What about the Two Witnesses?
Our open and informal Bible discussions during the Feast of Ingathering were both interesting and edifying. At one point, a couple of brothers, who were visiting us from Tennessee, asked us the above question. We discussed it to some length and noticed some things in particular, which I thought might be of some interest to others of you who get this newsletter. I think it is particularly important to understand the work of these two men, because the event of that phase of their ministry is so near.
But first let me note that no Bible subject can be fully understood without reference to its prophetic origin in the Old Testament (O. T.). Isaiah made that clear when he said, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20) And well did Solomon say, "That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past." (Eccl. 3:15)
The testimony of these two men of God is prophesied of in Rev. 11:3-12. However, the revelation of "the days of their prophecy" is given "here a little and there a little" in the O. T.
The speaker said, "3And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5And 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. 6These 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.
"7And 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. 8And 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.
"9And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10And 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.
"11And 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. 12And 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."
Assuming that the speaker is Jesus, we know from this passage that at some specific time He will anoint unto himself these two men for His right and left hand. Then, when the fulness of time has come for the fulfillment of this prophecy, Jesus will give them special authority to accomplish that prophetic work. See Matt. 20:20-23.
We know by verse four that they are the two anointed ones in Zech. 4:1-14, the wild olive tree and the natural olive tree of which Paul spoke in Rom. 11. That means that they are, in the days of their testimony, as Peter and Paul were during the administration of James the Lordís brother. One is the Apostle to the Jews, in this case the restored remnant, and the other is the Apostle to the Gentiles. They are the last ministers which God will send with a message of hope, before He pours out His wrath upon the Gentiles. After the days of their prophecy are accomplished the words of Jesus shall be fulfilled, "The night cometh, when no man can work." If we would like to get anything done for God we must get busy now, while it is yet day.
We know from verses five through seven that the miraculous powers which they manifest are prophesied in the ministries of Moses and Aaron, as well as that of Elijah. We also know from verse eight that the actual goal of their work is to lead the Christians out to a place, which God has prepared, away from the reach of "the Beast." We must all go to the place where the marriage of the lamb will take place.
It was Egypt into which God sent two men to get His people out. They took them to the Mount Sinai where God made a marriage covenant with them. It was Sodom into which God sent two men to get His people out. They didnít want to go, but in the case of Sodom, the two men finally took them by the hand and made them go. "Remember Lotís wife."
Satan can no more prevent these two men from finishing their ministry than Herod could have stopped Jesus. Remember that Jesus replied to the message about Herodís anger, Tell that fox, I have two more days to work, and then he can fulfill the part which God has given him to fulfill. When these two witnesses have "finished their testimony," God will allow their martyrdom, and astonish the world with their resurrection. Therefore, "when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, ... and shall kill them."
Who are these two men. They must die, so we know they are not men from the past. If we thought that one of them might be Enoch, Hebrews 11:5 would rule that out, because for Enoch to have to die would nullify the reward of his faith. Moses and Elijah have both already died once, so they have already met their appointment.
The truth is, these two men are somewhere in the world right now working at their ministries for God, and are being prepared for the glory of that special work which will purchase for them a great crown of righteousness.
Paul revealed this in the reference he made to Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron in Rom. 9:17-24. He said, "The scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth."
And of Moses and Aaron he said, "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
As it is written, "The glory of this latter house (Church) shall be greater than of the former." That great glory and great deliverance will come. Even now some righteous men and women are being prepared for that last great manifestation of God in this wonderful age of grace with which God has so blessed the world. God Bless You.