As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (NIV)
I don’t know how many times I had read the book of Revelation before I notice the three woes. The four horses are pretty notable, and the breaking of the seals one can’t miss, the blaring trumpets of judgment and the pouring bowls are all easy to see, but of the woes, I had never heard a word and never really realized their significance. Each of the three last trumpets is also a woe, that is, trumpets 5, 6 and 7. Each of the three woes is worse than the one before. They are each very bad.
I pointed out in a previous post that the seventh trumpet announces the Rapture and the Time of Wrath, so we can know that the Church will be on earth to witness the first six trumpets, and therefore the first two woes. As far as I can tell the seventh trumpet announces the beginning of the Time of Wrath which lasts for three and a half years; essentially the whole time of the Beast-man.
The first woe begins in Revelation 9:1 and ends with the following passage.
The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come. (NIV)
The second woe begins in Revelation 9:13 and has a very interesting parenthetical insertion. Notice that one of the things that the second woe announces is the death of one third of all mankind! That is very scary and what is even scarier than that is that this woe occurs in the mild half of the seven-year tribulation period. Wow!
The parenthetical insertion that I just referred to is the entire ministry of the Two Witnesses. The ministry of the Two Witnesses ends with the end of the second woe, but starts long before the start of the second woe. What I mean is that the second woe does not announce the Two Witnesses. The Two Witnesses are after all good news and not a woe at all, but their ministry takes place over a three and a half year period, which has within it six of the Trumpet judgments.
After the ministry of the Two Witnesses we see this verse.
The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. (NIV)
This signals the end of the Sixth Trumpet (please remember that the Scriptures tell us that the last three trumpets are also called woes). I have called the section about the Two Witnesses a parenthetical insertion because the above line could have been placed at Revelation 9:22 (nonexistent passage), but it was not. It was placed at the end of chapter 11. This tells us that everything in chapters Revelation 8:6 to the end of Revelation chapter 11, including the ministry of the Two Witnesses, all happen in the first half of the tribulation week, that is, seven-year period. This makes the woes important clues as to what happens when.
We can also see that the Two Witnesses preach In the first half of the seven-year period by looking at this passage.
Revelation 11:3, 7
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. (NIV)
We have seen previously that the Beast-man is given authority to wreck havoc for three and a half years and is killed at the end of the seven-year period, so we can therefore conclude that if the Beast-man is killed at the end of the seven-year period, and that he operates for three and a half years, then he must have started at the mid-point of the Tribulation. This is a simple logic problem.
So, to summarize this we can say that the Two Witnesses start preaching at the time the Antichrist signs the seven-year covenant (treaty) with the people of Israel. They preach that Jesus is the Christ for three and a half years and are killed by the Beast-man that comes up out of the Abyss which marks the start of the Great Tribulation, AKA: The Time of Wrath, The Day of the Lord, and the Fiery Furnace.