Why would God send the two prophets to the people of Israel? God would do so to save the people of Israel in particular. The main passage tells us that God would make His two witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days. This is to save the Israelites for the last time. That God would thus save the people of Israel also means that the time for the end of the world would have come.
Verse 2 says, “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” This means that when the horrendous plagues come to the Gentiles, when the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation begins and gradually brings great confusion and plagues, when those among the Gentiles who have heard and believed in the gospel are martyred, God will raise the two prophets for the people of Israel, make them testify that Jesus is God and the Savior, and thus save the Israelites. It tells us that these are the works of God to come.
We must teach this Word to those who, deceived by Satan, claim that the leaders of their denominations are the two olive trees of the end times, or that the founder of their sect is the Elijah prophesized for the end times. Whenever the worldly churches talk about Revelation, they exploit this passage on the two olive trees the most. Of all the people deceived by heretical cults whom I have met in my life of faith so far, none has ever failed to make the outlandish claim that the leader of his/her cult is one of the two olive trees mentioned here. Every heretic that I know has made such a claim eventually.
But the two olive trees and the two lampstands of Revelation are not what these heretics claim to be. In truth, these olive trees actually refer to the two prophets whom God would raise from the Israelites to save them.
Chapter 11 tells us in detail how God would save the people of Israel. Like the Book of Romans, each chapter of the Book of Revelation has its special theme. Only by knowing this theme can we understand what this chapter is all about. Reading that the Gentiles would tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months, some people claim, without knowing this theme, that the era of the Gentiles would be over, the era of the salvation of the Israelites would instead open, and so from then on only the Israelites would be saved.
But this is far from the truth. Chapter 7 tells us that a countless multitude from the Gentiles would also come out of the Tribulation saved—that is, both the Gentiles and the Israelites would be saved throughout the Tribulation, not just the Israelites. As such, what chapter 11 tells us is that God would thus raise the two prophets to save the people of Israel in the end times, but this does not mean that the Gentiles would no longer be saved.
Some will ask in return, then, “Were not 144,000 Israelites already saved, as chapter 7 tells us that this was the number of the Israelites sealed by God?” Being sealed is not the same as being saved. There is no one who can be saved without going through Jesus Christ. Salvation comes only by believing that Jesus Christ became our Savior by coming to this earth, being baptized to assume all our sins, carrying all these sins of the world to the Cross and dying on it, and rising from the dead again.
Though we know that we are bound to sin until our death, we were nevertheless saved by believing that Jesus Christ made all our sins completely disappear and thus became our Savior. While 144,000 Israelites would be sealed, God would also raise up His two prophets, and through them preach His gospel to these Israelites. What the Word tells us, in other words, is that the two prophets would preach the gospel to the Israelites, and that 144,000 of them would thus be saved.
The Bible is never prejudiced or discriminatory. There is no one who can be saved without going through Jesus Christ. God does not say, without going through Jesus Christ, “You are saved, but you are not.”
The two prophets, who are the two olive trees mentioned in the main passage, will be killed at the place called Golgotha. Their dead bodies will be left in the open without burial, and those who neither believe nor accept Jesus will rejoice over their death and send gifts to each other. But verses 11 and 12 tell us, “Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.”
This tells us straightforwardly that we—that is, you and I who are Gentiles—will also be martyred by faith when the time comes, and that shortly after our martyrdom will come our resurrection and rapture. This subject continues to make its appearance throughout the whole Book of Revelation. There are also passages that tell us that when the plagues of the seven bowls are poured on this earth, the raptured saints would be praising God in the air.
Chapter 14 also speaks of the 144,000 saved, who praise God with a song that no one else but the firstfruits of salvation can sing. What this tells us that when the people of Israel are saved, they will be martyred everywhere, and shortly after their martyrdom will come their resurrection and rapture.
The same applies to the Gentiles. In the end times, you and I will go through many hardships of the plagues of the seven trumpets, but God will still protect us from these plagues. When the Great Tribulation of seven years reaches its height with the passing of the first three and a half years, the persecution of the saints will also reach its peak. But this extreme persecution will last only for a short time. Many saints and servants of God will shortly be martyred, and quickly after their martyrdom will come their rapture.
Why? Because Revelation repeatedly records that by the time the plagues of the seven bowls are poured on this earth, the saints would already be in heaven praising God. The Word describes this as marvelous.
Revelation 10:7 says, “but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” This refers to none other than the rapture, the mystery hidden by God. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, the Apostle Paul also tells us, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.”
That the Lord will descend from Heaven, however, does not mean that He will come down to this earth immediately. He will descend from Heaven to the air, and when the first resurrection that raises the asleep and transforms the born-again alive happens, the rapture with which the saints receive the Lord in the air will follow right away. After the marriage supper of the Lamb is held in the air and this world is completed destroyed by the pouring of all the remaining seven bowls’ plagues on this earth, the Lord will descend on the renewed earth with us and make His appearance before those who would still be alive.
Interpreting the Word of Revelation and the Bible based on one’s own individual opinions is to embark on the road to destruction. It is simply wrong to just believe in mere hypotheses proposed by some theologians and advocate these claims without properly understanding the Word.
Among the theologians who are highly respected and renowned in the conservative Christian communities, some scholars such as L. Berkhof and Abraham Kuyper espoused amillennialism. Of the theories of pre-tribulation rapture, post-tribulation rapture, and amillennialism, believing in this last doctrine of amillennialism is the same as not believing in the Bible itself.
The time when people used to believe in the theory of post-tribulation rapture has now gone by, and in these days virtually everyone believes in the theory of pre-tribulation rapture. But this theory, too, is not biblically sound. Yet people still like it very much whenever they are told about the pre-tribulation rapture. Why? Because according to this theory of pre-tribulation rapture, Christians would have nothing to worry about the Great Tribulation of seven years.
As such, it becomes acceptable for the believers to live a life of faith that is neither hot nor cold, and for the churches to worry only about increasing the size of their congregations. People’s faith thus grows lax. Because they think that there is no need for them to worry about going through the Great Tribulation, their faith becomes all rosy and lax just when their faith must in fact get stronger with the nearing of the end times. People used to believe in amillennialism long ago, and then in the theory of post-tribulation rapture for a while, and they now believe in the theory of pre-tribulation rapture.
In 1830’s, Rev. Scofield, a professor at the Moody Bible Institute, began to write his reference Bible. Scofield was highly influenced by a world-renowned theologian named Darby.
Darby, Scofield’s spiritual mentor, who used to be a Catholic priest before, was a highly intelligent and widely knowledgeable man. He left the Catholic Church after realizing its fallacies, joined a small Christian organization, and became its leader. Though Darby constantly read and studied the Bible, he could not figure out from Revelation whether the rapture would happen before or after the Great Tribulation. So he went on a trip in search of more clear evidences on this issue.
During this trip he met a teenaged female who was a leader of pneumatology. This girl claimed to have seen through her vision that the rapture would happen before the Great Tribulation. Believing what she told him and convinced that the rapture would come before the Tribulation, Darby concluded His biblical studies with the theory of pre-tribulation rapture.
However, because the people of this time had mainly believed in the theory of post-tribulation rapture, Darby’s theory of pre-tribulation rapture was not received well.
Darby claimed that what is written in the Book of Revelation is about the salvation of the people of Israel, and that it had nothing to do with the salvation of the Gentiles. And by “You must prophesy again (10:11),” he interpreted this not as the preaching of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but of the gospel of the Kingdom that proclaims its coming arrival.
Scofield, who accepted such hypotheses of Darby intact and incorporated this theory of pre-tribulation rapture into his reference Bible, came to create his own hypothesis on the seven eras. Such claims of Scofield met the demands of his time and fit rather well to his background, causing a great stir among the religious throughout the world and becoming widely accepted.
But what does God say in the Bible? In the Scripture we see Jesus taking and opening the scroll sealed with seven seals before the throne of God, who has divided history into His seven eras with the seven seals.
The first era is the era of the white horse. This is the era of salvation, the era in which God decided to save us from the very moment that He created this universe and man, and has indeed saved us accordingly. As Revelation 6:2 tells us, “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer,” the Lord have triumphed and will continue to triumph. Even before the creation, the gospel was already in existence and salvation had already begun.
The second era is the era of the red horse, the era of Satan. This is the Devil’s era in which he would take away peace from the mankind, making them wage war against each other, hate one another, and engage in religious conflicts.
The third era is the era of the black horse, which is a time of spiritual and physical famine, and the fourth era is the era of the pale horse, the era of martyrdom. The fifth era is the era of rapture—God has set the saints’ rapture as one of His eras. The sixth era is that of the seven bowls, entailing the destruction of this world, and the following era is that of the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth. God has thus set this world’s time into these seven eras, within the scroll sealed by the seven seals.
Scofield’s division of time into seven eras was set on his own. In contrast, the seven eras that are prophesized in Revelation 6 through the seven seals of the scroll held on God’s hand have been set by God Himself. Yet people speak of the man-made theory of pre-tribulation rapture, and the many who believed in it conclude that there is no need for them to believe in the Lord earnestly.
They have decided in their hearts, “Since we’d be raptured before the Great Tribulation, we would already in God’s presence when the Great Tribulation of seven years comes. So we got nothing to worry about!” Had the Word of God told us that we were to be raptured before the Tribulation, there would indeed be no need to prepare our faith, and attending the church once or twice a year would suffice. But this is not what God has told us.
“They will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” “They will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” Such Word of God tells us that the Gentiles, too, will be saved in the time of the Tribulation. God will raise up His two prophets to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. There is no one who can stand before God without going through the first three and a half years of the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation set by Him, when the time of hardships comes. God also tells us that many martyrs will come out from the Tribulation at this time.
To believe in Jesus correctly, one must learn the Bible exactly and believe in what are exactly correct. If people preach and believe on their own without reading each page of the Bible carefully, they will end up as heretics. The reason why there are innumerable denominations in this world is also because of the fact that many people base their faith on their own interpretation of the Bible.
That the people of Israel would be saved tells us that God’s plan will be fulfilled according to His Word of promise. This also tells us that God will never break His Word of promise spoken to us but fulfill them all. This is why we have such a great hope.
The two prophets of Israel will be resurrected in three and a half days after their death and ascend to Heaven. This is the rapture. It provides a model for how the martyrs of the Great Tribulation would be raptured, and is shown to us as a precursor to our own rapture. The Bible tells us that after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, this earth will become the Kingdom of Christ and He will reign over it forever. So, too, will those who have trusted in Jesus Christ reign with Him.
God will wholly destroy this earth after rapturing the saints. We don’t know if the destruction will be for 100 percent, as this detail is not recorded in the Bible, but God does tell us in Revelation 11:18, “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
The rapture will most certainly happen as the Great Tribulation passes over its peak of three and a half years—not at the exact reaching of the first three and a half years, but slightly past it. The midpoint of the seven-year period is when the Tribulation reaches its height. This is when the saints from the people of Israel will be martyred, and the rapture will come shortly thereafter. When the rapture happens, we will all join the marriage supper of the Lamb in the air.
While we are participating in the marriage supper of the Lamb in the air, as Matthew 25 tells us that we will, the plagues of the seven bowls will descend on this earth. Praising God in the air and seeing all the things that are happening on this earth, we will thank God for His grace all the more.
I hope and pray that through the Word of Revelation, you would be able to discern the times when the last days come, believe in the Word properly, live your life diligently by faith, and prepare for the future. To give praise, honor, and worship to the Lord as you are taking part in the marriage supper of the Lamb with Him, you must prepare your faith.
I hope that the Word of Revelation will prove to be a great guide for you in the days to come, reminding your heart once again that you must live diligently and truthfully by your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.