

Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople in the early fourth century. The city of Rome speedily declined in significance from that point on, never to rise again as a military stronghold. However, as a spiritual centre, the city had steadily grown under a long succession of men with the title "Bishop of Rome". These bishops of Rome, over time referred to as Popes, were appointed or confirmed by the emperor residing in Constantinople. In 684 however, Emperor Constantine IV waived the requirement of Papal confirmation by the emperor, allowing Rome from that time forward to select and install its Popes independently. The first Pope so elected was Pope John V in 685, making his first regnal year 686. From this point on the Papacy became an independent power, or in Bible language, a "horn".

From 686 until 1945 there are 1260 inclusive years during which false Christianity, headed by the independent Papacy, moved civil authorities to persecute Jews through various means: inquisitions, forced migrations, pogroms, crusades etc, reaching a crescendo in the Holocaust.

These are the 1260 years prophesied in Dan 7:25, during which the Jews were to be given into the hands of the "pompous" little horn. They are the same 1260 years of Rev 11:3 where the "two witnesses" are described fulfilling the prophecy of Dan 7:25. The pompous little horn is also found in Rev 13:5, depicted as "a mouth", and clearly denotes the Papacy. 

Dan 7:25, Rev 11:3 and Rev 13:5 all describe the same 1260 year period, from 686 until 1945 inclusively.

It is obvious why John is told in Rev 11:2 that the Holy City "was given" unto the Gentiles for 1260 years, but that God "will give" unto His two witnesses another 1260 years. From John's point of view in the first century AD, the first clause had already started and had yet a long way to run. However, the second clause was, to John, still way off in the future.

This is a greatly misunderstood prophecy in the Church of God.

God is THE great mathematician.

When He tells us to do things "in order" (I Cor 14:40), it's because that is exactly what He does. Everything He does is done with planning and precision.

That includes the duration of the punishment of His people.

 

As stated above, the first 1260 year period sees all seven successive Gentile powers, which are the seven heads of the "beasts" of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17, capture Jerusalem. These are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, the Ptolemaic Kingdom, the Seleucid Empire, Rome and Mecca/Medina.

The second 1260 year period sees independent Papal rule from Rome, during the time when "ten horns" rule over Jerusalem, all of which in a religious sense emanate from the 7th head of the Beast, Mecca/Medina, which captured Jerusalem in the year 638AD. See "DANIEL 2 - INTERPRETATION ERRORS" for more information on this.

These ten horns are ten Islamic dynasties that ruled over Jerusalem, three of which were defeated by the "little horn" (Dan 7:8), Catholicism/Christianity, also described as the "eighth" head of the Beast (Rev 17:11). The little horn became the eighth head of the Beast when it first conquered Jerusalem in 1099, as the First Crusade succeeded in its mission.   

The ten horns and the three manifestations of the little horn are:

1) The Umayyad dynasty, which ruled Jerusalem from 661 till 750.

2) The Abbassid dynasty, which ruled Jerusalem from 750 till 878 and 904 till 939.

3) The Tulunid dynasty, which ruled Jerusalem from 878 till 904.

4) The Ikhshidid dynasty, which ruled Jerusalem from 939 till 969.

5) The Fatimid dynasty, which ruled Jerusalem from 969 till 1073 and 1098 till 1099.

6) The Seljuq dynasty, which ruled Jerusalem from 1073 till 1098.

While under Fatimid rule, Jerusalem was captured by the first Crusade, led by Godfrey de Bouillon in 1099, starting the first period of rule over Jerusalem by the "little horn" of Daniel 7:8, lasting until 1187.

7) The Ayyubid dynasty, which ruled Jerusalem from 1187 till 1229 and 1244 till 1260. The Ayyubid ruler Saladin defeated the Crusaders in 1187.

Ayyubid ruler Al-Kamil surrendered Jerusalem to the sixth Crusade under Frederick II in 1229, which was the second emergence of the "little horn". This period lasted till 1244.

Ayyubid ruler As-Salih, with the help of the Kwarezmians, besieged and recaptured Jerusalem in 1244, ending Christian rule until 1917.

8) The Mamluk dynasty, which ruled over Jerusalem from 1260 till 1516.

9) The Ottoman Empire, which ruled Jerusalem from 1516 till 1831 and 1840 till 1917.

10) Egyptian rule of Jerusalemunder Mohammed Ali, from 1831 till 1840.

The Ottoman Empire was defeated in 1917 during WWI by the third emergence of the "little horn" known at the time as "the last Crusade", a combine of British Empire, French and Italian forces which re-established Christian rule over Jerusalem. This rule lasted until May 1948.

So what is the identity of the "two witnesses"?

For quite some time I've wracked my brain over this. Clearly, history shows that they are the Jews. But how are the Jews two witnesses? The answer as usual is found in the Scriptures, which is where we are to "seek, and you will find".

I Kings 11:26-36 provides the answer:

26 Then Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zereda, whose

mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king.

27 And this is what caused him to rebel against the king: Solomon had built the Millo and repaired the damages to the City of David his father.

28 The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph.

29 Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah

the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field.

30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces.

31 And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you

32 (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem,

the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel),

33 because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians,

Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.

34 However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler

all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.

35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you - ten tribes.

36 And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me

in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.

Israel was composed originally of twelve tribes. The tribe of Joseph split into two, making thirteen tribes, but the tribe of Levi was set apart by God for His service. Therefore, when dividing up the land, in Joshua's time, only twelve tribes received land. Levi was given towns to live in, within the territory of the other twelve tribes.

At the time of the fulfilment of Ahijah's prophecy, Jeroboam was to receive ten of the tribes. Solomon's son Rehoboam was to receive one tribe in addition to the one of which he already was the leader. 

If there are twelve pieces in total and one king is to receive ten, obviously the other will have two.

Which two is made abundantly clear in verse 36:

For David to "always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem", one of the two tribes would have to be Judah, for David is of Judah.

For this to happen in Jerusalem the other tribe would have to be Benjamin, because Jerusalem is in the territory of Benjamin (Josh 18:21-28).

There is the simple Biblical answer:

The Two Witnesses are the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, also known as the Jews.

After King Solomon's death, Ahijah's prophecy came to pass. Solomon's son Rehoboam made himself so unpopular that ten of the twelve tribes broke away from him to form the Kingdom of Israel, with Jeroboam as their first king. Rehoboam was left with just the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, together called the Kingdom of Judah. Over time, many people from the tribe of Levi joined them, as did some people from the other tribes. At their core however, they were the people of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, located in their allotted territories.

The account of the division of the nation of Israel into the ten tribes of the Kingdom of Israel and the two tribes of the Kingdom of Judah can be found in I Kings 12 and II Chron 11. I Kings 12:20 says that initially only the people of the tribe of Judah followed Rehoboam, but the very next verse and the remainder of the chapter show that the tribe of Benjamin joined them.   

I Kings 12:21-24 states "When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand chosen warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your kinsmen the people of Israel. Return every man to his home, for this thing is from me.’”

II Chron 11:11-12 adds that Rehoboam "made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. And he put shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin".

With all this information in mind, let’s go over Rev 11:1-14.

1 And there was given me a reed (a rod) like unto a rod (a scepter): and the angel stood, saying,

Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein (the true worshippers – the Church).

2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is (was) given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city (Jerusalem) shall they tread under foot forty and two months (1260 years, from 575BC until 685AD, during which all seven Gentile powers, the seven heads of the Beast, came on the scene to rule Jerusalem).

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses (Judah and Benjamin - "the Jews"), and they shall prophesy (they shall fulfil the prophecy of Dan 7:24-25, being "given into the hand" of the little horn) one thousand two hundred and threescore days (1260 years, from 686BC until 1945AD, making 2520 years together with verse 2), clothed in sackcloth (a time of mourning from suffering the worst of persecutions, like the innumerable banishments, the murderous Inquisitions, the Crusades and the Holocaust. The website www.biblebelievers.org.au lists 109 regions and countries where the Jews have historically been persecuted and expelled from, more than a hundred of these being during this 1260 year period. See the list here.

4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

(All Israel was God's olive tree (Jer 11:16) and was meant to supply the oil to be a light unto the world. As 12 tribes they were symbolically 12 olive trees. Zechariah speaks of two olive trees in Zech 4. This identifies the two, because by his time the 10 northern tribes had long been removed from Israel. A remnant of the two southern tribes however had returned from Babylon and it is these that Zechariah is speaking to. At the same time in history, Ezra 4:1 and 10:9 both mention "Judah and Benjamin" as being the people then living in the land. The people of Levi are described as "divisions" living among them (Neh 11:36). These together became "the Jews", witnesses of God to the world, preserving God's word and fulfilling its prophecies, clearly revealing the existence of our Creator).

5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth (God's punishment comes on those who persecute His people, as foretold by the mouths of His prophets), and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

(This is highly figurative language, but history shows that those who persecute God's people and Holy City are themselves cursed. Rev 17:15 shows that "waters" refers to Gentile nations).

For example, Babylon was punished for the destruction it caused to Jerusalem, as foretold in Jer 25:12.

Also, Catholic/Christian Europe, which was guilty of the most abominable persecutions, was struck by the Black Death in the mid 1300s. This was foretold and warned about in the Thyatiran Church message found in Revelation 2. "Jezebel", who targeted both Christians and Jews, took no notice and paid the price. (See page "THE TRUE CHURCH ERAS").

In more recent times, when nearing the end of their 2520 years of punishment, the greatest atrocities against the Jews were perpetrated by Germany. The result? The number of German WWII deaths exceeded the number of Jews killed by the Germans.

Some quotes of Scripture in regard to God's punishment of the enemies of His people:

I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it”. (Zech 12:3).

 

Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all who prey upon you I will make a prey (Jer 30:16).

Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish” (Isa 41:11).

Many more Scriptures testify that those who have come against God’s people or God’s city have paid a heavy price.

7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them (nearly six million Jews were killed in World War II, at which time they "finished their testimony" in regard to the 1260 period of Dan 7:25 and Rev 11:3, their time of being in "sackcloth" (v3) having come to an end. It is noteworthy that the Muslim occupiers of Jerusalem from very early times made the Jews wear distinctive clothing. Likewise, at the end of this 1260 period, the Jews were wearing distinctive insignia and clothing once again, both in civilian life and in German concentration camps).

8 And their dead bodies (the surviving Jews) shall lie in the street (many streets) of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where (whereby) also our Lord was crucified (the former Roman Empire. Hundreds of thousands of surviving Jews were stranded all over the (Roman Catholic/Christian) European continent, many of them unable to return to their pre-war homes).

9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations (the people of the world, or as Scripture says, those depicted by "waters" or the sea - Rev 17:15) shall see their dead bodies (even though they are God's physical elect, they do not have His spirit and are therefore "dead") three days and an half (between 1945 and 1948), and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves (many people did not wish these survivors of the Holocaust to have a place of rest or a homeland, but three years later, they had achieved exactly that. After a further six months, they had also obtained the greater part of Jerusalem in the War of Independence).

10 And (but) they that dwell upon the earth (the earth of Israel or "eretz Yisrael", as the Jews say; contrasted here with the people of the "sea" in verse 9) shall rejoice over them, and make merry (no one else was particularly happy to take in Jews, but their fellow Jews already in the Holy Land were overjoyed to bring them "home"), and shall send gifts one to another (ships, crew, organisers, money, etc. were sent from Israel to ports all over Europe to facilitate this 20th century exodus as foretold in Isa 11:11-16; the returning Jews were a "gift" in themselves, providing much needed labourers, men of fighting age, as well as capital, to Israel); because (so that) these two prophets tormented them (tormented the Arabs and the British, the latter of whom were in charge of "Palestine" at this time) that (also) dwelt on the earth (the British violently tried to prevent the Jews from reaching the Holy Land in large numbers, but when the "torment" of years of fighting Jewish resistance groups, with all the loss of life involved, became too much for them, they withdrew from the land).

11 And after three days (WWII ended in Europe in May 1945; the State of Israel was declared in May 1948, commencing Israel's War of Independence) and an half (In November 1948, the war in Jerusalem having come to an end, Moshe Dayan, Israeli commander, and Abdullah el-Tell, the Jordanian commander, met in an abandoned house in Jerusalem. These two officers drew a map which outlined the boundaries of the ceasefire in Jerusalem) the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them (miraculously, three years after their 2520 years of punishment ended, after their utter defeat by means of the Holocaust, the Jews were on their feet again, in possession of Israel; half a year later they also possessed the greater part of the city of Jerusalem, to the utter amazement of their enemies).

12 And (for) they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither (to Jerusalem). And they ascended up to heaven (i.e. heaven on Earth: God's dwelling place on Earth) in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (In 1950 the Jewish parliament (the Knesset), having been established in Jerusalem, issued the "Law of Return", allowing all Jews to return to their homeland, Israel. "Those who fulfilled this sacred Jewish aspiration by reaching its shores were termed olim - 'people who had gone up' " - quoted from "Second Exodus" by Venia Hadari, p. xiv). The Hebrew noun describing this practice is Aliyah. Quoted from the United Israel Appeal website: "Aliyah is a Hebrew word that means to 'go up'. While originally it referred to ascending to Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Feasts, today it has come to mean the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel. Aliyah is simply the immigration of Jews back to their ancestral homeland".

13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake (i.e. a war - see for instance Joel 2:9-10), and the tenth part of the city fell (after the 1948-49 War of Independence, the Jordanian controlled part of Jerusalem was estimated at 11 and a half percent of the total city of Jerusalem), and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand (Jewish deaths in the War of Independence were approximately 6400, but in the decades leading up to this point, many hundreds more Jews lost their lives in their struggle to regain the Holy Land. This includes Haganah, Irgun and Lehi resistance fighters in ongoing battles against the British occupiers of the land, and also many Jewish civilians killed in clashes with Arabs. The Wikipedia page "List of killings and massacres in Mandatory Palestine" mentions 415 Jews killed during the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt): and the remnant (a small remnant) were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly (The second woe ended in 1950 with the proclamation of the Law of Return. Astonishingly, this agrees perfectly with Dan 12:7 which describes a 1260 year period concluding "when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end" (RSV). Dan 12:11 describes the starting point of this sequence of events as when "the abomination that makes desolate is set up". If we go back 1260 years from 1950, counting inclusively, we come to 691AD, the year of the construction of the Dome of the Rock, the ultimate long term desecration of Jerusalem. Dan 12:11 also states that this "abomination of desolation" would be set up when "the daily sacrifice shall be taken away". Since the destruction of the Temple in 70AD, daily prayers had replaced physical animal sacrifices. When the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock and made the Temple Mount an Islamic "holy" site, non-Muslims were banned from praying there. This ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is the removal of "the daily sacrifice". This is the main reason why to this day Jews can be seen praying at the Wailing Wall, rather than on the Temple Mount. See the concluding comments of the page "Bible Chronology" for more on this).

Let's go back two chapters in Revelation, to chapter 9, to shed more light on this subject.

Rev 9:12 says that the "first woe” (or fifth trumpet), is past, and then begins describing the "second woe” (or sixth trumpet), which we have just seen come to an end in Rev 11:14.

12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar

which is before God,

14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men (a third part of the Jewish people).

16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them (the combined number of mobilized men during the two world wars was approximately 200 million).

17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses (weapons and other implements of death) were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths (the openings of these devices) issued fire and smoke and brimstone (or sulfur)

18 By these three was the third part of men (God's people) killed (there were approximately 17 million Jews in the world prior to this period; an estimated 5.8 or 5.9 million died), by the fire (burning), and by the smoke (gas chambers and gas trucks), and by the sulfur (NIV) (gun fire of various types, sulfur being a component of gunpowder), which issued out of their mouths. 

19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

20 And the rest of the men (the rest of the Jews) which were not killed by these plagues yet (still) repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts (the Jews in general never saw this as a punishment permitted by God, in the way Daniel saw the Babylonian captivity, and have never repented of rejecting their Messiah).

Please see the page "THE HISTORICAL SEVENTH SEAL" for a more detailed explanation of the above passage of Scripture.

As already explained above, Rev 11:1-13 leads up to the same point in history, that is, the time just after the Second World War with the resettlement of the Jews in the Land of Israel and their capture of the greater part of Jerusalem.

Let’s look at Revelation 10

The seven thunders mentioned in Rev 10:3 must be related to the time of the World Wars, the Holocaust and the resettlement of the Jews in the land of Israel, as these major events are the topic of the sixth trumpet of the seventh seal, the description of which begins in Rev 9:14 and ends in Rev 11:14. Rev 10 is placed neatly, right in the middle of this account. 

In Rev 10:6 we find the often quoted, but much misunderstood phrase "time no longer", which most translations, other than the KJV, incorrectly render as "no more delay". In Lev 26, God warns Israel, in four places, that they would be punished "seven times", which equals 2520 years. This period of punishment related to the descendants of both Israel and Judah. Judah's first captivity and loss of sovereignty occurred in 575BC. Daniel 4 gives the account of Nebuchadnezzar being transformed into a "beast" for "seven times", which is symbolic and indicative of the Beast powers, described by Daniel, trampling down Jerusalem and the Jews for 2520 years. This is the same 2520 years of Judah's punishment foretold in Lev 26:24, and is discussed further on the page "THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES". In 1945AD Judah's time of punishment came to an end and there was "time no longer".

In other words, Judah's "time" or "times" were fulfilled.

As Jesus said in Luke 21:24, Jerusalem would be trampled down by the Gentiles until "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled". In 1945, those times had now come to an end and, as explained above, the Jews' time to regain their land speedily followed.

 

In Rev 10:2 a "little book" is mentioned, and said to be open. Clearly, with all the fulfilment of prophecy at this particular point in history, the fact that this book is open indicates that it is possible to understand the major prophecies mentioned at this particular place in Scripture. But which book is the "little book"? It must be shorter than the book with the seven seals which, as shown on the pages "THE REAL SEVEN SEALS" and "THE HISTORICAL SEVENTH SEAL", is the book of Daniel. It must also be concerned with the same subject matter.

The most likely explanation is that the "little book" is the book of Joel. Joel describes three separate occasions called a "day of the Lord". These are three catastrophic interventions on the part of God in the history of His people. The last of these catastrophes precedes the regathering of the Jews to their homeland, as shown in Joel 3. Therefore, the final "day of the Lord" mentioned by Joel appears to be the Holocaust and WWII, so it brings us to the same point in history as Rev 9 and 11.

The three "day(s) of the Lord" of the book of Joel are more fully described on the page "THE END TIME ELIJAH". 

The "seven thunders" that accompany the angel with the little book, described in Rev 10:3-4, might well be saying "one time", "two times", "three times" etc. This would fit perfectly with the angel in verse 6 saying that there would be "time no longer", meaning the "seven times" of the Gentiles treading down Jerusalem and the Jews had come to an end.

Rev 10:8-10 also make sense in this context. John is told that the digestion, or experience, of the events involved would be both bitter and sweet: bitter because of all the suffering that would be endured by the Jews, but sweet because the time would come for them to return to their land.

In addition to the ones already described above, let's look at some of the major fulfilments of prophecy we can now identify:

From the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar until the last year of the Second World War there are 2520 years of Judah's punishment as foretold in Lev 26:24. Twelve years after its first capture, Jerusalem fell again, after Zedekiah's rebellion, as foretold in Lev 26:28, at which time the city was totally depopulated. What happened in the 20th century after the same interval of time? In 1956 the Suez Crisis broke out, during which Israel, Britain and France fought with Egypt. The result was that all Arab nations expelled their Jewish inhabitants and consequently a second wave of Jews migrated to Israel (as well as to other countries) during 1956 and 1957. 

These two waves of migration are a remarkable fulfilment of the prophecy in Isa 11:11, where returnees are foretold to come to Israel from Assyria and Egypt as well as from other, mainly Arab, lands where large numbers of Jews dwelt.

Exactly the same is prophesied in Isa 27:13 where it says "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet (the sixth trumpet) shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria (Germany, as well as other European lands), and the outcasts in the land of Egypt (as well as other Arab lands), and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount (the Temple Mount) at Jerusalem".

Just as there are 2520 years from the first fall of Jerusalem until the end of WWII, after which large numbers of Jews made their way back to the Holy Land, there are also 2520 years from the second fall of Jerusalem until the return of the Jews to Israel after the Suez crisis.

In other words, 2520 years after the first wave of Jews went into Babylonian captivity, the Jews were released from their European (eighth head of the Beast) oppressors. And, 2520 years after the second wave went into Babylonian captivity, the Jews were expelled from the lands of the Arab countries (seventh head of the Beast) where they dwelt. 

Another major prophecy fulfilled soon after this, is the one found in Daniel 8 concerning "2300 evenings and mornings". In 1967, the so called “Six Day War” was fought which saw Israel oust all foreign troops from the approximately 10 percent of Jerusalem that had been held by Jordanian and Iraqi troops since the War of Independence of 1948-1949. In the 19 or so years they had occupied “East Jerusalem”, these troops had destroyed most of the synagogues and their contents within that territory. 

From Alexander the Great's 333BC capture of the Persian Empire (including Judah), Judah was trampled down, until 1967, by successive Greek, Roman and Islamic forces, which brought their false religions into the Holy Land, for a total of 2300 years. In 1967, as Dan 8:14 states, "the sanctuary [was] cleansed" after "2300 evenings and mornings", or applying the day for a year principle, 2300 years (that is, 2300 inclusive years as there is no year 0; Genesis chapter 1 shows that an evening and a morning constitute one day). See the page "LOST TRUTHS OF LAODICEA", point 6, for more on this.

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A whole range of interpretations are given by different people for the prophecies

discussed on this page.

The more I think about these issues with an open mind, the more I am sure that

Major prophecies have major fulfilments.

One COG “prophet” explains the 2300 day prophecy as beginning from the time of Herbert Armstrong's death, followed by the "prophet" writing a booklet and then the "prophet's son" reading it 1150 days after HWA's death !!!

I suppose in this age of rampant narcissism, one might expect to find something like that from the world, but to encounter such self glorification in the Church of God is horrifying. How can Christians, who are meant to be humble, have such a big opinion of themselves, thinking that they themselves are personally prophesied about in Scripture?

Did Herbert Armstrong understand these things? He was in a perfect place in history to understand, but he couldn't see how the re-establishment of Israel fulfilled many major

prophecies. Nor did he understand Bible chronology and how it relates to prophecy.

Why didn't he understand, if he was who he claimed to be?

Read the pages "THE END TIME ELIJAH" and "THE TRUE CHURCH ERAS" for more information.

The fact that the Jews have been God's witnesses to the world shouldn't be a surprise to us.

It is really just stating the obvious. The "lost" ten tribes of Israel couldn't have been witnesses, because they lost their identity and so became unrecognisable to the world. The same applies to God's Church. It was hidden away for most of its history for its own protection. The Jews however, have always been in plain sight wherever they have lived.

God said the Jews would be punished for 2520 years and this was done in full public view, exactly as you would expect for those called "witnesses".

They preserved and carried with them the Scriptures that testify to their fate. They witnessed to their Creator's existence and the accuracy of His word, in particular its prophecies, and continue to do so.

In Isaiah 43 God Himself reveals who His witnesses are. In verse one of this chapter, God says He is addressing Israel. In verse 10 He tells them "you are my witnesses". In verse 12 He makes this even clearer by stating "you are my witnesses, says the Lord, that I am God". He repeats this in Isa 44:8. As ten of Israel's twelve tribes were dispersed and lost their identity, they ceased to be witnesses. The remaining two tribes however, held on to many true teachings of God, none more significant than the Sabbath, the one witnessing to Him as Creator, and through the centuries fulfilled God's prophecies about themselves. In verses 5 and 6 of this chapter, God says that He will gather these same people from the East, West, North and South. And so He did.
The fact that Rev 11:3 says that the Two Witnesses prophesy for 1260 years doesn't mean that they only witnessed during that prescribed time. They have always been God's witnesses. However, it was during this 1260 year period, from 686 till 1945, that they were given into the hand of the little horn as stated in Dan 7:25. Before 686 the Papacy was not an independent power and so it was not yet a horn. In 1945, the little horn, i.e. Catholicism/Christianity, the last remaining power of the Beast, lost its control over the Jews.
Please see the page "THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES" for more information on this.

I believe the above to be a logical explanation of prophecy against the backdrop of history. Where we stand today in the timeline of history allows us to be able to understand. The "little book" of Rev 10 is open because of the progression of time. Many prophecies can now be understood. Daniel was told that the prophecies given to him were sealed until "the time of the end", or as it should be understood, "until the time of their end". The passing of time and the fulfilment of prophecies has made it possible to understand them.

I’ll say it again: major prophecies have major fulfilments. No one in this end time is going to be able to say “How could I have known about that?”

These prophecies will have been fulfilled out in the open, these facts of history being by and large major, well known events. No one living today will have an excuse.

One might conclude that the Two Witnesses have come and gone.

It would be more correct to say that the people of God have always been His witnesses and remain so to this day. The Scriptures refer to them as His "saints", set apart by Him for His purpose and use.

What has come and gone though, is the 1260 year period during which they fulfilled the specific prophecy they were foretold to fulfil in Revelation 11:3.

Please read "THE HISTORICAL SEVENTH SEAL" to see the Two Witnesses in their full context.

(To listen to my 65 minute presentation on The Two Witnesses on YouTube - please click here)