A major factor that will result in the truth of the Bible being powerfully proclaimed in the last days is the coming of the two prophets that the book of Revelation predicts will arise during the final seven years. The Lord calls these men his Two Witnesses and says that they will prophesy in Israel for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth (Rev. 11:3-13). The fact that their work is prophesied to occur in the same time span as the number of days in the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week is not just coincidental. Indeed, it appears from the description of their activities that they will prophesy during the entire first half of the last seven years, or during the 3½ years of the Antichrist’s rule and just before the full fury of the Tribulation period begins.
So authoritative will be the Two Witnesses’ testimony that the Lord even promises they will have special protection and powers throughout the time of their ministry. In fact, not only will the events they predict come true as a confirmation of the truth of the Bible, but anyone who dares to oppose them will be met with serious judgment. This is the way John describes it:
“And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
“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.”
For the entire period of the Antichrist’s reign, which is the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week, the Two Witnesses will cry out against the delusion and evil of the one-world system. While the people of the empire try to make themselves believe that the world has entered a new age of peace and prosperity, God’s two prophets will provide a strong, miraculous witness to the contrary. Not surprisingly, the words of the Two Witnesses will incite the followers of the Antichrist to turn against them with ever-increasing hatred. The prophets will quickly become known throughout the world as the primary source of all the Empire’s problems—including encouraging the subversive uprising of Christians to reject the Mark. According to the Apostle John’s words, these prophets will be able to cause severe drought to come upon entire countries and miraculously send fire upon anyone who threatens to physically harm them.
Much like Moses and Aaron in pronouncing the plagues of the Exodus, the Two Witnesses will have control over the climate, the food supply, fresh water, and plagues. The time of the Antichrist’s reign, instead of becoming his promised eutopia, will become progressively more troublesome for the people of the Empire, because of the sins of the nations and their rejection of Christ.
Throughout the time of their prophesying, the Two Witnesses will literally cause the Antichrist to become more and more obsessed with getting rid of them. In fact, by the end of their 1,260-day ministry, John says,
“…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.
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
“And they of the peoples and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not permit their dead bodies to be put in graves.
“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”
At the end of their short 3½ year period of prophesying, the forces of the empire finally will succeed in having the Lord’s Two Witnesses killed. John states that their murder will happen in the very streets of Jerusalem (the city where the Lord was crucified). Notice that this fact correlates perfectly with the predicted location of the Antichrist at the mid-point of the last seven years (compare Matt 24:15-21; Dan. 9:27; and 2 Thess. 2:3-4).
Since the final days of the two prophets’ ministry will extend to the end of the Antichrist’s reign (1,260 days) and one of his final acts will involve committing the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple in Jerusalem, it’s not surprising that the prophets will be martyred there as well. Thus, the Abomination of Desolation and the killing of the Lord’s Two Witnesses occur in proximity to one another within Jerusalem!
As far as the relative timing of these two events is concerned, we are not told the exact day of the death of the Two Witnesses. However, we are told that they will prophesy for 1,260 days, which is the entire first half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week and also the exact length of time given for the Antichrist’s reign. It is therefore likely that they will arise in Jerusalem concurrent with the Antichrist’s signing of the global treaty—which is on the same day that the final seven years begins. If this is the case, then their ministry will conclude at precisely the mid-point of the final seven years, on which day they will be put to death.
Just when the Antichrist has fully deluded himself into believing that he is God and savior of the world, he will also think he has gained a tremendous victory in destroying the Lord’s Two Witnesses. The Bible says that the world will be so elated by the news of their deaths that they will keep their bodies in full view for three and a half days and declare an international holiday where people will exchange gifts!
It is also interesting that the prophecy states that people from many nations will be able to see their dead bodies lying on the street. Before our time such a thing would have been impossible; however, now we are in a world with continuous live world news broadcasts, mobile news apps, video streams, and social media. People everywhere will be able to see their bodies right on their TV sets, computers, tablets, or smartphones—a feat that would have been unimaginable when the prophecy was first written.
As the Antichrist and the world celebrate the prophets’ deaths in apparent victory, the Lord has planned an unexpected finale that will so terrify the world that every person will know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Bible is true and Jesus is really coming. John goes on to prophesy in Revelation 11:
“And after three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them who saw them.
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up here. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them.
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; and the remnant were terrified, and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
Thus, the first half of the final seven years and the reign of the Antichrist will both end dramatically with the resurrection of God’s Two Witnesses! Not only will their rise be definitive proof of the Lord’s power, but their death and resurrection will also be a symbolic prophecy of what will happen to the world during the last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th Week. The account of how they will lie in the street for precisely 3½ days is a perfect presage to the final 3½ years of the world’s death and destruction in the Great Tribulation. In this respect, their resurrection and ascension up to heaven also symbolically foreshadows the resurrection and gathering together of the followers of Christ at the end of the final seven years and at the exact moment of the Second Coming. Thus, even in their death and resurrection their witness will turn out to be a prophecy and harbinger of the Last Days!