This post investigates the timing of the mark of the beast in terms of a futurist, premillennial, pre-wrath rapture perspective.

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. (Revelation 11:3-4).

The primary texts concerning the two witnesses are Revelation 11 and Zechariah 4. Their description as fire-breathing olive trees and lampstands suggests two awesome individuals endowed by God with superhuman power:

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. 6They 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. (Revelation 11:5-6 cf. Exodus 7:171 Kings 17:11Luke 4:25).

The two witnesses are described as both prophets and witnesses. The definition of “prophet” is: “A person regarded as an interpreter or spokesperson for God; one through whom God speaks.” In the New Testament: “..especially future events, and in p*articular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation.”{1} Jesus says to his disciples: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). Both Elijah and John the Baptist wore sackcloth.. Biblically sackcloth is a sign of woe or mourning and it is also a sign of repentance. (Matthew 3:411:21) The two witnesses will therefore proclaim the gospel from Jerusalem for a period of 3.5 years, or 1,260 days. Although local to Jerusalem, their ministry will be worldwide, due, no doubt, to the internet and/or other technological advances. (Revelation 11:9-10).

The identity of the two witnesses is something of a mystery. Zechariah was intrigued by this question, and he enquired of the angel: “What are these”, three times without receiving a clear answer. (Zechariah 4:411,12). The strange explanation: “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”(Zechariah 4:14). Some speculate that the two witnesses are Elijah and some other OT prophet, and others speculate that they are cherubim or other angelic beings. Since their identity is obscure in the scriptures, I will not attempt to identify them.

The time frame of the two witnesses ministry is a key factor. The Book of Revelation gives us precise information regarding both the time of their death and the period they will minister. They die and are resurrected before the seventh trumpet is blown, towards the end of the second woe. (Revelation 11:37-15). This places them decisively in the second half of the 70th week, during the great tribulation and during the first six trumpet judgements. With such detailed information, it is very difficult to come to a different conclusion, although inexplicably, some teachers do give alternative time frames for their ministry.

Notably, the ministry of the two witnesses coincides with the great signs done by the false prophet, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people. (Revelation 13:13-14). I don’t rule out the possibility of other agents of Satan also performing signs during this period: For false christs and false prophets (plural) will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24). The battle between God and Satan is graphically played out on the earth during the 1260 days, with agents from both opposing parties performing great signs. The signs performed by the false prophet are greatly welcomed by those who have come under the influence of the strong delusion. (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Conversely, the two witnesses will be universally hated. Their message will be abhorrent and the signs they perform will torment the earth dwellers. Ultimately they will be killed by the beast that rises from the bottomless pit. (Revelation 11:7). From the perspective of the true church, the two witnesses will undoubtedly provide much needed encouragement and motivation to stand firm during great tribulation when there will be unprecedented persecution and martyrdom. (Matthew 10:2224:13). After the tribulation is cut short, the two witnesses will continue to testify up until the end of the second woe. (Revelation 11:14).

Following the resurrection of the two witnesses, seven thousand people will be killed in the great earthquake of Revelation 11:13..and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. This phrase implies conversion. (Joshua 7:19Revelation 14:716:9). If this interpretation is correct, then the remainder of the people in the city of Jerusalem who give glory to God, are the very last people on earth to be saved immediately before the third woe begins. (Revelation 11:13).

There will also be proclamations/warnings from three angels, beginning with the declaration of the “everlasting gospel” (Matthew 24:14). This will be followed by warnings of impending judgements and will conclude with a strong warning not to worship the beast and its image or to take the mark. (Revelation 14:6-11). Since the judgements to come are imminent, it seems logical that the mark is also imminent, particularly as the warnings are preceded by the declaration of the “everlasting gospel”. No Christian witness remains on the earth after the two witnesses are resurrected and after the proclamations of the three angels are delivered. It is difficult to place a precise time frame on the three angels, but I now begin to think that their proclamations may occur after the tribulation, possibly after the two witnesses are killed at the end of the second woe. (Revelation 11:14).

The pre-wrath view places the rapture between the sixth and seventh seal of Revelation. Following the rapture, the seventh seal reveals seven angels and seven trumpet judgements. (Revelation 8 to 11). The first four angels/trumpets wreak devastation upon the earth rather than specifically upon people. (Revelation 8:6-13).

The fifth trumpet is the first of three woes and concerns the release of the locust/scorpion/demonic entities that will torment unbelievers for five months. Interestingly, there is no mention of the mark of the beast in this passage. The torment inflicted by these entities will only apply to those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads:

1And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. 2He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. (Revelation 9:4-6).

The sixth trumpet judgement involves the four angels bound at the Euphrates river who are released in order to kill one third of mankind. (Revelation 9:13-19). Here again we find no reference to the mark of the beast. Unbelieving humanity refuses to repent even at this late stage, though it appears that the option to do so is available:

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshipping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21).

Revelation 13 is a parenthetical chapter outlining the two beasts activities during the 42 months. (Revelation 13:5). The mark of the beast occupies final two verses of this chapter. (Revelation 13:16-18). According to the pre-wrath view, the tribulation is cut short by the rapture for the sake of the elect. (Matthew 24:22Mark 13:20). However, the activities of the beast and the false prophet continue for the remainder of the 1260/1290 days beyond the rapture. Despite the devastation that has occurred on the earth, the two beasts and their followers continue in their rebellion up until the appearance of Jesus Christ:

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. (Revelation 19:19). 

The false prophet applies intense pressure in order to coerce people into worshipping the beast and its image and to take the mark. Once the mark is taken, repentance becomes an impossibility and the final fate of unbelievers is sealed. (Revelation 13:16-17;14:9). Theoretically however, it appears that people are free to repent right up until the seventh trumpet is sounded and the third woe begins, although the scriptures indicate that they will not repent. (2 Thessalonians 2:11). If these people had already taken the mark of the beast, then the ministry of the two witnesses and the proclamations of the three angels would be superfluous since we are told that the mark is irrevocable. (Revelation 14:9-10). This indicates that the mark is not enforced until after the resurrection of the two witnesses and the proclamations of the three angels. The shift occurs when the seventh trumpet is sounded and the first bowl of wrath is released. The first bowl of God’s wrath, administered, by an angel, is the first reference in the scriptures to anyone actually having received the mark:

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshipped its image. (Revelation 16:2). 

Many teachers falsely identify the 14400 sealed from every tribe of Israel as evangelists. (Revelation 7:1-8). I will address this question in a further post.

Undoubtedly we are moving towards a cashless society and mark of the beast technology. This indicates that we are not too far off from the great tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ in my view. As such, it is worth enquiring when the mark of the beast will actually be enforced rather than accepting other views, particularly those associated with the popular pre-trib “Left Behind” perspective which is erroneous in so many respects.


3 thoughts on “THE MARK OF THE BEAST – THE TWO WITNESSES ~by Treena Gisborn

  1. The problem with Prasch’s Intra Seal is his reversal of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit as the Restrainer. He teaches the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth and the church is then powerless. He cannot and does not provide and Exegetical evidence for either view and is in serous error. Scripture is clear that not only will the Holy Spirit remain on the earth and with the believer but will empower the church to witness during the 70th week (see Mark 13).

  2. You say (above):- “The pre-wrath view places the rapture between the sixth and seventh seal of Revelation.”

    Which is exactly where Prasch places the event in his book Harpazo and his findings also come from Scripture.

    So where is your disagreement with his placing/wording of ‘Intra Seal’ compared to your ‘Pre wrath’..? Surely they are the same placement..?

    In His love,

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