The Two Witnesses
Now Revelation chapter 11:1-13 takes us back to a previous time... I believe it's necessary to look at it that way. You can't follow on chronologically here. If you do, then you're going to have a very strange time line for the Tribulation, because again, we're going to this period that is called 42 months, 1260 days, and time, times, and a half of time. And this period always uses these numbers to classify it; they always refer to the same period of time. And we're going to see that things happen in here that correspond to the Great Tribulation, the first 3 ½ years when the saints were martyred. However, when you get down to verse 14 and on, it actually refers back to the content of chapters 9 and 10. Verse 14 says (Read). Now that second woe, refers to the 6th trumpet, the 6th vial, the 6th plague. They're all the same thing. So this is parallel in time with the end of chapter 9 and with chapter 10. But this first section of chapter 11 happens at an earlier time, so it's a parenthesis. And it's another view of something that we've already seen in earlier chapters. We're going to see this motif, you might say, happening again and again in the book of Revelation. There will be 2 or 3 views of the same events and the same occurrence from different points of view.
So Revelation 11:1-13 refers back to the time of the 3 ½ year tribulation on the church and this is from the point of view of the 2 witnesses. We're going to see 2 witnesses here, and we're going to discuss who they are.
And so this tribulation period is seen from the point of view of the church on earth. Now we see the tribulation in another view in chapter 6 concerning the first 6 seals. And we see that that is a picture of the tribulation seen from a heavenly view point, as the Lamb opens the seals and the effect of these seals are released upon the earth. But now we see it from the point of view of the church on earth. Revelation 11:1-13.
Revelation 11:1 "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein."
And there was given to me a reed. So there was given unto him a reed. A reed is just that. It's a reed, it's a plant. But here it's used as a standard, a ruler or a measure by which something can be compared or judged. It's used as a ruler.
Now there's two different Greek words for reed and the one here is: Kalamos-- a stalk or a reed. For instance, it is used in Matt.11:7 (Read). Also Matt.27:29, that's where the soldiers put a reed in Jesus' hand and began to mock him saying, if you're king, here's you're scepter. Also Matt.27:30.
Now there's another word for reed and it's Kanon. It is used sometimes in a more figurative way. A measuring reed or rule used figuratively as a standard of behavior or a standard of practice. So God speaks of measuring both in terms of physical distance and in terms of measuring man according to his standard of righteousness. For instance, 2 Cor.10:13-16 this word is used. Also Galatians 6:16 and Phil.3:16.
The New Jerusalem is measured by a golden reed. And that's a Kalamos again, a golden reed in Rev.21:15. There is a reed that is used to measure, in a vision, the city of New Jerusalem.
Like unto a rod. Now this reed in Rev.11 says that it's like unto a rod or a staff, a reed like a staff. A rod is an instrument that is used as a scepter for a king. And this would be the measuring instrument of the king; He's going to begin to measure His spiritual temple and see how it measures up and see who's going to be in it and who's going to be outside it.
Or it could also be an instrument of chastening, chastisement, a staff is used for chastisement. It's also used for guidance. (Psa.23:4; Rev.2:27)
Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. Now the temple of God is the Naos of God. Naos, it's a word that means a Divine habitation or a Divine dwelling place or a sanctuary. It refers in scripture either to the temple building proper or even in a more specialized sense to the holy of holies. It's not used in reference to the whole temple enclosure with all of the courts outside; the court of the women, the court of the Gentiles, and all of these outside portions of the temple. There's another word that's used for that. This is a more specialized word speaking of the dwelling place of God. The sanctuary itself. It's the place where God dwells.
Now the other main Greek word for temple is Hieron and it refers more to the whole compass of the temple including all of the courts outside of the temple building. Now naos, as I said, is more specifically the dwelling place of God.
Hieron is more generally all the temple grounds. And throughout scripture naos is the word that is always used in the figurative passages that compare the body of Christ. For example, the church, to a holy temple, and the scripture where Jesus said destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up, in which case he was using temple as figurative for his body. And naos is used here, and we'll see that this is a figurative temple as well. Hieron is never used figuratively in the New Testament. It always is used in a very real sense to talk about the temple and how Jesus taught in the temple and people came to him in the temple and verses like this.
So John is told not only to measure the temple of God, but also the altar, and them that worship therein, in type now, would be priests. Because the common people of Israel, looking at the natural temple in the time of Christ and also Solomon's temple; the common people did not worship in the naos. They didn't even enter the naos.
The naos, the sanctuary, which could possibly include both the holy place and the holy of holies or you may tie it simply to the holy of holies. There's some question about that.
The holy place was only for the priests and that was the room in which there were the lampstands. In Solomon's temple, there were ten. And the tables of shewbread and the golden altar of incense. And the holy of holies only the high priest could enter that room. So in the analogy here, them that worship therein are the priests of God. And even outside this sanctuary there was a court of the priests and that was where the altar was, etc. And this again was a place where only the priests were allowed to come in. So we're speaking about priests of God, that is, saints of God, mediators between God and man. The common people were never said to go into the naos anywhere in the New Testament. Neither was Jesus himself, because under the law, he was not a priest. He was of Judah, not of Levi and so Jesus also did not enter the naos, the sanctuary which was for the ministry of the priest. But, concerning the word hieron, we see that the lame came to Jesus in the hieron, in the temple (Matt.21:14).
I'm going to give you a few references about this word. Now Jesus who was not a priest himself, after the natural priesthood, came into the hieron, in Matt.21:23, and again that is likely speaking about the court of the men of Israel, which was part of the temple in general; the men of Israel were allowed to enter in that far. It was outside the court of the priests.
In Matt.26:55, Jesus taught in the temple and this is all the same Greek word. He says daily I taught in the temple. Merchants sold and bought in the temple (Mark 11:15).
In Luke 2:37, we find a woman came into the hieron. Anna, the Prophetess, departed not from the temple, and the probable meaning is she came in as far as the court of the women, which was outside of the court of the men.
Jesus as a child went into the temple and he talked with some of the doctors of the law in Luke 2:46. And in Acts 3:1, Peter and John went up into the temple. So were talking about a more intimate word here in Revelation chapter 11 than for the temple in general. This is the dwelling place of God in Rev.11. And so John is told to measure this temple. Now this is not the measuring of a literal temple but rather a spiritual temple of God, and I'll show you a number of reasons why that has to be. This is not the literal temple rebuilt in the end of time. It's not the temple that the Antichrist will come into proclaiming that he is God. This is a spiritual temple.
A few verses, Acts 7:48 says that the most high dwelleth not in temples made with hands (the word there is naos). He dwells in a spiritual temple. He dwells in His people who are a holy temple in the Lord. And that's what Ephesians 2:20-22 says-- that the church groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. And so we have precedence from this scripture and others to show how that this temple is a spiritual temple. It's a spiritual dwelling place of God. 1 Cor.6:19 with Mark 14:58 shows that the saints and Christ are called the temple of the living God, the temple of God. Also 1 Cor.3:16 know ye not that ye are the naos of God.
In Revelation 21:22, (Read) and this is concerning the New Jerusalem. The temple was a dwelling place of God, but when you're in the very presence of God Himself in His temple, the Lamb, you don't need a temple building. The purpose of a temple is to be a focal point for the worship of God and to be a housing place for the presence of God. But when God is there with you, you don't need a temple.
Revelation 21:2,3 declares... Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men. So God's people are shown to be His temple. It says the tabernacle of God is with men. That is, His presence is among them and therefore they become His temple. They are His dwelling place. He is among them. There is a similar passage in Zechariah 2:1,2 (Read) where the people of God are being measured, and we'll parallel these 2 chapters. Zechariah 2:8 (Read). So he tells Jerusalem, he that touches you is touching the apple of God's eye, that which is precious to God. And there is a parallel here to Revelation 11 because in Revelation 11:5 it says (Read). And so we see the same principle, God being jealous for those who are counted within the measure of His holy ones, the measure of His holy city or temple. He's jealous over them. Read James 4:5; Exo.20:5.
Now back in Zechariah 2, God's people, Jerusalem, were seen being gathered out of the nations and therefore it says that Jerusalem will become a city without walls. All the people won't even be able to be contained within the walls it says in that chapter. And here in Rev.11, the people of God are being taken out of the world, but here it's world Babylon. They're being spiritually taken out of the world and spared by God; spared from the judgment that the world is going to experience. Read Revelation 18:4, so these saints are being gathered into a spiritual temple, and those that are without are going to experience judgment.
Heb.9:11-24 (Read) speaks of that heavenly temple in Christ and the saints. And the physical things of the temple are said to be figures of the true. They're figures pointing to something that is true; that is real. And the real thing is Christ and his saints. They are the true temple of God. Therefore this temple of God, we'll see, is a spiritual house of God.
Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar. This scripture doesn't show whether this is the sacrifice altar, which is in the court of the priests just outside the holy place, or if this is the golden incense altar, which was in the holy place before the veil.
The altar of sacrifice symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ, if that is being referred to here. The altar of sacrifice points to Christ giving himself as a whole burnt offering that is completely, totally giving himself for us. And there is a similarity here to Rev.6:9-11. Again it's the same group of Tribulation saints, and as they give their lives, they are shown to be in this picture under the altar (Read).
So these are souls who made that sacrifice of martyrdom in this Tribulation period and they kept therefore the effect of Christ's sacrifice for them. They remained true.
The altar of incense symbolizes Christ's life offered up as a pleasing savour to God, as an intercession for us. The incense represents prayers and intercession. And it's also seen in Revelation 8:3-5 to be the place where the prayers of the saints are offered up.
Now these saints who have entered the Holy temple in God, God's Holy temple, must go in through Christ and through his sacrifice. I'm inclined to think that the altar that is mentioned here in Rev.11:1 is referring primarily to the altar of sacrifice. And the reason I feel that is because generally the altar, used in an unqualified way, refers to the altar of sacrifice. And when the altar of incense is meant, it usually says the altar of incense or the golden altar.
And them that worship therein. Now he's also said to measure them that worship therein. That is, them that worship in this temple. Now he's not measuring them and saying, O.K. this one is 5"3' and this one is 6"2'. Rather it is measuring them to see how they measure up to the standard of God during this time. He wants to see if they're going to be a part of this Holy temple of God or if they are going to be found outside of it.
It's a spiritual measurement. And they're making the decisions during this time that are going to determine what their measure is and if they will be found in this temple or not.
Now there's something really interesting in the Greek here where he says, "Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein." Literally it is "them that worship in it."
Now we cannot tell for sure, grammatically speaking, if "it" refers to the temple or the altar, because it could fit either way. It could correspond grammatically to either word. The simplest way to take it would be the altar, because it says, "Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship in it." It would seem to refer back to the last noun that was in view that it agrees with.
And if so, then the meaning is, "measure them that worship in the altar", that is, measure, them that worship in the realm of the altar, in the realm of sacrifice. This is because we see in chapter 6, that there were those in this tribulation and a vast number of them, who worshipped God in this realm of sacrifice. They had to. They were forced to give themselves as a total burnt offering, so to speak, to be found in Jesus.
And so they're worshipping Him in the realm of totally giving themselves up in this tribulation time. They were lukewarm, but they become hot. They pay the price and they decide to give all, to give themselves totally and completely. They know they have to stand true. There's no other way, and so they do finally make the right decision.
So when John is told to measure them that worship therein; this shows the measuring of the temple is not literal, but it speaks of a spiritual measuring of the people of God. Those that are in covenant with God at the time of the 42 month reign of the Antichrist. He's going to see who's in Christ; He's our measurement ( 2 Tim.2:19).
Revelation 11:2 "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."
Forty and two months. So this is the Antichrist's reign. And these are people that are in covenant with God during that time. Revelation 11:3 speaks of this time as a 1200 and 3 score days-- 1,260 days.
And therefore this can't be the Jews. I don't think it would be proper to make this the Jews in the end of time worshipping in a literal temple, because they're not God's people at this time. They're not even in covenant with God.
Eze.39:22 says that, concerning the time of Armageddon when Jesus Christ returns, "I will be called their God from that day and forward." Meaning that before that day, He's not their God; they're not His people as it says in Hosea 1:9-11, For ye are not my people.
"But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not." Now in this verse there is something that John is told not to measure-- the court which is without the temple. Possibly this refers to the court of the Gentiles. There was the temple enclosure proper with the court of the priests, and then there was the court of the men outside that. And there was a court of the women outside of that, and then there was the court of the Gentiles outside that. And that was for the Gentile proselytes to the Jewish faith. They could only come that far.
And so it says here that this court was given unto the Gentiles. Now in the analogy then, this court that is left out is those saints who have not approached God in a deep and intimate way. They're outside. They're farther away and they've not sufficiently given themselves and their hearts to God enough to have entered into that spiritual dwelling place of God, that spiritual sanctuary near to His presence. They're farther away, and they're not overcomers. They've not overcome. They haven't paid the price to come into an intimate relationship with God. Remember, this is a symbolic vision of God's people during the tribulation, and the court is an analogy. John is told to leave it out and measure it not.
The implication is that these are found outside the measure of those who are included among God's overcomers in this Laodicean Church Age. And in Laodicea those who aren't overcomers lose out with God altogether. So this would point to a half-covenant and lukewarm state and a group of people being rejected by God during this tribulation period because they don't pay the price to make themselves fully His. Therefore they backslide into the world system under the pressure that's put on them. Matt.25:1-13 (Read) the parable of the 10 virgins, 5 wise and 5 foolish. 5 were foolish and probably end up backsliding into the world system in the end of time. Now none of these 10 virgins are the bride of Christ, because they are virgins. So we see 5 are wise and get filled up with the Spirit of God, and 5 are foolish and run out, etc...
Revelation 3:14-16-- here Jesus tells the Laodiceans, "because thou art lukewarm, I will spue thee out of my mouth." And here we see a group of people that are spued out, that is, they are rejected by Him, because they reject Him through what they do.
And the court was without, and John is told, "leave it out." Now literally that means, "throw it out." "Throw it outside." Don't include it among the measure of My own. Throw it out; they don't belong to Me. They've made a decision to turn against Me. And so this shows by the fact that it's thrown out that it was once considered a part of God's dwelling place. But now, it's counted as profane. Just as in the type; the Jews counted the Gentiles as profane. And so He says leave it out. It's not separated as My Holy dwelling place. These ones, they don't belong to Me.
"For it is given unto the Gentiles" This court is given unto the Gentiles. Gentiles is speaking, in the analogy, of the nations (people that are considered unsaved) that were outside of Israel. Those who have no covenant relationship with God. And so in this spiritual temple: we have a picture of the spiritual Jews, the true saints of God, and the spiritual Gentiles being those who are not of Christ. Those who do not belong to Him. And this group (the lukewarm Christians-- the ones in the court of the Gentiles) is being classed with them (the Gentiles-- the unsaved). Gentiles here means the unclean people of the Antichrist system.
The heathen masses are compared to the consecrated few in a right relationship with God. There are a few who are in the intimate presence of God-- dwelling in His Holy presence during the Tribulation period.
And this court of half covenant Christians, the lukewarm, are given over to the nations. That is, they apostatize from the faith and backslide into the clutch of the Antichrist system. So they're no longer God's. They don't belong to Him. They become part of what is spoken of in 2 Thess.2:10-12-- speaking of the Antichrist coming.
Now either these people are fully deceived by the Antichrist and willingly become a part of his system, or they simply find that they don't have the strength to stand and they're not willing to make a life and death commitment to Christ. And therefore unwillingly and reluctantly, they go out into the world. I think there's room for both here.
Matthew 24:12 says that in the last days iniquity shall abound, and therefore the love of many shall wax cold. The love of many saints for God shall wax cold and as it waxes cold; they find themselves outside of God.
"And the holy city shall they tread under foot" And it says here the holy city shall they, that is, the Gentiles in the analogy, the unspiritual Gentiles-- (those who do not know God) they shall tread it under foot 40 and 2 months.
The holy city, that is, the city of the holy ones. Those who are holy before God here are being compared to a city. And this city corresponds here to the temple. It corresponds to those who belong to God, the overcomers of Laodicea, those who endure to the death.
The city is not the court that is thrown out. It's not the court and it's not that which is further on beyond the court. It's not the lukewarm backsliders of Laodicea. It's holy. It's a holy city. So you shouldn't take this as a strict analogy then and say, O.K., now we have the sanctuary, now the court of the Gentiles, therefore the holy city is outside the court, and therefore it's not God. Rather, you have to take things the way they apply. This is a holy city. It's not a backsliding city. It's the true people of God seen in a different analogy than the sanctuary.
Revelation 21:2,3 speaks of the holy city as a body of believers. Now it says the holy city shall they tread under foot 40 and 2 months. That is, these Gentiles, the Antichrist system, will tread upon the Laodicean overcomers in persecution for 40 and 2 months.
Now this is an exact parallel passage with Revelation 13:5-8 (Read). Verse 6 "them that dwell in heaven"-- those that just went up in the Rapture. Verse 7 (Read), so this is this holy city being trodden under foot for 42 months.
This holy city is not literal Jerusalem in the end times. This is said to be a holy city, and at that time Jerusalem is not yet a holy city. Holy means separated unto God. But God says after Armageddon, they'll be My people from that day and forward. They're not separated unto Him at this time. Now He is dealing with the Jews at this time preparing them, but they haven't come into a covenant relationship with Him yet. These in Revelation 11 have. Ezekiel 38:11 says that Israel's dwelling safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, speaking of the time just before the Battle of Armageddon. Besides Jerusalem has been trodden down for years, so this would be nothing new.
Luke 21:24 says that Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. The context here in Luke 21 is speaking about Literal Jerusalem being trodden down in the Battle of Armageddon. That's when the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled. That's when Israel becomes God's people again, from that day and forward (speaking of the Millennium). In Revelation 11 it is speaking of the spiritual temple and holy city being trodden down by the Antichrist system in the 3 ½ year tribulation period.
" The holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months" Daniel 8:10 says (Read) that's not a direct parallel there, but it's a similar concept.
Now concerning this 40 and 2 months, you can also look at Revelation 12:6 which shows 1260 days. It's the same period of time. Revelation 12:14 speaks of it as time, times, and half a time. Daniel 7:25 speaks of it again as time, times, and the dividing of time. That's 3 ½ years. Also Revelation 11:3, 1260 days; Revelation 13:5 42 months.
Revelation 11:3 "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."
"My 2 witnesses" Jesus speaking-- this is the 2 witnesses of the Lamb of God. These are mine, they belong to me. Now there are 2 witnesses, not just one witness, but 2.
2 witnesses refers to witnesses in a legal testimony. In an official testimony, Duet.17:6 calls for 2 witnesses. So 2 witnesses were involved in a legal transaction, and Paul told the Corinthians that I'm coming again to you and in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses every word shall be established. He says it's going to be officially noted what's going on here among you. And that is found in 2 Cor.13:1.
Now these 2 witnesses are the same thing as the 2 olive trees, and the 2 candlesticks down in verse 4
"And they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days"
Now back in verse 3 these 2 witnesses shall prophesy 1260 days and, as I said, that's the same period of time as the 42 months of the holy city being trampled under foot. This is Laodicea in the tribulation. It's not the Jews in the Jewish temple at the end of time. They're not trampled under foot 42 months. In fact, there's every indication in scripture that they are being allowed to go on with their temple worship unhindered through this period of time. Also, we see that the Antichrist is allowed to sit in the holy of holies (probably sometime near the end of the 7 year tribulation period) in the literal tribulation temple of the Jews, 2 Thess.2:4. So the Jews are probably dwelling in safety as the scripture says. Joel 2:3 says its as the garden of Eden.
Now we're going to see how these 2 witnesses are just another picture of the Laodicean Christians during the tribulation testifying to the whole world about Jesus Christ, and the events that are taking place before their eyes. They're testifying to the world that the Rapture has indeed been something of God, as they bitterly know. They testify that the Rapture has taken place, that the system that is now in view is a lie, and it's against God, it's Antichrist, and it's false and it's going to fall. And they also testify that there is still salvation in Christ for those who will repent. And they testify of coming judgments.
Now that may raise a question in your mind concerning the idea that everyone who takes the mark of the beast is going to be damned. And that is true and that's what scripture says. However, it doesn't say everyone who ever took the mark of the beast initially will never have a chance to repent. The mark of the beast is not spoken of as the unpardonable sin in scripture. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is. And this is saying that whoever takes the mark of the beast are embarking upon a path. They are joining themselves to a system that is going to be damned and destroyed. And they are entering on a course of life and the end of that course of life is damnation and destruction. So therefore they that take that mark, that is, they that join themselves, they that decide to walk that way, they that throw themselves in with the whole motley crowd will experience the damnation.
It's not saying that no one, whoever takes the mark, couldn't think better of it and realize that they had made a great mistake and repent and withdraw themselves from that system. So there may be those who repent even during this time.
They're also testifying that many are apostatizing into the world system.
Now these 2 witnesses we're going to see are not 2 men. They cannot be. In fact, I think that there is a great deception involved in thinking that they are 2 men. That there's going to be 2 notable men during this same period of time. These are not 2 men, but they are 2 bodies of people, Jewish and Gentile, and we'll prove that and we'll see that in verse 4.
"Clothed in sackcloth" Now these 2 witnesses are clothed in sackcloth, and sackcloth is a symbol of bitter mourning. It's a mourning, a weeping, a sadness, a brokeness, a repentance before God. It's an outward humbling to show forth the inward humbling that is occurring in their hearts.
And again this is a symbolic picture. Clothed in sackcloth means they're mourning and they're repenting. A few verses with that: Isaiah 53:3; Psa.30:11; Jer.4:8; Isa.20:2; Matt.11:10; Luke 10:13. And this repentance of the Laodiceans is spoken of in Revelation 3:19, Read. And those that did repent and decide to go all the way with God during this time became this company that we call the 2 witnesses.
Sackcloth also is a sign of the prophetic office, and you can read that in Matthew 3:4 -- John the Baptist was clothed in sackcloth. In 2 Kings 1:8, Elijah wore sackcloth, and in Isaiah 20:2, Isaiah was clothed in sackcloth. All three were prophets.
Revelation 11:4 "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth."
The Two Olive Trees
And here we find the main clue as to who the 2 witnesses are. They are called the 2 olive trees. This is a proof that they are 2 groups of people and not 2 men because elsewhere in scripture live trees are symbolic of 2 spiritual groups of people. They're bodies of people. And the key to interpreting this symbol here is found in Romans 11:17-24. Paul is here talking to Gentile Christians in Rome. And he is explaining to them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God here and how God had dealt with the nation of the Jews, but because they had cut themselves off from God through their unbelief, He had now turned to the Gentiles. And His plan of salvation became focused on the Gentiles. And Paul's explaining how that many in Israel were cut off but that in the end God would bring Israel back and reconcile the nation in the end, that is, those who believed.
So Romans 11:17-24 says (Read). The wild olive tree is the Gentiles. The natural olive tree is the Israelites. Now in verse 25, he gives the full disclosure of what he's talking about in this analogy. (Read), so there we have the interpretation. Israel is the domesticated, cultivated olive tree bearing forth good fruit for God, but many of the branches of Israel were broken off because of unbelief. And so God turned to the Gentiles and many among the Gentiles through faith in Jesus Christ came in and were grafted in spiritually to that olive tree. And the interesting thing is that if you take a branch of a wild olive tree and graft it into a natural one, it will bear fruit exactly the same as if it were a natural branch.
And so that's the key to interpreting the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11. They're 2 groups of people-- Jewish and Gentile believers; they are both Christians. The wild olive tree is outside of the orchard, out in the field, out in the wilderness. And so this equals the Gentile saints, outside of the realm of Judaism. However, they do have the faith of Abraham even though they're not of the blood line of Abraham. And so spiritually they become partakers, like Paul said, of the root and the fatness of the tree. They're spiritual Israelites.
Now the natural branches are not only those who have the faith of Abraham, but also they're of the blood line of Abraham. The natural olive tree in Romans 11:24 is the same as saying the cultivated olive tree.
Some other scriptures dealing with what the meaning is here of olive trees are found in: Hosea 14:4-6; Jeremiah 11:16; Psalm 52:6,8, and Zechariah 4:3. And so the context of the Bible requires us to put this interpretation on the 2 witnesses. If you don't tie it directly in with the revelation that is given to us in Romans 11, then you have no way to know who these 2 witnesses are and you set yourself adrift on a sea of conjecture with no way to prove anything. You have to establish your doctrine by interpreting scripture through other scriptures that are more clear. There's no other scripture in the Word of God that applies this interpretation for the 2 witnesses.
Also the time key given in chapter 11 of Revelation shows us that we're in the same period of time as the tribulation saints
*In Revelation 11:2 (Read), and again that is the spiritual city of God, the church shall be trodden under foot in persecution for 3 ½ years.
*And in verse 3, we see the same period of time, 1260 days, and that is directly parallel to the time that the saints who are left spend in the tribulation. Revelation 12:6 (Read).
*And also we see in Revelation 11:7 (Read) "Them" is the 2 witnesses and is exactly parallel to Revelation 13:5,7 which is also another view of the same tribulation period. (Read) "Him" = beast, the whole beast system. "Mouth" = the Antichrist himself. So it's the same tribulation martyrs involved in both cases. They're just put under a different analogy here in Revelation 11.
*It's that vast throng of those who pay the price in the Great Tribulation, and therefore are later resurrected. And they're found in heaven in Revelation 7:9 (Read). And in verse 14, John says (Read). It's the same group of people.
Now we see both of these groups (Jewish and Gentile Christians) here today. And so it's natural to think that also in the Tribulation there will be Jewish and Gentile Christians who are left. Those who haven't made the full deep commitment. And this also parallels the beginning of the gospel age because back then there was a double testimony to the world, both from Jewish and from Gentiles saints. And so we have a precedent for this same condition existing at the end of the church age, the last of the 7 church ages.
The reason why they're called 2 witnesses symbolically is because they are furnishing a double testimony to this same thing. And so there's 2 witnesses. It is a legally binding testimony. Their testimony is an official witness of God and His plan. And they are official witnesses that the system that is existing on the earth is a lie and that it's of the devil.
Why these are 2 groups and not 2 individual men
1. The testimony of two groups of people spread all around the world would be far more binding than it would be if you thought of these as 2 men in 1 city. And there's a parallel scripture in 2 Corinthians 13:1. Paul says, "I'm coming again and in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses every word shall be established." It's an official testimony of witnessing about something very important. Deut.17:6; 19:15 with Matthew 18:16; 1 Timothy 5:19.
Now this is the time of the greatest darkness and the greatest deception that man has ever known or ever will know. But just at the time when it looks like Satan is having his way on the earth and bringing in a flood of darkness such as has never been. God will have His 2 witnesses, a double confirmation exposing the lie, and testifying that the Antichrist system is going to be destroyed by God and that He will bring in His true kingdom.
2. Now another reason why these are not 2 men is that the city that they are being spoken of in verse 8 is obviously symbolic. Revelation 11:8 says (Read). Now this does not equal any place we know of on the earth. There's no city called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. But all of these concepts are included if you're going to talk about these cities in a symbolic sense, a world system. That is, a world that is become so tightly knit that it's as though it were 1 city.
This city is singular, but it's given 3 different names here and these names are symbolic of the attitudes of the world: Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Now Sodom is presently at the bottom of the Dead Sea; it's destroyed. Egypt is not the name of a city at all. And so there is no city in the natural sense called Egypt. Egypt is a country. But Egypt is a type of the world, the sinful world. And Jesus was not crucified in a city. Jesus was crucified outside of the city of Jerusalem. However, he was crucified inside the city of the Roman world empire. And remember this last day world government is spoken of elsewhere in scripture as an extension or a re-birth of that ungodly Roman system. You can read about that in Daniel 2:31-45 with Nebuchadnesser's image. And the feet of that image symbolizes the last day world government, and the legs are the Roman empire. And they are tied directly together as if they were one thing.
So Jesus was crucified in this world system and so by saying that their dead bodies lie in the street of the great city, where also our Lord was crucified, this is showing the spiritual location of where our Lord was crucified. It's showing the spiritual location of this world city. It has the same heart, and in the same spiritual place as the world was when it crucified our Lord. And it proves that, by slaughtering His 2 witnesses.
Now 2 literal men could not possibly be in 3 different places at one time. And there is no one place that is called all of these 3 things. And this is one of the proofs that is important, because some people teach that these 2 witnesses are actually Moses and Elijah, or Moses and Enoch returned in the flesh.
3. Also we saw that these 2 witnesses are 2 olive trees that represent 2 groups of people rather than 2 individual men.
"The 2 Candlesticks"
Now these 2 witnesses are also called the 2 candlesticks standing before the God of the earth in verse 4. Candlesticks here is lampstands the same as you see in Revelation 1:12,20. Again that is another reason why we should look at these as 2 groups of people because all that you see about candlesticks show them as symbols of groups of people. All through Revelation chapter 1 you see 7 candlesticks, which were symbols of the 7 churches. And those were groups of people.
So they're 2 lampstands. They're light holders showing forth the light of God. It's a Jewish and a Gentile testimony going forth.
"Standing before the God of the earth"
Satan in 2 Corinthians 4:4 is called the god of this world, the god of this cosmos; but he's not the God of the earth. He didn't make the earth. He doesn't own the earth. God owns the earth. Satan may have his way in the hearts of many people and hence, be the god of the world system which is made up of people, but God is the God of the earth. That is, God is the one who holds the universe in His hands. And the literal Greek here is, "Lord", they are standing before the "Lord" of the earth.
"Standing before" literally is "standing in sight of" the Lord of the whole earth." They are standing in sight of Him. So this shows God is with them; He knows them. They're in His sight; they're precious to Him. He sees what they're going through, and He sees that as they remain faithful, they're going to overcome, and He's going to call them up to be with Him. A parallel passage is Zechariah 4:14. It shows 2 anointed ones standing before the God of the whole earth.
Revelation 11:5 "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed"
And that's a good translation. Literally, "if any man wants or wills to hurt them" It's not simply if any man will hurt them in the future. But it shows those that have a will to hurt them.
"And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies."
Now this is not, in my opinion, literal fire belching out of their mouths and slaying their enemies. If it were, then that would be an adequate defense, and they would never be killed. (Revelation 11:7 (Read) and Revelation 13:15). This fire, I believe, is the judgment brought by the Word of God that they speak. It's the truth that they are speaking that's judging this ungodly world system that's rejecting the truth. And so it's spoken of as fire proceeding out of their mouth and devouring their adversaries. Revelation 19:11-21 Jesus at the Second Coming slays the enemies by the sword that proceedeth out of His mouth. Jeremiah 5:14 God made His word in his mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. 2 Thess. 2:10-12 (Read).
"And if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed" That is, literally, "Thus it is necessary or binding for him to be killed." So it's necessary for those who desire and will to hurt them to be killed in this manner.
The reason it is necessary is because the 2 witnesses are pronouncing doom on those who are joined to the Antichrist system, who will not repent. And the doom that they are pronouncing, in the final analysis, is the second death in the Lake of Fire. Whoever takes the mark of the beast will be damned.
And also many in this world system are going to very soon die physically as well. Remember, we're in the time of the seals being opened as the Antichrist is going forth to conquer; war follows and famine, death, and then after that comes an even worse time of trouble in the time of the plagues. And many, many millions of people will be killed. Their complicity in this murderous system brings upon them the plagues, and so they must in this manner be killed, you see. And also it brings upon them the second death.
Now concerning how they are to be killed, I'll give some other parallel scriptures. Revelation 14:9,10 (Read). So they must in this manner be killed. And Revelation 6:10 (Read). So God is going to go forth and avenge these 2 witnesses both on earth and in the time of the plagues and also after this life.
On the other hand, because it still is the age of the Gentiles when God is dealing with the Gentiles--the age of grace; it's quite possible that many men who were against the truth will repent hearing the testimony of these 2 witnesses, and be martyred along with them before the tribulation is over.
Perhaps even some who are killing the Christians will turn and become martyrs for the name of Jesus. Remember Paul, he persecuted the Christians and then was converted to Jesus. And we have precedent for that in history in the persecutions by Rome. There were those who persecuted the Christians and later joined them and gave their lives. One example is an executioner who beheaded a certain Christians girl and then after that, I believe, it was that very night, he had a dream. And he saw this girl placing a crown on his head, a martyr's crown. And shortly after that, he gave his heart to the Lord; and then he was executed as well.
So I know the scripture does say that whoever does take the mark of the beast shall be damned. But I believe that's speaking of a settled and a progressive decision that they carry out by their lives. It shows that the end result of taking the mark of the beast is damnation. It doesn't necessarily mean that we're to equate the mark of the beast with the unpardonable sin, and that there's no way a person can repent. Rather, it's showing the results of taking the mark and all that mark represents--damnation.
Now I'm still on the phrase "in this manner then he must be killed." We see later on that the Antichrist and the false prophet are speedily slain in Revelation 19:20. And they are the primary ones in view here where it says "if any man will hurt them." Because above all others, they are willing to hurt them and others follow along with them in that intention.
Revelation 11:6 "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."
"These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy." This is in direct correspondence to the famine that we see in this same tribulation period in Revelation 6:5,6. The third horse goes forth, and it's a black horse and it's famine. So I think we should make a direct connection here. The fact that they shut up heaven and there is no rain produces famine on the earth.
So their position then as God's witnesses, as His true saints, causes the heathen to be cursed. Because they are opposing them and fighting against them. God does not bless the world with rain because they stand in rebellion to Him and to His witnesses, to His testimony. Sometimes we think of these 2 witnesses being persecuted under this system, and that's true, being brought under the authority of this system to be killed, but I think the way God looks at it is that they are His true government on earth. They are His true witnesses. And the whole rest of the world, including the Antichrist government, is in rebellion against Him. Therefore, God's testimony through His witnesses brings curses on the world system and He does not bless them.
Now the prophet Elijah shut up rain in the days of his prophecy and in 1 Kings 17:1, he says (Read). Also read James 5:17-- 3 ½ years, the same as the 2 witnesses do.
Review of Revelation 11:3-5
We're talking about the 2 witnesses and the signs that occur during their ministry. We've been seeing how these 2 witnesses could not be 2 literal men, 2 individual men. But rather that they are 2 groups of men.
Just to review one of the main points in verse 4, they are called 2 olive trees. And we saw that the only way to interpret these 2 olive trees is to see that they are 2 groups of saints; one being Jewish and one being Gentile. They're all Christians, Jewish and Gentile Christians. And we saw in Romans 11 that the 2 olive trees represented Israelites in covenant with God. And the Gentiles are called a wild olive tree. The Jews are called a domestic olive tree. And the wild branches are being taken and grafted into the domestic tree and then they bear the same fruit. So these 2 witnesses are exactly the same as the Laodicean Christians in chapter 3, and the souls under the altar in chapter 6. And they are the same as the great multitude in heaven clothed with white robes and palms in their hands in chapter 7:9. Revelation 7:14 these are they which came out of (the) great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. We're seeing again the same things from different points of view, and it causes us to get a full picture. That's the way this book is put together.
Revelation 11:6 talks about these 2 witnesses. (Read) I mentioned that this shutting of heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy corresponds to the black horse, which represents famine, (Revelation 6:5,6). And this here may well be the cause of that great famine, which occurs during the same period of time in chapter 6, and so that's the position that these 2 witnesses have before God.
"And have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." So they smite the earth with all plagues. That is, they have a wide ranging ministry, you might say, in supernatural signs, and so it's not just one kind of plague. It's many kinds of plagues. So here it is spoken of as "all plagues".
Their position before God as His witnesses causes the heathen, the world system, to be cursed, and God doesn't bless this system with rain and so the result is famine.
And if history is accurate, things like this, only not in the same magnitude, happened in the reign of Diocletian, the Roman emperor, when he set about systematically to kill every last Christian. The harder he tried, the more God began to pound his empire, and He wouldn't let him go through with it.
Finally, there were droughts, famines, rich people were selling their children. There were plagues of gnats and lice and all kinds of things, and finally he gave up his campaign. However, before that, he did stamp a coin that said that he had killed all the Christians, but it wasn't really true. Then he got deathly sick and called the Christians to pray for him, and they did. So God is cursing the earth because of what they are doing to His 2 witnesses.
Now the prophet Elijah did shut up rain in the days of his prophecy. 1 Kings 17:1 (Read). James 5:17 tells us how long that period was (Read). So again that would be an equivalent period of time to this 3 ½ year Tribulation.
Now I'm going to show you later how that Elijah is not and cannot be one of these 2 witnesses but there is a parallel here. These witnesses probably are not men, but groups of men spoken of as commanding the rain to stop, and you can take it one of two ways.
First, either God is cursing the world for their sake, for what's being done to them, and so in effect, they are commanding that there be no rain. That is, God is commanding it because of them; so in effect, they are the cause, and they are spoken of as commanding it indirectly.
Second, there is a possibility that it can mean that they themselves being led of God and in His will realizing that it's His will for them to do this, would say officially, "There's going to be no rain because God has commanded it." Even as Elijah said, as the Lord God liveth. That they would speak forth this word from the position that they stand in before God, and the result would be no rain. They could be led of God and actually be the ones commanding this to be done.
I would lean towards the first one, but you can't rule the other one out. Especially since the context of the verse shows them doing things according to their will. They have power to turn waters to blood, to smite the earth with plagues as often as they will. So that is a possibility. But the result is famine, and it corresponds to the black horse in chapter 6.
And they have power over waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will. Now these are not the plagues of the 7th seal, but they are plagues during the Tribulation period before that. Realize that the 3 ½ year Tribulation ends at the 6th seal before the plagues begin to be poured out. The 7th seal consist of 7 parts-- the 7 plagues or 7 trumpets or 7 vials, more literally, 7 bowls of wrath, the last 3 being woes. And these plagues that they smite the earth with are not world wide plagues necessarily at all. But they are actual miraculous signs that God gives them to testify to the earth that God is true.
Now during this same time, remember, the Antichrist system and the false prophet will be doing miraculous signs and therefore God gives His 2 witnesses signs to do before the world too. Whenever the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord raises up a standard against him. It's a sign God's with them. Exodus chapter 7.
The false prophet and the world church will be sorely vexed by these 2 witnesses because the real miracles of God that are going to be happening all over the world, are to expose the false miracles that the false prophet and others are doing at the same period of time. Concerning the false miracles that the false prophet, the leader of the world church, will be doing; you can read 2 Thess. 2:9 and Revelation 13:13,14 and he, that is, the false prophet doeth great wonders, etc.
Revelation 11:7 "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."
That's a very good translation concerning the tenses. "When they shall have finished" is in the aorist tense which denotes action in time past but is indefinite as to when it was completed or whether it was completed. They shall have finished it.
"The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."
The beast shall make war against them, future, and overcome them. So God allows them a period of time to testify. Now that doesn't mean that none of them are being killed during that time because we see in other scriptures that Christians are being killed all through the Tribulation period. And so they are being killed all during that 3 ½ years. But as a whole they're allowed to go on. God preserves them that they might be a testimony against this ungodly system. And then all of them are killed. 1260 days long (v.3) at the end of that time.
This beast is said to rise up out of the bottomless pit. Out of the pit of the abyss. And so this indicates a Satanic origin for this beast system. It originates with demons and with Satan. And Satan is the one empowering this system as men yield themselves to Satan and as other men yield themselves to the Devil and submit to those men. The result is a great demonic system with Satan at its head. And so the whole system, the beast speaks of both the system and the man, the whole thing is said to rise up out of the bottomless pit.
In Revelation 13:1, this same beast is said to rise up out of the sea and the sea represents the nations. So in terms of politically, the Antichrist system rises up out of the nations. The people of the nations submitting to him give him power. Concerning the spiritual origin of this system-- it's directly from Satan.
Revelation 20:2,3,7-- this shows that later on Satan will ascend out of the bottomless pit at the end of the Millennium and go forth again and attempt to deceive the nations. And it is Satan and the Antichrist which kills these martyrs.
Revelation 11:8 "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."
"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street" So their dead bodies shall be in the street of the great city. Now the Greek says, "body", singular. So this would be another proof that these are 2 groups rather than 2 individual men, because 2 men don't have a body; but groups of people may be spoken of as a body, as they're being killed collectively ( 1 Corinthians 12). Now verse 8 says, "body", and verse 9 says, "body", and then the last part of verse 9 says, "bodies". And so these Tribulation martyrs are slain. We see them being slain also in Revelation 6:9-11 where they're shown under another analogy-- the souls under the altar.
Revelation 12:17 (Read) and the dragon, Satan, was wroth with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Again, this is the Tribulation saints in another analogy of the woman who had brought forth the manchild. The visible church, which was left after the invisible church was caught up. Also read Revelation 13:7,15; 20:4.
So their dead bodies or body lie in the street of the great city
*This shows a degrading death, a humiliating death. Their bodies are just lying in the street. It's a dishonor before man, but they're going to be honored before God very shortly, and we'll see that.
*Ancient city streets were in many cities kind of an all purpose thing. They serve for transportation, sewage run off, and dumping the garbage. And so this was a degrading thing.
"In the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified" Now this great city is probably speaking of the world system. It's the world city, Great Babylon. It's not a literal city because it's called Sodom and Egypt and it's called "where also our Lord was crucified." And you can't reconcile all of those 3 concepts with one city. Our Lord was not crucified in Sodom or Egypt, and Egypt is not even a city. Sodom is at the bottom of the southern end of the Dead Sea today. It's all covered up. Egypt is a country. It's not even a city at all. And our Lord was crucified outside of a city. He was not crucified in any city; and so it would be improper to make this city Jerusalem and have the 2 witnesses being killed in Jerusalem over in Palestine, because our Lord was not crucified, technically speaking, in Jerusalem.
And it is "spiritually" where our Lord was crucified. It's an ungodly world system, and the reason it is put this way is to show the truth that the same Antichrist spirit that caused our Lord to be crucified is now causing his witnesses to be put to death.
They are killed in that great city.....where also our Lord was crucified. Now that great city where also our Lord was crucified was the Roman world system of it's day. He was crucified under Rome
*So the great city where the 2 witnesses are killed and give their lives for God's truth is the last day world system. They're spoken of here as one.
*Also if you look back into the book of Daniel, in Dan.2:31, you'll see that Daniel has a vision involving the world system from Babylon on to the end of time. And he sees a great image of Nebuchadnezzar. The image has a head of gold and that's Nebuchadnezzar. It has a breast of silver, which is (Read Dan.2:31-39) the Persian Kingdom which took over Babylon. The third kingdom of brass is Greece, which Alexander the Great expanded.So the Roman Empire is spoken of as these 2 legs of iron in Daniel's image. But the feet are one with it, and they're spoken of as part of the same thing. But the feet with the ten toes are the last day Antichrist system with the ten powers-- the ten horns and these are part of iron and part of clay. They're spoken of as being an extension of the very same thing. And when the stone, cut out without hands from the mountains comes-- Jesus Christ to set up his Millennial Kingdom; he smites the image on its feet. It's the last day world system that he destroys; it's the Antichrist system. But they are spoken of as one thing. And therefore the same thing is said in Revelation 11:8, that the 2 witnesses are killed in that great city, where also our Lord was crucified. That is, in that same Satanic world system now under another form.
These martyrs are the Laodicean overcomers, and they're from all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues and you find that in Revelation 7:9. And therefore their testimony against this world system has to be a world testimony, or it's not fully a testimony at all.
*Another possible reason why this is not a literal city is because it speaks of the street of the great city. Now a great city would not have only one street. It would say the streets of the great city, but this is the street of the great city. And so the sensible interpretation is to make this the great Antichrist world city. Other verses concerning that: Revelation 17:6,18 (Read). So this great Babylon system is spoken of as a city. And then in Revelation 18:16,18,24 this is after the destruction of Babylon (Read). So this is a great Babylon city.
There's a very strong proof in the context that these 2 witnesses must be 2 groups of people and cannot be 2 individuals
Looking at Revelation 11:3 (Read), and tying that with verses 9 and 11 gives a strong probability that they cannot be 2 men-- 2 individual men. Verse 9 says (Read) so they're seeing their dead bodies 3 days and a half, that is, this time, times, and dividing of times-- 3 ½ year Tribulation, a day again is being spoken of as a year. So their dead bodies are being seen during the whole Tribulation period, the whole 3 ½ years. But verse 3 says that they were prophesying for 1260 days, which is the same 3 ½ year period (Rev.12:6). And so somehow they have to be both dead and ministering during the same period of time, if these are speaking of 2 individual men. But I think 2 groups of people, etc.. makes more sense. You see the problem there with 2 men? Two men could not be dead for 3 ½ years and be prophesying for the same 3 ½ years. But 2 groups of people could be both witnessing during that whole time and being killed during the same period of time. So they probably cannot be 2 men according to the context. 2 groups of people would make better sense. I think this is probably speaking of 3 ½ years rather than 3 ½ literal days because of the context and the fact that other scriptures that refer to this same period of time say 3 ½ years.
Now you might say that they could be prophesying over here for 3 ½ years and then lie dead in the city for 3 ½ days after they are killed. And the reason all the nations, kindreds, etc.. see them is because of satellite television. But, it only fits to a certain extent. The main refutation to that would be the context of all that we've seen and other places where a day is interpreted as a year. Plus, many other scriptures say saints are killed during the whole 3 ½ year period.
We've seen already time, times, and ½ a time-- 3 ½ times, so to speak, and that's clearly 3 ½ years. So if this is 3 ½ days, then there's no other parallel in scripture that we can make to it. Seeing that this is definitely during the Tribulation period, whether it's 3 ½ years or days, you need to parallel with other passages. And if you go to parallel passages, you would interpret it as 3 ½ years. Now there is a possibility this is speaking of the ones killed during the Tribulation period and out of dishonor (which we will see later) the people of the earth let their dead bodies lie in the street for 3 ½ days after they finish their testimony, without their dead bodies being put in graves ( a show of dishonor). But I think that because of the context, etc. 3 ½ years probably fits better.
Revelation 11:9 "And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves."
The people of all the nations and kindreds and tongues seeing their dead bodies means that all around the world these people are being put to death and all over the world there are people in every nations and cities that will know of these deaths. It says in verse 9, all nations, not every person percay-- not everybody will necessarily see their bodies. This to me means that all nations, kindreds, etc.. will see, not that every person on the face of the earth, with the exception of possibly the satellite T.V..
Now that first reference "shall see their dead bodies" is singular. And this is another indication that it's not 2 men but 2 groups of men, because 2 men don't have a body; but groups of people may be spoken of as a body, as they're being killed collectively (1 Corinthians 12). And this word "dead body" here doesn't really say "dead body." It says, primarily, "the fallen." It's anything that is fallen. The word is ptoma in the Greek.
*And for instance, there is a certain Greek word for sin called "paraptoma"-- to fall beside the Law. And so this is something that is fallen. Now in its use, it was used to refer to dead bodies and therefore it came to mean corpse. But it's their fallen body-- singular, same thing in verse 8. "Their dead body shall lie in the street of the great city." So its either one literal body or speaking of the saints as a body (1 Corinthians 12).
*Now in the latter part of verse 9..."and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves." That's plural. They shall not suffer their fallen bodies to be put into graves. And so they are somehow one and yet many because they have a body and yet they have bodies, another indication that it's a group of people.
"Shall see their dead bodies 3 days and a half" This is probably not literal, but rather stands for the 3 ½ year Tribulation and some indications of this are:
*Revelation 11:2 we see the holy city shall they tread under foot 40 and 2 months. And this holy city is the church and involves the Antichrist making war against the saints and overcoming them and killing them. So someone else is being killed for 42 months, and this is a group of people here absolutely; it's not 2 men. We've seen that it can't be 2 men; they have a body and yet bodies. They're the 2 olive trees. They are lying in the street for 3 ½ days or more probably 3 ½ years.
*Now there's not 2 different groups of people. There's not the Tribulation saints and then another group of people. They're one in the same. The holy city in verse 2 is said to be trodden under foot 42 months. So that would indicate that the way we need to interpret the 3 ½ days is for that same period of time, 3 ½ years, 42 months, since it is the same group of people involved.
*Now the 2 olive trees in Revelation 11:4 speaks of 2 spiritual groups of people in the Tribulation, and so again it's this same group of people. And these 2 olive trees are the 2 witnesses back in verse 3, who prophesy a 1000, 200, and 3 score days clothed in sackcloth. It's the same period of time, 1260 days-- 3 ½ years. (Revelation 12:6)
*Another proof is that the Tribulation martyrs will be slain all through the 42 months Tribulation. And the reason I say that is because at the 5th Seal many of them are already dead, Revelation 6:9-11 (Read). So they're told to rest for a little season, until the rest of the Tribulation saints overcome in the same way--by giving their lives. Now if we're going to make this 3 ½ days, then you would have to make this little season in chapter 6 to be 3 ½ days or less, you see. And so that would put 3 ½ days between the 5th and the 6th Seal, and I don't think that would be in line with scripture to do that. The Seals, all of the Seals, are things that are taking a longer period of time than that.
*And as I said before these 2 groups of people, these Tribulation saints are both dying during the whole Tribulation, and they're ministering during the whole Tribulation. So again that would be an indication that it would be best to take the 3 ½ days as 3 ½ years.
"And shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves" Here as I mentioned, "dead bodies" is plural, not singular. And so it's speaking of the actual bodies of these martyrs. They shall not suffer them to be put in graves.
Now this doesn't mean that they will not bury any of these Tribulation martyrs during the whole Tribulation. And the reason that I say that hinges upon the meaning of the word "graves" here. The word is mnema, and it means "a memorial". It means "a memorial grave with a monument." It means "a grave of one who would be remembered in his death." It's a memorial or a memorial tomb. It's not a "thpos" meaning "a burial place". But it's a memorial.
So the scripture is saying that these martyrs will not be allowed to have memorial graves, as it were. They will not have their names remembered on the tombstone and in the records. Instead, they'll be buried without public notice of their deaths or who they were or of their survivors or anything. Much like the mass killings that took place under Communism. They just line people up, and they kill them and they bury them in a mass grave with huge numbers of corpses dumped all together in the same burial pit, and absolutely no regard for who was slain or who they were. That's the meaning of their bodies not being put into grave here. Not that they won't be buried. It's possible that there will be no official record of who was killed.
So no record, that is, no official memorial for them is kept. However, God keeps a record of them in heaven. And He tells them to rest yet for a little season, and I'll avenge your blood on them that dwell upon the earth. And so God says, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay." And He does that. Isaiah 26:21 tells that He's going to do that (Read). And that's literally true in this case, because they're going to rise up on their feet and ascend into heaven.
Revelation 11:10 "And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."
They rejoice over them, and make merry because they're so glad to see this convicting testimony done away with, and these fearful plagues put aside. This shows the world system's attitude toward the Christians who are faithful to God during the Tribulation: absolute hatred and desire that they just be out of the scene. Why? Because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
*One reason is through the plagues that they brought.
*Another reason is that the conviction of sin that their testimony brought was unbearable. These people had totally set themselves against the truth of God and had given themselves over to this beast system. And the conviction bought by another group of people standing totally separate and pronouncing that this is against the will of God and that God's going to have His way and this system is doomed; it's an unbearable thing to these people that have sold their whole live to this system.
And so when this testimony is done away, it's much easier for them to deceive themselves once again and say, "Oh, good, this group is out of sight now, and we won't have to have anything more to do with them. No more of this sin and repentance business. Now we can just go on and think rationally again, you know, and have our world system and be modern instead of having sand thrown in the cogs."
Possibly these two prophets are prophets speaking as ones the world sees standing in for the whole church, as we see the ministers in the 7 church ages. It does not necessarily have to be 2 men; it could just be prophets leading the church. That is, many prophets that are more visible to the world. Remember, out of the mouth of 2 or more, My Word shall be established. You can read 1 Kings chapters 18 and 19, there were many prophets at that time, so this could be true in the tribulation period as well.
So this would be proof that the Holy Spirit is not taken completely out of this world at the Rapture, as some teach. These tribulation saints clearly have the Holy Spirit working in their lives; they are prophesying, and doing all kinds of miracles. God will not leave His people without His Holy Spirit during the worst time in history that has ever occurred on earth.
Revelation 11:11 "And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them."
So they stood upon their feet. This is the resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs at the end of the Tribulation. Now the Tribulation period is 7 years long, but when I speak of it here, I'm talking about the first 3 ½ years of Tribulation on the saints. The second 3 ½ years is more of Tribulation upon the Antichrist system-- the 7 plagues or trumpet, vials, the last 3 being woes. 3 ½ + 3 ½ = 7 years, approximately.
Revelation 7 :9-17 and Revelation 20:4,5 speak of these martyrs being resurrected. And this resurrection precedes the 6th Seal. The proof for that is in Revelation 11:13, in the same hour, that is, the same hour that they were resurrected, there was a great earthquake and.... to the end of the verse (Read). That's a direct parallel to Revelation 6:12-17, where John says the reaction of those on earth again is that they're terrified. So it's a direct parallel. And so this resurrection precedes the 6th Seal.
"And they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them" This standing upon their feet signifies resurrection. It's not the word for resurrection used in Philippians and a few other places. It's not the usual word for resurrection, but it's directly parallel. The word for resurrection, "anastasis" literally means "upstanding or to stand up." And here they stand upon their feet, so it's directly related to the concept of resurrection. And when they do this, great fear fell upon them which saw them. The first Raptured saints, those who went at what we know as the Rapture, proved to the world that God's word that they were proclaiming was true. And now these resurrection martyrs follow 3 ½ years later. And so they have shown forth their great testimony to the world as they have testified of the truth of God's word. They have exposed the lie of the Antichrist system. Their testimony is confirmed, and now the world knows. The world had tried to award it as much as they could, but they are forced to know that the wrath of God is upon them and that these others have been ushered into eternal life and that they were indeed the true people of God.
The world now knows that it has missed God's mark completely for eternal life. Now that doesn't mean that it is impossible that anyone, even after this time, could repent, but as a whole, no one does. As a whole, the world system remains hardened in sin, in spite of all of this evidence to the truth of God.
It's an awesome position of hardness that they're in. The world now is hardened in sin and has the Antichrist system in heart and spirit. You can't say that every last person to a man, woman, and child is consciously Christ -hating and anti-God and just scorning and laughing at, and hating everything that God stands for. But they're joined into this system, many, willingly, and some others out of necessity. So that does leave some room for those who would repent and see the better of their ways later on. But the world as a whole does not. And the way the scriptures are written gives us the impression that the majority of the people are hardened and do not repent even at the Second Coming of Christ (Luke 18:8).
Revelation 1:7 (Read), they're not wailing in repentance; they're wailing in utter fear. So it doesn't seem like even then very many people would repent. Now many people do live on into the Millennium, and there they are under a tightly established and controlled kingdom of God in Christ, so it's possible that some get saved even then. That's not a fact, but it's a possibility.
Now, as I said, the world knows that it has missed the mark of God and that His wrath is upon them. And a direct parallel passage is Revelation 6:15-17 talking about this fear that fell upon them and it's right at the same time. It tells us that the kings of the earth, etc.. said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us." So they know now that this is the doing of God and that the wrath of God is what is coming upon them.
Revelation 11:12 "And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them"
"Come up hither" or simply "Come up here." Come on up here; this is where you belong. Even though you were lukewarm and half-hearted, you've been faithful; you made the right decisions and you paid the price and therefore I'm saying to you "Come up here."
Now in verse 12 where they heard a great voice saying unto them, Come up hither; the 2 witnesses come up hither. This is comparable to the Bride's calling upward, previously, at the Rapture. But the 2 witnesses are a different company and in a different position of glory. These are the Laodicean overcomers receiving their position for their labors after the Bride has already taken her position 3 ½ years earlier before the Tribulation period began. We see throughout the Bible the Bride and others that are not the Bride, but these will be in God's presence and rule, etc.. as well.
*Revelation 19:7,9 shows us the Bride and then it shows us others who are called to the marriage feast. (Read)
*So there's a Bride but then there are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
"And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them" So God rewards righteousness and sin in a just way. He rewards those who came to Him for mercy and for power to overcome their sin in the Tribulation; they now receive their reward. And those who had resisted His power and had consequently fought against His people are proven wrong. And what this world system has just inflicted on the saints of God is now proven to be unfair, unjust, sinful, criminal, and murderous, because this ascension validates their witness and their testimony. It shows God's disapproval of what the enemies have done. And, of course, this is when the wrath of God begins to be poured out upon the world system, to judge the sinful and the rebellious.
God is the great notary republic, in this case, and, as it were, they've written out their testimony in a living epistle by laying down their lives and so God, by raising them, stamps it and says, this is a valid testimony against the lie that you have been testifying about, and I accept that testimony. I'm going to Rapture you up now. I'm going to catch you up just as I did My Bride. Now they ascend up in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
"In a cloud" Actually is more specific, "in the cloud." And so it's not just in a cloud, but it's a particular cloud; it's the cloud. And so the question is "what cloud?"
Well, saints are compared to clouds in a number of scriptures. Particularly in scriptures that deal with saints either being caught up to heaven or being already in heaven. And that's a good symbol for saints being caught up or being in heaven, because generally clouds are white, which would show forth purity. And they are made up of individual droplets, just as the great company of the saints is made up of individual saints.
And the habitation of clouds is the heavens and that's the proper habitation of saints too. So saints are compared to clouds in 1 Thess.4:17 speaking of the Rapture. Literally, "we shall be caught up in clouds." So "in clouds" leaves it open to identify the saints with the very clouds that they're caught up in. They're caught up in clouds.
Clouds also indicate the vast number of the saints. It's as though they blend together into one vast cloud mass; individual and yet part of a great company. And so Hebrews 12:1 says (Read). That is, those men of faith that he had just been talking about and others. He couldn't mention them all. He said time would fail me to tell about all of them, but he compares these saints who have gone before us to a cloud. He says they're a cloud of witnesses.
So there's a great number of saints that have gone before us, and he calls them a cloud of witnesses. Revelation 1:7 speaking of the Second Coming of Christ. So he is coming with literally, the clouds. Now I don't think this means that he is coming with the cumulus clouds, etc. I don't think he's bringing clouds with him when he comes. I think this means that he is coming with clouds of his redeemed saints. He's coming with those armies that follow him at the Second Coming, and you can read that in Revelation 19:14. There were armies that follow him from heaven at the Second Coming. So he comes with the clouds. Isaiah 19:1 (Read) speaking of the Lord riding upon a cloud-- us.
"And their enemies beheld them" And so here these Tribulation saints ascended up to heaven in the cloud; and their enemies beheld them. They ascended up in a vast throng. Now their enemies, strictly speaking, would not behold them if they were hidden by a cloud. If they were caught up to heaven in a cloud and disappeared into a cloud, strictly speaking, it wouldn't say their enemies beheld them. At least their enemies wouldn't behold them after the point that they entered into the cloud. But if we're speaking of them being caught up in the cloud of the resurrected Tribulation saints, then they could be caught up in the cloud and their enemies would behold them because they are this cloud.
Now it does say in the cloud not into the cloud. And so in the cloud allows for these saints to be the very cloud that they ascend in. They were caught up in a cloud not into a cloud. And if they ascended up in the cloud, and if their enemies could behold them, then they're being compared to a cloud to show the greatness of the number of these saints who make up the company of the 2 witnesses, to show the vastness of that company.
In Revelation 7:9 after they're already in heaven, they're spoken of as a multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations, etc. They're a great multitude. Now they could very well disappear into a cloud, into clouds just as Jesus did when he ascended. It says that a cloud received him out of their sight. But, I believe the main point here is that the cloud is a cloud of saints.
So their enemies beheld them. They did not behold them with mild interest or idle curiosity. That's not their attitude. They beheld it with utter terror and despair. They beheld it with all the fear and terror a guilty murderer seeing his murder victim rise from the dead before his very eyes. They beheld it with horror, with unbelief and yet they were being forced to believe. They beheld it as though they were in a nightmare that they could not awake from. That's how they beheld it, because the saints rising proves that they were of God. And it proves that they were of the truth. And it puts, as I said, an awesome seal on their testimony against the lie of the world system. And their rising forebodes a certain judgment of their enemies, because God vindicating them proves God will judge the world that killed them. God is a just God and where there is reward there is also punishment.
Revelation 11:13 "And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven."
"And the same hour was there a great earthquake" Immediately, the 6th Seal is upon the dwellers of the earth, an added confirmation to them that the 2 witnesses were of God because immediately after they rise, there's a great earthquake. And so God is again confirming super naturally that this is His doing. Now this is the great earthquake of the 6th Seal in Revelation 6:12-17. So the Tribulation saints are resurrected just before the 6th Seal.
Now Revelation 7:9-17 Shows that before the opening of the 7th Seal these Tribulation martyrs are already in heaven. They've been there since just before the 6th Seal, that is when they were resurrected. These are the ones it says "Come out (EK) of the Great Tribulation" (Greek). It shows them in heaven, but now they are not as souls under the altar like they were back in the 5th Seal. It shows them in bodies; they have glorified bodies standing before the throne. They're no longer just souls awaiting their resurrection. They're seen with bodies here in Revelation 7. Now these bodies here are symbols, it does not mean that this is what they look like. But the fact is that they have bodies. And the 7th Seal is not opened until chapter 8. So before the 7th Seal, they're already in heaven.
And these are not the 144,000 that we see previously in this chapter. First, 144,000 verses a multitude which no man could number, of course, the 144,000 can be numbered. Second, the 144,000 were said to be Israelites, but these in verses 9-17 are from all nations, tongues, etc.. Third, the 144,000 are sealed on earth against the plagues of the 7th Seal. They had to be sealed because they were going to be remaining on earth. But this great multitude is seen in heaven before the 7th Seal is opened.
"And the tenth part of the city fell" And this is the same city that we've been talking about all along. It's the world city. It's that great city that ruleth over the kings of the earth. It's a one world system spoken of as a city, because it's all joined together.
And so 1/10th of this world city fell in the earthquake, and it possibly means one great gigantic geographical area of the world being greatly destroyed. Either that, or an area encompassing 1/10th of the world's people being leveled and destroyed in this earthquake. (Rev.6:14) read.
"And in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand" Now this is probably an indication of a huge number of men because 1/10th of the world city is spoken of as being destroyed and if that's going to happen, many more people than 7,000 are going to be killed. And we see that 10 is a symbolic number of a fullness or a completeness in this world. Also the number 7 = completeness. 1,000 = many.
We've had earthquakes in the pass that have killed more than this, so this is probably talking about something much greater.
*1909, 75,000 killed in Italy.
*1920 180,000 killed in China.
*1923 143,000 killed in Japan.
*1931 70,000 killed in China.
*1933 60,000 killed in India. Plus, many others.
"And the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven" That means the rest, all the rest, they were affrighted and gave glory to God. Now this does not happen today when there's a great earthquake, or a tidal wave, or a volcano, or a hurricane that destroys a city. And those things have happened and are happening all around us, but it doesn't cause the rest of the world to give glory to God. Besides, if 1/10th of the city fell, as I said, many more than 7,000 would be killed. So I think that it would be best to take this number symbolically.
The remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. Now this doesn't mean repentance. Revelation 6:15-17 shows what it is, describing the same thing, the terror and the fear and the guilty and unwilling acknowledge that these things are of God, that's what is involved here. They're forced to admit that the martyrs were of God. Particularly the failure of the false world church, from this point on, we're going to see that in a short period of time after this, the world church, world Babylon is destroyed, this church system. And this is one of the great points in her downfall, because it's very hard from this point on for her to convince the world that she is the true church, when they've just seen the true church ascend up into heaven. That is, those that were left behind to go through the tribulation. And later on, the world church is destroyed and that is found in Revelation 17:3-6,16. Remember, Satan is only using this world church to deceive. He has no pleasure in any church, true or false, other than the way that he can use it to deceive men. What he really wants is the world to worship him directly. That's his heart's desire.
A Refutation Of The Teaching That The 2 Witnesses Are 2 Men
1. First of all such a doctrine is highly dangerous. And the reason for that I will elaborate on.
*The danger of such a doctrine is that there will be 2 men who will drastically affect the world and the church system right at this time, and these 2 men namely are the Antichrist, (2 Thess.2:9) and the false prophet, (Rev.13:12-15). So there are 2 men and they're bringing forth their own kind of witness to the world. In fact, the false prophet is witnessing for the Antichrist doing great lying wonders and signs to cause the world to worship him. So if people are going around believing that there's going to be 2 great men arising up at the end of time, what do you think that's going to do as far as bringing them into deception? The psuedo-righteousness and apparent goodness that these 2 men portray will deceive millions and millions of people, and it will deceive Christians. Their psuedo-righteousness will deceive millions. In Revelation 6:2, John saw and behold a white horse, and he that sat on him had a bow and a crown was given to him and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. So the Antichrist has this psuedo-righteousness that will deceive many.
*And in Revelation 13:11, the false prophet, it says (Read). He has 2 horns like a lamb. He appears to be like a lamb. He has power, yes, but he exercises it in a lamb-like way, you see. In an outward show of meekness that's false; that's why he's called the false prophet. A sign of great cordiality, but really he's intent on taking over the souls of men and the church.
*Now these men will not come out against Jesus and the truth of God at first. They may even take credit for fulfilling the Word of God and even quote scriptures. "This system, and we at its head are the fulfillment of these prophecies". They may even take credit for Rapturing the Bride, who knows how great the deception will be-- it's never happened before.
*Either that or they may say that they have taken these people captive and are holding them somewhere. Who knows all the deception that will be involved. The Antichrist and the false prophet perform miraculous and amazing signs before the whole world. They may even raise the dead. Satan does all kinds of things, look at what he did with the magicians in Egypt (Exodus 7). So there's great danger in looking towards a man at the end of time, (Matt.24:24) Read. We need to look to Jesus!
2. Secondly, I want to mention that the idea of past saints returning to earth is unscriptural. It's a non-scriptural idea, and it's an anti-scriptural idea that they should return to earth, especially, to return to earth again and die, or in some cases die again, such as Moses.
*Once a man is awarded immortality by God, there's no way he's going to become a mortal and subject to death again. He's passed beyond that realm. You can't reverse the process of receiving an immortal body. It violates the whole principle of God and His heavenly reward. Scriptures on that are 1 Corinthians 15:53,54 (Read). Now after it does that, it's not going to take off immortality.
*And if death is swallowed up in victory, then it is impossible for someone to come back and die again. Death has been swallowed up. When? When this corruptible shall put on incorruption. So from that point on, you cannot enter into a mortal realm and die once again.
*1 Thess.4:17 (Read) That's an irreversible process. So shall we ever be with the Lord. Now if these 2 men are Moses, or Enoch or Elijah, which most people believe, how could they come back to earth and minister in the Tribulation period, and why should they? They're in the presence of God now, awaiting the Rapture so they can receive their glorified bodies. It says the dead in Christ shall rise first. They are part of the dead in Christ and shall receive their glorified bodies at the Rapture. And if the Rapture of the Bride, which I think they probably will be part of, has happened before the great Tribulation period starts, and they have received their glorified bodies, why would they have to come back to earth and minister and die? This would seem unfair and unreasonable. It makes no sense that God would make them some how put off their glorified body and become a mortal again and die. It would be an awful jolt to the dead who have already put on immortality, and they're basking in that heavenly sunshine of God's glory, having intimate communion with Him, experiencing His love in their glorified bodies, to come back to earth and say, "Oh, this can't be true, I've got to die again." That's not according to scripture. It's just an unscriptural idea.
*Samuel was called up from the place of departed spirits before he had received an immortal body, and his reaction was rather negative. 1 Samuel 28:11,12,14-16. So Samuel did not like Saul calling him up.
3. Thirdly, God does not need men of past ages to come back in order to have a mighty testimony to the world. There's no reason to say, well, we need 2 super-prophets to come back or this testimony can't go forth.
*God will raise up the Bride of Christ to be His anointed before the Tribulation period, and she will move out into the world scene, and God will have a great and mighty testimony. And also in the Tribulation, God will raise up Laodicean overcomers to be a mighty testimony. Past men of God are not the only ones who can believe God for mighty supernatural signs and miracles and power with God. And saints, any saint, can do that as well.
*And the repentance of the Laodicean Christians, and the mourning, and the acknowledging of their sin; they could have great power with God as well.
4. The fourth point is that if God allowed the prophets to come back from heaven, first of all, Christians would be tempted to worship them. Secondly, everybody would depend on them instead of moving for God themselves. And this glorification of men is out of line with scripture.
*They were men of flesh and blood and of like passions as we, (James 5:16-18). And God is able to raise up His own Moses' and Elijahs in the last days.
*If God was able to raise up a man as mighty as Moses in the O.T. with the amount of light that they had, how much more can He with saints in the N.T. being born-again Spirit-filled with the abundant life and revelation from God. How much more is God able to raise up a vast company of Moses'. I think that's much more probable.
5. Also, it could cause great deception from demons, to believe that you could be this Elijah or Moses to come. Example, John Dowry was told this and it worked on him until he believed it. In 1901, he said that he was the Elijah to come. William Branham thought he was the 7th angel of the Lord.
A. O.K., now we're going to talk about Moses as one of the 2 witnesses. Is Moses one of the 2 witnesses?
1. First, some arguments in support of that theory
*Deut.18:15-19 shows that a prophet like unto Moses will be raised up. God says, "I will raise up unto you a prophet like Moses."
*Exo.7:19,20 shows that Moses turned water to blood even as the 2 witnesses do in Rev.11:6.
*Matt.17:3 shows that Moses appeared with Elijah on the Mt. of Transfiguration and therefore, as the argument runs, he is one of the witnesses of the glory of God. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the Mt. (2 Peter 1:16-18).
*Deut.34:5,6 along with Jude 9 show that Moses' body is permanently preserved to be raised up as one of the 2 witnesses. It says in Deut.34 that Moses died and no one knows where his burial place is. And Jude 9 says that Michael the archangel had a dispute with Satan over the body of Moses. So apparently Moses was resurrected and that was contested by Satan. So that's the argument in favor of Moses being one of the 2 witnesses.
2. A refutation of Moses being one of these 2 witnesses
*First of all, since Moses appeared on the Mt. of Transfiguration in the vision, he was therefore already resurrected. This shows that he was resurrected already, and he cannot return.
*Secondly, Satan wouldn't have contested with Michael over his body, unless God was raising him, and so he has already been raised. Read Matt.27:53 possibly Moses was one of these, we're not sure. That's the overwhelming probability of putting those scriptures together. He's already been raised. There would be no contest over his body if it was going to stay in the grave until later.
*Another refutation is concerning the scripture where God said, "I will raise up to you a prophet like unto Moses. The answer to that is that Christ is the prophet like unto Moses. Moses is not like unto Moses, Moses is Moses. If Moses is coming back, then you can't apply that scripture to it because it says, "I will raise up a prophet like unto Moses." (Read Acts 3:22,23). Peter is speaking about Jesus.
*Next, the fact that Moses is a special man before God is only because he yielded to God and believed Him, not because he was some super-spiritual entity from heaven that no one else could ever be like.
*God would have raise up somebody else besides Moses to deliver Egypt and change water to blood, if Moses hadn't been willing to answer God's call. He would have found another Moses. God changed the waters into blood, not Moses. And so God can change the waters into blood again through somebody else. It doesn't have to be Moses. Moses was only a vessel for the power of God.
B. Enoch as one of the 2 witnesses: Arguments pro and con
1. A few arguments in support of that theory
*Genesis 5:24 (Read).
*Hebrews 11:5 tells that God took Enoch. Therefore, the conclusion is that Enoch did not die yet. If God took him, then he did not die yet. You see already there's an assumption underlying right there and that is that people have to die. The way they back up that assumption is because Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. They also say that since 1 Corinthians 15:53 says that this corruptible must put on incorruption, therefore, they turn it the other way around. You see a fault of logic here. This corruptible must put on incorruption and so the conclusion that they come to is you must corrupt before putting on incorruption. If this corruptible must put on incorruption, then it's necessary to die to put on incorruption.
*And 1 Timothy 6:16 says that Jesus is the only one who has immortality. At least right now. It says in there (Read). And so they say, if he alone has immortality, then Enoch can't have immortality. So it would be plausible that Enoch would come back to earth and be one of the 2 witnesses and give his life.
*Another proof is that Enoch prophesied of the Second Coming and the Wrath of God, and it mentions that in Jude 14,15. It tells us something about Enoch that it doesn't even say in the O.T. So Enoch prophesied of this time of the Wrath of God and the Second Coming. And, therefore since he has not received immortality, he must return before the Second Coming to be one of these 2 witnesses. I don't really see the connection there. In other words, since he is prophesying of this very time, I guess the thought is that it would be logical that he would come back during that time.
*Another proof is that Revelation 11:4 says these 2 witnesses are the 2 olive trees and the 2 candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And "standing" is in the perfect tense and therefore this is Enoch because he is already in heaven-- because it says that they stood before the God of the whole earth. In the perfect tense, Enoch is already in heaven and they say this corresponds to him already standing before God.
2. Now the refutation of Enoch as one of the 2 witnesses
*First of all, there is an exception to everyone dying-- Jesus. You have to qualify it as to scripture. If there are other scriptures that say that there are people who don't die, then you have to qualify Hebrews 9:27 when it says it is given unto every man once to die, and after this the judgment.
*But in 1 Corinthians 15, it says we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51 makes it clear that not all die and some are given the position of receiving immortality without dying. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; and that being changed involves putting on incorruption. It involves becoming immortal.
*And not everyone has to die to move into that position. If God chooses to make some exceptions, even to His own rule, He has that right. He's giving a general maxim. Heb.9:27-- it is given unto men once to die. But, if God chooses because people have come to a certain position, and because Jesus has paid a certain price for them to exempt them from the penalty of death, He's within His bounds to do that. 1 Thess.4:17 says (Read) we shall be caught up when we're still alive. We shall be caught up and so ever be with the Lord. And Enoch was foreshadowing, you might say, of us. And also Rev.12:5 says, (Read). So the manchild is caught up. He doesn't die; he is caught up alive unto the throne of God. So Heb.9:27 is a general maxim, and it speaks mainly of the judgment on the unconverted. But there's deliverance from judgment for those who are in Christ.
*The following verse in Hebrews-- 9:28 (Read). So there are going to be those looking for Him. That is, those that are living, and He's going to appear to them unto salvation.
*Now concerning 1 Tim.6:15,16 which says the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone hath immortality. This says in one sense that Jesus alone has earned immortality. He alone stands in that position of having it in and of Himself. But, if He awards that to others as well, then it's no contradiction. Jesus has immortality in and of Himself and no other does. And that scripture is saying, first of all, as God, He's eternal and so He alone hath immortality. He's the source of all life. He always was and always will be. Secondly, there's a sense in which Jesus as man is the one who has immortality. For instance, John 5:26-27 says (Read) so Jesus has life within himself as man, because he lived perfectly as the son of man. The wages of sin is death, but he never sinned and so God has given him to have life within himself. He justly possesses life, and he becomes the source of our eternal life. So he alone has immortality. So you can't take that to prove that everyone must die before they enter into that heavenly realm, when there are other scriptures that show there are those who do not taste of death.
*Concerning the scripture in Jude, God gave Enoch the vision of the Second Coming but in no way does that mean or imply that he will be on earth to see it, for he fulfilled his duty already just by prophesying of it. And furthermore, even if he was one of the 2 witnesses, he wouldn't be on earth at the time of the Second Coming, because the 2 witnesses are martyred at least 3 ½ years before the Second Coming even takes place. So there's no need to have Enoch on earth saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh" as though he was on earth saying, "I'm going to be looking up into the sky saying, 'Behold, the Lord cometh.'" He's prophesying, he's not saying he's going to be existing at that period of time here on earth.
*Another point is that if Revelation 11:4 concerning the 2 olive trees and the 2 candlesticks that stand before the God of the earth. If that verse is speaking of Enoch already standing in God's presence, then Rev.11 is not prophetic. This is a book of prophecy; Blessed are they which keep the words of this prophecy (1:3). And if (11:4) is referring to Enoch already being in heaven, then this is not a prophetic chapter. This chapter is speaking of a position of martyrs; the position that they have before God during the Tribulation. It's not necessarily speaking of some time before. The Hebrew uses the perfect tense for prophecy many times, and this is a parallel case here.
*God knew in advance there were going to be 2 witnesses. That there was going to be this company of people, and therefore, He can use the perfect tense showing completed action if He wants to. In God's eyes, it's already completed because He knows the end from the beginning. And also these 2 stand before God as the 2 witnesses; it's talking about the 2 witnesses who stand before the God of this earth. They stand before God as the 2 witnesses; they don't become the 2 witnesses until the Tribulation period. They were saved already before the Tribulation, but they were not in this position of being the 2 witnesses. It's something that applies totally to that period of time.
C. Elijah as one of the 2 witnesses
1. Arguments for this position
*Malachi 3 and 4 show Elijah will return before the Day of the Lord. Scriptures: Mal.3:1-3 (Read). So it shows God sending His messenger before Him. Mal.4:4-5 (Read). So before the coming of the Day of the Lord, it says God will send Elijah the prophet.
*1 Kings 17:1 (Read); James 5:17 (Read). Elijah commanded it not to rain for a period of 3 years and 6 months-- the same period of time the 2 witnesses have their ministry.
*2 Kings 2:9-11 (Read). It says that Elijah did not die but went directly into heaven. We'll see how they use that in a minute. Elisha was calling Elijah, the horsemen, and the chariot thereof (v.12). He was calling Elijah the safety of the nation. Your our defense, your our army, and your being taken from us. So that's why he prayed, "Let me have a double portion of your spirit. I want God's people to have the truth". So Elijah went up by a whirl wind into heaven. And so he never died. And again they bring in the same scriptures we saw before.
*Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed unto men once to die. So if Elijah never died, he still has that to face. And again 1 Cor.15:53 which says that this corruptible must put on incorruption. And 1 Tim.6:16 which says that Jesus alone has immortality. That the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone has immortality. So we have the same thing here, he must come back to earth and go through physical death before he can truly be immortal. Just a huge assumption that's underlying this theory.
*Another proof is that in Matthew 17:3 Elijah appeared on the Mt. of Transfiguration and therefore he's one of the witnesses of the glory of God along with Moses. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, and so these are the 2 witnesses. And again Rev.11:4 says "standing" in the perfect tense and therefore this points to Elijah who is already standing in the presence of God in heaven.
2. Refutation of Elijah as one of the 2 witnesses
*First of all, Malachi's prophecy about how God would send His messenger before His face and how Elijah the prophet would come before the great and terrible Day of the Lord was fulfilled first in John the Baptist and then in Jesus, and it is also fulfilled in the end of time (the manchild), we'll look at that in a little bit. It was fulfilled first in John the Baptist, (Luke 1:17 Read) This is a prophecy about John the Baptist. So this Elijah was first fulfilled in John. He will come in the spirit and power of Elijah. He shall come with the ministry of Elijah-- the heart of Elijah.
1. But when they came to John, a delegation from the Scribes and Pharisees, in Jerusalem and said, "Are you Elijah?" He said, "No, I'm not." So it wasn't Elijah in person. It was Elijah as to his ministry and to his function of reconciling Israel to God and reconciling the people to the truths of God's word. The truths that their fathers had walked in.
2. So John is coming in the spirit and power of Elijah and announcing the coming of the Lord. (Isa.40:1-6) speaking of the first coming of Christ.
3. And John also fulfilled the ministry of Elijah in another way. Elijah means YAHWEH is Elohim. YAHWEH is God. And that was Elijah's ministry, to show Israel that YAHWEH was God, not Baal, or Ashteroth. And he proved that in grand fashion on the Mt. of Carmel, (1 Kings 18). And God proved that He was the God. And the people bowed down and said, "He is the God. He is Elohim." So Elijah proved what His name said, namely YAHWEH is Elohim. And so John also came showing who God is-- YAHWEH is Elohim. YAHWEH the Savior is Elohim. Jesus-- this is our God. John was also revealing who their God was. Elijah and John both announced the coming of the stone of stumbling. YAHWEH is Elohim-- Jesus-- YAHWEH the saviour. And Elijah's people, Israel, were being required to make a new decision of who is God. Is this God or is it not? They were being required to make a decision. And John the Baptist came to say, "This is HE." This is HE of whom the prophets spoke.
4. And in Matthew 17:10-13 (Read). They had just come down off the Mt. of Transfiguration, and they saw Elijah in a place of glory. And they say if he is already in a place of glory, why do the prophets say that he has to first come? Is he going to come back to earth? And Jesus said, "Elijah truly shall come first and restore all things. But I say unto you that Elijah is come already. And they knew him not but have done unto him whatsoever they desired. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist".
5. But he wasn't only speaking to them of John the Baptist because here in verse 11 of Matt.17 Jesus answered and said unto them, "Elijah shall truly first come." The tense there is present. "Elijah is coming and will restore all things." And so John the Baptist already had his ministry and yet Jesus said Elijah is coming. John the Baptist pointed the way to Jesus and Jesus is the true Elijah, the true YAHWEH, to whom Elijah and John the Baptist only pointed. Jesus is the true Elijah. As I mentioned, John denied that he was Elijah in the flesh, in John 1:21-29, because he knew that this Jesus that he preached about was YAHWEH, was Elohim, was the true Elijah come in the flesh. And John said that "he must increase, but I must decrease". That is, the Spirit of Elijah must lift off of me because now the true Elijah has come and now my ministry is fulfilled. I just pointed the way to Him. Now I must decrease and He must be shown forth to be who He is. (John 3:30).
*Now another scripture about Elijah is in Matthew 11:7-14 (Read) with Malachi 3:1 (Read). Now when Jesus said, "This is Elijah, which was for to come." If you look back in the context, you find that he was talking not only about John the Baptist, but also about he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Jesus was speaking in a veiled way concerning Himself. And John the Baptist pointed the way to Him, the true Elijah. John as a prophet fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 3:1, but Jesus is greater than John. And John agreed with that. John said in Mark 1:7, "He that cometh after me is greater than I." Jesus also said that He was greater. And He made Himself least, as the sin bearer, which John could not do. And Jesus is the only one who was Elohim and Jehovah (YAHWEH). Isaiah 40:3 calls Jesus (prophetically) both God (Elohim) and LORD (Jehovah--YAHWEH).
*And so Jesus is the greater Elijah. And He's the greater one who brought the decision to the nation, as Elijah had brought. And in far greater proportions than Elijah or John, who were just forerunners of Jesus. Jesus brought the nation to the point of deciding who is YAHWEH. And they stumbled over Him. He was YAHWEH, and they missed it. They rejected Him.
*Jesus fulfilled Malachi 4:4 in that the people returned to the faith of Abraham through Him. It says that he shall come and he shall turn the hearts of the children back to the fathers. So the people returned, those who believed, to the way of faith Abraham had walked in. Jesus was the one who turned them back to the true way. They returned to YAHWEH from worshipping false gods in their hearts--false gods of materialism and legalism.
*And Jesus says in Matt.11:14, "This is Elijah, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." He spoke concerning Himself. Now you might say, Well why does it say that Elijah shall come before the great and terrible Day of the Lord? Does that mean 2,000 years before? And I think that the answer is the main fulfillment is Jesus Christ. But Jesus is going to come and show Himself forth in another way before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
1. There's another fulfillment of these prophecies of Elijah, because those things that apply to Christ also apply to those that are in Christ. And if we walk in his footsteps, we will perform the same ministry that he performed. As Jesus said, "Greater things than these shall ye do because I go to my Father." And so those in Christ (the manchild company); God is going to raise up before the Rapture. He's going to raise them up as an Elijah company. And they shall proclaim the truth-- YAHWEH is Elohim, don't worship Balaam- plural- lord's. YAHWEH is one and He's Jesus. He's our Elohim, He's our plural of majesty. He's everything we need. It's Jesus. There will come an Elijah turning the hearts of the children back to the fathers, back beyond the church fathers to the real fathers-- to the truths of God's word and to walk in the way of those who knew these truths, unhindered by the traditions of man.
2. So Elijah comes before the great and terrible Day of the Lord and he turns the hearts of the people back to the truth of God. Now another major point is again, we don't need Elijah to come back in order for the truth of YAHWEH is Elohim to be spoken forth.
3. God wants a whole nation of people to bring forth this truth. He's not satisfied to have just one man. He wants to raise up 1,000's of Elijahs. And in the last days that's what He's going to do because this gospel (the full gospel-- all the truths of God) must be preached in all nations.
*And we don't need Elijah to come back in order to have a drought on the earth for 3 ½ years. If God could speak through Elijah and cause a drought to come, then He could speak through anyone and cause a drought to come. There was nothing in Elijah in and of himself; he was just a man of like passions as we are.There's going to be a 3 ½ year reign of the Antichrist. And the judgment of God against that system through famine is already determined in the book of Revelation chapter 6. God doesn't need Elijah to bring that to pass. And that 3 ½ year famine, which I mentioned, will take place without necessarily being called down from heaven. It could be just because of the 2 witnesses that God brings this famine. And so they're spoken of as bringing it.
*Now since Elijah appeared on the Mt. of Transfiguration in Matt.17:3, he was therefore already in his immortal body and so, therefore, he cannot return and take on a mortal body, be changed back into a mortal and die. That's contrary to the whole plan of God and the whole tenor of scripture. Elijah was caught up bodily; he's not like other righteous ones at this point-- disembodied souls and spirits waiting for the resurrection. He's already in his immortal body as is Enoch. He doesn't have to come back and die. This immortal has already put on immortality for him.
*And further, there is an exception to everyone having to die, as I mentioned before. The right interpretation of Heb.9:27 is a general maxim-- it is given unto men once to die and after this judgment. And the main application of it is to unsaved men. But the next verse says that those who look for Him, He shall appear to them unto salvation, and 1 Cor.15:51 which says we shall not all sleep in death, so we don't all die. We shall all be changed. Couple that with 1 Thess.4:17 which shows that the dead in Christ and those living at the time of the Rapture will be caught up. This shows that there are those that are accepted from this penalty of death.
*And the last point is that in Rev.11:4, they say Elijah is spoken of standing already in God's presence. And again, as I said with Enoch, if this is speaking of past time, Elijah already having been in heaven, then Revelation 11 is not prophetic. But this is a prophetic book. This is speaking of a position that the martyrs have before God during the Great Tribulation, not any time before that. They're not the 2 witnesses before the Tribulation. They become the 2 witnesses as they repent and get right with God to be in the shape to be His two witnesses. And that happens only in the Great Tribulation. Before that time, they were lukewarm and deceived to an extent, and that's why they missed the great out-translation.
1. At the Rapture, 2 shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. One's taken and he doesn't die. There are those that escape death.
2. Acts 3:21-26 says that we'll restore all things. All the seed of Abraham will restore all things. This is showing that it couldn't be just one person.
3. Matt. 17:11 (Read). I mentioned that the literal Greek would be "is coming". Elijah is coming and will restore all things. Elijah is coming and yet he's speaking of John the Baptist in the past tense. It applies mainly to Jesus Himself. Mark 9:12-13 is the parallel passage that most overlook. (Read). Elijah came or has come and is restoring all things. So it applies partly to John, but mainly to Jesus.