Q. In our Sunday morning Bible study we are looking at the two witnesses in Revelation and trying to figure out when they witnessed. Some of our group think that they’re here for the first 3 1/2 years, some the last 3 1/2 years, and I think that they’re in the middle, overlapping both the beginning and the end because God does things in 3s. So much happens both before and after the witnesses that I just can’t see how they fit anywhere else. Your input on the subject would be very appreciated. God has blessed you with an astuteness of the Bible and blessed us with the fact that you share what you know with us.
A. I’m with you. The two witnesses first appear in Rev. 11 between the 6th and 7th trumpet judgments and before the beginning of the Great Tribulation. When their 1260 day period of service ends they’ll be killed, their bodies left lying in the street in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:3,8). The world will rejoice at the sight of this and give each other gifts, and then react in terror as they see the two coming back to life after lying dead in the street for 3 1/2 days (Rev. 11:11-12). From this we can conclude that their deaths will precede the 2nd Coming by an unknown period of time. So their ministry is not concurrent with either the first half of Daniel’s 70th week or the second half aka the Great Tribulation.
This is confusing to some because it would appear at first glance as if their entire 3 1/2 year ministry takes place between the 6th and 7th Trumpets. But it’s really just a case of John following his description of their ministry to its conclusion before going on with his overall account. The same thing happens in Rev. 20:7-15 where he follows his account of Satan’s final disposition all the way to the end of the Millennium before backing up to its beginning to describe the New Jerusalem.