The Temple and two Witnesses
Before the seventh angel blows his trumpet, John sees a vision of a future temple Israel will build to go back to their old way of worship and sacrifice and two witnesses to tell them the old ways
of sacrifice are no longer needed with Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. John is told in Revelation 11: 1-2
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.
Like Ezekiel, John is told to measure a temple that hasn’t been built yet. Jews have wanted to rebuild the temple since the reformation of Israel, the problem is the Muslim’s Dome of the Rock is believed to sit on the site of the original temple where the Jews want to build. This problem will be solved by the beginning of the tribulation. Daniel, who predicts the destruction of the previous temple prophesizes in chapter 9 verse 27;
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
The week that Daniel is talking about is a week of seven years. The antichrist will work out a seven year peace agreement with Israel that will allow them to rebuild their temple. How will Muslims agree to this? They probably won’t have much choice. Remember, this will be after the attack on Israel described in Ezekiel where God destroys the attackers. The Dome of the Rock possibly will have been destroyed by God when He defends Israel. It is also after the rapture where millions of people have disappeared but Israel will have been left untouched. People will be suspicious that Israel might have caused these incidents, fearing that they have God on their side or have developed some new weapons. The antichrist, who is a great deceiver, will ease the world’s fears by working out a seven year peace agreement with Israel so things like this won’t happen again. People will probably be willing to let Israel build their temple as long as they are happy and leave everyone else alone. God will see the rebuilding of the temple as a rejection of Christ. Jews will be sacrificing animals at the temple, rejecting Jesus who is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Because of this, God will allow Antichrist to desecrate the temple half way through the peace agreement. It is at this point that Israel will have to flee to the mountains to escape persecution from the antichrist. But before this happens, God will send two special witnesses to testify to the Jews and to the world about Jesus in Revelation 11:4-6.
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
These two witnesses will most likely be Moses and Elijah, two of the most prominent heroes of the Jewish faith. They will still have many of the powers over the world that God gave them in the Old Testament. People won’t like what they are saying and will try to stop them but anybody that tries to stop them will be killed by fire from their mouths. Nothing can harm the witnesses until they have finished their testimony although many will probably try. Once everyone knows of their testimony and their job is complete Antichrist will be allowed his revenge.
And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. (Rev. 11:7-10)
People will be so happy that the witnesses are dead that there will be a world wide celebration. Their bodies will be shown on the news all over the world and people will have a Christmas like celebration. This celebration will be short lived because God, like He always does, will conquer and turn it into a testimony of His ultimate power.
But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
People all over the world will watch as the bodies of the witnesses come back to life and rise into heaven as an earthquake destroys a tenth of Jerusalem. People will be terrified of God’s power and give glory to Him. Unfortunately, many still will not come for forgiveness