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2. THE TWO WITNESSES .
“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. 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. And I will give power unto MY ’TWO WITNESSES,’ and they shall prophesy a THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND THREE-SCORE DAYS, clothed in sackcloth. These are the ’TWO OLIVE TREES’ and the ’TWO CANDLESTICKS’ standing before the God of the earth. 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. 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. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the BEAST THAT ASCENDETH OUT OF THE ’ PIT’ shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 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 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. 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. And after three days and a 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. 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. 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.”
The “ANGEL” that told John to rise and measure the TEMPLE was the same “MIGHTY ANGEL” that handed him the “LITTLE BOOK” to eat. And as they were both still on the earth, the “TEMPLE” that John was told to measure was the Temple at Jerusalem. Not the Temple of Herod, for that had been destroyed over 25 years before by Titus, in A. D. 70. This then must be a future temple that is to be built at Jerusalem. It is clear that there will be a Temple at Jerusalem during the reign of Antichrist, for he shall sit in it, and proclaim himself GOD. 2. Thess. 2:3-4. And he shall cause the “ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION” spoken of by Daniel the Prophet (Daniel 9:27), probably the “IMAGE OF THE BEAST,” to be set up in the “HOLY PLACE.” Matthew 24:15. This will not be the Millennial Temple described by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 4:1; Ezekiel 42:20), for that will be built at Shiloh, in the midst of the Holy Oblation (Ezekiel 48:8; Ezekiel 48:21), and not until after the physical changes that will take place at the return of Christ (Zechariah 14:4) shall have changed the surface of the Land of Palestine. The Temple
that the Jews will build on their return to Jerusalem will probably be destroyed by the Earthquake that destroys the tenth part of the City, for that Earthquake will synchronize with the “Great Earthquake” that shall occur at the breaking of the “Seventh Seal,” the sounding of the “Seventh Trumpet,” and the pouring out of the “Seventh Vial.” Revelation 8:5; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:18.
John was told to measure only the Temple proper, and to leave out the “Court” that surrounded it. The Temple of Herod had four Courts: the Court of the Priests, the Court of Israel, the Court of the Women, and the Court of the Gentiles. The Tabernacle had but one Court; while Solomon’s Temple had two, the Court of the Priests, and the Court of the Gentiles. As the “Court” of this new Temple, as well as the Holy City (Jerusalem), is to be trodden under foot of the Gentiles for 42 months, or 3½ years, this period must refer to the last half of the “Seventieth Week,” after Antichrist breaks his “Covenant” with the Jews, and desecrates the Temple, for Jerusalem must be trodden down of the Gentiles until the “Times of the Gentiles” is fulfilled (Luke 21:24), and that will not end until the Battle of Armageddon.
After the “MIGHTY ANGEL” had given John instructions as to measuring the Temple, He said--“And I will give power unto MY ’TWO WITNESSES,’ and they shall prophesy a ’thousand two hundred and threescore days’.” As a “thousand two hundred and threescore days” are equal to 42 months of 30 days each, or to 3½ years, then the time when these “TWO WITNESSES” are to prophesy must correspond with the last half of the “Week,” or the time of THE GREAT TRIBULATION.
Who are these “TWO WITNESSES”? They are men: not systems, or churches, or a body of witnesses, for they prophesy and are clothed in sackcloth, neither of which can be said of other than persons, and there are TWO of them. It is very easy to identify them. They have power to shut heaven that it rain not in the DAYS OF THEIR PROPHECY. This can refer to no other than Elijah, who had power in the days of King Ahab to shut up the heavens for the space of three years and six months (1. Kings 17:1. Luke 4:25. James 5:17), and this is the same length of time, 42 months, or 1260 days, or 3½ years, that these “TWO WITNESSES” are to prophesy. Then we know that Elijah was translated, and did not see death, that he might come back before “THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD” for the purpose of “turning the heart of the children to their fathers,” and this is the purpose of the prophesying of these “TWO WITNESSES.” Malachi 4:5-6. It is clear from the time that the Prophet Malachi said that Elijah would come again, JUST BEFORE “The Great And Dreadful Day Of The Lord,” that this prophecy was not fulfilled in John the Baptist. He announced the “First Coming” of Christ, but no “Great And Dreadful Day Of The Lord” followed. That event is yet future, and follows the testimony of these “TWO WITNESSES.”
When the Jews sent Priests and Levites from Jerusalem to John to ask him “Who Art Thou?” he confessed--“I AM NOT THE CHRIST.” And they asked him, “What then? Art thou ELIJAH?”
And he said--“I AM NOT.” It is clear from John’s answers to these questions that he was NOT ELIJAH. When Gabriel announced to Zacharias the birth of John the Baptist, he said, he shall go before Him (Christ) in the “SPIRIT AND POWER” of Elijah. That is, he will not be Elijah, but shall be like him in spirit and power. When John from his prison cell sent messengers to Jesus to ask Him if He were the Christ, after Christ had dismissed those messengers He said to the multitude of John, “IF YE WILL RECEIVE ’IT,’ THIS IS ELIJAH WHICH WAS FOR TO COME.” Matthew 11:1-14. Jesus here simply affirms that John was ELIJAH if men would RECEIVE “IT.” Not receive “HIM” (John), but receive “IT.” What did Jesus mean by “IT”? The context shows that Jesus was talking about the “KINGDOM” (Verses 11 and 12), and if they had received “THE KINGDOM” that John announced was at hand, then John, instead of being John, would have been ELIJAH come back, but because God foresaw that the Jews would not receive the KINGDOM, He could not send ELIJAH at that time, so He had to send a substitute with the “spirit” and “power” of Elijah in his place, so He sent John the Baptist.
But you say, did not Jesus say to the Disciples when they were coming down from the Mt. of Transfiguration, where they had seen Elijah--“Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you that ELIAS IS COME ALREADY, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Then the Disciples understood that He spake unto them of JOHN THE BAPTIST”? Matthew 17:11-13. Now whatever this may mean, it cannot contradict John’s own declaration that he WAS NOT ELIJAH, or Christ’s statement that if God had foreseen that the Jews would have received the Kingdom, He would have sent ELIJAH instead of John. And Christ’s statement in the above reference, that Elijah’s purpose in coming is to “RESTORE ALL THINGS,” which John did not do, and Malachi’s declaration that Elijah would not come until just before the ’GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD,’ makes it clear that John the Baptist was not Elijah, and that Elijah is yet to come.
It is clear then that one of the “TWO WITNESSES” will be Elijah, but who will be the other? Many claim that Moses will be the second Witness, while some say he will be Enoch, because they say Moses being a resurrected person cannot die again, and the “Two Witnesses” are both to die. They claim that both Enoch and Elijah were caught up in their bodies, without dying, that they might come back again in their bodies and die. There is no scriptural ground for declaring that Moses cannot die again. Lazarus was raised from the dead and he died again, and the “Wicked Dead” shall be raised from the dead, and after Judgment at the “Great White Throne,” they shall be sentenced to die again, which is the “SECOND DEATH.” Revelation 20:12-15.
It is said of these “TWO WITNESSES” that they have power--
1. “To SHUT HEAVEN, that it RAIN NOT in the days of their prophecy.”
2. “And have power over WATERS to TURN THEM TO BLOOD, and to smite the earth with ALL PLAGUES, as often as they will.”
Now we know that Moses had power to turn water into BLOOD, and to smite the earth with PLAGUES, but we are not told that Enoch had such power.
If we study carefully what shall happen during the period the “TWO WITNESSES” shall testify, which as we have seen will be the last half of the “Week,” or 3½ years, we shall see that the “TWO WITNESSES” can be no other than MOSES and ELIJAH. It is probable that Elijah will shut up the heavens that there shall be no rain, during the 3½ years of their witnessing, for we read that there is to be a “FIRE TEST” such as Elijah appointed on Mt. Carmel in the days of King Ahab (1. Kings 18:17-40), and the con-test will be between Elijah and the “FALSE PROPHET,” and that the “FALSE PROPHET” shall have power to do what the Priests of Baal could not do, bring FIRE FROM HEAVEN. Revelation 13:13. The crucial question on Mt. Carmel was, who is GOD, JEHOVAH or BAAL? In the days of Antichrist it will be, who is GOD, JEHOVAH or ANTICHRIST? The test will be the power to bring down FIRE FROM HEAVEN. As the “False Prophet” will imitate the power of Elijah and bring down FIRE FROM HEAVEN, the test will not be decisive. The true Israel of God however will acknowledge the claim of Jehovah, while the followers of “The Beast” will continue to believe in him. But Elijah shall not be as fortunate as he was in the days of Ahab, for then he escaped the vengeance of Jezebel, but he will not be able to escape the vengeance of Antichrist who will see to it that both he and Moses are slain.
As the Plagues that are to accompany the pouring out of the “Vials,” are four of them similar to the “Plagues of Egypt,” who more likely to bring them to pass than Moses? The evidence seems conclusive that the “TWO WITNESSES” will be MOSES and ELIJAH.
In passing it is worth noting the “TITLE” of these two men. The “MIGHTY ANGEL” (Christ) calls them My “TWO WITNESSES.” This implies that “WITNESSING” was their business. And when we recall their witnessing on the Mt. of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3), and that it was TWO MEN that witnessed to the women at the Tomb that Jesus had risen (Luke 24:4-7), and that it was TWO MEN who stood by and witnessed to the Disciples as Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:10-11), and that in all three incidents the MEN were clothed in “shining garments,” it seems clear that Moses was resurrected and Elijah translated for the express office of “WITNESSES.”
These “TWO WITNESSES” are called the “TWO OLIVE TREES” and the “TWO CANDLESTICKS” which stand before the God of the earth. For an explanation of this symbol we must turn back to the Old Testament. The Prophet Zechariah saw in a vision a “GOLDEN CANDLESTICK,” with a bowl upon the top of it, and the seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps; and TWO OLIVE TREES by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. And he turned to the angel that talked with him and said “What are these ’TWO OLIVE TREES’ upon the right side of the CANDLESTICK and upon the left side thereof?” And he said, “These are the ’TWO ANOINTED ONES,’ that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:1-14. These “TWO ANOINTED ONES” were Zerubbabel the Governor, and Joshua the High Priest. Haggai 1:1; Haggai 1:14. Zechariah 3:1; Zechariah 4:6. They had been anointed by the Holy Spirit to rebuild and restore Jerusalem and the Temple after the Babylonian Captivity, against which Satan was raising up much opposition. Zechariah 3:1-7. What more appropriate type could have been used than this? Zerubbabel and Joshua are types of the “TWO WITNESSES” whose work it will be to proclaim that the time has come to rebuild Jerusalem and re-establish the Temple worship, for the “KINGDOM OF HEAVEN” is at hand. And they will have to do it in the face of the opposition of Satan, who at that time will have incarnated himself in the Antichrist. How beautifully this illustrates the fact that every Type in the Scriptures has its Anti-Type, and that the Old Testament infolds and unfolds the New Testament, and that until the Anti-Type appears the plan and purpose of God remains’ unfulfilled and incomplete.
These “TWO WITNESSES” are to prophecy for 1260 days, or 3½ years, and for that length of time they are immune from death. For if any man attempt to hurt them, “fire will proceed out of their mouths and devour their enemies.” But when they have “finished their testimony,” they shall be overcome by “THE BEAST” (Antichrist), who will make war against them, and shall kill them, and their dead bodies shall lie in the streets of Jerusalem, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt at that time, because the character of its inhabitants will resemble the character of the inhabitants of Sodom in the days of Lot, and the conduct of Israel in Egypt (Ezekiel 23:3-4; Ezekiel 23:8; Ezekiel 23:19), for the space of “three days and a half,” and the people of all nationalities shall not suffer their dead bodies to be buried, and they shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these “TWO WITNESSES” who tormented them by their testimony and their plagues are dead. How foolish men are. They think that when they kill God’s Prophets they have destroyed His law, and cannot be punished.
But the people’s rejoicing will be short-lived, for at the end of the 3½ days the “SPIRIT OF LIFE” will re-enter the bodies of the “TWO WITNESSES,” and they shall stand upon their feet, and great fear shall be upon their enemies, and a voice from Heaven will be heard saying--“COME UP HITHER,” and they shall ascend up to Heaven in a cloud as Christ Himself ascended, and their enemies shall witness their ascent. They are first resurrected and then translated. The same hour of their ascension there will be a “Great Earthquake” that will destroy a tenth part of the city of Jerusalem and 7000 of its inhabitants, and the remainder of its inhabitants will turn to God from fright. But this repentance will be short-lived, like that of Pharoah’s.
It must not be supposed that because this description of the “Two Witnesses” is given to John in the “INTERVAL” between the “Sixth” and “Seventh” Trumpets, that the “Two Witnesses” testify
only during that “INTERVAL.” The time is too short, for they testify for 1260 days, or 42 months. Their witnessing was still future when John was told about them, for the “MIGHTY ANGEL” said to John--“I WILL give,” showing that the “Two Witnesses” had not as yet appeared, for John did not see them, he simply recorded what the “MIGHTY ANGEL” told him about them. As we have seen, the period of their witnessing is during the “last half” of the Week, and therefore they do not appear until the “Middle” of the Week.
“The ’SECOND WOE’ is past: and, behold, the ’THIRD WOE’ cometh quickly.”
SEVENTH TRUMPET .
THIRD WOE .
(Covers The Rest Of The Week.)
“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. And the four and Twenty Elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped 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. 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. And the TEMPLE OF GOD was opened IN HEAVEN, and there was seen in His Temple the ’Ark of His Testament’: and there were LIGHTNINGS, and VOICES, and THUNDERINGS and an EARTHQUAKE, and GREAT HAIL.”
The sounding of the “SEVENTH TRUMPET” includes all that happens down to chapter 20:3. When it sounded John heard “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.” This is the announcement that the time had come for Christ to take “THE KINGDOM,” though “The Kingdom” does not fully come into His possession for 3½ years. The whole of this passage is anticipative, for the “sayings” of the Four and Twenty Elders look forward to the Resurrections and Judgments of chapter 20. The scene is located in Heaven. For it is there that John hears the Trumpet sound, and sees the “Temple of God” opened, and hears the “voices” and “thunderings” that accompany the devastation of the earth by “earthquake” and “hail.” This announcement is preliminary to the great events that are to follow, which will be the most remarkable and momentous that have ever happened on this earth.
The “THIRD WOE” includes the “VIALS,” and all other judgments down to chapter 20:3. The “Time Limit” of the “SEVENTH TRUMPET” is given in chapter 10:7, and is spoken of as “THE ’DAYS’“ of the “Voice” of the “SEVENTH ANGEL” when he shall BEGIN TO SOUND. Implying that the blast or blasts, of the “SEVENTH TRUMPET” shall be long continued, that is, extend over the whole of the last half of the “Week.”
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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 11". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26