FoundationsForGrowing

The End Times: Part IV

by Joanna Pierce on May 26, 2016

Last week, our End Times study covered the opening of the 7 seals, blowing of the 7 trumpets, and pouring out of the 7 vials. This week, we will discuss the 2 witnesses, the “woman,” and what will happen to the church.

Two Witnesses

Time on the Earth

After the rapture of the church, and during the tribulatory period, there will be 2 witnesses on the earth. They will preach and prophesy to the world for 3.5 years (Revelation 11:3) and have supernatural abilities—power to breathe fire and conquer their enemies (Revelation 11:5), as well as control over the elements and the ability to smite people with plagues (Revelation 11:6).

After the witnesses finish their testimony, the beast (antichrist) will kill them (Revelation 11:7). Their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem and everyone around the world will see them lying in the streets for 3.5 days (Revelation 11:8–9). Due to the technological era we live in, the media will most likely cover the event and broadcast it to the entire world.

Unfortunately, the world will rejoice over the death of these two witnesses and in their joy will send gifts to each other—the world may declare a national holiday (Revelation 11:10). But, after 3.5 days, the Lord will breathe life into them (Revelation 11:11) and will call them up to Heaven (Revelation 11:12).

Identifying the Witnesses

There are many schools of thought as to who the 2 witness could be. Some scholars believe the 2 witnesses are Moses and Elijah, as these were the 2 individuals Jesus spoke to on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2). Others claim the 2 witnesses are Enoch and Elijah as neither individual actually died (Hebrews 9:27). Enoch was “taken” because he walked so closely with God (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind (II Kings 2:11).

There are many other theories of who these could be; however, it’s important to note the witnesses will have power and there will be witnesses of their own resurrection (Revelation 11:11).

The Woman

Theologians speculate as to who the woman is mentioned in Revelation 12:1–7. Some believe this is the story of the Nation of Israel’s history from beginning to end. Similar typology of the sun, moon, and stars was used in reference to Joseph’s dream (Israel/Jacob’s son) (Genesis 37:9). However, in this setting of Scripture, much of the alliteration points back to God’s chosen covenant people—the Jewish nation.

On the whole, the woman is referring to the Nation of Israel and the man child referring to Jesus Christ. We can see history unfold as we read about the war in heaven (Revelation 12:7). Satan and his angels are cast out and they are left on the earth to torment the woman (Israel) and her child (Jesus) (Revelation 12:13). We are closing on the time when Satan and his demons have reign over the earth and evil being rampant in society.

The Church

Scripture tells us the church will be taken up to meet Jesus in the air (I Thessalonians 4:15–17)—this is known as the rapture. Those who are already dead who lived for Christ will rise first and then believers who are alive and remain on the earth will be “caught up.” It’s important to note, the rapture or “catching away” of the saints is not the second coming of Christ. Jesus doesn’t come down to the earth when He calls His church home—we will meet Him in the clouds (I Thessalonians 4:17). The second coming of Christ will be discussed in a future study.

After the rapture of the church, there will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7). This event will occur somewhere during the time of man’s wrath upon the earth (during the tribulatory period).

Those who have endured this life, kept the faith, and made themselves ready will participate in the Marriage Supper (Revelation 19:9). Scholars believe Jesus’s words in Mark 14:24–25 were in reference to the Marriage Supper—Jesus would drink the fruit of the vine with His disciples in the kingdom of God. However, during this time God’s people will praise Him in Heaven and will rejoice with Him. It will be the best moment with the Lord we’ve ever experienced as believers.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 25, 2016