This pains me greatly, but I must reconsider my views on the timing of the two witnesses. I am going to be publishing quite shortly some material that will present another option than what I have previously espoused. I have argued, debated, and insisted to a variety of folks on the internet that the two witnesses begin their ministry at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week. So going back on my blog you can read all about how I have this all figured out.
However, after reviewing Dr. Hultberg’s position, and after having some interaction with him, I have been reconsidering my views. He was not dogmatic about his view. He didn’t try to convince me. He simply set forth the idea. So I did as I often do with matters like this. I went back and reviewed again why I have come to the conclusions that I have. I asked if there were other possibilities that were supported by the scriptures. I went to the relevant texts in the scriptures. I turned it back and forth in my mind.
I have done this quite often before. I have done this with pre-millennialism. I have done this with Pre-Wrath. I have done this with eternal security. But with these issues, I have always come back to the realization that the scriptures have clearly laid these issues out and I continue to wholeheartedly espouse the previous three.
With the timing of the two witnesses, suddenly I feel like I don’t have it all figured out. There is something unsettled in my mind about the issue. My previous argumentation has been that the 42 months of Gentile domination over Jerusalem represents the last 42 months of this age. Then the 1260 days of the ministry of the two witnesses is mentioned in conjunction with that 42 month period. So these two periods of time must be parallel since they are mentioned together. So why do these questions keep popping up in my mind? For instance, “If Jerusalem is liberated from Gentile domination when the 42 months expire, why does it seem like the Gentiles still have domination over Jerusalem since they do not allow anyone to touch the two witnesses lying in the streets of Jerusalem?” “If Revelation operates on a 3 1/2 year timeline, why does it seem like the two witnesses ascend after that 3 1/2 years are expired?” “Why does it seem like the two witnesses are raptured when the church is already raptured?” “Are the two witnesses a part of the 144,000?”
I am not going to be dogmatic about this, but I am seriously considering the following view. Malachi 3:1-5 sets forth the coming of the messenger of the covenant. In some translations it is unclear since the messenger is mentioned twice, once as the messenger then the second time as the messenger of the covenant. What is compelling is that the messenger of the covenant is the one who is responsible for the refiner’s fire that purifies the sons of Levi in advance of the coming judgment of the LORD which is pictured in verse 5. So this messenger of the covenant prepares the way before the coming of the LORD by preparing the Levitical priesthood. Once the Levitical priesthood is purified, then the LORD comes in judgment.
Malachi 4:1-6 is to be set side by side with Malachi 3:1-5. We see the judgment of the LORD coming in 4:1, but in verses 2-3 there is this godly remnant that is allowed to participate in the judgment of the wicked. So if we remember Malachi 3:1-5 as the background for this, we can see that the godly remnant was prepared by this messenger of the covenant. Then we have the remembrance of the law of Moses in Malachi 4:4 which would point toward the restoration of the Levitical priesthood once again. Then in Malachi 5:5-6 we have named specifically that Elijah will come before the Day of the LORD. This Day of the LORD should be seen as the judgment previously described in Malachi 3:5 and 4:1-3 with the righteous taking part in it. Notice how Elijah’s ministry is likened to the ministry of the messenger of the covenant. Elijah would come to prepare the Israelites restoring their hearts well in advance of the judgments of the Day of the LORD. Once the Day of the LORD comes, the ministry of the messenger of the covenant and the ministry of Elijah should be considered as complete.
It is obvious beginning in Revelation 10 that the chronology of the seven trumpets and three woes is interrupted. But exactly where does it resume? This is where we need a heart of wisdom to know where to place the ministry of the two witnesses. There is only one place in Revelation’s chronology that we see a restored remnant of Israelites and possibly a restored Levitical priesthood and that is in the 144,000 Israelites of Revelation 7:1-8 and 14:1-5. The timing of this is at the sixth seal, just before the rapture of the church. So it seems like good detective work to place the 1260 days of the ministry of the two witnesses before the Day of the LORD and even before the sealing of the 144,000. The 144,000 must represent a godly Israelite remnant that is already restored before this point in time at the sixth seal.
So, I apologize to everyone that I debated against who insisted to me that the two witnesses perform their ministry in the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. I did not give your views proper consideration. I may even change my views to more closely resemble yours. I probably will not go back and change all the posts on my blog but leave them as is. I’m still considering this as a possibility. Sorry again.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman