If you have read the article on the Two Witnesses of Revelation 7:1-13, you’ll recall that there is strong evidence to support the idea that this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. (Our current official position is that it was fulfilled from 1914 to 1919.) In fact, a fulfillment coinciding with the destruction of Babylon the great seems likely. Well, further support for that understanding can be derived from the placement of this prophecy within the framework and timeline of the second woe. The emergence of the two witnesses is the last of a series of events making up the second woe. The events which precede it are:
- Untying the four angels bound at the great river Euphrates (Re 9:13,14)
- These kill a third of the men (Re 9:15)
- Unleashing of cavalry; fire-breathing horses. (Re 9:16-18)
- The seven thunders sound (Re 10:3)
- John eats the bittersweet scroll (Re 10:8-11)
Now these events are part of the second woe which follows the first woe, which in turn follows the first four trumpet blasts. The first four trumpet blasts refer to strong messages that were proclaimed first via resolutions read out at district conventions, all of which take place from 1919 onward. While convention resolutions may appear to represent grossly understated prophetic fulfillments of such dramatically depicted events, we will leave off any challenge of this interpretation save to say that it cannot be safely considered the last word on the matter. However, for purposes of our discussion, please note that the trumpet blasts take place before the first woe.
The first woe takes place from 1919 onward as well, so though depicted sequentially in the Revelation, we make its fulfillment concurrent with the trumpet blasts. Then we come to the second woe. The first five events of the second woe (listed above) all occur after 1919 by our official reckoning, requiring that the appearance of the two witnesses is out of sequence, not only with the second woe, but also the first woe as well as that of the first four trumpet blasts. By our interpretation, the two witnesses—depicted last in this fifth vision—actually must precede everything shown here.
Think about that. John, in his fifth vision, clearly lays down a sequential occurrence of steadily escalating prophetic events, but to make the two witnesses fit with our theology which requires 1914 to be significant, we have to abandon the Scriptural order and impose our own.
The dramatic nature of the prophecies linked to the first and second woe could well fit in with some outstanding events in our future. The fact that the four angels are bound at the river Euphrates, ancient Babylon’s main defense against invasion, might indicate their release has to do with events leading up to or involving the destruction of Babylon the great. On the other hand, these events may be just as we interpret them in the Revelation Climax book. Whichever the case, they must come before the appearance of the two witnesses, making a 1914-1919 fulfillment of that prophecy incompatible with the Scriptural record and therefore, simply impossible.