Looking at the chronology of Revelation chapters 11-13, does the beast come and the implementation of his mark take place after Jesus returns to earth to rule and reign?

Email Received:

I have been studying the book of Revelation and have been intrigued with your Revelation commentary. I'm running into a problem with Revelation chapter 11 and the two witnesses, though. According to Rev. 11:3, these men will prophesy for 1,260 days or 3Ĺ years. Then in Rev. 11:15, it appears that Christ will return for His reign on the earth.

However, at this point, it looks like the dragon (devil) of chapter 12 and the beast of chapter 13 have not yet come into the picture, nor has the implementation of the mark of the beast. Does this mean that the beast and the implementation of the "mark of the beast" will be after Christ comes to reign on the earth? I'm struggling to put this chronology together. Can you help me out with this picture?

Ted's Response:

In my Chronology of Revelation commentary, I explain that the whole book is not one chronological sequence from beginning to end. A few chapters of Revelation are restatements of the final 3Ĺ years. I will give you some examples.

You correctly stated that Revelation 11:3 shows the two witnesses prophesying for 1,260 days and also that Revelation 11:15 shows Christ returning to earth to rule and reign. The latter will be at the end of the final 3Ĺ-year period. Now look back at Revelation 10:7, where it indicates that the seventh angel is about to blow his trumpet, which is the same Seventh Trumpet in Revelation 11:15. Many might find this confusing, but there is a simple explanation.

In Revelation 10:11, John is told to "prophesy again" about certain things. So he returns to the beginning of that 3Ĺ-year period and describes it from a different perspective in Revelation 11:1-19.

Likewise, Revelation chapters 12 through 14 describe that same 3Ĺ-year period from yet another perspective and in more detail. Just as Revelation 10:7 and 11:15-17 occur when Jesus returns to earth, so does Revelation 14:16-20. After Jesus descends to earth, He will "trample" the enemies of Israel, which have been attacking Jerusalem, in the winepress of God's wrath (14:19,10).

More details on these and other chronological events can be found on my Brief Chronology of Revelation page.

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