Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11

The story of the 2 witnesses is one that is not easily understood. Much of the language is allegorical. We apply for understanding the 3rd rule of interpretation: Symbols can only be interpreted with relevant Scripture.

The story actually begins in chapter 10 and continues through Revelation 11. The original Greek manuscripts were not in chapter, there is no break between Revelation 10 and 11. The book of Revelation is not in chronological order, but each event or story is in order. If you try to read it in order you will not be able to understand it.

Read the entire chapters of Revelation 10 and 11.

We read in Revelation 10:8-11 And the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, "Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land." And I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, "Take it, and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. And they said to me," you must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings. These verses are saying that the message is sweet to take in but the experience is bitter and that the message will have to be given again.

See a close parallel in Ezekiel 2 and 3.

Notice that the book is open. Whatever is in the book is fully exposed. This book contains the final unsealing of the book of Daniel. It is an understanding of what God is about to do, an understanding of the books of Daniel and Revelation. Many will not be able to understand because this is not what they have always believed. Since this book has not been fully exposed, NO ONE has had a full understanding no matter what they have believed or have been taught. We cannot have closed minds to new understanding or we will miss what God is revealing. God sealed this little book until it came to time for understanding. Prophecy is only understood ON OR ABOUT THE TIME OF FULFILLMENT.

Revelation 11: 1-2 And there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it. And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. The measuring of the temple is referring to those who have heard the gospel, the church. The shaking will begin with the church because they have had the opportunity to hear truth. Remnant one will be gathered from this shaking. He is told not to measure the outer court, these are those whom are not saved and have not had the opportunity to hear God’s truth. Many will be brought to Him during the 7 trumpets, remnant two. And the dragon was enraged with the woman (church), and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 12:17 God has many people, but those who do not accept His truth will trample God’s people for 42 literal months.

It takes 2 witnesses to condemn a man. A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. Deuteronomy 19:15 The Bible is clear that it takes two witnesses. A man must reject both before he can be sentenced to death. Some at first may reject the Word (Bible) but may be convicted by the Holy Spirit. To be sentenced to Eternal death he must reject both. This is the unpardonable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 3: And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." Sackcloth refers to distressing times and they will prophesy for 1,260 literal days.

Verse 4: These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. What do the 2 lampstands represent? Here we can identify as to who the 2 witnesses are. Many believe these 2 witnesses to be Moses and Elijah or Enoch. There are no scriptures that identify Moses and Elijah or any 2 men as to being 2 lampstands or 2 olive trees. Nothing connects these as 2 men. The Bible MUST interpret itself.

The 2 Witnesses are:

Witness #1 is two Lampstands = OT/ NT= The Bible = God’s Word.

Witness #2 is two olive trees = Early/Latter Rain = work of the Holy Spirit

Reading in Zechariah 4:2-6 And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I said, "I see, and behold a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it: also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side." Then I answered and said to the angel who was speaking with me saying, "What are these, my lord"? So the angel who was speaking with me answered and said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts .

In Zechariah’s day in the wilderness sanctuary the priest would fill the seven (complete) lamps in the temple every morning and evening with oil each day to keep them burning. There was one lampstand with 7 lights. The lampstand in the wilderness sanctuary represented God’s means of spreading His Word. God’s agency was His chosen people. They were to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14 ……And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations." "For thus the Lord has commanded us, I have placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the end of the earth. Isaiah 42:6 But in his vision God wanted Zechariah to understand that the light of His truth was not dependant on human means, but by His Spirit. God power, not man power. The 2 living trees are the work of the Holy Spirit. This is confirmed throughout the book of Zechariah. There are 2 trees because there are 2 works of the Holy Spirit, the early and latter rain.

Zechariah becomes more insistent. And in verse 11-14: And I answered the second time and said to him, "What are the two olive branches which are beside the two golden pipes, which empty the golden oil from themselves?’ So he answered me saying, "do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord." Then he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth." The Bible (His Word) and the Holy Spirit. Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

In John’s vision in Revelation we see another important transition. John saw 7 lampstands instead of one. And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands and in the middle of the lampstand one like a son of man…..Revelation 1:12-13. God had turned from the physical nation of Israel (1 lampstand) as His chosen agency and turned to the 7 Churches as His means to carry the gospel. God appointed an angel to each church to help keep it’s light burning. "As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands; The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Revelation 1:20.

At the time of the 2 witnesses we see, yet another transition. Instead of 7 lampstands that are now 2 lampstands standing before the Lord, but the 2 olive trees are unchanged.

God will select 144,000 bondservants, prophets from spiritual Israel who will go forth in the power of Elijah. These will be both men and women. "And it will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughter will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants. I will pour out My Spirit in those days. Joel 2:28-29 The 2 lampstands are the means that will give the 144,000 credibility. They will be empowered by the 2 witnesses that will testify to the truth that they give. God will light up the whole world with His truth and they will be filled with Holy Spirit power.

The 144,000 will give the final prophetic message from the little book that was open in Revelation 10 that John ate. The message is the unsealing of Daniel, the Old Testament, and Revelation the New Testament.

Witness 1 2 lampstands = OT/NT = Bible

Witness 2 2 olive trees = Early/Latter Rain = Ministry of the Holy Spirit

We read in verse 5 of Revelation 11:5: And if anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and if anyone would desire to harm them, in this manner he must be killed. I read in one book on Revelation that these 2 witnesses literally blow fire like dragons out of their mouths. This is an allegory. We read in Revelation 19:15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and he will rule them with a rod of iron; and he treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. Now is an actual sword going to come down to earth out of the Lord’s mouth. We are speaking figuratively. The sword is the Word of God. God will speak and whatever words He uses, you can bet they will stop people dead in their tracks. His Word is powerful! For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 The fire that comes out of the mouths of the 144,000, just as the sword is figurative. The fire that comes out of their mouths refers to the final reward to those who reject the Salvation of Jesus. They will die by fire!

Verse 6: These have the power to shut up the sky, in order that rain may not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the water to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. The 144,000 Elijah-like people will have supernatural powers to bring credibility to their message. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. James 5:17

Verse 7: And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. Now you ask, how can you kill the Bible and the Holy Spirit? Having finished their work, Satan will lead the world into open rebellion against God and His people. The world will commit the unpardonable sin, they will reject the Holy Spirit. The message of the 2 Witnesses and the 144,000 will be made of no effect and therefore their influence is killed. Everyone will have made his decision and taken the mark of the beast. God’s people will run for their lives to the shelter of Almighty God. Not one saint will parish from this time on as there would be no point because everyone has made his decision.

Verse 8: And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt where also their Lord was crucified. The KJV translates mystically as spiritually.

What is this great city? In ancient times a city was sometimes represented as a group of people rather than a geographical location. Read chapter 17 of Revelation.

In verse 18 we read: "And the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth." The great city is the woman, the harlot, BABYLON THE GREAT. The Harlot represents the global union of church and state and Sodom and Egypt represents the condition of the world at that time. Sodom represents unrestrained evil like Sodom and Gomorrah. Egypt represents hardness of heart like Pharaoh. The world will commit the unpardonable sin as everyone will have made his decision and will be a citizen of Babylon the Great or the New Jerusalem. Satan will have convinced the wicked that the 2 witnesses, the 144,000 and God’s people, have caused all the judgments coming upon them. The people of God will run for their lives just as Elijah did from Jezebel after Mt Carmel. The condition of the world is just as it was when Christ was crucified.

You can think of the place where Jesus was crucified as a just a city with walls or the people. We read in Zechariah 2:1-4 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, "Where are you going?" And he said to me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is." And behold, the angel who was speaking with me was going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him, and said to him, "Run, speak to that young man, saying, Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls, because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. ‘For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst." Jerusalem, the Holy City is not just a geographical location, but the people who look for the Holy City when God will give them the New Jerusalem. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2

Verse 9-10: And those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now how can the 2 witnesses have bodies? See a parallel in Esther 9:18. Those who have accepted God’s truth will pull together forming small bodies of peoples. Satan will declare a universal death decree upon the people of God and the agreement date will be 3 ½ days before the sentence is actually carried out. The wicked know that these who have brought such misery on their lives are just as good as dead. The people are not buried because they are not dead yet although many of God’s people will die under the 5th seal. These are the martyrs and many of the 144,000 that are killed. Satan will not allow their bodies to be buried.

Verse 11 And after the three and a half days the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were beholding them. There will be 1,290 days from the time of the casting down of the censer (Revelation 8:2-5) to the time that the universal death decree is to be enacted, but God will rescue His people before the sentence is carried out. Jesus will announce the deliverance of His people. "And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days! Daniel 12:11-12

A thousand may fall at our side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes, And see the recompense of the wicked. Psalms 91:7-8

Verse 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them. There is a special resurrection of all the martyrs who died under the 5th seal and the 144,000. Jesus invites these to His 2nd coming. Imagine the horror of those who killed them when they see them emerging from their graves. Also included in this special resurrection are those who killed Him. All will see the return of Christ. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen. Revelation 1:7 Then the 144,000 Elijah people are taken to heaven before the gathering of the rest of the dead. …These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:4 These will return with Him at the second coming a few days later.

Verse 13 And in that hour there was a great earthquake and a tenth of the city fell; and seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. None of God’s people are hurt at this time. The world is divided into 10 sectors ( ten horns) during the 6th trumpet war. One tenth of Babylon’s strongest sector, possibly satan’s staff will be killed. God’s people will be terrified but they rejoice in seeing these wicked ones being destroyed. It will take about 45 days to destroy Babylon. 1335-1290 = 45 days. Daniel 12:12 Satan and his evil followers will have time to contemplate their own destruction. …and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ""Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" Revelation 6:16-17

Verse 14-17 The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly. And the seventh angel (close of mercy) sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and His Christ; and He will reign for ever and ever." And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who wast, because Thou has taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign.

"Verse 18-19"And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time came for the dead to judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets (144,000) and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth," And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

Heavenly Father, give us understanding of Thy Word. Cleanse us from all our iniquities and purify our lives that we might serve you in these last days. Amen

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