The Worship Of The Twenty
11:16-17 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
The twenty-four elders, who here fall down to worship God, have previously appeared seven times in the book of Revelation in a similar context. Here they give thanks to God as the eternal One which art, and wast, and art to come, because He has manifested His power and assumed authority over the earth. The event for which they give thanks is of course the fulfillment of Psalm 2:9, where Christ the Anointed of God reigns supreme over the earth. Twice in verse 17 mention is directed to the power of God in the word almighty and the word power . Gods power here is demonstrated in the sense of authority as well as in the sense of ability to accomplish His will as reflected in dynamin.
God Granted The Church This Menorah And Sackcloth Ministry
Therefore, the call to be part of the churchs menorah light and to heed its prophetic witness is not burdensome but a joy. God granted the church this menorah and sackcloth ministry primarily to give you the salvation of Christ and to assure and comfort you in that salvation.
Indeed, as we experience more and more of the bitterness of being trampled underfoot by the Gentiles , we grow weary and discouraged. Evil and wickedness abound in the world. Immorality and false teaching continue to take root in the church. The saints are persecuted and treated as the wicked should be. We commit sins after years of being in the faith, and we wonder, Can Christ really forgive me for this? I am too sinful surely I am outside the purview of Gods grace.
But among all this bitterness, the Lord reminds us that his witnessing church stands before him. The Lords word, full of light, shines through his servants so that what is bound on earth is so bound in heaven. Remember what the Lord said in John 20:21-23,
Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.
Why Will People Rejoice Over The Deaths Of The Two Witnesses
After the two witnesses complete their 3½-year ministry of preaching the gospel to the entire world, their divine protection will be removed and they will be killed.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth .
Why will the world rejoice over their deaths? Most in the world will not like their message of repentance. People do not want to be told that what they are doing is wrong, that they are sinning and need to change.
They will be angry because of the plagues being brought on them as punishments for not repenting of their sins, and they will blame the two witnesses for the torment so many will suffer.
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The Power Of Confession
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me my vitality was turned into the drought of summer.Psalm 32:4
California is a dry state that needs water to be transported over many miles to population and agricultural centers. Snowfall in the winter and melting snow in the spring are critical factors in replenishing shrinking reservoirs. In periods of modern droughts, aerial photographs document the receding water levels in reservoirs around the stateshorelines growing wider and drier as water levels fall.
Such is the picture David paints with his words in Psalm 32a drought of spiritual vitality brought on by his own sin. When he failed to confess his sin to God, his bones grew old and he groaned all the day long . It was like his soul was being evaporated by the heat of his own guilt and shame. But then the rains of grace came and David confessed his sin and God forgave him . And he encouraged his readers not to make the same mistake he had made .
Confession and repentance reveal the access to restoration. Hiding sin does not remove it from Gods sight but when we seek Gods forgiveness, the refreshing living water from the Father is poured out on us and we are restoredthat is the power of confession.
The way to cover our sin is to uncover it by confession.Richard Sibbes
I rejoice at Your Word as one who finds great treasure.Psalm 119:162
Who Are The Two Witnesses In Revelation 11
In Revelation 11, John describes two witnesses. John calls them the two olive trees and the two lampstands. The witnesses are given power and are prophesying until the are killed. After laying dead in the street, they are given the breath of God, rise up to God on a cloud while their enemies look on. You can read the whole description in Revelation 11.
Who are the witnesses in Revelation 11? No one knows for sure, but here are several things the passage reminds theologians and scholars of:
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Who Are The Two Witnesses Of Revelation
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies.Rev.11:3-5
Revelation is an apocalypse. Not just in the sense of recording an unveiling but also in terms of its composition in what might best be described as a language system or matrix deeply embedded in the Old Testament. As such, to rightly interpret Revelation in general and identify the two witnesses of Revelation11 in particular, it is crucial to have the background music of the Old Testament coursing through our minds. We must neither attempt to draw exact parallels between the apocalyptic imagery and their Old Testament referents nor attempt to press the language system of Revelation into a literalistic labyrinth such that the two witnesses literally turn their mouths into blowtorches.
Casting Aside Religion And Rivers Of Blood
But the outworking of all this was widely different from what Rome had purposed. Instead of holding the masses in a blind submission to her dogmas, her work resulted in making them infidels and revolutionists. Romanism they despised as priestcraft. They beheld the clergy as a party to their oppression. The only god they knew was the god of Rome her teaching was their only religion. They regarded her greed and cruelty as the legitimate fruit of the Bible, and they would have none of it.
Rome had misrepresented the character of God and perverted His requirements, and now men rejected both the Bible and its Author. She had required a blind faith in her dogmas, under the pretended sanction of the Scriptures. In the reaction, Voltaire and his associates cast aside Gods word altogether and spread everywhere the poison of infidelity. Rome had ground down the people under her iron heel and now the masses, degraded and brutalized, in their recoil from her tyranny, cast off all restraint. Enraged at the glittering cheat to which they had so long paid homage, they rejected truth and falsehood together and mistaking license for liberty, the slaves of vice exulted in their imagined freedom.
In the short space of ten years, multitudes of human beings perished.
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A Bible Code In Zechariah 4 Confirms The Identity Of The Two Witnesses
Although we do not need the help of a Bible code to know the identity of the two witnesses, the code that I am about to reveal nevertheless serves as a very compelling piece of additional confirmation.
The code is found in Zechariah 4,1 which records Zechariahs prophetic vision from 520 BC that depicts the two witnesses as two olive trees standing beside a golden lampstand which signifies the Lord of the whole earth. Behold:
As can be seen, the statement is encoded at an ELS of every 67 letters in Zechariah 4:10-5:9. And just to prove that the encoded text-string means exactly what I am claiming it means, the screenshot below documents what happens if you have Google translator translate the above encoded text-string into English:
I think what the encrypted statement of Zechariah 4 is referring to is blatantly obvious at this point and needs no explanation. However, for those of you who might still be confused, I think the following passage from Lukes precious gospel should clear your confusion right up. Behold:
As we can clearly see, the encrypted statement in Zechariah 4 is a divine hint, telling us that the two olive trees are the two men standing on the mountain next to Jesus.2 This is an undeniable allusion to Moses & Elijah appearing on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus as described in the synoptic gospels.
Do Two Witnesses Symbolize Israel And The Church
Another very prominent opinion states that the Two Witnesses represent the Jewish and the Gentile church. This is not illogical since symbols are used prominently throughout the book of Revelation. Here is the reason some people believe this theory:
In Romans 11:24-25, the Apostle Paul refers to Israel as the tame olive tree and to the Gentiles as a wild olive tree. Revelation 11:4 says the Two Witnesses are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. From these two passages it has been deduced that there would be, in the end time, a Gentile church and a Jewish church witnessing in the earth.
To some, this is quite a persuasive argument. However, the prophecy concerning the Two Witnesses calls them two prophets. It also says they will be killed and lie in the street for three and one-half days. I see no logical way that a nation or a church could be killed and lay in the streets. These two prophets will be two literal men.
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It’s All About Babylon
The book of Revelation, in general, addresses the progression of and, in particular, the consummation of mankind’s failings brought on by the corruptive influences of Babylon the great. That’s a great overall key to Revelation, if one stands back from the various seals, trumpets and plagues and observes its underlying theme and purpose. Revelation shows two great polar opposites: mankind’s self-destructive way of life and God’s constructive way of life. Knowing this great key helps one to better understand the catastrophes prophesied in this unique book.
Remarkably, in the book of Revelation there is a guarantee that God will stop humanity from destroying itself, through Christ Jesus’ intervention and sovereignty .
As God’s representatives, the two witnesses will conduct themselves, at least in part, in the ways of Moses and Elijah.
Moses And Elijah As Models
Its also possible that the two witnesses are symbolically modeled after Moses and Elijah. They have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain . This power was associated with Elijah, whose prayer caused a terrible drought in Israel .
Elijahs deed was proverbial among Jews in the first century. James mentioned the drought as an example of the power of a righteous persons prayer . He said that Elijahs prayer caused a drought of exactly three and a half years the time referred to in Revelation in various forms. Luke also referred to the famine in Elijahs time, and said it had a length of three and a half years . Interestingly, in 1 Kings the time of the drought is said to be the next few years or about three years .
As did Moses, the two witnesses have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague . This recalls Moses role as Gods agent, who through ten plagues including turning the Nile and the waters of Egypt into blood brought down the most powerful kingdom of the day.
Also, like Elijah, the two witnesses can consume their enemies with fire, if they try to hurt them . This fire is said to come from their mouths . Such a literal occurrence would be an odd sight, indeed!
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The Church Is Pictured Here As Spirit
What is the significance of this in Zechariah? The Lord tells us in Zechariah 4:6, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit. The light of the menorah points to Gods true word as it shines through Gods servants and the ever-abundant flow of oil points to the perfect and sufficient work of the Holy Spirit.
This is the imagery that John is using, with the number of lamps being doubled to fit the witness motif. The church is pictured here as Spirit-filled in order to testify to Gods truth. Being empowered by the all-sufficient Spirit of God, the church shines forth the light of Gods true word.
Who Are The Two Witnesses
Answer: The first question we will briefly tackle is why must there be two witnesses and not one. Why not four, five, six or even more? God’s law insisted it was necessary to have, at the minimum, at least two people to make good an accusation against a person . This principle is reiterated by the apostle Paul to his friend Timothy .
The opinion of one person was not enough to convict someone of a sin or crime. The testimony of at least two witnesses were needed in order to condemn a person to death . One of the primary purposes of these two individuals is to witness against the end time Beast and False Prophet, who will ultimately receive the death penalty from God for their sins .
These two, as yet unknown, individuals will be “called or commissioned” to prophesy for 3 1/2 years . The word “prophesy” in biblical terms means to foretell divine events or to speak under the inspiration of God.
Part of their message during their ministry will include preaching, holding up, and maintaining the truth of God before the world. They will give warnings and uttering judgments against those who are not following God.
They will also call people to repent of their sins, and to fear and glorify God. They will testify that Jesus is the Son of God, the heir of all things, and the coming King of Kings. Lastly, they will adminster encouragement to the remnant of God living on the earth at that time.
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Bible Verses About The Two Witnesses
These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
The Fire From The Mouth Of The Witnesses Refers To The Power And Effect Of The Word
This is not fire from heaven but from the mouth of the two. This is not literal fire or a physical burning. Rather, fire from the mouth is like the sword issuing forth from the mouth of the Son of Man. It refers to the power and effect of the word.
This imagery is found when the Lord speaks to Jeremiah about his prophetic ministry, as he says in Jeremiah 5:14, Behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them. This fire refers to the judging and condemning effect of the prophetic word.
So also, for those who reject the testimony of the two witnesses, the churchs preaching condemns and judges them unto death. Their testimony convicts it leaves the rejecter guilty and under the curse of eternal fire.
Is One Of The Two Witnesses Elijah
Some have argued very persuasively that one of the Two Witnesses must be Elijah. In Malachi 4:5 we have this prophecy: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
It is because of this prophecy that the Jewish people have long looked for Elijah to come, announcing the arrival of the Messiah. Many believe this will happen during the time of the annual Passover feast. This is why every Passover meal has an extra place setting for Elijah, just in case he would appear.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Jewish people claimed to their Turkish occupiers that Elijah would soon come, entering through the Eastern Gate of the Temple Mount. The prospect of this scared the Turks of the Ottoman Empire so much that they had masons seal up the Eastern Gate. It is still sealed to this day. Oddly, the Turks had no idea that they were fulfilling an incredible prophecy in Ezekiel 44:1-3. The prophecy states that the Eastern Gate would be sealed, because the Lord had entered in by it. The prophecy also states that it would not be opened again until He came back, entering through it again. The Eastern Gate stands sealed until this very moment, awaiting the Second Coming of Jesus. The Turks, in an attempt to prevent one prophecy from being fulfilled, unknowingly fulfilled another!
Back to Malachis I will send you Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.