Revelation Bible Study #15 part 2 Two Witnesses twenty-four Elders, and the Temple in Heaven
Revelation Series #15
Part Two Chapter 11
Two Witnesses … 24 Elders Rejoicing … The Temple in Heaven
Last Time we discussed the measuring of the Temple and the coming trampling or attacking of Jerusalem for the final 42 months of the Tribulation
And we discussed these Two Witnesses.
I have shared and am CONVINCED that these are TWO REAL PEOPLE … SENT from Heaven, in physical bodily form
We could spend a lot of time discussing WHO they may or may not be
First and FOREMOST … we MUST admit that NO ONE knows for CERTAIN who they are. Why? Because God didn't tell John to tell us.
There are good reasons to believe that at least one of them might be Elijah. Malachi 4:5,6 says that Before the great and terrible day of the Lord that Elijah will come … Jesus said that John the Baptist was like Elijah that he came in the power of Elijah, but he was NOT Elijah, John himself when asked said he was not. The early church Father's wrote that they thought that there would be a 2nd Elijah who would come before the 2nd Advent of Christ. Elijah made the rain stop for 3 and ½ years, just as it will do in this time. Elijah called down fire to consume the altar when going against the prophets of Baal. So … could it be Elijah? Yes it COULD.
What about the other? Could it be Enoch? Yes it could. Many would say Enoch, for some important reasons. 1) he like Elijah never died, if you remember God just took him he didn't die. Those who argue this point would say that Heb 9:27 says that it is appointed to all men once to die, so both Elijah and Enoch have waited all this time but MUST also die 2) Enoch was a prophet of Judgment according to Jude 14,15 and called men to repentance before the days of the flood … However, there are arguments against Enoch … 1) he was NOT a jew, he was a Gentile and was before the time of Abraham and wouldn't be closely associated with Israel. Also Hebrews says that he was taken so he would not experience or taste death. So, if that was the intent, why would God bring him back to taste it later, if the very purpose was to keep him from it 2) it is obviously NOT appointed for EVERYONE to die since the raptured church will obviously NOT taste death,
The other witness if an Old Testament Hero, could be MOSES. There are good reasons to believe it to be Moses. Moses appeared with Elijah at Jesus' Transfiguration. Moses represented the Law and Elijah the Prophets so they would come together as "witnesses" to Christ in that all of the law and the prophets are fulfilled or bear witness to Christ. Moses turned water into blood, brought plaques on Egypt. So, it COULD be Moses
But the most important thing is that they are REAL Men, Witnessing to the Coming Judgment of Christ
Jewish law required 2 Witnesses in order to prove anyone guilty so they came in fulfillment of God's law.
By the way … I do believe they are in the 1st 3 ½ years of the Tribulation and if so, it didn't rain for that period of time which adds to our understanding of the great Famine and deaths associated with famine in this time
As a review, remember they are referred to as the Two Olive Trees and Two Lampstands. The Olive Trees showed their anointing and the Lampstands shows them as Holders of the Light, the Holy Spirit, the Gospel. But it says they are THE … trees and lampstands. Because the CHURCH IS GONE, they are the only witness left, and they will testify to Jesus Christ and the coming Judgment from Jerusalem, I believe they will be broadcast worldwide via every possible media outlet and many will come to Christ. But most importantly they will be a testimony to Israel from which 144,000 witness will come forth as a testimony to the Gentiles of whom a countless multitude from every people group will come to fiath in Christ. The picture of the olive tree and lampstands comes from Zechariah 4 with the Priest Jeshua and the Prince Zerubabbel who usher God's people back to rebuild Jerusalem. So these two will come, as Christ's representative. He, Christ is OUR prince and priest, but they will come as prince and priest to lead back those who would come and to pronounce judgment on those who would not.
It tells us that they STAND BEFORE THE LORD OF EARTH … interesting things there … 1st notice something … in Joshua 3 God is called the Lord of Earth … when God's people are coming into Canaan to take possession of the land of promise. But in Daniel he is called Lord of Heaven, while they are in exile OUT of the land of promise, then in Zech 4:14 as they RETURN to the land of promise he is again referred to as the Lord of the Whole Earth. Now here, as God prepares to return to take possession of what is his, he is called Lord of Earth. … Seems to be a connection
They STAND BEFORE THE LORD … that is present tense STAND … meaning that AS John received this revelation, they were currently IN God's presence, TODAY, they STAND before the Lord, they have BEEN standing before the Lord for these thousands of years, awaiting the word to God. Awaiting the Rapture of the church, awaiting, God's sending them to the mission to which they have been prepared in his presence, to proclaim Christ, and his Judgment.
Then let's see 3 more things about these witnesses …
I am borrowing this following Outline from J.A. Seiss … I want us to see 3 more things about them
1. Their Times
2. Their Doings
3. Their End
1. Their Times
We talked about this last week but first
A. These are NOT Gospel Times - or the Church Age
Their SPIRIT is different from what we are called to exhibit. They are NOT full of grace, they are full of proclamation of judgment. We are told to turn they other cheek they shoot fire from their mouths and consume even those who THINK or DESIRE to harm them … they are NOT harmless as doves … THAT IS NOT the church. All the early church disciples and Fathers were murdered for their witness but they all went down as Christ did, quietly, gracefully … NOT these two. These two have a different call from God that has been given to the Church, given to God's pastor's today. These remind us much more of the Old Testament than the New Testament
B. These are Evil Times in which they live. They appear in sackcloth because they mourn the times in which they come and the reason for which they come. They are like Jonah coming before Nineveh with no expectation of anything other than God's judgment coming in a matter of days. With the church gone and the restrainer, the Holy Spirit gone, Hell has been unleashed on earth as never before. The incarcerated Demonic Angels have been released was read a couple of week ago in chapter 10, the Antichrist is present and active filled with Satan's power. It is a horrible time
C. They are times of intense supernaturalism and miracles … Everything seems to be out of the normal flow of things and rightfully so as there is MORE supernatural action going on than previously in history. God is at work in judgment, Satan is at work in destruction. These witnesses have been given special supernatural power and Satan is doing his best to match it. Just like Pharaoh's magicians sought to counterfeit all that Moses did, so it will be in this time. As they fight for those last few souls, Satan will fight as well.
I have been amazed that all of Egypt didn't FALL down and worship the God of Abraham after the things that Moses brought to bear in those plaques. Yet the power of the Pharaoh was strong over their will, as was the evil nature bound in their hearts, the great desire to do things their own way. So it will be in this time after all that has happened, ½ the world has died, 7 Seals of Judgment opened, 6 trumpets of judgment sounded, things only increasing in woefulness, and yet, so many, most, will be led by the antichrist and controlled by their own evil desires and they will drag themselves down the path of destruction. Remember James says the blame is ALWAYS on us, we lead OURSELVES down the path of destruction as our own desires / lusts / for more take us down to destruction and judgment.
D. these are of course Judgment times … This is the Day of the Lord. The end of matter is coming, God is setting things straight. Christ has opened the title deed to this universe, he has sent his agent to place feet on land and see to claim what is rightfully his. It belongs to Christ because he MADE it and because he BOUGHT it … and this is a time when things are on the downhill slide, moving faster and faster and heading from the Day of the Lord to the Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord … that is moving from the Tribulation to the Great Tribulation
So those are the Times of the Witnesses
2. Their Doings or Their Work
A. They are Witnesses -
1. they are ones who "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"
2. they explain the truth and attest to the truth
3. Martyrs are called that because they held ON to the truth as a Testimony even to the point of death, the word Martyr comes from the Greek Martyreo which means to give a Witness
4. Jesus is called a Faithful and True Witness
5. They are like Enoch and Noah before the flood, Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel before God's judgment on Israel, like Elijah against Ahab and Jezebel, Like Jonah against Nineveh,
6. They will prophesy, they will interpret and proclaim the scriptures, they will call for obedience and repentance, they will point out only ONE WAY to salvation, and ONE RESULT of failure to follow which is a word we don't like, that is the damnation of those
B. They are CHRIST's Witnesses
1. they aren't just testifying about anything. This voice from heaven speaking to John, is Jesus and he says they are MY witnesses
2. Seiss says They are not Gospel ministers according to the present order; for the Church period is past. They are extraordinary persons for an extraordinary work. They witness for Christ, not as the bleeding and pleading Lamb of God, but as the avenger of his elect, who is about to break his enemies with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
3. They are judgment prophets
C. They have Special Powers to exercise
1. fire of judgment from their mouths
2. we don't have this kind of power today … though some preachers wish they did. But that is not for now
3. I don't have any problem believing this to be literal. These men are sent from standing in God's presence. I've got to tell you that when I stand as close to God's presence as this earth will allow me, I have FIRE when I go into the pulpit. SO, if these MEN have been LITERALLY, PHYSICALLY Standing in God's Presence and GOD sends them OUT HE CERTAINLY can and WILL equip them with the fire that this chapter says they will breathe out.
4. They will be able to bring plaques as they WISH … Seiss says "they breathe law-spirit, and they execute law-penalties"
5. they will cause water to turn to blood. It's like a parent catching a child smoking and making them smoke a whole pack at once … They are saying "you have drenched the world in blood, try drinking it"
6. during their time Israel will return to the sacrificial worship system and the temple as prophesied, … by the way I read recently one writer saying that with today's technology and expertise it would only take between 9 and 18 months to build a temple in Jerusalem if a treaty were signed and Jews given complete access to the Temple Mount
7. the Word of "Elijah" the first time he came was to convince the people that they needed to return to God with their hearts and lives. John the Baptist came "in the spirit of Elijah" and cried out "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand"… Elijah will turn Fathers to Sons and Sons to Father … in other words the Antichrist will have turned Fathers away from sons and sons from Fathers and the Witnesses will call them back … call the Fathers back to their place of right worship and leading their children to do the same. Seiss, who believe that Enoch is the 2nd Witness says Elijah will call to Israel and Enoch to the Gentile world
8. while a work of Judgment their work is also one of Mercy as many will come to Christ in their ministry even as Nineveh turned under Noah.
Finally … let's look at their END
3. Their End … what becomes of them
They will prophesy for 1260 days or 3 years and 6 months, 42 months … I believe to be in the 1st half of the Tribulation. That means their ministry will begin AFTER the Rapture of the church and after the Antichrist signs a treaty with Israel (Dan 9:27) for 7 years and will break that treaty in the middle of the 7 years.
A. they are Immortal until they are Finished --
1. we don't know how, or even IF they eat during this 3 years, but we know that Elijah was fed by birds when there was a famine in the land.
2. But nothing can harm them … and any that desires or attempts are destroyed
3. nothing has power over them on earth of from hell
B. When they are finished they become mortal to the Antichrist
1. when they have completed their testimony
2. the antichrist wars against them and attacks and kills them … how? we don't know
C. Bodies are Denied Burial
1. their bodies lie in the Streets of Jerusalem … called the Holy City in v2 … called the City where Christ was crucified in v 8 …
2. 3 days they lay there untouched … uncovered, rotting, and decaying
Wednesday Night Bible study Fall 2005-Spring 2006
The following resources were used among others in preparation
Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg
W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation
Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations
MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur
Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation
The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation
Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary