Revelation 11:3-14 "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the G-d of the earth. 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. 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. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our L-rd was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer 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. And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from G-d entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. 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 affrighted, and gave glory to the G-d of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. (KJV)
These two witnesses prophecy for 1260 days. This is 3 and 1/2 Biblical years. A Biblical year is 360 days.
They are clothed in "sackcloth". Sackcloth is a very coarse cloth, made from goat or camel's hair. When someone wore sackcloth it was a sign of mourning or penitence.
They are referred to as the "2 olive trees" and the "2 lamp stands". Olive trees give oil, which was fuel for the temple lights. They symbolize those who are filled abundantly with G-d's spirit.
During this period G-d will protect them so that they cannot be killed. Anyone who attempts to kill them will be consumed by fire coming from the mouths of the witnesses.
They have power to perform great miracles. Perhaps they will pronounce the judgments being released in heaven, the seals, trumpets and thunders, to the people on earth.
When they have finished their testimony the "Beast" Satan will kill them in Jerusalem.
Rev 11:9 "And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves." (KJV)
As we prepare this study we are referring to several commentaries. The oldest one is "Commentary on Revelation" by E.W. Bullinger. Bullinger lived from 1837 to 1913. It is humorous to read what he writes on page 365 about Rev 11:9.
"The older commentators might have felt a difficulty in understanding how the whole earth could rejoice at the event happening at Jerusalem. But in these days of electric inventions, telephones, and wireless telegraphy, we all know how the next day the whole world sympathizes and rejoices together." 8~)
Little did Mr. Bullinger know that the Radio (not popular until 1920's), the TV, Satellites, the Internet, and who knows what else will come along. Today we don't have to think twice how this will be possible. I often sit here as I am writing to you all and am amazed to think we are having a Bible study will people all over the US, one in Finland, and one in Germany! And from the comfort of our own homes! Praise G-d!!!!
So the people of the earth will celebrate and send gifts to each other because of the torment the two witnesses caused.
G-d will resurrect them and call them up to heaven.
A great earthquake destroys 1/10 of Jerusalem and 7,000 people die. The rest of the people acknowledge that G-d is responsible for these events. This attitude change seems to be temporary.
Who are the two witnesses?
Elijah seems to be a certainty.
Malachi 4:5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the L-RD: (KJV)
Some believe they will be Elijah and Enoch, because neither of them ever died.
Others believe they will be Elijah and Moses, because the miracles they perform are similar to the ones performed during the Tanakh ministries of Elijah and Moses.
Rev 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. (KJV)
Notice the Bible says that the second woe is past. When did the second woe begin? It began all the way back in Ch 9:13 with the sixth trumpet. I think the reason that the second woe is not past until now is that G-d wants us to know that the 7 seals, 6 trumpets, and the 7 thunders all occur during the first 3 1/2 year period. They occur along with the control of the temple mount in Rev 11:1-2 and the ministry of the two witnesses in Rev 11:3-14.
We have now reached the mid-point of the tribulation.