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The Two Witnesses

       

PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 114

April 4, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 1


In my presentation of prophecy lectures in 20 seminaries and some 700 churches since 1978, I have frequently had the question put to me – who are the two witnesses? This is one question in which you will find a wide diversity of opinion in the answers received. But, for whatever it is worth, I will present my opinion in this series. We know that they are to prophesy primarily during the last 1260 days of the tribulation period. I will begin the exposition with this verse, but it will be a while before I return to it and the rest of Chapter 11 in Revelation.

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.

John the Baptist was a unique biblical personality. He was a transitional prophet between the Old and the New Testaments. He came speaking with the style and spirit of the great Old Testament prophet Elijah (Elias). Luke, in referring to John going before Jesus to prepare His way, said of John in Luke 1:17 – “And he shall go before him, in the spirit and power of Elias.” And yet, this man, who certainly fits the characteristics of Old Testament prophets much more so than those of the early church age, is the one who baptized the 12 disciples called out by Jesus to be the first New Testament church. The Book of Acts attests to their having all been baptized by John.

Acts 1:21,22 – Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, [22] Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

So God sent John as an instrument to prepare the men that Jesus called out for the first New Testament church, and to baptize its head, Jesus Christ.

John 1:6-8,33,34 – There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [7] The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. [8] He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. [33] And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. [34] And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

John was not Elijah reincarnated, but he did preach in the spirit of Elijah, who preached by the Spirit of God, and he did preach the same sort of message preached by Elijah, a message of repentance. He was asked in John 1:21 by priests and Levites if he was Elijah – “Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not?” And yet Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 17:11 that John was Elijah. John was the Elijah of believers. He was not the Elijah of unbelieving priests and Levites.

Matthew 17:11-13 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. [12] But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. [13] Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

The Pharisees did not know him as the forerunner of the Messiah because they were spiritually desolate, having no spiritual ears to hear. The disciples did have spiritual ears, and they knew him as the Elijah who was to come.

Matthew 11:13-15 – For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. [14] And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. [15] He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

John is the spiritual Elijah for all believers of the New Testament. Jesus is their promised Messiah. Israel is still waiting for its Messiah and its Elijah.

Malachi 4:5 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

I warned you, it will be awhile before I get back to the two witnesses, but I must lay the groundwork to identify who and what they represent – More in Part 2.


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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 115

April 11, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 2

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.

The following things were established in Part 1: (1) John the Baptist was a transitional prophet between the Old and New Testaments, (2) He is connected with, but not a part of, the New Testament church, in that he baptized its head, and the first 12 members the head called out to begin it, (3) He was sent by God for this purpose, (4) He was not Elijah reincarnated, but he spoke in the spirit of Elijah, who proclaimed by God’s Spirit the message of repentance, as did John, (5) He is the Elijah of all who believe his message of the Messiah, as did 11 of the first 12 members of the first church, (6) He is not the Elijah of those who failed to believe John’s message concerning the Messiah, a category into which the Pharisees placed themselves, and (7) Israel is still waiting for its Messiah, and the Elijah of Malachi 4:5.

Malachi 4:5 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

It is interesting that Malachi should list Moses in verse 4.

Malachi 4:4 – Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

Moses immediately pops into the Israeli mind whenever the “Law” is mentioned. Elijah’s wine glass is present at every Passover. Elijah immediately enters their minds when the word “Prophet” is heard. The two primary ways that God used to transmit his word into the minds of Israel were: (1) The Law – the first Five books of the Old Testament written by Moses, and (2) The Words God spoke through the prophets. I do not think it by chance these two great men represented the Law and the Prophets that carried the testimony of God. And I am convinced this is one of the reasons they appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with the Messiah of both Jew and Gentile.

Matthew 17:1-3 – And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, [2] And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. [3] And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

I do not believe the two witnesses are Elijah and Moses reincarnated, but I do believe they preach in the spirit of Moses and Elijah. Just as John witnessed in the spirit of Elijah, who witnessed by the Spirit of God, so will both of the two witnesses proclaim in the spirits of Moses and Elijah. And their message will also be one of repentance to Israel. Israel is currently more distant from God than at any time in its history

While I do believe the two witnesses are flesh and blood men, as were Elijah and Moses, I am persuaded they do represent two institutions given the responsibility to give God’s witness to the world, and Lord willing, I will deal with this in Part 3.

   

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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 116

April 18, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 3

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.

In Part 2, I listed seven things we had established in Part 1. In Part 2 we established: (1) The link between the local church with Elijah through John the Baptist, (2) The two witnesses as preaching a message of repentance in the spirit of Moses and Elijah, as they preached by the same Spirit of God, and (3) That they represent the two institutions given the responsibility of presenting God’s word to the world in the past and in the present, the local church and the assembly of Israel.

Although I am not one who is fond of using “types,” because it is very easy to apply them to things they may not represent, I suspect that Elijah, who was transported directly into heaven, without ever having his body placed in a grave, is a “type” of the living who are transformed suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, at what is called the first resurrection. While Moses, whom God buried, but who later appeared in a glorified body on the Mount of Transfiguration, may represent the physically dead in Christ who come out of their graves to be glorified at the first resurrection. Some identify Enoch as being one of the two witnesses, but I have found more connections for a combination of Moses and Elijah, than any other combination of the three men.

I established the connection of Elijah through John the Baptist with the local church, and Moses’ connection via the Law with the assembly of Israel. And this is one of the reasons I believe the two witnesses represent the local church and the assembly of Israel, who were the two bodies God chose to be the witnesses of Messiah in their times of empowerment by His Spirit.

Revelation 11:4 – These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

The two witnesses are flesh and blood men representing the two olive trees, through which God’s Spirit operated to carry His witness to the world. His first natural olive tree was Israel, and the wild olive tree, that came out of the natural tree by a graft, is a remnant of the covenant with Abraham, the first church organized by Jesus in his earthly ministry.

Romans 11:5,17,23-25 – Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. [17] And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; [23] And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. [24] For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? [25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

The two witnesses will testify during the last 1260 days of the tribulation period, then the fullness of the Gentiles will come in at the close of the battle of Armageddon, at the Second Advent. At that time Israel will be grafted back into the natural olive tree.

I also believe that the two witnesses of Revelation and Zechariah are the same personages.

Zechariah 4:11-14 – Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? [12] And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? [13] And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. [14] Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

 

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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 117

April 25, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 4

In Parts 1 through 3, I attempted to make a case that the two witnesses of Revelation and Zechariah were actually two flesh and blood men who preached in the spirit of Moses and Elijah, and also that they represented God’s Old Testament witness, the Assembly of Israel, and His New Testament witness, the local churches of Christ. I finished Part 4 by saying I would elaborate on the figures listed in the two scriptures that follow.

Revelation 11:3,4 – And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. [4] These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Zechariah 4:2,3,11-14 – And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: [3] And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. [11] Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? [12] And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? [13] And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. [14] Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

Since the two witnesses represent the two olive trees, the church and Israel, as their representatives they appear in Revelation as two lamps on a Menorah, fed by the oil from the bowl on top of it. The candlestick is a Menorah with seven pipes that feed seven interconnected oil lamps with light producing fuel. The Menorah itself, with its seven lamps, the number meaning “completeness” or “fullness,” represents the fullness of the Godhead. The oil that gives the light to the world represents the Holy Spirit that presents the Word to enlighten the world in truth. The two olive trees are Israel, the natural olive tree, and the Church, the engrafted wild olive tree, and the two witnesses represent them both. The two olive branches, through which the oil of the Spirit passes from the two Menorah bulb pipes to empty out into the world, are the two witnesses, as attested by verse 14.

Zechariah 4:14 – Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

The Menorah of Zechariah 4:2 = The Lord of the whole earth = The God of the earth in Revelation 11:4 = The Fullness of the Godhead that indwells Christ

The oil represents the light of truth by the Spirit through the Word from the Godhead.

The Two Olive Trees = The Old Testament Assembly of Israel and the New Testament local called out Assemblies of Christ, called churches, which are represented by the two witnesses.

The Two witnesses = The two candlesticks or two lamps (two individual lamp bulbs) = The two anointed ones = The two olive branches out of the olive trees.

Lord willing, in Part 5, I will begin to answer a question as to whether there will be an Elijah who preaches in the same spirit of Elijah as John, that comes to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Advent.

   


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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 118

May 2, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 5

In Parts 1 through 4, I presented a case to show that: (1) The two witnesses of Revelation 11:3 are two flesh and blood men who preach in the Spirit by which Moses and Elijah proclaimed God’s word, (2) They represent the Assembly of Israel, who dispensed the Word by the Spirit in the Old Testament Law of Moses, and the local called out Assemblies of Christ known as churches, who dispense the Word by the Spirit in the New Testament Law of Liberty in Jesus, and (3) John was, and is, the spiritual Elijah for all who believe his message that Jesus was, and is, the Messiah.

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.

There is no question that John the Baptist was the one sent as God’s messenger to prepare the way before the messenger of the covenant, who was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Malachi 3:1 – Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

Nor is there any doubt that Malachi 4:5,6 clearly paints John the Baptist with its prediction of a coming Elijah, because Malachi is quoted as such by the Father of John in Luke 1:16,17.

Malachi 4:5,6 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: [6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Luke 1:16,17 – And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Please note that Luke interprets “and the heart of the children to their fathers” to mean “and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.” Since Luke’s interpretation is inspired, I am persuaded that Malachi is referring to the need of the disobedient children to turn to the faith their ancestors exhibited in the promise of a seed, a Messiah, who would one day deliver them. John the Baptist, who came preaching in the spirit of Elijah, proclaimed the message that their forefather Abraham believed.

Genesis 22:18 – And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Galatians 3:6-9 – Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. [7] Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. [8] And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. [9] So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Matthew 3:1,2 – In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Both John, the messenger of the Lord, who was sent to prepare the way before the messenger of the covenant, and Jesus, who came to confirm the covenant, gave the same message to Israel. It was a message that the seed of Abraham had arrived to bring in the kingdom.

Mark 1:14,15 – Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, [15] And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

But Israel rejected the gospel message of both John and Jesus. They have paid a terrible price since they rejected their Messiah and His message.

But what about the “curse” of Malachi 4:6, and will the Lord send another Elijah to announce the soon coming of the Second Advent? Lord willing, I will address these issues in Part 6.

 

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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 119

May 9, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 6

In Parts 1 through 5, I presented a case to show that: (1) The two witnesses of Revelation 11:3 are two flesh and blood men who preach in the Spirit by which Moses and Elijah proclaimed God’s word, (2) They represent the Assembly of Israel, who dispensed the Old Testament Word and its Law by the Spirit, and the local called out Assemblies of Christ known as churches, who dispense the Word by the Spirit in the New Testament Law of Liberty in Jesus, (3) John the Baptist was, and is, the spiritual Elijah for all who believe his message that Jesus was, and is, the Messiah, and (4) Israel rejected the gospel message of both John and Jesus, for which they have paid a terrible price. The price that they have paid has been under a curse associated with them as the fig tree of God. Luke quotes Malachi 4:5,6 in Luke 1:16,17, and gives us an inspired interpretation of the “heart of the children to the fathers,” in order that we will not be led to understand it as our immediate families. Malachi is referring to the need for the children of Israel to turn back to the faith of their forefathers, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, David, etc.

Malachi 4:5,6 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: [6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and THE HEART OF THE CHILDREN TO THE FATHERS, lest I come and SMITE the earth (erets – land) with a CURSE.

Luke 1:16,17 – And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and THE DISOBEDIENT TO THE WISDOM OF THE JUST to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Luke interprets “the heart of the children to the fathers” to mean a turning of repenting hearts of “the disobedient to the wisdom of the just” that justified their forefathers. John came to turn the disobedient children of Israel in his lifetime to repent of their ways and turn back to the faith of their fathers in Messiah. It was a cry to be made “just” by repentance, and thereafter live by faith. It is this sort of faith that is to be passed down from generation to generation.

Romans 1:17 – For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The JUST shall live by faith.

The souls of the generation of John’s day had lifted up their own works to justify themselves, and would not live by faith in God’s promise of a seed, for the righteousness they possessed was self-righteousness.

Habakkuk 2:4 – Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the JUST shall live by his faith.

Their faith was not in the promised seed of Genesis 3:15, which was reaffirmed through Abraham in 22:18.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 22:18 – And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Galatians 3:16,6,7,26 – Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [6] Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. [7] Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. [26] For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

John came preaching repentance, because the seed had come, and the kingdom was at hand.

Matthew 3:1,2 – In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Seed came preaching repentance in reaction to the gospel, because the kingdom was at hand.

Matthew 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The nation of Israel rejected the message of the Seed and of John, and God smote the land of Israel with the curse of Malachi 4:6.

Lord willing, I will cover the curse in Part 7.

   

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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 120

May 16, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 7

It has been established in Parts 1 through 6 that John came and preached in the spirit of Elijah, and was the Elijah for any who believed his message. It was proven that John was the messenger sent to announce the Seed who was the messenger of the covenant, Jesus Christ. It was shown that John and Jesus both preached for Israel to repent, because the kingdom was at hand. But Israel as a nation rejected the message of John and of Jesus. It was clearly stated that if they did not heed their message, the land of Israel would be smitten by a curse. They did not heed it, and the Lord smote the land with a curse. It was a warning that Jesus taught in a parable picturing Israel as a fig tree.

Malachi 4:5,6 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: [6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a CURSE.

The word used for “earth” is “erets,” which in most cases is translated as “land.” Israel would not repent and turn to the Messiah, so the land was cursed and they were plucked up out of it.

Luke 13:5-9 – I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. [6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

The certain man is the Father, the vineyard is the world into which Israel was supposed to spread the promise of a Messianic Seed through Abraham, the fig tree is Israel, and the dresser of the vineyard is the Messiah. Jesus was “journeying toward Jerusalem” at the time he gave this parable of the fig tree. He had labored for three years to see fruit produced by the fig tree in repentance and the receiving him as the Messiah, but had found none. He was soon to be cut off in the extra year, the fourth year, he had requested. And because of the rejection the fig tree Israel dried up under a curse, and was cut off from the land.

Mark 11:12-14 – And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: [13] And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. [14] And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

Mark 11:19-21 – And when even was come, he went out of the city. [20] And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. [21] And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou CURSEDST is withered away.

As the Son of God, he knew there would be no figs on the tree. He used it for an example of what was going to be done to Israel because of their rejection of his message. A day passed between the time the fig tree was cursed, and the time it withered away. It was some 40 years from the time of his rejection until Israel withered away, and was carried from the land. Their temple became spiritually desolate when they rejected him, and physically desolate when Titus destroyed it and carried Israel into captivity.

Matthew 23:37-39 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. [39] For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Luke 21:24 – And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

The leaves of Israel were still green when they crucified him, but as he spoke to the women of Jerusalem, who were weeping as they followed him to cross, he warned them that the day was coming for their children when Israel would dry up, and be carried away.

Luke 23:28-31 – But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [29] For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. [30] Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. [31] For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Israel is showing leaves again, but still has no fruit.

   
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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 121

May 24, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 8

In Parts 1 through 7 an attempt to build a case has been made to show that: (1) The Two Witnesses represent the prophet Elijah and the law giver Moses, (2) They are figuratively representative of the O.T. Assembly of Israel and the local N.T. Assemblies (Churches) of this present age, (3) They are real flesh and blood men, (4) The N.T. Churches are linked to Elijah through John the Baptist, who preached in the spirit of Elijah, and the Assembly of Israel is linked to Moses, who gave them the Law, the first five books of the Old Testament, and (5) John was the Elijah only to those who believed his message that the Messiah had arrived, and the kingdom was at hand. A case has been made to show that one of the two witnesses will preach in the spirit of Elijah, with the same message of repentance that John preached to Israel, a message of repentance. Sackcloth, the garment of repentance, will be the dress of both witnesses.

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.

I believe Elijah will go into the Negev wilderness with the one-third of Israel that survives the future attack from the north, and that most of them will eventually believe his testimony, and he will become their Elijah.

Malachi 4:5 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

When the religious leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John if he was Elijah, he answered the question directly, saying, “I am not?” He did not lie, for they did not believe his message concerning the Messiah. He was the Elijah only to those who received his message by believing it. Jesus make this spiritual distinction clear in Luke 11:13-15. Only men and women who received John’s message possessed spiritual ears.

Matthew 11:13-15 – For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. [14] And IF ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. [15] He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Since all Israel is still in unbelief, a second Elijah will be sent to them during the last 1260 days before the final battle of Armageddon.

Romans 11:32 – For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

II Corinthians 3:15-17 – But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. [16] Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. [17] Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Immediately after the transformation, where Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, in answer to a query based on what the unbelieving scribes had stated concerning the coming of Elijah, indicated that their Elijah would eventually come and “restore all things.” John did not “restore all things” during his ministry, so Jesus must be referring to the Messiah of unbelieving Israel, who is yet to come.

Matthew 17:10,11 – And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? [11] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

The restoring, or restitution, of all things will not come to pass until the Second Advent of Jesus, which is still in our future, and will be the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord among Israel. At the present time the Messiah of Israel has been received into heaven until the times of restitution of all things occurs, which will being in the times of refreshing. Most of Israel will turn to the Lord in the Negev wilderness, and their sins will be blotted out. I believe the message to be preached by the two witnesses is found in Acts 3:17-21.

Acts 3:17-21 – And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. [19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

   
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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 122

June 1, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 9

The abilities of the two witnesses, to carry out the work they have been given the authority to accomplish by the testimony of God, is outlined in Revelation 11:5,6. Please bear in mind that these abilities, according to the Greek text, does not necessarily infer that they will use them. It simply states they have the abilities and authority to use them, if they so desire. The President of the U.S. has the authority and ability to unleash atomic weapons, but he may never choose to do so. It is the fact that he has both the authority, and the ability, to do so, which has kept our enemies from launching them against us.

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.

Kenneth Wuest’s translation of this verse gives the best understanding of it I have yet encountered.

Revelation 11:5 – And if, as is the case, anyone desires to injure them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and indeed consumes their enemies. And if, as is the case, anyone shall desire to injure them, it is a necessity that in this manner, in the nature of the case, for him to be killed.

The “fire” coming out of their mouth, used as a figure in the Old Testament as “fire” coming out from the lips of a prophet, does not mean literal fire will flow from their lips like a circus flamethrower. I believe this “fire” used in Revelation 12:5 is of the same character as the “fire” from the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet. It refers to the word of God from their mouths foretelling what terrible fire is to come down upon the enemies of Israel.

Jeremiah 5:14 – Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Jeremiah 23:28,29 – The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. [29] Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

I rather suspect the two witnesses, as prophets located in the Negev with Israel, will be warning their enemies that if they launch weapons of fiery mass destruction again Israel, they will do the same to them. The brimstone and fire that comes down so often from heaven, following the sixth seal, is an unleashing of natural phenomena by God from His creation, and this is the 1260 day period of the testimony of the two witnesses before Armageddon. The two witnesses will, at times, ask God to produce volcanic eruptions in specific areas in response to the actions of Israel’s enemies.

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.

Just as it was absolutely necessary for Jesus and His first disciples to perform miracles to show they were from the God of Israel, so will it be necessary for the two witnesses to do the same to prove they come from the same God. The happenings of verses five and six are limited to 1260 days, according to verse three, so the elimination of rain from the atmosphere will happen in this time period. I suspect the rain will be stopped from Dan to Beersheba, where the armies of Antichrist will be located. However, it may be stopped over the entire earth, or in many selected areas. Also, the plagues are likely to be made up of earthquakes, famine, and pestilence. It appears God will advise the two witnesses before these plagues occur, then they will pass it on as His word to the occupants of the world. The miracles listed in verse six were actually performed by Moses and Elijah during their lifetimes. In the vast majority of miracles performed by Moses and Elijah, God let them know beforehand what was going to be done to their enemies, and they went and told them the word God had given them. Although some of these things may be as often as “they will,” I suspect most of them will be announcements of what God has told them He is about to do.

  
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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 123

June 6, 2002

The Two Witnesses

Part 10

We have come a long way in this series. Now we come to an area of great controversy in interpretation. The great controversy revolves around the answer to the question: Who or what is the beast that ascends out of what is said to be a “bottomless pit.”

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.

The “bottomless pit” is in the heart of the planet earth. Most geometric objects have a bottom. Among objects having a bottom would be the square, the rectangle, the triangle, the prism, the cube, the cylinder, the hexagon, and many others. But the earth is shaped like none of these, it is an oblate spheroid, and has no bottom. If one started digging a bottom would never be found. And, if it were possible dig through it, a person would surface on the opposite side, never having found a bottom. The earth has a center, but is bottomless. The Koine Greek word translated as “bottomless pit” is “abussou,” from which our English word “abyss” is derived. The reason they translated it as “bottomless pit” in the KJV was in harmony with its use in other places in Revelation as a companion to the Koine Greek word “phreatos,” which in the English means “shaft.” One such usage occurs in Revelation 9:1, where the phrase “the bottomless pit” is translated from “phreatos tes abussou.” Phreatos means “shaft,” tes is “of the,” and abussou means “abyss” or “pit.” Sinply stated: “The shaft of the abyss.”

Revelation 9:1 – And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

Please note that the word “earth” appears in this verse. It is translated from “gen,” which means “earth.” I am telling you this because some believe that “the beast” of Revelation 11:7 is the false prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13:11, who comes up out of the “earth.” They say “the earth” in 13:11 is the same as “the abyss” found in 11:7. It does not seem reasonable that John would use “bottomless pit” (abyss), really meaning “the earth, since he had used the words separately when referring to the false prophet of 13:11 and the Antichrist of 11:7.

Revelation 13:11 – And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

The bottomless pit is filled with demonic spirits, fallen angels, with a king over them named “Destroyer” in both Hebrew and Greek. He is over the weapons of Satan’s destruction of the earth and mankind, those weapons being the demonic spirits of the tormenting locusts in Revelation 9:3-11, and the killing spirits of the army of demons in Revelation 9:13-19. He is the Destroyer king of Satan that unleashes the three woes of his destruction upon the earth in the fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpets, which contain the three woes.

Revelation 9:11,12 – And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. [12] One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

After the blowing of the seventh trumpet, the saved of all the ages are found being judged in heaven, while on the earth God’s wrath is about to come upon the demonic hoards that that have been engaged in destroying the earth under the demon king “Destroyer.”

Revelation 11:15 – And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:18 – And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

Please note: “AND SHOULDEST DESTROY THEM WHICH DESTROY THE EARTH.”

It is the wrath of God (“thy wrath”) that destroys the Destroyer’s armies with seven vials of wrath.

 

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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 124

June 13, 2003

The Two Witnesses

Part 11

In Part 10 an attempt was made to prove the beast of Revelation 11:3 comes up the shafts of the abyss (pit) in the interior of the earth, and that he is the antichrist as opposed to the false prophet. In the book of Revelation, at times, the beast is the final evil empire itself. However, at times it refers to its final king, a person, who is antichrist. In Revelation 11:7 it refers to the antichrist as a person.

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.

I am convinced that the antichrist himself represents the king of the seventh head on John’s first beast. And that he will suffer a killing wound by a weapon of war and die physically, after which he will apparently be resurrected from the dead. Whether the resurrection will be phony or genuine, I cannot say, but the world will believe it.

Revelation 13:3,4 – And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. [4] And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

A “deadly” wound is one that leads to a man’s death. He will apparently die stone cold dead, and then return to life. This is what the world has always wanted to see as a mass congregation, a man who actually comes back from the dead. They will worship this man as being from the true God, but in reality they will be worshipping the one who indwells him, the Dragon Satan. They will worship Satan through his son antichrist by the leadership of the spirit of the false prophet, an ungodly false trinity that counterfeits the true trinity. And it is easy to understand why they wonder after him, saying, “who is able to make war with him.” How do you defeat a man who can keep coming back to life?

The premise of him being a resurrected man appears several times in Revelation.

Revelation 13:12,14 – And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. [14] And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

By Chapter 17 the seventh head, on the beast in Chapter 13, which was bleeding, has stopped bleeding, and the 10 horns have surrendered their crowns to it. The color of the beast has changed to scarlet, the color of blood, and this may signify the antichrist as informing the world his blood from the deadly wound was shed for their freedom. And it has long been taught that when Satan counterfeits the works of God, he tries to paint as authentic a duplicate as possible.

Revelation 13:1 – And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Revelation 17:3 – So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 17:8 – The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

The antichrist was (was alive), and is not (he died from a deadly wound), and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit (be resurrected by coming up the shaft from the abyss), and shall go into perdition (the lake of fire burning with brimstone). The antichrist that was (was alive), and is not (he died), and yet is (he came back to life). When does he go into perdition (final destruction by God)?

Revelation 19:20 – And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

The bleeding head on the beast of Chapter 13, and the healed head on the beast in Chapter 17, are the seventh and eighth kings, who are one and the same, and both are the antichrist. The first five horns represent the kings of the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian Empires that came before John, and the sixth horn represents the kings of the Roman Empire, which existed in John’s day. All of these empires had an effect on Israel in varying degrees of persecution. The seventh empire that is now afflicting Israel is an Islamic Empire, and soon it will also have a king. He will be the seventh king, but will die from a deadly wound, which will end his reign as the seventh king. But he will return from the dead to also be the eighth and last of the kings that afflict Israel.

Revelation 17:10,11 – And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. [11] And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.