PREFACE: The last book of the Bible, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine”, is literally packed with symbolism. Even apparently straightforward passages like receiving a “mark in the right hand or forehead”, has been subject to debate and controversy among many respected theologians. This article, while admitting its lack of perfect understanding on the subject, will present the reader a possible scenario based upon scripture, rather than conjecture. May God grant us more understanding as we approach the close of the age. It may very well be that the “two witnesses” are actual men, but at the same time, the scenario presented below could very well be applied to the saints that will witness prophetic events unfold before their very eyes.
The scriptures in the book of Revelation concerning the “Two Witnesses” are not only a great mystery, but have also been the subject of much discussion in the body of Christ as to who these two witnesses are. The most commonly held belief is that they will be Moses, Elijah or maybe Enoch. The reason for this is they didn’t die like other men. This kind of reasoning parallels the thinking of the early inhabitants of Israel concerning Jesus:
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13)
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” (Matthew 16:14)
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17)
This is a good example that demonstrates the difference between the thoughts and presumptions of men versus the pure revelation given by the Father that needs to be spiritually discerned.
So, returning to our suppositions about Moses, Elijah or Enoch having to come back to earth and die, every believer is passed from death unto life the moment he receives the spirit of Christ. And many will not physically “see death” because they will be “caught up” at the coming of Christ. So, there’s no need for any of these three men to return to the Earth and “die” in some sort of mortal flesh in order to fulfill some legalistic idea. We know from scripture that these two men already appeared with Christ in their glorified bodies at the “transfiguration” of Christ in the presence of Peter, James and John.
Now, let’s look at the verses in question.
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3)
And the next verse defines who these two witnesses are:
“These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” (Revelation 11:4)
This is a major clue. In the Old Testament, an angel actually gives Zechariah a vision concerning these two witnesses.
“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,” (Zechariah 4:1)
“And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:” (Zechariah 4:2)
Notice the scripture refers to this candlestick as a “he”, not an “it”! This is the same golden candlestick that John beheld in Revelation 1:12-13. And we know from scripture that the seven pipes going to the seven lamps represent the seven churches which are admonished by the glorified Christ.
“And (Zechariah saw) two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” (Zechariah 4:3)
And he asked the angel,
“What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof … which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? (Zechariah 4:11-12)
Notice that the two olive trees empty golden oil (Matthew 25?) through the golden pipes to the rest of the seven candlesticks!
“And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.” (Zechariah 4:13)
“Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:14)
Lest we labour the subject, let’s “cut to the chase” so to speak, and go directly to what this mystery is all about. It’s found in 1John 5:5-8.
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
That means us, dearly beloved! We are meant to be the “overcomers”!
“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.”
Jesus Christ came into the earth by water and blood. He was incarnate in the “flesh” (water), but He was conceived by the “blood” (Spirit) of His Father through the power of the Holy Ghost! In other words, Jesus was actually the “Word of God made flesh”!
That is why Jesus told Nicodemus (in John 3:5-6),
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
So, Jesus Christ Himself took part of the same by “partaking of flesh and blood”. Howbeit, His flesh was sinless, and His blood was spotless … having been conceived by His Holy Father.
“And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father (God Almighty), the Word (Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh now seated at the right hand of the Father), and the Holy Ghost (the Spirit of God): and these three are one.”
“There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit (of the Father in heaven), and the water, and the blood (which scripture has shown to be Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, begotten and indwelt by the Holy Ghost): and these three agree in one.”
The Father (in heaven) bore witness of Jesus Christ while He walked the earth. And Jesus Christ Himself as water and blood (i.e. the “Word made Flesh” and the “Holy Ghost”) bore witness to the truth:
“The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.” (John 8:13)
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go;” (John 8:14)
“It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.” (John 8:17)
“I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.” (John 8:18)
“…and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.” (John 5:32)
Notice here that Jesus Himself uses His own Father in the place of a “man” that would “bear witness” of Him, if that man were present.
What has this got do with the two witnesses? Well, John tells the disciples:
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself:” (1John 5:9-10)
“And this is the record (witness), that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (2John 5:12)
This will be the prophetic testimony of the two witnesses which God will confirm with great signs and wonders “following” their testimony!
“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” (Revelation 11:6)
And here’s where we depart from the conventional wisdom of most Christians. To understand “the two anointed ones”, one must discern from a spiritual (heavenly) perspective and a carnal (earthly) perspective. If the two anointed ones were of an earthly origin, Zechariah would have understood the vision … and it would certainly not be a mystery to us!
Notice in Zechariah 4:14 that there are actually three personages referred to here: “the Lord of the whole earth” and the “two anointed ones” which stand by Him … and these three dwell in the spirit realm, not the carnal realm. And they are directly connected to the seven golden candlesticks which John himself (like Zechariah) beheld through a vision describing the “messengers” to the “seven churches”.
And all three bear witness in agreement with each other. Now here’s the crux of the matter:
Jesus said to the woman at the well:
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (John 4:23)
“God (the Father) is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit (the Holy Ghost) and in truth (the Word of God).” (John 4:24)
As Christians, we worship the Father through His Word and the Holy Ghost which abides in us … and there’s no other way to worship Him. We have the same Spirit of “witness” (testimony) that Jesus Christ had within His own personage when He dwelt upon the Earth.
“And this is the record (witness/testimony), that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (2John 5:12)
In Matthew 24:14, the Lord demonstrably outlines the events leading up to the end. And in one particularly pertinent statement, He describes quite plainly what will happen right before the end:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Who’s been commissioned to preach the gospel as a witness unto all nations?
“And Jesus came and spake unto them (his disciples), saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18)
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19)
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20)
We find here that He is speaking to His disciples, and commanding them to “preach the gospel” to “all nations”. He even instructs them as to how long they are to do this…
“…even unto the end of the world”!
Now, the interesting aspect of this commission “unto the end”, is the nomenclature that He uses to describe the final preaching of the Gospel right before the end of the age:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations…”
Jesus didn’t say of this last day preaching to the nations that it was to be for the purpose of a “great, end-time revival”, but rather as a “witness”! Why?
Because the nations of this world are going to REJECT the preaching of the Gospel and murder those who are bearing witness of it right up until the end. Hence will be fulfilled His prophetic warning:
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9)
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:” (Revelation 6:9)
Under what circumstances are these saints “killed”? Speaking of the beast which rises up “out of the sand of the sea…”
“… power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Revelation 13:5-6)
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome (kill) them”. (Revelation 13:7)
But the saints…
“…overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death”. (Revelation 12:11)
Notice that the saints “overcame” the beast by two great spiritual forces: the “Spirit of God” (in which the blood of Christ resides … Hebrews 9:14) and the “Word of God”. Both of these great spiritual forces flow through the end time saints in order to empower them to bear witness of Jesus Christ.
Remember, even now in this present day, Christians are powerless in their witness of the truth except the Holy Ghost within them enables them to do so.
It is the belief of this author that the “two witnesses” which stand by the “Lord of the whole earth” (spoken of by Zachariah and the Apostle John) and who empty the precious “oil” out of themselves into the candlestick of the seven churches are 1) the Word of God and 2) the Spirit of God. And these two witnesses will be moving mightily, in and through a group of end time Christians who are alive throughout the whole earth. And, therefore,…
“… have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” (Revelation 11:6)
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man (the Word of God), and drink his blood (the Spirit of God), ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)
“For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:55)
“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56)
Do you think He was talking about the communion wafer that was created in a bakery?
EPILOGUE: Dear Saints, in the last days which are quickly beginning to manifest, we will be anointed and empowered by the Word of God and the Spirit of God to bear witness (preach/prophesy/testify) of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, most of the world will not receive our testimony and will seek to put us to death. But being clothed in sackcloth (humility), we will go forth demonstrating the love and power of God even as we may be called upon to forfeit our lives … even as Stephen was during the height of the formation of the early church.
“Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10)
And when we shall have finished our testimony to all nations, not having loved our own lives unto death, the world will rejoice, but “suddenly” (just as the world is rejoicing and it appears that the saints have been totally overcome), the prophecy of Jesus will be fulfilled:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” (Matthew 24:29)
“And then shall appear the SIGN (singular) of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31)
When the Lord shall return with a great sound of a trumpet, He will “catch away” and “gathering together” those of us who are still alive, while at the same moment, resurrecting those who had been “hated of all nations for His name sake” and had been “slain in the streets” of Sodom and Egypt (i.e. the whole earth … for whom and where Jesus Christ was crucified).
And then shall the end come. The last seal containing the wrath of God shall be opened and the vials of that wrath will be poured out upon the remaining inhabitants of the earth.
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;” (Revelation 6:15)
“And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:” (Revelation 6:16)
“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17)
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