The Two Witnesses
Part 2 – The Time of Their Witness
COPYRIGHT © 2019 by James M. Frye
All scripture quotations are taken from the Authorized King James Bible. Any deviations are not intentional. All underlines, bold and words within brackets are the author's.
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In part one of this series, we studied the two witnesses in order to discover their identity. We found that the two witnesses symbolize the testimony of believers to the truth of God's word in the spiritual darkness of this world. In part two of this series, we will be looking at the time of their witness. The book of Revelation contains a number of time frames, but it is only when we begin to put these time frames together that we are then able to understand what actual times they refer to. So, let’s put some of these time frames together so that we might understand these matters. We will only be looking at time frames in this article and will save all of the other symbolisms for later articles.
The 1260 days began at the first coming of Christ
The two witnesses are said to prophesy for 1260 days.
Revelation 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
When did these 1260 symbolic days begin?
Revelation 12:1-2, 5-6
1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
The man child is Jesus Christ, for it is He who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron (Psa. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; Rev. 19:15). His catching up to God’s throne is Christ's ascension to heaven (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). And after Christ is caught up, the woman then flees into the wilderness for 1260 days.
So the 1260
symbolic days BEGAN at the first coming of Christ.
The 42 months begin after the 1260 days
The two witnesses testify for 1260 days, then after the 1260 days, when they shall have finished their testimony...
Revelation 11:7 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.
Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Revelation 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Revelation 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
The 1260 symbolic days end when the beast arises and kills the two witnesses. Please remember that the two witnesses do not represent literal people, but “the testimony” of those people to the word of God. It is their testimony which is killed (silenced) not them. And after his arising, the beast then continues for 42 months.
So the 42 symbolic months immediately follow the 1260 symbolic days.
The 42 months
end at the second coming of Christ
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Revelation 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
The rider on the white horse is Christ and His riding forth is the second coming. And notice that the beast’s reign is put down by Christ at the second coming and the beast is cast into the lake of fire.
So the time of the beast's reign (the 42 months) continues until the second coming.
Putting it all together
As we have seen, the 1260 days run from the first
coming of Christ until the beast arises (the beginning of the great
tribulation). The 1260 days are then followed by 42 months (the time of the
great tribulation). Then Christ comes at the end of the 42 months (after the
great tribulation). The 1260 days and the 42 months are, therefore, clearly not
literal times for they together span the entire time from the first to the
second coming of Christ.
1260 days = 3 1/2 symbolic years.
42 months = 3 1/2 symbolic years.
Why is one 3 1/2 timeframe spoken of as 42 months and the other as 1260 days? The smaller number 42 is used to represent the Great Tribulation and the larger number 1260 is used to refer to the church age because the Great Tribulation is much shorter than is the church age (Matt; 24:22; Rev. 20:3). It should be noted that the 1260 symbolic days represent the same time as the 1000 symbolic years in Revelation chapter twenty. Please see our other articles regarding that subject for details.
The Time of Their Witness
This article is entitled, “The Two Witnesses Part 2 – The Time of Their Witness”. We have spent the majority of this article examining two symbolic timeframes in the book of Revelation. The reason we have done this, is so that we might properly understand the time in which the two witnesses give their testimony. As we have seen, the two witnesses testify to the truth of God’s word for 1260 symbolic days. We have also seen that these 1260 symbolic days run for the first coming of Christ until the beginning of the 42 months (the beginning of the great tribulation). So our work is complete (until part 3 that is).
So the two witnesses testify from the first coming of Christ until the beginning of the great tribulation and then their testimony is silenced.
We will get into more of the details in upcoming articles, God willing.